Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Settling Into Motherhood

Motherhood so far has been a constant adventure. It is overwhelming, wonderful, terrifying, and phenomenal all in the same day!

It's become clear to me that the person who wears the pants in our family is the person who wears a diaper underneath them... and I am totally fine with that! Life before Elle was measured by quiet moments at home with Ryan and our spoiled pooch Paisley, those TV shows I just couldn't miss and lazy Sunday's. Now, I couldn't imagine a life that wasn't gauged by the sweet smell of baby skin, little grunting noises at 3am, tons of cuddle time, the curling of her little toes, and those big toothless smiles that I'm now paid with. {How did I survive so long without her?}

In the beginning I was pretty overwhelmed. I struggled with decisions, and when I made them, I still wasn't confident in them. I'm definitely more confident in my decisions now, even when others question them. Plenty of baby experts out there disagree on the 'best' ways to raise a child, as mom's we just have to trust that we know best what works and doesn't work for our babies and ourselves.

Like many moms, I struggled with breastfeeding. From the day I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, for numerous reasons of my own so there was never a question in my mind. I sought out all the information that I could regarding the topic. I {surely} annoyed friends with my countless questions, I read blogs for days, I joined the Le Leche League group {the army of mom's with uber knowledge on the subject}... I was needless to say, determined. Due to my c-section and high blood pressure I spent 4 {long} days in the hospital, each and every feeding I had a lactation consultant by my side. Elliet had the most difficult time latching and even though we tried syringes with colostrum, nipple shields, etc. we were unsuccessful in our attempts. I was under tremendous pressure from the nurses and the pediatrician to give her formula, but I refused. I wanted to provide her with the best, and that was my milk. So... I decided I would exclusively pump. For five long weeks, I lived my life around a machine. On top of the ridiculous pain, I ate lactation cookies, took Fenugreek pills, and drank more water then I had in all my life! I was pumping every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day, to increase my production. After feeding Elle, I had to pump to tell my body to produce more, by the time I was finished pumping, cleaning all of the parts and storing the milk in the fridge, it was time to feed Elle again! I was exhausted. This was the hardest, most challenging time in my life to date. The stress and pressure I was putting on myself was robbing me of my joy! Finally, after hearing several times that "formula fed babies are healthy too" and that it wouldn't make me any less of a mom to give Elle formula, my guilt ridden feelings finally began to subside and I started to incorporate formula into her diet. My sweet pea is now a formula fed baby, and she is a happy and healthy growing girl!

When the magical 6 weeks came, the week I was returning to work, I was sad. The first day away was the most difficult, I cried. I like my job, but I love watching my baby grow. I am so very thankful that Elle is able to be in the care of her grandma while I am away. I remember the bond I had with both of my grandma's and I am so happy knowing she will enjoy that same relationship.

I'm guessing for many new mom's as it is for me, it is easy to take all the care for the baby, yourself. They have been a part of us for over nine months... giving our fragile creation over to another's care {even her daddy} can make me feel almost negligent. Having things done right {meaning my way of course} is important, right? But I'm trying to stay cognisant of this behavior because I know she needs that bonding time with the others who love her too {just not as much as I do, ha}. But I'd rather abide by the "look but don't touch" rule we learned as kids {I say this with a grin}. Basically this has been my biggest struggle with motherhood so far. Letting other's enjoy her as much as I do. It's not with everyone and it's not all the time, but it is often... unfortunately.

Since there are no online courses for Baby 101, we are creating our own path in the Rempe household. It's been beautiful and hectic, crazy and smile-inducing and I look forward to a lifetime of it!