Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Misses


I went to Chicago this week to see what there was to see. And do a little business. Or the other way around.

At the last second I made the decision to go alone. This Chicago trip was going to be stuffed like a Thanksgiving bird with meetings and rushings around. This trip to Chicago was no place for a baby. This trip was no place for a mommy. So I left them both at home.

There was duality in my decision to introduce the bottle to the babe. I wanted, I didn't want. I felt fine, I felt guilt. I love nursing because it means I am the only one in the world who is keeping the baby alive. I fear nursing because it means I am the only one in the world who is keeping the baby alive. Nursing keeps me sane, and nursing--as it turns out--makes me crazy.

But the minute I said good bye to her, all tucked into the safety of her pod in the car, I missed her. I missed her when I printed out my boarding ticket. Missed her going through security. Missed her waiting at the gate as we boarded to leave east over the fall-imprinted mountain range.

Missed her in Chicago as we walked on the riverfront parkway.

Missed her at dinner with my new BlogHer friends, an exotic mix of all things Asian (the dinner, not the friends). (The friends were an exotic mix of Irish New Yorker, Gay New Yorker, Chicagoan, LA Transplant and a Relief Society President from Herriman, Utah.)

And I missed her that night as I went to bed, when I felt my milk come in.

In the morning I met up with everyone at breakfast. We were an instant family of a corporate nature. It was like sharing the breakfast table with my siblings, teasing and story telling--a comfortable mix of two. While following a conversation, my eyes caught a baby newborn bouncing around at the next table. My instincts made me believe I could go ask the mother if I could please breastfeed her fussy baby, my lucidity made me stay put.

But just for a second or two? I battled and day dreamed of nursing.

When the day was done--a day of Pollack-like splats of conversation all over the place, I arrived at the airport to come home. My chest was tight with a two-day milk supply. It spared no pain in reminding me about home, about that baby and mom I had left behind. I could feel it pulsating with desire for relief. Ease. Draining.

On the plane ride home a man sat next to me. He was the same age as my dad. He looked like my dad. About thirty two minutes into the flight I started to miss my dad too. I had an extra newspaper and asked if he wanted to read it. He did. As I sat there my instincts told me to look at his hands, just to see if they were the same hands as my dad. I miss my dad's oval fingers and flat nails--hangnails that are promptly removed with his squinty eyes and precise teeth. But when I looked, the man sitting next to me had skinny hands with triangular nails.

Then he fell asleep. I could tell by his breathing and expanded body. Somehow his large chest slumped over and started to push against mine. It hurt. Oh, how it hurt.

But the missing. That hurt worse.

When I was home I checked on The Chief. He was curled up into a ball at the bottom of the bed. I moved him back to his proper place and tucked him in. Then I slowly opened the nursery door and peaked into the crib. I found her on her side--her white silky blanket tucked below her chin. I thought about all the things I could do to relieve my chest of the heaviness but decided to wake her up and give her the honor. It's all for her anyway.

And in the milk-letting, the mom was home again.
 




I am c jane and I am glad to be home. Like always.
contact me:
cjanemail@gmail.com
c jane on facebook 

35 comments:

lindsay said...

Oh... makes me want to go nurse my baby. (That would be weird since she stopped almost a year ago.) Thanks for the sweet memories.

Kit said...

Cjane, love this post. I loved nursing all four of my babies so much.

Kelly said...

Nice post CJ. I can totally relate since I loved nursing too. It's quite an honor to be the food provider to your loved ones in that way.

Glad you got to get away to the windy city!

madsta said...

im glad your home safe! was that picture of ever a professional one? it needs a frame!

Laura said...

What a beautiful story! Even though its been 3 years since I nursed a wee one, all the same feelings came back. Thanks for sharing.

Candice said...

I think it's so awesome how dedicated you are to nursing your baby. Good for you, Cjane! Your little Ever is a lucky lady. :)

Bridget said...

I love this. So beautiful.

I'm not feeling terribly lucky but I'd still be delighted to win a CD!

Anonymous said...

um, are the other blogs going to be unlocked soon please? please, miss, don't take the provo blog away from me.

a.men said...

I needed this more than you know! I have a 10 old girl with breast milk jaundice. But I love nursing her and am completely incapable of pumping. So she is all hooked up to medical equipment, and I am fighting to keep nursing. Thanks for sharing you thoughts, you always manage to put into words exactly what I feel.

Keya said...

I love nursing my baby too.

amyrose said...

See, that's what is magical about you CJane. I don't love nursing. I nursed my first baby for nine months, and with my second we're at eight months and wondering how long we'll keep going. And so, while I don't love nursing, this post made me grateful that I get to do it, to have those times of closeness and warmth, and it made me love my babies a little more.

Thanks.

tharker said...

My baby is 10 months old, and sadly I have stopped nursing (wasn't making enough for her anymore). Reading this post makes me wish I still was.

Nursing also makes me a bit crazy. While nursing, I'm so happy to be the only one who can fill up my baby's belly, but oh how nice it is to hand her and her sippy cup over to her daddy too.

Love this post.

Jodi said...

Courtney, what a beautiful post!

Claire said...

Chicago misses you! Oh wait, that's just me. Well, maybe Chicago too. And I'm glad you went back to nursing. :)

Gingerlylizzy said...

As a Mom of soon to be four who has had a love/hate relationship with nursing (love what it does and the sense of closeness, hate the pain and struggle to do it), this post made me appreciative and excited about the next opportunity I get to do it again! Thanks for this!

Cassie said...

I loved this post so honest and raw of emotions. Thanks for sharing your private thoughts with us. What lucky kids and husband you have.

Ann-Michelle said...

Oh nursing. Nothing sweeter, nothing more restrictive, nothing more calming.

ladyshanae said...

Just another reason why I hope Baby #3 and me will figure out the nursing thing! Thank you for keeping me motivated to try it all again in a few short months!

stephanie joy said...

wow... the nursing relationship put so well! that was a great post. it describes my battle with it too. i adore breastfeeding. absolutely LOVE it! however, i hate that i'm tied down. i know it doesn't last forever though, and so i press forward. first baby -- 14 months. second baby -- 22 months. now my third, we're going on 13 months and show no signs of quitting anytime soon. but reading that you went away for a couple days and ever kept nursing once you got back gives me a tiny glimmer of hope that i can do that. maybe just a getaway with the mister and i for a day or two. and then i can come back and let her suckle! :) thanks court.

Anonymous said...

Love this, but have to ask the obvious question: didn't you bring a pump??? I traveled when I had a nursling and I think my chest would have exploded on the plane without the pump.

Erica Ann said...

I loved reading this. I loved nursing my baby, I felt such a bond with her and cried when we stopped nursing. Being pregnant this time around that was one thing I looked forward to, nursing a baby again. I just found out I lost the baby and there will be no baby to nurse. But I know I'll have the chance to be pregnant again. Thanks for always inspiring me.

Niki said...

Great post. I feel a lot of the same things...however, since I can't nurse, and pump only--it's kind of been the best of both worlds. My husband can feed her, but I am still giving her breast milk. It is a lot more freeing and I have been able to sustain it longer. Down side: pump goes EVERYWHERE I do. Gets kind of annoying. Glad you are home!

Heather said...

I'm sort of jealous of women who love breastfeeding. I've never been a fan, it's not so much instinct to me but just a foreign concept. I prefer bonding in other ways. But I wish I enjoyed it more...

It's be nice to have the same feelings about it that you do! But #2 is on the way and I'm dreading it - first time didn't go so well and I ended up not being able to from a mix of nipple confusion & inverted nipples on my part. :-( I ended up an exclusive pumper for 5 months. Definitely would rather feed a baby than feel like I'm being milked by a machine - yuck.

Anonymous said...

fall-imprinted mountain range

Pollack splattered conversation

GREAT metaphors.

Laura said...

such a lovely post. I have an almost 4 month old and have had a hate/love relationship with nursing. Hated it at first and now I love it. I miss my little one while I am at work all day waiting to get home to her and nurse her. Thanks for expressing some of what it is like to nurture and bond with your baby.

also, though, 2 days !!! how painful!!!! I would've died. I pump every 3 hours when I'm at work. whewwww. Glad you made it home safe!

a.men said...

For all you mommies who pump: What type of pump do you use? I have tried everything from hand held, to electric, to hospital double pumps. It just doesn't work for me, I can pump and pump and I barely can cover the bottom of the bottle! But I can feed my baby and she is full and happy and gaining weight.

Anonymous said...

I think that is the thing I want to experience more than anything when I have a child...nursing my baby. My three sisters were breastfeeding champs and I hope I can be...someday. But at 38, my hopes are dwindling.. :(

I have to wonder with the other posters, how in the world did you go 2 days and not pump? I'd think your chest would explode! :)

AzĂșcar said...

a.men, I used an Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric.

It's not surprising to hear you say that you can't pump much but that baby is happy to be fed. Pumping isn't an indication of how much milk you're making; baby is always more efficient than the pump. There are lots of tricks and tips to get more (you can read a bunch of them over at Kelly Mom.) My main tips: pump in the morning before you leave, pump one side while baby is on other, bring a picture or something that smells like your baby, take deep breaths and relax.

Notes from Holly St. said...

how beautiful. I'm five months pregnant and already have so much anxiety about nursing. will i be able to do it? will it hurt? will i produce enough milk? your post has taken away that anxiety and has made me actually look forward to it. thank you!

Eliza said...

Oh ouch! My chest hurts just thinking about it. I love nursing my babe but I do wish he'd sometimes take a bottle or sippy (I've tried and tried and tried...) because he's 11 MONTHS OLD!

Alicia said...

a.men, I've used several different breastpumps (my first child had surgery as an infant, so I used lots of hospital pumps, etc.), and the most effective for me was a Medela double electric. Something about the suction felt more natural and let my milk down better. The Ameda hospital pump also worked well, but I now have a regular (home) model, and it just won't trigger a let-down for me, no matter how long I try, which suction/cycle setting I use, if I use deep breathing, etc. I also have a single The First Years pump that works pretty well, but if I were going to invest in another one, it would definitely be a Medela.

Hope this helps and isn't overwhelming! Like Azucar said, I'm sure you have plenty of milk; definitely try the KellyMom tips. Don't worry, you can do it!

Kim said...

Hi new friend, so glad you made it home safely.
while nursing was a super long time ago for me (with my now teens), your post touched that place in my heart that misses my dad every day in the almost 3 years he has been gone now.

Wendy said...

I, along with all the mamas reading this, have felt this way so many times when I am away from my babies.

I must say though that my chest is hurting from reading this at the thought that you did not pump at all? I might have fallen forward and could not have walked properly had I gone two days without relieving my poor chest! Glad you are home safe and sound....plus enjoying your concert. Good times!

Ali said...

Ditto Lindsay's comment. My SIL had her daughter four monthes after I had mine. We were there about 60 minutes after she was born. SIL had a c-section and was too out of it to nurse and my sweet little niece was crying and sucking on her hand. It took all my willpower not to rip my shirt off in front on everyone and start nursing her...so I can relate to the instinct to nurse the stranger's baby. :-)

Tara said...

YES! BREAST PUMP! GET ONE! I would have died without it. Takes a bit of getting used to but breast pump + frozen breast milk = date nights, girl's nights out, etc. It also meant for me a 6 day vacation in Mexico with my sweetie when my babe was 6 months old (I had a lot of frozen milk stored up). I pumped and dumped, he drank frozen and we went happily back to our regularly scheduled breastfeeding upon my return without a hiccup.

BREAST PUMP. Seriously.

P.S. it only takes one pump a day (usually late at night) and then hubby would give the bottle for one feeding while I would pump for just that one feeding...