Alright, ladies. This is a long one, so thanks in advance for reading.
LO was born via emergency c-section on 7/17. We left the hospital 3 days pp and my milk hadn't come in yet, but pretty much everyone at the hospital assured me that it would be in by 5-7 days pp and not to stress about it. When we left the hospital, he had dropped 10% of his birth weight (a little high, but still normal). At 4 days pp we had our first pediatric appointment and he had dropped 13%. I had been feeding on demand, so ped told me to make sure he was on the breast at least every two hours (he would occasionally sleep for 3-4 hours and not nurse) and to come back for a weight check in 2 days. By then, he had dropped 20% of his weight and was severely dehydrated, nearly to the point that he needed to be admitted to the hospital for an IV.
We immediately started him on formula and made arrangements to meet with a lactation consultant, who had me pump with a hospital grade pump every time LO took a bottle (roughly every three hours). She also diagnosed him with a tongue tie, which we had revised. When I pumped, it would just drip, and I would get maybe a half ounce total after 20 minutes. Once he got back up to his birth weight, we began triple feeding, where he would nurse for 20 minutes, take a bottle, and I would pump. I still didn't get much production when I pumped and never became engorged, so we checked all of my hormone levels and everything came back perfectly normal (and my prolactin was through the roof!). After a few weeks of this (and becoming increasingly frustrated), and trying every known galactagogue short of non-FDA approved prescription meds, we re-evaluated our situation and started using an SNS. LO either falls asleep at the breast now, despite all of my attempts to keep him awake,or gets pissed off and pops off whenever the tube is there. I feel like neither of us enjoys breastfeeding anymore; he gets frustrated because of the SNS (or when the tube is not there, the slow flow from my breast), and I get frustrated because he's not getting the nutrition he needs from me.
2 weeks ago, when I was 28 days pp, my LC had me to a milk production test (4 hours of pumping on the hour), and we calculated my daily output to be 15.4 ounces a day, with LO estimated at being able to pull 60% of my supply. Today, at 39 days pp, my supply was estimated at 16.6 ounces, which is basically the normal output for someone who is 9 days pp. Obviously, that's very upsetting. I feel like I have spent the last six weeks of my life trying to make this happen, and it just isn't getting there. I go back to work in two weeks, and there's no way that I will be able to keep stimulating my breasts by pumping every two hours (I am a high school teacher and my classes are an hour and a half long...I would have to get coverage literally every class, and that's just not feasible or fair to my coworkers), so what little supply I've managed to get is soon to go away.
I'm so conflicted on giving up because I really, really wanted this to work. Breastfeeding was my number one non-negotiable thing, and I feel like a complete and utter failure because of my supply issues, especially since the general consensus in the breastfeeding community is that supply issues don't exist and are just a reason women use to quit breastfeeding. My LC has conferred with the other 5 LCs in her practice, and all of them are stumped on what's wrong, but my LC keeps telling me that there is still time for my milk to come in fully. I just don't know what to do anymore. Is there anything else I should be trying? Or is it time to throw in the towel?