Doctor’s Orders: Stop Breastfeeding

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After I gave birth to my triplets, I experienced some complications in which I was rushed back to the OR for emergency surgery. My Doctor told me I was at risk for extreme blood loss because my uterus stretched so much during my pregnancy and it might be hard for it to contract back to normal. I didn’t think I would have any problems, but I did. The C-section itself was a success and I had no signs of any complications until about an hour or two later as I laid in recovery with my Mom.   My nurses kept pushing on my tummy in which blood clots the size of golf balls were coming out of me. I was so out of it, not even aware how bad things were. I was losing blood quickly and was in need of a blood transfusion immediately. My Doctor was barking orders like crazy not even sure if an OR was available. She told my Mom “Find Ryan, and be praying.” I had lost two liters of blood and was given a vaginal pack to help the bleeding stop. Ryan’s high of sharing the joy of our triplets with our family in the NICU came to an extreme halt as my Mom shared with him what was happening to me. My memory of the night is pretty foggy, but I do remember waking up to Ryan feeding me ice chips. I was desperate to meet my babies, but in no condition to get over to the NICU.

As the night progressed, I was finally transferred to another room. Ry laid in the chair next to my bed and ran back and forth to the NICU getting pictures and FacetTiming our babies so I could meet them. The wait to hold my babies and meet them for the first time was burning a whole in my heart. IMG_2092

Doctors came and went all the time and nurses came in to check blood levels every couple hours. I was told I may have difficulty producing milk because of the intense stress my body had been under… But Like my entire HOPE journey God showed how incredible He is. I began producing enough milk for all three of my babies PLUS!  It was amazing. When I first found out I was pregnant with triplets, I didn’t have high expectations of breast feeding because I didn’t think I would be able to it with three babies and after my c-section, I thought it was probably a loss cause. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I finally received the greatest joy in my heart about 24 hours after the babies were born when I finally got to meet my darling hope babies that I had been dreaming and longing for for so long. Charlize was the first baby I held. And I was able to nurse her right away. I put her on my boob and she immediately latched on. It was beautiful and amazing. As the days passed, my milk production only increased more and more! I felt so proud that I could do this for my babies. And I treasured nursing them, as well.

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I learned to multitask in the NICU. Pump and snuggle!IMG_2361

My first time tandem feeding!!!IMG_2442

I nursed my babies while they were in the NICU and for about two weeks after we had them home. And then I resorted to pumping. I pumped ALL the time!!! And it would take FOREVER because of all the milk I had. I pumped every couple hours and if I skipped once my breasts would get engorged and it was incredibly painful! I would stand in a burning hot shower to loosen up the milk. My boobs were HUMUNGO. Somedays it seemed like I walked around with my breasts out all day long pumping and feeding babies. Why even get dressed? I would get so mad at myself when I would spend 40 minutes pumping and accidentally knock over a bottle or find it two days later underneath my bed!

As the weeks passed pumping became exhausting. It wasn’t helping with my sleep deprivation either. I would have about a 45 minute break in between feedings and pumping around the clock.  I felt like a milk machine.  My anxiety was at an all time high and my babies were suffering from severe reflux issues–all three of them, which made feedings and nights depleting all the time.  I felt like I spent more time hooked up to a machine sucking milk out my breasts rather than actually being able to spend quality time with my babies, or even clean, shower, eat…anything!  Pumping really changed my view of breastfeeding.  It was not enjoyable and by 12 weeks I was ready to stop, which was not an easy decision for me.  I felt like I was given a gift–the gift to give all three of my babies breast milk and I was choosing to stop. Some moms are desperate to to produce milk and unfortunately it just doesn’t happen for them. Here I was producing an overflow and had just hit a wall. I know how great breast milk is for babies and the fact that I was producing enough for all three was a miracle in itself. I felt horrible for wanting to stop breastfeeding, like a failure Mom.  There was so much shame and judgment that clouded my heart. I remember I told a friend that I was ready to stop breastfeeding. Her mouth dropped to the ground as if I was not proving my babies with the best care I could possibly give them. I will never forget the mortified look on her face. However, I knew choosing to stop breast feeding was one of the first steps I needed to take, for myself, to see some changes in my sleep deprivation and postpartum anxiety.

I finally made an appointment to see my postpartum Doctor because at this point I knew my anxiety felt like a loose cannon and I felt completely deflated. This was a HUGE step for me in my PPD season and truly not an easy step to take. I told her my desire to quit breastfeeding and how shameful it felt for even considering bringing my breastfeeding season to a close.

One of the first things she told me to do was to stop breastfeeding! She was surprised that I was still pumping at 3 months in. She even wrote a prescription for me:

“STOP BREASTFEEDING!”

Her support was relieving to me. I was so proud of my breastfeeding season and impressed that I lasted as long as I did, but my time came to an end, and that is OKAY.  There are so many opinions about breastfeeding and we are too hard on each other as Moms. Breastfeeding one baby can be exhausting, and with three, it was just too much for me.  Ultimately, it was taking a tole on me and in order for me to be the best Mom I could be for my family, I needed to stop and it is okay that I stopped when I did.

To all the Moms who breastfeed your babies, you are my heroes!! It takes a lot of dedication, commitment, and time. And to all the Moms who don’t breastfeed your babies, you’re my heroes too!! Sometimes we don’t breastfeed because we have tried everything and it is not working, no milk is coming, or you’re just ready to stop… And it doesn’t make you any less of a Mom.

 

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5 thoughts on “Doctor’s Orders: Stop Breastfeeding

  1. You are a superstar! Breastfeeding is hard work. It is a wonderful gift for your child, but sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I can’t believe you were able to do it for as long as you did with the traumatic birth and TRIPLETS! You gave them a great start in life and should never, ever beat yourself up about it. We have never met; I found you from your awesome announcement video. I think you are amazing and a wonderful mommy!

  2. I found your blog while I was pregnant and have been following you ever since. Actually, after I gave birth (several weeks after you) I was busy with baby so I was unable to visit your site as often. Many of your entries made me emotional as I too went through years of trying and finally got pregnant through IVF. I’ve returned to work and now I’m back to visiting your site again. Your babies are gorgeous and you are a super mom. I always ask myself if we can handle a second child, which seems silly to me when I see you doing so well with your triplets.

    There’s no shame in stopping breastfeeding. I can say that now but I had the same feelings of guilt that you did when I was in that period of contemplation. I felt like it had been ingrained in my head. All the hospital staff I came across kept pushing it so I felt guilty when I didn’t want to continue. I endured the sore nipples, engorgement and constant pain. The only reason I even stopped was because baby had an allergic reaction to my breast milk. I let out a sigh of relief when I had to stop and motherhood became so much more enjoyable after that.

    Thank you much for sharing your story. I always look forward to seeing new photos of your babies.

  3. This is SO true! My first son could not latch. I did everything I could for 2 months. I was covered in blisters and bleeding and he was losing weight. It was such a hard decision to decide that breast WASN’T best for my baby. I couldn’t hold him without cringing because of the pain. I finally made the decision to pump which is no fun to have other people hang out with your baby while you’re stuck to a machine. It’s awful. At 4 months I decided to switch to formula and I can honestly say that was one of the best things I have ever done for my baby or myself. I was so embarrassed. I would literally hide in public to give him bottles because I was afraid of being judged for not breastfeeding which is horrible! I had a friend tell me her children never had one bottle because it was important to do what was best for her babies which is breast. I respect that decision but it totally makes moms feel unreasonable guilt. I have been reading your blog and am so impressed. I cannot imagine even a week of breastfeeding triplets. God totally spoiled me the second time around (irish twin) and she breastfeeds like a champ, she won’t take bottles. And guess what, my relationship and connection to her is no different than my formula fed son. Both needed different things to thrive and making those decisions as a mom is what makes you a good mom! I also had post partum depression with my second and its horrible. As moms we need to be supporting each other! Guilt is no joke and there’s no need for it. You are doing awesome with those babies! Praying they start sleeping soon! My daughter JUST started sleeping through the night on occasion if I fill her belly full of mashed potatoes….whatever works!

  4. Pingback: Sisters Play Date! | ourjourneytoparenthoodblog

  5. Thank you for this post! I am two past the time of trying to breastfeed my little one and I can still remember the guilt of not being able to produce milk and all the suggestions and opinions I got. But stopping pumping and focusing on my baby was the best thing every for me and him!

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