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Empty Breasts – My Pain, My Gain


I learnt I was pregnant, after one whole month. I was pregnant the whole of December 2012 and I never knew about it, so as you may have guessed, it was quite a surprise for both of us. As soon as I learnt about it, I was worried at first, because I was sure I wasn’t ready, but then it sank in after the belly started getting bigger as the months wore on.

As the months passed by, I looked forward to meeting my angel, I prepared as best as I could, I ate all the right foods, I walked enough. I looked forward to breastfeeding her, to have sore nipples, to have her bite me…LOL! I looked forward to being a great mum.My labor pains started on September 1st 2013, at around five in the morning. I felt a pain and then it would go away, come back after like an hour then be gone. I informed my husband that I thought I was in labour. He asked me whether we should go to the hospital, I told him “Let’s wait and see the progress”.

By 12 mid-day, the pains were getting worse and closer together. I still wasn’t so sure I was laboring (yes, I was that naive!! LOL), so I called my sister and mum, and put them both of them on speaker phone and asked them. They were like “ureda guciarira nyumba. Withambe uthie thibitari thaa ici..wi labor” (You want to give birth in the house? Shower and go straight to the hospital, you are in labor”). Then they started calling after every minute asking “Nimuthire thibitari” (Have you gone to the hospital)”.

I went to the hospital and the pain….. I cannot explain how it was, because it’s different for each woman, but I thank God, He gave me smooth labor and by [8:30]PM, after three mighty pushes, I had my angel in my arms. It was such a huge relief. I was scared of labor, because of all the stories you hear of how women scream and tear their clothes and pull their hair. My best friend was there with me together with my husband and she was so impressed. She told me, I made it look like a walk-over, but it wasn’t as easy as she thought.

So, there I was, new mum, newborn girl…now, for her food. I unleashed my breasts and – Nothing! The doctor told me it’s quite normal for new moms to lack milk the first few days, but it will be okay after about three days. He advised me to keep breastfeeding as this will encourage milk production. I did as advised and still – Nothing! Two days down the line and my angel still hadn’t had anything to eat. I was so frustrated and wondered – what was wrong with my breasts? I kept asking myself, but was encouraged by the nurses, the doctor, my friend and my hubby that there is no way I wouldn’t produce milk.

So, I kept breastfeeding and drinking porridge and soup from the hospital. Eventually, the doctor released me after three days in the hospital, and told me to go eat properly – Njahi, porridge, soup – all heavy, proper meals to allow for milk production. I bought formula for my little one, with the hope that eventually I would get my own breast milk. She took her first bottle when she was three days old…she was soooo hungry. She gulped the whole of it, burped and cried for more. I was in tears ” How could my baby be this hungry and yet I had no milk?” But, I was positive. I had to have breast milk, right? Isn’t it natural? Isn’t it normal? After giving birth, you produce milk, right? Naturally, no hustles…? Mothers everywhere complain of how much milk their breasts produce, some have to massage their breasts because there is so much milk, that they feel sore and in pain. So it’s natural, breasts must produce milk, right? Wrong!!! I was in for a rude shock.

From hospital, we went off to my Mum’s who had so warmly welcomed us and was happy to show me how to handle my delicate one plus spoil me as she cooks for me when am healing. I was over joyed. She had njahi, soup, porridge and all the right stuff to bring on the milk supply. My depression eased and we embarked on the milk making journey. I was convinced that finally the right food would eventually make this whole problem go away. But it was never to be. I ate all the right stuff. I ate so much food and I drank so much porridge and soup.

My God!!! I cried to God, I cried to my mum! I asked God “Why? Why would you give me a baby and deny me her food?” It was heart wrenching. I cannot even begin to describe the night feeds. I would stay awake the whole night, preparing formula whenever she woke. Formula is not supposed to stay, it’s meant to be prepared fresh, fed to the little one and if it remains it is discarded. My little one never used to sleep at night, she used to sleep during the day and at seven o’clock at night it would become her daytime. I was so tired and so so frustrated. I looked at my sister whose son was breastfeeding comfortably while I struggled with bottles of formula. Sometimes, she would breastfeed away from me, because she would see how depressing it was for me to see her doing it whilst I couldn’t.

After two weeks with my mum, I had to go back to my own home. It got worse when I got there and it continued to get worse. I was super depressed, when my daughter cried, I cried with her. Thank God for my supportive husband, were it not for him I don’t even know what I’d have done. He used to comfort me through it all. Always. With the wise words “Please babe, don’t cry. Our daughter is healthy, we have a child. There are couples out there crying out to God, begging Him to give them a child. We have a healthy child, with no complications….” But all I used to hear was “blah…blah…blah”. I cannot be able to put down in words the depression I felt, the crying and the blaming God. I even avoided having visitors come over. I never wanted anyone around – to judge me, to disturb me. I avoided all outside communication and kept to myself. I cried every day and night.

Amazingly, I never ever felt dislike for my daughter. I was just full of fear whenever 7pm came, because I knew she would start crying, I would start crying, then the bottles, the preparing of formula. And I would just wish the night to be over. I would feel jealous when I saw women breastfeeding wondering – why can’t that be me? Everybody was telling me “Give it time, you’ll have milk.” “Try and relax so that the hormones are released as they cannot be able to produce milk while you are depressed”. The doctor kept advising me to give my baby my breasts so she could stimulate them to produce milk. But I couldn’t keep giving her empty breasts and she eventually got tired of suckling on nothing. Whenever I gave her my titties, she would cry furiously and refuse to suckle. I hated my breasts so much, I hated myself more and if anyone would have cut them off then, I would have been glad.

I eventually gave up trying to breastfeed her, I gave up trying to wait for milk, I gave up pressing and cursing my breasts and I decided to fully give her formula. This was my turning point.

Every step my hubby was there. Encouraging me, wiping away my tears, hugging me and telling me everything will be okay. And true to his word. Everything eventually turned out to be okay. I have a healthy baby girl, full of smiles. She never cries, she feeds well and she is such a happy toto. She’s full of health, there are no signs whatsoever that she never breast fed. She’s so disciplined at her tiny age. So independent. I bathe her after I come from work at eight o’clock, we pray, she takes her bottle and she’ll sleep throughout the night. Ever since she was six months she has always slept through the night, wakes up at nine when I’ve already left for work. She’s an amazing girl, a gift from God that is priceless and golden. She brings me so much happiness, she has taught me so much – unconditional love and patience. She is the angel everyone wants to have. And when I usually tell people how she feeds and sleeps and no one ever believes me. They are like “The whole night? Without waking up? And she wakes up at nine? You’re lying Pauline” But it’s all true….. All true….

God has many ways of blessing us, and I can tell you for free, my not breastfeeding Njeri (My little angels) is blessing in disguise. She became so perfect, so great, that I forgot all the severe stress I had. I forgot about my depression, I forgot the tears and I look forward to getting many angels as per God’s will. Every time I look at her, I lift up my eyes to God with a thankful heart that she belongs to me.

 


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