"Reach down and feel his head!!" The doctor pretty much barked this command at me. But I complied. I reached between my legs and felt the top of my baby boy's head. He was almost here. Labor had been fast and furious, it was barely past 2am and I had only been in labor since around midnight...and now I was about to hold my baby?
I saw the reflection of my son's head in the glasses the doctor's assistant was wearing. I hadn't felt a single contraction since my water had broken a few minutes earlier, but I had been tired. Prodormal labor for the past two weeks had led to very little sleep. But seeing my son's head took that tiredness away...I was ready to jump up and run laps.
Ten minutes later my son emerged from my body. He was immediately handed to his father and checked out by a team of pediatricians as there had been meconium present shortly after my water broke.
I kept asking to hold my baby, but the doctor and nurse wouldn't let me. I watched as he was passed from his father to his Mimi (my mother) and then his Poppa (my father). At least he was being held and cuddled by family, people who loved him very, very much. But my mothering instinct which had always been strong was in overdrive. I want my baby, I need to hold him...I need to feed him! After what seemed like an eternity, (actually it was 30 unnecessary minutes) my son, Andrew Marshall, was placed in my arms.
We just starred at each other. I kissed his little head, and told him I loved him.
I nervously looked at my own mother. "Can I nurse him?" I was so unsure of procedure, what I should do, how to even hold him. Everything I had read and all the videos I had watched about nursing seemed to leave my mind.
My mom held my son while I got a pillow ready to support my arm, and I undid the top of my hospital gown. The room was busy with nurses coming in an out, the doctor's assistant was still standing in the doorway. He looked so confused, I wasn't sure he had ever seen a woman give birth without pain medication. (Later he would come to my room and congratulate me and tell me he had never seen anything like that before.) My husband was on the phone with everyone he could think to call. My dad was beaming with pride. But all I knew was the little bubble containing myself, my son and my mother.
My mom showed me how to hold him, and how to introduce him to my breast.
I was so nervous. What if he didn't take it? What if we had latch issues? What if it hurt? The what ifs in my head were loud and pounding.
Andrew opened his mouth wide and immediately began to suckle. I watched his little mouth, I could hear him swallow. His eyes rolled back in his head like he was in complete bliss. He held onto my finger.
At that moment, every instinctual feeling in my body turned on. I transformed into a mother and knew God had given me all the tools I needed to care for my child. My mom took a few pictures for me, my husband watched in awe and my dad was still sitting there, beaming with pride. The moment was perfect.
Andrew continued to nurse for the next 30-40 minutes. He fell asleep and then slept for 2-3 hours, completely content. I was so in love.
That was 2 years, 1 month, 3 weeks and 5 days ago. Today my child is a busy, busy two year old. He loves trains, wait no....he is obsessed with trains. He loves playing outside, coloring and he is beginning to read. And he's still nursing.
Nursing fixes everything -- owies, sickness, when he is scared, tired, frustrated....his "neh-nehs" fix everything.
Each nursing session is precious and memorable, but there is nothing like that first time.
We've been blessed with a relatively easy nursing experience over the past two years -- we've dealt with thrush, supply issues due to illness/traveling, mastitis...but it has all come and gone and we've continued on. The newest thing is learning to nurse a toddler...because their needs change daily. I often think nursing a toddler is harder than nursing a newborn, but it's all worth it.
Each time Andrew nurses I look into his eyes and soak it up. One day he will wean, and slowly become more and more independent. I'm thankful for all these memories, and I'm thankful I chose this path.
I will always remember my first time to nurse my first child, and I'll always thank God for that perfect moment.
What was your first breastfeeding experience like?
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