Let’s talk about my body, shall we? My amazing, incredible, frustrating, disappointing body.
So, I had a baby, but I can’t say I gave birth because I didn’t. I didn’t give birth to Charlotte. I crawled up onto an operating table, was cut open, and she was pulled out. I didn’t actually earn those diamonds wrapped around my left finger, the ones given as a ‘push gift’ because I didn’t push anything.
I felt like my body failed. It didn’t do its job.
But at the same time, an eight pound baby girl emerged from that same body, so it did its job perfectly, right? She was full-term, completely healthy, and even came with a pair of chubby cheeks, so how can I say that it didn’t do its job?
Nursing Charlotte was never part of my plan, but breastfeeding was. Via pump. But my milk never came in. I never produced enough to sustain her life. Prior to her arrival, I planned to give her breast milk and supplement with formula as needed. Instead, she got formula supplemented by breast milk. Now she gets formula.
So, to recap, I couldn’t give birth and I couldn’t feed her. But I got pregnant without trying, and there were complications early in the pregnancy, but my body worked to keep her. It did its job beautifully.
My body. I don’t know how to think of it. On one hand, it’s incredible. Completely incredible. Charlotte is here, alive, thriving, because of my body. But without medical and scientific advances, she may not have made it. She’s only here, alive and thriving because of a c-section and formula.
Physically, though, I have a whole new appreciation for this vessel that plays host to my brain and my heart.
I was enormously pregnant and very, very swollen.
I’m no longer pregnant and all of the swelling is gone. I weigh three pounds less now than I did when I got pregnant.
The weight is gone. All of it and then some. It has been the single biggest, best surprise of this pregnancy. I completely assumed I’d be at Charlotte’s high school graduation still complaining about not losing the baby weight.
But I did, and I couldn’t tell you how I did it.
Never before have I believed my ankles to be so beautiful.
Again: amazing body.
But, it’s different. My body is different. My stomach – now covered in stretch marks – has the consistency of pizza dough. It’s very soft and squishy and somewhat embarrassing.
So, again: disappointing body.
My baby is six weeks old, Internet. Six weeks old!
In theory, the hardest part of life with a baby – the major adjustment period – is over. We’ve turned a corner. Well, till the teething starts, then I hear it gets awful.
The baby lady – Chubbs, Chuckster, Seniorita Cranky Pants, the Wee One – is so much more interactive now than she was before. She grins. Occasionally she’ll let loose with a giant smile. She makes sounds other than cries – she yells (hilarious), she coos, she talks to her mobile.
I’m so, so happy to be making strides towards a personality. I thought I’d love the newborn phase, but I don’t. I’m not a fan. Sure, they’re cute to look at, those newborns. But they’re very, very demanding and you get next to nothing in return.
I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that she doesn’t cry anymore. She still cries. Oohhhh boy, does she cry. But her cries sound different and they have meaning now, just like the mythical ‘they’ said they would. Sometimes she’s angry, sometimes she’s hungry, and sometimes she’s just out-of-control fussy.
In general, the crying isn’t too bad, but the out-of-control fussyness is awful. I’m not going to lie. It’s straight up awful. Like a friend of mine says: when you have days like that, you just want to blow your brains out.
It’s an exaggeration, of course, but not far from the truth.
Week five was full of those days. Four out of seven, I think. It was pretty bad. But, according to everything we’ve read, weeks 4-6 are the peak of fussiness for babies… and week five is smack dab in the middle.
During that week, though, my husband – my rockstar, angel of a husband – forced me to get out of the house and get away from the screaming baby. So I did. I ran errands and got frozen yogurt. My husband also forced me – no joke, forced me – to get a massage on Saturday.
I asked if I had become unbearable to live with, if that’s why he wanted me to get a massage. No, he said, but I might be unless I got a massage.
It was only the third of my life (one per decade?) and it was wonderful.
Charlotte and I have started leaving the house more during the day. We run errands and go for walks. And we even went to the library where she got a library card! A real one that can accumulate fines and everything!
Also, Allan and I have been trying to get out more with her as a threesome. Plus, we’ve had relatives in town lately – and some local friends – who have offered to watch her while we leave the house as a couple. We never pass-up an opportunity to do so.
I meant what I said before the baby arrived: my marriage is a top priority. I will not hesitate to leave my baby for a few hours in order to focus on my relationship with Allan.
In addition to marking Charlotte’s sixth week on the planet, today is also the halfway point of my maternity leave. Six weeks from now I’ll be back behind my desk writing press releases and corporate tweets.
My feelings are all over the place. I want to go back to work for sure, but it’s going to be awfully hard not staring at my baby’s sweet face all day. I cry just thinking about it. But by going to work, I actually believe I’ll be a better mother to her. That by going to work and sending her to a qualified, caring daycare professional, she’ll get the best of both worlds.
But I’m going to miss her like hell.