I remember the night well.
It was a Sunday, and it was approximately 7:30 P.M. when we walked through the door with him. I remember looking at him, and then back at McDaddy and asking, “Well, now what do we do?”
Our household had just grown by two feet, and we were the proud [inexperienced] parents of a brand new baby boy.
When we left the hospital, not one single soul had asked for a license, or credentials. Or a resume. Or fingerprints. Rather, they wished us well and sent us on our way with this living, breathing baby boy who had stayed an extra night in the hospital. Without me. McDaddy spent that night shuffling breastmilk to the hospital so that the nursery nurses wouldn’t give our sweet boy formula, and ruin his taste-buds for the real deal.
I had no trouble producing milk. In fact, the hospital nurses were so amazed they ran in and out of my room, escorting their friends in to see the horrendous amount of liquid spewing from my mammary glands into the pump funnel. (The pump funnels are a whole ‘nother post, but seriously, the girls? They loved to show off!)
Looking back on it, the whole breastfeeding ordeal was a big part of the problem in the beginning. While spending FOUR WEEKS on bedrest, I had read all kinds of books about how to care for this sweet baby. Unfortunately this was before we had a laptop and before I was an iAddict. McDaddy and I thought we were being all productive and responsible when we attended a child birth class and a breastfeeding class; both of which turned out to be a big waste of time because I ended up having a C-section AND because the breastfeeding instructor was full of crap.
The breastfeeding instructor went on and on about breastfeeding being a natural act that even the Indians mastered. Not one time did this “experienced” instructor mention that we might have difficulty in this completely natural act, or that my boobs would be sore and agitated and mean.
Or that I might be sore, agitated and mean.
We were a pair.
Me and my boobs, I mean.
Not me and the instructor.
For some reason, I had this grandiose idea that McDaddy and I would bring this tiny baby home and the three of us would live happily ever after here in our hill-top home (Welcome to the inside of my head!) The reality was though, that it was December, and there was snow and ice on top of this hill, and I had a newborn baby that had been born four-weeks early, and a pediatrician that instructed us to keep this sweet baby home for at least a month to avoid the Christmas crowds and germs. I had a newly engraved PERMANENT eight inch reminder that this sweet baby had to be extracted from my body, and when given a choice between eating and sleeping, I chose sleep every time because I was
breastfeeding feeding on demand around-the-clock which translates to no more than three hours of sleep at a time.
Is it any surprise that I was also nine kinds of depressed?
I had read about postpartum depression, but I was full of fun and laughter and had a healthy baby boy, and how in the world could anyone be depressed about that? And to make matters worse, my sweet baby boy didn’t get the memo about breastfeeding being natural and so every three hours I was reminded of what a breastfeeding failure I was. I would pump, feed, wash, rinse, and repeat.
I cried because I couldn’t make him “latch” on.
I cried because I didn’t want to be alone when McDaddy went to work.
I cried because I felt like it.
I cried because I boiled pacifiers and melted every last one of them.
I cried because it snowed.
I cried because I was sore.
I cried when he cried.
I cried because I just knew I was going to mess this up.
And just about the time that I’d get myself convinced that I could do this it was time to feed. AGAIN.
And again I’d be reminded that I was a breastfeeding failure and why IN THE HECK can’t I make this work? Bless McDaddy’s heart, he would wash and assemble all the pieces of the pump and deliver them to me with a look on his face that said, YOU CAN DO THIS!
Only I wasn’t so sure.
I would repeat the whole crazy scene several times a day and eventually McDaddy made a phone call to our Pastor’s wife, who is also a Licensed Counselor. He mentioned to her that I might have *a touch* of postpartum depression and would she please be willing to talk to me about THE TEARS and THE HORMONES and THE BOOBS and THE CRAZY.
Ok. So maybe he didn’t really mention my boobs.
When we arrived at our Pastor’s house, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I was sitting before a seasoned mother of four boys and she was actually telling me that I. was. perfectly. normal. She laughed at my crying fit over the boiled pacifiers, explaining that I wouldn’t know true heartache until my sweet boy got his heart broke for the first time.
By a girl.
As in plural.
Somebody shoot me.
Just put me out of my misery and shoot me now because as sure as God is my witness, I will not survive this motherhood gig.
Our Pastor and his wife comforted me, encouraged me, and prayed with me. And after that, our Pastor’s wife did her best to talk some sense into my sleep deprived, hormonally imbalanced head and by the end of our visit I was feeling some better. She reassured me that it would get better.
It HAD to get better.
And it did.
Not before I spent half the night pacing the floor and crying out to God to please make this sweet angel STOP CRYING, and convincing McDaddy that we needed to take him to the ER because OH MY WORD SOMETHING IS WRONG HE SHOULDN’T BE CRYING THIS LONG for no reason.
Only he was.
It took a frustrating THREE WHOLE MISERABLE WEEKS for Stevie to “latch” on.
One afternoon my friend Amy was here visiting and I was sharing my breastfeeding frustrations with her. Out of nowhere, my sweet boy FINALLY latched on and I let out a war-hoop (which is a redneck way of saying I yelled real loud) and did a little dance in my chair. When he finished, I called my girlfriends, went door-to-door in my neighborhood, and I might have even announced it at church.
And little by little, this sweet boy and I came to an understanding – that I was ill-equipped to raise him and apparently he had drawn the short straw at the mommy choosing party – and he was just going to have to bear with me on this journey.
It wasn’t always easy but the three of us survived.
And in THREE SHORT YEARS, I signed up to do the whole thing again.