Here is my experience with breastfeeding. It has been rough and emotional for me, but I have come to accept that the attempt has failed and I know that I tried all I could to make it work. Natali is healthy and happy and that is all that matters.
Breastfeeding started off going well. They had me start nursing within an hour after the c-section. That first session was good. Natali latched right away and knew exactly what to do. The next few sessions were hit or miss, but we kept working on it and things started going pretty well. We didn't have any problems nursing. The lactation consultant came by a few times during the time we were in the hospital, and the nurses were very helpful as well. Things only went down hill right before we checked out of the hospital. Right before we checked out they did one last check with the pediatrician and came back to tell me that her jaundice levels had risen to the "low intermediate risk" range and that she had lost about 10% of her body weight, so they were a bit concerned. They said the best way to get her jaundice levels down was to make sure she pooped more, and they figured my milk wasn't in yet, so maybe I should supplement her with a bit of formula for the next day or so to get her weight going up and her jaundice levels down. Well, this really freaked me out. I didn't want my baby to get sick or lose more weight, so I was perfectly happy to supplement her for a bit. They scheduled me for an appointment at the breastfeeding support center for the next day so they could check her weight and jaundice again.
So, we went home and I began giving Natali formula. We got a bunch of formula for free in the mail, so we have plenty to give her. I didn't mind doing it. I also got myself a hand breastpump. I had an electric one my sister gave me, but I didn't have the tubes I needed for it and I could only get them online. The hand pump would work for a couple of days. I started to pump to try and bring my milk in. At every session I could only pump about .5 ounces between both breasts. It was pretty sad. They say it can take up to 5 days for your milk to come in, so at this point I still wasn't concerned. My appointment the next day was pretty good. The supplementing worked and Natali had gained 4.5 ounces from the previous day. Her jaundice levels were still a bit elevated, but they decided to just make me another appointment for the very next day to check her again. In the meantime I was still supposed to supplement her and feed her everything I could pump out. They even gave me the tubes I needed for the electric pump. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the pump to work properly. I figured I must be doing something wrong, so I just set it aside and used the hand pump. I took the electric one in with me the next day to see if they could help me with it.
When I went in for my appointment on Monday morning Natali had gained another 2 ounces, and her jaundice levels had dropped significantly. Then I learned that the motor on my pump had failed and couldn't be used. My milk still hadn't come in by this point and I was getting frustrated. It was 5 days after delivery and I should have something by now. The nurses said to just keep trying and pumping and it should work. I went ahead and rented one of their electric pumps because I couldn't take hand pumping anymore. So, we kept up with the formula and I kept pumping and feeding her all I could. I would pump every 3 hours, and the most I ever pumped in a session was 1 ounce. Most of the time it was around half an ounce. Natali is supposed to be drinking around 18 ounces per day, so I was giving her almost nothing. I still had a shred of hope at this point, but the pumping was really getting annoying. I tried all day Monday, and Tuesday and never could get any more. The amount I pumped even started to decrease.
Well, today Natali is a week old (yay!) and I tried pumping one last time this morning. My milk production now is almost non-existant, so I am calling it quits. I gave it my best effort, but apparently I just can't produce milk. It is disappointing, but I'm over it now. Formula works just fine.
I really think my body just isn't meant for having children. It seems there is a roadblock at every turn. First it was the miscarriages and I had to be on blood thinners and extra medication just to maintain the pregnancy. Then, I couldn't have a natural birth. My doctor says once she opened me up she noticed something about my uterus that would have made it impossible to ever give birth naturally. I can't remember exactly what it was, but I believe she said my cervix extended up into my uterus, so it wouldn't ever fully dilate and that's why my labor never progressed. Now, added to all that is the fact that I can't produce milk. If all this modern technology didn't exist I wouldn't have my pretty little girl. I am extremely thankful for my wonderful doctor for getting me through all of this! I feel like maybe I shouldn't push my luck though. If it has been this difficult to get here, maybe we should just quit while we're ahead. I know Darren just wants one child, but I can't say that at the moment. I can say it would be at least 3 years before I would want to try again. We'll see. I'm just happy for the baby I have right now though. We are going to enjoy every minute with her. :)