The nest best thing...
Before I had my baby, I didn't truly consider the fact that I'd eventually have to separate from her. Of course, I knew I was going to give birth and have a baby, but it was hard for me to actually comprehend this separation. When you're pregnant, you carry around this baby inside of you for approximately 10 months and then, suddenly, they're born. I remember feeling anxious about that concept when I did really think about it, like that there'd come a day that this baby wouldn't be physically part of me anymore. They'd become a separate being that I'd, inevitably, have to be apart from at times and I could no longer carry her around in my womb, protected, and connected. It was the first feelings of "separation anxiety" that have now overwhelmed me.
I remember what I felt when I told my sister to have her bachelorette party when I'd be 7 weeks post partum instead of her having it when I'd be 7 months pregnant. I remember thinking that the weekend would never come because all I could think about was pregnancy and birth, nothing after, and certainly nothing that meant being apart from my baby. I just figured it was better than going to Mexico on a bachelorette party when I was 7 months pregnant. I'm someone who is typically self aware. However, I can also find myself being the most clueless girl alive. Like when I actually CHOSE for my sister to have her bachelorette when I'd have a 7 week old baby instead of when I'd be 7 months pregnant. How could I be so NOT self aware to think that I'd be ok with this plan?! At least if I had gone at 7 months pregnant Tess would have been with me, even if it was in utero. Even though I didn't have the best choices between the two, I made the choice I thought would be best. Now I find myself here today, a few days away from this Mexico trip, and I'm feeling like I've been punched in the stomach. Tess is going to forget me. Tess is going to feel abandoned. Tess is going to miss my boobs. Tess is going to wonder where I am. If you're a mom and you've left your child for the first time, you know these thoughts. One of my friends actually used the word "trauma" when describing what it was like for her to leave her baby for the first time.
Regardless of the decision I made, my sister was sensitive enough to give me the choice of when her bachelorette party would be, and I made my choice and now I'm going. When I told my friends about this trip, instead of them telling me I'd be ok, the response was almost always "she'll understand that you can't go." But would she? My baby sister, who isn't yet married and not yet a mom, who has been by my side celebrating me during every single milestone of my life, shouldn't have to understand that I have to miss celebrating her because I am now a mom. Right? I don't know the right answer to this, but my gut tells me that I need to be on this trip and I need to embrace it. It will probably be the hardest thing I have ever had to do thus far that I've made the choice to do, but I'm going to do it. Knowing I made the choice may be making it even harder. I follow @jennyandteets2 and her Instastories last week talked about how she felt it was harder to go back to work after having a baby, despite working for herself, because when you work for yourself YOU have to make the decision to be back at work. No one is telling you to. Anyway, it really resonated with me, and, of course, makes me feel that much more guilty about leaving...
So now let's talk business. Once we make the decision to leave our baby, its about getting through it and a lot comes down to logistics. For instance, how in gods name am I going to maintain my breast milk supply which is currently the only thing sustaining my child, and that I've realized means a lot to me?? Not sure if you know this, because I certainly didn't, but if you don't pump on "schedule" your supply will go down. I am very fortunate that I've been able to have a baby nurse helping me for these first two months and when I asked her how I'm going to work this out, her response was "maybe Tess and I should come so that you can come to the hotel room every 2-3 hours to feed her." Ok, I'm not bringing my 7 week old to Mexico. There has GOT to be a way to maintain breast milk AND mentally survive this trip without bringing my newborn with me to a different country.
So these are the things I've put into place (I realize that every one of my posts turns into an itemized list, I'm definitely TYPE A, forgive me and hopefully find it useful):
1. I'm going to leave 3-4 t-shirts that I've slept in and have purposely not washed for Tess to smell me. I breastfeed her for her first few feedings of the day (and then pump for midday feedings) and breastfeed again before she goes to bed. So in the absence of my boobs, at least she can smell me on a t-shirt. My baby nurse gave me this idea and it makes me feel good leaving a "part" of me with her even if its just my scent.
2. I'm making my mom move into my apartment. Call me a control freak, but I would not be able to stomach not having a "Hirschfeld" in the apartment with my baby when I'm away for the first time (my maiden name is Hirschfeld, FYI). I trust my baby nurse more than I trust myself but I just need a family member of mine there so I can call 23849 times a day, FaceTime some of those times and ask a million questions each time. I can only do this with someone in my immediate family - hence why my mom has been forced to move into my apartment. Disclaimer: my husband will be on my sister's fiance's bachelor party so that's why he can't serve this purpose of being the receiver of my harassment all weekend.
3. I installed a nest camera. This way I can look on my phone and see whats happening in my apartment and in Tess's room 24/7 and can also rewind and go back to past times. If I can't be with her, this is the NEST best thing!
4. I purchased this incredible invention:
Why has no one talked about "freeing the flying nipple." Yes, I coined this term for it being acceptable to fly on an airplane and pump. Let me explain. I will be flying during one of my "pump o'clocks" and need to figure out this pumping situation. I'm extremely liberal about breastfeeding. So, I was fully intending on openly pumping on the airplane, out in the open if need be, until my nurse and husband pointed out how that's entirely different than breastfeeding in public. There will be no baby with me, this is not as acceptable to some the way nursing a baby in public is. Good point. Pumping in the airplane bathroom wouldn't work because I need 20 uninterrupted minutes. So come in Freemie which my nurse told me about. Literally, a plastic boob you put over your boobs that you attach to your pump (which ill put under my seat with this adapter for my medela pump) put on my muslin cover and straight up chill. I dare someone to be offended.
4. I am bringing ice packs in the event I do decide to bring back breast milk. Probably not going to happen, I'm sure I need a special permit especially because I will not have my baby with me. We'll see. Also, someone should invent a breastmilk courier shipping service for this reason.
5. I'm going to try to remind myself that Tess is not going to "miss" me. She won't forget me, she won't hate me, she won't feel abandoned, and she's going to be JUST FINE.
6. I'm going to spend a lot of time reading #5 and doing my absolute best to believe it.
Wish me luck.