Prior to my first, CJ, being born, I was so desperately hoping that breastfeeding would be successful for us. I took classes, read books, and was looking forward to that “Golden Hour” of bonding immediately after his birth.
Instead, I spent his first hour of life under general anesthesia in emergency surgery. As they were frantically wheeling me out, my husband was panicking about whether or not they’d need to give CJ a bottle. In hindsight, I know he was upset because neither of us had control of anything in the moment and the only thing he could possibly regain control over was caring for our new baby.
Thankfully, one of the BEST lactation consultants in town was my LC. She knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed and partnered with my OB to make it happen. Her positivity was a ray of sunshine on a day that is forever clouded by a lot of foggy and jumbled memories. I asked her if the postpartum uterine contractions caused by nursing were safe for me, she praised me for knowing so much about it. She even told me I had great nipples! She had them wait for me to get out of surgery to feed him myself and made sure all of the meds and anesthesia were safe for him. It was great… everything else had been scary and WAY harder than what most new mothers experience, I felt like breastfeeding was going to be the one easy thing for us.
Fast forward 4 months later. Suddenly, my baby is starving. I was recovering from a bad cold that had turned into a sinus infection. I kept nursing through the illness, per all of the books I’d referred back to from my days of preparing for CJ’s arrival. Nothing. I tried pumping. I barely got an ounce. My supply was gone.
Here’s what they don’t always tell you about breastfeeding. Sometimes, your body simply stops producing milk, especially after an illness and even more so if you lost a lot of blood during birth. I’m sure there is some sort of perfectly good scientific explanation for this, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t change anything. In many ways, I was lucky to breastfeed at all. Sometimes, hemorrhaging severely postpartum means your body doesn’t produce milk at all.
If you are struggling with your supply after a uterine inversion, please know that it is common and please don’t be hard on yourself. I was so upset when it happened to me and so hard on myself for something that I couldn’t control. I did my best, but the reality was, it wasn’t in the cards for us long-term… and that is OK. CJ is a happy and healthy child. That’s all I need – happy and healthy babies.