are you my moms?

the musings of yet another lesbian couple on the journey of mother(s)hood

The Tit Monster August 29, 2012

Filed under: Hormones,Rigby,Uncategorized — areyoumymoms @ 3:55 pm
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Seriously, Mom? Again with the boobs?

I have two obsessions of late.  1 – in a word, Rigby.  And everything that makes him feel like home.  2 – in another word, boobs.  Mine, and their food-providing skills, to be precise.  Since the day we came home from the hospital, I have been at war with my breasts.  Some of you have just sighed and said, “I see where she’s going with this and that’s the whole problem…it’s not a war…her attitude is what is keeping this from happening.”  You may be right.  But I’m not sure who could’ve wanted it to work more than I did, and self-sabotage isn’t really my thing.  As it turns out, I have a milk supply issue.  So as with my natural birth plan, out the window goes my “exclusively breastfed baby” plan.  And in the process, I have become – as Charlene Frazier would say – the tit monster.  My very patient wife has had to listen to me try to process emotionally what was happening physically.  So has our bff, our mothers, a few friends, and my cousin.  And now you get to hear about it to.  Once I’ve said it this time, I think I’m done.  (That’d be a good thing to have happen the day before we visit the therapist.)  So with sincerest love and apologies in advance to my very natural friends who will most naturally frown on this story, here’s where I stand on breastfeeding.  And why we’re not.

I had latching problems in the hospital.  Some of these little struggles took place in full view of our visiting friends and family.  I think I had a pretty cool head about it, except for a 10-minute meltdown on our last day there.  I knew that establishing a good nursing relationship between Rigby and me would take some time and patience.  So I just tried to relax and “let it happen.”  I took in all the advice the nurses and lactation lady had to offer and planned to put it to good use.

And then we came home and I got this sinking feeling…this tiny child still depends on me for life just as much as he did when renting space in my womb.  I loved my time with him, set up in the nursery with the lullaby Nirvana playing.  At first he did really well.  He latched for 15-25 minutes at a time per side, and was ready to eat every few hours.  The first few days I didn’t really think much of it…he was giving all the feeding cues I’d read about.  His stomach is tiny, and breastfeeding at that age is just as much about bonding as it is about nourishment.  Awesome.  Except that somewhere along the line it turns into an issue of nourishment.  The baby has to eat.  MKL made a wise decision to start supplementing with formula after a particularly long and futile attempt at nursing one night.  I’d still offer the breast with the bottle to keep stimulating milk production, but at least he was getting something in his belly.  And then came the screaming and chest-pounding phase.  Those were a dark 48 hours.  He’d latch for a few minutes and then start to cry and beat his fists against my chest.  I tried to stay light-hearted…even made a few “we are not Celine Dion” jokes.  But we could tell something was wrong, and it was starting to take a toll on my psyche.  As nutty as it sounds, it was hard not to take it personally.  Like he just didn’t have a taste for his mom.

Everyone says breastfeeding is the most natural thing a woman’s body can do.  Not so for me.  I, apparently, needed some instruction.  I was ok with that.  I had talked with friends who told me not to get discouraged.  They told me to use my resources and ask for help.  So I did.  I read every book and website on how to stimulate milk production and then called in the big guns: a home consultation with a lactation specialist recommended by our hospital and pediatrician.  Late last week a polo-sporting, ponytailed soccer mom arrived at my door for a 3-hour discussion of my 100% sure shot at being able to feed our child on my own.  Rigby got weighed and had his mouth examined (I tried not to take offense when she maligned my son’s frenulum.  Frenulua – actually – she managed to insult both of them.); we did an observed feeding, and then he got weighed again.  I was examined, lectured, and instructed to within an inch of my life.  I was admonished for referring to the breast pump as a “medieval torture device.” And yet when she left I felt somewhat more confident about the chances that Rigby and I would eventually get on the same page.  For awhile things started to look up.  We were doing great on the supplement feeder tube and I was faithfully pumping away…despite feeling like a dairy cow.

By the time a woman has been pregnant and given birth, she has every right to claim her body as her own, and trust the signs it sends her.  Mine was telling me, not so subtly, that the milk I wanted to feed our child would not be arriving anytime soon.  My first clue?  My boobs never got big!  As a matter of fact, as I began to lose a little baby weight and was pumping them both for 2-3 hours per day, they were shrinking.  Sore and shrinking.  I can’t think of any two adjectives I’m less eager to associate with my breasts.  There was no getting around it – these boobs are merely ornamental; kinda like my left hand – pretty, part of the overall ensemble, but not the least bit functional.

I’m quite sure that I could’ve done more to get the milk to come in.  Teas, herbs, another trip to the acupuncturist, etc.  But in truth, the whole thing was putting entirely too much stress on me and on our household.  Feedings went from a beautiful bonding time between Rigby and me to a “feed and pump” routine that I had to do 8-10 times per day.  The pumping (intended to stimulate milk) produced nothing, and I began to see a decline in my supply.  Here’s where it gets a little bratty, folks: Frankly, I feel some sense of entitlement when it comes to making a decision that doesn’t involve a whole set of “extras.”  We’ve already done hormone pills, shots, extra ultrasounds, ovulation predictors, acupuncture, herbs, and 8 individual inseminations to get here – not to mention 8 weeks of mid-pregnancy bleeding.  If my body is telling me not to nurse, so be it.  I will relax and go mix some powder and water.  I was raised on a bottle and so was MKL.  Rigby will do just fine.  He’s perfectly healthy and a much happier kid now that he is getting more to eat.  Peace and order have restored to our house, and that makes the whole thing worth it to me.

The pediatrician asked me yesterday if I’m sad about our decision.  And if I’d made it to the end of this post yesterday, I’d probably have said yes.  Absolutely.  I hate being wrong.  I hate quitting.  I hate failing.  I hate that we’ll miss out on all the health benefits of breastfeeding.  I hate that I no longer have an excuse to walk around topless, and that my breasts are still the less-than-impressive rack they’ve always been, instead of those awesome plumped-up new-mommy boobs I’d been looking forward to.  Fortunately today feels a little different.  I’m able to sit back and focus on the dreamy little face currently fart-grinning from the bouncy seat.  You know…this one…the face that melts my heart a hundred times an hour.

Eventually we’ll teach him to buy locally sourced food whenever he can.  For now, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care where his food comes from – just that it’s delivered with love by his moms.

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Introducing Rigby August 21, 2012

Filed under: Rigby — areyoumymoms @ 11:36 pm
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With apologies for the delay, I am thrilled to introduce you all to our son, Rigby.   He was born Tuesday August 14th at 7:21pm, weiging in at 7lbs, 15 oz.

There are not words enough to describe the love that filled our hearts as soon as we saw him.  So for now I’ll just focus on the details of his arrival.

I checked into the hospital Monday evening, with MKL by my side, to have my cervix softened.  Cramping started through the night, but thanks to the angel nurse who gave me an ambien, I actually got 3 hours of sleep.  At 6:00 the next morning that same angel came in to start pitocin, a drug designed to kickstart uterine contractions.  It works, by the way.  Contractions were under way within 30 minutes of the initial dose.  I’d read that pitocin can make labor more intense, and even my doctor confirmed as much at our last appointment.  But given that I had never been through it before I figured what I didn’t know wouldn’t affect me.  I had planned to attempt labor without the aid of pain meds or an epidural, at least as far as I could make it.  After 8 hours, I finally gave in and asked politely for a needle in my back (well, that’s how I choose to remember it…in reality I believe I screamed something like, “tell Doc to cut me open or give me an epidural – NOW!!!”).  At the time that I got the epidural I was still only dilated 2 cm.  I repeat…2 cm.  That’s only 1 cm more than my first cervical check several weeks prior.  Both the doctor and I thought we were headed for a c-section.  However, pain control is a magical thing.  Apparently that delicious catheter in my back was just what I needed to calm down and let my body do what it was supposed to all along.  I took a brief nap, and when I woke up I was at 8 cm.  Next thing I knew I was at 10 and it was time to push.  30 minutes later, he was out and our lives changed forever.  What took months upon years to create took only 13 hours to bring into the world.

I’ll continue to update with more info about our beautiful boy as we sink into a routine and I find time to get to the computer.  But suffice it to say for now that we are absolutely head over heels in love.

 

The Final Countdown…Part 2 August 10, 2012

Filed under: 3rd Trimester,Uncategorized — areyoumymoms @ 1:42 pm
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15 days before our due date, I declared that we were in the midst of The Final Countdown.

Right.

So it has now been 5 days since our due date.  I know that most first babies are late, but I had really hoped to beat the odds.  Oh well.  I’ve been to the doctor twice this week and we’ve determined that if I don’t go into labor naturally before then, I’ll go to the hospital Monday evening for an induction on Tuesday.  If by mid-afternoon on Tuesday we don’t have a baby, they’ll do a c-section.  Birth plan, schmirth plan.

I’ve been surprised at the number of women who have opinions on induction, and have been grateful to hear all of them so that we can make an informed decision.  At first it didn’t occur to me that I would have any resistance to being induced, but the more I read and heard, the more concerned I got.  I wasn’t thrilled to read that pitocin can make contractions more intense, nor that it would confine me to the bed.  It’s not that I want to complete a triathlon while in labor; I just want to be able to walk around, use a birthing ball, get in the shower, etc., to help manage the pain.  Staying in the bed will undoubtedly make things a little more difficult and will probably increase the odds that I’ll have some kind of pain meds or an epidural.  After yesterday’s appointment with our favorite doctor and some time on the fetal monitor, we got a lot of our questions answered and I’m a little more comfortable with the process.  Having said that, I’m still doing all I can to prompt a natural labor before then.

Today marks my second day of maternity leave.  My work family has been extraordinarily supportive throughout the last 9 months.  They’ve known MKL and me for a decade or more and are as excited as we are to welcome this baby.  While I love them all a lot, I’m ready to take one colleague’s advice and rest for awhile before our lives change forever.  And that’s why the drive home from work on Wednesday caught me so by surprise: I cried the whole way home.  Hormones?  Surely.  But there was definitely more to it than that.  By later than evening I had figured out what the problem was.  I know I’m really good at my job – it’s a bit of a security blanket for me.  I’ve been there for 13 years and am usually confident that I can solve any problem or answer any question that comes my way.  As I drove home, I realized that I’m about to step into a whole new job.  For 3 months (uh…18 years) I’ll be completely out of my comfort zone.  What if I’m not good at this job?  I can’t put a baby in a spreadsheet, or sell it on breastfeeding with a powerpoint presentation.  And it hit me that I’m nervous and scared.  Still excited, still unreasonably in love with this child I haven’t met yet.  But scared out of my mind.

Scared or not, this baby’s coming soon.  If not before then, our little monkey will be here in 4 days.  I’ve found that if I focus on that day instead of what happens when we’re home and my new job as a mother begins, the fear goes away and I’m just excited and happy.  And ready.  Hear that, baby?  We’re ready…COME OUT ALREADY!!!

 

The Zen of Eggplant and Tesla August 5, 2012

Filed under: 3rd Trimester,Pregnancy — areyoumymoms @ 4:23 pm
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Well today’s the day.  Ok, probably not.  But according to the calendar today is 40 weeks to the day of our last insemination and thus, our due date.  We’re beyond ready, which is probably why this baby seems to be taking his/her time coming out to greet the world.  Surely if we still hadn’t bought a crib or already installed the car seat, the baby would’ve come three weeks early.  Alas, we’re planners, and seem to be as ready as anyone can be to welcome a newborn into our lives.  So here we sit and wait.

In the last few days we’ve done our homework, and have decided to try anything we can to bring on labor.  I’ve been taking walks around the neighborhood (if my lumbering waddle can qualify as a walk), sitting and rolling around on an exercise ball, and squatting and stretching as much as I can.  I’ve had spicy food, a glass of red wine and orgasms (not all at the same time).  I draw the line at castor oil.  I’d rather be pregnant for another week or two than drink that.

Looks low-cal, huh?

Last night we opted for local folklore.  There’s an old school italian restaurant just north of Atlanta called Scalini’s that swears their eggplant parmigiana will induce labor inside of 48 hours.  Allegedly several thousand women have given birth within a few days of eating it and as a result they seat 5-10 pregnant women for each dinner service; I was the 4th last night at only 6:30.  One woman’s water even broke in the parking lot on her way to the car.  They’re so sure the little magic potion will work that if you eat there and give birth within the next 2 days, you can come back for a $25 voucher, baby t-shirt and a spot on their Eggplant Baby wall.  So I did it – I don’t care about the voucher or t-shirt, and I’m pretty sure our baby’s first claim to fame doesn’t need to be on the dark walls of a 30-year-old restaurant – I just want to get this party started.  I’m not a fan of eggplant in general, but I have to admit it was awfully tasty.  The key to their success is most likely that the fat content in the dish raises your blood pressure in such a way that your body is forced to expel all large objects – like babies.  Either that, or MKL is right and they put pitocin in the marinara.

No matter the secret, it hasn’t worked so far.  I really didn’t expect it to, but I’m kind of a skeptic when it comes to things like this.  Not so with my wife.  She has taken any out-of-the-ordinary news we’ve heard in the past 24 hours as a sign that the baby’s on its way.  Her dad shot a 75 yesterday on the golf course.  Great score – must mean there’s a baby coming soon.  Our bff’s mother won money in a scratch-off lottery ticket – that’s good luck for a delivery this weekend.  For months, our dog has been parading around the house with a bone in her mouth, just showing off.  This morning, without warning she started to eat it.  So of course she’s just trying to make sure it’s gone before the baby gets here…today.  No line at Publix?  It’s a great sign.  Call me a child of the 80’s, but I can’t stop singing Tesla.

Everyone has an idea of when I’ll go into labor.  MKL’s mother thinks she’ll get a phone call tomorrow morning at 10:15; my mother just says, “late…after your due date,” a friend of a friend has even said “something will happen” tonight between 6:00-7:00.  MKL has made 2 guesses, both of which were wrong, so now she just breathes deeply – and loudly – as if she can either sigh or not breathe at all.  As I told a friend earlier, I’ve given up on making predictions, mostly because I detest being wrong.  So until the baby comes, we’ll just continue to talk to my belly.  We’ll just keep telling the monkey, “You’re so special.  We can’t wait to meet you.  Everyone’s ready to see you.  Come on out already!”  And we’ll just keep looking for signs.  Hmph.  I finished this post exactly on the hour.  Pretty sure that means we’re going to have a baby today.

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs.

 

 
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