Milk

by cheryl@cheryl-campbell.com on August 18, 2013

It was unusual that I was able to pump so much milk. Often, women who had preeclampsia struggled, as did those who had Caesarians. But, my success, combined with Audrey’s slow start to feeding, meant that I soon had an overabundance of milk. Both in the fridge at the hospital, and in the freezer at home. I felt terrible for the moms who I saw everywhere in the NICU, desperately pumping with their baby’s photo, taking medication, anything to increase supply.

In the ER, after the doctor told us about the clots, I was given a shot of Enoxoparin (heparin). They were setting up an appointment for me at the thrombosis clinic, across the street at Toronto General, who would move me onto Warfarin (pills). But, the doctor cautioned, she didn’t think I could breastfeed while on Warfarin.

I was still numb to the reality of my own condition, but that news hit home fast. Breastmilk was the only thing that I had, as a mom. It was the only thing I could give her, and no one else could. If she didn’t get it, she would be at increased risk of infections, NEC. Now it looked like it would be unceremoniously cut off. Geoff reminded me of the supply already in the fridge and freezer, waiting for Audrey, and that she had already had the all important early milk and colostrum (higher in antibodies, fat).

At that point, we were allowed to go home, with the expectation that I would return daily for more shots until my appointment at Toronto General. By the following day, much of the pain had gone and I looked forward to my first proper sleep in a week the next night.

It was not to be. At about 2 am, we were back. I had coughed up some blood. It was finally decided that I had suffered a small infarction: part of my lung had died. It was a small enough area that it wouldn’t affect my life (although I was afraid to ask about singing). I wonder how big that infarction would have been if I had been sent home with Tylenol 3’s and no CT scan.

On Monday morning, when I walked into the NICU, I was greeted with the news that MotherRisk had been called. Warfarin was okay. I was never sure who had called but, as I literally felt stress fall from my shoulders, I was very grateful that they had thought to do so.

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