I remember sitting and playing on my phone when I saw a notification pop up that I had a message from my doctor. I had just had an abdominal ultrasound a few days prior and had been anxiously waiting for results to confirm what I already knew in my gut. The subject of the email said it all- “gallstones x3”. My heart sank, as a recovery room nurse surgery didn't scare me as much as the thought of being away from my newborn baby girl. .
M y baby was almost 4 weeks old when I found out that the God awful, incapacitating "heartburn" attacks that I had been having since my pregnancy (which never went away and I had mentioned to 3 docs who managing my care) were actually gallstones. According to my doctor, gallstones and pregnancy go together like peanut butter and jelly, so of course I was lucky enough to get them. I saw a surgeon who recommended a cholecystectomy. The only way to avoid surgery would be to cut out ALL fat from my diet forever. As a millennial, I cannot live in a world without avocados (let alone other fats). So surgery it was and we booked it for a week later. This meant I would be 6 weeks postpartum, and the challenges were significant.
1. My baby had never taken a bottle or been away from me at all. Introducing a bottle is a whole ordeal because you don't want to introduce it to your baby too early. Sometimes the baby may prefer the bottle to the boob which means your breastfeeding just got a whole lot more difficult and you're left with the difficult decision of becoming an exclusive pumper or switching to formula. Also here are a million different bottles and nipples on the market and some babies are really picky and will refuse a bottle until you find the right combination of bottle shape, nipple size, and temperature which can take months. Others may just outright refuse to bottle feed.
2. I hadn't been pumping at all yet so I had no extra milk frozen. You can imagine how difficult it is to find time to pump an entire extra feed on top of breastfeeding every 2-3 hours around the clock. Pumping takes longer than breastfeeding as the pump isn't as efficient at getting milk as the baby and then you have the added chore of washing all the parts and storing the milk when you're through.
3. I didn't want to give formula. She had never had formula before and it can be really hard on baby's stomach at first. Sometimes you have to experiment with several different kinds to find the right one) over multiple days. And by giving formula when she was so young, I was committing to pumping however many times she nursed to maintain my supply for when she was able to nurse again.