I wrote an essay on the theme of “waiting” for the Mudroom blog back in December. You can find it here.
I thought, once this baby was born, the waiting would be over. No such luck. We started our waiting game over:
First waiting to meet my baby – I had be strong enough to get from the ICU bed into a wheel chair to make the trip to NICU.
Then waiting to get out of the hospital.
The waiting for Jacob to be big enough and free of enough cords so I could actually hold him.
And we were patient, more or less, and got through all of these. And waited for each set of tubes to come out of Jacob’s little body.
But then there are the two long waits: one for my milk to come in (apparently trauma and massive blood loss slows these things down…) and the other for Jacob to come home. Not to mention for him to start eating on his own, wearing clothes, getting out of the isollete (the big clear baby warmer).
God clearly wanted me to learn some more patience.
It’s frustrating, four weeks after birth, to get milk drops at a time, if at all. Not a problem I’ve had in the past. But the thought of not nursing this baby – this last baby – is heartbreaking.
And so I’m waiting, again. And praying. And pumping. And eating oatmeal (a galactagogue – add that to your vocabulary!) in every conceivable form. And praying…while pumping.
I think of St. Zelie Martin (mother of St. Therese of Liseiux), who couldn’t nurse some of her children and had to send them to live with wet nurses until they were old enough to wean, and I am grateful that I don’t live 100 or 150 years ago. Not only are there doctors and nurses and hospitals which have been able to keep Jacob and me alive, but there is formula. I would not have to ship off my baby to feed him.
But somehow that’s small comfort. And I want some big, fat comfort, the kind that comes from a tiny, warm baby falling asleep at my breast.
On the other hand, we’re both here. Alive, when by rights we probably shouldn’t be. So maybe I’m asking too much. But I’m not giving up either. Not until Jacob has tried for himself, and my body has simply refused.
In the meantime, I’m celebrating every 0.1 mL of milk, and waiting.