Saturday, June 11, 2011

Toddler Milk

Today it crossed my mind that we've been nursing for 12 months. I am now nursing a toddler. I hope to continue much longer, so it didn't cross my mind that it is a milestone when his birthday passed a few days ago. But when I think of how hard I've worked to make it this far, I decided we need a mini-celebration.

We made it through the initial weird latch / lots of pain stage. We made it through a low supply and weight checks and visits to the lactation consultant every two weeks. We made it through a visit from a concerned La Leche league leader and emergency donor milk rushed to our aide. We made it through herbs and supplements and medicine and dietary changes. We made it through pumping and pumping and pumping with no milk to show for it. We made it through the SNS and thousands of ounces of milk donations. We made it time and again, when we didnt know where our next donation would come from and I braced myself for the switch to formula. But the day never came.

So thank you to the women who have made it happen. Often when I feed Malachi a bottle I will tell him what mommy his delicious milk came from.

Many women in our situation don't have the resources I have to find donor milk, and don't know that there is any choice but formula. I have been connected with doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, La Leche League leaders, and most importantly, nursing moms, who have made it possible for me to choose differently.

Thank you, moms, who have shared with us so generously: Kate, Rebekah, Micah, Myrna, Danielle, Sherri, Christie, Crystal, Hollie, Rachelle, Jamie, Amy, Melynda, Kristen, Jen Kirsten, Liz, and Another Liz.

And thank you to Julie who helped us figure out our nursing problems and encouraged us to use donor milk; and Leila and Cindy who found us donors; and Human Milk 4 Human Babies!

You all are a big part of why I am now nursing my toddler.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In Which I Remember The Day Malachi Was Born

Today is my baby's birthday. His first birthday. We were never birthday party people in my house growing up. Birthdays were special, but they were family affairs. Quiet. Simple. And I have maintained that. But in contemplating how to "do" Malachi's first birthday, I have been ever-so tempted to pull out all the stops and do something big--really big--to celebrate our boy's life. I get it now. I totally understand why parent's want to capture the moon on a silver platter for their kids' birthdays. You know: ponies, bounce houses, the works. Real Wives style.

Because this is a day worth celebrating. This little boy's Entry Into the World was a big deal. It will forever be imprinted in our memories. He changed our lives forever and I want to make a big deal over him.

It's just like everyone said. The moments have passed too quickly. I can't believe that one year ago he was in his last hours of slumber before deciding he was ready to come out.

What a surreal day. It started around four in the morning. I slept between each surge, for the first hour or two, then called the midwives. Our home was full of quiet energy. I labored in the living room while Joshua and my mom filled the birth pool.

Time passed quickly. Things progressed well. Joshua and I took a walk and with each contraction I held him and swayed. He was so supportive, just what I needed him to be. I love that when I told him "I don't know if I can do this," he said, "you are doing it."

Things are a blur, with distinct images that pop out here and there. I remember it being hard, but energizing. I knew I was doing it. I felt in charge. Like I was owning this moment.

We looked at pictures tonight, remembering that day, and this year. I asked Joshua what stands out to him about that day. He said, "you were grumpy." Thanks for that, Love.

I hit transition around 1:30 in the afternoon. I was dialated to nine. Alicia suggested that I take a shower because pushing would come soon. Joshua and I stood in the shower and let the water run over us. The contractions were hard and strong. We looked at each other in amazement and shared tears over this moment that was happening. We were about to meet our son. In our home. With our family and friends near.

I imagined that moment. I was in the water. I felt Malachi's head and I pulledJoshua's hands to feel it too. The midwife quietly said, "one more push." And with a final roar, he was born, right into Joshua's hands.

But that's not what happened. Transition went on...and on...and on...

After a few more hours, several things seemed not quite right. All of it combined sent us to the hospital.
There were doctors. Procedures. Interventions. Medicine. Surgery.

But at the end of it all, there was a new baby.

Malachi Justice Allen Grasty
There were three of us.

He is so loved. Such a joy.

On second thought...

This day is sacred to us. The day our family grew to three. The day we became parents. The day a whole new person entered the world, all our very own. It's so very...special. Worth lots of italics and hyperbolic language. The very specialness of this day seems to me a reason not to do it up big.

His birthday is special to us because he's ours. The first birthday won't be remembered by him or his little toddling "friends". Our adult friends without children would think a birthday party for a one year old is a joke. I don't want to cheapen it by inviting a bunch of people who don't care as much as we do. Not this year.

This year, these memories feel too precious for Pin the Tail on the Donkey and party favors. There will be other years for that. This first year, we celebrate Malachi with our close family. We'll make a tradition of telling him how we wanted him and waited for him. We'll tell him about the day he was born. He will eat cake and wear a crown and we will make him feel special like we do every day. And we will remember.

Oh, how I love him.