It’s been 3 months, 7 days since Alora joined us. Thirteen weeks gone by in a blink. We’ve had ups and downs, and we’re still feeling our way through the day-to-day experience of Parenthood. This week alone, we’ve had tears and laughter and even exhaustion although Alora has been sleeping through the night for weeks. In the 97 days since Alora showed up, we’ve changed over 650 diapers, offered a bottle 800 times, and she’s consumed 1889.1 ounces (that’s 14.75 GALLONS) of breastmilk. Woah.
My wife gets all the glory in parenthood, though. I might be able to change a diaper, but Heather is unsurpassed in all things baby related. In a word, she is incredible. From day one she has been tirelessly providing breastmilk for Alora despite our child’s delay in taking to the breast. Alora sleeps soundly while Heather has learned to live in a disrupted stacatto of a whiring machine strapped to her chest. Since we started tracking, she’s been attached to that breast beating beast a whopping consecutive total of 106 hours and 18 minutes.
Of course a few of you may have been through this whole breastmilk pumping thing (so you know what it’s like), but as a guy, I can’t help but shudder to think about the idea of having any of my body parts attached to some liquid sucking apparatus. Yeouch. Heather just shrugs and says that it doesn’t really hurt anymore. I’m not sure I believe her. (Does anyone know if you can get calluses on nipples?)
Sadly, having dual permanent hickeys isn’t even the worst woe of pumping breastmilk. The real killer is longing for connection with your little one and not being able to make it happen. While Alora still coos each morning and spends plenty of time on Heather’s chest, her sometimes playful interest doesn’t translate to bottle-free meals. As such, we continue our littany of appointments: Lactation Consults transitioned to cranial-sacral therapy and now the latest: speech therapy.
Each time, we’re met with reassurance (by credentialed professionals) that Heather is amazing. Throughout her frequent pump schedule, and the business and busyness of living life, she still finds the time to patiently offer her breasts to Alora in all sorts of uncomfortable positions: reclining, seated, planking, side lying, and my personal fav, the “Austrailian” (sidelying with the kiddo inverted.). You go ahead and try side planking after giving birth. I don’t even like planks, and I haven’t been through labor.
And then there are the unanticipated surprises.
Just when we start to think things are leveling out and success is on the doorstep, another bomb drops. Most recently, Heather injured her back: a bulging disk dashed progress and left Heather essentially bedridden until the swelling subsided. She is just now getting back to being able to lift and carry Alora after almost two weeks of enforced quasi-relaxation between pumping sessions, just in time to be headed back to work after three months spent tending to a baby.
Heather continues to persevere in a world that keeps throwing her curves. We just had a talk last night about how our particular set of circumstances (feeding, pumping, etc) is, to a degree, a wonderful blessing that has enabled Heather to make new friends, and encourage others.
Trying to fit a three-month summary of Heather’s heroic feats into a handful of paragraphs is a bit of a losing proposition. Suffice it to say, she’s a veritable superhuman, and yet still has the capacity to rub my head and show me tenderness after a long day.
How in the world could I be so fortunate to have her as my best friend and the mother of my child? Providence, I suppose.
Thanks for reading, we appreciate all of the care and comments and love.
Till next time,