You are six weeks old today.
All day long, I’ve tried to get my head around the fact that, were we not so lucky, and so brave, and so crazy, I might – like many, many other women – have gone back to work today.
I can’t imagine.
I don’t want to be away from you for one minute, let alone a whole day.
But, I don’t want to talk about six weeks, so much as I want to talk about one week.
Last Sunday was a very rough day for me. Mommy was at work, and I was not coping well.
Every time you finished taking a bottle and were happily dozing in my lap, I had to put you down so I could pump.
Then you’d wake up, and I would have to either try to pump with you in my lap, or let you cry, or wait to pump. None of which were good solutions for either of us.
I was beginning to despair of things ever changing. I couldn’t imagine that you were ever going to learn to actually nurse, and I was starting to wonder if it were all worth it.
I called Doula K, in tears, and she reassured me that everything I was feeling was perfectly normal, and told me that, despite how it looked at the moment, she had faith that you would eventually get your act together – although it might be another four or five, or even eight weeks.
This Friday and Saturday could have been very rough days for me. Mommy was at work, but I coped amazingly well.
For hours on end, you nursed, dozed, pooped and nursed again. I don’t know that I ate anything, I barely drank anything, which is just as well, since I had no time to go to the bathroom.
But you were nursing. And as exhausting as it was, it was what I’d been waiting five and a half weeks for (hell, it was what I’ve been waiting decades for) and I could not have been happier.
I called DoulaK on Friday and said, “You told me to call you with good news sometime, so I am!”
On Saturday, she read my latest Health Update here, and called me to celebrate your progress.
I can’t believe the difference one week has made.
Not only have you, essentially, become a nursing baby, practically overnight (granted, using the nipple shield, but still!) you’ve also reached the six-pound mark, you’ve outgrown your preemie diapers, and you’ve started (almost) fitting into (some of) your newborn-sized clothes.
It’s like, suddenly, you are the newborn that you were supposed to be a couple of weeks ago – and that we had no right to expect you to be six weeks ago.
I’m working on getting used to this nursing thing. It’s so wierd that I’m not “trying to nurse” you or “seeing if you’ll nurse” or “giving you a try” – I’m just nursing you.
Just like that.
I’m still pumping, but just when you’re taking a nap and haven’t eaten in a couple of hours.
(The thing is, for two days, you told my breasts that they were going to be getting sucked on 24/7 and they responded accordingly. Then you decided to go back to sleeping for four hours stretches at night, and two or three hours in the day time. They are not amused.)
The pumping is not such a chore now, though. For one thing, there’s a lot less of it, but also it feels more voluntary now, like “Well, I’m feeling awful full, and she’s sleeping, so guess I’ll pump and get some relief. Oh look, a couple of ounces of milk to freeze. That’s nice.”
A very welcome change.
I’ve not quite decided when and how to transition how we handle the whole feeding thing when we’re out and about in the world.
On the one hand, it would be easy to continue taking bottles along, in case you get hungry while we’re out.
On the other hand, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to take bottles along – when my breasts are always with me.
On another hand, I’m not quite sure how comfortable and secure you are with nursing at this point, to know how willing you’ll be to do it away from home, with additional distractions.
On still another hand, I’m not sure how comfortable and secure I am with it yet – especially having to juggle the nipple shield and such.
On a fifth or sixth hand, I’m (in theory at least) quite the “lactivist” about a baby’s right to breastfeed anywhere and anytime that she’s hungry, and I’ve been warning Mommy for months (years, maybe) that, “You do know that I am going to get kicked out of somewhere at some point, right?”
And on one last hand, if things had gone as planned, and if we’d not had all this difficulty with nursing, I may well not yet have even introduced a bottle at this point, so we wouldn’t have a choice, now would we?
I think we’ll probably just play it by ear for a while. We’ll take the nipple shield so you can nurse if the situation seems comfortable for both of us, but we’ll also take along a couple of bottles (and the pump) in case it doesn’t.
You know, I certainly can’t say that I’m happy that things have been this difficult, but one silver lining is the bonding that you and Mommy have been able to do.
In fact, in those first few weeks (especially before she went back to work), I was the one feeling left out, because I had to hand you off to her when you were hungry, so that she could feed you while I pumped.
And I really hated that, but on the other hand (there’s those damn hands again) I could see how much it meant to her, to have that time with you.
I think it’s kind of hard for her, now that things have changed, and I’m trying my best to hand you off when you’re done eating, so that she can have as much time with you as possible when she’s home.
And I still love watching the two of you together, and eavesdropping on her talking to you, when she doesn’t know I can hear.
And I love when we get to have family time – whether it’s watching TV together, or she’s helping us with a bath, or we’re lying in bed talking to you, or listening to Christmas music and looking at the newly-decorated (ok, lit up – that’s as good as it gets this year) tree.
Especially the Christmas tree. Every year, once we have the decorations up, we snug on the couch and listen to music (usually The Nutcracker) and talk.
I’ve always – especially the past two years – dreamed of doing that as a threesome, and we finally are.
I don’t know how many years it will be before you are too big, and too cool, to join us on the couch for a Christmas snug, so I’m going to enjoy it while I can.