Most of what I'm about to write is purely for my own memories. :)
Tonight was my last night nursing Nathan. He's definitely done needing to be nursed - it was mostly our routine more than anything. He would eat dinner, play for a little bit, Jon would give him his bath and get him dressed and then I'd nurse him. He'd usually fall asleep nursing - or at least relax enough that he fell asleep soon after going to bed.
I'm going to miss it.
Breastfeeding was not an easy road for me. At all. We had to start supplementing in the hospital with formula because even after we'd been there five days, my milk still hadn't come in. I spent most of Nathan's first week crying because the nursing was going so poorly - he wouldn't latch on and when he did latch, he wouldn't stay on long enough to suck. So I was making nothing and he was getting nothing except formula.
I cried and cried. I prayed constantly that God would help me to nurse. I don't even know why I was so set on it - I've known and know people who have given their babies formula and everything has been just fine - they've bonded, they've grown up healthy and happy. I just wanted SO badly to nurse. And I couldn't. I remember standing in the bathroom, tears rolling down my face as I just prayed for God to give me and Nathan this gift of nursing.
When he was eight days old, out of complete desperation, I finally went back to the hospital and ended up seeing a different lactation consultant than I saw in the hospital. After watching me struggle to get Nathan to nurse for a few minutes, she leaned over, adjusted my hold and his mouth and he popped right on. And he hasn't had trouble nursing since.
I don't even remember her name, but I thank God SO much for that lady. She sent me home with a huge list of instructions and I sent Jon to Target to go buy a breast pump (wouldn't you have just LOVED to have been there to see him buying that?)
I was nursing Nathan every two hours, pumping right after he finished, taking herbal supplements and drinking two gallons of water every single day. I felt squishy to the touch and exhausted, but suddenly, without warning, I had milk and milk in abundance! Nathan was getting so much that he would spit half of it up and I could still pump a whole bottle afterward. I was SO thankful. I looked like carnage covered in lanolin (not to get into too much detail) and there were times where I would cry thinking about the pain that was coming right before I started nursing, but still, I was thankful.
Then came the plugged ducts. The first time I got one, Nathan was about five weeks old. I didn't know what happened - I thought I'd gotten engorged again. Then it developed into mastitis and I drove for my first time after the C-Section to Wal-Mart to get antibiotics while Nathan screamed the entire time we were there.
It cleared up only to come back as soon as I finished my antibiotics. I got mastitis five times over the next couple of months. And I got plugs on an almost weekly basis. They were insanely painful and I'd usually have more than one at a time. Jon would try and help me massage them out and I would scream so loud I had to put a pillow in my mouth to keep from scaring Nathan. One time, I almost kicked over our coffee table it hurt so badly.
I remember one Sunday morning. Nathan had woken up at 4 AM to nurse and I woke up with a ginormous plug. I kept waking him up to get him to nurse so he could try and work the plug out, but it never dislodged and Nathan was crying and I was crying and I didn't know what to do. So, we went to church and I just sat in the nursing mom's room for most of the service, trying not to cry and just knowing that I was going to have to quit nursing.
That's when I met my friend Jamie. Who also struggled big time with plugs and she encouraged me enough to keep nursing - at least until the end of the week. :) I called my doctor who had me go in for a breast ultrasound, just to make sure it wasn't anything abnormal causing the plugs, but everything looked fine. Then, my doctor finally put me on a long-term antibiotic and it was smooth sailing since then - well, not counting the whole no-dairy thing for a little bit. Ha! :)
It's so weird to think that we're done.
I'm so thankful that God allowed me this time with my son. Breastfeeding is such a weird, sensitive topic in the world right now but I can honestly say that despite all the hard times - the pain, the healing, the plugs, everything - it has been worth it all. I loved especially these last many months when our routine was really in place. I loved how he would fall asleep against me and - when he was really little - how he would be so sound asleep that milk would dribble out of his mouth and run down his cheek.
There are so many, many precious memories I have that involve nursing. Too many to name. I just pray I don't forget them - or the feelings that go along with them.
It seemed like such a long, long, long road when I started nursing. Those 45-minute to hour long sessions in the middle of the night while my nipples were so painful I cringed almost every minute of it felt like they would never end. And when I was so tender from a blocked duct that I couldn't even hug Nathan close, it seemed like an eternity.
But now, thinking back on all of it - good and bad - it seems like only a tiny, short, sweet time.