Sob Story

"Mother and Child," by William Zorach

For me, breastfeeding ROCKED.

I absolutely reveled in the nine months I spent nursing each of my daughters. It brought sweetness, peace, health, relaxation, natural breast enhancement, rapid weight loss – what’s not to love?

I’ll tell ya: PUMPING.

Now, I haven’t tested the latest model portable breast pumps, but I’m pretty darn sure they’ve evolved greatly from the one I used 15 years ago. The contraption was unwieldy and uncomfortable. It took quite an effort to assemble and put to use. Worst of all, it was noisy.

No, make that NOISY.

I recall a particularly cringeworthy 20 minutes spent pumping in the ladies’ room of a client’s office during a meeting break. It’s quite possible passersby thought the restroom was being renovated — if not completely demolished and rebuilt from scratch — as the monstrous whirring of the milking machine echoed off the tile.

But of course it was worth the effort to be able to provide that free and natural wonder food for my babes while I was away from them. And I was recently reminded of my pumping days when a dear friend, the mom of 6-month-old twins, told me she’d tipped over a full bottle of breast milk and…had a bit of a freak out. All that time and effort down the drain — or the side of the kitchen counter, as it were.

She knew I’d empathize.

She knew I’d understand that she wasn’t overreacting.

She knew I’d write a poem about it.

So, here’s to you, dear friend, and every breastfeeding mom out there: May your pumps run smoothly, may your freezers stay full and may you never spill a single drop.

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Sob Story

After hours at a pump that’s been plying
Liquid gold from them, there’s no denying
Moms of lactating ilk
Know there’s one kind of milk
That – when spilt – fully justifies crying.

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©2012 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

Ultra-ultra-ultrasound

Then. 

Now.

The other day, a preggers friend of mine posted her ultrasound pics on Facebook.

Wow. Have things changed in the 12 years since I was last pregnant.

The ultrasound images I got of my soon-to-come kiddos more than a decade ago were old school: blurry, static-y, black-and-white and barely discernible. They pale in comparison (literally and figuratively) to today’s three-dimensional, multicolor, fully enhanced scans. Heck, you can probably see Junior’s freckles in today’s versions.

Not surprisingly, there now exist full-service imaging centers that sell 3-D ultrasound packages akin to the offerings at a Sears Portrait Studio.  This one features a “Platinum Peek” package that includes 10 wallet-size color 3D pictures, two DVDs of the entire “session” set to music, plus a “gender peek upon request.”

When did ultrasounds go from being a medical procedure to something you could buy at a strip mall?

If I consider this fascinating/weird/amazing, I can only imagine what the matrons of my mother’s generation must think. Back then, a mom-to-be had no idea what her kiddo might look like – much less whether it was a girl or a boy – until she awoke from her drug-induced stupor to meet her offspring for the first time.

We chose not to learn the gender for either of our babies (both girls, as it turned out), much to the disbelief and consternation of many of our contemporaries. Call us old-fashioned, but we just wanted to wait for the surprise.

Given the choice, I don’t think we would have opted for the Platinum Peek package, either.

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Ultra-ultra-ultrasound

For those scans of the babe who’s expected,
the technology’s been so perfected
that they’re now in 3-D,
fit for HDTV,
like productions James Cameron directed.

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© 2011 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

What to Expect

I haven’t picked up my well-worn copy in more than a decade, but the now-ubiquitous “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” was my constant companion for the months leading up to both my pregnancies.

Thinking back to that time, I’m not sure that even that mostly comprehensive guide could have prepared me for what lay ahead.

In which case, a condensed version might have sufficed…
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What to Expect When You’re Expecting

many a question
indigestion

moods swinging
worries springing

room arranging
mind changing

tummy lurches
nanny searches

name choosing
noon snoozing

back aching
night waking

name trying
diaper buying

head reeling
heavy feeling

chubby clothing
hubby loathing

labor fearing
friends cheering

over-reading
overeating

spouse quibbling
late-night nibbling

weight gaining
Lamaze training

smell heightening
bra tightening

test enduring
daycare touring

swollen feets
stolen treats

due dating
anticipating

©2010 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz