"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The breast of times, the worst of times... (The story of Lola.)

I'm really digging facebook's new timeline feature. I get to look back and read and remember all the status updates I've posted over the years. The day I got my first positive pregnancy test and learned that Lola was on the way. The day I finally went into labor (yes, I was updating facebook until I really couldn't!). And then, this day. The very, very, very bad day.

March 28th, 2011: This is what Lola is really like.

I thought things would be different this time. I thought my milk supply troubles were just caused by something I'd done wrong, like turning to formula too early. So when Lola's diapers counts were coming up short, with uric acid crystals in them, I was just hoping my milk hadn't come in yet. Yes, I supplemented, but just an ounce or two a day, and I nursed, nursed, nursed all the time. I spent all day just switched from breast to breast, praying my milk would come in. And if I wasn't nursing, Lola was crying. I thought she was just a difficult baby.
And then, the day came for her 2 week check up. I was so full of hope. I was hoping for a big gain! Hoping to hear I could cut out the supplements and just breastfeed!
And then the roof caved in....

Click to enlarge.

We put her on the scale, and there was no change. She hadn't gained a single ounce in a week. She was still 10 ounces under her birth weight. I nursed her again, and we reweighed her. No change. The pediatrician (not my regular pediatrician, someone I'd never met) came in, and handed me a bottle of formula. She guzzled it right down and fell asleep. I couldn't keep myself from crying, right there in front of a stranger. The doctor wanted us to head up to St. Pete to the Children's Hospital so my baby could be tested and monitored. I called my husband, frantic, to pack some things and meet me at the gas station so I could fill up the tank. I didn't know how long we'd be gone. It was the first day I'd driven since Lola had been born, and the sky was getting dark. I had to drive over the Skyway Bridge in blowing rain, and wind gusts so strong a box truck was knocked on its side!

Sick baby.

 We got to All Children's Hospital and checked in. I nursed her, and fed her another bottle. A team of doctors looked over my baby girl and didn't like what they saw. How could I have been so blind?
IV fluids.

 They ran tests, and hooked her up to an IV to give her fluids. I was to nurse her and supplement with formula at least every 2 hours. They brought me a hospital grade pump. I started pumping and just feeding her what I could pump, and then topping off with formula. I wanted an idea of how much I was making. It wasn't much.
I could get 2 ounces, combined, and not a drop more.
Becoming bright eyed.

 After a day of getting enough to eat for once, she looked much better. Her eyes actually twinkled. She didn't just cry all the time. We finally got to look into each other's eyes and bond! She was able to have quiet alert times. I met with the IBCLC associated with the hospital, and she agreed my breasts looked hypoplastic. She gave me an SNS. We stayed another night, and were finally cleared to leave the next afternoon.

A baby who eats, sleeps, and poops.

 I mourned the loss of the breastfeeding relationship I'd been hoping for, but now that Lola was getting enough to eat, she became a better nurser. I nursed and pumped and supplemented. She preferred to nurse, but would take a bottle when she needed to. When she was 3 months old, we started using the SNS full-time because she started refusing bottles. And we haven't looked back.
Lola today. 

You can read a condensed version of my entire breastfeeding (with all three of my kids) journey here.

If you have IGT, also known as hypoplastic breasts, and you'd like to share your story, please e-mail me at nyssaretter@gmail.com with the subject line "IGT moms."


  1. uuhhh, why must you make me cry!?!?! HONESTLY NYSS!!! i feel like iv'e walked down this journey with you (through fb lol) and im soo proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself as well, from your delivery with her, to your nursing journey,,, boy you are amazing, i can whole heartedly say "I LOVE YOU "

  2. oh nyssa. this broke my heart. i always get so hung up on those defining moments in our lives where one minute we are care free and doing great and then the bomb drops and everything is changed. your facebook shot is exactly that. you can see the heartbreak in your eyes. you have come so far and your journey has been so beautiful! just imagine how many moms would still be hurting with nowhere to turn for support if things turned out normal, or even how much guilt you would have had for not trying harder with your first two when you could have had a full supply. ugh. i cant get over how brave and inspirational you are. <3