Friday, February 11, 2011

boobs and other things i need to get off my chest.

to all the guys whose eyes perked up at the word boobs, you can just turn around and mosey your way on outta here, mkay.

i'm not talking about pretty perky boobs, i'm talking breastfeeding up in here.

i have wanted to do a breastfeeding post for a while
however, not only does my dad read this blog
it is a highly debatable topic that i don't care to debate.

i just want to put my story out in the blog world in hopes that some mom that has huge engorged boobs because her baby won't latch on finds solace in my story.

i have friends who have given the most valiant effort ever and it just didn't work out.
i get that.
some people truly can't do it.
but, i also think you have to decide and commit 100% before the baby is here.
cuz guess what?
laying in that hospital crying from exhaustion clouds your determination.
so it makes it easy to say i tried and it didn't work.
and that ish is hard!
a lot harder than anyone told me it would be.

luckily more people than not told me "you can't breastfeed twins"
and done.
that's all i had to hear.
i would be breastfeeding twins.
partly because people said i couldn't, mostly because i feel like it is better for the baby.
and this is my blog.
and i'm allowed to feel that way.

i never really gave it much thought.
easy peasy.
babies come out and i feed them.
neither one would latch.

i remember being in the hospital crying as the most amazing nurse in the world, Melanie, held one baby and my husband held the other trying to get them to latch.
they all kept telling me it would get better. i didn't believe them.
i was just laying there like the livestock i had become sobbing and second guessing this whole process.
and not understanding how it could be so hard.
on the third night the babies started losing too much weight and the nurses said it was time to supplement.
at that time i believed the bottle was the devil, so sweet melanie convinced me to let her take the babies to the nursery by offering to cup feed my angels in the middle of the night so i could get a four hour stretch of sleep.
thank god she was so pro breastfeeding because a few other nurses were already hinting that i should just give up.
and with a little arm twisting and a few more pain pills and i was close to flirting with the idea.
i think without her i would have ended up a couple floors up in the psychiatric ward.

fast forward.

we got home.
they actually let us leave the hospital
with two babies
and no idea what to do with them.

it got worse.
where was melanie?
my boobs were exploding.
they were red and sore.
and, pam anderson had nothing on these bad boys.
i know this post is already tmi for some so i will spare other disgusting details.
i laid in the bath tub crying with hot wash cloths on my chest.
i had no choice but to pump.
enter the bottle aka the devil.

the twins were eating every 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
matt would get up with me at night, feed one and go back to sleep.
i was so jealous he got to feed then immediately go back to sleep.
we had many a whispering fights in those dark days but we would always wake up laughing about it.
we had a rule, nothing counted that happened in the middle of the night.
we knew how exhausted each other were and sometimes one wouldn't even remember what the fight was about the next day.

i had to stay up and pump.
for a half an hour.
i remember getting done pumping and realizing i then had to wash all the pieces, that was the worst part.
i would record and watch such gems as jerseylicious and some southern belles reality show and watch them as the pump whooshed away with tears pouring down my face from frustration, anger and exhaustion.
i still cringe when i think about that sound....

most twin parents told me those first few months would be a blur.
absolutely not.
i can close my eyes and still see it
i can still feel it.

i would always try to nurse each twin for at least 10 minutes and then resort to giving them a bottle of pumped milk when i realized once again, it wasn't working.
at this point it was taking the twins about 20 minutes to finish their bottles.
so, when matt wasn't around to help, the whole feeding/pumping process took about 90 minutes.
with them eating every 1 1/2 - 2 hours i had about 10-30 minutes to change diapers, wash bottles, change clothes
and then it was time to start all over again.
it was such a dark time and i honestly don't know how i did it.
not to mention we had just bought a house that we were in the process of renovating.
um what?

i started to hate breastfeeding.
i didn't feel any emotional connection,
just resentment that it wasn't working.
but, i knew it was better for my babies so that was it.
i would push through and keep fighting.
i finally got to the point of cracked after teetering on the cracking/cracked line for a couple of weeks.
since i couldn't drink wine to make it all better i visited the most amazing lactation consultant ever.

the twins were out to get me.
they would latch on for her!
we would weigh them before and after and they were not only latching on but eating too.
matt and my mom were so great.
they would go to my appointments to help me.
we would be so excited that we had it all figured out.
we'd get home and bam.
they wouldn't latch.

i would spend all 5 minutes of my "downtime" cursing thinking about the next feeding cycle.

cue to 2 months.
one day it worked.
i don't know how?
i don't know why?
but it just happened.
a few people thought since the twins were "premature" maybe they just needed time to develop more.
who knows.

all i know is that it was two months of hell
and then it all of a sudden it became better.
no more pumping.
no more bottles.
and around five months it became so much better.
sigh of relief.
but, for five months it hurt.
"they" said it wasn't supposed to.
"they" lie.
it is hard work and it hurts.

i had it in my mind that i would nurse them for four months, then six months, then a year.
then we found out there was a baby in my belly.
the dr's suggested i stop nursing at my first appointment. not only could it be taxing on my little peanut but i was feeding four people with just my body.
i couldn't stand the thought of not making it a year after all my hard work.

so they said i could keep going for another month with more water and more food.
um ok. more food? no problem making sure that happens.
they wanted to make sure i was gaining enough weight.
never heard that one before.

we are in the weaning process now.
i am dropping one feeding a week until their first birthday.
so i will make it to my goal.
which is actually far more rewarding than i thought it would be.

i feel like after all my struggles and success i deserve one of those honorary phd's
like those celebrities.
you know, kinda like how elton john is a knight just because?
well, i'm kind of like an honorary queen with an honorary phd in breastfeeding.

so i am writing this post in hopes that when my twinnies are 16 disobeying, staying out past curfew and not getting good grades that i can pull this post out and make them realize what i went through for them.
hopefully they will feel guilty and then just want to stay at home with me snuggling on the couch, watching lifetime movies and telling me how i am the most amazing mother during commercials.

that's probably what will happen.

i mean, that is one reason but, the main reason i write this is because i want people to know just like everything else in life, it's not like the movies.
it's really hard.
the good news is, if you really want to do it, you usually can.
you just have to stick with it.
if people are telling you your supply is low don't listen, you'll start to believe them
go to a lactation consultant and have the baby weighed before and after you feed so you know for sure.

and, if you're anything like me, just have people around you tell you you can't.
it worked for me.

and for the record, somewhere along the line i did develop that emotional connection.
i don't know when or where but i know now that i'm weaning, i'm sad.
maybe it's because it's time together that i will never get back.
or maybe it's because it's the next step in them becoming more independent and not needing me.
i guess i should start car shopping and looking at wedding dresses for chloe.

and p.s.
i feel like a badass
i kept twins living
and breathing
and growing
all by myself.

i did it
if i can help anyone anytime, i will.
just holla.

Dr. Stratton


  1. Girl, you rock out loud! You have sooooo much to be proud of hanging tough like that! I completely sympathize with your plight, but only had one NOT two to feed, and remember that first year still 15.5 years later. I felt like livestock, KNEW that the pump was created as a new mommy torture device punishing me for something I did in a previous life, and also somehow made it a year. Being a couple years ahead of you...Good luck on sharing your struggle and triumph with your 16 year olds some day, and actually having them not cover their ears that you "eeeeewwwwww, breast fed?" them. Perhaps you might want to re-engineer that fantasy that you WONT again tell the story IF they stay home and watch Lifetime and cuddle their mama on the couch!. :)
    I think your blog is enlightening and fresh and honest, and oh so creative, too. Keep it coming Dr. Marissa, PhD! xox, Heather (who doesn't have a blog account...)

  2. Ohhhhhh. Good point, Heather! OK, Lifetime with no stories about mom's boobs it is ; )

  3. loved reading this. you are amazing and impressive and i am in awe! we started out really easy and then it got harder. i thought the mastitis would literally kill me (probably fever dreams) and i remember jonathon yelling at me that we were starting formula as i cried because of the pain while promise ate. and i yelled back! since that cleared up we've been doing okay. lately she is really fussy while she eats and will start screaming like 5 minutes in. sometimes it is a burp. other times i have no idea why she's crying and so i just join her. it's well worth it though.

  4. Marissa, you said it all. Breastfeeding is HARD! I think you are amazing for doing it as long as you did with twins! I had to use the nipple shields and I remember the pain with Vince! Good news for you, with the next baby it was sooooo much easier! Dominic latched right on and I felt like a pro, no help from the nurses for me. So look forward to that! The weaning process is just as hard and painful. I remember feeling so guilty when I stopped, exactly like you said, I felt I was losing my bond with him. That feeling goes away quickly, bottle time is good bonding time to! Third time around I have a new drive to try and go the longest yet with breastfeeding and just bought a brand new pump yesterday!!

  5. It was so easy for me with both children. I had a friend that had the latching on problem. I shared a tip I got from the nurse almost thirty years ago and it worked for her. So glad I could help a mom in distress!

  6. So many stories.......I love it : )

  7. I am with you....thank goodness my good friends told me how hard it was or I would have given up right away. I had lactation in my room day 2!! I am so so so proud of you with sticking with it for a year. I wish that I still was sometimes. I made it 8 months, but the Tamiflu that I had to take to get rid of my flu decided to dry me up. I probably could have worked really hard to get back on track, but I was sick, home without seeing family in town for Thanksgiving, taking care of a baby while Sam was at work, etc. and I just didn't.
    I always think, "with the next one I will (fill in the blank) but who am I kidding, I will have a wild running around toddler.
    You are awesome- really so impressed that you nursed twins for their first year! Pat on the back to you- and maybe Matt owes you a massage or something too :)

  8. I am loving this post, girl, because I can soooo relate. My problem wasn't latching, but clogged ducts. Definitely tmi for anyone reading this. :) I had them every week for the first 6 months. It was absolutely awful. Got mastitis, too, with my first, but I plugged along until 9 months with numero 1 and 15 months with numero 2. And at least once a week with both girls, I would say to my husband those exact words you said: I am a badass. I'm doing it. I'm freaking doing it. I'm keeping this kid alive all by myself. :) And I agree - I only did it and kept it up because I had decided it was the only option for me before I had them. I have to say, though, I don't know how resolved to doing it I would have been had I been pregnant with two. You really, really are a hero. Breastfeeding is one of my proudest accomplishments (no really, it is) and you have done it THIS LONG times two??? Craziness..... You're amazing. Seriously.

  9. Dear wonderful mommy: I can relate on so many levels with your experience. It IS very hard and taxing, but nothing worthwhile comes easy. Because of all the effort, it makes things all the more sweeter, doesn't it? I only hope with baby #3 you have a totally opposite experience and things are a breeze in the nursing department. We ARE strong and can overcome anything for our children!