About four months ago I knew our breastfeeding journey was over and I found myself packing up my pump. It was such a unique experience, we had a love/hate relationship. On one hand it was INCREDIBLY freeing, this long and grueling part of my life was over! Amazing! On the other hand, I found myself grieving this part of my life ending. Breastfeeding was important to me. Before Mercy came, I set a goal... I wanted to make it to a year. At that time, I had no idea that the majority of Mercy's "breastfeeding" would come via electrical equipment that would cause bizarre and extraordinarily painful things like Raynaud's Phenomena and De Quervain's Tenosynovitis.
Despite our bizarre and awkward experience, however, I still had my heart set on making it to a year.
We made it EIGHT months, never exclusive, we supplemented with HMF or preemie formula from the very beginning and after eight months we were exclusive formula and baby food.
ALL of that was hard for this mama's heart.
You made it easier.
NICU breastfeeding gurus, you have a hard job.
Day one in my hospital bed, you showed up with this huge piece of equipment that I had no clue what to do with. You were there every day from the colostrum we swabbed in Mercy's cheeks to the first time we tried nursing during her regular tube feeding. You reminded me when I wept that it was not worth weeping over. When I cried over 10 cc's, you reminded me that 10 cc's was better than no cc's, and when there are no cc's that's ok too. You reminded me that Mercy was growing, and as far as feeding her went, that's what counted, not breast milk vs. formula.
Mama breastfeeding gurus, you have been there and back.
Your advice and the non judgmental viewpoints from mama's who struggled were immensely helpful to me when I wanted to quit. You shared your experiences, your successes, your hearts.
YOU made a difference, you had an impact on our lives!
**this post is part of a seven week series of 'letters' to people, events and things that were part of the life transforming work God did in our lives during Mercy's stay in the NICU - for more on our growth in the NICU, check out our CaringBridge page**