Saturday, March 16, 2013

Feed, Sleep, Love

I’m going to talk about my life during the past 9 weeks since my daughter was born. Although I am writing about motherhood, I am not an expert and do not necessarily think you should follow anything I say in any way, shape or form. There are so many mommy bloggers who speak like their methods or experiences are gospel. I believe no such thing, but I hope nevertheless that this offers you some moderate entertainment. 
Check out my sweet socks! 

Maternity Leave
So, I’m a bit hyperactive and I was very worried that I would be bored during my maternity leave. I suggested to one of my coworkers that I would be willing to do work during the leave and know I would have plenty of time to complete various tasks. She looked at me half agreeing and half, “There’s no way in hell you are going to end up working during your maternity leave.”

Well, she was right. I have worked a tiny, tiny, tiny bit, but honestly, I have had no time whatsoever to dedicate to work. Taking care of a newborn is a full-time job. 

Your life runs on three-hour never ending cycles of feeding, changing, soothing, cleaning and once in a while sleeping.


Before I gave birth, I told everyone that I didn’t care if I breast fed or not.  I said I would try, and if it didn’t work out, so be it. However, in the end when I couldn’t, I was hysterical.  As soon as my baby was born, I was put on a regimen as follows: breast feed for 20 minutes, pump for 20 minutes, and give formula for 20 minutes  - she was a month early so she had to be fed formula, no matter what.  

Well, my milk never came in. I did this for a week, and when I brought her to the doctor I was exhausted, and she hadn’t gained enough weight. The doctor wouldn’t tell me outright to stop breast feeding, but he said, “You look miserable, she isn’t gaining weight, and if you haven’t gotten your milk in, you probably won’t.” So I talked to a lactation consultant, took some vitamins, massaged my boobs, kept up with the regimen for 3 more days, and then after looking at my minuscule supply after pumping, I threw in the towel. I needed to concentrate on getting her weight up, and I couldn’t do that and continue that schedule.

The thing was that I did care. I cried like, well a baby, I made my husband take back the pump to the hospital the second I gave up, because when I looked at it, I couldn’t stop crying.

To this day, I feel guilty that I am not breast feeding her, especially because she is having some digestions issues. But, I have for the most part gotten over it, and it helps that my husband can feed her, too.    

One long, big brain fart
I never believed the pregnant/new mom brain. I actually thought it was sexism. However, it has happened to me. I’m slowly starting to recover, but it’s been really brutal. I would say though that 99 percent of it is just from sleep deprivation. I’m a history teacher, and the other day I couldn’t remember several of the Vice Presidents’ names. I couldn’t believe it.  I thought I would catch up on my reading. It turns out the only thing I have an attention span for is reality television. If you saw my DVR right now, I wouldn’t be able to look at you in the eye.
A gift from my Aunt

Sleep deprivation
Before I had my daughter, everyone would say, “Sleep nowwwwwwwww, you won’t be able to once the baby comes.” I found this annoying, because you can’t give yourself a sleep savings account. However, I will say, as I said before, the effects of sleep deprivation have affected me physically and mentally.

I often have no idea why the hell she is crying
They say babies cry for three reasons: they are hungry, need their diapers changed or are tired. Well, I can tell you there is the fourth reason, which is a total mystery and you just have no idea and have to just bounce and sway and say shhh and pray that it stops.

Finding mommy friends helps
I have had four new moms come into my life since my daughter was born, and I am very grateful. Let’s face it. You can only talk to your friends about poop, spit up and skin rashes for so long, even with people who have children. However, if you are friends with someone else who has a little baby, you can have those conversations for hours and it relieves anxiety (and causes some too). I always thought I would have riveting conversations with my friends and not just be constantly talking about my baby. I was totally wrong. I can spend 20 minutes talking about formula and poop. There's a new Pope? Can he make my baby poop? Well, then, I don't care. 

Here are a few other tidbits I have learned over the last 9 weeks:
  •   The car seat is heavy as hell. It helps to attach it to a stroller.
  •   After pregnancy, there is a lot of bleeding. I never knew that. And it’s gross.
  •  Friends and family who said they are so excited for the baby to come and will be over all of the time to help, probably won’t. People are busy with their lives, and don’t expect more than a couple of visits.  I wish I had been a little more realistic. Just appreciate when people do come over. 
  •   When people offer to bring you food, TAKE THEM UP ON IT.
  •  It’s almost impossible to lose baby weight and get your body back like the stars do. I’m only 5 pounds away, but my body is just different. So don’t buy US Magazine that shows new moms in bikinis at the beach - unless you want to use it to line your diaper pail.
  • Not all babies poop every day.
  •  Babies don’t sleep all day.
  • The pediatrician’s office sounds like a house of horrors.
  • Feel free to say no to hand-me-downs.
  • Swaddling works.
  • Cutting their nails is really challenging but necessary. 
  •  Writing than you notes for gifts is really hard, but people want their thank you notes. The greatest gift you can give to a new mother is to say, don’t write me a thank you note. (However, to the 55 people who I just sent thank you notes to, it was my pleasure and thank you for the gift).


Shark Attack! 
I have to say, I never realized how much I would love my daughter. It’s an overwhelming amount of love that I have never felt before. I feel this weird sensation like she has always been a part of me, only I just found her. I don't know how I'm going to go back to work, I am so attached,  and that's never something I ever thought I would feel. (Nor is it an option, really.)  She has been my greatest gift in life next to my husband, who has been an amazing dad. I am very lucky and very blessed.