This is part ii of the three part series; “My Diagnosis: Attachment Parenting”. Click here to read part I.
Life as “Normal”
Together, my husband and I focused on adjusting to the new addition to our family. We focused on figuring out how to comfort Owen, what he did and did not like, and basked in the beauty of our son. Constantly, in the back of my mind however, was the fact that Owen and I would need to be apart for 24 hours.
The thought of 24 consecutive hours apart from my baby, was truly too much for me to bear. I tried desperately not to think about our separation until absolutely necessary.
I called my pediatrician multiple times ahead of the surgery. What if I ran out of pumped breast milk? Would Owen be able to sustain a normal breathing pattern without having me next to him? I was given respectful and practical advice. Deep down though, I was hoping they would give me a reason to postpone the surgery.
I did all that I could to prepare for our separation. Breastfeeding was so important to both my husband and I, and we worked closely with a wonderful and supportive lactation consultant. She helped us understand how much milk we might need, how much would need to be “dumped” after general anesthesia, and gave us a crash course in how to most efficiently pump and store.
I pumped after every single time I fed Owen until the morning that I left for the surgery. I am amazed by my perseverance now, as Owen nursed incessantly. Our goal though, was no formula, and this was the only way we might possibly achieve it.
My arms already ached with the foreseen weightlessness of leaving my son.
At three weeks old it was time for me to leave Owen for a full 24 hours. What seemed unlikely while pregnant now seemed physically impossible. We had successfully attached in just three short weeks. Being without him for even an hour, seemed as though I was missing a required and life sustaining organ.
The procedure was scheduled for a Tuesday. Rightfully, I should have been asleep early on Monday night to let my body recover a little more from the surgical birth three weeks prior. Instead, I found myself unable to let go of my son. I held him all night long, and sobbed.
I cried because I did not want to leave him, and because ultimately, I was going to have cancer removed from my body. Each tear seemed to represent one of the many worries I had about this diagnosis.
The 12 hours before I left for the hospital were both the longest, and shortest of my life. Holding my beautiful baby, wishing, and even praying, that something would happen to postpone the surgery, so that today would not be the day that we were apart. As the cliché of tears being limitless was realized, the hours dreadfully became minutes.
Small Comforts Matter
As the small miracles of life go, one of the nurses at the hospital where I delivered Owen, did her nursing training on the very floor where I would spend my night of recovery after surgery, and she still had friends there.
I tear up even now as I think of the calls made on my behalf to explain my situation. The nurses on my recovery floor were prepared to support a successful pumping and transport of breast milk, and I was given a private room to accommodate this.
These women helped me physically, logistically, and emotionally through pumping, while recovering from major surgery. Knowing that I was somehow connected to the very place where Owen was born comforted me, and engaging in something practical and life sustaining for Owen allowed me to feel like I was still mothering him.
Come back on thursday to read the conclusion of this 3 part series.Thank you for spending some time with Our Muddy Boots. Click on these links to join us on Facebook or Twitter for more conversation and inspiration. Or you can subscribe to have each post delivered right to your inbox or reader by clicking that orange and white button at the very top of the page. I hope that you will visit often, we are glad that you are here!