The first week with Rosabella has flown by. She is amazing. So beautiful, so perfect, so MINE. I made her and now here she is her own little person. I see Grace in her so often, and it makes me feel like Grace is here with us again. However, not all is sunshine and roses. There have been panic attacks, crying jags, flares of anger at my husband, the animals, friends, the world etc. I have felt off kilter and afraid and just plain sad sometimes.
My biggest source of anxiety has been oddly enough breastfeeding. Something that I thought would be so simple and natural has turned my world on it's ear and scared me to death. At first I had crazy bad nipple sensitivity, literally toe curing pain when she would latch, or attempt to latch on, then constant pain while she nursed. Then my nipples cracked, even more pain with a bad latch. Then I became terrified to let her latch. Then she realized that I was anxious and she became anxious. Also the hospital wanted me feeding her every 2-3 hours, but she would be asleep and I would spend an hour waking her up to eat. I gave up that since it was impossible to wake her up anyway and I would not get any rest at all. Then I was waiting for her feeding cues, rooting in her sleep, opening her mouth like a baby bird etc. However she would go from these cues to screaming with hunger in literally seconds. She would then flail her arms, hit me in the sore nipples and not even try to latch when I would get the courage up to put my nipple in her mouth. My DH would have to hold her arms and I would have to shove my nipple in her mouth and wait until the screaming stopped and she would try to nurse. This could take 30 minutes or more of trying with my anxiety getting worse every minute. We called her "red devil baby" and when she would have a bad latch, she would sometimes have my blood on her lips further adding to the devilish effect. The whole process left me exhausted, sad and worried. It was taking 2 hours for a feeding and she was wasting so much energy that she would then not be able to nurse long before falling asleep.
Then our first pediatrician visit. I am terrified that they will find something wrong with her, that I am not feeding her enough, caring for her enough, that my babies die and I am doing something wrong. Rosabella is well, but she lost 14% of her body weight, so she was not getting enough calories. He says to pump my milk and feed her 2 oz every 2-3 hours, supplementing with formula if I do not have enough. I was devestated to think that I would not be able to completely breast feed my baby, worried about my milk production, etc. I was also relieved to feed her from a bottle and have her eat and be happy and not screaming and biting and just.... well just happy. I guess I am not very good at this womanly art, and it has been really hard on me. I have been feeding her any expressed breast milk that I have: usually 1 to 1.25 oz, then try to get her to latch on and nurse, if I can let her nurse as long as she would like, then offer 1-2 oz of formula, then pump each breast for 20 minutes. I am exhausted. I have been reaching out for support since Tuesday and finally starting to get some. My doula came by last night to help me get her latched on, she referred me to a lactation consultant, who will be at my house tomorrow at 9 am, I have started Fenugreek capsules to boost my milk production etc.
I know that babies can be raised on formula and be healthy, but I really believe that breast milk is significantly better than formula and part of my dream of motherhood involves breast feeding. I have some good support and I know that I can do this. Of course talk tp me at 4 am, when she is screaming and won't latch and I am crying and you will get a different answer. I love this little girl so much, even when she is screaming, she is my girl and I love her completely.
At the pediatrician we found out that she had lost 14% of her birth weight, too much for a healthy baby. We talked about out breast feeding issues and he recommended that we supplement with some formula. He felt that she was not getting enough calories and then would not rouse when she was starting to get hungry and would only wake when she was completely starving.