Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tweaked Sense of Modesty

Hannah was 17 days old on Wednesday. We celebrated by going to our second lactation consultant appointment since we were discharged.

When I think of my life before Hannah and my life now, I can easily pick out 10 changes without even talking about the breast pump that is always in the same room as me. One of these changes is my sense of modesty.

It seems that the moment I checked into the hospital to begin the induction I also turned in any modesty I once had. I thought I would be one of those women whose greatest fear was pooping on the delivery table. I remember being a little off put when my midwife tweaked both nipples and exclaimed with joy when droplets of colostrum leaked out. But that was nothing compared with what would follow. I was practically naked in front of 6 midwifes and at least 8 nurses before Hannah was even born. In between convulsions on the operating table I overheard multiple people discussing whether or not they would need to shave my pubic hair - WHAT?! - not to mention the room full of people, my husband included, that then literally saw my insides. Shortly after delivery, nurses whose names I didn't know massaged my uterus and then watched to see how much blood I expelled. In the recovery room nurses emptied my urine bag, examined my incision and mopped up blood when I tried standing for the first time.

I went from being a fairly private person - public youtube life aside - to someone that barely had a bodily function that wasn't monitored around the clock.

Upon coming home I found myself on the couch, topless, trying in vain to get a screaming baby to breastfeed. The moment I put on a fresh shirt it was immediately transparent with streams of milk. With time and a great visit to the lactation consultant department at the hospital, I could now latch Hannah on with very little discomfort. I barely blinked an eye at the idea of whipping on a boob with my mom in the room and didn't even hesitate when the other person was my husband. But these were both loved one that I'd known for years.

Which brings me to our appointment on Wednesday.

I don't even remember the consultant's name, but within minutes of meeting her I was topless, had my nipples inspected and fed my daughter with this stranger sitting next to me.

"She's a professional." says Chris.

And I want to ask him how comfortable he'd be bearing it all in front of a doctor he'd just met. But I know the answer and I know him well enough to know that he'd dismiss the parallel and continue the debate. He loves to argue...

I listened as women warned me about all the changes that motherhood would bring. That I wouldn't be able to see a news story about a missing child without hugging mine a little closer. (True.) That I would forget to put on makeup when getting ready for a family outing because getting the baby ready would take all my energy. (Very True.) That I'd start viewing my stretch marks as mommy badges of pride (Not so true...). But no one prepared me for the complete lose of modesty I'd experience so abruptly.

I don't know what how I'd have prepared myself if someone had warned me, but I assume I would have started with getting a bikini wax.

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