Home from reform school

Inigo smiles for the camera for the first time 25/01/2008

And still not reformed 😉

We were discharged this morning. We could have stayed an extra two days, but I really didn’t feel like we were going to get the help we needed there. Inigo has now got Zantac syrup for his reflux (no more crushing tablets), and has been having a few mls of thickener before every feed – and it’s made the world of difference. He is now a much more relaxed little guy, and has gone from screaming in pain and spewing multiple times after every feed to only spewing when he has too much in his tummy. This means he now sleeps properly during the day, and at night, and we are all calmer and happier.

So there has been progress, and it was worth spending the time (and money). But the only progress we have on the breastfeeding front is that we finally saw a speech therapist on Thursday, and she put her finger in his mouth to check his suck. Normally, the tongue curls around the nipple to get the milk out, but Inigo keeps his tongue flat – and therefore flattens and blisters my nipple as he sucks. Great! Now we know WHY I am having problems, but even after a follow up visit with the speech therapist, there are no answers as to how we can fix the problem. We have been given some tongue exercises to do with him, but apparently there is no evidence that they will make any difference.

I met a woman in there who is active in her local ABA, apparently there is a member of her group who had a similar experience, so I plan to go to the Glenmore Park group and try to talk to her. And go to every ABA meeting I can get to, and talk to my Community Health Nurse again (she is a lactation consultant), and continue looking for answers before I give him formula. That is still a possibility, but I feel that there is more work to do before I give up on breastfeeding.

I don’t want to sound like a hero though – one of my main reasons for wanting to breastfeed so badly (as well as Inigo’s wellbeing of course) is that I would like to be able to travel without having to worry about boiling water and keeping formula from spoiling. If I have to do it, I will, but the thought of travelling through Asia with a bottle fed baby just sounds like too much hard work. I don’t judge anyone else’s choices about breast vs. bottle, and I don’t want anyone thinking that I am doing all this for purely selfless maternal instinct 😉

The Tresillian experience has been mixed. I did get help, but it wasn’t what I had expected or thought I needed. I didn’t see a lactation consultant the whole time I was there, and it was a battle to get a nurse to watch my feeds (which was the reason I was in there – I was told that a nurse would watch every one of my feeds!), but the place is understaffed for the level of problems that the inmates (clients) have. I was spectacularly unimpressed with the paediatrician I saw – he checked that Inigo had testicles and a heartbeat and then tried to get me to leave without discussing his spewing! I had to get bolshi with him and insist that he listen to my experience, not just palm me off because reflux in babies is very uncommon, yet commonly over diagnosed.

One thing that was VERY beneficial, was talking to the counsellor. I had thought that it would be a waste of time, but it’s part of the process, and I had promised myself that I would be a good patient and go with the flow. Everything was fine until she asked me about my “birth experience”, and I burst into tears.

Though I recognise that the emergency C/S saved him from further complications (and possibly permanent damage), it was still pretty rough on me, and in talking to the counsellor I realised what it was that had made me feel so upset about it. After I had been on the monitor for 90 minutes, the doctors were called in because the heartbeat was “not reassuring”. They did an “internal” (not fun) to determine whether I could be induced or not, and his heart rate dropped.

At that point, (I now realise) I started to feel panicked and out of control. Because I had always been kept informed by my wonderful midwives, and because they had always explained anything I didn’t understand, I felt really ripped off that I wasn’t informed about the specific reasons WHY I had to have a C/S. I felt like the doctors were in a huddle in the corner of the room, talking about me in hushed tones as if they were a group of trainee mechanics talking about the best way to change an oil filter. I felt totally out of the loop, and the C/S was decided upon without me.

Of course I understand that it is the doctors job to get the best health outcome for me and my baby, and they made the right call, absolutely, no question. But they don’t appear to give much regard to the emotional outcomes for the patient, so I need to be responsible for that.

On Friday, we broke out of Tresillian (well, they let us out, but the story sounds better that way), to go to a picnic to catch up with the student midwife team from the hospital. We gave Leilani (the student that had been with me that day, and been such a wonderful support) a copy of “The Princess Bride” on DVD. I also got to chat with her and Janice, Leilani’s supervisor who was also there on the day. I told them that I had realised that I was still a bit traumatised by the events of the day, and was able to talk to them briefly about it. Apparently, his heartrate was low, but not fluctuating. A normal heartrate will go up and down with activity, and you would expect to see some changed over a 90 minute trace, but Inigo’s stayed the same for the whole period, which was why they decided to do get him out. Then, when they did the internal, it dropped to about 80bpm (normal is 110 – 160bpm), which is why it became an emergency C/S. He would not have coped with a vaginal birth.

Janice told me that the hospital had already done an internal review about my case, and suggested that I make an appointment to come in and chat with her and the other midwives who were involved on the day – when I feel better (able to talk about it without bursting into tears). And I am.

I woke up on Saturday morning, and realised that I am over it. I still feel like it was a traumatic experience (I think I always will – it was traumatic!), but I no longer feel powerless and pathetic about it. Finding out that the midwives also thought there was an issue was very validating, and knowing that I can talk to them about it and be heard is wonderful, like I’m not just a hysterical hormonal mess.

So this week has been a big one, and tomorrow we introduce Inigo to my cousins and their children, and my aunts on dad’s side of the family up at Pearl Beach. Hopefully I’ll get some cute photos for the blog, to reward faithful readers who managed to get through all that crap!

9 thoughts on “Home from reform school”

  1. I am so glad that Inigo is spewing less.

    It’s also good to know that there is a real problem with breast-feeding (the tongue curl thing)…it’s not that you’re doing it wrong, or anything like that, it’s just Inigo doesn’t like curling his tongue.

    And I hope Inigo enjoys meeting his cousins.


  2. That all sounds very cathartic – new mothers often don’t have the time or space to stop and consider the whole traumatic experience they’ve gone through – the raging hormones don’t help either. A good sleep for Inigo and yourself is a great start.


  3. Hi New Zeeland there,
    Germany is going through all this with you.
    Yes, it was traumatic you have been there before!!
    Face it!!! Speak about it! Good work.
    Now something about his uncurly tong:
    PLEASE: try to consult an osteopath!!!!!!!!!!!
    They can do wonders!!! Did you get my link about KISS?
    Traumatic Birth is very hard for the children, too. A lot of things (Spewing, crying, sleepless, etc pp) are due to this traumatic birthes!!!
    The nerves for stomache things are across the (pushed) head! Osteopath Doctors can adjust those
    problems. Believe me, the two C/S-children of my very good friend had those problems and they were SOLVED with osteopath lessons.

    Sorry about praying 😉 I don `t want to go you on the nervs. Just seeing parallels!

    Good luck! Yours, Eva


  4. That is a smile that lights up the room and more.
    He is going to be a handful when he gets mobile.

    Hope the ABA can be more help. I am amazed that you had so little contact with lactation specialists considering that was one of the issues.


  5. (I lurk But dont comment as a rule )After 2 emergency c/s I understand the feeeling afterwards …esp the first time when it was all very dramatic and scary …I’m glad you talked to someone ..I did and it was cathartic ..very .9 yrs on I can think about it calmly …took a while ..
    good luck with the feeding ..very easy to travel with boobs and baby !!! too easy in fact ..I ‘m a breast fan simply because it was easy no cleaning ,no spoilt milk etc etc ….
    good luck


  6. p.s.oh, sorry, not new zeeland, australia?! anyway- far away from germany.
    and yes, it is easy to travel to asia with breastfeeding. we did a trip to thailand with our 4 months old “miss T.” (germany-thailand: ca 10.000km)- she made it very, very good. in fact, the best of all 3 children (4+2). in germany they called us crazy 😉
    we enjoyed it!
    lg eva


  7. I second going to see an osteopath. We have tremendously good experiences with them, after two very different births.

    In the UK where I had Max, I had a ‘debrief’ with a liason midwife a month after the birth. She gave me a copy of my hospital notes, and we went through everything:my story, how I felt, what was troubling me, what I found great, what could have been imporved on. It was incredibly cathartic to do that. And immensely empowering to have my notes – to see the experience from a medical point of view, and depersonalise it. The outcomes from that meeting allowed the hospital to compile history to get new measures in place for dealing with inducted births, and I helped ona review panel for the treatment of c-section women during and post birth. Talking to those who were involved in the birth is really important, so please do see them. How you feel now, and how you feel in 6 months or a year will be very different, but it’s at this point you can and should speak out.


  8. I hear you on not wanting to go traipsing around Asia (or probably anywhere too far from home, I am guessing) with bottles and formula in tow. What happened to the nipple shields? Do they not work any more?


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