Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Tipping Point

I recall when Lydia was born a day when I crashed--when the lack of sleep, the major life changes, the toll that giving birth takes on the body--all hit me at once. Every baby book and postpartum article mentions the "baby blues"; this is a normal occurrence, part of the process of adjusting to an event that, in my opinion, changes ones life as quickly as possible as much as possible.

Yesterday was my crash. Holden has been struggling with sleep through the night; he's only a week old, after all. I woke up from a poor night of sleep in intense pain; Holden and I have been struggling with breastfeeding, not in the sense that he's not getting enough milk, but in the sense that he's latching in a way that has done quite the number on my body. Realizing that I needed to see a lactation consultant, I made phone call after phone call, only to be told that the soonest I could be seen was the next day. At this point, I had been sitting trying to will myself to nurse him on the right side for almost half an hour, dreading the excruciating pain that would ensue. I started crying on the phone, and the receptionist took pity on me. She got me an appointment with a lactation consultant a little over an hour later. We quickly got Lydia ready for school and headed to the clinic. The lactation consultant was very helpful, gave me some coaching that allowed me to nurse Holden without blinding pain, and gave me some options to help speed healing.

We got in the car and drove for lunch. We'd been planning this for a couple of days, as we had a gift certificate burning a whole in our pocket and felt ready to take Holden out for a meal. We sat down at Burger Jones, and my phone rang. I took the call, and a long conversation with Human Resources followed; I learned just how much money I will lose by taking ten weeks of maternity leave, and the weight that had left when we met with the lactation consultant was back on my shoulders. Taking ten weeks feels like a minimum to me; any longer would necessitate putting my newborn in daycare, and that isn't something I am comfortable with. I learned with Lydia just how quickly the first ten weeks go. I sat at the table crying for the second time of the day.

With that, everything that has been on my mind, all of the changes that have happened since February fourteenth at 6:10 AM came out. We finished our meal, and we got in the car. I realized I just needed to cry. I needed to cry for my breastfeeding frustration, for the financial pressure that will result in making what we think is the best parenting decision for our family, for Lydia who is so, so excited about a brother but is getting so much less attention than she did before, especially from me, and for Holden, for whom I feel such tremendous, tremendous love and affection. When Lydia was born, it took a little time to adjust to the concept of being a mother. I immediately and instinctively cared for her and wanted to protect her, but the warm, hopeful love that we feel for our children took time to develop. This time, I get it, and that feeling came immediately, and it is overwhelming. There have been so many wonderful, wonderful changes, but they come with a lot of transition for everyone involved, and I needed the emotional release.

Robin and I spent the rest of the day holed up at home, snoozing, and watching reruns on Hulu. I did a lot of crying, and it was exactly what I needed. Today I've found some equilibrium. For me and I'm guessing many others, letting myself go over the tipping point was just what it took to find myself feeling a little lighter and more balanced.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you're feeling better today but also glad you got your emotional release. Sometimes there's nothing better than a good cry. Kiss that little (big) baby and his amazing big sister for me! It's driving me crazy that I haven't met him yet but all your posts make me feel like I'm there.