It has been a couple weeks since I have posted. Asher keeps doing great and growing well. Today he was over 10 lbs. He has almost double his weight and still isn't even 2 months old. That is an amazing testament to God's grace and mercy and the health advantages of breast feeding.
Today Asher and I had the honor of making a video for the lactation services at the University of Washington Medical Center for them to use as education for parents in the NICU and to help educate lactation consultants, doulas and midwifes. It was quite an honor for us to be chosen to do this.
Over the last few weeks I have had some challenges in my breast feeding. The first of which was nipple vasospams. This is where the nipple blanches and turns a white skin color. It is caused by many different things from damage to nipple to a blood flow disorder. With me I figured it was because Asher bit down one day all pulled while he was pooing. I figured out though just a few days ago that it was my breast pump that had caused the problem. I turned back in my hospital rental and bought my own pump a few weeks ago. The new pump actually pinched and cause bruising to my areola. This caused the blood vessels to be cut off and the nipple to turn white. It cause so much pain. Thankfully I have friends who have been through it and offered help. They directed me to the Kellymom web site which has a lot of information about breast feeding. One friend even suggested hand warmers (the ones you put in your pockets while skiing). The hand warmers have been very helpful. The vasospasms have been a little better since then.
The next challenge was nipple blebs. Nipple blebs are white milk filled blisters on the nipple. I got these on Christmas eve and went to the doctor because they were so painful. So much so that I threw up after feeding Asher. I found out at the doctor that these (in my case) were caused by mastitis (a breast infection). I was put on a 10 day course of heavy antibiotics for that. That much antibiotics concerned me. That day I also had Asher and I tested for Thrush. Thankfully that was not the case. I had read that nipple blebs could be caused by that and That is why I did the testing for it. I was relieved that there was no thrush but since I was going to be on heavy antibiotics they gave me the medicine for it to wipe on nipple after feedings so that I would not develop it while being treated for the mastitis.
At one point I woke up in the morning crying because I knew I had to get up and feed my son soon. I had a few mornings of this. I felt like an awful mom. I didn't know if I could keep breast feeding because it felt so bad physically and emotionally. That made more guilt. I know that guilt is a plan of the enemy and not what God wants for any of us. Still it was hard to feel that way. I attribute this to the infection and lack of sleep causing depression. The pain was bad for a week but it is so much better now. I am feeling more human and getting more sleep because it doesn't hurt as much. Asher is also helping because he is sleeping a little better now too. That is a blessing. Still not sleeping through the night or taking 5 hours at night of sleep but it has been better the last couple nights.
Asher was going through a grow spurt this week so I noticed he was needing to feed more often. In order to increase my milk supply I began to drink the mother's milk tea more often and began to take fenugreek supplements. I also pumped after my feedings for a day to quickly increase the supply. It worked well and now Asher is again spreading out his feedings.
We are doing parent directed breast feeding. It is on a flexible schedule. We have been trying to get back to the NICU schedule. Sometimes we adjust it because Asher needs more but other times we try to keep his as close to it as possible so he feels secure that he will have food soon.
We tried doing the demand feeding but that didn't work for Asher or for me. He was eating little snack meals instead of full meals every hour to hour and half. Sometimes even sooner. Neither of us were getting any sleep. It was very hard on me and on him. I was over exhausted and very depressed. I know that depression isn't a plan of God either. God wants us to have his joy as our strength. I need to concentrate on that. The joy of the Lord will be my strength... I can rejoice in the miracle of my son. I will celebrate his life and rejoice in all the wonderful things God is doing. I will give thanks to the Lord that I am being healed and that it won't hurt to feed my son what he needs.
Lord God, I thank you for your healing hands that reach down and heal all my pains. Lord I ask that you continue to heal me and set me free from the vasospasms and from the mastitis. Lord you are the great physician and I know you can heal me completely. I am trusting in you for this healing. Lord I thank you so much for the miracle of Asher! I thank you that even today as he is 6 weeks 6 days old that you are working mightily in his life. Lord I ask that you continue to help him eat and grow. Lord bless him with the ability to eat all he needs in fewer feedings so that we can soon sleep at night. Lord you are the author and perfecter of life. We trust that you are working in our plans to help Asher sleep by feeding him in intervals. Lord please help Asher to drop the 3 am feeding soon and then help us all to get the rest we need. In Jesus name, amen!