As I sit here contemplating just the right words to describe the events of yesterday, I am overcome with feelings of humility and gratitude.
I have always breastfed my children and I am grateful beyond words for this privilege. Bringing a baby to your breast and nourishing them in a way too special for us to comprehend is an honor.
But, there is something even more special than breastfeeding your own child. Yes, the emphasis on “own” was intentional.
You see, I have a very dear friend that loves her daughter almost more than anyone I know loves their child. I’m pretty sure she’d agree that she may have crossed the line to overprotective and perhaps unhealthy.
She’s working on that though, trying to allow others (like her husband) to care for her baby. It’s a trust thing. This friend was committed to exclusively breastfeeding her daughter to 1yr. It’s not something I have done but I supported her 10o %.
Well, as you may have guessed, a wrench was thrown into that plan. A big wrench.
On Tuesday night, after more than 24 hours of excrutiating pain, my friend was rushed to the ER to find that her appendix had ruptured. Had it been caught early the surgery would have been in and out. Breastfeeding may have hit a small bump.
Alas, the surgery became much more intense when they discovered bile and bacteria all in her gut. She would be in the hospital for 5 days.
As you can imagine, poor baby girl was freaking out. At 8 months old she had never been comforted, nourished or cared for by anyone but by her mother. Nursing was this baby’s source of so much more than a meal.
When I was told of my friend’s condition I immediately wondered how I could help. I don’t pump so I had no stores of breastmilk to offer. Calls were made to other nursing moms in the church (Praise the Lord for the baby boom in our small church!). Frozen breast milk was found but she needed something now.
I managed to manually pump 5 oz for the baby. 5 very.hard.ounces. Why, oh why did my production have to be low right now?!
My husband drove the family to the hospital and I went up to deliver my liquid gold. Baby girl was not taking a bottle. Of course. It’s not like an 8 month old gives up that easy!
I offered, very nervously, to nurse if that is what they desired.
OH MY GOODNESS! Did I just offer to nurse someone’s child?
After a few minutes my friend, that has become so close to me since our move in June, asked if I would nurse her baby.
What? Are you kidding me?
The woman who doesn’t trust ANYONE with her baby is asking me to do one of the most intimate and blessed events in the life of a mother with her child?!
The husband and mother-in-law stepped outside.
Guys, I don’t know what you are thinking right now. If you are saying, “no way I would nurse another baby!” Then I’d say you don’t know until the moment arises.
If you are saying, “Yes! It’s been my dream to be able to help another mother in this way!” Then I’d say you and I think a lot alike. Even so, as you sit down next to the mother and lift up your shirt to nurse her baby the anxiety is overwhelming!
I prayed before I nursed her because I was so scared she wouldn’t nurse off me. I know that baby’s know their mommy’s smell. I smell different.
But, all the anxiety vanished as she immediately and voraciously latched on. This baby girl was hungry (it had been 5 1/2 hrs since she last nursed).
Baby girl nursed much differently than Camden but I could care less. I was given the opportunity to bless another mother in an extraordinary way.
Conversation was a little awkward with my friend. Not on her part, she was in a anaesthetic daze.
Baby girl fell asleep and I left.
As I returned to my family I wasn’t sure how to explain what just happened. None of them would understand the depth of what transpired. I was forever bonded to this family.
Even now, I almost cry that I was able to give this gift.
I returned to the hospital 2hrs later and things were much different. All nervousness was gone.
I snatched up baby girl and sat down to a comfortable, normal nursing session. I couldn’t have asked for a better thank you than her popping up when she was done and smiling from ear to ear.
Thank you, precious baby girl!
Although I was eager to nurse her again today, I was very happy that baby girl had taken to the bottle and was using the donated breastmilk. Now another mom was able to bless this family.
Before I stumbled upon a Twitter party I didn’t even know it was World Breastfeeding Week.
I guess you could say I like to celebrate in a big way!