>Bad Mommy

>Yesterday started with a small benign outing to my bank–I had ordered a new debit card, and it was returned to them. Of course Evan wanted to go to Toys ‘R’ Us. So we puttered around there for a while. Then we needed lunch, so that was the next trip. Then to Old Navy for some new khakis for Evan- he needs dress clothes for a wedding. But of course they didn’t have any dress shirts out, so off to another store for that. Then he needed a tie. And new dress shoes. Then off to Target for some other little stuff….

And so it went, all day long. Before I knew what was happening, we were gone all day. Zach would need a diaper change and I would change him on the seat of my car between errands. I refuse to use those changing stations in public restrooms. I know they are just teeming with bacteria. And for feeding? We used bottles. I didn’t pump at all. I still haven’t gotten over my fear of breastfeeding in public. We don’t even let Evan see me feed him or pump. And since we had Evan with us, there was no safe place.

So we get home last night, and the first thing I do is nurse Zach. Of course by the time we got home, I was so engorged it was ridiculous. But afterwards, Zach kept crying. I offered him a bottle, and he took a little bit, but kept crying. I nursed some more and he seemed content, sitting in my arms, alert and happy. But then I handed him to John so I could do something, and the minute I started to move him away from my body, he started wailing. Not average, run-of-the-mill crying, but this shrill screeching. I took him back and it stopped, though he was still fussy. I thought he might still be hungry, so tried to nurse again, and he calmed down…again. We did this for several hours, this back-and-forth little dance. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong at first. But then I realized, and I felt horrible!
In the course of the day, I met Zach’s nutritional needs with a bottle. But I never thought that by doing so, I was also bypassing his time to be close to me. Yes, I had been with him all day, but we don’t have that level of closeness when he is in his car seat in a shopping cart or strapped into his stroller. It just isn’t the same. And after trial and error, we learned that it was not simple hunger that was fueling his screams. My poor baby! Bad Mommy!
But this has me concerned. Today is my last full day off of work. Tomorrow, I have my last post-partum checkup, then my return-to-work visit at Employee Health at the hospital. I have to stop by my department afterwards to make sure all of my passwords are still working for the gazillion computer programs I use at work (1 for charting, 1 to access patient records and labs, 1 to view x-rays) and to make sure my fingerprints still allow me access to drugs throughout the hospital. Then Friday night I work my first 12. I thought the outings yesterday would be good for this reason. Zach gets practice not nursing at every feeding. A sort of separation from me while I am still with him.
Now? I am feeling horrendous guilt. Bad Mommy again. What is John going to do? 12 hours is a long day, then I also have to sleep. Is my baby boy going to flip out on him without me here? Is the bond we have built going to wither away?
Last night, I looked at Zach and started to cry. I love my life. I love my career. My job is necessary. But I do not want to leave my baby. It almost feels traumatic, this upcoming separation. So now I am even more resentful of the pregnancy from hell. If I had not been on bed rest all of those months, I could’ve taken another full month or so off of work and no one would have batted an eye. Instead, here we are. And tomorrow, I have to look my OB in the eyes and convince her I am ready to go back without a single tear.

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