The Secret No One Told Me
When pregnant with my identical twin boys I went through a rollercoaster of emotions. They shared a placenta and had many health issues – twin to twin, and IGUR being the main two. At one point I was told to be prepared for the demise of one of the twins. Despite all odds, the boys managed to stay in the warm comforts of my womb until exactly 34 weeks. It wasn’t a surprise that they were pre-mature but their weights were pretty good. Tanner was 3lbs and Thatcher was 5lbs. I thought I was prepared for anything. Boy was I wrong!
I had breastfed all my other six children and was determined to give the twins the same source of nourishment. I was probably even more adamant about it for them because they would need it even more given their circumstance.
They were delivered by c-section and immediately whisked away to the NICU. My husband saw them several times but I wasn’t able to see them for about six or seven hours. It felt like days.
Finally I was able to go to the NICU and see my babies for the first time. I was awestruck at the size of them – they looked so tiny in the incubators! I asked the nurse when I would be able to feed them, and I was told they would have to be tube fed for awhile but that I should start pumping every three hours.
Mount Sinai provides commercial breast pumps for mothers to use in each room so I as soon as I got back to my room I set everything up so I could pump. I had a really fancy one that pumped both breasts at the same time which apparently was important for me as I had twins.
I sat back and relaxed and pumped. And pumped. And pumped some more. Nothing was happening – not one drop of damned breast milk! After 15 minutes I decided to wait and try again in three hours. Again – NOTHING. I was really confused because this had never happened to me before. I figured something must be wrong with me for sure. After 6 children had my milk ducts said “screw you we’ve retired?” At 41 years of age was I too old? Or was it the unthinkable – I couldn’t produce milk? I knew that was ridiculous so I just kept trying every 3 hours.
The second night my husband had to go home and tend to our six other children. As I lay in bed having only produced a few drops of milk I cried. Cried over the fact that my babies were in NICU, cried because during the c-section my tubes were tied and I would never be pregnant again, and cried over how useless I was that I couldn’t even pump milk for my babies.
Finally I had no more tears of self pity left and fell asleep. The next morning I called the lactation nurse, and cried once again as I told her how I couldn’t get any milk despite pumping every 3 hours.
It was then that I was let in on the secret that everyone forgot to tell me. If your baby is born pre-mature chances are your milk will take longer to come in. I wish somebody had told me this before I had the twins! Why hadn’t anyone told me?! It would have saved me the feelings of uselessness, the crying and the worry.
If you are currently experiencing a twin or high risk pregnancy or have had a pre-mature baby I am here to tell you that yes, you can breastfeed with success. It is difficult at first, but when you first see those drops of milk and are finally able to put your baby to your breast you will know it was all worth it!
My twins are now 4 months old and I am proud to say that they are both breastfed and are thriving.
Did you have a high risk pregnancy or currently experiencing one? Have you had a pre-mature baby and if so what obstacles did you have to overcome in order to breastfeed?
Until next time