With the impending birth of Lil Miss, I had plans.
I am someone who likes to have things planned out. I like to have control of the situation. I had it all figured out.
Until Lil Miss had other plans.
If you have read her birth story, you know that my water broke on February 23rd, so I didn’t get my scheduled c-section on the 27th like I had planned, but the c-section went as planned and her first nursing session went great. And then it went south. Quick.
All Lil Miss wanted to do was sleep. We could not keep her awake. We tried everything. Skin to skin. No blanket. Bright lights. Darkness. Noise. Rubbing her face. Rubbing her feet. Undressing her. Nothing would keep her awake. Which meant she wasn’t nursing.
When she would want to eat, it was a crying, screaming, frustrating struggle. She would cry and scream. I would cry. The nurses were pushy and forceful (so much so, one nurse actually forced baby to my breast – more forcefully than I was comfortable with anyone touching my newborn baby). I just became more frustrated because it wasn’t working, baby wasn’t cooperating, and nurses were being pushy rather than supportive. When she latched on, she latched on great, but the problem was getting the whole thing started and initiated.
By the end of night one, she had already lost weight. She went from a birth weight of 8 pounds 7 ounces down to 8 pounds 4 ounces. Not a big deal.
At this point, the night nurse had helped initiate the process, but it required drops of formula to coax Lil Miss to latch and stay latched.
All that night and the next day, the same thing pursued. We would use the drops of formula to coax her on and after several drops, lots of coaxing, and lots of crying, she would latch on and nurse for 10-15 minutes. There was lots of crying, screaming, and Frustration. Nagging nurses who really started to make me feel like crap.
By the end of night two, she had gone from 8 pounds 4 ounces down to 7 pounds 13 ounces.
At this point, I was tired. I was devastated. My baby was losing weight and I was struggling with nursing. We just couldn’t get it work.
Unfortunately, I hit another hurdle that I had not prepared for (which I will share in a later post) and really was getting down on myself, but we still tried with little to no success.
By Wednesday, Lil Miss was 5 days old, jaundice and was at 8 pounds even, but at this point, I was using the drops of formula to coax the latch, nursing for however long she would remain latched, pumping and supplementing formula because it was clear that she wasn’t staying latched on long enough or getting enough to eat.
After a talk with the doctor (baby’s pediatrician who was concerned about her jaundice and weight loss), he assured me that formula feeding was okay. Yes, breast is best, but she will survive and be healthy and happy and okay on formula as well.
It was that day that I made the decision to cut myself some slack and formula feed.
I was happier because I didn’t have to fight with my newborn baby anymore. I wasn’t frustrated. But, I was guilty. In fact, at 16 days old, I’m still guilty. I feel like a failure to my newborn baby.
I see new mommies who had this great delivery with a healthy newborn and nursing like a champ and I failed at that. I couldn’t do it.
And I tried. I promise you, I tried. I fought for 5 days through the tears, the screaming, the agony and pain of watching my newborn daughter fight me every step of the way with the nursing process, but I still feel like a failure. I feel like I not only let myself down, but I let everyone else down and more importantly I let my daughter down.
We returned to the pediatrician at 7 days old to recheck the jaundice and weight loss. The jaundice had mostly cleared up and she had gained two ounces in two days.
Still, I sit here with tears in my eyes feeling like I failed in every way possible. I had a scheduled c-section instead of trying a VBAC. I gave up nursing at 5 days old and am formula feeding. I feel like a failure and that I could have done better even though deep down I know that I tried and I gave it my all, yet I still feel guilty and I still feel like a failure.
I am sure that some of this is part of the hormones that are still out of whack, but it is still tough knowing that I had intended the best for my daughter and could not provide like I wished.
I know breast is best and I would have loved to nurse her, but I also know that formula is acceptable and that she will survive and be okay and be healthy. Shoot, I was formula fed am only a little off kilter!