Friday, May 20, 2016

My Invincibility: A Realization

The subject of this post is: I can do anything. This includes (but is MOST ASSUREDLY NOT LIMITED TO) birthing a baby, which if you'll recall from my last post, was a bit in question.

My perfect little peanut butter daughter came into the world on April 15, about 36 hours or so after writing my last post, which just brings a smile to my now not-pregnant self. I'm super stoked that I didn't turn out to be the one woman in the history of all mankind post-Adam and Eve to remain pregnant until the coming kingdom, but even more stoked that my girl is here and she seems to like life. That is just the best.

Now back to me telling you (and myself) about how I can do anything. This will seem like a rather insignificant story, perhaps. But it isn't! You must believe! Come on this journey with me!

A couple of weeks after she was born we took baby Baer to a fund raiser, featuring a fancy hotel ballroom, plated dinner and a Fox News correspondent, if you can believe it. We were determined to do it. We strapped her to me in her little wrap (kudos to the inventors of this contraption; you, I assume, can also do anything), put on maternity dress pants much to our lingering chagrin (SO MANY WEIRD SHAPES happening to my body right now) and a pair of earrings and hit the town.

Was it a crazy thing to do? Maybe, but please remember that I can do anything, and consequently I can also do anything I want; which in this case was to get out of the house. Presumably baby Baer wanted this too - plus, I could finally stand upright after the delivery. This wasn't going to go to waste. So we went, but about an hour and a half into it we realized the event was going to go longer than expected, and I was faced with a Great and Powerful Dilemma, surely faced by many but unexpected by me up until this point: she needed fed.

If you're one of those gentlemen or ladies who can't handle breastfeeding talk, earmuffs please. I'm not going to lecture you on the harmful American sexualization of breasts and how you need to get over it already, because honestly, I don't much care, and I also respect your decision to look at/read or not look at/read anything involving boobs given your level of comfort/discomfort. This is a blog for another time but to reiterate: I'm not sure I care, and I respect you. So if you're uncomfortable, earmuffs. Or the earmuffs equivalent for reading? Open a new tab and shop for something on Amazon Prime. Then come back in ten minutes.

OK FOR THOSE OF YOU STILL WITH US, I had to feed baby Baer, and for the first few weeks postpartum that shit was PAINFUL. Some ladies will say - it shouldn't be painful at all! Which is very confusing. Others will say yes, it will hurt a little at first, which is also confusing. It turns out that both are true. I assumed the pain I was experiencing was soreness, but after about three weeks when it wasn't improving and in fact was getting worse, I realized my babe and I were doing things wrong. We worked together on it, consulted some friends who also have boobs and babies, and we figured it out. Hallelujah. It still hurt a little bit, and every feeding sounded like high school gym class ("take a deep breath! We can do this!") but eventually the soreness wore off.

At the time of the fancy fund raiser, however, the pain was still VERY MUCH HAPPENING and very real and very anxiety-inducing. So the Great and Powerful Dilemma was indeed great and powerful, because was I going to endure that pain in public? Where could I go to do it? Would the baby be up for it?

I decided to give it a try, with my husband's full endorsement that if it didn't work, we could head home. That would be disappointing, I thought, but maybe necessary.

I found a private family bathroom. You know, one of those ones with just one room. This was a victory, but immediately upon entering I realized the air conditioning didn't ventilate in this one room. An obstacle, sure, but not unsurmountable.

Earmuffs again, boob-a-phobes - I was still at this point unable to feed baby without pretty much taking off all items of clothing from the waste up. This feels very vulnerable to do, but nevertheless, I did it, right in that family bathroom. I washed my hands. I set the baby on the changing table. I got situated. We started our sweet little ritual. OUCH IT FREAKING HURT.

Then, a perfect storm came upon us. It started to get really hot in there. SO HOT. In Arizona, in the spring and summer months most especially, it is absolutely imperative that every room has air conditioning ventilation. Imperative. That's why I'm introducing legislation to make it a capital crime not to (just kidding, but I did find out this week that the state legislature passed a bill saying school students are allowed to eat their own vegetables that they grow in their own gardens, which is vexing, to say the least. Not the vegetables; the fact that this bill needed to be written and then needed to be passed. I digress).

Anyway it started getting really hot. Then, another thing happened - people started knocking on the door to get in. At first it was just a polite knock, then they tried the handle and realized it was locked. Then the knock got a little more aggressive, which told me it was not a new full-bladdered person but instead the same full-bladdered person who had knocked a minute ago, and he/she was getting impatient, and even more full-bladdered, probably. This caused a small amount of stress that soon began growing.

Then, baby started really hurting me. I mean you guys, it HURT.

Suddenly I had a moment of perfect clarity. Total and perfect clarity - unlike any other moment I've had in my life up until this point. I'm not kidding about that - I know this is a small situation - but throughout parenting for five weeks (five total weeks!) I've learned that small situations can be really Big Lessons, and this was one.

I saw my two decisions in front of me, and neither held any particular moral weight, which is a very large accomplishment for me. I could give up trying to feed her, get packed up, leave the sauna family bathroom and let Angry Knocker in, and go home. That would be ok. Or, I could keep trying, let the Knocker battle it out in the regular many-stalled bathroom down the hall, accept that I was going to get a little sweaty, and just keep going. That would be ok too. Everyone would be ok.

I looked at it objectively, decided I didn't really want to get home, that the baby was still getting fed despite the stress, and I kept going. We got a full feeding in. I ran my hands under cold water afterwards and wasn't so hot anymore. The person stopped knocking. We went back to the dinner.

This is the point when I realized I can do anything. And I did! I did do anything. I birthed a little baby girl. I endured a really painful post-birth infection, and lived to talk about it. I fed her in a public restroom when it really hurt and people were mad that I was monopolizing the room. I looked at a situation with more than one option, chose one of those options, and didn't feel guilty about it. I have a feeling that is going to be a big part of motherhood and I'm real, real glad I did it somewhat successfully once. Now the next time a similar situation happens, I'll hopefully be able to do it again, stress-free.

Now I have to ask the question that's plagued me since I started this post about 20 whole minutes ago: is this now a mommy blog???? SAY NO!!!!!!!!!