I wanted to title this “hand express and hard boobs”, but was pretty sure that would trigger some sort of filter. So, let me call this “First Night.”
While I’ve been in the process of weaning, I’ve been really slow and gentle with it. In the past month, I stopped pumping at work and have limited my nursing to morning and night. However, at night, it’s sometimes non-stop. If my 11-month old son wakes up, he gets nursed back to sleep (I know.. I know… let’s just accept that we all do this differently, okay??). If he sleeps through the night, naturally, there is no nursing.
I’m on my first overnight without my son, and I intentionally left my pump at home, knowing that I’d wake up with some pretty rock hard breasts (wouldn’t it be nice if I could just wake up with rock hard abs??) . Sure enough, I “missed” the evening nursing session, night time nursing, and the morning sessions. Damn, I wish I had paid more attention to the breastfeeding books on how to hand express….
I sat up this morning, and my breasts didn’t move. They were so full of milk that they just sort of stayed in position. I realized, though, that after my mastectomy and reconstruction, my breasts will feel much like they do now. Firm. Lifted.
I did my best to hand express some of my milk, and got out about a thumbnail amount. But, I felt powerful. Womanly. I felt connected to all my breastfeeding mamas pre-Medela. Then, realizing that wasn’t enough, I turned the shower to cold. Cold. Cold. I wasn’t sure what was more painful — my full breasts or this stinging cold water?
With no choice, I’m going to make it through until 7pm tonight when I return home. I know that this part of my journey is the next step in weaning, emptying my breasts, and getting ready for my pre-operative tests. I have my first pre-op in just a few weeks.
As a kid, I would never have thought this would be my fate. Last night, at Richard’s wake, Becky showed pictures of Richard as a little kid. My friend, Donna, turned to me and said, “We never know what fate had in store. This little boy probably never knew what his fate would be.” And, yet, I wonder. Richard chose to be a nurse. He married a nurse. He found a spouse who is strong, caring, nurturing, wise, and loving. He surrounded himself with a support system of cancer families when his son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. Honestly, what better preparation could one have for this journey? Whether it was fate, destiny, God, Faith, or completely happenstance, I find comfort in knowing that Richard fulfilled his journey and his calling in exactly the way he was meant to be.
Thank you, Richard, for being my beacon of strength in my own journey. You’ve helped me to face my Mb4M with courage. You’ll always be with us.
Peace, love, and first nights,