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.

 

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!!!

 

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ June 26, 2012

Filed under: 3rd Trimester,Uncategorized — areyoumymoms @ 3:36 pm
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So as it turns out, sleep is really important.  I’ve always been a good sleeper.  My mother has said that I slept through the night early, and while I’ve always been late to go to bed, I’ve also been prone to sleeping in when the schedule allows.  Always, that is, until my sweet little passenger came aboard last November.

At first it was just a general annoyance.  I’d sleep for a few hours and then lay awake the rest of the night, mostly worrying about making it safely through the first trimester.  Then as the baby got bigger, I’d get up to use the bathroom every 2-3 hours, and have a hard time falling back to sleep once I got back in bed.  Now it’s a matter of position.  Nothing is comfortable.  Lying down yields indigestion; sitting up makes my back hurt; and standing results in feet that resemble kayak-sized marshmallows.  And I fear that my body has gotten accustomed to functioning without more than two or three hours of sleep each night, so maybe now it’s just routine.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d still rather deal with all the discomforts of pregnancy – including sleep deprivation – than not be pregnant at all.  As MKL puts it, “it will all be worth it in the end.”  As usual, she’s so sweet.  Every time I sigh heavily, trying to find a position that will work, she kisses me on the forehead and thanks me for going through this so we can have a child.  And for a few seconds, I can picture what our lives will be like in six short weeks.  Then my sweet monkey kicks me in the ribs and makes me switch positions.  Back to mild misery.

A friend of ours who is also pregnant, and a few weeks ahead of us, recently said that she thought she’d never sleep again.  I’m starting to fear that she’s right.  I miss sleeping.  Really.  I love being tired and having heavy eyelids that will undoubtedly slam shut the minute my head hits the pillow.  I love that feeling I get when I wake up all rested and ready to face the day.  I love to snuggle up in bed with MKL on a rainy weekend afternoon and let the sound of the raindrops lull us into a nap.  Recreational sleep is one of my favorite pastimes.  And I miss it so. 

These days as it gets dark outside, I start to get depressed.  I dread the nighttime.  I know that I’ll most likely spend the first hour in bed propped up on pillows, trying to meditate myself into slumber.  It works for about an hour, sometimes even two, if I’m lucky.  Then I’ll have to get up and use the bathroom.  Then I’ll try to lay on my side, sleeping for a few minutes before everything I’ve eaten during the day seems to settle in my throat.  Another trip to the bathroom later, and I’ll try the other side, working hard not to glance at the clock.  Except that I do see the clock and realize the alarm will go off in three hours.  Then the dog barks, desperate to take her place at the foot of our bed, or curious about the sound she thinks she might’ve heard in the back yard (btw, this usually amounts to a bird sneezing a few blocks over, not the dangerous intruder she has signaled).  Sometime between 4:00-6:00AM, I usually take a few laps around the house to try to calm the pains in my lower back and hips.  Then I’m back in the bed for one more propped-up-cat-nap before the alarm goes off and Matt Lauer reminds me that it’s morning.  Damn that Matt Lauer.  And here’s the worst part of it all: my best sleep comes around 7:30AM – just when I should be getting out of bed and starting my day.  I could sleep from 7:30-11:00 if my schedule allowed it.  But apparently no one told my body that this just isn’t feasible.

In case you’re wondering, the baby’s awake through most of this, too…kicking, rolling, punching…as if to let me know that if I can’t sleep no one’s going to.  This makes me worry that the baby won’t be a good sleeper, or will only sleep from 7:30-11:00 every morning.  I know that’s not really the case, but one of the side effects of sleep deprivation is that one’s thoughts lean toward the irrational (like the night I convinced myself the indigestion was some type of heart episode, or the time I thought MKL’s breathing/light snoring pattern had taken on the unmistakable drum part from Queen’s We Will Rock You).  I’m sure that when our little one arrives, he or she will eventually get into a great sleeping routine and I’ll stand at the nursery door, marveling at his or her ability to conk right out whenever the body says to.  I also think “pregnant brain” is not just hormonal, but also a result of pregnant ladies’ lack of sleep.  Sometimes I can barely remember driving home from the office.  Safe, I know.

Everyone says, “It’s just your body helping you to practice for middle-of-the-night feedings!”  Or, “You think you’re tired now, wait ’til the baby comes!”  And I know they’re right.  But all the same, I’d like to tank up on some sleep now so that when the baby comes I’m awake enough to say hello.  So here’s my prayer for the day: Mr Sandman, tonight, please let me sleep…like a baby.

 

My Life is a Contradiction December 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — areyoumymoms @ 8:36 pm

I’m ravenously hungry, but sick to my stomach at the mere mention of food.  Am going to buy stock in Saltines.

I’m exhausted, but can’t sleep more than 30 minutes at a time.  Could’ve napped during a sales presentation today and caught up on two hours of sleep.  But I felt that might be a little inappropriate.

I’m overjoyed at being pregnant, and trying to savor every minute.  Also anxiously awaiting the day when the first trimester symptoms go away.

I’m filled to the brim with love for MKL, and snapping at her at every turn.  Awesome.

So for now I’ll just repeat my new mantra: We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.  We wanted this to happen.

…and we still do.

 

 
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