Friends, I’m so excited about the the series this week. Last week Jen Frick shared about her hospital experience & birthing experience… a phenomenal must read. This week is all about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a topic all new moms, for the most part, want to know more about. As a new mom the more experiences I heard, the more normal I felt. Sometimes breastfeeding is a breeze, other times it’s very difficult. I’m so excited to introduce you to my longest and one of my closet friends, of 19 years, Carly Gulino May.
Hi all of you moms and moms to be! I am so excited to be a part of this ‘New Moms Series’! I love getting to encourage people, so what better way to do that then to share your story of something you went through. Ruthie asked me to share about my journey with breastfeeding and pumping. And what the journey it was!
On August 21st, 2015 my dream to become a mom was fulfilled after 25hrs of labor with the arrival of my little girl, Sienna Haven May. My life forever changed in that moment and was met by a love that I had never known. Sienna was the perfect little baby. The post-partum nurses couldn’t believe what an angel she was. While we listened to other babies cry all night in the post-partum hall our sweet baby just slept peacefully. She made such an impact on the nurses that in the congratulations card we received in the mail from them they mentioned what an amazing temperament she had.
I took Sienna home and was greeted with a lot of broken sleep like every mom experiences. Three days later we took her to her follow up appointment to find out that she had lost weight. That put us on a road that I was in no way prepared for. My milk wasn’t coming in and Sienna was not able to nurse. Now for those who are not moms yet maybe it doesn’t sound that horrible. I probably wouldn’t have understand the fulness of how that would feel until I was a mom. I felt like I couldn’t provide for my daughter. Why wasn’t my milk coming in? What was wrong with me? I was doing what everyone said, eat and drink a lot. My stress levels went off the charts. And all I kept hearing from people was, don’t stress because that will effect your milk supply. Ok, you tell me how I am supposed to not stress when my milk isn’t coming in, my baby is crying all the time, and she keeps loosing weight at every dr/lactation appointment I show up to. It was awful. We started on the “nurse, pump, feed back the residual to her”, routine. Seth (my husband) was doing what they call “finger feeding her”. He had a little dropper with a tube that he would tape on his finger to teach her how to latch and suck. We were doing this routine every two hours around the clock. I would nurse, when I was done I would go pump for 15mins while he would finger feed her. I know some of you reading this are saying, why not just give her formula and move on? You’re right, that is always an option, but for me, it wasn’t until we had exhausted every other option. I had a desire to nurse. I wanted that for Sienna, I wanted her to get all the health benefits that I knew were so important for her and I wanted to have that special bond with her. I know if I gave her formula that wouldn’t make me a bad mom. I don’t judge any moms who do formula. But for me, I was going to try everything I could before doing formula.
Right before I was going to have to start formula a mom I had never met reached out to me and told me she had a freezer full of her breastmilk that she wanted to give to me.* Insert tears*. She gave me 550oz of milk to be able to give Sienna while I figured out why she couldn’t nurse. I was still pumping and nursing her, now using a nipple shield. (if you have ever used one you know how annoying those dang things are!) But she still couldn’t transfer enough milk, and I was barely pumping 2oz every time. I was completely exhausted emotionally and physically. By now I knew, something was not right. Sienna should be able to nurse. I should have enough milk. God created nursing, it’s a natural thing for a mom and baby to be able to do. So why can’t we?? That’s what drove me to look into what could be going on. Well meaning friends and family would tell me, “it’s okay to stop trying. You aren’t a failure. Maybe nursing just isn’t for you guys.” I knew they were just trying to help. But you see, there really is mom intuition. Listen to it. I knew that I knew something wasn’t right. She should be able to nurse and latch onto a pacifier. I needed to keep pressing in. Giving up was now not an option for me.
Thankfully I had an amazing husband in my corner who never once, no not once, said to me let’s just stop all of of this and do formula. And this was effecting him. He was up through out the night every two hours helping me. He was listening to me crying, he was my punching bag, the one I yelled at, got short with, told him I was going to quit, that I was done. Seth would wrap his arms around me, wipe away my tears and tell me that I can do this. We were going to get through this and Sienna would be nursing perfectly and put on weight.
I still remember one night I was sitting at the table pumping, Sienna was screaming her lungs out and Seth was knocking down a wall in our kitchen (yeah, he’s crazy)….and I broke. I took off the pump that was filled with barely an ounce of milk (which once you are a mom you know that breastmilk is liquid gold) threw it on the table and ran outside into the dark and began to sob. I didn’t know what to do. I would look at other moms nursing their babies with no problem and cry. I hated the nipple shield. I hated that every time I finished a nursing session with Sienna she would be screaming and I would have to offer a bottle. I HATED pumping with a passion. I walked back into the house after my sob fest outside and was thinking I would find a very angry husband who was going to tell me how out of line I was to leave the house crying like that at night, leaving him with our screaming daughter. But instead I was met by love. Seth had gotten Sienna to sleep and was sitting on the couch in the dark. He patted the couch inviting me to come sit next to him. I sat down, he wrapped his arms around me and told me how amazing I was doing. He reminded me that I am so strong. That I am such a good mom and fighting so hard for Sienna. He told me we were going to get on the other side of this and then he prayed.
I now was on a mission to figure out what was really going on. I spent hours reading up on tongue and lip ties in babies. I began texting my friends that I knew who had babies that had had them. We decided to take Sienna to a lip and tongue tie specialist about two hours away from us and see what he said. I was trying to not get my hopes up after watching videos online of babies who were immediately able to latch after having the revision. I was preparing myself that after she had the procedure she still might not be able to latch, or it could take her some time to be able to get it.
Seth went back into the room with her to have the laser procedure done. I was so emotionally exhausted that I couldn’t bear to watch her in any sort of discomfort so I stayed in the waiting area with my nursing cover on ready to scoop her up into me the minute Seth brought her out. When they came out I immediately placed her on me to nurse and I felt something I never felt before, she latched with no nipple shield and began to nurse. There were no words. I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that after 9 weeks we got to experience the bond that I so longed for. Tears ran down my face with the biggest smile ever.
Here we are at almost 14 months old and Sienna is still nursing! She hasn’t weaned at all, and honestly, I am so happy about that! We both fought so hard for this that I am just fine with still nursing her 🙂
Nursing isn’t as easy as all we pre-moms think it is. It can be very difficult, and very emotional. But sometimes the best things in life come out of a struggle and a fight. As hard as those 9 weeks were they were met with such joy and fulfillment that we persevered.
Now onto a fun giveaway! Ruthie and I have teamed up with Turbans for Tots! I get all of Sienna’s headbands, turbans, and I just loaded up on scarfs for her, from them! Head on over to Instagram (@carlygulinomay or @ruthieridley) to find out how you can win a $50 gift card for your little one!
Carly blogs over at www.carlygulinomay.com
Thank you for stopping by the blog!!