Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A hard journey.

When Otto was a baby many things were hard for me as a first time Mum.  One thing however that came easily was breastfeeding, it just clicked, he nursed straight away and for those first few months it seems as though he just didn't stop.  After watching so many other friends struggle I was so thankful.

Hugo was born a very efficient nurser, often finishing both sides within 45 minutes.  He was born with a tongue tie and while it didn't seem to affect his nursing we opted to have it removed to ensure that it wouldn't affect anything in the future.  It was thought that because of this tongue tie he found it hard work to nurse, so would make sure he got what he needed and then stop.  I was enjoying breastfeeding again and having those special moments with Hugo, that was until a hard headed three year old bruised a milk duct that lead to mastitis.

I mentioned having mastitis here before but what I haven't yet discussed was the ramifications from there.  Hugo had already been slow to put on weight, after the mastitis his percentiles plummeted and we had a few stressed weeks trying to increase my supply, increase the fat in his diet and supplement with formula.  It didn't help that he just didn't seem interested, in anything.  I felt like a failure as his mother, not only was I unable to produce enough milk, I hadn't noticed him looking skinny.  I was so busy getting everything done, looking after Otto, visiting Han in hospital, keeping the house running, feeding and cooking for everyone that it took me a while to stop and really look at what I was missing.  In fact, it would take yet another bout of mastitis for me to really stop.

Last week I made the tearful late night journey to the doctor, a swollen, hot red breast telling me that once again I was failing.  I was put back onto antibiotics, increased the amount of medication I am already taking to increase my milk supply and hope that we can continue through until Hugo is one and can start taking other milk.  In that time we have had a win, Hugo's weight is rising at a faster pace, we still have a way to go to get him to "average" but we are getting there.

It is hard to express all the different feeling I have.  I have felt like a failure, often, I have felt defeated many times, I have felt anger and resentment a sense of unjust, but mostly and I have just felt really sad.

This experience has prompted me to take a very good and hard look at myself, the good, the bad and the very ugly.  I don't want to waste this opportunity for self growth, we are given mountains to learn how to climb to the other side, it has prompted me to change my expectations, to stop and really look at my family.  To be grateful for who they are, for what they can teach me and my time spent with them.  Many times I can get overloaded with my to do list, the pile of papers that need my attention, the washing, the cleaning or any other mundane task that takes my time and attention away from them, I know I can't completely stop that, but I am trying to limit the fallout from it.  Each breastfeed for me is now so important, you can find me with tears in my eyes tracing each roll and fold of skin, listening to his breath and watching his eyelashes flutter, holding his fingers and teaching him the names for each item on my face.  They are such precious moments as I don't really know which one will be my last.

I know women face so many bigger problems in the world but in my little bubble this is a big deal.  It isn't the end of the world and I am so happy to have fed him for 9 months already.  It is amazing how such little people can teach you such big things and in the 3.5 years I have had the privilege of being a mother my world has completely turned upside down, but now I can see I am really the right way up because of it.

1 comment:

  1. Do not ever see yourself as a failure. I see failure as not having tried. You have tried and are continuing to try to feed Hugo. I was told at around eight months I had to stop feeding Jarvis (for my health reasons), but I fought it and have continued to feed him.
    You will find what is good/right for you and Hugo. In all of his photos he seems healthy and happy. Do not stress. easy for me to say since I am a massive stress bucket, but just enjoy the moments you can. Because all too soon they grow up...