Wednesday, January 27

In like a lion, out like a lamb

Dear Ty,

Tonight is a bittersweet night for me. We have only one week left together until you are completely weaned. We are down to one night feeding and it's one of my favorite parts of the day. It's our time to share a special bond, one that will only last for a short while longer. And while I know that it's time to let go, my heart aches because I know it's your first step towards being independent. No longer will you rely on me to provide for you as only a momma can.

Letting go doesn't come easy for me and this is no exception. I am comforted knowing that the last year has had it's ups and downs with nursing, but I have stuck with it and provided you with the best possible start a baby boy could have.

Our nursing experience hasn't always been the textbook definition of breast feeding. In fact, the beginning months were nothing short of a nightmare. Perhaps those months was a pay back compliments of Karma for me being so cocky. I already went through a tough beginning of nursing with Noelle, as most first moms do. This time, I had not a care in the world. I mean, I'd already been there, done that and so how tough could it possibly be. I'd imagine it'd be like riding a bike...once you know how it goes.

Boy was I wrong.

Breastfeeding you came in a like a lion. Or like deadly fire breathing dragon who had no mercy for any of us involved-- who's main purpose in life was to push me to the brink of insanity and take the whole family down with me.

It all started when we found out you were tongue-tied shortly after birth. Dr So & So, the pediatrician who was doing the rounds on your birthday, came in and upon peering into your mouth proclaimed you were tongue-tied and would need to have a minor surgery to fix it. How dare she tell me you had a flaw!

It didn't help that I immediately got defensive.

It didn't help that she had the personality of a dead fish.

And it probably didn't help that I stated this fact out loud.

And it definitely didn't help that she heard me.

You had other things to get clipped on your agenda, you didn't need to worry about your tongue too. But alas, we had the surgery done. We couldn't chance our nursing experience to be cut short, or for you to have a speech impediment.

What Dr. Dead Fish failed to tell me was that after the tongue got clipped, it would no longer sit on the bottom of your mouth. Instead it would stick to the roof of your mouth, which you know, make nursing about in-freaking-possible. You see, to be able to nurse, you've got to get the tongue out and under. That's the only way. And I'm sorry that by the time you are old enough to read this, this post may scar you for life (ya, it's about to get graphic, so family and friends, read on with caution).

Anyways, I didn't found out a life-saving tip until we were 4 weeks in and my nipples were red, cracked, and bleeding. Much worse than anything I ever dealt with nursing Noelle. I would cry, and cry, and cry and dread every single nursing session. I would flinch and dig my heels in the ground. I scoured every breastfeeding book I owned, every internet site, and every message board I belonged to. I bought every single cream and product available to help and nothing did.

So, finally I got the nerve to go in to see a lactation consultant ( abbreviated LC). You see, I'm not one for asking for help. Ever. And when it comes something of a private nature, you can bet your ass I'm not going to shout from the rooftops that I need help. I was a second time mom for chrissake, I wasn't about to march in, whip out my boobs, and announce my failures to a total stranger.

That visit saved the future of our nursing relationship. I was so nervous going in that I was in tears. The lady was so wonderful and understanding. She told me all about your tongue and why we couldn't get the latch right. With her guidance, you latched on perfectly. I remember wincing getting ready to cry in her office, but the latch was p.e.r.f.e.c.t. No pain. Nothing. I think I cried again (hey back off, post partum is an emotional time). I think I asked her if she could move in with me so we could get the perfect latch at home too. And Daddy had enough grace not to remind me that had I not been so stubborn, and went in a week ago when he suggested, we could have avoided a lot of pain.

She told me that we would have to do tongue exercises to train your tongue to work like normal. We had to do these exercises before every feeding and as the next few days went on, things got better. Now, I don't know why the &*$@ Dr. Dead Fish couldn't have give me a heads up 4 weeks ago, but don't worry, I ripped her a new one in the survey the hospital sent us.

Then the puking and screaming started.

A few days later, you started puking after every feeding. Not spitting up... full-on vomiting. I had to go buy more bibs because we couldn't keep up with the laundry. You would crunch up your legs, writhe in pain and scream and puke non-stop.

Once again, I scoured every book I owned, every internet site, and every message board I belonged to. I found out I had a forceful let down and an oversupply. To put your nursing sessions into perspective, it was like an adult trying to take a drink from a fire hose. Lots of choking and gagging and drama.

Well, we figured that was the problem, so I called back up the LC and got some tips on how to regulate my supply. However, as the supply slowed down, the puking and screaming sped up at a breakneck speed. We visited our pediatrician and talked about options: colic, gas, etc., all of which I knew it was not. It wasn't until your poop started to have blood in it that we started thinking food allergy.

Long story short, we found out you had a dairy/soy allergy. I changed my diet, which was incredibly difficult for me since I love my dairy; I have been know to eat an entire brick of cheese in one sitting. Combined with the fact that soy is in everything, and I hate cooking, it made for a near impossible situation.

My frozen supply that I worked so hard for was now null and void. I blogged a while back about what I ended up doing with all the frozen milk you couldn't drink. You can read about it at the link here:

(The donation almost didn't happen because my blood test came back positive for HVLT, some crazy disorder that people in third world countries get. After seeing two doctors, including an infectious disease doctor, I got re-tested and it was negative. A month worth of worrying and tests and dr. visits for a false positive. And the word infectious is just as about skin crawling as it gets. You need to be referred to the infectious disease doctor, oh you're here to see the infectious disease doctor? the infectious disease doctor will see you shortly. Please People. For the love of God, STOP saying the goddamn word INFECTIOUS.)

You see, "in like a lion" doesn't do the first 4 months of nursing justice. But we didn't quit. And now, in one short week we will be done. It was worth every tear, every puked on bib, every sleepless night, every doctor's visit and every minute of craziness.

I will enjoy the next few peaceful nights with you Ty. On Feb. 3rd I will be crying for a different reason. And even though nursing came in like a lion, it's definitely going out like a lamb: peaceful and perfect.

I love you baby boy,

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