Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Day of Daycare

During the past few weeks, I joked around with my friends that I looked forward to the day Max started daycare because of his consistant fussiness and my lack of ability to set a routine for him.  Even realistically, I thought starting daycare would be no big deal. 

Today was the true test and I became one of "those mom's".  Max and I went to the school at 8am and were welcomed by the friendly teachers.  Ms. Angie was by herself with three tots and boy, after watching her for 5 minutes I already respected this lady.  She had the calm and peace upon all the children, who were self-sufficient and ready to start the day.  Fiona was sitting in her high chair, just contemplating life and eating her star puffs.  Galvin was on the floor, doing tummy time and exploring the world from top down.  Trey just sat in the middle of the floor, like a little Buddha. 

Max had his cubby, crib and baskets all named and ready for him.  I took out the bottles (that had his name on waterproof labels I ordered the other week) and placed them in the fridge.  I proceeded to take out his swaddle blanket and sniffed it to make sure that the familiar scent was there for his comfort when he needed it.  It was 8:30 and I asked Ms. Angie if I could feed him before I left.  She welcomed the help.  After feeding him, I kissed him, hugged him good bye and quickly walked out of the room.  (Totally acting like I was leaving him for good when really, I was coming back in an hour.)

I got in the car and called my husband.  No answer.  I called my sister.  No answer.  I called my mom.  Mom's never fail you.  I just wanted to tell SOMEONE that I accomplished a milestone of motherhood, that I left my only child in the hands of strangers.  My mom empathized and I could hear the pain in her voice, too.  Once I heard that, the flood gates opened and I just broke down.  My heart hurt immensely because I wasn't taking care of him.  I hurt because he must be overwhelmed with the new surroundings and I couldn't be there for him.  I couldn't remember the last time my heart hurt this much. 

Diligently, an hour later, I went back to the school and here's what I found:
Hard to find, huh?  Here's him close up on the bouncer:

Completely CONTENT. 
I went back an hour later and found him with Ms. Lisa, getting fed, burped and LOVED.

Thank GOD for the wonderful teachers and this great daycare that we found.  I took my baby home that day and after giving him a quick wipe down and a fresh change of clothing, I held him tight, whispered that I loved him and was proud of the little man he already became today.  Right when I finished my thoughts to him and said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for the day, I looked down and found the face of a baby who had a long day. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Feeling like a cow (literally)

So what I can't stand the most are mothers who willingly share their obnoxious opinions on what's right and wrong.  What's equally annoying are those stuck in their ways.  I learned very early on in motherhood that I can't afford to be stuck in one way.  And that rude awakening came when I tried to breastfeed.

There are no pictures of me breastfeeding Max for a good reason - none of the nursing moments were memorable enough for the camera.  When I was pregnant, I already had reservations about breastfeeding.  I didn't understand the pleasure of having a baby sucking on my nipples.  The thought of it already hurt.  Then the motherly guilt kicked in.  (This guilt, I will soon realize, visits me quite often!)  So as soon as Max was placed in my arms, I whipped out the boob and put him to it.  It was a pathetic attempt.  The incredible nurses in the hospital were so encouraging and said that I should seek some advise from their lactation nurse, Bridget.  Ah, Bridget.  I thought she would be the answer to my prayers. 

The next day Bridget knocked on my door.
Just kidding.

But she seriously freaked me out.  She dug into my gown and just grabbed my boob.  She proceeded to tell me to do this, don't do that, how would you like it if someone did that to you, wouldn't you like it if someone did this?  I was like, "Are you serious?"  And I broke the first cardinal rule with a lactation nurse.  "Can I have some formula to supplement him?"  

Lots of credit to Max, though.  He tried and ultimately made it past the colostrum.  But I had questions. 

"Bridget, how do I know if he's getting enough milk?"  "DON'T WORRY" 
"But Bridget, how long do I let him latch?"  "DON'T WORRY"
"HE'S TEARING OFF MY NIPPLE!!!!"  "don't worry"

So I went home feeling defeated but still ready to conquer this beautiful bonding experience with my baby.  Max must have won the prize for Terrible Latcher because it was an incredibly frustrating process to get him to latch.  He would shake his head violently like he was really pissed off.  And what does the baby naturally bite down on when he's pissed?  You got it.

I also felt like all I did was have Max on a boob.  He would latch on a breast for 20 minutes, I'd try to burp him for 10 minutes, he would go to the next boob for another 15 minutes, burp and then I'd put him down.  Thirty minutes later, he would cry saying it was time to go at it again.  And around and round we go....

Then we would fight.  He would scream while my milk was spewing all over his face, his neck, my shirt, our bed, my pillow...

By the fourth week, I had it.  I decided that I was going to exclusively pump or as the world of acronyms in motherhood likes to call "epping".  I started pumping every other hour, every other breast.  What a process. 

That's how I felt.  If this picture created any sound, it probably sounded like my pumping sessions, too.  One day, I started to feel sharp, needle like pain in my breasts and they were so hot, the ice cubes would literally melt.  It was a Friday 5PM - doctor went home to enjoy the weekend.  Todd recalled that the nurses at the hospital encouraged a phone call if I was stuck in motherhood.  So I called the maternity ward and asked if I could ask someone about some breastfeeding struggles I had. 

"Oh, you should call Bridget.  She's WONDERFUL.  Let me give you her cell number." 

I put myself in a trap.  I was so desperate, I called her.  It was a sad confession.  I finally gave in and told her that I have been pumping and supplementing with formula on the side. 

I was in big trouble. 

See, here's the problem in today's world of lactation.  I'm so tired of "MY WAY or the HIGHWAY"

Bridget, I was a struggling FTM who had fundamental questions you belittled.  Sadly, your approach has made breastfeeding such an unpleasant experience for me.  On the fifth week, I sat in bed in the middle of the night and started sobbing.  I told Todd I couldn't do it anymore.  He understood.  That morning, I fed Max my last two ounces of breastmilk and silently apologized for not being the incredible mother who could beautifully breastfeed in public.  I also prayed to God that my lack of patience and inexperience wouldn't hinder his growth or prevent his path to Harvard. 

This is Max at 7 weeks and 12lbs heavy.  This double chinned stud is saying, "It's alright, Ma.  We're all good."