This is huge for me...
Yesterday morning was the last time I nursed Ethan. Fourteen and a half months of intense reality wrapped around this simple life-giving act. I will never forget this time last year when Ethan began to exhibit serious health issues that only seemed to worsen. I remember the fear as I watched helplessly not knowing WHY or HOW to fix what was rapidly unfolding before my eyes. The dread of feeling like the knowledge and answers were out there SOMEWHERE and the race to find it.
The guilt of feeling as though it was MY milk causing him the intense physical pain, the oozing eczema skin reaction and writhing pain.
I remember when he stopped having wet diapers... the weight he lost... Duane, my rock of all rocks breaking down when he admitted he feared having to find a small coffin. The tears we shed together when we lathered him in silica gel and he stopped screaming for the first time in weeks and actually opened his eyes! Oh that memory...
Duane yelled for me as it dawned on me that there was suddenly the absence of a screaming child. We had just grown so accustomed to his constant pain. Duane had just bathed him and was lathering him in the silica gel (one of our many, many trials to ease the little guy's burden). I ran upstairs because I feared the worst... I have never heard Duane yell for me like that before and the fact that the crying had ceased gripped me so tightly in the chest. My feet could not move fast enough!
There was our son, sores all over his little naked body, but quiet, calm and starring back up at us. We wept and wept and praised God for the first ray of hope we'd had in what felt like forever!
These are the moments I will never forget!
And the allergy specialist meetings and the search for a formula that he would not be allergic to thinking he needed to be off my milk. But the endless challenge of getting him to take a bottle.
Even now, I see how God played His "fate" card here, too. But at the time, I felt CURSED that I couldn't be free of nursing and the challenge of eliminating (and discovering) all of his allergens. This changed our family's life! For the better.
All of those family gatherings with delicious-looking meals that I could not partake in, the little containers of plain Ethan-friendly food. The countless conversations of "when I am done nursing, I will eat..."
And here I am. I feel like I am holding my breath... like something isn't quite right. But my breasts have already deflated like withered balloons (I know, I know... always too much information but I just gotta be me). Perhaps a more medical term would be "pendulous breasts"... yes, this is actually a term they use for women who want to get a breast lift. Pendulous breasts... phhhft! They've just had the life sucked out of them, that's all!
But here I am... suddenly free of the allergens that have bound Ethan and I together on this long journey to-date. I thought I would be a the Tim Horton's drive-thru by now getting my large double-double and blueberry fritter. Instead, I am contemplating sticking to these countless restrictions for the sake of still being bound to Ethan through them. So he doesn't go through this alone.
I really don't know how we are going to proceed from this point onwards. One thing I DO know... I am eating Sushi for my birthday at the end of this month!!! Sweet glorious sushi from Wasabe on Broadway! But even then, my brain kicks in (as it has been well-trained) and I think "oh the egg in the mayo simply won't do and the fish is too serious an allergen to even be near."
So I will chug a gallon of listerine when I am done!!!
Hunh. Freedom. I thought there would be trumpets sounding or something. That simple, eh? Just... freedom? But I praise God for sustaining Ethan's life through the foods he CAN eat. For the freedom from the fear of me dying unexpectedly and the consequences that would have on Ethan's life. Everything really IS going to be okay.
And THAT is probably the feeling that is gripping me the most at this moment. Now it's time for Ethan to truly start his life... and it really is going to be okay. Thank you, God!! Thank you all for your prayers that have carried us through this journey. We love you so much!