It's crazy to think where we have come in such a short time... I think back to the first 2-3 weeks home from the hospital...AHHHH... There was very little sleep, accompanied by this new baby that
just wanted to have boobie time all day I had no idea what to do with.. she screamed all the time, was always projectile vomiting, and very gassy ( we later found out that she suffered with GERD). Theres a ton of emotions going up and down, paired with hormones that are sooo out of whack, its a wonder they don't have some kind of social worker from a mental institute come to your house to make sure your ready to re-enter the world without putting anybody's life in jeopardy. Its a good thing you don't remember much of those first few days or theres a possibility the population would end.
I had a horrible time with nursing, starting in the hospital as my very first Lactation consultant was
a total moron not well educated and im pretty sure she never even breastfed her own child. That first night was a total FAIL.. I was in so much pain, they took my baby out for some testing and I thought to myself "O my gosh this is nothing like I thought it would be, its so painful, maybe they will just give her a bottle while she is there and she will like it so much I will just have to give up nursing".. who was I kidding. A few hours earlier I had fallen asleep from exhaustion (after 38 hrs of labor) while nursing and well she wasnt really latched right, just kinda wanted to suck, and I got awarded with what pretty much looked like a giant hickey on my right breast. They wheeled her back and the nurse said " I think she's pretty hungry why dont you feed her." Seriously?!?!,... I thought to myself.. I would rather slide down a razor and into a pool of alchohol then put that baby on my boob again. I was ready to ask for the formula... but then I remember my good friend Amanda telling me " Listen girl, in the beginning that shit hurts, but push past the first two weeks of hell and you will be so thankful you did".... (and she was right) .I had mastitis, engorgement that would make Pamela Anderson jealous, it was so bad I now look like a roadmap (sexy huh?), and 2 clogged ducts. I had to nurse with a breast shield and was convinced I would never be able to do it without one, as the pain was horrendous. I remember friends coming over telling me just hang in there eventually you will nurse pain free and enjoy it. I thought..No way, there is no way in hell I will ever enjoy this, have you tried it????? Well we are now at about 20 weeks postpartum.. and they were right... there is no pain, and I actually do enjoy it.. so much so that I have decided to nurse until 10-12 months instead of my original plan of 6. I have become very passionate about nursing, and am the first one to recommend it to a new mom, and am getting pretty good at nursing in public.... with a nursing cover people.. come on this isnt National Geographic
Having a baby with severe reflux is hard, but having a first baby with reflux... well I think that pretty much makes you a saint
or at least allows you to have a few extra drinks. Just so you understand some of the struggles with a reflux baby let me explain some of the hurdles we have overcome. We found out that Em has reflux right around the 4 week mark, she was projectile vomiting at least three feedings... I'm telling you if the girl ate 2oz somehow 4 would come up. She would scream violently when she spit up, or burped, and you could hear the acid in her throat.. it sounded like opening a bottle of soda. The acid was coming up so often that it was burning the esophageal lining and creating nose bleeds. The pediatrician said she sees alot of infants with this condition and it is most likely caused by an immature digestive system and an overactive production of pepcid (stomach acid). She gave us a script for Zantac, we gave it to her and that night I went to change her after feeding her and she vomited all of the feeding and there was blood. Let me tell you something.... if there is ever a moment in a first time moms life when you literaly freak out and think What the #%@& is that... its then. it was later confirmed the bleeding was caused by the zantac so we tried prilosec, and prevacid, along with gripe water, mylicon, and gaviscon (liquid version of tums).
This was a VERY hard time for us, with lots of tears. It was difficult to watch your baby in pain all the time, crying every time she eats. I can truly say there were many nights when I would begin sobbing telling my husband "I cannot do this anymore". Until you have tried to nurse a baby who has uncontrolled reflux and is crying because her little belly is hungry, while turning her head and refusing the breast or a bottle because she knows that it will burn her throat, you just cant understand the pain that causes a mom. We have actually traveled down that road many times. Reflux for us has been like a roller coaster some days are great, and others.. well its only by the grace of God that we made it through them. There were days we spent in the ER because she went to many hours without drinking, I have learned all the tricks in the book for getting a reflux baby to eat... Sometimes we turn on the vaccume, I nurse her standing up, with her body on an angle kind of dangling, while I rock back and forth, I have to trick her into eating sometimes.. giving her her nuk first and then popping it out and replacing it with a boob. I have nursed her while she is sleeping, or in the bathroom with the water running... if you cant get your baby to eat I'm sure I can come up with a solution to get him/her to nurse. Theres some days where all she would drink was pedialyte, just so she would stay hydrated. I have fed her milk with a spoon, from a cup, a medicine dropper, a syringe, and about a bazillion different kind of bottles. It was around 3.5 months that it really peaked and we made about 3 emergency trips in one week due to dehydration. I have spent hours up at night praying for God to take the pain away so she could sleep peacefully.
Because of reflux we also deal with alot of ear infections.. three so far in a four and a half month old.. holy jeez... I'm getting pretty good at realizing the symptoms of an ear infection, and after many sleepless nights with a screaming helpless baby we are thinking about tubes, or jack daniels, or something!!!!
Then there is the time we dealt with foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. Basically I was making too much milk after an engorgement episode and Baby E was not getting enough of the fatty hindmilk just filling up on the watery foremilk that is high in lactose content and it was causing inflamation in her bowels... fussy, gassy, uncomfortable... I met with a LC and was instructed to block feed, which took care of it...that and some mylicon.... o yea and a bottle of Reisling.
It was shortly after the milk imbalance that we found out that E has a milk protein allergy. That was a fun time... you would think after working in nursing, and previously seeing the bloody vomit I wouldnt freak out as much right???... WRONG... While changing her diaper (hmm all the bad things happen while changing a diaper.. maybe I should just stop doing that :-) ) I noticed it was blood streaked, again flipped out, called the pediatrician. Who said if it keeps happening bring her in. Thankfully it was bright red, as I knew that if it was dark coffee grind-ish that meant it had been digested which would have been worse. Well the doctor confirmed it was MP allergy and I had to cut all diary out of my diet.. for real... do you realize how many things milk is in.. bread, cookies, even chips are dipped in it before the flavoring.
Sweetpea is now about 4.5 months old and we have come along way in these few short months. I know so much more now, and have become so much more relaxed then I was at first. I used to be in tears, sweaty, and panicking when she would be going through a nursing strike, and now I just pump, and maybe she will drink it later maybe she wont, and we just get out the pedialyte... now that she can eat solids it makes it a little easier if ever she would not nurse at all. I have learned that she has terrible reactions to shots... so much so that we have taken her off of the CDC recommended schedule and she gets one shot at a time, and when she doesn't handle it well I dont get uptight anymore, I give her tylenol every four hours, and as many baths (the girl loves her baths) as I can in a day to soothe her.
I now understand more then ever what my mother meant when she would tell me as a child, "I wish I could take the ______ (ear infection, virus, etc) for you and you wouldn't have to go through it"... There is nothing worse then watching your child in pain and knowing there is nothing left for you to do they are in the hands of God now, and only he can relieve the pain.
But we made it, and everybody was right ... once you hit the 4 month mark, it all feels easier. While it may never be "EASY"... I cannot believe how much easier it has become. I feel like now I can enjoy all of this. Yes there is a part of me that wishes the early baby days were more enjoyable, and I had fonder memories of them, but life didnt deal me that hand... However it could have been worse.. my baby never spent time in the NICU, she wasn't born with life threatening abnormalities, and while she did deal with' failure to thrive' for a bit she didnt fail and she is thriving.
So while im sure there are going to be hard days ahead as a parent, I have these times to look back on and think.... He brought us through that, and he will bring us through this....
"It's gonna be alright"