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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Repost: End Of An Era

Tink had to make a trip to the Urgent Care with her daddy last night for an earache.  Yesterday was just a busy day.  The mothering kind of busy, ya know?  Each daughter seemed to need an extra dose or two of Mommy...and today looks like it's shaping up to be the same kind of day.  The house needs some TLC, I've got 2 dinners to make this evening, and it's my turn to host Playdate Palooza (which means a friend {or 2!!!} for everyone) after school.  I'm hoping to catch up with my favorite blogs soon....sorry that I've been MIA for a couple days.

It's times like these that cause me to pause and remember how I used to spend my hectic mothering days.  You see, I used to have a nursing baby or toddler in my arms and that gave me a reason to just sit down.  On the rare occasion an earache crept up, I could fix it.  When my girls seemed "off" I could hold them close for a few minutes to get everything back on track.

And now I'm just out here floundering in Motherhood Madness.  Oh how I wish I could have bottled the magic of those precious moments to sprinkle them like fairy dust into days like this.

So, in honor of NaBloPoMo Day 22, I decided to dig this one out of the archives from my old blog....

End Of An Era
Originally posted on Thursday, 12/3/09
 (Sugar, 8 months)

Sugar (2 years) and Tiara (6 months)

Tink (6 weeks)

Disclaimer: Mothering is a funny thing...what works for one mom doesn't always work for another. I try not to criticize other mothers for making choices that work for them, knowing full well that the same decisions wouldn't work for my family. I prefer to assume that all mothers are trying their best to do what is right for their children and families. That being said, please recognize that this post refers to a mothering choice that was best for our family. Thank you for respecting this precious topic.

I knew this day was coming. I didn't know when. I didn't know exactly how it would come about or if it would be sooner rather than later, but I knew this post would roll off my day.

It would appear that day has arrived.

Six plus years ago, I became a mother. During my first pregnancy, I read all the books and made some decisions about how I would take care of my baby. Would I immunize? Would I use cloth diapers? Would I breastfeed?

Yes. No. And yes.

If you asked me 6 years ago about breastfeeding my baby, I would answer that, yes, I planned to least until I returned to work 12 weeks later.

So there I was, in the delivery room with my firstborn rooting in my arms. what? goes...

And that was that. We were off and running. We didn't have any problems. She seemed to know exactly what to do and I quickly realized that nursing her would be ALL that I would do. It worked for us. I nursed my baby on demand, which meant that often times I sat with her in my arms for hours, because she ate ALOT, especially when she was growing.

The dishes piled up. I struggled with how to keep up with the housework. Running errands took some practice before I figured out how to balance her feedings with leaving the house. She ate all the time. No one told me that breastfeeding would be a full time job, around the clock...but I cherished every minute.

Before I knew it, I was returning to work full time. I worked 3 twelve hour night shifts, M-W-F, in a local ER. I pumped like crazy to keep up with our freezer supply. Jason would get her to the babysitter on his way to work in the mornings and I would come home to sleep for 4 hours before going to get her. I could hardly stand to be away from her and nursing her became the way we reconnected after those long hours of separation. Jason took care of washing all the pump parts and kept tabs on how much milk we had in the freezer. We made a great team.

She would ask to "nurse". She nursed until shortly before her second birthday. I forced her to wean under the advice of my OB since I was 16 weeks pregnant with baby #2. It was really hard for both of us. I decided right then and there that I would never force my baby to go through that again. I had done alot of homework and felt that breastfeeding during pregnancy was safe as long as I was taking my vitamins, wasn't experiencing signs of pre-term labor, AND wasn't initiating breastfeeding during the pregnancy.

About a month later, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. What if I hadn't forced her to wean? Had I caused this? I remember holding her in ICU and just wanting to nurse her because it would make everything okay.

It always did. Nursing fixed everything. I could make her world right in the matter of seconds...during that difficult time, I felt so helpless.

Along came Baby #2...once again, she was a pro from the start. Again, I nursed on demand and made breastfeeding a top priority -- above the laundry, the housework, and the errands. I spent alot of time sitting with my toddler reading books, doing puzzles, coloring, and the like while nursing my baby. I wore her in the sling for just about everything and even learned to nurse discreetly while wearing her and walking through the grocery store!

Ten months later, we found out that Baby #3 was on the way. To say we were shocked would be an understatement. I'm not exactly sure how that happens when one is taking Micronor and still nursing did! And I decided I wasn't going to wean Baby #2. She wasn't ready...I wasn't ready...we were going to continue nursing and I was secretly hoping she would wean herself before the new baby arrived.

She didn't. Soon I would have a new baby in my arms...and a toddler (they're 16 months apart) who still wanted her place on my lap. So I made room. I tandem nursed them for over a year. You should have seen how chubby my little toddler got from all that full-fat newborn milk!

Hey, I might not be talented when it comes to artsy and crafty stuff, takes some serious skills to nurse 2 babies (yes, at the same time!) while simultaneously checking and treating your 3 year old's low blood sugar. What can I say....we all gotta be good at something, I guess.

She called it "sides". "SIDES SIDES SIDES" reminded us of those seagulls chanting in Finding Nemo! Eventually Baby #2 weaned after she went on a weekend trip with her daddy to her Uncle's high school graduation.

That left just Baby #3 and me. The days have passed. One into the other. I watched my as my last baby grew into a big girl, knowing her moment would come and fully realizing that my arms would be left without a baby to nurse. These days she's a happy-go-lucky 2 1/2 year old sleeping in her big girl bed, speaking in sentences, and completely potty trained (both day and night).

She's ready.

She called it "mores" and, about 48 hours ago, she told "Mores" goodnight. I'll never forget the sweet sound of her little voice saying "Nite Nite Mores".

Jason's support was amazing. He wasn't embarrassed if we needed to nurse in public. He jumped right in, helping me get comfortable in the beginning and always making sure I had a large cup of ice water within reach. He never complained about the house. If I didn't have dinner ready, he took care of it without skipping a beat. I remember a time that we lost power and he drove all over the county looking for a freezer! Forget the food -- SAVE THE MILK!!!! He figured out how to fill a bottle without spilling a drop. In fact, HE instructed ME on how to measure the bags so we weren't thawing out too much at once.

So I guess that's where this story ends. I've been a nursing mother for 6 years. Once, I pumped in the backseat of a car while waiting in traffic for a Dave Matthews concert. Sometimes I wondered how I would survive between overnight feedings and checking blood sugars. There were times that I only mustered up about 2 hours of cumulative sleep a night. I returned to work at the bedside after all three babes and lugged along the same old breastpump each began making some pretty desperate noises towards the end, but it never let me down!

It wasn't always easy.

But it was worth it.

Goodnight "nurse".

Goodnight "sides".

Goodnight "mores".

From My Candy Heart To Yours,

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  1. Aw, that is sweet. I miss nursing...and I loved how it could fix anything! Even when Adam had his cleft lip repaired, he was back nursing within a day or two because it comforted him so much. Knowing you can make your baby so happy and content is the best. :)

  2. So love this post Wendy. Last night, after 3.5 years Addison said "Night, Night Muggas"...I am so glad I was able to go through the long haul and nurse this has been a wonderful (and at times hard) experience!!

  3. You are super woman!! I have just finished weaning my almost 14 month old and realizing that (in all likelihood:) it will be the last time nursing a baby, makes me sad. I love the names your girls gave sweet.

  4. Weaning was always bittersweet. I was happy to get myself back but loved the comfort nursing provided. Mommy's milk is magic :-)

  5. This post brought back sweet memories. I can still hear Jack as a one-year-old asking to "nur nur." :)

    Madeline and Jack would never take a bottle or a pacifier. I was it! As I look back, I feel good knowing that I could be "all that" to my babies. Max, however, had a lot less interest, which was so disappointing, as I knew he would be my last baby.

    Hang in there with all that you have going on now! Some day, you'll look back on this time too and you'll have fond memories!

  6. LOVE this post. Such a natural and bonding experience for many of us (I know it isn't for everyone so I was trying to be P.C. - LOL). I too think the names are cute that your girls gave them and I am once again amazed by you girl. Is there anything that you cannot do?

  7. You go girl! I wanted to tandem nurse #1 and #2 since they were only 12 months apart, but my milk dried up with the pregnancy despite all my efforts so #1 got formula and wouldn't have anything to do with nursing by the time #2 was born.

    Love your slings! I bought a Comfy Joey RS for #4 and I'm loving it!!

  8. That is awesome!! I would love for you to share your story on Simple Gift too! That blog exists only bc people share their stories. Pass it on to anyone you think would like to share too.

  9. So, Isaac's still nursing and he's 30 months old.. I nursed his brother for 25 months (at seven months pregnant I needed him to wean as it was painful for me). But what I wanted to share was that Isaac nursed through his dx and I believe that it was what helped him and I get through those first few days. THe PICU nurses were so upset at me for nursing him before the doc okayed it, but the moment the doc came in he was so okay with how I was soothing my babe. I know there are carbs, but it was so necessary for us. Thanks for sharing this story. For my family breastfeeding has been a great bonding tool and I wouldn't have it any other way.


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.