Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not ME, but still MINE

I have a lot of children. Each of them has his or her own unique and equally bizarre how-they-came-to-be stories.

But this story is about my oldest -- Drummer Man -- and what came before.

For a lot of genetically identifiable reasons, my first husband and I opted to have children the hard way -- artificial insemination using donor sperm. Please remember that this dates back to the late '70s and very early '80s, and this technology was less than advanced at that time.

Many, many failures later, we got tired of the reproductive merry-go-round and jumped off in favor of adoption. In the interest of not boring anyone with a litany of how long it takes to find adoptive babies in the age of Roe v. Wade, let's skip ahead to this phone call:

"Hello, Janet and Now-Ex-Husband! We have a baby for you."

Excitement? You betchum, kiddo.

Also some interesting feelings on my part. The baby we were going to "get" was due in about three months.

And I? I wanted to breastfeed.

Yes, really. Please remember this was late 1980, and resources were what they were, but I had found a place that advocated breastfeeding for adopted infants.

It called for a rented breast pump (to stimulate your own body to make milk) and little device -- a bag filled with formula with a very small tube that you attached to your own nipple -- so the sucking infant was rewarded for his or her efforts.

So I sat on the floor of my bedroom, several times a day, listening to the really unattractive sucking sound of a breast pump and hoping that I could make what I thought was almost impossible come true.

January.

(ssssssssuck, whoooosh, ssssssssuck, whooooosh)

February.

(ssssssssuck, whoooosh, ssssssssuck, whooooosh)

March.

(ssssssssuck, whoooosh, ssssssssuck, whooooosh)

The baby's due date of St. Patrick's Day came and went.

Until March 28.

For complicated reasons, we were out of touch for the day and missed a series of phone messages left on our machine that the baby had been born and ...

Well ...

There was a problem.

It's complicated to explain the physical abnormalities and their resulting complications for this little baby.

A lot of tears were shed before a difficult decision was made.

There is no need for anyone to beat me up about the incredible hubris of thinking I should get a perfect baby. Trust me, I beat myself up for a long, long time. There was intense agony in the decision to say no.

But that is not the point of my story today.

It would be almost six months before the baby we would have called Joshua found another adoptive family that was willing to take on his physical disabilities.

But it would be a mere five weeks -- on May 4 -- before I received another call at work, telling me that my attorney had found us another infant, who was within 12 hours of being born.

Drummer Baby came home with us about 30 hours later.

The breast pump? I returned it.

The thrill of feeding my baby -- even with a bottle?

Priceless.

This post is part of the (Breast)feeding Carnival, thought up by Lotus, the Sarcastic Mom.

30 comments:

Amanda said...

Thats an exciting and beautiful story. While I enjoy nursing, I sometimes do think that I may have enjoyed those precious newborn days better if I didn't have to deal with all the nipple pain!

Kat said...

Awesome! Love this story. Love that you wanted to and tried, love that you were happy with your decision in the end. Thanks for posting.

mountainmama said...

Loved the story - a classic testament to what mothers will do, even before they have their children - and loved your humour - right down to the Mastercard ending. Thanks for sharing :)

frog ponds rock... said...

I am smiling and nodding here.. We are 'the mothers'... breast feeding or bottle feeding, tube feeding or whatever.. we are the mothers and we all want the same thing..

the best for our children.. thankyou.

Kim xx

projectmommy said...

Beautiful story. I'm glad you got to be his mommy!

suchsimplepleasures said...

what a wonderful story!!
you are lucky to have each other!!
xoxo

Tink said...

I had no idea DB was adopted! What an awesome story. I'd like to hear about your other children too.

TX Poppet said...

Love this post. Just love it. My post is here.

nikki said...

Wow! Great story. Thank you for sharing. I tried to nurse, but my body couldn't produce enough for chubby Aaron.

Jenni said...

What a beautiful story.

I don't think there is anything wrong with your decision not to take that first baby. Children with special needs do require extra work and extra patience. They deserve to have someone who feels prepared to handle that. You were being honest and realistic about what you felt prepared to handle at the time, and there is nothing wrong with that. It sounds as though that decision was probably the best for you and for "Joshua".

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

It's amazing how far ahead of your time you were. Really.

Janet said...

My sister-in-law often says we get the babies we're supposed to have. You were not supposed to have Joshua, you were supposed to have Drummer Baby. (She has twin boys, born 3 months early, and all 3 of them almost died.)
I hated breastfeeding by the way. I know, I know. But I did it for over 3 years for 2 kids (with a 3 month break before DeBoy was born).

DIXIECHICK said...

I hope he knows how lucky he is to have gotten such an amazing Mom as you.....great story.

Burfica said...

how very cool, I'm sure you both got who you were supposed to. hehehehe

Mr Lady said...

Janet, I love you more every day, dude. I wish you were just a little bit older so you could be MY mom.

Alison said...

Janet...I did the same thing with my son!!! used the pump for months..got the feeding system...used it for a month before giving up!!! I knew I liked you for a reason!

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

Oh, bless your heart. How beautiful love is. I know the meaning of your last lines. Thank you for sharing this story, Janet!

Carrie said...

What a cool story. Well, not cool that you had to make such a difficult decision with the first baby, but cool that you even tried to breastfeed a baby. When I was pregnant I didn't really believe milk could come out of my nipples. I just didn't get how it would work. I puzzled and puzzled over it till one day BAM! Milk!

I'm happy you were happy with your decision in the end. Feeding a baby is wonderful no matter how you do it.

daysgoby said...

What a beautiful story!

Robinella said...

And you become more lovely to me everyday! Beautiful story, Janet.

Rebecca said...

Awesome! :) I think it's so cool that you wanted to nurse the baby you were adopting.

cablegirl said...

Wonderful story. Drummer Boy is an incredibly lucky child to have been adopted into a family with such love in it.

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

Wow. I give you lots of credit for wanting to breastfeed a child you adopted. That's really admirable. And, obviously, I agree sometimes bottles are best.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

This is an amazing story. How wonderful of you to want to try. Have you every heard how the little baby fared with his new family? I hope he was able to overcome all his difficulties.

lisa marie said...

What a great story! I remember reading about the breastfeeding tube thing many years ago and wondered how well it worked.

Glad you got your angel and I do NOT judge. :) ♥

Pamela said...

You could write a whole chapter on this.... why don't you consider doing a series on it and giving us more detail of your adoption process??

Joy T. said...

My first post this morning and what a way to start my day. A fantastic loving story!!! Oh man you rock!

Amy said...

WOW! What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing!

Troy said...

Aww, what a happy ending!

dawn224 said...

ugh. my stomach just dropped at how hard that must have been for all of you the first time around. sigh.

and feeding with a bottle? all ya missed out on was being bitten. Not bad :)

 
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