The last few weeks have been really difficult for us. A journey we fought so hard for is now coming to an end. When you were born, you didn't breath for six minutes. Those were the longest six minutes of my life. But in that time you showed me something. That fighting spirit of yours. I think you got that from me - I don't like giving up either, I never shy away from a fight. That's the only way I've been able to make peace with that terrifying memory, knowing that in those moments you showed us who you were. A courageous little boy.
After those six minutes, our fight still wasn't over. You had tests to pass over the coming days, all which relied on the pending success of successfully breastfeeding. We both worked so hard in that little hospital room of ours. When the night sky was above us and the corridors were peaceful, you and I spent every waking minute trying to get this thing going. We both cried from exhaustion - it truly was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. To take on that responsibility to be your nourishment, I didn't want to fail you. On day three, they realised you had tongue tie - we finally had an explanation for all the pain and difficulty. I remember the first time you latched on just after having it snipped, I cried tears of relief that the pain had gone away. After that, things got much better for us. Those first few months were not easy, but we always pushed through, because we are a team. A mama and her baby boy.
Today I'm writing this because our journey is coming to it's end. Since your top teeth started coming through 3 weeks ago we realised your top lip had the same problem, it was also attached. I fought hard to beat this too. I breastfed through the pain, hoping it might go away. I scrunched my toes into the ground and breathed deeply. I could see it was hard work for you too. I talked to nurses, to doctors, to dentists, to lactation consultants. The solutions were unclear, and nobody was sure if they would even work. I got to a point were I couldn't bear the pain, and I was scared I might cause undoable damage. So I tried expressing, knowing you always hated the bottle. Some miracle must have crossed us that day because you took the bottle like it was second nature. I tried day-long to get enough milk for you, but my own body was denying us of this. I couldn't even get enough for half a feed. You grew tired and impatient, not one to know the feeling of hunger.
So in a moment of anxiety, I walked to the supermarket fighting back tears and bought you a tin of formula. In that moment I felt like I had failed. Honestly baby I tried so hard to this thing work for us. You know I would do anything for you. But we were exhausted and quickly running out of options. My supply was dropping by the day, and soon there would be nothing left. But again, you drank the formula like it was my own milk, and I was so relieved. You were so amazing through this whole process. You just took it in your stride and never fussed over the big changes you had to go through.
It's a bittersweet feeling to be relieved of the pain, but at the same time I am struggling to come to peace with accepting this is the end of the road. Breastfeeding was a major part of finding my identity as a mother. I didn't mind sacrificing freedom or sleep because I would do anything for you. I loved those moments at 4am when we would lay side by side. You were always warm and snuggly, feeding away while I stroked your head and listened to the calmness of your breaths. Those were moments which were just ours, nobody else's. I knew one day this journey would end, I just hadn't expected it to come so soon.
But often the deepest moments of heartache reveal true beauty. I realised over the melancholy of the last few days the one thing which will never be taken away from us is that I am your mother and you are my child. Nothing could ever change that. Please know I tried my best, and we did so well to make it this far. I love you my little heartbreaker.