the first difficult day

Today has been difficult. I’m learning what it is to be a mommy, I guess. I’m sitting here looking around at our messy apartment, catching whiffs of the three garbage bags sitting behind the couch, thinking Seriously? I can’t handle a three week old and keep an apartment clean? I feel like I tricked myself a bit. Like I’m waiting for someone to jump out and say told you so. I don’t want to hear told you so. I’ve never had to hear told you so before.

I guess I can justify it a bit by saying I don’t deserve a complete told you so. It’s not nearly as difficult as parents told me so it was going to be. Before I had River, I was telling my dad I can’t wait to have this baby. I will take sleepless nights with an infant over being pregnant any day. And he said oh you just wait and see. You’ll be exhausted. I didn’t get sleep until the kids were older than three.

Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve only had two sleepless nights since he’s been born -- the first two nights of his life. After those nights, we both got a better hang of sharing sleep and nursing in bed, and it has been bliss. I would say at this point, the nights are better and calmer than the days.

I feel trapped in my apartment. My body is not completely healed; in fact, I took a couple steps backward in the healing process by doing too much, too fast. I feel fine, so it’s frustrating to have to stay at home and do nothing. I can’t even vacuum -- can you imagine that? I mean, I don’t even enjoy vacuuming, but just because I can’t vacuum, I want to vacuum. And this has absolutely convinced me I very much dislike living in an upstairs apartment. If we just lived downstairs, I could have at least gone to work with John and have internet access, work on a few photography projects, email my clients their receipts I promised them before River was born -- yeah so much for that -- instead of being stuck at home watching crappy shows like According to Jim and catching whiffs of trash that needs to be taken out. I guess I should try to convince John it’s time to put in our 30 days notice with our apartment manager. Oh I am so melodramatic sometimes.

Have I mentioned the only reason I have time to sit down and write this is because my wonderful, sweet, hardworking husband took River on a car ride? And did I say anything about him willingly changing his diaper first? I just realized I hadn’t breathed a sigh of relief yet, so I just did. I think it was because I was feeling a bit guilty for thanking the heavens he took the baby off my hands for a short while.

One thing that has made today particularly difficult is this strange bump in the breastfeeding road which we have come upon. He nurses wonderfully on one side for about ten minutes, then gets so antsy and wiggly and accidentally detaches, so I burp him. When I try to latch him back on, he becomes spastic, rooting around at everything, especially his little hands (I never knew it was so hard to get teeny baby hands out of the way when trying to breastfeed) and is still so hungry. I switch him to the other side, he latches on just fine, but then the same thing happens. So now he’s sick of both sides, and still hungry, but full enough to be okay for maybe 30 to 45 minutes. And then we just repeat the whole thing. This has been going on for the past two days. I don’t know what to tell him. Sorry babe, but I only have two boobs.
For the record, I just want to say, I completely understand why women choose to formula-feed. Not that I ever will -- I am a die-hard supporter of breastfeeding. But I understand. It would be so easy to dump a bit of powder into a 4 ounce bottle of water, shake it up, pop it in his mouth, and simply repeat every three to four hours. Even hand the baby over to someone else a couple feedings here and there. Not to mention my sore boobs would get a wonderful break. And no one ever told me it was so awkward to breastfeed in public. How do those expert mamas do it? It’s not that I’m embarrassed, but I feel embarrassed embarrassing people. I honestly don’t give a damn who sees the goods when I’m feeding my baby. They’re just doing what God designed them to do. By the way, note to self: standing in a stall in a public restroom feeding a 9 ½ pound baby really does a number on one’s back. In the future, do not attempt.

Nursing and being held is all that has made him happy today. It is eleven o’clock at night, and I am completely worn out. I have attempted to pick up the apartment three times, and each time was unsuccessful because River wanted to be picked up instead. John commented on how I didn’t finish either of the two bowls of cereal I poured for myself, and I told him it was because I didn’t have time. I barely had time to use the restroom. Forget taking a shower. I just realized I haven’t brushed my teeth all day. That’s disgusting. Well, at least I know River doesn’t mind. He’s fine as long as he is held, nursing, held, changed, nursing, bounced, patted, nursing, held, rocked, changed, nursing, bounced, held. Nursing. Then he’s just fine.

It’s been about an hour since John took River on their adventure to Walmart and Redbox. I’m starting to miss my little boy. Let’s just hope today was a funky day, that tomorrow I can pick up the apartment all I want, eat a whole bowl of cereal, reminisce about vacuuming, and brush my teeth. I’ve had my break, and I guess an hour is all I can go without holding him. For now at least. He doesn’t just need me. I need him, too.

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