Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breastfeeding Battle

Anyone that has ever read my blog will know that I am a planner who does what I set out to do. There have been very few goals in my life that I haven't achieved. Have the wedding of my dreams: check. Be a stay at home mom: check. Have natural childbirth: check. Another goal that I hope to check off my list is to breastfeed for at least 6 months.

No matter what anyone else says or thinks I am so proud of myself for how well I've done through all the obstacles of breastfeeding that I have faced. I had cracked, bleeding, painful-to-the-touch nipples and I kept going. I had mastits...with fever and red, painful breasts and I kept going. I have had yeast that burns my breasts 24/7 and makes my nipples pinched when he eats and through 2 different treatments that haven't worked I've kept going. I'm a lot tougher than I have ever given myself credit for that's for sure! I may not be very positive about my breastfeeding experience (pretty hard to be happy-go-lucky about something that has yet to be enjoyable!) and sure I may complain about my situation a lot (who wouldn't?) but the bottom line is that I've never given up! That alone is pretty awesome!

I am to the point now where my breasts hurt non-stop. It started the weekend before last with the pinching nipples and burning right breast and it only got worse. I hoped and hoped that it would just go away but it didn't. The nipple cream they gave me last week was supposed to work within 3 days. I continued to use it each time I fed him for an entire week and the pain only got worse. It's so bad now that if I stop and think about it I could cry. It's a constant burning pain inside, not out. I have no clue what is wrong with me and yesterday I just lost it! I couldn't keep it in anymore and "deny" that something is wrong!

When Mrs. Charlotte called me to plan Courtney's bday party this Fri night she asked how I'm doing and I let it all go. I told her how upset I am. How worried I am that there isn't a cure and that I'll either have to endure this much pain for 6 months or quit all together. I have a pretty high thresh-hold of pain (hello...natural childbirth no problem). I can do this with all the pain and still make it through the day but WHY deal with pain unless it can be fixed? That's just stupid! It felt good to get out my feelings and she told me something I should have thought of sooner. It's OK to have a plan b and she said my plan b doesn't have to mean stopping breastfeeding all together but I could supplement formula to ease some of my pain. Not that this is a plan I hope to pursue, but it did comfort me to know I had an option that would still allow me to breastfeed and meet my goal but that would hopefully make it a more enjoyable experience for me.

I deal with things through denial and after talking to Mrs. Charlotte and venting all my issues I realized how much denying that anything was wrong made the pain easier to deal with. It seemed like once I voiced how much pain I was in that the pain was harder to ignore. I kept on googling things and lots of stuff pointed to thrush. Thrush is just another term for yeast infection, and since I'd already tried 2 routes of treating the yeast infection I was kinda thinking that maybe Kye had thrush and was passing it to me over and over.

I called both his doctor and my doctor. I knew I had my appointment today but the pain had just become unbearable. To the point where I almost gave him a bottle of stored milk because I dreaded feeding him. His doctor told me to bring him in so I did. Dr. Griner's office has been super awesome about squeezing me in and I didn't even hardly have to wait! Obviously I'm a woman in pain because I showed up to his office with no makeup on (it was a choice: either fix the hair or put on the makeup so I chose hair).

We saw Stephanie again and she was super nice. She said she saw NO signs of thrush and that she wants to see him bump up the Zantac from 0.5ml to 0.75ml twice a day because he does seem like he's in pain (he sometimes will yank off the breast mid-feeding and let out a screech sound and he wakes up during naps screeching sometimes). They weighed him and guess what....11 lb 10 oz now!!! Isn't that insane? The kid is HUGE! At least I know he's enjoying breastfeeding haha!!!!

My dr. office had me wait until today to figure anything out. When I saw Stacy she said my breasts look great and that it sounds to her like I just have so much milk and that it builds up quickly causing me pain. That makes sense because if I give him a bottle and then pump for that skipped feeding I get like 8 oz and obviously he's not eating 8 oz so my supply may be greater than his demand. Also I just switched his schedule to eating every 3 1/2 hours from every 3 hours so my breasts are getting emptied less often which could be an issue too.

She suggested that I pump after EACH feeding and get out the excess milk. I was dreading it but I'm honestly willing to do anything I can in order to be able to get rid of this pain so I can enjoy my baby!!! She also suggested that I get these things called Soothies (not the pacifier haha) which are gel like pads to put on your nipples. My nipples don't really hurt but I thought I'd give it a shot.

After I got home from the doctor, they called me and told me that one of the swabs she did came back positive and I have a bacterial infection "down there." She said basically it's a YEAST infection! Um seriously? I feel FINE down there! Can I please stock up on some more drugs in my system? haha! It is seriously funny how it's one thing after another with me! So yes, I'm on ANOTHER antibiotic!!! I really hope all these drugs don't hurt Kye :( And sadly NO she said that the infection down there wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with my breast issues :(

Ummm..side note. I have been working on this post while making dinner and I was about to take this new antibiotic, metronidazole which I'm supposed to take 500 mg twice a day when I decided to see if it will affect Kye in my milk. Here is what I found: "because the drug is mutagenic and carcinogenic in some test species unnecessary exposure to metronidazole should be avoided. Because of the potential mutagenic effects and the unknown consequences of exposure in the nursing infant, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using metronidazole with caution during lactation. A single, 2-g oral dose has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control if metronidazole is used during lactation. If this dose is given, the Academy recommends discontinuing breast feeding for 12-24 hours to allow excretion of the drug."

There are quite a few pills in my bottle and I'm supposed to take it until they are gone. I'm NOT taking this junk until I call the dr. tomorrow...I really don't feel comfortable with introducing MORE drugs into my system and therefore my babies system!!!!

Anyways...since coming home from the doctor I've fed him twice. The first time he ate off of one breast for only seven minutes. I called Zach in to look because my breast was EMPTY. It was so loose and flabby, I knew that pumping wouldn't do any good! I pumped anyway and got a couple DROPS out of the left breast, that's it. And it hurt SO badly b/c my breasts were still sensitive from him eating on them. I did it again after his last feeding and again, nothing. And again, SO painful. I currently have on the smoothies and they make my nipples feel good, but the shooting burning pain inside my breasts is still there.

I plan to continue to pump after each feeding, including the late night ones, until Friday. I was going to do it for a week then call her and tell her my progress but if I don't get anything and if it continues to hurt that badly to pump why not call her before the weekend and try something else? She also told me to stop my morning pump session because I've basically created a feeding that I don't need so my breasts are producing even MORE milk...I agree with her on that but I do NEED that milk! I am storing it up to have for times when Zach and I travel and I can' t be with Kye. I will skip the pump session tomorrow but if the feeding after that is the only one that I get milk from I do plan on still calling her on Friday.

I also plan to call the lactation specialist tomorrow. I trust Stacy but isn't she just kind of guessing too? I mean medically they can't find anything wrong so maybe the lady that deals with breasts twenty four seven will be able to help me better! She's SUPER sweet and I don't feel bad calling her again because she knows I don't have many people around me who have any experience with this stuff! Even Stacy doesn't breastfeed!

It is very difficult to be going through all of this alone. I know I have Zach but he is SO SO SO hardcore about my breastfeeding that he isn't really able to look past that. He only sees my complaining and worries that I will quit when he thinks it's best for me to keep going no matter what. Don't you wish sometimes you could trade places with someone? I wish I could switch with him so he could better understand (and empathize) the pain I'm in and how truly strong I am being through it!

I never really realized how personal of an experience breastfeeding really is. It's all about me, my gut feeling, my needs. I'm the ONLY person who can ultimately decide what is best for Kye and for myself. I need to learn to trust my instinct and my gut! I do not think it's smart to continue breastfeeding him exclusively if I remain in this much pain. Babies (like dogs haha) can sense stress and I'm sure he can tell that I'm hurting every time he eats. That's not good for him! Also if it continues to hurt like this and I keep going I can see myself HATING it and NEVER wanting to do it again. I'm going to have three more babies! Isn't it better to stop before reaching a point of no return so I'll still have the drive to do it for the next baby? I am not trying to talk myself into quitting or giving myself an easy out...I have ZERO desire to quit! But I don't want to beat myself up over it if it reaches a point where I need to try something else!

My plan is to continue doing it the way Stacy recommended until Friday. I would say to try for a couple more days but I'd hate to need to call her over the weekend. I am also going to call the lactation lady tomorrow asap and see what she recommends. So by Friday during business hours if I'm not feeling better I'm going to call Stacy back. She said she'd try something else if this doesn't work. I plan to keep doing EVERYTHING and ANYTHING Stacy or the lactation lady or anyone else recommends trying until we've exhausted every option. Once Stacy gets to a point where she says she has no other idea how to help me...then and ONLY then will I consider giving up. I refuse to stop until I am sure there is nothing else to do that can stop my pain! I don't want to live life in constant pain, but I also don't want to live it thinking there may have been another option or stop nursing then two months from now find out something I could have done and it be too late to go back.

Please keep me in your prayers. I know Kye has gotten the "best" parts of breastfeeding and he's thriving (obviously from the weight gain) but I'm asking for prayers for ME. This is something I truly want to do (and want it even more now that it ending is being threatened to me). I don't just want to do it, I really, really, really want to experience what so many others get to (like Crissy!) and ENJOY this amazing bond I am able to have with my baby! If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!!!

The only thing getting me through this rough time? My amazingly sweet and happy baby! I love that he is "talking" so much now...enjoy this little video, it brightens my day :)

2 comments:

Crissy Megow said...

I am praying for you. I know what you mean by wanting to stop b4 it gets too bad that you don't even want to think about it for the other three. That is one of the reasons I weaned Stevie at 11 months, she was getting very upset with my milk supply and would scratch and sometimes bite down to get more milk, it was not enjoyable at all! I wanted to quit while I still somewhat remembered how pleasurable the experience was! She was fine, two days later she wouldn't even look at my boobies in the tub, apparently I was hanging on to the nursing for me more than her :)

Rachael said...

I can't say anything encouraging about breastfeeding, I am sorry :( I AM thinking and praying for you though. It is SUCH a tough and PERSONAL decision. NO ONE has any idea but you. I was so upset and depressed and just... dissappointed in myself that I couldn't do something that was supposed to be so natural. Greg was also hardcore on breastfeeding too, but once he saw how much better I felt and how much happier both she and I were, he got over it fast. And I would NEVER regret my decision to formula feed. The first week I brought her home was hell, I felt SO BAD. EVERY feeding I was crying, EVERYTIME I even thought about feeding her I just sobbed. I was like... You can't be hungry already!!!!!!!!!! The day I decided to quit was such a relief and I do not feel guilty AT ALL. I say ALL OF THIS because I want you to know... whatever you do, you will be happy. Kye is such an amazing gift, and it only gets better. TRUST ME.... you will have bigger issues in the future and breastfeeding will be a blip on the radar!!

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