So the bliss of birth adrenaline & endorphins only lasted me about 2 days this time, and the crash afterward was pretty harsh. My hormones fell off almost the exact same time I started having excruciating pain from nursing. However, my woes with my body are not all that’s happened in the last 2 weeks.
Long story short, I got the short straw genetically speaking when it came to having babies and in nursing too.
In the not so short story, Ian was tongue tied, so we thought pain was related to that and I dealt as best as I could, knowing his mild tongue-tie would grow out; that is until thyroid shutdown happened and I quit producing milk at all.
This time I went in doing my best to tackle both preemptively. However, the diet dictated that some of the milk production tools were off limits third trimester. Then baby was born and she had no tongue-tie at all. She latched just fine straight away, or it appeared so from outside. I started taking milk boosters right away, but immediately discovered nutritional intake & hydration seemed to play a more important role. I also wondered if one or more of the milk boosters was giving little Katherine gas and making her very uncomfortable. Then the pain started.
Initially I thought it was all for having gotten plugged up on a poor hydration day right after birth. So we started doing things I did with Ian: hot compresses, painful massages to force milk flow, hot showers, and very intense pumping. At one point I cranked the strength of the pump up to maximum and in drawing out a plugged spot, I bled. Not good, and so not fun, it scabbed and pain got very severe. Right side was so sore that I favored left and within hours the left hurt even more.
Imagine if you will an ice pick being jabbed into the center of your breast while an infant sucks on it, that’s pretty much what it felt like. I cried through multiple feedings. Because I was struggling with nursing, the midwife’s assistant came and did a weight check, & discovered baby was gaining just fine, great in fact.
They then offered suggestions: nipple shield to help heal, use more nipple butter and more frequently, lecithin supplement to help encourage free flow of milk, and pump milk to dropper feed if necessary (to avoid bottle attachment).
I did all, but wasn’t noticing improvement. 2 days later I took to actually bandaging my nipples with a mixture of nipple butter, lavender essential oil, triple antibiotic, and colloidal silver gel. I made sure to do that in between every nursing, and would pump after nursing to try to keep ducts clear. Eventually the scabbing fell off to reveal large deep cracks & holes in my nipples. 2 more days of the bandaging and the pain finally started to back off.
I’m now in the still painful, but not to the point of tears range. Improvement.
In all of that mess I was drowning in Advil hoping to help the pain, but I ended up reacting to the Red40 coating so much that I spent 2 days with flu-like symptoms including full body aches and severe chills, without a fever.
After consulting with midwife again, she said some moms just get the chills from postpartum shifts in hormones and fluids, but she did say the body aches was an addition that might just be me. I pulled up enough out of the pit of sucky to put two and two together and switched pain relievers to acetaminophen (red free), and amazingly within 12 hours the depression, body aches, and chills ceased. I wasn’t up to rose colored glasses yet, but I wasn’t wanting to give up either, a big improvement.
At this point, with breast healing started, and pain mostly under control, I’m maybe 80% to figuring out what all happened.
So far I’ve figured out:
The baby having gas so bad does seem to correlate to either my milk tea blend of one of the supplements, so I have some more adjustments to figure out which.
I am having to stay strict on my diet, but it seems I can and should be consuming more sugar/carbs to keep my milk supply tasty for baby’s desires. So far that’s mostly manifested in nuts, chocolate, and fruit. Side note: I’ve lost about 45 pounds this pregnancy, & I’m back to where I was when I gave birth to Ian, 100 pounds lighter than my heaviest. Healthy baby too.
And the cracking & holes in my nipples that induced such horrific pain seems to be less about baby’s latch, and more about me having “flat nipples”. I put it in quotations because they’re not literally flat, the description that got us to that decision essentially said flat nipples are nipples that don’t stretch easily or as far as is normally expected, and thus damage is caused to the nipple during nursing. So wonderful, right?! To that end my efforts will eventually work, but I’ll have to be diligent with goo & shields until I’m fully healed.
In other news….
We’ve been wearing baby a lot, especially with the gas troubles & nursing troubles, wearing her has soothed her nerves. We wore both Ian and Anya when they were littles, and have found 3 slings from previous, a Moby and 2 4-strap slings. I wanted to find the ring slings that I’d made and saved, but we have yet to find those, so we’ve used scarves and sarongs as substitutes. It works. Really, the difference is: moby style slings are best for long snuggle front wearing, 4-strap slings are better for kids that can hold their head up to be hauled backpack style, and ring slings or scarves/sarongs are good for impromptu short front or side wearing. The bonus of a ring sling over scarves is they’re easily adjustable and have a tail that doubles as a nursing hood, some even have pockets in the tail for small items like phone, keys, Binki, etc. They’re really convenient, and I love them. Today I chose one of my purple scarves though and it worked pretty well.
She’s so beautiful that complete strangers have stopped & commented the couple of times we’ve been out with her. I also can’t get over her black hair & eyes, neither Nathan or I have black. His is very dark brown, but still very much brown. How she got black only god or science can explain.
I’ve also enjoyed snuggling baby & kitties, all our cats are doing well with baby.
We also did get another step of basement work done. The wall at the end of the furnace went up & was trimmed out, & since big things were done we cleaned up the space to be our multipurpose room. It’s coming along nicely.
We even started to pull out electronics & organize our belongings. I don’t know if the TV will stay where it is (on top of the Ikea cubby shelves seperating Ian’s room), but it works for now.
I’m glad there’s progress happening, especially in the realm of pain relief. Even if it’s been a hard could of weeks, it’s still been worth it.