Micah laid in front of me on the bed, feet kicking, fists clenched, crying. I sobbed too. Waiting for my milk to letdown. Waiting for the tingle to know that Micah wouldn’t have to work very hard to latch and drink. Despite several tongue and lip tie procedures, his latch has never been good. He tires easily. Nurses often. Has often returned to a pattern of eating every 2 hours even through the night. And while his head and height measurements remain steady and strong, his weight constantly teeters on the dangerously low.
Perhaps my blog has remained silent because I didn’t want to put these struggles into words…
After too many tears had been shed, I spent all of Saturday giving Micah my precious pumped small supply of milk by bottle while simultaneously…endlessly…trying to pump more. My crying continued.
Ever since returning to work in February after maternity leave ended, I dubbed the first day of the weekend “Crying Saturday.” It all hits. The exhaustion. The messy house. The laundry that barely gets washed. The constant need for even more groceries. And now this. The challenge of feeding a long and lean baby in the 4th percentile when I can’t be for sure on any given day if my milk supply will be up for the challenge.
Tomorrow, Micah will officially be four months old. He is waking up to the world around him in an entirely new way. Rolling himself into positions that leave him upset with himself and fussing for rescue. Cooing when it is just the two of us. Grinning with that one dimple. He has my heart. My precious boy. And, I have chosen to feed him no matter what it takes. Nursing. Pumping. Breast milk. Formula. Gifted donor milk. To him, it is all nutrition. And for me – just that simple permission to divert from exclusive breast milk if needed – is grace. It is a gift. A gift that I have given other mamas with words of affirmation, but never extended to myself.
And, with that decision, have come miracles. First, in the form of 60 bottles worth of formula in my pantry. (For those interested, after quite a bit of research, I ordered Pure Bliss off of Amazon. It is made in Europe, sold by Similac, and – most importantly – from grassfed dairy.) Then, a traveling doula offered to bring me all of the milk she was pumping while traveling before boarding a plane to go back home. She estimated that she would have 50 ounces. She brought me 100 ounces. And, despite having the flu this week, my own milk supply has been sufficient each day so far.
All miracles. The formula. The incredible gift of milk. The opportunity to nurse and pump for Micah myself this week.
Thank you to the mamas that have reached out. Thank you, Jesus, for grace. Thank you that I live in a world of plenty where I have options. These are all gifts.
So, Micah, on the eve of your four month birthday, know that your mama loves you so very much. She would do anything to help you thrive. She also knows that you and your sister and your daddy need a happy mama. A mama who can see beyond the next pumping session. Beyond the bottles of milk in the fridge. Beyond a number to a family. That craves laughter and joy and fun. Welcome, Sweet Boy, to the world of grace and to seasons of finding the balance between expectations and reality.