Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the end???

How do you know when you are finished?

This is the question keeping me up at night as I weigh my pumping future.  Tomorrow the babies will be 9 months old.  9 months!  And I'm still pumping.  That means I made it to 150% of my goal.  By my rough estimate, I have pumped over 1,400 times and produced well over 13,000 ounces of milk.  So I should be proud, right?  I should feel like I really accomplished something, having pumped for this long while taking care of infant twins.  So stopping should be easy.  But it's not.

For two big reasons, I cannot seem to say goodbye to the chain pump.  First, my babies love my milk.  Seriously...they prefer it to any other substance they are allowed to eat.  While I swell with pride watching them guzzle down my hard-earned liquid gold, it makes deciding to quit a bit more difficult.  In reality, though, the twins are getting older.  They are eating more and more solid food, and they take their formula like champs as well.  Plus, we've gotten through the most critical breastmilk stages.

The second reason, then, is the real problem.  Guilt.  Whether I pump for one more day, one more week, or until they are one year old, I know I'll be flooded with guilt when I finally stop.  I have lots of guilt surrounding their birth--guilt that I couldn't keep them in long enough, guilt that I didn't get to kiss them in the delivery room, guilt that they weren't held until they were 4 days/8 days old.  I feel guilty that I didn't work harder to teach them to nurse, thereby robbing them and me of that sweet bonding experience.  So the real reason I haven't stopped yet is about me, not them.  I'm honestly not certain that I'm ready to pile on more guilt just yet. 

I can feel the end coming, though.  When the twins went down to two naps, I had to cut my pumping sessions to 3 per day.  Then surgery threw me for quite a loop, and I haven't fully recovered.  It feels like it did when I first started.  It hurts, it scars my body, and it's not getting easier.  I think my boobs are trying to tell me that they have had it--they have officially checked out of this game.  So how soon will the end come?  I'm not quite sure, but I know for certain that I'm closer to the end than to the beginning.

my frozen supply...and yes that's milk in the shoebox and under the shoebox.  this is an old picture, though.  we had to throw out the food in the drawer to make more room and now have an official "milk only" freezer.

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