from pain and despair to joyful breastfeeding – a thank you note
When this unsolicited thank-you note landed in our email, it literally brought us to tears. This note is everything. It’s why we do the work we do. We are so thankful to have such amazing lactation professionals like Grace on the boober platform. We asked Elyssa if it would be ok to share this as her #boobertruths story and she agreed!
To give a little context, Grace, the lactation counselor, saw the symptoms of a complication called retained placenta and also suspected tongue tie, both of which can cause low milk supply. Her story is a great example of how complex things can be when it comes to infant feeding. Often, infant feeding issues are a Venn diagram of multiple factors!
You popped into my head today and I realized I’m not sure I ever fully expressed to you how much you helped me during those first few postpartum months, and how truly grateful I am for you. So now that I’m finally clearheaded and past the fog of the fourth trimester, I wanted to send you a note to thank you.
After being diagnosed with preeclampsia at 37 weeks, having an emergency c-section, and then having my baby in the NICU for the entirety of my time in the hospital, I was fully traumatized. Coming home to a baby who was destroying my nipples and clearly not getting enough milk from my breasts alone was devastating.
I asked my pediatrician, my OBGYN, my night nurse and my doula for help, and no one gave me any useful advice. Everyone kept telling me to pump between every single feed especially in the middle of the night, and to never skip a feed no matter what, but at that point I was so depressed and exhausted that doing that would have pushed me over the edge, no one seemed to care about what I needed as the mom. So I just simmered in guilt feeling like a terrible mom for not being willing to put in the hard work for my baby. When I called boober I was truly at my wit’s end, but just our first five-minute phone call gave me so much hope. You were the first person who gave me permission to take care of myself, the first person who really heard me when I said I needed to sleep and couldn’t spend every moment that I wasn’t feeding attached to a pump. You were the first person who made me feel that supplementing was OK and that I wasn’t poisoning my baby by giving her a little formula. It sounds like such a small thing but it truly saved me.
That alone was such an enormous act of kindness, but additionally, you were the only person who gave me really good advice when I was diagnosed with retained placenta and then placenta accreta. You were the first person who told me you’d heard of that before and that you knew I would be OK. Even my OBGYN didn’t know what placenta accreta was and wouldn’t give me any reassurances that I would get through it. You were so patient with me as I was having full-blown panic attacks and went way beyond the call of duty to be a true friend to me when I needed it the most.
Today, Frank and I are doing great! When we met you Frank was in the 6th percentile for weight. Today, she’s in the 70th for weight and 97th for height! She’ll be 6 months in two weeks and she’s an amazing, chubby, happy baby who latches easily, drains my breast in five minutes, and tweaks my nose while she’s eating. We still supplement with a little formula when she needs it, and that has helped me get my life back which I think makes us all a lot happier than if I was still trying to force her to exclusively breastfeed. When I met you I couldn’t imagine breastfeeding beyond the first few months because it was such torture for me, now I love breastfeeding and I plan to continue until she won’t let me anymore.
I truly believe that your knowledge, patience, and kindness saved me and my baby and set us on the right path so that we could finally be a happy family and I cannot thank you enough. I don’t think I’ve ever had any one person make such a huge difference in my life before and I am forever grateful to you for that.
I hope you know how important the work you’re doing is and how much you’re making a difference in people’s lives. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
– Elyssa (And Frankie and Jon)
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