Change of Plans
There is so much I’ve learned on this little journey of mine. In the year I’ve been a mother, I’ve had to let go of a lot of ideas I had while I was pregnant because my son has taught me that not everything turns out the way you planned or imagined. I dreamed of this beautiful labor process with my doula and my husband by my side, laboring in peace and tranquility. And when he finally arrived earthside, I imagined having skin to skin contact with him and breastfeeding right away. I imagined us having that moment to bond and get to know each other in peace, and being able to rest afterwards all snuggled together, and the birds would chirp, and the angels would sing and there would be this magicalness to it all. Thatdid not happen. None of it. If there is one thing my son has taught me is that he has his own plans and I’m just along for the ride.
Three days prior to going into labor with him we got the news that he was breech. Frank breech to be exact. Even though my doctors had been telling me for months that he was in position and everything was going great, now at the last minute he wasn’t (and I came to find out after birth that he hadn’t been for a long time). Because of his breech presentation, his legs were up like the picture below for a few weeks, which according to the nurses and his pediatrician, is a sign that he had been breech for a while.
I had been warned prior by my ob/gyn team that if he was breech that my natural birth plans would be over and I would be scheduled for a cesarean. I take issue with this because there is a possibility of birthing naturally considering the position my son was in, but as with anything with childbirth, there can be complications from it. I really don’t want to get into controversial topics at this time, so I will just leave it at that.
So here I am with this news at 36 weeks pregnant that my baby is breech. I called up my doula in a panic and told her. She immediately got me connected with a chiropractor who would start doing the Webster technique and we started sessions right away. I thought of course that I had at least 2-3 weeks of buffer time to get him turned around. I also went on the spinning babies website and started trying their inversion techniques. I tried everything I could thing of to get this baby to turn, but in the end he had his own plans. Three days after that ultrasound, my water broke and contractions started right away. He was ready to meet us. I now have a lovely c-section scar on top of the stretch marks as proof of my adventures.
On top of my natural birth plans, I also planned to breastfeed and imagined myself doing it for a minimum of a year, but preferably 2. I didn’t imagine that I would not be able to produce enough to sustain my child. Silly Baby lost over a pound of weight by the time we were discharged from the hospital the first time. He developed breastmilk jaundice and was readmitted the day after we were discharged to be placed under the bili lights.
Before he was admitted his bilirubin levels were at 16. 20 and over is considered very serious. He was at 16! Of course, I’m a new mom, I hear all these things 2-3 days after giving birth, and I’m in a panic. We’re admitted, I’m told I have to start supplementing with formula to help the numbers come down and start flushing out his liver and now I’m officially a wreck. I’ve already failed as a mother. I can’t breastfeed my child properly, he’s not eating right and therefore developed breastmilk jaundice and now I have to supplement with formula. This was the beginning of the end in my mind. At the hospital I was pumping all.the.time. I needed to get my supply up and get my child off of the formula so I can continue with my plan.
We finally got to take him home for good and he was on my breast all the time. When he wasn’t breastfeeding I was pumping. I was drinking mother’s milk tea, eating oatmeal cookies, pumping every 2 hours and breastfeeding Silly Baby every 2 hours. Basically I had someone or something attached to my breasts at all hours of the day. Can someone say sleep deprivation?
At his 1 month checkup, he still hadn’t gained the weight he was supposed to, and he also had severe reflux. The doctor was not happy at all with how he was progressing. I went to see a lactation consultant and was informed he was not getting enough milk. She said his latch was right, but there just didn’t seem to be enough of a supply. So on the advice of my pediatrician and my lactation consultant I had to supplement him with formula. The whole trying to get my supply up was stressing me out so much that I finally just decided to give up and use breastfeeding as a bonding moment with my son. I stopped breastfeeding all together at 5 months. So not only did I not get the labor I wanted, I didn’t get to breastfeed like I wanted.
The only things that I have been able to do with my child that I intended on doing was cloth diapering and baby wearing. Actually, baby wearing saved my sanity because my son wanted to be held all the time. I couldn’t put him down for anything so I would strap him into my Boba carrier that I actually won from The Gathering Place and would do everything I needed to do. I also have a stretch wrap and a woven wrap that I would use at various times, but the SSC (soft sided carrier) was my sanity saver because it was so much easier to get it and him on while he was fussing and wailing then having to figure out the knots.
It’s a bit of a running joke in this house that my child’s unofficial first word is no because I basically had to scrap all my plans for him and go along with what he needed in order for him to thrive. Now that he’s older and his personality is coming through, I’ve come to learn he is a lot like me – very independent minded and strong willed. I don’t think this is a bad thing. This just means I have to learn to not be in control of every portion of his life and I have to nourish his independence. It’s a work in progress.
Did you have a similar experience? Share your experiences with me and tell me how you dealt or are dealing with having to relinquish control.