I learned the hard way with my second that there are in fact women who cannot nurse no matter what they do or how badly they want to. I am one of these women. I don’t remember when I gave in with my first but I remember it being fairly early on, the truth is I was so far gone with postpartum depression with my first that I’m not sure a nursing relationship would have been the magical thing I had pictured in my head anyway. My husband worked graveyards and attended school full time in the day, add PPD into the mix? I was a wreck. Secondary infertility aside, it was the fear of postpartum depression that crippled me more than anything else in regards to adding to our family.
WIth my second pregnancy I read every book I could about nursing. I talked to anyone who would listen about nursing. I even had an end goal in mind when it came to nursing. I would be taking my new baby on a trip to California with me and I knew that if I was able to nurse her I wouldn’t have to worry about much other than diapers. I liked the idea of being able to run out the door with just a diaper clutch because I had everything else I needed to nourish my baby attached to my chest.
Everything seemed to go well in the hospital, she nursed like a champ and I felt as though I was doing everything right. We went home and I continued on, waiting for that magical moment I had read about. To feel let down, engorgement, a tingle or to hear my baby gulp. I never felt anything but anxiety that my baby was still crying after marathon nursing sessions.
Every time I pumped I was absolutely sure that THIS! would be the time I would fill the bottles. When a week had passed and everyone in our house was miserable we went in to see a lactation consultant. She did a weight check and found that Vivi was getting less than a tablespoon from both sides after a nursing session. She had me try an SNS (supplemental nursing system) and immediately it felt as though my baby was fixed. She was full. She fell asleep. She wasn’t crying.
With renewed enthusiasm that I could nurse with supplement provided by the SNS, I headed home ready to make these boobs of mine work. I ate oatmeal three times a day. I took fenugreek and smelled of syrup for weeks. I drank enough water to drown a small sea vessel, I nursed, supplemented and pumped on the most impressive schedule you’ve ever seen. I even found a compounding pharmacy that was able to make Domperidone, the holy grail of nursing supplements.
I had tried everything. I had searched every forum, asked every friend and called my CLC until I’m pretty sure she started screening my calls. Nothing had changed. I hadn’t left my house or put a shirt on in 8 weeks. I readied myself for the loss of our breastfeeding relationship.
One morning I was sitting in the rocking chair with my tiny new baby, the sun shining on us. I looked her in the face and apologized that I couldn’t make what she needed. I had done my best and would continue to do my best. Her food was going to be coming from a bottle but all the love in the world would be coming from me.
She gave me a toothless grin and I knew everything would be okay.
It took another three months before I really felt some closure on the whole not being able to nurse thing… and I can say that as of today it doesn’t bother me. I do wish these giant boobs of mine would have worked, but I know I did all I could. I have two happy, healthy and wonderful children and that’s really all that matters.