I’ll have to admit, of all the things about having a kid I thought would be difficult, I never imagined that breastfeeding would be one of my biggest challenges.
Before I gave birth (hell, before I ever became pregnant!), I had made the decision to try to breastfeed. Okay, let me be real here: I was judgmental. I couldn’t understand why someone would choose NOT to breastfeed, and was probably more than a little rudely outspoken on the subject. The idea of feeding my child in any other way never even crossed my mind, let alone the prospect that I might have any difficulties with it. In the months leading up to Clare’s birth, I watched as my friend and baby-guru Alicia’s breastfeeding relationship with her daughter flourished, and I WANTED IN ON THAT. I was excited to flex my boob power.
Then I gave birth, and figured out that an anatomical quirk of mine can make breastfeeding really fucking hard, unless you’ve got proper support and guidance. I was able to put her to breast almost right away when she was born, but she had problems latching right away, and so my L&D nurse was quick to offer me a nipple shield. This was a surprise to me, but it seemed to work a little better, so I didn’t think much of it. During our two-day stay in the hospital, I got the same spiel from staff about making sure to pump after every feeding to make sure my milk supply was stimulated, and trying to get rid of the shield within a few weeks of going home. Even the lactation consultant was pretty nonchalant about the shield, repeating the same thing about pumping and getting rid of it.
Clare Rebecca was born at 4:42 PM on Sunday, July 29th, weighing in at 6lbs 9oz and measuring 19.75″ long. She was born after about 12 hours of active labor, and let me tell you how PLEASED I am about that, after hearing about first-time mothers being in labor for days.
It really started at around midnight on Friday, 5 days after my due date. I awoke with that feeling you get when your period starts in the middle of the night (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). I went to the bathroom, where I found that I had gotten my bloody show. I was pretty stoked about this, because I had read that, once you get it, you can expect to go into labor within about 72 hours. Hooray! The process had begun! I went back to bed a little giddy, and shortly thereafter I started having contractions, which felt like period cramps that were coming in a relatively rhythmic pattern. I actually hadn’t experienced any Braxton-Hicks contractions throughout my pregnancy, which made them even more exciting. They weren’t serious at all, and I eventually fell back asleep.
I woke up Saturday morning, and I was still getting the rhythmic contractions. They weren’t bad at all, and we decided to run some errands downtown. We had to pick up our wedding bands from the jeweler, and we wanted to get some lunch. Kevin was freaked out that my water was going to break in the middle of the restaurant, but I was pretty adamant that if I was going to be losing my babyless freedom within a few days, I was going to get some goddamned Indian buffet! So, we went to Masala. As we were walking back through the Ped Mall to the car, we had someone take our picture at the playground, to commemorate the occasion.
I laid down for a nap when we got home, and when I woke up, my contractions had stopped. I was a little disappointed, but we invited our friends Andy and JoAnn over for dinner and board games, and my contractions started up again sometime around 9pm, and continued on through the night.