I have been debating back and forth on posting this. It has been sitting in my drafts for a while but I couldn't seem to hit publish. Everything else I have written thus far has been very light hearted. I have received a lot of comments from moms - and dads - telling me they love the blog and the fact that I get really real. So I have to get real with this one. It isn't funny, it's sad. And a little embarrassing. But it's true. And I know there are probably a million other moms out there that need someone to relate to. And this isn't something to be embarrassed about. It's real life. So here I go. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes just thinking about it.
My sweet baby boy Henry was born on June 12, 2014. After three hours of pushing, my doctor realized he was just too big and I ended up getting rushed into a c-section. A short time later, around 6:30 pm, I heard my baby cry for the first time. My eyes immediately flooded with tears and I just sobbed. I was so happy to finally meet him. He was healthy and a big boy - nine pounds, two ounces. My heart was immediately so full. I know this is so cliche but all that mushy stuff they tell you is true.
The next three to four days were tough but I had a support system of my husband, family, friends, doctors, nurses, etc. Everything I needed was just one buzz of the red button away.
Then it was time to go home. I was nervous. I never had to take care of another human before.
On the way home, we had to stop at a pharmacy so I could get my pain medication filled. Since it was a controlled substance, I had to go in and get it myself. I didn't look like some of the beautiful women I see walking out of the hospital. My hair was in a top knot, I had zero makeup on, I was tired, had just had a baby ripped out of my uterus and still looked about four months pregnant. I was so ashamed of my appearance. I felt like I should be better than this. Why didn't I put in the effort to put on makeup and fix my hair?
The first thing the pharmacist at the counter asked me was when I was due. I held back tears, said I already had the baby and raced out of the store with my head down and tears streaming down my face. I got in the car and told my husband what happened and just cried and cried. I have not gone back to that pharmacy since then. That may seem ridiculous but that comment hit me so hard. It still makes my heart hurt thinking about the jolt I felt when she said that.
We got Henry home, introduced him to Newman - the dog, and I honestly don't remember a whole lot after that. I was attempting to nurse but Henry was cluster feeding so I would nurse for a couple hours at a time, try and get some sleep, nurse more, have to pump because I was making so much milk, get 30 minutes of sleep, nurse again, repeat. This went on for I don't know how long. I slowly started losing it.
I loved my baby boy so much at that time, but in a way I also resented him. Why was he doing this to me? Why was I being so selfish? I didn't feel like myself. I felt like an emotionless feeding machine. I was so tired. I wasn't happy. All I did was cry. Lay in bed and cry and nurse and pump and cry. I knew something needed to change but I didn't have the will or energy to make it happen.
Logan and my mom tried so hard to help but they couldn't. I was dead set on nursing this baby. All the lactation nurses had told me the benefits - I know that is their job - and I had read all about "Breast is Best". No allergies, he would be smarter, healthier, and on and on. I thought that if I stopped nursing him, I would be a failure of a mother. And I refused to let my baby down so soon.
Everyone was worried about me. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I didn't want visitors. I didn't want to feed the baby. All I wanted to do was sleep and cry. I was also told in the hospital not to give Henry a bottle because it would cause nipple confusion. So I refused to let my husband get up in the middle of the night and give Henry a bottle of pumped milk.
I honestly don't even know how to explain this period of time. It felt like eternities. Eons. Awful, horrible, terrible, endless time where I felt more lost than I have in my entire life. Babies are supposed to bring so much joy. Why didn't I feel that joy?? I posted pictures of him on social media and gushed over how wonderful he was. That is what was expected of me by society. None of us want to share the ugly side of just having a baby. But I think now is the time for me.
Disclaimer: I admire any mom that nurses. I wish that I could have done it and stayed sane. I also give props to the lactation consultants at the hospital. They did their jobs very well and are extremely passionate in what they do. It just doesn't work for everyone.
My husband finally called in back-up. I 100% think I was close to having a mental breakdown. His Aunt Beth came over, who runs the nursing school that teaches all the baby nurses here in town. She had been a baby nurse for decades and I trusted her opinion. She talked me off the cliff. She finally made me realize after a lot of sobbing that it was more important for me to feed my baby a bottle and be a good, happy functioning mother than lay in my bed and cry all day because nursing and exhaustion wasn't working.
I owe my sanity to you Aunt Beth. Without you, I really might have lost it. A few days later, I felt more like me again. Henry was taking his bottles and was actually happier and ate more. He could feel that I was happy. And I didn't resent him anymore. I really loved him.
So to all you moms that are going through this time of your life right now, do what you know in your heart is best for you. I promise, it's worth it. Everyone will give you advice, but you have to do what is best for you and your baby. Don't let society dictate your feelings. And talk to someone about it. It will make you feel better. Just writing this post made me feel better.
For more, visit my blog at HashtagMomFail.com.