thesmilinlife

Thoughts of a 20-something


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The days are long…

It’s true what they say. Time flies. I can’t believe my baby girl is already a month old. Where did this time go? How have 4 of my 6 weeks of maternity leave gone by??

I’m so thankful. I’m thankful that my baby is healthy and happy. I’m thankful that my husband is so supportive and helpful. I’m thankful that my family is nearby and is getting to know the newest member of the family. I can’t count all of my blessings, but I have never been happier.

I have a hard time looking forward. Thinking about going back to work makes me panic. I don’t want to miss a single second of my daughter’s life.

I really wish that being a stay at home mom was in the cards. I know that in today’s day and age, more and more women need to stay at work because of money. It upsets me that that’s what life boils down to, and unfortunately that’s a major consideration for my husband and I. But ugh, I wish I could stay at home, even if it were just for a year.

But back to happiness. I have the most perfect wonderful baby in the entire world. I almost dread her growing up and becoming a teenager and hating us. I love her. I love my perfect family.

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Breastfeeding

Prior to giving birth, I was 100% on board with breastfeeding. It’s the most natural option for feeding your baby, it’s free, and it helps form a bond between you and your newborn unlike any other. (note, I would never judge anyone for choosing to formula feed or not to breast feed in general. But for me, this was never an option.)

I was naive in thinking that breastfeeding would come so easily and would simply work. You hear some stories about women having difficulty, but that absolutely would not happen to me. You know that sometimes you don’t produce enough milk but that was not an option for me. I was made for breeding; everyone said so (seriously, Travis once said he picked me because I had good hips and would be able to give him babies. come on)

Breastfeeding started out okay. Charlie didn’t want to eat initially and we were told her stomach and intestines were so full of meconium and amniotic fluid that she just needed time. When she did latch, she ate voraciously. We had no issues with going home after only 24 hours in the hospital, and thought things were going great.

Fast forward to Saturday night and me sobbing uncontrollably with my daughter screaming in my arms feeling like an absolute failure. I hadn’t been able to nurse her for hours. Every time I put her to a breast, she would start screaming, waving her arms, and kicking her legs. It felt like she was rejecting me. I felt like a failure as a mother and a woman. I called the lactation consultants at the hospital we had delivered at 4 am and left a message.

We got a call back early in the morning after getting no sleep and had an appointment for that morning with the lactation consultant. I was so thankful that she could get us in right away. Of course, as soon as we go to latch and figure out what is going on, Charlie latches fine and eats just like there had been no issues at all (ugh of course she performs when we had an audience). The consultant was wonderful and gave us some recommendations for the future, and we were off, feeling much more hopeful than we were when we arrived.

Sunday evening got even worse. We called the pediatrician at 2 am to try and decide what to do. We were told to pump and give her any milk that came out in a bottle. This sounded like yet another way that I had failed. I cried the entire time that I was hooked up to the pump. It felt so unnatural, and I felt so miserable, and defeated. Prior to giving birth and all of this ordeal I had been adamant that we wouldn’t use bottles or any sort of “unnatural feeding” for at least the first 3 weeks. I didn’t want to cause nipple confusion or do anything that would interfere with my breastfeeding plan.

After several pumping sessions and bottles to my newborn, we had an appointment to check her weight with the pediatrician Monday afternoon. I showed up with puffy eyes and couldn’t help crying as we sat in the room talking to the nurse and then the doctor. I felt so much like a failure. And sure, everyone was nice, saying that breastfeeding is hard and I can’t expect it to go well right from the start and both Charlie and I are learning how to do this and so on… but I was convinced they were just being nice and I was a failure. We went home with the plan of seeing the lactation consultant on Tuesday and pumping/bottle feeding as needed.

I know that the important thing was feeding my infant. Obviously, that’s the priority, especially with my little peanut who needed to put on weight so badly. I knew that she wasn’t going to starve and that I was making sure that she was staying alive and doing what was best for her… but my plan was ruined. I was so hormonal and constantly on the verge of tears that my parents, husband and even the doctor were worried about postpartum depression. The only saving grace was that my unhappiness was linked solely to breastfeeding.

Tuesday morning, after a long discussion with Travis, we opted to try not pumping, as that was causing me so much distress. Our main goal was still to breastfeed. We tried this first before pumping and a bottle to see how she would take to it. I was nervous that she would have a hard time going back to the breast after using bottles for the past day, but luckily she took it just fine.

At the lactation consultant’s, of course, Charlie did great. Again she had some recommendations for us and was able to help with latch issues that we had (ANYONE who tells you breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt initially is a LIAR. Getting a perfect latch is difficult at first, and even if you do no one is used to having their nipples sucked on so frequently and so hard.) She was a big help and suggested we use a My Brest Friend nursing pillow. (which we love and went and got one right after we left). Ever since then, Charlie and I have been on a much better path with breastfeeding and have been doing better.

What is most upsetting to me is that Prior to giving birth, no one talks about how HARD it is to breastfeed. Sure, you can read some success stories that discuss the difficulty as it’s kind of glossed over. Sure, you can read stories of women who have given up, but the actual difficulties and the real discussions about how truly difficult breastfeeding usually is aren’t there. There’s so much pressure these days to breastfeed and you hear all of the benefits of it to both mom and baby. You hear thst its such a wonderful experience. It’s upsetting. I know that there are support groups and there are places and friends that people can turn to in order to have these real discussions but what about the woman who doesn’t have someone to turn to? What about the woman who gives up quickly and decides that breastfeeding isn’t for them, but is left feeling like a failure?

These are the discussions that need to be had. These are the stories that need to be read. I wish there was more of a platform for these very important, very real discussions.


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Charlotte’s birth

“Oh my god I have a baby!” I said this about a hundred times in the first 24 hours after giving birth. Are they really trusting me with a newborn? I get to take home this precious life that I created?

Giving birth was one of the hardest, scariest, most rewarding experiences that I have ever gone through. Here’s my birth story, more for my own memory than anything else. (it’s already starting to gloss over so I want to make sure to remember it as well as possible.)

Tuesday my water broke at noon. i was walking down in to the basement to switch laundry out. I actually was able to hear a pop as my water broke and next thing I know, it feels like I’m wetting myself. I was to meet my aunt at 1230 for lunch, so my first call was to her to cancel (I wish I hadn’t cancelled). Next phone call was to doctor to see what they wanted me to do, and then to hubby. My aunt came to pick me up and bring me to the doctor, where they tested the fluid to make sure it was in fact my water breaking.

Well, it was. (the feeling is pretty unmistakable, but having not felt it before I wasn’t 100% sure obviously). Doc also checked how dilated I was to see how far along I was. I was 1cm dilated and very posterior. They sent me down to the hospital where I checked in around 1:30.

Upon checking in, I told the nurses and docs what my doctors had said about how far along I was. They brought me right down to labor and delivery and got me comfortable. Travis had rushed off of work and came quickly. My mom and sister also came right away. I had the best support system ever between the three of them.

The hospital always give an IV to their moms. They had a hard time finding a vein that worked for me, and ended up putting it in my hand which wasn’t comfortable and included a TON of tape to keep it on. Not fun. I was having irregular contractions and they weren’t too terribly painful. I would walk around the hallways and try to keep my mind off of them. The doctor said I could eat and my mom and sister went to pick up Chipotle around 5. (This was a bad idea).

My contractions started getting stronger around 7. They were more frequent and more painful, to the point where I threw up the dinner that I had. The nurse said I was throwing up because I wasn’t breathing correctly, but I think that at least part of it was due to the pain as well. I should have eaten prior to going to the hospital, not while I was there.

Around 9, the doctor came in to check how far dilated I was again. Unfortunately, I had made no progress and was still 1 cm and very posterior. I was starting to get more painful contractions and it was hard for me to relax. In fact, I was kind of writhing in pain with each one. The nurse and doctor were recommending something to help me with the pain and to help me sleep. I got the shot and started dozing off around 9:30. I’d be woken up every so often by a contraction as they were getting worse and worse. Around 1 am, the nurse came in and started talking to us and decided that she wanted to check how far along I was. When she checked me, she looks up and says “You’re going to have a baby!”

I remember being so confused, and saying “wait, I know I’m having a baby, but when?” She ran out in to the hallway to get my mother and sister who had since gone to the waiting room. Everyone came rushing back in to find out I was 9cm dilated and ready to start pushing.

Around 1:45 or so, my nurse and doctors had me all set up to start pushing. Travis was on my right holding my leg and helping me breathe, my mom was on my left holding my leg and helping me breathe, and my sister helped by giving me an oxygen mask in between contractions. As each contraction came up, everyone helped time my breathing and pushing. It worked! Within 20 minutes, Charlie was crowning and the doctor was yelling at me to slow down and not push so hard. (Which, by the way, is physically impossible. When you get the urge to push, there is NOTHING that will stop it.) After that, I felt some of the worst pain of my life and Charlie was half out, the next contraction and my baby was being placed in my arms. 2:16 AM, my darling baby girl was born. 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

One more big push to pass the placenta, and Travis was cutting the cord as my sweet baby girl cried in my arms. I had some tearing, so the docs numbed me up and gave me some stitches. Within an hour or so I was getting up to use the rest room, my baby was cleaned up and Travis and I were in absolute awe with our little girl. I was moved to recovery at 5am and settled in to the room that would be my home for the next day. We got very lucky in that my labor and delivery not only went quick (once it started moving), but we loved the doctors and nurses that we had and were able to go home on Friday.

 

It’s hard to describe accurately the amount of pain that was experienced. It’s difficult to explain the overwhelming joy that is felt. It’s impossible to accurately capture with words the emotions that are felt with such an incredible event. It hurt. It hurt more than anything I had felt before, but it a pain that I would happily go through again knowing that it brought such joy in to my life.