When I first found out I was pregnant I was told, “Have a birthing plan and stay firm on it.” Life though, had other plans for me and the birth of my son. I was 40 weeks pregnant when I got induced. Knowing I could be in labor for days, I made my birthing pan more flexible and idealistic to my situation. I was given pitocin and at 3 am, my water broke. I called the nurse and she came 30 minutes later to clean me up but gave me no medicine. My contractions came stronger and stronger. At 6 am received an epidural, not once but twice because the anesthesiologist couldn’t find the exact spot the first time. I was fine with everything up to this point. This was life’s plan for the birth of my son and I was anxious just to hold him. At 10 am I was in and out of sleep, running a fever and the nurse couldn’t see my contractions. I was dilating slowly and the doctor made the call to stop the epidural and let it wear off.
After three big pushes and the most beautiful pain I have ever experienced, at 4:41 pm on March 25th, 2016 my son Noah was born. Tears overflowed in the room, and there was cheering. They laid him on my chest but he didn’t cry. At first I thought, “Such a quiet baby.” Before I could kiss him, the immediately removed him from my chest and took him to the other side of the room. As the doctor and my nurses took care of me, I looked over and saw a team of nurses working on my son. I kept yelling out for answers and finally they told me Noah isn’t breathing correctly. I have never cried so hard in my life. I begged his father to not leave him and pleaded with the team to help my baby.
Once I was settled in the postpartum section of the Labor and Delivery, the doctor and nurses informed me that Noah had four pneamothoraxes and sepsis. They were going to transfer for him to a hospital with a NICU. I cried all night, calling his father every hour throughout the night for updates. A nurse came in and told me I needed to start pumping for my son. That’s what I did. I pumped for the first time and got 2 ounces of breast milk, or as I like to call it, “liquid gold.” The nurses were amazed and encouraged me to keep pumping.
The next day I was released and I headed over to the hospital where he was at. Since we were far from home we were fortunate enough to be able to stay across the street at The Ronald McDonald House. I set up feeding times with the nurses, in which I would walk across the street to breastfeed Noah. I made it clear that I wanted to breastfeed once I handed my milk over to them. They agreed and that was the plan. In between feedings I would pump and hand it over to them. The plan horribly failed. A nurse decided to give him two bottles before I had arrived for his first feeding. He stared at my breast and would turn his head. They all chucked it up to, “He will come around.” After 4 lactation nurses and 7 days in the NICU, he was cleared to go home and I was assured all my attempts to breastfeed will be easier once I get home.
It wasn’t. I cried each time I had to whip my breast out and he pushed his head away screaming. I was Pumping in between , so thankfully he had a bottle of breast milk . One day, after a couple of months, I woke up from a whole night of trying to breastfeed him (which again, always ended up with me having to give him a bottle of my breast milk) and decided I wasn’t going to force him to breastfeed anymore. Pump to bottle it was. Relentlessly, I pumped and fed him through a bottle. Best decision for us…EVER!!
Then came the comments, “Keep trying! Breast is best!” I would smile but I would still feel bad that I couldn’t breastfeed. It was a guilt I lived with for a few months. Up until recently I realized, “My kid has never starved.” Now he is almost 10 months, and has been formula fed for going in 6 months. I no longer feel guilty. I feel beyond happy that my son is fed, that he is happy and healthy as can be.”
If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself.
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So I say this to you: Do what’s best for you and your child. In the end, as long as they are happy and healthy, you have done an excellent job as a mother. When Plan “A” fails, it’s okay! There’s the whole alphabet to go through and figure out what’s working for you. Keep on keeping on mom!