This will be the first of many posts I dedicate to one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve been through as a woman/mother. Although I knew I would breastfeed no matter what kind of struggles I endured, this story was the closest I ever came to calling it quits.
The first two nights at home we woke Ace up every 1-2 hours to feed him. The third night we let him do one long stretch, then continued to wake him. His first stretch was 5 hours. We were so excited !! “What a sleepy baby” we naively said.
That next morning, Ace’s third day on earth, my first (fur) baby boy, Micky, snuggled up next to me on the couch. It was the first time I was able to spend some time with him since coming home as I was still pretty immobile. After a couple minutes of puppy love Micky got down and walked over to sniff his new little brother’s head, turned around in a circle and that was it. The next hour was the last hour of his life. Our hearts were broken.
Ace continued to be a sleepy baby as we waited for my midwife to come over for my postpartum check up. When she arrived I gave her a quick update while crying about my puppy. She quickly determined that Ace wasn’t just being sleepy, but was dehydrated & lethargic. She had me put him on the breast and we discovered he wasn’t actually latched. He seemed to be sucking his bottom lip in. My breasts were engorged and hard at this point and he couldn’t latch at all now. Mimi had me express some milk into a syringe and we let some trickle into his mouth. She told us to go see our pediatrician immediately. We rushed him over. He was definitely dehydrated and hadn’t peed all day. The pediatrician worked with me on getting him to latch and we continued to feed him with the syringe too. It was 3:30 pm at this point and we were told if he didn’t urinate by 5 pm we would need to take him to the emergency room for an IV. We headed home and he had a wet diaper. Thank goodness !!
Mimi came back over and stayed with us for the next couple of hours working with me so I could understand what a real latch felt like. By 9 pm Ace was eating like a champ. He was also 10x more alert than he had been earlier in the day.
As a brand new mom I felt horrible that I didn’t realize he was lethargic. I was so devastated about my dog and so distracted. I couldn’t help but think about how much easier that day would have been if I just gave Ace a bottle of formula while I mourned. Plus, anyone would have understood how that happened given the story. After such an empowering birth experience, this was the first feeling of defeat.
I honored those thoughts and feelings and let them pass. I quickly started realizing that breastfeeding was in fact as hard as everyone prepared me it would be. This was going to be one challenging journey and I was ready for it !!!