Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kids = Stress, Parenting = Anxiety

OK. So, we're back home and starting the process of getting used to being a family of four. The good stuff: I totally missed the Hatchling (and the feeling was definitely mutual) so it's been good to be back at home and get some snuggle time with my first baby. Baby 2.0 - let's call her Sprout, shall we? - is (so far) an extremely mellow baby, sleeping like a champ, only cries when she's hungry or needs her diaper changed, and is generally a very sweet little girl. The weather is getting warmer, we have lovely friends and relatives bringing us food and helping us out - I mean, objectively speaking, things are going pretty well.

So why do I feel like such a basket case? OK, some of it is post-partum hormones. Seriously, I could weep at the drop of a hat these days. It's annoying. And some of it is cumulative lack of sleep and the whole recovering from major surgery thing. But also, Sprout is having some eating problems and it's kind of making me want to stab my eyes out with a fork. Those of you who've been reading this blog since the early days will remember that the Hatchling had myriad problems on the nursing front, starting with being tongue tied and compounded by my low milk-supply and other fun. We had to supplement her with formula from the get-go and never managed to get her completely on the breast, though we did get into a decent groove with it and I nursed her until she was 14 months old. I had a lot of friends who had similar difficulties getting started with breastfeeding, and many of them had it much easier the second time around - copious milk supply, easy nursing, etc. And I had convinced myself that I'd be the same - you know, I put in my time in with the first one, this one would be easy sailing!

I should have known better. Now, Sprout isn't tongue-tied, and she knows how to nurse. But she is also an extremely big baby, and my supply is not keeping pace with her dietary needs. So we're supplementing again, which feels like failure. Sometimes she gets so mad that the milk isn't coming out fast enough that she won't even nurse. When I had to resort to putting droppers full of formula on my boobs while nursing so she'd keep sucking - something we had to do with the Hatchling - it REALLY felt like failure. Sprout had her first doctor's appointment today, and she's not gained any weight, so the doctor says we need to supplement even more, which at this point I'd be happy to do, only for the last day and a half she's been so sleepy it's hard to get her to eat anything at ALL. At a rational level (not a place I'm having an easy time getting to today) I know that this is something that we'll work out, we'll get past it, if I can't nurse her it's not the end of the world, etc., etc. But it's driving me nuts. I'm not enjoying the really excellent baby she is because I'm feeling so bad about not being able to feed her. (Also feeling bad about: the upheaval to the Hatchling's life; being a basket case all the time; not drinking enough water - yeah, we've hit absurd levels.) I HATE that I feel like a failure for the nursing not coming easily. I hate how much it will bother me if I end up not being able to nurse Sprout. I hate that I'm feeling so anxious when I really thought that the anxiety would be better this time around - when it SHOULD be better this time around. I hate that I'm already projecting that things will always suck when chances are that next week or even tomorrow I'll probably feel much better. Argh. I also hate that I can't write a more engaging damn blog post. OK. Sorry for the venting. Here are the positive things I'm trying to focus on when I feel fail-ey:

1. Look, she's really damn cute, OK? I mean, she is a Very. Cute. Baby.
2. Having had feeding problems before, we're at least prepared with all the techniques, so I have some idea what to do in response.
3. The Hatchling is being a total trouper even though all this is clearly stressing her out.
4. Mr. Squab continues to be a tower of strength.
5. This baby actually sleeps in the car, something the Hatchling never quite grasped.
6. My mother-in-law is here, cooking and taking care of us, and she brought a huge batch of my favorite molasses cookies with her, one of which I am going to go eat.

Just ... remind me to focus on this list, ok?