Breastfeeding Success Story: Rhianna, St. Louis La Leche League

Breastfeeding Success Story: Rhianna, St. Louis La Leche League“When the years of trying and failing to conceive piled one atop the next, I began to view my  body as a stranger, as unknowable and untrustworthy. A failure. We ultimately sought the care  of a reproductive endocrinologist, a fertility specialist who, after a series of modesty­squelching  tests, determined that in vitro fertilization would give us our best chance at achieving a  pregnancy. It was a meticulous process, an orchestra of expensive medications not covered by  insurance, appointments every other day for blood work and ultrasounds, twice ­daily  self ­administered injections in pinches of belly fat. There were physicians and nurses in our  most intimate physical and emotional spaces, those who surgically retrieved my eggs, those  who married my gametes with my partner’s, those who transferred our two best candidate  embryos into my uterus, and one who called weeks later with the mind ­blowing, almost  unbelievable news that this had all somehow worked. It felt like the most unnatural process  ever, but there we were: finally pregnant. I felt hopeful, but the undercurrent of skepticism  toward my body never ebbed.

One healthy pregnancy later, my gooey, freshly born son was placed on my bare chest as the  purple light of dawn crept in through my hospital room window. We lay chest to chest, our hearts  trading companionable conversation like the cozy neighbors they were for the previous nine  months. This lovely, long-­awaited baby rooted instinctively for my breast with his tiny mouth, and  in that first moment, I felt an unexpected swell of reverence for my body that I’d never felt  before.    We had our hurdles and hiccups in the beginning of our nursing relationship, but we persevered  through the latch issues, damaged nipples, a nursing shield, and wavering uncertainty that my  body could adequately nourish this stunning little being.  I fell in love with my son, with  breastfeeding, and with my body during our quiet nursing moments. With his plump little arms  and legs tucked in close to my body, his body the yin to my body’s yang, it felt like we were the  only two people who existed. With his belly filled with my milk, I was overcome with an  unrelenting awe and renewed respect for what my body can do. What infertility took away from  my sense of self, breastfeeding gave me back.”