I was recently struck with the enormity of how much my daughter has grown. How did three years pass so quickly? How is it possible? More importantly, HOW did I get through parts of it?!
Far warning to my gentle readers, I am going to say the word, “nipple” about 15 times and be rather explicit about some of the pit falls of nursing. Continue if you have a strong stomach or if you totally dig my sense of humor.
I remember when I was pregnant. Women, with a nostalgic look upon their faces, would say, “Relish every moment! They grow up so quickly.” Ok first of all, people seriously; this phrase needs to go to the same resting place as “Gag me with a Ginsu.” I did not relish any part of the birthing process nor did I relish the post-birthing process.
I did not relish having nipples that were cracked, bleeding and often times so painfully raw I could tell when there was a low pressure system moving in. What? Never nursed? Well, let me give you some idea as to what this SORT OF felt like, for me anyway; Take any rough grade sand paper and rub your nipples. Hard. Harder. Get ON it! Do this until they are roughed up and possibly bleeding. Then put salt or lemon on them. Orrrrrr, what the hay, go for broke and do both. Why not?!
I did not relish having plugged milk ducts that often resulted from said crying human baby blob who was, apparently, a shallow latcher. I also did not relish relinquishing my precious sleep because nobody told me this could happen and let me tell you, four naproxen weren’t even taking the edge off. What madness is this!?
I did not relish surfing the internet baby bible (for me it was babycenter.com) for a possible cause/solution to my unbelievably engorged, burning, and throbbing breasts. Funny, the hospital’s Lactation Specialists don’t breathe a word of this when they’re helping your little nipple sucker latch on. OOOOH NOOOOO. And then whammo! Your breast is the size of a hot air balloon, it’s throbbing like the worst hangover headache possible and there are milk colored pustules all over your nipples.
I really did not relish abandoning Babycenter.com and going rogue either, but I found a potential solution that was not recommended or approved by them. And let me tell you, it worked. And it worked FAST. What did I do? Well, in the name of all the injustices I had and was suffering; why not add insult to injury? Why not tell a bazillion readers another private and personal tidbit about myself? I stuck a sterilized safety pin into the blister-like pustules. Yes. I did. While I didn’t relish that part, I DID relish watching as my pent-up breast milk sprayed all over like an unmanned fire hose. Whooooeeeeee! Yep. That, my friends, spells (pain) relief.
You know what? Side note, here. I wonder if Real Simple magazine would enjoy my use for a sterilized safety pin for their “Tell Us About Your New Uses For Old Things” segment. Just sayin’.
I did not relish having to physically milk (think SQUEEZE the all-mighty hell out of) my own breast. Can I just type that again? Yes, overshare here; I. Milked. My. Own. Breasts. Because of this wonderful now PTSD experience, it is yet another reason why I refuse to drink cow’s milk. I mean, I lived it brothahh, you know? You hear what I’m saying? I lived being a human lactating udder. Yep. Good times.
I did not relish waking up solely so I could drag my exhausted lily white bum out of a warm bed in order to use a cold breast pump. I did not relish not showering for days. Well, ok. I give; I did sort of like not showering. But it wasn’t the showering part that bugged me. I LIKED showering. It was the “arduous” chore of drying off, combing my hair, blow drying my (short) hair, brushing my teeth, putting on deodorant and maybe applying lotion. THAT’S what took the time, my friends. That little regime was not relished.
I didn’t relish the fact that once my ‘girls’ were done being mangled, I never EVER looked at or felt the same about them again. They were off limits to my husband for at least 2 years. He never was a breast man, but still, TWO YEARS of a ‘no touch zone?’ After what you’ve read, could you blame me?
Trivia question: Did you know a nursing mom can still produce milk for up to 18 months after she stops nursing? Well, either did I! SURPRISE (insert jazz hands here)! Another thing ‘they’ don’t tell you. So imagine my shock (understatement) when my husband and I were having um, a stimulating adult conversation and my breasts started leaking TEN MONTHS AFTER I STOPPED NURSING! Talk about the proverbial and literal wet blanket. Sheesh! And NO I did not relish that. That occurrence was yet another in a long line of what I now, red-faced, refer to as, “Melissa’s Mortification Moments.”
I suppose I could talk about how I didn’t relish the fact that newborns are like Octopi; they seem to have 8 hands when you remove a poopy diaper. I could talk about how said hand would find the soiled diaper and grab a big old handful of ‘soo-prise’ and then robustly and energetically thrust it into the air, waiving it all around, eluding mommy’s lunging grasp and thereby reducing mommy to conniptions.
I could talk about how I didn’t relish the stupid, sleepless/stressed induced tiffs my husband and I would have. Suffice it to say that we gave each other the old stink eye from time to time while muttering (or barking) something like, “GEEZ! I can HEAR you CHEWING!” or “God! Do you HAVE to BREATHE so LOUDLY!?!!”
But I won’t. I think I’ve traumatized you enough already and I’m certain I’ve re-traumatized myself. I know those women meant well. They wanted me to relish the coo’s and the sweet little (non-feces filled hand) that rested gently on my (non-flamingly engorged, one-step-away-from-mastitis) breast. They wanted me to remember the studying, angelic blue-eyed gazes she would bestow upon me right before crap oozed out of her diaper.
Yeah, I get it. I really do. So for me, writing a blog about this is healing. It’s another step towards seeing these events for what they really are; a tiny bit of insanity that didn’t and couldn’t last forever. And that thought? That bit of realism? Ooohhhh, yes, that I’ll relish.