Hi - I'm in tears. I'm not sure what to do, think, feel or anything... I apologize if this note is very lengthy... I need to vent out...
I have given natural birth to two beautiful kids - 1 girl, 1 boy. Until my third, a son, came along, the whole journey has been different, overwhelming and new - emotionally, physically and mentally.
I gave birth to my son on April 18th, 2009 - he was 34 weeks (6 weeks early) and stayed at NICU for 16 days before coming home on May 4th. Water broke - went to the ER - his heartbeats were dipping so had an emergency c-section. Found out later his umibicial cord was in a TIGHT KNOT *and* the cord was wrapped around his neck once. I can't imagine what will happen to my son if the water never broke! We were blessed to have him alive today. He will be 8 weeks this Saturday. His due date was supposed to be May 28. So, if he was born full term, he'd be 2 weeks this Thursday. This is my first premature baby experience.
Also, it was my first c-section experience (I hate it) after giving natural birth to my first two babies. I didn't have the baby with me in the room - he was taken and stayed in NICU. I cried so hard - hit me so hard - that I couldn't bring my boy home when I was discharged. I didn't want to go home. It wasn't "home" until my son was home.
I stayed with him in NICU the whole time until he was discharged. I was fortunate that I was able to stay in my own room on the same NICU floor where my son was at - in his own room. The NICU had private rooms for all premie babies. While I stayed there - I focused on pumping breastmilk. It wasn't coming out at all until like a week after I gave birth. Also, seeing my son as often as I can - be there when to nurse/bottle him. At the same time, resting and recovering from c-section.
My son was born 4lb 15oz. He was healthy except was on feeding tube. At 34 weeks, it was when babies learn how to suck. I come in and try to nurse him before they feed him with formula until my breastmilk came in. He'd suck few times and go to sleep, exhausted. Over time, he'd nibble - rarely suck and swallow. Very few times - he made it. But, most part, nursing wasn't as successful. My expectation with nursing was high and different because of my experience with my first two. It took me a while to change my thinking and increase more patience. It was hard but I adjusted. Later on, I was told that if I want to bring the baby home sooner, do bottle. I went along with their suggestions. I'd nurse first for few minutes or longer if I can, then bottle-feed my breastmilk. After few days of success in bottle feeding, they took out the feeding tube. He gained weight. Added ensure powder to my breastmilk to keep gaining his weight. He went home weighing 5lb 4oz on May 4th. One week later at the doctor's check up, he gained 5 oz. Two weeks later, he gained 6lb 11.5oz. He's doing great with breastmilk (plus ensure powder) through bottle. I kept up with pumping. I try to do it every 4-6 hours. Sometimes go longer to 8-10 hours. Few days after the 2nd doctor check up, Ensure powder ran out and we decided to go with pure breastmilk and hope he is gaining weight. We don't have a weight scale - we plan to buy one tomorrow and hopefully he is gaining weight.
Lately, I've not been consistent with nursing and pumping. Kind of hard with my youngsters around and all things that are happening around at home. Big adjustments for us. My 2nd child age 2 1/2 is a mommy boy - he has hard time adjusting with baby around. It was easier to pump and bottle feed him. I'd try to nurse when I can. Right now, I'm trying to nurse him more but it's so hard. Sometimes I feel like he prefers bottle over my nipples. He seems to suck my nipples like bottle and it hurts like hell. Sometimes he'd suck and swallow for few minutes, then falls asleep tired still. Sometimes he'd just nibble, not sucking/swallowing milk at all. I'm not sure if he can accept/like drinking from my breasts/nipples over bottles? I'm not sure how to have him transfer from bottle to my nipples. I worry if he will suck enough milk from my breasts. He'd suck for like 5 minutes then falls asleep. Sometimes he'd suck/swallow good for 10 minute from ONE breast then falls asleep and doesn't wake up until next feeding in 3-4 hour later. Is it ok to just feed him from one breast for 10 minute? Will that be enough for him? Or must switch breasts - each breasts 10 min feeding?
My breasts feels unhealthy and in pain. I feel constant burning near my nipples and I do feel pins and needles, painful let-downs. I don't remember feeling painful let downs with my first two babies. I breast fed my first two babies for one year. I'm not pumping as much and on regular schedule - it gets tiring for me. I don't feel as full as before... I'm afraid my breastmilk supply will go down? How do I keep up with breastmilk supply? How do I know if I am making enough? What do I do when he goes through growth spurts? This is if he's not nursing on my breasts full time yet... and still bottle-fed?
I'm not sure what I want to do or what I should do. I'd like to nurse him full time like I did with my first two babies. Bottle-feed him when needed. I'm tired of pumping too but I am willing to keep up with it if needed. I feel I do not know enough, what to think, expect, etc with a premature baby that my son is.
Again, I'm sorry this is so long. Thanks for hearing me out. Any of your inputs will be greatly appreciated. I plan to contact one of the consultant nearby maybe tomorrow and take it from there.