Thursday, May 15, 2014

Where My Hormones At?

Sunday, May 11th was a milestone of sorts. In addition to being Mother's Day and Anna's birthday party, that day saw the end of the era.

It was the day that I nursed Anna for the last time. I knew the time was coming, and I'm glad I knew it would be the last time, but I couldn't help making a sad face.

I officially nursed Anna for the first year of her life. She had formula only two times in her whole life- once in the hospital after her surgery (they thought breastmilk would be too much for her belly) and once about a month ago when I had completely gone through my freezer stash and had no milk to send to daycare.

I'm nowhere near the camp of "Breastfeeding is the one and only way and moms who don't breastfeed are the worst." Nah. I'm in the camp of "Do what works best for your baby and for you." I'm impressed when I hear that any woman even tries to breastfeed, because it is so hard at times, and I wouldn't fault anyone for not trying it or sticking with it if it didn't work out.

However, I'm pretty damn proud of myself for making it this long. When Anna was sick, there was this big part of me that felt like it was my own way of healing her. Not because I think it's some magic formula, but because nursing always seemed to calm and comfort Anna better than anything else could. I felt so helpless, and there were so many smart doctors around us that made me feel useless at times, so in a small way I felt that nursing was something that no one else could do for her, and it kept me going.

I also realized that for the last 4 years, I've had an insane amount of hormones going through my body. Beginning in May 2010, I've either been pregnant, post-partum, or breastfeeding. I once heard that when a woman is pregnant, she has more hormones running through her body than any other time in her life. I totally believe this. Much the same can be said about breastfeeding. Think about all the hormones that have to be swirling around in there to produce milk. Like, when I actually sit and think about it, I can't think about it. It's mind boggling. I don't get how it works. Biology, man.

Anyway, I am very happy that I made it to the goal of one year. Nursing and pumping certainly was not easy. I could never be away from her for long because I had such a small freezer stash built up. Lugging my pump and pump parts to work every day wasn't fun, especially on those few days when I forgot the parts and had to make the 1-hour round trip back home to get them so I didn't get mastitis or clogged ducts.

So today, for the first time in a very long time, my body is not responsible for sustaining another human life. Kinda weird. I thought I would feel different, but it's about the same. No crazy mood swings. No tears. No sudden drop in appetite (I really hope that part gets itself figured out, because I sure do miss burning those extra 500 calories a day!)

I was ready. She was ready. The part that I will miss the most is how snuggly she always was after she nursed, but, mercifully, she is still super cuddly and snuggly, so I know I still have a least a few more days of that left.

And conveniently, I'm off to Napa Valley in 3 days, so if I want to drink more than 1 glass of wine, I officially can.

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6 comments:

  1. What a great accomplishment. I've been thinking about what I'm going to do- I'm going to attempt to do it as long as I can up to a year, but realistically with work and scheduling and depending on how my own personal biology works I'm shooting for 6 months... I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself about it because it really depends on so many things. It is nice to hear that another busy working mom was able to sustain a supply for so long- gives me hope! :-)
    Have an AMAZING time in Napa. You deserve it after such a crazy past few years. My best (unsolicited) advice would be to just take in the air and the natural beauty out there. It really took my breath away at times. I expect a full report on the wineries and what you ate! I have no vacation planned for at least a year so I'm living vicariously through you haha.

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    1. Don't worry girl, I will be posting LOTS of pictures of this trip! I will definitely take your advice of breathing in the air. I feel like I haven't been able to breathe for the last few years, and that's exactly what this trip is about :)

      And kudos to you for trying out BFing! It's certainly not for everyone, but I applaud any woman who at least even attempts it. It's been one of my favorite parts of motherhood so far.

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  2. This sounds like the best timing ever! Your vacation will be all the better not worrying about pumping etc. Oh, the freedom! Congrats on making it to a year too, it's hard enough without all the medical problems Anna experienced so I can only imagine the effort it took for you to keep going through all of that. Now I will be impatiently awaiting pictures from Napa so I can vicariously vacation through you! Have SO MUCH FUN!

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    1. I know, it really worked out, timing-wise. I will definitely miss the closeness, but I'm just proud I was able to do it as long as I could. And yes, gear up for a huge photo-dump when we get back! :)

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  3. Congrats on making it to one year! I am counting down the days until I don't have to pump anymore (I am a teacher so 10 more days until summer vacation aka the break up date for me and my pump - haha!)

    Enjoy your trip (and wine)!

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