... to my husband, for supporting me during a most difficult of times.
Here's what happened. About three weeks ago, I was nursing Joseph, when he bit me. Even though he has no teeth, it was a painful bite and began to hurt more and more as the hours went on. I then noticed a crack where the skin had broken, but I figured it would go away as I kept nursing. However, when nursing became so painful that I couldn't bear it, I decided to give that side a break and nurse only on the right side. After doing that for a day, the right side was so irritated from nursing two babies that it, also, began to crack.
I kept nursing like this for several days, only to witness the cracks growing wider and deeper (think Grand Canyon), until one dark moment when it was so painful to nurse, that I cried out when Joseph applied too much pressure as he was nursing. The loud, unexpected noise scared him, and he looked up at me, his lower lip quivering, and let out a heart-wrenching sob. Johnny, who was standing next to me, was also scared and he started crying and clinging to me. Hyrum was already fussing because he was hungry, and I couldn't feed them at the same time, so he also started crying harder. All of this was more than I could take, so I, too, began to sob. I cried to God telling him that I was sorry I had yelled and scared everyone and pleaded for his help. No one else was at home and John was out of town. I called him and we decided that on his way into town, he would purchase a breast pump and bottles, so I could stop nursing for a while.
While this idea seemed like the only solution, I had never had any luck pumping milk, and I was unsure and worried about how successful this plan would be. I talked to my lactation consultant, who also happens to be one of my dearest friends (and to whom I will dedicate a tribute in the near future for all of her help), and she was very encouraging, assuring me that if I tried hard enough, I would have success with the pump.
John arrived home at 1:00 AM that night, and I didn't want to deal with the pump and the probable disappointment of not succeeding, so we went to bed and I suffered through one more night of nursing in excruciating pain. The next morning we attended a baptism of one of John's cousin's daughter, after which I finally decided I would try the pump.
I went into a quiet room with the best of intentions, placed a favorite book and a glass of ice cold water on the coffee table, and began the process. After one and a half hours of pumping, the reward was 3 ounces of milk. I was completely discouraged that it took so long, but hopeful that we had found a solution. I couldn't comprehend how I could produce enough milk for both babies until I healed at this rate, but I was going to try. I asked John if he would try to feed the baby his first bottle, as I had learned that it is usually easier for someone other than the breastfeeding mother to attempt this. He wanted to do everything just right, so he began by attempting to remove the air from the disposable bag in the bottle. He did this over the sink, with the top off, and in one split second, accidentally spilled the entire contents down the drain. If there was ever a time I wanted to cry over spilled milk, it was then, but we both held it together and I kept pumping until we had enough milk for the babies.
The amount of time and work both John and I had to expend was more than we ever imagined, as I was confined to a chair for one hour out of every two hours pumping. He was left with the brunt of not only supervising the construction, but now taking over my job inside the home. It became too much for both of us, so I had the idea that we should perhaps go to EP so my mom (to whom a future tribute will be dedicated also) could also assist.
The next day we arrived in EP, continuing the hour on, hour off process of trying to pump enough for the babies. There was so much pressure to provide enough milk and I was completely overwhelmed. A few hours later, my Aunt Bobbi came to visit and related that she had talked to her OB/GYN about my problem. Without a hesitation, he told her he thought I had a staph infection and that I should be on antibiotics for ten days, during which time the babies should be on formula and I should pump if I wanted to continue breastfeeding after the ten days.
My mother looked at me hopelessly, and when I walked out of the room, she told my aunt that I would never, in a million years, give the babies formula. Much to her surprise, I got my purse ready and asked John to accompany me to the store to purchase bottles and formula. It was almost a relief just having an answer to my problem. I had already been on the correct antibiotics for four days, and I felt confident that I could do this for six more.
John continued to be a HUGE support throughout this. He got up at night and fed the babies, so I could sleep, stayed home with me when he probably would rather have been accomplishing important errands, and refused to go to bed until he knew I was taken care of.
After only two days of using the pump, however, I began to feel a lot of pain and began to be frustrated that the milk production took so long. I feared that we had not purchased the correct pump and that we would be better off if we tried the expensive, hospital-grade pump. I was hesitant to purchase this pump, though, as the cost was $400. After another morning of pumping in pain, I made the rash decision to go ahead with the investment. I was so scared to try it, thinking that it would hurt even more, and that I would have wasted my money, as we couldn't return it. After arriving home from the drug store, I said a quick prayer, sat down with my ice water and began to pump. In twenty minutes, I had pumped 12 ounces and there was no pain whatsoever! I felt like a whole new world had opened up to me! Now I could pump for only half an hour every three hours and get the same amount as when I pumped for an hour every other hour!
(Here is the new breast pump, who is now a dear companion!)
To make a longer story shorter, I followed the new routine for the next six days. During this time we had to go back to CJ for Reid's sixth-grade graduation, then return again to EP. John continued to support me with countless hours of feeding babies and doing the other million things he does for our family.
Today was the day I completed my antibiotics and began to try breastfeeding again. Before I did, John gave me and Joseph and Hyrum a blessing. As I lay down to nurse Joseph, I was filled with a wonderful feeling of peace and there was no pain whatsoever. I had more than enough milk and was successful in nursing both Joseph and Hyrum all day without having to suppliment with formula.
I could not have accomplished this without John and all of his help and sacrifice. I know I was hard to deal with as I was depressed and hopeless at times, and bossy and demanding at other times. He was patient and loving and kind and I am so lucky to be married to him.
Thank you for the richness you bring to my life, John. I love you.
For Part 2 of this post, click HERE.