Wellington Street

In which we take a stroll down a very strange lane.

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Hospital 3 "The Missing Baby"

“Even now the light of florescent medical bulbs makes me feel panic. It is to the point where if I need to visit a doctor or go to the hospital they need to give me a Xanax just to get me in the door. Thankfully, most of the people at the hospital are aware of my condition and make sure to leave a note of it in my records. The sound of bells remains terrifying to me as well, and easily the hardest time of the year is around Christmas. I keep the radio off at all times, and have to warn people when I come to a party. I still try to give to the Salvation Army, specifically those ringers of the bells outside of the local store. When I do though, I always have to ask the person I am with or a stranger to do it for me.

I was eight months pregnant when I noticed the bleeding between my legs. I was working at the elementary school, and so the ambulance took very little time to get to me. It was during lunch thank God, so I was eating in the teachers lounge when it happened. I couldn't bear the thought of the children seeing me like that. The school covered my absence well enough that day, though in the weeks that followed the student's questions only made things harder for me. I don't think it surprised anyone when I took an extended leave after the term had finished.

I arrived at the hospital in terrible pain. The doctors said that everything should be okay, but I knew what was going on. There were...complications with my pregnancy. I kept telling them to try and save my baby, that if it came between the baby and my life, that they should save my child. They planned on opening me up as opposed to trying to see if they could induce a natural birth. It didn't take long for them to insert the pain killers. I kept thinking about my baby, and how much I wanted them to live. Then the nurses asked me to count back from five. I was unconscious at three.

I awoke in another room. My body felt horrible, and there were bandages placed below my midsection. I was alone, and for a short time I was in too much of a haze to realize what had happened. Then it suddenly came back, as I felt a wet fear pass over me. I pressed the call button and waited anxiously for the nurse. I tried to sit up, but a flash of pain stopped me, as I felt myself nearly pass out again. What had happened to my body? The nurse arrived, and I only had one question on my mind.

“Did my baby make it?”

Rough start

On Toddler Breastfeeding

Not all of us long time breastfeeders had it easy. In the beginning, breastfeeding was hard. It felt like my nipples were being sucked off of my body. When we get hurt, we know exactly where the pain is. If someone pinches us, we can touch the troubled spot without having to see it. But the nipple pain was nothing like that. It was nowhere and it was everywhere. Each time I carefully latched him on. My fingers felt all around his mouth to make sure everything was where it should be. His latch was fine. Not too shallow, not off center. But the pain was still there. After each nursing session my nipples were smashed, cracked, and often times bleeding.

I did everything I could think of to stop the pain. Relatched a hundred times. Tried every nursing position on the internet. Held his mouth open wider as he latched (this probably made things worse, hindsight is 20/20). Nipple shields. They lessened the pain somewhat, but using the shield I could see the bloody milk that Chase was drinking. Some blood mixed in with breast milk is fine. But seeing it like that, it pushed me over the edge. There I was sitting against the wall on the bed, bloody nipple shield hanging off one boob, a pack of frozen peas pressed against the other balling my eyes out.

I'm gritting my teeth just thinking about it now, years later. That time was so frustrating! The pain was always there no matter what I or Chase did. The first 10 weeks of Chase's life he spent listening to me scream and curse when he nursed. Daddy's nerves must have been shot. He had to watch me writhe in pain all the time. No amount of cuddling, holding, rocking, singing, would calm Chase down. He wanted to be latched on 24/7. Thankfully, one day, the pain went away. I never figured out what was wrong. But my best guess? Inverted nipples. He really was sucking my nipples out. Heh.

Some things are worth fighting for. Worth digging in. Breastfeeding is one of those things. Each of our paths to Breastfeeding Mastery will be different (fantastic book for developing any skill beyond basic competency). But we will all have hurdles we need to overcome. It's important to know that you can overcome them. Like I have. Like so many other mom's have. If you're in a tough spot, buckle down and dig in! Read some breastfeeding books. Find support groups. Take care of yourself (drink lots of water, eat healthy nourishing foods). Approach the problem with the mindset that you will succeed. And keep in mind the solution may be time and practice.

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