This post is part of the July Carnival of Breastfeeding, hosted by Elita, over at Blacktating - the topic this month is "Breastfeeding the Special Needs Baby" - a topic right up my alley.
Eight times a day, everything else stops and I sit here for a half hour and pump.
Eight times a day, I put liquid gold into little plastic tubes for my now 7 week old, 4 pound baby girl.
Seven of those are at home, without her. The last precious session is almost always at her bedside, with the pump I begged and pleaded to be allowed to leave in her tiny room, next to the plastic box where she spends most of her time.
Eight times a day, I hope that next week she will be big enough, better enough, to talk about breastfeeding from an actual breast, rather than dribbling milk down the tube in her mouth.
Eight times a day, I'm shocked that anything comes out of my breasts at all. Making milk to feed a baby really is a superpower.
Eight times a day, I write down every last milliliter of milk pumped, keeping a tally - at the end of the day, I'm always surprised at how much there was (right now, just less than 3 times the amount she is fed in a whole day).
Eight times a day, I'm reminded of the last time I did this - pumping for my now 3 year old son. He was a little more premature, a little smaller, and a lot sicker...and I had not nearly enough milk to sustain him, no matter how much I pumped.
Eight times a day I think about how much milk is in the freezer - bottles and bottles of 1-2 ounces each - right now, 15 bottles a day. And I'm reminded of the day we used the last of my frozen milk for my son, just 2 days before his due date.
Eight times a day I think about how much I loved breastfeeding my son - all 3 weeks of it, starting at about 3 1/2 months old, just before his lungs couldn't keep up anymore. When he was stable again, 2 months later, he had forgotten how to suck.
Eight times a day, I remember pumping eight times a day and bringing one full bottle to feed him - not even a full feeding by then. It doesn't make me cry every time, but more often than I like to admit.
Eight times a day I dread sitting down with this pump, but it's my only option to get breastmilk for my little girl, which is by far the best thing for her right now. It's also our best hope at one day having something resembling a normal breastfeeding relationship.
And so, everyday, I pump eight times a day to make sure she gets what she needs now, and hopefully long into the future.
Please read some of the other posts in this carnival too:
Kelley @ Navagating: No one told me I couldn't
Tanya: They said you can't breastfeed a baby with Down Syndrome http://breastfeeding.blog.motherwear.com/2011/07/they-said-you-cant-breastfeed-a-baby-with-down-syndrome.html
Marla @ A Place to Write Things: Breastfeeding My Daughter, Who Just Happens to Have Cerebral Palsy
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: Breastfeeding is the Only Way
Blacktating: In A World of Uncertainty, Boobs Are Certain