Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boob worship

The upside to breastfeeding . . . Boob worship.

The way my husband and my daughter both look at these things is hilarious.  I know one day after I finish this they will be flat pancakes, but right now they are D- cups.  This on the girl who was an A in high school.  If I could get my waist to go down more maybe I could fit in at the beach with all the plastic girls in their twenties.

Who am I kidding.  a) I look older, b) I now have stretch marks and loose skin, c) I don't have time for the beach anymore, and if I do in the future its to build sandcastles . . . not to lay out in a bikini.

But the one thing that makes breastfeeding worth continuing is the boob worship by the little one.  In the past couple days she has realized that the hooters are in fact attached to me and that I am a package deal.  Its kind of a funny thing but before it was just for eating, now she looks up and stops for a second, realizes shes looking at me, looks puzzled and then goes back to her business.  Before she knew that if I entered the room when she was crying that she would be fed, and she realized what these milk supply body parts could do for her.  But it was fun watching her put two and two together :)

I "get" to go back to work soon and I was thinking of transitioning her to bottles during the day and me to pumping, but alas I want to enjoy this as long as I can.

She sure does.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Postpartum birth control . . . . ha!

I think the concept of being on birth control is just hilarious at this point.  I mean really . . . what are the chances that with my history plus my incredible prolactin levels (from the breastfeeding and the galactogogs I am taking) that I would have any chance at all of conception.

However that being said - I am back on birth control.  I only intend to use pills for a couple of months just to avoid the "irish twins" that seem to happen in my extended very catholic family.  (I had to explain this to my non-catholic husband that they are 2 babies born within a year of each other.)

It is interesting to look at the family tree, mine especially, to contemplate how fertile my relatives were.  In my family there is the concept of go big or go home.  Most couples had about 4-5 kids each, but among the tree there are also quite a few dead ends.  Knowing my family's religious preferences and the belief that contraception is a sin (theirs, obviously not mine) it always makes me wonder how many of those dead end branches were really just infertility before there was any therapy.

So my gynecologist asked me when I was planning on the next one.  I really have no idea at this point, but I think in a couple years we will likely try again.  She wanted to know if I wanted a longer term contraceptive like the IUD and I told her that I really wasn't going to use anything after the first few months.  And then it dawned on me . . . after everything I have been through I still haven't given up hope of a naturally conceived child.  I can't believe that I want to put myself through the ever-negative pregnancy test routine again.  Its like I can't get it though my thick skull that I am really incapable of doing this without medical help even though logically I know we will be doing IVF again.  But I guess that's because thick skulls are a part of every branch of my family tree and my little apple won't fall far from this one.

So anyway, . . . .just because I think I should . . . I am on the mini-pill.  It feels so stupid to be contracepting, especially since I wouldn't even have a twinge of regret getting pregnant again.  My job however needs the recovery time . . .  but thats a different post all together.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How bout them jugs?

My breasts are the most disappointing thing I have dealt with since my ovaries.

You might think this is a complaint about how they look - but no . . . it is a statement as to their lack of function.  I have never had a good relationship with these two things that sit upon my ribs.  My mother had breast cancer when they were developing . . . so theres not much more to disliking a part of your body when you are developing than thinking one day it might kill you in your forties.

Okay . . . that was depressing . . . but unfortunately how I have looked at them.  Moving to a more humours reason for my dislike . . . THEY JUST GET IN THE WAY!  For the non-lactating individual they serve no more than a sexual attraction purpose, and quite frankly I don't understand the attraction to two sacs of fat that just hang there.

just sayin

So anyway - Mine don't work correctly.  Something I did not anticipate.  I did anticipate difficulties with latching and nipple problems because of their inversion, but I never anticipated that I would have problems actually making the milk.  After talking to many people about this, apparently some fraction of women with PCOS have serious supply issues and I happen to be one of them.  The theory is that there is a high androgen level during pubertal development and the breasts just don't develop correctly.  Unfortunately I didn't know that theory before which made me more disappointed in my lactational status and secondly it made me look kinda dumb.  Everything people say is that it is a supply and demand relationship.  Bull***t.  I have been demanding extra since she was born and I still have puny production.  I am even on multiple (not exactly FDA approved) medications to make my prolactin levels increase.  As much as they help, I can't keep up.

I feed and pump and supplement breast milk followed by formula with the bottle every 2-3 hours and we still rely on formula supplements to feed the kid enough.  This all was fine and dandy until baby girl decided that she does not LIKE the formula.  Now I have heard of picky but this is redicluous.  Its been 2 months and being born at an average size she should be over 11 lb by now.  Instead she hasn't even hit nine yet.  Super frustrating.

Breastfeeding is a lovely, wonderful, natural process that is the best for the baby.  This is all people have kept iterating to me to keep me going.  But seriously . . .  at what expense?  I haven't had self esteem issues like this since I was in middle school going through my very akward stage.   It has given up any chance of sleep that I could get if I wanted.  (people ask me if she is sleeping through the night and I just laugh being on this 2-3 hour regimen . . . and its not like I can just roll over, supply the boob and go back to sleep.) And Anxiety . . . yup.  You get lots of personal issues when you feel that you cannot provide for your infant's most basic need.  Also, people make you feel that you are a horrible person who doesn't love their baby if you even think of giving it up.  I have thought of it, but I don't dare verbalize that.

I had a little breakdown one day thinking that I was never meant to have kids (which still is probably true) and that if I had been back before the time of breast pumps and formula that she wouldn't have survived.  My friend settled me down and reminded me that in the history of man it usually took the village to raise the child, and that likely there would have been another lactating woman around to help me out.

I like to think that is the case . . . that everyone would chip in to feed this little girl.  That my postpartum inadequacy could be overlooked even in prehistoric times and people would help me keep her healthy.  But alas, for the present . . . she gets to try a new formula and I get to renew my commitment to the pump.  I may dislike these two milkbags, but we kind of need them right now.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A baby story

First of all I will preface this with saying that labor was not at all what I expected.  I expected it to hurt more.  Way more.  I have always suspected that after the baby is out there is some blissful hormone that makes women forget how much it hurt and how horrible labor was - but labor wasn't bad at all - and not just because I got a baby at the end.

It started out like any other night - me lying in bed contracting waiting to fall asleep.   I wasn't even contracting more than usual, but for some reason I was just feeling that night like I couldn't sleep so I sat and played solitaire on my phone.  About 1 in the morning I got up to use the restroom about 20 minutes after I had just gone but since this was pretty typical I didn't think much of it.  Until I went and discovered that I was bleeding.

It was the exact same sensation as was at 19 weeks of shock and immediate worry except this time I put my hands on my belly and just prayed for her to move.  I thought going into labor would be something that got worse over time or that I would break my bag and start contracting worse but really I felt nothing different from the way I felt in the several months preceding.  When I had previously imagined how labor would start I thought I would be contracting for a while at home and would probably have time to get a shower in.  No such luck since I was starting to freak out that I was bleeding and she wasn't moving.

I woke the husband, grabbed the bags and we made it out of the house within minutes.  Fortunately once in the car she started dancing around which made me feel infinitely and instantly better.

We got to the hospital, I checked in and got checked and there I was 4 cm dilated and contracting every 2-3 minutes.  Everyone kept asking me when the contractions had gotten stronger - I didn't know quite how to answer being that the contractions were exactly the same as they had been for over a month albeit a little more regular and frequent.  Since I had been about 1.5 cm 2 days prior they admitted me for labor even though I wasn't really sure I was in labor - there certainly was no going home after that amount of bleeding.

So I sat there for several hours not really making any progress and not really transitioning to active labor so I let them start some pitocin and sure enough it pushed me over the edge.  My water broke, I got my epidural (which was absolutely fabulous by the way) and went from 4 to 8 to complete in 4 hours.

For my final check we did a couple test pushes, realized she was right there and once everything was ready I pushed for a matter of minutes.  I actually could have probably done a bit less personal damage if I went slower but there was a point where we couldn't hear her heartbeat on the monitor and I just realized that I wanted her out.

In the next moment - there she was.  Open eyed, looking around, stunned and in my arms.  She didn't cry - only wimpered as she just snuggled into my chest.  Between me my husband and the nurse we were all trying to stimulate her to cry to get her lungs opened up - but she was perfectly content from the get go - and so was I.

Usually really crappy things happen to physicians when they are in labor.  Its usually a 2 day induction for preeclampsia followed by an arrest of decent of the baby followed by an emergency cesarean.  Usually pediatrics needs to be there for some complication and overall the labors can be nightmarish which is what I was expecting.  But mine was about as straightforward and minimal on pain as they come.  Yes I had an epidural and it worked well and I am glad I did - for me it allowed me to really relax and enjoy the process.  I actually kept it at a level that the contractions still hurt somewhat so I could feel what was going on.  My only complication was a bit more blood loss than usual and continued bleeding after which left me on the border of transfusion, but I escaped because of how anemic I was to start.

Medically - I was a nothing-burger.  I came in, I had a baby and I recovered and went home.  In a pregnancy stacked up against how things were supposed to go, this was a nice refresher. I came up with an interesting conclusion to this story: my body may have been incapable of conceiving, have struggled holding a baby in until term but I was meant to give birth.

Something had to work right :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm Baaaaaack!

Wow - can't believe its been almost two months.  There is definitely truth to the "time flies fast when you're having fun", but also the fact that when you are so busy you can look at the clock and have it be the end of the day without noticing.

So in my upload of pictures after the first week (yes I have been having way too much fun with the munchkin and my camera) I managed to crash my computer.  Let's also just say that I have not had the time to fix it until now.  So I am back and boy do I have some stories to tell.

Briefly though  . . . things are good.  Munchkin is just that . . . a munchkin.  We are having lots of difficulty keeping her on the growth curve because of multiple feeding issues - but I'll talk about that more after her next weigh-in tomorrow.  Otherwise she is healthy although limited in the happy department because of a bit of colic.  She's pretty wonderful though - even when screaming.

Hubby is good and enjoying parenthood.  He's pretty cute with the baby - I knew he would be.  Working a lot at baseline and extra to cover a colleague's maternity leave and has not complained once.  He's a keeper.

I have been well.  Still battling to make milk - but I've got a whole story for that one too.  My weight has unfortunately settled back to my peak residency weight before I lost it all to try to conceive.  I'm a little disappointed in that but I can't really diet right now because I can't afford to loose any more milk production.  I am now living proof that once you gain weight to a certain point, your body always wants to return to that point . . .even if you kept the weight off for 4 years. Hmmmph.

I can't say I've really done much else besides be a stay at home mom.  I am working on a small project for my job but even that was on hold until I got my computer functional again.  I am pretty proud of myself on the days where I accomplish bathing, eating, sleep and laundry all in the same day.  There is very little contact with other adults so I have started talking to the munchkin and I have realized I have few intelligent things to say that aren't congratulatory statements about milk consumption or diaper deposits so forgive me if I lack some mature insight in posts.

This has been the longest amount of time I have ever been away from school or work.  I very rarely had a summer vacation without summer school in my education years and I have never had the financial capability to take time off between jobs.  I am very thankful for FMLA and my job for being agreeable to the 12 weeks post delivery off - and I am even more thankful that they didn't count the preterm labor time in that 12 weeks (Otherwise I would be back already).  The fraction of my normal salary that I am getting won't pay the bills and I can't live off savings much longer so I go back in a couple weeks.  I am still thankful that I get a little something.

This has all been a very interesting learning experience . . . and one thing I have learned is that despite the infertility I really was meant to be a mother.  But that's another post too :)

More to come . .  .