So, I needed Pitocin in order to fully dilate and give birth to the Bean Sprout, which you will remember from the birth story, and here’s the thing… I think it affected my bonding with him. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, which your body makes a lot of in labour and helps you 1. Give birth and 2. Bond with baby. When you give a woman in labour synthetic oxytocin you tell her body to stop making her own for a while. So, while in labour, on a Pitocin drip my body was like, ok cool, I don’t need to make this stuff anymore. Which is all fine and dandy when you are actually in labour because the synthetic stuff will make you contract just fine. The issue comes after the birth. Or it can, and I think it did for me.
The issue being that your body naturally gives you a HUGE surge of oxytocin after the baby is born to help the placenta come away from the uterus and to help you and baby bond. When using Pitocin they don’t do this and they just leave the pump going at the same pace for a bit to get the placenta out and then they turn it off. What I’m saying is they don’t do a great job of simulating the way your body would respond after a natural non-medicated birth. Also, the massive amounts of Pitocin used during labour can sort of overload your sensors making it so that your body produces and uses less oxytocin in the days following birth. I think this can very much affect your ability to bond deeply with baby right off the bat.
Maybe that’s part of what happened for me. Between the difficult birth, the hard times breast feeding and my baby blues I really don’t feel that I BONDED with the Bean Sprout until about week 3. I mean, I loved him in a protective sort of way. I would have totally taken on a lion for that kiddo. But LOVE him? Like see stars, and heart flutters, and gushy, squishy feelings? Certainly not right off the bat! Are you kidding?! I was way too busy crying and pumping to feel anything close to that surge of emotion.
But, I also think that my lack of intense bonding went over and above just a hard first few weeks. I really believe that the use of Pitocin in my labour made it worse. It’s something the medical literature acknowledges, although no one acknowledged it to me. That overriding my natural hormones could make the bonding process harder and make it take longer. That would have been nice to know.
This is apparently not uncommon. I have now talked to a bunch of moms who took anywhere from a few days up to a full year to really feel bonded with their children. I wish someone had told me that it could take a while. I wound up feeling incredibly guilty the first few weeks for looking at my gorgeous baby and not really getting what the other moms were talking about. I mean he was cool, in a removed kind of way, and I was glad he was alive and breathing but I didn’t get the singing and dancing in the streets feeling. Not right away.
For me, it took until week 3 to really start hitting me. That this GORGEOUS babe was mine. And that I LIKED that. And that I APPRECIATED that. And that I really fucking LOVED the little pipsqueak! Thank god! I had been silently worrying that it would never come.
But it did. And I don’t know what affected it really, what made it take a while. Was it my shitty birth? Difficulties feeding him? Or the use of Pitocin? I’ll never know.
But I wish I’d known to anticipate the feeling. Or lack thereof. That would have been nice.
*Note: I know all the stuff I’ve posted lately has reveled how difficult I found the first few weeks and has worried some of you. I want to say that we are now 11 weeks old and doing really well! More on that to come of course. But, one post at a time 🙂 *