1) I still don’t give a rat’s ass about Mother’s Day. I will ignore it this year again, thanks. How far in advance should I share that with family? And should I respond when they ignore my wishes?
2) Baby Man and I ran a bunch of errands and I meant to end them by going to the cemetery. I knew this as we left the last grocery store and yet somehow the car turned right instead of left and went home. I forgot. How much do I suck?
3) We are back on track with the breast milk. I accomplished this by getting up after his 2am meal to pump, because I seem to have lots then. And then being two meals ahead of him, I have managed today to pump as much as he eats while out. I think my problem came from a combination of his eating more, me having my period, and maybe even my weird diet over Passover. In any case, we’re on track now. Good deal.
For the first time in a long time I set a goal for myself today and met it. It was a small goal, get from 16.5 to 20 full pages. By 5:00 I was onto page 22 and thus could spend the evening not feeling like a slacker. I still am behind on the chapter considering I’ve been hoping to produce 5 pages of rough prose per work day, but I have to start from where I am. Of course tomorrow I have “off” because it’s my day to hang out with Baby Man. Lately I’ve been feeling the nagging of work even when I’m home with him. Maybe tomorrow, having been productive today, I can feel almost completely free of guilt. I say almost because really, I could have written more had I not been so easily distracted.
My mom sent me a virtual greeting card yesterday. I was scared to open it because sometime around now was Natan’s due date. I don’t remember exactly. I was afraid for a moment that she did and that it was yesterday. Not that I would expect her to remember or act on that thought. But still I couldn’t imagine why else I would get a card on a random Tuesday. So I open it and it was for Passover. A bit late, sort of, but since it’s still Passover not too bad. Although she doesn’t usually send a card for Passover so I’m wondering still if she was thinking something else when she sent it. It would be very nice of someone to remember and to tell me they’re thinking of me, but lately I haven’t felt up to talking about grief and Natan. I never thought having Baby Man would make up for losing Natan, but sometimes, to be honest, I wish it would.
I am drinking “Mother’s Milk” tea this evening. I am not sure what’s going on with Baby Man, but since I’ve been working more and pumping more, he’s been getting very crabby while eating. Both on my breast and with the bottle, but more often with the former. I am constantly just one feeding ahead of him with the milk, and so JJ has had to come up to campus in the middle of the day to pick some up. For awhile I was a few feedings ahead, but he must be having a growth spurt because he’s suddenly wanting more. It’s probably a crock (the tea), but I’m hoping to pick up the supply again. I’ve been pumping after every feeding, but he cleans me out so thoroughly I can get less than an ounce from each post-feed. Apparently this is my long-winded way of asking for advice. I’ve looked online, but thought some wisdom from smart women I like might be more helpful.
I had a few different titles in mind, but thought people of authority might not take it in the right spirit.
I have a new workplace (goodbye dear coffee shop). A building on campus has a comfy lactation room and I can leave my bag and other stuff because a friend joins me here. Not the building with the room with The Chair. A different building, a building that is hosting the Dal.ai Lama today. I noticed many more campus police officers outside than could possibly be normal this morning, and every hallway had a contingent of five or more standing in a group. The particular hallway I needed to go down to get to the lactation room even had dogs. As I approached, an officer said, “This hallway is closed, miss.” “But I need to go in that room,” I responded. “Not today,” he answered, thinking I meant the study lounge at the end, “Use the reading room.” “No, I need the little room there to breast pump,” I laughed, thinking of the reception I’d get if I pulled out my pump and lifted my shirt in the cavernous room, where you can hear the tap taps on keyboards from one end to the other. He got very uncomfortable, “Oh, um, okay, ma’am, sorry.” Notice the switch from miss to ma’am? I did.
As for my work, well, I aimed to have 17 pages by Friday evening. As of now, I have only 14.5. But as always, I have an excuse. This time, it’s Passover. Do you know there was a time in my life when I was always ahead of schedule. I don’t think those days will ever return.
More on His Holiness’s visit later.
Julia wrote in her post today asking a question of “veterans of subsequent pregnancies.” Holy shit, I thought, that’s me.
Tomorrow will be the first night of Passover. At the seder we are attending that we are thankfully not hosting, I will allow myself SMALL glasses of wine (still breastfeeding….) and not worry about it. I was in the midst of the two week wait during the last two Passovers. Not this year, Thank God. Worry not, those of you who noticed I did not answer Aurelia’s question in the comments on my last post. The thought that I could be pregnant right now is absurd and bordering on impossible. Although it has occurred to me that the universe is not too good to mess with my life by making breastfeeding, the progestin pill, and the lack of romance that is the end of the dissertation process fail us.
Anyway, I am not quitting blogging as I had thought I might. But I have decided that it might become a bit dull. I have 1 3/5 chapters left to write on my diss, with a deadline for turning in the full rough draft at the end of August (to defend in December or January depending upon funding). I have told my adviser I will turn in the next chapter of which I have 13 pages written at this moment by May 10th.
So from now until August I am going to bear my procrastinating soul here, revealing how (un)productive I can be.
In more interesting news, Baby Man is laughing, smiling, and grabbing toys to shove in his mouth. And frequently waking me up at night with some unbelievable sounds out of his diaper.
I am still slightly shaken. I went to my mailbox this afternoon and pulled out a letter from Dr. K’s practice. Upon pulling the letter out of the envelope, I saw the phrases “long and hard decision” and “accepted a position in San Diego,” and my heart dropped. We’ll only be here another year*. We won’t be going through another pregnancy with her. Yet somehow just the thought that she could be gone made me feel lost.
I am clearly crazy. I may feel like I needed her to have Baby Man, but there are other doctors in this city who can do my next pap.
I quickly moved my eyes to the signature line: “Sincerely, Dr. J.”
Not her. Thank goodness.
* I know I said that last year but that was before the job market unexpectedly landed JJ with a 1 year position back in our own department.
Lest my last two posts make anyone believe the silly line that having a living baby makes it all better, I am here today to tell you it does not. I am not sure if it’s that it’s April (Natan’s due date month) or the distance from my all-consuming subsequent pregnancy worries, but the past few days have been rough. Two days ago, I encountered, in one of the lactation rooms on campus I hadn’t used before, a lovely recliner. It was by far the most comfortable chair I’ve seen in one of those rooms, and yet it ruined my day entirely because it happened to share the upholstery of the chairs in the L&D wing of Old Hospital. I had no idea something like that could still prostrate me. This morning, while swimming at the Y, I remembered I was in the lane I’d been in the last time I swam during my pregnancy with Natan. Guilt and bad feelings flooded in. Why wasn’t I more activist then? Why didn’t I demand that they not dismiss my contractions as Braxton Hicks? Why didn’t I insist on a cervical measurement at my last appointment? Why when I felt badly after dinner the night before all hell broke lose didn’t I think to go to L&D? Maybe my cervix would have just enough length for an emergency cerclage. Or maybe going on bedrest those 18 hours earlier could have bought us more time. I know the rational answers to all that and I’ve been through the pangs a million times before. I know that I couldn’t have known, that I was trusting those who were supposed to know. That I am not in control of everything.I am so sick of being a grieving mom. I WANT desperately for the rumors to be true: for Baby Man’s healthy birth to erase the events of the year preceding it, to be able to say, “But look now it’s all better!” But it’s not. It’s easier, a little better, but not all better. It never will be.
Edited to add: ok, that’s a bit dramatic. Life, I should say, is a lot better. The days are a lot happier than before. But when the grief comes, it’s not better.