milk pail fail

December 26, 2006

NICU nights

I don’t care whether or not I go to the hospital today.  I will go, of course, because my brain says I have to, but the rest of me just shrugs and shakes her head ‘no.’ Then cries.  Lucas and Abigail don’t even know when I’m there.  They spend their time with nurses and think I’m just another one.  I know people argue this isn’t true, and maybe studies can back it, but it feels true.  I scrub in and bend over their isolettes, greeting each of them with a “good morning,” and maybe they stir from the noise, but they don’t know they were once inside me.  They don’t recognize my voice and find comfort in it; I don’t care what the books say.  And while I do get excited to hold them, one bottom in each of my hands, brother and sister together again, I also wonder, “what for?”  Yes, children who are held, thrive.  I want to hold them all day and night, to nuzzle them, and give them what they need.  But they’re too young to be held all day.  They need their own spaces, to be isolated from noise and voices and even me.  I know our bodies are incredible, that 48 hours in bed with my children will up my milk production, but I’m not allowed to sleep with my children.  I’m allowed to hold them, once a day, for a half hour, in a hospital room, in a rocking chair, me with these two little creatures and all their wires, spreading across the three of us like lines of a map. 

Each time I hold Lucas he has a Bradycardia episode, where his heart rate drops and he stops breathing “because of his positioning.  His airway isn’t clear when his head is dipped too forward or too far back.”  And it’s hard and wonderful holding them both together. But I fear something will happen to one of them.  We’ve already been warned of the ride we’re in for, that they’re bound to have more infections and setbacks.  Even now, when they’re doing so well, each now weighing in over three pounds, I worry that I will only take one of them home, despite all the clothes I’ve bought for each of them (ranging in 0-3 months all the way to a hopeful 12 months), their small corners in a room, decorated just for them.  A nursery, without any nursing going on. 

They don’t need me; they need my milk, and I’m not pumping enough.  It’s been two and half weeks since their birth, and my milk hasn’t fully come in.  “It sometimes takes up to a month for it to come in for twins” is a phrase I keep hearing but don’t understand.  My doctor has prescribed a drug for nausea, that’s taken for a total of three weeks, with a side effect of increased milk production “with some mothers.”  This means it doesn’t work for everyone.  “And there’s also the side effect of depression.”  Phil asks if while I’m out filling the prescription, if I wouldn’t mind also getting him a shotgun.  It’s hard enough dealing with my hormones without the added risk of depression from a pill, never mind post-partum depression (which I don’t have, not yet anyway).   

Failing at milk production is right up there with failing at reproduction.  You feel like you’re failing at being human, without the basic ability to produce… produce life, or now in my case, sustain life.  I’ll need to supplement right now, with donor milk.  When they come home, I’ll need to supplement with formula, even though I don’t want to.  I know formula isn’t the evil the La Leche fanatics make it out to be, that aside from the antibodies provided by my milk, formula can be even better.  It’s not about that, though.  It’s about wanting, so much, to feed and provide for them, to be their caretaker, completely, especially during this time when I feel, well, when I feel like I don’t even have children.

My own mother just called, wanting an update on her grandchildren.  Lucas is 3.39 lbs.  Abigail is 3.24 lbs.  It makes people feel good to hear they’re gaining weight.  My mother asks what they need.  "More milk," I respond, to which she insists I get myself some lentil soup.  "I swear," she says, "I was talking about it with Yiya last night, and you know she’s a witch doctor and knows all about these things, and she swears by lentil soup, insisting that women who eat it complain of breasts too full of milk."  I will try anything, though I’ve already been warned against the homeopathic treatments of teas (not safe with preemie babies held up in the NICU).  So here’s to lentil soup and meds that might lead to depression.  Hey, I do some of my best writing while depressed, and it’s only for three weeks.  "Well, I can’t get them milk," my mother says, "but I can get them a double jogging stroller."  And I smile, eager to go for walks with my little incubating chicken nugget children.

50 Responses to “milk pail fail”

  1. sally Says:

    I had twins at 34w 2d, and I know how you feel. My milk didn't ever fully come in, either. Mine was chalked up to a thyroid issue, but I was devastated. Whatever miniscule amounts I was able to pump, I put into my little hospital bottles and sheepishly handed over to the experts. I also get the feeling of them not knowing that you're there. I felt that way also. I felt better once mine could co-bed. They definitely feel better with each other. They're numbers improved greatly once they were together. Mine are as hearty as can be now, at almost 2 years old. I can't say enough about those NICU nurses and Neonatologists. They do amazing things. They'll eventually outgrow the bradys and all of that stuff, and they'll be home with you. I don't mean to sound like Pollyanna…just wanted you to know that you're not the only one who has felt the detachment.

    Reply

  2. Rachel Says:

    Take heart, Stephanie. You're doing everything you can (even if you feel like you somehow aren't). You can't force your body to produce milk, other than doing what you're doing. It must be tremendously frustrating, but…you're doing your best, and Stephanie Klein's best is the best. You might not feel that the twins know you, but — there's no way to know that they don't know you, if you know what I mean. I would hazard a guess that they do, and that the half-hour you spend with them is extremely meaningful. You and Phil are very brave, resourceful, and loving…the twins are a product of this, which no doubt gives them the strength they are showing, through this ordeal.
    Rachel.

    Reply

  3. linda Says:

    just a few thoughts –
    do you know if it's that you don't have enough milk – or that you aren't getting 'letdown'?
    also – has anyone talked about your mental state, and the state of your milk production?
    i had post-partum depression that included a massive amount of anxiety – and i was told that the anxiety prevented letdown and killed my milk production. also i wasnt eating or drinking enough.
    i would think that a mother in your position would have enormous anxiety – and for me at least that was the end of milk production for me.
    i don't want to 'arm-chair shrink' you but your comments sound like you are at least mildly depressed, which of course is completely understandable if that's the case.
    anyway – good luck and hope you can find a support group of other preemie moms – i would imagine that would be very therapeutic.

    Reply

  4. Buffy Says:

    I wish I had warm words for you. Warm words that would actually work. But I can't find any. I've never gone through what you're going through; and the people I know who have…well they never said much.

    Keep doing what you're doing. Keep praying. And keep writing. It's therapeutic. We all know that. It helps clear the mind and the soul and all the gut rot that leads to unbearable depression.

    In a few months you'll have bouncing little babies all over the house, begging to be held and fed. I'm sure there'll be plenty of time to make up for anything you feel you've lost. And remind Phil of it, and the old proverb 'this too shall pass', next time he frets over the moods.

    B.

    Reply

  5. clara Says:

    Hey, I resemble that La Leche fanatic remark! Actually, there is a whole new LLL now, most of us leaders are young and trained to be accepting & non judgemental above all else. And we don`t let anyone bash formula or bottle feeding at our meetings.

    I`v been checking on the twins often and I am sending you all thoughts and prayers for their continued good health and growth. The NICU is very stressful and starting to breastfeed with a pump & not from the baby is much harder, so please don`t be too hard on yourself. Here`s a pumping trick that a friend swears by: get comfortable and try to relax and think about the babies as you get the pump ready, go around your breasts in a circle, massaging gently with your hands from base to nipple. Then, lean forward and shake your breasts around. Then, pump. It can help, and any bit does help, but they will thrive with you no matter how they are fed.

    Reply

  6. Polichick Says:

    Hang in there, Stephanie. I'm so sorry it is so hard right now. You are giving them so much though, even if it might not feel like it. Thinking of you and the babies.

    Reply

  7. chelsey Says:

    I know what you are feeling. With everyone doing everything for your babies, it's hard not to feel wanted. What helped me is that I asked the nurses to teach me the basics. So with a nurse standing over me I would attach her feeding tube to the automatic feeder, change her diaper, reposition her and other misc. things. It really helped me to feel like I was taking care of my baby. My milk never fully came in, I pumped enough for her to get through her feedings at the hospital but once we got home we switched to the enfa-care preemie formula.

    There are better days ahead… I pray that you find peace soon.

    Reply

  8. Beth Says:

    I can't imagine what you're going through and won't say hang in there or chin up or anything else that likely sounds like empty sentiments to you at this point. All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your children and wish you nothing but the best.

    Reply

  9. Noel Says:

    *First time commenter* I only had one baby, and at 6 weeks my milk (which had been so full and strong) just dried up overnight. I tried the Reglan, and just couldn't handle the side effects. I went into a horrible depression blaming myself and my body for not being able to feed my child.

    Today, on the otherside of the PPD, I look back and say, "I didn't fail. I made it six weeks! Some women can't even make it that far. And I did do everything I could possibly have done." And it brings a little relief.

    I'm hoping you can concentrate on how hard you and your body have worked these last few weeks and take comfort in the fact that you have been thriving, even in this state of adversity.

    Reply

  10. NyC Cristina Says:

    keep your head up, Stephanie. i will keep your family in my prayers.

    Reply

  11. Easyfriend-zy Says:

    After you get through this, you will be able to handle anything with those two…you are doing what a mom does, anything it takes.

    Reply

  12. Barbara E. Says:

    So sorry you're having such a rough time. I have nothing to add that everyone else hasn't already said, so I'll draw your attention to Clara's instructions to: "go around your breasts in a circle, massaging gently with your hands from base to nipple. Then, lean forward and shake your breasts around."

    Not to take away from the usefulness of the method, but did you have the urge to finish that statement with "then you do the hokey pokey"?

    Reply

  13. Betty Says:

    Hang in there Sugar, everything will turn out the way it's supposed to and that means Abigail will be President and Lucas will find a cure for every disease imaginable. Just keep visiting them and trying.

    Reply

  14. JO Says:

    I've had three children and tried each time to breastfeed and it just wouldn't work for me. That said, my daughters didn't suffer b/c of it. They are healthy, smart, vibarant women. My husband, not their father, says they're tough as nail…which translates to they are strong and successful and independent. So if it doesn't work out it is not the end of the world and even gives you a bit of independence.

    Reply

  15. simone Says:

    When I had my baby I had to stop breastfeeding after 3 months because I`ve lost too much weight. And, like Noel, I too was depressive and felt guilty for not being able to feed him. But there is no reason to feel guilty. You can only do your very best and if it doesn`t work – there`s formula. It`s easy to say, I know, but try to relax (it can not at least help you to produce more milk).
    "Lucas and Abigail don’t even know when I’m there. They spend their time with nurses and think I’m just another one. I know people argue this isn’t true, and maybe studies can back it, but it feels true."
    Maybe it feels true because it`s a very difficult situation, but I`m sure (and like you said, studies can back it) your little ones know your voice, your scent – they know exactly who you are. Please don`t doubt this.

    Reply

  16. Tricia L Says:

    Oh Stephanie, every post about Lucas and Abigail has made me cry! Your words hit me right in the heart…it makes me ache for you and all of the other moms of NICU babies. Thank you so much for sharing. I've been praying for you and your family. God bless!

    Reply

  17. sara Says:

    Stephanie,

    I was a premie, and my Mom still talks about how sad it made her that she couldn't take me home when all the other parents pointed to their babies then touched them and took them home in a swoop.

    She actually stopped coming to the hospital a week into my incubator stay because she didn't think her presence was affecting my ability to thrive.

    Now, I don't remember the thin ice of my early life, but I do know it would be a lot better to hear her say she came back over and over again and prayed I could feel warm and nurtured.

    In a strange way, to your babies, it is the thought that counts – as it will when you retell this amazing story of the beginning of their lives.

    I wish the beginning of mine was different. You are already a great mother. Keep pumping. They will grow to be strong and stubborn before you even realize they were weak and needy.

    Always my best to you and the Mr.

    Reply

  18. MaggieAtl Says:

    Stephanie,
    My heart goes out to you. It must be so rough for you and Phil. Please hang in there, it just has to get better, you know? Know that these bad times will someday just be memories to tell Abigail and Lucas.

    Reply

  19. Scarlett Says:

    I'm sure you don't want anymore "assvice", but someone gave me these tips and it made my milk production drastically increase.
    1. Oatmeal–eat at least two bowls a day of real oatmeal
    2. Fenugreek–take it as directed
    3. Dark Beer
    4. Lots of water

    Reply

  20. Eli Says:

    ok read the left hand side of the page link below —-

    Because of the diluting effect of the relatively high water content of non-alcoholic beers, their concentration of particles (such as minerals and trace elements) corresponds roughly to that of human blood. Therefore, these particles are taken up much faster by the body than is the case with other beverages. This makes non-alcohoilic beers ideal electrolytes and mineral-rich, regenerative beverages especially after strenuous activities such as a work-out or mowing a lawn on a hot day.

    For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, non-alcoholic beers are a completely harmless alternative to alcoholic beverages. According to Professor Anton Piendl, they are even downright beneficial, because they are rich in potassium, but low to very low in calories and sodium, as well as fat- and cholesterol-free. In addition, they can promote the formation of prolactin, a hormone of the pituitary gland that stimulates the production of milk during breast-feeding. Finally, the bitter substances from the hops in non-alcoholic beer have a soothing effect.

    German Beer Institute
    The German Beer Portal for North America

    http://www.germanbeerinstitute.com/alkoholfrei.html

    Reply

  21. Deann Says:

    Stephanie- you don't say, but I hope for the sake of your sanity (or whatever of it there can be when you have preemies) you are using an electric pump. Much more efficient and you can do both sides at one time. Also, your other post said something about ice packs on your breasts – not sure why there, but a really warm wash clothe will help a lot when you've got "porn star" breasts.
    My son was born 6wks early and I can totally identify with your post. It doesn't even seem like your kid(s) when they're in the hospital. You aren't prego, but you don't have the baby either. It can be very discouraging and frustrating. Even now, today, on his 14th birthday, I can still quite vividly remember what it was like.
    Try not to worry. Once you can feed them all the time, your production will go right up.

    Reply

  22. Tina Says:

    So hard. I was in the NICU for an entire month when I was born fourteen weeks early in 1975, and I know that was so terribly difficult for my parents. They practically lived at the hospital. Hang in there (that sounds so trite, ugh).

    Reply

  23. susan Says:

    On Christmas Day afternoon, after all the excitement, I found my "baby" who is now almost 3 and 30 pounds, sound asleep on my bed. I could not resist curling up next to him and as I snuggled I thought of you. It always strikes me as a little odd when I think of you, a complete stranger to me, despite the fact that I know so much about your life. I thought of you and your tiny babies and I wished for the day that you too will snuggle with hearty babies who sleep with abandon.

    Reply

  24. 3 teens' mom Says:

    Oh Stephanie,

    I've got nothing new to say – but wanted you to know I'm thinking of you and the babies. I've said it before, I'll say it again…I'm sending courage and strength from here.

    Reply

  25. jennifer Says:

    hi stephanie. So glad to see an update on the Gups. My heart goes out to you. I was sick with pre-eclampsia, delivered my son 35 weeks, milk never came in, put me on Reglan but it gave me tremors so i had to stop.

    Spent first 4-5 weeks pumping every four hours. It was agonizing, the constant disappointment, spoke to Lactation Consultant exhaustively, and resenting my friends who breastfed, talked about it constantly, and completely took it for granted.

    Your situation is different w/them being in the NICU still, but looking back now, i wonder why i put myself through that and didnt just move on and get on with life.

    Remember you are dealing with some very primal emotions, so take it easy on yourself. Your brain is wired after so many years of evolution to want to do this.

    I didnt want to give up. But looking back with a healthy three year old, i wish now that i would have put away the pumps after a reasonable amount of time and just spent my time enjoying him, and letting him enjoy a momma who wasnt exhausted, drained (literally) and feeling inadequate because she couldnt do more than recreational breastfeeding.

    I wish, i wish, i wish, i would have let it go when it was time to let it go.

    The real lesson is to be thankful that for those of us who dont "produce", there are perfectly healthy alternatives for our babies. And make bottle feeding as much like breast feeding as you can (if you get to that point of just using formula).

    Oh, on another note, i was born 3lbs, 5oz on Sept 19, 1970. I went home a five pounder the 3rd week of November. By the time preemies are 2 y/o, they are "caught up" with their peers.
    I'll be checking in on you, take care, and remember, you are not the only one who has been down this road. I know how you feel…

    Reply

  26. Clare Says:

    What's best about you – and what I think means you are going to be such a fab mother for these two lovelies – is your authenticity. How easy it would be just to present a brave face to the world rather than be honest and open and give us the fuller picture. It is painful to read your fears and insecurities, but I can see that your openness gives you strength and clearly you need to have that behind you right now.

    My very warmest wishes and hope for all your family.

    Reply

  27. Manic Mom Says:

    OK. Good. You're good. I laughed at the end. The milk isn't the end-all, be-all or whatever that saying is. My three children flourished on formula. I felt like a failure as a first-time mom, having to have an emergency C, and then not being able to breastfeed. Couldn't do anything right.

    But I did, and I am, with my three children.

    You are, and you will continue to do right by Lucas and Abigail; and I loved your chicken nugget reference to them.

    Reply

  28. Brandy Says:

    I too had problems with my milk coming in with my twins. I was put two diffrent kinds of meds including the one you are speaking about. I was devestated as well and they did have to be supplemented with formula in the NICU. After a month I decided to quite, I just could not keep up with the schedule anymore.

    I felt the detachment as well I thought they wouldn't know me, but now they light up when I walk in the room. Hang in there. It does get easier, as they get older and bigger.

    Reply

  29. Karen Says:

    I know you're being candid with your feelings, but all I want to say is "Snap out of it, and get to POSITVE." My twins were 2 mos. premature, one weighing less than 2 lbs. with varying potential problems for both……BUT I would never allow in thoughts of anything but the fact that they were coming home and that they'd be absolutely fine…..well, maybe one short moment, but then my husband snapped me out of it at 4 a.m. one night when I turned to nervous. Get the positive supporters lined up or have your husband do it (and remember this later and be one to another mom of preemies.) They'll be fine, and one day you'll be marveling at how unbelievably great they are…..and be amazed! Go every single day that you can to the NICU and when you can't let anyone hold and cuddle them! (My now-deceased dad held babies whose parents were too far away to do so…..while he couldn't be holding his grandchildren.) OK…now you know that 40 years ago I was a cheerleader….and STILL AM for moms like you. My twins are almost 24 and absolutely marvelous people who thrived from a life surrounded by positivity from Day #1! Let those two babes know you're their biggest supporter…..your milk or not!

    Reply

  30. Phc Says:

    This must be so hard on you. I imagine, though, that as long as babies get SOME breastmilk, they get the antibodies they need. It doesn't have to be ONLY breastmilk.

    I'm sure there are a million and one blogs of people who had premature babies, but these folks had a baby three months early, and he's doing great- http://www.dandyjack.com

    To give you a little inspiration…

    Reply

  31. Kathy Says:

    Everybody has an anecdote, so I'll spare you mine, but whether you call it PPD or not, you feel sad. It's honest to write that you have these feelings and yet you keep trying. Lot's of us are thinking about your family, take care of yourselves.

    The things I've learned from having children are:

    -to appreciate my mom and what she's done for me

    -to wonder at women throughout time, and all that they've done.

    I never really appreciated all the energy that went into caring….so take care.

    Reply

  32. Mary Says:

    Your babies heard your voice (and Phil's voice) for quite awhile before they were born. Just keep talking to them and singing to them. There are many things we don't understand about the connection between mothers and their babies, but there it is. You may not feel like they are attaching to you emotionally, but they are. You are doing everything right. The funny thing about raising babies is there are many right ways of doing things. At the heart of right is caring, and that message indeed gets through.

    Reply

  33. Sallie Says:

    I have no idea if you ever got that email I sent, but I do know a whole bunch of people got my email address off my comment two posts down here. I've never before received specialty spam, but that's what I consider the nasty anti-SK diatribe from one person, the email with about twenty addresses from another trying to put together a care package, and the umpteen shopping opportunities sent to me by supposed "close friends of Stephanie and Phil".

    Please consider hiding email addresses again – they are currently all visible if you hover over someone's name, and a fair number of them have people's last names, work addresses, etc.

    Spammers, have at this one. I've opened a new gmail account. I feel sorry for the people who used work email accounts, though.

    Reply

  34. Bubba Says:

    It sounds as if you and Phil could really use some friends and family right now – especially you. Would it be possible for one or both of your parents to come visit for a litle while?

    Reply

  35. suzanne Says:

    I had a breast reduction which involved my milk ducts being severed so I will never be able to breast feed. While I'm not yet ready to have a child, I can already hear the derisive comments from family, friends and strangers alike. I'll be able to say I am physically UNABLE to breast feed, but is it really any of their business why or why not? (I don't exactly go around broadcasting that I had part of my mammory glands lopped off…) So I can imagine the pressure you're feeling, esp. with the nuggies being premature. Perhaps this will help: my husband was not breast fed and turned out great (I'm not biased or anything), and my friend who had a preemie (in NICU for 6 weeks) was pumping so much milk the hospital actually told her to stop bringing it in, that the super-rich formula stuff was just as good. I remember her working so diligently to pump all that milk (she drank non-alcoholic beer, too) and freeze it, only to end up throwing out a whole freezer-full of it (breast milk goes bad, apparently)…I think in the end, no matter the situation regarding milk production or whatever, having preemies in NICU just plain sucks (no pun intended). My friend was able to use that time to sleep a lot and rest before her baby came home (she visited the baby too, of course). She tried to think of it as a bit of a luxury that others (the best "others", really) were caring for her baby while she cared for herself to prepare herself for caring for her baby. An attitude easier to hold in retrospect, I'm sure, but worth pondering, perhaps.

    Reply

  36. Kris in Hawaii Says:

    My twins were born at 35.5 weeks, and even with babies who did not need NICU, learning breastfeeding, esp. for twins, is a big challenge. I wondering also if your body might be a bit confused.. since you had them early, is your body confused about which type of milk you are supposed to produce right now? The colostrum or the real deal? I don't know anything about preemies..but I am sure you are in the hands of experts who are doing everything they can to help you. I gave both of mine formula as well as breast milk. You can do both. Don't feel guilty!!!

    Maybe I shouldn't say this but when I read these agonizing posts I really wish they had put you on a home monitor starting at 20 weeks. I firmly believe (and so did my doctor) that my home monitor kept me from having the twins too early. (You are often having contractions you can't even feel…each one leading to pre-term labor.) I guess you have to trust that your doctor and everyone involved in your medical care did the best they could.

    As for the babies not knowing you, they DO. They know your voice, they know their mom. They are just unable to respond, being so young and underdeveloped. They DO know their mom, they do, so try not to worry that you are "just another nurse," because that so isn't true. You are all making progress!

    Reply

  37. Erin Says:

    Hi Stephanie – I have no advice for you, but I feel you on the breastmilk thang. I had my daughter at 38 weeks, so she was technically full-term, but she ended up in the special care nursery b/c of jaundice. My milk never, ever came in. I pumped every hour on the hour for a month and never produced more than an ounce, max. I took the herbs, drank the tea, drank the beer, took the supplements, met with the lactation consultant every damn day for a month – and still nothing. My daughter never latched, I never produced milk – and she's 9 months old now and a full-fledged Enfamil baby.

    I felt like a failure, too, but realized that my baby would be happier with a happier mama, and so I happily bought up bottles and formula and never looked back.

    Reply

  38. natalie Says:

    Pump, pump, pump.

    Reply

  39. Andrea Says:

    Oh, Stephanie, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It's not true that Abigail and Lucas only need your milk and not you. They need you – their mommy, not just one of the nurses. Whether you believe it or not, all of this will be a distant memory one day. For now, I know that you are suffering, and I wish I could find the right words to ease your pain. Just remember that so many of us are thinking of you and your family and hoping that as each day passes things get easier and better for all of you. And, if you feel like taking a break from the hospital once in a while or if your milk doesn't fully come in, it doesn't mean you're a failure; it means you're human.

    Reply

  40. Scarlet Says:

    Aw, poor boo. All we can offer are good thoughts and you KNOW those are coming a plenty!

    :)

    Reply

  41. LG Says:

    ::begin extreme sarcasm::
    wow! you've driven phil to the point of wanting a shotgun. poor man's been through a lot over these last 19 days, what with the birth and the pumping and all. poor ol' chap.
    ::/end extreme sarcasm::

    Reply

  42. bunchkin Says:

    When my son was in the NICU, the only way that I could get my breasts to let down was to hook up the big old electric breast pump they have there, and to read a book while I was pumping. If I thought about trying to produce breastmilk, I would hardly get anything, but if I took my mind off of it by reading a book, i was able to relax and was able to produce alot. Also, the whole "hokey pokey" hang your breast down and shake em around thing really works! Tell the nurses that you want to do more of your babies care like diaper changes and taking temperatures. That helped me to feel more connected to my son, and I felt like I was actually doing something mommy-like for him. We are praying for you!

    Reply

  43. Jenn Says:

    I can only say that even with a full-term, healthy baby, there is that sense of detachment with a newborn, and I can only imagine it is horribly worse when the babies are in the NICU. When we first brought our daughter home 10 months ago, for the first month or so, I felt horribly unnecessary…like she had no idea who I was or what I was there for. I adored her, of course, and watched her avidly for any little thing, but in my down times, I cried, wondering if she would ever know me, sure that she would never smile at me, and that I couldn't possibly give her anything worthwhile.
    Now that I'm receiving my first slobbery spontaneous kisses from my delightful daughter, and she lights up when I come in the room, and she stops crying as soon as I pick her up..I know that all that one-side devotion was worth it.

    Reply

  44. Wendy Says:

    Stephanie, when I had my baby my milk was slow coming in, too. I had a long hard labour then ended up with a c-section, and they said the physical trauma of that can make your milk come in slower. And then baby ended up losing too much weight before we left the hospital, so they had me start pumping after every feeding to stimulate production, and then that I had to give her some formula after I attempted to breastfeed so she would gain weight.

    I sobbed, feeling exactly as you do, I just wanted to provide for my baby and I was failing. She had nursed for an hour straight just before that last critical weigh in, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, and yet it still wasn't good enough.

    Then a very kind nurse came in, and told me that no one tells you that this is quite normal – in fact she told me "If I walked up and down this hospital floor full of babies, I might find maybe 5 who can breastfeed successfully right off the bat." So I sucked it up and we supplemnted for about 3 weeks. And she's fine and I was able to stop.

    It's so tough, so so tough, and with you having twins and them being early I can't imagine how you are coping so well – I think you are doing just wonderfully. Keep taking it day by day is my meager advice – it will get better, a bit better every day. I've been reading you all along this journey and I think of you and your babies every day.

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  45. Amy LI Says:

    Steph,

    I remember when I was nursing my boys that whenever I saw a picture of them or smelled them my milk would start coming in. My suggestion to you would be to keep a photo of the kids nearby and see if that works. Lots of luck! A

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  46. Windfall Woman Says:

    Bless Your Hearts! All of them. May 2007 be better to all of you!

    Reply

  47. aileen Says:

    Stephanie –

    I have experienced the NICU firsthand, and I sympathize with your feelings of distance. I would go to the hospital and sit there, feeling absolutely useless. What I will say is this, for what it is worth…go every day and just love those babies from where you are sitting. Send all your positive motherly love to them even if you cannot hold them as you would like. You may think they do not know you are there, and maybe they don't, but YOU know you are there, and that is all that matters. Noboday said that motherhood was a picnic. Welcome to your new reality…it is the hardest job you will ever do, and simply the most rewarding, although you may think it will kill you in the process!

    My daughter had health issues that were insurmountable, and she never came home. I regret to this day, seven years later, that I did not spend more time with her in the hospital, and that I felt so overwhelmed by the entire experience that I sort of missed out on just loving her for her, instead of worrying about so many other things. You are still in a state of shock maybe, that things did not go as planned. You sound a bit depressed, and I am fairly sure that you are not taking care of yourself as you need to be.

    As you say, the doctors have told you what you are in for in the coming weeks, so now you need to get positive, be there as much as you can, and take care of you in the midst of all the chaos. When you walk out of there at the end of your visit, you need to leave feeling good about the time that you spent there, and feel confident that you are doing everything that you can.

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  48. prettypretty Says:

    Hey cutie. The double jogging stroller will be so much fun.

    Just wanted to share something with you. For both my kids, it took time for me to bond with them. I don't have an exact idea of how long it took. I want to say "until that first smile" (even if it was just gas). I hear women who talk about falling in love the minute they see their babies. And I believe them too. Just didn't happen that way for me. Regardless of how long or how it happens, the minute you step out and realize it's ALREADY happened will be worth all the crap you're dealing with right now. It will.

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  49. prettypretty Says:

    p.s. I'm loving the lentil soup.

    I think every culture/family has a "soup" that is the sure thing to produce milk. My best friend made me a korean seaweed soup that was in her family for generations. All I know is that the key ingredient in all these soups that get passed on from generation to generation, from mother to mother, that makes the milk pour is love. I know for me, I felt the love when it was made for me, which helped everything else fall into place.

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  50. Amy Says:

    Breast feeding to term twins is tough. Can only imagine pumping enough for two that came early must be doubly so. I supplemented with formula from day 1 with my two. One would get the bottle, the other the breast (switching next time). They both survived and thrive to this day.

    I know you want to contribute right now but really, much more important that you do not beat yourself up over your milk supply. You have not failed them. What you have to do is keep yourself healthy, happy and there for them when you can be.

    Take this a day at a time and try to be good to yourself.

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