Thursday, June 23, 2011

My breastfeeding story, struggles, determination and love.

I always knew that I want to breastfeed my kids, in fact I never think in other way to feed a baby. I remember when I was a little girl, while my friends bottle feed their dolls I breastfeed them. It seem to easy at that moment I always say "oh I can't wait to have my baby and breastfeed him or her" and  I'll never forget how I  tell everybody " I going to  have five kids".
At that moment (about 6 or 8 years old) the fact that my mom was a teen mom, it
was normal to me, later on she told me about this and how much she struggles
with me.
All my mom speaks go to the trash when I get pregnant at 16 years old, But even that I knew is not right, even that everybody tells me that I can't, I was determinate to rise this child, to breastfeed him, to love him with all my heart and even more.

I know thats is not the best to have a child at 16, but he didn't ask to come, and is on his way now, so I deside to give him the best of me.

During those 9 months I read as much as posible to prepere my self, that was hard because I came from a family who asumme that they know everything and never take the time to learn something new. I keep reading and learning about almost everything, I went to a natural child birth clases all by my self, I read about vaccines, how to bath my baby, who to know if your baby is ready for solid food, even potty training. I never read or recived any information about breastfeed a baby. No body tell me how hard or how many struggles I could have. I asume it was easy, just put the baby on the breast and he do the rest...OMG!!! I wasn't preper me for that.

On September 14th 2001, I was 2 weeks over due, so my ob-gyn send me to the hospital for induction, my natural child birth plan was ruin, but the health of my baby was more inportant. When I get to the Hospital  I was 3cm dilated, oh I was so happy that lavor start on his own, I breath on every contraction but I knew this was the lavor that I dream about, but I never feel so scare in my life.

On September 15th 2001 at 1:20pm. My son Lautaro born on a drug free delivery, beautiful baby boy,  he weight 9lb 2oz. My most beautiful wish came true , may be he came a little early in my life, but after all this is what I dream of since I was a little girl. Oh gosh my heart was bumping so hard, "he is perfect, I can't wait to breastfeed him" I tell my mom. But the nurses take him, they say "we need to check him and then we bring him back" ok I say, I was so happy and I didn't know what to expect, what are the rules on this hospital and I was scare to ask.

I take a shower and wait for my son in the room, 2 hrs later I was worried so I ask was going on, I call the nurse and ask for my baby. I wasn't prepare for what comes next. They bring my baby, he was sleeping, I carry him in a football position and take my breast out "he already eat" say the nurse "what, what he eat? why?" I reply, "we give him formula, there is a pack under his crib" I just cry and say again "why?" she replay in a very mad way "because your baby needs to eat".

How hard was this to me, I was sad, I was mad but more than ever I was determinate to breastfeed my son. I start by holding him close to my breast, alot of skin to skin contact. No body tell me that, it was just instict I gest. He was very sleepy the first day, any way I attemt to breastfeed him every hour without any success. He already had a very bad nipple confusion and I didn't know what to do, no body in that hospital wants to help, in fact they were pushing me to use formula. Ten years ago I even know that lactation consultant exist, I realy feel hopeless, my mom didn't breastfeed me and my aunts who both had infants at that time bottle feed them.

I never understood why they give him formula, I was so frustrated that I forget about my fears and call the nurse again, she give me the most stupid excuses "oh because you are so young, we think that formula it was the best for you and your baby, is hard for a young mom to nurse". Oh realy?, so because a woman is 4 or 6 years older that me thats make breastfeeding more easy? that frustrate me more, why they assume that I don't want to breastfeed? in what way formula was better for me and my baby? it was very confusing to hear that from a health professional. To make the thing worse my nipple were flat, my milk was already there and my breast was sore.

The next day my mom bring me a breast pump, I start pumping no only to give my baby "My Milk" but for my effort to give my nipples in shape. While I was puming another nurse came in and told me " if you can't breastfeed, give him a bottle, his starving" ohh how mad I was, but at that moment I knew it I can't let him get between my determination on breastfeed my son, they no going to understand me. So I smile and say "ok give me the formula" as soon as she left I throw it to the trash.

Once at home, I was so engorged, the pain was afoul every attemt to nurse him frustrated me more.
 Any way I keep trying, I didn't know how to hold him, who to make him latch correctly. He only was able to take a tinny part of my nipple and that was very painful. I cry for 2 days straigh, more than once feel to give up, but I couldn't fail my son, he deserve the best and I deserve this beautiful experince in life, at that moment I didn't know that breastfeed my son could be so beautiful. It was just the right natural way to feed a child. Women breastfeed their childrens for years, even before the formula was invented, so why not me? what is the different between those woman to me? even many years ago woman has childrens very early in life, be a teen mom is not a reason for not breastfeed.

I keep pumping, "at least he has mine milk"  that was enough for me I want to do what nature make me for,  nourish my child.
Day number 3 came and after taking a shower to relief my breast it came to my mind "a nipple shield" I scream calling my mom, she say "what? what is that?" "a nipple shield is a silicone nipple to put in my nipple, that may be work". She went to buy one, two hours latter finaly I was breastfeeding my son from the breast. How beautiful, oh gosh all my life I was having this picture in my head and it was finally happend. That day I understand that breastfeed my son is more than feed him,  is a conection that I never had with other human being, is pure love.

Weeks fly fast and a 8 weeks old we wean the nipple shield and both master the art of breastfeed. Soon enough to start school, at that moment I'm even care about nurse in public, I was doing the most natural so what my school mates think of me to be honest I do not care, no person in this wolrd could be more inportant that my son, there is no person in this world that I could love more than my son.
I was happy and sad at the same time. Leave my son when I go to school, the absent of my baby's father, the lack of support from my family who always was telling me " you can't graduate, you are ruin your life, you don't know how to raise a child, you this, you that...etc". All this take me to a deep post partum deprecion.

To make everything worse, the idea to let my mom take care of my son while I go to school kills me. Don't take this in a bad way, I love her, but the true is that she never take care of me, she didn't have any experience with babies and she was telling me to give my son yogurt at 2 months old. But I didn't have a choise and I realy apreciate her help.

For this 2 months I pump for my son, so he can have my milk (not yogurt) while I'm at school, everything was going great and I was prepare to start my senior year. But more barriers came to my right of breastfeed my son.
Here comes my new challenge in motherhood, school was from 6am to 2pm, take my pump with me for pumping sessions between clases or at lunch time. Soon I found out that my school not allowed me to pump, if I want to pump must do it in the bathroom sitting on the toilet, what of curse was very disgusting.

The pain of my congestion breasts was terrible and I have embarrassing  leaks all day, and the nursing pads fail to handle it. Hopefully my mom agree to take my son to school at lunch time for a feeding. Oh how thankful I was with her, I couldn't survive the other way. It was hard, no only because I was a student and a mom, but also I was a inmigrant from other country learning a new lenguage trying to finish high school so my hard work was doble.

Months past fast and I start to remember what the nurse told me " we think that formula it was the best for you and your baby, is hard for a young mom to nurse" wow!!! I can't imaging me with all the work that I had, getting up to prepare bottles. I was realy happy for my determination to breastfeed, now I just take my breast out and continue sleeping or even do my homework with him in the breast.

I finish high school then I start a my nursing carrear, while having a part time job selling newspaper on the miami streets, and of curse continue with my ESOL clases. I did it!!!, life was very busy but when I was breasfeeding my son life stop and I was able to breath again, to take this time to enjoy our self, that was my break my reward for a long day of hard working finaly my tight body can relax with a warm hug.

Breastfeeding my son was the picture that I had in my mind when I was a little girl, but I never knew how inportant can be this to me. To be honest I was depress, very depress and this wasen't something new, I didn't have a nice childhood, my mom was a teen mom, my dad leave when I was 1 year old, I meet him for the first time when I was 13 years old and my mom had a hard time keeping a relationship, many mens
enter and leave our life all the time, it was a very disfuntional family. But the idea of having someone to love, have a unconditional love in my life help me, I have to admit after 3 attemt of suicide, the birth of my son save my life. When I was 14 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post traumatic streess disorder with severe depretion I always try to hurt my self, I was hateing my life, before my son came to this world all my sky were very cloudy. Those bad memories it seem to no matter any more since I saw that pregnancy test.
Now I have this little person to love, to give the best of me, breastfeed my son was more than feed him, it was pure love. I never felt that way before, his eyes looking at me  with a thankfull expresion, everytime he smile at me with my nipple in his mouth it was a life saver therapy.

He change me, breastfeed him change me. I feel proud of me for never give up, for trust my body and my maternal instit. If I have to past all my bad experience in childhood to have him at the end I do it again.

I may be feel sad or depressed sometimes, life isn't perfect. But when I looked at my son and start remember those days, his smell, oh how beautiful. Dosen't exist any anti-depressed more efective than breastfeed my son. Is hard to put in words how our heart feels, but if someone ask me what its feel when I nurse my son I say " I feel like my heart is trying to get out from my breast, as a milk".

I breastfeed him for 24  months untill he wean him self, no body can take that away from me now, that beautiful picture is going to be with me until I say my last good bye. No body take never a picture of my son nursing in my peaceful arms, in my gentle breast. But I remember every little second, I no have it in my mind, I have it in my heart. Now I know what nature put our breast close to our heart.

Ten years past from those days, Lautaro is an amazing almost 10 years old now, very kind, always trying to help others. He is in 3 grade with a 6 grader level, very responsable with his school work.

 His teacher  just told  me:"he is amazing, is a joy having him in my class, he is very polite and always volunteer to help his peers. He love you to dead, in one of his redactions he wrote how inportant you are for him, and how him wants to make you proud". I was in tears when she told me that.

 I can't be more proud of him, and you can see it in my face. He is an awesome big brother, he care about his sibling so much, he teach them, and he always was there to help me, or just give me a glass of water when he saw me breastfeed his little sibling. Last week I was breastfeeding my 4 months old and Lautaro say " Wow mama he is getting so big and he is so healthy because you give him your milk, you give me your milk too, good job!!! and by the way thanks mama". You no have any idea how my heart start jumping in my chest to hear that from my son.

People can say, that teen moms, are iresponsable, they can say teen mom can't finish high school , that they marriage fails, that  their kids are bad behaved or fail school, they can say we are to young to take good care of our kids, even say that we can't breastfeed.
Well I'm the proof that all this is wrong. I'm not saying "is easy" because is not, in fact is realy hard, now with my 4th son I'm a stay at home mom, I been married with a wonderful men for almost 8 years now, I own a home and Im just enjoing taking care of my kids full time.

Motherhood is not easy, not only for teen moms, for all new moms. But at the end we
realize that we can do it and is the most rewarding career of our lifes.  

This is a video that I made for my son <object width="400" height="300" ><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="movie" value="" /><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="400" height="300"></embed></object>

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My first child at 16 years old

It was January 1st 2001 after celebrate the new year with my family my friend brought me a pregnancy test, 5 minutes later "I'm pregnant". Oh I remember how my legs and all my body start getting heavy and heavier but inside of me I felt calm and happy so I just smile "you are crazy" my friend told me, I say no, what is done is done I can't change it now, I just trying to swallow it".
At that moment I really not care what people will say or think, until next morning when I saw my mom. I failed her, I failed to the woman who always try to prevent this. My Mother had me when she was 15 years old. At that moment my world fall apart, I start remember all the hard time  my mom past with me, it was years when even eat every day was hard," my mom work so hard for give a good life, for give me a good education and now I'm going to break her heart". The next day I call my aunt (she was in Miami and we were in Argentina) and tell her, I ask her if she can tell my mom because I wasn't strong enough, she did, 30 minutes later she enter in my room hug me and cry.
My mom and I, 12 weeks pregnant

The next day she take me to what I think was a doctor office, I was wrong it was an abortion clinic. The nurse there start explaining the procedure, I cry and look at my mom and say "I don't want this" she say "I know" grab my hand and we left. Once outside the clinic she hug me again and say "I'm sorry, I know you don't want this, because when I was 15 I couldn't do it and now I can't imagine my life without you" "we can do this, we go thru this together".
Before all this happen we were planing to move to the USA, all my family was here and we sold our house so we just keep to the plan, and 3 months later we moved to Miami finally all the family together.

It was a hard year, I'm not only lose my friends, moved to a new country with a new language, start a new school and  also I  was 16 and pregnant.
Once here, I start with my doctors appointment, my pregnancy was doing great. Soon I found out I was having a boy!!! oh I was so happy I pick his name right away " Lautaro" a name with strength, with history. At 20 weeks I felt his movement for the first time, I never feel so much joy in my life, how wonderful moment.
 35 weeks pregnant

As soon as I was installed in our new house I start to take care of my  9 months old nice, my aunt who was 18 at that moment ( yes teen pregnancy run  in our family) he was working full time and having problems with her hubby so I take care of her until my baby was born . It was a great experience and training for me I really enjoy it.

Months fly, missing my baby father (I never hear from him again) but this little joy inside me give me the strength  I  never had before. I used this 9 months to learn as much as I can about motherhood, breastfeeding, labor and delivery. Before I knew it  I was aware about the latest news and studies of the American Associate of Pediatrician, but I never feel so scare in my life, there is no book who can prepare you for Motherhood, that's come with allot of patience, love and dedication, is a never stop learning experience.

On September 11, 2001 (the same day as the 9/11 attacks) I was 2 weeks over due, and after I saw the news that day, I start thinking "a what kind of world I'm bringing this child to" I was more scare then, but no turning back my Doctor induce me that Friday, after a 24 hrs of labor "Lautaro Ezequiel was born in a natural birth without any meds, weighed 9lb 2oz 21in" he was just perfect and healthy little boy.
But no body prepare me for what came next. I was determinate to exclusive breastfeed him, but because I was young the nurses assume that I want to give him formula, so when they bring my son to my room he has his tummy full of formula and a very bad nipple confusion. To make the thing worse my nipple were flat. I cry 2 days straight for that. I say to my mom " I want to breastfeed him, I don't want to give up" so my mom bring me a breast pump and I start pumping not only to get milk for him but to give shape to my nipples. At that moment when my mom left a nurse came and tell me " if you can't breastfeed give him a bottle of formula he is starving" I say yes and throw the formula to the garbage. The next day now at home, my breast was so engorged and sore, but I was so happy, I was producing milk. But I still have the latching problem. I was pumping 3oz each side and give him the bottle, he was having my milk but that wasn't enough for me I want to breastfeed him, so I remember what a saw in a Babies Rus weeks ago " a nipple shield I scream calling my mom" "what?" she say " a nipple shield is for put in your nipple if you have pain or something like this, that maybe work" . So she run to buy one, an hour later finally I was breastfeeding my son, what a wonderful experience, I love every second.
With my son Lutaro at 5 days old

Weeks fly and by 8 weeks we wean the nipple shield and we both master the art of breastfeeding. I keep pumping so we can have  breast milk for Lautaro while I  go to school. And no body prepare me for whats came next also. My school not allowed me to pump, I was in pain all day, so my mom start bring him to school at lunch time so he can empty my breast and I can concentrate in school. My mom was a great support until she fall in love and get married. Now I was on my own.
 Lauty at 3 months old

When my son was 5 months old I meet a great man, we became best friend and he
was always around to help me. My mom was more and more distant and living her
new life, and I was so happy for her (but I never like her new husband). Her
husband was really mean and I receive a lot of verbal abuse from him until
one day he told me " why you just go, can you stop ruin your mother life?" I did.
Lauty at 9 months old

So I finish high school, by that time that great friend of mine became the man of my
life. I start a nursing program and continued study English at a local collage, I also
work part time selling news paper. My days were very busy, get up at 5 am ( thanks
to breastfeeding and co-sleeping I get some rest) take my son to day care, sell news
papers from 6am to 9am, go breastfeed him at the day care, go to my ESOL class,
pick up my son at day care at 1pm enjoy my time with him, bath him and make him
sleep, my boyfriend take care of him from 7pm to 10pm for my nursing assistant classes. It was so hard, many times I feel "I can't do this, is to much for me, I want give up" "but I can't give up loving my son" and I keep pushing my self.
My son and I his first birthday

We start living together, he adopt my son and love him so much. I know he was the
men for me. He love me, give me support, pick me up when I was down.
We both knew that we need to prevent pregnancy so I start with nuva ring.
A year later we were pregnant...