My story involves twins, N.I.C.U’s, tears, but also triumphs! I had my twins at 20. I asked for no bottles, I was not using them, so didn’t see the need in having any. My mom nursed all of us, that is just what you did, and I assumed it was easy.
I had the twins, full term, perfectly healthy, nursed in the hospital, where they had a few bottles because the nurses said they had to. I got home, and within 3 weeks, nursing was no’t working for us. It hurt, they screamed all the time, I cried, they cried, which made moments long. It wasnt easy. It wasnt what I imagined.
Looking back, I think it was the bottles. I am an overproducer, I make enough milk for 3 babies. But I was giving bottles between feedings, thus, supply and demand was not in affect. I felt I had failed.
Fast forward to my next son. Born 12 months later. During his pregnancy I read all I could on nursing. My baby would have NO bottles, and I would nurse him no matter what it took. That is what my breasts were made for, they had to do it! He was born via emergency cesarean section because he had stopped moving; he had a true knot, and a double wrapped cord. They initially said he was fine. However, I noticed when I would nurse him that he would get pale. They told me I was crazy, but that they would check him out anyway. Sure enough, his oxygen was dropping. The next day his cry became muffled, and his vocal cord was not working. They transferred him to another hospital, and a MRI was performed. He has a ischemic infarction of the brain, also known as a stroke.
He was in the NICU for 8 days. I struggled for days with him, although he wasnt latching right. I was pumping, and they were giving him breastmilk at night when I couldnt be there (12 month old twins at home). A nurse took time out of her day to show me how to hold my baby with the opposite arm, to control his head so he wasnt suffocating.It just clicked. I wish I knew her name, I would thank her, because from that day on, it just made sense. He ate, he latched. Yes, at times I had sore nipples, engorgement ect, but nursing was a breeze. This nurse showed me something no one had been able to thus far!
My next son came almost 2 years later. He was a attempted homebirth after 2 cesarean sections. I labored all night, I felt something wasnt right, and when I finally went in, he had been in meconium for 8 hours. I had a placental abruption, and possibly pre-eclamptic. They say I did, but I am not too sure about that. I had prenatal care, and was checked for it.
I was on magnesium, and did not get to see my son for over 36 hours. My husband went and looked at him to name him because they kept asking me his name. Benjamin David. Three days later they came to me, a group of 10 doctors, and told me they didnt think it looked good. He was on 100 percent oxygen, 100 percent life support, and if he got any worse over the next 12 hours, they would have to transfer him to children’s. I was in a very good hospital, with an excellent reputation. I did not get to touch, or hold my son until he was 10 days old. No pictures, or even talking was allowed in his room. If he heard noise, it would get him excited, and his oxygen would drop. I asked his chance of living and they would not answer me, which I felt was grim.
Miraculously, he started to improve! He had to be weaned off morphine. He had been intubated for 10 days, in which time he had not been eating, so he lost his ability to suck, and had withdraws from morphine. I had pumped up until this point, and I had so much expressed breastmilk they asked me to stop bringing it.
I refused to give him a bottle. If he wanted to eat, he was going to have to learn to eat from me. I sat there with him at my breast for hours to get him to eat. Suck, and swallow was gone from him. I had a lactation consultant come from the hospital, but she didnt give much help.
He was discharged, though we still had problems. I gave no bottles at home, once he came home at 3 weeks old he never once had a bottle, and he has never once had formula, not 1 drop. I called the L.L.L., and spoke to a kind woman who offered me some advice. I was persistent, and I prevailed. He eventually got really good at nursing, and wouldnt stop. He is the sweetest, smartest child, I love him so much! He is my miracle baby!
I have been the women who quit cause it was too hard, and it hurt, but I have also been the woman who fought like crazy for it when it seemed to be slipping away from me. I love nursing. I will nurse every future baby I have!
Story by: Erika Robbins