Nursing Beyond

I am sharing this  Story about my son. Whom turned   6 years old on May 5, So hard to believe it has been 6 years since this happened. I know now through sharing many moms have learned from my experience. I successfully breastfed him in the NICU , he received no artificial milk or artificial nipples. Just breast milk from my breasts.  I also had a subchorionic hematoma and bled heavily from November until February.

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Nursing on his 6th birthday

What may shock many of you is that , yes he is still nursing! He is now 6 years old. August is world breastfeeding MONTH.  August 1-7 are celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week. I decided after reading a few stories recently about other moms nursing their older children , that is was time I shared. Because I want others to know and see that breastfeeding at any age is NORMAL. Often when you read about an older child nursing people rip into the mom or any mom that allows her child to nurse. People say moms force it, or mom wont let go etc etc. It is so far the truth you have no real idea unless YOU have nursed past the age of 4. I have been breastfeeding non stop for almost 22 years between my 6 living children. People that KNOW us and KNOW my family always comment how loving and close and amazing they are. Sure they are difficult at times too 🙂 I share this so other mothers that may be ‘closet’ nursing beyond what some perceive as ‘normal’ can see it is ok it is normal. I made up a phrase years ago and even had a blog called by it (but removed it) ~Mothering at the Breast; Nurturing the Souls of MY Children…….that is what I do. We never used “loveys” or pacifiers . I just nursed them whenever they needed.

I am really surprised that Sebastian still nurses, though it is only to sleep or in the morning . I am sometimes away at as a birth doula for up to 55 hrs! I have gotten mastitis a few times .

You may ask but does it hurt? Let me say when he was a toddler and sometimes various times of the month, it was annoying. But now , no it does not hurt. He melts into me and falls asleep within minutes and sometimes just lets go and turns over and falls asleep.  Those that think it is gross or odd or what ever other things people think. Well YOU are wrong. It does not affect you. So please be kind when you see a mom nursing a child you may feel is not normal, because to that mom or that child IT IS NORMAL.

~Happy Breastfeeding Week

If you would like to read the story of his premature birth, please do. You will be amazed too!

The Journey Of Sebastian Octavius :

On April 7, 2009 during my home school meeting I had a gush of fluid…..I went to the midwife office and it was confirmed with a nitrizine strip that it was amniotic fluid. I was escorted to the hospital. The Ob did the same test and it was negative so I went home. Much later that night I leaked again so I was informed I should go back to the hospital. I was having some contractions that night (april8/9) I thought that the baby would come that night. I was even having bloody show. At one point I passed a huge old clot. The nurses were baffled. It turned out it was the old subchorionic  hematoma clot (that is a whole other post )  that had caused so much bleeding from November till February. After I passed the clot things seemed to slow and then stopped. I feel my body went into this “labor” to pass the subchorionic hematoma clot.

I was also given two doses of steroids to “develop the baby’s lungs”.

By Saturday April 11 nothing was going on. After I spoke with the OB she told me “she could not make me stay and I could sign a AMA” Which is what I did. I went home that evening.

I went to Easter Mass with my family and had a wonderful Easter with my family, and recieved the sacrament of annoiting of the sick. My dear hubby made sure I took it easy.Later that night I noticed more leaking….

On Monday April 13, I had an appt to have another US and to check amniotic fluid levels. The levels were lower and I was sent to another hospital in Jax that did an Amni Sure test. I was told it was a more accurate test to see if I was leaking fluid. Of course it was positive. This hospital started admitting me but I did not want to be there. I said I would go back to St Lukes. SO after much ado I left and proceded to go to St Lukes. But first I made a lunch stop at Native Sun, I needed a juice. I prayed on the way for God to show me what to do. I just wanted to go home.

As I was standing in line at the juice bar I felt a huge gush of fluid! I was like oh boy this is it I am going ot deliver here at Native Sun! Because with my other births once my ‘water broke’ I delivered within 10 minutes! I got my lunch and left. I managed to drive myself back to St Lukes. Praying I would make it! Well I made it. Again nothing happened.

So I was in the hosptial again…I was told by the Ob I could not leave my room because my “baby could fall out”. SO I continued to stay in my cell. I had US done twice a week to check on fluid levels and see how baby was doing. Everything was still going well. No signs of infection. I was on IV antibiotics then on oral for 14 days.

By the week of April 20 I was going nuts inside. I missed my family. I begged daily to just go outside. I was getting very depressed. I would open the window that barely opened and got a few minutes of sunshine each morning. I finally ‘got permission’ to attend Mass in the chapel on Wednesday/thursday. What a Blessing! I had the Eucharist brought to me most days. I would just cry and cry when I received our Lord in the Eucharist!

On April 24 a sweet nurse took me outside in a wheel chair! Over the next couple of days Ryan took me outside too. Freedom, fresh air, sunshine! Praise God! On Monday April 27 Ryan procedded to take me out but this time the nurses at the nurse station yelled at us “you have strict orders you can not leave your room” my dh just said “she has been out for several days and I am taking her out again” .After we came back in the head nurse came in to tell me that they called my OB and she said “if I leave my room again she will discharge me as her patient” We said nothing. I was compliant as I could be so far. Sure I questioned everything. I am an educated mom! I have had three previous home births and my first two were natural births as well.

I had explained my feelings several times. How I trusted my body I would know if my baby was coming out. That my baby would not just fall out. Even though I was not ‘allowed’ out of my prison I still did yoga stretches daily and paced the floor. I could not just sit in bed. I told the Dr and nurses this as well.

On April 29 the Dr came in to tell me I was about to have a visit from many people. Well a total of 8 people entered my room. The head nurse sat down and began telling me that since I was not compliant about leaving my room (even though I had been compliant she stated) that if I left my room again or left AMA they would call child services on me because I was endangering the life of my unborn child. I was also told if they felt my baby was in danger of infection I would be forced to induce. I was shocked. I said nothing.

I cried all afternoon, which caused me to leak alot that afternoon and evening. I called some people I knew including a local doula that called her lawyers for input. I just wanted to leave. I trusted no one there. I was even told by someone that I brought it on myself. What because I question things and trust God?! I did state and understood the rules and I know they have to protect themselves against lawsuits. But do patients have no rights?

Sadly it was pointed out to me that in our country, even though I am very Pro Life, that I could point out that in the eyes of our country this unborn child was not even considered a person by most people at 31-33 weeks (which was how far along I was ) but the hospital still threatened me.

The next day April 30 I had another US and the fluid levels were very low and the baby was acting as they liked. I explained how I had been threatened and very upset the day before. The perinatologist explained to me that he wanted me induced at 34 weeks that the ‘risk of infection goes up”

After much prayer Ryan and I decided we did not have a choice we would have to be induced. I just wanted out of there. Since I was informed I would NOT be allowed to leave until the baby was born. I could be there till June. The OB told me I was making my self miserable by not being induced.

I was finally allowed to leave my room and walk the halls only. Boy did I walk that weekend in hope I would go into labor on my on. I did not want to be induced. After much research and prayer we decided on cytotec even though it is not safe. I did not want pitocin because I would be confined to the bed on an IV. I had discussed my options with the OB she knew how I felt. She knew also I declined having a hep lock. I hate needles!

Well Monday May 4 was the day we were to be induced. However the Ob came in and told me she would not induce me until I got the hep lock and she stormed out of the room. I was furious! She knew the week before how I felt about this. I was trapped, forced to have something I refused. So I got the hep lock…and was induced at 10:30 am. Two hours later I was allowed up and walked the halls. I was on the fetal monitor for 15 minutes every hour. Nothing was happening.

At 3 pm another dose of cytotec was administered, into my cervix this time. I started having some cramps. I continued to walk the halls and had some cramping all afternoon and evening.

I started have some ‘bloody show’ by 10 pm. So I knew something must be happening. By midnight I began telling Ryan “I do not think I can keep doing this all night” not a normal thing for me. Since I do not feel my contractions. I realized being induced sucks and no wonder so many moms get epidurals. I didnot want one I was just concerned how long could I go thru this.

At 12:20 am the nurse checked me, I was only 3 cm…I thought oh my. All along I prayed and prayed. I was rocking in then chair I was so sick of the fetal monitor! I was sick of the hep lock that was burning in my arm. I felt pressure but in my head was like ‘no way it is my imagination’ I made as my hubby calls it ‘my sound’ and he was said to me ‘what are you doing?” He called the nurse in telling her I was making ‘my pushing sounds’. They had to lift me off the chair and into the bed, I could not move. Ryan sat me in the bed, removed the lovely mesh panties, and I leaned forward to push, Ryan said the baby’s head was crowning.

I remember all the team rushing in. I remember the Ob coming in, Ryan said sh was half sleeping fumbling to get her gloves on. The OB told me to pant! I thought to my self “yea right, I am not pushing my body is expelling him!”

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Right after he was born. He slowly rooted but never latched.

Sebastian Octavius FLEW out onto the bed with Ryan right there at 1:39 am. The Ob lifted him onto my tummy. So I got to hold him after all.I prayed over him over and over, thanking God for him and praying he was ok. He was so tiny compared to my other 5. Ryan cut the cord. After a few minutes with the NICU Dr he brought him back to me and said I could try to nurse him! He was a cool neonatologist!

I held him and tried to get him to nurse but he was not ready. At 2:30 am I was told he had to go to the NICU. I was sad, he was starting to show signs he was ready to nurse, he was licking and rooting.

Later I was told Sebastian’s blood sugar was low (I knew it would be since he did not get to nurse) so he needed an IV with glucose. (had told them already no formula, bottles or pacifiers). The NICU wanted to give him a bottle I again said no.

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Momma’s hand on his tiny head

He had fluid in his lungs (because he was born so fast it was not naturally expelled) he needed some oxygen via a nasal canula. He also had elevated WBC so the started IV antibiotics. The blood cultures never did show a positive infection.

I was finally allowed to see him in the NICU at 4 am. I held him on my bare chest. The only time I was not allowed with him was during the shift changes. Those times were so hard. At 6:30 am we had to leave. I pumped a lot.I tried to sleep for a few minutes but knew I would not sleep till he was safe at home. I place a Rosary on his incubator.

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Me doing kangaroo care.

I continued kangaroo care all day and night and pumped, I pumped every hour for 20/30 minutes. One of the NICU Dr’s was not as supportive about me nursing him and preferred I pump and give him the colostrum in a bottle! I explained how breastfeeding was easier for them than bottle feeding…

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The first time he latched. Not great photo but so happy I have it.

At one point Sebastian was rooting on me so I placed the nipple near his mouth and was trying to hand express a few drops. A particular nurse yelled at me saying are you nursing him? You are not suppose to nurse him. I told her I was not to look that my nipple was by his mouth.

On May 6 my favorite NICU Dr told me I could try to nurse him at 2 pm.Because he was doing so well. I was shocked and thrilled! IT was hard at first but after a couple of tries he latched on! I was crying and praying to Our Lady of La Leche! I was allowed to nurse him every three hours that day and night. I was still pumping every hour for about 30 minutes. the nurses thought I was pumping to much. I told them no this was how often I normally nursed my newborns.

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Sebastian with the biliblanket. HE was So over it as you can see

Sebastian continued to shocked the NICU. He was doing great. HE was off the oxygen on May 7 and was allowed to room in with us that evening! He was on a bili blanket too because he was jaundiced, his bili count was 14 and rising. The nurses all told me it was rare a 34 week baby went home so fast. And that he was nursing!

I continued to pump since Sebastian was very sleepy. I spoke with one of the ‘good’ Lactation Consultants on staff and she reminded me of some options I could try. One being using a syringe to feed while I nursed at the same time. So Ryan would slowly administer my pumped breast milk in the tiny corner of his mouth while I nursed him.

On May 8 late in the afternoon we went home with Sebastian. But we had a nurse coming over to check his bili count and weigh him. The other children had not seen him yet so it was a an emotionally homecoming!

The nurse came out later that evening bringing the bili bed. With strict instructions that I had to have him on the bed 24/7 only allowed to nurse him every two hours for 30 minutes. I bit my tongue. I just shook my head in agreement…….

I continued to pump every hour no longer than three. Because I knew he was not nursing as well as she should. We also continued to administer the breastmilk in his mouth while he nursed, this kept him sucking.

I spent a lot of time in the beautiful sunshine. I tried to use the bili bed as instructed but I just could not allow him to cry.

On May 17 the bili bed left the house! IT was over Sebastian was having all breast milk poops, he had gained 10 oz and his bili count was normal! Thanks BE to God!

I learned alot that month away from home. I learned who my true friends are I REALLY learned I can TRUST GOD with everything. I learned that my children are even more amazing than I thought. With the help of my home school friends the children continued there schooling, kept the house running. I owe so much to so many. SO many of you brought dinners to my family. Said LOTS of Prayers. May God Bless EACH and every one of you , YOU know who you are!

**Six/seven months after Sebastian’s birth he is still doing great! He now weighs 17 # 6 oz all on mommas milk and we still ecologically breastfeed.I do not offer solid foods till they are over a year old. He does not ‘look’ like a preemie though he is slower in the milestones than his siblings, like not sitting up on his own yet.

We have been practicing Elimination Communication since he was around 3 months and we do great with it!We tried it after we got home but he was so small it was overwhelming. We only use cloth diapers when we leave the house.

He is less colicky than he was and still give him probiotics daily and use homeopathics for colic as needed.

The past seven months have been a blur but I would do it all over again for him but this time I would have never went to the hospital and would have just stayed at home and trusted my instincts and had him at home….

And finally tonight he sits here and said “mama” plain as anything! Thank you God for the Gift of Sebastian

Here is a special slideshow I did of his First Five years I hope you enjoy :

https://www.icloud.com/iphoto/projects/#3;CAEQARoQCr7zZzyVdgRWLbv0EbHM4w;0C36B7C7-9BB8-45E9-8111-2620940A05F4

DSC_6591Sebastian 5 years old with momma

DSC_0047Sebastian 4 years old at the Big Latch On