Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pumping Woes

I debated whether I should write about this but the truth of the matter is that there is probably someone out there that will benefit from me talking about my exploding nipple. Yeah, not a good thing. So I am putting aside my pride & forging on w/ the story.

As many of you know, I have been pumping/BFing for my trio since they were born. It is has been a LONG road to get this far. Many, many times I have had to deal w/ sore, cracked nipples. If you have pumped or BFed, you know what I am talking about. I guess I have become numb to the pain or maybe it is the Advil that kicks in after 30 min. I continue to be a glutton for punishment b/c I refuse to "hang up the horns" until the kids have turned 1. Even then, I will have to wean myself from pumping/BFing b/c I am still making over 60 oz of milk a day. Can you imagine going cold turkey?!?

Ok, let me get on w/ the original reason why I am posting about this. On Friday afternoon, I came upstairs to do my usual 2:30pm pumping session & afer about a minute of pumping, I realized all that was in the bottle was blood. Yep, blood...and not a little. About an ounce worth! This isn't the 1st time that I have busted my nipple open & bled out BUT this is the 1st time it didn't stop as soon as I turned the pump off. I bled through a cloth diaper & many, many paper towels besides the amount that went down the sink as I hung over it trying to control the bleeding.

I know, many of you would say "this is it, no more pumping" but I am stubborn. I realized I couldn't pump that side for that session & my anxiety level started to raise b/c I didn't know how I would get the milk out & the fear of engorgement started to hang over my head. Being engorged is no fun. Fortunately, the bleeding stopped & I was able to latch Ian on w/o him causing it to bleed. The crack was on the side, thankfully.

Of course, I started worrying about my last pumping session of the night. What if I wasn't able to? God help me! That meant I would be totally engorged come morning. Not a pleasant feeling & one that normally wakes me up way before 6:45am. I went up to pump at 8:30 & was praying as I climbed the stairs. Would I bleed again? Unfortuately the answer was YES. I started bleeding as profusely as I did earlier. I was not happy. Rather than just have 1 side engorged, I decided to go for ultimate torture & stop pumping the other side. What was the point?!?

I went to bed, sulking. My anxiety level was so high that I couldn't fall asleep for over an hour. Sad but true. What was I going to do if I couldn't pump in the morning? I wasn't ready to give it up! I want my kids to have my milk until they switch to cow milk! I started praying that God would miraculously heal my nipple come morning.

The night passed & I have to say, I slept well. I suppose the night before when Ian woke up to cry for over an hour, had caught up w/ me. I ran upstairs to pump & I started to bleed. I was FREAKING out! Now what? Well, the bleeding stopped. Divine intervention? I had my manual pump & wanted to use it to relieve the pressure. I NEEDED to relieve the pressure! I was very uncomfortable. A little at a time, & w/i 5 minutes, 3 oz had come out. Thank God!

I got brave & hooked myself up to the electric pump (it was already going for the other side) & I held my breath. NO BLOOD! WOOT! I got past it! To be on the safe side, every oz I got, I poured out in to another bottle. I sighed a huge sigh of relief!

Yes, it means that much to me. Yes, I want to hit my goal. Yes, it has been the most challenging aspect of having triplets. Yes, it is worth every ounce of pain & blood I have lost as well as all that extra sleep I could have gotten when the kids were younger. I know I have provided my trio the best possible for the 1st year. I have also saved us quite a bit of money.

I am mommy. I am proud.


Nicole Montgomery said...

Maybe its preggo hormones, maybe its because I know how much this means to you, but I have glassy, teary eyes. You rock. You are my inspiration for my next child. If you can do all you do for three, I can surely do a 1/3 of what you do ;) You are an amazing mommy!

Surviving Triplets said...

Thank you Nicole! I'm glad I can inspire you although that was never my intention. I just hope that when I write, someone will benefit.


Brittanie said...

Astrid, you're my hero! I can't believe you are still pumping! You're superwoman.

I'm glad it stopped, and I hope that you don't have anymore difficulties. You're so close to a year!

Shosh said...

It's amazing what you are doing for your kids. I can barely nurse one kid for a year. I hate pumping! I hope the bleeding is done for good because it sounds really gross and painfuL!!!

Amelye said...

Wow, you're amazing ! Yeah you !

Stephanie said...

UGH! I can feel your pain. This happened to me when my three were still in the NICU. The lactation consultant told me that it was still OK to feed that milk. YUCK! She said it was no different than if you were nursing and cracked and you didn't know it. I could not do that to my babies as long as I knew what was going on. So we decided that instead of killing myself with the pain of engorgement we would just get my best nurser (my boy) and latch him on to empty the breast. That way I was not in tears dumping my hard earned milk down the drain.

You are awesome for sticking with it for so long. Way to go mama.

Anna said...

You are amazing! I don't know how you do it! You're such a good mommy!

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration...I also nursed to a year with all three of my children...I can't imagine doing it with 3 at once...I too had your problem with my second child....I ended up using the pure lanolin breastfeeding cream inbetween nursing and before I would pump...don't use too much or you can't get good suction...this would do the trick if I ever had problems in the future also...I know how bad it hurts and it was scary to see all of the blood...Hang in are awesome!!

Megan said...

Good for you! I wish I could have been as strong as you!

Charlotte said...

I've been a long time lurker but wanted to say what an inspiration you are. I pumped for 6 months when I went back to work and it was hard work, but I was so proud that my son was able to transition straight from BM to cow's milk at 13 months and never needed formula.

I know you're probably flat out and don't need any more work, but did you see that JM is looking for a co-host for the pumping board? You would rock!!

Anonymous said...

OW..I know the pain of cracked, bleeding nipples but I have to say I would have been so scared if I had seen that much blood. Good for you for sticking to it - it's amazing! I only had one baby at a time so I only had to express occasionally and I have to say expressing bored me and I was so glad I could mostly just nurse, so to stick it out like you have, and with all the problems - congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Way to go you! I have twins and have been pumping/breastfeeding them for the past 11 1/2 months. There has been many times that I wanted to stop, but I told myself in the beginning that I would at least pump for the first year. I only have 2 weeks left and I'm so happy that I've stuck with it. I went through about a month where when I would pump, I would bleed...very frustrating!!I wish that I could say that I get as much milk as you, but I only get enough to give them 1 feeding of breastmilk...but I guess that's better than nothing! Anyway just wanted to say congrats on making it as long as you have!