Monday, March 31, 2008


I went in to the Physician's assistant today. "Why are you here?" the nurse asked. "Migraine. Day 6," I said, and was surprised to hear a little catch in my throat.

No, I'm not in horrible pain this time. But still. 6 days is too long. And it reminds me of the time when I had the never-ending migraine. The 3 month one. 4 ER visits. 1 CT scan. 9.9 on the pain scale. Morphine. Blood on the brain? (No). One side of my body going numb. Not sleeping, for days and days. Not eating because any spice made me sick. Then eating bland food constantly just because then I couldn't taste the tinfoil in my mouth. The rusty icepick in my eye, twisting.

Not a fun trip down memory lane.

The PA listened to my story, convoluted and twisted and full of "oh, and one time?" and "uh, I forgot, I also tried this and this and this..." She didn't know what to do for me. I've been down this road before and it looks like I'm headed there again.

She set me up with a neurologist for next week. I don't know what they'll be able to do, but at least the ball is rolling. The PA said there wasn't much I could take because of breastfeeding, and wondered when I was going to stop. "I want to make it to a year," I said, "but..."

A year seemed so long back then. Now? It's almost tomorrow. Too soon. I'm not ready to think about stopping yet. She's just a little baby, isn't she? She still needs me.

So today she gave me an injection of Toradol. I've had them before, and they can help. I got several decent hours, and Dr. B even commented. "Your face, you look... like you must feel a little better," he said. I could still taste the tinfoil, but it was better.

But, she had cautioned, I really shouldn't breastfeed Rowan on this. Pump and dump time.

Fine. Since I had fed her just before the appointment, I figured she could wait until her dad got home to have some milk. He had fed her bottles before, and he could probably get her to take it this time. I fed her solids--turkey and rice with sweet potatoes and peas, and applesauce. I carefully thawed 7 oz. of breastmilk, pumped back in October, and prepared a bottle. Handed it to him, and left the room to do the dishes, so she would eat.

And just like when I tried last week, she wouldn't take the bottle.

She was fine as a newborn, fine as a 4 month old, but now that she's 9 months +, she doesn't want anything to do with it. She won't take a sippy cup, either. With both of them, she just plays with the nipple or spout, smiling and biting at it, but not actually sucking anything out of it.

"What do I do?" he asked.

"She needs it," I said. "She hasn't had any since 1:30, and she's got to be thirsty, and needs her milk." I remembered what a friend's husband had done while she worked and he was the at home parent with the kid who wouldn't take the bottle. "You'll just have to throw it in."

I brought out a Tupperware cup, a relic from my own childhood, with a curved edge. "Pour a little in the cup at a time, and kind of throw it in her mouth when you can." Rowan loves to drink from a real cup, but she doesn't really get the whole gravity thing yet, and is pretty sure that by bending her head down toward the cup, the liquid will enter her mouth from the downward angle. It doesn't really work that way.

I watched him as he tried to get more milk in her mouth than down her pajamas. He failed miserably, but since there was 7 oz. in the bottle and she usually only drinks around 3 at a feeding now, I wasn't too worried. He carried her to the kitchen sink, stripped her to her diaper, and washed her off. A pair of clean pajamas, a dry diaper (not sure if it was pee or milk or water, but it was wet), and she was tucked into bed.

And here I sit, with so many thoughts swirling through my mind. Worried and confused and concerned. Wanting her to grow up and be independent and to stay little and need me forever. Wishing my body wasn't doing this to me, again, because it keeps me from being what I want to be, for her. Angry, that it's yet another thing I can't control or protect her from.

And hoping, that maybe by tomorrow it will be gone. At least for a little while.


The Bold Soul said...

I realize that what I'm about to write is easy for me to say as a non-mommy, and much harder for any mother to do. So take it in the spirit it's intended: Yes, Rowan needs you, but she needs you healthy, energetic and feeling your best. Even if you decide to stop breast-feeding because you need some medication to be at YOUR best, she will still be your little baby and that won't change. At nearly 10 months old, it's not the end of the world if you decide to stop because it's the best option for your health. Sure it would be wonderful if you could continue, but sometimes things happen over which we have no control and you can't beat yourself up about it. You are obviously a wonderful mother and that's not going to change when (whenever) you decide to stop breastfeeding.

I will just add that my sister was unable to breastfeed either of her two kids; the first because at that time she had a job that only gave her 6 WEEKS of maternity leave (barbarians!) and the second because, although she did try it, her milk just wouldn't come in properly and the entire experience was a frustration for her and her daughter. Her son is nearly 21 and her daughter nearly 16. Both the healthiest two kids you ever saw. No food allergies at all. Good grades, involved in all kinds of sports and school activities. Great bond with their mother as well as their father. As normal and happy a family as you could ever find. And breastfeeding had nothing to do with it.

Sacrificing your health and well-being is not going to allow you to be the kind of mother I know (a) you want to be, (b) you already ARE, and (c) your daughter needs most.

I don't want to offend you or anyone who is a proponent of long-term breastfeeding because I respect those choices; I just want to offer another perspective to consider. As women we all have a tendency to put our own needs last while we're busy giving to everyone and every cause around us. I just think we have to redefine what it means to be a good girlfriend, good wife, good mother, good friend, good daughter, good sister, or good citizen when our generosity and sacrifice gets to the point where we are draining ourselves or ignoring our own health. Think of the flight attendants giving the little emergency speech on a plane: they always tell us to put on our own oxygen masks FIRST, and THEN help our neighbors. You can't be there for others, and I mean REALLY be there fully, if you are drained and have nothing left over to give.

::getting down off soapbox now::

La Rêveuse said...

I know, Lisa, I know you're right. It's just something I'm not ready to face yet. Especially since she doesn't even take the bottle now--I have this fear, irrational I realize, that she'll not get what she needs. Though obviously people have thrived for millenia on much less. Paranoia, OCD, call it what you will. ;) Plus, it's just me not wanting to let go, not even one little bit. She's almost walking, and it scares the crap out of me. Man, I'm going to be a wreck when she goes to school. :) Just like my mom was, I guess.

Mama Bear said...

She will always need you. Don't ever worry that the day will come when your little girl doesn't need her mommy. You are being a great mother, by also taking care of yourself. Sometimes that's just the way it is.
Walking will be an adventure, and then talking will be an adventure. There is always one more adventure to come with children.

jennifer said...

It is hard to let go...believe me, when your "baby" is 2 and talking it is very scary! And I am sure there will be many lump in the throat moments from here on out. But, she will get what she always seems to work itself out. That is what Dr. Jon says. He always says, if they only eat meat this week, maybe next week they will eat veggies...there is always a phase! You just gotta keep at it and she will take the cup,bottle, or sippie when she is in need. She won't let herself go hungry....they are pretty smart! Maybe even smarter than us nervous parents huh? Good luck with this phase and I hope that you feel better...happy mama, happy baby! That is another Dr. Jon saying! Jenn

Sarita said...

Well...Felix never took a bottle. But we got him started on a cup, just like Rowan did with Dr. B. I've heard it takes babies about 15 times before they decide if they like something or not so maybe this applies to getting milk from something other than a boob too. I'm not going to offer any advice in either direction but I think you'll know at some point whether or not you can continue with your pain. Thresholds of pain are so individualized that it is hard for someone from the outside to know how deeply you are suffering and how that balances out with your desire to keep breastfeeding. Hopefully it will get better before then...and in the meantime keep trying the cup.

DeeAnn said...

Ohhh... I can't even imagine what your going through. Being months behind you with my first one (who is only 3 months) I know I would feel the same way you do in this situation. I already dread the day I'll have to stop Breastfeeding her. Looks like much good advice has been posted already. I don't have any advice, but do hang in there - we are thinking about you. You are a wonderful mother, and you have a gorgeous thriving daughter!

Sending hugs your way that you'll be able to cope and will feel GREAT soon.

afoos said...

I'm a little late to leave a comment but you are awesome! I gave up BF after a tiny week of feeling uncomfortable and here you are at 10 months and now with migraines all the time. That is a feat in itself. I think that if it is working for you and if you can keep it up, then go for it and I hope for you that this is the case. But, also know that us women have this psychological complex with BF and we think that if we can't do it or don't want to, then we fail as mothers. It took me a long time to realize that one's ability to mother has nothing to do with how we feed our children. So, if you must give it up, know that you are doing it out of love for yourself and for Rowan. Also know that babies will eat and drink if they are hungary or thirsty as a natural instinct. I can't even count the number of times that Louise has come home from the daycare exhausted and not even eaten dinner! But, she's definitely getting what she needs. If you have to start bottle feeding, it might take a few times, but she'll get used to it. Have you tried a sippy cup?

Anyway, hoping your migraine continues to stay away (I read your more recent post). You are an awesome mother.

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