by nborrayo (77 Posts), Wed Sep 01, 2010 02:31 pm
I know this topic was from a long time ago, but I just wanted to tell my experience and what i am going through now, in the hope that it may help someone.
I had HELLP with my first pregnancy in December of 2003. My platelets were 47k at the low end, and I couldn't see for a couple of days after surgery. I thought it was from the Mag. Sulf.
Since Claire was 37 weeks, and was not in the NICU, we tried breastfeeding. I produced nothing at first, and a tiny bit of colostrum after 4 days. The lactation consultants - and everyone else - kept pushing me to pump and get her to latch on correctly and told me that my milk would come in. I have never been so manhandled by so many people in my life! She was given formula in the hospital and we had to give it to her at home too, along with the little I was able to produce.
I pumped for 3 months, 8 times a day (and night of course). I tried everything there is out there - supplements, feeding her with my finger and a tiny syringe so she wouldn't get used to a bottle, special bottles after we gave up the syringes, prescription galactogogs, teas, accupuncture, and had my thyroid tested - came back normal. I had severe PPD and finally went on a low dose of Zoloft. I was seriously a mess.
Anyway, i wondered if I would be able to breastfeed my next baby. I prepared myself for either way andhad all my supplements and my hospital-grade pump ready. He was born in Sept of 2003 via a VBAC,with no HELLP or high BP. He was put to breast immediately. He latched on well, and we went home the next day. I noticed that he never seemed really satisfied when he nursed, I never heard those wet noises, and he nursed really really often. At his checkup, he was slightly dehydrated and had lost more weight than we were comfortable with so we started supplementing him too. I made the exact same amount of milk for each child - 8 oz max in 24 hours.
I nursed Steven for over a year, and gave him a bottle afterwards each time.
What I really want to say for those of you struggling with milk supply issues after HELLP, is that you should have your pituitary tested after the pregnancy hormones mellow out (I read at least 3 months pp). I believe I had damage to my pituitary as Catherine described in her post, and have been complaining to doctors about various symptoms ever since having my first child. The only time i have felt truly well in all this time was while i was pregnant with my 2nd child. Doctors told me I had fibremyalgia, depression, that I was a problem patient, that my symptoms were all in my head. Finally I moved to oregon and started seeing a naturopath. They immediately tested my hormone levels. I was low in DHEA, Cortisol, Estrogen,and Progesterone. Since then my thyroid has begun to fail as well, and i am anemic. They are now testing for pituitary damage which I am pretty confident they will find.
What I would hope is that if someone is going through any of this, that they would not have to go SOOOOOO long before getting some real help. Dr.s should be following up with us after HELLP, and not just saying "Well you should be happy you are alive," or "you should be happy you have a healthy baby. " Also, the hormones that the pituitary help to produce/regulate are vital for much more than breastfeeding.
This is not the answer to everyone's milk supply issues - but I hope it helps someone. I felt really isolated and guilty when i had these issues and would have been so relieved to find someone else was there with me.