Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grace and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (or weekend)

I wish I could say that my lack of posting this week was due to something exciting and fun, but this is not the case. Instead, I spent a lot of time this week in the doctor's office and at the hospital getting tests run. My doctor is pretty convinced that my gallbladder is not functioning correctly and I'm thinking he's right. I can't eat anything without being in pain shortly afterwards. Obviously, 2 surgeries in one year just isn't enough so I'm probably going to have to have a 3rd one.

First, he sent me for an ultrasound. Getting an ultrasound is easy, no pain involved, you just lay there! The worst part of the entire thing was having to fast for 8 hours before the test. Fasting is no joke when you're a nursing mom. I tend to eat small snacks throughout the day when I'm at home so by the time I got to the test I felt like I was going to pass out from not eating. Luckily Mike was able to drive me there and grandma was able to watch Grace. I laughed when the tech asked me if I've ever had a scan before. When I replied that I had just had a baby in January, she grinned and said, "well, you're a pro, but this scan won't be nearly as exciting as your baby scans!" She was right of course, but I left hoping that they would see something on the scan. Well, my doctor called the next morning, the scan came back fine, no gallstones. He then referred me on to the next test in the gallbladder series, the HIDA scan.

I knew nothing about the HIDA scan when I called to schedule it. I guess I should have googled it but I didn't. When I talked to the scheduling lady, she was going through her standard questions and quickly asked if I nursed, when I said yes she paused and said she would have to call me back because this test involved radioactive material being injected in my body and she wasn't sure of the protocol for breastfeeding mothers. This shocked me and I immediately began researching what the test involved. After talking to the drug company and the radiology department, we determined that I would need to pump and dump for 48 hours after the scan.

For most nursing moms, pumping and dumping probably isn't that big of a deal. Yes, it sucks to dump that much milk down the drain, but most moms have a freezer stash that they can simply use to feed their baby during that 48 hours. My situation is a bit different. Grace has never really taken a bottle, so I never bothered to build up a stash. So in the 2 days before my test, I desperately pumped every chance I got. I managed to get 37 oz in 2 days (not bad in my opinion) and went in for my test on Friday afternoon.

In my research, I learned that the HIDA involves getting an IV, getting radioactive materials injected into you and laying on a table for nearly 2 hours while photos are taken of your gallbladder so that they can see how the materials move through your body. I was not allowed to eat or drink for 8 hours before this test and when they went to give me the IV, I immediately knew there would be a problem. I have small veins anyway so when you add slight dehydration to that, it is nearly impossible to get an IV in me. I went through the exact same experience when I had to go to the ER for my appendix, they had to stick me 6 different times to get an IV in. This time was just slightly better, she had to stick me 3 times. I now have huge bruises on both of my arms and one of my hands. The IV was the worst part. After that, I simply laid on a table for a very long time. I had to stay very still and the last 30 minutes were quite uncomfortable because it felt like a mini attack like the ones I've been having after every meal. I should get the results back from that test on Monday....hopefully it will tell us something.

So after the test I went home and Grace immediately wanted to nurse. She started burying her head into my chest and crying. I tried to give her a bottle and she started screaming. I was able to settle her down by giving her some pureed peaches and bananas mixed with my expressed milk, but I knew it was going to be a long 48 hours. During the day yesterday, things went OK because I was able to get her to drink her milk out of her sippy cup. However, she always wakes up about 7 AM wanting to eat before going back down again until about 9:30 and I knew this would be the real problem feeding. And sure enough, she woke up, I prepared the bottle and she refused it. She tried pulling down my shirt, rooting through my shirt and everything else she could think of to get to my breast. She screamed anytime I tried to give her the bottle. Mike tried to get her to take it, we tried milk in the sippy cup, we even tried giving it to her out of a medicine dropper. Nothing worked. Finally we mixed milk with cereal and apples and she ate some of that and then went back to sleep. That ordeal took almost 2 hours. She screamed, I cried. It was the hardest morning we've had since she was a newborn.

After she woke up, she decided that she wasn't going to take milk out of the sippy cup. We ended up getting her to eat solids with my milk mixed in multiple times today so that she wouldn't get dehydrated (I'm still worried she didn't get enough.) Grandma Barb eventually got her to drink about 5 oz out of a new bottle this evening by taking her outside, but she wouldn't take anymore for her next feeding. I can't even explain how hard it is to look in her eyes when she's screaming knowing that all she wants is to nurse. She doesn't understand why she suddenly can't do the thing that's been so comforting to her for 8 and a half months. I can't wait until tomorrow at 2 PM when I can start nursing her again.

Basically, I just want this weekend to be over.....


  1. Poor you and poor Grace! I hope everything turns out ok!

  2. oh my gosh, how awful! hope the next couple of hours go quickly for you...

  3. Oh my goodness, I hope everything resolves quickly!

  4. I was reading some of your old posts (new follower) and came across this post. Have they figured out what was going on with your gallbladder? I had mine removed in April 2008 and continue to have all the problems I had before it was removed.



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