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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Holy Moly aka the Evil Jaundice Monster and Hysterical Zombie Woman

I'll write our sweet baby Violet's birth story after this post, so it pops up on top of this one. I'm not sure how many of you are THAT excited to read it, but I know I LOVE reading birth stories - so I just thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone is disappointed that this is not a post about that.

Wow.

The last week and a half...just...wow.

I'm writing this because in the last few minutes I wrote messages to a couple friends and it made me feel better to get it out. So I'm writing it here now. And hopefully I'll feel even better after sharing with you.

On Violet's second day of life, the doctors told us she was jaundiced. She was breast feeding like crazy (for hours on end in the hospital...why didn't even ONE nurse tell me how horrific that would end up making my poor nipples?? Cracked. Bleeding. Searing pain. For days.) We have a history three generations long in my family of women who are unable, for one reason or another, to breast feed. I was elated when I heard one nurse comment to me,"Wow! You're doing so great (with feeding)! You should come teach the other moms how it's done!" I had anticipated NOT being able to breast feed, so the excitement and joy I felt was overwhelming. I can do this! I thought.

And then we came home.

That's when the cracking and bleeding started. That's when her billirubin numbers started escalating (jaundice). That's when she started sleeping for alarmingly long periods of time without waking to feed (4-6 hours and I'd STILL have to wake her up). That's when we got a phone call that we needed to pick up a special light pad to put on her 24/7 because her numbers were too high (called a billiblanket). That's when I started feeling so stressed and panicked about my baby that I forgot to eat, forgot to drink, forgot to sleep, even forgot to take pain meds for the huge incision from my c section. Shaky. Hurting. Terrified.

I became Hysterical Zombie Woman. <--my alter="" anxious="" deprived="" ego.="" miserable="" p="" sleep="">
People told me to just not wake her - "She'll wake up when she's hungry enough!"
People told me to wake her every two hours - "Or the jaundice will never go away!"
People told me to supplement with formula. Don't supplement with formula.
Give her a bottle. No, don't, it will ruin your ability to breast feed.

People = pediatrician, nurses, lactation specialists, blogs. Haha. Seriously. So many blogs.

I hate the internet.

Anyways.

Last night I had it.

HAD IT!!!!

The nurse from the hospital had called with the results of Violet's latest blood test and had told me they believe her jaundice was being perpetuated by my breast milk (called breast milk jaundice). When I had started supplementing with formula her billirubin numbers started decreasing.

So...basically...what she was saying was...I was waking my lethargic baby up every three hours, forcing her to latch on to each side for fifteen minutes, while trying my hardest to keep her awake - feeding her skin to skin, bringing her into the bright lights in the living room, tickling, talking, putting music on, cool paper towel on the bottoms of her feet, etc... - then supplementing with a bottle, then PUMPING FOR TWENTY MINUTES = over an HOUR to feed her each time and it's MY BREAST MILK THAT'S MAKING HER JAUNDICE STICK AROUND?!!??

I'm seriously crying as I'm writing this.

So I gave in. I didn't latch her on first like every single freaking medical person had told me to. I just popped a bottle in the warmer and gave it to her.

Then she woke up 2 hours later and ate another two ounces.

Then again. And again. And again. All night long.

I latched her on again this morning and told her, "Ok...let's just try this again." But I only latched for a couple minutes, and then gave her a formula bottle. She's been waking up every three hours today now. Blessed formula. Blessed, blessed formula.

I don't know if there's really a point to this post, other than to express how difficult the last twelve days of my life have been. I'm so tired and I love sweet Vi so much. I want to do everything right, and it turns out that I'm kind of the only person who can decide what that is (which is so much harder than someone just TELLING me what the right thing is!!!!!).

My husband is nagging me to go to sleep - which I know I need to do.

In closing...if you have any extra time in your prayers to spend on our little baby and family, I'd truly appreciate it. That Violet's jaundice numbers will continue to come down (she's been in the high teens since leaving the hospital), and that my anxiety can lessen. I struggled with anxiety for years (high five for therapy!) and between these post pregnancy hormones and no sleep and worry over Violet - let's just say that the term "basketcase" was invented for people who feel/act like I do right now.

Words of encouragement and/or love? That's what the comment section is for. Use it, people.

xo.

14 comments :

Nicole said...

Sending a hug and a prayer your way!

Alana said...

How funny (well not funny) I feel like I wrote this post when I had Ava. I feel ya. I'm sorry this is tough right now. Yes formula is AMAZING!

Debbie Virgin said...

I am sorry that this has been such a hard time for you <3 I wish you would have called me...I probably would have given you the wrong advise like everyone else however! Maybe its a good thing you didn't call! I am here if you need me and would be happy to come sit with her if you need a break or an out with Shaun. BIG HUGS and lots of PRAYERS...this too shall pass...it really will. You are a wonderful mother and Violet is so blessed to have you as hers. Get some rest...and I will check in on you later <3 Love you Calee!

Alexa Bryn said...

Oh Calee! I had a similar experience with Porter, and echo your feelungs about formula...dont let anyone make you feel bad about it!! And I know you've got other people but seriously call me if you need to talk!!! You'll all be in our prayers :)

Suz said...

Calee, sending love and prayers :) Every. Single. Mom. goes through some sort of crazy-hormonal-WTH-am-I-doing adjustment(s) and you will get advice up the wazoo, but you and that sweet baby girl will figure it out. And you will probably do it again. The first two weeks are the hardest!!! I swear with all three of my babies it was day 14 that I finally calm down. (I can't promise you will feel normal, though, not sure there is such a thing in motherhood, as amazing, wonderful and joyful as it is, I don't remember what normal feels like). Congrats!! And welcome to the why-didnt-anyone-tell-me-it-was-like-THIS?!? club ;)

Rachel Wattson said...

Welcome to the anxiety that comes with motherhood! You followed your gut and did what you felt you needed to do for your sanity. It worked! I had acidic milk that affected Charlie. His stomach was sensitive to EVERYTHING! Poor kid ate from me and felt miserable almost every time no matter how I changed my diet. I discovered later that just my lack of calories was making it worse. Grr!! So, I found a local farmer and supplimented with fresh goat's milk. It is the most like mother's milk. He finally started to gain weight and is now a healthy little boy. You do what you have to to stay sane and help that baby. Don't let the medical professionals make your decisions... mama knows best :) Be still and let the Lord guide you. You are doing just great and she will be ok. Prayers and hugs to you all!

Katie said...

Mother's intuition is a REAL thing! Trust yourself and your instincts and find what works for you and your sweet baby. Love ya and congratulations!!!

kelly altergott said...

calee, you are doing great and i know how stressful it is to have problems with breastfeeding. you feel so guilty to not be able to do what seems should be the most natural thing in the world, to feed your own child... but i promise you the hardest part is over and things will only get easier. sounds like you are doing great and making the right choices and you are a great mom because you care so much, and that's all it takes. please try to get the most rest you can even if you just take a nap for 5 mins here and there because you really need it. And a tip about formula: the cheap stuff is pretty much the same as the big name brands but it is MUCH cheaper. I like the babies r us brand or even target. Same as diapers. K, calee I am looking forward to reading your birth story. take care and i hope your nipples get better soon lol

Ashley said...

You are stressed because you care because you are already such an amazing momma! Prayers coming your way and try to take care of yourself too!

Dyanna Moore said...

I love you:)

Dyanna Moore said...

I love you:)

Francesca said...

A friend swears that Newman's Nipple Ointment heals you overnight. Sending prayers your way!

Francesca said...

p.s. You'll need your doctor to prescribe it.

Unknown said...

Calee this to shall pass. I have always told my girls that you have to do what works best for YOU and YOUR baby, not what everyone else thinks you should be doing. There have been a zillion bottle fed babies and they are all doing just fine. Do take Shaun up on a nap though it will work wonders. Love you

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