Oh. My. Gosh. It has been a BUSY week for this Mama Bear! I saw the cardiologist again (and got an annoying event monitor I get to wear for 2 weeks, and two more appointments. Woohoo.) and I got to see a midwife! It was such a refreshing visit! She told me something I have never heard from any healthcare professional "We work for you. We have to listen to what you want." What?! I'm definitely canceling my OB appointment for next week! :)
As exciting and awesome as all that is...I have something to share. I want to share my adventure in breastfeeding because this journey is coming to an end for Baby Bear and I.
When Baby Bear was born, they whisked her away (I didn't even see her) to be checked, poked and prodded. She went to the nursery and I went to recovery. I can't remember much...Until I woke up at 10pm (2 hours after delivery), in the maternity ward, and was suddenly extremely aware of the fact that I had given birth. I got pretty upset that she was nowhere near me. I asked for her. They told me they could not bring her to me and I would have to wait until after the pediatrician came in and did rounds in the morning. I was too tired emotionally, physically to pitch the fit I imagine I would have throw if things had not gone as they had. Instead, I fell back asleep.
They brought her to me at 2am. I can't remember if I looked at her lovingly, or said hi, or told her I love her. But I think that what I did must have included all of those. Everything I read said to breastfeed your baby immediately after birth. This was going to have to do. I immediately pulled my gown whichever direction, moved my bra and held her to my breast...and asked the nurse if I was doing it right. She stayed with me for a long time and instructed me, and helped me adjust pillows and baby until I wasn't wincing in pain, or in a crazy awkward position. I can't say I recall the nurse being particularly patient...but she did it. The hospital had strict guidelines dictating how often, how long Baby Bear nursed, and how many diapers she had. It was overwhelming, but I did it because just about every other nurse threatened to give her formula or sugar water. Baby Bear lost almost a whole pound in the hospital anyway.
I went home on day three. My milk came in on day five. I found those first few days a blurry nightmare. Sleep, wake, nurse, pain pills, repeat. I'd cry while Baby Bear nursed because it hurt or because I was so tired, or uncomfortable. There were two cans of sample formula in the cabinet. I went over the steps. Put baby down, get up, pick baby up, walk to kitchen, open cabinet, reach for bottle, reach for formula, measure water, measure formula, shake, warm, walk back to room, lay back down, feed baby. Or just lay in bed and nurse. One day Daddy Bear told me it was okay, he wouldn't think I was a failure and he'd make the bottle. I told him to donate it to the food bank.
At first I had short goals. Two weeks. A month. Three....six....nine. At nine months I was SURE that I was going to wean at a year. The nursing gymnastics was getting to me, the occasional biting was awful, and NO WAY was I going to nurse my toddler. At a year I looked at her, hard. She was still a baby. She still needed me. She still needed to nurse. Maybe eighteen months. I didn't make it to eighteen months before we got pregnant again, but close. I decided I would "work on it" because she was OBSESSED. She was easily nursing 10+ times in a 24 hour period. I felt like it was draining my energy and it HURT!
And I did work on it, for the first time. I started offering more milk in a cup. I offered snacks. We dropped a couple. I started just saying "No, sorry. Not right now." There went a few more. Before I knew it she was "sleeping through the night" which she only did occasionally before.
Last night (Thursday), I asked her something I've only suggested before. "Can we go night-night with no milk? Mommy's milk went bye-bye." "Mhmm." Wait...what? She cuddled up against me. She lay there quietly...she reached up to grab my shirt. "No. Remember? You said we could go night-night with no milk." A minute or two passes and she sits up. Great. Here we go. She grabs her teddy bear, climbs over my belly and curls up on my other side. She reaches up at my shirt. "Mommy's milk went bye-bye. Let's go to bed with no milk." She rubs her eyes and yawns. We lay there quietly for several minutes. I move her arm. It's limp. She is ASLEEP. I get out my cell phone to check. She doesn't flinch at the light. Oh. My. Gosh.
At 7am it had been 24 hours. She did not ask for it even once, although she was rather grumpy. I've decided that since it's a 3 day weekend, it's something I will stick to. I'm ready...and I believe she is showing me that she is ready now. It's almost midnight Friday-Saturday now. That means at 7am it will be forty-eight hours with no "mommy milk". I'm having a hard time understanding how I feel. I guess the closest word would be bittersweet. It has been twenty-one wonderful months...but I am ready for this, and I think she is too. :)