By Kaila Pucci
August 19, 2020
Originally written and posted on August 8, 2020
We had every odd against us…emergency C-section, internal bleeding, second emergency surgery and intubation, massive blood transfusion, and a premature baby with an extended NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) stay. Each of these complications, on their own, decreases the likelihood that I would successfully breastfeed.
But we made it happen.
When my milk was delayed from the time away from Beckham, we requested, and were gifted with, donor milk (🙏🏻).
When we had separate hospital rooms for two weeks, my husband husband shuttled milk to the NICU freezer every night, every 3 hours.
When we had to learn to go from a feeding tube to bottle to breast back to tube back to bottle, we had lactation experts to mentor us.
When we left the NICU, we had postpartum meetings with our midwife at the birthing center.
I ordered every incredible Legendairy Milk supplement until I had the right cocktail.
Upon returning to work, I pumped in the car and dirty bathrooms between appointments.
We worked with a pediatric nutritionist when Beckham stopped gaining weight, and we needed to supplement with goat’s milk to get her back on the charts.
When one boob worked and the other shut down, I operated a one-sided factory and hid the unevenness with pads and well planned outfits.
I still have an expired frozen stash that I refuse to throw away because that means it’s all over.
The sacrifices are immense, but we built an immune system that most premature infants don’t have. In her 16 months, she’s had one cold.
Three days after this photo was taken…
I traveled to Houston for an intensive postpartum mental health assessment…ultimately diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, separation anxiety, and trauma-induced rage. This photo makes my heart hurt because I remember how desperate I was for answers.
I have no shame for how I felt, no shame for getting help, and no shame in sharing.
As usual, keeping it real here. Today, I can look back and know that this breastfeeding connection with Beckham is what kept me going.
Breastfeeding saved my life and enriched hers. After every part of our story went sideways, this was the one thing we had control over.
It is not easy, and it has to be an intractable decision.
For us, it was our first victory together. Our journey lasted 11 months and it was our road to redeeming some of what we lost. Every second and every ounce was worth it. And that’s what #nationalbreastfeedingweek is about.
If you need encouragement to breastfeed “just one more day,” I’m here to be that person. If you quit but you gave it your all, I’m here to give you a high five for the time you invested and then I’ll help you research the best formulas. If you are struggling with mental health, hormones, or postpartum, I’m always here to talk. ❤️