Breast Milk, Spit Up, and Salt Water

I’ve been officially indoctrinated into Mommyhood – I’ve been baptized by breast milk and spit up! Kaia is a very “spitty uppy” baby. It covers my shoulder, the furniture, and her body every time she eats. We spend a lot of time burping her, changing her outfits, and washing towels, bibs, and burp clothes. The same goes for breast milk – we seem to be covered in it. If it doesn’t drip here, it sprays or leaks there. I’ve had to clean up puddles on our floor! I sleep with a towel under me at night and many times have had to summon Jason with a “Hurry, get me a towel! I’m drowning the baby!” Suffice it to say, I enjoy even these moments of Mommyhood. I’m so grateful for the fact that I can provide Kaia with ready made food anytime, anywhere for free. That free part especially works for me, Mrs. Tightwad Steele (OK, so I will spend some money on a great pair of shoes or an eyebrow wax…or a delicious brownie). Plus, an added bonus is the bonding time we get to have together when I feed her. We stare into each others eyes, sing, talk, coo, and sometimes fall asleep together. We discuss how we are going to change the world…or at least how she’s changed my world. She reminds me of how different life was inside the womb…and I tell her how much I miss that part too, but what would I do without her right here, right now, in this moment?
So, I really miss being pregnant. This feeling was quite intense the first week after Kaia’s birth. I came out of the recovery room still instinctively holding my belly, feeling for a baby that I logically knew wasn’t in there. One of the cruel realities of a C-section is that trapped air bubbles my belly made it truly feel like Kaia was still inside of me, kicing and moving around. This continued for a few days and added to my sadness of not being pregnant anymore. I had always told people that I knew I was going to miss being pregnant – it was such a special and unique experience and I cherished helping little Kaia grow. I never felt lonely when I was pregnant – I always had her. Suddenly, after Kaia’s birth, I felt a bit lonely. Empty. Happy, but lonely. With the C-section, she had come out of me so quickly, painlessly, with a sense of literal numbness. I think perhaps that added to the sense of emptiness – not seeing her emerge from my body, not working to push her out, left me feeling a bit disconnected from the birth process. I think had I experienced that process, maybe I would have had the chance to fully comprehend the fact that she was in our world now…not solely in “mine”. Nevertheless, after about a week, I began to “come back to life” and reconnect to the circle that is life…
Now that she’s here, I can barely comprehend how much I love her. When I was pregnant, I would see a new Mother and her baby and think “They are so lucky!” I couldn’t wait. Now, when I see a pregnant woman, I think “They are so lucky! Enjoy every single moment”. I think it’s a blessing that pregnancy was wonderful for me – makes it much easier to think about having many more little babies in my belly.
This morning, Kaia got to spend a few hours between Jason and I in bed. She seems to really love the closeness and warmth of lying in between us. We adore the chance to smell her sweet baby skin and hear her little “peeps” and grunts. Jason laughs and says he can’t believe a “whole person fits inside that little body”. We had a big weekend of visiting friends and shopping and it felt wonderful to get out and about. On Saturday, I bought some non-maternity clothes, albeit in sizes way larger than I ever expected to wear postpartum! But wearing clothes that don’t have a belly band and tie-back is a welcome relief. And I actually donned high heeled shoes! I’m working my way back up slowly to my stilettos…Yesterday we spend the afternoon celebrating our friends’ birthdays. Kaia experienced her first time swimming in a salt water pool and boy did she have a great time. We held her in our arms and floated her in the warm water – she looked around happily and even opened her mouth a few times to taste the water. I knew she would be our water baby! I’m sure she had a few recollections of her watery universe from just 4 weeks ago and felt buoyant once again. For me, swimming just enhanced my feeling of regaining some normalcy in my life. Parenthood is such a balance – while I could sit at home and stare at my daughter for hours, I also crave the things we “used” to do like going to a movie on a whim, or jetting off to IKEA for the day. Saturday night, Jason and I decided to go to a movie with Kaia. I fed her just beforehand to ensure she would sleep right through the showing. We bundled her up and found a perfect end seat in the back of the theatre. She was a doll through the previews and didn’t make a noise. One minute into the feature presentation and she began to wail! Jason and I looked at each other, picked her up, and headed out. We got our money back and sighed. I guess there’s always a next time! We decided to take our new roles as parents slowly…


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