We are all in a different part of our journey to #holdbabieslovebodies. Davina tells us about how her son’s birth story and breastfeeding journey led her to #holdbabieslovebodies:
“It took me months to get over feeling like a failure, every time I heard someone say, “as long as the baby is healthy, right?”
I never had any set birth plans, never gave my OB any hard copies of written out wishes on how I want my labor to pan out. I did go in knowing I would like to give it my best shot with an unmedicated birth. I was able to put myself through that physical and mental challenge of dilating to 10 cm and pushing for hours, yet I still felt like I failed myself. I don’t think there was anything I could do to prepare myself for the “two labors” I endured. I ended up with a c-section after all my efforts since my little boy did not budge. It took me months to get over feeling like a failure, every time I heard someone say, “as long as the baby is healthy, right?” I felt like someone stabbed me in my gut. I felt robbed from my experience, with the antiemetic drugs they pushed through my IV, I was completely out during my son’s first breath in this world.
“I actually vaguely remember the first 48 hours of his life...”
After surgery, I felt like itching off my entire body. I turned down Benadryl and explained to my nurse that I’m extremely sensitive to medication and I didn’t want to miss out any more than I already have. She suggested nubain which made the next 24 hours a haze, come to find out later on that it’s pretty powerful stuff and drowsiness is a very common side effect. The next five days in the hospital spiraled down as my son struggled being under the bili lights and nonstop heel sticks. My milk wasn’t coming in and he was losing weight fast.
“The day my nurse brought in a bottle of formula, I broke down into tears.”
I’ve previously preached fed is best, so why is this other wave of inadequacy taking over me? Why am I failing again? Bawling my eyes out with my exposed raw nipples, I told myself I wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Fortunately, after supplementing for a few days, his bilirubin levels and weight was much better. We were eventually given the green light to go home with an SnS system where we prime a little tube with formula and attaching the end to my nipple so my son can nurse from me and get formula at the same time. The caveat to this is that it needed to be done every 2 hours for 24 hours. So factoring the time it took for him to nurse, clean and reprime, my husband and I were sleeping 1 hour intervals. After the brutal 24 hours, my milk came in and I felt all the weight off my shoulders. I remember crying those happy tears, telling my husband that we have succeeded and that I was finally doing something right.
“I went through months trying to process my feelings.”
Combined with sleep deprivation, I eventually found myself in a deeper hole as no one seemed to hear me, no one to help validate my feelings with my birthing experience. I only felt more guilt for not being more grateful that I had a healthy baby.
While feeling internally annihilated, I did eventually come out on top. I joined a mom fitness group, when my son was 2 months old, more so for the company since my husband went way for military training. It took a lot for me to step out of my own comfort zone, I’m pretty introverted and I never worked out before. I didn’t do much talking in the beginning but it helped tremendously to hear other people with the same struggles. I love staying active, it gives me more energy to tackle the rest of my day with my crazy toddler. It’s also one hour I set aside for myself as self care.
My breastfeeding journey was a whole different set of battles over bloody cracked nipples and power pump sessions but I’m so grateful that it was something that I was able to conquer. It has been the only thing that seem to have been the only thing that I had any control over.
I was able to breastfeed and pump for a whole year which helped me feel close to my son during the day. The thing I miss the most is night time nursing, those snuggles are the best thing in the world and slinging helps fill that void.
“Looking back, I don’t know why I was drowning in so much self blame.”
I gave it my all from day one when I found out I was pregnant. Everything that contributed to my feelings were out of my control.
I am still working on self love everyday, learning to embrace my purple tiger marks, incontinence and raised csection scar. I’m far from perfect, there are no shortcuts to self acceptance but I can see in my son’s eyes that I am enough. The way he adores me, that I am his person is the best feeling in the world. I am committed to being a better person than I was yesterday. With his help, I am discovering strength I never knew I had. Better thoughts. Better decisions, day by day. Slinging helps me keep him close, the closeness helps me fight another day.