Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Becoming a mother after just turning 16 was a rude awakening to my still "know it all" and afraid of nothing mindset. The delivery process was just awful. Pain, tearing, and things I won't mention here, all resulted in a 6 lb baby girl on valentines day 1988. I was petrified when I saw her. It became real, that I couldn't put out some fresh food and water and change the litter box every so often and so panic set in. I was in the hospital for a little over 36 hours. I'd started to breast-feed my daughter, after a literally 90 second coaching session by a lactation nurse that surely was not celebrating the little life I just gave birth too or her 16 year old mother.
She was in a hurry and very matter of fact but her tone spoke more than just this, it spoke contempt. I was determined to give my baby the best nutrition and head start for her health and development. So after she left I held my daughter kind of like a football as taught and proceeded to let her nurse for 35 minutes on each side. Over and hour had passed and no one came into the room. I guess if she is still nursing she must be hungry right? WOW! Was I in a for a painful experience.
Yup..... you guessed it, bleeding blisters and one very unhappy little girl and her Mommy were in agonizing pain. When the delivery nurse came into the room just to check on me. She found both Ashli and I sobbing uncontrollably. She was so angry that I let Ashli nurse that long on each breast. She spoke to me as if I was an idiot for doing so. I told her what the other nurse said or didn't say and she stormed out of the room. I never saw the lactation nurse again, but by that point, the damage had been done. The delivery nurse gave me some type of ointment to put on my bleeding and blistered breasts, but I don't remember any sympathy or kind words from her either.
In 1988, you had the choice to keep the baby in the room with you or to have her in the nursery and only brought to you for feeding and family visits. I tried to keep her in the room with me, but was clueless on what to do, so I quickly changed my mind and sent her back to the nursery whenever it was just her and I and she was fussing. Sure I tried to console her, but I was so tense and afraid that I only made matters worse by holding her. By this time she was on formula, because I was unable to nurse and I was nearing the engorged stage by the time we left Crouse.
The next several days were quite a blur and I only remember Ashli crying all the time. Especially at night. We shared a bedroom at my mothers 3 bedroom apartment. I couldn't escape and I had no idea what was wrong. The doctors said it was normal "newborn" behavior and that if it didn't stop she might be a colic baby. What the heck is that? I didn't care I just wanted to sleep and not feel like I was a failure with my own daughter.
My mother I am sure did the best she could at the time, but she was clear this was my baby, not hers and I needed to figure this out. The next several months would be also a big blur, but the basic message I got from my mom and Ashli's fathers' Mom, was I wasn't doing it right!! So basically the people who said they'd help me, only judged, not coached me. Many times during the first few months, I thought for sure, I'd go crazy. Instead I turned to alcohol, in the form on tiny one shot bottles hidden in a kitchen cabinet to calm my nerves. Things began to settle down, at least a little, that is as long as I did whatever the "grandmother" in the room told me to. Ashli's father had no interest in more than an occasional holding or feeding. Diapers were out of the the question and he was pre-occupied with schooling. After all, I had a baby, He didn't!
More on the early days....later!