Friday, July 30, 2010

Adventures In Nursing

Wednesday morning, 12:30 am, Chris brings Max into the bedroom.

Get ready.
Meaning: pull out your boobs and get ready to feed the little man. I pull over my shirt and accept Max into my arms.

Here you go, Jugs Magoo.
Jugs Magoo? Hmmph. That’s our code name for anyone that has ridiculously large boobs on a small body. Then it occurs to me.

I look down.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

Call 911, there seems to have been a boob explosion! I thought my milk came in the other day. I thought wrong. Because I was now not only carrying the cow, but the cow seems to have brought along all of his barnyard friends. I’m HUGE!

At 4:15 am, it was time to feed Max again. I woke up to the pain so bad that I thought someone was sitting on my chest. Then I realized that was just the feeling of my chest. Sounds the sirens: ENGORGED! And, bigger than at 12:30 am. Ouch ouch ouch. I thought blisters on day 2 were bad. This was worse. I thought bleeding on day 3 was bad. This was worse. I thought that giving birth was supposed to be the most painful part – I’m convinced, breastfeeding is worse!

6:37 am rolls around. Max is sleeping so this is my opportunity to shower. As I get undressed, I pass by the mirror…

EEKS!

There staring back at me with eyes wide and all guns engorged were what I would call roughly, roundabout, eyeballing it at…..36Ds.

GIVE OR TAKE AN ENTIRE CUP SIZE!

Are you there god, it’s me, ELF. Remember when I was a teenager and I prayed for bigger boobs and you just kept me waiting and waiting and waiting. Well here I am 20 years later and though I appreciate your follow through I’d like to ask you to TAKE THEM BACK! WHAT am I going to do with these things? Rhetorical question, I KNOW, for their purpose is fueling my little man but for the other 20 hours in the day – where do they go? How am I going to contain these!

After my shower, Chris walks into the bathroom. Dead stop at the door. Wide-eyed with a mix of horror, curiosity and it-can’t-be in his eyes.

I think your milk came in.

YOU THINK!?!

And so it begins – life with a child, fine, I can handle that. Life with big boobs, now THIS is going to take some getting used to. I don’t even know where to begin. If my clothes no longer fit me because my stomach was big a week ago, now it’s the same problem just migrated north. I’m busting out!

I’ll tell you what is harder than being pregnant. Harder than 50 all out sprints off the blocks. Harder than 400s on the track. It’s nursing. No joke. I had no idea how hard it would be. But I don’t regret the decision. And I will stick with it! I honestly think it is best for baby and for mother. Breastfed children are less likely to have asthma, allergies, obesity. Breastfeeding mothers recover from birth quicker, drop weight quicker. It’s natural, it’s fairly cheap and it’s what our bodies are meant to do.

However.

IT HURTS LIKE A MOFO!

First, there are the contractions. As you nurse, it releases oxycotin which stimulates uterine contractions. Painful – yes. But these are the same contractions that help your uterus return to regular size after pregnancy (that would be shrinking from 2 pounds back to 2 ounces).

And then there is the actual boobie pain. At first it wasn’t bad. But then, like any overuse injury, it got worse. And worse. Until I found myself with scabs on my nipples.

Is there anything more unattractive than what I just said!? SCABS!

I’ve heard that when you first start nursing, this pain is normal. Eventually it will go away. My cousin said to give it 6 weeks. But for right now every time he latches on I have the uncontrollable urge to scream obscenities. It’s like getting a shot of cortisone in your foot. Highly sensitive area of the body, highly painful. Especially when it takes him a dozen attempts to latch on correctly. He’s on, he pulls off, he’s on, he pulls off. As Chris said to him the other night:

Get on the boob while you can kid because you’ll spend the next 18 years trying to get back on and it won’t be as easy.

I thought pumping might help. But found out that whether it’s a pump tugging at me or a child – there is pain. I thought maybe at least I could hand off one bottle to Chris to feed him with so I could get some recovery. Every good training plan includes ample recovery! So I pumped, and pumped and after 10 minutes had….1/4 ounce of milk. That’s right ONE FOURTH OF ONE OUNCE. For the love of lactating nipples, no wonder why this kid is always hungry!

(the other day we were at the pediatrician when Chris asked him what the flow rate of a breast was, the doctor stopped examining Max, turned to Chris and asked are you engineer, why yes he is and you should see trying to hang a picture at our house)

It was finally on Wednesday or maybe it was Thursday or somewhere in between that I realized how hard nursing can be. Each feeding lasts from 20 to 45 minutes. Burp him, change him, swaddle him, soothe him and we’re up to a full hour. That’s a lot of time! And it’s never consistent. On Wednesday, Max went to bed at 8:30 pm. He was up at 8:45 pm with a poopy diaper then 8:50 pm with another poopy diaper. He woke up to feed at 10:50 and had another poopy diaper. At 1:50 am, he fed again with a wet diaper. At 4:17 am, he fed again. He pooped. At 5:17 am, he fed again. He pooped. At 6:17 am – yes HE FED AGAIN and then pooped. By the time 8 am rolled around, he had two more poopy diapers and one more feeding.

For nearly 12 hours I was caught in a loop of feed, poop, feed, poop with no end in sight. The lack of sleep isn’t draining, it’s having someone constantly needing you and only you for 12 to 18 times a day. Chris wants to help. And when he asked how he could help and I said “grow breasts” he said he wished he could! Max has tried to nurse off of Chris only to realize that…man boobs are only ornamental. But still watching him try to latch on to Chris is one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen.

On Thursday, Max fed every 2 hours. Each feeding was 30 minutes. By the time he settled down again I had roughly 30 minutes to do – I don’t know, the growing list of 239820934 things I need to but don’t have the time. And here’s another unwritten rule of nursing: The minute you need to ____________(answer the phone, take a crap, put food in your mouth), your baby needs to nurse.

(and if you're wondering how I have time to blog, I've developed mad typing skills with baby on Boppy)

3:42 am last night, yesterday morning, it all just blends together as either Max’s late night snack or Monday breakfast that he still hasn’t finished...I was sitting in the glider, sleepy-eyed, I reminded myself this is only temporary. At some point he will establish a routine. But until then, there is no routine. Last night he went to sleep at 9 pm and didn’t wake up until 12:50 am. Imagine that – over 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep! This morning, he has fed nonstop from 6:10 am to 9:10 am.

And so, this is the hard part of being mommy. You are milk maid. It’s not a bad job and one that I’m trying to have fun with. I walked proudly the other day around Naperville thinking to every woman who walked by that’s right bitches, look at my chest, they’re real and they’re mine. I said to Chris:

Did you ever think you’d be walking around with someone with a chest this big and this good looking?
(work with me here, I gave birth 1 week ago and it helps to convince myself that I look freakin' fabulous)

He laughed.

I’m going to keep at it. It’s hard for sure but I can’t help but think this is part of the reason I’ve dropped 18 pounds in one week. Can you believe that! This is the best weight loss plan ever. Yank a kid out of your stomach and then have him suck the life force out of your breasts nonstop every day. Now all I have to do is lose another 18 pounds by next Friday and I’ll be all set.

Feed on!

10 comments:

LZ said...

I gave birth on July 13...so not too many days ahead of you...and I agree, nursing is so much more painful than birth. Or maybe it's because the pain is every couple hours for weeks! But I have lost weight pretty quickly just from nursing...down 8 lbs since delivery (2.5 weeks) so keep at it! At good for you for getting out to walk already, that will get easier and soon it will be jogging!

Jan said...

Hang in there; it gets easier! The pain is not as toe curling after 10 days or so. You will be able to pump more once you have been nursing a bit longer. Max will start spreading out his feedings and nursing more quickly. The poop even lessens. Good for you for making it this far--you've already passed the hardest time. p.s. Don't be afraid of a pacifier! :)

meredith said...

i am so jealous! you get to be thin again! but not jealous about the boobie part. i'll be there too in 7 weeks. i was kinda amazed at how much your tummy went down after birth, so another 18 pounds, good job!

Jenny Garrison said...

Liz-it will get easier! Try turning the pump up after you "let down" do you can get more out quicker! Once you are comfy with it tryo pumping for one feeding a day that chris can give a bottle for! I HATED the big boobs too.
PS, don't weigh yourself for 3 months. It will come off just with feeding and the way you live your life! Don't stress over it. Call me soon!

Karen said...

Don't be afraid to supplement in those first 15 days or so. I wish someone would have told me that. I was feeding round the clock with my first Never stopped. You will be amazed what one little extra feeding of formula will do. He will be a bit more satisfied and you will get an hour extra or so. I did it with my second and it was great!

Alicia Parr said...

Yes, the first couple weeks are the worst. I remember feeling like someone had taken a football, cut it in half, filled each side w/ milk and attached them to my chest. It was awful. And, it does get better - eventually EASY even and PAINLESS.

I remember feeling a tremendous amount of relief when R started taking a bottle once or twice a day from Gary. At least one of those times was scheduled to be when I was sleeping, so that I could get a slightly longer stretch of sleep. It made a HUGE difference.

Even though it may not feel like it, you're doing great. Everything I'm reading sounds totally typical.

Give Max an extra kiss for me. More pics of the little guy!

Ironman said...

"The flow rate of a breast", from one engineer to another, I love it!

Dawn said...

Hi Liz- I am a fan of your blog, but have never commented before (friend of Jen H, met you in Wheaton Whole Foods when you were first pregnant). I just wanted to say CoNgRaTuLaTiOnS on your little guy, he's just adorable! I have been able to relate to your newest blogs, as I had the same delivery and breast feeding experiences. Hang in there, everything does get easier!! Keep at the pumping, it gets easier too (like what Jen G said), and will make it all better. Sounds like you are doing a great job... and out walking after your C-S, wow! You will be jogging in no time. Take care! :)

Ange said...

HUGE congratulations on the birth of little Max!! I am really really happy for you guys.
As they all said, the nursing gets so so so much easier. It's true. It is HARD!! at first. Oh so hard.

:) enjoy the little one.

Melissa said...

Catching up on blog reading...

I am so not a fan of my huge boobs, you are right, nothing fits because of the chest. Hopefully Max is going a little longer now between feedings. It's like an endless cycle.

Chris is funny. Flow rate?