My brother has requested less sappy gushing over newborn babies with perfect lips and silky hair, and more talk of the train wreck that is my postpartum body – cankles, milk-stains and all.
Just remember this request three paragraphs from now Liam, as I write in exquisite detail about the atrocities that are now unfolding on my person.
I have to say, as miraculous and other-worldly as the birth experience was, as pretty and perfect as Olive herself – the postpartum body is not a thing of beauty, not even a little bit.
After the surgery I got all stitched up and they were wheeling me back to the recovery room when I remember gingerly patting my stomach, being shocked that I could feel ribs! Hipbones! It seemed like everything had gone back to normal.
HA! At this point I don’t know that normal will ever exist again.
When I stand up I still look about six months pregnant, except it’s not cute or exciting anymore, it’s just sort of sad looking. The rotund baby bump is now just a empty little potbelly. What’s more, my milk came in on the morning of day three and suddenly I – proud A-cupper for life – have these rock-hard torpedo boobs that seem to operate completely independently of the laws of physics, gravity, common decency etc.
They’re really quite alarming looking and upon their discovery Adam and I spent quite a few moments regarding them with a sort of detached panic. Poking one gingerly with his index finger Adam said, a little sadly, “They’re not as fun as I thought they’d be.”
I looked down at the two rigid mounds pointing aggressively at him from across the hospital bed and had to agree. Fun is not the word.
That morning, day 3, I dug through my suitcase for the appallingly large nursing bras I brought with me and was shocked and horrified to see that they fit-and were even a little snug.
I stood in front of the bathroom mirror staring at myself, these ginormous boobs being barely contained by this ginormous bra, huge hospital-issued maxi-pad inside of disposable mesh underpants that were stretched up over my little potbelly to avoid my incision- I have never looked less like myself, I’ve never felt like crying more. And then (I feel like 99% of our stories include this phrase) I heard Adam literally laughing behind my back.
I turned around to see him camera in hand, documenting this, my all time body-image low. He was laughing so hard that he could hardly hold the camera still.
“Oh you like this, hey?” I said with barely controlled indignation, “You think this is funny?”
He kept laughing, little Olive bouncing around in his lap, and through choked gasps he said “You look like Trudy Wiegel.” and oh my god, oh my GOD he was right.
If you aren’t familiar with Deputy Trudy Wiegel from Reno 911, I wish I was a better writer to paint you an adequate picture. I’ve been searching around online for more than half an hour trying to find a picture of her in her underwear and this is the best I could come up with :
Trudy on the right
Now imagine this body without the bathing suit, and with my face (and before you ask, yes, actual real-life photos of this event have survived and I wrestled with posting them but you know what, pictures of me looking like THIS, while doing sultry-playboy poses for the camera – or as sultry as it can get while trying to work around a five-inch incision anyway – these are the pictures that will come back to haunt me when I am an international celebrity. I like to think I have a certain reputation to uphold and we all know that The Internets doesn’t forget!)
Anyway, standing there, looking like Deputy Wiegel, I started laughing too and then started howling with pain because of my incision and the lamaze breaths I was using to breathe through the pain and stop the stabbing jolts of laughter got Adam going even harder, which only mademe laugh harder because I kept envisioning myself as Deputy Wiegel and I suddenly realized that we were parents, and this was our parenthood: Me clad in the largest undergarments I will ever wear, bleeding from one end and and leaking milk from the other, Adam laughing the hardest I’ve ever seen him laugh, and, sleeping through it all, our brand new little daughter.
It was brilliant.
We finally left our little hospital room cocoon yesterday, and got home around noon. We got Olive settled in the bassinet made by her Grampa and as I napped, Adam made us a mini-Thanksgiving dinner. Roasted chicken with root vegetables:
and I whipped up some pumpkin cheesecake. This is a recipe that I stole from my mom and now pass off as my own (as in “Madeleine’s Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake”…my brother-in-law may be drooling a bit as he reads this) – and although I cheated a bit this time by using a store-bought crust, it is still absolutely amazing and somehow one entire cheesecake has managed to go missing and I have no idea where it went and don’t want to talk about it anymore okay?
Since being home, little Olive has settled in just fine. She’s eating like a champ and at her midwife’s visit today she had gained weight since leaving the hospital – yay! Turns out all of this milk is good for something other than soaking through sheets and shirts and towels and nursing pads and diapers and pretty much anything else absorbent within a twenty-mile radius when will it stop please god tell me it’ll stop at some point I can’t keep doing laundry like this!
(Are you happy now Liam? Are you happy now?!)
To answer the questions that everyone seems to be asking: We are getting a surprising amount of sleep (usually 2-3 hours between feedings and diaper changes), she’s breastfeeding really well and seems to be a pretty chill baby for now, content to sit and have staring contests with her Papa:
Show off her good side:
aaaand cap off a busy day by planning how to take over the world.
And despite my brother’s pleas for the contrary there will be many, many more gushy posts crammed to the brim with platitudes and pictures, because we don’t do much else these days. We are thoroughly, completely besotted with this little girl.