Not an Ending; A New Beginning

We’ve officially given up breastfeeding. It’s been a few weeks and C 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 C. 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 C,

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

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