I attempted breast feeding Jasmine for one week when she was first born. I had no idea what I was doing, no idea how to ask for help or even if I should ask and so I became engorged and chapped and decided to stop trying. I was just barely nineteen at that time and I never thought much about my choice one way or the other.
When Kiliegh was born she was a preemie. She weighed 3 and a half pounds. The first five weeks of her life were spent in the NICU and during those five weeks I pumped religiously every three hours. I was determined to nurse her and I did. It was amazing. I was proud of myself for doing it. I thought quite a lot about how I felt almost robbed of this bonding opportunity that I could have had with Jasmine if only I had had the right support. When Kiliegh was around four months she began showing signs of GERD and when I took her to a GI specialist I was told that she should be on this expensive formula and that I should stop nursing her. So, I listened.
When we found out that Vada had Trisomy21 we were told that I probably would not have the opportunity to nurse her because people who have T21 have issues with low muscle tone, their tongues and coordination. I was devastated but determined to try non the less.
As soon as Vada began showing signs of improvement after her GI surgery I was given the opportunity to nurse her and guess what..., my "Down's baby" (this is sarcasm... don't ever call her that in my presence if you want to remain my friend) the one who couldn't and wouldn't...did! That's right she latched right on and showed all of those who put her into a stereotypical pile that she was her own person and that she could do it. There was a little confusion when we came home because at that time the NICE didn't have a place for parents so the nurses bottle fed her once during the night when I was sleeping in the hotel. So for a couple of weeks I used a nipple shield. After awhile I was able to take the shield off and she could nurse in any position at anytime. It was the most rewarding feeling.
It's been almost ten months now. I wanted to nurse her for at the very least a year. I don't know why a year was the minimum that I set as a goal, it just was. Now, today, Justin is taking pictures for me while I am nursing Vada for one of the last times. I haven't fully conjured up the courage to stop nursing so I can take the antidepressant but the day is coming. I want the me back that I know I was and I know that Justin and the girls do too.
I got dressed up today for the girls' Christmas programs at school. When I was in between the two shows I stopped at home to nurse Vada and since I was feeling pretty I asked Justin to take some pictures.
Ones that I could look at and be proud of.
Ones that would help me remember the bond that Vada and I had together.
Ones that would remind me of how she is not like everyone else. She is her own person and together her and I beat the odds that we were given.
It's hard looking at these pictures because they are just what I asked for. They are beautiful and at this moment in my life this bind that I have through nursing is the only thing that fulfills me and makes me feel worthwhile. Its scary to know that soon I will be saying good bye to it.