Chief Troubles

Poor Chief. He’s having a hard daddy time right now.

I started noticing in the last week or so that when Chief would come home from work and scoop up baby girl she would start to fuss after not fussing all day. It wasn’t really an issue out and about so much as at home, but it’s gotten worse over the last few days. Baby girl is expressing a clear preference for momma, even though she’s got this super great dad!

Tonight at dinner the Captain and I talked about it while Chief was walking around with the baby and we decided that Chief should take over bedtime for a while, even give her a bottle. I pump after shes in bed anyway so this wouldn’t mess me up any and it would give them some bonding time. Chief and I decided to try it tonight.

Whoa. That was awful. As soon as he pulled her out of the tub she was screaming and wailing hysterically. He got her to splutteringly take half an ounce from the bottle after about thirty minutes of crying and then the crying started up again, so we gave in and I nursed her. But then I handed her right back to him for snuggles and getting ready for bed. After another thirty minutes of crying I nursed her some more, then handed her right back. It took him almost an hour after this, but he finally got her asleep. I know it was hard on him. I know it hurts his feelings even though I also know it’s normal. I’m glad we’re addressing it now before it gets any worse. But it was awful sitting out in the living room listening to her cry even though I knew she was okay. I so wanted to run back there and reassure her that it’s okay, momma is still here, but I also knew that would just make it worse.

So we’re going to try again tomorrow night and the night after that and so on until it’s not so traumatic. Then we’re going to take turns with bed time just like we do with bath time. I love having that special bond with her that only momma’s and babies have, but I know that letting Chief have a special bond with her isn’t going to take away our bond. My friend M is coming to town to see her tomorrow and we’re going out to lunch. If she wasn’t coming just for the purpose of seeing her I would leave her home with Chief so they could get some daddy daughter time with momma out of the house. Then I wouldn’t have to hear those cries that make me feel like someone is twisting my heart!

I’m an even bigger idiot than I previously realized

Oh bleeps. I hesitate to even share this nugget of stupidity with you. But I was wrong last night.

My flange size on the pump didn’t change.

Let’s step back a few days.

Sunday night I was beat. We had been working on Pawpaw funeral stuff all weekend. After I pumped I asked Chief if he wouldn’t mind washing my flanges. Sure he says. He doesn’t mind. He’s a good husband.

Then Monday morning my pump wouldn’t work. You guys know all this. Read last nights post if you need a catch up.

Fast forward to tonight. I’m pumping with my 24 mm flange and as I’m finishing up the right side I suddenly lose suction. I can’t figure out why until I look down and see that the valve has fallen off into the bottle. Ok. No biggie. I was 30 seconds away from being done anyway.

So then I go to fish it out and freeze my milk and I look over and see…two other valves. Sitting innocuously on the drying rack.

And it clicks.

I leave the milk out on the counter and run back and wake up Chief:

Librarian: “CHIEFDIDYOUTAKETHEVALVESOFFOFMYFLANGESWHENYOUWASHEDTHEMSUNDAYNIGHT?!?”

Chief: “snor-WHA?!”

Librarian: “YOU KNOW-THE VALVES? THE WHITE PIECES?”

Chief: “Uh..Maybe?!?”

Librarian: *maniacal laughter of the clinically insane person having a mental breakdown*

For the love of my leaky left breast. I didn’t put the stupid. effing. valves back on. THAT’S WHY MY PUMP STOPPED WORKING. THAT’S WHY I SPENT ALL THAT MONEY.

See, I never take them off. I just let the hot soapy water run through the whole flange-valve assembly. I don’t think I ever realized they were separate parts for goodness sakes.

*maniacal laughter* *twitches*

Funerals, Friends, and an Expensive Pumping Mistake

Here’s the problem with me not posting very often-I have too dang much to say in one post, but I’m going to try and fit some stuff in anyway.

Funerals

Pawpaw’s funeral was Monday and the honor guard ceremony at the veteran’s cemetery was on Tuesday. It was, of course, emotional. I had to sing which is something I hate doing in front of my family because my mother gets emotional and cries ON A GOOD DAY, so on the day we’re saying goodbye to her dad, well, let’s just say it was waterworks for all of us. I started crying during the opening hymn (“In the Garden”-Pawpaw’s favorite) so I knew I was in trouble for singing. Luckily my cousin S was singing with me, so that really helped. My voice wobbled a few times and I had to wipe my nose at the end because it was about to drip and I had to make a quick judgement call of letting that happen or just looking icky and wiping it away.

Charlie was a little fussy during the funeral, but only Chief and I knew that because I kept jiggling her and would occasionally stand off to the side with her. Everyone complimented how well behaved she was. She slept through the honor guard ceremony at the cemetery. And the weather was beautiful for it. It felt like Pawpaw was sitting there with us.

Friends

The Captain came to the funeral despite the library being deliriously understaffed right now. I feel a little guilty about this except that if I were to come back from maternity leave it wouldn’t be until September 8th anyway. But still, a little guilty. But I know that they still like me because they gave me a sweet gift certificate to my favorite website to buy roses (heirloomroses.com) for my garden. I was incredibly touched that my former coworkers still care about me enough to think of me like I’m one of their own. I can’t wait to spend it. They have a rose dedicated to the Army Air Corp of WWII, the predecessor to the Air Force that my grandfather was a member of. I already have a WWII Memorial Rose and a Veteran’s Honor, so I think i definitely need that rose too!

I’m also really excited because my friend M is coming down from the northern part of the state JUST to see me and Charlie! She was in town the weekend that C was sick and had to go to the hospital, so she couldn’t meet her (she’s been in Spain all summer-how glamorous!) She’s a grad student who teaches classes as part of her tuition, so this is a crazy busy time of year for her and I’m honored that she’s coming to see me. Especially when she has to teach all day on Friday! I’m also having lunch with my friend C on Friday and I’m sure I’ll be eating burritos with the Captain on Friday. I feel very surrounded by friends right now, and that’s pretty great.

Not to forget you wonderful folks who have been so supportive of me in my grief and don’t tell me to stop incessantly posting pictures of my baby girl. I love you guys-not an exaggeration. It’s a different kind of love, the love I feel for a group of women I’ve never met, but it’s legitimate and real, and I’m grateful for it.

Expensive Pumping Mistake

Ugh. I hate to even admit how dumb I’ve been this week. Monday I got my Spectra out to pump before the funeral. I pump twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. I get about 12-14 ounces a day between those two pumps and I’m excited to be able to donate a bunch now that I’m only going to be working away from the home one day a week. I have about six gallons of breastmilk in my freezer by my estimation (we had to buy a separate chest freezer for this, btw). Anyway, on Monday I couldn’t get any suction. Like, the pump was sucking, and the backflow protectors were moving normally, but my nipple wasn’t being drawn in any. I tried everything. I changed to my other 28 flange (I just pump once side at a time so I have a hand free to tend to C if I need to), I changed bottles, I changed backflow protectors, I changed the tubing. Nothing. Chief looked at it and said all he could figure is that I had a bum pump and the suction wasn’t strong enough. Damnit, that’s what I get for buying used.

So I hop over to Amazon and buy a new one for $214. They had one for $188 but it wasn’t prime eligible and I’d have to wait quite a bit. They also had one for $205 that was prime eligible but it was out of stock. $214 it is.

It comes today, and I’m so relieved because I really hate that PISA and I’d been having to use it for a few days. So anyway, I pull out the new pump, plug it in, hook my flanges up and….

NO. DAMN. SUCTION.

Curse words. LOTS of them.

So I change out every damn part again, and nothing works. Finally I pull out the stock 24 mm flanges and try those (I was at a 28 mm) and they work. Seriously, apparently OVERNIGHT my nipples got smaller.

This isn’t exactly unusual apparently. It’s actually pretty common as you move out of the engorgement stage. And I’ve lost five pounds since starting WW again (Woot!), so it makes SENSE, but I’m not happy.

For one thing, I now have THREE breast pumps. I’m going to leave my extra Spectra  at the Law Firm so at least I won’t be toting back and forth and the PISA can be a good back up I guess. For ANOTHER thing, I’m not convinced 24 mm is the right size either. I feel like I need a 26 or a 27, but of course they don’t make that. I know I could hack my medela 27’s, but I read that you don’t get as good an output (although if any of you other Spectra ladies have anything to contribute on this, I’d be interested to hear-I think AndiePants has done this maybe?)

And finally, I just spent 215 non-refundable-once-the-seal-is-broken dollars when all I needed were to pull out the 24 mm flanges that I already owned.

So, in short, if your pump magically stops working overnight, try a different flange size before you panic and buy a new one.

Baby Things and PawPaw

This week has been on the hard side of things.

To start, my grandfather died Wednesday night. My mom had told me that day that he was doing badly. He hadn’t really been awake for 24 hours and hadn’t had any food other than a little yogurt. His breathing was labored. He was dying-that much is clear. I know enough about organ failure to know that when you stop being hungry and thirsty you’re dying.

And we all felt this amazing relief that finally he’d be at peace. I’m 27 years old, and he’s been sick for more than half of my life. He had a massive stroke when I was 13.

But then at 12:33 am Thursday morning I got a text from my mom that simply said, “PawPaw just died.”

I didn’t have to read it.

I shook Chief awake and told him. And then I sobbed, which is not the reaction I had expected. I lost my PawPaw 14 years ago. But actually dying made it feel like I lost him all over again. And I also sobbed with relief. And even though Charlie was sleeping really well in her bassinet for the first time since she’d been sick, I pulled her out and held her, and rocked, and sobbed, and slept with her in my arms that night, because I needed her.

And I broke my first promise to my daughter on Thursday, because I had promised we would go to baby storytime, but I was so tired from being up all night. She also had her shots that day, and that SUCKED.

For one thing, as much as I like my doctor, he freaked me out a bit before shots. First of all, I’m apparently totally failing at tummy time. He says I need to give her four fifteen minute sessions a day. Uh….some weeks I feel like we’re lucky to get fifteen minutes a week. But she spends a TON of time on my chest, so that counts, right? Also, she’s in the 25th percentile weight wise which I felt like was pretty good. I mean, as long as she’s gaining, right? And she had been higher before she got sick. She basically stopped gaining while she was sick, and it’s restarted, but basically we lost a week of weight gain, and when you’re only nine weeks old that’s significant. Anyway, she’s 25th for weight, but 86th for length. He said long and lean is okay, but maybe we want to beef her up  more, and since I’m pumping more than enough, maybe I should give her some in a bottle each day.

But I just REALLY don’t want to do that. Whenever she takes a bottle she fusses and gets upset at her next breast feed. She’ll eventually do it, but for instance, tonight she had a bottle. We had a minor car accident (my husband rear-ended someone. Very little damage to my car and none to the other), and it delayed us getting home. I had two ounces of pumped milk that I gave her at the restaurant. When we got home she screamed and got upset like she was hungry, and it took me six tries and about twenty minutes to get her to latch, which finally calmed her. But that’s almost always how it is after she has a bottle. She’s about to have a day of bottles every week though, so I’m hoping that’ll help her adjust.

Anyway, the long and short of it is, I want no more bottles than I have to have. The doctor didn’t say we had to, he just said he didn’t want her percentile any lower than it is. Chief and I have agreed to wait, weigh her again in a week, and go from there. She’s 10 pounds 6 ounces, so it’s not like she’s teeny tiny.

And then after he made her super mad by examining her, she had to wait for thirty minutes in just her diaper for her shots, and she was hysterical by the time the nurses came in with the five needles and the oral rotavirus vaccine. So you can imagine how those went over with her. And my kid is a bleeder. I got a huge blood splotch on my shirt from holding her afterwards. And then, because that wasn’t enough fun, I had to go help plan my grandfather’s funeral.

And then my husband rear-ended someone in my car tonight, like I said.

I just started weightwatchers again this week, but these last few days I have really been eating my feelings. Luckily it gives you a lot of extra points for nursing, but I still have to find a dress for the funeral. I’m only eight pounds away from my prepregnancy weight, but my weight is so very differently distributed (read: my hips and gut are low and flabby) that things just don’t fit the same. So I have to go find a black dress tomorrow for the funeral on Monday. And I’m singing at the funeral. And just to drag out our grief a bit, the graveside ceremony isn’t until Tuesday.

So I could maybe use a bit of strength these next few days.

Do I Still Get to be the “Barren Librarian”?

It’s time to address the elephant sitting in the corner, blowing it’s elephant spit at me with it’s trunk.

We need to talk about my moniker. Both parts of it (intrigued yet? Read on).

So, to state the obvious, I’ve got this kid now.

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She’s pretty great. Maybe you’ve met her-her name is Charlie.

So, by the simplest definition of the word, I can no longer be considered “barren”. I have born a child. I grew her and stuff. I pushed her out of my body and she’s here, in my house. Being a baby, being my kid. Basically being my whole world.

Which brings me to my next issue: that tricky librarian part.

“Librarian” isn’t just part of my blog name. It is inherently part of who I am. I’ve been working for libraries since I was 16. I’m now 27. That’s a lot of years for a relatively young life. I have a masters degree in library science. I have quite literally devoted my life to libraries.

But this kid:

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Basically she’s changed everything. My life, my world, my focus, my heart. Everything about me. And I started thinking about my job and how my kid was going to play into that. I saw myself doing story time and playing with babies while my baby was….probably sitting in a swing at daycare. Maybe being comforted by a very nice daycare worker. But let’s be honest, probably not getting a lot of mental stimulation. She’d be taken care of, but with a ratio of 6:1, I doubt she’d get much more than that.

And then I started thinking, do I really have to go back to work? How much can Chief and I get by on? I pay a few very important bills with my salary, and Chief can’t just pick those up. Then we got a few important pieces of information:

  1. We got notice of Chief’s GI Bill and other school benefits through the national guard and they were more generous than usual.
  2. I heard about a few information related jobs I could do from home.

So I applied for two jobs: a search engine evaluator and a social media specialist.

And I got both of them. One is twenty hours a week and the other is basically as many as you want to work. I don’t 100% have them. I have to pass my training on both. I’ve completed the work for the search engine evaluator and will get my results next week, and I’m working on the social media specialist one, but if I do well (and I think I have) I’ll have two jobs. And did I mention that they pay almost what I was making at the library? Without me having to pay $4-500 a month for daycare? And gas to get to and from my workplace?

So that pretty much made up my mind. I chose to not go back to my traditional work in favor of staying at home with Charlie and working these jobs during her naps and when she goes to bed at night. With my freemie system I can even work while pumping.

So on Thursday of this past week I officially resigned. I cried on the drive to what used to be my work. I cried just now typing that sentence. I loved that workplace. I love those folks. But I just love this kid so much more:

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I’m keeping my job at the law firm and my cousin S is going to watch Charlie one day a week for me. That will keep my professional side alive and keep my resume from having a big gap of library related work. So now I’m just a law librarian (and a search engine evaluator and social media specialist).

I am afraid as any sane person would be. I am afraid these jobs won’t work out in the long run. I’m afraid that by giving up this part of myself I’ll eventually make myself unhappy. I’m afraid we’ll run into financial difficulties. But I was so much more afraid that I would regret not taking this chance someday when Charlie is walking away from me, going to college, getting married, having babies of her own.

So I’m really not the Barren Librarian anymore. I’m really the Infertile Law Librarian/Stay at Home Mom Who Finally Got Pregnant, but that just doesn’t roll off the tongue, so I’ve decided to keep my title even if it doesn’t really fit anymore.

Because I think in a way I’ll always be the Barren Librarian.