OK, I have to come right out and say that I could not do this for longer than a month. As of now, my son is still in the NICU, and I lasted 3 weeks with him. I knew almost immediately that pumping, labeling, transporting, pretty much everything was going to be overwhelming. With my 30 weeker, I was able to do it for 6 weeks but she had a hard time latching on and so I could not breastfeed when she came home. I know I could have gone further had it not been mentally challenging.
I, however, learned some tips and implemented them for my short experience. I want to share some of those tips with you. I also want to advocate that breastfeeding is completely your choice and it is a taxing experience. I have zero patience so pumping is not easy but it is your choice to do what you feel is best for your baby.
Pump like your life depends on it – With babies that are taken straight to the NICU don’t have the opportunity to latch right on and help trigger your milk supply. The nurses will bring you an industrial pump and a kit to get the process started. Ideally you want to pump every 3 hours for 20-30 minutes in the beginning. Don’t be discouraged, it won’t be much. It can take some moms a full week for their supply to start looking ample enough. With my micro-preemie, it took me 5 days to get maybe 15ml of milk. During the night you can do every 4 hours but be sure that you’re at least getting in 8 sessions of pumping.
Eat, eat and eat some more – Milk won’t produce if you have nothing to produce it with. The fattier foods you eat, the fattier your babies milk will be and more calories. Don’t mistake that because you’re breastfeeding you can eat all you want. There are still consequences by overeating and not balancing your calorie intake. Take it from the fat chick!
Drink like you live in a desert – Water is essential to keeping your milk flowing. You’re outputting fluid so your intake needs to be more. I’ve found that adding a simple lemon or some essential oils to water gives it variety.
Get a pumping bra – Kourtney Kardashian was living it up showing her goodies on TV. I thought these hilarious at first but they are so awesome. If you have an industrial pump, you can’t walk around with them but it does help keep you hands free.
Use an industrial pump – This is vital. You can’t just use a standard pump that you grab at Target. You need to use one that is hospital grade. Some insurances will cover these to have a home health company rent them to you. If that is not an option, your local WIC clinic has some that they can also rent. Your body needs to have the strength to trick your body into thinking its a baby.
Fenugreek – This is a great natural supplement to help in the production of milk. It takes a few days for it to kick in but it works awesome.
No, you can never replace actually breastfeeding your baby directly on your body but some babies are just too fragile and do not have the coordination to do it. It usually takes them to about 34 weeks gestation to get the suck, swallow, breathe down. Every baby is different and some can catch on quickly. It really depends on what your baby has already experienced. Feeding can be very challenging for preemies. It’s important that you do what is right for you and your baby will be OK if you choose not to breastfeed. Trying to breastfeed a preemie can bring joy and it can bring pain. All babies progress differently so don’t compare yours to their neighbor. I know first hand how many challenges they face and how it can impact their progress.
A 24 week baby is so different from a 30 week baby or even my oldest that was born at 34 weeks. I’m close to spending almost 200 days in the NICU from 3 children and they’ve all presented different progress and challenges. Don’t give up. You do eventually forget all what you’ve experienced but there are triggers that can set you off. I think with my micro, I had been through the trial before and I knew first hand that, mentally, I could not handle the challenge that breastfeeding has always been to me. When you take care of mom, baby will be taken care of as well. Good luck!
If your new to reading the blogsy, I had a baby 3 months ago and he’s been in the NICU ever since. I’ve had other kids but the style game has changed A LOT in the last five years. I’ve teamed up with some killer shops to giveaway some essentials for the babe when bringing them home. I do own these products and I chose shops that I love and that I know are crutial to looking good together.
To enter, head to my Instagram account and tag some friends, be sure to follow all the accounts, too. Take a screenshot and repost with the hashtag #WelcomeHomeMalakai for another entry. Good luck!
Their bibs are seriously the best. So soft and high quality. The best feature is the double button so you can adjust the sizing. The cover, WHOA! Just as soft as the bibs and it fits me. I have a hard time with covers like this because they don’t fit a heavy honey like me, not this one.
You can’t go wrong here. Rachel also had a preemie so I feel like we’re bonded just in that sense but she also has killer style. You can get hooded ones, short sleeve ones, pink, blue, black, acid wash – whatever your heart desires.
Ali always makes sure her items are up to her standards. They make such high quality bags, camera straps, clothing, etc. that it’s hard to not to want everything. They’re giving away a clutch to carry all your money, cards and keys so they don’t get lost in the good ole diaper bag.
I’ve talked about my love of Freshly Picked a lot. There are a lot of knock-offs out there and there is really only one difference, your Freshly Picked moccs will outlast those others 10 to 1. They come in sizes up to 10 and every pair we’ve owned has seen its fair share of brutality and there has never been an incident of holes or loose threads. I really love these shoes.
Mine came in the mail before I even delivered him. I knew I needed one of these so I could actually get some housework done while catering to his needs. These are super soft and versatile, any good reason to own anything.
If you haven’t read my other posts about the birth of my son or the other one about how difficult pregnancy has been on my body, than you may not now I’ve had 3/4 premature children who in total have spent 140+ days in the NICU. Lots of days are better than most but you get to a point that you can’t handle it anymore. All you want to do is take your child and run. You never want to be around the deafening silence again. You never want to get used to the sounds of monitors ever again. You don’t want to go near a hospital ever again. Those are the days that are the loneliest. Those are days that are almost too much.
When you first experience the NICU, it’s different for each situation. In mine, the more children I had, the more severe the situation. In 2005, when I had my oldest, I didn’t know what to expect with pregnancy, what to expect with complications. I wasn’t mature enough to know to listen to my body and my motherly intuition. I wasn’t mature enough to even have a child but it was coming. When you have the feeling that something is wrong, go with it. Never let anyone make you feel like you’re wrong. It’s ok to be concerned. If any doctor or nurse makes you feel like your concerns are invalid, dump them right away. Some doctors are more equipped to handle complications than others. My oldest spent 9 days in the NICU in Salt Lake. Everyday I’d pump every 2-3 hours, come do his cares, almost never left his side. He was small but he didn’t have many complications, it was all me. It’s always me.In 2010, with my third child, she came at 30 weeks. I knew I started having problems when at 24 weeks the blurred vision came back just like in my first pregnancy. I had remembered at this time why I didn’t like my doctor for my first pregnancy. She was completely avoiding me. I knew something was wrong and I went into Labor and Delivery at least 6 times in those 6 weeks. This was my first cesarean so I was rightfully nervous. I felt OK having a preemie because I had dealt with a 34 weeker before. Boy, I was way wrong. I knew in my heart that she was going to be OK. I didn’t ask how she was breathing or really concentrated on her those first few hours. I knew she was in good hands from my first experience of the NICU. When I first saw her in her isolette, I was in shock that a baby can survive being that small. I was able to get through it OK enough because I saw babies that were sicker than her. I saw moms and dads at their bedside with their critically ill child and I felt ok because I wasn’t them.
Then it happened, I became them. My last pregnancy he came at 24.5 weeks. From the moment they told me I was delivering to when he was pulled out was 10 minutes. They have windows in the OR that they can pass the babies through. I was alone and this time I had to ask whether my child was ok. All I was told is that he was born alive, but I didn’t know that he was barely alive. They resuscitated him and was able to intubate him almost immediately. They knew how to help him, how to keep him alive. How do you do that when someone has no way of communicating if they want to give up or if they want to keep fighting? I remember the Respiratory Therapist saying that this was a job she’s proud of because you can actually make a difference.
I’ve never experienced the loss of a full grown child. I did have a miscarriage between pregnancy 3 and 5 and I often think about what would have happened if that baby had grown past the size of a bean. I can say that seeing your baby fight for their life is the most rewarding sensation you can have. It gives you a glimpse of how vigilant they’ll be in the future. They were able to overcome all odds and able to fight with the power of their heart. I knew that in the moments of the NICU, when it’s quiet, gives you a sense of accomplishment. You see that babe that you created and know that there are more reasons for them to be here than you realize. I came to be one of those parents by accident. I was apprehensive to get pregnant again because of our previous NICU stays and miscarriage, but I’m so glad we did it. It’s crazy to say but I always knew I had one more boy waiting for us in heaven. Call it that mothers intuition. I used that intuition to push to the doctors that something was not right, I knew he’d be early. That intuition was what brought my son to me, that intuition is what saved his life. So on days when I want to give up going there, because now it’s been three months, I go because he’s not giving up. I go because he needs my care. I go to see the love on the nurses faces, the love they feel towards my son. I go because I love him more and more each day.
Being a NICU mom is different and if you haven’t experienced it, you really don’t know. That’s OK to not know but it’s a bond that NICU moms have and it’s a bond that holds a special place in your heart for them. Nothing makes me happier than to see my sons roommates leave or to see a baby who’s come a long way. One day I’ll have that with my youngest and it’ll be a day I won’t forget. You’ll almost get to a point where you’ll kind of forget all what they do there. I have been reminded plenty of times and I hope that my children won’t experience what happened to us, we can only pray. But while you’re there, take the time to learn about your child’s care. Take the time to know he nurses and docs. Take the time for yourself to get back to before. It takes time and in the end it’s worth every moment.
I’m sure if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I just had a baby boy born at 24.5 gestation. I’ve also had a daughter born at 30.1 weeks and my oldest son at 34 weeks. Clearly this mama isn’t meant to carry babies full term.
I have 4 kids all together so that makes one child I’ve actually carried to term and came home with me from the hospital. I feel that having my oldest at 34 weeks was preparing me for my daughter, then having my daughter prepared me for Malakai.
Malakai’s situation is much different from my others. With him being so premature, his lungs were just not ready. I was able to receive steroids in all of my premature births but they didn’t quite have the effect on Malakai as they did on the others. A lot has to do with his gestational age. He was on a ventilator with a tube for 40 days. That hurts, so because of that he’s developed a love of morphine and then he starts to have withdrawals. He literally gets .2ml of medication, that’s nothing yet it’s all he needs. He has now been switched to a cpap mask that they can use with a nasal cannulae as well. It gives him so many breaths per minute and also allows him to take his own breaths as well. With my oldest, he needed no support and my daughter was on a liter of oxygen for two days. At 30 weeks gestation, that’s pretty unbelievable.
What happened that night is nothing short of a miracle. I knew that I get hypertension in pregnancy so I was really diligent to watch it. The reason why blood pressure is so imperative in pregnancy is because that is the indication of blood flow to your placenta then to the baby. You have high BP, your placenta is getting too little nutrition. Your baby can essentially stop growing, then stop breathing. I had been admitted into the hospital on Saturday and released Monday. My BP on Tuesday 9/29 was 172/85. I knew I needed to go back to the hospital. I was admitted again, given medication and all throughout the night the doctor would ask if the NICU came to speak to me about delivery just in case. I didn’t realize it was as serious as it was.
Then around 5am on 9/30 I started getting extremely bad gas pain, I’ve never felt anything like that. I was given more medicine and oxygen and tried to walk around. I kept my eye on the monitor and his heart rate was around 150 but no ups and downs. They want the fluctuations because that shows good blood flow and good activity. When my son would move, it almost felt as if my insides were being churned. It was very slow and felt like a contraction but it was his movements.
Around 7am the doctor rushed in and told me I was going to have a c-section. Ten minutes later, I was being wheeled into the operating room. I was alone, I needed my husband but I also needed to be strong for my son. With my husband on his way, they started the surgery almost immediately. There are windows in the operating room allowing them to pass the babies directly to the NICU for emergency resuscitation. All I could ask was if he was ok and all I was told was that he was born alive. I got to see him 4 hours after he was born and I got to hold him when he was 10 days old. It has been a long road and it’ll be an even longer road once he’s home and learning.
What I have to offer to moms and the difficulty of the NICU and the unknown is that all it takes is second by second, minute by minute. It does get easier, it does become redundant and there are days that you don’t even want to be there. Be strong and take care of yourself. Your kids are well taken care of and so this gives you the opportunity to get better. Mental health is so important in these trying times. Also, listen to your body. Know what isn’t right and who cares who you bother on your way. Sometimes you do get the feeling of being an inconvenience or being paranoid but more than likely, you’ll be right. It’s mothers intuition that helps get your baby to where they need to be.
With Malakai, we have a long ways to go, it almost feels like it will never end. However, I see his pictures from when he was born and what a difference 50ish days make. All my children were meant to be here but I feel his mission is much greater considering all the battles he’s faced. I can’t wait to share updates with all of you and I can’t thank everyone enough. Thank you for the prayers and thank you for your thoughts.
Nothing can be more frustrating and deflating than being told that you need to be on bedrest. I’ve been put on bedrest 3/5 pregnancies. One of those pregnancies ended in a miscarriage really early on so I never had that opportunity for bedrest until it was too late.
When I was pregnant with my first son, it was an awful pregnancy. I was sick from day 1 and couldn’t hold down any food. That is until I discovered Artic Circle cheeseburgers. That’s all I could hold down. Cheeseburgers, cheeseburgers, cheeseburgers. ?. I started getting hypertension symptoms around 31 weeks and I had no clue what was happening. My feet were crazing swollen and would not go down. That was a huge red flag and I was too naive to ask any questions. My eyesight was blurry and there were spots of black and flashes of light. My head felt like it was spinning and was so heavy. It was just not a good thing all along. At 32 weeks I was put on bedrest because my BP read 165/94. I was doing ok because I had no kids, no real responsibility…yet.
At 33 weeks I started stress test for the baby in which they monitor the heart rate/movements of the baby. At that time I got up from the table, there was a circle of water from where I was sitting. They measured my fluid which was at a 4, they want it above 10. My BP was still not under control so they ended up admitting me to the hospital. I had to have a constant hospital life for 7 days. I could only get up to go to the restroom and to take a quick shower. It was around these times when I could feel that my BP was still making me feel the same exhaustion and dizziness.
It was Sunday night by this time and they were going to release me because I was able to get my BP stable for a few days but I’d still have to be on bedrest. They took vitals at the shift change and this was when my BP was 170/111. They knew at that time that I’d have to be induced. I was in labor for 2.5 days. AWFUL! I delivered a fairly healthy baby with strong lungs at 34 weeks weighing 4 lbs 7 ounces. Little Fred.
After spending those weeks in the hospital and at home just sitting in bed was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It makes you realize all the things that you can’t do for yourself. It’s hard for an independent person to rely on people just for simple meals, bring you drinks, make sure you don’t pass out. It’s a huge emotional rollercoaster because you can’t control the situation and the only thing that will make you feel physically better is to deliver the baby. Depending on how far along you are, the scarier the situation.
My second pregnancy was totally normal, no sickness, no high BP. Nothing. Now he’s my craziest child.
My third pregnancy started out just fine and then around 24 weeks, I started getting the spins again. I was so frustrated to think that this was happening again. All I had done that night was plant some flowers in planters. It wasn’t anything vigorous that set this off. It was also at this pregnancy where my Fibromyalgia symptoms were becoming prevalent.
I was not naive anymore and knew that I had to ask questions. My nurse was particularly short with me. She treated me like I was googling everything and then saying I had those symptoms. Like I had nothing to back it up. That was more than frustrating. On my next appointment, my BP read 140/90, right in the mark for bedrest. My doctor at the time said that my BP always reads like that and I’m fine. I wasn’t fine. She measured my stomach at that appointment and told me to come back in two weeks for a growth ultrasound because I was clearly measuring low and not at 27 weeks.
Between that appointment and the delivery, I had gone to Labor and Delivery 4 times. I went the Friday before she was born. I had seen my doctor walking down the hallway and we made eye contact. She never asked me any questions and she intentionally walked through a pass through so she didn’t have to walk pass me. I’m sure she was tired of the phone calls and hearing from other professionals that the baby was still ok but I wasn’t. During this time the baby was always being monitored by stress tests and so this made me feel somewhat at ease.
Throughout the weekend I started realizing that she wasn’t moving so much. That had been my reason for the visit on the Friday before. On Monday I had a stress test scheduled so I knew I’d be able to get all my answers then. When we hooked me up, there was no movement. She had no peaks in her heart rate during that hour. They measure my fluid and it was at an 8 and she had the hiccups. Those hiccups were the best sign ever. When they check for movement in the babies and they are not responding, they use a little buzzer on your tummy to give the baby a jolt. She literally shrugged her shoulders like she was uncomfortable, it was not the jolt we were looking for.
They sent me to Labor and Delivery and I wouldn’t be leaving without a baby. I was 29 weeks and 6 days. They measures the baby the next day and she was only measuring as if she was 28 weeks old. The blood flow in my uterus was not going to her at the rate it needed to and thus she wasn’t growing. This pregnancy I had to be on bedrest for 2 days but I really think I should have had to once my BP had that high reading.
I had been through it before and so I knew what to look for. I knew what to expect but what I didn’t know is that the first pregnancy problems actual helped me realize something was wrong and it saved my third child. Many times I hear about people who don’t want to bother the doctors and they don’t think a situation is as serious as it is. It is. It’s your body, your child and it’s important to listen to your body during these times.
Now for my fifth, and FINAL pregnancy! I started spotting and I was only about 8 weeks. It was only when I went to the bathroom so I didn’t think it was a huge deal. Around 9 weeks the bleeding got a bit heavier and redder. I knew at this time to call my doc and the high risk doctor on call never called me back until I was already at the ER.
Yes, I have to see a high risk maternal fetal medicine doctor because of my horrible pregnancy history. My doctor is awesome but the on call one, I guess bleeding isn’t that urgent. Oh well, I’m ok now and so is the baby.
While I was in the ER they did a bunch of tests to find out if I was miscarrying or if the blood was coming from my uterus. The docs were so thorough and careful about what was happening that it really made me feel at ease. However, all this time they still hadn’t done a heart monitor or ultrasound so I didn’t know the state of the baby.
About 4 hours into my visit, the last place they took me was to get an ultrasound and it was at this time I could hear a pumping heart and a healthy heart. I was so relieved but still unaware of why I was bleeding. It turns out I had a small hemmorage between my placenta and my uterus so the placenta hadn’t fully attached. It depends on the size of the hemmorage to determine if you’ll miscarry and thankfully mine wasn’t large enough to put me in that category. We still would have a baby and he was healthy.
They recommend that I again go on bedrest until the bleeding stopped and I got my Rhogam shot to help in not having my negative blood type reject my possibly positive type blood baby. I really have to say that the shot made all the difference. That shot is what has saved 4/5 babies and has ensured that for the most part, I can carry them healthy.
Pregnancy is not my jam, it never will be. I don’t ever feel good and with Fibromyalgia in the mix with this pregnancy, it’s giving me painful flares. I do love my children though so I hope the older ones can see my misery to let them know how much I really do love them. Lol.
I hope this baby stays in me full term or at least until they can be as healthy as possible in my stomach. Thank goodness for good doctors and good husbands and sometimes listening children.
So the time has come to let all you know where I’ve been and why I haven’t done posts as of late.
Yes, after 5 years and no new babies, we decided to add another one. Who doesn’t want all their kids in school and then start all over again?
I have to admit, I’m scared. I’m really scared. My fibromyalgia has not been on its best behavior and I’m in a lot of pain. The doctors have given me permission to continue most of my medications but some I’ve had to go off of. It’s been a pretty miserable experience but the outcome will be well worth it.
My husband keeps asking if I’ll have a few more kids after this. Ummmm…..NO!
I struggled with this decision to have another because I was really afraid of my body reacting the way it’s been acting. It was also a fear of me not being able to care for the baby the way they deserve.
I never always felt our family was complete and through a lot of prayer, this is the choice we’ve decided to make. Come hell or high water, this baby is going to be here in January (or sooner, given my history) and will be a blessing everyday and through every tear.
I’ve pretty much been confined to my bed. I was first put on bedrest for a week and I’ll probably be on it later in the pregnancy. My motivation is high but my ability is low. I’m thankful to family and friends who have always helped me. I know my kids wouldn’t be as well taken care of without them.
I’m excited to see what this little peach will look like and the personality they’ll bring to our family. I’ll be updating as much as I can and able to! XOXO