Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Strange Milk or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Boob

I am self admittedly a recent convert to the breastfeeding legion of mommies. My mother formula fed all of her children- and let me go ahead and say there is nothing wrong with any of us (ok maybe my siblings, but not me- just kidding...ha...).

Tim and I had briefly discussed it as an abstract concept before even trying to have kids, much in the same way you talk about all kinds of things you've not yet experienced or situations where you try to think you know how you'll react. He and his sisters were all breastfed and he jokingly insisted his theoretical child would be. Anyone who knows me at all knows I'm a stubborn Southern gal, and I do not take kindly to ever being told what I am going to do.

I was one of those people who thought it was "weird." Probably because I hadn't grown up with it, and the only memory I have of seeing it was at a water park where a very endowed mother was feeding a very not so small child. That probably mortified me and turned me off to the idea of ever breastfeeding. Wait- actually that IS what mortified me.

I've been blessed to teach a speech class at the collegiate level for many years now. Each class I always learn something from the various speeches- and I can remember a few students selecting breastfeeding topics. I've also had friends here and there talk about the benefits (can we say FREE FOOD). So in general I knew that breast probably was, in fact, best.

I've already mentioned the birthing class that Tim and I took, but we also took a follow up breastfeeding class as well. And let me pause to say: the lactation consultant at St Francis is Ah-may-ZING! Like seriously- we couldn't be more blessed to know Carolyn (she taught one half of our birthing class as well). For any of my friends to yet have babies and be down with all the lingo- a lactation consultant is a person who is basically a boobie/milk whisperer. They know everything, or well at least Carolyn does! If you choose to breastfeed, I highly recommend getting in touch with one and making sure it's a service your hospital offers (once again big kudos to the very pro-breastfeeding St Francis). The class was so helpful and really did give me a good base for what to expect when it came time to feed the little one. It definitely sealed the deal for me in terms of wanting to try and exclusively breastfeed our little one.

We were also blessed that so far, knock on wood, we haven't had any issues. Baby girl is almost three months, which means I've almost made it three months breastfeeding exclusively. And I'm kind of obsessed- at least with learning about and talking to others about it. I love the Kellymom website! It has great information. I also loved attending a support group that is offered once a week at St Francis. I have not been able to go because of my return to work, but I plan to attend this week on my late lunch hour.

Because I will be honest again- breastfeeding exclusively is a full time job and it is not easy. These women who make it out to be hearts and rainbows must make a happy hormone that I am lacking because starting out I was miserable (and some days I'm still miserable). Not only are you constantly feeding at first to establish your supply- the poop! Oh the poop monitoring! I have to know about each color and consistency of her poop! I never thought I would become a poop aficionado! It's enough to give me anxiety attacks. Enter the support group- it makes things so much better and it has only fueled my passion for learning more about breastfeeding.

Like I said, I'm a little obsessed and obviously a person who gets easily anxious. I was incredibly worried about returning to work and having to pump. Especially lugging this giant bag of breastmilking supplies around. I keep three sets of pumping parts so I don't have to waste time cleaning at work. I feel guilty already having to pump at work- even though I know it is my legal right and I've got it set up so I can work and pump at the same time. But, all seems to be going well. I chug a ton of Gatorade :) I'm constantly updating stats on my Pump Log app- 250 oz in the freezer yall!!!

All this to say, I'm really glad I tried something outside of my comfort zone. I feel like I'm doing the absolute best I can for this tiny little human. I certainly don't think formula is poison or anything, so if I were to "run dry" tomorrow, I'd be sad, but I know we'll all survive. Some moms can't breast feed and some simply choose not to do it- and that's their right as a mom. Babies still keep on :)

***Update*** So I originally wrote most of this a couple of weeks ago- a little here and there. I thought I should include that I truly feel like I've been inducted into the legion of breastfeeding moms because last week on my work trip I nursed in the car at a rest stop and I just didn't care. And, bless her heart, if you're my Facebook friend then you know I got walked in on at work today by my work study student. Doesn't even phase me (even though she may be mortified). It's so funny to me how we are all almost ashamed of our bodies to the point of hiding what really is a sweet moment between a mother and child. I'm not saying I'm about to throw my boob in your face, no I'm still likely to cover it up, but it's just something to think about why we're so ready to hide.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why your plans don't matter- at least in my experience

Your plans really do not matter. Seriously- your plans are as useful as a blueprint written on etch-a-sketch. At least that has been my experience. Everything from deciding we wanted to have children, to our daughter's birth and even this blog post- it's all completely different than what I could have ever planned.

Tim and I decided we wanted to start a family back in June of 2012- I remember this because the same night we talked about it, we went out and bought a Playstation 3. Hindsight: I now realize that is maybe one of the many reasons we weren't ready to be parents just yet! Regardless, we had decided and I'm a stubborn Southern gal and I wanted to have a baby right then. Of course, it didn't happen. And it kept not happening. Talk about major discouragement and wrecking plans! It wasn't until 16 months later that we would find out that we were expecting.

Fast forward to birthing classes. I like to learn, I like to prepare...I like to plan- so I signed us up to take birthing classes at St. Francis. It is worth mentioning that Tim was not a fan of this idea at first, but he was a good husband and decided to actively participate. I had also joined a mom's group on Facebook for July 2014 moms. Between the two I learned about birth plans. Birth plans are these cute little lists, sometimes really elaborate and illustrated, of all the things you think you want and don't want at birth. Sounds normal for someone like me who loves making lists! But really, what I think snapped me into the reality of "your plans don't matter" is when we played a game that included all these crazy scenarios that meant you couldn't have your epidural, or your natural birth etc. I remember going home after class that night and telling Tim, "you know...birth plans are stupid because anything can happen. I think we need to play this as it comes." Sounds like maybe I had made an adult and very mature conclusion....but really in the back of my head I was still probably thinking "I WANT ALL THE DRUGS!!!" Actually I know I wanted the drugs because I clearly remember asking for them during birth and was told "Oh honey, you need to push..."

On that not, fast forward just a little bit more to the birth of our daughter. Many of you already know, but our kid is known as Six Minutes at the hospital. Basically, I labored all day at work, and then some at home, and then a little at the hospital. Apparently not enough though. I was sent home from the hospital with an Ambien and told to go home and relax after three hours (are you kidding me???). We made it home...I took a bath, a shower, got in the bed...then my water broke. Little one decided she needed to get out. She almost came in the car. I begged my husband to pull over because I knew our baby was coming...alas..he did not oblige- he had his own plan. From the time I got out on the curb of the ER, to the time my baby was born...SIX MINUTES! There were no IVs, no hospital gowns, no time for checking in new paperwork, most importantly to a wimp like me...NO DRUGS!!! I basically took off my ill fitting sweatpants and gave birth. I mean talk about a HUGE slap in the face to planners! Nothing about what happened to us was in any sort of game plan (actually well, I'm glad I had started earlier that week packing a hospital bag for everyone- that did help- even if they weren't finished). I can honestly say though I never expected to have a natural birth like that! Some people tell me they are jealous...but I don't know. It was pretty scary- and then there's the lovely fact my daughter was birthed into this world while I wore a shirt that said "Sleep Now, Study Later."

Even this blog post. I had all these plans for maternity leave, and now here it is - I'm seven weeks in, and I "plan" to go back after nine weeks. I was going to blog every day- every single milestone about our little one. I was going craft all kinds of stuff, even make her scrapbook. Geez, I was going to at least finish her nursery. None of that has happened. I am breastfeeding on demand and wow- that takes up a lot of your time- basically all of your time because you never know when the baby will want to eat. Luckily, she is starting to form some patterns, plus we have Nana helping us with chores, etc. I also attend an amazing breastfeeding moms group.

So let me reiterate this life lesson I'm actively learning. Planning is great, but don't agonize over every single tiny detail (so.hard.for.me.to.type.that.) because life has its own plans. I'm taking it one day at a time and enjoying getting to know this beautiful baby:

Little Miss

Mommy and baby

Already a month old! Almost two!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Adventure, New Blog Name!

I decided to just do it already! I'm reviving my blog. I've been working on a post that I hope to have ready soon, but rather than putting off and putting off I wanted to get started right now. I'm so excited to finally be a mom! Yes, that's probably why my blog was dormant for almost 10 months now. I was busy making my mini-me.

Miss Peyton Rae
Isn't she adorable? I love her so much and enjoy getting to know her more each day. Even if I'm totally sleep deprived, covered in spit-up and completely clueless on how to care for a newborn. I can't promise to write daily, or even weekly. But, I do have lots of things I'm thinking while I'm here at home with baby girl and I think my blog is the perfect place for them! Here is to a new start.
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