Friday, November 4, 2016

annie's birth story - VBAC

So many people have been asking me to write up my birth story, so even though I rarely post on my blog anymore, here it is. Birth story for our beautiful Annie.

I was a week overdue and utterly convinced that my body would never go into labor when I went in for my 41 week appointment with my doctor. He and I discussed induction options, but since I was going for a VBAC and so desperately wanted to go into labor on my own, we decided that we wouldn’t induce until I hit 42 weeks. So one more glorious week of being the size of Germany. Oh joy.

But, just because what the heck, I asked him to strip my membranes for me to see if that would help move things along. It wasn’t going to work, though. My son had stayed in until my induction at 12 days late, and we all saw how that ended up (see c-section birth story here). I was pretty sure my body didn’t know what the heck it was doing when it came to labor.

So I went home and while my son napped, bounced the crap outta my birth ball and ran up and down the two flights of stairs to our apartment 20 times (yes, I looked ridiculous. No, I didn’t get it on tape.) If that wasn’t gonna get baby girl to come out, nothing would.

No mucus, no bloody show, nothing. I was even having fewer Braxton hicks than normal. Curse you, labor gods, and how much you hate me. You guys are dumb.

So that night I went to a friend’s baby shower and then turned in for the night, already resigned to the fact that my baby wasn’t going to vacate my uterus any time soon.

In my dreams, I was feeling these steady pains that kept coming and going. But one of those pains finally woke me at 3:28am. I rolled over and closed my eyes. There was no way I was in labor.

But then at 3:36 I had another one. And then at 3:44. And holy crap, ow.

Finally after the contraction at 3:48, I had had enough of trying to take these lying down. I got up and moved into the rocking chair in the corner and tried to relax with some hypnobabies tracks.

But relaxing wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it would be as the contractions got more and more painful. Pretty soon I was mooing like a cow through them and wondering how the flip my husband was still sleeping through all the noise I was making.

Somewhere around 5am after a particularly painful contraction, I started yelling at him to wake up because if I had to be in all this pain, the least he could do was not snore at me while I was doing it. ;)

He started timing contractions for me while I hopped in the shower. Pretty soon he said, “um, hon? The last few have been a minute long and only four minutes apart… maybe we should call the doctor.”

So I called and got connected to the on-call doctor. I tried to explain what was going on and that we had a 15 minute drive to drop off our toddler and then a 45 minute drive after that to get to the hospital when a huge contraction hit and I doubled over the bed and tried not to moo in her ear but failed miserably. When my contraction was over, she told me to head in now.

I hung up and we ran around stuffing last-minute things into our hospital bag. Then I went in to wake up our son and before I could lift him out of his crib, I got hit with another hard contraction. I moaned my way through it while my son giggled and started mimicking my horrendous noises. Award goes to him for being the only person to make me laugh during a contraction. J

By now, the contractions HURT and I wanted to be at the hospital NOW.

We loaded up the car and took off to my parents’ house. Contractions were absolutely unbearable sitting down, so I turned around and knelt in the seat with my arms wrapped around the headrest.

Then we hit traffic. It was around 7 in the morning at this point so… rush hour. Yip-freakin-ee. It was a total parking lot. Not moving at all.

After about ten minutes and only moving maybe a quarter of a mile, we finally reached an area where there was a shoulder to drive on, and my husband pulled out and booked it down the side of the road to the next exit.

We dropped off our son and sped out on our way to the hospital. Finally. I was going to get my epidural soon. I could make it.

But then before we even were able to get on the other highway headed toward the hospital, we got caught in ANOTHER traffic jam. For almost an HOUR!

We waited not so patiently until we finally got onto the highway. Luckily, my contractions were still holding steady at 4 minutes apart, so I was confident we’d make it to the hospital in time.

At this point, it was pretty silent in the car. I’d gotten into a rhythm of just whispering “peace” to myself over and over with each breath during the contractions, so my husband was spared all the livestock sounds I’d been making earlier, and then resting in between to gear up for the next one. With each contraction, I chanted to myself that we were almost to the hospital and then I could get my epidural and everything would be okay. I watched the miles pass by on the GPS, counting down how many contractions I had left until I’d be at the hospital.

We finally arrived and they got me into triage. They were saying things about monitoring the baby and checking my cervix and completing my check-in paperwork, and I lost it. I started crying and hyperventilating about how much time all of that was going to take. I just wanted my epidural!

So with my first labor, I was kind of pathetic. When the contractions got hard, I was a crying, blithering mess. It was pitiful. This time, I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was because my sleep hadn’t been very good and then I’d been up since 3:30am, but I was very irritable. I spent the whole time in triage plotting the demise of every stinking nurse or doctor that came in there and DIDN’T give me an epidural. Which was probably like eight people.

Two hours later, they finally declared me a 6 and sent me down to labor and delivery. At this point it was around noon.

My L&D nurse came in and started preparing things for my room. I breathed through a few contractions with her there, trying to be patient, before I finally blurted, “how soon can I get that epidural?”

She blinked at me. “Oh, did you want one?”

That nurse, bless her heart, she was such a nice nurse and I ended up loving her… but at that moment I wanted to punch off her face. But I did the whole self-control thing and said, “yes, please” instead.

“Okay, I’ll go get that figured out for you then,” she said, and then she left the room.

My husband turned to me and asked, “are you sure you even need one, babe?”

If looks could kill, he would have been deader than Derek Shepherd (woops... too soon?) Had nobody heard me begging for the epidural for the last two hours since we got to the hospital?! I just gritted my teeth and said, “yes, I’m sure" and promised myself I could pulverize him later where there would be fewer witnesses.

Sometime around noon, they checked my cervix, said I was at a 7, and then gave me that blessed epidural. All was right with the world. I instantly was no longer the wanting-to-punch-and-cuss-out-anything-that-breathed woman and was now blissfully numb. Aaaaah, the epidural. Hands-down man's greatest invention second only to peanut butter.

I was checked a few more times and then around 3:15, my doctor came in and announced it was time to push. Three contractions later, my little Annie girl was born.

7 lbs 7 oz of perfection, she was the most beautiful little girl I’d ever seen.

As she lay on my chest, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d cheated because this labor had been so much easier than last time. With the last one, I was in so much pain. We fought tooth and nail for each measly centimeter of dilation, and then I pushed for four hours after the epidural wore off. Then I’d been wheeled into an OR where I got sliced open. I didn’t get to hold my baby for hours, and I spent the first twelve hours of my son’s life in a total fog of pain medication. I don’t even remember the first time I breastfed him. The whole thing had been SO hard.

This time was completely the opposite. I’d gone into labor on my own, and my body progressed the way it was supposed to completely Pitocin-free. My epidural worked this time. I pushed for three contractions, and out she came. The second degree tear I got was absolutely nothing compared to the pain of the cesarean.

I was shocked. Was this really what childbirth was like for most people? It was amazing.

Now, at six weeks old, our little Annie is a joy. She smiles easily and loves to kick around and aaaah her cheeks! We just adore her and can’t imagine life without her.

(PS VBAC? I totally recommend it.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

life lately

Yes, I know. It's been a really long time since I last posted. I'm awful.

But I'll let you in on a little secret. It's actually a big-ish secret. Almost 100k words of a secret.

In the time since I last posted, I wrote the rough draft of a novel. (!)

Every time I considered writing a blog post, I instead decided to channel my writing into my book. I actually busted the whole thing out from mid-September to mid-November and have since been working on revision, so yeah. I've been busy with it.

This is not my first novel, but it's definitely the best one I've done so far... which hopefully means any future novels I write will continue to see me improve my craft.

My dream is to have this (or any) novel traditionally published, so we'll see how that goes.

For now, at least, you have my excuses for why I've been a little MIA here on the blog.

And, for updates, here are a few highlights of what has been going on with us over the last few months:

Baby Boy started walking!

He dressed up as the old man from UP for Halloween, and I basically died of the cuteness.

He turned ONE and I was pretty dang proud of the smash cakes and matching cupcakes I made for his birthday party!

We spent Christmas celebrating my brother's wedding and stuffing our faces with far too many treats.

Currently counting the days until spring. Thank goodness that groundhog didn't see his shadow or I'd probably cry right about now. :)

And that's about it!

Hopefully I'll post more often than once every six months, but at this point, I'm keeping my book higher on my priorities list than the blog, so don't be too surprised if you don't see me around here as often.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

we survived!

So I did this thing. It was a crazy thing that I will likely not ever ever ever in a zillion million years ever do again ever. It is called Travel Alone On An Airplane With A Lap-Sitting 9-Month-Old And Not Checking Any Luggage Or Bringing Any Strollers. Ha.

Some moms are rock stars. Some moms can handle themselves and their babies with ease (or at least look like they do it with ease). Some moms fly all the time with their babies.

I am not one of those moms. I'm a high-anxiety kind of mom. I'm the type of mom who sometimes nearly has panic attacks when she thinks about breastfeeding in public. I am not the kind of mom that handles things on her own very well.

But I did the Thing. It was scary and it was long but I made it and Bug made it and I managed to not completely start crying at all during the trips (even though there were a few close calls).

I thought it would be easy because back when Bug was 6 weeks old, Husband and I flew to visit some family and Bug was a little angel and slept the whole time. Well. A newborn and a 9-month-old wiggly crawler are two verrrrrrry different things.

Here is my very official list of scary things I survived this past week during our flying escapades:

1 Baby-wore a nearly 25 lb wiggling infant through security while hauling a 25 lb backpack and a 25 lb diaper bag. I'm not exaggerating. It was so heavy I wanted to die. But at least now I'm buff.
2 Didn't lose anything in security. Except maybe my mind.
3 Managed a baby meltdown (two hours past nap time) while waiting at our gate without having a meltdown myself.
4 Rode on FOUR different planes (roundtrip traveling, a layover on each trip).
5 Breastfed on a plane three times and managed to not have a panic attack or flash anyone or die.
6 Got my baby to sleep in my arms for a little bit! (Believe me, if you knew my baby, you'd be impressed with my mom skills right now.)
7 Changed a diaper in the plane bathroom while flying and only dropped the poopy diaper (poop down, mind you... gross.) on the floor once!
8 Went whole day without peeing. Because when you have that much luggage and that much baby, you have no choice.
9 Read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" approximately 574,309,397 times.
10 Kept baby and self alive.

So once I got home and saw Husband again, I told him I would never ever do that by myself ever again. Either Husband is coming with me and we're checking all of our luggage except the diaper bag and we're bringing a stroller, or I'm not going. I am just fine with never leaving our town again, so family--if you want to see us or our freaking adorable baby ever again, you might have to come to us. ;)

Moms out there who fly with kids all the time, you are all my heroes. I don't know how you do it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

how we wore it // in which Husband gets artsy with the sunsets

So I don't know if you remember the last time I participated in the How We Wore It collaboration, but it was so much fun I wanted to do it again!

If you don't remember it, let me clue you in. Brooke from Silver Lining gives us all a base photo. We look at the photo and figure out how to mimic the outfits using articles of clothing that we already own. Pretty basic, right?

Except I'm kind of fashion-missing (and also recently read "The Uglies" series, so can't stop talking like the characters in that book), so this collaboration is a bit of a challenge for me. But with the help of my fabulous husband, I think I came up with something pretty good!

So this is the base photo:

Great, right? Except I have nothing like that. I don't own any hats, shorts, or heels, let alone anything with fringe on it. So I had to get a little creative. I decided to do something with a similar vibe.

So... no hat, but I thought I'd add in a little hair accessory to make up for it. And I'm once again rocking my favorite new flats because I really do only own 6 pairs of shoes (half of which are just flip flops).

The lace overlay shirt was given to me by my friend Mary, who always has great clothes and likes to give me her leftovers. I love this one!

As I've stated before, no outfit is complete without jewelry. :)

And then Husband really wanted to get some artsy sunset-behind-me photos. Since he was such a good sport about following me around to take my picture, I let him. I think they turned out pretty good!

And that's how I wore it! Check out the other lovely bloggers who participated!

Brooke at Silver Lining
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Jana at Bouvardian
Alexa at He and I
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Brooklyn at A Little Too Jolley
Ashley at Absolutely Ashley
Danica at Danakin Skywalker
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi
Sharlee at My New Lines
Emma at Ever Emma
Kyla at FordOlogy
Kalyn at Geez Louise
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Bonnie at Life of Bon

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

my boys

These two boys are my entire life.

One loves pickles and pizza, the other loves scrambled eggs and watermelon chunks. One drinks Mountain Dew and the other drinks breastmilk. One sleeps through the night, and the other... well, we're working on it.

I love these two boys. I wouldn't trade the life I have with the two of them for anything in the world.

I met one on a big group date back in 2011. He was with his girlfriend, I was with his best friend. I thought he was hilarious.

The other one I met in an OR in 2014. He was soft and puffy and wide-eyed. I was in an exhausted, happy fog. He recognized the sound of my voice and it made me cry.

With one I love to snuggle up and watch Netflix shows for hours (our current favorites are Food Network Star and Gilmore Girls). We love to go for long drives and eat Thai and Indian food together.

With the other, I snuggle up in the rocking chair to nurse five or six times a day. We love to go for long stroller walks and mash up bananas together at lunchtime.

One is the love of my life. We laugh, we cry, we hold to each other during the hard times and tease each other mercilessly during the good times. He thought I was gorgeous even the day after my c-section. When my belly was huge and doughy and painful and my body was swollen with medication and fluids. When I was so exhausted I could barely move and in so much pain I needed his help to stand. He told me so. He told me, "You're the most beautiful mother in the world." And I loved him even more.

The other is the joy of my life. We giggle and explore the world together. We play with toys and smack windows and drool all over everything (well... he does at least...). And he thinks I'm the best mommy in the world. He chortles and squirms with joy when he sees me. He clings to my shirt and grabs onto my hands with his little fists and laughs at all of my funny faces. He's the only one who has ever grown inside of me, the only one who has heard my heart beat from within. He knew my voice and my smell from the moment he was born, and he changed me completely with his entrance into this world.

These are my two boys. They are my everything. They are my forever.

Monday, August 3, 2015

that first moment

I was so scared. The fear was tangible, like a thick tar running through my veins. My fingertips tingled as tiny tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes.

I stared up at the surgical lights ahead and tried not to think about what was going to happen on the other side of that blue paper curtain just under my chin. The lights were bright and reminded me of the dentist. But bigger. And scarier. Because somebody was going to cut open my abdomen today.

The tears trickled down into my hair and ears. My head was foggy. Whether the fog was from the fear, from the long hours of fruitless pushing, or from whatever was pumping in through my IV, I couldn't tell.

My husband stood by my head and held my left hand. He was so quiet.

I wanted to ask him if he was scared, too. Did the fear feel like he was bleeding inside too?

But I couldn't quite figure out how to make the words. My mouth tasted like cotton.

And then it began. A slight sting at the bottom of my swollen belly.

"Ow," I moaned weakly.

"You can feel it?" my husband asked, bending down so his cheek was inches from mine.

"Yeah," I whispered.

But then the sensation faded and all that was left was a numb tugging.

"Okay," my doctor said. "You're going to feel some really intense pulling. It's going to be all right."

Then the strangest sensation--a feeling I'd never felt before. Like my insides were coming out, but painlessly.

And then I heard the little cry. It was small and quiet and wet-sounding. One single little wail.

I blinked up at the surgical lights. "Whose baby is that?" I asked through the fog. "Is that our baby?"

"Yes," my husband laughed. "That's our baby!"

He let go of my hand and walked over to where the baby was. I heard wet suctioning noises and happy chatter from the nurses and doctors and my midwife. "Let's get that boy on a scale! He's big!"

But it took a long time for the baby to cry again. The suctioning noises continued.

"Where is he?" I asked.

My husband came back to my side for a moment. "He's just over there. He's got mucus in his lungs. He'll be okay. Don't worry." He was so calm. So I tried to be calm, too.

And then all at once, that baby started wailing just like a newborn should. The sweet, sad, irresistible sound of brand new life.

I craned my head around to see my new son where they put him on a scale. 8 lbs 15 oz. Not too big, but definitely not small.

Seconds later, he was all wrapped up and the nurse was unstrapping my left arm so I could hold my sweet boy for the first time. I pressed my cheek against his warm, soft one.

"Hello, baby," I was saying. "Hello! I love you so much! You're so handsome, sweet boy..."

He licked his lips and his eyes looked all around for me. He was so precious. So tiny. So perfect.

The fear was gone, replaced entirely by ecstasy and joy and a love so intense I felt like I might burst.

This was the moment. The moment they all talk about. I was somebody's mommy now.

Read my full birth story here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

all you ever wanted to know (but felt too awkward to ask) about my lazy eye

I've got a lazy eye. Yep, it's true. If you've met me in person, you probably have already noticed that. If, however, you're one of my internet readers who I've never met, that little factoid might be new information. So here's all you never wanted to know about what it's like to have a lazy eye.

why does it do that?
Hmmm... let's see if I can make this super long story into a short one. I was born with a condition called "Strabismus," which basically means that I was permanently cross-eyed. Cute on a baby. Not so cute on an adult. The problem with having your eyes always crossed is that your brain gets two different images instead of one to blend together when you look at things. So, being super efficient, the brain learns how to shut off the "feed"coming from one eye.

When I was about four years old, I got two separate surgeries to align my eyes. However, my brain had gotten so used to only using one eye at a time that it forgot how to use both at the same time. So I developed what is called "Amblyopia." Which sounds like a magical fantasy land, but really just means that whichever eye I'm not using tends to do whatever the heck it wants--unbeknownst to me. Hence: Lazy Eye.

can you see two things at once?
Man, I wish! I'd love to get all Mad-Eye Moody and be able to look around with one eye while I concentrate on another thing with the other eye. Sadly... no. I only see what the non-wandering eye sees. Lame, I know.

so you can't see with both eyes, ever?
I can actually totally use both eyes at once... it's just doesn't happen automatically. I have to concentrate on using both eyes. But general looking around? Nah. I'll just use one eye at a time. Way easier.

does it affect your vision?
Not much. The only difference, really, between what I see and what the average Joe sees is that I have a less developed depth perception. Using two eyes to see something gives you two ever-so-slightly different angles on an object. That's what allows you to see it in 3-D. Only using one eye at a time takes that ability away. Which means I run into things a lot more, suck way worse at sports involving quick-moving balls, and often pour my milk right onto the table instead of into my cereal bowl. It's really more entertaining than anything, really.

Also, I do have a slight lack of peripheral vision on one side just due to the fact that I'm only using one eye. But... I've never not had this problem, so I don't know any different.

can you drive?
Yep! They don't test your depth perception when you get your driver's license... only your vision. So I was all set! I tend to be way more cautious when I drive, though, since I have a harder time judging distances.

does it bug you?
Nope!There was a time in my past when I really hated it and just wished I could be like everyone else... but I came to terms with it. Now I love that I'm unique and not just like everybody else. And the people who know me best don't even notice it anymore. 

It also doesn't bug me a bit when people ask me about it. As long as they're nice. The only time it's annoying is when I can tell it's making other people uncomfortable. That's no fun.

There you have it! Everything you ever wanted to know about my lazy eye but felt too awkward to ask. :) You can read a more in-depth description of the issue here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

it's time for a little link love!

Hey everybody! Just wanted to let you in on some of my favorite reads this month! Check them out and enjoy!

When Did I Last Wash Your Hair? from Hannah Help Me
This one tugged at my heartstrings and prompted a sudden round of snuggles with my cute one. And by "snuggles" I mean tickling him with kisses all over since my little dude never slows down or stops moving long enough to snuggle. Love that little wiggly boy though!

On Beauty and my Postpartum Body from Silver Lining
Brooke is one of my all-time favorite bloggers. She has a way of telling stories that just plain cracks me up. This post is from about a year ago, and I still remember it and go back to read it whenever I need to remind myself that even though my postpartum body has its imperfections, it's also such a huge blessing!

A Tale of Two Birth Plans from Coffee and Crumbs
So much love for this post. I mean, seriously. My birth story went nothing like I planned, and it turned out to be beautiful and raw and wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This post reminds me of that on the days when I feel like I failed.

Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Going Through Infertility from Gabe and Alexa
So I've been incredibly blessed to be able to say that infertility is not something I've struggled with so far, but I've known people for whom it is a very real trial. I never know what to say around them because I know I have no idea what they're going through. This post really opened my eyes to that experience and helped me know what to say to those friends. Such a beautiful post.

Jennifer Lawrence Gets Her Own Post from Sierra's View
I love this post for so many reasons. One big reason is because I seriously am loving Sierra--I'm a new follower to her blog and have no idea how I missed her before now. Secondly is that I love Jennifer Lawrence--pretty much like everyone else. But this post is another post about how we just need to give our bodies some credit and stop beating ourselves up for not looking like Victoria Secret models--particularly difficult sometimes when you've got post-baby flab hanging over your belt. So go. Read. Love. Follow Sierra. You won't regret it. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

that one time on my honeymoon when i almost drowned

Once upon a time, Husband and I got married. It was a grand ol' time full of lots of "hold that kiss right there for three minutes without moving" photos and getting my dress stepped on way too many times. Best choice I ever made was to marry that guy.

Once the nuptials were over, we headed off on our honeymoon--a fantastic cruise to Key West and two islands in the Bahamas.

So we are in the Bahamas soaking up the sun and basically loving life when Husband and I decide to go down the beach toward where the waves look a little more intense--because half the fun of the beach is bouncing around on the waves, for sure.

So we dash across that gorgeous white sand and into the crystalline water. A wave crashes toward us.The anticipation builds. This looks like a good one! We both get into our best wave-resisting stances. Husband's stance is somehow awesome and he stays on his feet. Me, on the other hand... well, my stance apparently sucked.

I'm standing there, gearing up, and that wave hits my legs with a lot more force than I expected. And not only that, but there's a strong undertow. Before I knew it, that wave had picked me up and threw me heels over head in an instant. I was underwater doing somersault after somersault with no idea which way was up.

Gulping in water as the undertow pulled me over and over and over, I flung out my arms in a desperate reach for shore. My hands grasped the sandy bottom just as the wave receded and freed me from its deadly grasp.

I finally got my feet under me and rubbed the salt and sand out of my stinging eyes. "Woah," I said, stumbling around blindly.

But that was all I managed to say before yet another wave grabbed hold of my legs and pulled them out from under me once more. Tumbling and tumbling, over and over. I was half enjoying the ride and half scared out of my mind that I was going to die. Funny how often those things go together, isn't it?

This time, when the wave receded, I was left on my knees facing the shore with my swimsuit bottoms halfway down my legs completely full of sand. I hurriedly pulled the bottoms up, hoping none of the other beach goers had seen anything.

I barely had my bottoms pulled back up when another wave toppled right over me and pulled me under again. I felt my swimsuit bottoms come down yet again and prayed to heaven that I wasn't mooning the entire Bahamian beach right now. And also praying I wouldn't die.

I was watching my life flash before my eyes... the time I'd locked the keys in a running vehicle in the middle of nowhere... the time I fell asleep at the wheel and annihilated a mailbox... the time I nearly peed all over our car... the time I dyed spaghetti sauce blue...

It was then that I decided that I desperately wanted to live... if for nothing else but to have cooler things to remember next time my life flashed before my eyes.

So the next time the wave receded, I finally used my brain and got the heck outta the water (whilst pulling my bottoms back up again). My head was throbbing and I was sopping.

I decided that next time I'll just keep to the milder waves--I apparently am no match against undertow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

an open letter to the mom who doesn't like breastfeeding

You are not alone.

I know you feel alone. Everywhere you look, there are all of these happy, smiling moms nursing their babies and talking about how "breast is best." They all say how wonderful breastfeeding is, how it creates such a bond with their babies, how it is their favorite time of the day.

And then there's you.

You feel like an outsider. Like the broken one. Like the bad mom who must not love her baby as much as those other moms love their babies.

But those moms? Those moms are not the only moms out there. There are moms out there just like you.

Moms who cringe with toe-curling pain every time their babies latch. Or moms who just want to sleep and let someone else feed the baby for once. Or the moms who hate dealing with the hurtles that come with nursing in public.

There are moms out there who, just like you, just don't get how it's so gosh-dang amazing. Moms who feel guilty because they don't just adore having a tiny human sucking on them 6-12 times a day. Moms who hang their heads and cry because they just want to quit.

You are so, so, so not alone.

I've been there. Heck, I AM there. Currently still breastfeeding my eight-month-old, and even though I'm loving the stage he's in I'm secretly counting down until his first birthday when I can be done breastfeeding and I can keep my shirt on for more than six hours at a time.

I've felt guilty about it just like you. Had people tell me how lucky I am that I can make enough milk for my child. I've looked at the moms who just wish they could breastfeed their babies, and felt like the most ungrateful person in the world because I can and yet don't want to sometimes. And I, like you, have wondered what kind of horrible mom I am.

Now that my baby is older and breastfeeding has become so much easier than it used to be, it's easier to not hate it. But when my baby was new and everything was so hard? Sometimes I don't know how I made it through.

I remember the months of 90-minute-long feeds every three hours and the never-ending state of being overwhelmed because no one but me could feed him. I remember cringing and crying in pain while I waited for my nipples to get used to the abuse. I remember resenting my rocking chair and dreading the next feed. I remember breaking down sobbing once when my husband said, "I think he's hungry," and I just didn't have it in me emotionally to do it again. I remember how I thought about quitting every single day.

And now, eight months in, it's gotten so much easier than it was back then. He feeds in 15 minutes and only 5 or 6 times a day. I can't remember the last time it hurt. He sleeps through the night most nights. It's a downright pleasant experience.

And yet I still do not love it the way I always thought I was supposed to.

But now it's easier for me to see that whether or not I like breastfeeding says nothing about my quality as a mother. Just because I'm not frolicking in fields with my baby in a nursing sling suckling sweetly at my nipple does not mean that I am the world's worst mom. Just because I don't jump with joy when my baby starts smacking his lips and clawing at my shirt doesn't mean I am a failure. I am not a bad mother.

And you aren't either.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, you are a good mom. You are a wonderful mom.

Stop beating yourself up. It's okay to not like breastfeeding.

The number one thing I've learned over the past eight months: it's different for every single mother. Don't hate yourself because things didn't turn out exactly the way you imagined. You are a superhero.

Liked this post? Check out the letter I wrote to my c-section scar here or the letter to my pre-childbirth self  here. You can also read about the seven things I still suck at after seven months of motherhood or you can check out my own experience surviving a puppp rash.