by Cheryl, posted on July 20th, 2010 in Uncategorized
The end came and I wasn’t expecting it.
I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I was hoping for a final hurrah, a lingering.
I wanted a Last Time.
Instead, the finish was as simple as a finger pointing downstairs.
X, given the choice between nursing and seeing his big brother yesterday, didn’t hesitate.
And so, just like that, we’re done.
Sixteen months, nine days.
I feel kind of like I did when Sawyer entered his kindergarten classroom on the first day of school. I was sure I’d cry. It was a moment I’d been preparing for forever. We took pictures at home. Pictures on the walk to school. Pictures in the courtyard. Then the door opened, and? Parents were not invited in. The kids went inside and the door practically slammed in our faces.
Suddenly, I had a kindergartner. I had a kindergartner, and I was left outside wondering what had just happened, and if I had paid enough attention to everything – all the years – that had come before.
I was prepared, I thought. But until it happens, you just don’t know exactly how you’ll react. I walked home that day feeling a little stunned.
Which is kind of how I am now. A little stunned.
Sixteen months, nine days. It was much longer than we could ever have hoped for.
Before Sawyer was born, I know I was asked whether I planned to nurse, and if so, how long. Because I had never done it and it had never occurred to me that this breastfeeding thing? Is actually really, really tough, I confidently answered I’d go a year, and then see.
Years later I heard someone say about nursing that just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s easy. I wish someone had told me that back when I cried and cried and blamed myself for my lack of milk, my inability to feed my own child, my clear failure as a mother. We lasted six months, supplementing along the way. Turned out, he was sensitive to my breast milk, and despite my eating nothing but chicken and rice, we had to wean.
Sage and I went two months before her breast milk sensitivity presented itself in fluorescent green poop mixed with blood. Again, the elimination diet didn’t work.
Breast milk sensitivity is somewhat rare. So when I was pregnant with X, who is for sure our last child, I hoped he’d be different.
But he wasn’t. He had the same sensitivity. Again, I tried the elimination diet: no dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, corn, oats, shellfish.
This is how badly I wanted to nurse my baby.
And it worked. It worked, and once he went down to nursing just in the morning and at night a few months ago, I started eating everything except for eggs and nuts (he has an egg allergy, and we don’t eat nuts because of Sawyer’s peanut/tree nut allergy).
I loved the time I had with him. I did. I loved how happy nursing made him. How happy it made me. How, even though he’s on the thin side, he’s a bright, active, delicious child – and for more than six months, I was the sole source of his nourishment.
I’m proud of myself. I’m proud.
I did good.
And now it’s over.
I hope it was enough.
This morning I got to do what I’ve been waiting for: I ran with my friend at 5:30, something I used to do before I got pregnant with X. I didn’t have to worry, for the first time, that X would wake up and I wouldn’t be there.
It was a tough course with a hellacious hill. Somehow, I made it.
It hurt. But it’s a start.
I was back home by 6:45 and had 15 minutes of quiet before I heard X stirring.
I got him and brought him downstairs.
We had cereal together.