There is no “me” in baby.
Trust me, I’ve looked – again and again.
Remember the days when you could walk into the house, go to the bathroom, wash your hands, get something to eat, sit down, relax….
Gone. Because now – it’s all about baby. Not like all life-consuming about baby but if you are nursing that baby chances are you now walk in the house with a screaming baby who is ready to eat like 10 minutes ago and your boobs were ready to feed like 10 minutes ago which means they are squirting everywhere like lawn sprinklers that set off unexpectedly right as you walk by and even though you need to wash your hands or go to the bathroom it’s… gonna have to wait.
Until – you feed the baby, burp the baby, feed the baby, change the baby then soothe the baby again.
Repeat, as needed.
Which reminds me – I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten poop at some time during the last 4 weeks. Who has time to wash their hands after changing the baby? Even if you did, where would you put the baby? And, what is it about changing a diaper that makes a kid go from milk coma to ALL SIRENS BLAZING in less than the peel of a Velcro diaper tab? Putting a clean diaper on hardly calms them down. It’s not until they are back in your arms (likely wanting to feed again) that they stop crying. At this point you are crying too because you realized that you haven’t washed your hands. At all. All day. Maybe not for the past month.
Nursing is draining. I know I’ve said that it’s hard but I want to just reiterate for my own mental health – it’s really, really hard. Being pregnant is uncomfortable. Nursing is downright painful. Today my boobs just ache. Maybe they are filling with milk, maybe they are just tired. I don’t know. They don’t talk to me anymore. Expectedly, some days I just need a break. I need to go through a few hours where something is not latched on to my chest. I just want my body to be my own again.
And I know that sounds selfish. Of course it does! Who isn’t from time to time. Sometimes I just want to take care of me before I take care of baby. That means, go to the bathroom when I have to – not when I finally have time (good news is that my bladder made it through pregnancy 100% in tact). I want to eat when I wake up – not an hour later. I want to drink a glass of water when I’m thirsty, not when I have a free hand. What I want, though, doesn’t really matter anymore. I knew that getting into this. Living it every day, though, is the hard part.
All of this explains why for the better part of this afternoon I’ve been walking around in a jog bra and underwear. Oh I started the day in a dress. And then, the baby shat all over that dress. Then I realized – why not just take the dress completely out of the loop. Who needs more laundry? Besides, I’m pulling down the jog bra every 2 hours to feed the little meat sack. Why not go completely tribal and half naked?
It would be safe to say that you should never just drop by my house – in case you were in the neighborhood.
As long as we are talking about things on my body, let's talk about two things I made it through pregnancy without:
Stretch marks and hemorrhoids. I know – miraculous. Hate me and my ass. Go ahead. But I credit it to one thing (actually two): two tablespoons of ground flax seed in my oatmeal every day. You and your ass can thank me later for that piece of advice.
However, stretch marks are finally making an appearance. On, you got it – my chest. Just when you thought childbirth couldn’t possibly leave one more mark on your body (as if the 6 inch scar wasn’t enough?), you wake up and see red squiggly lines all over your chest. I suppose this is what happens when you go from nothing to a whole lotta something. But I think I finally understand why you would pay money for new boobs. I told my husband I have permission to buy myself a new set. He just nods his head now. Really, don’t argue with a woman post-partum. She can pull cards, mister, that will never EVER be in your deck.
I thought about buying a fancy cream to make the stretch marks go away but did some research and found out – gasp – fancy creams are bullshit. So is just about any other old wives tale on how to get rid of them. The only thing that works is…let’s see – don’t get pregnant? Scratch that off the options list.
By the time Chris came home, I had put on a new dress. We were sitting on the couch, I was feeding a particularly fussy Max. I’m so sick of seeing my naked chest. As much as you are sick of hearing about it. I bet even my husband is sick of seeing it too. If he kept pulling his meat whistle out I think at a certain point I would just beg him to put it away. But the baby must be fed so the chest must be revealed. Max was doing a move I call “the hen peck”. Imagine a hen pecking all over your chest. It’s not that the boobs are small. How can he NOT see them? A few minutes into it I feel something warm. I touch Max’s clothes and they seem dry. Strange. Then a few minutes later I stand up to realize that warm wet feeling was poopy running all down my dress.
I’ve been shizzled. Again. Second time in one day.
The next day I didn’t even bother getting dressed (so to speak). I walked around in workout clothes. I decided to do another solo trip (after Monday – really, why!?) to three stores. Ambitious, I know. But I always said – dream big. We made it through BuyBuyBaby without a peep. Drove across town to get me a new swimsuit from Keifer (almost as good as swimming is buying a new swimsuit in preparation for my return to swimming – YAY!). Back in the car, a mere 40 minutes since we left home, it happens. The eruption of Mt. Max. Why – I don’t know. But he’s bright red, screaming and inconsolable. No amount of shushing, pacifying or asking him politely to PIPE DOWN ALREADY seems to soothe him.
So, I decide to sit in the backseat and feed him. Good solution except that the car is sitting smack in the sun. The car keeps getting hotter and for some reason the feeding is not calming Max down. He keeps pulling on and off of me, exposing the better half of my chest to the parking lot. I must have been having a fierce letdown because after one pull off, I realize I am literally hosing my child down in milk. He is dripping with milk – in his eyes, all over his face. So much for the bath this morning. I am covered in milk. I have nothing to wipe it up with except his onesie that I took off of him because he felt hot. So much for dressing the child.
He was still crying after feeding but I decided to keep going. I can’t quit. I said we were going to 3 stores and dammit WE ARE GOING TO THREE STORES. The last store was Lululemon. He quiets down on the way there but as soon as I park he starts crying again. So we had a talk.
Listen, kid, I am not going to be one of those crazy women trapped inside my house for fear that every time we leave you’ll scream so you might as well pull up your big boy pants, buck up and deal with the fact that you are going to be an on the go outdoor baby LIKE IT OR NOT.
He quieted down. And we went to Lululemon. Where he started to cry again. But at this point, I considered the trip a victory because we made it to all three stores.
I went home exhausted. It was only 11:30 am. We had been up since 4:17 am which Max feels is an appropriate time to start the day (I disagree). I couldn’t sleep last night because I couldn’t sleep. No idea why. You’d think I could fall asleep standing up at this point but for some reason – I’m wired. I have no idea what is going on with my body at this point and even less idea what I’m doing with this kid. I’m walking through all of this with my eyes closed. The only way I learn is to walk into a wall. Which seems to me like a good metaphor for parenting.
But I must be doing something right. On Wednesday we went to Max’s 4-week check up. As much as I don’t necessarily enjoy nursing, it seems to be working. Max weighed in at 9 pounds, 8 ounces. He’s gained almost 3 pounds since he left the hospital!
(you’d think for every pound he gains I might lose a pound…right….RIGHT!?!?! – no.)
He is meeting his “milestones” – holding eye contract, grasping my finger when I put it by his hand, smiling and making lots of poopy diapers each day. I had a lot of questions for the doctor and got a lot of good answers. I told him Max was feeding every 2 hours – the doctor asked me how I was surviving (on small but consistent nighttime naps thank you). I asked why he got so fussy while pooping (it’s unreal – it looks like he’s trying to squeeze and elephant out of his ass and then you see what’s in the diaper and think – all that drama for THIS!?!). It’s totally normal for an infant to get red and fussy when pooping. Then again, it’s totally normal for some adults too. The doctor then warned me that in 4 weeks the appointment won’t be nearly as pleasant because Max will get a bunch of shots.
Remind me to self-medicate with LOTS of coffee before that appointment.
Life with Max marches on. Each day sometimes feels like eternity but everyone is right – it is going by very fast. The other day he mastered holding his head up for short periods of time and before you know it he’ll be running crazy laps in the field with Boss. Sometimes I imagine him older and can’t wait until he can interact with me and talk. But then again – kids can get pretty loud and sassy so I’m just going to enjoy him this small and quiet, one day at a time, while I can.