I am a modest dressing person, probably overly modest if there is such a thing. I dont even own a pair of shorts for crying out loud! actually, this will be changing soon as +90 degree days, no a/c, gardening a lot, etc. does not go hand in hand with pants. so a pair of old jeans will be getting the snip and be magically transformed into these shorts that all the crazy kids (aka EVERYONE) are wearing these days. anyways, i say that to talk about the above picture in my header. some might find it immodest to be quasi topless.
so let me back up and talk about the birth of my son augustine, who is 3. quite a few people have come to this blog via the unexpectedly popular birth video of olive, whom i had at home. that video is safe for work, no worries - again modest! anyways, that powerful experience was not what i had with augustine's birth. nothing bad happened but it was nothing like i wanted and i had the "deluxe" treatment (pitocin, artificial rupturing of my water, internal fetal monitor, an epidural) and i walked away from it very dissatisfied. proof to me that birth isn't just about a happy, healthy baby. the birth itself was not traumatic but what happened afterward felt like it to me. he would not nurse. i tried and tried and with all of the knowledge i had at the time i could not get this kid to the breast! weeks of tears, frustration, and sleep deprivation ensued and eventually i just came to a point where i had to make a choice and stick with it lest i go totally crazygonuts insane. formula isn't my thing, and while i think it has a time and place i wanted to avoid it until it because truly unavoidable.
according to breastfeeding experts & all of the world's recognized health organizations the preferred method of feeding for babies from most preferred to least is:
nursing from the babies mother
expressed milk from the mother
expressed milk from a donor
so to plan b we went! i knew columbus is blessed with a wonderful milk bank, that serves and saves babies here, especially preemies. that was the ace up our sleeve in case plan b went sour (had no access to a full time wetnurse of course) so i began a regiment of exclusively pumping for augustine and i prayed and prayed that it would work. i acquired a medela pump in style, which is a hospital grade, double electric pump and every two hours around the clock used it for 20-30 minutes. did i mention AROUND THE CLOCK? so the routine became something like this: set the alarm for two hours, get up and pump for the alloted time, then set the alarm again, while im up rouse augustine and feed him the expressed milk, store the rest, clean the pump, change him, burp him, put him back to sleep, settle myself back down and fall asleep. BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP alarm is going off again. WHA? it's only been about 45 minutes since i fell asleep! this is where a fantastic husband comes in. he and i were a sleepy, narcoleptic pair for months and months, never sleeping more than an hour or less at a time. both of us had bouts with sleep walking we were so sleep deprived. once i woke up chasing our cat (who wasn't there) into the closet. i woke up in the back of the walk in closet totally confused. david once got up and heated up an empty bottle and fell back to sleep in the bathroom i think. the point is that it was a labor of love, a big one but it was so so worth it. i'd do it again in a heartbeat because that is just how we feel in our little family about nursing. what others do in their family is their thing and i dont pass judgment on folks about this sort of thing. im so thrilled david was as on board for that crazy ride as i was. oh and while im talking about it, would you like to see the fruits of my labor? well i'm going to show you
BAM that's a lot of milk! (oh the top rack is homemade baby food)
fast forward now to olive birth. several things happened that i will note. first, she was born at home in the water. i mention that only because it rocked so hard to experience that i couldn't NOT mention it. i really feel that the natural delivery at home set us out on the best foot possible for a good nursing relationship. the house was peaceful, vs the chaotic environment of the hospital. also natural deliveries eliminate grogginess in the baby because narcotics/an epidural passes the placenta, a contributing factor in augustine's lethargy & troubles nursing from the start i feel. the second thing i will mention that happened was that i had some heavier than typical bleeding immediately after delivery. it was kind of touch and go for a little while there as i was having some issues staying conscious at one point. our awesome, totally knowledgeable midwife kathy mitchell was a cool customer and knew just what to do, no hospital transfer was necessary.
so finally back to the original point of this post, the header picture. it was the first time olive nursed. not only was it the fulfillment of a dream of ours, for a successful nursing relationship, but nursing also helps a mothers uterus clamp down and slow/stop bleeding after birth. david, knowing how important that moment was to me not just in spirit but also to my health snapped that and a few other pictures.