You can read Part 1 HERE.
Victoria, who was born at 8:30pm on a Friday, was still showing no interest in breastfeeding at 6am Saturday morning. I began to get worried and continued to try to get her latched, but she acted like she had no idea what to do. All the instincts that I had heard babies are born with didn't seem to be present in her at all.
My midwives came back to check on us that day and I showed them again that Victoria was having no response and was even turning away from my nipple. My midwife, Kelly, said I needed to talk with a lactation consultant as soon as possible. She gave me the number of a consultant that they work closely with and I wasted no time calling and begging for help.
She was out of town, but was so helpful. She said my biggest concern at that point was that I hadn't gotten my milk production going because I wasn't getting any stimulation from the baby. So because early colostrum (pre-milk) is a so difficult to pump, I needed to hand-extract it and feed it to the baby until we could figure out how to get her latched (presumably after we figured out the tongue tie situation).
She sent me a link to a video online which teaches hand extraction and I was instructed to hand extract around the clock every 1.5 hours until my production caught up with Victoria's soon-to-be-growing demand.
So I began hand extracting, literally catching a drop at a time in a medicine cup, which I then fed to Victoria with a medicine dropper. We did this over and over and I kept trying to get her to latch, but she still acted like she had no idea what to do no matter what I did.
This went on through the night, which Andrew and I still remember as one of the longest nights of our lives! Victoria's stomach "woke up" at about 8pm and she was HUNGRY. She screamed and screamed and nothing I gave her was enough, as my production was behind. Their stomachs are so tiny in the beginning but their capacity increases quickly, and we were soon pacing the hallways with a screaming baby while we tried to figure out what to do. And all through this I continued to try to bring her to breast and get a latch, but she refused to latch and continued to scream and struggle.
I knew that supplementing usually makes for supply issues, and that breastmilk supply usually adjusts to meet demand within 24 hours, so I just had to get through the night. But there just came a point when I decided we should try to give her a little formula to fill her belly.
We tried and I cried while I gave it to her, afraid that this meant I was a failure and I had just lost the battle. What I have learned since, however, is that breastfeeding is all about tenacity, and I am VERY tenacious.
Then she refused to take the formula and had red splotches all over her skin that made me afraid that she was having a bad reaction to it.
So around 2am Sunday morning I called my mom crying. "What do I do!?!?!?!" I asked. She told me to take a deep breath, that the goal right now is to just get through the night so we can deal with it all in the morning. She told me that if my colostrum was all Victoria would take, to add some water to it to fill up her belly. So I did that and Victoria quickly fell asleep.
The next day I called the lactation consultant again and she referred me to a colleague of hers who was in town and could come and see me. I called the second consultant and she told me that she would come and see me on Monday, and that my goal until then was to continue extracting as much colostrum as possible in hopes that my milk supply would come in (it usually comes in within a few days of giving birth) and to get calories into the baby via formula if she needed more than what I was giving her.
So all day Sunday I was giving her my colostrum followed by a bit of formula (she finally started taking it. I think she was just too worked up the night before to take it) to fill her up. And again, I continued to try to bring her to breast and allow her to latch. Still with no success.
By 6pm Sunday evening I noticed my milk was coming in and I finally was able to use my pump to extract it. We topped her off with a bottle if needed, but I continued pumping every hour and a half to bring up my supply.
Then Monday came, and with it, my guardian angel.
To be continued in Part 3....