“I gave birth to my daughter in September of 2014. I was induced by my doctor administering pitocin as well as breaking my water. I had an epidural done, even though I was told by countless people that epidurals can have an adverse impact on the baby’s ability to latch.
At 1:21 PM my beautiful baby girl was here! We got immediate skin to skin and I was overwhelmed with happiness when I looked into her eyes for the first time, I still am every time to this day. Our first latch did not go smoothly, however. She seemed to have a very difficult time figuring out what to do at the breast, and she was so frustrated.
I had countless visits with lactation specialists from CLCs in the hospital to the IBCLC in the WIC clinic I was going to. Everything seemed so foreign, and I felt so lied to that it was supposed to come so naturally. Everything I heard in the classes I attended seemed like a fallacy. The hour long feedings throughout the night seemed like they were never going to end, even though everyone told me it would get easier.
Finally, by week four I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel, after weeks of practice, nipple shields, using the different holds, trying different equipment, my baby girl was finally starting to latch!! I was so happy and felt on top of the world.
Then, I started feeling flu like symptoms. I had a hard time even moving, and felt very little energy. I remember having an absolute panic attack about going to the hospital and needing to leave Ellie behind with her grandmother, because I was so concerned about nipple confusion because we had finally made it to this milestone. Finally, I understood that my health was the most important, and I packed up my breast-pump and headed to the hospital. It turned out I had a severe kidney infection that I ignored because of the catheter I had to receive because my epidural made me so numb I couldn’t urinate. I got my antibiotics, and went home the same night. Ellie’s latch was fine.
Two weeks later, I started experiencing intense heartburn that would seem to be onset from foods that were higher in fat content. I figured it was no big deal, I’d pop a few tums and move on. After about a week, I remember my husband and I had gone to a local pizza place and after our meal the pain was so bad I could hardly breathe in. Again, my husband told me I should go to the hospital, but I insisted I was fine. He was already upset with me because I ignored symptoms previously and it ended up with me being put into the hospital.
The very next day, I was experiencing this pain after I would take in anything, and the breaking point was after I had a cup of coffee and could not even manage to take a breath in. I decided, again, that I would go to the hospital. They took lots of blood and urine, and came back to tell me I had severe pancreatitis and would need to have my gallbladder removed. The kicker was that it was so bad, I had to fast for FOUR WHOLE DAYS.
For anyone who knows, breastfeeding doesn’t only make you hungry, it makes you HANGRY. How in the world was I supposed to get through four days of not eating anything while breastfeeding and pumping, away from my baby. That was a whole other ordeal, the hospital would not let me have my baby in the same room as me. The same hospital with a milk bank on site, that I delivered her at, would not let me keep her with me.
The first night was somewhat of a nice break, I got a solid 5 hours sleep before I woke up to pump, and I got a good amount of milk. I saw this as a win. But the thought of having to do this for nearly a week broke my heart. My husband managed to get the week off from work, and with that contingency I was able to have my daughter at the hospital in case anything went awry.
By the fourth night, my blood sugar was dropping into the forties, that was with a sucrose IV. There were feedings I was sure I didn’t have the strength to even hold my daughter up, let alone produce enough milk. I was sure we wouldn’t make it through this obstacle, but refused to offer her formula. The nurse was insisting I stop breastfeeding and resume after the surgery, and was going to order it if my glucose levels did not rise. By some miracle they did, and we did make it through.
It was easily one of the hardest things I have ever done, I wanted to make sure my daughter had the best food available and was willing to make whatever sacrifice so that she could.
We got through the surgery, and I actually started working full time two weeks later and pumping on breaks. I was fortunate to become a stay at home mom a few months later, and now that my daughter is going on to be 3 years old I work as a WIC educator.
I share my passion for breastfeeding with other moms who are struggling with breastfeeding to help empower them and help them push through any obstacles they face, and I love when I have moms who are not sure about wanting to breastfeed and leave feeling empowered and sure they want to breastfeed.
My daughter and I are going on 3 years breastfeeding, and I plan to not stop until she decides she is ready.”
Sophie from WIC