Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Grieving for nursing

After nearly 6 weeks, I am approaching the time when I will have to give up attempting to nurse my baby girl. My body is not on board with this project and I just cannot make milk. I've tried every method, every doctor and lactation nurse's advice, every medicine, every herb, every machine (pumps) there is and nothing worked, or if it worked, it brought disastrous other results that made me have to abandon that course of action (Reglan - severe depression, or Mother's Milk Tea - caused my blood pressure medicine to not work).

As much as I have hated breastfeeding at times, like when I was so tired from trying to heal from surgery and wanted to give up, it breaks my heart to actually have to give it up. Until now there was always one other option to try, one more drug, one more method. Now there is nothing. I am using a supplemental system to 'nurse' her, but really she's mostly living on formula. Soon she will outgrow the bottles that fit onto the system and I'll have to give her bigger bottles, but not ones that are attached to me. We can pretend for awhile longer and have sweet bonding times at all hours of the night and day, but soon, too soon, I'll have to surrender this too. I still have some grief over missing so much of her first hours, not actually getting to 'birth' her, just basically have her removed from my body and a few other things. I never thought that this would be something that would never happen. I come from a family of champion nursers!

As long as I am on my blood pressure medicine, the dopamine and prolactin (milk making hormone) will continue to compete and the medicine that raises my dopamine level to control my blood pressure will always win out over the prolactin. I have beat myself up for this since I'm pretty sure my hypertension is weight related and I have yet to make choices to fix that. It could be just how my body is, but it could be just one more consequence of my lifestyle. I'm not in shame about that, but still there is sadness there.

There is no more to say. No magic pill that will fix it. I have cried over it, asked for healing, asked for grace for this one thing, but the answer and the blessing I get is having her. Alive and in my arms. Not just as I would want it, but still here. So I grieve for the things that will never happen and I enjoy the last sweet times with my daughter in my arms like this.

This is not a video of me nursing, just a little clip of Cora, awake and alert just after we finish nursing. (AT 12:45 am!)

5 comments:

Kendra & Tobin Kirk said...

cute...It makes me even more excited to meet our little boy!

Dana said...

i have the opposite problem... enough milk to feed a small country (NOT FUN, believe me). at the same time i had sam, a friend who had her son two months before had NO milk. she tried everything, but nothing worked. BUT her next two nursed wonderfully, she had great milk and had a great experience. not that it makes this time around any easier, but it may not always be the case, there is still hope of being a "champion Nurser". this time you'll just have to settle for wearing the "champion mom" badge!

The Velvet Trunk said...

That video made my heart just turn over. She's just beautiful.. So sorry that's it's a tough time for you- I can't imagine what that would feel like. Sending you a big hug over email.

Love you bud!
-Mel

Jaime said...

I am sorry for your difficulty with nursing. I understand your need to grieve the fact that it won't be as you imagined. But, remember, you are still a good mom, you are still meeting your little one's needs and you are still doing all God intended you to do. She's healthy and growing!

Sarah said...

I have never left any comment on a blog before, but I figured out how to do so just so I could respond to this! Your words could have come out of my own mouth 2 years ago, (and again 10 months ago), word for word. And I definately don't want to pit one mother's difficulty against another. That said, the grief a mother experiences when she can't feed her child is terribly deep, and I would have traded almost anything in the world to have had the opposite extreme. For me, the tears were neverending. I know we've talked on the phone some, and I think the only thing to say is that your feelings can be found in so, so many other mothers' hearts. Mine included. Hang on. You'll be on the other side one day, "feeding time" will no longer hurt your heart, and Cora will be NO WORSE OFF. A joyful, teaching, emotionally nurturing mama will benefit her more than ANY antibody would.

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