Sunday, November 4, 2012

By the Breast... My experience

The other day I was searching through some photos online and I came across a very upsetting photo.  This photo was of a child breastfeeding. The upsetting part, it was blacked out with a BIG BLACK BOX. This made me sick to my stomach, and is COMPLETELY unacceptable. A child at the breast is one of the most amazing things, not to mention it is what the the woman's body is built for.

My attempts at breastfeeding were short lived due to lack of support and in the second time a surgery that my son had to undergo. I have dreams that I am still able to nurse my little man, who is two years old now. I feel as though I was robbed of the right to breastfeed. Doctors told me that my son wasn't growing, and I absolutely had to supplement with formula, though I put off actually doing so for as long as I could. The day the home health nurse came and weighed him, and he weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces at the ripe old age of 3 months, I gave him formula that night, as I burped him, he spewed formula like a fire extinguisher. I immediately called our 24 hour on-call nurse hotline. The nurse advised that we not feed him anymore formula, and try to keep his liquid intake as small as possible.
The next morning, I called the clinic and spoke to triage, they got us an appointment set up for the same day. We arrived to see a physician that we were not familiar with, as ours was out of the office that day. After an ultrasound of his tummy and a whole lot of confusion, we were back at the clinic in the office of our normal doctor's partner. He informed us that M had a condition called Pyloric Stenosis, and it required surgery to correct. And that we would be meeting an amazing pediatric GI surgeon at the big hospital an hour away. He said that we needed to leave as soon as we can and that the pediatric department would be expecting us.
On the way to the hospital our Doctor called us to see how we were holding up after the diagnosis, and asked if we would like her to meet us at the hospital to make us more comfortable etc. When we arrived at the hospital that evening, we met a group of physician residents, a few nurses, volunteers, and the surgeon. Everyone was so great. They got him all prepped for surgery, though it wasn't until the next morning. They put a IV in his hand, and put a tube up his nose, to go down to his stomach to make sure it was completely empty. I spent the next 14 hours dipping his pacifier in a sugar solution to satisfy his hunger, and pumping my breastmilk for our stockpile for after the surgery.  His big sister spent the night with grandpa and grandma. I couldn't help but cuddle him all night even with all the hoses and cables hanging off his little body.
The next 24 hours were a whirlwind. I can remember bringing him down to surgery and kissing him goodbye, everyone told me I needed to get some rest while he was in surgery, as I hadn't slept at all. I couldn't do it though, I sat in his room and read magazine after magazine. Finally a nurse came and got me and brought me to the large, dark recovery room.With it's cage like cribs, and eerie emptiness, It scared the crap out of me. There were two nurses that we caring for him, and truly they just loved cuddling his cuteness, I sat in the glider they had next to the cage like crib, and the noticed the bags under my eyes, with sympathy, one nurse said, "your little super man came through with flying colors, would you like to hold him the rest of the time he has to be down here? I know you have been waiting a while" I responded with a sigh and a smile, and she placed him in my arms, I don't know how long we sat and rocked in that chair, but before I knew it, we were waking up the next morning in the tiny room, on a cot that felt like a mattress stuffed with straw. The nurse had come in to check his vital signs and he was crying. She finished with her duties, and I walked to his crib and picked him up. He smiled for the first time ever. I will never forget that smile. He smiled for so long that I actually had time to catch it on camera!
A couple days later they allowed him to eat, he powered through the bin of stored breastmilk, and they wouldnt let him eat off the breast, because they said it could have adverse effects on his surgery site.
By the time we ran out of breast milk he was ready to go back to the breast.
I was so excited to to get him back to the breast, but every time I tried he would not latch. They had been adding formula to the breastmilk to bump up the amount of calories he was taking in, and he wanted nothing to do with the breast after having so many bottles with formula laden breastmilk. I was upset, I cried uncontrollably, I felt like a failure, and like I was no use as a mother.
In the next month, I crashed pretty hard. I found myself wishing I didn't have children. I found myself feeling a lot of hatred towards everyone, and everything in my life. My Doctor diagnosed me with postpartum depression. I didn't see anyone for it. I sulked and hated myself for letting it happen to me. I should have stood up for my self and my son and OUR RIGHT to strictly breastfeed and use exclusively breast milk when we had to use bottles.
After meeting new friends that are parents, and advocates in breastfeeding, and attachment parenting I started seeing that in order for others to know that it is our RIGHT to use our breasts for what they are MEANT for. And it is not anyone's job to make us believe differently. I came out of the depression when i discovered that there are ways to have an attachment parent relationship without breastfeeding and we try our hardest to keep it that way in our home.