KEYWORDS: baby, nipples, breast, nipple, milk, night

Techi's Story--Chapter 9: Recovery

Karen Zerby

—By Maria DavidDFO8279/8/79

1. AFTER TECHI WAS BORN at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I was awake for the rest of the day & most of the night, too. While being brought back on the stretcher from the delivery room, I awoke very groggy & only half-aware of what was going on, but I did feel the movement of the stretcher, & I opened my eyes momentarily enough to see that I was being taken to my room.

2. I WAS AWAKE ENOUGH to tell good bye to Peter & Sue, who were waiting in the room for me. But when I tried to open my eyes, I found the room was whirling around, & it was much more comfortable to just keep them closed, so I just lay quietly & talked a little with Sara who was there & would be staying with me for the rest of the day & throughout the night.

3. ALL THIS TIME the bottle was dripping hormone into my arm through the needle‚ & I had to hold my arm very still, so of course was not able to move around too much or turn over‚ although there was nothing painful about it. After about two hours, all the dizziness & nausea began to fade, but the hormone was continued until about 9 o'clock that night.

4. WHEN I HAD RECOVERED A BIT & felt able, I immediately called Dad to give him my version of the birth, talking vociferously for almost 30 minutes non–stop, with him trying to get me to hang up & rest & finish the story on a later call. As so often happens after a birth, I was really wired! Though physically exhausted, there is a mental & emotional & spiritual high that seems to supercede the physical exhaustion. I believe that a part of this was a result of the anaesthesia & its after effect.

5. THE BABY SLEPT QUIETLY throughout the day beside me in her little glass bed, where we could watch her & marvel at the miracle the Lord had done! By late evening, I was feeling much stronger & tried my first trip out of bed to the bathroom, which was immediately adjacent to my bedroom. Later when they came with the bedpans they were surprised that I had already been up. (Or you can use a bucket beside the bed.)

6. POLICY VARIES in different hospitals & different countries: Some require that you get up immediately to make a "potty run", others will help you with the bedpan for two or three days, depending on your preference. My bottom, of course, felt a little bit like it was dropping out, but I made the trip successfully & managed to get back into the high bed with not too much difficulty.

7. BY THE THIRD DAY my bottom felt much better, & I was ready to make my long walk down several lengthy corridors & out the door to the car. The hospital provided only a very skimpy European-type breakfast but a good lunch & dinner, but as I was on a three-to-four-hour eating schedule‚ caused by frequent eating desire during pregnancy, the delicious snacks that the girls had prepared really came in handy between meals at this time. They had brought egg & milk custard, yogurt, juices, cheese, bananas & nuts & banana bread, & I was so thankful to have them.

8. I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE GONE PEACEFULLY TO SLEEP after talking to Dad once again that first evening, except for the fact that I had requested to keep the baby with me for the night. The hospital personnel were a bit reluctant, but because of my private room & full-time helper‚ they acquiesced. In fact, I believe they were actually a bit relieved to have one less shrieking baby to care for during the long night.

9. BUT I SOON FOUND that there were more reasons than one that they usually required the babies to remain in the nursery during those adult sleeping hours‚ as every move that Techi made during the night I was conscious of, & her every cry I was concerned about. Although I had confidence in Sara being able to care for her, I was still sharply aware of every move & every need she had. As Dad often says, Two heads are better than one, & counselling together is always a good policy, as Sara & I did.

10. HOWEVER, WHEN IT WAS TIME FOR US TO SLEEP‚ it seemed it was time for her to wake. Her nice long nap over, & with the night just begun, she was ready for action! We could hear all night the constant cries of the babies in the nursery & we were glad that she was with us & in our care‚ although we both spent most of the night awake. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that the ideal situation for a newborn is to remain with the mother & her helper during its stay in a hospital—although this is rarely possible.

11. A NEW BABY FEELS the special love & security of those more personally concerned with it, & avoids the germs & diseases it could pick up on contact with so many other babies—& not only germs, but molestation by bad spirits could be a problem, except for real prayer for the Lord's protection. So, since we did have a full-time helper & a private room & the permission to do it, although it required the sacrifice of our sleep, we definitely concluded after all this, it was still worth it, & we'd do it over again another time, if necessary.

12. OF THE TIMES WHEN THEY DID TAKE THE BABY out of the room to change her or bathe her, we were surprised at the difference in her cry & those of most of the other babies—never so shrill & loud & frightened or angry as the others. I attribute this partly to the fact that she had a very easy, calm birth, & partly & even more important to the fact that she is the Lord's baby, & a peaceful, calm, unafraid happy child. TTL!—Also, I'm sure‚ because she felt secure & tucked in safe with us in our room in the presence of our good spirits‚ love & peace.

13. AT 9 O'CLOCK THAT FIRST EVENING, when the nurse came for her final round for the night, we were given a bottle of sugar water to present to her if she cried during the night. I was horrified, & suggested to Sara after the nurse was gone that she dump the water out & replace it with sterile honey water! We had one little problem though: We had brought no sterile water, & to go & ask for some would be subject to question. So we made it through the night without any water at all‚ which certainly didn't seem to hurt the baby.

14. TO STILL HER CRYING & need for security, we found another solution instead, which you'll read about in Chap 10. A baby at birth has a strong desire to suck, not because it is hungry, because the Lord has made it so that a baby can fast for two or three days—in fact, needs to fast for two or three days before beginning to have regular milk meals.

15. BUT BECAUSE IT HAS A NEED FOR SECURITY & for the creamy liquid secretion of the breast, colostrum‚ during those first days before the milk comes in, it automatically, instinctively sucks. I had already nursed the baby for the second time that afternoon, & we had been so delighted that she nursed so well that we had kept her at the breasts too long—10-15 minutes each side.

16. AFTER ONLY THESE FIRST TWO NURSINGS, I found that my breasts had become so sore they were beginning to bleed & were hardly touchable, & I began to realise the wisdom of preparing the breasts throughout pregnancy to toughen them for nursing, which I had completely neglected & for which Daddy later took part of the blame‚ saying he was so sorry he hadn't done it for me, but we just hadn't realised the importance of it for me. (Let him suck your nipples a lot!)

17. SO, MEN, YOU CAN DO A LOT TO HELP YOUR GAL TO NURSE that precious helpless little bundle that's going to need her milk & comfort‚ by just having a lot of sexy loving fun together now while she's pregnant, during which time, by the way‚ she may feel sexier than ever. Many women do. I did‚ & I think my frequent orgasms besides providing tremendous pleasure & enjoyment, really helped to strengthen my pelvic muscles in preparation for childbirth, thanks to such a wonderful considerate loving loving lover, of whom Abrahim has said‚ "At his right hand there are pleasures forevermore."

18. THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS ARE TAKEN FROM The Womanly Art of Breast feeding, the very good paperback book written by seven author–mother members of the "La Leche League", a fine U.S.-based organisation offering encouragement & moral support to women who want to follow their womanly heritage & to do what comes naturally for both mother & baby, to find extra satisfaction in motherhood by breastfeeding their babies. It gives upon request practical advice & solutions to problems encountered in nursing.

19. YOU MAY PURCHASE THE BOOK in the U.S., Canada‚ England or other English-speaking countries or by writing La Leche League International, Franklin Park‚ Illinois 60131, U.S.A. The League has many branches throughout the country which are freely open to all mothers, pregnant, nursing or otherwise. If interested, write for the one nearest you.

20. THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO FIND OTHER SYMPATHETIC MOTHERS with problems like your own. As you learn from them, you can also offer them help of a different kind, the most valuable kind, as you share with them your source of spiritual strength & witness to them the power of love—a good way for some of you mothers in the U.S. to get to know other young mothers with small children living in situations similar to your own.

21. "YOU MAY OR MAY NOT RUN INTO ANY DIFFICULTY with your nipples if you give them no special care during pregnancy. Many women who don't bother with any special preparations beforehand never have any trouble with sore nipples, no matter how long or how often their baby nurses. However‚ some women‚ especially redheads & others with fair complexions, do have difficulty with tenderness or soreness; & since you can't tell ahead of time, it is wise to follow a few simple preparatory routines.

22. "YOUR REGULAR BATH IS ALL THE WASHING THE NIPPLES WILL REQUIRE, now or later. Go easy on the soap. Many of us eliminate soap entirely for a while in bathing the nipple area. If you must use it, do so sparingly, because soap is drying to the skin & dryness encourages cracked nipples.

23. "IT IS DEFINITELY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU HAND-EXPRESS SOME COLOSTRUM from each breast every day from the eighth month of pregnancy on. Colostrum is the fluid secreted before the milk comes in, which doctors say is so important for the newborn baby & one good reason (there are others) why you should nurse your baby as soon after delivery as possible. The reason for expressing the colostrum daily for a few months before the baby is born is to open the milk ducts which in turn will reduce the engorgement which sometimes occurs when the milk first comes in & which some mothers find quite uncomfortable.

24. "HAND-EXPRESSION IS QUITE SIMPLE. It is the same whether you are expressing colostrum during pregnancy or milk later on. Wash your hands. Cup the breast in your hand, placing your thumb above & forefinger below the breast at the edge of the dark area (areola), & simply squeeze thumb & finger together. Don't slide the finger & thumb out toward the nipple. Don't worry if nothing comes out the first few times you try it. You'll get the knack soon. Rotate your hand slightly back & forth several times in order to reach all the milk ducts‚ which radiate out from the nipple. You may only get a tiny drop or so at first‚ but this is quite sufficient.

Expressing milk from the breast: first compress the whole breast between the hands, starting at the outer margin of the breast tissue, continuing the pressure almost as far as the nipple. Repeat 10-12 times. This drives the secretion forward towards the nipple. The breast tissue just behind the nipple is then firmly, rapidly & repeatedly compressed between the forefinger & thumb of one hand. The pressure is released & reapplied about 50 times per minute. The skin is not rubbed, for the finger & thumb move with the skin, not over it: And pressure must be deep, in order to empty the milk ducts. The milk squirts out if the procedure is performed properly. When expressing colostrum, carry this movement out only sufficiently to express a few drops. If you have difficulty‚ your midwife or antenatal clinic will show you how to do it.

25. "ALTHOUGH, AS WE SAID, SOME WOMEN ARE NEVER BOTHERED WITH SORE NIPPLES no matter how long or how often their babies nurse, others do have trouble along this line. Many women have found it helpful to do the following exercise once or twice daily to make the nipples supple. Pull out the nipple several times quite firmly—only until it is slightly uncomfortable, never painful. It's a good idea to use an oily lubricant after this daily treatment. Pure lanolin is fine; cold cream or (olive) oil will do nicely.

26. "EXPRESSING THE COLOSTRUM & PULLING OUT THE NIPPLES take only a few minutes. You can work them into your daily routine quite painlessly. When you are dressing or undressing is a good time. The important thing is to be regular about it during the last few months of pregnancy.

27. "THE OBSTETRICIAN WHO FIRST RECOMMENDED THIS PROCEDURE to us claims that any mother who will follow it faithfully will not have sore or cracked nipples—they may be tender for awhile, but never worse. Our experience, & that of many mothers to whom we have suggested this kind of nipple care‚ tends to confirm this.

28. "IF YOU HAVE FLAT OR INVERTED NIPPLES, you may not be able to carry out this recommended nipple care as easily as the mother with protruding nipples; but work at it & you will find you can manage. A little practise now will save a lot of time & maybe some mental anguish after the baby is born. One mother who has this kind of nipple has called it "the folding model of the nipple world"; there is a real full-sized nipple there, ready & able to do the job for which it was intended, but it folds back into the breast when not in use. Completely inverted nipples are quite rare‚ & they can be a bit of a nuisance. On the other hand, rather flat, even depressed nipples, which are quite common, respond nicely to the kind of treatment suggested above.

29. "YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO DECIDE WHICH KIND YOU HAVE. If you suspect that you may have inverted nipples, watch them when you are expressing the colostrum. If they react to the squeezing pressure of your thumb & finger by coming out, even a little, this is not a true inverted nipple, & you will have little or no difficulty nursing later on. Even though you may not be able to get it out very far now, the baby will later on.

30. "IF THE NIPPLES REACT TO THE PRESSURE OF HAND-EXPRESSION BY RETREATING (exceptional, but it sometimes happens), then you do have inverted nipples; & you will have to work a little harder at getting them in condition for nursing, because you won't be able to get hold of them to pull. The thing is, you have to get them out some for the baby to be able to latch on. Once he can take hold at all, he can carry on from there.

31. "THE BEST TREATMENT FOR BRINGING OUT REAL INVERTED NIPPLES is the use of Woolwich breast shields, worn during pregnancy—before, not after, the baby is born (& not to be confused with the kind of shields often given out in the hospital for use after the baby is born). These have been used successfully by English obstetricians for over 20 years. If you can't obtain them locally, write La Leche League. Just follow the directions that come with them—simple but effective. Some mothers have used the little rubber hand breast pump for this purpose, too. You might want to try it."—Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

32. WELL, WE MISSED OUT A LITTLE ON THE BREAST PREPARATION‚ since I had not read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding until after Techi was born. But to be honest, & 'fess up, I really could have, since we had the book available, but I was being a little rebellious about the whole thing, & didn't want to be faced with the subject of breast feeding, since I just wasn't interested. But like I said, when it came to the time when I had to make a decision to or not to, I made the right one, thanks to the Lord & Dad's encouragement, & now I'm tremendously happy I did. But because of lack of preparation I had to endure what might have been avoided.

33. I WAS GIVEN SOME BREAST CREAM to use between nursings, & told, "You must continue—just try to bear with it until they heal." My clinic was all for breastfeeding, & very strongly encouraged it. GB'M! I remembered so well Dad's frequent plea to me while pregnant, "Honey, will you please nurse Techi? Honey, will you do one thing for me, even if it hurts?" "What is that?" I asked. "Nurse Techi!" he pled. (—And she did!)