And so it begins

16 Dec

The only breastfeeding advice I received was a nurse pushing Vivian into my boob, and saying “There you go!”. Was I too filled with false bravado? Did I look like I knew what I was doing? I didn’t think I knew what I was doing.

Did crying onto my child’s head while I sat feeling like an utter failure count as knowing what I was doing?

I don’t remember much about being in the room, aside from the blood. Blood was everywhere. A friend came to visit, wheeled me out for a smoke. After one, she got this scared, pinched lip look on her face, and rolled me back into my room. She said I was pale, and looked like I was about to fall over. Merely getting up and into the chair meant torrents of blood. I did my best to control it.

And yeah, I still had a catheder because they were unsure about something. I don’t remember what, but I do remember being so out of it that I didn’t even care that I was being wheeled around with a bag of my pee.

They brought in a breast pump, since I didn’t feel like much was happening. But hell, what did I know? I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without leaving a trail of clots behind me. I sat staring at the pump, wondering how in the hell I could get both boobs going at once. Then the nurse turned it on. I looked at my giant boobs, and back at the machine, and started to cry. Nothing much came out anyway. They pushed the formula, and water, since apparently, the part about colostrum is left out of training.

Eventually, the stopped the bleeding. They tried to convince me into doing a transfusion, and if they knew how woozy I really was, they wouldn’t have let me out of their sight. But I’m the queen of “hey, I’m fine!” so no problems. Vivian was gaining weight like a champ, and we stole a bunch of the formula they had left in an easy to reach place. I just wanted to get out of there.

We made it home, and I lay on the floor for an hour. Any movement made me light headed and weak. I stared at the baby, and felt nothing. Not a thing.

I’ve never been so lost in my life. I’ve never felt so helpless and alone ever. Sure, my husband was there, but isn’t it the mother’s responsibility to know what to do, to figure it out? It came out of her after all. But I couldn’t get up off the floor, figuratively and literally.

I started crying, and I didn’t stop for a very long time.

5 Responses to “And so it begins”

  1. puddlejumper December 16, 2006 at 9:46 am #

    Breast pumps are the most hideous devices. I felt like a cow using one. When I had my first kids years ago there was virtually no support to breastfeed. Thankfully years later I had the help and support of a very enlightened friend. And I giggling learned how to express by hand. Must have looked pretty silly but it worked.

    This friend’s sister was a fantastic earth mother hippy type whose children were all grown up now. But we were sitting round one day talking about breastfeeding and it turns out this friends sister and her friend had babies around the same time. When they wanted to go out they would mind each others kid and breastfed each others children.

    I’m ashamed to admit my initial reaction to this information was Eugh!!!!

    But when you think about it that must be how it was done for centuries. Even in fairly recent history there were “Wet Nurses” who kept up their milk supply so the aristocratic ladies could continue “doing lunch”.

    Childbirth has been made to be so clinical and private. Something to be hidden away. It amazes me sometimes that so many of us continue to do it…

  2. Venessa December 16, 2006 at 10:12 am #

    Oh, Thor, your story makes me sad. You were totally cheated. You had a better time with Roz, didn’t you? I hope you get that midwife thing going. We need more of them around.

  3. thordora December 16, 2006 at 10:17 am #

    I had a great time with Ros, ok, during the delivery-most of the pregnancy was hard because I was foul the entire time (I believe the bipolar was “tipping” into reality) and post partum was filled with bad thoughts, but my labour and delivery was incredible, if only because there was no time to do anything anyway.

  4. Jen December 16, 2006 at 11:28 am #

    It’s funny, I still haven’t been able to write about my failed breastfeeding. I had all the support in the world, but so much of the advice was contradictory and I was so scared that Lucy wouldn’t get out of the NICU…it sucked, basically and I’ve never felt so worthless than when my daughter and I were up nights sobbing with each other because she wasn’t getting any milk and I was engorged and we couldn’t manage to latch. It was such a ‘what good are my breasts if I can’t feed my baby’ feeling and it was horrible.

  5. thordora December 16, 2006 at 10:52 pm #

    Breastfeeding STILL makes me feel guilty, after all this time. I feel MORE guilt about breastfeeding than smoking. THAT is how fucked up priorities are anymore.

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