Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tummy Time

We havebeen trying to give Eliza Lane a little bit more tummy time recently to help her build up her upper body muscles.
She likes it ok depending on how tired she is.
But I think she would like it more if her head wasn't so heavy.. :)
Her neck is getting pretty strong... but as you can see in these pics... she hasn't quite mastered controling her head yet :) Sometimes it seems to take her whole body in one direction with it!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Eliza Lane is almost two months old!!

I had Eliza try on my blessing dress. She is so cute but it is a little small already. I was bless at one month and she is almost two!!!

Sometimes I like to pretend like I have a cool camera!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Breastfeeding Part 4

The answer: So, that night while I was up nursing Eliza I looked up information about breastfeeding and hives because I wanted to know more about medications that I might be able to take while breastfeeding. When I searched, I found out that in a very small population breastfeeding can actually cause hives. The website was an “Ask the Expert” for Case Western and Ohio State medical schools. A medical guide to breastfeeding was written in 1999 that included a small section about this obscure occurrence. It could not explain for sure why it happened but believed that it was the hormones in let-down that triggered the flare up. I kept reading on other websites as well. I was a little encouraged because I thought that I had found an answer. As I read, I also saw that there weren’t any real treatments. There was a woman who had a 5-week old baby and was determined that she would have to wean her baby because she hadn’t found a way to control the hives and she was miserable. At that point, I burst into tears because Eliza was of course 5 weeks old. I found out that my sister Emily’s friend had had the same problem. I then decided to figure out what resources I had and to track my hives to see if it was the breastfeeding. It is interesting what you don’t notice when you aren’t paying attention. My hives would either flare up with in 5 minutes before or after let-down. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it. Sometimes I would be walking around the room and start to feel really itchy. I would tell Skyler, “Hey I am going to let-down.” And within 5 minutes I would let-down. Or I would be nursing and let-down and within 5 minutes I would feel itchy somewhere on my body. By this point, I had hives covering my arms and legs and starting on my back. I knew that I needed help. Skyler looked at my as I was shaking my arms to distract me from the itch and said, “You need to go to the doctor.” He was right, so I started to try harder to find help.

Help: I called the midwife clinic and they told me to call the lactation clinic and gave me the number. I called and it was quickly answered but I was told that I had called the physician line and needed to call the other number. So, I asked for the correct number and they gave it to me. I called and no one answered. So, I tried calling two more times and still only got an answering machine. I was a little discouraged. I called the pediatrician to see what they suggested that I take while I was breastfeeding, they told me that Benadryl or Claritin would be fine. Those happened to be the drugs mentioned on the internet. I knew that WIC had a breastfeeding helpline and I called them too. They answered their phone but told me that they didn’t know anything about it and to call the pregnancy riskline to discuss drugs with them. This answer seemed to be a trend. No one had heard about it. I looked at medical websites and found John Hopkins “Ask the Expert” for the breast center. I decided to submit a question to see if they knew anything. The following day, they responded that they didn’t deal with lactation and thus didn’t know anything. I looked up journal articles to see if I could find any new information. I couldn’t find anything about breastfeeding and hives, but I did find an article about the hormones during menstruation or menopause causing hives. This encouraged me that I wasn’t crazy but wasn’t too helpful. I tried making my own oatmeal bath… it was easy… you basically blend up oatmeal and stick it in the bath. But overall I was still pretty miserable. So, we decided to try the Benadryl even though it might make Eliza lethargic or sleepy. Well, incidentally she was actually just quite fussy. On Saturday after half a day on the Benadryl, she was inconsolable. We had friends over for dinner and she just cried and cried and cried. I couldn’t get her to calm down. We couldn’t do anything to help her.

Breastfeeding Part 3

Going home: We went home and Skyler went to work. While he was gone, my mom helped me with the syringe method. I knew the process was incredibly tedious but I just kept waiting for my milk to come in. Meanwhile, Eliza wasn’t latching very well still. So, nursing was still quite painful. In addition, the prescription that they wrote can only be filled in the hospital’s pharmacy which closed at 5pm. We happened to try to pick it up too late, and had to wait until Monday before I could get the ointment. So, I caked on the Lansinoh! I slept a lot on Friday and so while I was sleeping, Eliza took a bottle.

Glitch #2: However, early Saturday morning we had to go to the ER and they did an EKG and MRI. Because of the dye that they put inside me, I wasn’t allowed to breastfeed for 24 hours. I had to pump and dump all day, which I did. When I arrived home from the hospital, I began to pump and realized that my milk had just come in… but I couldn’t give any of it to Eliza. Strangely, I was never engorged. My milk came in quite slowly and I had to continue pumping to increase it. So, we had to continue supplementing Eliza because I just was not producing enough. She still fussed a little when she nursed but was much happier when I had something more substantial for her. I hoped that I would be able to breastfeed, but I found myself getting discouraged. Over the next week, it continued to get better. Her latch improved and my milk increased.

Glitch #3: I had had a rash (to be explained in part 3) when I came home from the hospital and it had gone away slowly. At one point when Skyler’s mom was here I noticed that I still had some rashiness. I thought it was odd. Slowly the rashiness became increasingly more itchy. It started on my arms and legs and started to intensify and get worse. I thought it would just go away, but it didn’t. So, I determined to figure out what kind of rash it was. I thought it was another allergic reaction. So, I discontinued my stool-softener, and my laxative and waited to see if it would go away. But even without any medication, it began to get worse. I knew that I must be allergic to something else. It started to get really uncomfortable. I started looking up rashes online and didn’t really see anything that looked like it. But after someone suggested hives, I looked at the hives pictures again and read more into them. And I determined that it REALLY was hives. The more I read about hives the more I realized that they were unexplainable. They came and went in unpredictable ways and most people never figured out why they ever got hives. I resigned myself that I would not figure out the cause but just needed to wait it out. I really tried to make myself more comfortable. I would wet my hands with cold water and wet down my arms and legs to try to ease the itch. If I ever scratched, it would get really puffy with little raised welts. So, I knew I couldn’t scratch. I tried Benadryl cream. It didn’t work. I tried cortisone cream. It didn’t work. It got so bad that I started taking really cold showers. [Now this might not seem drastic to some, but it was. I HATE cold showers. When I was waiting for my mission call I knew that the Lord would send me somewhere to get humbled and that I would have to take cold showers. As it turns out, I never did. Once when our water heater was broken, I didn’t shower for a couple of days. But I couldn’t go greasy to church. So, we called the senior sisters couple in our mission and asked if we could come over so that I could shower. So… I walked a few blocks to their house, showered, and returned home to finish getting ready… needless to say, I do not do cold showers but I was so miserable I had no choice.] I would come out of the shower and put on aloe. The relief would last for about 45-60 min. On a happy note, my milk had finally really established itself. I finally did not need to supplement at all and was feeling quite full. I had actually started pumping and produced enough for a small reserve. But concerning my hives, I was feeling pretty humble and asked Skyler for a blessing. I really hoped that I would be healed or that I would hear some words of comfort. But I was a little disappointed. I was not healed, but I was encouraged to investigate further.

Breastfeeding Part 2

First glitch: After two days, Eliza Lane was getting pretty fussy and sucking on her pacifier a lot!! She would start crying and pull on my nipples (it doesn’t feel good) while she was breastfeeding. We determined that she was probably hungry and not getting enough colostrum from me. Since everyone thought her latch was wonderful, and she would not stop fussing, crying, we decided to call in some formula. I called the nurse, she brought in a couple bottles of Similac and we tried it out. Eliza was ravenous but didn’t really know what to do because the nipple allowed so much to flow out. But after she drank about an ounce, she seemed to be quite content. I was relieved that she was finally getting enough but a little disappointed that I needed to supplement because I couldn’t produce enough for her. I knew that she might prefer bottle-feeding, so I determined to make her nurse before ever giving her a bottle. Her sucking would also help my milk supply to come in faster because it would trigger more hormones. The next morning, the pediatrician asked us how everything was going and I told him that we had started supplementing the previous night. He was pleased because her weight had continued to drop and if we hadn’t already started to supplement, he would have suggested it especially because she still had jaundice.

It seemed to be sort of working ok except that she was starting to get fussy when I tried to make her nurse. I talked to the lactation consultant that morning and she told me to just continue being stubborn and making her nurse before giving her a bottle. She also brought me a pump and told me to use it as well. So, I tried to keep up the plan. But it became increasingly more difficult. After one full day of the bottle, she was refusing to nurse and I didn’t know what to do. I was walking around with Skyler and Eliza Lane and the new nurse found us and asked me how I was doing. She asked how breastfeeding was going. I told her honestly that it wasn’t going very well and she seemed quite disappointed. I asked her what other options I had and she told me not to ever give her a bottle again. She said that we could just pump and try to use a syringe. She came in and made sure I knew how to use the pump and later brought in a syringe to save the little bit of colostrum I was able to pump.

The syringe: That began the longest night of our lives thus far: We tried breastfeeding again and Eliza was just miserable because she was hungry, so we asked the nurse for the syringe with my colostrum. We had Skyler drip the colostrum into her mouth as she was latched on and nursing. She was content while it was coming but then still not satisfied. So, we did the same thing with formula. It was kind of a two person deal… which meant that Skyler and I were both required and it was a slow process. But we were excited that she was sort of latching… even if not totally. It would help my milk to come in faster. We were up most of the night and needed to get more formula. I don’t know why I was so insecure, but I hated that I had to ask that particular nurse for more formula. I felt a lot of pressure to succeed at breastfeeding from the nurses, some in particular. But Skyler gave me a pep talk and I risked her disapproving eye. She brought more formula and we tried to keep up the syringe routine, but also gave her a bottle. I found myself crying because I was exhausted, hormonal, and disappointed. I felt worst because Eliza was “born latching” and yet her latch was at that point awful. She wouldn’t latch well and it was becoming really painful on my nipples. I felt like I had done something wrong for her to have regressed, even though in my head I knew I hadn’t. I just told myself that at least she would try to nurse with the syringe instead of totally refusing as she had prior. By morning we were exhausted but encouraged to see the pediatrician again. He said that she had gained two ounces and that she was out of risk for jaundice. We were really excited. He also said, that I should be getting my milk in the next few days and not to stress too much. When the midwives came to check me out they asked me how we were doing and I told them about what our current plan was with breastfeeding. They said not to worry because I would have milk soon and more than what she could possibly want. That was encouraging. They looked at my nipples and told me that they were really quite bad and that I needed a prescription ointment to get them back to normal and wrote a prescription.

Breastfeeding Part 1

Decision: So, I decided that I wanted to breastfeed for multiple reasons. Some were: 1. it is the best food for the baby 2. it helps the mother’s body get back to normal 3. it is cost-effective and 4. it seems like the current thing to do.

Preparation: After the decision was made, we decided to get prepared. We went to a breastfeeding class for a couple of hours as part of our prenatal class. I talked to a few people about it before Eliza Lane was born. I heard things like: “It hurts to begin with, so use Lansinoh.” “Make sure to wear pads in case you leak in public.” “It is a great way to spend time with your baby.” “The most important thing you can do for the first month is to working on the latch.” “It took us a few weeks to get the latch… so don’t give up too early.” “The only reason that breastfeeding is painful is if the baby isn’t latching correctly.” “Lansinoh cream is good when your nipples are cracked and bleeding because they won’t stick to the breast pads.” Etc… So, I determined that the key to success really was a good latch! Right before we went to the hospital, I pulled out my breastfeeding booklet and looked through it again.

First attempts: So, when I first saw Eliza Lane and held her, I was in the recovery room after the C-section, highly medicated and in shock. They asked me if I wanted to have skin-to-skin with her and get her to start breastfeeding. I knew that is what I had planned, so we went ahead. I was kind of out of it to say the least but somehow she was born with a wonderful latch! The midwife had never seen a baby that young latch that well. Everyone that watched her for the next 48 hours could not believe how good she was… they didn’t say it but she was MUCH better than I was, despite my preparation efforts. Originally they were having me do the cradle hold which left me a little bit clumsy. That night I asked the nurse to help me with the football hold. It worked much better! The lactation specialist came in the following morning to see how it was going. Everyone, including her, were trying to help me sit up as vertical as possible in my bed to make the positioning easier for both of us. I tried to push myself a little further than was comfortable but not too uncomfortable on my incision. Things seemed to be going quite well. The only real problem was that when she was in the nursery at night, it seemed that the nurses didn’t see her primary hunger cues and so she would come in really emotional and crying. It took awhile to get her to calm down before she was able to eat.