Way more than you ever wanted to know about a stranger's (hopeful) journey into motherhood.

So…. this is what I’ve been up to. Let’s play catch-up:

1/3/14
Hello 2014!

I am 3 months into the making baby #2 plan. So far, no baby. At least, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t taken any tests this time around, and our last fertile session was while visiting his mother in GA over the holidays, and you can probably guess how many times we tried to get it on while sleeping in twin beds at his mother’s house (uh… 0 times.) I did make sure we gave it a go on the night before we left though, two days before estimated ovulation. You never know.

I’m not panicking yet. Although it took us 2 ½ months last time, I’m now 3 years older (41) so I know it could be a completely different timeline this time around, if we’re to be so lucky. I’m just concentrating on cleaning up my diet (OK, failing at this so far), preparing my still-overweight body with a little exercise (ugh, I’m so lazy) and trying to stay positive. All three things I suck at.

Sad to say, the hardest part is carving out time for sex. We have the benefit of getting Charlie to bed by 7:00 usually, so that leaves us with an hour and a half after DH gets home to make it happen. I have to plan ahead for it too. Like, if I know it’s ovulation week, and Tuesday and Thursday should be the ideal nights for sex, I have to give advance notice — for myself more than DH. If I plan for it, it’ll likely happen. If I wait for inspiration to strike and naturally make the moves … 9:00 hits and then it’s just time for sleep. I turn into a grandma and only care about crawling under the covers for shut-eye. Pathetic, I know! So, I’ve been tracking it all in my little black book – with penciled in “S” for the nights we need to sneak off to bed early.

Only twice in December. That’s it. I have friends who are trying to get pregnant, and they do it 2x a day! Gah! Just thinking about that makes me tired. Anyway, I should get my period next week. And when it shows up, I’ll know we gotta try a little harder.

Our little girl is 1 1/2 already. It’s so fun to see her vocabulary grow every day — I think she has at least 100 words now. Our pediatrician said they hope for 3 words at this age! I had fun showing him all her tricks — saying “bless you” and “love you,” naming all the body parts, and giving kisses and hugs. Her new thing is saying “I naked!” when she’s partially undressed. What’s even funnier is when she points to the shirtless David Beckham commercial or the lady in the nude-colored, revealing dress at the mall and says the same thing: “I naked!” What a crackup. She’s the best. And that’s why we’re greedy motherfuckers who have to try for another one.

1/10/14

Holy shit. It worked! That last-minute, night-before-we-travel-to-GA-for-Christmas, let’s-just-do-it-now, two-days-early sex worked! I was drinking my second glass of wine last night when it occurred to me that I should’ve gotten my period two days earlier. I decided to test in the morning though, so I would be able to sleep. First morning pee = two lines. I took it out to DH in the living room and showed him. “Does this look like two lines to you?” “Sort of.” “Well, even blurry lines mean we’re pregnant.” Big smiles.

I can’t believe it was that easy. And once again, in less than 3 months time. We rule at procreating! I can’t believe how lucky we are.

2/10/14

I don’t feel pregnant at all yet. No weight gain. No boob pain. One morning with slight nausea, but otherwise, nothing. It makes me nervous. I have my first appointment this afternoon to get an ultrasound and take a look. Fingers crossed.

2/12/14
Heart broken. First ultrasound showed no heartbeat. I was 9 weeks along, and the baby measured 8 weeks, 4 days. So it happened recently. I can’t help but go over the past week, to try to see if it’s something I did wrong. What if it’s when I lean over Charlie’s crib to lay her down? Was it that hike I went on? Was it the day after day of eating nothing but tomato pie? I’ll never know, but it won’t stop the feelings of guilt. I had one job. I couldn’t keep my baby alive. I don’t take care of myself. Maybe I wasn’t fully excited about it… a number of negative guilty thoughts that ran through my head, my fault, my fault, my fault….

The doctor told me that there’s no way to know what happened. I asked, “Is it because of my age?” He said possibly, that my eggs at 41 aren’t the same as younger eggs. That it could’ve had a chromosomal problem, and this was nature’s way of taking care of it. According to the internet, 1 in 4 women will miscarry. For women in their 40s, miscarriage rates are 30 to 50 percent, mainly due to chromosomal defects in the eggs. The good news is, there’s no reason to believe we can’t try again and go on to have a normal pregnancy.

Yesterday, I had a D&C to remove it. It was awful. They didn’t knock me out for it this time, like they did for the one I had after Charlotte was born, when they removed the remaining placenta that didn’t come out. They told me I would be “sedated” and be “in a fog” but conscious. There was nothing foggy about it. I got a little dizzy but was fully aware. I heard it all, and I felt it all, despite pain meds in my IV, three injections in my cervix and a sedative. Thankfully, it only lasted a minute and the horribleness was over. DH was brought in and held my hand while I rested, trying not to cry. The pain was mostly gone in about 30 minutes, when I was able to get dressed and go home. I rested on the couch, stuffed my feelings with fast-food and waited for our nanny to bring home Charlotte. I couldn’t wait to see her. She mends me. And so does my husband. Crushed as well, he’s been a rock by my side, offering positive energy to balance my negative.

Today, I am much better physically. But I’m taking the day off to have my mental breakdown. I didn’t let myself cry much about it yet. I have a hard time letting go when others are around. So today, I sent Charlotte out with our nanny. I’m going to process this, let it sink it, let the tears come and just be sad, alone. Tomorrow will be a new day.

2/13/14

Turns out, yesterday was a beautiful day, and I didn’t feel like crying (surprise.) So I cleaned the house for hours. It was also therapeutic. Then I had a glass of wine in the backyard. Then I started cleaning up the yard, pulling out weeds and throwing away broken yard lights. Then my daughter came home and I played with her while telling her I loved her, over, and over and over.

Today, on the other hand, sucked. I had to go back to work and pretend that I was OK, that it was a normal day, as if nothing horrible happened to me two days ago. A few of my coworkers know, which helped me, oddly. I want to tell everyone. I suck at secrets, and keeping this one private feels like it’s shameful or something, and I hate that. And I get these brief moments of anger/sadness/depression. Like I want to scream – “Who gives a shit about this fucking job!! Don’t you know what just happened to me???!” My husband isn’t ready to tell everyone yet. So I just shared on the derby moms group on Facebook that I’m a part of:

I was getting excited to reach the time when I could share the news that I was expecting #2, but then … no heartbeat. I had surgery to remove it on Tuesday, the day after I learned, at 9 weeks. I only told a handful of friends that I was pregnant. Now I have to be back at work, pretending that everything is normal when it’s not. It sucks. And I kind of want to tell everyone – like announce it on FB – so that I can stop feeling like it’s a shameful secret, and I don’t have to pretend that I’m ok. So I’m starting here, so my husband doesn’t get mad at me (he’s not ready to share with everyone yet.) I lost my baby and I’m sad.

And I exhale. Sharing helps. Other women know what I’m going through. It’ll be OK.

I’m grateful that it happened early. And that it’s a common thing. And it doesn’t mean anything long-term. But still… the guilt. I don’t really like being pregnant. I don’t fully appreciate it. Maybe I didn’t deserve this one. Maybe I had to experience this loss in order to fully know and appreciate what my body is doing. Maybe, because I don’t take care of myself, I couldn’t support a new life. I don’t know…

2/18/14

I bought a car. I decided I needed one, got a loan in 30 minutes, picked the one I wanted in two hours, and spent 2.5 hours at a dealership making it mine, while my husband chased after our bored toddler. You know… lose a baby, get a car. It makes sense. Only now I’m feeling a little sick about it. I didn’t negotiate at all. I don’t even know what my payment is going to be. I’m having a little bit of buyer’s remorse, a little bit of “Oh my God, what have I done?” I think I may have rushed through something that probably should’ve taken much longer. I am not a patient person. But I think my husband may have been right when he warned me that I didn’t need to make a car dealer’s day. Oops.

2/28/14

It’s been over two weeks, and I’m still healing. No idea if spotting this long is normal. I should probably call my doctor or get a follow-up exam. Meh. We’ll see what happens.

So, I took my friend’s advice on waiting before we announced to the world that we had a miscarriage. And now I don’t care to tell anyone. I was on the fence about telling family. I know my family has a way of not making me feel better, so that was out. But I thought maybe telling his family would feel ok. They’re very supportive and would know the right things to say. But in the end, enough time passed that I don’t care to share. The friends that knew I was pregnant know the end result. That’s good enough.

My mother apparently thinks that I should already be in menopause. During our phone call the other day, she asks, “So, have you gone through the change yet?” I was like, huh? I said, “No, I’m only 41.” And she says, “Well, I did at 38. Or was it 36?” And I reminded her that she had a hysterectomy after 5 kids, so she didn’t “go through” any change — it was taken care of surgically. She ends with, “Yeah, that’s true. It was easy for me. I was just wondering.”

In my mother’s head, I think this was her way of asking me if we’re having more children. And this would be why I don’t tell her anything. She cannot ever say the right thing. I’m pretty sure if I told her that we miscarried, she’d blame it on my age and make me feel like shit for trying.

This is normal though, right? My friend shared that her mother made her feel like shit for not spanking her daughter when she pooped her pants (potty training.) Oy. I can’t wait to someday learn what I say to my daughter that makes her feel like shit. As I bitched about my family to my other friend, she said the most profound thing: “It’s weird when we reach the point where our parents stop being our parents and start being fuckups like the rest of us.” So true.

Lost in Mommyland

Uh…. Wow, so, there goes 7 months. I thought I wanted to make this a mommy blog, but as it turns out, Mommy fails at blogging about parenthood – she just blogs about pregnancy. (Duhn, duhn, duhn … a cliff hanger!)

But let’s catch up, shall we? Charlotte is 15 months old. She walks (and is starting to run!), she has a few words: mama, nana, dada, caw (for bird), hi, night-night and baby. She has sounds that we know mean “kitty,” “dog,” “look at that” and “I need help.” She is transitioning to one nap a day, instead of two. She eats everything. She is a delight to whomever encounters her. And she has a personality that is beginning to form: She gets frustrated easily (a Mom trait), loves cats and dogs and giraffes and pigs, is happy more often than not, is a tough cookie who can shake off the owies in no time, leans toward cars and the like more than dolls and the like, and loves to swing and slide and get tossed around by Daddy. And to the delight of us both, she LOVES books. I get a total mom boner when I see her with a book.

I mean, just look at her:

Gorgeous baby on a train

Gorgeous baby on a train

But the time has come upon us, the time I was dreading, the time I tried to ignore was coming but was reminded of every day I took my birth control pill … the time to decide … if we’re going for number two.

I FEEL LIKE I NEED TO ACCENTUATE THAT: WE’RE THINKING OF HAVING A SECOND BABY. EEEEEK!!

We’ve had maybe four conversations about this. The first one was before we got married and DH asked me how many kids I wanted. I said, “One? Maybe?” And he said, “I think two would be nice.” And after a debate, I said, “Well, you better get going, because I need to be married.” And that kickstarted that adventure. The second time was sometime before Charlotte turned 1, and it was me setting a timeline (because I’m the planner after all). We would wait until baby C was 1, then we’d wait three more months to work out our worries, and then by October, we’d make the decision to expand the fam or just be a party of three. And then that decision had to be final, because I was approaching 41, and my eggs were past the recommended “sell by” date. That second conversation was much like the first, I mumbled a couple negatives, and he countered with the positives, and it was over. The third conversation was last Friday night. It was even briefer than the first two, and involved some frustrations with our nanny situation and ended with us both worked up and unable to sleep — right before bed. The following night was the last time it came up. I again vomited out all my negative worries and fears, and DH passionately defended our little family and made a case for how amazing we’re doing and how we’ll be even more amazing with one more child.

I want to believe him, but I’m still on the fence. I’ve made my pro/con list and it’s 6 against and 5 for. Some days it sounds nice, other days it makes me groan. I’m a naturally negative person, so I tend to focus on that side of things a bit. So if I take that into consideration, it’s really a half and half conundrum.

It is October. Time is running out. I’m starting to panic. Do I jump in and make this my job, like last time and make it happen — go off birth control, schedule the sex, track the ovulation and obsess? Or do I just say “fuck it” and go off birth control and see what happens? Or, do I put my foot down and say, “Charlotte is the most amazing creation. All our beautiful went into her. Let’s not jinx it”?

What do you think? Moms of two or more — want to weigh in? Should we or shouldn’t we?

The Underwear Drawer

It was time to clean out my underwear drawer. I’d been struggling to stuff my clean laundry in there for a while. “What the hell is in here?” I thought, digging past the piles of undies that I’ve become accustomed to. And I pulled out a handful of these:

thong

And some of these:

thong2

And a bunch of these:

thong3

Not those exactly, but variations on the theme. I would’ve shown you my actual sexy underthings if I hadn’t immediately had a memorial service for them, cried my eyes out and tossed them into the trash.

RIP sexy undies. You made me proud. You kept me panty-line free. You made me feel young and fun and hot. We had some good times. Remember that time you got pulled off and placed on the Christmas tree at that one party, inspiring others to do the same, until the entire tree was covered in underwear? You were the sexiest pair on that tree:

Ah, undies of 2006, you made me proud.

Ah, undies of 2006, you made me proud.

What happened? How did I go from those… to these?

boyshorts

Except mine are beige. Booooorrrrrinnng. Yes. It’s true. I wear those. Cotton. Lace-free. Mom panties. I won’t say Granny panties just yet, but pretty damn close. They are actually “boy shorts” style, so I like to think a small step up from giant briefs. But there is a lot of material there.

I remember mocking my mom friend when I saw her clean laundry and what she was sportin’ in the bedroom these days — full-coverage briefs. I called her a grandma, and she made a snide comment about my butt floss.

But now I get it. At some point when I was pregnant, I bought some bigger underwear to cover my expanding posterior. And damn, if they weren’t comfortable. And after I gave birth, there was no way I was wearing thongs anytime soon. I mean, you just want your sore parts to feel better. To be covered. To not be crammed with scratchy, lacy, tiny strings. So the big ones became the standard, and the tiny ones got shoved to the back of my drawer.

And now the sexy things are gone and the big girl panties fill my underwear drawer. This is my life now.

But it’s not the end of the line yet. I’ll be sure to update this post when I’ve moved on to the next stage:

BC7783-002

DH, I know you’re cringing, but we both know it’s going to happen. Better make peace with it now.

Getting More Zs

Chalk it up to another surprise in the parenting adventure: I decided to give sleep training a try. Something I was against at first. For those who don’t know, there are various methods to sleep training, but most involve crying — both you and your baby. I had heard from several people, when I was in the throes of the sleep-deprived early months, that “It’s ok to let them cry” or “Sometimes, you just gotta let them cry themselves to sleep.” And as a new mom, I thought, no fucking way. Not only could I not listen to my baby cry (seriously, it pains my heart) but to not respond to it? Why don’t you just stick a needle in my eye?

I remember an episode of “Mad About You” when Paul and Jamie are outside their kid’s door, holding each other in their arms, crying and struggling to not repond to their crying baby. And at the time, it didn’t phase me much. My mom was a believer in the cry it out method. I’m sure I cried it out when I was a kid. I think I filed it away as something parents just have to do at some point. No big deal. But for some reason that image stayed with me, that one of them visibly shaken while not responding to their child’s anguished cries. And whenever someone suggested to me that sleep training works, that letting your baby cry themselves to sleep is normal, I’d have a viseral reaction and picture that image from that show.

And then we hit a wall. Well, let me rephrase. My husband had hinted about the “just let her cry” approach a few times, and I always said “no way” or even “over my dead body.” And then I hit a wall. It suddenly became clear to me that what we were doing wasn’t going to get us any sleep anytime soon.

We had a routine with Little C. All the experts say a routine is important, so the child knows what’s coming and is expected of them. I knew I didn’t want to make it too complicated (I can picture Charlie at 4, demanding to have the routine she’s become accustumed to – bath, book, bottle, rocking, singing, etc. – and we just want her to GO TO BED ALREADY. So nothing too long or involved.) We settled into this: We (either me or DH – we switch off bedtime duty) put her into PJs and a sleep sack, put socks over her hands (so she doesn’t scratch her face), and rock her while feeding her her last bottle. Usually she’d be asleep before finishing the bottle, but if not, then she gets her pacifier, and we rock her to sleep before gently setting her down in her crib, turning on her white noise machine and tip-toeing out the door.

Turns out, you’re not supposed to rock your baby to sleep. But try to picture for the moment the cutest, sweetest little sleepy baby in your arms. And watching them slow blink while looking at you with heavy-lidded adorableness and then sighing their way into peaceful sleep in your arms. Nice, right? Why not do that? It’s awesome.

But then… Charlie started waking up crying multiple times a night. She’d cry and look at me like “Why aren’t you picking me up? Mom, you’re right there! Please help me!” And because I was the one who would hear her in the night most times, I’d be the one getting up and going in there and picking her up, settling back down in the rocking chair and rocking her back to sleep. And I lived with that for some time. And it was survivable. Not ideal, but this is parenthood, right? It comes with sleep deprivation. And rocking your baby back to sleep once a night wasn’t the worst thing.

But then… it started happening more than once a night. The lack of sleep started to get to me, and I’d poke DH awake and mumble, “You’re turn.” He’d wake up confused, and I’d have to explain, “She’s crying. Go help her.” And off he’d go, to do the same rock-back-to-sleep thing. Sometimes we’d pull a bottle out and feed her back to sleep too — another no-no when your baby has reached the age and weight stage where they can night wean. We were probably overfeeding her, but when you’re desperate, you’ll try anything.

And then one night… one awful night, we took turns doing it — about every hour. And at one point, DH fell asleep in the rocking chair while holding her (she’s on a huge nursing pillow in our laps, so she’s safe) and I woke up an hour later and went in to wake him and help him gently set her down. “This is not the solution,” I whispered, and I realized that we had to try something else.

I did a little reading and bought a book online, but before the book was delivered, I just decided to listen to my instincts and try something myself. After her bottle/rock, I put her down sleepy but not asleep. I gave her her pacifier and said, “Time to go night-night,” turned on her white noise and left the room. Of course she cried. I waited about 30 seconds-1 minute and then went back in and gave her the pacifier back, patted her gently and walked back out. And we did this for while, and I’d stand outside her door for maybe 2 minutes tops, or whenever I couldn’t take it anymore, and I’d go in and do it again. She’d roll on her stomach sometimes, so I’d have to roll her back. But the crying didn’t get too crazy. She was tired after all. It was more of a “I don’t like this one bit, Mom” cry more than “OH MY GOD WHY WON’T YOU RESCUE ME?” cry. It was tolerable.

After maybe 15-20 minutes, it was over. She took her pacifier, rolled onto her side and fell asleep. I just about shat myself. Could it really be this easy? Is this just a fluke? She woke up once maybe that night. And the next few nights, it got easier — 10 minutes of fussing, tops. Usually, she wakes up a few times in her first 3 hours after falling asleep, so we go in and give her the pacifier back (I can’t wait for the day she can find it herself!) and then she’s out. And then, right about the time my husband and I are both in bed … she sleeps through the night.

Through.

The.

Night.

You guys. I can’t believe it, but it’s working. Sleep training is working. She’s learning to sooth herself to sleep. She still cries a little, but one night she was in a good mood and just cooed, squeeked and sang herself to sleep. It was beautiful.

I got my sleep book, by the way – The Sleepeasy Solution. I read the two chapters on sleep training a baby right away, and it turns out my intincts are pretty good. They recommend you don’t touch the baby when you go back in, and they recommend waiting 5 min, then 10 min, then 15 mintues before returning, a length of time I’m just not comfortable with. But for the most part, I’m already doing it, and it makes sense. I’m learning as I go here, and it’s not perfect (Charlie has started waking at the crack of dawn), and I know it could all change tomorrow, but for now, it’s working. We’re all getting more sleep. Hooray!

 

Hello 2013!

Holy crap. Time is sure flying! I have mentally written about 674 blog posts since you last heard from me. But the kid, my beautiful, delightful baby, takes up all my time and before I know it, over 2 months have passed! I’m not sure how it happened!

So, a quick catchup (and I write this on the fly. No drafting in Word beforehand, reading over and over and revising, then trying to make it funnier — nope. “Aint nobody got time for dat!”):

Charlotte is 7 1/2 months old! She sits up on her own now. She rolls all over the place and scoots on her belly. She’s not crawling yet, but I can tell she wants to. She has two teeth poking through! She sleeps mostly through the night now, and I’ve stopped waking her up for feedings. She’s finally learned to swallow pureed foods, instead of just pushing them out of her mouth. She is super curious about everything we put in our mouths. She laughs easily, especially when her father kisses her and she feels his beard. She can pick up tiny objects with her fingers (she’s right handed) and loves to take our hands and pull herself to standing. She’ll be walking no time!

She had her first illness just before Christmas – RSV. We had to treat her with a nebulizer. She flew with us to GA and did great on the plane (thankfully, she was not THAT baby) and, even sick, she charmed everyone she met there. She met her 90-year-old great-granny. She had her first visit with Santa, her first portraits taken, and probably a whole slew of other firsts that in my sleep-deprived, just-exercised-and-am-exhausted brain, am forgetting. Did that sentence even make sense? I don’t even care!

The new year started off great since me and DH finally did it! Just before 2013 we got it on, and I’m happy to report that it didn’t hurt and everything came back to me! Hurray! And a huge thank you to my patient, wonderful husband who dealt with about 9 months of no action like a champ. You’re the best, honey!

My new goal is to get off my ass. I just started really instense DVD workouts this week by Zuzka Light. I can only do them just before bed, which is about the least motivated hour of my day, but I gotta do it anyway. It occurred to me that it’ll soon be summer, and I don’t want to wear long sleeves and pants and scarves that sort of disguise my big belly then. My body is a bitch, totally protesting it all. Even my vagina screams “fuck you!” when I’m doing certain exercises. Not sure that’ll ever get better. I’m carrying 26.5 pounds that didn’t exist before baby, and they are going to be history.

Let’s see, what else? I thought I was going to skip the whole pees-when-she-sneezes thing that a lot of moms report. And it’s sort of true. No problem when I sneeze. But then one day, I got some food caught in my throat and had to do some heavy coughing — and with each cough, a squirt. Lovely, right? Totally wet my pants in my kitchen. Thankfully, no one noticed. Sigh…

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned as a mom is to roll with the punches and try to stay flexible. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, it all changes. And I can’t let myself get fixated on the things that don’t work out – I just do the best I can and try to listen to my instincts. For example, here I thought I was going to be an attachment parent — beastfeeding, baby-wearing and co-sleeping — and not one of those has worked out. Who knew? But my baby is happy and we’re doing the best we can and finding what works for us as a family. And that’s all we can do. That’s all any parent can do, right?

This is the most boring post ever, but I just had to bite the bullet and get something out there. I hope to write more, but who knows? I may blink and Charlotte will be 19.

Pandahead!

Pandahead!

Dear Charlotte,

You are too precious for words. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and we will try to keep up.

Love, Mom

We’ve officially given up breastfeeding. It’s been a few weeks and Charlie is thriving just fine. I was, at times, heartbroken (I’m a bad mom and my body is stupid and now she’s going to get sick …) and other times elated (I can have wine and caffeine and cold medicine when I’m sick and no more fucking pumping — hurray!) Nothing is more frustrating when you want to do what is right and natural, and your body refuses to cooperate. I can make and grow a baby; I just can’t feed one. WTF.

Oh well, onward and upward. I did my best, and it didn’t work out. Thankfully, my baby doesn’t seem phased at all. She reaches for the formula like she hasn’t eaten in days and drinks it down like an old boozer. Sometimes she shakes with excitement. She gets ornery when I stop feeding her to burp her. And when she’s satiated, her eyes roll back and her head bobbles like a proper drunk. She’s still not eating the amount­ “they” say she “should” for her weight. (2-2 ½ ounces per pound = 32-48 ounces a day. She takes in around 30.) But she eats until she full, and she’s growing, so there’s nothing to worry about. Or so I keep telling myself.

She is growing up so fast. I just took a glance back at her first photos and marvelled how she looks like a completely different baby. She’s laughing occasionally now, and oh, how that lights us up. She’s rolling over from her back to her front with regularity. The other way (the easier way) hasn’t become a routine yet. She can rotate in circles. She’s almost sitting up on her own. She loves to bounce in her Jumperoo. She’s drawn to elephants and loves tags. She pulls hair and loves to touch faces, exploring and cooing. She’s got abs of steel and can flop herself forward, which I learned the hard way when I propped her up on some pillows while I sat down next to her to take off my shoes. (She took a header toward the floor but I was able to catch her before the face plant, thank God.) She loves to go outside and stroll around, and she loves people. She’s a fucking delight every day — even on the harder ones (like when she doesn’t want to nap) and we know how lucky we are.

It seems like with every challenge, there’s 14 more things we find to smile about. I guess that’s nature at its finest. And I couldn’t believe it when the words formed on my tongue, and I heard myself say them: “I’m not ready for another baby yet, but I look forward to having a birth do-over.” SAY WHA–???! I can’t believe I said that out loud. It really is true – Mommy amnesia makes you forget. Or makes things fuzzy enough that you can compartmentalize the shitty parts and start thinking about doing it all. Over. Again. I know! Crazy, right?

But it won’t happen for some time. We’re too busy enjoying being parents of 1 to fuck it up by being parents of 2. Plus, you have to have sex for that to happen, so we’re in no danger there. (I know, I know! I’ve got to get on that.)

We’re getting ready to travel to Savannah for the holidays. Our first plane trip with Charlotte. Right now, my brain can’t even contemplate everything I need to remember to pack. I just hope she sleeps. Dear God, let her sleep through the red-eye flight and not be THAT BABY because I don’t want to be THOSE PARENTS.

Speaking of sleeping through – she’s sleeping through the night! Well, almost. That is, if it weren’t for me. I get paranoid and go check on her. Having hours and hours of silence is bizarre. And my crazy Mommy brain goes to bad places when I wake up and look at the clock and realize she hasn’t woken me up yet, so I have to get up and go check on her. And then I think, well, it’s been 7 hours. She’s probably hungry. If I don’t feed her now, she might wake up when I’m in the shower and then DH will have to wake up and feed her, and he needs his sleep, and oh, is that her tummy growling? So I pick her up and sleep feed her. She wakes up briefly but crashes as soon as a little food is in her belly. But if I didn’t do that, she might, just maybe, sleep straight on through to 7am, a whole 12 hours after we put her to bed. I know I need to work on this. But a part of me is sad to not get my little baby fix in the middle of the night. I’m sick, I know.

If anyone had told me five months ago that I’d feel this – this overwhelming LOVE for a tiny little human, well, I simply wouldn’t have a reference for that. I’d probably roll my eyes and think “sure, whatever.” There’s just no words to describe it. Being a mother is simply the greatest feeling in the world. I’m closing out 2012 with feelings of gratitude, love and joy. Here’s hoping 2013 brings just as many wonderful surprises.

Dear Charlotte,

Something weird is happening to your mom. I’m not afraid of your fluids. I’ve been peed on, gotten poop under my fingernails, been spit up on, drooled on, picked your nose for you, dug schmutz out of your rolls, scraped out ear wax, belly button scabs, you name it. Gross, right?? Not to me. For the first time ever, I’m not grossed out by someone else’s grody body business. Who knew? Not me. It is my pleasure to make you less gross. You’re very welcome.

Love, your mom

The End is Near

As you probably know, breastfeeding has become a challenge for us. Not enough milk = introduced formula = made less milk + could only pump twice a day once I went back to work = made even less milk.

For a long time, I was pumping 20 millileters of breast milk per session, so before bedtime, I’d give her just over 1 ounce of pumped milk, and then I’d nurse her to sleep. In trying to change my disappointment about the inability to feed my daughter naturally, I called it her vitamin shot. I mean, it’s not much, but that little bit of milk had to be good for her, right?

Well, now Charlie has started refusing to breastfeed. She cries as soon as I lay her down and pushes me away. If I try to stick a boob in her mouth, she freaks out like I’m trying to torture her. But if I immediately give her a bottle, she’ll suck it down like it’s the nectar of Gods. She clearly has a preference. Now the only time she’ll take the breast without protest is in the middle of the night. And only for about 5 minutes before she falls asleep. Then I feed her a few ounces of formula before she passes back out.

So, now I’m down to pumping 10 millileters a session. Ten. Measely. Millileters. One third of an ounce. Two precious teaspoons. Here’s a unit of measurement most of you will understand: A shot glass holds 1 ½ ounces, or 45 millileters. For me to fill a shot glass with breast milk, it would take 4 ½ sessions of pumping – or 2 ½ days, in my case. Ten millileters is hardly worth the effort of washing the pump supplies.

But I can’t stop. She gets less than half a shot of breastmilk from me each day. I mean, a normal person would just chalk it up as finished and stop torturing themselves. But I still keep going. That one 5-minute nursing session in the night is my last stronghold. I adore it. And I know it’ll soon end. Last night, she hesitated. Like, ‘What the fuck is this, Mom?’ before giving in and nursing. I silently cried. My sweet little girl is growing up and asserting herself. My pathetic body is refusing to produce milk. It’s just a matter of time. I know I need to give up, but I guess I just want to hear from someone that it’s OK to quit.

Tell me it’s OK. That it’ll be OK when it’s over. That my baby won’t get sick right away. That formula will continue to make her grow and keep her healthy. That she won’t think of me differently now that I feed her the same way the nanny does. (My secret fear is that she’s going to call the nanny “mama” before me. And it could happen. The nanny gets more time with her on weekdays than I do.)

Breastfeeding, even the small amount I could do, made me feel special. It was something only I could do with my daughter. It was amazing and lovely and made me feel incredibly close and bonded with her. And now, I feel like I’m losing my superpower.

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