When I was pregnant with my daughter, I could not wait for the first moment that I was able to hold her and learn together how to breastfeed, the most natural of things that I could do to provide her with nourishment. After a failed induction ended in an emergency c-section my beautiful little girl was born with an infection which landed her in the NICU. I didn’t get to hold my daughter until about 12 hours after she was born which meant her first nourishment didn’t come from her mother; it came from a bottle. I never meant for her to be given even a single drop of formula. I was heartbroken.
The next day I was brought a pump. The nurse gave me a quick run through and left my room leaving me confused and miserable. I hooked myself up and turned it on. 30 minutes later I finally got a single drop. A drop? One drop? All that time sitting there by myself with this noisy machine resulted in one drop? I became even more heartbroken. Until I was wheeled to the NICU holding an eye-dropper that contained that one precious drop. The NICU nurse was excited. Excited over one drop? Seriously? Yes – because one drop is better than nothing. She pulled my little girl out of her little bed and carefully put the eye-dropper to her lips and my daughter finally drank up my liquid gold. That’s all I needed.
As soon as I was in the comfort of my own home, I became a pumping machine. I wasn’t going to allow my daughter to have any more formula. If I couldn’t bring her home with me, then at least she was going to have her mama’s milk. My alarm was set to go off every three hours. I was obsessed. Every morning I walked into the NICU with at least 6-8 tiny bottles of milk to feed my daughter. Twice a day while I visited, the nurses would help me latch her on. We struggled and she hardly got anything but we tried each time I came in.
25 days passed and the tests came back all clear. Her infection was gone and she was coming home. HOME! We packed up her things and placed her in her car seat and we left the hospital. Finally. The first thing we did when we arrived home? We sat down, mama and her little girl, and nursed. She nursed like she had never had a bottle. She knew that we were home. She nursed until she was 14 months old. And I’m thankful for every single second.
We celebrated her second birthday in December and her homecoming in January. And on the last day of February, we welcomed our son and I was finally able to have that very first special bonding experience only a nursing mother knows. And every three hours for the past 8 weeks, my son & I sit down and we stare at each other memorizing every detail of each other’s faces and he nurses.
Baby girl (2 years) and Baby boy (8 weeks)