October 1, 2013
We were invited to meet the new baby. I knew she was not breastfeeding. It was a decision made long before the birth. She had sent me a card of congratulations when I passed the boards to become a Lactation Consultant.
Having recently experienced a miscarriage in my second trimester I was excited to cuddle a new baby.
Stephanie and Drew looked relatively relaxed in their roles as new parents.
Bobby was about five weeks old.
“Do you want to feed the baby?” Stephanie asked. “I will warm up the bottle.”
I was nearly salivating waiting to cuddle this new little person. In my arms he felt warm. My breasts tingled. Thank goodness I was nursing Chloe, my toddler, or the milk would have flowed with nowhere to go those weeks earlier.
Bobby began to stir. Did he smell my milk?
“I think he is getting hungry.”
“It’s not three o’clock yet.”
The look on my face read confusion.
“We feed every three hours.”
“What if he is hungry before then?”
“The doctor says every three hours.”
Bobby squirmed in my arms. He turned toward my breasts. His mouth opened, he licked my shirt.
“He is really hungry,” I said. “It is 2:45. What difference does fifteen minutes make?” I pleaded.
Bobby began to wail. My heart raced.
They kept talking like nothing was happening. Drew laughed.
“Don’t let Leigh Anne leave the room with the baby. She will certainly latch him on.”
A chorus of laughter couldn’t drown out Bobby’s cries.
Bobby was gnawing on his hands. The wee baby was desperate. He wanted to be fed and there was nothing I could do. Everyone was laughing at my pain. Or were they laughing at Bobby’s pain?
I looked into his blues eyes. I wanted to tell him I was sorry.
“Come on. He is hungry.”
I am sorry Bobby. I would feed you if I could. He looked up at me crying, tears falling. And then he stopped. Like a switch went off. His expression went blank. All emotion disappeared and he looked through me. I had betrayed him. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. It was 2:53. I stopped myself from crying.
Seven minutes later Stephanie walked over and handed a warm bottle to me.
“Want to feed him?”
“No, thank you.”