Monday, September 10, 2007

More 9/15-16/1995


I was rocking in that uncomfortable wooden rocking chair watching any action going on that I could see. The nurse on duty for Bren and the other teeny baby in room found me an extra TALL chair that the nurses used to write in charts. I used the tall, padded chair to sit higher up and therefore close to Brennie. He had not moved since they drugged him to the gills with anti-seizures meds and whatever else they threw at him to get him to stop seizing. I know they gave him phenobarbital, dilantin, more ativan and paraldehyde which are all anti-seizure meds. He had an IV attached to his chest catheter. He wasn't quite as pale as he was earlier. He looked quite small in his bed. He was attached to a monitor that kept tract of his heart rate, oxygen in the blood(measured by an oximeter that was on his big toe), blood pressure and I think that's it.

I spent quite a bit of time watching the blinking on the monitor.

I tried to pump breast milk so when he woke up they could feed it to him. This is one of the biggest stresses I put on myself. Trying to get enough milk so they would not have to supplement. In the next seven weeks, it never happened. I did not feel let down anymore and I only had letdown when he was sucking. So trying to get milk out in their little breast pumping room was the most frustrating thing. I could get an ounce or two but that wasn't enough. I stressed myself out about so much when I really didn't need the extra stress. I'm a huge believer in breast feeding with baby led weaning. My first weened at 17 months old, my second was 2 and Brennie was still breast feeding only when he got sick. He'd had some trouble with nursing for about a week before we ended up in the ER and that affected my milk supply as well. I felt like a complete failure when I couldn't produce 4-6 ounces at a time. I know he had been eating enough as he'd more than doubled his birth weight by 4 months old.

I'm sure some people won't understand but I kind of fixated on my milk as the magic healing food. Breastfeeding and being a good mother went together in my mind(for me only. My standards were for myself.) When I could not do this successfully, it made the entire experience even worse and somewhat personal.

I was raised Catholic and guilt and I had been good friends for quite some time. My mind was struggling with the fact my son was suffering. I wondered, why him? Why an innocent perfect baby was being punished? Why us? (This thinking changed within a week or so to why not us? Were we in some magic circle where nothing bad would ever happen to my kids. NOOOOOO. It just took some attitude adjustment time for me to get there.) I was harboring a great anger, mostly at God. It would bubble and brew for weeks before I blew.

All my guilt and fear of failure to be a "good" mother all coiled together in my subconscious mind. None of the parenting expereince is simple, I have found. Dealing with a sick child just quadruples the complexity. I had pretty harsh standards for myself and this emergency woke them up and mixed them with vague guilt and terrible almost paralyzing fear.

All the while, Brennie lay unnaturally still except for the respirator or when the nurse did something necessary.


shauna said...

Oh, I know the breastfeeding guilt well. Those first six weeks of breastfeeding are absolutely excruciating for me. Unfortunately I didn't realize with my first that the pain would eventually stop. So when the lactation specialist gave me a nipple shield (and didn't tell me that would negatively influence my supply) I was estatic. No more bleeding nipples. No more mastitis. And eventually, no more breastfeeding. I felt guilty for months afterwards and tried to make up for it with each child after that.

Mothers are altogether too hard on themselves.

Anonymous said...

I understand the breastfeeding guilt too! Sitting in a room, on a rocking chair, with your beautiful new baby and not being able to feed him your breast milk, deperate for him to get better, it is no wonder you put that stress on yourself. When you look back now, your right, you didn't need the extra stress, but at the time, sitting there feeling so helpless, giving him your milk was something you could do to help him. It makes total sense to me now.
I understand your anger at God and the question of WHY. I think the why question is one I would struggle with for the rest of my life....XOXOX