Thursday, February 2

Guilt

So, I've been back at work 1+ month.  Colby's a mess about it.  The girls don't really care as long as they eat.  But we should be been quarantined by the CDC because we've had so much sickness run through here in the last 1.5 months it's just ridiculous.  The latest was a nasty stomach bug that hit me on Sunday, then Johnny, then Colby and Zoe in a 5 hour period.  It lasted much longer than that though- I got off the luckiest and was fine by Monday afternoon.  Johnny and the kids are still struggling to get back to normal.  

But when I was sick?  It was brutal.  Not the throwing up part -- really, being pregnant gets you used to that.  Instead it was the total achiness/tiredness/just blah that was tough.  Because of it I had a stretch of 8 or so hours Sunday into Monday without pumping.  I just couldn't convince myself to get out of bed -- everyone was finally sleeping and Johnny's mom was helping with the sick kids anyways so I was enjoying the rest.  Then Monday I went back to normal (normal being 9-10 times a day when home all day, pumping every 2-3 hours).  Then we watched the documentary American Teacher (watch it!) and there was a new mom-teacher who was pumping and then at the end of the movie she was finished pumping and she said something like "My whole life got a whole lot easier when I was done pumping."  Or something like that.

Then Monday night I was laying in bed unable to sleep and I kept fantasizing thinking about stopping pumping.  I wouldn't have to spend my entire 50 minute lunch period sitting at my desk pumping; I could get work done and maybe some day catch up.  I wouldn't have to wake up 2 times a night (at midnight and 3am) and get up at 5am to pump to pump for 30 minutes at a time; I could sleep a little more.  I wouldn't have to spend 30 minutes every 2 hours hooked up while the girls attach the tubes; I could lay on the ground playing with them.  I wouldn't have to lug my pump to Texas in a few weeks when Colby and I travel.   It all seemed so great.  I went to sleep convinced that I was done.

The next morning I wasn't so sure.  I started to feel guilty and a bit selfish.  The girls are just over 3 months away from 1 year.  Why couldn't I last until then?  What if I ran out of the frozen stash too soon?  Why make us spend $30 a week on formula?  Why couldn't I be super mom?

Now you know I formula fed Colby, so it's not that I'm against formula. But I CAN pump.  I CAN produce the milk.  I CAN feed them.  I couldn't do the same for Colby.  So guilt is huge this time around.  With Colby?   I was fine.  

So now I'm still stuck in limbo.  Right now I'm letting myself sleep through the night (or at least from waking to waking -- the girls are still up about 2-3 times each during the night) from 11-5:30.  But it saves me about 1-1.5 hours of sleep that I would usually have spent pumping.  I pump around 10:30pm then not again until around 6:30am.  Then again around 12:30pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, and back to 10:30pm.  So really, I've cut down and now pump about 7 times (sometimes less).

I'm still dreaming of it being over, but like I said -- GUILT.  Or really, more than guilt, I think it's just the pressure I've put on myself to be "Super Mom".  Super Mom would be able to work, take classes, take care of 3 kids, get zero sleep, cloth diaper, make all her own baby food (I still find this fun, though), master a March of Dimes team, and still pump every 2 hours.  I'm kind of disappointing myself that I can't (or, really, that I can but am willing to step away for my own comfort).

So that's where I am with that.  I have to decide where I am fully going (trying to up the number of pumps again to get back to where I was and full supply or letting it dwindle off) before Colby and I leave for Texas on the 19th!

6 comments:

Melanie said...

I think I never wrote a comment but I have been following your blog for over a year bow.
I had the same thoughts when my younger son was that age. He was 100% breast feeding until he was 8 months and then started eating "normal" food. I thought I would never get him off of me but then again I thought I could never let him off of me. I was not sure what I was going to do. Also I knew I had to get back to work when he turned 13 months. Just two weeks before that he stopped himself. He only got breast milk at night at that point. I was happy that I could go to work without worrying about pumping/breast feeding.
Anyway, long post short: The girls are already 8 months. Switch them over to solids and stretch your frozen milk. It is a process that will take time, most likely longer than two months. And then they are already 1 year and you actually were SUPER MOM for supplying this long, even if it was using up the frozen stash at the end. BTW I had to toss my last frozen ones (the emergency milk ;-) ) and it killed me. So make sure you use up what you have.
Sending you lots of support from Germany!!!

Anonymous said...

This is no such thing as a "Super Mom". You have done an amazing thing by pumping for TWINS for 8 MONTHS. Don't let society place undue pressures on you. Your girls will be fine no matter what. They have a mother that loves them and has their best interest in mind. And sometimes that means you have to take care of yourself first so you can take care of your children.

Jen: Proud Mom of 7 Adopted Miracle Blessings said...

Personally, I think YOU are Super Mom!!! I am amazed at all you are able to do and accomplish!!! Please give yourself a break and stop pumping if your heart isn't in it anymore... your sleep and playing with the twins and Colby instead of pumping is worth a lot more than $30 a week spent on formula... odds are, I bet you have plenty of milk in the freezer... please get some rest and at least cut back on pumping, if not quitting all together!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stace! I've commented on your blog before. I am also a teacher and although my son is now 10 I went through much of the same work/home/school struggle. I believe that even though we are made to believe we can and should do it all I now know that this is untrue. Your marriage, your health, your happiness, your career...something ends up suffering in the long run. Your are an awesome mother and the girls have had breast milk for 8 mths. You need to sleep in order to be a great mother and teacher. Let go and take good care of yourself...your family and your students will benefit from you being rested. Take time to enjoy these moments, they go so fast.

Lauren

Leah said...

Have some grace with yourself, and know that no matter what you choose, your decision will be best. Oh man though. . . being a mom is one big guilt trip. I'm completely convinced of that. I felt guilty when I stopped pumping as well. I think I could have built my milk supply back up but I choose not to and it went away. And I will say this. Life was easier when I quit pumping. I was getting better sleep and happier, and I think that rubbed of on my kids as well. I strongly believe that you have to take care of yourself first. Happy (and well rested) mom will only benefit your children.

You have so much on your plate, and I just want you to know you are doing an excellent job, and I have no doubt you are already super mom. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I found your blog while I was pregnant with twin grils. They were born May 20th, 2011, so right around the time your little ones were born. I am pumping as well and was on a schedule close to yours for a long time. Then a lactation consultant I know actually convinced me to space out my pumping more, dropping down to only 4-5 pumping sessions in any 24 hour period of time. She promised I would still make as much milk, and sometimes even more. She said optimal time in between pumping sessions (during the day) is 4 hours. At night, you should let yourself sleep through. So most days I pump 5x and some days even take it down to 4x if stuff just doesn't permit me to do it. And my milk supply stayed the same. I still pump about 52 ounces a day which is exactly what my girls eat. It seems like there is a stretch of day that you are pumping every 2 hours. Maybe try cutting one or two of those sessions out but pump for 5 mintues longer at the sessions you keep? I know it is so stressful because typically less pumping means dwindling supply, and I was really nervous to drop some pumping sessions a few months ago, but I am telling you it worked. My days became more manageable and my girls still got the right amount of milk. Also, are you girls still eating in the middle of the night when they wake up? My girls (mainly one of them) still wake up a couple of times a night but at some point I stopped feeding them when they woke up. I am not sure exactly what month it was but it was after they had each had slept through several times and when the doctor said they were gaining enough weight that I no longer needed to wake them to feed them. I do not feel like they need to be fed in the middle of the night so if they wake up now, we give them comfort or their binky and they go back to sleep. In the morning they don't even seem hungry for the first 45 minutes to an hour after they are out of their cribs. They are in good moods and playing with toys or in their exersaucers and don't even start whining for anything for quite a while. That gives me time to pump in the AM, get my older kiddo ready for daycare, etc. before I feed them. Anyway, just sharing some of my experiences and tips. I know every single situation and every single baby is different. You are such a dedicated and fantastic momma! Good luck!