Monday, March 8, 2010

A Breastfeeding Story- with hyperemesis & pregnancy thrown in!

I discovered I was pregnant in January 2004, while I was off work for refusing the flu shot. Shortly after finding out I became very nauseous and vomitted several times a day. I couldn't hold ANYTHING down. As the weeks went by I became more and more sick. I had to go to the ER and was diagnosed with hyperemesis gaviduim. I was given Diclectin. I had to keep increasing until I was taking more than 10 a day. I was sick for seven months.

Then....on my due date I was watching my favourite show, Coronation Street (at 10am), and thought I felt contractions....they felt different than the Braxton Hicks I had experienced for weeks. They increased in intensity and at about 5pm we got ready to meet the midwife at the hospital.

I did not like being poked and proded by the staff at the hospital, including a lab tech coming into the bathroom to take my blood! No privacy. I had to push for a long long time....but at 10:52pm my daughter was born! I don't remember her nursing the first time...the midwife helped her latch on.

Once home she would latch on and fall asleep. On day three my milk came in. I was SO engorged. OUCH. I had overactive letdown and a tonne of milk. My daughter would latch on until letdown and then.....come off screaming....and milk would spray everywhere. Although I had more than enough milk....she lost more than the desired amount of weight in the first week. I was discouraged..some nursing sessions would last an hour, with a lot of screaming from my baby. My midwife was patient and very dedicated to breastfeeding. She suggested block feeding. She would still pull off screaming. So I would pump for 30 seconds and then stop when I let down, letting the milk spray into a towel, then latched on my baby. Sometimes it helped sometimes it didn't. I also fed her breastmilk with a spoon, which she lapped up like a kitten. My midwife gave me a lot of support and encouragement. It took a month of spoon feeding, pumping until letdown and trying to latch to finally start breastfeeding with ease.

When my daughter was almost two, I became pregnant again. I once again had to deal with hyperemesis. I took mega doses of Diclectin again, and was followed by a researcher at Motherisk. They knew I was still nursing and encouraged it. Because of being sick non stop I let my two year nurse alot. And we cuddled alot.

She came to midwives appointments with me and got to check the baby's heartbeat etc. One visit she told the midwife that she knew that mommies scream the babies out!

Two weeks before my due date I went into labour with my second daugther. It was fast and very intense....just over two hours of really active labour. I had a rather unplanned homebirth that was absolutely fantastic! I nursed after and got up to pee and the midwives made my bed for me and I cuddled back in bed with my baby. About four hours after my second baby was born, my first daughter came in the room and said "LOOK SOMEONE BRINGED US A BABY!!!"

I was surprised that when my milk came in my older daughter gave up solid foods totally and nursed with her new sister. Her poop went back to newborn poop. I mentioned this to my midwife and she assured me that she would thrive and that she would eventually go back to solids. And she did.

Most of the time I enjoyed nursing, but....I did get frustrated and said to my older daughter once...why do you like boobie milk so much? She looked at me and said "Mommy, because it tastes like love". That was the answer that made it worth it.

My two girls tandem nursed for just over a year. Then one day my daughter nursed before bed, sat up and said "Mommy this is the very last time I am going to have boobie milk." And it was. Just like that. I let her decide how to celebrate...she picked making chocolate covered strawberries! YUMMY.

I am still nursing her little sister, and have to admit that I am not looking forward to her telling me she is done.....because that will be the end of nursing for me...which makes me a little sad.

By Jen Paisley


  1. What a beautiful journey! Thank you for sharing, as I'm planning a home birth and tandem nursing a toddler.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. That was a really beautiful story.

  3. I'm nursing my 3 1/2 year old twin boys. They still don't have the words to tell me how they feel about nursing, so when I read such lovely words as these, I imagine that maybe my boys would say things like that if they could and it makes it easier to keep going. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for sharing your story! I came across your blog while googling information about breastfeeding through extreme morning sickness. I'm 11 weeks pregnant and...nothing like yours!...but suffering from really severe sickness (which I'm REALLY hoping will not be much longer!). I'm breastfeeding my 10 month old and I want to keep going through the pregnancy, but at least to a year. I'm surprised, with how little I've been eating and being so dehydrated, I still have a good supply; and I'm afraid I will lose it. I was wondering if you had a decent supply throughout your pregnancy?

    On another note my 2 year old still nurses VERY infrequently, only when she wants to which is maybe once a week; and my almost 4 year old just weaned a few months ago. My 2 year old was having a crabby day and I asked her why she was upset, she said "can you do me nursies? then I be happy." And she was happy! When they can verbalize it, they say the sweetest things :)

  5. I am nursing my almost 16 month old and almost 15 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and have HG with both pregnancies. I totally relate to this and it really touched me...thank you for sharing :)