Because you asked for it.
Just about nine years ago today, I peed on a stick, and two lines appeared. Positive. A time that I ordinarily would have been overjoyed. But my mother lay in the next room, dying of cancer.
I really don’t know if she was cognizant enough to understand when I told her that she was finally, at long last, going to be a grandmother.
She squeezed my hand. I’d like to believe that she understood. One week later, on St. Patricks Day, she died.
I didn’t allow myself time to mourn. There was too much to be done. And there was a new life to consider. I didn’t want to risk another miscarriage. So, I carried on. Later that year, my Emme was born.
I think that my pregnancy was a gift from God. All in His timing. Because that pregnancy was the only thing that kept me going. Kept me putting one foot in front of the other.
I vowed to do everything right. I got off caffeine. Which nearly killed me. I was determined to breast feed. And I boasted that I would deliver her naturally. As in, without the benefit of drugs. Oh, and no TV before the age of 2.
(cue the crickets)
A good plan. Naive. But good.
After labor was induced, because of elevated blood pressure, I was demanding an epidural. And a pop tart. In that order.
I’m not a screamer during the throws of labor. Quiet, angry indignation would better describe my demeanor.
Which is much scarier.
I got my epidural. And I believe I told the anesthesiologist that I loved him. For the next two subsequent births, I entered the hospital wearing a sign which read, “Administer epidural at once.” In case I should be rendered incoherent for any reason. I wanted to take no chances.
Following Emme’s birth, I fell into a very deep depression. Breast feeding was extremely difficult. I was certain that I was starving my child. I was also sure that my nipples were going to spontaneously combust. Fiddledaddy did the research, and got me a Medela Breast Pump. The deluxe model. This, I hoped, would aid in milk production.
I should have invested in a cow.
I pumped all the time. In my delusionary, sleep deprived state, I would sit in my barcalounger recliner, attached to the pump, and the sound that the pump made, seemed to whisper to me, “You’re a lousy mother. You’re a lousy mother. You’re a lousy mother. You’re a lousy mother.” Ad nauseum.
But, the pump also whispered, “The chicken is dead. The chicken is dead. The chicken is dead.”
It was hard to know what to believe.
Emme weaned herself at 5 months. I was determined that she would only have breast milk the first year of her life. So, I kept pumping. For 7 months.
I grew to hate that breast pump.
Two years later, Cailey was born. I was a bit better at the mothering thing. And she was a good nurser. But still, every so often I had to pump, just to relieve the pressure.
But one day, I forgot to check the settings. Emme had been loose in the room, and evidently thought it would be fun to twist the dial. To MAXIMUM SUCTION.
I had no idea that a nipple could be sucked up into the pump. A good two feet. No one had warned me about that in my breast feeding classes. Immobilized, I sat there unable to breathe. Watching my nipple get sucked in, and out, sucked in, and out. All the while I heard the pump say, “You’re a big loser. You’re a big loser. You’re a big loser. You’re a big loser.” Finally, I drew a breath and shut the thing off with my foot. It took quite a while for the pain to subside.
As well as the swearing.
After Cailey weaned, I gave the cursed pump to my SIL. Only to discover, at the age of 44, I was pregnant with Jensen. God needed to prove to me once again that a) He is in charge, and b) He does have a sense of humor.
Back came the pump. Like an unwelcome house guest. But it seems that Junior was a breast man. Came out knowing how to nurse. When he doubled his birth weight by 4 weeks, I knew I was producing something substantial.
I had very little need for the breast pump. But Jensen was a violent nurser. So, after him, the pump started to look good again.
Now, the pump is put away high on a shelf, collecting dust. I’ve not given it away, yet. There’s just a tiny little bit of superstition in me that is afraid I’ll get pregnant again, and be the oldest woman since Sarah to give birth.
It could happen.
I did, however, throw out the last of Jensen’s baby bottles today. As long as they were sitting in the cupboard, I felt like I had a baby in the house. But since he just turned 3, and that “baby” can wrestle me to the ground, it’s time to face up to the fact that my nursing days are long gone.
What I’m left with are 3 beautiful, healthy children. Two very misshapen, overworked, and under appreciated breasts. And one nipple that will never ever forgive me.