Tuesday, September 8, 2009

an emotional afternoon...

it has been an emotional afternoon to say the least. berlyn had her 2 week checkup today. it's normal for all babies to initially lose weight after birth, but the doctors like to see them back up to their birth weight by their 2nd week of life.

berlyn weighed 7lbs.9oz. when born. when discharged she weighed 6lbs.15oz. at 6 days old we took her to the dr. and she weighed 6lbs.14oz. so, we knew that they wanted her to gain approximately 11 ounces within an 8 day period.

i have had problems breastfeeding in the past. my milk comes in and everything appears to be normal, but my body just doesn't produce enough. we first learned of this with brayden. he was also not gaining as the doctors would have liked or expected. i was so set on solely breastfeeding and it had never crossed my mind that i would have any difficulty...but i did...and a lot of emotional heartache to go with it.

with brayden we tried everything...a lactation consultant, a grade A pump, a special diet, natural herbs, a weekend of relaxation, even looked at brayden's frenulum to see if it was affecting his ability to suck/stimulate/latch on efficiently, you name it...i tried it. nobody could "find" anything wrong. he latched on well, wet and soiled diapers, nursed regularly...yet continued to lose weight. as more time passed, my body began producing less and less despite my efforts. i received so much conflicting advice. i often felt like people didn't believe me or that i had to keep explaining and defending myself to others. everyone had a different theory- convinced that if i kept trying, then my body would begin to produce more, and if i failed, i was looked down upon. as a first time mother, this was excruciatingly emotional...it tore at my heart. i mean, afterall, God designed a woman's body to be able to feed and provide for her baby...so why couldn't i do this? for something that should be so natural, why was i struggling? ( i struggle with these same emotions in regards to my c-sections - especially this last one...at times, wondering why i didn't just try for a vbac, even struggling with envy toward women who have had uncomplicated natural birthing experiences and the ability to breastfeed successfully. i also came home from the hospital after giving birth and weighed more than i did before i went into the hospital before giving birth...now how is that fair? and spent a week feeling much much worse and uncomfortable, and incredibly swollen, than i did during my entire pregnancy)....anyways, so with brayden, we began supplementing. i still nursed and pumped for almost 8 months, but the bulk of what he needed came from formula.

with brooke, i remained optimistic and thought perhaps things would be a bit different. but they weren't...and we began supplementing with her early on as well. i still nursed and pumped for 4 months, but as time went on, my body produced less and less. i later learned that my mother and grandma also had this problem and didn't produce enough milk...and since then, my sister too.

i told myself that things would probably be the same with this baby and i have been mentally preparing myself for this. now, i knew that berlyn probably hadn't gained 11 ounces in the past week and i told myself i would not cry if this was the case, but when they put her on the scale today and she had lost 3 ounces, my heart just broke all over again. has she been hungry for a week straight now? our pediatrician assured me that we would have known if that were the case. and i know that with brayden, i did realize that after nursing him for 45 minutes straight and he was still screaming of hunger. but berlyn has had all of the typical signs of being satisfied. and i have been careful with my diet, drinking a ton of water (at least 16-20 ounces every time i nurse...nursing makes me instantly thirsty, so this has been easy)...she has consistently fed every 2 and a half to 3 hours, (with her occasional 5 hour stretch at night), still dirtying and wetting diapers regularly...so my hopes were high. they weighed her several times to be accurate. each time it showed a loss of weight. and again, those waves of failure washed over me. i am just trying to balance my emotions with reason now.

i sit here and type, holding sweet berlyn in my arm. i just fed her her first bottle of formula. our pediatrician gave us a sample can...luckily, darcy and i bought 2 bottles before she was born. she took it well and is heavily sleeping in my arms right now. more "out" than i have ever seen her. her little tummy must be satisfied. i just want the best for her, for her to be healthy and to grow regardless. i'm disappointed and feeling a bit sorry for myself, like i failed her in some way, but this is really about her and not me. i'll do anything to make sure she is getting what she needs to thrive. when i went through this with brayden, someone once told me "When he is 18 and filling out a job application, there is not going to be a box that says 'Were you breastfed? Check box YES or NO.'" I have to keep reminding myself that. until then, this post-partum, emotional, and sleep-deprived mommy is just going to have to focus on the bright side and all the things i DO have to be thankful for...like this little miracle in my arms.


  1. Trust me when i say I completely understand that emotion - feelin like you failed in some way. But you are a FABULOUS mommy and Berlyn is a sweet satisfied baby because she is loved just as she should be with all that you are!

    I love ya SM and I am here no matter when or what!


  2. It's o.k. to be emotional. God gave us those emotions. I'm happy to hear that you are also thinking the situtation through and using the logic God also gave us. You know that you are giving your baby the best for her and you are not a failure. I admire you for trying to nurse again. If you need anything just let us know!

  3. Do you have any friends willing to pump extra to share with you? This way you can still give her the good stuff!

  4. Amanda,
    I hope the last few days have helped to heal the disappointment. I am sorry you are walking through this again. Even when you brace yourself, it is hard not to hope...and risk disappointment.

    I know you head realizes you are in NO WAY a failure for supplementing or even for choosing a section. But like you said...exhausted, post-partum hearts don't always agree with what our head knows. I have fought this this week with Belle's eye saga. I keep feeling like this is all my fault b/c this condition runs on my side of the family. I just want her to have 'normal' 3 year old worries...not glasses and vision recovery. I have fought feelings like I should not procreate anymore b/c my gene pull is loaded...aweful thoughts/emotions. I know they're not true..,but the feelings are difficult to fight.

    All of that to say. I empathize, and I am praying for you. You are amazing, you are beautiful, & you are loved!