Of all the parts of motherhood I hold dear, breastfeeding is definitely one of my
greatest loves. As a full-time RN who works outside the home 5 days a week, I
consider myself beyond blessed to have been able to exclusively nurse Brees for as long
as I have. I had hoped to make it to one year, diligently toting my pump to work with
me everyday, storing milk like it was the gold at the end of a rainbow. I worked really,
really hard to balance my career and my role as a mother and we made it to Brees'
first birthday with a healthy breastfed baby.
And then we decided to keep going. Two years, that became my new goal. By that
point nursing was second nature, completely effortless, and simply required me to
continue to eat healthy and take care of myself. Brees began eating the same foods the
rest of the family was having, decreasing her nursing sessions to only 3 times a
day: morning, evening, and bedtime. I loved every minute of it, especially the
bedtime sessions, sitting in my rocking chair in her nursery, just the two of us.
It was an unspeakable bond.
But then Shawn got into his accident and our whole world was turned upside down. I was
at my husband's bedside, nursing him back to health, willing him to overcome his
greatest obstacle, which meant I was away from my little girls. We spent a total of 21
days away from Isabelle and Brees with only a few short visits scattered in between. I
was in such shock about the accident for the first few days that my body did not respond
to the lack of nursing as I might have thought it would: there was no pain or swelling,
no leaking or infection. I simply just stopped producing milk. I remember waking up on
the 3rd day and crying quietly into my pillow, the emotional toll of everything that had
happened too great for me to bear in silence any longer. I remember picturing the
girls, imagining their arms around me, smelling their hair and hearing their little
girl laughter. It was a very hard day.
On the 5th day, my mother in law brought the girls to visit. Because Shawn was in
such critical condition, they could not visit him. Instead, I spent the afternoon with them
at the hotel room Shawn's family had reserved. We ordered in pizza and played games
and caught up on all the love we had missed. We took a nap all cuddled up together and
I held onto them for dear life, allowing their innocence and unconditional love to mend
my broken heart. As our visit was drawing to an end, Brees became fussy and wouldn't
let me go. I rocked her and held her and tried everything I knew to make her happy, but
the tears kept flowing. Finally, she reached down and pulled up my shirt, laid on her
side and attempted to nurse one last time. She closed her eyes, rubbed my back,
and relaxed as she had done so many times before. She did not get frustrated when the
milk did not flow as she was accustomed. She simply breathed in the moment and enjoyed
it for what it was worth: our closeness healing her broken heart.
I never meant to stop nursing you when I did and I will probably never forgive
myself for not doing more to increase our chances of continuing later. I have loved
every minute of our breastfeeding journey together, even those long nights when you
woke up every hour and refused to go to anyone else. Our weaning story is definitely
not what I would have ever imagined but I know that one day we will look back on all
of this and understand the greater purpose. I am so thankful to be home with you again,
to rock you to sleep every night and see your smiling face in the morning. We may
have closed this one chapter in your story so far but, I promise you, there is so much
more waiting for us ahead. You are loved, my sweet girl, loved beyond belief.