Showing posts with label Lactation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lactation. Show all posts

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7: A Kind of Weird Thing to have PTSD about

Day 7: I am thankful for my husband who is my best friend and advocate. #daysofthanksgiving

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Today Thing 3 had a doctor’s appointment.  At 3 months instead of 4 months because they want to check his weight regularly.  He was in the 2nd percentile at his last appointment, but had been 5th earlier on.  Today was in the 1%.

And that is the whole thing I have PTSD about.  When Thing 1 was born, and I was just figuring out how bad my milk supply was and trying to determine if he was getting fed…  He gained weight so slowly in the beginning.  Indeed, I think at one appointment he’d even lost weight.  And the doctor’s office made us come in to weigh him every other day.  And it was horrible because I was trying SO, SO hard to breastfeed and give him the breast milk that everyone was telling me was the very best thing… but then I would show up to these weigh-ins and it was like a test for whether or not I was a good mom to this brand new baby.  And truth be told I had no idea what the hell I was doing.  It was SO stressful.  Which is largely just an understatement.  And I felt so worthless.

And then Thing 2 came along and I just decided that I wasn’t doing it.  I supplemented (probably much more than I needed to) from the day he was born.  He was still a pretty slow weight gainer, but force feeding him kept me out of the doctor’s office more than I needed to be there.  But that was because I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t keep facing that damn scale that would tell me whether or not I was failing at motherhood.

And now here I am, again.  Only this time around things started off really well.  Thing 3 was gaining so well and I was pumping a good amount of milk.  And because things were going so well and he was eating so great, I didn’t supplement as often. And I’d kind of gotten used to the idea that things were working this time. But, they just haven’t stayed great.  He was small, and grew taller faster than he gained weight (hence falling from 5th to 2nd) and so the doctors are all freaked out. I was told at that appointment that they could declare it failure to thrive at that point.  But, since my very alert baby was sitting happily in my lap and cooing at everyone that would look at him… that seemed stupid.  But, I agreed to supplement more and come back in a month.  Whatever.

But still, it seems over the last few weeks something has happened.  I think maybe he hit a growth spurt and my milk supply just hasn’t caught up.  We’ve been offering him bottles when he seems hungry after nursing, I’ve been nursing every 2 hours during the day, and pumping twice a day.  But, over the last week or so I’ve been pumping much less and he is drinking at bit more from the bottle.  I think my low supply has been stretched as far as it can go—even though it has done better than it ever did before.  He is still an incredibly happy, alert, and otherwise normal baby.  He is not colicky or even especially fussy.  The only indicator that we have that something is up is his weight.  But, alas, his weight gain has slowed down enough that I can’t put off being concerned about it anymore.

Anyway, here’s the PTSD thing.  I can’t put my baby on the scale.  I can’t even be in the room to see it.  My husband has to come with me to every doctor appointment so that he can do it.  Today, when he came back from the scale and told me what the weight was, and I knew it was too low, I left the room.  I couldn’t even be in that appointment anymore.  My husband handled all of it.  And he did great, bless him.  He advocated for a baby, told him we wouldn’t start offering formula once a day for the extra calories (that is so stupid on so many levels), told them we are not worried about our happy baby even if they were trying to freak out about it, and told they could go ahead and order whatever tests and blood work they wanted, but that we wouldn’t be showing up to the hospital to do it.  They also keep trying to get us to give him vitamin D supplements.  But, I’m a big believer in the sun, so we’re not doing that either. I wasn’t in the state of mind to stand up to any of that, so I’m ever so grateful he did it for me. 

Because mostly the PTSD and PPD have taken over and today I feel like a new mom failure again.  All because some stupid chart is telling me baby is too tall for his weight.  Or something like that.

Another thing that the PTSD has kept me from doing is actually giving Thing 3 the bottle myself.  All of the bottles he’s gotten are from William.  I know that if I would just give him one, I could maybe just get over it and move on.  For some reason it is just a threshold I can’t cross.

You know, as much as I want to successfully breastfeed my baby, and as much as I love the connection, I also really can’t wait until it is over.  It is so hard to be second guessing yourself every minute of every day.

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It is so close to midnight and I’m barely getting this post up in time. It is a NaBloPoMo miracle.

(For the record, this post isn’t an invitation to give me breastfeeding or lactation advice.  I’m a Certified Lactation Counselor, and having struggled to provide three babies with as much breast milk as I possibly can, I’ve done extensive research on all of my options.  I’m very knowledgeable about breastfeeding. I don’t need more ideas, I just need to vent.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An Executive Decision

So, I have this business, kind of.  According to the IRS its technically a hobby.  Anyways, I’m a Certified Lactation Counselor, and as such have a website, facebook page, and business cards:

BUSINESS CARD

What I don’t have, at this time, is any paying clients.  I’ve been certified since April 2011—something I accomplished with the aid of my own Lactation Consultant and some friends I made through her breastfeeding support group.  If I had stayed in Tallahassee, FL (ew) I would have remained in that network, and I’m pretty sure I’d be able to call it a real business by now.  But, very shortly after I received my certification, I moved to a new area and have yet to gather any real kind of clientele.  Part of that is because I’m mostly concerned with raising my Things and part of it is just because I’m sort of lazy.  But, also, my attempts at networking have mostly just fallen flat.  It would seem that the people who deal with breastfeeding mamas in this community (pediatricians, family doctors, OBs, and midwives) aren’t really interested in referring patients to me.  Whether its because they don’t think breastfeeding is that big of a deal or because they just don’t know me, I’m not sure.  Either way, the result is the same.

I have been able to help several mamas establish good breastfeeding relationships with their babies.  Mostly friends and friends of friends.  And mostly online, through email, or over the phone.  All pro bono.  Which is fine, because I’m totally not it in for the money.  I can’t even begin to express how much it means to me—how fulfilling and personally satisfying it is—to be able to help another mama breastfeed.  After everything I went through with Things 1 and 2, it just seems like it makes it all worth it.  It makes everything right.

It would be nice, though, to make enough money to pay for the annual fee on the website.  And, in my wildest dreams, make enough money to justify more training and conferences and stuff.  THAT would be awesome.

ANYWAYS, about the website…

I’m thinking about switching to my website from dreamhost to either wordpress or blogger.  A unique URL with worpress is $17, with blogger is $10, and with dreamhost is $120.  Since this is a hobby I have going here, it seems like a financially sound decision.  And since my website is pretty simple and I don’t care about a super fancy design, I think either worpress or blogger would be just fine for my purposes. 

So, the question is, which one?  I use blogger for my blogs now and am very happy with it.  But, I know that with wordpress I would have a little bit more design freedom.  But, do I really care about that?  Maybe I just want to stick with what I’m familiar with?

What to do, what to do…

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Schmorgasboard

It’s sad how long I’ve been meaning to post some things.  My only excuse is that we are getting ready to move.  A lot of things I’ve meant to do have fallen by the wayside.  But, I’m determined to hammer out this blog post, even if it takes me a few days to write it.  I’ll break it down into the posts I would have made if I had done them separately.  So, my faithful readers (both of you) will be able to skip to the sections you’re interested in.
In no particular order (or, the order I thought of them in while I was typing this up):
Big Boy Bed
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We actually bought this bed for John quite some time ago, and just recently got it set up.  It was one of the things that almost fell by the wayside.  But, really, there just came a point when it was getting ridiculous to keep putting him in a crib.  And he LOVES it.  We were, at first, really worried about him getting out of bed to play at night.  And I kept trying to think about how I could prevent that.  Then I realized it doesn’t matter.  John has been really good about going to sleep – even wanting to go to sleep – when he is tired and ready for it.  So what if he gets out of bed and plays after we put him to bed?  I just knew that when he’d had enough he’d get back in the bed and sleep.  Sure enough, that’s been the case.  We know he gets up and plays (we can hear him) but it always gets quiet eventually and when we check on him he’s always tucked himself back in.  Or, as displayed above, throws himself across the bed in whatever position works. 
Thing 2 at six months
DSCN1297
Okay, so he’s passed the seven month mark.  But I missed the boat on the six month thing.  The point is, he’s doing great.  He’s not crawling yet (and I’m not encouraging it) but he’s gotten pretty adept at scooching himself backwards when he needs to.  He’s using lots of syllables and is quite the little chatterbox.  And, best of all, he thinks I’m the best thing ever.
In the picture above, he was playing on the floor one minute, and I found him asleep the next.  It looked like he was actually trying to scooch over to the pacifier.  He didn’t quite make it.
Breastfeeding
So, as much as I love breastfeeding (and I really, really do) I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have low milk supply issues.  I was taking lots of supplements to help with that, and it did, until Wesley was a little past six months.  My goal was to make it to six months and then to go off the supplements (most of them are really expensive or I’d keep going) I was hoping that I’d still get some supply after that, because some is better than none, but I just didn’t.  At least, not enough to keep Wesley interested in nursing very much.  For awhile I could get him to snuggle up and nurse at night, but even that he eventually gave up.  It makes me sad – really sad – but there is not much I can do about it.  I’ve had a couple of good cries over it, and now I just have to move on.  I’ll tell you what, though:  I never would’ve pursued becoming a lactation counselor if it hadn’t been for the struggles I went through with breastfeeding.  I would have breastfed for sure, and probably been one of those moms that breastfed her kids until they’re two, but I would’ve totally taken it for granted.  I don’t take it for granted now, and am excited to help other women to achieve their breastfeeding goals.  I surely couldn’t have done as well as I did without my lactation consultant (I love you, Molly!) and hope that I can pay it forward.
Big Changes
The big move is 6 days away.  We’ve been crazy busy getting things organized and packed.  It’s difficult mostly because we can only do it one at a time.  One person packing, the other watching our Things.  And, of course – because he’s superman, William has done most of the actual packing.  I hate the process though.  Its nice to go through everything and throw stuff out, but packing just makes everything seem messy.  I just want the process over with.
I’m not real big on change in general.  Its hard for me.  Even when moving on to bigger and better things.  I haven’t really loved living in Tallahassee.  I’ve met people here that I will always cherish, and its an okay city, but I really, really, really (really, really) hate the weather.  I do feel kinda sentimental about leaving though.  My babies were born here.  I brought them home to this apartment.  Tallahassee will always be special to me because of that.
And, like I said, there are people here that I cherish and will miss.  But, honestly, we’ve had some bad experiences with some people here and I’m kinda glad to leave those memories behind.  It’ll be nice to not have to pretend I don’t want to punch certain people in the back of the head every time I see them.  Angel
Hopefully good things are in store for us in Buena Vista, VA.  And hopefully I will find even more cherished people to fill my life with.
The “Hide” Feature
I hate the hide feature on facebook.  Its totally passive aggressive.  If you don’t like someone, why not just unfriend them?  Its no fair secretly avoiding them without them knowing it.  ‘Cause they might be invested in YOU.  Spending time and energy on keeping apprised of your life and what you’re doing.  But you’ve dismissed them.  It lacks integrity and it makes me angry.
There are a few people that I’m 98% sure hid me on facebook.  I have unfriended them.  Also 98% sure they haven’t noticed – you know, because I was hidden to them anyway.  If you have me hidden on facebook and I haven’t noticed, do me a favor and just unfriend me.  I’d really rather know upfront that you want nothing to do with me.
I will admit to hiding single posts.  Mostly when there is excessive swearing (especially the f-bomb) because I don’t want to see it.  But I don’t have a whole person hidden.  That’s just rude.
I broke a rule.
I had, quite some time ago, decided to excuse myself from political debate for the most.  I decided I would engage again when the debate could be centered in reality and facts (I’m looking at you tea-partiers).  I did, and do, occasionally comment on threads on facebook that someone else has posted.  But for a while I totally avoided posting things myself.  But the budget crisis got me fired up over a variety of issues and I just couldn’t help myself.  And I did kinda regret it after a couple of comments that I got.  But, I figure I’m back in the fray now, and have just continued to post things that interest me.  There ya have it.  Bring it on.
That is all.  For now.  I’ll leave with a picture of Wesley, taken to match THIS picture of John.  How funny are we?
DSCN1240

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A plethora of good news

I’ll list these in chronological order:
1. William defended his dissertation on March 3rd.  Defended it SUCCESSFULLY, I might add.  He got to hear the words, “Congratulations, Dr. Silverman.”  It was a good day.  He is DONE with the PhD.
2. I completed the course, and am officially a Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC).  I am excited to explore my options for helping women breastfeed their babies.  
3. Thing 2 had his 6 monthiversary.  He’s a growing boy!  He’s in the 30% for his weight and 60% for his height.  Tall, but just no where near as big as his older brother was at 6 months.  It’s kind of nice.  Thing 1 was heavy.
Thing 2, 6 months
4. William GOT A JOB.  We will be moving to Buena Vista, VA in May, and William will start teaching at Southern Virginia University later in the summer.  We are SO excited to be moving on.  And SO excited to get out of Tallahassee. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yummy

I made these tonight.  They're way better than I'd thought they be.  WAY better.  I substituted half the butter for almond butter, and most of the sugar for molasses.  And added crushed almonds.  They're yummy.  Mind you, if you're not a breastfeeding mother, you may not be interested in making cookies with brewer's yeast.  But if you ARE a breastfeeding mother, I highly recommend these cookies.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Breastfeeding Saga Continued

Since the last time I've posted on this issue, we've had several more ups and downs. Its actually been a little ridiculous...

Shortly after getting John's frenulum clipped, all three of us got colds. This may seem benign, but John couldn't breath through his nose. A common reaction among babies who can't breath through their nose is a refusal to nurse. Awesome, right? He was just relearning how to do it, and then there was nothing I could do to encourage him to keep trying. It was horrid.

I called the lactation consultant, and she assured me it was common and that I should just focus on pumping to make sure he still gets breast milk (especially important when he's sick because of the antibodies it contains) and to keep my supply up. Funny thing about that... some women can solely pump for months and months (I know several who have) and never decrease their supply. Some women, if they are solely pumping, will see a decrease, and eventually a depletion, of their supply. Guess which one I am? Right.

So after several days of that I called the lactation consultant and told her how much I was (or wasn't) pumping, and how worried I was. She was worried too. "You're going to have to turn this around right now. He needs to eat from the breast or you'll loose your supply." I promptly began to freak out.

Getting him to eat more consistently from the breast was HARD. The first order of business was to try and get him to hate eating from the bottle. So, we made it really hard for him. Tilting the bottle so he only got a little bit at a time. Holding him away from our bodies so that he didn't feel cuddled, no eye contact, etc. It worked though. Less than a day later he was eating solely from the breast again.

Yay!, right?

Alas, despite my excitement that he was getting all breast milk and all from the breast, things were worse than ever. He LOST weight. This is bad news. Infants don't loose weight. They gain weight at a rapid pace. I was horrified and incredibly worried. I tried feeding him every two hours for a few days to fatten him up, and although he didn't loose more weight, he didn't gain any either. Still not good. He was clearly not getting enough to eat.

I went with a friend to the breastfeeding support group that my lactation consultants run and we determined that the problem must be his sucking reflex. When he eats consistently, my supply is great, so that's not the problem. We were latching correctly, so that's not the problem. I was given a preemie feed tube - like a mini SNS - so that I could supplement him without giving him the bottle, since the bottle was obviously detrimental. The bad news is that this is a lot of work. The good news is that in the next 24 hours he gained 4 ounces. Real YAY!

It really is so much work. From the time a feeding begins to the time I have everything I need washed and ready for next time can be anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Part of that time includes me pumping after every feeding, because I want the supplement in the tube to be as much breast milk as possible. Like I said before, I don't think formula is bad for him, but obviously not as good. The really good news is that the tube helps him to feed at the breast for a longer period of time, and THIS, more than any thing else, as increased and kept my supply up. I can generally pump enough that he gets mostly breast milk all day long. Yay!

And the lactation consultant has ordered me an SNS, which should be here Monday or Tuesday, and that will make things go much faster. (The preemie tube only holds 10ml at a time. I have to keep refilling it which is a pain. The SNS holds, I think, 6 ounces.)

I also took him to a chiropractor that works on babies and a cranial sacral therapist this week. I think all of these things have helped him immensely. He's eating enough now, and he's much calmer. He's never really been a super fussy baby, but even so... the last two nights he's actually slept through the night. I don't expect that to last, but its amazing when it happens.

So, thats the latest... I know you were all wondering....

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Highs and Lows

I'm all about really long posts lately. Funny, since I don't really like to read really long posts.


As most new mothers would probably say, having a new born is both wonderful and horrible at the same time. Things are better than they've ever been and worse than they've ever been at the same time.


The hardest part for me has not been the lack of sleep or the crying or whatever. He really does okay with sleep (waking up once or twice to eat during the night) and only cries when he's hungry and tired. The problem I've had is that he's been hungry so often... because breastfeeding has not been our friend.


It has been so intensely frustrating. Initially it took my milk a few extra days to come in, and then he was gaining weight so slowly that we were afraid I had really low production. The nurses in his pediatrician's office were all up in arms when he hadn't gained his birth weight back by 2 weeks. Mind you, he did gain some weight, and the doctor didn't seem alarmed... but the nurses were. They wanted me to come in every few days to get him weighed. This was a pain and after 2 weeks I put my foot down. Putting him on the scale doesn't make him gain weight any faster and it was really just stressing us out.


I wasn't alarmed initially, but breastfeeding was really hard. I knew it would be to begin with, but 3 and 4 weeks along it was still really hard. I tried everything I could think of. I took this and this, and drank this (I'm actually still drinking that), and I even tried this (I actually might do that again, it really did increase my supply). I read all kinds of things--one of the most helpful being this website that my dear friend Ann Marie found when helping me research things--and was confident we were latching on correctly.


Some of these thing seemed to help temporarily (hence the *highs*), and the supplements I'm sure were beneficial, but nothing really improved our situation (ever so many *lows*). Breastfeeding is supposed to be the wonderful bonding thing between a mother and child, but I'll admit that my son and I mostly had 10 fights a day for almost six weeks straight. I talked about giving up every day.


But I didn't WANT to give up. It's not that I have anything against formula, its perfectly adequate. I know many a happy and healthy baby that were formula fed (my niece, hello? she's a genius!) and they are all fine. Formula is perfectly adequate. But that's the thing, i'ts adequate. No matter how you spin it, its not the best possible thing for my baby. Studies have been done on breast milk, and they discover new properties in it all the time. How can formula be AS good, when they don't even know what all is in breast milk? Also, studies show marked difference in different mother's breast milk - because mothers will produce just the right amount of calories, vitamins, and nutrients that their babies need.


I have been DETERMINED to give my son just that. But around 4 weeks I started to wonder just how long I was supposed to keep trying. How long do I listen to my son cry after feedings cause he's still hungry? And around 5 weeks I broke down and started supplementing with a bottle after every feeding, because I just couldn't keep listening to my baby cry from hunger. I had been supplementing on occasion before that but I utilized a breast pump, so often the supplement was with my breast milk, and occasionally with formula. Some days it was hard to pump often enough though, so the formula was a blessing - but I hated it at the same time. Again, I really want my baby to have the milk my body makes just for him.


I had decided that I was going to give up on breastfeeding and just pump and feed him from a bottle exclusively. I figured that even though it was twice the work, at least he'd still be getting my milk. But, I also decided to see one more Lactation Consultant before I gave up entirely. This was the best decision I made.


I met with new lactation consultant on Thursday, and she took one look at him and said, "The problem is with his frenulum." We still continued with the session, so that she could determine that I had an adequate supply and that we were latching correctly, but in the end she was sure that the problem was that his tongue was being handicapped by his frenulum. She said she's rarely seen a baby work so hard to try to get to his food. And she, kindly, applauded me for not giving up sooner. She said I was patient and dedicated. I told her that coming to her was my last ditch effort, and that I was, in fact, about to give up. She helped me set up an appointment for Friday (the next morning) to get the frenulum clipped.


Initially I was hopeful, but then ended up being incredibly discouraged for the rest of the day on Friday. He was incredibly fussy - probably because his tongue was sore, and the breastfeeding didn't go any better. Indeed, it was kinda worse. I put in a call to the lactation consultant, and she reminded me that usually a problem with the frenulum is caught earlier (she'd been irritated that his doctors, nurses, and former lactation consultants had not caught the problem) and at this point he'd probably take a couple of days to relearn to breastfeed... and recover from his sore tongue.


The good news is that the story appears to have a very happy ending. As of Saturday afternoon, he was feeding from me just fine. And coming away from each feeding satisfied. The last two days have been so much better. My baby is acting so much happier, and I'm feeling so much less stress. It's such a beautiful thing not to have your baby crying from hunger.


Here's to hoping that he gains a ton of weight now and becomes a super chubby baby boy.


So yeah, that's the story.

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