Sunday, April 22, 2012


Today, I nursed Jackson for the last time. He was two days shy of 11 months old. I know that he has already received all of the great immunity benefits of breastfeeding. I know that he takes a bottle just fine and doesn’t mind formula at all. But I also know that he wasn’t ready to stop nursing. I had not planned to go cold turkey—I was hoping to do a slightly gradual transition during the weeks before I started chemo, but once we started planning for preserving embryos, I heard from the reproductive endocrinologist that I needed to stop before I start the follicle stimulation cycle. So I tucked him in tight for our final nursing session this afternoon. The whole time, I sat there thinking how selfish I was being for denying him an easier transition just because I want to get these eggs harvested. I could be giving him a week or two more before we really had to quit. I don’t know how I am going to stand it when he is crying out to nurse like he does early in the morning.

Today, we also packed up all of the little things in the house that we don’t want the movers to pack (since most of what they will pack is going to stay in boxes for several months while our house is renovated). All the family photos and our clothes and baby gear. We had to take everything down off of the walls. I went into the babies’ room and gently peeled off the beautiful black-and-white sea creature wall stickers Ed found online when we first decorated the room for Hudson before she was born. Two seahorses, two stingrays, sea grass, bubbles, and finally, two sea turtles. A mama and a baby. I thought about how it seemed like only yesterday that we lovingly placed those stickers on the wall, trying to figure out just the right configuration over the baby’s (we didn’t know at the time whether it would be a Hudson or a Jackson) crib. When we bought them, we were glad they were made of reusable adhesive so they wouldn’t tear up the walls when we moved.  Now, I am just so glad that we are able to take them with us. I wish they weren’t so very full of memory and meaning. But I am also glad they are so very full of memory and meaning.

So many transitions all at once. And I am so not ready for any of them.


  1. I'm so damned sorry you have to make this decision at all. Yuck. Know that you have your family's best interest at heart. Jackson knows how loved he is.

    Big hugs,

  2. I'm glad you had so many wonderful months of nursing Jackson. I'm sorry it has to end before you're ready. But nothing you're doing seems to be selfish, Mandy. Nothing. So don't give that another thought. I'm wishing you all the best with your IVF cycle. If you need anything, please give me a shout. Otherwise, I'll just keep thinking of you, praying for you and cheering you on through all of it. xoxo, Kate Z.

  3. Love and Light continued, Mandy.
    Rachel C.

  4. You are not selfish. You are NOT. You are fighting for everything you want and dream about. You are FIGHTING, and doing the very best for yourself and your family, past, present, and future. Knock the shit out of this cancer!

  5. We're gonna miss you. Try hard to forgive yourself about the breast-feeding. Jackson will be ok. The most important thing now is for you to get well and to get back your peace of mind. Lots of love.

  6. Mandy,

    Who you are- all of it- gives new meaning to the words strength, courage and compassion. What a gift to witness your life. Thank you.

    Let us know what you need.

    Sending so much love,

  7. Ifyou fast forward into the future and ask Jackson, "are you glad you have little brothers and sisters? Or would you rather not have any living siblings but have gotten an extra few weeks of Breastfeeding?". You know his answer would be, without any moment of hesitation, that you are making the right choice. I'm so sorry its a choice you have to make at all.

  8. You are not selfish; quite the opposite. Your incredible love for Jackson and Hudson is the reason you're taking steps to ensure future siblings are possible. You have your entire family's best interests at heart, as you always do. Don't beat yourself up over this. I'm sorry you have to think about it.

  9. I'm going to echo what the others have said. You are one of the least selfish people I "know".

    Thinking of you.


  10. I haven't been here in months -- stopped by tonight to see if you all had moved and heavens -- Mandy, you are one of the most resiliant people I have ever encountered either in print or IRL. Your spirit and determination and courage are to be admired. I did IVF when I was 40+ --you will be successful. You have already conceived naturally twice which will make IVF a breeze for you. I did two cycles and my husband and I have three children (one daughter, and a set of b/g twins). Hope you have alot of bedrooms in your new house. Thoughts and prayers are with you -- now that you are blogging again, I will check back often. Much love, Mariann

  11. I also had to give up breastfeeding before I was ready, though under much less stressful circumstance (simply lost my milk), so I sympathize with you. I recall how surprised and relieved I was to find that my one-year-old didn't seem to notice or mind and that the comfort I provided, that I thought was completely tied to nursing, was no more powerful than just holding her close to me, rocking her, and singing or whispering softly. Your Jackson will adjust and you will maintain that loving closeness. Kids are much more adaptable than we give them credit for. You are doing a spectacular job mothering him, and that won't change.

    These are very difficult choices you are faced with, and you are doing the research, becoming informed, and making the decisions that are right for you and your family. You didn't ask to be put in this situation, so don't for a second feel guilty about the way you handle it.

  12. I'm so sorry you have to make these choices, but I'm confident you've made the best ones for you and your family.

    I thought of you and Hudson today. I work a few hours a week at a daycare, and I read Goodnight Moon to one of the toddlers this afternoon. I helped him find the mouse, reminded of how you said Hudson loved to do that.

    Will be thinking of you during the move.

  13. I had to stop nursing my younger daughter when she was 14 months old, because I was starting methotrexate treatment for my rheumatoid arthritis. (Methotrexate is another drug used for chemotherapy, but for autoimmune disease it is taken in relatively low doses. Toxic in breastmilk and a class X drug in pregnancy.) I thought it was going to be so awfully hard on her, but she honestly did much, much better with it than I could have imagined. Yes, there was some emotional stinging...I was sad that it was that easy for her. But I was relieved that there was no emotional sting on her part. I hope the transition is easy on Jackson as well.

  14. Mandy have been thinking of you all week. So sad for you and Jackson with the breastfeeding. Hope things have been ok and you are both coping with it all. Sending lots of love, light and strength to you all x

  15. Mandy, I haven't been here in a while and am just catching up. Sending you so so so much love! You are truly amazing, and I will be thinking about you and your family a lot.
    - Merm

  16. I'm so sorry, Mandy. I had to stop nursing my first son prematurely, in order to begin some pre-op treatment, and it was so very, very hard. It made me terribly sad. I'm sorry you have to go through this, in addition to everything else.

  17. Mandy,

    I just came back to your blog after some months away. I came back because my family just lost my 35-year old cousin, suddenly and tragically, and I was sharing with his sister your strength in thinking about "one good thing". And then I read about your cancer. Warren and I are simply without words. I am so sorry you have to go thru this, and so happy that the news so far has been as good as it can be.

    I remember the very last times I nursed both Rory and Cian. Sorry it had to be earlier than you hoped but like a lot of PPs, the kids do just fine. As I am sure you know, the best thing you can do for Jackson right now is taking the best possible care of his Mom!!

    I'll check back in more regularly. We are thinking of you. Take really good care of yourself.

    Love from Johanna and Warren