Monday, July 16, 2012

Breastfeeding Carnival Day 1: Birth Experience

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about Birth Experiences. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!

I spoke in detail about my birth experiences last year but this year I'm going to share my actual birth stories of my sons and talk after talk about the struggles as I remember them and how it turned out.

As always I will remove my sons' names and call them by their nicknames for protection of their identity.  I'm a worry-wart and don't like to have my sons' names associated with their faces in a public forum.

Written on our family blog Wednesday, April 30, 2008:

Friday, April 11, 2008 at 6:27 PM
7 lbs and 20 inches.

(I was 39 weeks and 1 day)

My water broke at about 7:30 in the morning. I got up at about 7 to have breakfast because I was STARVING and went to the bathroom-I noticed a weird watery discharge but there wasn't a lot so I went and had breakfast. I had a bowl of Life cereal while sitting on the floor of my living room watching tv. I suddenly felt funny and decided to get up. When I stood up I felt the gush! I squeezed my legs together and ran downstairs-it only ended up on my underwear and pjs. Spencer asked if it was time and I told him my water broke and there it went gushing in the toilet and while I put my contacts in. We grabbed the bags and left! When I got to the hospital he dropped me off at the door and I RAN inside because I had a really big gush. While I was begging the volunteers for a wheelchair it leaked all over into my shoes! I got upstairs and I got to skip triage (YAY!)-it was VERY obvious by looking at me what happened. I got into my room and settled and after my hour monitoring I went walking. I had to be on monitors for 20 minutes out of every hour and kept walking otherwise. I had lots of water, popsicles, suckers, etc-it was great! When I had progressed to about 8 cm I told them I needed to push-they kept telling me no and I started hyperventalating-yuck (he was already +2)! I ended up getting an epidural but the second he got it in they told me to start pushing. I ended up with Pitocin because my contractions slowed a lot. An hour and a half of pushing and playing tug-of-war with a sheet w/Spencer (highly recommend it-worked great) Monkey came and I couldn't help but cry :)! His Apgar scores were 8 and 9 just because he wasn't holding temp. We did have the vacuum because he was getting really tired at the very end so he had a little bruise but not too bad. I ended up feeling all the contractions at the end-my legs never went completely numb. I was very proud I made it as far as I did and hope I can go all the way next time :)! I on the other hand had difficulties after-I was bleeding and passing huge clots and they were worried I was hemorrhaging. I didn't get to hold Monkey for a few minutes because they had to push out a bunch of clots-THAT hurt! We tried feeding but didn't have success. I went to my room and walked out of the wheelchair and then called the nurse because I wanted to go potty-I walked there by myself. I ended up having 2 stitches because I tore before he even crowned. We had A LOT of issues feeding and I ended up having to use formula-we found out he was tongue tied. Sunday after he was born he tested mod-high for bilirubin so we took him to his first ped appointment Monday (the morning after we got home) and after another trip to the hospital found out we needed to feed every 1 1/2-2 hours. We had to go back for a heel prick again Tuesday and they wanted us to do bililights but he just started nursing because I met with a lc at the hospital after his Monday tongue clip. They gave me another day and it was down on Wednesday and down even further by Friday (18th). Wednesday after he was born I got rear-ended taking him to the hospital though. He made his first ER trip-low impact accident but wanted to make sure everything was ok. He was doing really well sleeping 4 or 5 hours at night but last night he was back to eating every 2 hours-hopefully it's just a growth spurt because he didn't want to sleep AT ALL last night! He is almost 3 weeks though! At his Pediatrician appointment last week he was 7 lb 6 oz so above his birth weight and had grown 1/2 inch and his head had grown 1/2 inch more too! Guess he's getting plenty to eat :)!

Written on our family blog Thursday, March 30, 2011:

8 lbs 20 inches
January 14, 2011 8:16 AM

I started in labor at 30 weeks with this little man.  It was 32 for his older brother.  I didn't bother ever going in though because my cervix wasn't changing.  When I hit 37 weeks though I was at a 4 and 38 I was at a 5.  I thought it was insane my water hadn't already broken because my water broke at a 4 with Monkey!  We really thought he'd make his appearance on 1/11/11 but no such luck!  The next day I ended up going in to the hospital because my contractions were really strong and I had already had bloody show for well over 2 weeks and still no baby.  My nurse was rude enough to state "You aren't in labor if your contractions stop when you sit down or lay down."  OKAY... (I say sarcastically!)  So back home I went.

I hadn't slept more than an hour here and there for a total of about 4ish hours a night for about a week-I was exhausted.  Luckily enough I got a good night's sleep though and woke up feeling great the next morning (Thursday 1/13).  I decided that he'd probably hold on until Monday (the date I originally thought he'd come from the time I found out I was pregnant-my due date was January 23, 2011).  We were given a spicy chili mix for Christmas by my Dad's side grandparents so I decided to make it that night because I didn't think I'd be able to stand on my feet for a while to make it.  I followed the directions and after it finally got done I found out on the first bite it was VERY spicy.

About an hour after I started eating little Kangaroo started thrashing around-I think he thought it was too spicy too!  I started feeling a little leaking but I wasn't 100% sure my water broke because with Monkey it was a big gush followed by MANY other large gushes.  I called my midwife.  I laid down for about 30 min after putting Monkey to bed.  We made lots of phone calls to see if one of our friends would come sit with him if we needed to go in.  I stood up and didn't feel a gush but I went to the bathroom and found vernix so I KNEW my water broke.  I hurried and finished packing my hospital bag and kissed Monkey (he was already asleep) and told him that when he saw me next I'd be holding his baby brother.  Sister-in-law arrived just in time to sit and listen for Monkey if he woke up and a while later our friend and her friend arrived.

We got to the hospital just after 11.  We had to push a button and call up saying I needed to go to L&D.  I had called my midwife on my way to let her know I was going in.  After getting all settled in my OWN gown and telling my first nurse that she needed to read my birth plan and I absolutely WOULD NOT have an IV she walked out and got another one.  This nurse was awesome!  We really liked her (but stupidly enough I didn't write down her name so I forgot it!).  She talked me in to getting the IV plug just in case there was something crazy that happened and I agreed as long as it wasn't in my hand and I preferred not to do it inside my elbow.  She found a great vein on my right arm on the hairy side on the medial side (standing in prone position with your palms facing forward it's the side closest to your body).  I didn't feel her poke me really at all.  Best IV I've ever had (and after hyperemesis with both pregnancies I've had a few!).  She poked me about 1 AM.

I enjoyed my snacks of string cheese and beef jerky and water and popsicles.  I spent some time walking around the halls and bouncing on the birthing ball but every time I sat or laid down my contractions stopped.  The leaking had slowed way down so there really wasn't anything at all and by 3 AM my contractions stopped completely no matter what I did (and for a while I was stopping and doing my hypnobirthing breathing through them).  My nurse had a feeling that my little man broke the wrong water bag and that he had two around him and unless he broke the one under his head he wouldn't come.  We wondered where my midwife was-she hadn't come and when I got to the hospital I was already a 6 (and hadn't made any progress whatsoever since).  Days before she thought I'd have my baby within just a few hours of my water breaking or going to the hospital.  My nurse called her, she had gone home and fell asleep.  She came to the hospital and was there within about 15 minutes (and was there at about 4).

Sure enough, she discovered the bag under his head hadn't broken so she broke that.  I got in the tub right after that and labored there for quite a while.  I got out to use the restroom because I felt a lot of pressure and while there I threw up the chili-it was just as spicy coming up.  I got back in the tub for a bit.  I had lost ALL track of time by this point and labor was quite intense.  I eventually couldn't get comfortable anymore and decided to get out-I knew there was no position I could be in in that tiny tub to have the baby.

Just before I got out I felt very much like I was in transition.  It was quite intense and my mind couldn't relax.  I felt like I didn't know if I could keep going.  Spencer stayed very positive and told me I was doing a wonderful job.  My midwife was also awesome and kept very positive.  I got on the bed and they were trying to get monitors on me and I felt quite grouchy and told them I wouldn't have them squeeze that thing on my belly again because it was too uncomfortable.  I asked for them to put the squatting bar on but then decided there was no way I was going to be able to stand up again.  Before I knew it I felt the VERY strong urge to push and felt Kangaroo moving down.  I started pushing on my own as I felt like I needed to and I kept breathing.  Spencer kept reminding me to breathe and kept calm as I said "too hot" and he's put the fan on me, "too cold" and he'd move it away, and "water" and he'd give me a sip of ice water.  He was doing quite the dance!  It didn't take long at all-maybe just 4 or so pushes/contractions before all of a sudden I felt the "ring of fire" which REALLY is what it sounds like.  I gasped and kind of stopped and my midwife knew what was going on and said when I was ready to just give one good push through the burning and he'd be there.  About a minute later I would guess I felt him pushing down again and felt a contraction and gave one giant push and he flew out.  I felt a huge relief-I really would compare it to needing to go to the bathroom REALLY bad and the feeling you feel after you go.  I didn't feel 100% myself after he was born but really close.  As he came out she put him straight on my belly.  I was in complete shock.  My first reaction was "I did it?" and Spencer, with a huge grin, said "You did it!"  Then I immediately said "His head is REALLY hard and big!"  I enjoyed every second cuddling with my freshly born baby.  He had his first meconium uh-un-diaper on me and peed for the first time but I could care less!  I put my tankini top on before I got in the jetted tub and I was still in that (thank goodness!  It was great to keep me cool when I was hot when I got out!) so I just had Spencer help me untie it to get him to latch on.  He kind of nursed a little but still hadn't opened his eyes so I just enjoyed cuddling with him with a blanket over us both.

My midwife repaired my second degree tear.  I think the stitches hurt a heck of a lot more than having the baby!  She gave me a shot to numb it but it didn't really work.  I sat there for what felt like forever with my feet now in stirrups (I gave birth sitting most of the way upright and it was quite comfortable) squirming and loving on my baby.  I think the reason my I tore again was because the first wasn't ever fixed properly.  It was superficial but it took about 8 weeks to heal completely.  After she finished we cut Kangaroo's cord-probably about 30 minutes after he was born.  We were then ready to deliver the placenta.  I wasn't excited to push again but after just a couple pushes it came and I immediately felt like myself again.  We were worried about hemorrhaging but my bleeding finally slowed down a bit and everything worked out well.

Kangaroo was tongue-tied but it was clipped really quick after he was born.  He was very sleepy though and didn't really nurse until 2 PM.  He wasn't interested and wouldn't wake up.  The doctor said he had fluid in his lungs so instead of discharging us after he was nursing well she made us stay.  My midwife had approved me to leave as soon as we got the OK from the Pediatrician.  They thought I was crazy to want to leave within 24 hours anyways (my goal was a max of 12 hours).  He spit up all the fluid though and was able to go home the next morning after his hearing test and everything.

He had jaundice.  His levels never got as high as Monkey's but he was very very sleepy and very hard to wake and he stayed jaundiced for about 2 weeks and looked yellow the whole time.  By Monday he hadn't pooped or peed within 12 hours and he was diagnosed with dehydration but my milk was starting to come in and he ended up peeing in the diaper at the doctor's office which made me feel quite relieved!  He was nursing every 2 hours anyways with about a 3-4 hour stretch at night.  I had oversupply issues again and ended up having to pump off a little bit almost every feeding for him to be able to latch on.  Ultimately he ended up losing a whole pound between when he was born Friday morning and at the doctor's on Monday morning.  He had gained back up to 7 lbs 13 oz by 1 week and gained quick after that.

At his 2 month appointment he was 12 lbs 3 oz and 23 inches.  At the same time Monkey was 11 lbs 8 oz and 23 inches.  Kangaroo is a total butterball and I love kissing his squishy cheeks!  I've also really enjoyed having him in cloth diapers since a couple days after he was born (he wore one home from the hospital and then we finished up the disposables they sent us home with before switching completely to cloth).


Kangaroo's Blessing-at home March 6, 2011

My big brother loves me LOTS

Kangaroo's Blessing-in the outfit mommy made laying on the special blanket mommy made

Monkey had a LOT of issues at first which weren't really addressed much in the first post.  Physically everything was OK with him other than his tongue-tie which wasn't caught until he was about a day old and a nurse was trying to look in his mouth to figure out why we had to stick our finger almost down his throat to get him to suck.  He had major issues sucking at all at first even though he was full-term and came completely on his own (after several weeks of preterm labor I might add).  It was so discouraging to me that I was forced to give him bottles and be a slave to the pump every hour for 10 minutes (not to mention extremely painful especially for not getting anything out at all).  I would just sit and bawl as other people fed my baby while I sat and pumped.  I wanted SO badly to be able to nurse my baby.  My husband could see my frustration and pain and even recommended that I just give up or just get used to the fact that he wasn't going to be able to nurse.  While he was intending to help it just hurt me that much more and made me that much more determined to make it work.  I had a Pediatrician tell me he had seen worse ties and he wasn't comfortable clipping it in the hospital (???!!!) and told me that it must be a problem with me not him.  I had a recommendation to see an Ear Nose and Throat doctor and called him as soon as they opened the Monday after he was born (we got home on Sunday) and begged to get in.  The nurse said the schedule was full and I said I was told to mention to the doctor that he wasn't able to breastfeed at all.  She went away for a minute and said "How does the afternoon work for you?"  The whole procedure only took a couple of seconds.  He was able to latch once after that but never again.  I was able to see a lactation consultant the next day and she gave me a nipple shield which I tried constantly to wean him from.  I determined later on he must have also had a lip tie because I couldn't ever get him to keep his mouth open enough to keep my nipple and he ended up using the nipple shield (and I had oversupply the whole time he nursed!) until he weaned himself about 14.5 months.

With Kangaroo I was better prepared.  I wasn't about to have a Pediatrician say they wouldn't clip a possible tongue-tie in the hospital.  Before he was born I interviewed Pediatricians and told them that was one of the most important things to me.  I expressed my concern to my midwife.  I set out making sure I would have access to an SNS and other options so we would never have to touch bottles.  From Kangaroo's first cry I could tell he was tongue-tied.  The first time he latched I could feel he had a shallow latch but I think he got a taste of colostrum from that first little bit of a nursing session.  His tie was clipped within a couple hours of birth by his new doctor but he wasn't interested in nursing for several hours (I also wasn't up to eating much for a bit-I just wanted to snuggle my baby and have time to bond and we had major arrangement issues so Spencer was gone for a big chunk of that day).  Finally after the birth high wore off we started to get sleepy and he decided to nurse and nursed very regularly afterwards.  He did become a bit dehydrated by the time he was 3 days old but then my milk came in and that was a total thing of the past.  18 months later he is still nursing and loves his mama milk.  He loves snuggling with me in the middle of the night many nights (though prefers to nurse with me sitting up on the couch as opposed to laying down in the bed though he likes to cuddle with me in bed but is kind of a thrasher so Spencer tends to leave and sleep on the couch the nights he needs extra cuddles) and throughout the day about 6ish times during the day.  He's always been a higher weight than Monkey at the same age even though I know my milk is the same (and I have had copious amounts until he hit about 14 months then it balanced out more to what he actually needs and I stopped pumping to donate at that time).  We've had little struggles here and there but after having big struggles the first time and being able to learn from those issues and learn how to avoid the same issues (primarily nipple confusion) we have had a much smoother nursing relationship though every day presents new hurdles.

Breastfeeding isn't always easy but is certainly worth the bond and relationship and benefits to both mom and baby.  I am grateful for LLL especially and knowing that when I've had issues I can call/email/attend a meeting and feel support from every mother there (a lot of times I've just needed someone to say they know what I'm going through).  I became a LLL leader because I wanted to be able to help other moms that struggle feel confident and have support.  I love helping moms be able to give their babies such a wonderful gift!  I am grateful for the challenges we've had because I learned a lot.  Of course I wish I would have known about alternatives before we went down the formula and bottle path but I was also grateful I learned about support afterwards.  I want to keep doing my part to spread the word about LLL because if I can help one mother avoid going through what I did and help them feel supported during pregnancy I feel like I've fulfilled my mission.

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