Saturday, August 15, 2015

My Milk-makers

Pumping is by far, one of the oddest things I've ever done to myself.  It's not glamorous.  It's not peaceful.  It's not comfortable.  It's not convenient.  It is mandatory if I want to keep feeding my child.  Which I do.  More than many things I've wanted in this world, I want to do that.

Breastfeeding is the purest human connection I have ever experienced.  I didn't know something so simple could be so fulfilling.  And I say simple in that it is just the two of us, him taking what he needs and me giving it.  I am honored to be his mother and to have the ability to feed him on demand.  When he relaxes into the latch, his hand holding on the a piece of my clothing, his eyes open but unfocused, I melt.  His body turned into mine, I make myself tune-in to that peace.

 Everything else surrounding the act is not so easy.  The latch, and then the unlatch and latch again (ouch), the angle, the frequency of it, the pain, the test in patience, the pumping.  Oh the pumping.  What did women do before those pumps?  Such a relief when they do their job, but so bizarre to watch. A few nights ago my hubby and I had our first date since our son was born (only 3 weeks ago!) and we went to a ball game.  I fed before we left and 5+ hours later we're home and I had my first experience of what I have dubbed "concrete tits."  Oh the solid, huge rocks my boobs became!  It was unreal.  I had been waiting for that, hadn't happened yet since I've been home and feed on demand.  Yes, they were big but lord, if anyone or anything touches them, so help me, I will punch you.

Just the fact that our bodies can make milk is so weird.  Beautiful and wonderful, bla bla bla.  It's weird and so cool.  Another thing we have no control over (see this post  for reference)  Yet it's absolutely mind-blowing to know that our bodies have the ability to care for our young.  So primal.

I'm nervous to go back to work and pump.  (I'm nervous for several reasons but this post is all about boobs.)  I work for a company that spends much of it's time traveling from venue to venue in a big white van.  Am I just supposed to sit in the back in the installed jump-seat with all our equipment and fabric and ladders and pump?  How awkward will that be?!  Or do I sit out the last 15-20 minutes of a set-up to go into a bathroom and take care of all my business?  I am lucky I work for a company that is flexible and caring but neither of us have been down this working/pumping road before.

Ahh the trials and tribulations of a breastfeeding mama.

Adding this photo so you all can see what was happening while I wrote this post.  Lately, throughout the day he'll only sleep if on me.  Sweet.  And a bit cumbersome.  But that is a post for another time.  Also, note the picture in the frame, our first photo after he was born, I swear I did not time that!

Now, excuse me, I need to go pump.  Because I don't want to wake the sleeping babe.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Let's Talk All Things Gross

*I will warn you readers now, if you are easily offended, don't like gross bodily things, or have never had a baby, tread forward with caution.*

Can we talk a moment about our bodies as women?  And how magical and amazing and absolutely gross we are?

I've seen a lot of controversy on the interwebs about the "How I got my body back after baby" idea.  It is extremely irksome to many that a woman should be ashamed of their post-baby body and that they should want to go back to the way it was before said baby took over.

But that is just the thing, the baby does take over.  When I became pregnant I didn't choose for my entire right arm to painfully numb and slightly swollen every morning.  That is just one of the side effects of being pregnant.  I also was quite pleased with the size and shape of my breasts pre-pregnancy, I didn't need them to get bigger.  But baby did and still does.

And speaking of breasts, just one of the many places that leak.  Gross.  Yes, it's lovely and oh so special that I can feed my child on demand and yes, breast milk is the liquid gold of good food for baby, but all that aside, they still aren't within my control.  They are huge, like cantaloupe huge.  They get hard, painfully hard.  And when that happens I don't care who is around, I will massage and hold them in my own hands for some sense of relief.  And at 3 o'clock in the morning and I'm feeding on one side and I can feel the other side drip milk from itself, another thing outside of my control.  Gross.

Get my body back?  Yeah right.

When I went into labor, my water didn't break like most think it would; in a gush, all at once and in some embarrassing public place.  Mine trickled out, so slowly that at first I was wondering if I was occasionally peeing my pants.  Gross.  And once we finally decided to go to the hospital after several hours of active labor, we were moving me from the check-in room to the delivery room, I stood up and lord have mercy. The amount of fluid that came out of me was one of the most shocking disgusting things that had experienced.  And completely out of my control.  It just kept flowing, so much fluid.  So gross.

I know that is beyond the notion of "too much information" but I'm now postpartum and am dealing with a whole new set of body issues that are out of my control.  My uterus went through hell after delivery and it's still recovering.  I joke with my sweet baby that when I change his diaper, I should change mine as well. And I thought my monthly period was bad.  Gross.

I am also taking iron supplements to help get my energy back, which in turn makes me constipated, which means I need to take a stool softener, which again is something that I'd rather not do, but my body is saying otherwise.  Gross.

The small fact that my belly is still moving back to some sort of resemblance of pre-baby, is so far from my concern.  With all the other crap that my body is doing, my belly doesn't matter.  It will never be the same, I carried my son for 9 months in that belly.  The small valley of stretch marks below my belly button, I need to get used to them, appreciate them as battle scars and be proud of what they represent.

All of this foreign activity in my body is just par for the course, I'm not the only woman going through all of this.  I do not have it the easiest but certainly not the worst either.  If there has every been a time to sit and value all I have been through and appreciate how powerful and yes, gross my body is, it is now.  And again, like labor, this gross-ness will not last forever.

I'll have my body back, in it's new glorious mama form soon enough.  And with much less leaking.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

That Day I Cried For All The Reasons

I am 16 days postpartum and I have a vague idea of what I'm doing.

Who am I kidding? I tell myself that so that when I start to lose my shit (see: when my kid starts to lose his shit) and I make choices to calm him and myself the same way I shoot darts; slight focus, no target and SHOOT! and see where I land, I can feel a little bit at peace with the knowledge that "I've read the books, I've got an idea what to do."

Actually, I haven't a fucking clue. And my kid can't tell me. And sometimes I curse anything that comes in my line of vision. You! Cat! This is your fault! Either refill my water or move you and your long fluffy tail outta my space!

And then he latches, finally. And he looks at me with his ever-changing eye color and his little hand resting on my big overly-full boob, and my heart explodes all over again. Oh yeah, you. You little tiny precious vulnerable perfect thing, my love for you is ungodly ridiculous, you are worth it all.

One might say I'm hormonal. One might. Hell, I'll shout it from the damn roof, my emotions are all over the place. Take today for example, Dad had a lunch meeting, I hadn't showered yet, the bonus kids were both doing their own thing and my sweet new baby is wailing is head off. Like, full-on back arched, neck all veiny, red faced and just M.A.D. mad. And all I can do is stand and rock him and offer the boob and then not get furious when he falls asleep 3 minutes into eating. Kid, don't you know I have things to do? Like wash my armpit that you are so close to, doesn't that smell bother you?! Clearly not. Sleeping like an angel, you little devil.

And that is when I cry. For the next hour and half, wiping my snotty nose on his burp cloth because he is quiet right now and I don't want to move to get a kleenix for fear that he'll wake up. So the tears mostly-silently drip down my face and I try to figure out what is really bothering me.

And then I cry more because all the reasons that come to my mind are so silly and small; Dad is at a meeting which he kindly asked if he could go and I agreed, because someone I know said she'd come over and clean my bathroom 3 times and hasn't shown-up when in actuality it is my messy bathroom, my kid won't stop crying which is fine he's a baby it's his job, I really want a big sugary chocolaty coffee drink yet I know that isn't the smartest choice, I want to stand in a hot shower and not be bothered, I want to read my book while my sweet babe sleeps. All of these are first world problems and in my pre-mama life I would've told myself to grow a pair and move on.

But now? But now. I am trying to embrace each crazy, small, seemingly dumb thought, face it, give it it's moment to take over, and I am hoping that by doing so I won't head down that oh-so-scary tunnel of depression. Greet it head-on, stare it down and embrace every tear and ridiculous thought, remembering that just like going through labor, nothing lasts forever.

Today was one day. One day in the chaos of my new mama life. Here I am. Here I'll chronical my woes and my successes and here I hope that one other mama will understand.