I'm sorry for the vague title, but I just don't even know where to begin.
LO is 8 weeks old tomorrow. She was a normal vaginal birth, and 9lbs 9oz. She's my first baby, and I tried desperately for a natural birth but I just couldn't do it: I had nubain first, then the epidural. There was meconium when my water broke so I wasn't able to breastfeed her literally immediately, but she was latched on (poorly) within 20 minutes of her birth. We have had problems breastfeeding from the moment she was born, and I'm about to give up. I'm in constant pain and I'm distraught. I feel like we've exhausted every option.
In the hospital, I fed her round the clock every 2 hours, always with the assistance of nurses. The pain she was causing me was agonising (this is coming from someone who took the epidural, yes, but after 24 hours of labour), so a lot of the time I just fed her drops of colostrum. I thought that it was normal to be in that much pain. Before we even left the hospital, we saw two different lactation consultants. I don't remember what either of them did, but one (I'm going to call her The Breastfeeding Wizard, or TBW) managed to get her to latch without causing me any pain. LO has never been able to do that since.
At her two-week paediatrician appointment, they asked me how breastfeeding was going and I burst into tears. When I told them how much pain I was in (at this point, my nipples were cracked, bruised, and bleeding), they scheduled me an appointment with one of their LCs (LC3). With her, I tried different positions and a nipple shield, and nothing helped. If anything, the nipple shield made it worse. She checked LO for tongue tie and said it was mild but not enough to cause a problem. She brought in another LC (LC4) for a second opinion, and she disagreed: she said it was probably what was causing the problem and we should get it clipped. We got it clipped a week later, and saw absolutely no improvement.
Fastforward to now. We had a consultation for speech therapy and none of their methods (different positions; squeezing LO's cheeks; trying to force her chin down) worked, so they decided we definitely needed the therapy and we started a week later. We've now had two sessions. In the first, they again tried different positions, cheek squeezing, and a nipple shield, to no avail. Positions we've tried along the way include: football hold; clutch hold; side-lying; all 'upright' positions; cradle hold; cross-cradle hold; and some I've just improvised. They tried to get me to support my breast, hold her tongue down with one finger, pull her chin down with another, pull her to my breast AND hold her all in unison: maybe I'm missing something here, but I found that literally impossible to even do. In the second - today - it was much of the same. Again, I cried. I told the therapist that I feel like we've tried everything, and she admitted that we have. She said that all she can think of now is getting an X-ray of LO's head while she's eating (not sure how I feel about that) to figure out what's going on, and she's trying to work with my paediatrician/insurance company so I can see BFW again (we can't afford it out-of-pocket).
Now (sorry, I warned you this was going to be a long post), her suck-swallow-breathe reflex, which had previously been great, is off. She's sucking too much and swallowing too little. She spits up most of what she eats. She cries, kicks, screams and punches when I try to feed her (either bottle or breast, but she's worse at the breast). We're all pretty sure my supply is drying up. I'm renting a hospital-grade pump but I just can't bring myself to use it. I'm SO exhausted and in so much pain, and I hate the pump. I pretty much EP'd for nearly two weeks and they were the most miserable and stressful two weeks of my life. She's also falling asleep at the breast so much that we can go through two hours of "nurse, try to wake, put down for a nap, nurse again because she's screaming" and in that two hours she will maybe spend forty minutes actively nursing.
Throw postpartum depression into all of that, too, and I'm on the edge. My marriage is failing because I do nothing but try to feed her, scream in pain and then cry and stress and obsess. DH and I just had an enormous fight and when he asked if I was even listening to him, I realised that I hadn't taken in a word that he said because even then I was just thinking about this post. I dread feeding her because it never works and it hurts so much. I feel like we've done everything and I should just give up, but I know that if I do that I will never be able to forgive myself.
Please, please help me. Is there ANYTHING else that I can do? Anything?
ETA: diaper output varies. Always enough wet ones, but sometimes she can go a few days without pooping. Weight gain is good: at our last ST appointment, when she was exactly 7 weeks old, she was 11lbs 9oz, a full 2lbs weight gain. Today, just six days later, she's up to 12lbs exactly.