Almost every morning my doctor who helped deliver Henry comes to check on me. I feel like she knows me more than all the other doctors, so I always enjoy our brief morning visits.
“How’s pumping going?” she asks. It has nothing to do with all my current health problems, which is why I so appreciate her asking me about it.
“Well, basically, not good. I can never get much milk anymore because they keep putting me on no food, no drink protocol before these terrible procedures. Then I’m so tired from everything that happens during the day that at night I just want to sleep when they’re not coming in my room to take my blood pressure for the millionth time. I’m just too tired to pump anymore. My body is a mess,” I mumble on depressingly. My attempts at a good attitude are long gone.
She pauses at the computer where she is checking my notes and looks at me. She looks worried.
“You know what you need? Someone to be your cheerleader. So, I have an assignment for you: I want you to pump every two hours. You really can still breastfeed—if you want. But you have to keep pumping. Your supply will come back,” she says, optimistically.
I can tell she believes what she’s saying. I can breastfeed—even in this mess. I start to believe it.
Her encouragement flips me around. I can sulk and hate my life here or I can try to do something to make it better. Breastfeeding is something I want to do. I want to breastfeed my son. And, hopefully, once I get home, I will be able to.
I start pumping right away.
A few mornings later, she sits on the side of my bed and asks how I’m feeling.
“I am losing myself here,” I say with tears falling on my huge stack of pillows and my legs folded in the fetal position.
“You know, I remember when my kids were babies, I always felt like I was missing a part of myself when they were away from me,” she says, with tears too.
“But I don’t see any reason why Henry can’t come up and spend most of the day with you. I think it’d really help you feel less depressed to have for him here with you. You should call Nathan and have him bring Henry,” she suggests.
“I would like that,” I say.
But I also continue telling her, rather emotionally, how I have to get out of this hospital.
“That’s a sign that you have good mental health,” she jokes. “I’m more concerned about people who want to stay at the hospital.”
I text Nathan to ask him to bring Henry with him for the day.