Monthly Archives: April 2014

This morning…

I was making coffee in my half-asleep mode, which seems to be my only mode nowadays. I put the grounds in with the filter, I poured the water in, and I hit the start button. What I forgot to do was put the pot back in. Coffee and grounds EVERYWHERE. I’m pretty sure I giggled the giggle of insanity. Utter and absolutely insanity. Tom came into the room, too tired to be angry. He had the brilliant idea to go get an actual towel, seeing as how the one paper towel I’d pulled off the roll just didn’t seem to be doing a sufficient job. Honestly, I’m surprised I remembered to put underwear on today.

Charlotte is such a beautiful, amazing child. But if she could learn to sleep until 7:00am, that would be awesome. This 5:30 thing is just killing my spirit. Tom’s is pretty much dead already. We look at each other and we’re just like “what was your name again?” The only words we can form consistently are “diaper”, “formula”, “feeding”, “poop”, “diaper rash” and “pee.” We can’t quite use them in a sentence, nor can we form a complete thought. It’s a new feeling to string together broken phrases in my head. When they come out as words, I sound like half my brain was removed. I will say things like “when she eat last?” and “diaper? How bad?” Tom will respond similarly with “uh 4:30.” and “bad. Poop all over. Through outfit. Had to change.”

But, in spite of the fact that we sound like cartoon cave-dwellers speaking English for the first time, I’m happy. I’m in love. And I am dog-tired. Someone, for the love of God, bring me a white chocolate mocha with no whipped cream. Thankyouverymuch.


Straight Talk

I had my six-week appointment with my primary care physician on Tuesday. This is the guy who I switched away from for all my prenatal care because I didn’t want a dude looking at my lady parts. He also coincidentally delivered my baby because my OB didn’t do deliveries. I was cool with that because I figured I wouldn’t care who caught the baby as long as the baby came out. He also spent some time down there taking care of the business that is childbirth after the baby comes out. He saw the lady parts at the absolute worst they could possibly be seen and was polite enough to never speak of it. So, I saw him on Tuesday for my lady parts’ checkup.

(I know my dad reads this and I’m very sorry, Dad, but you might want to skip this paragraph.) My breasts used to be amazing. Perfect. The stuff of legends. Perky, firm, full, gorgeous. They are no longer. My doctor examined them for cancer, as per the usual when you go in for your lady parts exam, and I kind of felt bad for him that they were no longer of their former glory. No embarrassment. I didn’t say that to him, though. That’s just creepy. Then he looked at the land down under (once called the promised land, but no longer) and I gave not one crap. No shame. None.

(Ok, Dad, this is probably safe now.) They tell you that after childbirth, you will have no shame. I agree completely. I am so not satisfied with my body anymore (working on fixing that!) and at the same time I do not care who sees it. I had a friend coming over early after the baby and I was trying to pump before she got there. Seeing as how she was always late, I figured I had time. Nope. Halfway through she knocked on my door. I considered for a moment just continuing to pump when she walked in and decided that would probably make HER too uncomfortable. So I covered myself up. I was never really one for a whole lot of modesty before. One could not accuse me of having a moderated ego. But now it’s like, who cares?!?!?!!? Not me, not the doctor, not the nurse. No one.

(Dad, skip this part, too.) Speaking of nurses, when I had to go to the restroom for the first time post-baby, my nurse followed me in. I sat down on the toilet and while I relieved myself, she sprayed me down there with warm water. And it took awhile. A loooooooong while. And I stood up and looked down and thought of the ending of the movie Carrie. Or, you know, the elevator doors opening in The Shining. Whatever. The nurse saw that, too. The night before that, I had nurses “checking me” every few hours. The promised land had been conquered and became the land down under around the second or third time some woman did that to me. I’ll never forgive her for the pain she caused. Seriously, I’m traumatized! lol

(Safe from here on out, I promise!) So there it is. The dire truth about how childbirth robbed me of any sense of decency I once had. I mean, for societal reasons I will continue to cover up. I don’t want to run around getting arrested and stuff. But doctors? Pfft. Over it!

By the way, I’m doing very well. Healthy as a horse. I think that was the point I was going to make to wrap all this up. Yeah.

Follow Up

Last night, after submitting the previous post, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I finally had the breakdown that had been building up for a few days. Poor Tom had to stay awake with me and try to calm me down til I finally went to sleep. Then this morning, Charlotte woke up for her 7am feeding an hour early, as always. I got her out of her cradle and brought her into the bed with me and cuddled with her. She went right to sleep. When she wouldn’t sleep anymore, I took her with me into the kitchen to prepare her bottle. She was resting her head on my shoulder as I got the bottle into the warmer. When I changed her diaper, she looked up at me with those big blue eyes and didn’t cry or scream like she normally does. She wiggled around like she does when she’s awake but happy. When I burped her, she bobbed her head and looked up at me with those gorgeous eyes again. Then when I tried to put her down, she began crying loudly.

That’s when I realized that I am not missing out on bonding with my daughter. She knows who I am and she likes cuddling with me. She finds my presence comforting. She likes to be fed by me and to burp on me. I don’t want to say she loves me because she’s just over a month old and I find it a bit silly when people assign traits and feelings to a being who cannot express an emotion other than “I have needs which need tending to.” But I feel loved by her. Maybe I’m missing out on an important bonding experience. And maybe I’m not the best mother I could be. But Charlotte recognizes me and responds to me when I try to comfort her. I’ve spent hours in the rocking chair, singing to her to help her go to sleep. I’ve snuggled with her so she wouldn’t cry when I put her in her swing or cradle. I’ve gotten to know her and I love her to pieces. And that makes me feel like I’m doing something right.



Struggles with Motherhood

Due to latching issues and milk supply not being enough, I have given up on breastfeeding. Sometimes I don’t care, but other times, like right now, I feel like a failure as a mother. I mean, this is supposed to be a natural thing. People talk about it like it’s no big deal. But I just couldn’t get my supply high enough and Charlotte and I couldn’t seem to work it out. I was pumping to get her some breast milk, but no matter how often I pumped or how long I pumped for, it was only enough for one or two feedings. We were having to give her formula for so many of them. And pumping was painful and took so long. Plus, it’s hard to get it done when you also have to beware of the baby starting to cry and needing something. I’m struggling with the decision I made to give up on it completely. Charlotte is doing just fine, but I feel like I’m missing out on a very important experience with my daughter and that I’m depriving her of her best chance in life. (There’s just so much research that says that babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months have higher IQs, function better as adults, etc. And the medical field pushes this information at you so much to convince you to breastfeed.) I can’t shake the sadness I feel about it.

Charlotte is developing baby acne. It makes me sad because, even though she’s still a beautiful baby, it looks painful and is spreading. It lightens up and then spreads in intervals. She doesn’t seem bothered by it, but I guess my own insecurities are affecting how I react to it. I still tell her how beautiful she is. Because she is still very beautiful. I know she’s a baby and doesn’t understand what I’m saying, but to criticize her or say something that would make her feel bad about herself as a child or teenager, just seems like an awful thing to do. I want my little girl to know her Daddy and I think she’s gorgeous and that we love and support her. I hope to never say anything that puts her down.

I’m also struggling with my body. I gained a bunch of extra weight while pregnant because I pretty much ate what I wanted when I wanted to. I haven’t lost all that weight yet. My wedding band and engagement ring still don’t fit. I can’t wear my old clothes yet. My stomach used to be small with just a tiny pooch. It was cute. I used to feel self-conscious about it. But now I’m longing for the pre-pregnancy days. I still have hundreds of stretch marks all over my body that are taking their time to lighten (although they have started to do so.) And to top it all off, I’m going through a second puberty with terrible acne. I just do not feel attractive.

Tom has tried to comfort me on all these fronts. He assures me I’m not a bad mom, that Charlotte’s acne will heal up soon, and that I’m still attractive to him. But, as we all know, compliments from our loved ones basically go in one ear and out the other. They have to feel that way. Or at least they have to say they feel that way.

I love my little girl. That’s why I feel so guilty about the breastfeeding. My struggle with that is deeply personal, and I feel incredibly vulnerable admitting to it. But I also felt it was important to talk about it. So many women and so much in the media and medical field make it seem like it’s such an easy thing to do. They tell moms not to feel like failures for not being able to breastfeed, but I don’t know that I would have felt guilty if they hadn’t suggested I might. They also tell moms prior to trying to breastfeed that it’s what is best for the baby, making you feel like you’re hurting your baby when you can’t do it. I want to hide the fact that I wasn’t able to do it. I want to let people believe I’m succeeding at it so they won’t think I’m a bad mom and so I won’t have to admit that I didn’t excel at something I so desperately wanted to be able to do. And with the other things on top of it, I just feel hopeless sometimes.

I want to support other women who are going through similar things. I want to reach out and find other women who were forced by their situations to formula-feed and know that their children turned out well. I want someone to stand up and say “Breastfeeding is hard. It doesn’t come naturally to every woman.” I want other women to read this post and know that it’s tough. It’s not as simple as everyone makes it seem. And I want so badly to not be judged, to not be seen as a failure or someone who didn’t try hard enough.

I guess it’s part of our generation, with all the blogs and information so readily available, to vent about things and search for support online. It’s created something I’ve seen referred to as the “Mommy Wars”, where we all convene on the internet to bash each others’ parenting decisions and dismiss their struggles. Sometimes you find support and sometimes you just open yourself up to a bunch of people who feel superior to you and let you know it. I am so jealous of moms who can breastfeed. I read posts on my birth board about moms who love doing it, who do it for 18 months or more, who bond with their babies and connect in a way that I just can’t connect with my child. It’s still so raw for me that I’m tearing up as I write this. Apart from talking to Tom about it, this blog is actually the first time I’ve admitted to anyone else that I just can’t do it. I am so scared of people knowing, but if every woman tries to hide it like I instinctively wanted to do, then no other women like me would have the support they may want or even need.

So, maybe it sounds a bit egocentric to think that this post may reach out and help other women, but maybe it will. And if it does, then I’ve done something good. I have stepped so far outside of my comfort zone in writing this. I hope that other women don’t have to feel uncomfortable admitting to this struggle in the future and that, maybe one day, there will be at least one less battleground to fight in the Mommy Wars.

I JUST Realized…

I was looking at pictures of Charlotte and JUST realized that, oh my god, I gave birth! I have a baby! And she’s beautiful and sweet and amazing and I love her so much.

Yesterday was Tom’s first day back to work since she was born. Charlotte and I were all alone for a little over 12 hours. I was struggling at first to get her to stop crying. Then, in a last-ditch effort of desperation, I took her to the rocking chair. I rocked her and sang to her. I teared up during the verse of “Hallelujah” about pregnancy (“remember when I moved in you, and the Holy Dove was moving too, and every breath we drew was Hallelujah”). I openly cried during “Amazing Grace” because it was my Granddaddy’s favorite song. And I got to thinking about him looking down on me and being proud of me. I also thought about how my baby sleeps every night in a beautiful cradle Granddaddy bought for me to sleep in when my parents first had me.

My singing, despite my crying fits, put Charlotte to sleep. And then she wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in my arms or in my lap, til I sang to her while she was in the swing. (I also discovered, when I ran out of songs to sing to her, that just talking to her in a singing voice makes her fall asleep. I was singing “Charlotte, go to sleep. Mommy wants to take a nap. Go to sleep, little one.” And other stuff like that until she passed out.) I feel so loved. I feel like a realMommy, not just someone taking care of a baby.

I feel like I’m starting to really know her personality. I can’t articulate what she’s like, but I know her and I love her so much. And I love watching Tom with her. Especially after I have done 6 of the 8 daily feedings, changed about 10 diapers, dealt with about 8 crying fits, and missed out on about 2 hours of sleep in the morning. But she sleeps on his chest, makes adorable faces at him, wiggles, and generally feels completely at ease with him.

Tom said it best when he said we’ve made an irreversible decision. He was a bit shocked by all the changes in our lives (I tried to warn him, he didn’t believe me) but we’re just so happy. Sleep-deprived, cranky, and moving a little slower (except when we hear Charlotte crying), but happy.

Right now I’m watching her spit out her pacifier, wave her arms in the air, yawn, and toss her head around like the little spaz she is. Oh, and listening to the toots. Oh, the toots. I’m of course awaiting the inevitable crying fit… and there it goes. Gotta run!

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