I no longer recognize my own breasts. Couldn't pick them out of a pile of breasts. These aren't just bigger versions of the breasts I've always known. There have been actual structural changes to my breasts that have rendered them unrecognizable. Strangers. I'm not exactly sure how to explain it except this: My breasts now look like they would want to talk to you in the locker room at the YMCA. They would wear sensible sandals, grow lavender, take inspiration from Lake Superior.
Consider just this: I'm referring to them as breasts instead of one of the dozens of more colorful words I prefer.
I took a breastfeeding class this week. The teacher described the entire milk factory as looking like broccoli, the florets as Stage 1 of milk production, the stalks as the route to the spigots. A teenaged preggo, who looked a little stoned, went apeshit on some Tootsie Rolls and then left early. A woman in her 30s asked how long she can pump and if milk production slows during menopause. The teacher spoke with an urgency that suggested if, under duress, a new mother caves and takes the easy route -- formula, "just this once" -- SHE WILL REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.
Meanwhile, a boot camp for new fathers was going on next door. A graduate brought his baby to class to show the newbies and said baby wailed for about 45 minutes straight. We all pretended like we couldn't hear it. The alternative was just too painful.
I've now jumped to weekly appointments. Ma and Pa Pista were in town to help with home repairs that fall outside of our skill sets, so I brought the former along to the doctor's office to see what kind of emotional bloodletting I could induce.
It was too easy. She was already swallowing glue when I said to the nurse practitioner: "Grandma hasn't heard her heartbeat yet. Is that okay if she sticks around just for that part?"
I've become a woman who sweats. And this woman who sweats has all sorts of interesting new places for pools of sweat to collect.
I've recently become cloth diaper curious after reading about a local all-natural cloth diaper company that opened less than a mile from our house. I sent Chuck a link to some info about the company and he responded:
True story. Just three hours earlier I'd complained that I did laundry, but forgot to wash underwear.
Ma Pista and I stopped by the store later in the week and I coached her before we went inside. "I'm just browsing," I said. "I'd like to get her a little sun hat and just see what else they have. DO NOT LET ANYONE TALK ME INTO CLOTH DIAPERS."
"No way," Ma Pista responded. "What a mess. You don't want to make things harder for yourself."
"Seriously," I said. "I'm too cloth diaper curious."
"I won't," she promised.
It took my mom two minutes in the store before she asked the owner about the cloth diaper system and got a little tutorial. We left a half hour later with a sun hat, belly balm and a tiny T-shirt.
Ma Pista: "Those diapers are really cute. And with those biodegradable sheets! She said she saved $7,000 on diapers. It's not like the old days with the smelly cloth diapers, that wet bag system is really neat."
Ma Pista: "I mean, you could still have a few disposable diapers around the house."
Me: "Do you remember when I told you not to let her talk me into cloth diapers."
Ma Pista: "But it's so much better than it was when I had babies."
Me: "You had one job."
Chuck has been through a symphony of my day-to-day grunts, groans and yelps. When I had a leg cramp in the middle of the night, he practically had the car pointed toward the hospital before the muscle stopped seizing. Yesterday I had the worst sleep I've had since purchasing The Seahorse, which seemed to have him a bit on edge when I peed twice in 23 minutes.
"Are you okay?" he asked around 4:30 a.m.
"Just uncomfortable," I said after groaning my way into sleeping position.
Today he had a solution to all of this. A way of knowing which yelp means go-time.
"We need a safe word," he said.