Homeward and Onward

First, thank you all for your comments and congratulations. Back when I started blogging about this infertility crap, I didn’t really think other people would genuinely care. (Color me jaded, I know.) I am honestly touched by how much support and encouragement you all show me.

Second, these past few weeks have mostly sucked which is why I haven’t been sharing too much. It isn’t for a lack of desire as I just love to share. It has been for a lack of time and mental capacity. Between trips to the NICU, weird tests (which all turned out fiiiiine), and pumping every 2 mother-fucking hours, I had little time to blog.

But the good news is… CHICK IS HOME! As you may recall, Chick’s only need for release from Neonatal prison was to learn to eat on his own. Just as I was about to freak out about this (okay, I did actually freak out all over one of the nurses. She was kindness incarnate)… Chick started chowing down in earnest. Three days later, Chick is officially home.

We are not even 24 hours in and he has already successfully puke, peed, and pooped on me. I think this says more about my own skills than his. What can I say, we’re both learning.

There are some other conditions on him going home. He has to be on an extra calorie diet, so I have to add this Enfamil crap to his bottles. This also means I have to keep pumping if I want him to be getting any of the benefits of my breast milk– lo, my boobs to not come with an Enfamil on/off switch. It also doesn’t help that my milk supply is spotty at best. (Which could be associated with my IF woes? Hormonal imbalance? Any thoughts?)

I had a moment in the car yesterday when it occurred to me that taking him home wouldn’t mean my days as a dairy cow were over. It was sorta like being smacked in the face with a mackerel.

So I write this post as my son sleeps in his crib, and I am hooked up to a breast pump. I go to his first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday and hope to speak to a lactation consultant who can help me sort this out.
I feel like there are more details I’m not sharing– like that time a doctor told me my child likely did not have a flesh eating baby disease– but I’m still in a post-baby/post-NICU haze. More postcards from the edge to come…

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20 comments

  1. hopingforatakehome · July 21, 2015

    So glad that Chick is home!!! xx

  2. thebarrenlibrarian · July 21, 2015

    If he hits a certain weight can you stop the supplementing so you can unhook some? When I was EPing I HATED it, so I totally get you on this.

    • thecommonostrich · July 23, 2015

      So much depends on what his pediatrician says. Some will get you off the supplements sooner, others can keep your kid on them for up to 9 months. We’re meeting her for the first time Monday, where I plan on making my preferences strongly known!

  3. Jenny F. Scientist, PhD · July 21, 2015

    I’ll offer you my standard breastfeeding advice: if the first LC you see is unhelpful or insane or thinks you should pump every hour or thinks every person without exception can successfully exclusively breastfeed…. find another one.

    From a practical perspective it doesn’t really matter whether your IF history is causing low supply (though some people with IF have low prolactin or insufficient glandular tissue or whacked out hormones- that’s a technical term). What matters is what you can do about it now, and none of those things require knowing why. There’s the usual herbal semi nuttery: fenugreek, thistle, oatmeal, special cookies. A half a dark beer used to be a LLL staple suggestion, something about B vitamins; I like that one. Then there’s domperidone from Canada, moar pumping, making sure he has a good latch….

    Despite having nursed kids for a total of four years and counting, as well as having literally every single possible problem except low supply, I don’t think breast milk actually has ANY demonstrated scientific benefits. And here I speak as a scientist who has read through the literature with care. (Aside from in third world countries.) I *do* think the sanity of new mothers is very important. So what I’m saying is, it’s okay to protect your sleep and sanity and say that the baby just has to eat *something* and maybe some of it is not from the mama cow and that is FINE.

    • thecommonostrich · July 23, 2015

      So much yes to all of this. I’m trying to be pragmatic about the whole thing. Breastfeeding is my personal preference, but I know tons of people who have formula fed their kids and they are just fine. At the moment, this pumping thing is doable, though I recognize their may come a point where it isn’t. At which point, I will take my pump out into a parking lot and beat it to death with a golf club.

      Met with the lactation consultant yesterday, and she doesn’t think it is as dire as I do. (Whew!) I’m going to give some whackacdo herbs a test run for a few weeks and see how it goes. And I should be getting the results from my thyroid test back today, so we’ll see.

  4. My Perfect Breakdown · July 21, 2015

    I am so excited that Chick is now home with you!!! And seems to be doing so well with all his bodily functions. 🙂
    I am so excited to hear all about this new stage of your life and your little guys life too (of course). 🙂

    • thecommonostrich · July 23, 2015

      Thanks! It was such a relief, and yet there are still moments when I’m surprised anyone let me take him home. I mean, I have to start being all “responsible adult” now?

  5. AdoptiveBlackMom · July 21, 2015

    So exciting! Happy Chick is home! Yay!

    Yeah, there are some herbal things that might help with milk supply (I used to work with a neonate nursing org and did a lot of work with LLL). Don’t let them guilt your or sink your ship. Ditto to the previous commenter on finding one that you can work with. You’ll be fine! 🙂 And yeah, the Irish are big on having a bit of Guinness to move things along. 😉

    • thecommonostrich · July 23, 2015

      I met with an LC yesterday who was pretty level headed about the whole thing. Best part: when I put Chick to breast, she said “Well, he isn’t doing nothing…” Greeaaaat…

      I love any suggestion that involves beer!

  6. Tiggy B · July 21, 2015

    I spent 6 weeks in a NICU pumping, and what worked for me was to pump each side for 5 minutes for a total of 30 minutes (even if no milk was forthcoming), and to do that every 2 hours (3 hours overnight). I generally got 80ml per session and usually double that in the mornings. I also noticed that I got more milk when I was rested, hydrated, and had eaten well (especially sweets, or so I told myself!). I doubt any of that is particularly helpful as you have probably already tried these things. I met lots of NICU moms with supply problems, and different things worked for some of them. I hope you find something that works for you, whatever that may be!

    • thecommonostrich · July 23, 2015

      Thanks for the suggestions! I’m still not producing quite so much, but the numbers are slowly increasing. Best time for me is usually after a shower. Of course, there are only so many of those I can take a day. 😉

  7. bionicbrooklynite · July 21, 2015

    I a so thrilled your family is home together! Over the moon, actually.

    I’m with Jenny, above. But also, do not let anyone convince you that pumping output is an accurate indication of supply, per se, though of course, if you are exclusively pumping, it is an indication of the supply that matters. I’ve never been able to get much of anything pumping — like, no way could I even mostly feed a baby that way — and I have been able to mostly breastfeed two kids. (which has its own element of anxiety, when you are worried about weight gain, as there’s no way to tell immediately how much is coming out. Or maybe your boobs have those gauges the books always seem to imply mine should?)

    In conclusion, HOOOOOORRRAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  8. lucy50 · July 21, 2015

    Flesh eating baby disease? What? Honestly, feeding/pumping those first few weeks suck hardcore. I constantly thought I had low supply. By the way, what you pump is not indicative of what your baby might get nursing. Several LC’s have told me that. I know your only EPing right now, so I know it’s hard not to be getting what you need. I’m glad Chick is home, and now the real hard part begins. Everyday is a mix of fierce love and nostalgia for sleeping and sanity.

  9. lucy50 · July 21, 2015

    *you’re

  10. lucy50 · July 21, 2015

    And yes, hydrate hydrate hydrate. More than you ever thought you could.

  11. labmonkeyftw · July 21, 2015

    Oh hurrah, you are home with Chick – that will make all the other hard things ever so much easier. (and all the easier things, like sleeping, harder). I’m so glad he is making strong progress, and I am sure the lactation stuff will sort itself out – we live in a world where Chick will not lack food, even if it is a mix of sources. Sending hugs, and further congratulations!

  12. BA · July 21, 2015

    You’re LC (or a new one if needed) is always your best bet. My personal experience (baby in NICU for 7 weeks) was I respond HORRIBLY to the pump. Once I could finally nurse my supply got much better. I still ended up having to take that Domperidone stuff, but the combination of actually nursing and the medication made me able to nurse for over a year and half. But there are so many factors and this is just my own experience. Hope that helps!

  13. Essie · July 22, 2015

    Congrats! Those are wonderful news! A part of me is ridiculously jealous as I’m still stuck in the infertility trenches. But mostly I’m so glad you got your happy ending. Wishing you plenty of joy and happiness to come!

    • thecommonostrich · July 23, 2015

      Oh, I’ve been there… I suspect it’s like what inmates feel watching their friends get paroled. You’re happy for them, but feel left behind some how.

      Stay strong.

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