Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seven months of breastfeeding

I am thankful for the down-to-earth explanation of how to breastfeed that my Childbirth Education teacher gave our class. Place baby belly to belly. Hold your boob in one hand with your nipple pointed up at the baby's nose. Place your other arm behind the baby with your hand supporting the back, neck and head. Smash the baby into your boob. Remember, baby to boob. Not boob to baby.

Minutes after the birth of my baby, around 3am on a Friday, we attempted to breastfeed. With that simple explanation in mind, we were naturals! It didn't hurt at all and she seemed to instinctively know how to latch.

The pediatrician came around 8am to examine my baby and asked me how breastfeeding was going. I thought we were managing wonderfully! It didn't hurt at all. I suppose that was the wrong answer because he decided I needed a visit from the lactation consultants.

The first LC came some time after lunch. My baby and I nursed at LEAST six times between her birth and their visit. Things seemed to be progressing well. When the lactation consultant came, I learned that I was having many problems. Something was wrong with the way she was sucking, and I don't remember what that was. She tried using a nipple shield. She poked, prodded, adjusted my baby, unlatched, relatched, and finally called in backup. They worked with us for over an hour, until they finally gave up and left me with an exercise to do with her tongue with no explanation of why. They took all of the confidence I had in my ability to breastfeed my daughter right out the door with them. I still had no idea what in the world I was doing wrong! How could I do it right then?

The hours dragged on until it was finally time to go home. Once home, I was able to attempt this adventure on my own. Seven months later, with all its accompanying challenges and joys, we are still at it!


Challenge #1: Confidence issues.  I could probably give an hour by hour account of the confidence issues I faced and still continue to face on a daily basis. When I first came home I worried about her latch. Was it deep enough? Was it correct? Why does it hurt so much now? When I stopped worrying about her latch it was, is she getting enough milk? Is she gaining enough weight?

Challenge #2: Ouchie things and other bobos. Cracked, sore nipples. Mastitis. Recurrent clogged milk ducts. Milk blisters. Most recent ouchie? My baby has two teeth and she likes to USE them.

Challenge #3: Sleep deprivation. I suppose that just comes with the territory of being a parent, but even now my baby wakes up several times during the night to eat. At first she had no regular, predictable pattern which left me feeling pretty zombified. Now she has a pretty regular sleeping pattern, and I have adapted to the broken sleep.

Challenge #4: My baby LOVES her ninnies. Breastfeeding was extremely time consuming in the beginning. She was a LONG nurser and and nursed often. I probably spent at least half the day nursing my baby. Now, she does not take as long to nurse, but she still loves her ninnies. I have to be ready at the drop of a hat to nurse because she is VERY demanding. I do not have many opportunities to have what I've started calling, "two-handed time."

Joy #1: My baby LOVES her ninnies. I love that I am her favorite person because I have the goods. (Sorry Robbie-I promise it won't last forever) I love the little songs that the hubs has made up about how much she loves her "titty milk." I love that look on her face when she pulls away, smiles with that little dribble of yummy milk down her chin, and proceeds to nurse.

Joy #2: Cuddles! I love the built in cuddle time that comes with breastfeeding. I love when she "makes biscuits" and scratches my side gently while she nurses. I love how she curls up in a little ball like she feels safe, and I love when she acts possessive and sprawls out, taking up as much space as possible.

Joy #3: Prolactin. Prolactin. Prolactin. When I start to feel stressed out, I can nurse. Those wonderful breastfeeding hormones take all the stress away and I feel all lovey dovey. They should bottle that stuff.

Joy #4: Milk comas. When Lily was a tiny baby, she would slowly fall off the breast when she finished her meal. Her little head would leeeaan back and rest into the bend in my arm. When she did this, her little chin looked flat on the bottom which made me start calling it her "Little E.T. face." Since she is a big girl now, she has a more grown up looking chin. She still still falls asleep at the breast and her milk coma face is one of the sweetest faces she makes.

Joy #5: Knowing that I am giving her my very best. There is plenty written on the benefits of breastfeeding for both Mom and Baby. I was determined to make it at least a year before I started weaning her, but that was before I knew how challenging it was. I count my blessings that we have been able to make it this far, with support and encouragement from my midwives, mom, visiting teacher, several friends of mine and Robbie's, attendance at La Leche League meetings, and most of all, my dear sweet husband. He has been with me every step of the way, and though he may not believe it, we could not have made it this far without him. So a big shout out and thank you to my husband! Thank you so very much for all you do. We could not have done this without you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Cinemagic

I performed in another Rapides Symphony concert on December 5th, which allowed me to spend more time with family. Santa and even the Grinch were in attendance at this Christmas Cinemagic concert!

Lily met Santa for the first time while I was back stage packing after the concert. I was worried that I would not have a chance to snag Santa for a picture, but I am glad that my mom was able to take care of that for me.

My mom hardly ever looks like she is smiling in pictures, so I think this one is especially cute! Not even my military mommy can resist the charms of the Lily Pilly!!!


Of course Lily saves the biggest smiles for when her mommy is being a silly goose! It's hard work making this child give big smiles! At least for a completely non-silly person like me!

I finally snagged Mr. Grinch after packing up and Santa Claus jumped in the picture at the last minute. Mr. Grinch sure was himself because he would NOT hold Lily! At least he was nice about refusing.


Finally we were able to take pictures in front of the pretty Christmas tree in the lobby, but Lily would not pay attention to the camera.

I am thankful that I was able to start celebrating the season of Our Savior's birth by playing in a concert for my sweet little girl for her first Christmas. She was so good and seemed to enjoy listening to the music. I couldn't help but start getting teary eyed while the strings played "Silent Night", my favorite Christmas song. I'd love to hear how you kicked off the Christmas season!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

From the heart

Today I do not feel like reflecting on an interesting quote, detailing a log of daily family events, or sharing a funny story. Today I feel like writing from the heart.

Maybe that's what I should have been doing all along.

Meet my friends, the shoulds and should nots.

Yesterday I attended my first La Leche League meeting, and I met a wonderful group of ladies. My first thought, "I should have come here sooner!"

After participating in an uplifting and informative meeting about common breastfeeding challenges, I perused the library of books. I came across What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen. I thought, "this might be interesting," so I turned it over and read the back cover.

"Have you ever spent all day looking after your baby or young child-and ended up feeling that you have 'done nothing all day'? (by this time my eyes started to water) Do you sometimes find it hard to feel pleased with what you are doing, and tell yourself you should achieve more with your time? (then I had to swallow the rock in my throat)

Maybe it's because you can't see how much are are doing already." (*sniff sniff)

There was more, but after evoking such an emotional reaction from me, I decided to open the book to the table of contents.

Immediately my eyes fell to Chapter 6: 'I get nothing done all day.'

That was it. I decided I needed to read this book.

I have noticed that I have started to answer the phone when Robbie calls with, "I haven't done a THING today." Or I'll answer his questions about what I have been up to with, "Nothing. Absolutely Nothing." or "Just sitting around." Maybe I'll add, "Just sitting around feeding a baby." But that's when I'm in a GOOD mood.

Laundry piles up around me even though I feel as if I am ALWAYS doing laundry. My baby is five months old. Shouldn't I be keeping up with this by now? My apartment is a wreck. Shouldn't I be able to keep my tiny apartment spotless by now? After all, other mothers do it. Other mothers have bigger homes than I do, and they can keep it clean. Why can't I? My baby cries, and sometimes I just can't figure out what she wants! Shouldn't I understand her by now? Other mothers do! Other mothers have their pre-pregnancy figures, have time to exercise, have perfectly clean houses, have content children, magnify their church callings, go to school and/or work, look absolutely gorgeous, have time to read scriptures, pray, shower and eat all in the same day, make time for their husbands, cook healthy delicious meals, have social lives, never lose patience and are always happy! Shouldn't I have the hang of this whole being a mom thing by now? After all, I only have ONE child. And I hear she's in the easy stage. What am I going to do when she is in the hard stage?

I am not looking for more shoulds or should nots, advice or criticism. Supposedly this book fits in with my requirements. The back cover mentions my friends, the shoulds and should nots.

"What Mothers Do has been written to support mothers. Rather than trying to tell you what you should or shouldn't do, it can help you to recognize much better many of the nameless, everyday things that mothers keep doing which usually go unnoticed."

With the help of my dear, sweet husband who always tries to open my eyes to the incomparable importance of motherhood, and this book, I hope to improve my attitude toward what I do all day! I hope I can heal my heart of all the negativity and sadness that has so quickly and easily set in since my daughter's birth. I just don't understand how there can be any room for those feelings when I feel such joy, gratitude and happiness with her in my life. One would think there is way too much cuteness and sweetness in my life to have room for anything else! I should be thankful for my blessings!

There I go again, with the shoulds! Hopefully sooner, rather than later, I'll be able to sincerely mean it when I answer the question, "What have you been up to today?" with a strong, "I made my baby girl feel safe, wanted and loved. Today, I was a mother!"









Friday, November 12, 2010

Doula Deliberations: Misty Eyed

As I continue this journey to try to prayerfully, emotionally and intellectually decide if this is something that I truly want to do, and I found myself becoming misty eyed while continuing to read The Birth Partner. Why do I have such a reaction when I read, learn and ponder the miracle that is birth? I love learning about this!

The quote of the day is, "The doula does not make decisions for the two of you, or project her personal preferences on you, but she helps you get the information you need to make good decisions. Her goal is to help the mother have a satisfying birth as she defines it. (emphasis mine)" (Simkin 9)

I had a friend refer to my birth experience as a "dream birth." Yes it WAS a dream birth! I could not have asked for a better experience. However, I think she may say that because my attitude and perception of my experience allows her to make that assumption. Would she say the same thing if I would have said, "I do NOT want to go through that again. It was terrible and the most painful thing I've ever experienced in my life." Even if events unfolded in the exact same way, I think that my labor would no longer have been considered a "dream labor" if I hated the experience.

I believe the number one reason I want to become a doula is the quote above. I wish every woman could have a satisfying birth! No matter if the birth is unmedicated in the woods somewhere or a planned c-section, I want women to leave birth happy and satisfied with the experience and ready to face the new challenges of motherhood. In my opinion, birth is something like an initiation into motherhood. Birth takes the mother on a "quick" journey of many of the joys and struggles mothers face: anticipation, wonder, joy, amazement, doubt, discomfort, and accomplishment just to name a few! All are experienced in birth!

I never knew how much giving birth would change my life! I never would have guessed I would want to share this with others. I am so thankful that I had such a wonderful journey with my pregnancy and birth, and it fills me with joy to think back on sharing this experience with my darling baby girl! I love birth! I love being a mom! And I hope I can share this with others one day!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I said a real prayer today

Today is one of those days that I just feel like writing.

I love peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Robbie thinks they are gross, and my friend Lauren likes to laugh at my method of eating them. Oh yes. I have a method. You see, it is not enough to merely take two slices of bread, smear peanut butter on both sides, squeeze a little honey on the peanut butter and smash the two slices together. No. I like to take the ENTIRE loaf of bread in one hand with the honey clasped between my thumb and index finger of the same hand. I place the HUGE jar of peanut butter under my arm and hold it into my side with my elbow. With a butter knife on my plate that I grasp in the peanut butter hand and a tall glass of milk that I hold against my body-somehow-usually with my forearm of the honey hand squished against my belly-I carefully walk (roll step for those experienced in marching band) to a comfy chair in front of the TV. I carefully arrange the plate on my lap with the rest of the ingredients placed on a TV tray to my side. I open the loaf of bread and pull out one slice. I smear peanut butter on the slice, pour honey onto it, fold it in half, and eat. And eat. And eat. When I was in college, half a loaf would be demolished in no time. Now, I eat about 4-5 slices or 2-2.5 sandwiches before I get full. It's probably still enough peanut butter and honey to feed a small army, but hey, I'm still eating for two right? (Breastfeeding, people, breastfeeding)

Before I enjoyed my lunch, I said a prayer and read scriptures. Now why is this such a big deal? Honestly, it has been several weeks since I dropped to my knees to say a prayer. Oh, I'll say little prayers in my heart all the time, and we have family prayer every day. But I have not given myself an opportunity to say an honest-to-goodness, drop down on my knees, prayer. I allow myself blogging time or facebook time, but prayer? Not so much. I still don't understand WHY this happens. If prayer is SO important to me, why do I treat it that way? Maybe the same reason I'm meaner to my sweet husband than I would ever DREAM of being to anyone else. I'm not saying that I'm mean to him all the time, but I have my unfortunate moments. I really WANT to say my prayers everyday. Don't I? At least I think I do. But...I. Still. Don't. I don't understand it, but today I just decided, after folding a load of diapers and putting them away, that, right NOW, this VERY MOMENT, I have TIME to pray! I dropped to my knees and said a prayer to our Heavenly Father.

It wasn't earth shattering. I heard no angels singing and had no revelations. I was just thanking Him for my wonderful family and other rich blessings that He has given me to enjoy. In fact, I had to cut my prayer short because suddenly I heard, "This is a number THREE, boop boop boop," from the little toy Lily scooted to while my eyes were closed. But...

I did it. I said a real prayer today, and that makes me happy.

I decided to be even more ambitious after my prayer and read two chapters in Leviticus. Again, nothing earth shattering, but I did it. And that makes me happy. It has been a goal of mine to read the entire Old Testament from cover to cover. It. Is. Hard! But I will do it.

Hopefully I can do this again tomorrow. I don't see any reason why I can't, but there has never been a reason I couldn't before. I just don't. I have gotten out of the habits I set for myself long ago. I am bold enough to admit that my prayer and scripture study habits have not been what they used to be since I got married. All of a sudden I have to share my space with another human being, and I haven't quite figured out how to manage my personal time. I'll get there.

I'm choosing not to beat myself up right now. I am extremely good at verbally abusing myself, but at this very moment, I don't see any good it does. This is not to say in an hour, I won't go back to saying mean things to myself, but RIGHT NOW, I am going to forgive myself for my imperfections. I am going to forgive myself for being late to church every week since Lily was born. I should have the hang of this by now, right? She's five months old! Well, I don't. Oh well. We'll get it. I'm going to forgive myself for being too ashamed to go in the chapel after showing up late to church. AGAIN. At least I have an "excuse" (I like those) for missing Sunday school all the time. I'm feeding Lily. Sometimes I make it to Relief Society. I don't allow myself to enjoy it as much because I am usually beating myself up for missing so much of church already. For right now, I am forgiving myself for ALL of that. This is not to say that, come Sunday, I won't be feeling like a horrible person because I just couldn't peel myself out of bed until 7:45 even though I KNOW I need to get up at 7:00 in order to make it on time.

I suppose this is not really a post showing my faults as a member of the church (I have too many to count) but more about trying to conquer the negative self talk. It is not easy. Anyone who knows me knows that I do this. The object of my negativity has been my church attendance and membership lately. When I was in college, it was my flute playing. Now that I'm a mother, it's my housekeeping, cooking, church attendance, motherhood, and spouse skills. I worry about my stretch marks and belly pooch.

Why do I worry so much? Why do I so quickly and easily beat myself up. And why, oh why, does it happen so much more now that I have a baby when I've experienced more joy than I have ever known with my dear, sweet Lily?

I guess, one day, I'll know.

For now, I'll just enjoy being happy!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doula Deliberations: Do I really want to do this?

"How a woman gives birth matters-to her baby, her family (including her relationship with her partner), and to her self-confidence and self-esteem as a woman and a mother."

-Penny Simkin in The Birth Partner

I left my birth feeling excited, high, empowered and ready for motherhood. I had such an amazing experience and left WISHING I would have chosen to be a doula as my career of choice. So how does the saying go? It's never too late!

To become DONA Certified, they suggest that you complete the required reading before pursuing any other steps toward certification to see if this is something you really and truly want to do. I purchased The Birth Partner while I was pregnant for Robbie to look through, and I read it to prepare my mind to cope with labor. I will read this book from cover to cover from the doula's perspective rather than the pregnant woman's perspective at this time. I am excited to record my reflections and discoveries! This will be one crazy journey but one I am eager to experience!

Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mama

Everything that happened to me and everything that I did for the last week and a half I did for the sake of breastfeeding my daughter. Here is the incredibly LONG story that I will try to keep as short as possible.

October 21st I decided would be the day I would spend driving to Denham Springs. Once I got there, I was able to see my Aunt Shirley, whom I have not seen for over 14 years, and Lily was finally able to meet her Pyran.

Lily playing with Pyran

Before Aunt Shirley left on Friday to go to a class reunion in Jonesville, LA, we took several pictures. She is another aunt that Robbie would probably call my "real mother."



Early Saturday morning, my mom, Lily and I left for Alexandria, LA for a Rapides Symphony concert in which I was playing. We stayed with Mom's cousin Patricia and her husband. This was the first time I or Lily met this part of our family.



Aunt Shirley, Lily, Me, Patricia and Mom

Everyone decided to come support me at my concert, which was nice. Mom selected the next day, Sunday, as our travel day back to Denham Springs. Before we were going to pack to leave, Aunt Shirley decided to pop in for a surprise visit at Patricia's house. Well we HAD to stay. When she got there, we decided to go to another cousin's house. When we made it to Lynn's house (the other cousin) we stayed for awhile and ate gumbo. Lynn's son and his girlfriend, my great Aunt Sarah, Patricia and her husband Larry, Lynn, aunt Shirley, Mom, Lily and I were all there enjoying gumbo. After a few hours we were ready to go. Before we left, I packed Lily in her car seat and was searching for my phone in Mom's purse. Patricia's husband, Larry, who I met for the very first time this weekend, decided to come up behind me and yank my pants down. So, for the first time in 27 years that happened to me by a man who is twice my age. How nice. I'm still deciding how to proceed in this matter, as I later found out that he likes to do that to kids as a joke. If he pulls their pants down in public, what in the world does he do in secret? I guess he did not realize how old I am, even though I'm a married woman with a baby. My mom said my appearance of innocence must have gotten to him.

Well, needless to say my mom, Aunt Shirley, Lily and I left for Denham Springs in a hurry after that.

Before we left for Denham Springs, and before "The Incident" I was able to get a picture with all the Cockerham women.



On Monday, Faith and Darryl stopped by to visit with Lily for a little while.



Lily and the Malletts

On Tuesday, my FIL's fiancee took me shopping, which was pretty fun. I was able to rack up for pretty cheap at a store called Rue 21.

Wednesday and Thursday I spent practicing. Tchaik 4 is definitely not sightreading material!

Friday my mom, Lily and I packed up and headed to Alexandria again for another concert with the Rapides Symphony called "Shadows and Light." Now, just to make it clear, my mom would go with me to watch Lily during my rehearsals so I could nurse the rest of the time. The whole reason for going to Denham Springs, for staying with family, and for having my mom go with me is so I could continue to give what I consider to be the best thing for her-Mama Milk through breastfeeding.

Because of "The Incident" the previous weekend, we stayed in the hotel the symphony provides. On Saturday, between the rehearsal and concert, we had plenty of time for visits. This was when Lily got to meet her Great Grandmother Ingeburg and Great Aunt Melanie for the first time.



Mawmaw and Lily



Melanie and Lily

They were able to support me during my concert. That was a very interesting experience. I could not pump quite enough milk for my mom's comfort during the concert, so I brought my pump with me back stage. During the second piece that I did not play in, I ran to the dressing room back stage and pumped. During intermission I ran out to the lobby to give my mom the milk. After intermission I got to play Tchaik 4. Fun times! Remember? Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mama.

After the concert I was able to take a couple of very meaningful photos.


Four Generation photo



Three Generations: Big Smiles!

Because I did not think we would be able to celebrate Halloween due to the concerts, I did not bother buying her a costume. Robbie and I really wanted her to be a monkey, but for various reasons, I did not get around to buying her a costume. To make a long story short, we WERE able to go trick or treating and Linda and Mr. Wendell found her the best costume they could at the last minute.



My cutie pie all ready for trick or treating

And Monday we came home to a cleaner house than we left because my husband is the best man in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD and I love him so much! We are very happy to be home!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Birth, Doulas and Hats




As stated in a previous post, I spend way too much time on facebook. I follow tons of pages, including birth pages. There is a certain birth page that I enjoy very much, but the discussions get heated at times. Yesterday and this morning, people have been trying to define "natural" birth. It's very difficult to do this without offending someone. It was very important to me to have a natural birth, and I did everything in my power to obtain this. Because this was my first experience with birth, and for my husband's sanity, I decided to give birth in a hospital. Now there would be some that would say that I lost my natural birth just for that. I don't. When I first got there I was taken to a triage room to have my contractions monitored. Did I lose my natural birth there? Perhaps. Once I was wheeled to my room (maybe being wheeled made me lose my natural birth) I labored in a warm tub in a dimly lit bathroom. Did I lose my natural birth there? After all there are no tubs with warm water in the middle of the woods. After a little while I was moved to the bed to push, where I was directed in how to push. Because I never felt the urge, even without an epidural, I am glad for a little help. Once I figured it out, I ignored the "counting" nurse and pushed for as long as I felt like it. I remember my midwife saying things like, "Push to here," and "Push like this." I appreciated the instructions. Was my birth unnatural because my baby didn't just fall out of me and I needed to push her out? Perhaps it was the numbing I received for the stitches or the Pitocin I received after Lily was born to help my uterus contract and to birth the placenta that made it unnatural. Maybe not, since Lily was born and nursing away at that point.

I think people like to define what is natural or not to try to minimize interventions and to help women know what exactly IS an intervention. I suppose anything that disrupts the natural progression of labor and birth is considered an intervention. Pitocin is not natural. My placenta wasn't born naturally, but who cares about the placenta? Some people might, but I didn't even want to look at it. They asked me. I said no.

An epidural is not natural. Last I checked, people aren't born with needles in their back. The body produces natural pain-killing hormones in labor, but these are disrupted when drugs are introduced. I don't condemn anyone from having an epidural. It's just not natural-it's medication. Kind of like when you take NyQuil for a cold as opposed to "natural" remedies. NyQuil/Epidural is not natural pain relief/comfort measures for a cold/birth, but Chicken Noodle Soup/Warm water or moving around are natural comfort measures.

My personal criteria for natural birth was having an unmedicated vaginal delivery. I did not want to be CUT in anyway and I did not want my baby vacuumed out of me. I never considered the location of my birth to be criteria for whether or not my birth was natural. I left my birth feeling empowered, giddy, on top of the world, energized, proud, ecstatic, in love, in awe of my body, appreciative, and I felt like I could do ANYTHING! Which leads me to my next point.

I left my birth wishing I could share this feeling with others. I wanted ALL WOMEN to feel like I did because I know they can. It made me wish I had decided to be a doula when I grew up. My husband thinks I should go for it now. By now my fiery excitement has become a warm cherished memory. Robbie accused me of being a "giver-upper" when I told him yesterday that I don't think I'm going to do it. He asked me if it was just because of a lack of confidence or because I really feel like it's not right for me. He knows me well! It's just a lack of confidence. I don't know if it's something at which I will or can succeed.

Now, what do hats have to do with anything? Nothing. I just felt like including my latest projects.

Purple hat

Pink hat

These hats have fulfilled my creativity hankerings for the past few days. I have a whole list of crochet projects started. However, the list grows faster than I can crochet! The more I do this, the more ideas I get.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prolactin Ponderings: B( . )( . )bies!

Ode to the B( . )( . )b
by Lilian Keen

It's 5 am.
I suck on my hands.
That's the signal Mommy needs.
She comes to get me.
To take care of my needs.
We sit in the chair.
I look up at her,
And she looks down at me.

And then I start to sing
Nom nom nom
Mmm mmm mmm ahhhhhh

And then I sigh.

After awhile my belly gets full.
She looks down at me
I give a big smile
And I give a big stretch.
I give a big yawn and then a little ummmmm ummmmmm

Milk runs down my chin.
Mommy wipes it away.
She tucks me in her arms
And carries me to bed
Where I close my eyes, smile
And dream about milk.

Nom nom nom nom
Mmmmmm mmmmm mmmmm


Ahhhhhh!

:o)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feelin' crafty

I like to crochet. A LOT. I don't get to very much anymore, which is okay. However, I get a hankerin' to do it sometimes. Below is a wrap style diaper cover that I crocheted without a pattern.

Diaper cover

Diaper cover in action

After trying it on her, I'm not quite satisfied with how useful it will be. I want to be able to come up with a design that will stay snug on her but won't be nearly impossible to put on her. I crocheted one back when I was pregnant with her that is nearly impossible to put on her though it works really well. Also, the pattern is not very cute. I suppose I should make more of the other kind for daily wear and a couple of the wrap style for "looks." We'll see how it goes. If I could ever grab some time to just sit and crochet one of these without being interrupted, it would take a few hours. However, this took several days and I even had moments where I was nursing a baby and crocheting at the same time. Now THAT is slow going! But I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'll miss this one day when my Lily Pilly is all grown up and doesn't need her mommy anymore.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My dear husband


In my prolactin induced state of loviness at 3am my thoughts turn to you my dear, sweet husband. You know that I am not known for my writing skills. I am not eloquent in speaking. I just feel like sharing with you and with everyone else what a wonderful man you are. I want to shout it from the rooftops. You work unbelievably hard for our family. I see you. I may not say it, but I notice. I love you. I respect you. I admire you. I am your number one fan! I know I never say it enough, but I love you more than these measly words will allow me to express. I appreciate you, and I love and appreciate the life and home you are working to provide for me and our dear little one. I appreciate how you allow me to be me. I can't remember the quote or who said it, but you remind me of President Hinckley and how he was with Sister Hinckley. Remember how he allowed her to spread her wings and fly? That's you. You always support me. For whatever the reason, when I'm alone and about to walk into a store I have what I'll call my parking lot thought. "Look at me. I must look like a woman whose husband loves her. I must have that confidence of someone that is well loved!" It's true. Remember this, my love, when I'm being less than perfect, when I am cranky from sleep deprivation or not getting enough Papa Bear hugs. I am not even close to perfect, so I don't treat you like the special loving man you are nearly enough. You really are my angel, Robbie, and I want everyone to know it! Dear Everyone! Robbie Keen is a wonderful, kind, sweet, extremely hardworking man and an amazing husband, father and provider. He doesn't feel like he is, but he IS. He's a good man. So here's to you, Robbie Keen, you good man you! I love you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Best Judgement

So I switched pediatricians. I went with the last one I consulted because she really sold me on her views on breast feeding. However, before I went there, I considered staying with the first person I consulted. I felt pretty strongly about staying with the first person. In my 37 weeks pregnant state, I decided to go with the person who mentioned they would be willing to help me with breast feeding if I needed it.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, we had a bit of a mold problem in our vents. It seems to be a common problem in a lot of apartments in the Houston area. While we were waiting for our ducts to be cleaned, I called the pediatrician's office to ask if I needed to worry about this. See, I'm a helpless parent of one of their patients. Of course I had to leave a message and wait for a call back. Not a problem.

One of the pediatricians in the practice, after several hours, called me back to say, "I don't know. I've never heard of that. Use your best judgement." What? Really?

I like to use my best judgement most of the time, but this was something that I couldn't find any information on which to base good judgement. I guess calling a doctor about it wasn't a very good move either.

So the very same day I called the first pediatrician and "repented." I am now very happy with the care Lily receives, and according to my best judgement, she's with a good place now.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Have a Secret

I have a secret that I've never told, not even my husband. I am too chicken to bring it up, and I am a little afraid of what others might think. It is time for me to be honest and have a little courage. This is my secret.

I do not want to circumcise my son(s).

Now why would I be afraid to talk about this, and why in the world would I think about this? Why is this a big deal, and my husband usually likes to ask, "How long have you felt this way?"

I suppose I will start with answering the last question, and the others will get answered along the way. I do not remember exactly when I read Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I may have been 16 or 17, but I am certain I was in high school. I could not put the book down!

Fast forward a couple of years to my sophomore year in college. My friend L owned the movie, and I wanted to watch it after having learned that Jim Walker played the flute in it. Yes, it seems that my favorite movies tend to be ones in which Jim Walker plays the flute. Either that year or the next, I came across another book by Alice Walker entitled Possessing the Secret of Joy. This book was about female circumcision. I thought, "How could people do such a thing?" How indeed? Unfortunately people do it all the time to their little boys. In this country people are horrified at the thought of female circumcision, but male circumcision is "normal". An uncircumcised penis is considered abnormal, gross and dirty to many people. I started to do some research about this in 2005. I remember that year because that was the year my parents moved to their current home. In the back bedroom on the computer, I read article after article about this topic. I learned two things. First, it is a completely unnecessary procedure. Second, I would never EVER allow that to be done to my son(s).

I researched circumcision before I even got married and definitely before I had children. This was before I became interested in natural birth, breast feeding, slinging, gentle parenting, etc. It was definitely before I heard of Intactivism. This was a very recent discovery. I don't consider myself a follower of Attachment Parenting. I consider myself a follower of my heart and my instincts. If my heart cries out to me not to do something (for example, using CIO methods) then I just won't do it. Circumcision is the first of those tugs at my heart. I just can't allow it.

Now why is it such a big deal? I can't make the decision to cut off a part of my child's body, without anesthesia (or without enough) in many cases, because it is completely irreversible and irreplaceable. It is his body, and I could never bear him asking me later on, "Mom, why did you allow this to happen to me?" Sure there are procedures to restore the foreskin, but it is not 100%. If my son(s) want to be circumcised, he (they) can make the decision. If facts and figures don't convince, then the fact that my heart screams, "Don't do it!" should be enough.

Off the top of my head, I know the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization do not recommend it. It is no more difficult to keep an intact penis clean. The foreskin does serve a purpose, and I've read that it helps mens' partners as well. At least one thing I've read is there are less lubrication issues. Here is the latest post I've read about it.

Now I have been scared to say anything because circumcision is "normal" in my little piece of the world. I'm sure the men I know who may be circumcised (I really don't know who is and who isn't-it's just a guess from the way people talk) don't go around missing their foreskins. But how could they? They have no idea what they are missing. They have no idea that decreased sensitivity may not just be from getting older but may actually have something to do with the hundreds of nerve endings sliced off at birth.

I also fear talking about it because I sort of feel unqualified as I do not actually OWN this equipment. However, my little boys will own THEIR equipment. Not Mommy. Not Daddy. Not Mawmaws or Pawpaws, aunts or uncles. THEY get to decide. Until they are old enough to decide for themselves, please just leave their foreskins alone!

**Note: Please forgive my misuse of terminology in certain areas. I am not known for my writing skills, and I am by no means an expert on the topic of circumcision, restoration, or reconstruction. I am not a doctor or an expert of any kind on parenting or the penis. I am only an expert on my heart and my own good judgement.

***Note #2: I approached my husband about this subject before he had a chance to read this post and when I said I don't want to circumcise our (future) son(s) (after building it up about how worried I was about his reaction) he says, "Okay. We won't do it. My goodness you had me worried that it was something bad!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Morningness


I am borrowing that word because it fits perfectly with the cheerful, smiley, sweetness Lily experiences in the mornings! This was the first time I was able to capture Lily smiling at me on camera. Every other time, she will quit as soon as I pull the camera out.

This smile makes my whole life! Robbie says he didn't know the purpose of his life until he saw that smile! Then he knew. We just love our little baby.

Love sure is funny. We thought we loved each other to bits and pieces and our hearts were completely full, and then we had a baby. Somehow there is always room for more love in one's heart. As much as we love Lily now, if we are blessed to have a baby #2 or baby #3, we will burst with love for those babies too. I can't imagine loving another baby like I love Lily, but of course I will! (If we're blessed with more babies of course.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prolactin Ponderings: From Facebook

Originally Posted on Facebook September 16, 2010 4:34 am

Awake

Lily and I went to bed an hour early last night which means that I am up for her night time feeding an hour early. Because my husband is super duper fantastic he got me this neat-o phone to play with while I have my prolactin ponderings. Here is what is on my mind.

I love Fuzzi Bunz diapers. Not only are they cute, they work!

I have Lady GaGa's Paparazzi stuck in my head. Am I too old to love Lady GaGa? I kind of feel silly that I like her but I just can't help myself.

I feel bad that I went to bed so early. It was an accident. I was trying to trick Lily into going to bed. Looks like she tricked me instead. I wanted to cuddle with my husband more, but I guess after that super amazing back scratch he gave me I was finished as soon as my head hit the pillow. Yes it was amazing!!! Don't be jealous!

That reminds me-one of Robbie's coworkers/friend called him last night just to brag about their delicious dinner at Chili's. Oh yeah? Well we had Chili Spaghetti. Top THAT! Nah, that whole conversation was funny. You know what I just realized? She had Chili's. We had Chili (spaghetti). I didn't even mean to be that clever!

My alarm is going to go off on 28 minutes. Should I even bother going back to bed? Um...YES! The answer is ALWAYS yes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Prolactin Ponderings: Separation Anxiety

Our 5 am feedings have turned into 4:40 am feedings. However, our 12 am bedtime has turned into an 11:40 pm bedtime. During my early morning feeding with my sweet Lily pie, I was overwhelmed with so much love for my little baby girl. I suppose it is a response to the hormones, but I just feel absolutely SQUISHY and GOOEY with love for my baby. Of course these warm and tickly feelings trickle over to my husband as well, as I get to see him at 5am as he wakes and gets ready for work!

The past few before-bed prolactin ponderings had me thinking about the separation anxiety I felt when Lily was a tiny newborn. I missed having her in my belly. I missed the closeness that I felt with her, and I all of a sudden felt so alone being the only one using my body. Even though she was RIGHT THERE in my arms, I felt the separation of her being her own little person. I missed her! I think she went through the same feelings as well. When it came to bed time, we both really wished we could sleep together all cuddled up in each other's arms. It was hard at first! Robbie HATED seeing me lie down with her in the bed to breast feed because he was afraid that I would roll over on her by accident. He finally was able to convince me not to do it anymore. Not that I did it very much-I just don't do it at all now. Especially since he's back at work. However, she still sleeps in my room right next to my bed in her Rock N' Play Sleeper. I love having her close by. What I just realized, though, is that I do not mind that she is her own little person anymore. I quite enjoy NOT having her in my belly, and I enjoy being able to spread out in the bed without worrying about rolling over her (or making my hubby upset with me). I appreciate how she is her own little person, and a funny, sweet, and cute one at that! Gone is the separation anxiety of her birth.

I guess once I finally move her to her own bedroom I'll have to get used to something new all over again. Until then, we can work on getting her (and me) ready to sleep more regularly in her big girl crib that's in our room.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sleep while your baby sleeps

Yes, I know that's what I should be doing right now. I just want to take advantage of this hands free moment to update a little on my bundle of joy.

Lily turned three months old on September 4th.


She has learned to:

  • Roll from tummy to back
  • Roll from back to tummy
  • Accidentally say ma-ma-ma-ma
  • Giggle and smile
  • Drool
  • Hold her head up on her own
  • Push up on her elbows
  • Coo and "talk" to mommy and daddy
  • Grab things
  • Scoot a little-by accident I think
  • Use the big potty

Ha ha! Just kidding on the last one. I think I fell asleep and started dreaming a little. She really is a funny baby and makes me laugh all the time. I enjoy being with her, and I am so in love with my little girl!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Prolactin Ponderings: I want to cry because...

I love her so much. These 5am feedings have become a quiet, sacred time where I can just sit and stare at my little bundle nuzzled against my breast. She looks like she would rather be in no other place in the world than in Mama's arms. I think she might love me too! I love her precious little face and her sleeping eyes. I never used to believe it, but I am vaguely starting to understand the meaning of the phrase "a mother's joy." I feel as if my heart might burst! I hope to cherish every moment because I know it won't last forever. I am so thankful Heavenly Father loves me so much to bless me with such a sweet little angel.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prolactin Ponderings: Greetings


I am often awake at the wee hours of the morning feeding my DD, and I have noticed that I have WEIRD thoughts at those times. Is it the mixture of special hormones flowing through my bloodstream or the sleep deprivation that has become my constant companion over the past few months? Whatever the cause, I'll affectionately refer to my early morning reflections as "prolactin ponderings."

I have never understood how to respond appropriately to the greeting, "What's up?" (Or any variation of this question) I don't know why this greeting makes me feel weird, but it always has. I mostly experienced this question during the year and a half I worked at a certain insurance company while spending countless hours with my dear friend The Copy Machine. No kidding, people would see me standing at the copier and turn around rather than try to form a line. Because I was there so much, many people would walk past and ask, "What's up?" Of course they were gone before I had a chance to respond with my own greeting, much less an actual answer to the question. So what IS up? The ceiling? The sky? Gas prices? Taxes? My skirt size? I started by responding, "Nothing much!" But that wasn't true. I was always extremely busy at work. Then I tried returning the greeting by saying, "Hey!" That didn't seem to fit either. I tried just looking at them and smiling. That seemed to work the best, but I felt no less weird. Do I say "What's up?" back?

I shared my concern with my DH and he said, "I think you think too much."

Hmmmm....you think?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Postcard from Chicago

My FIL and his GF are working to clear out his house years of accumulated items. Every time he comes to our home, he brings boxes of Robbie's old junk that was left in his old bedroom. The most recent trip was no exception! Every time we think we have our front bedroom under control, lo and behold, DFIL brings an entire room full of junk!

Yesterday, I was going through a box and pulling things out for Robbie's "approval" for throwing out. I came across a postcard in my handwriting. I could tell that it wasn't mailed, so I was very confused! How did he get it? Why did I write it? Why would I give him a postcard without mailing it! Those questions would be answered later. But here is what I SAID to Robbie as a MISSIONARY the last TWO WEEKS of his mission!

Hey most handsome man in the world! I love you & I think you're an
amazing kisser!!! You can distract me any day. ;o) And you're a respectable
composer! I'm glad you're my Mozart! Thank you for being you, and thank
you for loving me! You will always have a special place in my heart.

Love always,

Kristi

P.S. If your butt was any hotter, it'd have planets revolving around it!

I looked at him with a "Why am I so WEIRD?" expression, and then he says, "You know, my dad and Linda saw that!"

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!! ROFLOL!!!!! We laughed and laughed for five minutes straight!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lily's Blessing Day

Sunday was Lily's blessing day, and it was such a beautiful and special day. Lily was a perfect little angel the entire time. Robbie said someone passed by and told him, "All that is missing are the wings!"


Our little family after the blessing


These special men were a part of the blessing


Robbie really loves his little girl and said some really beautiful things in her baby blessing. I was able to "abuse my power" as the ward music chairperson and pick the music. I chose "I Am a Child of God" and "Families Can Be Together Forever" and imagined what Lily might sound like singing those. Robbie leaned over when we were about to sing "Families Can Be Together Forever, " and said, "Are you TRYING to make me cry?" I choked back my own little tears and said, "No!"

After everyone else took pictures I finally said, "Okay, I want pictures since I'm the mommy and all!" I am so proud of my sweet little baby. I fall more and more in love with her every day. I am definitely thankful for all the help I had that day getting her ready-that I received from above and that I received from those around me!

Once we made it back home, we were able to enjoy a new slow cooker chicken recipe I came up with using fresh bell peppers from my mom's garden. Yum yum! What a great day with food, family, and a very special little girl!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

For the mommies!

Reading this article made me think of the comments I received during my pregnancy. Luckily, I was able to avoid much of the negativity I could have received by virtue of the fact that I had the luxury of being a SAHM-in-training during the second half of my pregnancy. I was called crazy quite a bit, and I STILL get comments about how crazy I am for having a natural birth. Since giving birth, I have come across this attitude that there are women out there that hope that those planning a natural birth will "fail." I use that word because I hear that's what it feels like when your natural birthing hopes are dashed. Women feel like they failed-like their bodies betrayed them, etc. It seems like people get a really sick glee from hospital transfer home births. Why? Why is Schadenfreude so rampant in something like BIRTH where women need all the love and support they can get to make labor and delivery the most wonderful and awesome experience possible?

Now I am a new mother. I am trying to follow my heart and instincts to raise a happy, healthy baby. Again, why are women so mean to each other about parenthood. I would hope that, no matter what "method" we use, we are doing our absolute best. I know some people are only trying to help by sharing their experience and wisdom, but try to do it with love and sensitivity. You know when you're being a judgmental jerk. I know I've been guilty of the very same thing, so I am sorry to anyone that may have been hurt by my comments. This, this, and this article really spoke to my heart, and I heard my voice in her words. I am going to do my very best to stop being a judgmental jerk and treat all the mommies I know with the love and sensitivity that I wish came my way! Forgive me if it takes awhile-I am and will always be a work in progress.



Babywearing

Before Lily was born, I knew I wanted to wear her as much as possible. I read about the benefits of doing this, but I was mostly going by how I felt. I thought I would prefer the Baby Bjorn style of baby carrier, but I did not realize that I would have to decide what to use based on my BABY's preferences! After Lily was born, I tried to carry her in the Snugli that we had, but she did not like it at all! Next we bought a Moby Wrap, but she did not like that either. I tried the sling hold one day and she seemed to tolerate that really well. The only problem is that she's not quite old enough to use the Moby Wrap in the sling hold. A few days later I saw a Facebook sale going on for the TaylorMade Batik Baby Slings at the baby boutique that I really like. It came in the mail a couple of days and Lily took to it right away! I never thought I would use a sling with her, but she prefers it.

I love what Dr. Sears has to say about the benefits of babywearing. The entire article is here.

1. Sling babies cry less. Parents in other cultures wear their babies all the time and only put their babies down to sleep. The amount of time their babies cry can be measured in mere minutes whereas in Western cultures a baby's cry can be measured in hours.

2. Sling babies learn more. Because these babies are more content and spend less time fussing, they can spend more time in the state of quiet alertness. This is an optimal learning environment for babies.

3. Sling babies are more organized. "It's easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby's gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby's systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby."

4. Sling babies get "humanized" earlier. "Another reason that babywearing enhances learning is that baby is intimately involved in the caregiver's world...A baby worn while a parent washes dishes, for example, hears, smells, sees, and experiences in depth the adult world. He is more exposed to and involved in what is going on around him. Baby learns much in the arms of a busy person."

5. Sling babies are smarter. "Environmental experiences stimulate nerves to branch out and connect with other nerves, which helps the brain grow and develop. Babywearing helps the infant's developing brain make the right connections...Normal ambient sounds, such as the noises of daily activities, may either have learning value for the infant or disturb him. If baby is alone, sounds may frighten him. If baby is worn, these sounds have learning value. The mother filters out what she perceives as unsuitable for the baby and gives the infant an "It's okay" feeling when he is exposed to unfamiliar sounds and experiences."

We'll see how it goes! So far it's great!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Preparation for childbirth

I have become a birth junkie. I like to talk and read about pregnancy and birth, and I have especially picked up the pace since Lily was born. I have been interested in natural birth for about a year and a half now, and I am still amazed that I was able to achieve a natural birth with Lily.

Recently I came across a blog entry where the writer posted several questions about birth. One question addressed how I may have prepared for giving birth. I would say the first step was to get married! I never thought of myself as a motherly type person, and I never even had the desire to be a mother until after I got married. Some girls grow up knowing that they want to be mommies, but that was not me! To my relief, almost immediately after getting married, I wanted to be a mommy! At that time I did not know there were many options for pregnancy and birth. I thought everyone had to give birth in a hospital and I thought everyone HAD to have an epidural. I didn't even know about Pitocin, forceps or vacuum deliveries, water birth, home birth, induction, natural birth, moving around during labor, etc. I knew about medicated vaginal and cesarean hospital deliveries. Period.

Anytime I talked with women that had given birth, I would ask about the epidural. I was TERRIFIED of the thought of having one! I didn't want that! Never mind all the long term effects for Mom and Baby, I was just scared of having a big needle in my back! I would talk about this with Robbie and he was anti-epidural as well. However, I still defended having them. You know those comments... "As soon as YOU have a baby, then you can tell me whether or not to have an epidural." I would SAY that, but I was still terrified of having one AND terrified of NOT having one.

Last February was my first encounter with a home water birth. I never heard of such a thing! One of Robbie's friend's wife had a home water birth and wrote about it on her blog. I don't remember how I came across her blog in the first place, but I am glad that I did! I immediately did a whole bunch of research on home water births and fell in love with the thought of having a baby that way!

A few months later I met one of the sisters I was visiting teaching for the first time on her due date! We had no idea that her baby was supposed to come that day and that she was having rushes while we were visiting with her-well until I asked her if she was feeling anything yet. She was planning a home birth and we had a LONG talk about that! It was the first time I ever talked with her (and it was one of the last times-we didn't stay in that ward very long), but she really made an impression on me. At that time, I wasn't sure if home birth was for me, but I knew I wanted water and I wanted a natural birth. She told me of other options such as going to a birthing center rather than a hospital.

Fast forward several months...I began asking a lady I worked with (A) about natural birth. I suspected that she had experience in this. I don't know why, but I just had a feeling I should ask her if she'd had a natural birth. She had! Her first baby was a C-section, but her second baby was a natural home birth. She was patient with me as I did my own research and asked her questions about birth, labor, and even cloth diapering.

Finally, early on September 26th I found out I was pregnant! Yay! We were very blessed with how quickly our baby decided to come. As soon as I got to school, I walked to work (I wasn't even supposed to work that day) and immediately had to tell A that I was pregnant. (She probably was too at this time, only it was way too soon for her to even know.) She told me about the midwives at St. Luke's. This was the perfect option for me because I knew I wanted a hospital birth...just in case.

Throughout my pregnancy, I searched for and surrounded myself with POSITIVE birth stories and people. This is how I prepared. I know a few people thought I was crazy for wanting to give birth naturally, but I was determined! I considered pregnancy, labor, and delivery to be a special EXPERIENCE, not a painful event that I needed to endure.

In order to pass the time the last week or two of my pregnancy...I was getting a little ansy, but I was not in any hurry to be in labor...I read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth and Marie Mongan's Hypnobirthing book. After reading those two books, I felt ready to give birth. I don't remember how many days after finishing those books Lily came, but it wasn't very long. I feel I was prepared emotionally and mentally for the birth. I did pretty well to prepare physically, but I could have done better. Even though Robbie and I prayed about the welfare of my baby and about my pregnancy and delivery nearly every day, I probably could have done better to prepare spiritually for the birth.

All things considered, I could not have asked for a better experience! Even though I had my baby in the hospital, I spent most of my labor in the tub exactly like I wanted. The lights were out and it was very quiet and serene. By the time I was in the tub, labor was very intense and my waves came right on top of each other. I felt like I never had an opportunity to rest between each wave. I entered a place deep in my mind and somehow coped with each wave one at a time until my baby was born. Even though I could hear what was going on around me, I really only had the ability to do what I was told. I could not answer if someone spoke to me, and I did not "hear" any questions. I especially did not answer any questions. I only registered the encouragement Robbie was giving me, even though I could not acknowledge it at the time, and the instructions Debbie was giving me to help me relax during labor and pushing. I am still very happy and giddy over my experience.

So the final bit of preparation for childbirth was labor! Our bodies are amazing in the way everything works to prepare our minds and bodies for the birth of our babies!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life with an almost 6 week old


I never knew how much you could love until I had a baby! My little girl is the most precious thing I've ever laid eyes on in my life, and I am thankful that Heavenly Father let us keep her! There was a time early in my pregnancy that I was terrified that I was going to lose her.

It's kind of been a bumpy ride trying to get to know my Lily. I feel sorry for her that she has a dunderhead for a mother, but I guess that's better than nothing. I think what I haven't figured out yet is how to help her to get to sleep. I can finally tell when she fusses due to being tired, but just because something helped her fall asleep one time doesn't mean it will work the next time! I haven't figured out the magic formula, and I haven't figured out how to help her tell the difference between night and day. She quickly outgrew swaddling. She likes a loose one with her arms hanging out. It doesn't matter if we rock her; she tends to wake right up when we quit! Nursing her SOMETIMES works. She hates a pacifier. She LOVES sleeping with her mommy, though, and that would work every time. But I'm too scared to sleep with her in my bed, so I have a little bassinet right next to the bed. The couple of times that I've "accidentally" slept with her were the best for both of us. I'm not nearly as opposed to it as my husband is, but I don't want to do anything he's not comfortable with either. I just don't know what to do yet. When she finally gets to sleep, I feel like I just got lucky.

Something else I worry about...is my baby getting enough to eat???? I sent my husband out to buy a scale, so he finally came home with one tonight. As soon as she wakes up again, I'm going to weigh her! According to her poopy diapers, she's getting enough, but I don't know if she's gaining weight. I'll see soon enough.

Now I know she gets cuter every day, so there is no shortage of picture taking. Here is the latest.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Breastfeeding is HARD! At least for me.

Yesterday I went to the midwives. I saw Dawn this week, and it was really good to be able to see her again! I really miss them! It turns out that I have mastitis. It must not be too bad because she said it would probably have gone away on its own. She still prescribed me ten days worth of antibiotics, which seem to be helping out already.

I have to thank my husband for convincing me to go see the midwives over this and also for calling to make the appointment. I was just moping around being miserable and thinking I was a terrible mother. Over the weekend my fever got up to 101.7 before I took something for it. (Why is it that bodies like to get sick over the weekend when you can't go to the doctor?)

Gory details ahead...read at your own risk!

I'm not sure how I ended up with mastitis. I thought I was doing well with breastfeeding by the time I left the hospital. The lactation consultants came a few times, and by the time I was ready to go home, I felt pretty confident that Lilian had mastered a good latch. After a few days my right nipple would still hurt at the beginning of a feeding. A few days after that I noticed a big crack in my nipple. It just wouldn't heal. Finally, on Friday night I started feeling achy in my joints and by Saturday I was running a fever. I took an Ibuprofen and felt a lot better. On Monday I suppose Robbie had enough of my craziness and called the midwives for me. I went to my appointment and she reviewed my breastfeeding technique. She said Lilian had a perfect latch, so I really don't know what the problem is! She says this just happens sometimes.

So once the ouch factor goes away, breastfeeding may be a little better for me. It's still difficult to wake up so much during the night and have to stay in one place so much all day. I can't help but think that I'm doing something wrong since it takes her so long to finish a meal. I don't know if she's just a clingy baby and wants to be on the breast all the time or if I just don't have a very good milk supply and she has to eat often to meet her needs. Maybe I should just accept the fact that my baby may do certain things because that's who she is rather than because of something I am doing.

I went into this whole parenthood thing determined to breastfeed, so I'm going to do it. No one ever said it would be easy. It may be easy for some people, or even most people, or even for everyone else but me. But for me, it's been challenging. But it is also cute to watch her eat. I never knew how cute and funny babies look when they nurse. Hopefully it will begin to feel more natural each day that goes by. I should probably be more patient with myself since Lilian isn't even three weeks old yet! We'll get there.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I have three special dads in my life. Nearly 11 years ago my mom met a special man who has made her so happy. He loves me like I'm his very own, and I am thankful to have him in my life.


Me and Dad on my wedding day


My father-in-law is another special dad in my life. Robbie has always told me about what a wonderful example of what a father should be his dad has been. I am very blessed to have a man like him in my life to be another father to me and a PawPaw to my baby.




Me and my FIL on my wedding day

And finally....the most special man in my life, my husband Robbie, has been the most precious father I've ever seen. I love watching him with our little Lilian, and I love to see how much he loves her. He sings her the cutest little songs, and I can't wait until she is old enough to appreciate how cute and funny he is being. I can tell he wants to be the very best father he can be, and I know he'll do a great job!!


Robbie and Lilian

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pretty Baby

This is me about two weeks before Lilian was born. It's hard to imagine that she fit in there, and she most likely gained about one more pound from that point until her birth.



This is my favorite picture of Lilian so far. I think she's such a pretty little baby, and I love this little dress. Look at those big eyes!


This was my attempt to match with Lilian's cute little green dress. Too bad I'm so sleep deprived in this picture and didn't really feel up to fixing my hair.


I don't think he sees it, but I think Lilian and Robbie look just alike when they are sleeping. They both like to sleep with their heads on their arms in the same way.


It seems like she's already grown so much in her short time outside of the womb! We have our first well baby visit on Friday, so I imagine they will weigh and measure her. She eats all the time, so I'll be very surprised if she hasn't gained her birth weight back by her appointment.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Home

I've decided that pregnancy and childbirth are easy compared to taking care of a newborn. I've never been good at handling sleep deprivation, so I think that is probably the most difficult part for me this week. Hopefully my hormones will get back in shape sooner rather than later. Other than lack of sleep, hormone adjustments, general discomfort, and the aches and pains associated with breastfeeding, things are going well. Lilian is the cutest thing ever. I wish there was a camera attached to my eyes and memories so I could just record and share the things that I see. She does too many cute things for me to grab my camera in time.

I'd like to give a shout out to my mom! She's amazing and I appreciate her more than ever now that I've had a baby. She stayed with us for a few days after Lilian's birth, and I really miss her now that she's gone back home. I wish we would have taken pictures with her and Lilian. All I have are pictures of her holding Lilian, but you can't really see her.

I also miss the midwives who cared for my during my pregnancy and delivery. I never realized how much I looked forward to my visits with them during my pregnancy and how attached I got to them. I know they have so many patients and probably don't remember me, but they have become an important part of my life. I'll never forget them! Titi was always honest with me about my weight gain and told it how it was. She inspired me more than anyone to maintain a healthy weight, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. I am happy to report that the habits I picked up during pregnancy are, so far, staying with me. I did indulge in a few things after the birth, but at this point, I don't want any junk food if I can help it. Dawn helped me through a really stressful time during my pregnancy by teaching me about what she called "creative budgeting." She also encouraged me to turn to my family, which for some reason, I am always scared to do. I went to my appointment with her feeling like a "pathetic loser" (which I called myself in front of her) and she went all mom on me! :o) I feel like we have been able to get things back on track after her help with calming me down and a little encouragement about life. How often do you gain life skills by going to an appointment with a health provider? And finally, Debbie delivered the baby. She was there during the most memorable and amazing event in my life. She was actually the first to guess that Lilian was a girl when we sneaked an early ultrasound for Robbie to see. I'm really glad that I get to see her one more time at my six week check-up. I would have never guessed that I would miss them so much. I hope that at least one, if not all, of them are still there for our next babies. I don't think I could ever use any other health care provider for pregnancy now that I've gone through this one with them.

I wanted to post some pictures with this post, but our internet is acting very slow right now. I'll have to do that later!