Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Milk Machine Mama

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding in special circumstances. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

My second daughter was born in an amazing and fast water birth at Great Expectations Birth Care just a mile or so from my home.  Everything was awesome and perfect and wonderful.  The next day my mom mentioned that she looked a little "dark" and then by the time the day 3 check-up came, she was definitely very jaundiced. She wasn't waking to nurse much, but I was waking her and felt like she was nursing wonderfully.  My midwife came by to do her check-up and said "she's not a little yellow, she's a pumpkin!"  We ran a blood test and got some numbers back and raised huge red flags.  Such huge red flags, that our own pediatrician, upon hearing them, said he'd never heard a number so high in 35 years for biliruben.  He sent us for an outpatient blood draw in the ER, which came back still too high and eventually we were sent to Primaries.

My little one was immediately put under bili-lights while a doctor talked and talked and talked at us!  They ran another blood test to see where her biliruben levels were and decided it was time to do a blood transfusion.  I wasn't able to nurse my little one from the time we got her to the hospital, taking her out from under the lights was too risky as she needed all of the help available to her.  Soon they were putting a line in her umbilicus in order to draw blood out as they put new blood in.  Once this was done, I wasn't allowed to hold her anymore, let alone nurse her.  Unfortunately, this was done around 2am and the blood for my baby wasn't available and "washed" until after 7am.  The procedure took something like 2 hours to complete.  Then they left the lines in her, in case she needed a second treatment of new blood.  She never did.

I was told that her biliruben count would go down, then spike again and begin falling. . .it never did. . .it just went down and down and down.  We waited with baited breath each time there was heal prick, to know whether our baby was getting better and closer to being held, nursed and going home again!  I was still nursing my older daughter, so here I was, driving 30 minutes home to nurse her to sleep, then showering and heading back to the hospital to be with my other baby.  Very early in the morning my husband would take off to head home and be in bed with my older daughter, as she woke up. . . she slept hard through the night and never knew the difference.  My sister slept on the couch all week.

I pumped many times throughout the day while at the hospital.  Have you ever used a hospital grade pump?  It is SO industrial and you can watch every little bobbin and pin and pump and compression.  I felt like I was in a dairy every time I used it. . .the paintings of nursing women in my curtained stall, did nothing for me.  Day 3 is a horrible day for a baby to have to stop nursing for a medical reason.  Even with an older nursling, I could not avoid engorgement and just an overall sense of constantly being full.  After fighting with hospital staff over the use of bottles (even with pumped milk) for my severely tongue-tied (but having no trouble nursing) 5 day old baby, I got a nasty call asking if I was going to come nurse my baby!  And then some semi-threats that if I was not available every 2 hours on the dot, they'd be FORCED to give her a bottle!  I was more than pleased to nurse my baby after 20 hours of not being able to hold her, but with all of the nutritive saline in her, she wasn't nursing much at all and the pumping continued for the duration of our stay in the hospital (about 4 days).

I realize that MANY mothers have situations much more difficult than mine, but this was my personal hell as I went through it and my heart goes out to those who have had to make more difficult decisions and accommodations in order to continue breastfeeding their children.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

1 comment:

angelina said...

wow what a challenging time for your family, Good on you for sticking up for you and your baby! Glad you were able to establish a good relationship through all that. I'm a sucker ;) for happy endings xoxo