Weight Loss

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Letter

Dear Left Breast,

I know it is kind of odd to be writing to you. I mean, I don't think you've ever gotten any mail before. But I feel like I owe you a lot these days, and I want to thank you.

Almost 10 years ago, you were huge. I had surgery to reduce you and Right both, which was successful, and which I was quite happy with. That surgery helped me to exercise more and relieved my back and neck pain. You were just too big.

When I had that surgery, though, I didn't realize that one day I really would have the chance to have a baby, and that it would become very, very important to me to breastfeed that baby. I don't regret the surgery, but I had a lot of concerns that I wouldn't be able to provide my daughter with breast milk.

That came true with Right, which has so much scar tissue now inside that my baby could not latch at all, and I can barely express any milk from that side. But you, Left, have been a trooper. Together with some pharmaceutical help, we have provided Lucy with about half of the milk she has drunk in the past 6 months. We grew her strong and tall, with a nice big brain, and have made her very healthy. In fact, so far (knock on wood) she has not been sick once, and she was just a few months old through the winter cold and flu season. Without breast milk, I don't know if her immune system would have been so strong.

Tomorrow Lucy will be 6 months old, and I have weaned off the domperidone. I'm still producing milk, so I am going to keep pumping a few times a day for a little longer--maybe just a day or two--just to see what happens. I am wrapping up this part of my life, and I don't know if I will have another chance to provide a baby with milk. It's hard to say goodbye. But you've given me one of my first important lessons in parenting: that often, things don't go the way you want them to go, and although they might be very important to me, I have to find a way to make peace with it.

Now you are a little droopier than Right, and more painful most of the time. But you've accomplished something remarkable. Thank you for letting me provide something so important for my baby.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Slowly but Surely

I'm tapering my domperidone dose down, and trying to wrap my head around stopping pumping. I have mixed feelings about it, as I think I've shared here before.

The good things are: I've lost 4 pounds, and I have a lot less hunger and cravings for sugary foods since I started tapering. I'm on about half the dose I have been taking at this point. Today I made a Costco run, and was shocked that I didn't even have any desire to get anything in the bakery section (a killer for me, usually) or any sugary goodies. It made the trip much quicker than usual!

The bad, or confusing, things are: I have a hard time letting go of this phase of our lives. Even though pumping doesn't have as many positives connected to it as nursing does, it does feel kind of like weaning from nursing. If Lucy was nursing, instead of just taking expressed milk from a bottle, I would still be doing it and not even considering stopping, even if I gained another 40 pounds over the next 6 months. (Okay, maybe not that much.) But pumping, and only pumping, with a nearly-6-month-old, is tough. Still, I love that I can give her my own milk. It's not saving me any money, between pumping supplies and medication, but it's so good for her, and she enjoys it more than formula, and it's something that only I can make just for her. I will miss that. But this weekend I have another painful blister that bleeds and makes me question pumping at all right now. So I feel it's time to start letting go of pumping, yet I have a hard time with it.

I do want my body back. I do want to fit into clothes and to be able to run again. And I'm mostly sure I want to have another baby, one more, and cannot stand the idea of getting pregnant at an even higher weight and gaining even more weight. I have to give myself these pep talks and remind myself why I am doing this.

Fill and upper GI on April 14!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coming down to it

This week, I was mistaken for pregnant twice.

This is unacceptable to me. I almost shut down Project Milk right then. I discussed how unhappy my weight and the pumping are making me with hubby. I actually resolved to quit, despite how important it is to both of us that Lucy have 6 months of breastmilk. Then I went to bed.

The next day, I just worried about that day. I am going one day at a time.

I do feel ambivalent about giving up pumping. I do think it is important, and I am proud that I have been able to provided much of her milk despite my physical challenges. At the same time, I have been making every personal decision about my body with my child in mind for 15 months now, and I am ready to have my body be mine again. And I am ready to see my coworkers during breaks instead of spending them huddled in a shower stall every day.

So it starts now. I bought a lovely BOB stroller this week and started the Couch to 5k plan this week. I am slowly tapering the domperidone over the next 3 weeks, but not reducing my pumping frequency yet. And I am watching what I eat. I still won't have my fill until April, but I expect to have made a little bit of progress by then.
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