As you all know, I recently had a baby. He is my second son, and came into the world very quickly to the soundtrack of his mother screaming for drugs (and not getting them, which actually was awesome.) My husband was there to witness every
gory beautiful moment. The blood and fluids, pushing and tearing, and more blood and more fluids… he saw it all. He’s witnessed all the beautiful moments since; my body all leaking and squishy, everything trying to find it’s way back to where it started. Then the horrible cold I got a week after giving birth, (complete with loud phlegmy coughs and constant nose blowing) and the frightening case of pink eye in the midst of the horrible cold, when my face was swollen and my eye was oozing and crusted shut. He’s come home from work most days to find me in holey yoga pants and a tank top, covered in leaked breast milk and spit up, hair in a very messy braid and teeth un-brushed. Many times, I’m borderline insane and up to my elbows in diapers and smeared food and the mess little boys bring. My husband has loved me through it all, even if he has refused to kiss me a few times. But I think yesterday he reached his breaking point.
You see, it was my first day back to work and I was testing out my pumping schedule. Pumping milk is NOT the same as breast feeding. A baby is far more efficient at getting milk out of the boobies than the pump, so in order to pump enough for Grant to eat at daycare, I need to pump every time he’d normally eat, plus once or twice more if I don’t get enough each session. It is all very stressful at first. So, I pumped in the morning at work and got around three ounces which is standard for me. Then I picked Mike up for lunch and we went home to eat. As Mike was heating up leftovers for us, I set up shop at the dining room table and got to work. He turned around to ask me something and was surprised to find me hooked up and milking away.
“Oh! you’re just whipping ’em out right now?” He brought my tuna casserole over and placed it in front of me.
“Well yeah, I have to eat and I have to pump and I don’t have a ton of time!” (Aren’t I apologetic?) I used my left arm to hold both flanges in place and dug in. He sat down across from me, turned his attention elsewhere and ate his lunch.
You may imagine that any husband would be happy to have a set of triple D’s on display across the lunch table, but if you’ve never used a breast pump or seen someone use a pump, let me explain why this isn’t so. Plastic flanges go over the nipples and are hooked up to long tubes that are hooked up to a machine. The machine creates suction through the tubes, which pulls the nipples into the flanges, drawing milk out and into bottles screwed onto the bottom of the flanges. You can adjust the speed and suction power according to your needs. After two babies and constant breastfeeding for two years, my nipples must be super tough, because I’m pumping along at a suction power that would rival a Dyson, somewhere around 65 miles per hour. It isn’t pretty. But it is necessary, so there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.
Fast forward to 11:00 pm, when Mike is laying in bed scrolling through Facebook on his phone while I’m getting ready for bed, chattering about my recent bowel habits and gas issues. As I pull my pajama top over my head, my amazing man turns his big brown eyes my way and says,
“Oh… the dating years are definitely over…”
I start laughing and reply, “Yes they are, but would you really want to go back to those awkward days when we couldn’t be comfortable and talk about this stuff?”
He looked directly into my eyes, and said, “Some times… YES!”
It all came rushing into my brain like a flash-flood. The bad hair, bad breath, bad skin, facial hair, hairy legs, smelly gas, complaints about constipation, non-stop yoga pants, spit-up, boogers, breast milk and who could forget; all of the glorious things that come along with labor. This has been our lives for the last three plus years. Eleven years ago when we started dating, I didn’t poop if he was home. I got ready behind closed doors, so when I stepped out looking fabulous it seemed effortless. I checked my make-up regularly and carried breath mints and gum. My hair was styled, I wore perfume, my clothes were matched and clean. My bowels never made it into our conversations eleven years ago.
Well, all of that is history. There’s no going back to that life. Let’s be honest, once your husband witnesses pregnancy and child birth, a little part of your sex-kitten self runs away and dies. And that’s ok! Because real life and love and marriage isn’t all about being sexy all of the time…but it shouldn’t be about being a gross mess all of the time either. So, I’m going to try to reel myself back in. Not just for Mike’s sake, but for my own as well. I already don’t recognize most parts of my anatomy in the mirror anymore, I don’t want to become completely unrecognizable as time goes by. I’m also going to stop talking about poop. Maybe not the kids’ poop, because sometimes I need sympathy, but definitely my own poop. I think he’ll appreciate it. As for pumping in front of him; well, a baby’s gotta eat and so do I, so lunch-time pump-time is here to stay… at least for a little while.