A Mother's Love
Long Valley NJ USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 5, September-October 2007, pp. 203-204
The birth of my beautiful baby boy, Solomon, didn't go the way I had planned. My husband and I wanted to have a natural, unmedicated, childbirth and we'd hoped for no complications. On the first day of my 42nd week of pregnancy, we went to see the midwife. During the examination, it was determined that my baby was in trouble. His heart rate was too low and it wasn't coming up. We went to the hospital in an ambulance. I was so scared, but determined to be strong and cooperative for my baby's sake. After another examination at the hospital, the doctor and midwife decided that an emergency cesarean was necessary. I was able to stay awake during the surgery, and my husband was with me most of the time. Everything happened so fast.
One of the things I looked forward to most upon the birth of our son was being able to breastfeed him during his first few moments of life. The first time I saw Solomon, he was in a clear incubator with a mask over his face being wheeled away from me to go into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). At that point, I realized that dream was lost.
Because of the advocacy of my husband, making it clear to the nurses that I wanted to breastfeed, Solomon was released from the NICU after only 10 hours. As my husband laid him on my bare breast, we watched in amazement as Solomon looked up and began to root around, lifting his head high, looking for my breast. He latched on as though not one second had passed since his birth. That night was glorious! Solomon slept on my chest and breastfed off and on for the remainder of the evening. My husband stayed with us all night long.
In the early morning, my mother arrived at the hospital. I was in pain from the cesarean, but I was also determined to continue to breastfeed. My mother became my angel. Having breastfed my sisters and me for over two years each, she was my best cheerleader when it came to breastfeeding my son. As I directed all of my attention to nursing Solomon, my mother directed all of her attention to taking care of me.
Even after I was released from the hospital, my mom continued to care for me while I cared for my baby. He never had trouble latching on, but he was losing weight. I was determined not to give him formula, but at the same time I was scared for his health. A wonderful lactation consultant gave me pointers on how to work with my son and my body those first few days. My mother was supportive through it all. My two sisters, my husband, and my mother took turns caring for me while I breastfed my baby around the clock. Even though I was exhausted, my mother continued to encourage me in my breastfeeding. She would stay up with me through the night and hold a glass of water as I sipped through a straw and nursed Solomon. In the mornings, she would help me eat while I nursed my baby. She cleaned the house, cooked meals, washed laundry, helped me wash, sat with me and listened when I cried, made me laugh, and told me that I had what it takes to breastfeed my son.
By the end of that first week, Solomon was healthy and it was time for my mom to go home. I'll never forget how she took care of me so that I could take care of my baby. I'm not sure what would have happened if I had not had my mother's help that week. I am very thankful that she was there. My son is now 14 months old, and our nursing relationship continues. I look forward to the day that I tell him about his first few days of life, when his Grandma Gloria took care of her firstborn baby so I could take care of mine.