To feel as if I have battled too hard for too long and that I have no more left to give (fertility/baby related)

(51 Posts)
MrsSeanBean1 Wed 12-Mar-14 01:17:05

I feel like a complete fraud typing this as I know many people have suffered much greater battles than me e.g. cancer, stillbirth, loss of a child etc. but today I felt that I had truly reached the end of my coping ability and have spent much of the day feeling tearful. I just feel as if I have fought for so long, now I just want some peace and a rest.

My husband and I are older parents (37 and 40), have a lovely relationship and homelife, close family, secure finances etc. We tried for children for 5 years, had many fertility tests and treatments, and were just about to embark on IVF when I fell pregnant and miscarried. The next pregnancy was successful, although difficult. I suffered severe morning sickness (sick at least 10 times a day) for 8 months, SPD, anxiety (due to fertility history) before finally giving birth after a difficult and scary instrumental delivery.

My DD breastfed well but consistently lost weight. I really wanted to breastfeed and it was pushed so much by the midwives/health visitors that I battled on with it despite her losing weight. I saw probably 10 lactation consultants and support workers and tried absolutely everything. One said that I had too much milk (I could easily pump 10oz from 1 breast) and that DD was never getting to the fatty hind milk. Finally DD was referred to a consultant who was horrified by how thin she was and told me that I must put her on formula immediately. This was very difficult for me as I felt I had let DD down at the 1st hurdle and nearly resulted in PND. This combined with my anxiety took its toll and I hardly slept for the 1st 6 months, constantly checking on DD all night and being over protective. I suppose I feel as if we weren't supposed to have children but got lucky so she could easily be taken away from me.

2 years later, I gave birth to by DS 10 days ago. In between DD and DS I suffered 4 miscarriages in quick succession so I have been either pregnant or miscarrying for about 16 months. Again, it was another difficult pregnancy with hyperemesis for 7 months, SPD so bad that I am still on crutches and another very traumatic birth where I thought I was losing DS due to his heartrate falling so low.

The midwife came today to discharge us but found that DS had lost loads of weight. This was such a shock and I just felt completely overwhelmed. I have slept maybe 3 hours a day since DS was born due to him feeding constantly. Again, I have absolutely loads of milk and he appears to be drinking a lot but never seems satisfied. The midwife watched him feed and was perplexed as she said he was feeding well and that the 15 or more nursings he has every day was far more than he should need.

I can feel myself slipping towards PND again. My anxiety has come flooding back. I am sitting up all night tonight watching him and checking on DD, feeling like something awful is going to happen to them as I was not supposed to have children. I love them so much but even my milk is not good enough for them. My body has completely let me down from beginning to end. To top it all, my DGP have both been diagnosed with cancer in the last 3 months which has been difficult.

I did consider the possibility of having a 3rd child but I can't go through anymore. I can't survive another miscarriage or months of feeling so ill. I feel so battered and bruised by it all that I don't know how to begin to heal.

SallyMcgally Wed 12-Mar-14 01:35:03

Don't be worrying about the future now. It's enough simply to cope with the absolute hammering you've had. And try to be gentle with yourself. Talk to a (kind) GP or HV about how you're feeling. And you haven't let either of your children down at all. I do wish people wouldn't push breast feeding quite so much, as it makes it so hard for those of us for whom it didn't work despite best efforts. Your DS will be absolutely fine on formula if it comes to it (and someone else can then take a night feed.) Your children need your love much more than anything else and they have that in spades. don't need to worry for ages about whether or not to have another child, and of course it's fine to decide not to, especially with what you've been through.

antimatter Wed 12-Mar-14 01:56:31

You've had very tough time in the last few years.
Lie wit h2 small kids is very exhausting.
Feeling of failing your child is one I remember experiencing when I was unable to establish brestfeeding for my DD.

Please don't feel pressurized to carry on with breastfeeding, consider formula. You've seen your DD doing well and that should give you confidence in your choice.
It is very important that you start getting more sleep now and hopefully giving formula would help you with that.
Make sure you eat well too.
Have you got any help apart from your DH?

bragmatic Wed 12-Mar-14 02:00:45

Congratulations on your little baby. I had my first child at about your age. Today she has gone off to a school event and is soooo excited. The feeding/thriving/sleeping issues seem so far away now, and I can easily put them in perspective. It really won't matter in the long run what you do, as long as your baby is fed. Be kind to yourself. In a few short years you will be laughing with your children as they beat you at checkers. Take care. x

MrsSeanBean1 Wed 12-Mar-14 02:04:46

I do have a very good support network. DH is brilliant and always tries to be home by 5.30pm although he does work some evenings some weeks. Prior to my grandparents being ill I had a lot of family support. I see my mum, dad, grandparents and sister (with her baby) every day and my daughter has a very close, loving relationship with all of them, in fact, she is doted on.

Obviously things have changed since my grandparents have been ill. They have moved in with my parents and my mum has to take them to hospital appointments most days. We are muddling through together but it is more difficult for them to support me at the moment. My mum said today that she feels so bad that she has 'neglected' me during this pregnancy which made me really sad as I don't want her to feel like that. She has a lot on her plate at the moment and looking after her ill parents need to take priority. Only my DH knows how down I feel at the moment, although not the true extent of it.

PansOnFire Wed 12-Mar-14 02:08:28

Oh OP, you,sound like you have suffered immensely and now you are having something similar to survivors guilt. Please talk to a sensitive GP and let them start to give you some treatment. This is not your fault, you have been strong for such a long time and now it's time to stand back and process what has happened. You deserve some support.

Please don't berate yourself for having issues with breast feeding, I felt the same and when I was taken ill I had to stop. My baby was formula fed from day 3 and he's such a strong little thing that I now know I shouldn't have beaten myself up over not continuing for longer. Yes, breastfeeding is natural but the best thing is to make sure everything is balanced: feeding, sleeping and emotions. When one thing is taking over then if there is an alternative it's sometimes best to take it, ultimately the decision is yours but I found formula feeding was easier for me to cope with in the end. It was structured which I could manage during my recovery, and it have me less time stressing and more time enjoying. It isn't for everyone though.

Have five minutes every few hours where you stop and calm yourself, just be mindful about the importance of feeling in control and focusing on a positive. Give yourself two things that you will feel good about by the end of the day and don't think about the other things that don't go to plan. That got me through some tough days.

You haven't let yourself down and your body has done an amazing job. Sleeping peacefully are two beautiful children whom your body made and carried through immense adversity and difficulty. They are here and so are you, I'd say that was an astounding success from what you've said. You should be proud that you coped through all of those things which were out of your, and your body's, control.

Please confide on those around you, they might have no idea that you feel this way. It is perfectly ok to feel like this, but you can be helped to feel better. Just don't feel that you are alone, anxiety is crippling and I suffer it without the traumatic past that you've had. One day at a time.

antimatter Wed 12-Mar-14 02:13:00

Confide in your mum and sister.
Having your dd taken off your hands once a week for few hours will let you to have few hours of sleep.
Try to concentrate on getting enough rest.

BratinghamPalace Wed 12-Mar-14 02:45:19

OP,against the odds and under incredible duress you delivered two babies, both alive and both with a future. Your old body did not let you down. Look at what it did. It never gave up the battle. And maybe now, the engine needs a little time to repair. So don't worry about nursing. I marvel at what you have achieved. A lesser woman would have been felled long before. So no more thoughts that you were not ment to have them, you were and here they are. When those thoughts come to your mind recognize them for what they are - anxiety. They are not facts.
You are allowed to weep a bit, then go smell them. You have well. Small steps. And a cup of tea.

Chottie Wed 12-Mar-14 04:42:23

Congratulations on your lovely family smile

Please speak to some one you can trust about how you feel. You sound absolutely exhausted and in need of sleep.

snowqu33n Wed 12-Mar-14 05:27:10

Congratulations on your new baby! How about pumping breast milk and feeding that too, that way you know exactly how much he is getting? Also check how many wet/dirty nappies for reassurance. Consider keeping a log of feeds and nappies for a few days. We got our own set of baby scales off the internet, you can weigh before and after feeds if u want to see how much he has drunk. Go to get him checked out by doctor for unexplained weightloss.

snowqu33n Wed 12-Mar-14 05:30:26

I am also having post natal anxiety and it is tough, but I try to think of practical ways to reassure myself. And I have posted threads here a couple of times for reassurance.

Ardiente Wed 12-Mar-14 05:34:14

MrsSeanBean, you have done incredibly well. After so many battles, it is no wonder you need time to heal. I have gone through some of it myself and I understand the total feeling of exhaustion and feeling battered and bruised. Make sure you make time for yourself and look after yourself: tons of sleep, gentle exercise, focus on good nutrition, do nothing if need be, get as much help as you can from family and perhaps from your GP too. No shame in that and please don't beat yourself up about your milk. Get your baby on formula. Your baby needs you on good form: that is the number one priority as far as he is concerned. Big hugs.

RuddyDuck Wed 12-Mar-14 05:48:29

Congratulations on your baby. I'm sure you are feeling exhausted right now, having a new baby is hard work.

The part of your post about your dd could have been written by me! When I had my ds1 I had had a very difficult/complicated pregnancy, and was so determined to make up for it by being the perfect mother, including breastfeeding. He failed to thrive, we ended up seeing a consultant who was brilliant but told me in no uncertain terms that I had to put ds on a bottle. He was 3 months old and I felt such a failure. He piled on the weight as soon as he started to be ff though, so it was the right thing to do.

Looking back now, I had quite severe pnd. I didn't appreciate that until I had ds2, and realised the difference as I didn't have it the second time luckily.

My advice would be to seek help for pnd, it is not a failing on your part, and is no reflection of your mothering ability. Also, do not get fixated about the bf, Yes, it's great if it works for you and your baby, not the end of the world if it doesn't. My ff ds1 is now a towering 6 ft teen, so being ff didn't do him any harm.

Good luck and please don't try to struggle on without help.

paxtecum Wed 12-Mar-14 06:02:41

Congratulations.

Formula Feeding is not poison.
Don't put yourself through hell by thinking that you are a failure if you FF.

Don't even think of more babies, but relax and enjoy the ones you have.

Best wishes to you.

brokenhearted55a Wed 12-Mar-14 06:20:35

Congrats on your lovely family.....?

WheresMrMonkey Wed 12-Mar-14 07:45:45

Please be kind and gentle to yourself. It will get better with time. One day at a time.
Be as lazy as possible, a few days of cbeebies won't hurt!

MrsSeanBean1 Wed 12-Mar-14 12:08:26

Thank you all for your support. I have started the formula feeding today and its going ok apart from a few tears....mine and his! I do maybe need to pluck up the courage to see my GP. I'm just a bit scared of starting counselling as I feel I need to try and forget about it all, not keep talking about it.

Congratulations on your lovely, healthy children.

How much weight has ds lost?

Has he been checked - properly - for a tongue tie? Hind and foremilk are outdated terms. If you can pump 10oz from one breast, there is no reason why he is not putting on weight other than the issue being with him and his removal of the milk from you.

FF is not awful, but if you feel that breastfeeding is something you want/need to do, and it will help stave off this pnd, then please get him checked for tongue tie. You can check yourself by running your little finger under his tongue. If you encounter any resistance, even just a 'speed bump', there is a tie.

Please don't think I'm pushing you to bf - it just sounds as though you really want it to work, and given my own experience with two children who are/were severely tied and whose ties were not picked up on by the paeds or midwives, I honestly, hand on heart, think both your dd and ds sound tongue tied.

Good luck. You're a wonderful mum, your children will thrive and you will get through this.

Ijumpalot Wed 12-Mar-14 14:19:05

Just wanted to say that you sound like a wonderful mum who has gone through hell to get two precious babies. Despite all the difficulties just try to take the easier path and just enjoy them both. If that means leaving the bf then so be it. You know from your dd that time goes so fast and anything you can do to help yourself in these difficult first weeks can only be a good thing for your mental health! It also means your dh can do a few of the night feeds and with a little more sleep you'll feel much more sane! Keep going you are doing so well!

EurotrashGirl Thu 13-Mar-14 07:50:17

http://www.babble.com/baby/formula-fed-baby-enters-medical-school-satire/

EurotrashGirl Thu 13-Mar-14 07:51:01
Chocolatestain Thu 13-Mar-14 10:07:59

You sound like you're doing an amazing job. Don't forget that your body has been on a huge hormonal roller coaster over the last few years and that is bound to take its toll emotionally, so please be gentle with yourself.

Ff is absolutely fine. It's ok to feel sad for not bf, but DS will be fine. And it's really important (and not at all selfish) to look after your own needs, both physically and emotionally, so you can be there for your DC. Have you considered combination feeding? It worked well for a lot of my friends who chose not to exclusively bf for various reasons. DS would still get some bf benefits along with the extra calories of formula and you would get the best of both worlds, having a bf relationship whilst still being able to hand over to DH for some of the night feeds. Your milk supply will adapt to what is asked of it.

Good luck.

WhoDaresWins Thu 13-Mar-14 10:15:46

My goodness me. You have years and years of joy ahead of you with your children - don't let the first few months ruin you. Its such a short time on the grand scheme of things. Put him on formula and don't look back.

You've not failed - the most important thing a child needs love and security and you're giving all that in spades.

JohnCusacksWife Thu 13-Mar-14 10:25:28

You have just had a baby, your hormones are all over the place, you are not sleeping, you are exhausted....you have no perspective and are beating yourself up unnecessarily. You are doing your best and no-one can ask any more of you. If bf isn't working for you there is no shame whatsoever in giving your baby formula.

Please stop beating up on yourself. Take a deep breath, be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. Take care x

HesterShaw Thu 13-Mar-14 10:26:52

I've no experience in any of this, but just wanted to echo all the wise lovely posts. Your body has brought two new lives into the world so it's amazing. But now it needs some care and rest.

Formula feeding, well I've no experience of that either. But it does strike me how many healthy, living adults and children there are in the world because of it. In years gone by, babies with weight loss and malnutrition were simply diagnosed as "failure to thrive" and that was that. Formula is a great invention. Your baby will be absolutely fine on it flowers

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