When I was pregnant, I remember that I couldn't wait to get that baby in my arms! Of course I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy, but I am sure many of you who have had children can relate that it's not always the most pleasant of experiences. I was lucky enough not to be plagued by morning sickness (or all-day sickness as some have dealt with). I mostly had nausea and heartburn. And of course, achey back, joints, etc. But over all... I didn't have it very bad! I'm sure at the time, I thought it was horrible, but looking back... it wasn't unbearable in the least! The whole while, I had visions of sweet parenthood. Rocking my sweet baby to sleep, nursing and singing lullabies. All of the "dreamy" expectations you have as a first time parent. Little did I know how wrong I was!! Don't get me wrong, I had those wonderful moments... and continue to from time to time (as it is becoming more rare the older Eloise gets)... but I didn't take into consideration the exhaustion, frustration and lack of free time (which I was quite used to) that one tiny person could cause! Ahh, the joys of parenthood! No one can prepare you for the twists and turns--though it is more than worth it!
I had two main goals in mind as I was going through my pregnancy. First would be to deliver all-natural. No pain meds. I heard horror story after horror story about women who just HAD to have the medicine. It seems like everyone comes out of the woodwork with their stories when they find out you're expecting! (I'm one of those people now.. haha! Watch out new mamas!) I had decided from the get-go that I would only have meds if there was a medical emergency. I don't care if I was passing out from the pain (which I literally did at one point)... I wanted to do it and experience it ALL.
(I hold no harsh feelings toward anyone who did/does use meds---these were just my own personal goals!)
Second was to breast feed. What better way to bond with your child and provide them optimum nutrition? I was adamant about the hospital not giving Eloise a bottle (formula or water) and was determined to do my best. If you have followed along my blog for any length of time (especially since I had El)... you would know that I had such a hard time. We had so many problems... I can't even begin to list them all. I was literally in tears for the first 3 months of her life... while nursing and while not nursing... because just the thought of nursing stressed me out... and I was also in pain all of the time as well. It was a nightmare. I mean a TRUE LIFE NIGHTMARE! Many times I wanted to just give up... but with the support of a wonderful Lactation Consultant and my husband, I got through it DAY by DAY. It was the only way. And when I really thought about it, despite all of the pain I was going through, I knew it was best for Eloise to keep on trying. (Again, I am not knocking on anyone who didn't/doesn't nurse... I am just stating my own experience and opinion). Eloise took a bottle for a few days off and on (I pumped - no formula) just to give me a break... but other than those few occasions, she was strictly breast fed. And to my amazement... it got so much better and easier. I found that as she got bigger, I could have my hands free to read a book, talk on the phone, write or surf channels on the TV. It became a very appreciated down-time for me. Of course, it was still kind of a pain when we were out in public and had to go to the car to nurse or something... but the majority of the time we were at home. I wouldn't trade those moments for the world. And yesterday was the first time Eloise didn't nurse at all. We had whittled it down to only nursing before bed. And since we were starting a new month... I figured it was as good a time as any to start fresh. To my surprise, Eloise took it like a champ! We by-passed any mention of it (she calls it "Num Num"), we sat in a different chair than our normal "spot", and we read, sang and she drank a bit of milk from a sippy cup. There was no begging or crying... no gnashing of teeth, as I was expecting. We did have a hard time getting her to brush her teeth, but we didn't push it since the routine wasn't quite the same. She said her "night nights" and went to sleep. I was truly surprised. And I was even more surprised that she slept through the night without getting up and asking for it! (That was never really a norm for her... but I guess I just expected something to go wrong). So... a chapter in our lives has closed. I admit that I cried over it last night - which is why I didn't post about it until today. I think I'm a little more torn up about it than Eloise! But more than just the change of down time/cuddle time... it makes me sad to think that she is growing up so fast. I know it doesn't go any slower or faster than it would for anyone else - but it feels like time is just slipping through my fingers. So today, I thank God for my sweet girl... and that He gave me the ability and patience to nurse her though the first 15 months of her life.
What a beautiful gift.