Saturday, March 30, 2013

All I ever wanted

You guys. I have something important to tell you. Baby Brother is now 8 months old. And I am still nursing him.

To be clear, when I say that I am still nursing him, I mean that I am feeding him actual breastmilk directly from my actual body, with no intervening technology.

I KNOW!!!!!!

When BB was born, as I wrote here, I was very clear that I wanted to do what I could to breastfeed but that I wouldn't go to any crazy lengths. And I was lucky in that he was one of those newborns I previously thought existed only in myth, who, when held on my naked chest, would literally worm his way down to a nipple and latch on hiimself. Hell, he even tried doing it to my (fully clothed) husband.

That's not to say it was easy. I remember about two weeks in I was weeping with exhaustion and frustration and probably pain, too, and saying to my husband that I was so tempted to just quit. And he looked at me and said, "This is all you ever wanted."

OK. Not ALL I ever wanted, certainly--I want lots of things--but breastfeeding my baby was high up on the list. So I stuck with it, and told myself I just had to get to three weeks and then I would let myself quit. Then four weeks. Then six weeks. Then I figured I'd breastfeed until I went back to work, at 14 weeks. Then it was going so well (minus a hiccup when he went a whole day refusing to nurse from the left breast--what the hell???) that I thought I could surely make it to 18 weeks, which is how old Bat Girl was when she had her last drops of breastmilk--because after all, shouldn't the baby who nursed get at least as much breastmilk as the baby who refused?

And here I am. When I started it was a wild fantasy to think I could still be nursing at 6 months, and now I'm seriously considering hanging on until a year. A YEAR!

BB still gets lots of formula, of course. Based on the occasional pumping I've done at home and the pumping I do at work, I probably peaked at around 12 ounces a day, same as the maximum I ever made for BG--but this time with just a baby and some fenugreek (which I stopped taking months ago), no domperidone or insane pumping. He is a huge eater so he actually gets more formula than BG did at the same age.

But he loves nursing. And I surprised myself by how much I love it too. I loved the lazy mornings crashed out on the couch when he was a couple months old, dozing and nursing on and off for hours, his soft small weight curled around me like a comma. I still love the cozy late nights and early mornings snuggled together. I love how his eyes roll back in his head as he latches on, and how he pops off to look up and me and smile.

I said right from the beginning that I didn't care how much or how little breast milk he got, as long as he got it directly from the boob. Maintaining a breastfeeding relationship was more important to me than maximizing breastmilk intake. I'm glad I defined that right from the start (and would highly recommend that anyone embarking on breastfeeding knowing she might have difficulties look into her heart and think about which, if she had to, she would choose). It helped make the decisions clearer every step of the way.

And indeed, although I do pump twice a day at work, when I am home BB gets 100% of his breastmilk directly from me. For a while I was pumping right before bed to help keep my supply up, as well as for my own comfort because BB was sleeping from 8 pm to 5 am most nights. But then the 4-month sleep regression hit and he was waking up a lot, and I got out of the habit of pumping, and now the fancy hospital-grade pump I've been renting since August has been sitting unused for two months and I really should return it and stop paying the $60/month. (My old Pump In Style died a sudden, whimpering death when BB was a couple weeks old and I was too superstitious not to have a pump in the house, so I ran out and got the rental--a Medela Symphony which is AWESOME AND THE BEST PUMP EVER. I was really glad to have it when BB ended up in the hospital for a week with viral meningitis at 3 weeks old--OMG I really have not updated here in forever--and I needed to pump to keep up my supply when I ran home to shower and spend a few hours with BG every day.)


Really, from the perspective of this blog and its raison d'etre, I do have everything I ever wanted. Two beautiful, healthy children. A successful breastfeeding relationship. (Outside my reproductive life, my marriage is actually better than ever and my job...well, okay, my job isn't so great but you can't have it all, right?)

So I've decided it's time to make official what my lack of posting had rendered basically all but said and done. That is, I think this blog's time has come.

I will leave the whole blog up as long as the Google empire allows me the free server space, because I want to leave a trail of breadcrumbs (as Moxie puts it) for those who come after, my sisters of the fucked-up uteri, my fellow PCOSers, my kindred spirits in the world of IF and breastfeeding woes. But I don't think I will be posting here anymore.

I have gotten so much out of this space over the last 7.5 years--a place to vent and cry, the love and support of a community that has followed me into the IRL world--and I only hope that I have given back, in some small way.

If you're reading this and you're at the beginning of your journey, I hope my story gives you some hope. And remember, you're not alone. You're never alone.

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