Monday, November 26, 2007

Soldier On

Today Genevieve woke up with a cold so severe that by bedtime she was completely unable to nurse. I've had stuffed-up babies before, but never so stuffed-up they literally could not breathe--at ALL--while nursing. Poor Vivi latched on three times, trying valiantly to soothe her miserable self to sleep, but each time as the seconds ticked by she became increasingly panicked, kicking her legs and finally popping off to gasp for breath and then, in a truly heartbreaking display, crumple her little face into dismayed, confused tears. After the third try, over her wailing, I asked her, just to be sure, "Vivi, do you want to try any more nursing? Nursing, Vivi?" and all she could do was shake her head vehemently as the tears dripped down her cheeks. I put her to bed after a book and a lullaby, milk-less, sick, a total sad sack.

I haven't nursed now since 2 p.m., and I don't know what the morning will bring, so I guess I'm going to have to dig the trusty old breast pump out of the storage closet. The breast pump! Can you imagine? That old thing, now? Would you ever think, when you're plugging in that annoying contraption five million times a day to stock the freezer for your newborn, that you'd be needing its services at 15 months? No, because you'd never guess you'd end up with a baby so stubborn she won't drink cow's (or any other) milk and therefore you're it, mama, so get pumping; after all, at 15 months no doubt your breasts are so tired that if the baby skips a nursing they're liable to go Woo-hoo, we're finally off duty! and immediately halt all milk production in a frenzy of relief. Wouldn't you?

Anyway, speaking of trials, before dinner I dragged my sorry self outside for a run, after two weeks off from working out. You know: last week was the holiday trip out of town, and the week before I couldn't leave the house without the babies because of Christopher being gone on his business trip. Also because of being comatose with exhaustion. There was that, too.

I'm a fairly passionate exerciser, but boy, after two weeks off I can sure see how people become sedentary. I felt like I had SO MUCH TIME to get things done when I wasn't also racing to fit a run or other workout session into my day. Seriously, I was a lot less stressed. But you know, I also recognize that when one is on the verge of entering a five-week period of gorging one's self (I mean, partaking of in moderation) on eggnog, pumpkin pie, fudge, candy canes, gingerbread men, and assorted Christmas cookies, it probably isn't the best time to give up all exercise. So, you know, I went for my run. With a fairly minimal amount of wheezing and limping. (Did I mention I have a major pinched nerve in my neck? That rendered me completely unable to move at 3 a.m. last Saturday? That required me to filch my mom's leftover Darvocet from a past root canal to get through the day? And that now I am simply refusing to acknowledge, because it is driving me crazy and listen, neck: I don't have TIME FOR A PINCHED NERVE, hear me?! Um, yeah, so...there's that.)

I feel like all this ridiculousness should add up to some kind of wise, reflective little lesson. Paralyzing pinched nerve, sick baby can't nurse, forcing yourself to do the hilly run after two weeks off, contemplating three more days of solo (and car-less!) parenting to come: doesn't it seem like there should be a takeaway moral in there somewhere? Maybe, "Persevere, tired breasts"? Or, "When you're throwing back the eggnog guilt-free, those sloggy runs will be worth it"? Or, "Suck it up, lady, there's still a lot of mothering to go, so soldier on"?

I don't know. But the breast pump is calling, so...soldier on.


Elise said...

The only lesson to be learned from this is "being a parent SUCKS sometimes." I refuse to believe that weeks like the ones you've been having do anything positive like "build character" or any kind of crap like that. You've GOT character. What you NEED is a massage!

Shan said...


My neck concurs.