*** This post does contain pictures of me nursing my daughter. They are private pictures that were not intended to be shared, and there is some skin showing. These pictures are precious to me. I decided with this post to share them with the approval of my husband. If you do not wish to see the pictures go ahead and close this window now before I offend you with my utters. 🙂 ***
Last night, while holding my baby girl before bed, knowing she was about to be put to sleep willingly without milk for this first time, I was reminded for the 1,567,923rd time how much smarter God is than I am. There are millions more reasons than that number. I’ve just only learned the lesson 1,567,923 times. You would think it would stick eventually.
I’ve always wanted my first two babies close together. I have also always desired a large family, not to the point of crazy, but large. Having not started that family until 26, I knew we would have to get to work in order to achieve the family size my heart desired.
My goal from day 1 was to nurse my daughter for at least a year. Quickly, that goal turned to two years. The more I learned about the benefits and reasons to continue nursing past one, the more convinced I was that two years was the magic (minimum) number. I can’t fathom going through growth spurts, teething, sickness, and just plain old fussy baby without the use of boobs. It’s a sure fire way to calm, comfort, and heal. Had I gotten my way, these goals and benefits would’ve been far from achieved.
I planned to nurse throughout the duration of my pregnancy and quite possibly tandem nurse once the new little one was born. I realize some people gasp in horror at the thought! But to me, this seems totally normal. It is actually quite common.
If I had my way, we would’ve been expecting baby #2 within 6-9 months of Miss Ryan’s birth. Now for the TMI part. My cycle returned at 10 months postpartum. I had hoped to be one of those ladies that conceived before the return of their cycle just so I didn’t have to deal with it again. Clearly that didn’t happen. But once my cycle returned we were ready to get this show on the road and get to making #2. Then I realized that although my cycle had returned in perfect rhythm, I wasn’t ovulating yet. I knew if I stopped nursing that ovulation would soon resume and Lord-willing a baby would be on the way quickly. But I wasn’t willing to toss aside my convictions about nursing my baby, that still very clearly needed my milk, in order to make that happen. She was obviously priority seeing that she already existed and all.
On a random week 7 months later, Miss Ryan cut back on nursing from about 5 times a day to about 3. This only lasted one week. Just long enough to kick me into ovulation. YES!!! The next week my girl returned to her normal nursing schedule.
We didn’t get pregnant the first month. The second month, on Christmas Eve, we learned we were expecting! What a happy Christmas this made. Unfortunately the day after Christmas we began to miscarry that baby who we named Addie which means Adam in the masculine form and ornament in the feminine. Ornament seemed fitting with it being Christmas. The following month we conceived again! We are now almost 15 weeks pregnant. This little blessing is due October 3rd, the day before his or her Daddy’s birthday.
In early January, Miss Ryan randomly, with no sign whatsoever, slowed her nursing to only first thing in the morning, and at night before bed. We learned within a week or so of this that we were expecting. I was so very tender but pushed through determined to let my daughter nurse as she needed.
Very quickly, I noticed my supply starting to drop. I was surprised it was happening so quickly but knew it would come and go throughout pregnancy. No biggie. Soon she had cut back on her morning nursing session in lieu of her desperate obsession for blueberries and yogurt immediately as she wakes up. Seriously, she will yell “boo boo!” through the door at me in the morning before I go get her. In her head boo boo equals blueberries.
Now back to the part about God being smarter than me. At this point my milk is totally gone. There is nothing left. She has been dry nursing before bed for a few weeks but last night she went to bed without nursing at all.
I never expected to dry up 100% at this point. Never! I assumed my supply would dip but there would be something to work with. I’m dry as a bone. I know each pregnancy can be different but I can’t help thinking that had I gotten pregnant in own timing my daughters milk supply would’ve been cut short by a year. A YEAR! She wasn’t even eating food last January. She wasn’t eating a significant amount of food until last summer. She was still getting adequate nutrition and antibodies from me until the beginning of this year, which was a full year after I had originally wanted to conceive. I realize this wouldn’t be a big deal to a lot of people. But for us, this was huge.
Last night I was sitting on the couch snuggling my girl for a bit before her Daddy put her to bed. All of a sudden it became so very clear to me that God was honoring my greatest desire of nourishing and protecting the child I was already given through my breast milk. If this pattern continues it will definitely be a determining factor in the size of our family but we decided long ago to leave that up to God. We assumed when surrendering to His will in this area that we were opening ourselves up to a giant family and prayed we could handle such. Now we know that His desire for us may not be so drastic after all. There is a peace that comes with knowing God has total control. Our plans mean nothing. God knows the desires of our hearts, and we can rest assured that if those desires are in line with His will He will bring them to fruition. We praise Him for this truth.