Friday, July 23, 2010

Released from Duty

H and I would like to announce that we have officially stopped nursing. Like completely done now, finito. Returned the breast pump rental today.

As I said here before, it had been petering out for quite some time. The last couple of weeks, though there were a couple of feedings with better volume, had started to feel sort of sad, as if the whole thing was past its expiration date. On Wednesday, he looked up at me and made this face, like give it up, mama. I'm good. So I decided to hang up my nursing bra. I had hoped to coast to six months, but was sort of easier to decide like this, in real time, based on signals from him, than decide going into it that this was The Last Nursing Session.

I think before I had him I would have thought that getting sentimental about ending nursing was sort of creepy. But it's hard to let go of it for a couple of reasons. First, I still, even up until the bittersweet end, wished somewhere in the back of my mind that somehow I could be one of these earth mothers able to satisfy all her baby's dietary needs at will. Yeah, not so much. I need to get over this. Sometimes, my body doesn't do what it's supposed to. It didn't when I was trying to get pregnant, and it didn't when I wanted to nurse exclusively. But it did when it needed to carry my gorgeous baby for nine-and-a-half months. So I think all is forgiven.

Of course the other reason is that for the first time since he was an embryo, he doesn't depend on me for anything life-giving. He's on his own now, fully. He's growing up. All is as it should be, but that doesn't stop it from being a little bit sad.

I would say overall, I feel pretty positive about the whole nursing deal -- more so than I expected going into it. I will never forget the scene in the recovery room after my c-section, me still a complete disaster, recovering from anesthesia and hopped up on anti-anxiety meds, shivering uncontrollably, how he looked up at me and latched on like I'd been nursing him for years, like okay lady, you're a mess -- let me handle this. He got enough in the weeks that followed, all the positive benefits. There's nothing to feel about the whole thing except great. And all the militant breastfeeding pushers who think I totally failed because I give my son formula can totally suck it.

Meanwhile, I have my body back for the first time in over a year. Which means I'm free to poison it as I please. Bring on the cabernet, the caffeinated lattes and the pale-skin curing self-tanner, please.

Random post-script: I just caught up on this week's "Boston Med," and lo and behold, there was the ob-gyn resident (the one my husband affectionately called the 12-year-old doctor) who handed me the fateful prescription for misoprostol during the third installment of the Longest Miscarriage in History a year and a half ago. I was still on the fence about taking the drug when I went to the IVF clinic to make a plan that day, but found her manner so reassuring that I decided to go ahead with it. Which, as some of you may remember, turned out to be an unequivocal disaster. But that wasn't her fault, so I hope she keeps plowing ahead with this medicine thing despite the thoughts of quitting that she expressed on the show. Meanwhile, this town is getting to be too small. You'd think I could turn on a show about medicine in a town overrun with doctors without seeing one that's familiar with my vagina.


Anonymous said...

I lasted about four weeks with the whole breastfeeding thing. My main reason for stopping? I really, really, really wanted my body back. He was going to get the nutrition one way or the other and had been on formula since the very beginning. He has an appetite like a lumberjack and I wilted at the thought of trying to keep up with him. Not to mention the fact, he had a bad habit of using my boobs as a pacifier. For all of us, it was just better for him to get formula and me to have wine.

He had my body for 10 months, and infertility had it for four years before that. I think it was time for me to reclaim it.

Good for you for being able to step away without feeling guilty.

mummydr said...

Congrats on nursing till now, it is not easy and not at all natural! I was lucky after a very rocky start breastfeeding for me has been a breeze, about the only thing that has been really. I was very unsure about breastfeeding when I was pregnant, but I'm glad it did work out well for us.

Frenchie said...

I am in the same situation as you are! The feelings you expressed about it being bittersweet are exactly how I feel. I wish I could have done it 'all the way' but at this point, it's a farce. I'm sad about it and a little ticked at my body, but as you said, have to cut my body some slack for actually getting pregnant and staying that way for 38 weeks and giving me my daughter!! Hang in there!

Roccie said...

Aw you dear. I am sorry nursing is finished for you both. It is so magnificent...

..and so freaking crushingly hard work!

You are right. They can suck it if they make you second guess yourself for even one second.

I had to stop BF so we could get back on the IVF wagon. I did it right at 6 mos too.

Be strong Momma. It is a sad time.

Anonymous said...

It's been a long time...but I wanted to thank you for your support post on my blog. I followed your advice and skipped the pill. It was the right decision. I am sorry you had to go through the hell of Misoprostol. I cannot begin to imagine even reading your post. My goodness you have been through it. I am glad to see you have has success and wish you all the best.
I hope you are enjoying that good glass of cabernet! :)

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