Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hanging in there.

If I had posted this yesterday, the title would have been “Emily’s No-Good, Very Bad Day.”

Do you ever have pity parties for yourself? That was me yesterday. I think I acted like a toddler- I’m gonna blame pregnancy hormones coupled with sleep deprivation. Because I use this blog as a sort of (albeit public) diary, I’m going to hash out why I was feeling sorry for myself. However, instead of just being negative, I’m going to list ways I can work on addressing each issue. If you are so inclined, positive support would be much appreciated.

1. 11. Issue: Lucy’s sleep situation. Up until I was pregnant again, I loved co-sleeping. I didn’t mind putting Lucy to sleep myself- or should I say, nursing her to sleep. Waking up twice-a-night didn’t bother me- heck, she is so good at latching on herself, we would just fall back asleep together, and most of the time, I didn’t even remember waking up the next day. Fast forward. If you’ve been pregnant before, you may sympathize with me when I saw that I am so overcome by exhaustion that I take daily naps in my car during my lunch break at work. My breasts are incredibly sore- although breastfeeding usually only bothers me terribly at first latch. Pumping is somewhat worse. For these reasons, I have started dreading bedtime. I cannot stand letting Lucy nurse for hours on end. I should add here that she refuses a pacifier at bedtime as well. The bottom line is that I need sleep, and to not be an open-twenty-four-hours snack shop.

Solution: I bought Elizabeth Pantley’s No-Cry Sleep Solution. We are working on the following: Brett putting Lucy to sleep at night. He already puts her down for naps, which she doesn’t mind at all. However, her baby brain knows when it’s time for nighttime sleep, and she fights it. Hopefully this will help with her association of falling asleep and nursing. It will probably be pretty rough at first, but I feel a lot more comfortable doing this than taking another approach, because even if she cries, I know Brett is cuddling her. This might be easier if her favorite time to say “mama” was not while crying. Oh, and we are going to keep on co-sleeping- just focusing on the nursing-to-sleep and nursing-all-night issue.

2. Issue: Personal body anxiety/feeling bad about my appearance. I’m the first to admit it- I love clothes. I love shopping for them and wearing them. That being said, it’s been forever since I could wear what I want. Between being pregnant and nursing, most of my favorite clothes have been impractical and/or impossible for the last year or so. Tack on another 7 months of pregnancy and a few more months of frequent breastfeeding, and it will be over 2 years since I said “hello” to some of my favorite things. Also, with having a nearly-eight-month-old at home, I have very little time for myself. I haven’t been to the salon for a haircut/color since I was on maternity leave, heaven knows how long it’s been since I had a pedicure, and I have NO TIME to work out. And yes, I know I’m lucky in the so-sick-I-don’t-gain-weight while pregnant department, but that doesn’t help.

Solution: As soon as I am through the first trimester, I’m taking a salon day. If anyone tries to guilt-trip me about hair dye, I’ll beat you. Seriously. I’m sticking with foils, which keeps the color off my scalp. And frankly, we all have our little something. I’m going to buy some newer clothes this time around- last time I bought hardly any maternity clothes, but this time I may splurge on some designer jeans and nicer tops, since I will be pregnant into December. And, finally, we’re joining the YMCA. I’m losing the battle in convincing Brett to buy a treadmill, so…this seems like a good option. They also have free childcare and some group classes, and I’m thinking about taking up dance again. At this point, nursing and pregnancy are requiring too many calories for me to run- I would not be able to keep up, food-wise. Hopefully in a few weeks things will be better and I will be able to get back in my running shoes.

So that’s it. I know this what pretty Debbie-Downer of me, so I’ll work on a “gratitude” threat later in the week. That is, I will if I get enough energy to actually pick up my computer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Humble pie.

I got a big serving of it today.

I never questioned whether I was going to breastfeed or not. To me, it's the not only the "best" way, but the "right" way. Thank goodness I had a relatively easy time establishing breastfeeding with Lucy. Of course there was the initial soreness, and we had to work on her latch for the first couple of weeks, but it happened. Things got easier. Lucy thrived. I loved looking at every little dimple and roll on her, thinking, "Hey- i put that there!"

I still love, love, love nursing- even in public. I enjoy my little part of "normalizing" breastfeeding- trying to encourage the mamas who are embarrassed or nervous to do so. Admittedly (and I am embarrassed about this), I feel a little sorry for a baby when I see mama pull out a bottle, even though there's no way to tell whether it's breastmilk or formula.

When I went back to work, I was blessed that my supply didn't diminish, even with twice-daily pumping sessions. Lucy was still breastfed exclusively. In fact, I even pumped enough to donate over 400 oz. of spare breastmilk. That was a couple of weeks ago- before I found out I was pregnant again.

And now here I am. My supply is slowly declining. It's sad, really- pumping less and less. Compressing and squeezing and praying and hoping for just a few more ounces. I have about 50 oz left in the freezer- probably just enough to keep topping off bottles for another couple of weeks.

So, today, I did it. I bought a can of formula. Because I don't know how long this will last, and I don't want to leave for work without a back-up. I'd rather end up having to mix formula and breastmilk during the transition, rather than going straight from one to the other.

Why not try to obtain donated breastmilk? Because I think other babies need it more. The last time I checked, there were about 10 requests for every 1 donation on MilkShare. Preemie babies, babies with illnesses, babies who aren't yet on solids and don't have the benefit of even a small amount of breastmilk. I feel for their mamas. I know how I feel now is probably nothing compared to the disappointment of not being able to breastfeed in the first place.

We'll continue to try, and I'll continue drinking my mama's milk tea 3 times a day, even though I know that it's the rising estrogen levels impacting my prolactin production, and there's really nothing that can be done. I'll keep nursing Lucy as long as she wants, and as long as I am physically able.

And I'll try not to feel pity for the mama I see in the formula aisle, because I don't know her situation. She certainly doesn't know mine- at least not for a few more months.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Coming clean.

Wow- just realized the last two posts have been late/far apart....but I have some pretty good reasons! The move down here was more stressful than I anticipated. The drive itself wasn't bad- Brett, Lucy, and I were in the big truck, plus it took two more trucks hauling trailers to move everything.

The big issue was unpacking. Our new house is smaller than the old one, although very nice. The closets are the main issue- I have no idea where I'm going to fit everything. I also went back to work immediately- we arrived on Saturday night, spent the day Sunday unpacking, and I started back pretty much full-time on Monday. Luckily I am blessed with an amazing family to help with everything, but as clutter stresses me out, having a house full of boxes drives me especially crazy. We are getting closer to being "done," but still need to invest in more storage pieces (armoires, etc.) to fit everything. I will definitely post pictures when I get the chance.

Also, right before we moved, we found out that I am pregnant. BIG surprise. HUGE. Although we are very excited about our new addition, the idea of adding a new baby to the mix is hugely intimidating, as we were planning on waiting until Lucy was about two years old to start "trying." And yes, I got pregnant on my first cycle post-partum. Dang fertile genes from my mama! I was going to wait until later to "tell", but since work has to know, many people already do, and besides, the clinic won't even see me until 11 weeks, and I am horrible at keeping secrets.

With the pregnancy comes a whole slew of emotions for me- I'm worried about being able to continue to nurse Lucy (yes, I know all about tandem nursing, and am going to try my hardest, but some women just lose their milk during pregnancy due to the effects of estrogen on prolactin levels. Same reason why the birth control pill kills milk supply for some). Already I have noticed that my supply is going down- because I pump twice a day at work, it's easy to see. Also, pregnancy soreness is setting in, and pumping is becoming very painful. Throw in a seven-month-old who just started teething, is getting all four teeth at once, and is starting to bite, and you get the picture of what I'm experiencing. I also have some crazy guilt- in the realm of "how irresponsible of me to get pregnant while she was still nursing." I only have a small store of milk left, as I just donated my stash through MilkShare, so I'm contemplating my options. I'd really like to avoid formula, and I know that Dr. Newman, breastfeeding expert, says that whole milk is fine as a supplement at this age. I'll be doing a lot more research this weekend.

Probably my next biggest concern is this new baby's birthplace. Florida has AWESOME homebirth laws, but because I am active duty, I have been informed that I am required to give birth on base. If I was an active-duty spouse, I could give birth at home, and insurance would pay. Highly discriminatory, I say. I am still exploring my options, but as of right now, it appears that my only other option is applying for a "elective operation" and paying 100% out of pocket. I'm going for an orientation next week at the hospital, but I'm not too optimistic. Here's a quote I pulled from an article written by one of the doctors who worked there. The article is called "Current Trends in Cervical Ripening and Labor Induction," and also advocated the use of misoprostol- go figure.

“In an ideal world, all pregnancies would go to term, and labor would begin spontaneously. In reality, it is often best to deliver the infant before the onset of natural labor.”


Monday, April 5, 2010

Crazy week.

Just realized that I haven't posted in a week- wow, has time flown by! Last week was extremely busy; sadly, Brett's great-grandfather passed away, so we drove to Florence for the funeral. Mr. Nolan was 101 years old, and Lucy was his only great-great grandchild. We are so grateful for the opportunity that we had over Christmas to introduce the two of them.

Also, in the craziness of the week, I kept forgetting to post Lucy's 6-month-stats. Now she is 7 months old, and I still haven't gotten around to it. So, before I forget again, at her 6 month appointment, Lucy was 17 lbs 1 oz ( 63rd percentile) and 27" long (83rd percentile).

Bowling fun in the mei tai.

This week Lucy has been working hard on her "pincer" grasp. She really enjoys sitting in her high chair and picking up her cereal pieces. Although Lucy mostly still uses a "raking" movement to pick up the small bits, she occasionally manages to get her first finger and thumb arranged in such a way as to pick up a piece with just those two fingers. I really think she's starting to notice that when she uses that technique she is more likely to get food into her mouth! I love watching her think, and I also appreciae being able to put her in her high chair for a minutes, knowing she can entertain herself while I cook dinner.

Incidentally, we ended up buying the standard Graco model. I had my heart set on a Tripp Trapp, but after months of searching for a used one, I admitted defeat. I'm pretty sure everyone who has one just ends up keeping them forever, then handing them down to the next baby in the family. I've still got my eyes peeled for one, though. I thought about buying one of the chairs that attaches to the table, but that option is out, as our tabletop is glass, and definitely not stable enough for that. At least the Graco is easy to clean and keeps her very secure.

This week will be very busy also, as we pack and prepare to move to our new home in FL. If you're the praying type, please keep us in mind. I probably won't get around to posting again until we're moved in, which will likely be Sat/Sun, assuming our internet is working by then.