Chalyn’s Milksharing Story — Exclusive Pumper & Donor

October 5th, 2011 by MamaBear

The first-ever World Milksharing Week has passed, but there’s no reason to stop celebrating milksharing.  In that spirit, I am publishing yet another wonderful milksharing story.  Thank you SO much, Chalyn, for sharing it with the world.  For you exclusively pumping moms out there, it’s a must-read.

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By:  Chalyn Myers (Joy N’ Birth doula)

It’s amazing how things work out sometimes.

I found myself, during my fourth pregnancy, once again facing a
vanished twin, once again sick and very depressed. I was sure that
this would be our last baby, and, while I didn’t want to go out this
way, I just didn’t think that I would be able to do it all again. So
I began to form my breastfeeding support team. I dealt with myriad
problems with my first three babies, and, if this was to be my last
chance, I wanted to do everything in my power to get it right. Fourth
time’s a charm, right?

But it was not to be. Not only did I have many of the same issues I’d
had with my other children, God saw fit to send me an even bigger
trial. I got booby trapped. She wasn’t gaining and had even lost some.
The pediatrician was making threats, and I got scared. And at the end
of a sudden, whirlwind weekend of pumping and supplementing with a
bottle, I found myself joining that small group of mothers who pump
exclusively for their babies.

feeding and double pumping

I pumped for about four months, putting bags and bags of milk into the
freezer every day.

stash after ~2 months of pumping

I was sad and frustrated and overwhelmed…and very
lonely. I knew mothers who had pumped, and I knew mothers who had
pumped exclusively, but I didn’t (and still don’t) know any mothers
who had pumped exclusively while also caring for older siblings. I
found a routine of sorts. I learned to feed her while double pumping.
I learned to pump and to feed and to pump and feed while homeschooling
and refereeing fights and fixing sandwiches.

pumping and babywearing; getting ready to start up the knitting machine

She was happy, and she was gaining, but I was still sad.

And then I discovered Emma Kwasnica and Human Milk 4 Human Babies. I
connected with a wonderful mother/baby in need, and soon after, the
whole family drove almost three hours to meet dad and big sister and
deliver my very first donation of about four gallons of breastmilk. I
was beside myself with joy. Not only was I able to use my trials to
help another family, but in doing so, I found some peace about the
loss of our second Baby B. If breastfeeding had worked out like I had
hoped, I would have lost the extra supply my body had prepared for
him. And if I had followed the ped’s instructions and supplemented
with formula instead of pumped breastmilk, I would never have had the
opportunity to connect with the one woman who was able to offer me
something I so desperately needed: healing.

first donation, approximately 4 gallons

Two months after my first donation, we met up again, both families. I
had another more than two gallons of breastmilk for them. It was
amazing beyond words to meet in person the mother and baby who were
able to make something positive out of our loss. I wasn’t able to give
more after that, though I recently celebrated one year of pumping and
have no plans to stop in the near future. I’ve even started a blog to
share my experiences. (http://ipumpthereforeiam.blogspot.com/) But I
am so thankful that I was able to give something. My only regret, I
think, is that I was afraid to try wet nursing the last time we were
all together. This has been such a healing, learning, growing process
though that I’m finally able to think about having more children.
Maybe I’ll try again after #5…

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