March 05, 2008

How It Happened

Lisa asked this on the post about Ms B's pumping awesomeness:
I am wondering how you and Ms. B thought of/decided to do this. Did she offer or did you ask if she would be willing?

I am just curious because this is an option I never even thought of.
My response turned out to be pretty long, so I'm posting it here instead of in comments.

It was Ms B's offer. Our agency provided the context for it. It's pretty common for families at our agency to use breastmilk, usually through adoptive breastfeeding or milk donors. It's also not uncommon for placing moms to nurse at the hospital and there been several first moms who pumped for their kids after placement. So there was precedent for it and a supportive culture.

We talked about nursing at the hospital during our mediation. Ms B had absolutely no interest at that point. We said be completely supportive if she did want to. I think I also mentioned that we thought breastmilk was great and were a little bummed because adoptive breastfeeding isn't an option for me and we don't have any friends who could/would be milk donors for us. But also that Puppy had been exclusively formula-fed (aside from a handful of times he nursed with my sister-in-law) and was just dandy. It was all in the context of talking about a hospital plan and adoptive breastfeeding. There wasn't any hidden motive to try to convince her one way or the other.

I had met a first mom from the same agency who pumped for her twins and so had the idea in the back of my mind. It was one of those things that I figured would be awesome if it happened to come about, but over which I really had no control. As much as I would have liked to float the idea with Ms B, I think it would have been crossing a line as a prospective adoptive parent. It wouldn't have been any more appropriate for me to ask her to pump than to share an opinion on her choice about pain medication. That's my gut feeling about it; I'd be interested in hearing what different birth moms think. But I suppose we did let her know we were open to creative arrangements.

Then shortly before the birth Ms B told us she was interested in pumping. I was surprised because it was such a turnaround from her earlier feelings. I believe it came out of conversations with her agency counselor. From what Ms B has shared, I think she honestly hadn't known about the benefits of breastmilk. Once she learned that her body would make something perfectly designed for her daughter, she was really interested. When Ms B told me she was thinking about pumping I thought it was great. I still didn't hold my breath because pumping regularly isn't easy and I can't imagine what it's like to do it when you don't have custody of your child.

But it worked out and I'm thrilled. Her agency counselor loaned her a pump and a friend she is living with has been helping her. I don't know what will happen when she returns to work in a few weeks, but even if this is all Firefly gets it's an astounding gift. She told us she was bringing some milk to the visit, but I had no idea it would be so much. Like many have mentioned, it's a testimony to Firefly of Ms B's love for her and hopefully an affirmation for Ms B of the unique connection she has to Firefly as her birth mom. Ultimately it's a great example of what open adoption makes possible.


Thanksgivingmom said...

To be completely honest, I'm not sure I could have handled pumping for the Cupcake...the fact that I was even making milk was a painful enough reminder at the beginning. I was so thrilled and relieved when I stopped producing and more of my body could return to it's pre-pregnant (as much as possible) state.

15 months later I can step back and see the benefits and what a wonderful thing it would have been for DD, but in that time, I just don't know...

Ms. B must be incredibly amazing and strong and I commend her for her actions!

Shawn and Lisa said...

Thanks for answering my question, Heather. I had never heard of or thought of this option (or even the option of using donor milk). I agree with thanksgivingmom that it might be an incredibly difficult thing for a first mom to do, so I wouldn’t think it would be my place (as a prospective a-mom) to bring it up or ask. It’s great that your agency helped Ms. B explore the different options available to her. I’m glad that she and Firefly could share this special gift.

Clementine said...

Seriously, that's one of the neatest things I've heard about an agency. They sound great! I'm just astounded that your agency talks about breastfeeding as a matter of course with all of its mom, both expecting and pre-adoptive. Wowza.

Anonymous said...

In my case, I was the one that asked to provide breastmilk for my son.
I really wanted to breastfeed while in the hospital, but ended up not. J stressed to me it would have been too hard and I listened to her.
I can tell you it is VERY emotional to pump knowing someone else is holding your baby. You still get up at night too, because your too engored.
It's definately one of the most emotional things I've ever done. I was joyed to be sharing "me" with my son and providing him with the best. BUT, so sad because I had a pump attached to my breasts instead of my baby.
If I wasn't questioning myself about bring my PooWee home, I'm not too sure how long I would have lasted. Evertime I pumped I BAWLED. I kept on incase I did bring him home and I knew how awesome breastmilk was for those lil ones.
Ms B is probably hanging on to the fact that she is giving Firefly such a wonderful gift. Knowing that this is one way she can show her love. I admire her strength and courage to continue.
Please gives her a ((HUG)) for me sometime.

Corey~living and loving said...

WOW! I am so impressed with her strength...and the comments here on this thread. My heart goes out to you all.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is amazing!

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