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Ok I just might warn you that if you do read this story, I didn't have a great experience, but I just wanted somewhere to share my story. So if you don't think you should hear the gruesome details then please don't read any further LOL.
Ok where to start, well Holly is my first child and DH and I were soooo into the whole BF thing and how every drop of the colostrum in the first few days were vital to my daughter. I wanted so much to have a positive experience with that and I read and researched everything I needed to know. Well I didn't read enough. When my DD was born, and after 18 hours of HARD labour, I was sent straight to bed without feeding my child as I was so exhausted. I had her at 10pm and in the early hours of the morning the nurses came to put her to the breast with no luck. She latched on but didn't stay. I was kind of out of it so I didn't have much of a say with them giving her formula which was what I was so against. By the morning the nurses came to tell me I would have a hard time BF as I had inverted nipples and quite large breasts and I would need lots of support if I wanted to continue. The were so wonderful to me and had me expressing straight away. Holly was a very sleepy baby and still is, but they would come and have to wake her to feed but she just wouldn't. She had a little bit of jaunduce from not getting enough so they had to give her more formula. That was when I felt like a failure seeing as I didn't want that for her. Eventually I got the hang of it, Holly latched on like a pro, the jaunuce subsided and I went home with the expressing machine. For the next 3 weeks I tried EVERYTHING I could to continue but I hit hurdle after hurdle. Now I'm not one to give up easy nor am I one to be bothered by pain but the next part of my story was something else.
I was still BF and pumping and had a huge amount of milk production and would always have at least 3 bottles in the fridge. My nipples were the first to go, I had blisters so bad that the whole nipple was just one big sore. It would weep and peel. I had cream after cream and would try everything in the book to help heal them but they just kept getting worse, but that didn't stop me. I still continued through that. When I was in the hospital, my right breast never produced as much milk as my left,, but the nurses told me that some women get that. So of course I favoured my left one, but only because I could get so much more out of it. When I look back now I realised I did everything so wrong on so many levels. I had all the support in the world including my mother and the clinic but that still wasn't enough. My mother ended up being the death of me. She pushed me so hard to the point that I just couldn't find BF a joyful experience like some mothers had. I started HATING feeding my daughter and would get cranky at her if she hurt me. I would sit in my loungeroom at the early hours of the morning, with hot washers on my blocked ducts and just cry looking at her, knowing what pain was ahead.
On the last Monday before I finally packed it in, I went to the clinic as I had started noticing some lumps in my milk from my right side when I would express. Like chunks of this yellowish stuff (sorry no way else to discribe it) I mentioned it to the nurse but she said as long as I have enough milk, no lumps and I didn't feel sick then not to worry. So off I goes. The next day was my first Doc visit and I told him I felt a little off, he just said the stress of having a baby can do that to you, to just go home and rest. So rest I did, but only to wake up from my nice sleep in pain! I could barely move my right arm. My whole body hurt and I was sweating so much. I kicked the blanket off and dozed off again only to wake to Holly crying for a feed. By then DH was home and I called him inside to feed Holly as I couldn't get off the couch I felt that bad. I started to get the worst migraine ever so I decided to go have a shower. By then I could barely stand up because every step I would take I would nearly faint. I had to sit down 5 times in the shower before finally getting out. I got dressed eventually, DH gave me some painkillers, had a bite to eat and went to bed. The whole night I groaned in pain as every time I would move my body and head would hurt. The next morning I got up feeling a little bit better but decided to call the Hospital and ask them their opinion if I should get checked out. They told me to check my breasts for any lumps or red marks and I was shocked when I looked in the mirror, my right breast was bright red. I told the nurse that and she told me to come in right away. I said that I would wait to have my SIL take me as I was still feeling a little faint. SIL said she would be here in an hour but I couldn't wait that long, I started feeling worse by the second. I quickly threw on some clothes, packed holly a bag and off I went. I managed to get to the maternity floor but almost passed out with Holly in my arms. The put me straight on a bed, took my temp and just looked at me with their jaws hitting the floor. My temp was WAY over 40 degrees and my pulse was through the roof. The told me I wouldn't be going home and I just shrugged and said 'am I really that sick??' The laughed and were quite worried that I had actually gotten to the stage I was at. They put me on a drip and gave me some pain killers to help me sleep. After 3 bags of fluids and meds, I still hadn't gone to the bathroom. I had been that dehidrated and with that many bags and going through 2 bottles of water I still didn't need to pee. I was still shocked that I was sick, I didn't feel that bad at the time, but I do know now that I was a mess. By the time my Doc came to see me, Holly and I both had thrush, I had a severe case of Mastitis and they found a large lump under my arm which I didn't even know was there, they assumed it was an abcess, thats why I had all that gunk comming out. They took me to the showers and massaged the lump, might I add that it was the most excruciating shower I have ever had!! The lump finally started to shrink but the still did and U/S to check it was going away and it was. So after 4 days in hospital, 2 doses of meds and 5 bags of fluids I was able to go home. My milk supply litterally halved and I was trying to hard to keep up to her feeds. The infections I had were causing my supply to dry up.
The nurses were so fantastic, the caught me one night by myslef and having alittle cry and I tried to make out that I wasn't, that was when they all came in to tell me that I was doing a fantastic job and they know how horrible mastitis is and that they would have caved in long before me. They also made me realise that going through what I was going through wasn't my fault and wouldn't make me less of a mother if I decided to quit. That was when I actually thought about it. Untill then I still had it in my head that it was just what you had to go through. They told me I was too hard on myslef and it wasn't the end of the world going to formula. I still didn't want to give in just yet, but they did tell me that continuing may be worse for me, mentally. I started to dislike my child!!! I wasn't enjoying anytime I spent with her and mostly spent the moments I did have with just us looking at her and crying because I felt like I failed. In the end, I weaned myself off BF/Pumping. I had another case of Mastitis 3 days after comming home but I was still on antibiotics and it cleared up within a day. It took me nearly 2 months for my breasts to heal! My nipples were the last to heal. I'm sure they are tougher now with all that the poor things went through but I know what I am supposed to do next time. I know for a fact that I will be BF if I have another child but also know that I'm not going to be hard on myself next time. When enough is enough, its enough and thats the bottom line. I did come here for support when everything was failing but with my experience I didn't actually need to hear that I could do it or that it would get better. I needed to hear that it was ok to quit! I do respect everyone who did try to help me and you are such wonderful people to help those ones in need.
I'm one of the lucky mums who have such a wonderful baby, she is the most precious baby in the world
I might say that formula hasn't been a smooth road but I can honestly say it was the best decision in the world. Holly still got 4 weeks of BM so that was enough to satisfy me. To this day I look back realise how brave I was, I'm quite proud of myself!
Thank you Julka for my amazingly beautiful siggy, I love it!
A lot of your story I empathize with - especially the feeling of not bonding with your little one. I'm glad that you are proud of yourself for trying to hard - you should be!!
I can say from experience that even though it was really rough with my first child, the experience helped me sooooo much with my second and third and now, nursing twins is relatively easy. So hopefully next time it will go better next time - hey, it can't go much worse from the sounds of it