The Weaning Dilemma

>> Friday, April 30, 2010

Caden will be two in August. It hardly seems possible that that could be true. It seems like we just had his 1st birthday party where a friend's son pulled the fire alarm and we had the greatest ending to a toddler birthday party ever with firetrucks and firefighters all around. And even closer seems last fall when Hubby and I escaped for a few days to see my beloved Gators and spend a few days on the beach for our 10th wedding anniversary. I was so worried that my time away back then would be the end of nursing for Caden. But to my delight, my milk supply seemed to keep up and he just picked right back up without skipping a beat.

Well, now I find myself in a different spot. He has no intention of being done with his "dursies" and mommy is pretty much ready to be done. He would nurse several times a day if I let him. He definitely nurses when he first wakes up (which is around 5am-Yuck!!) and before his nap if I put him down at home and then before bed. The thing is, he doesn't really fall asleep nursing anymore. He sits there, latched on, just kinda sitting there. He gets mad when I pull him off and cries "Other side, mama, PEAS!!!!" I am not even sure he is getting much more than a trickle of milk except in the morning when there is more there. And when he wants "dursies" in the morning, I can tell that he is legitimately hungry or thirsty since he is going thorough that toddler "I won't eat dinner" phase. The other complicating factor is that he won't drink milk. Not even almond milk. He spits it out. So does he still need whatever milk is there to get the fat for his brain development and all the wonderful other stuff he gets from breastmilk?

So now the dilemma becomes this... is it time to stop? I want to stop, I am ready to stop. But he doesn't seem to be. And I don't want weaning to be a traumatic thing for either of us. I am very much in favor of child-led weaning. Except that I am not sure it would ever be his idea to stop. It was such a natural process for Lucas and it was around this age, just shy of two. I know pro-nursing moms who have already stopped by this age and I know lots of moms who have nursed far past Caden's age.
He is my last baby, Lord- willing. And I don't want him to grow up too fast. But the other issue is that I have been having a little health issue with lots of joint pain and extreme fatigue and some possible auto-immune involvement. I am trying to de-stress and de-clutter my life even more to see if I can get a handle on this joint stuff before trying more pharmacological routes. And this whole nursing issue with Caden is stressing me out both physically and

Just writing this all out, it seems as if I have my answer. It is time to wean. But then you add in the emotional component and I am again not sure. Do I hold on a bit longer since the final nursing with Caden will probably be the final forever? Do I let him be the baby a little longer and give him his "dursies" which do seem to comfort him even if they are not filling his belly?

I am pretty sure I want to be done by the time he turns 2. But maybe sooner.... I just don't know.

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My Little Loves

>> Sunday, April 25, 2010

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>> Thursday, April 22, 2010

I hope to sit on this sand someday. Either on this side of heaven or once I get there. Actually, any sand would be heavenly if I had all three my boys sitting with me. The beach is my haven, my place of peace where all seems well in my soul and in the world.
Today, I am remembering a very sad day. A day I had to let go. But today I am also looking at this picture and thinking about that day when I will be able to finally let go of the longing and the sadness. A day when I can sit in the sand on the beach, any beach, and finally feel whole.

I miss you, sweet boy. Save a spot on that heavenly sand for your mama. I ache for the day when we will watch this sunset together.

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Year 6

>> Monday, April 19, 2010

Towards the end of March every year, I start getting e-mails in my in-box that I should have canceled years ago. Fisher-Price, Gerber, One-Step Ahead, PotteryBarn Kids, and I think a couple others. All lists or sites I entered my information on when I was pregnant with Micah back in the fall of '03... and they are still sending me mommy-propaganda.

Check out these new toys perfect for six year olds! What sports does your six year old love? Has your six year old hit all the developmental markers? Are you ready for kindergarten? We have the perfect gift for your six year old!

I get a pit feeling in my stomach when I see them in my in-box. I never open them. I let them sit there for a few days and then just delete them without ever reading about what my six year old should be playing with or learning or getting ready for. I should really unsubscribe, but I just can't do it. Or maybe I don't want to.
See, I don't have a six year old. I should. I have a son that would have been six. But I don't have a six year old. I think what really keeps me from canceling these e-mails is this feeling that they are one of the few current reminders I have of what life could have been. Should have been.
I look at Lucas and can hardly believe how much he has changed in the last 4years. He is this amazing little boy with his own ideas and thoughts and feelings. And Caden, he is already such a little boy with emerging thoughts and opinions too. I have seen them grow from tiny, defenseless babes to the independent souls they are becoming. But with Micah, I missed that. I only knew him as an infant. A very sick, can't breath on his own, but otherwise perfect baby. And my memories of him are all of him this way. I can remember his piercing eyes and tight grip as Hubby and I stood by his NICU bed. I remember his golden hair that would probably have all fallen out as he got older and his chubby cheeks that might have slimmed away as he became less baby and more little boy.

Who would he be as a six year old? Who would I be as the mother of a six year old who had never known the pain of burying my first born? Would he still look like the spitten-image of his daddy? How might life be different? How might I be different?

I am beyond the acute stage of grief. I don't think about my grief everyday. If I am being totally honest, I don't even really think deeply about Micah everyday. I do see his picture everyday as I walk through my living room. But remembering him has just become part of me. Missing him has become part of me. But there are some days when the longing is overwhelming and the thoughts of what might have been just over take me.
I don't know if that is normal for this stage of grief. Probably is. Year 6. Closer to 10 than 0. I'm not sure if that means anything to you, but to me that feels big. Though I can't really explain why.

I sat in the nursery tonight, nursing and rocking Caden to sleep. He likes to hold my hand and play with my fingernails as he falls asleep. I just leaned over and rested my cheek on his forehead and closed my eyes. As dysfunctional as this may be, as I felt Caden holding my hand I tried to imagine that it was Micah and remember what it felt like for his little fingers to grasp mine six long years ago. I could picture myself there, in the NICU, sitting in a rocking chair holding my first born son. And as I rocked Caden, I just cried- tears of a deep longing for times like this with Micah that I was cheated out of and yet also tears of deep, deep gratitude for these moments that I do have with Caden and did have with Lucas.

I may not know what Micah would be good at or what toys he would like to play with or if he had hit all his developmental markers. I may be left wondering how life up to this point has changed me for the better and the worse. I may, at times, feel all alone in this world and in my grief. But, here in year 6, I do know that God is with me. He is holding me, walking with me, blessing me. He has given me Lucas and Caden and friends who deeply love me and remind me of how far I really have come in these 6 years. One of my dearest friends told me today that it is the times when I worry about losing my hope that prove that I really haven't lost it. That rings so true in my heart. I am sad, heart-broken, incomplete. But that is not the whole picture, thank you Jesus. I will be made whole one glorious day but I can still see the amazing ways I am a blessed woman now on earth. I do feel lonely and like I haven't navigated this grief well at times, but I just keep praying that God would help me reconcile this woman that I am with the idea I have of who I should be.

Year 6. Still longing. Still hurting. Still wondering about so many things. But yet, grateful and hopeful and learning how to be comfortable just being me.

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Off Guard

>> Thursday, April 15, 2010

The calender and the weather tell me that it is April. March has come and gone, Lucas has turned 4 and I've already had my toes in the sand. Spring is here. The air is warm, the sun is shining and we are emerging from our Chicago-winter hibernation. It is already mid April, and while I am very excited for most of what that brings, I feel like spring is catching me a little off-guard.
I sat out at Micah's tree for awhile today, trying to collect my thoughts. His birthday is next week and I am feeling a bit unprepared. Even sitting out at the tree today, my mind was flooded with all sorts of other things and worries that I couldn't clear away as I tried to intentionally think about deeper things. As I tried to remember. I did have a good cry though. About missing him and about all the other things that seem to be weighing on my mind and heart right now.
(I should not let myself blog when I am in this kind of mood. But, then again, that is kinda why I have this blog- to help me filter my thoughts and figure it all out.)

I am kinda in a "one-day at a time" mode right now which is why next week is coming so fast. I am trying to get things done and stay on top of life all while living it to the fullest. Add in a couple extra challenges (physical and situational) and I am at times just keeping my head above water even before adding in the pressure and emotion of figuring out what grief in year 6 looks like.
(I should have blogged yesterday when it was 80degrees and I played outside with my boys all day and had biscuits and gravy for dinner- it was a great day!! See, I am not always this melancholy.)

Spring is here and I am not quite ready. Micah's tree is staring to bud, and it is so beautiful to me. I have heard that often times it takes a couple season-cycles for new trees to bud, so I am grateful that ours is blooming this first spring. The air is sweet and fresh, just like the new signs of life on the branches. I, however, am a bit flustered, a bit unorganized, a bit off guard. But I am also intent on being intentional in how I live the next few weeks. I will try not be dictated by my to-do list. My heart tells me to shake off the "shoulds" and obligations and see where that takes me. I will say that my week in Florida with no laptop and no phone really made me feel free to enjoy my boys and my downtime in refreshing ways. I want to keep that up. But we'll see how it really goes. Right now, I just need to get my thoughts and "to-do"s in order so that no matter what the next few weeks look like, I am ready.

Welcome, Spring. I am glad your here. I just need to catch up a bit.

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