I’ve had a long week, which is what happens when you have a baby. It lengthens your week infinitely. Anyone can groan about their Access database mishaps or how the barista added foam when you explicitly asked for no foam, but for the next few days, weeks, months, I can say, “I’ll see your slow-loading Hulu.com episode of Family Guy and raise you ONE BABY.” Or, “Dear Sir, I see you are grumpy because the guy at McDonalds did not include any honey mustard sauce with your chicken nuggets even though you leaned into the Order Here speaker extra close and enunciated ‘HUH-NEE MUS-TURD,’ but did you know I HAD A BABY?!”
Right after I gave birth, I had extremely low blood pressure (80/40 or something crazy low like that), to the point that I pretty much passed out and had to hand TJ over to Mike so I could throw up. Twice. I remember telling Mike to take him, “I have to throw up!” I mumbled, “But not from the sight of him!” Just to make it clear like someone recording if I was being a good mom from the beginning. Strike one, I guess. After getting more fluids and some meds to increase my blood pressure, I was somewhat back to normal and then we were wheeled out of the birthing suite.
We left the hospital the next night, less than 24 hours after we had checked in. And speaking of timing, it took more time to watch Avatar than it did for me to deliver TJ, if you count from the moment I was admitted to the moment he emerged. I wish they would add that to Avatar’s description so it’d read, “Nine-time Oscar Nominated Motion Picture but is longer than Mona’s whole delivery.” I can hope!
The cheeseburger and fries I ordered during my one-day stay tasted horrible. It was like someone stepped on it and then put it in a microwave, then tucked into a sobakawa pillow, slept on it for a full REM sleep cycle, turning it over a few times when it got too hot, then plated it with some wet soggy fries and ferried it to my room. If you deliver at Swedish, be ye not so stupid. Send your partner elsewhere to get food.
Throughout my pregnancy I watched 16 and Pregnant and wondered if this was really glamorizing pregnancy and now, after having two children, I can say IT DOES. For one, there is far too much time spent on lazy, bumbling boyfriends who care more about their souped-up cars than they do about having children or understanding what that takes. If MTV really wants to curb teenage pregnancy, have a special episode about what happens to a woman’s body post-partum. The sexy mesh panties! The maxi pads that have more room than a fold-out couch! The stitches! The pain when you pee! The bloody nipples! OH GOD DID I MENTION THERE WERE BREASTFEEDING INDUCED NIPPLE TRAUMA!
This is what I’ve been going through. Despite a two-push (long pushes!) delivery, the days that followed were terrible. I had to breastfeed on the hour to increase my supply, but I was having so much trouble. It hurt and nothing I read could tell me why it hurt other than to say, if it hurts, UR DOIN IT WRONG, STOOPID. On Saturday, my breasts were congested, my nipples were on fire and I couldn’t even remember what day Nathan was born. Who knew mothers were supposed to remember this information!
I cried big sloppy tears to Mike about how difficult it was for me, how hard this whole breastfeeding effort was. Of course, he felt bad, told me that he would do it for me if he could which sounds nice, but no. No man would do this because it feels like a clothespin on your nutsack. This is why I always pass on the nipple clamp games at swingers parties. Not fun! (Jokes, I don’t go to swingers parties. I host them-heeeyyyy! Chocolate chip cookies at midnight!)
So I called Betsy Hoffmeister, a lactation consultant. I explained my situation to her and she said she would be over, that she agreed what I was going through was an emergency. She came over right away and for the next two hours she diagnosed what was going on with me and TJ, primarily his tongue-tie and my EXTREME HOME NIPPLES. (Wouldn’t that be a crazy fun show? Extreme Home Nipples on Sunday nights? A crowd cheering, “Move that bra! Move that bra!” and Ty saying, “Welcome home, TJ’s mouth. Welcome home!”) Betsy was incredibly patient and worked with me on breathing exercises. I felt for the first time someone understood that what I was going through was genuinely painful but not impossible. That I could really make it through with help. And I felt hopeful which is hard to feel when your nipples look like you just breastfed the Queen in the movie Alien or stuck your boob in a garbage disposal and flipped the switch.
Pregnancy is hard. Delivery is hard. Babies, especially in the first week, are hard, but then I see this face and think, Oh okay, FINE, cute child. You’re worth it.