Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Too Great Expectations...

I'm not really sure what I was expecting as Dave and Ari and I headed off for my pre-admission appointment at the hospital yesterday, but when I got home I felt dazed and confused and sorely disappointed at the whole experience.

Everyone had been very nice, and in fact, they'd fast tracked us through the process, which was a godsend (I heard several elderly patients complaining about having been waiting around for 6 hours for consults, and we were in and out in just 2.5 hours)...

However, when I got home, I realised they had been so very efficient that I hadn't had a chance to ask any questions and still didn't know how long I could expect to be in the hospital, what do to with regard to breastfeeding Ari, where in the hospital I might be post-operatively, whether or not I'd have the support of lactation consultant or any of other things I might have wanted to know...

What I did know what that, as far as they were concerned, Ari really doesn't factor into my care AT ALL.

As the registrar said to me, "Well, there is a good chance that the anaesthetic will dry up your milk, so maybe you would prefer to wait until baby has weaned?"

LOL, it hadn't occurred to me that this surgery was truly "elective".

Considering that I'm currently on a VERY low fat diet and am still have week long gall bladder attacks requiring antibiotics for treatment and extended periods on Panadeine, which doesn't actually provide any significant relief anymore, I was fairly certain the surgery was an imperative.

I said to the registrar, "Well, if I waited until he weaned, that would be another four years or so, which is a long time to wait..."

She agreed it wasn't really advisable.

Of course, underlying this conversation was the silent assumption that I would have finished with this "breastfeeding caper" in another couple of months time, when he weaned onto solids. Afterall, most Australian mother DON'T breastfeed past 6 months.

Really, my wanting to breastfeed Ari is more of a nuisance to them than anything.

I am welcome to have him with me at the hospital as long as I can take care of him. Obviously, I can't do that by myself while having surgery or immediately after coming out of surgery. So, yes, I'm welcome to bring someone to help me with Ari. That person will not be provided with a bed, of course, and so would have to sleep upright in a chair. I'm not going to get a single room because they're used for infectious patients and, "You wouldn't want one, anyway..." I'm not sure what that means, LOL, as I'm assuming you can't CATCH an infection from a single room, can you?

I asked about seeing a Lactation consultant about breastfeeding before and after the op, and was told to talk to my maternal and child health nurse.

Ok, so, just getting my thoughts clear here...

  1. I'll be admitted at 10.30am for and afternoon op. There are 6 scheduled surgeries in the afternoon, anddepending on where I am in the line-up, I might go into surgery at 12.30pm, or as late as 4.30-5.30pm. If I'm the last scheduled surgery andsomething else comes up, I might be bumped to another date...
  2. I am to be nil by mouth from 8.30am onward. Which means I could potentially have nothing to eat or drink between 8.30am and at least 4.30pm...
  3. I don't know if there is anywhere on the ward for me to store expressedbreast milk.
  4. I don't know if I need to pump and dump after the surgery.
  5. I don't know if the hospital provides a pump for this purpose.
  6. I risk becoming dehydrated while on nil by mouth and still feeding Ari while waiting forthe op.
  7. If I don't feed Ari that day, I'll still need to pump in order to avoid mastitis (which I've only just recently had).
  8. After the operation, if Ari is to stay with me, Mum or Dave will haveto give up a night's sleep to help me with him.
  9. Best case scenario; keyhole surgery, no complications = one night in hospital, worst case scenario; open surgery = several nights in hospital.
I guess what surprised me the most was that even though Ari is only 4 months old, and still fully breastfed, he was not a consideration at all if I chose to go ahead with the surgery. Ari is my problem and they are not at all interested in supporting me in my endeavour to breastfeed him or continue breastfeeding him after the operation.

It was quite obvious they'd never encountered this scenario before. I guess other mums just give their babies formula. I really feel like I'm viewed as making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I'm not *too* worried about my milk drying up but, if anything, hearing that has made me more determined to avoid formula because I don't want to do anything to create more difficulties if my supply does dwindle. Giving Ari formula isonly likely to fill him up longer, lessening his demand at the breast and telling my body it's ok to reduce milk production, which if the anaesthetic IS going to compromise production, would be disasterous...

Let's hope the keyhole sirgery is a resounding success, and I am home by Friday lunchtime with Ari feeding like a champ!


Ish said...

Typing single handed but may offer some light though E was much older when I had knee surgery, I did go private too so had the opportunity to speak with the anesthetist before surgery.

You should have the anesthetist come see you before the surgeries start or in between surgeries, tell them you are breastfeeding they will be able to give you something which is not contraindicated. Mine advised pumping and dumping for 48hours when I researched and spoke with my naturopath, mind you this was 4 years ago but the Hales site was a great source of information, 24hours seemed sufficient and that was what I was happy with. I ended up feeding him after 16hours he was fine with that and we just watched him for possible reactions to the drugs I had been given, the nurse on the night shift was more then happy to help me sort out the pump etc though I only had to pump once overnight I wasn't able to move from the bed. Also be sure to check post op meds too including anti inflammatory.

Look into homeopathics to aide your healing if you can and also something to help your liver flush out the antithetic quickly.

You will need your own pump if it needs to be plugged in the hospital maintenance will need to check it and tag it for safety before it can be used. I took in a pump with batteries;)

Have something on hand for mastitis too as sometimes the meds can work in the opposite way and dealing with that while healing doesn't seem like fun.

When you go in ask to have the IV put up straight away because you are breastfeeding and don't want to become dehydrated, I had this done when my surgery was bumped to evening instead of afternoon.

In terms of your milk production maybe have done tried and true remedies on hand at home if you do start feeling your supply is low.

Does the hospital have a maternity ward maybe you can contact them beforehand to ask about LC's or have someone on call.

Hugs I hope it all goes very smoothly not sure if I have left anything out but HTH

Sif Dal said...

Thanks for that, Laura, great info!

Not good news about the pump and dump tho, hey, I didn't realise it was going to be as long as 24 hours, let alone 48!

Seriously, considering it's on my notes that I'll have a breastfeeding 4 month old, I would have thought they might have told me SOMETHING of what I could expect. Even to tell me I wouldn't be able to feed him for 48 hours, so I should be prepared for that one way or the other!

It's my local hospital, so yes, they have a maternity ward. I'll contact them tomorrow. Am hiring an ABA pump atm, will have to talk to my rep. about taking it to the hospital as I've only got for this premises...

I've been advised to take arnica, but don't know what would be liver flushing or where to get any homeopathics (don't have a homeopath)...

Ok, thanks again, lots to organise!

Mr B said...

Good luck !

Good Job!