Boob talk: an update on our breastfeeding situation

In case you missed it, and want to read about it, I recently wrote about our struggles with breastfeeding.

I foolishly thought that breastfeeding would be easy.

I am an idiot.

I finally found a lactation consultant that would come to my house and help me figure out why we were having such a difficult {painful} time with breastfeeding.

I was really really nervous about the meeting. I was nervous to have a stranger in my home, nervous for a stranger to be poking at my baby, nervous that she would tell me there is nothing wrong and that BF is just going to hurt; or that I’m doing it all wrong and that I’m an idiot.

I was just really nervous about meeting with the LC.

NONE of those things happened. Amy was the nicest person ever – I was totally comfortable and she completely put all my fears to rest. She immediately started asking questions about my delivery, when my milk came in, and did Paisley start BF right away. After she got done asking questions it was time for her to examine Paisley’s mouth.

IMG_4076

She put on gloves and pried Paisley’s mouth open – in case you’ve never tried to open a newborns mouth..it’s not an easy task. She examined her lips, tongue, and the roof of her mouth. Almost immediately she found, what she thought, was the root of our problems. {and if you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen a million posts on this by now} but Paisley is lip-tied. (or was, because, SPOILER ALERT: we had it revised).

Run your tongue along your top gum, between your upper lip and teeth. Feel that piece of tissues that connects your lip to your gums? That is called the frenulum. In a normal person it’s a small piece of tissue that doesn’t go very far down your gums.

Paisley has a class IV lip tie, which means it goes all the way down to edge of her gums, and underneath into her hard palate. The chance that she would end up with a gap between her front teeth was very large. Lip ties can also lead to tooth decay, speech problems, gap between front teeth, and several other issues. There was also the chance that the lip-tie could rip during rough play when Paisley gets older…

IMG_4039
not the best picture, but she was not amused to have us pulling at her lip.

Amy told us we had two options: A. We could leave it as it is, which would most likely lead to other problems the older Paisley got, or B. we could have it revised, which would probably fix the breast feeding problems and would also help us to avoid some of the problems that would/could occur later in her life.

Lip-ties are genetic; after we met w/ Amy, I was telling my sister how the appointment went and she mentioned that my niece also has a lip-tie. Her dentist pointed it out to my sister this past summer when he recommended she get braces to fix the gap between her teeth.

She gave us the name of a pediatric dentist in Tampa and recommended that we do our own research to decide whether or not we wanted to get the lip-tie revised.

DSCN4030I felt so much relief when Amy told us that the lip-tie would cause all the problems that we had been having. That sounds terrible, but we had struggled so much with breastfeeding, and I wanted to quit so many times – I had talked to a lot of people, and read a lot of articles, blog posts, whatever and they all made me feel like I was just doing something terribly wrong. I felt relief that I wasn’t doing anything wrong.. I was upset that there was something “wrong” with my baby.

One thing that I don’t quite understand, is why Pediatricians don’t check for this. If breastfeeding is what’s best for baby, why wouldn’t the baby be checked for any possible things that could cause breastfeeding complications?

When I asked Amy why our pediatrician, or anyone in the hospital didn’t check for this defect – She responded that most Physicians are not trained in breast feeding. They get a short breastfeeding class, much like we could have attended had I chosen to – They aren’t trained in any great depth about it. She also stated that ENTs (Ear, Nose & Throat) Physicians are really the only Physicians that are trained at any length about breast feeding and the anatomical defects that could affect it – but you probably wouldn’t think to go to an ENT when you are having difficulties breastfeeding. I know I wouldn’t.

Another thing that I found interesting was the overall lack of knowledge on lip-ties. I googled my heart out in regards to breast feeding, and I never came across any information regarding lip-ties. Oh, sure, if I google lip-ties, there is some information there, but it’s no where to be found if you’re not looking specifically for it.

IMG_4114

I did some of my own research, but it did not take much to convince me that we should have the lip-tie revised.

Breastfeeding is really important to me, so if this would help our relationship, and also save her some agony down the road, then why wouldn’t we have it revised?

Based on my own research there were a few ways that the lip-tie can be revised. It can be cut, which requires general anesthesia and stitches, or it can be revised with a laser; which is a super short procedures, requires no anesthesia, no bleeding, and almost no chance of infection.

The pediatric dentist that was recommended does the laser procedure, but if we had decided to go the other route, we could have seen an ENT. Obviously I don’t want to put my kid through more trauma than necessary so we chose the laser revision.

We met with Dr. Sierra, who was so so nice, and made me feel completely comfortable about the whole thing. He examined Paisley and agreed that she would definitely benefit from having her lip-tie revised. He also said that she had a slight tongue tie, but that it was really pliable and he didn’t see any need to revise it.

The procedure it self is very short; Dr. Sierra was able to examine her & do the procedure in the same day; he had already seen pictures of her lip-tie, and the exam was pretty much just a confirmation that, “yes, she does need it revised.”

Chris stayed in the room while they did the procedure; I had planned on staying, but I wimped out and ended up waiting in the waiting room. I would say it was probably less than 5 minutes from the time I left the waiting room until the time they came and got me. Right after the procedure they put us in a private little room so we could nurse right away. I was really surprised at how well she handled the procedure; She really wasn’t even crying when they handed her to me.

IMG_4078

Dr. Sierra warned us that Paisley’s lip would be sore for a few days and that she might not want to eat. I am happy to say that she had handled it like a champion. She never acts like her lip is bothering her, she does get a little bit fussy after we stretch it out, but I think that is to be expected.

Yes, we have to stretch her lip. I feel so bad. The stretch is basically what you see in the picture to the left. We pull her lip up and then rub the bottom side of her lip & her gum. The purpose of that is to keep the scar tissues from building up; which would essentially defeat the purpose of the revision.

Paisley must have her Daddy’s pain tolerance level; she never acted like her lip was even bothering her. The Dr. warned us that she might have a decrease in feedings because she would be sore.. Nope. She handled the whole thing like a champion. Thank goodness, I was really worried we were headed for some rough days.

— I can’t remember what day I started writing this post, but I’m sure it’s been at least a week. I’m going to stop here, because I have even more updates to write about, but this is ridiculously long as it is.

Next update will be about my foot…ugh.

4/52

I’m a little late posting this picture.. I completely forgot..again
This week has been another whirlwind of a week. We had several doctors appointments, then Chris went back to work. Paisley discovered her lungs, and she no longer thinks it’s a good idea to go back to sleep after she eats in the middle of the night. She’d rather stay awake and stare at me.
it’s been an interesting week.

DSCN4032_ 4 52
“A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2014.”

 

Even with all the chaos of last week, we were able to snap a few pictures of Paisley on her ONE MONTH birthday! I can’t believe my baby is already one month old!

Actually, she is 5 weeks old today!

 

3/52

better at the beach

It’s been a rough week around here.

The beach has always been my therapy.

Two weeks after Chris & I started dating he broke his ankle.

A few weeks after that I dragged him (and his busted up leg) two hours to Daytona beach just to watch the sunset.. FYI: sun doesn’t set at Daytona beach, but whatever. We sat on a towel and just enjoyed the peace.

Ever since then, the beach has been OUR place.

This week, we made it Paisley’s place, too.

Thursday we decided to head to the beach for a few minutes. It had been a particularly rough night the night before and we needed a place to clear our heads.

Who cares that it was 50* and the wind was whipping around us.

We bundled Paisley up in a sleeper, and her favorite minky blanket and took her onto the beach just long enough to snap a picture. Then we rushed back to the car, strapped her into her seat, and headed home.

IMG_4054
3/52 : Paisley’s first trip to Clearwater Beach

our breastfeeding journey so far

 

I wrote this post over the course of a week or two so it will likely be a bunch of jumbled thoughts vomited on to the page.
Also, if you follow me on IG, you’ve likely seen most of these pictures.

______________________________________

Breast feeding has been everything & nothing like what I thought it would be.

I’ll admit that I was probably ill equipped for this whole breastfeeding thing; I didn’t read any books & I didn’t go to any classes; maybe books & classes would have helped, maybe that wouldn’t have. At this point it doesn’t really matter. What’s done is done, and now all I can do is move forward.

IMG_3951

Breastfeeding is hard. It’s physically painful, it takes an emotional toll on you when things don’t go perfectly {and probably even when they do} , and it takes up a large chunk of your day.

 

It hurts:

I was under the assumption that breastfeeding would come naturally to me (and to Paisley). Ha. The only thing natural about it is that she roots when she is hungry, and I know to put her to my breast… after that, it’s all downhill. Maybe if I had read some of those breastfeeding books I would have known that it is painful…. then again, maybe I wouldn’t have known; I’ve read in multiple places that the initial latch should be painful, but then the pain should stop. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THAT B.S? On very rare occasions do we have a feeding session that is pain free. I know from talking to friends/family that BF can be pain free, but for me, it’s not. I’m hoping that with time it will get easier, and the pain will lessen – or my pain threshold will increase. (you would think my pain threshold would be super considering the delivery I had, but no, it’s still basically nothing).

IMG_3960

 

It’s emotional:

I recently wrote about our struggle with jaundice and how our pediatrician wanted us to supplement with formula. My heart nearly broke at the thought of feeding my brand new baby formula – I desperately wanted to exclusively breast feed her, but I needed to do what was best for her. We gave her a few feedings of formula from a bottle, and I pumped so that whatever milk supply I had wouldn’t go away. (I don’t know how these things work, but from what I’ve read, pumping while she ate from a bottle would help to keep any supply that I had, up.)

The pain that comes with breastfeeding also wears on your emotions. It’s tough to let a baby latch onto your nipple when you know it’s going to hurt. I became a little bit resentful; I love my daughter more than anything, and I want to breastfeed her, but it stressed me out every time that 2 hour mark would hit. I would feel pressure to breastfeed, but I didn’t want to because it was so painful.

The more I pushed myself, the more anxiety I got, and the more stressed I felt at every feeding.
A few days ago I basically spent the entire day in our room crying and breastfeeding. That was a hard day. I prayed a lot , and cried some more.

I finally broke down and ended up giving her a bottle with breast milk. I just couldn’t handle anymore that day.

I’ve read on so many websites that you should avoid feeding from a bottle AND avoid giving a pacifier for the first 4 weeks because it causes nipple confusion.

We messed that up pretty much right away….and I cried about it. It was all my fault that my baby was having such a hard time latching.

IMG_3932
we snuggle as much as possible after every feeding.

It takes up a large portion of the day {and night}:

The pediatrician recommended 2-3oz every 2-3hours when we had our first appointment with her (where we found out Paisley had jaundice). Every 2-3 hours is a whole lot easier during the day than it is in the middle of the night. Our middle of the night (MOTN) feedings have turned into every 3.5 – 4 hours; I typically feel guilty about this, and I’m not doing it on purpose; I’ve started to sleep through all the alarms that I set. As of right now, Paisley doesn’t wake up & cry when she is hungry, so we have to set an alarm so that we can wake her up and feed her. Her sleeping is a blessing, of course, but sleeping through the alarm is kind of a problem.

Attempting to go anywhere is also a challenge; It takes some pretty good timing, and lots of team work to get out the door quickly after she eats so that we can be out and back by time she needs to eat again. Obviously I can NIP (nurse in public) but I’m a little apprehensive about that since I already struggle with breastfeeding. I have fed her a few times in the back seat of the truck, which is not ideal, but it works.

IMG_4010

____________________________________

I finally found a lactation consultant that will come to my house for a consultation. Prior to finding this lady I was directed to the LC at the WIC office. Uhm. I’m not sure how that works since I don’t qualify for WIC, PLUS, she is/was on vacation. PLUS PLUS, I’m an idiot when it comes to asking for help & I’d rather suffer for as long as possible before I break down and ask for help. My threshold has been reached, I’ve asked for help. Now I’m just waiting for her to call me back to set up an appointment.

Much of this post was written when Paisley was about 2 wks old. She is three weeks old now, and while breast feeding is getting better; it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination, nor has the pain gone away. I am trying hard to come to terms with the fact that exclusively breastfeeding just might not work for me. Right now I am breastfeeding during the day, and bottle feeding breast milk at night. This is working for us right now. We’ll see what the lactation consultant says after we meet with her.

52/52 project

Bear with me as I try to figure out which layout I want to go with for the blog.

I recently stumbled upon a blog that is doing a 52/52 picture project. Basically you post a picture a week of your kid. You can see more of an explanation here.

I believe the posts will go up on Sunday, so I’m a day late but give me a break here – I’m rarely on time for anything these days. Do you know how difficult it is to get anywhere on time these days? Inevitably, she will need to be changed or fed at the same time we need to be walking out the door – it doesn’t matter if I get up 3 hours early, or 1 hour early… Oy, I guess we will get better with time.

I think it’s a fun idea to document Paisley over the next year; of course I’ll see her growing up in person, but it will be fun to look back and see her pictures from when she was just a teeny baby!

Speaking of teeny baby… We weighed her last night, she has chunked up to 8lbs 9oz! It’s bizarre the things you will get excited about when you are a parent.. Our pediatrician was concerned she was gaining weight fast enough, so I’m happy to see that she has gained some weight since her last appointment.

If you’re friends w/ me on Facebook, then you’ve probably already seen this picture, but I absolutely love it!

DSCN3942
1/52  (14 days old)

Where’s my instruction manual?

I think the hospital forgot to give me my baby instruction manual when they discharged us from the hospital!

We’ve survived the first 2 weeks :::round of applause::: It’s had it’s up & downs, but mostly ups.

Right before we were discharged from the hospital, the nurse noticed Paisley was a little bit yellow. She checked her bilirubin, told us it was 11, and then sent us on our way.

The next day (Christmas day) we noticed she was getting even more yellow; she had a check up with her pediatrician on Thursday, so we just watched her and waited until her appointment.
Thursday came & her pediatrician was pretty concerned about the shade of yellow her skin had taken on; the whites of her eyes were also yellow.


You can kind of see the yellow in her skin

Here is what we learned about newborns & jaundice; it is very common. Pretty much everyone we talked to had a kid that had jaundice, or had it themselves. Shoot, Chris & I both had jaundice as babies.

Here is what we learned, after the fact, but should have been told prior to being discharged.
Babies will not always wake up and cry when they are hungry. You have to physically wake them up to feed them every few hours.

I sort of remember the nurse, or maybe it was the Pediatrician who discharged us, telling us that Paisley needed to eat every 2-3 hours. I was totally under the impression that she would cry and wake us up when she is hungry, and if she didn’t cry, then we should let her sleep.

Yeah, no. Totally wrong. Apparently, newborns need to eat every few hours so that they produce enough pee & poopy diapers to get rid of the extra bilirubin in their system, which causes jaundice. When they don’t pee/poop enough the bilirubin starts to build up, and shows up in the color of their skin.

again, I am not a Dr., so I’m sure my explanation of that is a little off – but that is the way we understood it when the pediatrician explained to us WHY it was so important for her to eat every 2-3hrs.

IMG_3887
milk coma

SO, the pediatrician sent us to the hospital to have a bilirubin test done on Paisley so that we could make sure her level wasn’t to high. The Pedi also said that she wanted me to supplement because she didn’t think I was producing enough milk yet to ensure that Paisley was getting enough to eat. This was important because, again, she needed to produce a lot of diapers to get rid of the excess bilirubin in her system.

:::cue a meltdown in the pediatricians office:::

hormones y’all, they are real.

I was devastated at the thought of having to feed my newborn formula so early in the game. I had it IN MY HEAD that I HAD to breastfeed. HAD TO.
So I had a good cry, then bought some formula.

After we got Thursday’s lab results, the Dr. wanted us to go back on Friday to have her level tested again. The number came down by .1

We went back to the hospital on Saturday to have her level checked again. After some miscommunication with the lab, the pediatrician called to tell us that her level had dropped quite a bit and that we could follow up with her in 1 week, instead of Monday, like we had originally planned.

My heart sang when I heard her level was coming down.

There has been no worse feeling than feeling like I failed my child.

The recommendation was still to feed her 2-3oz every 2-3 hours. The Pedi gave me the okay to feed breast milk exclusively, IF I was able to produce enough.

I desperately wanted to feed her only breast milk, but I also wanted to make sure she was getting the recommended 2-3oz; so I decided that pumping would be my middle ground. I pumped as much as I could & fed Paisley formula as needed. This was a happy medium for me – sort of.

IMG_3846

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with formula, I just had it in my head that I would breast feed Paisley, and needing to supplement was a hard pill to swallow.

Deciding to pump has been a bit of a blessing, we’ve had a bit of a rocky road with breastfeeding, but i’ll write more about that another day.

It’s time for me to hit the hay; I have a sweet babe that will need me to get up and feed her in a few hours.

an update without much of an update

Being a new parent is tough. My hormones are totally out of whack, I’m about as sleep deprived as one can get, and then you add this stupid complication and I’m a total basket case.  I cried pretty much the entire way to my neuro appointment.. damn you hormones, anxiety & no sleep.

So, what did the Neuro say about my foot….

He said that it is for sure my peroneal nerve, and that there is nothing wrong with my hip or spine. He explained that if it were my sciatic nerve, which wraps around the hip (or something), I would be having issues in my quad/hip. All of my problems are below my knee, and actually start mid calf and travel down into the top of my foot.

He explained that the sciatic nerves runs down our leg into the knee, then splits off into three different nerves. He did a few different tests on my foot/knee/leg and determined that it is most likely the peroneal nerve which controls movement of part of our feet.

(I’m no Dr, and I’m sure my recap of his explanation isn’t 100% correct…forgive me.)

The green area is where my leg/foot have a dead feeling. They aren’t numb, but they do have a weird feeling to them.. It’s really hard to explain, and even harder to figure out where the dead feeling ends; but I would say that where the green ends on the diagram above is probably pretty accurate as to where my weird feeling ends and the normal feeling returns. Based on some reading I’ve done, and what I’ve been told, the peroneal nerve is near the top of our skin, so it is easily damaged.

Hopefully the video works:: I recorded myself walking today when I went to my office to send out a fax. I’m walking kind of fast, and there are trees in the way of the mirrors so it’s kind of hard to see my foot.

Chris says it’s only really noticeable if you’re looking for it – but that most people wouldn’t notice. I think he’s full of crap, but what can I do.

What’s next: We asked about physical therapy…. Dr. G says this won’t help. He says all I can really do right now is keep moving my foot around, stretch my calf, and be patient (lolz).

I scheduled a follow up appointment for January 21st, when I will have a nerve conduction study done. I’m not 100% sure what this will do, but when I was scheduling it the lady said, “and don’t listen to what people say about the test, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting tasered.”   UHM??

So, that’s where we stand. I’m not all that optimistic that this will just resolve it self over the next 2 weeks, but hey, anything can happen…. I guess.

 

What’s next

In case you missed it, and are interested, you can read our birth story here.
In that post I briefly mentioned that I had to have an MRI on my lower back, but I didn’t say much more about it.

Well, see, what had happened was…. I pushed for 2.5 hours and ended up with some nerve damage that has left me with a gimped up right foot. The general consensus of the hospital staff was that I have drop foot or foot drop (whichever).

I was going to post a video of the foot drop gait, but I’ll be damned if I can get livewriter to log in to my YouTube account. SO, if you’re interested, you can check out this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6owGJYkjig  You only really need to watch to the :25 mark, that best shows what my gait currently looks like. It’s not quite that exaggerated, but it was right after we figured out something was wrong with my foot.

Basically, when I walk, I can’t roll my foot from my heel to my toes. I have to pick my foot all the way up, and then set it back down. It’s about as frustrating as it sounds. I can’t dorsi-flex my foot; that means that if you were to push on the top of my foot, I can’t push back. I can flex my toes up, which is progress, but that’s where my progress ends, so far.

It’s been 8 days, so I’ve figured out how to maneuver so that my gait doesn’t look quite so awkward. It is really frustrating; I can’t drive, have to be extra cautious when I’m walking around the house; stairs are a bit of a hassle because I have to be so cautious when I go up & down them.

I have an appointment with a neurologist on Friday, and I’m hoping to get a nerve conduction test done, and a script for physical therapy.

So, where does this leave me? Frustrated. I’m very frustrated.
The one thing that I wanted to do after birth was run.. Obviously not immediately, but as soon as possible. Now, who knows. The prognosis for foot drop has many avenues. I could fully recover, or I could have permanent damage. I guess we really won’t know for a while. Again, frustrating.

All this leaves me wondering a lot of things, but one of them is “where is my blog is headed”…… and…. I don’t know. I was really looking forward to starting to workout/run again and being able to post about my post partum experience.. but now that has been quashed, for now.

Lifting really isn’t safe since my foot isn’t all that stable; Oh, that’s another thing – my foot has a numb/dull feeling to it. I can feel it, but it’s not the regular sensation, it’s kind of a dead feeling. So, I’m really not sure how safe lifting would be. Riding a bike seems kind of impossible at this point.

Running obviously isn’t happening any time soon.

I’m just left with a bunch of “I don’t knows.”

I have some ideas for posts, but they are Mom-type posts, and I know I’ll probably lose a few readers with the Mom-type posts… and I guess that’s okay, because really, that’s what my life is right at this moment.

When I start to feel sad or really frustrated I just pick up my baby girl and snuggle with her, because, what else can I do? Getting mad really won’t help, pitching a fit won’t help. I just have to be patient, which is not my strong suit.

All this + post partum hormones = recipe for disaster. I’m a hot mess much of the time.

Sorry this post is all debbie-downer.. It’s just the reality of what is going on, and I’m not going to blow rainbows and unicorns up your ass to make you feel better. I’m sad.