Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love by the ounce

We hit Elliott's four week mark today...and as I reflect back on the four weeks, it's quite easy to figure out what we've done with that time...breastfeeding.

Yes, breastfeeding is my new full time job. Or hobby. Or quality time with my sweet girl. Or apparently my current purpose in life according to Elliott!

She loves to eat, and I'm quite happy about that. However, she's not the fastest eater around. I can already tell that she'll be like Mitch and will take hours to eat a meal. (Great! They can eat together while I've already finished and moved on to doing something else.) In the meantime, this means lots of quality time for Elliott and me. It's sort of nice so long as I don't plan on accomplishing anything else. At all.

So...my first time away from her, I ran to the grocery store in an attempt to be normal. It ended up being really emotional for me. I teared up as I drove and was just overwhelmed by what would happen to her if something happened to me. Specifically, I was panicked by the idea of her not being fed without me. I just found myself so connected to her and how she relied on me and how I really wanted to provide every little thing she could ever need in life. "I don't want to die," I found myself thinking. It's a basic or an extreme thing to think, depending on how you look at it. And it's not like I had previously been thinking anything different than that...but I think it boils down to feeling responsible for another little human for the first time since Miles died. In addition to being hormonal and just desperately in love with our new little girl, I simply want to have a life full of memories with her.

About a week later, I worried that I wasn't producing enough milk. (It seems that the worry over milk production is probably not a big concern after all but it can just be added to the list of things that I've been worried about these past few weeks.) It was devastating to me. In a practical way, I can say that it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if she ended up needed some formula along with breastmilk. In reality, though, it's a lot more complicated than that for me. I just want for everything to be perfect for Elliott. I want to be able to provide everything that she needs, and I want for life to be "simple" for her in a way that just wasn't possible for Miles. It's not a good line of thinking to become dedicated to--so I've been trying to get off my perfectionist kick immediately--yet I can see why I am so protective of her after feeling so out-of-control with Miles' health concerns and time in the hospital and after losing him. Surely that's reasonable. 

And one more thing...after pumping and freezing milk for three months for Miles (though he never got to drink the milk and I donated it to the Milk Bank in Raleigh after his death), this time is all the more special and important to me. Just like I felt when pumping for Miles, breastfeeding Elliott feels like one of the best things I can do for her and is a special bond between us. And now as I hold her close, I treasure the time and closeness and our special connection even more.  

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