Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Recovering Breastfeeding Diva!

My name is Katie, and I am a recovering "breastfeeding diva!"

And that my friends is where this post is going to begin and end... and the middle... well, it's going to get a little messy, so bear with me.

It's probably no secret to those of you who know me best that I consider myself pretty high on the list of breastfeeding champions. After nursing Caden for just over 12 months, I have always thought pretty well of our accomplishment and in fact taken quite a bit of pride in it. Sure I'd try to act like it was no big deal, it was just beginners luck, but when it came down to it... I was PROUD... so proud that I would secretly... in the recesses of my tiny, narrow-minded little brain would judge you poor momma's who couldn't stick it out for a full 12 months... and even worse GASP had to formula feed your babies... bless their poor little hearts. Oh no I didn't?! Oh... oh, yes I did! I thought I was better than YOU! I did what so many do but also what so many DON'T and that is where I staked my pride...

Ah-ha... there is that yucky word again... PRIDE! When people asked me my thoughts about nursing my second child... people would catch me saying things similar to the following, "Oh, well I am just hoping that Kaki and I will be as successful as Caden and I were." Translated: "We're going for the gold again... 12 solid months... don't you KNOW who I am?!" And when asked if I was going to introduce bottles to Kaki since Caden didn't ever take one, you would hear me say something like this: "Oh, I don't know. I think you bottle feeding momma's are the true heroes... I just don't know if I am up for all of that cleaning." Translated: "Are you kidding me? I take PRIDE in the fact that I AM THE ONLY one who can feed my child... why in the world would I want to take that away from myself?!"

PRIDE... apparently I am that much of a narcissist that I LOVED the idea of not even introducing a bottle so she wouldn't even have the option to choose that over me. Aren't I special? A real piece of work!

Well... you know what happens to people like me, right?! Especially when God has anything to say about it... Oh come on... y'all know where this is heading don't you?!

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP There is trouble is Katie's World... trouble is Katie's World!!

And down came my pride... and down came my expectations... and down came what was supposed to be... and down came my tears...

From the get-go Kaki has had a bit of trouble in the nursing department! Sure she regained her birth weight super fast and she was eating fine... obviously... but we weren't really getting a GREAT latch... and the reason I know this is because I spent several feedings holding my breath, many, many in tears, I went through TUBES of Lansinoh as if it was the fix-all and it never got better. But in case you didn't know PRIDE is WAY stronger than pain... so I just KNEW that at the end of 6 weeks... it would get better... it was normal for it to hurt... despite all of that stinking breastfeeding literature that specifically says, "BREASTFEEDING IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HURT!!" LIARS!!!! Just like people who say pregnancy is the most wonderful experience... LIARS!!! :)

(The following may be TMI for my male readers aka the grandpas... so beware!)

So here we are... rockin' and rollin' ... almost to 5 weeks... and the BAM... bloody nipple... not to be confused a Buttery Nipple or a Bloody Mary... although if only I could have had ONE of each before each time I nursed I'd probably have done MUCH better! :) So a little blood not to worry... I had had that the week prior and it was okay, but this time was different... so I put in a call to my friendly lactation consultant at the hospital and she said I had an "intraductal papilloma" which as it turns out is a fancy way to say that there was a capillary that broke off into my milk duct and opened up... BUT at that point in time all I knew was what Google said and all Google said was that it could be linked to a benign tumor and could be a precursor to breast cancer... GREAT! So the LC told me I could pump that side and feed exclusively on the other if I felt the blood was upsetting Kaki's tummy... and I would know this is she started vomiting... DOUBLE GREAT!

So I didn't REALLY want to push her ALL the way to that point, so I decided to start pumping... and that is where things got crazy...

The first time I pumped on that side I had a nervous breakdown because when I was finished... after 10 solid minutes of pumping just that side I ended up with HOT PINK MILK! And I would say it was more on the HOT side than the PINK side if you know what I mean... GAAAA-ROSS!! So in tears... LOTS of tears I worried that Kaki had been drinking hot pink milk for days and the thought totally icked me out and made me deathly afraid that her future was going to be in a REAL LIFE Twilight Saga scenario... AND I didn't want vampire for a daughter!!!

Sure I was being a bit dramatic... but oh my it was the nastiest thing I have ever experienced!

So by the next two pumping sessions things were looking up... the milk was back to the white and I was feeling better about things and was even able to start bottle feeding Kaki some that the milk I was pumping to save my other side a little trauma... or so I thought...

Saturday night... after only two bottle feeding attempts the other side started bleeding... badly... so here we go again... From that point I decided to exclusively pump both sides and bottle feed since Kaki was doing so well on the bottle and my milk was pink-free while pumping. Did I mention we were in San Antonio for my mom's birthday when all this happened?! Oh yes...

So every two hours I was pumping like crazy trying to keep up with Kaki's demands... and I was terrified that I might have to start supplementing with FORMULA... GASP... if I couldn't keep up, so I downed my water and kept up a rigid pumping schedule. For now that would have to work... once I got back home I could decided what to do next...

And to me the obvious options were either go see my doctor or go visit a lactation consultant or have one come see me! BUT on Sunday night when I got in the shower and happened to glance in the mirror (which I try my very HARDEST not to do right now) my decision was made for me... I had the tell-tale signs of mastitis... OMG, you have GOT to be kidding me!

BUT I decided that maybe it was just a plugged duct that I could work out over night each time I pumped... BUT...

Dot, dot, dot...

I woke up in a dead sweat the next morning and kept going back in forth between hot and cold. I ran a mild fever that morning also so I called my OB... who was on vacation for the week and so I had to go see my General Practitioner... meanwhile... I called KK... "Can you get here by 11:40... I am pretty sure I have freaking mastitis and I need to go to the doctor and I just can't think about taking Caden and Kaki with me and Justin says he cannot come home! PAH-LEASE come!!"

So sweet KK threw herself together while Albi gassed up her car and she made it just in time for me to get to the doctor and confirm that I indeed have mastitis... and so I got my prescription for my antibiotics and went on my way!

On the way home I called a lactation consultant that my sweet friend recommended to me and made an appointment for the following morning! I was determined to figure this thing out... why all of the sudden was this happening? I was almost at the 6 week mark... one week to go and I was in the clear... I just knew it! I could do it... don't you KNOW who I am?! I breastfed my son for 12 months!! I NEVER bought a can of formula... Pat, pat, pat on the back... oh my pride, oh my pride!

So the lactation consultant came over for two hours yesterday morning only to confirm what I had been suspecting since our issues began the previous week... Kaki and I may not be compatible... her mouth and my breasts may not be a good match! And the lactation consultant agreed. We tried nipple shields, five million different positions, regular nursing again (eek!) and NOTHING... OUCH was still going to be the name of the game. BUT what was going on?

She happened to notice that Kaki had a short and thick piece of flesh underneath her tongue, similar to a tongue-tie but not a tongue-tie and she recommended that we see an ENT as our next step to see if there in fact was an anatomy issue that was preventing us from getting a good latch and if so, what could be done about it so that I would not undergo such trauma and could continue nursing happily.

So that brings us to this morning... when I loaded up Kaki and Caden and we went to the ENT... by ourselves... and YES I threatened and bribed the PANTS off of Caden to ensure it would be a pleasant visit... and indeed it was. By the grace of God he was perfect!

The ENT concluded that Kaki does not have a tongue-tie problem BUT she does of a VERY short tongue which is what is causing her to not be able to get a proper latch and in turn causing such problems for me. In fact, he said that he cannot imagine what I am going through because his thumb was sore from the mere minutes he spent examining her... and I thought to myself, "nope... I couldn't imagine this either... I thought I'd have had this one in the bag!" Good news is that right now it is not a problem and most likely it won't cause any speech problems, but it will be something we will need to watch moving forward. Apparently, the surgery to fix something like this is really delicate and OBVIOUSLY we want no part of that when it really isn't a problem. Sweet little short-tongued girl... she can't help it!! But she's got a STRONG sucker on her so bottles are NO problem!!

In a hilarious twist of irony... my mantra has always been, "breastfeeding is more mental than physical!" ALL mental my BOOTY... tell that to my hot pink milk supply and lumpy boob!! BLESS MY HEART, can y'all believe I was so Prideful?! (don't answer that!)

And bless ALL of my sweet friends' and family members' hearts for having to listen to me and my pride boast (ever so slyly) I might add about our success at the breast! HA!!! I tried to be pretend to be humble... but I know it didn't always come off that way and I am embarrassed... truly!

SO... Now our options are... BOTTLE... or BOTTLE... or HOT PINK MILK!

So I am choosing bottle... and hoping that I can keep up a pumping regimen that will sustain Kaki as long as possible, but am trying to come to terms with the fact that in the end I will likely have to GASP... supplement... GASP with formula! Because let's face it, pumping 12 times a day while chasing a toddler around the house with a spanking spoon and caring for a newborn while keeping a house clean and a husband from divorcing me is NOT an easy job or so I'm learning! :)

Whoever said ANYONE can breastfeed!? And whoever said it is EASY?! And whoever said it is ALL mental?! And whoever said bless those poor formula fed babies' hearts?!

Oh right... that was me!

And I am SO SO SO sorry! Because none one of those assumptions are true... NOT ONE... So if there are any of you out there who are thinking that they are... BLESS YOUR HEART... because there is likely a bloody nipple coming your way soon... you can bet on it! :)

Although my pride came tumbling down... my thankfulness shoots through the roof... Thank you God for not letting me carry that around ANY longer... we know what God thinks of pride... he HATES it MORE than anything! And BOY does he go out of his way sometimes to prove a point!

Point taken...

And now... my name is Katie and I am a recovering "breastfeeding diva!"

(Still a little heartbroken about it all, but thankful that I have an alternative to keep my little girl happy, healthy and growing!)

And now... it's almost time to pump!! :) (AGAIN!!!)


KK said...

You weren't a diva you just didn't have the experience. Nothing like the ignorance is bliss mantra! Good to know that we always learn something positive from all the trials. God is good! And so are YOU!!

twhit said...

Oh, Katie...
You make me smile. You need to cut yourself a little slack. You are not the prideful person you say you are. You are a sweet, understanding person who can share her experience with others! What would we do without your blog????
I am glad Kaki is doing OK...and if you do have to supplement, just think, she could grow up to be like Amanda and Michelle. That is what I did with them!

Amanda said...

Mom and I had the best laugh. I guess we are both going to be attached to the pump for a while. It is hard to think that your baby will get formula but you learn to get over it. I have this cool pumping bra that is hands free. You just put in on and you can email blog etc. Let me know if you want one and I will send one your way.

Steph Meyer said...

sweet katie! i'm sorry for the pain you've had and the craziness that you've gone through! being a new mom is hard enough without icky pink milk and ENT visits with your newborn and two year old in tow!

as one of those mom's who couldn't make breastfeeding work-i feel your disappointment and sadness! after pumping endlessly for two months, i gave into formula. wouldn't you know it-dylan turned out healthy, happy! whoa!

you ARE a champ for breastfeeding caden for 12 months, but you're also a champ for making every effort to do the same for kaki. formula or breast milk i promise all will be well. and if it does come down to using formula, knowing you, kaki will have THE BEST formula on the market. and then you'll have to fight becoming a formula diva and secretly judging people who buy the nasty, cheap powder stuff...

hang in there!


The Belden Family said...

The Lord has a way of teaching us lessons, huh? ;) I wasn't able to nurse Carter because she didn't have the suck-swallow-breathe reflex until she had been in the hospital almost 3 months... by then my milk had dried up, despite my constant pumping! I was devastated, but you know what? Carter is normal, happy, healthy, bonded 2 year old! Keep your chin up - sweet Kaki is lucky to have a momma who cares so much :)

Hillary Kouba said...

You always make me laugh with your posts! but this one was classic...I also experienced the hot pink milk (a first for me and definitely freaked me out) and wasn't planning to nurse forever but seeing that immediately made me rethink what I was doing. Unfortunately, the blood did upset Griffin's tummy and he started throwing up and this was all at around 2 weeks (I had definitely lost all my marbles at this point). I tried pumping for several more weeks but just couldn't keep up with his demands (we've since learned he had other issues with milk protein) so he was not a happy camper (or myself for that matter). I actually had lots of breast milk stored in the freezer and am thankful that just last week was given the go ahead to try it out on him again so now he's taking one bottle of BM a day (until I run out) and I am glad about that. Hang in there! Pumping is hard but now that you have two kids you have to think about what's best for both (not just KK) so if pumping becomes too hard maybe you could think about storing more of it and giving her some formula just to make the pumped milk last longer once you've stopped. You're a great mom! take care!