This post is a part of the Adventures in Breastfeeding Project sharing mother’s unique experiences, successes and struggles with breastfeeding. This post is by Brittney. Here’s what she had to share:
My odds were against me. Rushed into the operating room for my emergency C-section, numb from the epidural, I could only think negatively about my situation. “Wow.. of course it ended up this way. I am so unlucky.” I had envisioned a natural birth yet I had not mentally prepared for the pain of labor. I found myself begging for the epidural at 7cm and ended up in that crowded operating room instead of in the antique four-poster bed in the birthing center where I had thought we would spend our first moments together as a family. The C-section was difficult; the surgeons struggled to pull her out . She was not breathing after finally being taken out with vacuum assistance. Everything was happening so fast and I looked on in pain and confusion as doctors yelled and rushed around the room. Finally I heard a cry and saw her arms and legs begin to kick the air. Instead of being placed on my chest to nurse after she entered the world, her cheek was held against mine for a few seconds before she was taken away to be evaluated in the NICU. My boyfriend went with her and let them know that I wished to breastfeed, and to not give her a pacifier. They gave him a glove, had him hold his finger in her mouth, and they stayed that way until she was released four hours later. She was finally brought to me in the first recovery room. Unfortunately this memory is a blur.. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and had accepted the spinal morphine. I do not remember the first moment I breastfed her, but I do know she was latching and nursing instantly. We went together to the recovery room where we would spend the next three days. She stayed on my chest the entire time, nursing almost constantly. I felt overwhelmed with a sweet, sleepy, loving feeling as I looked at her nursing and falling asleep on my chest. I denied all painkillers from that point on. She nursed wonderfully. She seemed to know exactly what to do and how to do it. I still asked to see a lactation consultant because I wanted to be sure everything was going right. It took two days to finally be seen by a LC and when they saw us, they were shocked by how well we were doing on our own. As they examined my breasts and nipples a stream of milk shot out of one. “Your milk is already in!” I was dumbfounded; I’d expected to feel engorged and in pain like I’d read about. They said everything looked great, and that her latch was fine. “We never see this happen to C-section moms and babies. You’re lucky.”, they said. They taught me what to look for to make sure she was eating enough, such as listening for gulps. Sure enough, she had already been gulping down lots of milk. She actually gained a little weight while we were there! Every time she was checked out by a pediatrician they commented on how healthy she looked and how quickly she was recovering. They expected jaundice from having some blood under the skin on her head after the rough birth, but she had none. We were finally released and happy to go home. Two and a half months of exclusively breastfeeding later, it’s still going fantastic. I dealt with some oversupply issues but it finally balanced itself out. She had already gained a pound from her birth weight at her two week appointment and is now a healthy baby (and growing out of her 0-3 month onesies!) After a traumatic birth , I am happy to say breastfeeding has been going beyond my expectations. She still nurses every two hours during the day and I enjoy every moment. I can’t wait until we reach a year and I can look back on this, and tell my story again to inspire others. Breastfeeding is the one thing that worked out for us and I can’t imagine doing it any other way.