/ The RE's Muse: Joy and pain

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Joy and pain

I think I now know why operatives of certain countries employ sleep deprivation as a form of torture. Really, if you ain't getting enough sleep, everything else sucks...compounded many times over. We're still--as to be expected--having good nights and bad nights. Lucky for me, it seems that Juliana likes to get a little early morning sleeping in after her last nighttime feeding. Of course, I do the 'bad mommy' thing and put her next to me in bed (blast me if you will but it works for us for now) right after that feeding and she's out like a light for a couple of hours--which buys me some badly needed shuteye as well. I know lots of folks, parents, doctors, general opinions, etc., are not to let your child sleep in bed with you but, people, I'm desperate here for some sleep. And hey, if Dr. Sears let his kids sleep with he and his wife, that's good enough for me at this point. I don't plan on--and am not--doing it every day/night.

Other than my chronic sleep issues (and in case you're wondering--yes, it seems a human being can function just fine on 3 or 4 hours of sleep daily), breastfeeding for me continues to have its good and bad sessions as well. I think the thing that has me flummoxed at this point is the fact that I'm a very modest gal (not that you'd know or expect this given the number of medical folks who've seen my cootchie over the past 4 years or anything but still...). I am not one of those women who can simply whip out my boob and breastfeed my girl in public, I just can't do it--covered or not. Therefore, I'm tied to the house or my car for the most part (but she seems to hate nursing in the car)--or I have to head out to run errands immediately after feeding her and hope she stays asleep while we're out and about (not that we've done this much--only twice). I guess this makes me feel, to a certain extent, like I'm a prisoner in my own home.

When I made the decision to breastfeed, I did it knowing that it's best for baby. Anything I can do to help her be healthy, I'll do. But honestly I'm also a selfish person, childless for all my life, never knowing what it's like to have to give of myself 1,000% and completely nurture and care for a completely dependent human being. And I'm not complaining about having to do so, really, but I just don't know for how long I can continue the breastfeeding if I want to still have time for me. Plus, I'm really not--in all honesty--digging the breastfeeding thing. I don't think we're bonding per se. My boobs are so big that Juliana and I aren't making face/eye contact when she eats. I have to angle her sideways and she stares contentedly (or blankly--I'm not sure which) at my skin it seems.

I know plenty of women who have breastfed (especially since they had no issues doing so in public) and made time for themselves; me--not so much it seems. My original goal was to breastfeed Juliana to 4 weeks. Now that I'm staring that milestone in the face, I'm thinking of pushing it to 6 weeks. Then I'm considering pumping exclusively to bottlefeed her breast milk until I go back to work at 12 weeks. From there, I may move her to formula...I just don't know. The good thing is that A is supportive of whatever decision is made. After all, he's of the mindset that a happy and healthy mama makes for a happy and healthy Juliana and I couldn't agree more. And speaking of happy, my crying has all but stopped and I no longer feel completely overwhelmed when A leaves for work each day. Perhaps I'm becoming more comfortable with my new roles.

Tomorrow we take Juliana back to the pediatrician to see how much weight she's gained--hoping she's at 6 1/2 pounds by tomorrow. She's certainly been hoovering down the milk lately and looking bigger to me. In the next few days, she may outgrow the preemie diapers and move into newborns. And as of yesterday, she actually fits into one of her newborn onesies. Up until now, she'd only been able to fit into the preemie clothes. Sigh...I guess they really do grow up quickly.


At 1:04 PM, Anonymous A. said...

Breastfeeding is hard work in the beginning, don't let anyone tell you differently. But it is really, really good for babies, especially preemies, so take a moment and acknowledge how awesome you are. Take it one day at a time, as you described. You will most likely get over the modesty thing if you continue to nurse -- I have flashed more UPS guys than I care to admit. If you can't go on anymore -- and eventually we all stop nursing our babies -- then make that choice and be proud of what you accomplished. It will get easier as time goes on. She'll start to nurse less frequently; you'll be able to get out more. It does get better, really, but I don't blame you if you don't believe that right now. Think of life as your personal 12-step program, and work on getting through 1 day (or one hour) at a time. That's all you have to do.

At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Day said...

My babe has yet to come home so I can only imagine how the lack of sleep must make you feel - if you need to cosleep then I say just DO IT. As for breastfeeding, I'm following your lead, and hoping it gets better for you. And if it doesn't, then go for the formula. Everyone is different- do what's right for you and Juliana - A' s got the right attitude.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

First of all, let me say that your little princess is GORGEOUS. I can only hope that my princess is as cute and photogenic. I am so happy for you. I have been MIA but haven't missed a post of yours, yet. You are doing GREAT!! I anxiously await updates--it's helping me mentally prepare for our sleepless nights. Congratulations.


At 6:18 AM, Blogger Jen P said...

You know, I haven't even had my baby and I've flashed more people than I care to admit, simply because I totally misbutton clothing on a daily basis. And then there was that time those kids delivering the chinese food saw my coochie because the boxers were open...Good Lord, how will I cope when I am seriously sleep deprived!?

I think you're doing a fantastic job. Day by day. Things are rough until the 4th month (so I've been told and read) and you're doing fantastic to be here right now. The lactation lady I saw said to take it day by day. Today I will breastfeed, tomorrow will be a new challenge.

I'm not sure if that condescending or patronizing but it sounded like sane advice to me.

And sleeping with baby...totally normal. Screw those who disagree. You're her mommy. She trusts her mommy. What do 'they' know anyways?!

Wishing you the best. Lots and lots of grow little girl vibes!

At 9:43 PM, Blogger Toffee said...

I am totally with you on the breast feeding issue. I have been pumping because of the NICU stay and still am even though she has been home because I worry how much she is getting to eat. My baby has different ideas though, she has been trying to suck (even thru t-shirt and bra) my right boob and has even latched on a few times when I didn't have time to put my shirt back on after pumping. Pumping isn't that bad, but it has become time consuming with all the bottles, etc. I am hoping I can nurse and only pump occasionally.

I too am modest and am not sure I could whip it out either...but hey, my boobs are as big and beautiful as they have ever been!

At 3:09 AM, Blogger Jenn said...

Hugs! Out in public I find dressing rooms in department stores to be a great place to breastfeed. You can also find other hidden away spots.

As for bonding...no, this young you don't get that. It is more like at 4 months old when they pop off the breast and stare up at you with a goofy-milk-drunk smile and a dribble of milk out the corner of their mouth. ;-)

I worked&pumped for all 4 of my kids. I would have much rather to have nursed them directly, but since I had to work, pumping was a way for me to feel "connected" during the day. And I felt a certain pride in my accomplishment. I do encourage you to just keep going day by day--you might surprise yourself with how long you do it.


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