Our Sweet Baby James
It’s been six weeks since we became a family of three. James Thomas Lampert was born on August 16th, 2016 at 7:49pm. It was a long 23-hour induced labor. 3 1/2 of which were pure pushing, which makes sense as James was a whopping 9 pounds 3 ounces. Yikes; and all natural, except for that lifesaving epidural. I wonder how much longer until they would have sent me in for a C-section. The doctors were amazed, and told me if it weren’t for Pilates, I would have never been able to push that hard for that long. I saved my abdominal wall from being sliced in half.
Steve, my sweet and adoring husband, was there for it all. He slept on the horribly uncomfortable pull-out chair, helped me through each contraction, counted to 10 with every push, fed me ice between each push, and watched how my body morphed into a superhero to push out our baby.
The moment James was placed on my chest, we were in love. First, in shock; this human being was inside of me just minutes ago. But I soon forgot about it all, all 23 hours of it, and fell in love.
Because I was running a fever during labor, James had to immediately be placed into the NICU for 48 hours. This was not at all how I envisioned my first days as a mom, but thankful that he was being looked after by the best of the best. I would anxiously spend hours next to him, surrounded by other babies, and so thankful for my healthy boy.
Two days later we get to take James home. I had been looking forward to introducing him to his nursery, and Paya, of course. I couldn’t wait to start this mom business. As soon as we said goodbye to our amazing nurse, and exited the hospital, I instantly went into panic mode. How do they trust us to keep this child alive? We can just put him in the car, drive away, and that’s it? How are we going to do this? We get settled into the car, and drive away, incredibly slow. But we made it.
We are greeted at home by my mom, who is here to help us for the next 3 weeks. Thank the Lord. I can get through anything with my mom. She’s an expert at this mom business. However, the one thing she can’t help me with is the one thing I struggled with the most: breastfeeding. I was so excited for this ultimate mother responsibility. But never expected it to be so incredibly hard. James would not latch on to me. Instead, he screamed bloody murder. I would be at it for hours, with no luck. He screams, and I begin to cry; I can’t give my baby the one thing he needs. The only thing I can tell myself is that I am a horrible mother, and I wonder why James is rejecting me.
I resort to pumping as much milk as I can, and feed him with a syringe. I also break down and give him formula. This is so far from what I had ever expected. I continue to cry and doubt myself as a mother with every attempt to feed him. Unfortunately today’s society has made me feel so bad for feeding my child the way that he, at times, needed to be fed.
With the help of a few lactation consultant visits, a tongue tie realization, a small procedure to correct the tongue tie, and a lot of tears and practice with props, 6 weeks later we are breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong, it is still harder than most people make it look. I know I will never be the mom in the park or restaurant effortlessly feeding her child under a scarf. Breastfeeding James is a full-body effort with heads, arms and legs going all over the place, and a lot of repositioning; there is no hiding the boob. I’m okay with giving James a bottle, and yes, maybe even a little formula. It has taken me 6 weeks, and still working on it, to get over the shame of not exclusively breastfeeding. I know breast is best. But in reality, a fed baby is best.
There are days I absolutely love James, and cannot take my googly eyes off of him, and then, there are days that I want to hide under the covers. The hour-long screaming fits, and having no idea what he wants are the worst. But the wide-eyed quiet cuddle sessions and a big poopy diaper make it all worth it. My absolute favorite time with him is feeding him with a bottle. I feel more like a mom than any other time together; even when he is breastfeeding! It’s so much more laid-back and relaxing, and, best of all, he looks right into my eyes, making the sweetest little noises.
Now for some humor. People have warned me about the “blow-outs”, but I never quite understood until we had our first one. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. One second I am checking my email, while he he swings happily next to me, and the next second he is submerged in his own mess. I was alone, which really tests my mom skills. Naturally, the first thing I do is take a picture, because you really have to see it to believe it. Although the photo does it no justice. I think fast, and grab a dish towel to carry him, in order to avoid making a mess on the floors and carpet. Then I realize Paya is laying right next to the swing, and could potentially go to town on what is filling the swing. She does eat everything after all. So, I grab another dish towel to cover the mess in the swing, and pray that she doesn’t get curious.
James is covered, absolutely covered in his curry-type mess. Luckily, at this phase it is very easy to wipe off and clean. We go through maybe half a pack of wipes and do a quick sponge bath. I have not yet mastered giving James a real bath all on my own, so that had to wait until Steve got home. 30 minutes later, James is fresh and clean. And then I realize we still had to deal with the mess in the swing. I swaddle James, and am convinced he is “pooped” and needs a nap. I can do this. I do a first round of clean up with the dish towel already in the swing. Don’t worry, these dish towels went straight into the trash. I managed to wipe up most of the depth, and was left with what had soaked into the material. The rest, the sanitizing function on our washing machine was able to take care of. An hour later, good as new! The next day, it happened again.
It’s been 6 weeks since James has come into our lives. All in all, I think we are doing okay. If all goes well at the doctor, I will resume working out this week, and go straight to the Pilates and barre studios. Not only am I excited to get my pre-baby body back, or as close to that as I can, I am even more excited to have that hour or two to myself. And you know what? I feel zero guilt for feeling that. Happy mom, happy life.