Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Every Little Bit Helps

I'm working on my son's birth story, I'll be getting it up soon, just haven't had the time or energy to do so.  Nah, I've been busy visiting with my son in the NICU and with pumping.  I'm proud of my boobs today!  It's very encouraging when they actually start to do what they were meant to do!  Took me three days with Lycan to get breast milk, took me three days this time, too.  And I'm yielding a lot more, too!  I'm very very happy with the results.  Exhausted, but happy.  I'm just making sure that I'm eating right, drinking plenty of fluids, pumping regularly, and eating/drinking foods/drinks that promote lactation.

With Lycan, I just didn't have help or the knowledge.  I was expecting it to be instinctual and natural, I never realized how difficult it could be.  It was discouraging.  I tried and tried, but eventually just gave up.  The milk dried up, too.  This time, things are different.  I'm more educated on it.  I have friends who're breast feeding now, who have tips, tricks, and recipes for better lactation.  And it really helped me to know that "every little bit helps" concerning my late term baby.  Even if all you get are droplets!  It's extremely encouraging and driving.  Now I'm producing more than colostrum and droplets.  I've got breast milk and am steadily yielding more and more.

I mean, after a disappointing night last night, this morning when I woke up with heavy, swollen boobs, I knew I had to have something in em.  And boy, did I!  I was so proud of my girls.  They're sore, but it's a good sore.

We visited Vincent today in the NICU.  Today he was being treated for jaundice and so was under bili-lights (blue phototherapy lights which make it go away).  I'm no stranger to that!  I had jaundice nearly a year ago when my gall bladder decided to be a bitch and I had it removed.

While he was treated for that, I read up on the NICU and dealing with the emotions that come with having a baby in that ward.  I sat by his bedside and read away.  Tearing up at certain words, wiping them away, looking to my son, laying their on his belly.  Unable to touch him.  Especially when he would start to cry.  It's hard.  It sucks.  But it's what's best for him.  I have full faith in the NICU staff.  It just going to take time.  Before I know it, I'll be able to reach out and comfort my baby boy when he wakes up from a nightmare or just general discomfort.  Right now, it's tough.

But just being there, even if I'm not able to hold or to touch him, is extremely helpful for both of us.  Just being there is important.  Even just hearing him crying stimulates milk production and healing.

Today I did get to help out the RN by holding his binkie for him.  There's nothing more powerful than caressing your baby and soothing him, and have him open up his eyes and look at you for the first time.  It was....words can't describe it.  He opened his eyes to my touch and just looked at me.

When he's ready, my favorite activity to do with him is kangarooing, or skin-to-skin contact.  It's his favorite, too.  Today we were able to kangaroo for two hours!  I can still feel him nestled against my chest!  He had just eaten (my breast milk, mind you) and was just laying there, so content.  When they were moving him, he shrieked and cried, he sounded like a sea gull, he was so angry!  As soon as he touched my skin--like yesterday--he immediately calmed down.  He was home again.  It was something we were both waiting for.  He nestled in and fell asleep.  I just held him, caressed his little arm, gently patted his butt, and gave him a kiss from mommy for the first time (hubby got gave him his first kiss).  We were both super relaxed and blissful.

Later, when it was time for his feeding, it was hard to watch the nurse take him.  He wasn't very happy about it either, but he calmed down quicker than yesterday when our session ended.  Gonna go and visit with him tomorrow.

But that skin-to-skin contact is the best for bonding and healing for both mother and child.  It physically and mentally heals you, and it bonds you, too.  It's incredibly powerful.  I wasn't able to kangaroo as much with Lycan because he always kept rooting whenever he was on my chest.  He could sense the milk and just couldn't relax on me.

Vincent roots a little bit, too, and it is great, because it does stimulate milk production.  However, he calms down and doesn't just focus on finding the gold!  He just relaxes and listens to my heartbeat and feels the warmth of my skin.  He remembers that touch.  The sound of my voice, heart, and breathing.  Knows my scent.  It's so primal and natural.  It's just beautiful.

As much as my husband wants to hold him, he'd rather it be me who's kangaroos, because he remembers how discouraged I was with Lycan.  Now we're having amazing results.  He can see that it's benefiting more for me and Vin to kangaroo than for him.  Although I'm I still want him to do it at least once.  Especially before anyone else holds him.  It's important for them to bond, as well.

2 comments:

  1. I know where you're coming from to a small extent. When my son was born in '02, he was full term, but under the bili-lights. I was breastfeeding at the time, but one of the nurses pissed me off by feeding him formula. Grrr... But of course I got to hold him, feed him, etc.

    A preemie is so very different, so I can't understand completely what it's like to sit there and not be able to hold him. But I'm glad Vincent is doing so well! Kangarooing is great. Heck, I still do it with my daughter, and she's 1 now, just like Lycan. ;)

    Every child is different. My son was great at breastfeeding and it really clicked with us in the first 5 days. My daughter was kind of a pain the ass about it and it took a month for her to settle down and latch well the first time, etc. Perseverance is absolutely vital - keep at it. You're doing a great job!

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  2. Thanks! Every little bit does help, especially the encouragement that I'm receiving. Didn't really get that the first time, just mainly unhelpful advice from family and "you're not trying hard enough!" comments. I walked in there today with lots of momma juice! As long as I keep on producing like I am, he won't need the formula addition. I watched yesterday when they mixed it, it didn't seem to agree with him too well. Between momma juice and kangarooing, I'd say Vin's well on his way to a quick healing and development. They've taken him off of the IV, his jaundice is gone, and they're doubling his feeding intake at 5 am. It's exciting to see him maturing. We're celebrating when his breathing mask is gone.

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