The day Eve was born I was more physically and emotionally exhausted than I ever had been in my life. After two and a half days of trying to give birth to her, very little sleep, and a surgery I had done everything within my power to avoid, the day Eve came into the world is quite a blur to me now as I look back. After leaving the operating room, I remember waiting what felt like forever while the doctors ran tests and John watched over them. When he finally brought her to me I tried to breastfeed her. She did not latch on but that was okay, I had read that it can take some time and energy to establish breastfeeding. I did what I could while the three of us spent some time together as a family. Once we got set up in the recovery room I rested a bit and then tried breastfeeding again. Eve really was trying desperately but could not figure out what to do. I was not sure if she was getting any breast milk but I kept trying.
The next day, December 30th, Eve's weight was down from her initial birth weight. I was pretty sure Eve was not getting any milk and we started to become concerned. Towards the end of this day, Eve started pulling away when I would offer her the breast. When Eve would finally latch on, she would move her mouth but I did not see or feel any milk or colostrum coming out. That afternoon we talked to our nurse and she said she would ask the lactation consultant to come meet with us in the morning. She also suggested I start using a breast pump so I could establish a milk supply.
The next morning, December 31, the lactation consultant came and when we explained the situation. The consultant gave me no breastfeeding suggestions whatsoever. She just encouraged us to give Eve a bottle of formula. I, however, was not so sure that was the right thing to do. For one, I determined to breastfeed my child and I had read that you should not introduce a bottle until breastfeeding is firmly established.. I had also read that colostrum, the milk produced during the first few days after a baby is born has important immune-boosting properties.
Since I was producing a little bit of colostrum from pumping, we decided to finger-feed her the colostrum I was pumping. Finger-feeding is a technique that allows you to feed a baby without introducing an artificial nipple. It is a tiny tube that you hold on one finger and at the end of the tube is a syringe with the milk or formula. You use the finger on one hand to feed the baby and the other hand to push the milk into the tube and ultimately into the baby's mouth. I was not producing much - maybe 5-10ml a per pump session. It was awkward trying to hold the baby, the tube on one finger in the baby's mouth, and the syringe in the other hand, but I was slowly able to get her to drink a little.
I was so exhausted that evening from pumping, trying to breastfeed, and recover from Eve's delivery that John decided to take Eve out of the room. The hospital Eve was born at has no nursery and babies are required to room-in with their mothers. The problem was that with Eve's feeding challenges, I was not able to get very much sleep. I NEEDED SLEEP so badly. The other rule at the hospital is that if a baby is taken out of his or her room to the main area in the recovery ward, the baby has to be kept inside the bassinet. So John was rolling Eve around in her bassinet for an hour or two but was not able to lift and hold her when she cried. It was a ridiculous situation. Finally, Eve started crying so desperately that our nurse let him go into a vacant recovery room so he could try to feed her. The problem was, neither he or the nurse could get her to eat anything with the finger-feeding contraption. Eventually they came back and woke me up so that I could feed her. Fortunately, that hour or two of rest did wonders for my body and after I pumped I finally started producing a better volume of milk to feed her. We were able to avoid giving her formula and start giving her better quantities of breastmilk.
The next morning, thankfully, Eve had gained weight. She was still not up to her birthweight but it was clear that we were getting her the nourishment she needed. We brought her home that night.
|This was John's first attempt to clothe Eve. He has improved significantly.|
|It is hard to believe she was ever this small! She is bright red because she HATED the car seat and screamed her head off the entire ride home.|
|Eve and Luna meet for the first time.|
|Luna still isn't sure about this new addition to our household.|