Towards the last trimester of pregnancy, the importance of breastfeeding is being taught. You might even receive a pamphlet about the benefits of breastfeeding babies. You shop for essentials and that includes breastfeeding pumps. I can’t forget our first baby fair event. We went home empty-handed! We didn’t know what to buy with all the many options and brands around us. Come to the second baby fair event and we bought not only 1 but 2 brands of breastfeeding pumps! Medela and Avent! And so I told myself “Ok, I’d better produce milk!”
But I didn’t. I delivered via C-Section because of complicated pregnancy and delivery. It was around 6 pm and I was still woozy and in pain in bed when the nurse called and asked me if I could go down the NICU and nurse Zey Zey. I tried to stand up but every time I did it there was some sort of an enormous log that kept on pushing me back in bed. So the nurse asked me if I could pump and send down some milk because Zey Zey was hungry and needs to feed.
I still remember when I was sobbing my heart out when I attempted to pump for 30 minutes and there was no milk coming out. And the sobbing turned into wailing that Dino couldn’t do anything but hugged me tight to comfort me. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. I refused to believe it. How could this be?! I was prepared! I’ve even studied the 39 Breastfeeding Secrets Every New Mother Should Know! And then I realized, no matter how prepared you are, breastfeeding is not easy and it’s not for everybody.
It was my choice, my dream, my prayer to breastfeed but I won’t let my son be famished!
I told Dino, to call the nurse and tell her I am allowing them to feed my son with formula milk.
I felt the Big “F” word— FAILED! My postpartum depression started during those times. At that early stage, I felt so depressed and hopeless. Yes, I failed but I didn’t give up! I did everything I could. I ate everything and took supplements that would boost milk production. My OB even advised me that Dino should suck my breasts! That is to further suction the milk and we complied! Ok, I don’t know if this is censored but hey! I know I wasn’t the only one who did this. I bet one of you reading my blog now has done it! Besides, remember I told you in First Blog Post? One day, one of you gets to read one of my blogs and find exactly what you’re looking for. (Ok, this is just me explaining, I wish I could place here an emoji! Ahuhuh!)
But seriously, the most important thing I did was pray. Every minute I gain consciousness I PRAY. It’s a short but echoing prayer in my head –“Lord, please bless my breasts!” I didn’t even say Milk. I asked the Lord to bless my body to be able to be a blessing to my child.
Zey Zey remained in the NICU for another week and I was already discharged from the hospital. I wasn’t producing any milk in those days. Yet, I go to him every day (with my binder and excruciating pain from my surgery), and latched on like a rockstar! I did that EVERY DAY and stayed with him as much as I could. I kept on asking the nurses if I was nursing properly while complaining that it was too painful at the same time.
At first, nursing was agony. Neither I nor Zey Zey knew what we were doing. We were both frustrated and distressed. I’ll never forget one nurse’s comment, delivered kindly, but thrown like a dagger straight to my heart. “Ma’am, your baby is very hungry but very stressed and tired” she said. I felt desperate! I went home on and just wept. And then, after more than 2 weeks, Zey Zey was home with us and there was milk!
Gradually, we got the hang of it. But then came the real test. The frequency with which Zey Zey needed to feed was exhausting. Some nights, I would hear him cry, and long from the depths of my soul not to go to him. I was more fatigued than I ever imagined. Everytime he cries I felt like climbing the Everest, wanting nothing more than to lie down in the snow to sleep—too exhausted to bother if I’d die!
But I knew he needed me. So, I’d always get up, crawled through my exhaustion, and went to him. Months passed by and my body got numb from tiredness. It was joy and fulfillment that took over.
CHEERS TO MILK AND BEYOND
I thought I’d just breastfeed for 6 months. But then it became for 1 year. And then now for almost 2 years! The truth is, God has been faithfully supplying my needs. I won’t be able to produce milk up to now, if not for His provision. God is my provider. He is my son’s greatest provider. He has helped me to take my eyes off myself as my source and look to Him. As I have been able to do this more and more, breastfeeding is one of the hardest yet greatest joys in my life.
It has absolutely changed my life. I am blessed to be able to do this. It is a gift that I’ve always wanted to make the most of. Zey Zey who’s turning 2 years old a few weeks from now still nurses like a newborn. I don’t think things will be changing too soon. Am I complaining? Oh yes, I am! But the complaint is more on the frequent latches and exhaustion. In the end, I still feel wanted and important-gifted, and blessed!
Sometimes, I still wonder If I am still producing milk. But it’s exactly the most amazing thing about breastfeeding. In my mind, I have so little, but in my son’s eyes, I have so much to give- LIFE, JOY, NOURISHMENT, and most of all LOVE.
I had no idea that breastfeeding is a source of inspiration. Perhaps, like I said, it’s not for everyone. It’s crazy to think about my breastfeeding journey and to be here now, almost 2 years later. My experience could be nothing compared to others. There are a lot of mothers who are breastfeeding for 3-4-7-9 years! Everyone’s journey to motherhood, and each path thereafter, will never be the same. So embrace your own story and remember, you are never alone. Enjoy to the fullest the season you are in now.
HAPPY WORLD BREASTFEEDING MONTH!