…or at least that’s what it feels like. Men, you can stop reading here.
I think I broke my boobs with all of the stress I was surroundedÂ by during the first two weeks after Ellie was born. I have always been SO determined to breastfeed exclusively, and it’s looking more and more like that is justÂ not going to happen.
My freaking nipples were so cracked and sore and bleed-y the first two weeks of breastfeeding that I was always worrying that Ellie was turning into a cannibal because she was just drinking my blood. I was also so incredibly stressed out planning Dirk’s funeral and writing the obituary and making sure that all of our family got to spend time with the baby that I wasn’t producing much milk. And I’m still not.
I had to start supplementing with formula after just 2 weeks, because I wasn’t producing enough to pump any extra milk for Ellie, and the funeral in Talkeetna was a 2-3 hour drive (and I didn’t want to be crying and breastfeeding and sitting in the front row while everyone stared at me). Anyway, after giving my nipples a break for a few days (I just pumped and fed her whatever I got out of a bottle), I started trying to breastfeed her again. The story for the last few weeks has been me feeding her off of both sides, and then having to make a damn formula bottle for her anyway because she’s still starving. Because my boobs are broken.
I read that the first few weeks are CRUCIAL to establishing your milk supply… I think my stress ruined mine. I’ve been drinking that nasty-as-hell Mother’s Milk tea, I’ve tried drinking oatmeal stout beer, I’ve tried pumping in between feedings… this is insane. And there’s no way I can keep this up while I’m working, so if I don’t fix the problem by January 10th I’m just going to have to switch over to formula and forget about breastfeeding altogether.
Adam often likes to point out how much girls (read: I) exaggerate every day things, saying how ridiculous it is. I think he pulls a lot of it from Dane Cook’s skitÂ about how chicks exaggerate (“I took, like, a HUNDRED HOUR NAP”)… however, I’d like to demonstrate how men (read: Adam) are just as bad. Only they fall to the other extreme of under-exaggeration…
Me: I’m really concerned about traveling with Ellie next month. What if I don’t pack enough clothes for the plane and she poops all over like 5 outfits? What if I don’t have enough diapers? What if she cries the whole time and I want to tear my hair out? What if everyone on the plane hates me? What if I’m next to a really fat person and I’m so uncomfortable because I have to hold her the whole time??
Adam: Geez Jenny, you’re doing that thing where you totally over-worry about retarded shit again, like you did when you were pregnant, and then nothing ever even went wrong.
Me: What did I worry about when I was pregnant?
Adam: Oh you know… that we’d have a colicky baby, that you’d rip all the way to your butthole, etc. And then look… Ellie is a perfect baby who basically never cries.
Me: Ummm… yeah. But I DID tear all the way through my butthole, and my labor was awful. My butt will never be the same. I do not have my original butthole anymore.
Adam: Oh geez… you got SIX STITCHES, JENNY. Calm down.
Me: How soon we forget? I got EIGHTEEN, STITCHES, ADAM. Don’t try to play that shit down.
Adam: Yeah but it wasÂ three layers of six stitches each, so basically it was like six stitches.
Me: What. The. Fuck.
Me: Let’s see if you notice the difference between me knitting six vs eighteen stitches on your ballsack, then we can compare k?
Adam: Stop being such a wuss.
Me:Â I’ll go get the needle.
Okay, so I will cop to my tendency to worry and exaggerate *a bit* as soon as Adam admits that he plays the “oh, no biggie” card with nearly everything… anyone remember the magic mushrooms??Â Go ahead, take a moment to refresh your memory…
So for the wholeÂ three of you out there who weren’t actually AT the hospital listening to my screamsÂ when I gave birth (see photo below), I thought I’d post my “birth story” – mostly because my dear friend Nancianna told me that if I don’t write it down I’ll forget it, and because miss Molly threatened me on the phone recently. :)
As I wrote before, my father-in-law Dirk died on a Friday night (Oct 29th). We had an insane weekend following that, as there were between 50-60 people at our house the entire day on Saturday. Not that I’ve really experienced this before, but apparently when someone dies you just gather, eat, and cry. Luckily we have an ah-maze-ing group of family and wonderful friends who are supporting and loving, and every one of them had a personal relationship with Dirk because he was so awesome. So Saturday was crazy – and I felt weird all day because (well, besides the obvious reason) I felt like everyone was staring at me all day long. Like, “hurry up and have that kid so we can all smile again.” I know it’s probably a ridiculous thing to think, but I really felt like I was under extra pressure because I was due THAT WEEKEND. Anyway, Sunday (my due date, Halloween)Â was close to the same, but with people in and out in a steady stream. Adam and I decided to go to church in the afternoon, and to get away from our house weÂ spent the evening withour friends Luke & Kaile at Luke’s dad’s house for a deep fried turkey with red beans and rice (made by a true Creole!). The red beans and rice were SO. GOOD. that I had like, two whole plates full.
Cut to Monday morning. Adam and I had been sleeping on the living room floor for three nights because we needed a distraction at night and there’s no television in our bedroom (and there never will be!). We’d been having trouble sleeping, so the television and Tylenol PM were *kinda* helpful. I really just stayed awake most of the night listeningÂ to Adam’s breathing because I was so worried about him, but the Tylenol PM seemed to help him a bit. For me, they worked about as well as a tic tac would for helping me sleep. ANYWAY, I woke up at about 9am feeling awful, and I told Adam I thought it was gas from the damnÂ cauldron of red beans and rice I ate the night before. I felt like I *might* be having contractions, but I really wasn’t sure. My mom urged me to jump in the shower and start keeping track of how far apart my “pains” were just in case, and when she saw me writhing around on my bed after I got out of the shower she was like “YOU ARE IN LABOR, YOUNG LADY!” ( I guess the secret is red beans and rice!)
So… the next few hours were basically me trying to do my hair and calling out times every few minutes to monitor my contractions – “11:33! 11:52! 12:11! 12:20!” and so on. Around 2pm I started to get nervous because they were so bad I couldn’t talk through them. From 12pm on Adam had been like “should I start the car? should we go?” every ten minutes, and at 3pm he just took a stand and said “I’M STARTING THE CAR!” My contractions had gone from 20 minutes apart to 6 minutes apart within 2 hours.
Oh, did I mention that I made Adam and Luke go install the carseat at like, 2pm? Doesn’t everyone wait until the day of labor to install the carseat? Because that’s how it happened in Marley & Me too…
So I called my doctor’s office just before we left to go to the hospital to let them know, and I was informed that my doctor was not on call. Which made me immediately start bawling. Because I was supposed to have this complicated labor and all, and I didn’t want to explain to a new doctor all of my problems (including my emotional issues, which I had actually JUST that morning called to let my doctor’s office know about — extra stress and all). I didn’t get any good news out of the receptionist, just a “you’ll do just fine, don’t worry” – oh joy. So off to the hospital we went, me writhing and crying and freaking out about not having my own doctor.
It happens that my doctor has a daughter that is the same age as Adam’s sister’s sister (um, we have a gigantic family tree that I won’t evenÂ try to explain here right now, but basically it’s Adam’s sister because we’re all so close)… and when she heard that my doctor wasn’t going to deliver my baby she called my doctor’s HOME NUMBER and left 12 messages. More on that later. :)
At the hospital I could barely even hold the pen to sign my check-in papers because I was in so much pain already. My contractions were 5 minutes apart and PAINFUL. So painful that every time I had one, I didn’t know whether or not I was going to pass out, fall down, pee my pants or vomit. It was a total out of control feeling, and it was awful, and it was every 5 minutes. Once I got a room the nurse gave me a hospital gown that was so old it was ripped and falling apart, and so I immediately started off my hospital stay complaining. Awesome. A new nurse, thankfully, got me a better gown and threw the first one right into the trash. Also, the room we were in was over 70 degrees (we checked the thermostat), and we were told there were no fans in the hospital. WTF? Adam immediately called his mom and asked her to go buy a battery-operated fan… thank GOODNESS for that, it saved my life over the next 6 hours!
So, we found out that I was already at 3cm dilated when I checked in, and were promptly told that there wouldn’t be a labor & delivery room until 5pm (it was 4pm by then). I was DYING for an epidural already, so of course, I freaked out again. Tears tears tears. The nurse told me to go walk around until 5pm, so that’s what I did. I was SO HOT that I walked out to the front door of the hospital and paced around in the entry way for 45 minutes while Adam and his mom and sister stood there watching me, teeth chattering. At one point Adam’s mom decided to time my contractions (why, I don’t know, since I was already in the hospital waiting to go into the delivery room). Every time I started to have one she would ask, “are you having a contraction?” – and I never answered, because I WAS HAVING A FUCKING CONTRACTION. Finally around the 6th time she asked me I just said “LYNN… please stop asking me if I’m having a contraction. Just look at my face and guess!” – and that shut her up (after she giggled at me). :) Otherwise I think I was pretty nice… but I don’t really remember.
4:45pm rolled around and we were back in the “waiting” triage room… and I may have yelled a little bit for Adam to “go tell that effing nurse right now that I can’t wait any effing longer”… he did, and it worked. I had a wheelchair taking me to L&D within 5 minutes. Once there, they gave meÂ a ball to sit on. A BALL. Did I mention I had NO. CONTROL. WHATSOEVER. when I was contracting? Like I could sit on A BALL without faceplanting. But I tried anyway, and Adam just watched and freaked out that I was going to faceplant. As soon as I started contracting I had to stand up though, because the sitting position was super painful. Oh, and also… I farted in front of my husband, for like the first time ever. Damn contractions. Luckily I was in so much pain he barely even laughed at me. Barely. Then a nurse came in and was like “oh, it looks like you had a little bit of bloody show” because apparently I bled on the ball. WHAT-EVER!!! “GET ME THE DAMN EPIDURAL” was all I could think. I thinkÂ I was nicer about it when it came out of my mouth though, but I can’t be sure.
At 5:30ish, I was told I was dilated to 8.5cm – HOLY.SHIT. I was offered some drug that started with an R, or maybe an S, and I was so out of it that I was just like “give me everything, now, whatever.” Adam was concerned that whatever that drug was would affect the baby though, so he started freaking out. About that time, my doctor walked into the room – in plain clothes, with a big smile on her face. “So… I got home from grocery shopping today to find 12 frantic messages on my answering machine.Â Your sister Katie basically threatened me within an inch of my life, so I thought I’d come check onÂ you!” HAHAHAHAHAHA!Â ThankÂ goodness for sweet little Katie.Â So my doctor checked me, told me I was at 9cm, and then madeÂ Adam feel better by ordering the nurse to give me fentanyl, whichÂ wouldn’t affect the baby but would knock me out a little. As soon as I got that, I felt better. But only between contractions, because I still felt the awfulÂ pain when I contracted. MyÂ doctor also told me that I could still get the epidural and that the anesthesiologist wasÂ finally ready so I was like “BRING.Â IT. ON.”
Adam and my mom had to leave the room when I was getting my epidural put in, because they’re huge babies and couldn’t stand to watch. I would’ve laughed at them but I was in extreme pain and couldn’t think about anything but possible relief. The anesthesiologist pissed me off because he was like, “okay now sit up, and curl over your tummy, and when this next contraction is over we’ll administer the epidural.” So I actually believed him, like an idiot. As if curling over my tummy wasn’t awful enough, as soon as the contraction was through I told him, and expected an immediateÂ needle in the back – that’s what you would expect, yes? NOoooooo… instead, I said “okay it’s over,” and he proceeded to get the needle out, swab my back, fiddle around and blah blah blah until RIGHT WHEN ANOTHER CONTRACTION STARTED, and then he put the needle in while telling me to hold still. Dick.
But whatever. It started working soon, and then I was just sleepy and numb. SO… 6:30pm-ish. Doctor tells me it’s time to start pushing. She puts everyone in the room to work – my mom and Adam’s mom each holding one of my legs, and Adam up by my head, holding the fan 2 inches from my face and helping push my back up. My favorite quote during labor – Doctor to Adam’s mom: “Oh, you’re wearing that white sweater? You’re going to get splashed.” BAAAAAHAHAHAHA, disgusting. I love my doctor. (BTW she didn’t get splashed.)
Â Two and a half hours later (ish), doc says “well, we’re probably going to have to do a C-section” – cut to immediate fear and tears from me. “Either that or we’re going to have to turn your epidural down and use the vacuum.” Eeek. Horrible options, but I chose door #2. Apparently my epidural had relaxed my uterus so much it had just, well, petered out and stopped contracting. Also, the umbilical cord was short – so when I would push baby’s head out a little, as soon as I stopped pushing the umbilical cord was pulling baby back in! So downÂ went the epidural (basically to off), and in went the pitocin – which got turned UP three times to make me start contracting hard again. OH. YAY.Â I was also warned that I was going to get cut (remember that whole “controlled tear” business?), in order to make room for the vacuum. DOUBLE. YAY. But whatever, I was so ready to be done.
I hadn’t really been making any major noise until this point, but with the epidural off and the pitocin on, and with a giant head coming out of me, I turned into “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR”— and everyone in the waiting room did. Apparently I scared all of my friends into being kidless for a while. When the head finally came out I felt this huge “pop”, and then I heard the doctor say something like “oh, lemme just get this shoulder” and all of a sudden I felt the rest just come FLYING out of me (along with so. much. liquid). After hearing my moms do a little scaredy-scream (apparently they both thought my doctor almost dropped the baby because she really did fly out of me), I heard the doctor laugh and say “I don’t see a penis…” and then Adam said “IT’S A GIRL!!”Yaaaaaaaayyyyy! But I was still totally crying out loud like a weenie. For like 5 minutes.
Because we used the vacuum to assist, the NICU team was there and whisked Ellie away so quickly that Adam didn’t get to cut the umbilical cord. I didn’t hear a cry for a few minutes (couldn’t hear much over my own blubbering), but when I did it such a weird feeling. And SO AWESOME! I didn’t get to hold her, however, for about 30 minutes or so because I was getting stitched back up — 18 stitches total, and because the epidural was off I felt everysingleoneofthem. Awesome.Â So Ellie bonded with her daddy for her first 30 minutes, and when I finally got to hold her I was just speechless. She was so little! And so beautiful! And she looked JUST like Adam! And she had so much HAIR!! And WE MADE HER!
Little Ellie Lynn was born at 9:43pm, she was 7lbs, 1 oz and 20.5″ -Â basically she’s perfect. She came out right on the day we wanted her to (“just wait until November,” we’d been telling her the whole time!), and it only took her 6 hours once we got to the hospital. I was only in labor from start to finish for like, 12 hours!Â What a good girl!
My wonderful doctor offered to turn the epidural back on for me for a little while so I could relax, and after she did so Adam invited the waiting room to come in and meet Ellie.Â Before everyone came in, I remember laughing because my mom was like “oh EW! I need something to clean off your feet with before people come in here, there’s blood all over them!”Â Â Then in poured everyone I’ve ever met in my life (I kid, I kid), and afterÂ we allÂ cooed over my gorgeous daughter for a few minutes,Â our friends all had a small glass of champagne and we toasted to our new family.
So after he announced that our baby was a girl, the first words out of Adam’s mouth were “ahhhh crap, she has my nose!”
Everyone laughed, I was still crying from the trauma of pushing a watermelon out of me, and when I finally got to see herÂ I realized Adam’s statementÂ was SO TRUE. Little Ellie has her daddy’s nose for sure. For the lastÂ seven days, everyone has said the same thing.
A few days ago, however, I was looking at old baby photos of me and I realized I had the same cute little piggy nose as a newbornÂ – not quite as pronounced as Adam’s, but definitely similar. So when I mentioned this to my husband…
Me: Hey, I was looking at old baby photos of me and I have the same little cute nose!
Adam: Don’t take that away from me, Jenny.Â She looks like ME.
Me: Aw, don’t get all possessive. She looks like US.
Adam: Okay fine, but don’t take the nose away. She has your vagina.
Well awesome. So Ellie has Adam’s nose and lips, and my eyelashes and vagina. Mkay.