More Humble Freaking Pie

More Humble Freaking Pie December 11, 2012
This should be tattooed on my forehead

Well this has been a spectacularly awful day. Normally I try not to use my blog to just vent and whine (right, long-time readers? I never do that) but today sucked and I’m going to blog about it. Because it’s my blog, that’s why.

After Lincoln’s frenulectomy we had three beautiful days. Three days where I saw who my son could be, who he should be. He still wasn’t an overwhelmingly happy baby, but he was content. He wasn’t frantically trying to nurse every 30 minutes. Instead of taking one two hour nap in the morning and then dozing for 30 minutes in between fits of screaming and frustrating bouts of breastfeeding the rest of the day, he napped contentedly, ate happily, and spent his awake time cheerfully, in our arms or out of them.

Then it all went to hell.

I think the frenulectomy closed up. I know there are stretches to do so this doesn’t happen, but the ENT specifically told me not to do those because it could cause tissue damage around the stitch site. So I didn’t. And now his latch is worse than ever. It’s so bad that after an endless night of restless, angry nursing, I finally tried one last time to nurse him and he gave up three minutes in and just wailed. I felt so helpless and so desperate that I called my neighbor, who brought over formula and a bottle. Then another neighbor sent another bottle and more formula. But Lincoln wouldn’t take either bottle. I tried for hours. He went a solid five hours between the failed nursing attempt this morning and the moment around noon when I finally gave up, in tears again, and tried to nurse him. Maybe half an ounce of formula had dribbled into his mouth, but he’d spit most of it right out.

He nursed for about ten minutes and then fell asleep in exhaustion. I spent the next two hours alternately nursing him and soothing him when he got frustrated and crying myself. I felt horribly guilty about giving him formula this morning, but that guilt went right out the window today. At this point, I just want him to eat. Something. Somehow.

It isn’t like he’s underweight. He’s much, much thinner than my other babies were, and I know that my milk supply is about half what it usually is, but he’s still tracking okay on the growth chart. Or he was, three weeks ago. So he’s getting some calories at least, probably due to my ridiculously overactive letdown. But he’s never content.

We have an appointments with a lactation consultant and the ENT who did the frenulectomy tomorrow, so hopefully we will get some answers. I’m also going to borrow a pump so I can try breastmilk in the bottle. Maybe he’ll be more inclined to try it then. In the meantime…I dunno. I’m going to try not to actually go right over the cliff into total breakdown mode.

I said this on my facebook page this morning and I really meant it. I have never had enough sympathy for mothers who struggled to breastfeed. It was just always so easy for me, I didn’t understand how it could possibly be that difficult.

Well, fellow mothers, I’m sorry for being a snot-faced asshat who did her horrible part to perpetuate the mommy wars. Because this is terrible. It’s probably the most stressful experience of my life, and that includes drug withdrawals and living with my in-laws with three kids and my husband halfway across the country. This is so awful I can’t even put on a happy face when I see people on the street. It’s so awful that I didn’t even smile when the Ogre brought me home a bag of chocolate tonight. It’s so awful that I don’t even want to watch TV.

And I know it’s good that I’m getting my portion of humble pie, but I wish God would stop dishing it out so often. I’ve had so many humbling experiences with motherhood that there is absolutely no area left where I think I rock this shizzle because I’m doing it right, that’s why. Breastfeeding was the last holdout. I know nothing about mothering children. I have no secret abilities or innate gifts. I have no more grand delusions about how homebirthing or breastfeeding or cosleeping or attachment parenting will solve all those poor other mothers’ problems. Reality slapped those right out of me.

I get it now, God. Being a mother is a monumental task, and every mother is different, and every child is different, and no one-size-fits-all “your baby will be happy if you do X because RESEARCH AND STATISTICS” approach is ever going to work. Life has thrown me ridiculously thick frenula and a baby who can actually regenerate, probably because of my excessive gestational Doctor Who watching. The one thing I never worried about has ended up completely undoing me. I admit that I’ve been overly prideful about this one thing, and can only see that when it’s falling apart. I get it.

Please, though, no more pie right now. Let me get over choking this one down.

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