Birth Story: Part 2

Breastfeeding Is Hard

I labored for 15 hours before my handsome squish made his debut. Once he popped out, my doctor wiped him off a bit and then handed him over to me for some skin to skin cuddles. We were both tired and we both wanted to lay there staring at each other, taking in all this cool newness.

Ok, so since I’m a really good boy mom, I had already decided to breastfeed. I had also decided that if breastfeeding stressed me out too much, it would be much better to give my bubba formula. To me, happy mama & formula fed baby is better than miserable mama & breastfed baby. Self care, y’all.  Enter Damn Deborah, Lactation Consultant extraordinaire.

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So here I am, all blissed out and staring at my gorgeous baby boy, and Damn Deborah, whose hands smell faintly of nicotine despite the sterile plastic gloves she wears, starts to undo my hospital gown. She tells me of the blah blah importance of getting baby to latch right away and the blah blah statistics of breastfeeding success, as if I hadn’t read the Internet during those nine months of fetus cook time, and I so don’t care right now, and she pulls out my boob and tries to show me the c hold and tries to guide my nip into my baby’s mouth while I lie there all annoyed at the manhandling. K, Deborah kind of sucks at her job because I didn’t learn anything, and instead of feeling supported I felt pressured and rushed and interrupted and, because I’m me, rebellious and defiant. Step off, Deborah.

After about two hours of skin to skin, two hours of Damn Deborah flapping her yap, two hours of nodding but not listening and staring dreamily at my sweet baby and kissing my sweet husband, it was time to go to recovery. Damn Deborah sighed rather loudly and exclaimed that she’d come by our room again later to try again. But the baby had had his first poop while lying on my chest and my right leg was still totes numb from the epidural and I was being instructed to try to pee, so I didn’t really care if Deborah was exasperated.

We got to recovery and had another, slightly older, slightly plainer, slightly more jaded but still angelic Nurse Angel checking vitals and stuff. She asked me if I could pee again, and my response was like a racehorse m’dear, and she chuckled as she helped me to the pot. She explained the period-like bleeding I was having (called lochia) and instructed me in vag care, and I told her it all smelled so “earthy,” and we laughed like old pals, and then Nurse Angel’s face dropped because there was Damn Deborah to ruin everyone’s day, and I liked Nurse Angel even more in that moment of simultaneously hating a common enemy.

Baby had to latch, said Deborah, right now, or he wouldn’t ever get rid of jaundice, and he would die. Thanks for the first time mom panic, Deb. Probably a tactic that works well on most moms Deborah encounters, but this really good boy mom cried and exclaimed “well we should definitely give him formula then!” Deborah back pedaled but good at that, insisting there was still plenty of time before jaundice became dangerous, and breast is best. We tried more c holds and nip guiding, but my boobs were huge and my babe was tiny, and apparently I have flat nipples, and nothing good was happening. I swear Nurse Angel snickered at Damn Deborah as she slipped out the door.

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That night I cried along with my sweet baby because I didn’t know how to make breastfeeding easier for him. I football held, I cross bodied, I dangled as he laid in my lap, I let Husband try to position baby from his outer vantage point, but nothing worked. I tried Damn Deborah’s patented c hold. I pinched and pulled my nipple into the correct, erect position and then touched it to baby’s lips, as a good mama should, and I cried as he tried to suckle and got frustrated and sleepy. I hand expressed some colostrum to give the kid a taste, and he smacked his adorable little lips and fell asleep. I sat and stared at my beautiful boy as he and the rest of the world slept soundly, and I massaged my aching breasts and rubbed salve onto my sore nipples.

Cutting to the chase, turns out Deborah was participating in some sort of study about breastfeeding and trying to get as many successful cases as possible, and apparently I was told this and asked to sign forms during my blissed out post-delivery period, but Deborah barked orders and had no regard for mama-baby lovefests, and she used urgency and scare tactics on a really good boy mom and failed. Baby boy ate some formula and pooped out the jaundice, and mama got home and plugged in to her breast pump, and colostrum soon turned to mature milk and both were successfully squeezed from boobies. And now the babe eats tons of breast milk, but the kid eats it from a bottle, and everyone is alive.

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Birth Story: Part 1

The Scary Induction

So when you get pregnant and have the Internet or access to books, there’s an immediate and humongous influx of information about all the ways you and your baby could die, and all the ways you could be doing a better job of being a human now that you are growing said baby. Giving birth is no exception, and since medical intervention is obviously the devil, you should not, under any circumstances, have any sort of pain relieving drugs, because of nature, and everything is supposed to happen at its own pace because our bodies were made for this, and medicine is poison.

When you’re a really good boy mom like me, you (I) pick a chill ass OBGYN because his is the first office you visited and you dug his vibe, which was super laid back (shout out to Dr. Askari!). You then get to your 37th week of pregnancy and that chill doctor suggests scheduling an induction because your baby is measuring big. You say you’re not sure and you’ll have to think about it, and then you go home to google and eat ice cream and cry because your big baby will kill you and die during childbirth, but inductions are horrible and definitely more painful and always result in epidurals and c-sections, which doctors like because they obvi hate nature and women, all according to the Internet. Also, if you don’t induce and you go past 40 weeks, your amniotic fluid levels will dip too low and the baby will poop inside you and inhale it and everyone will go to intensive care and/or die, so says the Internet.

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But crying gets you nowhere closer to a decision, and you don’t want to be judged for even considering an induction so you ask no mama friends for opinions, and you go to your 38 week appointment and schedule an induction for your due date because doctors know more than laypeople like you. Then you spend the next two weeks bouncing on your birthing ball, eating chips and salsa, and having copious romps in the sack (you’re welcome, husband) trying to entice the huge little guy to come out into the world on his own because the Internet says it would be better. You get to your 40 week appointment, your chill doc tells you the baby isn’t measuring big anymore but you can still induce because going much further than 40 weeks can be dangerous; you go home and agonize over cancelling your induction because the Internet and its scare tactics say it’s doomsville either way; you go on a long walk with your hubs and cry about the pros and cons and ask him to get you nachos; you eat some bomb ass nachos and meditate (your one crunchy attribute); you steel yourself, and you go to the hospital at 9pm.

At the hospital you try to ignore the intake nurse’s badly concealed concern over your clearly-been-crying puffy eyes, you ask the labor nurse if the induction process can be stopped once it has begun, and you laugh nervously and nod when she looks at you poignantly and confirms that “you would like to be induced tonight, correct?”

K, maybe I had a killer labor team, but my induction was rad as eff, y’all. Twice, the labor nurse placed a pill next to my cervix that softened it and allowed for dilation; I began having my-stomach-is-clenching-itself contractions shortly after the first pill was introduced and oh-my-gawd-this-is-stupid contractions after the second. I asked for the IV pain relief medication on offer to be administered with the third and final cervix pill to be placed. Dr. Askari came in and checked my ish and said whoa, no 3rd cervix pill or IV meds needed, get this really good boy mama an epidural if she’d like, because it’s about to be go time. I said thankyouverymuchsir, I will take that epidural, and I tried not to scream at the epidural paperwork dude who was legally required to tell me about the risks and stuff before administering that sweet sweet relief.

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Shift change happened and the kindest, most beautiful nurse angel came to help me labor. Looking at her was calming because she was so pretty, and she was young and not yet jaded, and her words were gentle and her voice was soft. She was my 5th favorite part of labor behind my baby, my epidural, my husband, and my cervix pill, in that order. When it came time, Nurse Angel braced my right leg and instructed Husband to brace my left, and she counted as I contracted and pushed baby into position. Took like 5 pushes, folks. Then she brought Dr. Askari and the rest of the catching team into the room, and in 3 more pushes and zero pain, my squishy little boy was handed to me, and I was in love.

And you know what? My scary induction was only scary because of the stupid Internet. Screw you, Internet!

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Boy Mom

When I was 15 weeks pregnant I had lunch with a dear friend and fellow actress, who was thrilled to learn of my happy news. Even better, she said, that I was having a bouncing baby boy, because, in her opinion, I would be “a really good boy mom.” Hmm, I thought. Thanks, I said aloud. What is a boy mom, I wondered? And what makes a “really good” one?

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Could it be that she meant I will be fun for the boy, because I’m so loud and silly, and, because I’m artistic, the boy will be sure to enjoy much make believe and self-expression in our home, and my emotional maturity would definitely rub off on the kid?

Let me just pat myself on the back real quick…oh.

It’s because I’m disgusting.

Oh, that’s totally what she meant. I am such a girl because I love bright pink and Beyoncé, but I’m messy, I’m dirty, I’m frizzy, and I don’t really care; I go to the grocery store in running shoes and a greasy bun, and I buy Funyuns and a Coke to snack on while I shop for beef jerky and chips n dip. One time, I fished a spoon out of the dirty dish pile soaking in the sink and used it for my yogurt. If I’ve spilled my Skittles, I’ll eat them off the carpet/grass/sidewalk/asphalt/garbage pail because dirt don’t hurt. I’m gross, I guess.

Whatever, Skittles rock, and so what if they fall on the ground? But that irreverence of mine is so completely what she meant.

 

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So, a boy mom is a mom (i.e. Rockstar) who mothers a boy. Simple enough (haha, not). I fall into that category for sure. But, a really good boy mom like me has no discretion nor inclination to impress and so disturbs the normal, decent human beings in her vicinity with farts and candor. A really good boy mom like me will, say, grow a baby boy in her body and one day during that blissful pregnant period, after not showering for a week, exclaim to her (my) significant other that her (my) pits are starting to smell less like her (my) regular hearty musk and more like some dude’s dirty spunk. And then that really good boy mom will make that wonderful significant other smell those awesome pits.

So.

I don’t think my dear, sweet friend would qualify what she meant in so many words. She’d probably say she meant laid back, not overly girly, kinda don’t care about hygiene so much, etc, but those are kind ways to say “you’re disgusting.” And she was totally right. So alright, life is messy; as am I. I hear motherhood is messy, too. And boys love to be disgusting. A really good boy mom like me is good at disgusting in oh so many ways. (And destruction, and irreverence, and self-deprecating humor, etc. etc.). Maybe, then, I am as exactly cut out for this boy mom gig as anyone can get. Thus begins my journey into motherhood and this blog as well. Follow along if you’d like.

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