Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My first F minus

I was sortof a good student. Like I took geek classes and got what I thought were good grades (except in AP Calculus my Jr. Year. I was busy rebelling and getting a B- one term). School wasn't hard for me, and I liked to learn things, and I happen to think that it's partly because I'm a reasonably intelligent person.

But the older I get the harder things are.
The more I learn people can do, the more I realize I can't.
As I find more opportunities to try new things, I find more things that just don't come naturally.
Maybe this is natural, or maybe it's me getting a much needed lesson in humility.

Either way it hurts.

Today I think I got my very first failing grade and my heart hurts.

Thomas was 6 pounds 14 ounces when he was born. I did a good job at getting him here (nurses I've never met hear my name in the hall at the hospital and say "you're the one who pushed him out so fast huh?"

I did a good job getting the epidural.

I did a good job of having the worlds most adorable baby (half those genes are mine! I'm taking credit for half of his perfection).

I started healing "beautifully" according to Dr. Man's creepy associate to released me from the hospital.

I followed the directions.

I stayed off drugs as much as possible (because really, who wants to be drugged for the first days of their baby's life?).

But when we left the hospital, I stopped being good at everything. That was OK because I had Josh on my team and he's a natural.

Thomas loves Josh more than anyone in the whole wide world (for which I am truly grateful). Josh is the one who can get him to calm down when he's screaming in the middle of the night. Josh is the one who is brave enough to clip his fingernails. Josh is the one who can change his tar diaper when he's half asleep and has one hand tied behind his back. Josh is the one who isn't scared of dressing him. Josh is the perfect daddy and I love him for it. He's also the perfect husband catering to my every need, cleaning the house, taking care of details, running errands, and generally making sure that baby and I have the things we need to recover.

Unfortunately I can't turn over the feeding of our baby to Josh. I'm sure he would excel at it. Not me though.

For the first few days we had a really tough time getting Thomas to latch on. He'd scream and scream and flail his arms and kick and scream and pull back and scream. And then somehow he'd latch on just fine and eat for 30 minutes. But he never wanted to eat. I had to wake him up every 4 hours and force feed him. (Except at night when he'd wake up but refuse to eat.)

Monday evening my milk "came in" and I thought things would be much better.

Tuesday went really well, I fed Thomas a lot of times. He was looking for food more often rather than me smashing his face into my boob and begging him to suck. He latched on easier and sucked more naturally.

Today the Dr. wanted to see him again just to make sure the jaundice level went down. It did (thank goodness). But so did his weight.

He's down to 6 pounds now, which means he's lost too much and we have to go back again tomorrow to see if he's gained anything.

We headed to the lactation consultant right after the appointment because I had made the appointment back when he wasn't eating much at all.

He latched on right away, but got bored/tired of eating after only 5 minutes. Lactation Lady pulled him off and  discovered that my milk was gone. I just don't have enough of it to feed him. Turns out he's been starving since the day he was born. I've been starving my baby for 5 days and didn't know it. Why? Because he's still a good kind happy beautiful baby. No thanks to me.

We talked about things to do, and left with a borrowed hospital pump, a list of herbs to get, and tears welling up in my eyes. Apparently it's pretty common when you have fertility problems to have milk supply problems.

I cried the whole way home.

We came in the house and I picked up Thomas went to bed and cried some more.

I told him I'm sorry, I'm trying. I wish I was better, I wish I had more. I didn't know he was so hungry. I didn't know I wasn't giving him enough. I haven't put him down since we got home. I sortof hope I never have to put him down again. Because maybe if I hold him and touch him and love him all day every day it will make up for  the fact that I can't give him what he really needs.

I feel like I was just given a failing grade. The Pediatrician was disappointed in his weight loss, Lactation Lady was disappointed in my milk supply and probably in my ability to tell what my child needs. She also said that my breasts weren't "as firm as we like to see by now". Rude. I bet her breasts aren't so firm either....but at least I had the decency not to mention it. Lactation Lady and Pediatrician were very kind and optimistic, but the bottom line is that I'm not doing a good job at the only thing I'm responsible for. Feeding him.

When we couldn't have babies and my heart was breaking every single time we weren't pregnant (which was a lot of times) I felt like a complete failure. I felt like I had let Josh down and I was holding him back because the man was born to be a daddy and I was stopping him from having that. Here was the man I love more than anybody in the world and I couldn't give him the things he needed.

Now I feel like I'm letting Tommy down. This child is perfect in every way. He came to me complete and whole. He came with 100% working parts. He came brand new and in perfect condition. After 5 short days in my care he's broken. Dehydrated, tired, starving, but still doing everything he can to be the perfect child.

Once again I'm holding back one of the men I love most in the whole wide world. He can't grow and develop and become because of me. Because I'm broken. Because something I'm doing is wrong.

With any luck at all, I'll spend at least 22 of the next 24 hours feeding and pumping and pumping and feeding and not doing anything else. Except crying. Clearly my body has no trouble creating tears. Why can't that energy be used creating milk?


  1. I think one of the hardest things that comes with motherhood (and I'm not much more experienced than you) is guilt. I think we expect ourselves to instinctively know what to do and to understand our children and we take it so personally when we don't. You've never been a mother before. You can't possibly know everything! My baby had a horrible time learning to nurse! I certainly wouldn't have known if I wasn't producing milk. I was having a hard enough time just getting her to latch on and then stay awake longer than 2 minutes. Give yourself some credit. Being a mom is hard! (I'm Josh's cousin, by the way)

  2. Oh sweetie, my heart is breaking for you. I completely understand how you feel. Lola wouldn't eat the day we came home from the hospital, so I had to give her formula and I felt like the worst mom in the entire world. But things got better. Babies figure things out, Mamas figure things out, and everything will be just fine. I give you an A+++.

  3. Oh Amy! Please don't cry...those are the "you just had a baby" hormones talking. Take a big deep breath. Now. Guess What. (And don't be shocked, okay?) I hate breast feeding. Really, I hate it. So, my babies had bottles. The formula "now days" is great. My girls are healthy and happy and I don't feel guilty that I didn't feed them with my boob. So, keep trying the breast feeding thing. Do your best. But don't be so hard on your self, and remember that it's not the only option. It's okay to give him a bottle, if you want. (Hopefully this didn't sound to preachy.) You're doing great! He's very cute! AND Josh is a good hubby!

  4. Oh, Amy! Guess what people don't tell you or talk about when you're pregnant? Nursing is HARD HARD HARD! And I think more often than not it is a big struggle to get into a good nursing groove. In all the books you are led to believe that nursing is a natural, easy thing to do. That is false advertising! It took me 6 weeks to get things going really well with my first baby.
    Keep trying! Hang in there! And at the end of the day if things don't turn out as you hope, don't be too hard on yourself! You are a great mommy, and baby Thomas will be just fine no matter how he gets his food.

  5. Hold the phone!! First of all all babies lose weight my kids were being force fed with tubes and getting injections of lipids (pure fat) and being cared for in the hospital and still lost weight. Also there's a reason we call lactation consultants the breast-feeding nazi's. They always hurt people's feelings and guess what? I found out two of mine hadn't even had any children. Next I don't know a single person that has had a positive experience the first week of breast feeding ever!! Most people say it takes 4 weeks. And finally you don't get to choose what your body does so try to not feel guilty. I ended up doing formula because I couldn't make enough for one let alone two and some people said stupid insensitive things (especially the lactation nazi's) but my kids are fine and it was the healthy thing for all of us so don't you let them push you around!!

    Everybody feels this way I promise!!! Get a blessing.

  6. Oh, Amy, Amy, Amy...first thing first...don't stress!! The more you stress the harder it is to nurse. Be patient with yourself, you're doing AWESOME! I agree with Sara, it's OK not to nurse. You don't have're not a bad mom if you don't. You're NOT a failure!!! I didn't nurse Brianna, Caleb only lasted 6 months, and Annabelle only lasted 4. It's OK! You're an AWESOME mom, you have a beautiful baby boy. Enjoy being with him and DON'T stress!!!

    If you don't want to let him go and you want to hold him all the time, get a Moby wrap and try the whole skin on skin thing, they say it helps.
    It can't hurt, right?

    Love you, girl! You're doing GREAT! Your son and hubby love you. Remember that. :)

  7. oh Amy...ur still completely amazing! Being a mom is so hard! And I actually know how you feel on this one. Braedyn was a huge baby, and wouldn't latch on. He refused to feed because I just wasn't producing enough for his large body. Or at least, I blamed the lack of milk on him being so big and needing so much. Then came Brock, a much smaller baby (6 lbs 15 oz). I though for sure I would be good for him. Nope, I starved him for 5 days without knowing it, cuz he was such a good baby. I had to do the herb thing and it didn't work for me, so I ended up having to go to formula. I felt like a complete failure for him, and it was exhausting. Fortunately, I found out formula is so good for the baby's these days (particularly Nestle Good Start). Obviously it doesn't give you the snuggle skin to skin feeling, but my doc said it has the same nutrients as breast milk and even a few that they can't get with breast milk that a lot of breastfed babies have to take tablets for. That made me feel a little better. Plus, it really is nice, when ur completely exhausted, to have daddy take a turn feeding baby. Anyway, don't feel like a failure. For some reason the most AMAZING women I know don't produce enough milk. I guess the good Lord had to give even the perfect ones something that wasn't so perfect. Hang in there, I'm here for you. If you ever wanna talk, please give me a call, day or night, we can swap stories if you want ;)

  8. I love your friends...they leave such good comments! It's true...nursing sucks! I had a horrible experience with my second. I ended up doing this supplemental feeding thing where I had a tube taped to my boob so the baby was "stimulating" my milk production but was actually drinking formula. It sucked! I gave up after five weeks. Some babies are great nursers, but some aren't. You just have to find what works for you and yours. And it takes time for your milk production to sync up with baby's hang in there!

  9. What everyone else has said is true. Don't feel bad! It's something you can't control. But if breastfeeding is something you want to do, don't give up! I didn't have much milk with Noah and he quit after 6 months. But the whole time he nursed I was also giving him formula. (In fact I recommend it- that way you don't always have to breastfeed him EVERYWHERE). Please don't be so hard on yourself. You have a wonderful husband and a GORGEOUS baby! I agree with the other person who commented that you should get a blessing. They do wonders!

    It will all work out! I promise.

    ps- I LOVE that you are calling your sweet baby Tommy!

  10. With both of my kids I wanted so badly to nurse. I didn't have enough milk and I cried many days(and nights). I said the same words to my husband, I told him I was a failure and that this was what my body was supposed to do. I took all the herbs, I pumped, I followed all the instructions given me and in the end nothing really worked. I went months feeling like I couldn't give my daughter what she needed. I tried to nurse about 2 weeks with my daughter and almost 2 months with my son, but I had to use a lot of formula too. After many prayers I think I finally heard what he was trying to tell me. After talking to doctors, I didn't know if I would ever have children, and my body made 2 perfect beautiful children, whether I could nurse them, or not, my body didn't fail me. I finally realized it was okay, I had done everything I could. Hopefully, everything works out for you, but if not, know you are not alone. Thomas has you for a mother, so either way he is extremely lucky.

  11. Hunni... (I know how to say it!)

    I just checked in to see how the day had gone. Hooray for jaundice not being a problem!

    When I was finishing college I had a professor who debated for 15 minutes with all of the class. His point was that you should always breast feed. He won the debate hands-down. Then suddenly he turned on us, and argued for bottle feeding. He won that debate, too. I know I've told you that breast feeding is wonderful--and it is. But so is bottle feeding, and I know this because I had to bottle feed one of our children because I was starving him!

    So cry, my friend, because that's a completely normal thing to do right after you've had a baby. And then take the advice that a good, dear friend gave to me, and "be grateful that there's a way they can fix it." If breast feeding works, great. If it doesn't, it's great that we live in these modern times when they can give us pills to help us get pregnant and drugs to help us to smile through a day and bottles and formula to give our perfect, beautiful babies!

  12. Amy,

    I don't have any good advice because I have not had children, so the whole nursing thing is completely foreign to me. I know about drugs that help, and the data behind them. And what you really need is comfort...not knowledge. To me it sounds like you have finally brought a wonderful child of our Heavenly Father into the world, and you and your husband will make wonderful parents raising Thomas in righteousness. Satan knows that, and I'm sure will stop it nothing to make you feel like a failure. You have already accomplished bringing him here. Now remember that you are a child of your Heavenly Father who loves you and couldn't be more proud of his daughter. He's right there crying with you wishing he could break through the veil to comfort you and tell you what a fine job you are doing. I know it will all work out. You're too wonderful to not have it work out. And, my other doctor worthy advice, is that the evidence behind breastfeeding is good, but formula works just as well, and kids are fine and dandy. Get on your knees, and I agree about the blessing! GOOD LUCK GIRL! I'm rooting for ya!

  13. I didn't read ALL of the long comments so maybe this was covered. Nursing IS hard but worth it. I think my kids have been so healthy because I stuck it out. I worked 45 hours a week with Keaton and pumped but never got more then 3 oz out. I stuck to it for a year, thanks to support from La Leche league (look online for a local # (all free)). With Savannah all that works is drinking about 150oz of water a day, I drink ALL the time. Don't give up. You can do it. It gets easier. Feel free to call me if you need support (Dana Willis has my #). You will get through babies are HARD!
    Kira P.

  14. It took Rachel and I three months to get nursing down. Three months!

    I had inverted nipples. Blood, puss, pain, and a WHOLE LOTTA MILK. I could have fed half of Africa, I swear. I got mastitis all the time. All. The. Time.

    There are problems everywhere. :)

    But if it's what you want to do and you stick with it, it will work way or another. :)

    I'm not your visiting teacher or anything, but...this month's message was about nurturing the next generation.

    "...[B]e patient, be patient. You have not failed as long as you have tried."

    --Pres. Hinckley.

    So there, see? A prophet says that you aren't failing. Motherhood is just hard, that's all.

    But it's a lot of fun, too!

  15. Amy...Just want you to know I love you and that you and Thomas are in my prayers. You are wonderful...hang in there. Hugs and kisses!

  16. Your friends have given you some great advice and reassurance. Let me give you a grandma perspective. Your post reminds me of two things: a song called "Broken" by Kenneth Cope and a poem by David Ray called "Thanks, Robert Frost."

    The perfection of a newborn is so overwhelming, and when we experience that first realization that we will never be equal to the task of mothering, we must remember that we are nothing without the Savior. Whether you can breastfeed Thomas or not, your offering of motherhood, however human it might be, is enough. Our Savior makes up the rest over and over and over. Let yourself enjoy this remarkable time. Besides, if parents were graded on the curve you and Josh would be really messing up all those average parents' grades out there.

  17. Ummmm, I don't think someone who rocks at pushing can get an F. PS, I am glad that you are still blogging consistently even with Tommy here now. Yay!

  18. Amy, I know how you feel. I ran into the same issue at 8 weeks. My baby is now 4 months old and has more than doubled his birth weight. No one tells you how difficult breast feeding is. It's like this giant secret, or a code of silence. You quickly learn that it's difficult for both moms and babies. It's a far cry from that scene in The Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields! There's no such thing as a perfect mom, as much as we all strive to be that. But we can be great moms by trying our best, showing love and being resourceful and resilient. Sounds to me like you're doing it all...hang in there!

  19. Oh my dear Amy! You couldn't know everything - I'm sure I'd be right there with you in not knowing what the problem was. I know LOADS of girls who have lactation problems so, although it makes you feel bad, don't. Your little boy will forgive ya :D

    And you are so NOT broken my friend. So many girls are in your boat and I swear I know half of them. Lots and lots of girls have problems getting prego and feel totally overwhelmed as a new mother. I'm going to go stark-raving mad! So please don't fall apart and be there for me when it happens :D

    You're fantastic so just remember that!

  20. Dont be so hard on yourself! Some women do not even get breast milk in at all after they give birth, at least you have some! So what if you may have to add in some bottle, that does not make you any less a good mother

  21. I just thought I should share that I had to turn to formula with both of my little girls, very early on in their lives. They have been no sicker than their friends that have been BF. They have no allergies (that we've found) and are pretty dang smart kids. I don't think what they were fed played into any of that... just genetics.

    I am still very pro BF, and will try again with each new baby I have... but if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out.

    I just thought I would let you know you're not alone in the failing BF part of life... but it doesn't make us less of a good mom to our kids.

  22. HOLY SMOKES... You have so many people that love you! I am like the 23rd person to respond to your post. Can I be selfish and Jealous for a second at all these people that love you... OK, I'm done.

    Amy... I have zip, zilch, zero (and any other word that might start with z) experience in this, but... Maybe try putting him in my levi's and onesie I gave him. LOL-Just joking, but I hope you at least laughed at that. I do know, that I agree with Aundrea the great, it's okay to cry. It's okay to "feel" the feelings you feel. I have perfect faith that you are the bestest ever Mom that baby tommy could have ever been given. That's why he was given to you because you are the perfect Mom for him. PERFECT, Non-failing, A+++ Mom he can have. So what if the breast feeding isn't working, it is going to work out. The Lord is going to help you. He will. Shoot... I think he just loves being in your arms and in your presence. Anyway... I really just wanted to make you smile and/or laugh, tell you I miss you, and that I love your stinking guts!!!!! You are in my prayers!

  23. One of the things that is so wonderful about babies is that they love you NO MATTER WHAT. Accidentally smack your baby in the head? Sure they will cry and you will feel horrible, but in a few moments they will be fine and you will hug them and guess what? They won't remember it!

    My point, other than making myself look like a horrible mother, is that you will get through this. Really, you will!

    You will figure out what is best for you and Thomas and Josh. Then you will do it, and you will again be recieving A+'s in your own mind (because really, that's the only judge we moms have, our own guilt).

    Good luck, and a hearty welcome to Motherhood!

  24. Ahhh, such good advice! It's so nice to know that we are not alone. :)
    I too had problems those first weeks are rough! Our first night home from the hospital Hallie screamed the [WHOLE] night, yes non-stop. Next day the doctor told me I was starving her...she lost an entire pound in 3 days. My milk didn't come in until she was 6 days old! I too did the supplemental feeding like was such a nightmare! I wanted to give up so bad, it was SO HARD, but then one day we both just figured it out...I was able to nurse her for almost 9 months.

    Oh and about being broken...I still feel like that everyday, it seems as if I'm wandering around secretly held together by Elmer's glue, stickers and soggy fruit snacks. You are doing beautifully!

    He didn't say it would be easy...only that it would be worth it...

    He loves you no matter what! Booby or bottle, it makes no difference! :)

  25. So obviously I've never had a baby, and obviously I don't know what I'm talking about...but the advice from the people above was great for me. You're blog made me cry for're so not a failure Fugal. You haven't been a failure in anything you've ever done. I just wanted you to know I ditto what everyone else just said and I love you and if you need anything let me know!

  26. Amy, I know everyone has said it all before - - - but look at how many people are supporting you and are giving you advice and are empathizing with you. I don't have any kiddos, but through experience with my sisters and BFF - it is HARD. So, so, so hard. It seems to be hardest in the newborn stage and then add in the baby blues (which are totally hormonally normal) to it and WHOA NELLY - it is CRAZY HARD! You guys are wonderful parents and this is not a failure. It's just a bump in the road - one of many that you and Josh will pull through and make you better parents and people!

    Official Grade: A++++++++++

  27. YOu are an amazing mom!!! Don't ever tell yourself different... Thomas is so lucky to have you! I remember crying 24 hours a day the first week home- your hormones are CRAZY and you don't know what to do with this perfect angel..... It gets better I Promise- I had a low supply, and supplemented beckham with formula from the day he was born! I'd nurse him, and then give him a couple ounces of formula. I dont think ANYONE has had a perfect experience with nursing! You're doing great and giving him tons of love- which is what he needs!


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