This may be the hardest blog post that I write.
The journey in adoptive breastfeeding has been a long and trying one of waiting, praying and pumping. Around September, my husband and I felt that maybe we had been waiting long enough and that if we didn't get matched by December that we would come off the adoption list. We planned a trip to Hawaii with my sister and her husband (and no kids) and kind of prepared ourselves for the end of our journey. Well, sure enough, we got a call that we were matched with a baby girl who was due on late October. "Over the moon" doesn't begin to describe how we felt! We were so thrilled that our dream of a third child, a daughter, was about to come true. We were so over Hawaii and ready to be parents again. She was perfect and right on time (on her due date).
Now there was the "small" decision to make: do we take direct placement of her knowing that the birth parents have 30 days to change their minds or should we just wait out the 30 days with her in transition care through our adoption agency. It seemed simple to us. We want to care for her and love her as soon as possible. So with some negotiating, we were able to take placement of her 8 days after her birth. We named her Mychelle Sydney Byrd. And she was with us for two weeks...
She was such a lovely, sweet baby, who had no problem going back and forth from nursing and bottle feeding. Breastfeeding was such a sweet time for me and she loved it too. I am so blessed that I got to experience that. I know for many women it is hard and doesn't go as planned, but for Mychelle and I, it was magical!
After two blissful weeks, our adoption agency called us and told us that her birth parents decided to parent her. We were completely devastated. We cried with each other and with our friends and family who showed us great love and compassion during the process of returning Mychelle to her birth family. It was the hardest and saddest thing that we ever had, and I hope ever will have, to do. I hold on tightly to the memories I have of her and miss her.
Ok, so what about the pumping? I stopped pumping gradually. Since we weren't sure if we were going to continue on the adoption list or not, we decided to stop pumping. It was important not to stop all at once so that I didn't get blocked ducts or mastitis. It took about two full weeks for my body to stop lactating. During this process, I had to not only mourn the loss of a baby, but also my breastfeeding experience. I was able to find some families who could use my frozen breastmilk, which is some consolation.
We did end up going to Hawaii to get away for a while, but Hawaii ended and we were thrust back into the reality of our loss. We are at a great crossroads. Should we keep waiting for another baby or move on to see what life brings us? More to come...I hope.