So, I’ve been a mom for almost two months now … and this is my last week of maternity leave before I go back to work next Monday. I celebrated my first Mother’s Day as a mother and with my own mom, which was awesome. After the last year of health scares with parents, I am so grateful and thankful to be able to spend time with my mom and my little one. She and my dad are so cute with him.
We also survived our first road trip with a kid. We drove from Michigan to Virginia to see my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws with the baby when he was 5 weeks old. It was sanctioned by our pediatrician, who said we were good to go when he clocked in at almost 14 pounds at his 5 week check-up. I was terrified of the trip, overpacked a TON, but it ended up being really okay. Baby Nick was a champ in the car and only got fussy about 30 minutes from our arrival. We had a lot of firsts on the trip — the first time we took him to a restaurant, the first time we let someone babysit, the first time we used the Pack & Play, the first time we stayed in a hotel with an infant, the first time I pumped in a car, the first major poo blowout (followed by many more) requiring outfit changes, the first time meeting Grammy and all his Aunties, and many more I’m probably forgetting.
I’ve learned it takes a ton of time to get ready and out out the door now. We basically have to plan for at least an hour or two longer than it took us pre-kid. It requires a lot of logistics – Do we have enough diapers in the diaper bag? Are there enough wipes? Did we bring the Gripe Water? Do we have his pacifier? Did we pack a blanket? Did we include at least two outfit changes? Do we have a bottle? Did we bring the pump? Do we have any formula? Do we have burp cloths? Many times, this kid looks more put together than I do because by the time I have all his needs met, there isn’t any time for me to get ready … or I just don’t care what I look like anymore.
So, about breastfeeding. Oh, breastfeeding. I could probably write an entire entry just on this topic. There is a shitload of pressure on new moms to breastfeed the shit out of their children. It’s everywhere. I have consultants calling me several times a week asking how I am doing with it … and you know what? Pardon my language, but I am SICK TO FUCK OF TALKING ABOUT MY BOOBS (which, ironically, I am posting about right now, but you get what I mean).
It all started back in those pregnancy and breastfeeding classes we took. I thought, yeah, I can do this! And I started off on this journey of thinking I was breastfeeding no matter what. It went so far that I had that stupid dream a week or so before I went into labor. In it, I birthed the little guy (naturally, btw, HAHAHAHA), and they put him on me and he immediately latched on and I celebrated being the BREASTFEEDING CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!
So, let’s fast forward to the actual birth….the emergency c-section that I could still FEEL (the joy of being a redhead and having epidurals and a spinal NOT WORK). They pulled the little guy out of me, he got assessed and weighed, and then they handed him to my husband…and then I got to see him … but we didn’t get to hang until we were in recovery. BUT, and I swear to you this is the truth, when they put him on me, he did latch on immediately and start feeding and I did lay there thinking OMG, I am a prophet and my dream was true!
Sadly, that’s about where the sunshine and puppies of initial breastfeeding ended. After that, we had some major latching issues, lots of discussions about whether they thought they should clip his tongue (it’s heart-shaped and they thought he might be tongue-tied), meeting after meeting with lactation consultants in the hospital, and many tears, because holy moly, that kid was hurting my boobs! There was blood, there were blisters, and cracking, and hurting, and discomfort. Breastfeeding is hard. It’s even harder when you feel like you’re not giving your kid everything he needs.
So yeah, because little (big) guy was losing weight, we had to start supplementing my breast milk with formula while we were in the hospital. And it’s something we’ve had to continue to this day because I just can’t produce enough milk for this huge baby and his voracious appetite. In fact, I started to feel like I was going insane once we got home and he’d feed on my boobs for 2-3 hours at a time. I felt like I was a milk slave. I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere – my whole existence was wrapped up in feeding my kid … constantly.
I lasted about 3 weeks like that. Then, rather than be this sad, sorry shell of a zombie person who cried constantly, I decided to start pumping more and not letting him on my boobs. I found I was a much happier person doing this. I do still occasionally let him on my boobs, but now it’s when I want to and when he’s happy, so we’re both cool with it and not frustrated or in pain. And yeah, we still supplement. Basically, I feed him breast milk all day long and at night we give him formula. And we usually do formula if we’re out and about because I’m just not one of those moms who’s comfortable whipping her tatas out in public … though I am an expert at in-car pumping.
As I said earlier, this is my last week of maternity leave. I feel like it flew by so fast. We had this whole childcare situation that really threw me for a loop … basically, the person who was going to watch our kid when I went back to work bailed on us when I was 8 months pregnant (cue crying). My husband and I talked about it and weighed our options and costs and decided we could afford for him to take off work for a year to be a stay at home daddy. I’d be lying if I wasn’t really jealous about it, but I’m the primary breadwinner in our family, so we can’t afford for me to be a stay at home mommy and for him to be the sole provider. I have irrational fears that now he’s going to love my husband more than me and I’m going to miss out on all kinds of important baby milestones and moments. It makes me sad and I know it’s stupid, especially since I work from home when I’m not traveling and can easily be summoned if something cool is going down in kid land.
Oh, I also had my 6-week postpartum check-up last week (at 7 weeks). Why didn’t anyone warn me that the postpartum pap smear hurts?! My God, it was painful! I made it through 28 hours of labor with crazy contractions, an emergency c-section, recovering from said c-section, and then a pap smear hurts?! What the hell? My doctor said it’s because my estrogen levels are low because I breastfeed. It has me a little worried about how sex is going to feel … not that I’m wanting any of that lately. I’m way bummed about pregnancy weight and how much things have shifted around after having a kid. I’m squishy now. I need to get motivated to lose it now that I’m cleared to do more physical activity.
Well, this turned into more of a lengthy missive than I intended and the little guy is ready for another feed. Until next time!