Thursday, October 17, 2013

//Adventures in Breastfeeding- Lauren's Story//

I love reading everyone's stories!  They are all so unique, yet universal.  There is something we can all relate to in every story, because let's face it- no matter how big or small, things don't always go as planned with motherhood.  We adapt and go forward and still, our kids are happy and healthy.  Love is the most important ingredient.  I truly believe that.  This week's story takes us to another country.  Read Lauren's story!  She's one amazing Mama!  She blogs at La Vida Hondurena

For me, breastfeeding wasn’t just something I wanted to do, it was something I needed to do. I was living in a third world country, working as a “volunteer” at a local school and getting paid a small stipend for living expenses. My husband was making roughly $150 a month as a mechanic.
As my due date got closer and closer, I couldn’t wait to hold my sweet little girl. To feel the connection between mother and daughter as she nourished herself completely with the absolute perfect food my body created just for her. But, it wasn’t that easy. I was induced at 8 am on August 4th, 2012 at a small private hospital in Guatemala. By noon, I hadn’t made any progress and my blood pressure was skyrocketing as they increased the IV drip. At 2, I was sent to the operating room for an emergency c-section.
Those first 24hours were a complete haze. I let the nurses and my husband bottle feed my precious little girl all she wanted. There were no lactation consultants, no nurses asking me if I wanted to breastfeed, just a knock every so often offering another bottle. The way I was feeling, I was thankful for the help!
I was released the next morning, less than 24 hours after surgery. Once we were back in Honduras my mother asked me if I wanted to try and breastfeed. Crap. With the emotions, lack of sleep, and pain medications I hadn’t even thought of breastfeeding! I had my husband prop me up and bring sweet G over to me. She tried to latch on to my practically non-existent nipple, and threw a fit at the lack of milk! My husband, seeing G so frustrated and hungry, immediately took her away from me to feed her from a bottle. I cried. I felt like such a failure. I could make an infinite list of everything I had done wrong in the first two days and it was all my fault. I knew we didn’t have the resources to formula feed for long, so I pulled out my pump. I pumped between 30 minutes to an hour on each side every 2 or 3 hours for the first month. In an entire day of pumping I would get about 2 ounces. To me, those two ounces were gold. I would proudly make G a “liquid gold” bottle that she’d devour in about a minute and cry that I couldn’t do more.
In Honduras, maternity leave is only 40 days. So on the fortieth day I headed off to work at my new (and higher paying) job! When I arrived home to pump that afternoon, there was nothing. I continued to try for a few days, but I was completely dry. My milk never really came in. I cried again, knowing that my fight was over. G was officially a formula baby, and I had to accept it. Funny enough, the only time I felt bad about it was in public! It is such a normal and respected practice to breastfeed in Central America that I felt ashamed when she was hungry and I pulled out all the “tools” to make a bottle, watching as moms around me just slid out their breast and continued what they were doing.
As the time passed, I began to enjoy the freedom of G being a formula baby. My husband could share the late night feedings with me. My mom could watch her for a few hours while I napped and not have to worry about her feeding times. I didn’t have to worry about eating the right things to give her the ultimate nutrition, or trying to avoid foods that made her gassy or upset her little tummy.
Today, G only takes a nighttime bottle, and she likes to drink it by herself in her crib. Those cherished moments of holding her in my arms, watching her smile and drool as she happily filled her tummy with milk are over. The wake-ups in the middle of the night trying to measure powder in the dark are long gone. In spite of what I considered failure, today I have a beautiful toddler who is happy and healthy and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world!

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