Prenatal Vitamins: Part Two

passed out on my huge post-pregnancy belly. i hope i never forget...

So, my baby girl and I were happy. We continued on this easy streak for almost six months at which time she began growing too quickly for my boobs to keep up. I tried to continue breastfeeding and supplementing with formula but it eventually led to the end of her total dependence on me. I was fine with it. I knew I had done what was best for my baby and she seemed to be growing and developing as babies should and I was happy to leave her with the bottle...even though the spit-up smells ten times nastier. Yep, I just gagged.

Of course, this whole time I was taking prenatal vitamins to compensate for what she was sucking out of my body (that phrasing sounded more graphic than I intended.) Anyway, my lovely girl was six months old when I found out that I was pregnant with her baby brother...again, another story for another time. Just to let you know though, it was an OH MY FUCKING GOD moment. Needless to say, I continued taking the prenatal vitamins and gave birth to a perfectly pink little baby boy in November of 2008. My son and I had a totally different experience while trying navigate the somewhat scary journey that is breastfeeding. He was a pro and it seemed in the nine months that I hadn't fed a child, my body had regressed to total novice in the sport of nursing. In the hospital, at the very very beginning, we were quite a team. He sucked and I supplied. Forget Supply and Demand theory, its the Suck and Supply theory that is important.

Towards the end of our hospital stay, my boobs began stinging when he latched on. I gritted my teeth and remained calm and thankful that we were doing it. Jason asked if I wanted him to get me the lactation specialist but I knew what they would tell me. "Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt." "Try a different position." "You need to be using a nipple shield with those terribly flattened and atrocious nipples of yours." I didn't want to hear it. Unless you were me, inside my boob, feeling the pain that I was feeling...you had no idea what the fuck you were talking about. Did I mention I'm a little stubborn?

We went home. In the following days, the pain increased every time his little lips neared the boob-al area. The only thing that helped for those few months was my beloved and most hated pump. It was far less ferocious than my baby boy. I would pump as much as I could and we would store and use bottles to feed the hungry little man. When he woke up through the night, I would pump and Jason would make him a bottle of pumped breast milk. Thank you, sweetie. You helped out...a lot! After a few days of pumping, I would let him try again. It would start out pain free and the next feeding would sting a little and the one after that...Oh my ever loving shit. This sucks, you suck (my boobs, not my boy...well, he sucked too but in a more literal sense.) I remember doing the sideways feed in the middle of the night, which seems to be the easiest when you are slit-eyed and sleep deprived, and scissor kicking my legs and crying in pain with Jason sitting in bed next to me, useless, wondering what he could do. I slathered Lanolin and salty tears on my nipples while Beckett returned to my milk from the bottle. Discouraging, at best. Of course everyone had their advice. And by everyone I mean my mother. "You should go see your doctor. You probably have mastitis, like you did the last time. My friend told me that your baby shouldn't be sucking for longer than five minutes on each side. She said you're probably letting him suck on an empty breast. That's what is wrong. I met someone at the shop today. They said there is a breastfeeding specialist in our neighborhood. I've already placed the call for you. You know, if you feed him with the bottle too much he's never going to want to breastfeed, regardless of whether it hurts or not. Does it really hurt that bad?" Holy shit mom, I would have never had any of these problems had I only talked to you first, The Official Breastfeeding Guru. Remind me, the next time, and we can avoid this whole ordeal. Also, remind me to give you some boundaries of who the WHITNEY'S BOOBS conversation can and cannot happen with. Lord woman...keep it to a maximum of say, 13 of your closest Vera Bradley carrying buddies instead of 1300. Thank you.

Anyway, Baby Boy and I carried on and pushed through, pumping and crying and so on. I remembered the helpful and oh-so-encouraging advice that I got from my girl's breastfeeding days. Continue to nurse to six weeks, then decide. That advice is truly golden because all the breastfeeding kinks must just find a way to work themselves out by that totally random time frame. At six weeks I was pain free and breastfeeding while vacuuming and reading Vogue. I know you can't help but get a visual, let me tell you...it was H.O.T.

Well, now we are at six months of breastfeeding and again, my body can't even attempt to keep up. My little man is a Big Man and he is totally over the boob. He needs more so we are all happily moving on to formula and mushy avocado. I know he needs it and my body can't provide for him any longer but I'm having some major mixed emotions. As of right now, we are thinking that this baby is most definitely our last. I know, I know this might change but won't it be sad if I never again get to have a little one cradled in my arms, slowly falling asleep as he eats. Having to wake them up for just a few more sucks and then, nod of again. Seeing they're sleepy little eyes roll back and flutter before completely closing. Knowing, just knowing that someone is completely dependent on me for one moment in time.

Though it was a struggle, I've had that moment in time and I guess my children will grow to be dependent on me in other ways...but, never in that totally basic sense. I never thought I would, but I am having trouble turning my back on these days. Having the ability to breastfeed both of my children, provide them with nutrition and a strong immune system was most definitely a gift. Though I'm having trouble letting go, I am thankful for the time we had together. We played a great game. We made a great team...both of you. It was not without struggles but we made it and I did the best I could for you. I will never forget it.

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