Saturday, May 26, 2007


Today is my 35th birthday. I squeaked in under the wire, pregnancy-label-wise. For my 30th birthday, two friends and I had a four-day series of events in San Francisco, where much was drunk, and so was I. Now, I sit typing one-handed after the worst, most stressful night's sleep I have had in ages.

So, like, Friday had been going okay. We went to see the lactation consultant at the hospital, and she pronounced that we were feeding well and also taught me the football hold. After a couple more successful feedings, we dared to go out, by which I mean we went to the house of some friends with a six-week-old. I am totally fixated on the experiences of people who are just ahead of us. I pepper them with questions about when things get easier or funner or whatever. And we had a great time with them.

Except that during the course of the two hours we were there, I noticed that my left boob was starting to feel rather full and somewhat hard. By the time we left, both boobs were pretty full. Simple engorgement, I thought - the result of all that pumping. But when we got home, I realized that the left was pretty lumpy as well, which made me think plugged duct. And our little refused to latch to either.

Thus began a panicked night of attempted and failed nursing, supplementing with all my stored milk and even some formula, lots of Googling and OBGYN on-call resident calling, pumping, and no more than two hours of sleep total. You just don't want to develop issues on the first night of a holiday weekend, you know? I had visions of formula taking over and my being the rare abject breastfeeding failure.

By morning, the plug seemed to be gone, though engorgement remained. I called the on-duty lactation consultant at the hospital today, and she thought it was just engorgement and recommended icing the area, which did help. And started latching again. And I finally slept a tiny amount.

We had our latest pediatrician appointment in the late morning, and the good news was that our little guy had gained almost 1.5 oz a day since Weds. He is now over 8 lbs again. We go back on Tuesday, the first appointment I'll go to that my husband won't go to, since he'll be back at work (terribly, terribly frightening). But the good news is hard to read still - does this constitute a real trajectory? When can I cut back, at least on the pumping? It's kind of like knowing you're losing weight by running marathons every day, but couldn't you, like, run 15 miles instead and lose weight and still have time to read Us magazine and shower? Hard to say at this point.

Today, I fed at the merest show of hunger - mostly selfishly to keep my boobs emptied. I also pumped really often, though I cut back the minutes per pump slightly, since I think most of the milk is out by then. We'll see if it works. I built back up my pumped supply a bit so we are off formula for now. I have decided I will live, though, if we have to do a little formula supplementation. I determined this as I was crying in the pediatrician's office waiting room and it occurred to me that, hey, it wasn't as if would starve to death, which is how I've been acting.

Anyway, I am off to pump. Happy birthday to me, and happy 13th day to When I was a little girl, I thought I'd be long married and long have had my two kids by now. Better late than never, especially when he is so cute! My mom has made us cupcakes. I think that'll be the extent of my celebration, which is fine by me.
Pictured below is our living room, which is now in total disarray. We aren't that organized to begin with, but this is a bit nuts.


Mary Ellen and Steve said...

Happy Birthday!!

My Reality said...

Happy Birthday!

Jane said...

That's totally what our living room looked like for the first month after the twins were born.

I'm so sorry about the breastfeeding trials and lack of sleep. But so glad to hear that your hard work is paying off and the little man is gaining well. It WILL get so much easier. You won't have to pump so much, the engorgement won't happen, nursing sessions will be quicker, etc. etc.

I just emailed you (prior to reading this post) and what I basically said was that at 6-7 weeks, just like everyone says, suddenly it was all just clicking.

Hang in there. The stuff down the road -- smiles and cooing and babbling and nuzzling -- are so, so worth it. I swear.

Oh yeah: and Happy birthday!

PJKM said...

Happy birthday - I wish I was closer (ie in the country) so I could come help. Though probably that would consist of me reading US aloud to you or baking fattening cookies rather than something more practical. We can't wait to see you and

Hopeful Mother said...

Happy belated birthday! I hope hubby's transition back to work has gone OK for you!