A couple of weeks ago, I had a small panic attack: I couldn't find my breast pump! I had the box with all the "parts," but no actual pump! And considering just how expensive these babies are, I was getting a little nervous. Not to mention the sentimental attachment I had to such a weird piece of equipment . . .thank goodness Brian found it in the attic last night. I'm definitely relieved I don't have to start over with a new pump. Why so important you say? Well, in August 2003 when the boys were born, this little bag became a part of my being. I literally carried it everywhere I went. And it seemed that no matter where I went, it was always time to pump again! My little babies were so sick and there was not much I could do for them as they lay in the hospital, but I quickly discovered that I was good at making milk. So make milk I did! I was DETERMINED to pump until they were ready to actually breastfeed, no matter how long it took to get them there. Shawn was the first to eat--he had a few meals of 1 and 2 ccs before he got sick. I'm so glad he was able to get that little part of me before he died. Clayton, on the other hand, took months to get well enough to eat. And when he did, my milk had to be mixed with formula to pack on the calories for him. And by the time he actually did start using my milk, I had used all of my storage space at the NICU and filled up TWO deep freezers full of bottles! (We even had to buy a new one just to make room!) The lactation consultant was pretty impressed with me, if I do say so myself!
I guess it was sometime in January 2004 that Clayton was able to actually start trying to directly breastfeed. And hence, the whole preemie issue of "oral aversion" was introduced into our lives. (Oral aversion: preemies develop this condition from having the ventilator tubing down their throats for so long and from not initially learning to eat right out of the womb). He started breastfeeding just a bit, but it soon became too overwhelming for him. We then moved to the bottle and again, he initially did well. And then POOF! One day it was over. He refused to put a bottle in his mouth and when you did get it in there, he choked and sputtered all over the place. Feedings quickly became nightmares for all involved! This was all still in the NICU, and Clayton couldn't go home until he was feeding well on his own. After a couple of weeks of literally fighting him to feed from a bottle eight times a day, we made the decision to put the g-tube in. A g-tube has it's own set of problems, but I'm so glad we went ahead and did it since that was the only thing keeping Clayton from coming home.
But back to the milk . . .Clayton continued receiving my breastmilk through his tube for several months, but he just didn't grow. We finally started seeing a GI doctor and discovered he was allergic to milk and wasn't going to grow as long as we kept giving him something he couldn't even absorb well! I just about went into mourning when I discovered all of my milk would go to waste. All my hardwork down the drain! I even tried to find a place to donate it to, but no one in Arkansas took it and I would have to pay to ship it to Texas, the closest place. Couldn't do that, so reluctantly, I threw almost two deep freezers full of breastmilk away. Definitely a sad day for a lactating momma!
SOOOOOOO. . . that all being said, I'm really looking forward to getting a redo on breastfeeding. I know I won't need the pump as much, and feeding a baby actually seems a little scary to me (that pump was very reliable and worked right on schedule!), but if I'm able to pick up where I left off last time, breastfeeding this time around should go very well!!