Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The 24-Hour Milk Buffet is Open

Today I had my second--and final--postpartum check-up. All is well; I'm healing fine, my incision pain is minimal and infrequent, and my doctor is pleased. I am, too. But if my OB happened to be the kind of super-empathic, tell-me-all-your-troubles type that my last doctor was--oh, how I still miss fabulous Dr. Judy--I would probably have mentioned something about how it feels like nursing this baby is really taking it out of me (still!). Don't get me wrong; it's not as if I'm looking for someone to tell me to stop--in fact, I wouldn't stop even if someone did. But sometimes it's nice to get a little sympathy. And sometimes it's nice to let someone medical know that your whole body aches much of the time, and by the way, is that normal?

And it's ironic, too, because I was just thinking recently how easy, in so many ways, nursing is this time around. Here it is week eight, and I've yet to develop plugged ducts or plugged milk pores or anything else painful and debilitating. It feels like a miracle to me, when I recall my early nursing days with Julia and all the physical maladies that arose. Isn't the body an amazing thing? That the second time around, it's such a pro at the breastfeeding thing that it decides, hey, no need to go through all that infection nonsense, no need to get all swollen and distressed, let's just feed this baby and feed her a lot? Nice.

But. The thing is, remember a couple of weeks ago when I said that Genevieve was stretching out her nighttime nursings? Um, maybe not so much. These days she has completely done away with ever nursing on both sides--believe me, there's absolutely no way to force the issue, she's all like, yeah, I'm kinda stuffed, leave me alone so I can go back to sleep--and so she nurses every two hours again, most of the night long. Especially at three, five, and seven a.m., when I hear that bracing hunger-squawk, it's all I can do to be nice about it. I figure lectures won't help, and I can save that kind of parenting for the teen years.

In the meantime, though, it just feels like I'm being sucked dry by a ravenous, insistent baby bird, and my body is complaining with aches and pains and the kind of tiredness upon awakening that makes you feel lightheaded and dizzy. I was doing much better when Genna was experimenting with less frequent meals. I feel like a total wimp for complaining about it, though, since once again, all I can think about is how with Julia this kind of thing went on for much longer than this, and with many more challenges, and I got through that with, if not aplomb, then at least with a fair amount of steely determination.

In the end, I didn't say any of the above to my doctor. I did, however, fantasize about forging a prescription, which would be something like: "Get a full-body massage, follow it up with a long, luxurious bubble bath (no pint-sized visitors allowed in the bathroom), then read trashy celebrity-gossip magazines in bed with favorite drinks and snacks at hand, while watching TV. Repeat as needed."

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