Thursday, May 31, 2007

Old pro

KNOCK ON WOOD as my blogs have been cursed hexed and jinxed, but I have never had Mastitis. Mastitis is a hideous breats infection that ALL of my nursing friends have had: It comes on horribly and suddenly, and within hours you are immobilized with intense pain, chills, fever, flu like body aches and can barely move. "They say" it can be caused by doing too much, running around too much, not treating yourself like a nursing mother...but then everyone would probably have it.

Today I feel like crap, and have breast pain. But just a little. I haven't had anything but smooth sailing for so long in the nursing department that I have gotten really, really lax with the whole thing. I would feel bad but why? My children are thriving, all seems well...but this little twinge of pain served as a reminder to me. I am a nursing mother. No matter how old the babies are, no matter who might think something of it, this is who I am, and I didn't even think before I popped vicodins, alieves, motrins, tylenols, coffee, beer, wine.......and the worst of all, antibiotics. I could have a little case of thrush kicking up, although more often it is from the baby being on antibiotics that does it (they get thrush (yeast) in their mouths, give it to you on your breast, and you are in for a painful battle that can last months--last time I had this was christmas 2000/knocking on the wood again)

Charlie just started sleeping through the night last week. This can be a BIG deal for a nursing mom...your milk needs to readjust, it can oftentimes signal the return of predictable fertility again...but I felt no different. I am happy to get the sleep, don't get me wrong, its just that the whole thing was so smooth and casual, it is kind of amazing.

I am not sure what my point is. I know I am beyond a veteran breastfeeder by now, and I guess I am just amused and intrigued at how things go with a fourth baby than a first baby. Also, with an "older" baby rather than like a five month old or something. the whole journey has made me more mellow, more patient, and I cannot fathom motherhood without the nursing. Do I need to write some sensitivity clause about how plenty of people are mothers who never nursed? Nah. This is about me, and my experiences along this journey of almost TEN years. June 9th my baby girl will be ten. I add nine months to that to say how long I have been mothering and it is almost 11 years. Fall of '96 I got pregnant with Greta. Sheesh. Im an old pro with the body to show it. Lately, I feel that I have gotten some of the wisdom, too. Im gonna take a hot bath once the kids are in bed, tonight, and then I am going to take some acidophilus with about a gallon of lemon water. Old pro doesn't have room for mastitis today.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

the panic was gone.

I didn't really know if this belonged on one of my other blogs, but since I have been slacking on writing on this one, I can put it here:

I noticed something very distinct today, as me and the children spent the afternoon at a local community center's open play-room, a place we have spent many , many rainy afternoons over the oast few years together, a place which bowls me over with "remember when? Remember when?" milestones: Casey crawling here, Mickey potty training here and using the potty himself, Greta reading to me, being pregnant, Casey putting the little toys in his mouth, etc....but so here is what I was struck with today : The panic is gone. Now, if you are pregnant or currently have a little baby with you, you will know exactly what I mean...but if you are not, you forget...

The panic is this: When I was pregnant at this place, there were so many things that could go bad so quickly: of course, there was the omnipresent having to go pee. There was blood-sugar crashes, leg cramps, sweating attacks, feeling that I was going to throw up, feeling that I was going to suffocate, intense suffering due to the wierd smells of any and everything: other people's detergents, other people's kids' lunches, diaper smells, perfumes, lack of cross breeze even in winter.....the kids wanting me to sit on the floor and how badly that hurt my bones, fears of my back "locking up", dreading the long (200 feet?) walk out to the car, wondering if I will go into labor (we visited this place when I was 8 days overdue with Charlie)

Then the panic of being there with a little baby: Nurse the baby. He stopped crying. The others want you. Help mommy help. Im stuck mommy. Get my ball mommy. Come see my drawing, come see my castle, come see my display (MOMMYS TRYING TO KEEP HER BOOBIE SOMEWHAT WITHIN THE SHIRT HONEY QUIT FRICKIN TALKING TO ME FOR A SEC) then the baby has poo. Where to change him. On the floor? Will people be offended? Off in the bathroom? who will watch the 2 year old? Greta kind of can but then will that look like I am some wierd bad mom? Bring 2 year old into the bathroom with me and the screaming baby, trying to wrastle the baby wipes and diaper and smearing poo while he is touching the toilet and chitter chattering to me and blasting the water and pressing the SOAP-SOAP-SOAPY all up his stopped crying. Maybe i'll lay him in the infant carseat for one sec so I can finally eat my lunch (my blood sugar swings lasted well into the early months of nursing) WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH baby is screaming again, time to nurse again...

The panic. The blood pressure. The mommy-jitters. In public!

The Golden years of being pregnant or providing infant care without other little kids to care for were obviously a one time thing. In 1996-1997 with Greta. I rested when I was tired, I ate when I was hungry, I puked in my own bathroom, and my legs were elevated. When she was a newborn, her and I sat in the nursey chair forever and a day, slept together all night, sometimes stayed in bed till noon, with me guzzling fluids and all was pretty chill.


Even though baby Charlie is only 18 months old, today, I had 4 kids. Charlie played and sat in a chair. They all ate their grapes and cheez-its and drank juice boxes. I was an able bodied person more than capable of sitting on the floor, jumping up to lookit-lookit-lookit, I built a "zoo" out of blocks, we did plastic-food banquet, and cleaning up the whole room did not cause any heart attack or contraction if any kind!

I traveled today with my 4 children to a place where I have traveled many times before. But this time we were without health or hygiene crises of any sort and it was really, really neat.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

head to toe rambling

Its strange, really, how I seem to not have very much to say in regards to birthing and breastfeeding and women's reproductive safety, etc lately...but that is because I am in a nice rhythm right now. I am not pregnant nor do I plan on becoming pregnant. I am breastfeeding without issue, and finally can say that I am seeing a bit of postpartum weightloss (when I dont eat 4th meal/5th meal and stop using pepsi as a foodgroup)

I don't ever seem to lose any weight beyond the initial baby/fluids until my babies are AT LEAST 12 months old. Each of my four have come at wildly differing times in my life, for me, at least, sometimes wth great effort to "bounce back", sometimes with none whatsoever, and the results have been the same: for at least the first year I will retain a very decided Mama-Body, I am talking one that screams "I just had a baby"---and this is from head to toe. For anyone who doesnt know about all the things that can happen to your body when you have a baby, or for those women who did not have any or all of these normal yet discouraging events, here are a few of the things that I have gone through with my babies in the childbearing year:

From the top, I suppose is best!

HAIR---thick and corse and resistant to haircoloring while pregnant

Thin and flat and dead postpartum, with a MASSIVE fall-out phase around 6 months. Hair everywhere, wondering when I will be bald.

FACE---blotchy and swollen and pasty and moon-like while pregnant

Pale and yellow and zitty after due to anemia and exhaustion and hormones. This is all hormones, really.

BREASTS--in the interests of modesty lets just say ginormous and sore while pregnant.

After the baby, the phases swing from concrete basketballs to fallen heroes, to an eventual normalcy as long as the baby doesnt miss any feedings. Mine never do. (Darn!)

TUMMY--with the first baby, I didnt look pregnant until the 7th month. Didnt need maternity pants until the 9th month. Got a few stretch marks on my sides. Popped back in the hospital, literally looked like nothing happened within 2 days.

With the subsequent babies, my pants not shutting is what got me out to the drugstore to pick up a pregnancy test. "Showing early" was an understatement--I would often bump up my due date by 3 or 4 months when strangers asked when are you due. How could I tell them "in 6 months" when i was huffing and puffing and waddling?

Though my firstborn got me on the sides with the stretchmarks, I could still look in the mirror and place my hands just so--coyly-on my sides and have this nice peach belly to look secondborn took care of that--ripping me right up the center with the badges of honor. Add to that my fisrt c-section and my "looks pretty good for having a baby" tummy was now history.

The third baby got me on the sides front and even the hips, weighing in at 11 pounds and sticking around for 41 weeks in August had me swollen up pretty good.

The fourth baby did not give me a single new stretchmark...until the day he was due. I got so many new ones those last 2 weeks that the whole 9 months of lotion seemed like a waste. Then another c-section, messing up my profile/contour much more than the first section.

LEGS--not immune to stretchmarks, frustratingly enough. They had one baby's worth of shelflife--after Mickey my favorite body parts went officially from stems to hocks. Luckily jeans are extremely forgiving and I do have hope for future good legs--wheras the tummy dreams have been shelved for good!

FEET--swollen beyond belief all 4 pregnancies, also had one babys worth in them--after Mickey they went from my lifetime size 10 to a size 11 for good. This is the body part that "looks good" the quickest after birth, though--I would admire my bony human feet after each baby was born and think I was the skinniest little creature on earth---after 40+weeks of Fred Flintstone, it was so cool to see the almost immediate feet of Wilma instead!

I wont go into this one right now :) but the internal changes of course are the most profound and most uncharted and undiscussed in the soft focus LADYS GUIDE TO MOTHERHOOD type of malarchy books they try to sell us.


I gained 50 pounds with Greta and lost 30

I gained 50 pounds with Mickey and lost 30

I gained 50 pounds with Casey and lost 76

I gained 50 pounds with Charlie and probably lost 35 or so

Well this has been a fun and funny post for me to type. Meandering, looking forward and back, very much where I am at right now, prioritizing, musing, smiling to myself.

Charlie is 18 months old now, and I think how I was already pregnant when Casey was this age and I SHUDDER. another post, another time on Joys Opinions on Child Spacing

take care Mamas and love your bodies--what choice do you have?

take care those who love Mamas--and love their bodies even more.