Several days ago, having checked on the kids in the living room and given the helper feeding instructions for the baby, I went into the bedroom with my breastpump. About 10 minutes later, a little thump on the floor, which I can just make out through the closed door. At first I think it’s a toy, but as the baby cries and cries, that sickening feeling of fear creeps in and I rush out.
Our helper had failed to secure the seatbelt on the feeding chair before turning her back on the baby to mix her rice cereal. In what was probably her first attempt at a jailbreak, Little Miss was successful. (I can imagine everyone making a mental note to put all the buckles on now, even if they’ve never seen their baby trying to climb out of the chair either. You totally should.)
First off: baby’s fine. The helper says she fell on her head, which of course terrified the hell out of us – that Baby Bjorn feeding chair is high and the floor hard – but aside from a little redness that I couldn’t even see but Kings said was there when he first held her, before it disappeared soon after, we couldn’t find any other marks on her head to indicate a fall. In retrospect I think her first point of contact with the floor was not her head after all, thank God. The helper’s back had been turned, she must have only seen the baby already on the floor.
After the “expected” stuff happened – helper crying hysterically, me yelling but not losing it at first, calmly telling the helper no tears can fix it if something happens so she really has to not be careless, then totally losing it when the helper, having calmed down, starts with the excuses, “only left her for a few minutes,” and “it happened so fast” – I couldn’t get over the sick, weak-kneed feeling. I was weak-kneed for a long time.
I was home. It’s not even like I go in to work anymore. It was 10 minutes in the next room. And my baby still fell off that chair.
Especially when the helper went on to say she “never” dropped any of the 4 kids she cared for in Singapore. All I could think was (you never dropped any of those kids and you complain all the time they were ill-behaved and you never got to go out on Sundays and here you dropped my precious baby???)
That night was when the depression started. I’ve just been riding it out, I’m pretty sure it’s heavily hormone-related because I got so freaked out I couldn’t get the milk out even after 2.5 hours pumping non-stop into the night, alternating ice packs and hot towels Kings would hand me from the microwave in between Jet Li/ Stephen Chow/ Jackie Chan channel hopping, til my skin burned red.
Boy, it’s like you live and die by the breast pump. You know that has to be it, and yet you’re all We All Die In The End What’s The Point. That little lump that hurts so bad… is just…. there. A little hunk of pain and misery in your flesh. The stress of knowing if it doesn’t come out it’s going to come out – in a needle. And it’s simply not unclogging because first, you have to unclog your mind. I learned that from The Night Of Hot Towels, Ice Packs And Channel Hopping By Kings.
I went online to our church website and listened to a sermon. I shit you not, that is how I got myself unclogged. I was desperate, it was that or That Time One Of My Beloved Friends And Breastfeeding Champions Had To Have A Needle Inserted To Draw The Milk Out. Or That Other Time One Of My Other Beloved Friends And Breastfeeding Champions Got That Blister Thing.
Oh, and I’m not linking the sermon because I’m not sure how the pastor is going to feel about me unclogging myself by listening to his sermon. (But for the record it was not something related to breastfeeding or unclogging one’s self.) But it will tell you a thing or two about how powerful the mind is. (And a thing or two about good sermons <shrugs>.)
So I’m unclogged. For now. Obviously I don’t ever want to be that clogged up again, which is scary, when I’m wondering about beginning to wind down my pumping – Little Miss just loooooves solid food (but is way more picky than the bro – you can’t serve her the same meal twice and so it’s a juggle of baby food jars and huge reliance on her meals diary whereas we didn’t even keep one for the bro and even now he can eat the same thing for dinner day in, day out, 5 days a week, no problem) but interestingly has also made the connection between Walking Milk Machine (a.k.a. Mummee) and breast pump and her bottles, so every time she sees me pumping she wants a taste. Which is kinda cute because she’ll roll her way up to me on the bed, into my lap, (still no crawling yet but she can support herself standing quite well) and try to chomp on the bottle until she gets a taste.
But at some point it occurred to me the pumping was taking me away from my kids (oh, the irony!)