I remember the recovery room nurse trying to mash C’s face into my very unresponsive breast moments after being wheeled out of the OR where they’d just cut my baby out of me.
I remember the same
nurse witch sending the baby to the nursery three seconds later and overhearing her tell the staff to give her formula because I’d never be able to nurse.
I remember crying.
I remember trying to nurse my baby again the next morning with a lactation consultant who reenacted the same scene as in the recovery room before handing me a nipple shield and telling me it was the only solution.
I remember a nurse wheeling the pump out of my room at bedtime. No one thought to tell me that I’d have to pump every two hours – through the night, not just in the daytime.
I remember getting yelled at by another lactation consultant later that week because I was taking time to burp my baby instead of jumping on the pump the instant the baby was done trying to nurse through the shield. In her words burping the baby is “what daddies are for.”
I remember pumping endlessly while rocking the bouncer with my foot after M went back to work.
I remember, four weeks into our pumping madness, realizing that I could turn the pressure up on the pump. For the first time milk started coming out in spurts instead of dribbles.
I remember fighting with C one last time, weeks later, trying so hard to get her to take the breast while she pounded her little firsts against my boob and screamed with her head turned as far away from me as possible.
I remember giving up and researching “pumping exclusively” on the Internet.
I remember reading somewhere that all the baby needed was 4oz of my breast milk every day to get all the essential antibodies. I clung to that fact (never verified or even found again) on the days I didn’t even get close to my 11oz max output. (That’s daily, not per pumping session. And there were four, sometimes five hour long sessions every day.)
I remember feeling hope when I saw the sheer number of people also looking for the same information.
I remember the permanent bruises on my breasts from the massaging I had to do to get the milk out.
I remember pumping for the last time, shortly before C turned 10 months old, just in time for our trip to Paris.
I remember feeding her that last bottle and hearing a nosy wannabe help telling me that I really should keep pumping because it was so good for the baby.
I remember refusing to go down the same road with my second child.
I remember researching every way possible to have a better nursing relationship with Little L.
I remember sitting up in the recovery room, post repeat c-section, and gently moving her into position.
I remember crying when she latched on perfectly and started nursing.
I remember crying when the nurses told me she had jaundice and they needed to supplement her feedings with formula.
I remember smiling through my tears when the nurse shrugged as the formula dribbled down Little L’s cheeks. “I guess she’s already full. You’re doing a great job nursing after all.”
I remember going home, not realizing that I’d spend the next four months, sitting on the couch, my little titleach attached to me, only letting go when she was full to bursting, milk pearling at the corners of her mouth, bliss written all over her face.
I remember getting good at making her cozy in the breastfeeding pillow, pulling her close, getting her latched, and pulling up the flip top for our coffee table so I could reach the computer.
I remember the sweet satisfaction of knowing that I could feed her wherever and never run out of food, not needing the emergency supply of ready-to-serve formula I always kept in the car for C.
I remember getting ready to go back to work. Renting the pump I’d used for C, washing the pump parts I’d stored carefully, arranging for a space to pump at work. (Endless thanks to my best friend for loaning me her office for all those months even though it must have killed her to see me pump when she herself wasn’t able to nurse.)
I remember pumping for the first time and getting the same amount of milk in one sitting as I’d gotten in total on my best day of pumping for C.
I remember crying.
I remember Little L only being soothed by “the magic boob of happiness” and C hollering at the mall one day “MAMA! Da baby is cwyyying! She needs your booooobie!”
I remember smiling.
Nursing Little L wasn’t all peaches and cream. There was pain, there was blood, there was crying. But it was such a far cry from my experience with C that the two are incomparable. I nursed her in the early morning until she was 14 months-old, only putting an end to our ritual because she discovered how much fun it was to wait until mommy was asleep again before testing out her new teeth on me. She thought that the way I jumped was hilarious.
I miss that bond that we shared and in my heart I refuse to give up hope that I’ll get to share it with another baby one day.
It’s the third week of Bump Month! 8 bloggers and I have teamed up to spend a whole month talking about moms and babies. We’re going to share stories and wonderful companies who help us make it all look easy and fun. Stay tuned for more trips down memory lane to my long past pregnancies and infancies! Be sure to enter the killer giveaway! Read the other Bump Bloggers stories about their nursing experience here.