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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Breast is Best

UGH.  Pumping was going so well, Julianne was finally ready to try out her new tongue and then, of course, I make an amateur move.  Oscar and I were taking turns at night and I got lazy about pumping every 3 hours.  Instead of taking turns throughout the night, I would take one night, he would take the next.

Well, I ended up with mastitis.  It happened so quickly.  One moment I was feeling great, the next I had a very high fever and a plugged duct.  Last night was no fun, with my fever getting up to almost 103 degrees. I started on antibiotics today and hope to get better quickly.

So tired of this fever though and everything that comes with it: the aches, chills, shooting pain in the back of my head.  sigh.  I've been taking ibuprofen to temporarily lower the temperature so I can sleep.  Hopefully this antibiotics kicks in soon. 
Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our Breastfeeding Journey...... Far From Over

DAY 1 - Baby Julianne was placed skin to skin.  She had a strong rooting reflex and immediately
tried to find that little nipple.  She was excellent at finding it, but was only able to latch on for several sucks before letting go and crying.  The first day we were at the hospital and Julianne's output was very good.  We were told babies only need 10 drops of colostrum in the beginning and that they judge how much they are getting by output.  They said she would get a hang of breastfeeding soon.

DAY 2 - We tried breastfeeding every 2-3 hours.  There was lots of crying and frustration on little Julianne's part.  I am so used to crying (blame my Autism training), I didn't realize this was anything abnormal.  I had heard from many people that breastfeeding was difficult in the beginning for them.  I'd also heard both that babies cry for reasons only and that sometimes they will cry and you won't know the reasons. 

DAY 3 - I had arranged for a lactation consultant to come around noon.  We hadn't made progress with breastfeeding and I didn't know enough to fix it.  It appeared that I may have a flat or inverted nipple and I needed some support.  Nadja, the lactation consultant/ ILBLC showed up about 10 minutes late.  She was soft spoken and it was a bit awkward in the beginning.  Well, it turned out that I had messed up the whole parenting thing already.  While Oscar and I were having so much fun adoring little Julianne and just assuming her crying was part of, well, newborns crying, we were actually starving her.  Little Julianne, who was only 6lb 3oz at the hospital was now 5lb 7oz.  She was down 14oz and had lost 14% of her body weight.  The lactation consultant worked with us for over 3 hours.  She highly suspected that Julianne had a tongue tie and this was responsible for her inability to latch - it actually had nothing to do with my nipples (or very little).  She would most likely be unable to breastfeed until we got it fixed.  She said it was absolutely necessary that we get a hospital grade breast pump and start pumping that night.  Oscar didn't get off work until 8pm, so she told me to hand express until then and to feed her every hour before our Dr.'s appointment the next day.  She said if Julianne lost any more weight or even if she went in as was there is a chance they would label her as "failure to thrive," pressure us to use formula or even re-hospitalize her.

So, I took some deep breaths and shed several tears - not many.  I was ok until she said they may need to re-hospitalize her.  It was scary.  The next maybe 20 hours, I fed Julianne every hour on the hour.  When hand expressing, it took me so long to get the milk that there was barely a break for me in between feedings.  I was trying to feed her by spoon because I forgot that we had bottles and it was just a breast milk bath, the poor little girl.  We were so relieved when Oscar showed up with In N Out and a breast pump.

DAY 4 - We were rewarded at our Dr.'s appt.  All our hard work had paid off.  Julianne was back up to birth weight (or almost).  I think we just needed to make sure she hadn't lost more than 10%, but she was at 6lb 2oz - PERFECT!  We had a great visit!

DAYS 5-7 - We made an appointment to get Julianne's potential tongue tie assessed and maybe lasered (called a frenectomy).  In the meantime, we pretty much exclusively bottle fed breastmilk.  I let her suckle a bit at my breast, but only when she was very full and wouldn't get frustrated.  We discovered that our baby, in fact, only cries when she needs food or a diaper change.  In fact, as she realized that we would take care of her without her having to get frustrated it took longer and longer for her to cry, wherein the past few days she has barely cried at all.

DAY 8 (today) - Today was the appt.  Luckily, one of the top guys in the country for frenectomies was located only 50 minutes away.  From what I found online people have driven from Arizona, New Mexico, etc. to go to him.  For us, we were able to go between Oscar's appointments.  I tried to stay calm, risks of the procedure were low and we didn't even know if she needed it (though at this point in my research, I felt even I could recognize it).  Oddly, when I asked the pediatrician the day after she was born, he said she didn't have it.  How sad that just with some research any house wife can know more about frenums, tongue tie and frenectomies than her pediatrician.  Anyways, sure enough she had a moderate lower tie and a moderate to severe upper one (which I had noticed in my research as well).  The laser process was traumatic for us.  They had me lie in the dentist chair with her head rested against my shoulder.  She had no idea what was coming and snuggled there looking wide eyed at the doctor and nurses.  She made cute faces and opened her mouth to see if anyone would feed her.  It was so sad when they held her face and I held her hands.  She started crying and of course I couldn't rescue her.  She cried through the whole thing.  Oscar watched the procedure as well, it only took about 2 minutes and they used numbing and a topical anesthetic.  It's not supposed to hurt and many times they can breastfeed right after.  It took her several minutes to calm down and she cried as hard as she probably had since she was born.  The whole thing was very traumatic for me.  She left the office calm though and slept all the way home in the car.  We both noticed an obvious difference already.  She can open her mouth wider, her tongue moves around when she cries, rather than just staying at the bottom of her mouth, she can stick her tongue out of her mouth, she even makes different facial expressions - amazing! 

I tried breastfeeding when we got home and I do feel like there was a difference.  Her tolerance level is very low, however, and I want to keep it positive so stopped early when I saw her crying at the sight of the breast again.  I feel like she may be a little sore (even though they said she wouldn't be).  I've been trying to wake her up every hour throughout the day so that she sleeps at night and typically she wakes up slowly, but happily, cooing with bright eyes.  After the appt. she was very upset when woken up and cried for several minutes.  We decided to let her sleep after that.  She has no problem sleeping if she does have discomfort.  It's Oscar's turn to stay up tonight, so I hope it isn't too bad for him.  She actually has already seemed more like herself the last hour.

DAY 9 - 99 - I don't know what happens next.  We are going to slowly try to get her on the breast again.  The doctor said we should come back if there is not improvement in 2 weeks.  He said every day it should get better and better and it's 1 in 1000 that have to come back.  The lactation consultant recommended body work, but the dentist did not think she needed it because she is so young.  My research is confusing in terms of body work, so we will probably skip it unless we have some problems.  Oscar doesn't like the idea of it.

Overall, this is a minor thing.  I am so glad that we can afford the procedure, as insurance doesn't cover it.  I'm so glad we have this amazing dentist near us AND I'm so glad we caught it early on.  Now the hope is that she will be able to breastfeed one day.  Until then, it is really nice to have Oscar be able to help out with the feeding.  :)