this time it's inevitable. it's not an act of letting go, of finally giving into the nursing difficulties. it's the act of my body shutting down. the act of my body making the decision for me. my milk production has seriously declined over the last week, and as much as it pains me to give in, i can't force this.
i can try and try again to teach this sweet boy to latch, to teach him that milk is just as good from the source as from a bottle. i can give myself pep talks, i can imagine a future where he eats at the source. i've tried herbal supplements, prescription drugs, and every type of medela-made breast feeding accoutrement sold. at the end of the day, though, i can't force my body to make milk.
it's been an emotional journey, to say the least. while my head KNOWS that i've done my best and then some, my heart aches at the thought that his sweet little face will never nurse from me. i can look back and quanitfy all of my attempts and tell myself, "you've tried. that's all you could do." but there's still a space inside that is still mourning this loss.
on the one hand, it's a releif to have my body make that decision for me. it's been exhausting, both emotionally and physically. i've been pumping about 8 times a day using a medical grade pump on loan from WIC. let me tell you, that pump is not gentle. but because my milk supply never fully came in, pumping has never been enough. so each feed invovles not only pumping and feeding him breast milk, but topping him off with formula. then my poor mom washes all the bottles and pump supplies so we can try again in a couple of hours.
so while it's nice to know things are going to get easier once i wean myself off the pumping (to avoid engorgement), it's hard to let go of something you've tried so hard to overcome. in the end, i'm proud to say i didn't give up, and that caleb got more than six weeks of partial breast milk. in the end, i know i did my best and gave caleb my best. i know my heart will catch up wth my brain. but in the mean time, i mourn the end of this effort.