I bought the super duper twin nursing pillow. I took the classes and watched the videos. I read the books. I was as prepared as possible to nurse our two little ones. Then my water broke at 34 weeks, and everything changed. I didn't get to meet our children until 6 hours after they were born, and I didn't get to hold sweet Frances until she was 8 days old. Nursing was out of the question. The pumping began, and our babies were fed mommy's milk first through tubes, and then through bottles. When they became more skilled at bottle feeding, I was able to put them to the breast one time each day...but this completely exhausted our little bugs and screwed up their subsequent feeding. We knew that to get them home they had to be able to take all feedings by bottle, so I had a choice to make--keep putting them to the breast and potentially lengthen their NICU stay, or focus on the bottles and get them home. I chose home.
After five weeks of bottles, the babies are just not interested in getting their milk from anything but a bottle. Sure, I can still attempt to nurse, but they are too lazy to get any substantial volume. Switching them at this point would be quite the shock to their system, and I feel that they have been through enough. I literally despise pumping, but life is all about what's best for them. I know that because I am only pumping the babies will eventually outpace me, but for now I can provide them this nutrition. When the time comes, they will thrive on formula, just as millions of babies before them have done.
Interestingly, I am grieving the loss of nursing quite a bit. Much of my path to motherhood has been out of the ordinary. From IVF to a c-section at 34 weeks to the NICU, things haven't gone exactly as planned. I was so looking forward to the simplicity of nursing our twins, to feeding them in the most basic way possible. The loss of this experience has added to my fears that I'm just not cut out to be a mommy. Rather than rallying, my body has consistently failed to perform as expected.
Whether I was made for motherhood or not, I am now a mom. I am reminded of this every time I look into the beautiful faces of my son and daughter. So for now, I will continue to lock myself away and hook up to my pump many times a day, doing my little part in contributing to our twins' health.