The time has come: I am no longer breastfeeding. It is disappointing, and I am riddled with guilt for deciding to stop, but it had become too much of a fight. We struggled with it from day one, long before surgeries and chemo, and it continued to get more difficult. I got hours of help from many different lactation consultants, rented a hospital-grade pump, and had lots of support, but I just found myself not able to keep up. I discussed it for a long time with Chris and Scarlett's doctor, and we decided that it was up to me to stop when I felt overwhelmed. That time has come.
I was prepared to nurse for as long as she wanted to, found multiple resources to go to for help, researched and invested in equipment to support me and read every article I could. It turns out that her anatomy and mine were not a great match, so it was challenging. Then, when she was hospitalized the first time, my milk supply dwindled, and I struggled for the last 3 months to get it back. It is nearly impossible to pump in the hospital, and I am completely in awe of those who can do it. The hospital does provide pumps and all the supplies for moms who have a sick baby. Sometimes I got my own to use when I wanted, other times it was a shared pump in a little closet. Sharing a pump with others meant sometimes waiting in line, which kept me from my child; pumping in her hospital room meant inevitable interruptions. I think that every doctor we see has seen me topless. I even had one try to shake my hand while I was holding the pump up...awkward.
It's not the first of our ideal parenting plans that have flown out the window. Last weekend, we sold or returned all the cloth diapering supplies that we had. Our schedule made it nearly impossible to get the dirty diapers out for the service to pick-up (and to launder them ourselves would be just as hard to fit in).
There are sure to be more plans we must let go; we planned to be typical parents, but we don't have a typical kid. She's extra-ordinary, so we have to keep up.
P.S. - For those who remember the breastmilk cancer treatment I mentioned earlier, don't worry; that study has only been done on rats in experimental settings. It has fantastic implications for the future of cancer treatment, but it is not ready for babies.