Today we share a story that we have transcribed from some voice messages that we have received from Charo, a very special mother who wanted to share her experience with all of us. We have been able to talk to her, and she tells us that her recovery is going well, and she feels that they are “almost” as they were before. She is also moved, realizing everything she and her family have been through.
We can’t hide that we have been emotional while transcribing it, not only for the story itself but also for the strength of this mother, her confidence, her love for her son, and for the wonderful reactions of the little one.
Thank you Charo!
“I’ll tell you my story. It’s hard because I have to rest lying down and have a roommate, so it’s hard to talk. But here it goes:
I had a planned surgery to remove a brain tumor in my head. Instead of that, my biggest anxiety was the weaning of my boy, who is almost 4 years old, and I was sad to see it end like that. We did not want to wean before, and until 6:00 a.m. of the same day before being admitted to the hospital, he was feeding on my breast.
When I came out of surgery, I couldn’t see him. I brought the breast pump with me in case my breasts would get full and swollen, as I didn’t want to get mastitis. But I didn’t have to use it. I was able to see him 5 or 6 days later. The first day, when I asked him if he wanted to breastfeed, he said, “no thanks, mommy, I don’t need to,” because he saw that I had a lot of cables attached to me and the intravenous drip….
The next day my IVs were removed, and I started to take my medication by mouth. And I asked him again, “Do you want to feed at my breast?” and he said, “yes, mom, thank you”. And he fed from both breasts, very happy.
After that operation, I returned home after 10 days. I had to rest, but I had the advantage that I could breastfeed him lying down. Because he is big enough, he was looking for a position. And with the medication, there was no problem because I looked at www.e-lactancia.org, and all the medications were compatible with breastfeeding. There was some medication that, instead of being “very low risk,” was only “low risk”, so I adapted the schedules in which I knew I was not going to give the breast, to take the medication and make it compatible with breastfeeding.
When I went to have the stitches removed from my head the next day, everything got complicated because there was an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid because there was a gap left when they removed the tumor. As I was with my son at 6 o’clock in the morning breastfeeding, I realized that I was losing fluid. I called my parents, I went to the hospital, and my sister stayed with my child. Then I had to be admitted into the hospital again, in the emergency room.
And there, the separation was harder because we were not prepared; we had not talked about it. But however, for him, it was natural; he thought: “Mom is in the hospital; nothing is wrong; she will get better.”
We never talked about being ill, I went to the hospital to get well, to be well.
I just happened to catch the week of a long bank holiday weekend in December, and then everything got complicated. I was undergoing treatment until they decided to operate again. While I was undergoing treatment, I could not see my son. 7 days passed without being able to see him because I could not, I had a drain in my back, and I could not move. When he finally came to see me, we clamped the drain.
As soon as I saw him, my milk started to come out. He drank milk, and when he finished, he told me, “I’m done drinking breast, mom” he got off the bed, and they went home.
He left singing, very happy.
The next day, I went to the operating theater again so that they could close the gap that was left and through which the liquid was leaking. They opened my head again and closed that part. The operation was hard, but on the second day, my child was back to enjoy me and feeding at the breast.
Fortunately, I didn’t have any swelling, discomfort, or pain in my breasts, and there was always breastmilk, it came out in squirts! So all the fear I had about it was gone. Breastfeeding is established and will continue.
Since I can’t lift any weight -obviously, I’m on total bed rest- he comes into the hospital bed. I lay him down, we are together, and he drinks from my breast. Sometimes he asks me if it will be long before they have to go, and I tell him, “Enjoy the breast while you can.” He feeds for as long as he wants, and then he tells us that he wants to go home.
I still don’t know when I’m going to leave the hospital, but at least I know he can visit me, and we can keep breastfeeding, and that gives me peace of mind. And I tell you, it’s all thanks to the information, the stories you publish, the website e-lactancia.org, thanks to all this empowerment.
So many myths and so many things that you tear down every day and tell people that it is possible.
I myself, of course, feel super satisfied for having achieved and being able to continue breastfeeding because I was not ready to suddenly wean and even less for health reasons, something forced on me. It was not what I wanted. Sometimes you can’t achieve it, but luckily we are achieving it.
On the first day, when I asked him if he wanted to breastfeed and he said, “I don’t need it,” I felt good about being able to offer it to him, and that he said no, gave me peace. I understood that he had done his process. The next day, when he wanted to feed, with his only three years of age, he explained that he had seen me doing so badly that he understood that he could not feed on that day and that it was better to wait. So the following day, when he saw me without IVs, he saw me stronger and was encouraged to ask.
Of course, I did not ask anyone for permission to breastfeed my son. I only informed the doctors that I am a breastfeeding mother so they could review the medications and ensure they were compatible with breastfeeding as far as possible. But I never asked if I could breastfeed because I understand it is not part of what I need to tell them, as they are neurosurgeons.
Breastfeeding is a thing between mother and child and no one else.“