Postpartum: Blindsided Part2

The pain was so intense I remember wanting to push her off me. Now I was seasoned at breastfeeding thanks to Byron and I knew we had problems. D came over again and we did more troubleshooting. Finally she looked me in the eye and said “I think we may be dealing with something else.” A posterior tongue tie, anterior lip tie and a high vaulted palate. She set up a routine for me. Stop nursing on lefty (my nickname for left boob 😉 to help it to heal- pump exclusively on the left, nurse on the right. So this became my life. Pump on the left, nurse on the right, every 2 hours. Clean and sanitize the bottles, repeat. In between, doing salt water nipple cocktail, air dry, a cream to help prevent thrush.

big sister cuddling with her new baby sister
early days

This was my life. Cry, nurse, pump, nipple cocktail, cream, sanitize, cry some more.

Baby Isla with lip blisters from trying to nurse
The blisters Isla developed on her lips from trying the nurse

I finally got Isla to a specialist, thanks to having a baby in the winter and having to cancel a couple of times due to blizzards. He confirmed our suspicions. She had laser surgery that day. I sobbed and sobbed, she was only 3 weeks old.

We had thought that surgery would fix the problem but you can’t change the way a baby’s mouth is shaped. Nursing wasn’t improving, so we were off to the occupational therapist to try and retrain Isla. She had developed compensation patterns to get milk that was contributing to her inability to actually get the milk out. We noticed that she wasn’t gaining weight as she should. Wait, you are telling me she has only gained 2 oz in 2 weeks? Now we had a medical issue, she was almost failure to thrive.

Mom holding baby Isla looking exhausted.
The exhaustion and mental overload is real.

D and the pediatrician were like, ok it is time to supplement with formula. I was devastated! I had the milk but because of all the issues my supply had gone down. I researched all the formulas. I was so sad, all day, everyday. I felt like a failure. I then started to notice I was scared all the time. This was the winter that the flu was killing record numbers of people, children. I wouldn’t let my husband take the girls anywhere. I prescreened anyone who came over. I didn’t want anyone to come over. I was terrified every time I left the house. Everything was contaminated, infectious. What if I got sick and gave it to the girls? I noticed that I washed my hands so much more because of that, and they just cracked and hurt all the time.

Looking out onto the back deck in the winter with a lot of snow
The view from our living room.

My functional medicine doctor diagnosed me with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. My fear didn’t allow me to let mother’s keeper come into my home to help me, or to allow the cleaning business in. I cried every day. Stuck in the house because it was winter in northern michigan. I would stare out the window and miss my life before this illness. I would stare out the window and want to disappear.

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