Wednesday, April 30, 2008

That's All Folks...

Monday night was my last time nursing Kendall. I am beyond sad, but I know it was for the best.

After writing this post, we had one of our worst nights ever. So I decided to pump and try just formula to see what would happen. I wanted to know if it was me or the formula giving her trouble. Apparently, it was me because she instantly took a turn for the better. Three -- count them -- ONE.TWO.THREE long naps during the day and only one night waking to feed. She was/is a different baby.

For a few days, I tried nursing her first thing in the morning for "bonding," but she wasn't all that interested anymore. So I tried to nurse during her night feeding, assuming she would be all sleepy and cuddly. Not so much. She was clearly done with me.

That may sound harsh, but that's how it feels. It hurts. But as Mama C-ta so beautifully wrote here, sometimes being a mom is about letting go. About doing what is best, even when it breaks your heart. After all, I truly only wanted Kendall to be comfortable, and that is what happened. So now I step back... even with the painful knowledge that this may be the last child I ever nurse.

None of it makes sense to me. My breast milk should be the easiest thing for her to digest, the gentlest on her tummy. It is supposed to be the healthiest option. Yet, for some reason, it isn't in our case. Honestly, that makes me mad.

But even more so, it makes me sad. The sad that hits you in the gut and makes you want to bury your head in your hands and sob. So that's what I did on Monday. I cried. Hard.

I cried for the 11 long days in the hospital when nursing was the only thing that kept me sane. When I missed Emma so very much. When I was scared that things just kept going wrong. When I was frustrated that they weren't letting me leave. When I was wincing in agonizing pain. In the midst of it all, I had the honor of feeding my newborn daughter. I could look down and watch her peacefully eat without a care in the world. She needed me and loved me, and that gave me a reason to be happy. It gave me strength.

I cried for all that I will miss. I will miss watching her come up from a feeding, arching her back with little fists clenched in a big stretch. I will miss the naps on my shoulder that we often took together. I will miss the late-night feedings when it was just the two of us laying side by side. And I will miss the sacrifices that I made so that she knew how very much I wanted to help her.

I cried because it isn't fair. I tried so hard to make this work, but in the end, it wasn't enough. Between the shots I'd have to take because of my pulmonary embolism and the possibility of gestational diabetes again, Kendall may very well be my last child. That is enough to tear any mom's heart out.

So I am sad, but you know what, that's okay:
"Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart." Ecclesiastes 7:3

God lead me to this passage on Monday during my devotional time. You know what the name of my devotion was? "Celebrating Sadness." I know, He is too good.

The devotion reminded me that God created every emotion we feel. And that sadness can be good. It makes us reflect. It makes us feel. Look at how many wonderful works of art were produced out of sadness. Sometimes it feels good to be sad, to cry. God will meet us wherever we are.

My heart is sad, yes. But it is full of God, and it is full of hope. After all, He is healing my baby's stomach.

He has answered my prayer.


Mama C-ta said...

Oh this made me tear up. It must be hard but just being able to say this "In the midst of it all, I had the honor of feeding my newborn daughter" really is a blessing and you couldn't have gotten her off to a better start.

Lisa, you toughed it out twice and I think you made it much longer than most. I am angry for you too because I was really hoping for an easy time nursing and you deserved it.

I know you, I know how when you set your mind to something you will not stop until you reach your goal but you're strong enough to step back and see what was working for your baby. And THAT is really what's best and that is what makes you such a great Mother.

Everything you will miss will be replaced my equally precious moments and hopefully comfortable moments every day and night for the both of you.

one hot momma said...

Let Him carry in Him...fall back and rest in Him. I know this pain and sadness. I was never able to breast feed any of my babies! I never produced milk...I still have people that "poo-poo" this statement, but what little I did have didn't meet the needs of my babies. Thank God that I had my babies at a time when formula was available...formula that gave my children the nutrients I couldn't...they are here, alive because of that formula! They are growing, they are smart and not one parent, or teacher has ever questioned whether they were breast fed or not! I know that doesn't help you now...just know I will pray for you through this...keep holding on to Your Heavenly Abba and hold your baby tight...try letting her grab your pinky when you're holding the bottle and snuggling her up close to your chin so you can feel her feeding and hear her breathing and smell her sweet baby smell...your feeding times can still be special bonding times, even with a bottle! You are a wonderful momma! Prayers...

M. Fox said...

Ugh! You made my cry too! (((sniffle))) I know giving it up is hard and painful. And I'm sure much more for you since you had such a short while to nurse Kendall. I agree with you that sometimes it's good to be sad. I know how you feel. So go on and be sad! You deserve it!

amanda said...

Oh, Lisa! My heart just hurts for you right now knowing you are so sad. I'm so glad Kendall is doing better, but I'm sorry you had to quit nursing so abruptly. You did the very best you knew for her and she is a beautiful little baby. I pray that God will continue to show you His goodness during these hormonal days as your body adjusts back to being 'non-milk-producing'. :) You're such a good mommy, really are!!!

Amy said...

My children are the same age as your girls (I think only a few months apart). You are normal to be feeling the way you are. I planned on breastfeeding my daughter, but also quit abruptly due to some other circumstances. I felt physically sick, crazy emotional, and felt like I was mourning a death. I am sure I will feel the same way when I am done breastfeeding my son. Hang in there! You have two adorable and beautiful girls and you sound like you are an awesome mom.

Carol said...

Hey, Lisa. Hope you're doing okay. My heart aches for you. I had a similar circumstance with my third boy, Josh. My doctor looked at me in the eyes and told me, "Carol, don't you feel guilty for one minute! Formula just keeps improving and is just as good for your baby." So I want to encourage you that you ARE doing what is the best for your baby! And thank God for His comfort in this, too.

Anonymous said...

Your such an awesome mom, very proud of you, it's not an easy thing to do. Keep being the great mom that you are, the Lord is leading, just follow.
Love you and praying for your sweet family.
Aunt Helene