Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm still here and a middle finger to pumping

Hello!  I am still alive and well, despite all signs pointing to the opposite around this place!  I have a good excuse, though.  My little girl, C, was born on Feb. 16!  She is adorable and gorgeous and is quite the peanut.  My labor and delivery was a dream experience, and I just generally love the guts out of my new baby.  

However, that is not what I'm here to talk about today.  I'm here to talk about pumping.  Not pumping iron (which I really should be thinking about doing because my body is a sad state of affairs), but pumping boobies.  AKA that soul-sucking thing I do for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.

Yes, I have found myself in the unfortunate position of having to pump exclusively if I want C to receive breast milk.  I had to do it with L as well. There are many reasons for this, but I'll spare you the awkwardness of having to read about them.  Let's just say that I tried nursing and failed.

With L, there was no question that I'd pump when it became apparent that I would not be able to nurse him.  I was 100% committed to giving him breast milk exclusively, so I got myself on a schedule and I pumped.  I only veered slightly from the plan when he was about one month old and suddenly developed a voracious appetite.  My supply couldn't keep up, so we started supplementing formula bottles for night feeds.  I also secretly hoped that the legend of formula-fed babies sleeping better was true.  (For us, that legend was a ginormous fail, by the way.  Even with his formula bottles, he was still waking at night a depressingly large number of times.)

With C, I really wanted to give nursing the old college try.  I figured that I'd gained experience from my first rodeo, as well as a sense of perspective that you can only gain from actually having a child.  So I mentally geared up to give nursing my all.  Still, I sterilized my pump parts just in case.

Well, C was born and it was amazing.  My labor was a mere 7 hours from start to finish (half as long as with L) and she was born in 2 pushes.  I thought we were off to an awesome start, as she was already "easier" than L.  But then we tried to latch her on for nursing, and it was excruciating and unbearable.  I tried to power through the entire time I was in the hospital, but after working with 2 nurses and 2 lactation consultants, I finally decided - with the blessing of the last lactation consultant - that it would be best to pump again.  And anyone who has ever met a lactation consultant knows that this is huge, since those ladies do not give up easily.

So home I went, slightly disappointed at being a nursing failure a second time around, but at least satisfied that I knew the drill and knew what to expect.

Oh how wrong I was.

You know how almost all women tell you that you forget the pain of childbirth almost as soon as it happens?  I would say that it goes double for any form of milk being transferred from your boobs.  Anything that requires your milk to "come in" and then regulate to a schedule.  Not fun.  And boy did I forget how not fun it is.

Well, I didn't exactly forget, but I certainly forgot how long the whole "not fun" transition period lasts.  In my mind, it was three days (four, tops) of uncomfortable engorgement and occasional leakage.  Which I would laugh about now if my boobs weren't as hard as rocks and juicing through triple layers of breast pads.  Yes, here we are 2.5 weeks later and my supply is still regulating.

I'll admit, I'm playing a dangerous game by going cold-turkey on night pumps.  I have not pumped at night once, and I guess it's probably confusing my boobs a bit.  This is an example of some of my "second rodeo" experience coming into play.  Because I'm so smart and experienced, I know that I can still maintain a reasonable supply without pumping at night.  And I also know that the last thing I want to do after feeding my baby for the third time in the middle of the night (by laying down and propping her bottle under my chin so I can "rest my eyes" while she's eating) is pump for 20 minutes.  So, I decided that I'd just send my body the message that we don't need milk at night right from the get-go.

Sadly, my boobs are either not receiving the message or they want to mirror the tantrums that L is throwing lately by trying to show me who is really boss here.  Let me just say, I can't imagine a more pleasant way to wake up than to be absolutely drenched in milk (and as a by-product, my sheets and comforter are also soaked), with rock-solid boobs that hurt far worse than any labor-incurred injuries.

I finally seem to be outwitting my boobs in the night-pump showdown, but it's been a long process.

Also keeping me busy and happy are the every-3-hour pumping sessions I'm doing.  With L, I didn't mind pumping because he was a newborn who slept all the time and it basically just meant that I would hook myself up to the pump every so often while I was looking around online or watching tv.  This time, it's much harder.  L is now an active toddler, and we also live with my parents.  I can't just whip my boobs out and pump wherever I am, and if I want to leave the room to pump, I have to make sure someone is around to hang out with L.  And then I leave and pump for 20 minutes and feel guilty about it because I'm upstairs in my bedroom having "down time" while someone else is entertaining my kid.  Because we all know that there's nothing more relaxing than sitting in an awkward position with a loud, plastic mechanism attached to your painful boobs 6 times a day.

Then there is the wonderful scent that comes along with pumping.  I'm not sure if it also comes along with nursing because I've never been able to successfully nurse, but if not, you nursing mothers are really missing out!  I know everyone wishes they could walk around smelling like sweaty breast milk.  It's truly delightful.  So much so that I've seriously considered putting deodorant on my boobs.  But then I got worried about adding something else to the mix, and decided against it.  It's especially bad since I don't get to shower every day at this point.

D is always talking about how "something" smells funny, and since I am usually carrying the baby around, I just blame it on her even though I know it's me.  Babies are supposed to smell bad, so I figure it's ok.  But then he'll sniff her and he'll be like, "No, it's not her..." and then I'll play dumb and be like, "Well maybe it's you."  I don't know if he's figured it out yet or not, but if he has he hasn't said anything to me.  Either way, I'm golden.  Either he truly hasn't figured out what that smell is, or he has figured it out but wants to dance along to my ruse of a jig and let me keep a shred of dignity.

But seriously, even though I would quit pumping in 2 shakes of a lambs tail if D would let me, it's been amazing having C here.  She is beautiful and perfect and so far a really awesome baby.  I'm sure she'll add a good amount of spice to our lives and to this blog!

(Oh and also?  Anyone who acts like you get peed on more with boys than with girls is lying.  L has only peed on me once in his entire life, and C peed on me 3 times within her first 24 hours of life.  Myth: Busted.)    

1 comment:

Stevie Nicole said...

C and I have the same birthday!