Posted by: Admin | March 7, 2011

Part 3 – What does breastfeeding mean to you?

I have written about my first three children, who are now 27, 26 and 22 years old, in Part 1 and 2. But I have a ‘second’ family as well! After a divorce in 1996, I met my present husband. He accepted the children from my first marriage and was a good father figure to them. As he had no children of his own, we talked about having a child together. However, there was a significant barrier to this: I had had my tubes tied after the birth of my third child. So I underwent many surgeries to have them reconnected, and the scarring caused by all these surgeries gave me a lot of pain and trouble. I did get manage to get pregnant, but it was an ectopic pregnancy, with the fetus implanted in my fallopian tubes rather than in the uterus, and so the fetus could not survive. Then, in 1999, my  tubes were completely removed.

So next we consulted a fertility clinic, and finally, after 4 unsuccessful attempts, I became pregnant. In vitro pregnancies have a higher risk of miscarriages, though, and I lost this baby at 20 weeks of pregnancy. I got pregnant again exactly a year later, and this next attempt was successful. Some of you know the beautiful little girl who was born in May 2005.

Naturally, breastfeeding was an absolute ‘must’ for me. There was no other way possible. I had breastfed before but I was now a Certified Lactation Consultant, something I had not been when I had  my first 3 children. I was eager to put all my knowledge towards successfully breastfeeding this child. But with my title and knowledge also came a lot of pressure. Was if? What if this baby encountered difficulties that would make breastfeeding difficult? I expected a normal delivery, as I had never encountered difficulties with labor or delivery with my other three children. I had never had an epidural, and I did not want one this time either. But the problems started when, at 38 weeks, my little girl kept her head up! This is usually a good thing…except when you are a baby due to be born. To make a long story short, I did have an epidural and my baby was delivered by caesarean… Just to say things do not turn always out as we plan!

As I had written a birthing plan, the hospital staff knew that I wanted my baby in skin-to-skin contact as soon as she was born and that I wanted to keep her with me from then on. Any intervention or care they needed to do, they had to do while I held my baby in my arms. As they knew this, they brought her to me while the doctor was closing up the c-section. I was pretty out of it from the epidural, but my husband helped by holding the baby on my cheek, neck and chest. He also kept her a little more while they untied me (my arms had been tied, as if I were on a cross…). A few minutes after, I felt much better and could even move, so I was able to hold my naked baby directly on my naked body.

This is what skin-to-skin contact is all about. My baby would be warmed up by my heat and would be comforted by the smell of my skin.  She then latched on perfectly like the champion that she is! It was magic. I kept this child on me, on my skin, for the whole hospital stay. Whenever I needed some time for a shower or a little break, my husband would then hold her on his skin.  This was new for the hospital staff, and they observed us closely. They were amazed to discover that this skin-to-skin technique, about which they had received training, really could be done successfully! Breastfeeding went really well during my hospital stay, but things got a little bit more difficult when I returned home…

Read the next part in tomorrow’s blog!



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