In early November I asked my husband a very serious question. “So… what do you think… Should I start weaning Koa?”
“Why are you thinking about that right now?”
“Well, our anniversary is in March and if you think we’d like to go away for a few nights I should start the process now.”
“No,” he said, “You’re doing so good. I think you should keep going. We can go away another time.”
Tears pricked my eyes at the sensitivity of his response. It touched me so deeply. He only spoke a few short words, but the message went straight to my heart.
“Keep your last baby with you for a little longer. It’s o.k. that he sleeps in our bed with us, I don’t mind. I know that in March we’ll be in California with our family, and it will be our only chance to get away for several years. But that’s ok. We have a lifetime together to get away. He’s only our baby once and then it’s over. I know it’s a sacrifice for you and a huge commitment – but you’re doing so well, and Koa’s doing so well. Don’t stop now, don’t give up!”
Flash forward 3 months from that conversation. Our family took the trip to California and we all contracted the H1N1 virus while on an international flight. We landed in California and symptoms were already developing in our oldest son. Within a few days he had a fever and we took him to see a pediatrician. While in the office our second son came down with a fever as well. Both tested positive for H1N1. The next day we were back in the doctor’s office with our third son and my husband and I were starting to develop symptoms. Our last son, Koa was just over a year old and the doctor expressed her concern that this strain of flu can be life-threatening for infants and young children.
“What can I do???” I asked. She said I needed to isolate him. I needed to get him away from us so he wouldn’t get the virus. “But I’m still nursing,” I said. “Especially at night – he sleeps with me and nurses.” She handed me several cans of formula and said it didn’t matter. I needed to find a friend or relative who would take him for several nights.
I walked out of the doctor’s office feeling confused. I knew my sister-in-law would take him, but it just didn’t feel right. In my heart of hearts I felt that continuing to breast feed was the only thing preventing him from getting sick. It was the best thing I could do for him right then and I didn’t want to stop. So, as I loaded Koa in his carseat I took a deep breath. I said my prayers, took him back home with me and increased our nursing times.
Would you like to know the end of the story? Well, every single one of us got sick, except the baby. He never came down with even one symptom.
My husband gave me a gift that fateful day back in November. He not only gave me the courage to continue nursing, but those few words he spoke ensured that I had the ability to help my baby when he needed it most, keeping him safe and healthy in the face of life-threatening illness. And for that I’m forever grateful.