Archive | May, 2011

The dark side is calling …

20 May

So – breastfeeding is hard. Like – really hard. This isn’t an amazing revelation. I breastfed Blake Dean for 8 months, so I speak from experience when I say there were days I nearly had a nervous breakdown from the stress of on-call, on-demand feeding. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t have a drink unless I had enough milk saved up before hand. On top of the stress of being a new mom, it was an absolute killer.

Still, I know that there are benefits to breastfeeding. I definitely think it had a lot to do with how healthy Blake has been since he was born. I can literally count on one hand the number of times he’s had a fever, or even a “bad” cold. Breastfeeding is good for a baby’s immune system – I get it. And I definitely want to give that gift of health and closeness to Rhett, as well.

The thing is – damn, I’m tired. This kid is eating all day long. In his first week out of the hospital, he gained nearly a pound and grew an inch. I’m about to go crazy with the constant nursing … and what I want more than anything is just to be able to take a walk and not worry about getting back before he’s hungry again. (I could also do with a stiff drink but that’s another story.)

Anyway, my point is that it’s been less than two weeks, and I’m already considering supplementing his breastmilk with formula. I want to make it clear that I don’t want to stop breastfeeding completely – I just need help picking up the slack. I feel like I simply can’t keep up. I can’t pump enough to get ahead of the game. He’s an absolute milk animal.

I guess I feel guilty about this. Like – tremendously so. Is it horrible to supplement this early? Am I horrible to need a bit more freedom this time around? It feels like it.



Rhett’s Labor Diary

11 May

Mama and Rhett

When I gave birth to Blake, I was so over-dosed on meds that I have almost no recollection of what happened. I hadn’t  requested the medications – they just sort of appeared. “Here is your epidural …” “The doctor ordered this for your pain …” “It’s really just better if you take it.” The thing is, the stuff they gave to me took more than the edge off my pain – they took away the entire birthing experience. I was determined not to let that happen this time. I wanted to know what giving birth was really like. So I decided to go without an epidural and endure the pain like a real girl. Clearly I had no idea what I was getting myself into – but I’m so glad I did it.

When I posted Rhett’s first picture on Facebook, a highschool classmate (who is also a midwife) posted a note that she hoped it was an empowering experience. It was such an interesting choice of words, most especially because that is not at all how I would have characterized giving birth to Blake Dean. For him, it would have been more like “hazy,” “foggy,” “out of it,” etc. And yet the word empowering was so incredibly accurate for Rhett’s birth, and I know going sans drugs had a lot to do with it. Yes, it was so painful. But in the end, I felt stronger than I’ve ever felt in my life. It was such an amazing journey to feel every piece of Rhett’s entry into this world. I can’t think of anything more fulfilling than fully experiencing the gift of giving life.

Not to mention, I felt like a major bad-ass for not taking the drugs. (That’s not to say the experience didn’t completely kick my ass momentarily – I have never seen myself so tired as in this post-delivery video below.)

I don’t say any of this to judge anyone who says yes to the epidural. I just had to share how fulfilling it was to have the opportunity to go without it. Outside of the emotional connection to the experience, I also discovered that recovery is *so* much easier when your system doesn’t have to clear out all the muck before physically returning to pre-baby form. With Blake, there were parts of my legs that were numb for months after the epidural supposedly wore off. I clung to my prescription Motrin for weeks because of how painful the stitching had been. (Forced to use a vacuum because I was able to contribute so little to the process.) And yet, with Rhett I was comfortable and walking without pain meds the very next day.

I’ve never been incredibly well-versed in natural childbirth (however you define it), but I definitely wish I had read up on it sooner. Kudos to all of the doctors, nurses, midwives, caretakers out there who support a woman’s right to fully experience childbirth. I had no idea what a profound impact it would make on my life.

Baby kiss trifecta

For Mother’s Day

7 May

For Mother’s Day, I decided to put together a short montage of my favorite memories with Blake Dean, set to a song I wrote for him on his first birthday. It’s amazing how many smiles a little monster can bring to one’s life in such a short time  …