Stories of Strength

A Story of Strength

By Lindsey B. Bickers Bock

On the fourth day after our daughter was born, my husband and I were struggling. We had a distressingly sleepy, jaundiced baby, and we were concerned that my milk wasn’t coming in after dealing with a retained placenta after her delivery. We were exhausted from someone being up with her 24 hours/day to keep her on the biliblanket that was provided as treatment for her jaundice. We were overwhelmed when a suggestion was made that she might need to go to the hospital if we couldn’t get her feeding and regaining weight better. Thankfully, the midwife on call at the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center suggested that we could at least try an appointment with an LC before heading to the hospital. Then, if we still felt like we needed to go, they could at least facilitate our admission, instead of having to go through the ER.

That afternoon, we spent nearly two hours talking with the LC, learning more about ways to keep a tired baby awake to feed, strategies to maximize the energy our daughter did have, and a game plan until we met again. We walked away with clear written notes about what to do, what to be concerned about, and when to come back again. Over the next ten days, we returned to the Birth Center 5 or 6 times for additional LC visits and weight checks. When our daughter checked in at her birth weight after 15 days and we got the okay to stop an exhausting schedule of pumping and feeding every two hours, we cheered…but only long enough to gear up for outpatient surgery that I had to put off while being pregnant. Again, the LCs were an amazing help, assisting us with putting together a new game plan that would ensure our little one continued to be fed breastmilk on demand around my surgery and follow-up care.

Five weeks after she was born, I was delighted to “graduate” up to the local La Leche League meeting, where I was able to share and troubleshoot more routine challenges of breastfeeding with other mothers, as well as celebrate milestones along our nursing journey. After those difficult early weeks, I knew how valuable the support of others could be in reaching my breastfeeding and parenting goals. I have been exceedingly thankful to have an awesome local evening meeting with lots of other working moms.

Our first breastfed for 20 months, when the upcoming arrival of her sister brought an end to her nursing journey. As we were expecting our second, the staff at the WBWC, our prenatal care group, and my LLL crew were so valuable in helping us think through the things we could do in order to avoid some of the challenges from our first go round.  We weren’t lucky enough to avoid another jaundiced baby, but we were much better prepared, so we got through it much calmer and quicker. Now, twenty-seven months later, we’re nearly to the end of our second breastfeeding journey. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to breastfeed both girls, and so very thankful to have had such a support team that helped make it possible.

By |March 1st, 2017|Breastfeeding / MILC Moment, Stories of Strength|0 Comments

A Path of Grace by Holly Lindsay-Miller

The birth of my second child created a path of grace that was both excruciating and powerful. She was born with dysphagia, a swallowing disorder that prevented her from nursing successfully. I knew that first weekend home we were dealing with something huge, as I successfully and very enjoyably nursed my first child for 25 months, until she decided she was finished. This new child was unable to coordinate her breathing, tongue, and swallowing. Eating was such a challenge for her. She was at moderate risk of aspirating. It was so sad to watch and the stress was hard to cope with both for me and for her. I grieved the nursing relationship with this new baby. I suffered and became very depressed. I thought I was a certain kind of mother, the kind who nursed her baby on demand, who didn’t use pacifiers, who was ALL NATURAL. I mourned for my older child who would not be seeing me nurse. I had to rethink everything from who I was as a mother to who I was as a person. Since that very first weekend I have been exclusively pumping my breast milk for her. Syringe feeding turned into bottle feeding. I went from the mother who looked down on bottle feeding to the mother who bottle fed. Granted, it was my own breast milk she was eating, but it was still a life altering experience that allowed me to open my mind. I learned to judge less. I learned that as parents we want our children to be happy and healthy. We are for the most part all in the same boat regardless of our situations. We are forever growing and learning with our children. For me, I realized that nursing is not the only way to bond. Yes, it seems to be a given, the “easy” road sometimes, but I still wear this baby. I sleep with her. She is never left to “cry it out.” I attend La Leche League meetings regularly so as to share my experience and to also normalize nursing for my older daughter. My baby is now 3 months old. The nursing will most likely not happen and I’m okay with that, finally, but I am still so connected with this child and she with me. I still pump and bottle feed and frankly it’s a lot of work. She’s still in feeding therapy, but we are happy. It’s not at all what I was expecting when I carried her, but the universe had different plans for me. I am a better mom and perhaps my experience might allow others to grow as well. Follow up from Holly today: The nursing never did happen. I pumped until she stopped finishing bottles, around 13 months. I felt I got my life back after that. No more pumping; time to just be with my children, time to reflect on how we moms just never know what we’re going to get from life, time to understand that all mothers are powerful regardless of our situations and choices.  I think it is incredibly important for a lactation consultant to meet a mother’s emotional place as well as offer her expertise and guidance in a clinical way. Ellen was very good for me. I’ve met with other breastfeeding support people that were not so warm and it is awfully hard to move forward when you’re stunted emotionally. When nursing isn’t going well it becomes your air, and there is no escape or pause. When it’s particularly rough and emotionally trying you feel as though you’re in a deep hole with no light. Feeling empathy and emotional support from your LC brings some visibility.

By |February 20th, 2015|Stories of Strength|0 Comments