I have been driving myself crazy over the last few weeks as I have contemplated Kate's growth and feeding situation. It's my own special version of self-inflicted torture. The knots in my shoulders are the size of golf balls. I'm kind of an emotional wreck. But today, I think I'm a little closer to having an answer to the nursing or formula question, although I'm still not sure which answer is best.
Last Friday it was my turn to be the patient; I wanted answers about my own body instead of Kate's. I requested some blood work to see if my hormone levels are out of whack. I suspect that after the difficult pregnancy, my body might be too tired to perform properly right now, and it seems that I may be right. While the PA I saw wouldn't consent to a full hormone panel ("No point in that!"), she did write an order for thyroid function and prolactin level. She called today to tell me that my thyroid number is normal and my prolactin level is good, at least for a non-lactating woman. Aha! But now what?
To increase milk production she recommended a drug called Reglan, which I took for nausea while I was hospitalized in February. It had some terrible side effects for me, so I declined that option. Then I called my lactation consultant again, and she said my prolactin level isn't as dismal as the PA described. She recommended a different drug called domperidone. It is only made at certain compounding pharmacies in the US. The closest one is in Texas, so the lactation specialist (also a Physician's Assistant) sent that pharmacy a prescription for me. The pharmacy will ship me the drug this week.
This morning I took Kate in for another weight check. She is now 9 pounds, 8.5 ounces. On October 27th she was 8 pounds, 5 ounces. Her gain is right on track with the ounce-a-day recommendation. I know I should be thrilled, but I had hoped for more. The amount of time I spend feeding ought to yield a bigger result, at least in my estimation.
Right now the plan is to try the domperidone for a few weeks and see what happens. If we weren't going to be traveling soon (road trip begins Friday), I think I would quit nursing. But I don't want to wean to formula during what should be a fun vacation, so hopefully our time on the road will give the medicine time to work. I'll make a decision after we get home.
I sure appreciate the support of those who have connected with me on this issue. I appreciate knowing about similar experiences and hearing pledges of love and support "no matter what." Of course the most important thing is that Kate grows and develops and remains happy and healthy, and so far that is happening. I need to keep my eye on that blessing while I figure out the rest.