Saturday, May 30, 2009

I breastfed a plastic dinosaur

I’ve been careful about not getting undressed in front of Daniel lest he see his beloved ta-ta’s and be reminded to want them. We live in a small house with one bathroom so it’s not uncommon for the kids to see me in various stages of undress when I'm getting ready. Eventually that would change with my son, certainly…but not at age 2.

Things are different now.

Anyway, the other day I was discussing surgery techniques with Michael (what, like you don’t regularly have those kind of conversations?) and without thinking I lifted my shirt to show him on my actual breast. Daniel was like a magnet and suddenly right by my side, staring at my breast and smiling while he exclaimed, “Ta-ta!” like he had seen a long lost friend he thought had disappeared. I remained calm outwardly but inside I was already in anguish. I said as brightly as I could, “Yes, there’s Mama’s ta-ta, okay, Mama put her shirt down now,” to which he put his little hand up to stop me and said hopefully, “Have some, pease?” I had the awful, gut-wrenching task of saying no, and doing so as offhandedly as I could muster. I quickly tried to distract him and handed him a little toy dinosaur that was nearby.

Then he asked if the dinosaur could have ta-ta.

Before I could think of an answer he held the plastic creature to my nipple and joyfully smiled while it “nursed”. After that he wanted it to nurse off the other breast and by that time I was utterly powerless to refuse. A few moments later something grabbed his attention and I was able to stagger into the bedroom and cry my eyes out.

It’s taken me almost a week to be able to write about this and my keyboard is sopping wet now.

I think the process of gathering all this info, learning about my options and trying to make decisions has aided in distracting me at least somewhat from the reality of loss emanating from this whole thing. But eventually, and soon, my decision will be made. Of course then I’ll probably end up in a different flurry of activities to get ready…preparing things…cooking food ahead, planning schedules, getting organized.

But no matter how busy and engaged I am there are always these moments when it suddenly hits me again…Oh my God, I have cancer -- and my life, not to mention the lives of my little family, are now forever changed.

And this is only the beginning.


Jean said...

Poor you, that must have been very difficult for you - but Daniel sounds like he didn't find it too traumatic, at least his dinosaur got fed.

It's very different talking about things in theory, but as you say, you have to make a real decision that will have repercussions for you all.

Keep going Kayleigh, you are doing brilliantly. There will be setbacks I'm sure, but this is a long-term decision that will keep you around for many, many more happy years. x

WendyB said...

"Daniel sounds like he didn't find it too traumatic, at least his dinosaur got fed." -- I agree with nonSupermum on that.

Kayleigh said...

You are both ABSOLUTELY right and that is what I should focus on.

The truth is, he's handled this like a little trooper...there were a few hairy moments that I'll never forget, but all in all I am deeply relieved at how he's adjusted and seems basically nonplussed over it all.

In fact, I keep telling people, he's essentially weaned, I, however, am not. For me it was devestating. But I should remember to be grateful for his resilience :) That is what's most important, and it gives me great comfort, too.

Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP said...

Kids adjust pretty well to things - my kids within a few days will adjust to something I think is going to be a huge issue.

He will be fine, and I'm sure that you will be too when this is all over.

Anonymous said...

Kayleigh, there is such a mourning process and feeling of loss when breastfeeding ends suddenly. I've had to go through it and it's devastating. Plus, suddenly stopping screws seriously with your hormones, causing you further grief.

Your little guy is actually adjusting well, using a substitute to nurse from you. It's so precious. It's much harder for you, dear. Your little boy is going to grow up well-adjusted and happy regardless of this interruption. You've done WELL by him!!!!

Lots of Love and Prayer.

Jane said...

Your little boy sounds to me as though he will be a constant source of innocent strength during the weeks and months to come.

La Belette Rouge said...

Dear, you. I am still in shock that you have cancer. There is a part of me that just cannot believe it and if I feel that you must really be bowled over and at the same time numb and other feelings yet un-named.

Hugs and love to you. xo

Mervat said...

It is interesting that you say you have not been weaned. In a funny way, I don't know how a mother can ever be weaned from breastfeeding her child, especially her youngest. I still long for that anticipatory look in my youngest son's eyes as I prepared to feed him, the long suckles and the fingers massaging my breast as he busily fed. And at the same time I have to remember that this is natures way, a trick if you like, of enticing mothers to go back to having more babies, to maintain the human population. I guess we need to know when to call the shots. With Daniel, one day he would eventually have weaned and you would have gone through the exact same pain, with or without cancer. So, I guess it is important to not blame cancer, and as odd as it sounds, to forgive it so you can move on and get healthy again for yourself firstly, and your family.

Sorry for this waffle! It is late and this post made me quite emotional.

Much love and hugs to you my dear.