I would like to take this opportunity to give some new moms-to-be a little “heads up”. I notice a lot of “tumblees” discussing birth plans and birth experiences on their blogs. I, too, had a birth plan - and you know what they say about “The best laid plans”…
My birth plan went a little something like this: 1) go into labor on or before due date 2) get driven to hospital 3) receive no medication 4) push baby out through my lady parts without an epidural 5) breastfeed as soon as humanly possible.
My daughter’s plan went like this: 1) don’t come out on or before due date. wait to be induced almost two weeks later 2) have labor induced with pitocin 3) have pitocin cause Mommy great pain which necessitates epidural 4) have epidural cause even worse pain and not work 5) have Mommy’s blood pressure drop, Baby’s heart rate drop, making a C-Section necessary 6) have Mommy not get to breastfeed until an hour after delivery 7) don’t latch onto breast for 3 weeks after giving birth.
So there you have it. Nothing went according to plan. Actually, wait. SOMETHING went according to plan… I delivered a beautiful baby girl! As pissed, upset, distraught and shaken I was that nothing (and I mean NOTHING) went the way I had pictured it, I had to remind myself that the point of giving birth was to get the baby out the safest way possible. I struggled so much with the idea that “giving birth” meant pushing my baby out and not cutting my baby out. I didn’t cry during my most horrible of contractions, but I certainly started the waterworks when the doctor told me I needed to have a C-Section. I was beyond upset. I felt defeated and like so much less of a woman and a mother. I was more scared than I had ever been in my life.
After I laid eyes on her and felt the most amazing connection - the strongest possible connection - I realized that regardless of the plans I had made and all of the things that didn’t go according to them, I was looking at my child. I was a mother whether I pushed, pulled, cut, jiggled, wiggled or bounced her out.
So, to all of you moms-to-be who may be reading this (if I should be so lucky) my advice to you would be to have a plan for a basic foundation (always a good idea for every situation), but don’t be let down if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Whatever or Whomever you believe in as a higher power has that plan for you for reasons we may never know. It’s ok to request an epidural if you are writhing in pain but reallydidn’t want one. It’s ok to end up having a C-Section when you really wanted to experience vaginal delivery. It’s ok to end up not breastfeeding if you have such a difficult time that it is not enjoyable for you or your child.
It’s ok to let go and give in to the plans that were meant for you and not made by you.
Read this article. Yes, this is a demand. :)
I have an essay in The New York Times’ Motherlode column today. It’s about the need for a word to describe a clueless, first-time new mother. I happened to be the most inept, clueless, first-time new mother ever… so I had a lot to write about.
Maybe it’s because I do everything in super fast mom-speed nowadays, but I can’t seem to remember to zip up my fly after getting dressed or going to the bathroom.
Hopefully typing this out will help to engrain this simple task into my brain so that complete strangers will stop staring at me so funny, wanting to say something but not really sure of how…
These days it seems like I am thinking a thousand steps ahead. I am forced to plan out the entire week; get things ready for daycare and any travel in advance, carve out time to shower and (hopefully) wash my hair, sneak in some time to visit with friends and family, keep track of how many days the baby has been on her antibiotics, remember to bathe her, remember to stock up on dwindling items like diapers, wipes and trash bags. All of these detailed thoughts (and more) run incessantly through my mind. I am figuratively in ten thousand places at once.
It gets worse.
I cannot stop obsessing over every little thing that can go wrong. I trust no one like I trust myself with my daughter and it even goes so far as me not allowing my husband to take over some duties. I am exhausted. I am mentally fried and yet, I can’t seem to delegate duties because I’m scared that they will not be done right. I have such a difficult time “letting go” and trusting that someone other than me may be able to efficiently care for my little girl.
It gets even worse.
I have anxiety that if we were to hire a babysitter, our daughter would end up being kidnapped. I stress about leaving her with family members for fear that they just don’t know her well enough, haven’t been around infants in a long time, wouldn’t listen to or understand my parenting preferences* (*this is just a gentle word for “demands”) and/or just lack experience. I worry that when she is old enough to walk around the mall with a friend or family member, they wouldn’t keep close enough of an eye on her and she would get lost. I dread letting her be driven by anyone else. I have a pit in my stomach every time I leave her at daycare - I run a list through my mind of every little thing that could go wrong while she is there.
Here’s the real kicker…
As I am typing this post, I worry that putting this all down in writing could put some kind of JuJu* (*negative energy) into the Universe, which in turn, would cause one of these things to happen.
I realize that my “Mommynoia” is a real issue and I need to do some serious damage control before I lose my mind - because if I lose my mind… who will take care of my most precious little girl?
When my husband and I got engaged, the first question everyone asked was, “So… did you set a date?!?!?!”
When we got married, the first question on everyone’s mind was, “So… when is the baby coming??!??!”
When we had our daughter, the first question everyone HAD to know was, “When is the next baby coming?!??!”
REALLY? What is the big rush here, people?! We weren’t engaged five minutes before people starting asking us about our date. We hadn’t been married for more than an hour before everyone started placing bets on the due date of the baby. We had barely changed our daughter’s first diaper before everyone wanted to know if we were itching to have more.
I’ll tell you when we are having our next baby… when my husband can carry for 9 (or 10 - if you want to get technical) months and deliver the baby himself.
…Ok, so probably in a few years, but JUST STOP ASKING US! (Please?!)
I’ve come to terms with my extra weight. No, really… I have. I weigh 20 pounds more than I did before I was pregnant. I have a gorgeous, healthy baby so the trade off is something I can deal with. The weight is really not the issue.
It’s the spare tire that sits around my waste. Oops, I mean WAIST.
I obviously can’t fit into my old clothes right now and I can’t diet because I’m nursing. Losing these last 20 pounds (which seems to be concentrated in this one, nuisance of an area) needs to be done without any extreme measures. Since I gained 50 pounds during my pregnancy, a lot of my maternity clothes are too big now, so wearing them is not an option either. This leaves me lost in the muddied limbo of “stretchy pants, sweats, baggy sweaters and shirts land”. I have adopted the “frumpy mom wardrobe”. How did this happen to me?!
Now, I go to Target for EVERYTHING because I don’t want to spend too much money in case I do lose the weight and even then, their cute clothes don’t really fit me because my body does this weird, blubbery, spare-tire thing around my waist. (Whew! I apologize for the run on, whiny sentence.) Normal jeans fit right over my legs and butt, but cut me off right in the middle of that tire and creates the most un-fabulous muffin top I have ever seen. OH, THE HORROR!
Don’t even get my started on the stretch marks… or, “tire tracks” as I like to call them while I psychotically stare and poke at them in the mirror.
My mid-section honestly looks like Goodyear needed a place to stash the spare and decided my 5’3” frame would be the perfect place for it.
I have done everything from exercising and eating right to attempting to stretch the bottoms of my old shirts so that they all flare out and flow over my mid-section rather than suffocate it and make it look like sausage that is too big for its casing. None of these things have worked and I have just ended up ruining my J Crew sweaters. Double whammy.
I hope I can find a way to drive out of this metaphorical, frumpy mommy land that I am in some time in the very near future. Until then, I guess we’re all good if we land a flat on the car…
We’re just approaching our daughter’s 6 months (1/2 Birthday as I like to call it) and I can’t believe I’ve held off from any kind of food this entire time. I have sustained my daughter on breast milk alone for almost an entire 6 months. Something about that is so amazing. Other things about that are just plain nuts.
I remember getting extremely excited when my milk finally came in. I pumped and pumped and pumped until finally, FINALLY there it was! -MILK. No more colostrum, just MILK. I had quite a difficult time getting E to latch while in the hospital, but I figured with the colostrum gone and the milk in, we would get home and have smooth sailing from there. Boy, was I wrong.
We got home for the hospital and nothing had changed for about three or four weeks. She still wasn’t latching and I was insanely sick of pumping. I had milk leaking out in all directions all day long and my middle-of-the-night pumping sessions were driving me up a wall. No matter what I did, she would scream when I tried to get her to latch and I was almost ready to give up. Almost.
Around four weeks of age, little Miss Diva decided she was ready to latch. SUCCESS! And then… the mastitis. I felt like God was playing some kind of cruel joke on me. I just get my daughter to latch and I develop mastitis!?!? Not only was I was leaking milk everywhere, I had a fever, the shakes and severe pain to boot!
We worked our way through that problem and finally established some kind of rhythm. I was finally breastfeeding successful - not without leaking milk through every bra, shirt, tank top - onto every bed sheet, chair, pillow, rug - in the house. My husband and I joked that if forensics were to come in and examine our room with a black light, they’d find milk stains in all sorts of places.
As I mentioned, we are now going on 6 months of no food - just milk - and I have to say, all of the aggravation, disappointments, stained clothing items, etc. was all worth it. I fully intend on nursing my daughter until she is at least a year, but I am amazed that for 6 whole months, my daughter was able to survive from me and me alone. It is such an incredible accomplishment.
I realize that her feedings won’t slow down for a little while yet and I will still be on demand to nurse her or provide her with pumped milk. So until things slow down you can just call me my most favorite nursing nickname, “The Dairy Queen”.