Preemie · Pumping

Our Breastfeeding Journey

Oomph.

 

 

I haven’t blogged in nearly a year.

So much has happened since last october and I don’t even know where to begin. I’ll get around to writing it all down…someday…hopefully. As I’m ready. As I heal.

However, since it seems to be Breastfeeding week, I’m going to start there. In the middle of my story…

I’ve been seeing this graphic floating around instagram and facebook with ‘prompts’ for BFW2015 and I had thought about posting little things throughout the week about our journey, but I feel like this post will sum them many of them up nicely, though I may post a bit more throughout the week.

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Hi. I’m Sarah, and I exclusively pump.

I may not be breastfeeding in the traditional sense, but my body is providing food for my baby. I have to stop multiple times a day to collect said food. I then must turn around, fortify it, and feed my sweet child. We have tried to nurse, but it often ends in a grumpy & hungry baby and a frustrated momma who still needs to pump and make a bottle. This works for us, and I’m glad.

The first question on the graphic is ‘Why do you breastfeed?”  I’m glad you asked.

I pump because my sons were born prematurely at only 24 weeks gestation. They were both intubated and had feeding tubes for a very long time – there was no way either could have gone to the breast without it having devastating effects.

I pump because it was the only thing I had control over for so, so long. As I sat in my hospital room and eventually every day by their isolettes, my alarm would go off every two hours and I would pump. Before I could touch them, I could pump. Before I could hold them, I could pump. Before I could take him home, I could pump. So I pumped.

I pump because studies have shown that breast fed babies have a lowered risk of getting NEC. NEC is so scary & if I could help their chances against even one life threatening thing, I would. I remember spending hours hand expressing colostrum into a syringe so I wouldn’t waste even a drop.

I pump because it helps me feel like my body didn’t completely fail my babies. After going into active labor at 24 weeks with no reason why, it is hard not to feel that way – justified or not.

I pump because it helps other babies. I have been able to donate 500oz to a few other moms.

I pump because even though my son is now home, he is still a preemie. I want to give him the best, give him antibodies, vitamins, and all the other goodness that is in my milk.

I have been EPing for almost 5 months now. I’m hoping to actively pump for a year and then use my frozen stash, but I will be happy with however long we make it. Pumping, much like nursing is hard & time consuming. You learn much about yourself and what you can do in the process.

I have pumped in target, in movie theaters, friend’s houses, and the car. I have spent many pumping sessions crying, praying, pr passing out from sheer exhaustion. I have pumped while waiting to go into the NICU, pumped when I needed to be alone, and pumped around friends. It has become such a huge part of me.

I remember asking to see my babies, for a pump, and water as soon as I could after my c-section. Our nurse was a saint – I’m pretty sure I asked over & over again…But hey, I got ice, they wheeled my bed into the NICU so I could see my boys, and there was a pump in my room, so my hounding worked!

I remember feeling discouraged because it seemed like the pump was doing nothing.

I remember holding my breath when I would turn the pump on because it hurt so much.

I remember when it stopped hurting.

I remember watching my output slowly increase.

I was actually pumping when the NICU called us to say Zeke wasn’t doing well and that we needed to get there.

I remember not pumping for hours after that, but needing to. I didn’t want to leave him for something that seemed so trivial at that moment.

I remember being amazed that my body could still make milk after all the tears and energy I had just spent when I finally sat down to pump.

I remember hating my over supply because it reminded me I was supposed to be feeding two babies instead of one.

I remember accepting it when I realized it would allow me to feed Noel BM for longer.

I am grateful my body responds well to the pump. I am grateful for my friends who have allowed me to store milk in their freezers when I ran out of room in mine. I am grateful for my best friend who showed up at the hospital with pumping accessories in tow ready to help me learn. I am grateful for all the encouragement the NICU staff gave me during my journey there. I don’t know if we would have made it this far without it all.

So, while it is by no means a normal journey, it is ours. I’ll admit, I look forward to the day when I am no longer hooked up to the pump, but for now I’ll consider it my breast friend.

 

 

…sorry. I had to make that pun.

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