Nice of me to post again before 2008, eh?
I wasn't lying in my last post; things are much better, but it's still overwhelming, trying to work your schedule around a tiny human being who eats and relieves herself every couple of hours and doesn't much care for being out of your arms. Plus, I don't know if it's postpartum hormones or just a natural reaction to this huge change that's happened to our lives, but I find myself weepier than ever. Kara's umbilical cord stump fell off the day after Christmas, and Luke and I were relieved to not have to manuever around it during diaper changings. Once she was cleaned up, I said to her, "That's what connected you to Mommy all those months," and the next thing you know I was crying into my hands. Suddenly it felt like things were moving too fast, she was growing up too quickly, and I was scolding myself for doing things like wiping down the toilet or attempting to update this blog when I could've been banking precious snuggle time with this little person who would one day refuse the comfort I can so easily offer her now. I had the same epiphany the following afternoon after rocking her to sleep. Luke came into her bedroom and found my eyes dripping all over my poor baby's head.
I've never felt so vulnerable or been so paranoid as I have since Kara's been born. When Ryan came to visit for Christmas, I had to be the one to transfer the baby from the bassinet to her auntie's waiting arms, even though my sister is almost twenty-two years old and perfectly capable of picking up a newborn all by herself. I forget to offer her to visitors because I'm having such a good time holding her myself. It breaks my heart to hear her cry, even if her only grievance is the too-cold touch of a diaper wipe. Hell, I'm even afraid to leave the house without her, not because I don't trust Luke wholeheartedly but because I know how much I'll miss her.
I haven't been this afraid of love for years, not since Luke and I first started dating. But this...there are no words to describe what it feels like to love your own child. You know that saying, "It's different when it's your kid"? It really, really is.
Speaking of cliches, there's a second one that's also rung true for me, and it relates specifically to my breastfeeding struggles: "You have to do what's best for your family." And for this family, the best thing has been to stop trying to breastfeed. Kara is still getting my boob juice, mind you, as I pump every two to three hours, but I haven't put her on the breast since the wee hours of Christmas Eve.
I read that last sentence and feel like I should feel like a failure. I'm well aware the initial weeks of breastfeeding are a learning period for both mom and baby, and things probably would've gotten better if I'd kept at it. Throwing in the towel after seven days doesn't seem like I gave it much of a chance, especially when I think about how passionate I was about trying to make this work.
Then I reflect on the hours I spent crying because I couldn't get Kara to latch, because she'd take my nipple just long enough to spit it back out, because her gums would bear down hard on my aerolas, and I think there were a lot of minutes in those seven days where both of us were miserable, and I'm slowly finding out that more often than not, it's the passing of each of those minutes that ends up wearing you down. Ironically, the days go by much, much faster.
Anyway, even though it's more work for me, what with having to pump and bottlefeed, this new plan overall has been much more manageable. We're still supplementing with formula because I'm only producing about an ounce and a half during each pumping session, but I feel good that she's getting all the milk I have to give. We have our two-week well-baby visit in a couple of hours, so we'll check on her weight then, but I already know we have a happy, healthy baby, and truly, that's all that matters to me now.
As we make our way into a new year, I've been struck with how content I am, despite the wild card hand of emotions I'm wrapped up in. For the first time, I have no list of improvements to work on, no major goals to accomplish. All I can think about is how lucky I am, how complete I feel, and how wrong it would be to want for anything when I've clearly been given so much already. If Luke and I never leave this apartment, if I never finish those damn photo projects, if I never get more than three hours of sleep in a row ever again, I'll still consider myself the happiest woman on Earth.