The Mom Groove and the New Normal

16 May

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!

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Not-So Little Man

24 Mar

I’m taking a break from total exhaustion to let you guys know that my baby boy arrived! 

My water broke at Buffalo Wild Wings on Sunday, his actual due date! My midwife told us to head in that night since I’m strep b positive and have to be on IV antibiotics.

This is about the point where my whole birth plan went out the window.

1. My waters partially broke on Sunday. The whole bag didn’t rupture and it was near baby’s head and cord, so we spent the next 24 hours trying to make something happen naturally and avoid prolapse of the cord. 

2. I got to 5 centimeters and my doc came in to examine me, the remaining waters ruptured everywhere. I started getting worried. Baby’s heart rate plummeted. We got whisked away to the OR for an emergency c-section.

3. I was a shaking, crying mess and so worried about out little one. I could feel on my left side despite getting an epidural earlier (sidenote: nothing on my birth plan went as planned, it was time to be flexible), so they gave me a spinal. 

4. I felt like I couldn’t breathe until I heard our baby scream out.

5. I had an 11 pound 7 ounce, 23 inch baby in me. I repeat, 11 pounds. 7 ounces. 23 inches. Holy shit, y’all. No wonder I felt terrible throughout pregnancy!

6. We’re all exhausted but doing great so far. Breastfeeding a giant baby is hard. 

39 Weeks

17 Mar

Well, I’m still pregnant. I’m really ready to have this kid. It’s getting harder and harder to sleep, get comfortable, move, eat, and generally exist. I guess he’s not ready to make his debut just yet, though.

Next week, I start non-stress tests and stress tests to make sure he’s still doing okay since I’ll be past my due date at that point. My OB imparted this lovely wisdom on me yesterday. He said, “Usually when women say they’re done with being pregnant and ready to deliver, they have about a month left to go. When they’re completely miserable, it’s usually another week.”

Fantastic. Lump me into that completely miserable category.

I am very excited to meet the little one. When I do sleep, I’ve had crazy vivid dreams. I had one where I delivered and they put him on me and he immediately latched on and started feeding. I was rejoicing and telling everyone I was the BREASTFEEDING CHAMPION OF THE WORLD! It was so real that I woke up thinking I was in the hospital and had just nodded off. Nope. Just a dream.

I took a scary tumble toward the end of last week. Our cat bolted out of the house when I opened the front door and I was chasing after her and fell on our porch. I caught my hand on the siding by our front window and sliced my hand open. Thankfully, I did not fall on my stomach. I fell on my knees, so they took the brunt of the tumble. It did not feel good and I am still not trusting that shady little kitty. What a punk!

 

 

38 Weeks

6 Mar

I’m ready to have this kid, y’all. I hurt everywhere, doing anything is a chore, I get heartburn from daring to drink water, and even getting in and out of the car is hard. I also have pregnancy carpal tunnel. That’s just more annoying than anything. I’m looking forward to feeling my hand again. It is TIME. 

I’m worried I won’t know when I’m in labor. My BFF didn’t know. Everyone says “you will know,” well, what if you don’t? I have started feeling more violent contractions lately, but none of the 5-1-1 business they tell you to watch for before you call the doctor.

Of course, of course, all the suffering and little annoyances will be worth it times a million once he gets here. I can’t wait to meet the little guy. I’m excited to meet him and terrified labor will be excruciating. I’m excited to be finally be a mom and terrified to be in charge of a tiny human life. These must be the yins and yangs of parenthood. 

Nearing Term

25 Feb

So much has transpired since I last wrote. I’m now at 36.5 weeks. Almost full-term!

Last weekend, we had another baby shower. This time, one with all of our friends at a brewery. It was great. My BFF flew out earlier in the week with my Goddaughter to visit. Oh, and because my BFF is a total rock star, she helped us install our car seat so we don’t have to worry about it. It’s in the car already! She told us the worst part of having a kid is the car seat. She wasn’t lying. It’s complicated. I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about it now.

My husband’s sisters (all three) and one of his aunts (a cool one) all flew out to see us, too. Then while we were at dinner one night, I was surprised by two of my oldest and dearest friends who drove 500 miles to celebrate with us, too. I cried some big, fat tears of joy. The day after the shower, more of my husband’s relatives drove over to see us from across the state. We hosted a brunch for them and everyone else who was in town. We were completely surrounded by a love tornado all weekend long. It was amazing.

Needless to say, there was a lot of activity (and laughs and tears) for a few days. By the time everyone departed to their corners of the world, I was beat. I’m starting to get swollen all the time — troll feet and cankles! I’ve been exhausted, too.

Yesterday, I thought I might be showing signs of early labor, so I was glad I had an OB appointment to discuss what’s going on. I think baby boy is starting to descend, so I’m feeling crazy pressure on my pelvis. Oh, I’ve also developed pregnancy carpal tunnel in my right hand. That’s annoying.

I have what feels like a billion thank-you cards to write. I’m so behind. Hubby and I spent last night putting gifts away in the baby’s room. This kid has so many clothes! It’s insane!

To go off on a total tangent, I really wish I had known about The Spoiled Mama products earlier in my pregnancy. Early on, I used The Honest Company Organic Belly Balm, but I didn’t really care for the smell or the consistency. Then I used Bio-Oil for months and months, which was fine, but really nothing special. A few weeks ago, I stumbled on The Spoiled Mama when I was looking for something to better treat my stretch marks because I was starting to get a whole bunch of them.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Spoiled Mama products. I have really sensitive skin and I get itchy and red a lot. Bio-Oil was okay for the itching. The Honest Company didn’t really help that at all, but The Spoiled Mama is awesome. I haven’t had any problems since I started using it. I use three of their products daily and they have helped so much – I’m never itchy anymore and they are really helping with stretch marks.

  1. sugar-scrub-for-stretch-marksIndulge Body Polish Peppermint & Vanilla: This stuff is great! I use it first thing in the morning in the shower. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and moisturized. The peppermint scent gives me a little bit of a wake-up in the morning, too. The only downside is that it makes your shower floor a little slick, so be careful. You might have to clean the shower more frequently than normal.
  2. bump gloss stretch mark oil_cap off -xl4Bump Gloss Stretch Mark Oil: I slather this all over my bump and stretch marks. It absorbs pretty quickly and a little goes a long way. It’s similar to the Bio-Oil I was using, but smells better.
  3. tummy-butter-for-stretch-marks-4ozTummy Butter for Stretch Marks: Okay, this one is my absolute favorite. It smells great – kind of like a mix of citrus and chocolate. It goes on easy and absorbs quickly – and you don’t feel greasy (my problem with Honest Company Belly Balm). I really, really wish I had known about this when I got pregnant. It’s a great product! I can’t say enough good things about it.

I have to touch on infertility for a minute. You know, it’s really hard not to be sensitive about people’s comments even when you are finally pregnant. Some of our relatives made comments this past weekend about how we need to plan for a second kid now — just completely insensitive remarks. They have no idea how many years and science it took to get us to where we are now. My husband’s sisters know how much we struggled, so they shot me some understanding glances when this was happening, but still. People really need to keep their mouths shut when it comes to pressuring couples about babies. It really is none of their business. And frankly, I don’t know if we’ll be able to have another kid. It was so hard getting pregnant with this one! Honestly, I don’t know if I could go through all of that again. Also, I’m getting older! I’ll be 37 later this year. It just might not be in the cards for us to have a second child. I wish people could just be happy for this miracle and not try to put pressure on us to have more kids. We’re thrilled that we get to be parents in a few weeks. This kid might be our only kid and we are okay with that – why can’t everyone else be?

Church Ladies Like to Knit

25 Jan

So, the shower on Saturday happened. My husband kept lecturing me about approaching it like I was going to have fun and telling me not to be negative about it, so that’s what I did. I was pretty sad my mom couldn’t be there and I shed a few tears about it beforehand, but she sent my dad in her absence and that in itself ended up being hilarious. It was probably the first shower he’s ever been to. My brother came, too.

Holy toledo, did this kid get spoiled! I think he has enough clothes to last years now. He also has about 10 baby blankets and I’ve deduced that church ladies love to knit, crochet, cross-stitch, and quilt blankets for babies.

It was a bit overwhelming being the center of attention and having everyone watch us as we opened gift after gift. I’ve frankly never seen so many gifts in my life. That in itself makes me feel weird. My sister-in-law did attempt to make it fun by having everyone there play Baby Bingo to guess what I’d receive, so that made it a little less boring for everyone (I hope).

People said some strange things to me about my mom. Many of the ladies asked if she was coming and either my dad or I would explain that her counts were too low to be around other people. One person asked me if she was coming and when I said she wasn’t, she said, “Oh, I thought maybe she wouldn’t come because she wouldn’t want to take away from your day.”

UM, WHAT? Why in the world would anyone think that? People are so strange.

 

Shower Time

23 Jan

We have our first baby shower later today at my parents’ church. My mom can’t go and that makes me really sad. Her counts are too low, so it’d be too dangerous for her to be around all those people. 

It’s just kinda sucky being pregnant and unable to do any baby planning or preparations with your own mom. It makes me feel alone. Thanks, cancer.

tippytupps

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