Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back in the saddle

My maternity leave is over and I've been back to work for two weeks now. It's going much smoother than I thought it would. But there are some adjustments that have had to be made in our lives. Going to bed earlier to accommodate getting up at 5:00 AM is probably the biggest change for me. I'm not exactly a chipper morning person. Surprisingly, I actually show up to work on time now though because I know I have to get those six hours in by noon to relieve Dave so he can go to his office downtown.

Being separated from North was also a big adjustment. Thankfully, leaving him is made so much easier by the fact that I am leaving him with Dave and not a daycare. I would be a weepy mess if I had to drop him off somewhere. Mothers that successfully adjust to daycare early on, I applaud you, and I will join your ranks when he's a bit older. But for now, we are so fortunate to be able to take turns caring for him during the day. Although I raised a bit of a stink about it at the time, I couldn't be happier about my reduced schedule at work. So here I am now eating a bit of delicious crow.

*If you're not comfortable reading about breastfeeding, I would encourage you to read no further. Also, I hate to break it to you, but we're mammals. Did I just blow your mind or what?

Being North's only food source (that sounds weird), I have to pump twice during my six hour shift away from him. I'm not sure that I will ever get used to sitting at my desk with my shirt up, pressing the edge of my desk into the breastshields in an attempt to precariously balance them and not spill the milk accumulating in the bottles. My breast pump is not of the hands free variety, hence my little balancing act. One false move and I'm wearing that liquid gold. I have thought about cutting two holes in an old bra to fit the breastshield through, thereby making it ghetto hands free. But then I'd be the cool girl walking around all day long with two big holes in my bra. I suppose I could take a lesson from Mr. Rogers constant sweater changing and alternate bras every time I need to pump. Yeah, that's seems like way more effort than I want to put into this. But back to the subject of pumping on the clock. The boobs-on-display thing is kind of strange, made more comical by the fact that my desk sits in front of a wall of windows. We're talking floor to ceiling here folks. Sure, I could pump in the kitchen or the bathroom like so many other women, but it takes time and I prefer trying to do work at the same time. If someone actually can see me pumping away at my desk from outside, I pity that poor bastard.

Breastfeeding has become extremely normal in our world and it almost doesn't occur to me how weirded out people can still be about it. It is intimate, natural and often hilarious in my experience. But pumping milk manually makes me overwhelmingly feel like a milk cow on a Sesame Street tour of a dairy farm. The main joy I get out of it is carrying my milk home each day in a little brown bag that says "Carolina Country Fresh." I'm my own little dairy farm!

I'm not complaining about the pumping though. I know I'm lucky to even have a supply. It's just a whole lot of work and organization. Between the accessory washing and drying, bag labeling, milk transporting and storing. Often, it feels like I should pursue a career in dairy to justify my preoccupation with milk. Not to mention the defrosting and bottle feeding that has become Dave's new hobby. Sometimes I wish men could induce lactation the way women can. Then again, Dave with boobs = not as cool as it sounds.

Feeding someone with your own body is still miraculous to me. It makes me wonder if other mammals are just as amazed by it all? Do mother dogs look at their litter of pups feeding off her teats and think, "so that's what those are for!" Probably not. But I'm a human with an ego alright? Damn it, there's a sense of accomplishment in knowing that your body just produced say ten ounces of milk. That's almost a can of Coke! I'm still in awe when I look at how much North has grown and think, "I did that."


Marie said...

You need this: Worth every penny spent at the Rex lactation store. ...or you could be a weirdo and cut holes in your bra...haha! =) We hope to see you guys soon!

UNCJenny said...

Oh Sonya, you have to get on board with hands free pumping! It will change your life (ok, maybe not, but I guarantee you'll like it better).

I used this method:

Sonya said...

Holy cow girls, thanks for the links! This is awesome! I love the cheap ingenuity of the ponytail holder trick! The lady that made that tutorial is a saint. A saint I tell you!

For the record though, I was pretty impressed with myself for thinking up the holes cut in old bra technique. If it worked, I would have shared it with the world and been a saint myself. Back to the drawing board...

jennybean said...
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