My full name now is Elizabeth Co Limchu, I used to be Elizabeth Reyes Co.
It has been a family joke that whenever we would throw a fit or get into a fight that we are “Reyes na Reyes.” Seriously, we have stories within the Reyes family that would make you say “OMG! Really!?! “ But other than being quite the hotheads, I can proudly say that being a Reyes is one of the best things about me. They gave me character. They gave me fire. I don’t really take things sitting down, and I don’t back away from a fight unless I think it is wiser to do so. We are tough. We are fearless.
I’m very stubborn, and the good thing about my stubbornness and hardheadedness is that I actually use that to get me through tough times. I’m so hardheaded; I wouldn’t allow myself to fail.
When I gave birth via C section, I specifically gave my OB my birth plan which included “no formula, no glucose water for baby” and “room in immediately.” Unfortunately, the hospital I gave birth in is NOT very breastfeeding friendly. So my daughter who was supposed to be roomed in immediately was kept in the nursery. I called up the nursery, asking how come my baby wasn’t in the room yet, they said there were no instructions yet, so they have to verify with the pedia. Then I asked if they can make it faster coz I had to breastfeed my baby, and since I had specific instructions not to feed anything to my baby, she might get hungry. And I really wanted my baby to get collostrum. Then the nurse told me: “Mam, it’s ok, I think someone already gave your baby formula” This made me so mad I wanted to hit someone with the handset in my hand. (I’m not a violent person, promise. It’s just hormones and violent thoughts) When I questioned them about this, she just told me, “Mam, I’ll check then get back to you.” Which she didn’t do. This fueled my anger even more. So I called some people that I know who are breastfeeding advocates, and asked them what to do. One person who really was ready to help even if it was already midnight was Ms. Nona of The Breastfeeding Clinic. She really helped me think of what I wanted, and know how I should speak to the staff and let them know that I know my rights. She even volunteered to speak to them on the phone should they refuse to believe me. Let me tell you, the people who are fighting for breastfeeding rights nowadays are not to be taken lightly. Ms. Nona for example is the first and currently the only non-doctor in the Philippines who passed the accreditation for International Board Certified Lactation Consultants or IBCLC. In short, she’s one tough breastfeeding momma.
After being aware that the mother in 313 (that’s me!) was ready to bite someone’s head off, someone called me and told me there was a mistake, that my baby wasn’t given formula after all. This didn’t appease me; it just made me think that other than being incompetent, they are now trying to cover up their mistake by lying. In the end I got to the truth. This to my utter dismay, she was given glucose water— twice! Imagine my anger and rage… I mean I have prepared myself for this for 9 months! I knew it was gonna be hard and painful, but it was a decision that I made! And to have that decision made for me without regard for my preference was totally unacceptable for me.
As if going through all this hoopla wasn’t enough, they told me that I cannot room in my baby yet. And the feeding time for the baby will start 7:00 am. I gave birth at 1:51pm, this was already 1:00 am. I asked the nurse “so you mean all the babies there are on a schedule? That they can only go hungry at 7:00am? And not a minute before that? I want to breastfeed my baby. I don’t care who you have to call, bring her here if you can. Do it now! I will breastfeed my baby.”
She called me back after a few minutes. Told me that they have spoken to their superiors and the only way I can breastfeed my baby is IF I CAN STAND UP AND GO TO THE NURSERY MYSELF. I just had a C-section a few hours before. I was not even allowed to use a pillow, and here they were asking me to stand up, get in a wheelchair and walk to the breastfeeding room alone (coz husbands are not allowed), with my catheter and IV, sit in a chair, and breastfeed my newborn baby. Crazy right? Did I do it? OF COURSE I DID! It was for my baby. A bulletproof tank couldn’t have stopped me. My husband kept asking if I’m sure I want to do this. I might faint. Thank God I’m not the fainting kind of girl. And I told him, even if I feel like fainting; I wouldn’t allow them to see me faint. I breastfed my baby at 1:00am, 3:00am, 6:00am and 10:00am. And every time I would go feed her, a nurse would tell me, “Mommy you know, you should feed her formula by now, she’s getting hungry, sayang she’s big pa naman, she’s gonna become thin in no time.” or “Maybe you should give her water? Since you don’t have any milk yet?”And I would say something like “I’ll take care of it…thanks” Even if I total disagree with them just because I knew my daughter will still be in their care after I breastfeed…
When my OB called and found out what happened, she was so mad, she went up to the nursery and scolded all the nurses. How dare they tell me – her patient to get up after a major operation? They said, the reason they told me to go to the nursery was to DETER me from going. Little did they know that it only gave me more drive to do so! Coz this breastfeeding mom kicks butt and would do anything— as in anything for my baby.
So to sum up this post: here are some pieces of advice:
1.) If you plan to breastfeed, look for a breastfeeding friendly hospital.
2.) Make sure everyone who will handle your baby gets a copy of your birth plan.
3.) Find a supportive pedia, particularly one who supports and believes in breastfeeding.
4.) Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t breastfeed your baby.
5.) Kick some butts if you have to and do it with poise. =)