Thursday, June 23, 2011

Total Failure

As a mom, we expect so much of our selves. Honestly at times I think we require perfection when it comes to what we expect ourselves to be able to do.   So, when you miss the mark on that idea of perfection, we feel like a total failure.  We feel like bad mothers, even if we are doing our best, if anything doesn't match up to that idea we had in our head.

We need to get over it.

The past couple of days have been pretty horrific around my way. Somehow,  I developed an infection in my surgery site. I wont go into too many details, but I have a small watermelon sized knot of infection hiding under my stomach and c-section scar. Its nice. After my Dr saw me, she ordered a CT scan, stat. That was all peachy keen until I found out I couldn't breast feed The Littlest One for 24 hours. I would have to pump and dump and I wasn't prepared in any way for that.  I'm sure people wondered what kind of test I was having as I sat there in the lobby of testing facility crying my eyes out.  While what I have could get pretty bad, it isn't life threatening, or anything like that.  It just means that from the moment they inject me with dye, I can't breastfeed my child.  That information, though, nearly sent me over the edge.
We had nothing in the line of bottle feeding.  We had no formula in the house.  We had no bottles of any kind.  I didn't even have a the little hand pump I used with both the older girls.  That all meant that in that moment, if my child got hungry, I had no means to feed her, at all, and that thought was unbearable.  It broke me.
I immediately sent my husband to the pharmacy there to see if they carried new born ready to feed formula in those little bottles.  They actually carried nothing as far as formula goes.
So, I sent him off to Target the moment he could go.  He bought those bottles so that we could have something just in case.
Still, even having the formula didn't make me feel much better.  My job is to feed her.  No matter what else I can, or can't do, as a mother, I feed my child.  My body is great at making milk.  I generally over produce.  I could feed her all day long, and sometimes I do.  So, the idea that my body could no longer provide for her just hurt my heart like nothing else could.  I felt like a failure.
That failure was compounded by the fact that The Littlest One hates bottles and formula.  She hates it.  AS soon as she was hungry, we whipped out one of those little bottles, and tried to feed her with it.  It didn't work.  First, she couldn't figure out how to get to the formula.  Second, she hated the formula.  Hated it.  She screamed for what seemed like an eternity because she was so hungry.  There was food there, but she just couldn't get it.  We tried everything we could to help her.  It didn't matter.  She must have screamed for 10 minutes, though it felt like hours, with us trying everything we could think of, before I finally ask for a medicine dropper.  I got the dropper, took the top off the bottle, and fed my baby a tiny bit at a time, until she had finally gotten just enough, about 2 ounces, to keep her from screaming, and she passed out from exhaustion.
I knew she hadn't eaten enough.  Her little body just couldn't keep up after all the energy she expended from being upset.  IF that doesn't make you feel like a failure as a parent, I'm not sure what would.

While she slept, I ran back to Target.  I got 4 different kinds of bottles, a hand pump, and some powdered formula on the advice of a friend, who says that the powered formula doesn't have as strong of a flavor as the ready to drink.  I would have bought anything I could if I thought in the moment that it would help.
I ran home and pumped, starting the process so that I could go back to feeding my baby the way I wanted to.
When she woke up, we were ready with a new bottle, and some fresh formula.  I had never made a bottle with powdered formula before in my life. Again, I called on a friend to make sure I knew what I was doing. The moment she woke up, she was crying, still hungry from before.  WE tried the new bottle, and she hated it.  She couldn't really make it work.  When she could get the formula, still hated the new formula, too.  Again, I was in tears, heartbroken.  I tried another bottle, and found one that we could at least make work a little together.  Even if she couldn't get the milk out, this particular bottle made it easy for me to squeeze the nipple and get the milk going to her.  She still screamed.  She still hated it.  WE managed to get another two-three ounces,  still below what she should eat, into her before she gave out again.  Thus was our heart breaking cycle.
It all made me feel like such a failure.  I don't think there is anything as heart breaking in the world, as the cry of a starving child.  It made me really feel for mothers in impoverished nations, where they do this every single day.  I couldn't deal with it for 24 hours, let alone live like that.  At least I know that once everything is all done, I will be able to take care of my baby the way she wants and needs again.  That should be a comforting thought, but honestly, in the moment it isn't.  We take everything to heart, and keep it there as mothers.  We should learn that doing our best, what ever it is, is ok, but we don't.  I really should take my own advice, and not beat myself up, but I can't.  Such is the life, and heart, of being a mom.