Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Trials and blessings of a natural gift to mothers

I have been a mom for almost three months now. 
I know that I have neglected my  
blog, facebook, e-mail, and such... 
but I have a beautiful, smiley, sweet, blue eyed
red haired little darling for an excuse.
I love being a mama. 
It has opened my eyes to the wonderful blessing 
of my own mother...
Something i did not appreciate when I was younger
and regret profusely. Its an understanding that I think you can
only see after you become a mom. 
To carry a budle of blessing and joy for nine months, 
to nurture and nourish it with your own body is something wonderful
Then to go through the process of labor. to ssuffer through all the pain 
and uncertainty of your ability to do something so hard and something you have 
never done before is quite the feat.

To feel her head crown and her whole 7 pound little body go through the 
birth canal, But  then comes that moment.
The moment of relief, to finally have her out and the doctor finally placing he;r in your arms.
to have her look at you with those very alert beautiful eyes.
This is the moment your love becomes tangible, the moment you know it was worth all the
waiting, the pokes and prods of the doctors, and the pain of labor. 
The moment the world fades away and it is just the two of you...

Fastforward to  now...
I feel as the the Lord has given me a second chance to 
experience another blessing.
To breastfeed my daughter. 
I know it sounds silly and maybe a little confusing. 
Here let me rewind... 
The day my daughter was born, was one of the best day of my life but there was a moment that
made things hard for this little mama. 
while pregnant I tried to do as much as I could to get ready for her birth, 
but sometimes no matter how hard you try things 
just have those little speed bumps that slow the process down. 
The nurses  gave her to me to try to nurse and she; latched well,
she was one of those they call a natural, she knew what she was doing.
 But my body protested and my nipples cracked and started bleeding
 immediately. By the time I got home from the hospital both sides were cracked and bleeding.
No matter how many different positions we tried It hurt
I felt like red hot needles were piercing my breasts and
 I would sit and cry because of  the pain.
Please don't think I mean to discourage anybody , 
quite the contrary. I wish to let others know  so those young women 
who have struggles can say "I can do this, I will do this"
I didn't want to give up. 
I guess that's where my determination comes in  (The good side of my stubbornness)
Not only was there pain, but  she kept falling asleep, so she wasn't getting what she needed
and my milk supply wasn't getting a good establishment.
That first week home, it felt like we were going every day to our pediatrician 
just to check her weight which was going down and wasn't getting better.
after a few days of things not working I tried pumping.
I got half an ounce, and she wanted more.  I woke my husband up 
and had him go to the store and get bottle stuff we needed..
. later we ended up settling on "Dr Browns" because regular bottles were causing her tummy troubles.

This struggle went on for about a week when one night I was walking the floor with 
her and she and I were both crying, she because she was hungry, me because I couldn't
do anything. My husband woke up and I told him to get the formula... (I had gotten samples in the mail)
That was the first time  we gave her formula, the first time she slept full and satisfied, and first time I felt like I 
had failed in this situation. 
The next day we had another appointment and our doctor weighed her... she was right at the
10%  weight loss  mark... :(  It was labor day weekend  so we had a long weekend ahead
of us and she suggested  I pump, give her everything and supplement. We would see where she was after that. All the while my milk was increasing.  (We only supplemented for about a week or so to get her weight up, and my supply of extra bottles of milk up which  eventually did work and we were back on just my milk, the supplementing lasted about a week)
 Through this whole ordeal I had a few people who were mad at me for even trying to breastfeed.
 they openly said so and made sure I heard (or over heard) what they thought about it.
When you hear things like "That baby isn't getting enough." "She needs to stop because some women just can't breast feed" "That baby cries too much, you need to switch to formula"
And this from the person who told us to let her cry because they need to learn
how to self sooth...
So the stress was not helping my milk levels, and then hearing the formula thing from the dr
was so discouraging I cried all the way home. heartbroken
 (Remember by this time I am at a really low point, and still emotional from hormones.)
I felt like a failure, like it was my fault this had happened and that things were not quite right.

But the Lord reached down and picked me up.
My husband rallied behind me was my encouragement
and researched and told me everything he found out, helped whenever we tried to latch on
(he was right there listening to the lactation consultant, and helping me every way he could)

When we started trying to nurse again later, he was right there telling me how proud he was of us.
And the ladies at my church were awesome  encouraged me in every way that
they could suggested way to help me heal  encouraged me to keep trying  and told me that it was better to pump and give the milk than give up completely

All in all  I have dealt with low milk supply, cracked and bleeding nipples, clogged ducts, milk blisters. , and  pain of over stimulation from pumping.
In all these trials, God has shown me true blessing.
Even when it is hard, even when you feel like a failure,
even when your not  sure if you can go on with it and even when the obstacles
seem overwhelming and insurmountable.
If you persevere unto the end you get the reward.
 You see nothing compares to the moments you spend nursing your child.
Bottle feeding and pumping does not compare It truly is something magical and wonderful
to receive that blessing

I also have noticed that there is a difference in her.
she is more of a happy contented
baby than she was before and I thought that couldn't happen.

So, no I don't regret not being able to do this from the beginning, yes it was hard,
but it made me stronger and gave perspective.
When I was younger I thought its so easy, not gonna be a problem.
But breastfeeding is hard, that's not a bad thing
Don't be afraid to say something is hard,
lots of things that are good are hard
I am joyful that not everyone has to struggle with  nursing,
But to those of us who do have to work all that much harder,
The moments that we do succeed are that much more precious
and  that much more satisfying.
 to know that we earned these moments, that these moments are the payment
for every ounce of hard work (pun intended)
In the end I am so much more thankful for the moments when we are snuggled up
or she stops nursing long enough to smile at me. than if It had come so easy to me.