Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Birth, The Breast, and The Beyond

I can't believe my sweet baby boy is here. Greyson Carter Martin was born on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm - weighing in at 7lbs 14oz and 22 inches long. My soul was overflowing, but as we all know, there is always a story with the birth of a baby. Here's our birth story.... and a little beyond, if you feel up to reading ;)

After almost a week went by since our little "false alarm", I couldn't believe this child still hadn't come. I was sure that he would be early and here we were, 3 days from our due date, and NOTHING. I decided to give up my aspirations of having my water break in the middle of Target and schedule our induction. I hated to go through the process again, knowing exactly what I was in for as we induced with MC, but I was READY.

Monday morning at 5:30am the hospital called and said to be there at 7:00am. We got everything loaded up and took off, ready for the long day ahead. When we arrived I was still 3cm and 80%, and Dr.A stripped my membranes (again) and broke my water to try to get things going. I proceeded to make laps around the maternity floor like a mouse in a maze in hopes of making some progress without pitocin. After an hour they checked me again and we were at 4cm. Ok. At least that's something. We made some more laps and my contractions started getting much more intense. After an hour of walking this time we returned to find we had progressed to 7cm. Woo Hoo! At this point I was READY for that epidural and after, we decided to give just a touch of pitocin (since I couldn't walk anymore) to see if we could speed up those last 3 centimeters. Boy did it work. Within 30 minutes we were at 10 and ready to start pushing. Oh goodness - here we go....

I have to say that at this point I was ridiculously nervous. I had asked the nurse a few minutes earlier if I was supposed to be able to move my legs and she said yes - that's the sign of a good epidural. I was somehow under the impression that NOT feeling anything would a be a "good" epidural, but remembering the story of a woman in our birthing class having difficulty pushing because she couldn't feel anything, it did make sense. I was scared and in pain but let's face it - there was only one way this kid was coming out and I didn't really have a choice in the matter.

They rolled in the mirror (yes, I requested a mirror this go-around. A woman in our birthing class said it was encouraging to see the progress she was making as she pushed instead of relying on second hand opinions so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I have to say it WAS helpful. Knowing and seeing that I was actually accomplishing something with each push kept me going...) We began pushing and it.was.tough. However, I was proud of the composure I was able to muster during this ridiculously painful ordeal. The first time around I think all I did was scream "GET HER OUT!!!!" and then scream some more. This time I focused on pushing and less on scaring every other woman on the maternity floor....

About 45 minutes later my sweet Greyson was in my arms. I felt such joy and relief that this process was over and I could now enjoy my beautiful son and my amazing husband. We took photos and video and spent the rest of the next few minutes nursing and staring at this amazing little life God blessed us with.

As Adam told me our parents and MC were here, he asked if I wanted some makeup. Odd question coming from a man. As confused as I was, I said "sure" and he blotted me down with powder foundation and blush. We let them all meet baby Grey and after they left I got up for the all important "bathroom test". Ya know, the fun test where you have to pee-pee in the toilet in front of a nurse to make sure they don't need to do a catheter. You would think these people would realize that trying to do your business as someone stares is not the most reasonable way, but, hey, what do I know....

As I made my way to the bathroom, I stopped in front of the mirror - WHAT THE HELL WAS ON MY FACE!!! I looked at my reflection and I was covered in purple splotches. I looked like someone had taken a purple marker and drawn circles and odd shapes all over my cheeks and forehead. I immidiately freaked out and asked the nurse what the heck was going on. She was like "oh, I just assumed that had always been there... you don't have acne scars or anything?" Uh, NO. Pre-baby my face was just fine, and now I look like a zombie.

As you can imagine I immediately asked my doctor when I saw her nex,t and she assured me it was fine. I had busted cappillaries in my face and developed brusing during all the pushing and she promised it would return to normal in about a week. I prayed she was right as we all know that after having a baby we all want to look as if we DIDN'T just have a baby to make everyone on facebook jealous. Well, I had no hope there so I just opted for as few pictures as possible....

The next few days were fantastic and little man was nursing like a champ. We had a lot of issues getting MC to latch, but as Adam quickly pointed out - Greyson is a boob man. That brings us to the next chapter - "The Breast". (Yes, this post is going to continue for two more chapters and will probably be the longest blog post in history. Feel free to take a brief intermission or complete some chores and come back later)

If you are a woman you know the pressure our society puts on us to breastfeed. I have no issues with that - it is best. Its medically proven to be the best thing for your child. HOWEVER, its just not for everyone. After I had MC I nursed for about 2 weeks and just couldn't do it anymore. I had horrible post partum depression, my husband was leaving to return to Iraq, I was living with my parents... it was just too much. I gave it up and faced the scrutiny of many many people and therefore felt INTENSE guilt. I wanted so badly to give it everything I had the second time around.

We were off to such a fantastic start with Grey that I just knew it was going to work. He dropped a slight bit of weight during those first few days, but before I left the hospital my milk was already coming in. We nursed and nursed and nursed. This little man was an insane eater. I was nursing every 2 hours, with each session lasting about an hour. That meant I sat on the couch for 1 hour, and then, an hour later it was time to do it again. I had enough milk for a small country of babies, I was extremely uncomfortable and, quite honestly, tired of sitting. I missed MC and felt she was being completely neglected - not something I enjoyed. I tried to stick with it but I knew at that point quitting was probably on the horizon. Logically I knew everything was going well, but something in me just wasn't ENJOYING it. I didn't go all granola and describe it as a beautiful bonding experience....I had a kid sucking on my boob every other hour for 24 hours straight. That was not beautiful. That was painful. And exhausting. I knew I had a lactation appointment in just a few days so I hung in there in hopes they would be able to shed some light on the whole experience and reassure me that I just needed to keep with it.

As Monday approached and I got ready for my appointment I felt good. I had just put on a pair of pre-baby jeans, did my makeup and hair, and felt like my old self. I went to the lactation appointment ready to take on the boob pushers...

When I arrived I was shocked at how friendly the entire staff was. The lactation consultant took me to our room and proceeded to weigh Greyson. She was shocked when she saw that he weighed in at 8lbs 2oz and was a week old. He had surpassed his birthweight in 7 days which was fantastic since apparently most newborns loose a good deal of weight and it takes much longer to return to that birthweight. She said obviously he was eating well and I was producing plenty of milk. I stared at my Dolly Parton breasts and shook my head in agreement.

At this point you then feed the baby in front of the consultant so they can help with any latching issues or answer questions you might have. Then, after the feeding they weigh the baby again to see exactly how many ounces he/she consumed. As I began nursing I asked typical questions and she answered them all very sweetly and repeatedly commented on how amazing I looked and what a great latch and technique we had. She was full of positive comments and praise and I felt like a breastfeeding rockstar to be honest. Then, the head of the lactation department came into the room with an interesting proposition....

As I sat there with my boob in my child's mouth, she asked if I would be interested in being a part of new marketing materials for the lactation department. Ummmm, what? She said if I felt comfortable, there was a photographer there who was going to take some photos for them to use in pamplets, handouts, signs, etc. She said she knew it was a lot to ask and if I didn't want to do it that was perfectly fine. I thought about it for a while and decided "what the heck?". After two kids "modesty" is not even part of my vocabulary, so why not have my breasts put out there for all of Charlotte to see? I knew Adam was going to murder me....

The photographer came in and proceeded to take pictures of me breastfeeding Greyson, talking with the lactation consultant, and trying out the new "Second Skin" sling I had purchased a few days before (which I HIGHLY reccomend by the way!!). It was kind of scary that I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable and I was looking forward to having some free photos of Grey and I (as I mentioned before, I had avoided all post-birthing photos due to my purple dot disorder..) Everything that had occurred at the appointment couldn't have been better. I was praised for our progress and told I was "amazing" about 547 times. However, as I returned home, I was still unsure of whether I wanted to continue this masquarade.

The next day was a complete 180. Greyson didn't sleep well that night so in addition to being super exhausted, he also decided it would be fun to cry and fuss most of the day. After 1.5 hours between feedings he was ready to eat again and I had literally reached my breaking point. He wouldn't sleep at all - due to his hunger I assumed, and I didn't know what else to do but cry. I decided then and there I was done. The poster child for breastfeeding (literally) was turning to formula.

That was an exhilirating decision I have to say. I thought back to my experience with MC and remembered how I repeatedly beat myself up for having called it quits. I got even more depressed and was convinced I was a a horrible mother.

This time around it was different. I had 3 years of parenting under my belt and I knew I was not a horrible mother. My "formula fed" baby was one of the smartest three year olds I had ever met and had never had any serious sickness to speak of . I was no perfect parent, but I knew I tried every single day to be the best I could be and always put my child first in every decision I made.

I knew to be the best parent I could be I had to stop. I was making myself crazy. I was crying, depressed, stressed, and none of those make for a happy home environment. I LIKE taking care of my family and I felt I couldn't do that to the degree I held myself accountable to with a newborn attached to my boob. Selfish? Maybe. But I didn't care. I firmly believe in the saying that if momma isn't happy, no one is happy.

As I sit here typing, staring at the cabbage leaves peaking out of my milk drenched bra, I know I will be judged. Most people will think I am a quitter or weak or selfish. We had the ideal situation for breastfeeding and I still threw in the towel. If you are one of those people who want to judge, go ahead. It's not going to ruin the fact that I feel exhilirated and prepared to take on being a mommy to two kiddos. I have moved to "The Beyond" chapter and can't wait to experience all the joy of mothering my sweet boy.

I hope any other mommies out there who might be reading this also feel empowered to make the decision thats best for YOU and not feel guilty about it. YOUR health and happiness dictates the mood of your entire household and you can't raise happy children in an unhappy home. Can I get an amen?

Happy Wednesday everyone and hopefully soon I'll have some downtime to post a few photos of baby boy!!!


  1. Hi! I dont know you, but know some of the same people.. which is how I found your blog. :) Anyways.. can I just say AMEN! I just had a baby myself (#2) and he came 5 weeks early.. with my first, I had no intentions of nursing and did formula and could have cared less about what people thought. Well when this sweet boy arrived very early, he couldn't tolerate food and it was suggested that I pump because that was best.. well like any good mother, I stepped way outside of my comfort zone and hooked myself up like the prized cow at the state fair! Of course, my milk was overflowing and all the NICU nurses talked about how sad it would have been for me to waste it, etc, etc... all the while I was feeling SO GUILTY because I knew this was only a temporary fix. As soon as we were home and baby boy was gaining weight and doing good.. my first question to the Pedi was when I could start formula! To be honest, I did not have the time to nurse/pump for him.. while I had an 18 month old running wild and demanding my attention. It wasn't fair to her and honestly, to him either, because I HATED pumping. So, from one formula mama to another.. right on! :) I am pretty sure our formula babies will be just as smart as the breastfed babies! :) Congratulations on your new little boy.

  2. I am a breastfeeding mama and have done so for the first 15-18mths of each of my 3 babies life. With that said, I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding, BUT only if your heart is in it. If it causes more angst in your life, then don't do it. Formula is perfectly acceptable.

    Each of my 3 were early (36, 35, and 32wks.) The youngest 2 were in NICU, 1 for 2 days and the other for 4.5 wks. During that month of hell, it took all I had to pump for him. I hated being a human cow. At one of my readmissions while he was still in NICU, my nurse noticed how full my breasts were as she was putting in my second IV for a transfusion. I began to sob and tell her that I could not be a mommy to a 3yo, 1yo, and a preeminent. Plus be a wife and a sick mommy, all while pumping. She moved my bed into a sitting position (I was post-op for the 3rd time in 2wks), held my hand and wiped my tears, then asked if she could pump for me. I allowed her to do it once my transfusion began and it was so invigorating. Just the knowing that she understood helped me greatly.

    Having been there, I am proud of you. If I had not been so worried of others opinions, I would have given up completely and not put myself through the stress of non-stop nursing while recovering from multiple surgeries and complications. Not to mention a 1 &3 year old underfoot and working full time!. So, my baby nursed when we were home and had formula the rest of the time - something I had NEVER done before, but had to for MY sanity.

    I am proud of you, Jessica!

    Ps. Eat stuff w/ Thyme. It is an old remedy for the mommy's of stillborn babies to dry up milk FAST! Take care of those leaky boons and enjoy the freedom of formula and peace that all will be well!

  3. Sounds like you need more positive influences in your life and examples of women who trust their bodies. Scheduling an induction when you know how hard they are? Giving up breastfeeding when it's clearly the best thing for you baby. Find a LLL group and you find things out like you don't have to nurse for an hour. About 6 minutes on each side and baby has gotten enough the rest is just because he wants to keep sucking so give him a pacifier. Use Lansinoh lanolin for your nipples until they get broken in. The first 3 weeks are the hardest and then it becomes like a normal part of the daily routine and is much easier than messing with bottles and formula that is clearly making your baby sick. I know you may be missing time with your 3 year old but think of the positive example you will be setting for her to trust her body and what it's made for and one day she can do the same for her babies. Involve her in the process and enjoy time together in bed while you are nursing the baby.

  4. Wow I totally agree with the last comment. You can do it Jess!


Thoughts from friends