Thursday, September 29, 2011


Precious will be five months old next week. It's been about four months since the diagnosis of her cleft palate. It's been about three months since she really nursed at all.

That breaks my heart.

We gave it a valiant effort. But she knows that is where the milk is supposed to come from and got so frustrated when it didn't. And she had to start having bottles without nursing anyhow when I was at work. I admit, I was clinging to trying to nurse even some of the time, hoping that after her surgery, she'd want to try again--even just once a day. Baby Girl nursed until 15 months, the last month or so just once a day.

My letdown is still quick for the pump, but my body is trained for the times I pump and doesn't let down for her as quickly as it did before even when it's close to a time to pump.

Occasionally, though not often, I'll try again. And I swear, if a baby can look up at you like, "Okay, mom...I'm indulging you here," Precious does. But then she gets frustrated and cries--and then I start sobbing and my heart breaks again and again.

And so I've mostly given up trying. Because why should I put both of us through that?

The best I can do (for me, of course) is to pump for her. She is getting only my milk right now--and has been for almost 3 months. Formula's not evil, but I'm good at making milk. Why shouldn't I do this?

This post has been written in my head for sometime, but I could write it now because I could add..."Tempered."

A few things temper my feelings...
I'm pumping more than Precious needs--I've donated nearly 200 ounces to a milk bank plus have nearly twice that much in the freezer for Precious. Hubby doesn't understand why I want to doante some milk. And I can't really explain it, but it makes me feel better about myself, about this not being able to nurse thing. I'm not only attached to the pump for Precious but for some other baby who maybe needs it even more.

And I know this is not the most heartbreaking thing in the world. Close to me, a woman who was so excited to welcome a new granddaughter within the month is full of grief. Her father did this spring, she was looking for some joy in her life. The baby was stillborn last week. To hear that breaks my heart for that family.

And Precious knows me. I know she did before, but it's obvious now. Yesterday afternoon I was at my mom's with the girls. I was trying to get some work done on the computer while Baby Girl napped. Precious was fussy and Mom was walking with her. I finished quickly as she continued to fuss. I walked over toward them, she leaned toward me, gave me a big smile and stopped fussing as soon as I took her. She knew I was there and wanted MY attention.

But I won't lie; my heart still breaks sometimes.


esperanza said...

oh, I'm so sorry. It is a heartbreak. Our first was a preemie, who nursed exactly *one* time in the NICU and never again. She did that "indulging mama" look too! I had gallons (literally) of extra milk that I donated, and it does help the heartbreak. Pumping is not near as much fun, and lots more work than nursing, but it does help somewhat to know that you're doing something. I pumped for 15 months, so it's possible to do it for the long haul, if you're motivated.

I nursed the second one for 15 months, too. I couldn't bring myself to give her a bottle at the appropriate time, so she never had one. And I never pumped for her. That nursing time was bittersweet, because I felt like I had missed out with the first.

Your heartbreak is understood. Many prayers for you and both your precious babies, as well as for your friend.

susan said...

speaking as an adoptive mom, I am grateful for mothers like you who are able to donate milk to milk banks. S was too old to nurse when she came home, but for moms who bring home babies, those milk banks mean giving their kids the important benefits of breast milk that they cannot do for themselves. I would give anything to be able to give S those nutriotional benefits. Every time I read some article about what kids gain by breast feeding, I ache. So, you're doing something wonderful for adoptive parents, and, of course, for parents going through chemo or who are HIV+ who can't give their kids breast milk. Bless you for that.

I'm sorry things are so hard. I hope it looks up soon.

Katherine said...

I've been thinking about this post ever since you published it. I would be devastated too, though I'm not really sure that actually helps anything for me to say so... though sometimes what I want/need most is for someone to say: "yes, how you feel about this is totally commensurate with the circumstances." I do think it's wonderful that you're pumping and donating milk, and maybe there's some redemption in that. But still a lot of heartache, too. :(