Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Slowly Coming Back

I haven't wanted to write.

Everything that I was pondering and working through in the last few weeks of my pregnancy - trying to prepare for not having an only child anymore, mentally grappling with being overdue, some bigger family changes - just wasn't ready to be written about.

Then we had David.

David Gregory, named for my dad and my uncle, weighing over a pound more than his sister, but oddly enough coming in the exact same time frame (labor starting at 6am, him born at 2:15 - compared to Zuzu starting at 6:30am, born at 2:12pm).

And I love him. Oh, reader, I love him so much.

photo credit: Jen :)

When you have a perfect family, any change is frightening. It sounds pompous or conceited to say that - a perfect family - but our family life is thriving. We are perfect in that we are what we need to get to Heaven; there is constant, life-giving joy in every struggle. Every since we had Zuzu, Tom and I would just look at each and say "This is amazing, this is perfect, this is the life." As just a family of three, I was so happy - happier than I had ever been. And so this new baby brought so much fear to my heart: what would change? would we still be so happy? would we still be 'good' parents?

Final days as a family of three...all of us singing Molly Malone on stage...

Right after David was born, there were hard, hard days and nights - struggles we went through that I still don't discuss at large. Our family was processing all the change and some of us managed it better than others. I found in myself a protectiveness of my little family, even from close friends or extended family, that surprised me. I didn't want us to be judged based on our adjustment time - I didn't want commentary on our learning curve, on all of us doing our best to learn new ways of doing and being. With an eye towards protecting my family, I wanted to need as little as possible, so that I could spend time looking out for my little brood.

And that's how I suddenly realized that nursing David wasn't just a little uncomfortable; it was truly painful. I hadn't really been paying attention; he'd had a great latch from Day 1, my milk supply was great just like it was with Zuzu, no problems besides engorgement. So often when he was nursing, I was focused elsewhere: reading a book with Zuzu, trying to talk to/focus on my husband, trying to engage company, or maybe even eat! But as soon as I couldn't ignore the pain anymore, it got worse. Way worse.

Sibling quality time: David gets his 5 min of sun, while Zuzu explores 

I started to sob uncontrollably every time he latched, the pain wracking my body into shaking spasms. I dreaded when it was time for him to nurse. I cracked and bled, then stopped nursing him on the right (more painful) side altogether.  It must be his latch! I thought, so I started looking for relief for my breasts and trying to get him to latch better. Thank God someone suggested there was a deeper cause and then his pediatrician diagnosed thrush. After the diagnoses, I then had  figure out how to make it better. My midwife was sadly less than supportive - she didn't do one follow up after blithely texting me to use acidophilus. But man, Lord bless the was my breastfeeding support group on Facebook (and Calah) who finally told me what medications to get and how they'd help.

Nice and puffy, post-delivery. 

Coming out now on the other side, I am amazed at how such a small (in the grand scheme of things) struggle has really changed my motherhood. It was about nine days of thrush and two weeks of really hard adjustment, but compared to the relative bliss of our adjustment to Zuzu's existence, it felt like an eternity. It deepened my love for Tom, whose dedication and unfailing service to me while I was suffering melted my heart. I valued so much more my community, both virtual and real, who rallied support around me: I received comments, prayers, meals, gifts of many forms but especially presence. It made me miss my mother even more, and realize the special pain of parents who have to see their children suffer from afar.

Jen, myself (with David), and Steph after Mass

So now I'm slowly coming back. Nursing is back on track, thank God, and both sets of parents have left so it's just us to figure out what the heck we're doing. I'll get back to talking about that soon - it's good to be back!