Generally, I expect the silver lining of experience, especially painfully-earned experience, to be the ability to avoid the same situation in the future. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and I find myself going through the same thing again. All experience gets me is a calm reassuring pat, and the knowledge that this too shall pass.
Last evening found me sobbing in a black pit of misery. I am still miserable - woefully so - but I have the advantage of a fresh morning and some good hours of sleep to bolster me. Experience tells me that I will be feeling every depth of despair this evening after yet another difficult day.
I really can not believe that once again I find myself, as I did over four years ago, pumping milk, using bottles, and praying a novena to Our Lady of La Leche for her intercession with my starving child. The baby has lost entirely too much weight in her week and a half of life. Even supposing an inaccuracy in the midwife's scale used at her birth, it is still too much. I have to take her to the doctor's again this morning to reweigh her and see if she's gained anything in 24 hours.
When this happened with Jenny, it was assumed that the stress of Bill's deployment affected my milk supply. Although I'm sure it was a major contributing factor, I think more so it was her difficulty in latching on strongly. Pete seemed to have some trouble too and was diagnosed with a tied tongue (I'm not too sure that this is true, since he has no speech problems and seems to be able to stick his tongue out now), and I had to take him twice to be weighed to prove that he was thriving. He didn't lose that much weight all told.
Mary, like Jenny, has had difficulty in achieving a firm latch. We've been banging our heads in frustration since her birth, and she has spent most of her days and nights either struggling to latch on or nursing. Much to both our exhaustion, she has rarely been out of my arms and, if so, has usually been crying. Being hungry constantly will do that to you.
Despite her extreme weight loss, it's not been as bad as it was with Jenny. Jenny experienced dehydration and lethargy. It was a scary time. Mary's constant nursing managed to bring in my milk supply, and she was producing wet diapers. We were making painful progress. With Jenny, I was scared into supplementing with a lot of formula. I then had to wean her off bottles (she had nipple confusion) and gradually increase my milk supply by pumping. With Mary, the doctor wanted to record how much she was getting, so I have had to pump, and, if the pump failed to produce enough (and sadly, this seems to be the case), supplement with formula.
I'm worried about my milk supply. I'm worried about nipple confusion. I'm worried about my child's health.
And after she drinks one ounce of expressed milk and then sits alert and content in someone else's arms or falls into a good, deep sleep for two hours, I remember that it's not normal for even a newborn to cry all the time. I feel guilty and frustrated for failing to take care of my child properly, for failing to be a good mother.
It's a dark pit.
Experience soothes me. With Jenny, one week I was crying because she would sleep for two or three hours, satiated on formula, and the next week I was crying that she was up every hour to nurse. It's a black pit, but, not only do I know there is an exit, I know the way out.
Our Lady of La Leche, pray for me.