Friday, January 25, 2013

My breastfeeding journey - Part 3.

Months later, I continue to document my saga...

When the Numa was not quite two, we got the happy news that our family would be growing again. We were thrilled to be having another baby, though the thought of being pregnant again didn't fill me with joy. I adore babies and giving birth to the Numa was one of the most meaningful and empowering experiences of my life, but I am not a happy or pleasant pregnant person so I knew that we were all in for a long 9 months.

Although my pregnancy went fairly smoothly, our lives at the time were anything but. Shortly after learning about our new human addition we decided to take on another project: purchasing and renovating our first house. We were so happy to find a lovely home to make our own but somewhat underestimated the toll that the renovations and subsequent move would take on my body and our sanity. Our formerly pleasant and happy-go-lucky toddler turned 2 with a vengeance and I went through a series of physical setbacks, including a stress fracture in my foot and serious hip pain. I was pretty much useless during the move and after, which is why we still have unpacked boxes almost a year later. Fortunately, the baby felt none of this and developed perfectly and right on schedule. Because the Numa had been a week early, I convinced myself that this baby would be early as well so when she stayed stubbornly put right up until her due date, I became extremely unpleasant. I didn't give much more than a passing thought to our lives post-delivery and whenever I thought about breastfeeding, it was always with cautious optimism. I would give it a shot and hope that because she was my second things would be better, but if it didn't work out I was counting on the perspective I gained with the Numa to see me through. We did take the precaution of having formula on hand because I was completely unwilling to let my newborn be hungry for even an instant.

My water broke at home while we were having breakfast with our closest friends (who remain our closest friends because of their amazing sense of humor). I was excited but nervous, since I was planning to attempt another unmedicated birth but this time I was without the benefit of ignorance. It is one thing to know in the abstract that having a baby will hurt, but it is quite another to actually bring a person into this world sans drugs. Despite what everyone told me, I had not forgotten the pain associated with pushing a human being out of my body and I wasn't eager to experience it again. To make a long story very short, the birth of my second child was painful on an entirely new level and I truly thought I was going to die more than once during the process. Her birth was fast and violent and though I am proud that I managed to do it without any type of medication, I am also honest enough to admit that if I had known just how much it was going to hurt that I may have changed my mind. She arrived just 5.5 hours after my water broke and though her birth wasn't as empowering as her brother's, I loved her with every fiber of my being the moment I touched her and I would do it all again for that single moment.

The little one was a champion nurser from the beginning. She had a great latch and was very content to lay on my chest and cuddle while all the post-birth happenings wrapped up. We had planned to leave the hospital that same day (with my OB's blessing) but due to losing more blood than was good for me we were admitted overnight. She (let's call her Her Highness from this point on, HH for short) nursed on and off all night and into the next day, when we were finally discharged. She continued to latch well and nurse frequently over the next two weeks, though we started supplementing almost immediately since I again failed to start producing enough milk. At this point in the process, though, I was fairly content. She nursed and took a bottle throughout the day, switching from one to the other with no issues, and though I was sure I wouldn't be able to exclusively breastfeed, I had no doubt that she would nurse as long as her brother had or even longer. It was less than I wished but still rewarding for us both and I was feeling good about our routine as I headed into my 6 months of maternity leave.

Be well,


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