Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not so crunchy afterall...

First day home!
   A big thank you to those of you who stuck with me through yesterday's novel of a post.  I try to keep things more condensed than that around here, but I wanted to make sure I got my memories of Abby's birth documented somewhere, and hey, it's my blog and I do what I want.  :)  It was somewhat cathartic to have to sit down and really think about those days and process the emotions and the choices we made.  Because so many things didn't go as I had planned, it was something that I've really had to make peace with.  Of course, healthy mom and healthy baby and all that jazz...and of course it was worth it to get my squishy little cuddle bug here.  I mean, look at those cheeks.  Gotta love it. And yes, the blog is likely to consist almost entirely of baby photos from here on out.  Again, it's my blog.  :)
Bath time baby!
    As I've said before, we were planning on a med-free natural birth using relaxation techniques we learned in our Hypnobabies class.  I enjoyed the classes, and really truly learned how to completely relax muscles that I never even realized were carrying tension. I had done my homework, and I believe that a med-free birth is the best-case optimal scenario for the health of both mom and baby for lots of reasons (if you'd like to discuss, feel free to ask me!), and I knew it would be lots of work and likely somewhat unpleasant for me. I didn't go into delivery unprepared for what I would face. We had planned to let our baby choose her birthday. I wasn't uncomfortable, even in the last days of my pregnancy, and I didn't mind going "late" if my baby needed a few more days to bake. Well, all of that went out the window.  Induction, IV, epidural, lots of cervical checks, not wearing my own clothes...everything I didn't want, short of a C-section.  It's a pretty helpless feeling. 

Sweet moments
    Things didn't really stop there.  Because of her rough arrival into the world, Abby had a decent amount of bruising which caused some jaundice problems after birth. Not enough that they had to keep her under the lights, but enough that we had to make frequent trips to the doctor after we left the hospital to monitor her levels. During these office visits, we began to notice that she wasn't gaining weight. Of course, it's normal for newborns to lose a little from their birth weight, but it's expected that they should return to birth weight by two weeks of age. Not only did our girl not reach her birth weight, she continued to lose weight. At her lowest, she was only 7 lb 9 oz, quite a drop from her 8 lb 12 oz birth weight. I breastfed, and she was nursing like a champ after a few bumps in the road, but continued to lose weight. They ran blood and urine tests, checked both of us out, and found nothing. I had to begin supplementing with formula--yet another blow to my crunchy plans.
   After weeks of nursing AND pumping every two hours, diet changes, lots of rest, fenugreek, and whatever else anyone suggested, my supply was still not established. I could barely pump anything, and Abby would cry to eat less than an hour after her last meal. She wasn't sleeping well (which meant WE weren't sleeping well), and was starting to look skinny.  Apparently babies are supposed to gain nearly an ounce a day, and she had only gained an ounce over the course of a week.  Last week I continued nursing, but increased the amount of formula supplemented. She began eating almost twice as much formula as we had been giving her.  No wonder she was unhappy--she was starving!  Finally yesterday at her weight check, she had gained a significant amount of weight, and we made the incredibly difficult decision to primarily formula feed.
   I pretty much cried all day. I felt like my body had betrayed me. I couldn't birth on my own, I couldn't feed my child...the blows just kept coming. I strongly feel like breastfeeding is best, but in our case, it just wasn't possible. We still nurse a few times a day, most before and after bedtime, because I can't seem to quit cold turkey, but she's a bottle-fed baby now. 
   The past four weeks have been pretty profound for me. Of course there's the learning how to care for a baby and such, but I've faced some deep stuff too. Some spiritual, some social. I mentioned on Facebook a while back that I've learned that God's will is sovereign over my best-laid plans. Even when I really truly believe that I had my baby's best at heart. I don't know why He thought it necessary that she be born how she was, or that she be fed how she is, but I hope that some day my experience will be able to help someone. I've also learned not to judge others' decisions because you never know what circumstance led them to that point.  Prior to having Abby, I turned up my nose at people who chose to be induced or have a c-section for non-medical reasons. Or reasons that I felt weren't "good enough." I looked down at people who didn't breastfeed. Why wouldn't you do what's best for your baby? You're a parent now, your wants aren't the most important! I never would have been anything less than gracious to someone in person, but that's what my heart was saying. (Maybe that's worse. Maybe I should have been judgy to people's faces.)  Now I know that sometimes those things aren't possible, even in non-emergency situations. And sometimes it's just too painful to talk about, so you'll never know the reasons.
Love that little face!
   I promise that my blog has not turned into my angsty adolescent diary.  I love being a mom, and I love my sweet Abby more than anything. There were just a few things I needed to get off my chest and think through.  Maybe I felt like I needed to justify some things, I don't know.  Anyone else need some therapy time?  Have a difficult birth?  Learn a life lesson lately?

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