Breastfeeding Sucks.

All month I have wanted to write a post about breastfeeding and my experience.  It felt right to compose something considering it is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and all. But I struggled to find something worth writing about. It’s crazy that something I spend a huge amount of time doing would fail to inspire a worthy thought.  But it struck me today, on the last day of August. Breastfeeding sucks.

No one tells you about how painful engorgement feels or how scary it is when the hospital tells you it is necessary to supplement with formula – even though you know in your heart it isn’t needed. No one talks about cracked nipples, sore necks, and endless night feedings.  And don’t even get me started on thrush and mastitis (the word alone sounds terrifying). No one talks about the people who won’t meet your eye contact because they are embarrassed (go on and stare at that three-quarter naked woman on tv though) or asshole hospital lactation consultants with horrible British accents.

I could go on and spout off all the statistics about the physical benefits of breastfeeding for baby- from preventing childhood obesity to increasing IQ- or physical benefits to mama – from preventing reproductive cancers to helping lose that baby weight.  But I won’t do any of that because those articles are easy to find and those statistics are meaningless. And, in reality, I think those benefits only play a tiny role in why most mamas continue to breastfeed despite all the negatives.

It’s the indescribable feeling when your baby looks up from your breast and makes eye contact. It melts all the frustration, all the pain, and all (okay only most) of the exhaustion away. It’s the gooey feeling you get when she suddenly stops sucking and breaks into a huge gummy smile – milk rolling down her chin and all. It’s the soul rocking, heart healing, unbelievable feeling knowing that, not only did your body create and grow this little squish, but continues to grow her on a daily basis.

Yes, breastfeeding sucks. It will probably make my boobs sag lower than my belly button and nipples turn into permanent thimbles but I will never look back and regret how satisfied my heart feels.  I will always cherish the time we were able to spend, just the two of us. (I will also never take for granted that it is quickest, most effective way to quiet a screaming monster.)

Some may say she is a momma’s baby – and she is – but every part of me knows that I am creating an independent, well-adjusted kid.

So, I repeat: Breastfeeding sucks. But to all the mommas – Rock on with your bad self.

 

 

Our Force Field

Last night I lay in bed looking at the little bassinette and listening to tiny snores.  I thought about when it would be time for Hammie to move into her own room.  The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became. Our room is like a safety force field. It sounds totally silly but I feel like a child – as long as I hide under the covers, monsters can’t find me.  As long as all four of us (can’t leave out pup) are in our bedroom, we are all safe.

I just can’t picture her laying in that huge crib and the bedroom seems so far away.  I know it’s irrational since Hammie’s nursery shares a wall with our bedroom but it feels like a country away. How can I expect my tiny, still too small for 3-6 month clothes, baby to survive so far away from me?

How can I survive with her so far away from me?

In the morning I woke up to my little heatbox smooshed up against my armpit. We had fallen asleep nursing, like we do most early mornings. She is always very warm but, the more I move away, the closer she creeps. She is such a snuggle bug. It is obvious that I do not sleep as well with her in bed but it feels so good. Some mornings she slowly stirs and wakes me from my light sleep.  I look down at that squishy face and she breaks into a huge smile. She is such a morning person. How can anyone wake up unhappy when that face is there to great you? How can I move that face to her own room?

As she begins to sleep through the night, I am starting to feel as though having her in our room is more of a security blanket for me… rather than her. Only big girls sleep in their own rooms. Not babies.  Not my tiny, itsy, bitsy baby.

*Sigh* I know, I know… she isn’t as itsy bitsy as I think. Soon she will be sitting on her own and moving on her own. I am just not ready for her to be doing all this on her own. I want to forever keep her safe and within our “safety force field“.  I want to protect her from bumping her head, falling off her bike, and the scary boogy monsters in her far away bedroom. I know I can’t. And I know I shouldn’t. We want her to be independent and strong and not a “tit baby” (Hubs’ words not mine).

For a little longer, I will hold on to the idea that Hammie is safe and sound – protected in our bedroom force field. But eventually, I will have to come to terms with the fact that my force field will always surround her. It just can’t protect her from life.  It can, however, protect her from ever feeling alone or unloved. It will always be the warm arms that pick her up when she falls.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The Past 8 Weeks

The past eight weeks have flown by faster than I could have ever imagined.  My little Hammie has managed to pack on over five pounds, grow the most adorable rolls, and burrow her way into places in my heart I didn’t know existed. It sounds crazy but I have to remind myself that she is mine – forever. Like forever-ever.

As quickly as the time passes, I need to keep reminding myself of things I never want to forget.  I know that I will remember the sleepless (feeling) nights, the hormonal tears, the never ending stream of dirty diapers, and the nights it took two plus hours to get her to sleep.  But I really don’t want to forget the amazing parts – like the overwhelming love I felt when they placed her on my chest.

So here is my list of amazing things that I want to photograph with my mind:

– The raised eyebrows and “O” mouth she made when we first turned on the vibration in her Rock’n’Play

– How much she loved baths in the sink and would kick around

– The nights she refused to sleep but would tip her head back and stare at me. It felt like she was studying my face so she would never forget her momma

– The faces she makes in her sleep

– Her feet tucked up under her butt as she slept on my chest – just the tiniest ball of love

– The first time I heard her giggle (she was sleeping but it was amazing)

– Falling asleep with her arms bear hugging me

– Crazy cute wrinkles on her forehead

– Her intense eye contact and milk drunk smiles while eating

– The sweet smell of her breath when she finishes eating

– Her little eyes that could find me in the room full of people when she heard my voice

It amazes me that it only took a few short hours and one teeny tiny human to so drastically change my life. I no longer suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because I would rather spend hours holding my baby than do anything else in the world. I only get to do this a few times (God willing) and this will be the ONLY time I get to do this with Hammie.  So I plan to enjoy every moment of it because I have a lifetime to catch up on all the things I missed out on but I will never get these newborn cuddles back.

Glitter in the Air

Birth Plan…What Plan?

I am a planner. Always have been and probably always will be. Three months prior to my due date, I put the finishing touches on my “perfect” birth plan, printed four copies, and schooled Hubs on the purpose of each line. We had a plan and, although it was flexible, I knew exactly how baby Hammie was going to grace us with his or her presence.

Yeah, sure. Maybe in a perfect world.

Two weeks and a day before my due date, we went in for a routine weekly appointment. My ankles were twice their appropriate size, blood pressure was increasing, and my tolerance level was dropping rapidly. After concerns about my kidney function, the physician requested that I return the next day for further lab tests and an additional ultrasound.

Up to this point, Hubs had been to every appointment, and I mean EVERY appointment, no matter how insignificant. He was a trooper and put up with my mood swings as we waited over an hour for our appointments (they were changing computer systems – Karmic punishment). Since this last appointment was so last minute, he was unable to attend and sent Grannie in his place – and she was all too eager to fill his shoes.

That morning when she picked me up, she said “Are you sure you don’t want to bring your hospital bag?” I was in my now normal state of cranky and told her not to get her hopes up. Every appointment I got excited that something would change or it would be ‘time’ but was disappointed to the point of tears on multiple occasions. – Seriously, they promised me an early baby and I was miserable at 38 weeks?

Everything was perfect in the ultrasound – Hammie was growing and had over a centimeter of hair (not sure where that came from but I guess the heartburn wasn’t for nothing!). When the physician walked in the room, she could tell I was miserable. My ankles were ‘water marshmallows’ and I had retained an additional five pounds of fluid overnight. It was determined that I had preeclampsia and needed to be admitted immediately.

I don’t know it if was shock, relief, or terror but I called hubs on the verge of tears. “You need to leave work. They are admitting and inducing me.” For weeks, if not months, I had told Hubs I didn’t want to be induced. I didn’t want to do that to my body. I wanted everything to happen “naturally” and for Hammie to come at his/her own pace. I had worked so hard at keeping Hammie in and now they were telling me that they were going to force him/her out? No, I was going to do things according to the PLAN.

So at 38 weeks, I was wheeled into the maternity ward – I must have been in a state of shock because I didn’t protest. They admitted me and started drugs to dilate my cervix. In retrospect, I guess both Hubs and I got what we wanted. I got a calm wheelchair ride from the clinic to the birthing floor (with my momma) and he got to run around in a mad dash to pack everything and make it to the hospital. (I always wanted a relaxed process and he felt it wouldn’t be exciting unless there was an element of panic!)

So at this point my birth plan could continue as I had planned… hahaha, right. Nope. After 24 hours and six doses, my body hadn’t responded to the medication. I was still only dilated to one centimeter. The next step was to manually dilate with a balloon – terrifying. But there was another catch. They had no way to guarantee that they would insert the balloon into the correct cervix SOOOO we could spend the NEXT 24 hours forcing my cervix to dilate – which I can only assume is insanely painful based on what it does – and there is absolutely no promise that it will lead to my baby coming vaginally.

I sobbed. My brain knew that the only solution was to allow a C-section. To completely give up my “Plan” and give up all control of my Hammie’s arrival. I wouldn’t be the first person to hold him/her or look into his/her eyes. I was asking a physician to forcibly remove my warm and comfy baby from the only home he/she ever new. It completely broke my heart so I sobbed. Then I threatened to go home. The whole process was stupid and I no longer wanted any part of it. I was taking my bump and going home. Hubs begged me to not be so irrational but in my mind Hammie had decided that he/she wasn’t ready to come. And what type of mother ignored the needs of her child?

At this point, I am fairly certain all of the nurses at the nursing station knew who I was and the ruckus I was causing. But I didn’t care – I was devastated. Finally, after about an hour of crying, I caved.

Less than three hours later, they were putting up the surgical curtain and calling Hubs into the room. Fifteen minutes later, my perfect baby girl was born. Just as expected, she was as suborn as her momma. When the physician went to remove her, she dove back in and had to be taken out by her feet. (I knew she wasn’t ready to leave her warm home.) And just as he promised, Daddy held Hammie’s hand until she was safely delivered to my chest.

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Her tiny body was nothing compared to the huge weight of responsibility I now felt. She was mine. This was real. The emotions were indescribable.

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I guess there are pros to C-section – perfectly round heads and missing out of the lady-bits pain. Even so, I was still devastated. I am still devastated. Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have gone home and put myself on bedrest. Maybe that would have prevented the induction but maybe not. Everyday, I get a little closer to being okay with how things played out. Someone once told me (not sure who) that it is okay to grieve the loss of a “dream birth”. It is okay to feel sadness that things didn’t work out the way it was planned.

So I cuddle my little Hammie a little closer and allow myself to feel the sadness that brought me such joy.

38 Weeks

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*** Forgive how horrible I look in these pictures! At this point, I was 24 hours into a failed induction and incredibly miserable. ***

Date: 5/7/14

Cravings: Raisin Bran and avocados

Bump: Definitely.

Latest Project: Trying to keep my feet elevated so they won’t get any bigger!

Nursery Status: Done!  I added our new maternity prints but it is all ready for you to arrive!

Fear: My body will turn into a sponge…. oh wait, it already is.

Excitement: Seeing that you have over a centimeter of hair!!!

Complaint: Everything is full of water and my maternity pants no longer fit :-(

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I forgot

Almost ten years ago, I was told getting pregnant would be a chore, if it was even possible.

Three years ago, I was insensitively remind of that fact – as if I had somehow been able to forget.

Thirty-five weeks ago, I was told that we were lucky to be pregnant and should know that our child would likely be premature – not just a few weeks premature but a scary, unhealthy, few months premature.

Three weeks ago, I was told that we have proven all the textbooks and literature wrong. We beat the odds which were stacked unbelievably high against us.

One week ago, we celebrated thirty-six weeks – a date I thought I would be celebrating with an infant or, worse-case, in the NICU.

I spent hours researching premature babies and reading NICU parenting blogs – I thought I was preparing myself for the inevitable. Turns out, I was just being the overly prepared mother who didn’t trust her instincts and, instead, listened to textbooks.

I had forgotten how incredibly stubborn I am and how incredibly stubborn Daddy is. I failed to take into account that this kid is half of each of us.

(Hammie – If you are half as stubborn as I think you are, we are in trouble. If you are half of the overachiever you have been so far, I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish.)

This is how we roll

(the song is only slightly related to this post.  Mainly, it is Daddy’s fav – possibly, of all time)

36 Weeks – And they said it would never happen!

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Date: 4/23/14

Cravings: Raisin Bran and goat cheese

Bump: Yes, it is huge.

Latest Project: Making BIGGER cloth diapers – who knew you might need them?!

Nursery Status: Finished – we added another lamp and a new picture.

Fear: Stretch marks will take over my body.

Excitement: Any day now……

Complaint: Seriously, do you think my lungs are a nice pillow?  Also, I am sure it is cramped in there but do you really need to throw your whole body to the left when I am sitting? There is lots of room if you would decide to hang out in my lower abdomen!

Thanks to: Daddy for rubbing my sore swollen feet.

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I hope you…

1. … have your daddy’s sense of humor.

2. … never stop asking why.

3. … always question authority.

4. … have a tiny baby nose like momma and daddy.

5. … have tiny baby ears like daddy.

6. … thirst for knowledge about everything.

7. … don’t catch your parents’ insane sweet tooth.

8. … have the self-confidence to always love yourself

9. and stand up for those who are unable to love themselves.

10. … love to read.

11. … love to play outside.

12. … remember that your parents were the first to love you

13. and will always love you.

14. … love avocado.

15. … desire to try new things and never limit yourself.

16. … know every decision we have made/will make is because we only want the best for you.

17. … decide to be different.  Not for the sake of being different but for the sake of being you.

18. … realize that being different is awesome.

19. … find something to be passionate about.

20. … fall in and out of love with different people, music, and art.

21. … travel the world.

22. … are open-minded to new ideas.

23. … are stubborn.

24. … jump out of airplanes.

25. … aren’t allergic to the sun like momma.

26. … know that, no matter what you do, you will always make us proud.

27. … learn to trust your instincts – 95% of the time they are right.

28. … go to graduate school – not because you have to but because learning is amazing.

29. … fall in love with your grandparents because they are already in love with you.

30. … like veggies.

31. … always return your momma’s calls.

32. … enjoy returning your momma’s calls.

33. … make mistakes and learn how to fix them.

34. … love museums (momma needs someone to go with!).

35. … have dance parties in your room when no one is watching.

36. … dream big.

One for every week I have dreamt about you – even when you were a figment of our imagination.

 I hope you dance