Thursday, March 06, 2008

Anniversaries

I've been having a hard time with the decision of stopping pumping. The boys let me know when they were about five months old that hey, Mommy, this nursing thing is soooooo much slower and less productive than drinking formula from a bottle, so why don't we just stop it, eh? They really were quite "done" with it then. I wasn't happy about that decision but short of superglueing their little mouths to my nipples, I didn't see a way around it.

I've been pumping ever since then, determined to give Sam and Gus not only the antibodies from my breast milk, but also whatever nebulous benefits to their I.Q.'s my little contribution might make. But as they've gotten older and much more active, finding time to pump has become harder and harder. Also, they're nearly a year old now. They've probably gotten as much from my breast milk as there is to offer.

But it has been hard to quit. I was pumping a couple of days ago while eating lunch (I always end up double- or even triple-tasking while I'm pumping), and the thought of finally quitting left me in tears. I called D at work and whined pitifully at him. (Well, I thought I was pitiful; I'm sure he just found it annoying though he was good enough not to say so.)

My problem with quitting, I told him, was that I never felt I did the breastfeeding thing well in the first place. I felt like a complete schlub when it came to feeding my little boys with the milk of my body. First, there had hardly been any milk -- it took several days to come in, and when it finally did, there was pitifully little. My colostrum was bare drops -- maybe enough to feed one butterfly; certainly it wasn't enough for two little baby boys. (It kills me that breastfeeding advocates often advise nursing mothers to just wait for the milk to come in, and not offer any bottles. Realistically, what is the poor baby supposed to do for a week? Starve?)

We had further problems in that little Sam (born at 4 lbs 8 oz) literally couldn't fit his tiny mouth around my nipple. Gus (6 lbs) could nurse and even had a decent latch, but seemed uninterested in sucking very hard at all. I worked with several different lactation "experts" (most of whom, in my increasingly cranky opinion at the time, did not deserve that appellation), but the problems continued.

So we gave them bottles, and they sucked them down. And grew. I also nursed, but never managed tandem nursing at all. I pumped and pumped, trying to increase mysupply, but my biggest total at one pumping (ever!) was 80 ml. Also, I had a hard time recovering from my C-section, after several months of inactivity lying in bed (oh, yes, and being older than God when the boys were born, which believe me didn't help), and all in all, the whole thing was just a royal cluster... ah, I said I wasn't going to use words like that anymore, didn't I? Still, you get the idea.

The odd thing is that although I strove mightily to breastfeed successfully, and really don't think there is much further I could have done, I still feel guilty for not having succeeded very well. Thank you, Modern Opinion, for making me believe that a non-nursing mom is an unsuccessful mom. In the old days I could have just handed the boys to a successfully lactating wet nurse. Not an option these days. Instead, I just drove myself nuts, and annoyed the boys.

So I was whining at D on the phone, and crying just a little, and he pointed out that the boys are thriving. Thriving. They are happy and healthy (one cold and one case of thrush so far, total) and into everything, including attempting to ride Buster, our one cat who will let them get that close. Sam is walking and Gus is nearly there, and they are both in the 23 - 25 lb range, which is quite respectable for twins at nearly a year, right in there in the singleton range. They are smart enough to know how to get my goat already, and completely adorable.

So maybe, D opinined, it was good enough. Not the perfection I wanted, but good enough.

It has taken a couple of days for that to sink in. Maybe, huh? Well, maybe it was good enough.

But I still felt that I needed closure (hate that word, but you understand immediately when I say it) on the nursing thing. And when I looked at the calendar today, I got it.

Two years ago, on March 6, 2006, D and I walked into Dr. Enterprise's office for the first time, to see if she could help us get pregnant. I don't have to look up the date. It was graven on my brain, since we had to wait nearly three months for the appointment. Three months of screwing like crazed jackalopes, whether we wanted to or not, and taking my temp, and trying IUI's, and obsessively reading and bookmarking everything on the Internet that I could find about pregnancy and IVF, and worrying nonstop about whether Dr. Enterprise would just wave her hand dismissively and say, "What, are you kidding me? You're too old, get outta here!"

But she didn't. She didn't sugarcoat our prospects, and it took two IVF's (and an awful lot of dollars) to achieve a pregnancy. But old "Git 'R Done" Enterprise (as the local twins mom club calls here affectionately -- and no, I'm not kidding about that!) got it done. And here we are, with two amazing little human beings who would not have existed if we didn't have a dream and an excellent doctor and an awful lot of patience and some extra money. Well worth it all.

So this is a good day to call the pumping done, and acknowledge that my little babies are starting to become little boys. Every time I look at their little faces, my heart just about leaps from my chest in an excess of happiness. (Well, okay, that's when they haven't just pulled the cat food down off the table onto their heads, or found some cat poop on the floor and smeared it everywhere, or ... um, et cetera.) They are the best project I've ever done, and it's time to admit that this particular phase of the project are over.

Okay. I can do it. I'm pumping right now, as I type, and I'm ready to turn it off and disconnect for the last time. And on the positive side, at last I can get some Retin-A creme and get rid of a few of these wrinkles that have crept up on me the last couple of years!

Here's to you, boys! Cheers. I love you, buddies.

3 Comments:

Blogger moo said...

Hey, you get HUGE kudos for all you have managed to accomplish bf-wise with TWINS and all the obstacles that were thrown your way. Great job, mom - you deserve a huge pat on the back.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Victoria said...

Ann:

It is beyond good enough what you've done in the last year bf-wise for your boys. Hendrick was one on 3/6 and at 24 lbs wants you to know your twin boys ARE thriving. Enjoy the Retin-A.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Thalia said...

I'm not sure how much pumping I've got left in me, and Pob is only 6 months, so you've done better than I have! It's so draining and such a faff, I'm very impressed you kept going this long.

Oh and the LCs? I saw 5 or 6, I can't remember now, and only 1 really helped. Useless bunch of women, the others, and so expensive!

1:37 AM  

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