If you have read my blog for awhile there is one aspect about mothering that I have become pretty passionate about is breast milk. With my preemie, we both had a lot of issues and couldn't make breast feeding successful. I pumped for 15 months, and she was on breast milk exclusively until she reached a year adjusted. With our second child, I have been breast feeding her exclusively since birth and we are just at 5 months now.
I was pretty devastated when I couldn't breast feed my first. Having a lot of 'mommy guilt' for her premature birth already, it just compounded making the whole first experience feel like I was a failure. And take it a bit further that my body was the failure. I was also extremely worried about illness with her, so I felt the extra immunity from breast milk was important. So, I pumped and I pumped. Every 3 hours for months and months. And when I say every 3 hours, I mean every 3 hours... midnight, 3 am, 6 am and so on. I did that routine at least until April (so about 10 months).
With all that compulsive pumping, I have to say I got really good at it. Mastered it while doing about everything from driving to fixing my hair. I continued to feel really bad about it all, and even going into this pregnancy saw it as a failure of my last pregnancy. Little did I know...
You see sometimes when something horrible happens, maybe it really happens so that you can help others out. I never dreamed I would be able to do what I have been able to do this time around. Luckily even though breast feeding has been challenging and time consuming, I still have been able to pump and had to pump when apart from baby. And I pump like somebody who spent 15 months training their body to the machine.
I pumped mostly when I am away, and not knowing if we would have enough while I was at work or if I wanted to quit breast feeding. I just didn't really expect my body to respond so well to the pump and the situation though. Naturally the milk started to pile up and pile up and pile up.
That is when I realized that I should donate my milk. I actually heard a radio story on how a nearby hospital with a NICU was starting a milk depot and they didn't have many donors. I then had a phone interview, still need to have blood test, and lots of little details later. I am very proud to say though I have sent out over 1000 oz of breast milk to be used in NICU's in the Western United States.
All those times I thought I had failed. Or I thought that I was less of a mother because of the whole situation. I would have never guessed that I would be able to help feed so many other preemies and hopefully take a little stress off their mothers. I would have never dreamed, that I could send a little bit of myself and hopefully well being to NICU's all over.