Etta & Michelle's Breastfeeding Journey- 2 Uteruses, NICU, 3 Surgeries
I knew I would not have an easy pregnancy and birth. I have two uteruses and no one could predict how my body would handle pregnancy, but I had problems from the beginning. My original due date was March 1st. At the end of December I was first hospitalized for extra monitoring. By early January I knew I would be inpatient for the rest of my pregnancy. We had our maternity photos taken outside of our hospital as I had to be nearby. My dream of an easy pregnancy was out the window so I decided to make 100% sure that I met my goal, to exclusively breast feed. As time went on, it was clear Etta would be in the NICU for some period of time. I made my husband Michael watch videos of hand expression and promise that he would ensure I got hooked up to a pump even if I got general anesthesia. On January 18th at 10:10 Etta was born via urgent C-section at just 34 weeks. She weighed 4lbs 7oz. In the PACU after my emergency c-section, my nurse helped me pump right away. When I produced a few drops my sister lovingly gathered them in a syringe to send to Etta. Over the next couple of days the only level of control I had over the situation was pumping. I hand expressed and pumped like a crazy person and my mom and sister collected every single drop. On Etta’s second day of life, I got to put her to breast. She got tired super quickly but my girl had a great latch. I was so happy. We slowly went from tube feeding pumped milk and two attempts a day to breast feed to feeding with the nipple shield and supplementing pumped breast milk. We weaned the nipple shield and suddenly we were doing it! Then, we took another hit. I almost lost my supply when I had to have three surgeries for retained products of conception (remember I have two uteruses so it made it hard to get all the placenta out). I power pumped, I took supplements, I fought hard.
Now at 6 months she is on demand, exclusively breastfed. It is one of the accomplishments I am most proud of in my life. I fought for something that was so important to me. One of my favorite things is being able to nurse Etta anywhere, anytime because damn I worked hard for that. As for Miss Etta, she made it off the preemie chart and on the standard growth chart and is thriving. When I’m gone at work or school, she will take a bottle of pumped milk but holds off most of the day for our special time back together :)
Breastfeeding sessions are a great way to remember this special bond with your baby. We take a lot of mommy and me photos, and then do some breastfeeding photos. They are so special!