S.E.V.E.N. years!!!!!!

In December of 2004, we found out I was pregnant with our first child. Thus began my journey of sharing my body with another human being. Nine months later, I gave birth to Justus and started breastfeeding. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and it hurt like nothing I had ever experienced. Nevertheless, I persevered and we made it to the coveted 2 month mark...things were officially a piece of cake by then.

Eight months after Justus was born, my milk supply started to dwindle. I began pumping in the hopes that I could produce more. Then I took a pregnancy test.

We told our families, and they were a little surprised but very happy for us. Then, shortly after sharing our news, I miscarried. We grieved the loss of that baby, who we had already nicknamed "Shem," and I was so grateful to have Justus who was still a baby himself. (I still had a baby to cuddle and nurse and dote after!)

Two months after my miscarriage (when I was about ready to wave my breastfeeding white flag), I found out I was pregnant. I was so nervous, having just miscarried so recently, so I immediately stopped breastfeeding. Thus began the cooking of Titus. 39 weeks later, I gave birth to our second son.

He was adorable and tiny, and I was sure breastfeeding would be so easy.

Turns out, it wasn't. I went to see a Lactation Consultant, and she agreed with me that his latch was awful because he was so tiny and his mouth just wasn't going to "fit" properly until he got a little bigger. Again, we kept on keeping on, and he started nursing like a champ.

Fast forward 11 months (still breastfeeding.) I sat down in Titus' room to nurse him before bed and it HURT. "What is that all about??," I thought!!!!

Yep, you guessed it. Pregnant.

Will I ever have my body back all to myself?

Nine months later, meet Eli.

Eli was a great nursling from the beginning. I never even got very sore with him. Another year of sharing my body with a baby, after carrying him in my womb for the 9 months prior.

Three beautiful boys, a handsome husband...what else could a girl want, right?

The thought hit me again, "Will I ever have my body back to myself again??" Josiah was born 10 days before he was "due," (fine with me!!) and thus began OUR breastfeeding journey!

A few weeks ago (Josiah is 11 months old), the little man started biting me when he latched on to nurse. My milk had begun to let down a lot slower than normal (nope, not pregnant this time...I checked!), and I think he was pretty impatient about it. I did everything I have done with my biters in the past to make him scared, upset, STOP biting me, and none of it worked. I started pumping and supplementing with formula and am now down to pumping one or two bottles a day.

So what does all of this mean? Are my breastfeeding days about to end? Is my body almost all mine again? Are all of the calories I consume actually going to feed me and me only??

By the time my milk is completely gone, it will be almost seven years since I began this journey. The past seven years have been quite the journey. I don't know if we're done having kids...only God knows that. I do know, though, that the freedom I am experiencing is nothing I have felt in a looooong time. Seven years is a LONG time, if you didn't know!

Seven years of having to pay close attention to how much caffeine you are consuming (and sometimes drinking a lot anyway because you need the "energy" and just preparing yourself for a long night with a sleepless baby.)

Seven years of sleep interruptions from a baby kicking your ribs, pressing on your bladder and making you need to pee every hour, or waking 1-4 times a night to nurse.

Seven years of carting a baby around in your womb, in a wrap, in a sling, on your hip, over your shoulder, or any combination of those!!

People say to us often, "If I could do it all over again, I'd have had more." Or sometimes we hear, "I would have had as many as I could have."

Will we have more? Will my body be back on loan, sharing my milk, my immune system? Will I again have my sleep cycles determined by a person who can't even walk or talk yet?

I don't know. I know that seven years is a long time. I know that four kids feels like a lot of kids. I know that conceiving, carrying, birthing, and breastfeeding four kids within five years of each other puts a lot of wear and tear on a woman's body.

I have moments, days, weeks when I think, wow...we should have waited longer to have kids. We should have spaced them farther apart. etc. etc. And then I look at their faces. I see each of their different characteristics and am amazed at the fact that they all came from Derek and me.


They each have distinct personalities, their own souls, different eyes they see the world through.

They react differently to things, have different love languages, and we can already see an individual, unique sense of humor in each of them.

For almost the past seven years, I have been used as an incubator and milk machine. But now that I might possibly be at the end of that journey?

I find myself a little nostalgic and not knowing quite what to do with myself!!

Here's to seven years...and to the fact that I might possibly have just jinxed myself into another two years of sharing my body with another baby.

You know, if you believe in "jinxing." ;)


Anonymous said…
You sure have some good looking boys!! They are so full of energy, passion, love.....what joys!!

I know it has been a hard 7 years. You've been amazing & we are so proud of the job you have done!!! I'm sure you've learned a lot about your strengths, your weaknesses, your abilities, your ability to love and your faith. You are truly blessed!!!! We love you!!!!
chrissy said…
Ok, now that I am completely crying and gushing over here. Anna, that was beautiful. I have to tell you that out of all my "mom" friends you are my true inspiration in this field. What you have gone through in 7 yrs, how you persevere through it all and most importantly rely on God as your strength is so amazing to me. I am so thankful to be in your life as a friend to learn and be inspired by you. When I am about to lose my cool or get frustrated I do stop and after expressing to the Lord how I feel I do think of you and how majority of the time you are so calm and collected. A lot of people say that they enjoy their kids but I actually SEE it in you. You cherish every fiber of their being, you marvel over everything about them and I love that and hope that I can just grasp a small portion of that. You are a fantastic mom. I know that if you have been "jinxed" again you will be just as excited, overjoyed, often anxious, sometimes overwhelmed as you were the very first time around. But also handle it with grace, abundant love and so much joy in your heart and through your life. So thankful we are friends.
Jessica said…
well, even though I can't say it in as many words as the last two comments, I also thought the post was beautiful.
Anonymous said…
my girl is such an AWESOME wife, mom, and writer!!! i love you babe.

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