I am often in disbelief, in a please pinch me sort of way, that I am living this life, mother to two boys, a rambunctious almost 6 year old and a precious, long loved 12 day old. I find myself looking down at him, especially when breast feeding and almost feeling like I am in a dream. While I am not sure how much luck has to do with any of this, I can’t help but feel lucky, deeply grateful, overwhelmed and overcome with emotion almost all of the time. Everything is right there, at or below the surface, bubbling up.
Things are not always unicorns and rainbows with a newborn. In fact, I think I may have gotten two hours of sleep in the 36 hour period between Saturday and last night. He must be going through a growth spurt because the 2 oz of breast milk or formula he was drinking was no where near enough. He is now routinely taking 3 oz and sometimes 4. Not to tempt the feeding gods, but he is a champion eater, going easily from breast to expressed breast milk in a bottle to formula without so much as a care as long as it quenches his hunger. We are sometimes slow to the uptake, not believing that he could actually still be hungry. Much crying and fit pitching ensues until we finally acquiesce and offer him another ounce or so which he greedily consumes. Not being able to sooth a newborn, especially in the wee hours of a sleep deprived morning, is tough.
I am so fortunate to have the husband I do. Even though he returned to work today, he has no problem being woken up in the middle of the night to hold baby if, after I’ve breast fed him, he is still hungry and in need of a top off. Or, he’ll do the feeding himself. Or, he’ll take baby into the other room and do two feedings in a row until my boobs wake me up and tell me it is time to feed or pump. My husband has gotten 7-8 hours of sleep and I’ve gotten a few 4 hour blocks. It makes me so much better equipped to handle the day, especially this day, my first home alone.
After my shower this morning as I was getting ready for the day, I was looking at myself in the mirror, marveling at how quickly my body is snapping back this time. I am ITCHING to get back to working out, but a consult with my MFM has delayed that by 8-10 weeks. It was so hard to get him out of me that she doesn’t want to risk anything. She doesn’t even recommend doing leg exercises since those engage the abs. Oh well, small price to pay. When we were taking baby boy in every other day for his jaundice, I took the opportunity to weigh myself (Kaiser has digital scales everywhere). By the time I left the hospital with son #1, I’d lost 25 pounds (of the 37 I’d gained). This time, I actually gained three before leaving the hospital. However, I am down 20 of the 40 I gained as of today, 10 of which was lost in 48 hours between pediatrician visits. I will admit to eating whatever I want whenever. Someone brought Baskin Robbins chocolate peanut butter ice cream which I thought made a fine lunch. Someone else brought cupcakes from my favorite cupcakery and I thought that eating two was reasonable (they are almost the size of my fist and I am sure each is 400 calories).
To update some of my maladies, the blisters from the latex tape are healing. The ones under the steri-strips actually formed lovely blood blisters. But, now that the tape is off and the sutures are dissolving, I think everything will heal OK.
The edema is mostly gone. The further up my leg I go, the more swelling there is, but at least my feet and ankles no longer look like they belong to a Hobbit. I haven’t tried, but I might even be able to get my wedding ring on.
I cried A LOT in the early days of being home. Even though I was prepared for the hormone crash as I had lived through it before, I couldn’t help the onslaught of horrible thoughts. I felt alone, like a milk machine, and like an abandoned member of my own family as my husband worked hard to maintain homeostasis for our older son. I felt like because my husband couldn’t read my mind to meet my needs that he didn’t love me. It is all part and parcel of the wackiness that goes along with significant dips in hormones, but I was ill prepared for how often I’d be reduced to the ugly cry. It has been a couple of days since I last cried so I am hoping things are leveling out. I feel clear headed now that I am off the pain meds, so that helps, too.
Thanks to everyone who posted re: my hemorrhoids. UGH. I won’t get into all the TMI details but will say they (OMG, plural!) are shrinking, aren’t painful, aren’t itchy, and I hope they recede completely in the coming weeks. I am still trying to get regular, if you know what I mean. Between the stool softeners and Metamucil I would have thought I’d be there by now, but, no so much.
The engorgement passed as it does. We are having latching issues, mainly because baby boy’s heart shaped mouth isn’t quite big enough to get a good latch. I need some pointers so am going to see Kaiser’s lactation consultant on Wednesday. My right breast produces almost twice as much milk as the left (and was the same with my first son) and my left nipple gets the brunt of the abuse (cracking, bleeding, blistering) from an ineffective latch. I’ve varied my hold, varied how I attempt to get more boob in his mouth, but really to no avail. He nursed almost hourly overnight on Saturday and during the day yesterday which really improved my milk supply but left me quite sore (OK, understatement of the year). I’m trying to exclusively pump for a days worth of feedings just to allow my nipples to heal, but feeding him at the breast is so much more convenient (and special with those big blue eyes looking up at me, hands cradling my boob). It is what it is and I am doing my best but I wince (I almost cried this morning) when I feed and that is no bueno.
With my first son, I remember not leaving the house except to go to pediatrician appointments until he was about 6 weeks. I just didn’t quite know how to manage it. This time, we went to the mall yesterday to do some long overdue returns and, even though I’m cautious because it is the height of cold and flu season and he is a newborn, our sojourn was manageable.
So, here I am, SAHM to a newborn baby boy and mother of two. I have thoughts about returning to work (I’ve been out of the work force since May, 2010), mostly in terms of what I think I might do to earn a living. I am in no way sure that returning to an executive role in the staffing industry is for me, even though that is where I can command the highest salary. I think I need to be working in Infertility and would like to explore getting a job with my clinic. Many have encouraged me to become a sort of infertility coach or liaison or concierge, offering to guide women or couples through their process. I am uniquely qualified given the broad spectrum of treatments we underwent (IUI, OE IVF, PGD, DE, domestic adoption, donated embryos) and given my communication style and direct but supportive nature. We’ll see, there is time.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”