Updates, breastfeeding and NFP

June 29, 2006 | 10 comments

[This is an update to a post I deleted. To summarize what I said in the deleted post, I was really upset because in a 48 hour period I found out that I couldn’t give birth at the midwife-staffed birthing center; will have to have an induced labor at the hospital; probably can’t have an epidural; baby will be delivered by an OB who I didn’t choose and just met; have to give myself shots of blood thinner every day; won’t get much money back from the birthing center; and got the official word from my insurance company that they’re not going to pay a dime of the maternity costs, not even the checkups with the new OB.]

I’m feeling better now. One of the things that helped was taking some good advice and making a clear list of things that are in my control and things that are not, and only focusing my energy on that which I can control. (I actually did a spreadsheet with the columns “IN MY CONTROL / MIGHT BE IN MY CONTROL / NOT IN MY CONTROL”). I made peace as best I could with the things that aren’t in my control (e.g. the money, for now, and the fact that I have to go to the hospital) and put my energy into those things that I might be able to have some sort of say in (e.g. the epidural/pain relief issue, what procedures are done to the baby after birth, etc.)

I’d also like to note that I was always incredibly grateful for my health and my baby’s health, I just didn’t mention it in that post because I was focusing on all the crazy changes going on. It’s hard to have both your birth plan and your finances do a 180-degree change in such a short time when you’re 36 weeks pregnant. (I’ve actually been saying a little prayer through gritted teeth when I stand up and the horrible pain starts, thanking God for the pain since many DVTs have no symptoms and are therefore very dangerous.)

So the newest update, which ties into subjects more appropriate to this site, is that Dr. OB is not sure that I’ll be able to breastfeed because of the medicines I’ll need to be on. Even if I can he said I’ll almost definitely have to wean early. I know not everyone would think this is a big deal and, again, I am very grateful for my health and the baby’s health, but I am going to be very upset if I can’t breastfeed. It’s a big deal to me. Obviously the biggie is how important I think it is for the baby’s wellbeing, but I’ll skip that part since you’ve probably heard it before.

What’s interesting about it, in terms of the things we talk about on this site, is that this comes right after I brazenly announced my embrace of NFP. I have to kind of smirk and wonder if this is not some sort of test of my “easy to say when you’re healthy and already pregnant and planning to breastfeed” statement that I’m all about NFP even though I’m not yet Catholic. (For those of you who don’t know, exclusive breastfeeding is a way to naturally space children since it greatly reduces your fertility for a few months). It probably goes without saying that I would not be prepared emotionally, medically or financially to be pregnant again just a couple months after this baby’s birth.

The well-wishers who’ve been calling to check in on the situation usually pause after they get the scoop on the health stuff and gently ask, “So, you guys are done after this one, right?” Or, for those who know we want to have more kids, “You guys are going to wait a long time before the next one, right?” People are not sure what to say when I don’t have a yes or no answer to that.

So, it’ll be interesting to see how that all pans out. I’m not going to put too much thought into it until I know exactly what the treatment plan is for after the birth, and I probably won’t know that until late next week. But it’s an interesting philosophical issue to ponder, and it’s definitely made me think about the Church’s teaching on contraception more.

Although it really comes down to a pretty simple concept: either you think the Catholic Church is correct on all matters of doctrine or you don’t. I am almost at the point that I can say that I do. And even with my fast-dwindling doubts, following Church teaching and trusting in its 2, 000 year old wisdom hasn’t let me down yet; in fact, it’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.


  1. Adoro Te Devote

    You’re my new hero. 🙂

  2. Melora

    I’m glad you are in better spirits! The lists sound like a great way to put your various worries into perspective. I guess they can’t give you anything good for the pain of the DVT because of the pregnancy? Ouch! I hope you get a chance to get a second opinion about the epidural and the breastfeeding.
    If you don’t mind my asking, is the Catholic Church okay with a couple keeping track of a woman’s fertile periods and abstaining during those times, or is that out too? At any rate, it sounds to me like your faith and commitment are pretty solid. Perhaps when things are more settled, you can chat with your priest about what other faithful Catholics have done in similar situations.

  3. Jennifer

    Though we know there are exceptions amongst your readers fertility charting will help a great portion of the population get through. Check out the Billings Method on line and Creighton if you want to be proactive–but really I think you need to focus on staying well and peaceful. You can also contact the Family Life Office of your diocese for support. You’ll be able to find other women who have gone through a lot and can offer advice.

    Keep your eyes on the present—you are trying to fight all your battles at once.

    Take one step toward God and He takes 10 steps toward you is a platitude but I think it is true. Be content that he is delighted with your sincere desire to live in obedience to his natural laws and trust that he will provide a clear path.

    I think you have all you can handle with injections and giving birth right now.

    God Bless.

  4. Ersza

    Someone already said this, but I just want to mention it again: a second opinion on the breastfeeding issue could be very helpful. When your doctor has decided what your exact treatment plan will be, take your medication list to a board-certified lactation consultant or hit the internet to see if the meds *really* are contraindicated during breastfeeding. It turns out that some docs are excessively conservative about this, and will rule out a medicine that is actually okay. I hope you can find a workaround, but if not, please know that you only have to deal with one thing at a time.

  5. SteveG

    I am with adoro te devote. YOu are a hero and your flowing faith is a beautiful sight to behold.

    Please let us all know if you need any practical help on the actual practice of NFP. Jennifer has alread offered some excellent advice, and I a sure that we can pool our collective brains if you need more.

    Yes, it is licit in Catholic morality to chart fertility signs and abstain during fertile times in order to avoic pregnancy.

    The caveat is that the spouses (sp?) should have a serious reason for avoiding pregnancy when they do so (lest they fall into a contraceptive mentality). The assessing of what constitues ‘serious reason’ is for the husband and wife to prayerfully determine. That’s the basics anyway.

  6. majellamom

    Okay, as I have no experience with successful breastfeeding as of yet (I’ll be trying again with this one…) I have been through the disappointment over not being able to breastfeed…(not saying that the others are wrong on the second opinion thing…)

    One plus of NOT breastfeeding when using NFP is that your fertility returns early on, which means that your charts are pretty simple to read…no problems understanding the fertility signs, etc. My fertility came back with dd before I was ready to resume marital relations (though having a c-section probably made me want to wait longer beforehand…)

    The bad side to that is that you have to PRACTICE NFP to avoid pregnancy…and since we were told to wait at least a year between pregnancies to optimize my chances for a VBAC, that meant quite a bit of charting.

    If a second opinion says you can breastfeed, great! But if you can’t…realize that you can be a good mother (and even a good NFP using mother!) without breastfeeding.

  7. SteveG

    doh! flowing should have been flowering in the first paragraph of my post.

  8. Anonymous


    I am so glad you are feeling better now. I never took anything you had to say as somehow meaning you weren’t appreciating the health of your baby to be. We can be grateful for our blessings and yet still mourn the loss of an experience we had hoped to have (in your case, the birth center). If you can’t vent and ask for a listening ear among friends, then there is something wrong! It’s what most of us women do to process events in life.

    As far as breastfeeding goes, I would definitely seek a 2nd opinion. I was able to breastfeed on several meds last time around.

    And yes, NFP can actually be MUCH easier when you are NOT breastfeeding. Weaning was always very helpful for me when it came to child-spacing because I have a very early return of fertility when breastfeeding (totally breastfed babies, but they all slept through the night early on—praise be to God!!), and my periods came back within 3 months of birth but were extremely irregular, and I had constant mucus.

    Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there as a way of reassuring you that even if it is not in God’s plan for you to breastfeed this time, all is not lost when it comes to avoiding another pregnancy for a while. Be sure to sign up for some NFP classes soon, if that’s the case, though—otherwise, you might end up like I have more than once—-pregnant again 3 months after giving birth *g*

    God DOES have a way of humbling us, doesn’t he?!

  9. Bethany Hudson

    I know this is an old post of yours, but I'm new to the blog, and I just had to say thank you for this one! The last paragraph has really convicted me. I'm a Catholic who has believed strongly in NFP…but never "needed" to have it work before. Now, my husband and I have our "grave reason" but no assurance that we'll be successful in using NFP. And, I began to question this teaching which I supported so strongly while, as you put it, "healthy and already pregnant". But you are right, either the Church is right or it is not. Either there is papal infallibility on all matters or none. Thank you.

  10. Claudia

    I am writing in the hope that you can help me to help mothers and babies. I am writing about the many problems that mothers are having while trying to breastfeed their babies. I have been a breastfeeding counselor for 25 years. Since 1996 we have seen many moms being taught poor positioning information that creates many problems.
    Problems include; latch on problems, nipple soreness, insufficient weight gain and weight loss in baby, hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, and back pain in moms, premature weaning and depression in the moms.
    When these problems arise the moms are sold products and are sold lactation services but the moms are not told that it is the position that they are using that is causing the problems. The moms are not told to switch to the correct cradle hold or lap nursing holds. Most end up weaning prematurely, wondering what went wrong. They hear that breastfeeding is natural and best for all. They are doing what the lactation professionals tell them to do and they are still having problems severe enough to wean.
    I have been trying to get the lactation ‘professionals’ to correct their information since 1996. They refuse. They are covering up a problem that is causing immeasurable suffering.
    If you know any women who have had babies in the last 10 years you have probably heard stories of how ‘breastfeeding just didn’t work out for us’. This is happening because the moms are being taught breastfeeding positions that are anatomically incorrect.
    I developed a website addressing this issue. It goes into great detail. The pictures on it are modest. The information is truthful and time-tested.
    Please share my website on your website, after viewing it. It could save the breastfeeding relationships of countless numbers of babies.
    Not everybody wants to breastfeed, but for those who do, lets give them correct information so they can succeed. Breastfeeding is a gift from God. Please help me to help mothers to learn how to breastfeed their precious babies. Please help me to correct the great injustice that is being done.
    If you feel that my words are too ‘passionate’ or too politically incorrect, then please read the ‘Mothers Stories’ page on my website. You will then understand.
    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Claudia Morse-Karzen cell 847-924-9089


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