Stretched to the max

standard May 26, 2011 1 response

I was so excited back when I was pregnant. So excited because even though I was gaining weight every which way (toes anyone?) even at 39 weeks my belly was smooth, shiny, and brilliantly stretch mark free.

It’s ok. You can hate me.

The morning of my 40th week I got one. But it was a doozie. Like all the stretchmarks got lazy and decided to pop out in one place.

I caught myself fingering the deep ravine leading down from my belly to the top of my thigh often that week. I was fascinated by it. I’d had my fair share of stretch marks before being pregnant. A road map covering my hips, testament to heredity and maybe a slight penchant for candy. This one felt different, earned, more like a badge of honor than a badge of shame.

The stretch mark faded after C was born and came back as my belly swelled to allow Little L to grow. I never did get more, though it’s possibly because I was obsessed with rubbing all sorts of oils and lotion on my bump. Now it’s faded and I’m once again left with just the silvery lines crisscrossing my hips. Nothing on my belly to show for the two pregnancies I experienced other than a certain pouchiness that definitely wasn’t there before C.

I’m learning to live with the pouch, just like I’m learning to live with my other pregnancy left overs. Instead of hating how my body has chosen to remember this time of our lives, I’m choosing to think of all these issues as battle scars to show off with pride.

Pregnancy isn’t for the faint of heart. Neither is having a post-partum body.



This is a Bump Month post inspired by one of our wonderful sponsors Apothederm. I’m not sure I’d use the cream on my belly if I had pregnancy stretch marks there, but I’m seriously thinking about getting rid of the ones on my hip once and for all! About time I stopped feeling shameful about them!

Things they never told you: Another BumpMonth Tale

standard May 23, 2011 4 responses

There are millions of baby books out there. Half of them are gathering dust on my bookshelf. They cover all the basics – how to diaper, what to feed, how to burp… They miss an awful lot though.

I already wrote a bunch about the dirty truths no one tells new moms. But there are so many other things no one tells you before you go and get knocked up…

No one tells you that some kids are bad sleepers. End of story. And that you might still not be sleeping consistently through the night when they’re almost four.

No one tells you that your kid might have a radically different personality from yours and that you’ll have to learn to speak her language instead of yelling in yours.

No one really tells you that your kids are going to have radically different personalities from each other, and that one will be easier for you to comprehend than the other. Not that you love anyone less, just that one is… easier, even if she’s the one who tortures you with no sleep.

No one tells you how hard it is to find the right school (preschool or elementary!) for these children who are so very different.

No one tells you how much your priorities will change. A weekend playing High Ho Cherry-o becomes a joy instead of a chore.Who would have thought that playing board games around a slightly sticky kitchen table would be the best part of a weekend? Especially when they laugh with you.

No one tells you that you’re one day going to drain pus from your kid’s mouth, or that after you’re going to have to call the dentist because you just know a tooth affected by an abscess that big and that gross is going to have to be pulled.

No one tells you that knowing that your baby’s tooth is going to be pulled will hurt you more than it will her.

No one tells you about the million little things you’re going to want to shield your children from and not knowing which ones will make them stronger and which ones will really hurt them.

No one tells you how hard it is to “coach” from the guidelines instead of marching in and dealing with stuff yourself.

No one tells you how your heart swells when your coaching pays off and your child works through her issues herself. The pride written on her face is worth all the anguish in your heart.

I’ve often heard that when you become a parent your heart starts walking around outside of you. I never realized how true this was.

This parenting gig is both the hardest thing I’ve ever done and the most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced. I learn and grow alongside them. But that, they did tell me. I just had to experience it for myself.

Bump Month is almost over! In case you hadn’t noticed yet, 8 bloggers and I have teamed up to spend a whole month talking about moms and babies. We’re sharing stories and wonderful companies who help us make it all look easy and fun. Be sure to enter the killer giveaway where you can earn a basket worth $1200! Read the things the other Bump Bloggers didn’t know here.

I remember breastfeeding

standard May 16, 2011 1 response

I remember the recovery room nurse trying to mash C’s face into my very unresponsive breast moments after being wheeled out of the OR where they’d just cut my baby out of me.

I remember the same nurse witch sending the baby to the nursery three seconds later and overhearing her tell the staff to give her formula because I’d never be able to nurse.

I remember crying.

I remember trying to nurse my baby again the next morning with a lactation consultant who reenacted the same scene as in the recovery room before handing me a nipple shield and telling me it was the only solution.

I remember a nurse wheeling the pump out of my room at bedtime. No one thought to tell me that I’d have to pump every two hours  – through the night, not just in the daytime.

I remember getting yelled at by another lactation consultant later that week because I was taking time to burp my baby instead of jumping on the pump the instant the baby was done trying to nurse through the shield. In her words burping the baby is “what daddies are for.”

I remember pumping endlessly while rocking the bouncer with my foot after M went back to work.

I remember, four weeks into our pumping madness, realizing that I could turn the pressure up on the pump. For the first time milk started coming out in spurts instead of dribbles.

I remember fighting with C one last time, weeks later, trying so hard to get her to take the breast while she pounded her little firsts against my boob and screamed with her head turned as far away from me as possible.

I remember giving up and researching “pumping exclusively” on the Internet.

I remember reading somewhere that all the baby needed was 4oz of my breast milk every day to get all the essential antibodies. I clung to that fact (never verified or even found again) on the days I didn’t even get close to my 11oz max output. (That’s daily, not per pumping session. And there were four, sometimes five hour long sessions every day.)

I remember feeling hope when I saw the sheer number of people also looking for the same information.

I remember the permanent bruises on my breasts from the massaging I had to do to get the milk out.

I remember pumping for the last time, shortly before C turned 10 months old, just in time for our trip to Paris.

I remember feeding her that last bottle and hearing a nosy wannabe help telling me that I really should keep pumping because it was so good for the baby.

I remember refusing to go down the same road with my second child.

I remember researching every way possible to have a better nursing relationship with Little L.

I remember sitting up in the recovery room, post repeat c-section, and gently moving her into position.

I remember crying when she latched on perfectly and started nursing.

I remember crying when the nurses told me she had jaundice and they needed to supplement her feedings with formula.

I remember smiling through my tears when the nurse shrugged as the formula dribbled down Little L’s cheeks. “I guess she’s already full. You’re doing a great job nursing after all.”

I remember going home, not realizing that I’d spend the next four months, sitting on the couch, my little titleach attached to me, only letting go when she was full to bursting, milk pearling at the corners of her mouth, bliss written all over her face.

I remember getting good at making her cozy in the breastfeeding pillow, pulling her close, getting her latched, and pulling up the flip top for our coffee table so I could reach the computer.

I remember the sweet satisfaction of knowing that I could feed her wherever and never run out of food, not needing the emergency supply of ready-to-serve formula I always kept in the car for C.

I remember getting ready to go back to work. Renting the pump I’d used for C, washing the pump parts I’d stored carefully, arranging for a space to pump at work. (Endless thanks to my best friend for loaning me her office for all those months even though it must have killed her to see me pump when she herself wasn’t able to nurse.)

I remember pumping for the first time and getting the same amount of milk in one sitting as I’d gotten in total on my best day of pumping for C.

I remember crying.

I remember Little L only being soothed by “the magic boob of happiness” and C hollering at the mall one day “MAMA! Da baby is cwyyying! She needs your booooobie!”

I remember smiling.

Nursing Little L wasn’t all peaches and cream. There was pain, there was blood, there was crying. But it was such a far cry from my experience with C that the two are incomparable. I nursed her in the early morning until she was 14 months-old, only putting an end to our ritual because she discovered how much fun it was to wait until mommy was asleep again before testing out her new teeth on me. She thought that the way I jumped was hilarious.

I miss that bond that we shared and in my heart I refuse to give up hope that I’ll get to share it with another baby one day.

It’s the third week of Bump Month! 8 bloggers and I have teamed up to spend a whole month talking about moms and babies. We’re going to share stories and wonderful companies who help us make it all look easy and fun. Stay tuned for more trips down memory lane to my long past pregnancies and infancies! Be sure to enter the killer giveaway! Read the other Bump Bloggers stories about their nursing experience here.

Becoming a Mom: A Bump Month Tale

standard May 9, 2011 1 response

Do you remember a time when any decision you ever made only affected you? What to have for dinner? What to do next weekend? Where to go on vacation? Even what to buy at the store?

I can remember if I close my eyes really, really hard.

It’s a fleeting memory at best. Something hazy, like a dream that I might be remembering. Then again, it could just be someone else’s life that I once heard about.

Even before I got pregnant with C I was already thinking of myself as more than just an individual whose actions only impacted herself. I watched what I ate to make sure I built up my folic acid reserves and on the day I learned that licorice could be bad for fertility I walked away from that favorite treat without a glance back.

It made me feel like a mom to already be making those decisions.

But nothing compared to the day that I got the results of C’s Nuchal Translucency test.

I’d walked into that ultrasound room confident that everything would be peachy. That the test was nothing more than a routine screening that would show that my baby was as perfect as I knew her to be.

And then it wasn’t. In fact, it wasn’t conclusive either way.

So they did some blood work to try to see if they could decipher more.

And that came back to say that there was a 1/160 chance that my baby had Down Syndrome.

I went home that day and had the hardest conversation I ever had with my husband. The whole “What if the Amnio shows that the baby does have Down Syndrome? What do we do then?” debate.

You’d think that it’s a conversation that we would have had before getting pregnant. But, what can I say, we were cocky. We never thought our baby wouldn’t be “perfect.” I also assumed my husband would be 100% on the same page as me.

My baby, our baby… would be who he or she was. We’d love her or him as is. No questions asked.

I was thinking like a mom already. This baby in my womb was part of me already. In my mind, simply by getting pregnant I had pledged myself over to caring for her and loving her at no matter what cost to me.

M was more rational. He figured we had a set amount of resources – financial and emotional – and we could opt to give them all to one special needs child, or we could opt to save them for a larger family.

I think it was the first time we’d ever been at odds over anything. It floored me. And we never did agree on the issue. Instead we tacitly decided to wait until we had to make a decision.

We tried to do the Amnio a week early, but my uterus contracted when the needle went in and they had to pull it out again. When they tried again they couldn’t get enough fluid.

I went back a week later, two days before Thanksgiving, for a third attempt. I don’t remember much about the pain of the injection. I do remember driving all the way to Lake Tahoe that Wednesday, phone in hand, waiting for the call from the lab.

As the clock ticked slowly past 5pm and I realized we wouldn’t get the call before Monday I cried.

I wanted so badly be able to relax and just love the baby in my belly. I wanted to let myself be excited about her arrival. I wanted to go to work and yell on every rooftop that I was pregnant and proud of it. 

That weekend, on Thanksgiving morning, I “popped.” We both realized it when M tried to hug me.

“This baby is already coming between us!” I quipped, instantly regretting my choice of words. At that moment I didn’t know, if it came down to it, if I’d be able to chose between my baby’s life and my husband’s desires.

Lucky for me, I never had to discover what I would have decided.

The genetic counselor called me at 7:30 that Monday morning. Knowing just how hard that wait must have been, she’d come in to work early to spare us any more wait. The baby was healthy. A healthy baby girl.

I put away the jacket I’d been hiding my bump under and dressed in maternity clothes that day. Then I went to work and shared my news with all my coworkers. M went to work and told his.

It’s still Bump Month! 8 bloggers and I have teamed up to spend a whole month talking about moms and babies. We’re going to share stories and wonderful companies who help us make it all look easy and fun. Stay tuned for more trips down memory lane to my long past pregnancies and infancies! Be sure to enter the killer giveaway! Read the other Bump Bloggers stories about when they first felt like a mom here.