Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boob Envy

Yes.  You read that right.  I have boob envy and I have it bad.  J-baby is 2 months old now and he is officially weaned.  And every time I see a friend (or stranger) nurse her baby, I feel a little lump in my throat.  I see women randomly on the street and the thought crosses my mind "I bet she could nurse HER babies".  And then I sigh, just a little inside.  This is the one thing, of all of the things I prayed for, that did not happen for me.   Not that you need to know all of this, but it's therapeutic to write it all out.  I was unable to nurse my Cora girl when she was born.  I was told I needed to pump more, that her latch was bad, that I wasn't relaxing enough to get a letdown for the pump, that she was too weak to nurse since she was a preemie.  On and on. I tried every technique, every herb I knew of, every drug.  I sacrificed sleep and pumped around the clock.  I had the lactation consultants on speed dial.  I literally drove myself insane.  And it didn't work.  Nothing worked. I had to be medicated for Postparum Depression (PPD) after the last drug I went on to promote lactation did nothing for me.  I was broken-hearted and DETERMINED that it would be different this time.

But it wasn't.  I had my full term baby, I had a VBAC (which somewhere in my head I had convinced myself that my C-Section effected my ability to nurse. It doesn't. It didn't.), I was DETERMINED to make it work.  Until I took my little son in for a weight check and he had lost a pound after 5 days.  I called a new lactation consultant and asked her every question and after another night of my little boy frantically trying to nurse for 3 hours and then falling asleep, I saw his behavior for what it truly was.  He was exhausted, not satisfied.  I took a bottle of formula in hand and I fed my son.  He gulped down every drop, burped contentedly, and then fell asleep, full and happy for the first time in his short little life. I cuddled him and sobbed.  Heart-wrenching sobs and was angry.  Angry at God.  Angry at my body.  Angry and broken.  I didn't understand why I couldn't have this.  I wasn't going to starve my son any more for the sake of my nursing pride, but WHY?!!  Why couldn't I have this one last thing?  And granted, I was 5 days postpartum and a hormonal mess, so this all felt way more intense.

I went to see the lactation consultant (a different one from the ones who I saw with Cora) and long story short, she took one look at me and told me she was surprised I could make any milk at all.  I had an organic problem.  I just don't have the glandular tissue I need.  It's a condition called Breast Hypoplasia and I'll let you google it.  Mine is a mild case and not at all like what I found when I searched for images. Yeep!

I felt such relief at having an answer!! I left her office with every (new) herb she recommended and started on meds (not the crazy making ones this time) to make everything work as much as it could with the full knowledge I would never make a full supply for my son, but I could give him what I had.  And then he got sick and refused to nurse, or eat at all since he couldn't breath and it was all downhill from there.  By the time he got better, I was down to the dregs and he was not happy about having to work so hard for his lunch.  I slowly let it go.

And I am still sad about it.  I can get angry if I think about it too much, since for years I've been seen by medical professionals who never once mentioned that this might be a problem, that there might be an underlying syndrome that I could possibly correct with medicine and weight loss.  And now here we are.  J-baby has donor milk from other mamas and formula and I have a little sigh in my heart when I think about it.  I don't hang out in that place.  I am grateful for the gifts I have been given with beautiful healthy children and for the most part, a healthy body. But there is a little sad part in my little mama heart that longs to feed my baby the way God intended a woman's body to work.  And writing it out helps me let it go a little more.  To find joy in the gifts I have been given and to be thankful for what I have (or don't have).  For at the heart of it is a plan that is bigger than mine.

5 comments:

Jaime said...

Oh, Ariana. I cried when I read this. I can only imagine how discouraging and heartbreaking it would be to be willing to try so hard and have it not work out.

Lots of people give up simply because it's more work, but you're willing to work harder and longer. I'm so sorry for your pain (physical and emotional).

I admire you for doing everything you could and yet accepting that his health is so important. You're a good Mama. Not less of a Mom because you can't nurse. Your kids will be healthy and well-loved. But, I'm sorry for the grieving process.

I'm thinking about you and praying for you!

Thesupermanns said...

Amen to what Jaime said. You are a good mama...better than lots of mamas with BIG breasts and little love..you know. LOVE never fails.....
p.s.i too have breast envy. my breasts are smaller than ever...boo hoo

Kendra said...

I thank God for your blog! You are not afraid to tell the truth and your truthful words help heal my heart! Thank you for your words that make me feel human and not alone. Thanking God for you today:)

Inner Lamb said...

I understand how you feel, Ariana... I've been pumping for our little one for almost 8 months now, and was only able to give him a full supply the first 4... he outpaced my production and I've had to supplement some since, but all the time on the pump (1600 hours in the first six months, not counting since then) and the meds (which promote PPD symptoms and lots of other un-fun side effects too) do make it difficult. My heart goes out to you - I understand how heart-breaking it can be to want to be a breastfeeding Momma and not be able to do it for your baby the way you'd hoped. But you are a great Mom, and it shows in all you write / share / do for and with your babies. And that's really what God intended!

Inner Lamb said...

I understand how you feel, Ariana... I've been pumping for our little one for almost 8 months now, and was only able to give him a full supply the first 4... he outpaced my production and I've had to supplement some since, but all the time on the pump (1600 hours in the first six months, not counting since then) and the meds (which promote PPD symptoms and lots of other un-fun side effects too) do make it difficult. My heart goes out to you - I understand how heart-breaking it can be to want to be a breastfeeding Momma and not be able to do it for your baby the way you'd hoped. But you are a great Mom, and it shows in all you write / share / do for and with your babies. And that's really what God intended!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...