Or, it is now anyway. Or, it's getting better. And that's all I can ask for!
So here's what been going on.
Audrey had never had problems breastfeeding. Ever. She's been a champ since birth! Sure a little clumsy latching on at first but there were actually no problems. It was nice.
So then imagine my shock and surprise when Audrey suddenly starting screaming and crying inconsolably when I tried to nurse her. At 3 months she had started a nursing strike.
I was frantic with worry, analyzing every diaper to make sure she wasn't getting dehydrated. The only way I could feed her was when she was sleeping. The MOMENT her eyes fluttered open I had to get her to the breast before she could wake up too much and figure out what was going on. It worked for a little while. As long as I could get her to eat before she fully woke up. If she did wake up then she would scream and we had to wait until next nap time.
She was fussy. She wasn't herself. She rarely smiled and coo'ed and talked like she normally did. She screamed. She cried for ages. She never slept. So I never slept.
Guys. It was awful. And we couldn't fix it.
We were constantly on the phone with the Plunket hotline. We took her to the doctors to determine if she had an ear ache or some sneaky infection that was causing this behavior. Nothing. Clean bill of health. "Sometimes babies just do this." "She'll be fine." "She'll come right in a couple days." "Just keep doing what you're doing." "You're doing fine." "You're doing everything right."
I was hard. It didn't feel like I was doing things right. With Audrey's sporadic feeding my milk supply started to go down. When I pumped there was hardly any milk. I could feel the magic of breastfeeding slipping away from my body. Breastfeeding is so special to me. I couldn't bear the thought of losing that this early in the game. The stress turned me into an emotional mess.
Then... just like the nurses and the doctors said, within a few days she started to nurse again. But she still wouldn't sleep. She definitely wouldn't nap. She would get over tired and feeding would start to be difficult again. She woke every 1 1/2 - 2 hours at night. I was at the end of my tether, ya'll.
So we got some help. We went to the Waikato Family Center yesterday. I was really apprehensive about going. I needed help. I wanted help. But I was nervous. What if our parenting philosophies were so different that their advice wouldn't be really applicable?
We got there first thing in the morning before her morning feed. The plan was to weigh her before and after her feed to see how much she was getting to eat, then to put her down for a nap to monitor her.
The ladies there were wonderful. Baby whisperers. I swear! These ladies were magical! They calmed all my fears and I could feel the stress that was built up slipping away. I asked them questions and I could see that we were on the same page. And they were there to help. Relief. There were other mums there with babies with similar problems. It was so wonderful knowing that I was not the only one. We hung out while our babies fed and slept. We hung out while we were working on our problems together. We talked. We laughed. We moaned collectively about the problems we've been having. It was good. It was really good. I felt normal. I felt free from the reign of hopelessness and stress.
The nurses discovered that Audrey was not getting enough to eat with each feed. Poor thing! She couldn't sleep well because she wasn't eating enough to hold her over. I nursed her then we finished her off with some pumped breast milk. She napped for 4 hours. Then we did the same thing again. Last night she only woke up once during the night. Almost overnight things are incredibly better!
So, we made it. Or we're almost through it! But I can't tell you how much better I feel! Or how stressed I was. My trying to re-tell the nightmare doesn't really do it justice. When your baby is screaming and you've tried everything and can't console her. When you and your husband are holding your baby and sitting together on the bed. All three in tears. Feeling hopeless. Feeling like it will never end. It's tough. But it got better!
So now little Audrey is napping beside me. Her tummy full. I even got to tidy the house up a bit!
So while my life isn't always roses, I am incredibly blessed to have so much support and love in my life.
Thank you to Mum van der Wel who held my hand and cried with me during this tough time. And also for coming over and letting me take a nap. And for helping with the laundry. And the dishes. And vacuuming. And everything. She is wonderful. I love her.
P.S. - You wouldn't know it, but it was my birthday last week! I'm 25 now! What the what! Where does time go?? (Okay. I know where it went. I'm looking at you, Audrey.) More on my birthday soon! Even with all the baby drama Phil managed to spoil me rotten! That man is incredible I tell you. INCREDIBLE!