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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.


Sherry said...

This is a really beautiful story. There is something really personally satisfying about providing your baby with breast milk. I was only ever able to pump (after visiting with many many different LCs and trying many different things) as my daughter never latched. So I pumped about 3/4 of her milk until she was 6 months old or so. I wish I could have done more but realize even the smallest amount is good for the baby. I love that you are celebrating your breasts for what they did 'for' you instead of the pain and problems they caused you in the past.

Gen said...

Awesome post. I'm so happy you were able to breastfeed your baby. It is one of the most precious experiences in life. And I know how you feel having to stop now. Good for you working so hard to be able to do this! I know it was worth it - for both of you.

Bravo Left!