I’ve been thinking a lot about the next baby. Namely, the next baby coming out my va-jay-jay and what comes immediately afterward and how much that’s going to suck. People say you’re not supposed to remember birthing pains or much of the delivery after the fact, but let me tell you that that’s some boo-shit. I remember EVERYTHING.
So I’ve been thinking. And I’ve been making a list of things that are going to be different this time. I’ve learned from my mistakes, you guys. My many, many mistakes.
1. Leaving to go to the hospital. For some reason, I haven’t been able to let this go. Maybe it’s because my husband and I have frequent conversations about listening, and communicating, and how he pretty much does neither, and leaving to go to the hospital was a prime example of this. (In his defense, if you knew how much I talk, and often about shit that doesn’t matter, like the name of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby, and which on-screen celebrity couples are actually married in real life, and which high-value coupons I’m trying to find on eBay, believe me, you’d have to start filtering out some information too.)
But leaving to go to the hospital to deliver June was a sore spot for me, for many months. (And I guess it still is, since I’m writing about it fifteen months later.) Since 35 weeks in my pregnancy, I had planned meticulously for the hospital. My bags were packed before the baby had even fully engaged in my cervix. I had the hypnobirth tapes, clothes for the baby, Frasier DVDs in case my labor stalled or I got an epidural and we got bored — hell, I even had spare change in case one of us wanted to run to the vending machine during or after labor. There was not one thing I had overlooked. And since I’m nothing if not insanely prepared (one instance where having an anxiety disorder actually comes in handy), I had extra clothes, pajama pants, boxers, and toiletries for my husband, as well. And several times over the course of the next four weeks, I would look at him dead in his eyeballs, right into the windows of his soul, and list everything I had packed in my hospital bag, including the things that he would need. This way, when it was really and truly time to go to the hospital, there would be absolutely no delay. When I pulled the trigger, I wanted this gun to go off.
So fast-forward to the evening of June 22nd. Thanks to a pretty thorough cervical check, I had been having regular contractions, about 1-2 minutes apart, for a few hours. They weren’t horrible, like bad period cramps, but (TMI) I kept leaking something that I highly suspected was amniotic fluid. Either that, or I was peeing myself a tiny bit, every time I had a contraction. Wanting to find out what the hell was going on, I turned to Lou, popped a xanax, and said, it’s go time. We need to go to the hospital. Now. And he says, let me start the car. I’ll be right back.
So he heads downstairs and I hear him rustle around in his office for a few minutes, run out to the car, and run back in. Then I hear him in the kitchen. Then the bathroom. Then our room. Then the bathroom again. Still rustling. In the back of my mind, I’m wondering what the hell could be taking so long, but since all of my focus is on not having a complete panic attack and talking myself through these contractions, I hug my body pillow and say nothing. More rustling. I’m slowly counting to eight, and then back down to one again, like the Hypnobirth instructor taught me.
After ten minutes of this, the xanax still hasn’t kicked in, and I call downstairs (in my trying-to-be-patient-but-strained-voice): “WHAT are you DOING down there?”
“I’m packing some stuff for the hospital.”
I’m packing some stuff for the hospital.
I’m PACKING SOME STUFF FOR THE HOSPITAL.
FOR THE HOSPITAL.
|My head, at that moment.|
Needless to say, I did not have the most mature reaction. I think it was something like “SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW? SERIOUSLY? WHEN I HAD THIS SHIT PACKED FOR LIKE A MONTH YOU’RE SERIOUSLY GOING TO STAND THERE AND SERIOUSLY PACK SOME SHIT THE MINUTE I NEED TO BE IN THE HOSPITAL WHY DON’T I JUST HAVE THIS BABY ON THE FLOOR”. Shamefully, my dad was upstairs at the time, watching us get ready to leave, and white with nervousness. He and Lou embraced on our way out the door, and, already outside and halfway to the car, I remember glancing back and screaming “LET’S GO!!! GET GOING!!!” I may have even called him a bitch. That part is hazy.
This time around, there will be no such mistake. His bag will be packed months in advance. I assure you.
2. Imma get me some nipple cream. Let me let you in on a little secret, if you haven’t had a baby, or haven’t managed to breastfeed: Breastfeeding hurts. It hurts so bad. It’s like having someone stand next to your nipples with a lighter and just flicking that thing on every time the baby wants to eat. Pre-baby, when the doctor would ask me if I was planning to breastfeed, I’d be like of course I’m going to breastfeed, why wouldn’t you breastfeed? Formula costs money and also getting off the couch to make a bottle. I’m poor and lazy. Let’s do this thang!
|I don’t even have a kid, and I’ve already figured everything out! Self-five!|
So the baby is born and I’m like, wow, this is easy! Her mouth is always open and you just mash your boob up to her face and she starts going at it. Awesome! I’m the best mom ever!
|Yeah! Grrrl power!|
Fast forward just a few days later, and it’s starting to feel like this:
|JUST LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE|
I’m not exaggerating when I say it felt exactly like having your nipples burned off. In comparison, childbirth was a walk in the park. At least childbirth took less than twenty hours, for me. The excruciating, mind-numbing pain that came from breastfeeding took three weeks to die down. And for two of those three weeks, I didn’t even know how to un-latch the baby — I literally just pulled her off my boob like velcro tape. Needless to say, I got mastitis. Which sucked even more.
So, this time around: There’s no such thing as “breast discomfort.” The nurses and lactation people will tell you that “if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.” And maybe other mothers might try to encourage you by saying that they breastfed and it didn’t hurt, not even a little LOL! And to that I will say
It hurts like hell. It’s torture. Stock up on some lanolin, put an icebag (or six) in the freezer, and ride it out, baby.
Or just have your husband go to Walgreens and get some formula. Whatever.
To be continued.