Thursday, August 30, 2012

Confessions of an Ex-Minion

I guess its a sign of the times when you get all emotionally fraught about leaving a Facebook group... but I do.  And I always feel so weird about feeling so sad about it.  It's just a Facebook group.  But they can become addictive and cliquish.  They can be a great way to connect and bond with people over an interest.

Or they can suck you into pointless arguments and show you the worst side of people you thought you respected.


I had to leave Dr Amy's Fed Up group that I've been with for... awhile.  Nearly two years I guess.  I'm done giving birth though (I'm pretty sure) and I think I'm done hearing about dead home birth babies.  I feel the need to move on anyway.  But I just can't stomach the pro-circumcision voices in that group, including Dr. Amy herself.  She recently lauded the AAP statement in disgustingly hyperbolic terms, making claims about circumcision far beyond what the AAP was even willing to say.  It's NOT some simple, safe, or effective miracle cure or prevention for anything.  The AAP made the most minimally positive statement about it that they could in order to encourage insurance providers to keep paying or resume paying pediatricians to perform circumcisions.  That's about it.  Their member pediatricians were having trouble getting reimbursed for something classified as wholly cosmetic and non-therapeutic by this organization, so they tried to back peddle JUUUST enough to get the money to flow again.  They had to really grasp at straws and junk science to do so.  Dr. Amy made much more out of the statement than was really there, and admitted she takes a lot of flak for her position on circumcision.  She just loves it, apparently.  Loves it.  It prevents AIDS and cancer and UTIs and the whole rank and file of usual suspects.  She didn't mention paralysis or masturbation or epilepsy or any of the old school things it used to cure/prevent.

I think I know where she's coming from.  As an OB she almost certainly performed them.  As a softie for babies she had to know the pain she was causing and she had to make herself believe it was for the greater good.  As a mother, she likely had son(s)? circumcised.  As a human being, she is now only seeking out confirming information, so this revision from the AAP was a wonderful relief to hear.  She was not harming babies after all.  Maybe some doubts had crept in from time to time, but we can sweep all that aside, its official.  The AAP is wildly in favor of circumcision; the question of harm/benefit is therefore settled.  We can't pick and choose what stances of an esteemed scientific body we agree with or don't.  It's science.

Except that in the post RIGHT BEFORE she calls out the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for bad recommendations on midwifery and she claims its all about money.  Basically the same reasons I rail against the AAP for their stance on circ.  Check the bullet points.  Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes those are all very similar to the complaints lodged against the AAP this week by intactivists so no complaining about picking and choosing.  Any skeptic would and should question authority, even medical authorities... who are actually really trade associations when you come right down to it, and sometimes they act that way.

I interact well with lots of people who disagree with me on circumcision.  We can agree to disagree and we can simply not discuss it, or if we do, we can discuss the issue and not resort to name calling nonsense and personal attacks.  I hit hard on the issue of circumcision.  The practice insults my soul.  But I attack the practice and the ideas behind it, not the people.  Well, except for the advocates of it.  But - I think mothers who have done it to their babies and many doctors who've performed it for various reasons can be victims of the practice as much as the boys are.

And if you really think about it, circumcision probably causes much more harm than home birth and natural birth advocacy.  Home birth is a fringe-y extremist thing to do.  A fraction of a percent, a handful of deaths.  Circumcision is still suffered by some 50% of American baby boys, killing as many or more baby boys as SIDS in the time frame that they are at greatest risk.  But just as home birth deaths are under reported and misreported, circumcision deaths are almost always attributed to things not called "circumcision" on a death certificate.  Like septic shock and hemorrhage.  Not to mention the men suffering in silence from shameful complications.  Some are not so silent anymore.

I can deal with people who disagree with me.  I don't think I can deal with an advocate.  Especially an advocate who purports to be a skeptic and scientifically minded.  She of all people should know better.  She can spot junk science when she sees it - and when it recommends home birth.  But rather than accepting a little cognitive dissonance and admitting circumcision is actually wrong after all in spite of what she believed in the past, she has doubled down.  I can't respect that.  I understand it, but I don't respect it.     

So I left the group.  If you see circumcision the way I do, its just not something a nice person would want to associate themselves with.

PS: It may or may not be material that Dr. Amy is Jewish. But she was curiously silent when I tried to establish common ground that we could at least oppose circumcision by laypeople in non-medical environments on the same grounds we oppose home birth by CPMs. In other words, the obviously unsafe practice of mohels performing circumcisions in homes and temples. Many Jews now have it done in hospitals by doctors who are also mohels. I thought we could at least agree on that. Nope.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My thoughts ahead of the AAP statement

If the AAP changes their stance to recommend circumcision in whole or in part based on the African trials and STD risk, they are going to have massive amounts of egg of their face as the stats come in that the circ campaign over there is having the opposite effect and is in fact largely to blame for an increase in HIV rates. Why? Its obvious. Circumcision does not in any way protect against HIV. However, the impression the campaign is giving, rightly or wrongly, is that it is an AIDS vaccine. The men who hear *that* message are the ones getting cut. The ones who listen more closely and realize that you still need to use condoms whether or not you are cut are *not* the ones getting cut - because what's the point? So you have an encouragement of risk behaviors. Not only that, but a not insignificant source of HIV infection in Africa is iatrogenic from improperly sterilized equipment. Many men will get HIV simply from the procedure itself, as any procedure involving needles in Africa involves risk.

So if the AAP softens their stance, they will quickly need another revision. It will be short-lived.

The truth is this is an emotionally fraught issue with a lot of people with a lot at stake in legitimizing circumcision because the alternative is inconceivable and unacceptable. It would mean that they have engaged in genital mutilation (YES I USE THAT WORD) for absolutely no good reason and it makes them terribly uncomfortable.

Which is why I just think everyone who's done it in the past, sincerely believing that it was for the child's own good should get a pass. Fine. You did what you thought was best. It's fine. Let it go. Forget about it. But moving forward, the people who should know better, have all the information right there at their fingertips and refuse to *see* it, at the expense of future children... well, you don't get a pass. You should be willing to go through a little emotional discomfort in order to save a child from physical torture.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Breast may be best, but Similac is super!

We had a good day, Wiley and I.

Because why?  I believe it is because I've fed him formula all night and all day.  I just forced (and yes, I do have to insist on it) 4 ounces of breastmilk down him, for vitamins, ooligowhoosiwhatchits and antibodies.  And also, frankly because I'm running out of storage space for it all and its getting old.  I've started freezing it and I don't have many bags left.  I'm hoping by the time I run out, the No More Milk tea will have worked its blissful magic and I will be done with the pumping and he can have one feeding of breastmilk for awhile...

But he burps easier, he settles easier... sleeps easier, which means guess who else sleeps easier too?

Related (probably): I am down to 115 pounds.  I started the pregnancy at 135 and maxed at 146 and one month post partum I have dropped 30 pounds.  Amazing.  Everything in the closet fits.  There are no jeans I can't squeeze into.  Some things are way too big now.

I wonder if my breastmilk really is watery, not nutritious enough to satisfy him and really feed him.  Its like I'm pouring gas water down his throat for all the peace and satisfaction its supposed to give him.

Hubby and I agree on ramping down.  We're both sick of this.  Is there anything I've been lied to more, heard more hyperbole about than breastfeeding?

An LLL leader posted a bromide about breast being awesome because there are no recalls on breasts.  I retorted - mine are definitely defective.  The problem is there is no return policy either.

She deleted the comment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Valley and Circumcision

From the beginning of the breaking of the scandal, something about it parallels the circumcision debate for me in a way that's maybe difficult to articulate.  Recently someone posted on their facebook wall complaining about the pillorying (is that a word?) of Paterno when Sandusky is the criminal and where the focus should be.  Yes, but...

My comment on that: "Yes, the crimes were committed by Sandusky, but the fact is he was never going to stop himself. He had a sick complulsion, and the only way to stop him was through outside actors - who refused to act in any meaningful way. And so the abuse continued. After he was caught in the act. After multiple people witnessed it and were in a position to act. This could have continued until Sandusky went to his grave, and if people had still neglected to act there would just be more victims. Yes, Sandusky was ultimately the criminal. But if no one stops him, even after knowing full well what was going on... for whatever reasons... what does that say about the culture there? And THAT is what is enraging people about this."

How is this like circumcision?  It's sort of exactly like circumcision.  The more you learn about the procedure and what is taken from the boy (or girl) the more you are forced to recognize it as sexual mutilation and abuse.  Its as if you become McQueary walking into the locker room.  You hear the slapping sounds and you look.  And you can't unsee what you've seen after you watch a circumcision video or see one in person. After you realize that most of the world doesn't do this and this is not the human norm.  There is no reason to do this, but for the sexual preferences of adults forced on children at their most vulnerable.

But we all live in Happy Valley.  We are all surrounded by people with something at stake in pretending.  Pretending we don't know, we didn't see, or that's everything is actually OK.  What we saw in the shower is between Sandusky, the boy and his parents.  They chose to send him to Sandusky for a beneficial experience.  Parents choose to offer up their infant boys for a beneficial procedure.  I suppose the Sandusky boys' parents were presumed to know and be OK with what was going on and us Mike McQuearys should really butt out.  Its not our business.  Leave it alone and everything will be OK.

Pay no attention to the man in the shower.  Pay no attention to the men and women with knives.  Don't look into that 11 year old boy's eyes.  Don't help him.  Don't jump Sandusky and knock the daylights out of him, call the cops and get a rape kit on that boy for absolute proof and no chance of any more victims. That's what we intactivists really want to do, but its so frustrating.  We live in Happy Valley.

In Happy Valley there are only the concerns of adults at play.  Don't disrupt the football program.  Don't upset all the players, parents, doctors, cut men, etc. who have been affected by circumcision in the past.  Don't invite a slew of lawsuits.  Everyone is Happy.  Can't we just keep it that way?

We can, if you just look the other way and consider the rights of parents to make these decisions for their children.  We can, if you just solely consider religious freedom to circumcise.  Pretend that a child's right to their whole body does not supercede that.

That's hard for some people.  We're not all Mike McQueary.  And we're not all Joe Paterno.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Checked out

So I had the mole checked out today.  You know, the one I always sort of knew was cancer, but if a doctor never says cancer to you, you never have to deal with it.  So I put it off and put it off.  Then I showed it to DH and he got all pale and said have it checked.  Tomorrow.  Geez.  OK.

And then by the time I'm driving to the appointment I'm wondering who is going to take care of the kids growing up, and will it be painful in the end... and just hoping against all hope that this might qualify as "early" as far as catching it.  Where would it spread to first?  My lungs?  How much chemotherapy?  How will I look bald?  Maybe an alternative treatment will work...

Got to the office and 40 minutes after my appointment time they call me.  I have the baby with me, which is not fun, but a good distraction.  I get him situated and the doc looks at my back, pokes at it, and...

...its just ugly.  That's all.  It's completely harmless.  I could have it removed, but for cosmetic reasons only.  Insurance won't even cover it, its so harmless, but its not that expensive to freeze off if it bothers me.  Meh.  It really doesn't.  Maybe someday but not today.

The doctor gives me a brochure on "mature skin" LOL and sends me on my way.  I'm sure I'd sleep better tonight, but for my 4 week old.

Now go get YOUR thing checked out that's been scaring you.  Chances are its nothing and YOU can sleep better.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's my post partum and I'll cry if I want to

So going through my cabinets looking for gripe water to soothe my little one's umpteenth gas episode and I find a box of "No More Milk" tea I so presciently ordered for myself months ago, I guess as a little pre partum gift, permission to stop the insanity at any time.  I had low expectations for myself.  I was dreading just exactly this most of all and I found myself a way to stop it.  I set it out on the countertop and I keep staring at it and my tea kettle, and then erupting in fresh tears.  Why is it so heartbreaking to just... STOP.

Stop stop stop.  Stop the tears, the pain, the pumping, the indignity of it all.  Just stop.  Make the tea and ramp it down.  The engorgement might take a couple more hours to come.  A little more rest, a little more sanity.  I've been giving Wiley formula since early this afternoon and after I had a bite to eat myself, we've both settled down a bit.

And I just had the brilliant idea to swaddle him aaaand he's sleeping.  awww... such an angel when he sleeps!

To my LC

Sent this email to the LC who came over, after I told her it wasn't thrush and she offered to come back to work on latch some more:

"Every time I latch him on, even if its one of our better attempts, with minimal creasing, the pain is aggravated and they remain super sensitive for the rest of the day to the point where holding my baby against me becomes very unpleasant.  Wearing a seatbelt  is very unpleasant.  I don't think I can handle the pain that working on his latch would entail.  I can't really do it more than once a day without it becoming absolutely excruciating, and that's too infrequent to make any difference I think.  And since its not thrush, I don't think it can really be helped.  I don't think this kind of pain is all due to just a bad latch, I think its just the way I am.  It's all well and good for people to claim breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt.  The fact is, for me, it just does.  Breastfeeding for me is nothing but misery.  Its not like that for everyone, but it is for me.  This time I wanted to really explore every option for normalcy, whatever that is, and I think I have and can look back and appreciate that.  I think holding and cuddling my baby are frankly more important than breastfeeding and even breast milk, as is wearing a seatbelt, and going about day to day activities without constantly wanting to climb a wall from sensitivity and pain.

At least I can pump and I'll just continue to do that for awhile.  But since he seems so much more settled, satisfied and less gassy on formula, its hard for me to see who the "breast is best" for in our situation.

Thanks for trying though."

Its been a pretty miserable couple of nights.  Takes a long time to get a burp up and by then he's hungry again so its a constant cycle of feeding, burping and feeding again with only short and few breaks in between to sleep.  One of the hour long breaks I got last night came at 3am and I had to spend half an hour of that pumping and washing bottles.  I JUST lay down to rest and he's famished again, eats an ounce, can't burp but is writhing in stomach pains, finally burps, hungry again, on and on.  From my mommy groups, several women (breastfeeders) are experiencing this.  I can't imagine what this would do to my nipples if I were putting him to the breast.  The term "shredded" comes to mind.  Ugh.  I've been giving him doses of simethicone to ease the burping process, but really, he should be getting formula exclusively at night if I'm to get any meaningful rest at all.  The breastmilk just exacerbates the whole vicious cycle anyway and I pump and suffer for what?  There are no benefits here to him or me.

I need that pill.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Not yeast

Had a culture taken.  I, for sure, do not/no longer have thrush.  I can no longer blame my problems on yeast.  There is no need to coat Wiley's mouth with gentian violet or for me to give up wine and cheese for that candida diet thingy (thank God).

So this is just how I am, I guess.

Fuck Jack "Its not supposed to hurt" Newman.  Fuck him in the neck.

I don't think realistically any form or fashion of latch that the little guy is physically capable of is going to fix it.  What I hear from other "real" breastfeeding mommies is that with normal nipples, really, a clumsy latch doesn't really matter.  They breastfeed.  It's not a big deal.  They latch them in carriers in the mall, they latch them half asleep, they are barely paying attention and here I am agonizing over every millimeter of areola and where it lands in his mouth...  No, its just not this painstaking for women for whom it CAN work.

I'm just not one of those women.  And this time, as opposed to last time, I tried everything, I explored every avenue, I was aggressive, and it turns out I just am a pumper.  That was the right decision last time and its right again unless I want my nipples to disintegrate in my baby's mouth and fall off.

I can keep trying to latch him once a day just to satisfy my... whatever... and see if after a few more weeks something magical happens, the breastfeeding goddesses smile upon me and I suddenly toughen up.  But I don't think the prospects are promising.

I'll keep pumping for a little while longer.  But we won't be doing this for 6 months like last time.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Still going.

Had a lactation consultant in.  She thinks its still thrush and the latch can be improved.  It will take work - a nursing "boot camp" which will involve no small amount of pain to get through to retrain his latch so he's not so pinchy on my nipples.

And she's sending me a treatment plan for thrush which will involve treating little guy as well, likely with gentian violet which I have not been able to find.  I asked the pharmacist at CVS where I'm told it is carried. I had to spell it for the guy.  No clue what I was talking about.  So apparently "CVS" is not good enough.  Tell me a specific CVS and tell me where they keep it.  And baby has no signs of thrush anyway.    How can I have any hope any of this will do any good?  Will it realistically lead to anything more than more pain, more frustration and is it even worth it?

Probably not.

Maybe I should just give in to the pump, promise myself its only for a few more weeks and just move on with my life.  Accept that I was lied to about breastfeeding.  Its not easy, its not beautiful, its not natural, its not healthy, not for me, and not for many many women.  It is all those things for the women who say its those things.  Their experiences are not mine, and cannot be mine.  They are projecting their individual experiences on me and other moms and they are being cruel.  They have not pumped a mile in my breasts.  They are ignorant of what my experience is and I should not let them in to my otherwise cozy and happy relationship with my new baby.

They are evil evil bitches.  I should just stop being a victim to them and their lies.  Maybe.  I'll keep at it another day, maybe another week.  I'm still not sweating formula, I'm not sweating the pump.  I'm not sweating period.  I'll do what I can do but I'm tired of crying over this.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Don't think I can do it anymore...

I'm going to ask for something to dry up my milk.  If this is normal (for me, I know its not normal for other women.  The species would be dead) I want no part of it.  The constant 24/7 severe sunburn feel and the razor blades and knives latch-on that is again taking longer and longer to go away...  I'm suffering and I'm scared of my baby.  And I don't have to be.  I can get rid of this scourge.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week.

PS.  Maybe some would say I'm only 2 weeks 2 days in to this, give it more time.  The thing is this is the same problem I had last time.  I had this pain and sensitivity for 6 months until I finally, finally gave up the pump and weaned.  It won't go away for me.  It didn't last time and there is no reason to believe it would this time.  This is not OK.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

These boobs were made for pumping...

Some more whining about breastfeeding...  I've been doing well with my goal of putting little man to the breast once a day.  This morning it was about 30 minutes, probably more, left side, right side, then left again.  He ate leisurely and I dripped constantly from the side he wasn't working on.  And I still felt pretty full afterwards.

The thing is I pump about 6 ounces - two feedings - at a time.  This is probably because my first son is only about 14 months weaned and I was pumping 9 or 10 ounces a pop then.  No way little man can drain me right now.  So he's only likely getting small amounts of hindmilk at the breast and I'm never empty after feeding that way.  grrr...

Plus, with the pump I'm done after 10 or 15 minutes, max, with very little pain.  Versus still significant pain, longer time commitment, minimal relief from engorgement.

I said I did NOT want to become an exclusive pumper again.  But its hard with so many upsides.  The only benefits to proper breastfeeding seems to be no bottles to wash, and the sense of normalcy, not attached to that stupid machine.

But honestly if the pain and the nasty nasty sensitivity would just go away, I'd totally hang out and let my supply adjust.  There is something debilitating about having spots on your chest that your child's foot mustn't brush up against while you're holding them because it makes you climb the wall, having even the loosest shirts  annoy the dickens out of you and barely being able to stand a seat belt across your chest.  Its a constant reminder of how miserable breastfeeding makes every moment of the day.

Not sure how much longer I'll last...  I was hoping to give it a month.

PS Just as I published this my Bravado nursing bra arrived in the mail.  I was hoping it would get here before I gave up.  Maybe its a sign.  lol.