Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Empty Sacks of Sorrow

When I had Lyvi I loved nursing her. Breastfeeding just seemed to come so naturally to me. I loved it. It is such a beautiful thing. But then, all of a sudden Lyvi was starving. She was never satisfied, she was grumpy and obviously hungry. This was at 3 months. I had low supply issues and by 4 months we had switched completely to formula. I was devastated and carried so much guilt. When I got pregnant with Vi I was 100% committed to doing everything right to create the perfect nursing relationship. I was able to nurse her within an hour after her birth. I held her skin to skin, she slept right next to me, and I put her on my breast near constantly. She took to nursing like she had been doing it for years. It was like she was a part of me. I loved it. Violet was 6 lb 9 oz at birth, and by 2 months she was 11 lb 5 oz. I was obviously making some serious breastmilk. 
Violet 1 day old
Violet at 2 months
It felt like I was nursing Vi around the clock somedays, but it truly didn't bother me. At all. I was just so happy that we were well on our way to a long term breastfeeding relationship. By about 3 months she started to space out her day time feedings, so she was only nursing every 2-3 hours instead of every 1-2 hours. She nursed a lot at night still, but I was able to lay on my side and nurse her. So, it wasn't a big deal. I would doze off until she was done, pop her binky in her mouth and we would both go to sleep. Everything was perfect. She was getting so chunky. At 4 months she was 14 lb 11.5 oz, and that night at the ER she was 15 lb 8 oz. Her legs were like nothing you have ever seen. Seriously. Don't even get me started on her butt. I cannot even handle her butt. I would let her lay on her tummy naked just so I could laugh at her huge bubble butt. I miss that so much. I miss her so much.

There is nothing more amazing than looking down at your beautiful baby, as she nurses and gets everything she needs from you. It is amazing. My body nourished Violet from the second she was conceived until she died. She never had anything but my breastmilk. I know for a fact that she would have nursed for as long as I let her. I started out telling myself I would only nurse her to a year, which would have been an amazing accomplishment, but the farther we got the longer I wanted to go. I honestly think I would have nursed her for as long as she wanted to. I couldn't imagine not nursing my sweet Violet. 

I nursed Violet like normal on the 30th. She ate fine, she was completely fine. I feel like I need to keep saying that, she was fine. Until she wasn't fine. I was able to nurse her at 1 AM, right before we left for the ER,  once right before they took us by ambulance up to McKay Dee, once at McKay, and then that was it. I had no idea that was the last time I would ever nurse her. She didn't nurse very well since she was trying so hard to breath, but she did nurse. I can't believe that was the last time I nursed her. We fed her some of my expressed milk through a medicine dropper once. It breaks my heart to think about that. I try not to, but I think about that moment so much, especially at night. Its no wonder I can't sleep anymore. She was so hungry, ravenous, her mouth was so dry. All she wanted to do was eat, but she couldn't. She couldn't breath enough to suck. The one thing that she relied solely on me for I couldn't give her. She ate close to 4 oz, but ended up spitting a lot of it up because having a full tummy put more pressure on her lungs. The nurses let us give her some sugar water, she went crazy for those too. She was so hungry. Her mouth was so dry from breathing so fast. They did end up putting a feeding tube down her nose and slowly fed her my milk through that, but again it made things worse for her breathing and it didn't help with her dry mouth. They were feeding her super slowly, but her tummy wasn't digesting anything.They came in and sucked what was in her tummy out, just to see how much was in there. Basically, everything she had eaten since we got to McKay was still there. I didn't realize it at the time, but now I know it's because her body was shutting down. 

Drying my milk up was one of the most painful things I have ever gone through. Not physically, but emotionally. It goes without saying that I was in some serious discomfort. My breasts were so engorged. Hard as a rock. I lathered them in peppermint essential oil, put cabbage leaves in my bra, and took Sudafed to help dry my milk up. But I didn't want it to dry up. It was for her. It was doing such a good job. She was so healthy. So happy. If it dried up it meant she didn't need it anymore. That she was really gone. My breasts would leak at night, it was like they were crying for her. They ached for her. To me, it seemed like the universe was kicking me while I was down. "Hey, yeah your baby just tragically died, but here lets make your breasts ache for her too." It is a constant reminder that she's gone. It took about 5 days for the engorgement to go down, and about 10 days for the milk to be gone. I didn't want it to be gone. I don't want it to be gone. It means she really is gone.

This part may seem inappropriate and weird, just a warning. I was finally out of The Chair and at Kohls with my sisters. It was just after my milk had completely dried up. We were looking at shirts. I realized that I was able to get a size smaller than I normally would because my boobs are so small now. I said such to Angie and Lisa, they looked so sad, so I grabbed my boobs and called them my "empty sacks of sorrow." We all laughed. It really isn't funny. But, it is. The size difference is substantial. They are so empty and sad now. It's so stupid, but every time I call them my empty sacks of sorrow it makes me giggle. It's the little things that keep me going. I don't even know where that nickname came from. It just popped in my head. It's the perfect thing to call empty sad boobs. I hate my empty sacks of sorrow. They should be big and full of milk to feed my fat happy baby. Not empty and sad. Not a constant reminder that my baby no longer needs me. Not a constant reminder that I watched my daughter die. Hey empty sacks of sorrow, fuck off.

Hi sweet girl. I miss you. I can't even put into words how much I miss you. There are no words that can even come close. I keep replaying everything we did for that week before you got sick. Where could you have gotten the flu? We barely went anywhere. It doesn't make any sense to me. It is 2014, how is the flu still a thing? How is the flu still killing people? And, how is it possible that the flu killed you? How. Is. That. Possible. I'm so sorry sweetheart. I wish I could have had you a month earlier, that way you could have gotten your flu shot and none of this would have happened. I'm so sorry I failed you. I'm your mom. I'm supposed to keep you safe from harm. Not only did I not keep you safe, but you died. You didn't just break your arm or need stitches, you DIED. That is no ones fault but my own. It was my sole responsibility to keep you and your sister safe. And now you're gone. I'm so sorry Vi. You were my missing piece. You made me whole. I don't know how to live without you. I don't know what to do without you. How do I live the rest of my life without you? I know that you are never coming back, I know that. But, I cannot accept it. I keep thinking that someday I will get you back. That you will just one day be in your carseat looking at that damn monkey mirror. Or one morning I'll come out of my bedroom with Lyvi and you'll be laying on the ground smiling and screaming at us. I can hear Lyvi saying "Oh, Baby Vi! Mama, it's Baby Vi!"I don't know if I can do this. Everyone thinks I'm so strong, but you know the truth sweet girl. You know I am a shadowl of the person I used to be. You know that I am nothing without you. You know that I need you back. I am so sorry. I love you more than words can say. I would give anything to have you back. I hope you are ok. I hope you are warm. I love you. 


  1. Absolutely beautiful pictures. You can never erase that bond you have with Violet. She is beautiful, she was so perfect & I pray so hard that you will one day, be able to breathe again. Remember, I'm here. <3

  2. I know this doesn't help at all, but I just have to say it's NOT your fault. I know it feels so much like your fault, but life is fucked up and awful things happen to people for no damn reason.