Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh, the guilt

This has been a tough week.

I return to work on Monday, and we've been doing trial runs at our day care center all week. I love our day care center. I thought that dropping the Chicklette off there would be easy. It turns out that the way you feel about day care when you're 8 weeks away from going back to work is a little different than the way you feel when you're 7 days away from going back to work.

Here's how it went down:

Monday -- Bring the Chicklette to the center, and sit with her for an hour. Surreptitiously inspect the the other infants, and try to hold back tears the whole time. Finally break down on my way out. Call husband. Cry more. Call mom. Cry to mom. Mom says, "welcome to motherhood." Spend rest of day questioning my worthiness as a mother. What kind of mother leaves her kid with other people ALL DAY LONG?!?

Tuesday -- Bring Chicklette to center, stay 15 minutes. Leave her for 45 minutes. She is smiling when I leave. She is still smiling when I return. Hey, this isn't so bad!

Wednesday -- Husband brings Chicklette to center. Leaves her there for an hour. Sits in Safeway parking lot close to tears the whole time.

Today was better, and I'm guessing tomorrow will be fine as well. Monday? I'm sure I'll be a mess again.

I thought that the fact that my going back to work was not a decision for us -- financially, there's no other option right now -- would make things easier. I wouldn't have to agonize over the choice, right? I treated my maternity leave as a break in the normal routine.

Turns out that there are plenty of other things to agonize over. I'm starting to realize that I can now ALWAYS find something to worry about. I think that worry is the new normal.

As my mom would say, welcome to motherhood.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lactation Frustration, Part 3: So Over It

I am so over it. The breastfeeding.

I am one week out from going back to work, and my supply has ALREADY tanked. I think it has something to do with the 12-week postpartum hormone realignment -- the same phenomenon that is causing my hair to fall out in clumps in the shower. That, and the fact that the Chicklette is sleeping through the night every night (I know, boo hoo) and I've decided that getting up once in the middle of the night to pump is enough, thankyouverymuch.

Every feeding involves an unhappy baby pulling painfully at my nipples. Every pumping is an exercise in frustration -- I'm lucky now if I get 2 ounces per pump, which means it takes me 3 pumpings to get one bottle feeding (she's now eating 5-6 ounces per feed -- probably because by the time she gets the bottle in the afternoon/evening she's hungry after a day on my loser boobs).

Nothing I've done has helped bump my supply. I've taken the herbs, eaten the oatmeal, and drank (drunken?) the gallons of water. I've increased the number of feedings/pumping sessions. And it's not working. I'm tired. And my boobs are hurting almost as much as they did in the beginning.

And I'm going back to work next week. Which everyone assures me will not help matters. I feel like my attempts to increase my supply are futile, since the work I'm doing will probably get undone once I return to my crazy job which will almost certainly involve me missing pumpings.

We've started giving the Chicklette a bottle of formula at night, just to get her used to it. She cried and fussed the first couple of times. It broke my heart. Now she's fine. But it feels like we're on a spiral towards the inevitable.

On the one hand, I feel great. I'm so looking forward to being done with breastfeeding.

On the other hand, I feel AWFUL. Guilty. If I were a good mother, I'd stick with it and do whatever it takes! (This coming from a formula-fed baby, married to another formula-fed baby, surrounded by friends who at least partly formula-fed their perfectly happy/healthy kids.)

And on the third hand (let's pretend I have one), I feel like a total asshat complaining about the feeding issues, since the Chicklette has been, as of late, the most low-key, agreeable, happy baby I can imagine. She sleeps through the night. She doesn't cry unless she's hungry or tired. She travels well. She smiles and laughs and is generally just fun to be around.

But I don't think I can feed her by myself anymore. Which is sad.

And happy.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Adventures in the city

Yesterday, I made a trip into the big city (San Francisco) to show off the Chicklette at my office (and my husband's). All in all, it was pretty fun. The highlight was changing a poopy diaper in my office -- I can't imagine most law firm desks have seen the back of a baby's butt. And I got to check out the lactation room, which seemed nice but honestly I'm having a hard time seeing how this is all going to work out. I guess I'll find out in 2 weeks.

Anyhoo, we made it back home unscathed, and were enjoying an episode of the Gilmore Girls (which I have now watched in its entirety and am now reliving via repeats on ABC Family -- it's sickness, I know) when I got a call from my dentist's office. Apparently a "nice young man" (according to the 90-year-old woman who runs the front desk) had called their office, having found my wallet on the sidewalk in the city. He tracked me down via an appointment card stuck in some back corner of my wallet.

I called the nice young man, and my nice not-so-young husband is going to meet him today --thank you note and bottle of wine in hand -- to retrieve the lost wallet. Which apparently still has all of my credit cards and -- thank God -- my driver's license, because I think a trip to the DMV might put me over the edge.

I guess I'm a bit of a cynic, because I'm always surprised when someone does something nice like this. So, Mr. Nice Young Man, thank you for not taking your entire office out for drinks on my Amex.

Today, I'm going to try and not leave the baby on the sidewalk.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A night in the life

When the alarm went off this morning for my 1:00 pumping session, the Mr. was not in bed with me. I sighed, knowing that this meant he had fallen asleep on the couch with the Chicklette in her swing. And that I'd have to spend about 10 minutes waking him up, which would result in me becoming fully awake (if I'm lucky, I can get up and pump in a state of half-sleep and then be able to get back to sleep easily). I was pretty pissy. I tend to get that way in the middle of the night -- not my best quality.

Sure enough, I trudged out to the family room with my pump horns and there he was. I shook him and flicked him and said "hey, it's 1:00 -- put the baby to bed!" He eventually got up and took the baby. I leaned back, turned on the pump, and watched E! through half-open eyes for 15 minutes or so.

After I finished, I started to make my way back to the bedroom. I heard the sound of running water -- WTF? I walked into the bathroom, and the shower was running. "Hon? Are you in there?" No answer. I pulled the curtain aside and found him sitting on the floor of the tub, water running over him. "I'm just so TIRED. I don't know how I'm going to make it to work," he moaned.

"Um, it's only 1:15," I replied. Silence.

"Your husband is a f-ing IDIOT!"

And then we started laughing. And crawled into bed.

Apparently I'm not the only one having sleep deprivation issues.