It is late Sunday afternoon...all is quiet here at my house...my husband is at work, my dog is resting peacefully and M is in the fourth hour of her nap. I am sitting at my computer, putzing on the internet, looking at my bookmarked sites that I browse daily - and I have 2 weeks left till my due date. I came to the conclusion yesterday that I am actually really excited to meet my new baby girl. I am ready for my life to be even crazier, to be running around after two children, to be sleep deprived and all that comes with having a newborn. The house is ready for her (she has about 4 places to sleep set up around in various rooms), her newborn sized diapers are out and waiting, I have my hospital bag packed and I am ready to do this. Roll tide!
But just now a different feeling of anxiety has overcome me. As I sit here reading all my mommy websites and blogs I am overwhelmed as it is the end of National Breastfeeding Week and everything I am reading has to do with breastfeeding babies. If you have been reading the blog since M was born you will know that I had a great struggle breastfeeding her as she was a month early, she was smaller than my boobs when she was born and unable to latch and suckle, and I ended up pumping and bottle feeding for almost 5 months of her life. Yes I sought out support from 2 lactation consultants and tried all the nipple shields and other tricks that were recommended, but it never happened for us.
When I think back to my pregnancy with her, I don't remember much of anything. When I think back to the birth I remember dribs and drabs of the 18 hour experience of getting her out of me (3 epidurals that never really took are unable to be forgotten!). But it feels like it was just yesterday that I was in our interim room after giving birth (there wasn't a room ready on the actual maternity floor so we were put in a holding room) and they wheeled M in to me for the first time (as she went to the NICU for an hour or so to be checked out because she was so small). My delivery nurse had become my BFF in the long hours we spent together, but this new nurse was the polar opposite - all business and no love. She took M out of the bassinet and gave her to me and said "she needs to be fed." I wanted to throw up.
I had taken a breastfeeding class, read a few books, watched instructional videos, but nothing really prepares you for that moment when you are first handed your child, and all eyes are on you with your giant naked boob just laying there and your new child screaming in hunger in your arms. I remember the nurse saying something like "just shove your breast in her mouth..." and me being like "what? don't I have to do this? How should I hold her?" and just wanting to die of embarrassment.
Is this how every other new mom felt? Did this come totally naturally for every other person delivering at that time? What the hell was I doing wrong? I thought I was supposed to enjoy this?
After a few minutes with no success we ended up giving M formula. I tried and tried to breastfeed her while at the hospital, with the help of a lactation consultant there as well, with no success - and even less hope for when I got home. It all ended up working out fine, and I was happy pumping so that my husband could share the feeding burden with me, and M is now healthy and very happy.
But as I sit her so close to meeting my new baby girl I have agida over attempting to breastfeeding her when she comes into the world! She has already made it 2 weeks past how far M was inside me, so she will be more developed which is great, and I know I could be fretting all for naught, but seriously I can't stop thinking about that moment when they hand her to me to try to feed her in the hospital. Will I be successful this time? Will she be a natural and latch right away? Will I want to throw up like I did last time? Will that same mean nurse be with me during my first try?
I have spent the last hour looking at all these photos of women breastfeeding their babies like it is as easy as breathing, and reading all these stories about how these women were born to breastfeed, and it isn't helping my anxiety at all. There is so much pressure to breastfeed your baby nowadays, all for the right reasons of course, but I am feeling that pressure from all sides right now.
All my friends and family ask me if I plan to breastfeed this new baby, and of course I say yes, but if it doesn't work out, won't they think of me as a failure? Even today when I went shopping for nursing bras and tanks the woman at the store was talking non-stop about the wonders and joys of breastfeeding. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it didn't work out with M, so I just told her that I did breastfeed M so I didn't have to go into the whole story.
When I do tell people the story of how I was unsuccessful with M I always get the comments about how I should have sought out more support and help - or have done anything to make it work. There is so much pressure on new moms to make breastfeeding work...sometimes that pressure makes it all that much harder for it to click in the first place.
I wish I was one of those mothers who was a natural breastfeeder, and who knows, with this next child I might be. For now I just need to go take some Zantac and a few Tums to settle this nauseous feeling I have in my stomach...stay tuned for the boob report once the baby is here! I am sure I will have a lot to say.