Monday, August 31, 2009

Battle of the Bulge

There comes a point in everyone's life where they are given cause to take a step back and reflect on their own "deal" - their life, their mission, their relationships, the direction of those relationships - and make a true turning point decision.

That time has come.

First, some background:

I have a (several?) clogged milk ducts in one of my boobs. This happened once before in the other boob and it developed into a low-grade breast infection that landed me with a fever and directions to take echinacea and vitamin C to fight the infection, make and eat a shittake mushroom soup made with (ancient Chinese medicine) astragalus root and a clove of garlic added each time you dish up. Also, nurse the baby with her nose and chin pointed toward the blockage as much as possible and apply castor oil with heat before taking a warm shower and massaging the oil in. Worked. Plugged ducts became unplugged, lah dee dah and off we go.

Because I am not one who likes to keep a good thing to herself, a week ago there's another lump, this time in the other boob. Shit. Only a slight fever this time that I'm able to knock out pretty quickly, but the lump, on the other hand, is hanging around. I've done the soup, the castor oil, the echinacea, vitamin C and now I'm taking a lecithin supplement to make the ducts "slippery." Babe is feeding with her nose pointing toward the blockage every night when she feeds side-lying.

Here we come back to the point - the time for pause.

The midwife said that I can also have dear hubster...nurse...because he is easier to manuever around and I can tell him if he's hitting the right spot. I love LOVE my midwives - I will cry when I have my last appointment with them - and the following should in no way reflect on how much they mean to my life.

We have been all for the natural, traditional way of doing things during this pregnancy and, for the most part, during this baby's life. Homeopathic rather than western medicine, no medical intervention, hospital birth, etc.

However, and this is a big however for me personally, when all is said and done I love my husband for more than just his hippie tendencies (luckily, not bathing is not among them) and I want him to love me back for the same reasons. Hence, the reason I will continue to wear a bra during the day even though I'm breastfeeding and why I will not ask him to nurse on me. My relationship with my daughter is vitally important to me, but my relationship with my husband is sacred, in big part because it allows my strong relationship with my daughter to grow and flourish. I want to be able to return to that relationship with him at some point.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Feminism is...

Following up to the last post, the end of this article has a pretty nifty, short description of feminism: Drunk on Not Working.

Baby Addiction

Hi, I'm a new mom and I have a baby addiction.

Hi, new mom.

It started out innocently enough - the first few days after she was born I was uncomfortable going anywhere (in my own house) that was far from her, for fear she would start to scream and need to be fed immediately.

It turned into a nervous internal voice waking me up to turn on her little SnuggleNest light to make sure she was a) still breathing; and b) not gagging on her own spit up.

Now, it's gotten to the point where yesterday, when hubster took a nap upstairs with said baby and left me downstairs, I made food, cleaned some stuff up and then had no idea what I should be doing.

For me, this is different than the idea of baby as narcotic (see this great article sent to me by another new mom friend: Katie Roiphe: My Newborn Is Like a Narcotic. This isn't necessarily something pleasurable - it just is.

The article got me thinking. Yeah, I call myself a feminist and have done so for a long time (feminism - the other f word). Yeah, I'm taking a significant chunk of time off from work, more than I have taken since I started working some decade and a half ago. Yeah, my plans after that aren't even firm enough to be called plans, just ideas about what life could be like if this, this and this happened.

So, yeah, a lot of which which I'd based my personal sense of strong and female on in the past has been twisted into a new form of my life. I haven't yet gotten friendly enough with this new life to figure out why it is uniquely female and inherently strong.

Right now, my baby addiction is functional - I need to do things for this baby to make sure it lives and grows and thrives and bonds with me. When I'm not there, I worry I'm losing those chances to build that deep bond and trust that will benefit both me and this child as she grows. I know, and I hope, that soon that addiction will change into something more like the pleasure high from a narcotic.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Brown chicken brown cow

There is a little miniature bed that has taken a place of honor between me and my husband's pillows. In said little miniature bed is a little miniature person who is squirmy, grunty, kicky and wants to be fed from the boob every three to five hours at night. Said person also has a toilet attached to her bum so she can go whenever she needs to, but the toilet does need to be replaced when it gets full, so middle of the night booty calls have taken on an entirely new and not as fun meaning.

Needless to say, the level of intimacy in the bedroom has taken on a National Geographic indigenous feel, with milky boobs being the extent of the excitement these days and even then, only one of us is excited (one guess: the grunty one).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lies and the lying liars who tell them

Disclaimer: This is going to be a really scattered post. I haven't posted anything in a while and this topic has been bubbling around in my head for a few weeks. Also, over at there is a much more well thought out post about this. Read the article. Share it with your friends. And for god's sake, help a mama out. Any mama.

Thank you to Al Franken for the title.

Or, maybe more appropriately, this post should be called "Why didn't anyone ever tell me, and why isn't it in the books, just how f'ing hard this will be?"

I was scared about what to do, I had/have a rush of hormones flooding through my body as the pregnancy hormones peter out and the breastfeeding/mama hormones rush in to fill the space, breastfeeding is H.A.R.D. and hurt like hell (my nipples were bruised and cracked, dark red and purple for about a week), I'm healing from essentially running a marathon and, in my case, a tear, and, on top of all that, there is this small, squirmy, little being sleeping in the middle of my bed that cries to be fed on my poor boobs, that makes messy diapers and keeps me and my husband up and away from the life we used to know.

That's the stuff nobody tells you.

Really, I'm almost indignant about it. I feel that, if you have ever had a child before, it is your job, nay, your DUTY, to be realistic with all new moms from then on out. None of this "aren't you just LOVING it?" bull shit.

And, for that matter, what's with the baby books that barely even address the "baby blues" or postpartum depression? How about a little reassurance that postpartum depression is the far, far end of the spectrum and that no, you probably aren't going to go that far down the path. But yes, you will have crazy thoughts about what the hell are you doing and why did you get yourself into this.

Acknowledge the difficulty, acknowledge the darkness out loud so that new moms don't go into their own heads and start to get scared about the thoughts in their heads. We can help each other out if we are honest about what the time period immediately after birth is really like for new mamas.

New mamas are truly doing something extraordinary and we owe all of them the straight dope on the post-pregnancy experience.

It's only by talking about it, by bringing light onto an all too common state of mind, that we can make it less scary and lonely for the millions of women who experience it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baby Girl

She's here.

She was born on Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 9:42 a.m.

She weighed in at 8 lbs. 3 oz. and was 20 inches from top to bottom.

She came into this world in a beautiful birth at home, in a birth tub, in her mom and dad's bedroom.

I am sure that more will follow, but I didn't want this incredibly momentous event to go undocumented for too long. Believe me, the delay is only due to the tough adjustment to our new schedule.