Sunday, June 08, 2008

header photo, quasi-birth stories

I am a modest dressing person, probably overly modest if there is such a thing. I dont even own a pair of shorts for crying out loud! actually, this will be changing soon as +90 degree days, no a/c, gardening a lot, etc. does not go hand in hand with pants. so a pair of old jeans will be getting the snip and be magically transformed into these shorts that all the crazy kids (aka EVERYONE) are wearing these days. anyways, i say that to talk about the above picture in my header. some might find it immodest to be quasi topless.

so let me back up and talk about the birth of my son augustine, who is 3. quite a few people have come to this blog via the unexpectedly popular birth video of olive, whom i had at home. that video is safe for work, no worries - again modest! anyways, that powerful experience was not what i had with augustine's birth. nothing bad happened but it was nothing like i wanted and i had the "deluxe" treatment (pitocin, artificial rupturing of my water, internal fetal monitor, an epidural) and i walked away from it very dissatisfied. proof to me that birth isn't just about a happy, healthy baby. the birth itself was not traumatic but what happened afterward felt like it to me. he would not nurse. i tried and tried and with all of the knowledge i had at the time i could not get this kid to the breast! weeks of tears, frustration, and sleep deprivation ensued and eventually i just came to a point where i had to make a choice and stick with it lest i go totally crazygonuts insane. formula isn't my thing, and while i think it has a time and place i wanted to avoid it until it because truly unavoidable.

according to breastfeeding experts & all of the world's recognized health organizations the preferred method of feeding for babies from most preferred to least is:

nursing from the babies mother
expressed milk from the mother
expressed milk from a donor

so to plan b we went! i knew columbus is blessed with a wonderful milk bank, that serves and saves babies here, especially preemies. that was the ace up our sleeve in case plan b went sour (had no access to a full time wetnurse of course) so i began a regiment of exclusively pumping for augustine and i prayed and prayed that it would work. i acquired a medela pump in style, which is a hospital grade, double electric pump and every two hours around the clock used it for 20-30 minutes. did i mention AROUND THE CLOCK? so the routine became something like this: set the alarm for two hours, get up and pump for the alloted time, then set the alarm again, while im up rouse augustine and feed him the expressed milk, store the rest, clean the pump, change him, burp him, put him back to sleep, settle myself back down and fall asleep. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP alarm is going off again. WHA? it's only been about 45 minutes since i fell asleep! this is where a fantastic husband comes in. he and i were a sleepy, narcoleptic pair for months and months, never sleeping more than an hour or less at a time. both of us had bouts with sleep walking we were so sleep deprived. once i woke up chasing our cat (who wasn't there) into the closet. i woke up in the back of the walk in closet totally confused. david once got up and heated up an empty bottle and fell back to sleep in the bathroom i think. the point is that it was a labor of love, a big one but it was so so worth it. i'd do it again in a heartbeat because that is just how we feel in our little family about nursing. what others do in their family is their thing and i dont pass judgment on folks about this sort of thing. im so thrilled david was as on board for that crazy ride as i was. oh and while im talking about it, would you like to see the fruits of my labor? well i'm going to show you

BAM that's a lot of milk! (oh the top rack is homemade baby food)

fast forward now to olive birth. several things happened that i will note. first, she was born at home in the water. i mention that only because it rocked so hard to experience that i couldn't NOT mention it. i really feel that the natural delivery at home set us out on the best foot possible for a good nursing relationship. the house was peaceful, vs the chaotic environment of the hospital. also natural deliveries eliminate grogginess in the baby because narcotics/an epidural passes the placenta, a contributing factor in augustine's lethargy & troubles nursing from the start i feel. the second thing i will mention that happened was that i had some heavier than typical bleeding immediately after delivery. it was kind of touch and go for a little while there as i was having some issues staying conscious at one point. our awesome, totally knowledgeable midwife kathy mitchell was a cool customer and knew just what to do, no hospital transfer was necessary.

so finally back to the original point of this post, the header picture. it was the first time olive nursed. not only was it the fulfillment of a dream of ours, for a successful nursing relationship, but nursing also helps a mothers uterus clamp down and slow/stop bleeding after birth. david, knowing how important that moment was to me not just in spirit but also to my health snapped that and a few other pictures.


Anonymous said...

now that is what i call a lot of milk :) -hilary

kasandora said...

I appreciate you posting this.

My daughter was born after 3 days of hard labor with no pain medication...However, I DID have a whole lot of pitocin...The hospital pressured me into induction because they said her heart rate wasn't as fantastic as it should be. Day one was cervical dilation using archaic but relatively natural (no chemicals involved I mean) methods. Day two was pitocin with no result and day three she finally came naturally around 230 pm. Needless to say, I tried over and over and over to nurse, with the same tears and frustration, and a nasty bout with PPD because I feel like such a failure because I can't nurse...I am doing the pump and feed thing, and my milk supply has stayed beyond what I need at this point...I am glad for that, but still wish she would just magically latch on one day. I am hoping for the same success you had the second time around...thanks for posting this, it gave me hope.

Hannah said...

Mmmm. Your photo is beautiful and the story behind it is even better. Again, thank you for sharing. :)
PS. I was visiting home this week (Erie, PA) and had to buy some shorts!

jenny mae. said...

kasandora - did you know that pitocin has never been approved by the FDA for the use of augmenting labor? pretty messed up that they use it so often! cytotec too! which is commonly applied as a cervical ripener. significantly increased risk of uterine rupture with that one!

have you tried using a nipple shield? that is the only thing augustine would latch onto. what about a supplemental nursing system? if she would latch on in any way you could use that to feed her more and encourage sucking that way. anyways, just some tips from someone who has BTDT. :)

hannah - i broke down and got some capri pants. i couldn't go full shorts just yet. they just aren't me!

Salty Star said...

Beautiful story! I've always loved your photos on top. I was one led to your blog by Olive's birth video. I'm glad you shared your story...very touching. Mothers have such strength and determination when it comes to our babies and what we feel so passionate about! Oh and on the shorts. I'm right there with you. We're in Dayton area and I haven't worn my shorts outside yet. Capris get rolled up to my knees at times, though, lol. I wear shorts for bathing suit bottoms!

Melissa said...

I love the photo! It is the one thing I feel sad in my heart that I missed with my girls. They were both adopted from China and I even did the protocal to adoptive breast feed but it didn't work out. I think if they were newborns it would have been feasible. They still got lots of skin on skin and lived in the sling the first 8 months they were with us:)

kasandora said...

we have been to 5 lactation consultants, LLL, and tried nipple shields, etc...I am going to continue pumping to feed for as long as my milk will hold out...I havent tried the nursing system because the ones they have here require the use of tape...and I am allergic to med tape...but thanks for the advice and encouragement!

underneaththeolivetree said...

Wow, Jenny, you are a perfect example of what being a mother is all about, kudos to you girl

Anonymous said...

You are in no way modest. You are far from modest, in fact. You put yourself on a pedestal and by you praising your own modesty and labelling yourself as modest… I think that just proves you’re not.
Sadly people suck up to you for some reason.

jenny mae. said...

perhaps you are confusing the word modest with humility. i am talking about modesty - meaning a conservative way of dressing, acting, etc. one isn't bragging when they claim that they are modest, simply stating a fact about how i dress. & if if my oh so flamboyant display of showmanship annoys you so much it might be best you discontinue subscribing to this blog perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Sister- modesty is a good thing. It is also a simple thing. Finding strength in our simplicities is always a path to seeing the greater picture in our lives, and I for one can attest that you are modest; mostly because you haven't always been so. Your attitude and inner fortitude are reinforced by your attention to small things that you put at the bottom of the list when you were younger. Our journeys are our own, but if you want to rejoice in your modesty, that is a small dance you are entitled to. Some of us know your story from beginning till present, and we are proud of you- But please reconsider the shorts :)
Love you kiddo- Bubby

jenny mae. said...

am i writing and it's coming off like im trying to say im humble? because im trying to say that i am modest in the sense that i don't like my body to be exposed.

and shorts - i just can't seem to do it!! they just aren't me, even on the sweatiest of days or activities. i ride my bike and garden in jeans! im such a dork

i love my brother(s)

erin fry said...

i, too, don't wear shorts. i never wore them even when i lived in the sweathole of louisiana. i'm a jeans girl.