When John was born it was the greatest day of my life! As a parent, you envision so much for your child. You literally plan out their life the minute they come out of your uterus! It’s just a natural thing we as parents do.
We want them to be happy, healthy, successful and to be decent human beings with good morals, and through the grace of God, not end up on “The Jersey Shore” reality show. Thank you Jesus!
I had a few girlfriends who were pregnant the same time I was. We were all within a few months of each other, so it was fun that we were all sharing the same experience. My one girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl, one month before me. I couldn’t wait to go to the hospital to see her! How exciting it was to have met her baby after all these months and now she was finally here!
My girlfriend seemed to have the perfect experience, other than having a C-section, she breast fed without a problem. (OMG, I could not believe the size of her nipples! They were like giant doorbell buttons that popped out three inches from her breasts! ) Her daughter was sleeping through the night, and my girlfriend was back her into her normal clothes one week after she gave birth!
Oh yeah, I couldn’t wait to push this kid out, so I can get back into my old clothes too. Nothing like seeing your girlfriend, who just gave birth one month before you, in jeans right after you gave birth. Witch!
It never occurred to me, that my experience would have been any different from hers. The only difference, at the time, was I was being induced because the baby was getting too big. At least, I had everything all ready to go. On January 14, 1998, my son John Arnold was born 8lbs 15oz. He had the biggest, roundest head. It was perfect in shape just like a cantaloupe. You try pushing out a cantaloupe out of your vagina, ouch! I was cut from stem to stern, and took me almost three months to heal from that butcher job! It was just brutal, but he was perfect in every way, and my life changed the very moment he took his first breath. I was officially a mom.
I had everything ready for this little guy, including a two hundred dollar dual breast pump, which was the “Mercedes-Benz” of breast pumps. I had my “breast friend” pillow, a supply of milk bags for freezing and some special nipple cream. Of course you want to have velvet nipples, for your child. The nursery was ready. The closets and dressers were filled with clothes all the way up until he was two. There wasn’t anything that I didn’t have.
My Beautiful Colicky Baby
Nothing could have prepared me for the first night we brought him home. He slept in the car the whole way home; of course we drove like 10 mph. As we were settling in, he woke up and stayed up for the entire night screaming. He never stopped! He was inconsolable! Forget about breastfeeding! I was so determined to feed him my breast milk that I pulled out the pump and got to it. I was officially a human cow! I was so exhausted, that when I was pumping in the middle of the night, I was convinced that my breast pump was talking to me. It had a rhythmic sound. I cried hysterically because I couldn’t get my baby to stop crying. He was a colicky baby. I was just a mess, and this was the first night home! Oh God, please help me!
I was having problems breastfeeding with John. He was having trouble latching on because I didn’t have gigantic doorbell nipples, like my girlfriend! Come to find out, according to the lactation consultant, I had flat nipples! I thought everyone had nipples like me, but apparently not! She gave me this clear rubber looking sombrero to place over my breast, so he could latch on that way. OH yeah this is what I envisioned, a rubber nipple extension! Uh no, this wasn’t going to work. So I made the decision to bottle feed my breast milk, but then later found out that he was allergic to my milk. He had to be put on formula. I felt like I failed as a mother, because we had problems breastfeeding and because God didn’t give me special nipples. With all the books I read, not one talked about this problem! Not one! Everyone around me was having this beautiful breastfeeding bonding experience with their baby, and mine was pure hell.
My Baby had Severe Colic
For the first three months, John had severe colic. He cried more than he slept, and I was up all night, every night, by myself. I
was so sleep deprived. Even when I had some relief, I couldn’t sleep because every time I heard him make a sound, I woke up instantly. Oh and no one talked about that either!
After making several late night visits to our pediatrician’s office, one of the doctors on call, told us to put him on Nutramigen formula. At twenty dollars a can it was our saving grace! After a few days, his colic seemed to be subsiding. It was liquid gold!! Hallelujah!! It was a rough first few months, but we got through it and John was the sweetest baby. I was madly in love with this little guy.
He reached all his milestones pretty early. He was walking at 11 months old and talking up a storm. I enjoyed playing with him, watching him learn, and just enjoying everything through his eyes. He was a still a fussy baby, but it was definitely better than it was.
Postpartum Depression Sets In
I was still sleep deprived, because he wasn’t sleeping through the night. Between that and trying to be this perfect mom, something wasn’t right with me. One day, I took him to the mall and when I got there, I didn’t remember how I got there! It was like I blacked out or something. I made an appointment to see a psychologist. I found out that I had postpartum depression (PPD) and had to be put on prozac. Of course, no one talked about this either! Here, I am, a new mom, who has flat nipples. My son has colic, and now I have PPD? I didn’t sign up for this program! I was so depressed, but the meds did help and in a few months I was back to feeling normal, thank God!
What really made me mad was that a year or two later there was Marie Osmond on Oprah talking about her PPD and then Brooke Shields on GMA. Where were these people when I had it? There was not one person I knew that went through this, which of course, made me feel even more like a failure. Did I do something wrong? I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because no one else was going through what I was going through. Even my ex-husband didn’t get it. My parents were very supportive but they both worked during the day, and so it was just John and I crying it out together.
As each month passed it did get better, but it was a long journey. After having John, and going through everything I went through, I swore I wasn’t going to have anymore children. There was no way in hell I wanted to go through that again!! Needless to say, I changed my mind. We threw caution to the wind and got pregnant again but had a miscarriage shortly after. It was God’s will and I was totally ok with that. A few months later, I was pregnant again and had my perfect baby experience, minus the breastfeeding. I had a gorgeous blue eyed, blonde hair, baby boy named Michael Anthony weighing 9lbs 8oz. He was delivered by C-section. (I’m not sure which delivery I preferred, but I think my vagina was relieved) Michael had a small period of fussiness but nothing I couldn’t handle. He was a very happy baby who slept through the night and was just a joy to be with.
Today, there are so many different resources: Breastfeeding support, postpartum support and support groups for each. The help is out there!! If something doesn’t feel right, always listen to what your gut is telling you and never be afraid to seek help. You have to take care of yourself first, before you can take care of someone else. If you’re not at your best, then you don’t have your best to give. I am so grateful that I have two healthy happy boys. John is now 13 and Michael is 10. They drive me crazy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. They are my life and I’m blessed!