When I was pregnant with Brady, I had no idea the impact motherhood would bring. I expected to feel that emotion rush over me once again when Bennett was born and it did but in a different way. It's quite hard to explain but it was a gentle, slow growing peaceful kind of thing that really fits his personality.
During my first pregnancy, I read the right books and talked to the right people but when breastfeeding didn't work out, I was crushed. It was something I never expected to mourn. I hated it and everything it entailed but I was heartbroken I couldn't give him what he needed. I got 'over it' in a way but when I found out I was pregnant with Benny, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I was scared I would try again only to be set up for failure. I wasn't sure as most of it would really depend on how he was brought into the world and the complications could happen, again. So, most of my pregnancy, I never gave it a second thought. I feared the unknown with a possible VBAC looming in the foreground. I didn't know what the end result would be and it was breaking me down.
Luckily, I was able to have the birth I wanted. I was able to hold him right after he was born and I didn't have to send him to the NICU like I did with Brady. Then, the nurse asked, 'Do you want to try to feed him?' Instinctively, I nursed him for the first time and he latched on quickly. I remember that moment and it was one I wasn't so sure would bring me to where I am almost seventeen months later.
We made it an entire year and while we did supplement a few bottles here and there but mostly, it was all me. I was so very protective of this blooming relationship in the beginning but then again, he wasn't so keen on being separated from me either. It was a perfect fit at the time. When he gained weight, I was happy but he was still so very tiny and I took it so very personal. After I had asked the doctor the first time, I knew not to ask it again at his next visit but I did. Below the five percentile. I felt ridiculously guilty. As if it was my fault he was only in the fourth percentile. Every visit, I'd ask again and then left his appointment feeling defeated. His doctor was never concerned but it didn't matter. I grew very defensive about it but as our relationship grew so did my own confidence.
When I went back to work, I was sure it was the end of it all. I slowly prepared myself for the beginning to the end but it never came--not to say that we didn't have our moments and I swear I counted ounces in my sleep but we persevered with a lot of hard work. I tried fenugreek, Mother's milk plus, teas and all kinds of methods and tricks. Finally, once I chilled the heck out, it was fine. He didn't starve and I just kept pumping. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I had ample supply but I just needed to figure out a method to pumping and relax. In fact, I think at one point, I had an oversupply that my anxiety created in those attempts.
I kept telling myself that if it ended, it would be ok. We made it this far. I set small goals. First it was a month, then 3, then 6, then a year. With each milestone, I noticed I became more attached to this relationship of ours and I protected it as I did him. There were times I wanted to burn my pump or I needed a moment to myself but once I sat down, I immediately felt myself calm down. I remember one night, I was having a hard time falling asleep, which hardly ever happens. Then, the 'omg, I'm so hungry' scream echoed down the hall.' I figured it was a good thing I was already up, right? He dozed quickly in the crook of my arms and I tiptoed back to bed. Within minutes, I was fast asleep. The more I thought about it, in a way, it helped me. In the crazed day to day of life, I knew that I had a few moments where it was just the two of us. It was like time almost stopped. It was just him and I and that look of contentment. For now, I'm going to hold onto these last few moments for I know they are fleeting.
In April, he had to have surgery. I was able to nurse him as soon as he was awake and I think it was what soothed him afterwards. Last month, he had to have another and after waking from anesthesia, he cried for 20 minutes. I couldn't do anything that would soothe him and it was the worst feeling. Finally, after trying a few times, he looked up at me with those big eyes and latched on. He just sat there and I felt his entire body relax slowly. It was a moment I was so grateful for and I think he was waiting to wean for that moment. We still have one short moment before bed each night and I know the real end is coming soon. While I'm to the point where I'm getting ready, it's bittersweet.
In a little over a week, he'll be 17 months old. Again, I know the end is coming soon and with that, I think with all the sadness, guilt and heartache that I felt with Brady truly made me so much more grateful for each moment. I know I'll be sad to let go of something so important but in my own heart, I know it's time. I know it's nourished my soul as much as it's nourished his growing body.
I know in ten years or even twenty, they won't remember or care how they were fed. In fact, both of my kids were fed and that's all that matters but I'll have these moments that I will hold onto and for that, I will always be grateful.