By 1 week postpartum the heaviness in my belly (err my uterus feeling like it was going to fall out) was gone. Week 2 the front tearing was healed and the back tearing was just a little tender (not on fire burning like it felt before). Week three all the tearing was healed and was no longer tender. It was around 2 months post that the *whispers* hemorrhoids went down.
As for Oliver we had a little bit of a rough start. Day one and two he wanted to nurse, but never really latched on well. Day 3 he seemed to become increasingly frustrated and by day 4, even though my milk had come in, he would just scream once I brought him up to my breast. I worked with both my midwives on getting him to latch and didn’t have any success. They said I wasn’t doing anything wrong, just needed to keep working with him. Day 4 (Friday) one midwife suggested I start spoon feeding him as he had lost 10 ounces. I did so and he eagerly sucked the milk down.
So my routine began with pumping one breast then attempting to get him to nurse at the other. When he would get upset give him a spoon or two of milk to calm him down and then try again at the breast. I would do that for 20-30 minutes and then pump the other side and spoon feed it all to him.
Friday afternoon I got a call from my midwife informing me that she had gotten Oliver’s newborn screening back and he had tested positive for 2 different genetic disorders, galactosemia and biotinidase deficiency. I was really quite stunned. How could something be so terribly wrong with my seemingly perfect (besides the nursing issue) baby boy? Still quiet numb, I called my parents and as soon as my dad answered I broke down sobbing. Unable to get anything out and my poor dad was left asking “whats wrong? are you ok?!”. They comforted me the best they could, trying to be positive and saying out of all the genetic disorders these were treatable ones. I got a call from the genetic specialist at Children’s Hospital shortly thereafter. We set up an appointment for the next day for an additional blood draw, to confirm the diagnosis and also to define the severity of the cases.
Saturday morning we made our way into the hospital. At the welcome desk we had to get photo ID passes in order to enter the wings of the hospital where the children were located. With Oliver tucked snuggly in a sling over my chest the teller asked me to step back on the “x” and smile. Smile. Puffy eyed from crying, dark circles from not sleeping, and fearing for my baby I numbly looked into the camera as she took my photo. Sticking our passes onto hour shirts we headed up to the genetic floor. After speaking with the doctor for a good while and him throughly explaining the disorders and treatment for them we had to strip Oliver down and have 6mls of blood drawn from his tiny little arm vein. The nurse had to probe around for quite some time and poke multiple times before she finally got a flash all the while my poor Ollie was being held down by another nurse and was screaming. Oh my heart was breaking. Unable to hold and comfort my son he lay there cold, scared, with a bright light shining on him while being restrained and poked. It took all my will power to not yell at the nurses to stop and run out of that place with my baby. After they drew the blood they told us we could go and they would probably have results by Thursday or Friday and give us a call then.
After the appointment Saturday we drove to the camp where my sister would be getting married the next day and I was able to spend about 2 hours with my mom helping me try and get Oliver to nurse. We tried different holds, stimulating his cheeks/lips, holding his mouth open wider, ect. We eventually got to the point that he would start rooting, sucking a little, but never got a latch. We did notice that him drinking from the spoon he sucked a LOT of air down with the milk so he was becoming very gassy and fussy. So Saturday night we tried a bottle with breast milk and he took to that just fine and the gassy/fussiness went down considerably.
Monday and Tuesday I started doing a lot more skin to skin with Oliver (several hours a day), trying to show him I was a safe/comfortable place and I continued pumping some, trying to get him to latch for about 20 minutes, pumping the rest and then bottle feeding it to him. Every feeding was an exhausting battle, he red faced screamed 99% of the time. Doing more research I was finding more on nipple confusion and was so upset with myself that it might be my fault that he wasn’t able to latch. I didn’t want every feeding for him to scream nonstop. I wanted him to be happy and healthy and if I had to pump and bottle feed for that to happen, I would. But, I really wanted to be able to share the breastfeeding experience with him and honestly, let’s be real, it would just be so much easier.
Luckily, God was looking out for me and sent my husband’s old room mate’s wife my way. She encouraged me so much and gave me several suggestions of things to try. One thing she and another mama friend mentioned was a nipple shield, essentially a latex nipple that goes over your own, but its more stiff so you can get it in the baby’s mouth easier. So on day 8, I called Brandon while he was at work and asked him to pick one up on his way home. Once he got home I opened it up and tried it out. Oliver gummed it a few times and then started sucking. My heart was racing with excitement. Could this be it? As per directions I allowed him to nurse a couple minutes and then removed the shield and tried to resume without it. He fussed a bit so I replaced the shield and let him nurse a bit longer. Removing the shield a second time we were finally able to connect and he latched and nursed with no shield!! I could have cried I was so happy. Over the next week I was able to wean Oliver off the nipple shield during the day and then it took another week to be able to nurse without it, day or night.
Back to Wednesday, day 9, I had this urge to get online and check Oliver’s hospital profile to see if his test results had come in yet. I really wanted to know, but at the same time if it was bad news I didn’t. I went back and forth with myself debating if I should check or just wait for the doctor to call, but Lord knows they never call when they say they will. I finally got on and there on the left side were links to the test results. My heart raced, sweat started prickling on my neck, and I felt nauseous. I sat there and just looked at the links. Terrified of what may lie behind them. Trying to calm my nerves I looked down at my beautiful Oliver sleeping soundly beside me on the couch and sent up a quick prayer. Clicking the Galactosemia link I scanned through the results. My eyes widened. NEGATIVE. Quickly backing out the the main screen I scrolled down and selected the Biotinidase Deficiency link. NEGATIVE. Oh my heart. I scooped Oliver up in my shaking arms. Tears threatening to spill over as I kissed his warm doughy cheeks and whispered my thanks. He was going to be ok. My sweet sweet boy was going to be ok.