My Nursing Journey: The Final Days
When Madison was born, our world literally stopped. I remember just before the nurse told me that it was time to push, I looked into my husband’s eyes, and we both knew life as we knew it would never be the same. We were excited. It was time! I was finally about to hold my daughter for the very first time! I couldn’t have even began to prepare for everything my heart felt when I held our sweet girl for the very first time, no words could ever express it. That very moment JD and I both made a promise to our baby girl, that we would work our hardest to be the best parents we could be for her, we would overwhelm her with love, we promised to be there – no matter what, to provide for her, be great examples for her. I can’t say we’ve mastered that art, but we give it our best shot every day.
One of the most rewarding things about my journey of motherhood has been breastfeeding. During my pregnancy, I had read a lot about the benefits of nursing and spoke with several moms who were nursing, and had decided that it was something that I wanted to do for our child. I had heard it wouldn’t be easy, that it would be a sacrifice, that I wouldn’t have any freedom, and everything else negative about it, but I had also heard the good – and that was enough.
Imagine holding your daughter for the first time and in the same moment, there is a nurse telling you it’s time to feed your baby. You’re lying in the hospital bed praying that your baby latches as easily as they do on the 100s of tutorials you’ve ran across. And your worst fear comes to life, it actually isn’t as easy as it looks. I struggled immensely, and if it weren’t for the nurses that cared for me during my stay, and my husband and MIL encouraging me to fight through it, I would have probably given up. I must have called the lactation nurse every single hour, and as annoying as it must have been for them, I was beyond frustrated with myself. I remember thinking, “If I can’t get her to latch without their help, how on earth will I be able to feed her once I get home? I can’t measure how much she’s getting, how will I know that she’s getting enough? Why is my milk yellow?” I was a nervous wreck, and not only was I nervous, I was also in pain. My poor nipples were on fired, they were chapped, they were everything…terrible! The nurse kept telling me it shouldn’t hurt, but, OMG, it hurt like hell! My daughter had one hell of a latch and my nipple cream was my saving grace.
By the time we left the hospital, I was only about 67.35% sure that I could do it. When I thought about the benefits, I knew I couldn’t give up. I remember awakening JD countless nights crying because I was having such a hard time getting her to latch. I must have googled “best formulas for babies” a million times, but I just kept fighting through it. A week and a half went by and I needed less and less nipple cream, by the 2nd week home Maddy and I had finally gotten this nursing thing down pat. It has been smooth sailing ever since.
Most people would say that breastfeeding is time consuming, that the endless pumping sessions are a nuisance, or maybe the countless milk stains on my tops were inconvenient, but I didn’t feel that way, I still don’t. It’s been the most beautiful journey and I am more than thankful that I had a support system that wouldn’t let me quit. There is nothing more rewarding than providing your version of the best for your child. There is a bond there that no one could ever begin to understand, and that’s okay, because truth is they don’t have to.
It said that when you have a child, life becomes about living beyond yourself; about being bigger and better – I couldn’t agree more. Went I first embarked upon my nursing journey, my goal was to get through 3 months. When I got to 3 months, it went to 6 months, from there I pushed it back to a year. Noticing a trend here? I don’t think there is a certain time you’re supposed to stop, you can’t really put a deadline on it. You just sort of know it’s time. But, OMG! It’s been a challenge to wean… a freaking struggle! Every nursing session since the day she was born has been Maddy and I’s bonding time, I had a hard time letting go of that. 13 months later from the day Madison was born, I have decided that it’s time. It’s time to get my body back, it’s time to give it up. It is time to wean. Every day Madison is changing, her personality is really starting to come to light, and I’ve realized that we bond in other ways every single day.
The end of my breastfeeding journey is here, and the thought of that makes me cry. I knew when this time would come, I would be emotional. Even in my worst days, I knew I would miss it – and I already do. But if we are being completely honest, it’s a terribly difficult thing to walk away from; something so pure, special, and true. Motherhood is the hardest thing. We inject our babies with so much love, raise them up, only to let them go – little by little, until they are independent and on their own. What a curse. What a blessing. One of my favorite quotes to date is, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Even though this journey is coming to an end, there are so many “firsts” and new things to look forward to. Thank God for this beautiful thing called Motherhood and everything amazing that it entails!
Thanks for reading!