Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I wouldn't give

I wrote this post for my private family blog, but thought I would share it here also...  I will update soon about my weight, etc... I got my HCG in the mail and will begin shortly!  I am both excited and not so excited.

I miss nursing.  Am I healed, because of at least a short while of breastfeeding bliss?  Did I give it my all?    

The truth is the sting of defeat is still sorely felt. 

In the past couple of weeks I have researched and revisited what went wrong again with the support and understanding of my midwife.  On day 7 she directed me to pump after Paine did not weigh in at a safe measure and was having barely indistinguishable wet and dirty diapers.  I sat there in the company of my doula and pumped a measly 1/4 oz. out of both breasts.  We were discouraged to say the least.  I cried.  But, he is such a good nurser!  

Nature had again played a cruel trick.  I expressed my dismay as I noted all the measures I took to ensure success this third and final time.  

I had a natural homebirth for one (just minutes after I had him he latched and suckled- amazing!  I thought for sure this was it!).  I set up nursing stations (rocking chair, side table for water, nipple cream and other needed supplies).  I read and read even books that made me feel awful about not nursing my girls (I almost hated those books, but I read them anyway, because what was done was done and all I could do was try harder this time).  There was not a single bottle or package of formula to be found in my home.  I started drinking Mother's Milk.  I started supplementing.  I ate wholesome and for the majority of the time organic meals provided by my generous support system.  I had the support of awesome friends and health care providers who care deeply about breastfeeding.  

And, here I was yet again not being able to feed my own baby.  Even though the pain of not being able to provide wonderful milk for my baby was not near as devastating as it was with my girls (because I had no help or support then, and did not do everything possible)- it still hurts and I was getting sick of defending my every initiative and eventual defeat.    

My breasts are defunct.  This is the hand I have been dealt:  it is called Insufficient Glandular Tissue  or Hypoplastic Breasts.  It is rare and not always easy to detect.  I would have to get a sonogram to know for sure (because I have typical looking breasts), but the signs I have experienced is no noticeable change in breast size, etc during pregnancy or puberty and obviously little to no milk supply.  I do not have the physical obvious characteristics of these types of breasts: 

"There is one exception to the rule about breast size/shape and breastfeeding ability, and that is that few women have insufficient glandular tissue in their breasts. In other words they simply don't have enough milk producing cells, and these women can then experience milk supply problems. This condition is called breast hypoplasia or hypoplastic breasts."  

Here is another article that I found comforting and informed:

Breastfeeding is not easy, but oh what I wouldn't give to have my milk just flow and fill my baby's belly to satisfaction.  The fight is tiring.  It should not be so difficult.  And yet, it was.  My experience with Paine was exceptionally better and I am so happy to have experienced this incredible bond with a baby who would take what little I could give him while being bottle fed in conjunction.  The actual nursing this time (unlike with my girls) was not agonizingly difficult nor downright impossible- I just couldn't provide the amount necessary to sustain him exclusively.  And yet I can't help but feel cheated with a huge amount of loss and guilt.  

I just read the blog of Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom (and would put the link here but it is not uploading.)  Check out my facebook page or this link peaceful parenting.  Anyway, the picture of her nursing her baby boy is just beautiful!  He was 9lbs. 12 oz!  She had him naturally after a long labor.  I thought 8lbs. 11 oz. was big! :)  Although, I was not able to breastfeed I am an ardent advocate. 

Cherish your nursing time with your baby, as I will remember the moments I had.  The only regret I have now is I feel I should have tried harder to maintain the little I did have, but it is too late now and with three little ones I did the best I could... and that is all I can ask of myself.  I am now looking into Eats on Feets and contemplating this prospect.  Your opinions on the matter would mean much to me! :)

In closing, I would just like to say someday I will move on and forgive myself and my body, but for now it is what it is.  I can say, at least the moments I had nursing Paine are ones I never took for granted- and there are few times in my life I can say I appreciated, embraced and treasured every instant completely for I knew the time drew near when it would end.  

 I hope my children know how much I love them.  I will continue to do everything within my power and capability to do the best for them.  I am proud of my home birth and not circumcising my son.  I am proud I try to give them the best of me and teach them to love themselves, others and life.  

I am proud of trying to breastfeed.        


  1. Thank you for posting! As you know, I was dealt a similar hand and share many of the same emotions you outlined. I'm proud of you for too :) Eats on Feets can be wonderful; just make informed choices and do what you feel comfortable with. You are an empowered lady and mama, you're already doing an amazing job... anything beyond what you're doing now will only augment your awesomeness!

  2. This post made me cry...I'm SO proud of you too!! You did everything you could think of to make sure you had support and everything you needed to nurse Paine. You tried. You were able to nurse him. You will always remember that. And I am SO proud of you for trying. You've impressed me so much with this pregnancy, and the home birth and keeping your little man intact. Such wonderful, admirable, respectful things you've done. I can't say it enough..I"m SO proud!! :-)

  3. My youngest is 3, and with ALL 3 I was only able to nurse for 5 months... but I had to supplement as well.

    Same situation: I drank the tea, and took the supplements, and parked my (growing) bootie on our couch as to relax as much as possible.

    And I felt sad and defeated and totally worthless as a parent when, even after nursing for an entire 45 minutes- I still had to give a bottle.

    This is a GREAT post and so helpful to those of us who've had a hard time forgiving ourselves for not being able to do what we know is the very best for our babies.

    (PS, I've "over" it now, not living in the past and all that jazz.)