Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My thoughts on Pumping...

Please disregard this post if you care nothing about this topic or don't want to hear about it!
I've had a few people ask me about this so this is for them.

First of all I'm going to be straight up with how I feel on this topic. It has nothing to do with anyone else and is completely based on my opinions alone. I know everyone usually has their own opinions on breastfeeding/formula feeding etc.

So this is my story. When Maren was born she lost 11% of her birth weight while we were at the hospital. She had trouble latching on and feeding. We worked and worked and I was distraught because I knew she was hungry but wouldn't eat. We did everything we could possibly do and met with every lactation consultant in that hospital for 3 days straight. Finally someone gave me a shield and that really did the trick. Then the milk came in and it was going pretty well but it took a good 45min- 1 hour to feed her. I was so grateful she was eating well I didn't care for the first several weeks while I tried to get her back to birth weight.  At her 2 week appt she was there and we celebrated. The only problem was that I was insanely exhausted from only sleeping 1-2hrs at a time but was so thankful she was gaining weight.
After 2 weeks I would pump occasionally after her morning feeding to start getting a supply built up in the freezer and then started to pump instead of actually feeding her. I would just pump to replace a feeding maybe like 2 times a day. When my mom was here or on the weekends they would take one of the night feedings so I could get a 5-6 hour stretch in. I cannot even tell you how much of a difference this made for me. I finally was able to get some rest and I think it helped me adjust better to this sudden change in my life. It also helped me a ton with the baby blues.
I also really loved that other people and especially Marc were able to feed her and that I was not her only source of food. It made me feel like she wouldn't get an unhealthy attachment to me and I know Marc really loved getting to participate and bond with her as well.  For her to take a bottle was no big deal. She did great with it and I loved knowing exactly how much she was getting. I also think the shield helped make that transition a breeze.

We are really on-the-go people and don't do well staying in for lengthy amount of times, so pumping helps me keep that type of schedule. Once the holidays hit, I think I pumped probably 70-80% of the time. Mainly because we were so busy and grandparents enjoyed feeding her as well and getting their time in. Pumping never really bothered me and I felt like 15 minutes was so much quicker than the hour I would spend feeding her. She never got any quicker at eating and she continued to struggle staying latched on and it made me super tense and frustrated. Finally after Christmas and her getting increasingly more awful at nursing and me getting more frustrated each time I (and Marc) made the decision to exclusively pump. I know it sounds like double the work, but it actually isn't because my supply was well established.
Side Note- before I ever had her I was never really excited about the nursing thing. I think maybe its because I'm not a very sentimental person or maybe I like to rebel against society (not sure), but I never felt like it was a special "bonding" time for us . Maybe its because I was too uptight and had so many issues at the beginning, but I never loved it. It felt like a really stressful job and was not enjoyable nor beneficial to either one of us.
I do think breastmilk is the best thing for them at the beginning, especially in hopes that it gives them the antibodies needed so they won't get sick (which is why I still do it) but I do also feel that there is this ridiculous pressure from society today that puts all kinds of stress on mothers to do this for a ridiculous amount of time. And if you don't make it a certain amount of time, then your a "failure". I have to say it bothers me soo much (again my own opinions and how i feel). You do what you can to survive, and if I had a full time job, no way would I be keeping this up. Its tough. It takes sacrifice, commitment, time, and a lot of work.
Here's the thing, back in the day formula was the only way to go... my husband wasn't breastfed and he is really smart, he has no allergies, and turned out just fine. Same with me and my sister. I just feel like it changed somehwere down the road and now BF is the ONLY way or else your kids will be sick ALL the time or I could go on and on but you get the point.
I have several friends that absolutely love BFing and have done it well past a year. I envy them, I really do. They are serious heroes in my book because I just don't feel cut out for it or don't have what it takes.

All that to say I'm grateful that what God gave me does work and that I can provide food for my child. I'm thankful she hasn't been sick yet and I'm thankful its free.

So now that I exclusively pump I love that there is always a bottle available and we have one whenever needed.
Here is a schedule for those that have asked...
I pump right before I go to bed and first thing when I get up. Before my surgery I was doing it every 4-5 hours and since my surgery my supply has gone down a little so I do it only 3 times a day. I do it in the a.m, then at 3 or 4pm (or whenever she is napping)  and again before bed. It doesn't quite cover all of her feedings so I have to use 1 frozen bag a day from my freezer supply. My goal is to make it 6 months, but whenever I run out of freezer bags we will start supplementing with formula. About 4 weeks ago I got very weary and really wanted to quit because it was hurting soo badly. But I finally got calloused over and now it doesn't hurt so bad anymore (gross I know).

So there we go. These 2 things have saved my life

1.The medela bustier. it allows me to be hands free in case I have to feed her at the same time or I can pump and get ready at the same time.
 2. The medela freestyle pump. It is also hands free and works awesome.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy 21st meg!

My baby sis turns 21 today. Seems like yesterday I was pretending she was my very own baby doll and taking care of her like my own.
She literally is the best sis ever. I'm so thankful for how she loves Maren, me and others. She goes out of her way to help us all of the time. I don't know what we would do without her.
I can't believe that she is now grown. Makes me realize how fast time flies.
Meg, thanks for being a truly amazing sis. So glad God gave me a sister. He knew exactly what I needed in my life. You make everyday better and I'm grateful we live in the same town. Thanks again for all that you do for our family.

Happy birthday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A slight setback

On Sunday Marc and I decided to make a trip to little rock to look at a car we were thinking about buying(which we did not end up getting). Thankfully Marc was off work on Monday so we had planned on staying the night. On our way down I had a severe abdominal attack. I had also had an attack on Saturday night. I had no clue what was happening. I thought it may be gas or Indigestion. When we got to little rock my mom knew something was off and decided to call a gastro doctor friend and had me talk to him. He immediately thought it was my gallbladder from how I had explained my symptoms. So Monday morning I went in for an ultrasound and they found several gallstones. After that I met with a surgeon, did lab work and prepared for surgery on Tuesday morning.
All that to say its been quite a whirlwind the past few days. Yesterday I had my gallbladder removed and now home in little rock recovering. Thankfully my parents are helping me with baby girl and helping me heal. It was an outpatient surgery but I still have 4 more scars to add to my others. They said this happens to several pregnant people or people who have just delivered. Not real sure why, but I'm thankful I got that thing out. The doctor said it was very inflamed and full of gallstones. I didn't know this, but passing those are very dangerous and they can get in your pancreas and that's super serious. So we are very thankful we caught it before that happened. I'm also thankful to be pain free, because those attacks are no joke. If you ever have severe upper abdominal pain on your right side it's probably your gallbladder so go get it checked!
This marks my 6th surgery so it was not that big of a deal, but I'm pretty sore today.

She was sad yesterday too that mommy had surgery.

Snuggling this morning. She makes me feel better!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

3 months!

So I'm almost a week behind on this, but our little one turned 3 months on Jan 8th! We celebrated by being in Little Rock and got spoiled by Nana Jan and Pop Pop. And she was so happy we were there, she slept 10 hours for us one night!!! What?! It was a one time deal unfortunately, but on average she does about 7, so I'm not complaining. She usually sleeps from 10:30-5:30, then eats 4oz and goes back down for another 3-4 hours which is super nice and I'm very thankful for some rest. We are also only doing bottles now. I'm exclusively pumping which isn't fun, but I'm hanging in there. Maren wasn't ever a great nurser and when I went back to work for those 2 weeks and then we traveled a ton for the Holidays, we slacked off a little too much and then she got really bad at it. It just became frustrating for me, so now this takes a lot of questions out for me. I at least get to know exactly how much she is getting which I like and I don't have to pump every 3 hours which is nice. I make enough so that I can skip a feeding if need be and can make it through the night w/o having to pump. My goal was originally to make it to 6 months, but if I'm being honest I probably won't make it. I may get to 5 and if I do, I will be happy with that. I think I'll have enough stored up so she can make it to 6.

I tried for more attempts of getting her smiling in her "monthly" pics, but that didn't work so well again, A little better this time around, but not great.

This was from a week ago. She was happy, happy, happy. 

First time in the bumbo!

Having a serious convo with dad

We had about 4 weeks of her being absolutely perfect. Smiling, talking, sleeping well, playing, etc and hardly any crying. In the past week she stopped talking, started fussing a lot and just doesn't seem very content. I have no clue what is going on with her. It makes us sad because we don't know what happened to our happy baby. I mean its not horrible  but I just can't figure out what to do to make her happy. I thought at the 3 month mark is when they started getting super fun and less crying especially if colicky. I'm hoping its a quick phase and she will be back to her happy go lucky self! My mom said both me and my sis got a tooth at 3 months, so maybe that's what going on, but she hasn't run any fever and I can't feel anything coming through. Or maybe its just a growth spurt. Any ideas or is this just normal?

Here are some stats:
-She weighs 11ish lbs
-She eats 4oz (occasionally 4.5)
-She is super easy to put down at night. A bottle and swaddle and she's out. No rocking or holding needed.
-She loves the car and her car seat still
-She went to the church nursery today for the first time! (I did great, however dad wasn't quite ready for that :) )
-She loves her swing, play mat and bouncy seat
-Still really loves bath time! If she's screaming she stops immediately. Too bad her skin gets dry and we can't give her one every night so we do every other night. She always sleeps great after a good bath.
-She is wearing 3-6 month clothes. Onesies fit great, pants are way too long. Imagine that! (i'm 5"2)
-She wears size 1 diapers
-We don't have a great nap schedule yet, but would like to work on that a little more this month
-She sleeps about an hour after she eats right now anywhere from 30min-1hr.
-She can't hold her head up completely on her ow, but is getting very close.
-She doesn't even act interested in trying to roll over. During tummy time she just chews on her fist, falls asleep or gets mad
-Her cheeks are still really yummy :)
-the biggest thing that happened this month was that we weaned her from the nap nanny. She did awesome. It took 1 night and then she slept longer than usual after that. Yay!

I think that's about it! Even though we've had a rough few days, she has been amazing and really pretty easy. She's definitely lights up our world and time is flying by! We are so grateful.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Newborn Pics

I completely forgot to post all of Maren's newborn pics. I mean she's almost 3 months, but who's counting :)
Our session was super fun and Maura had some creative ideas for our new, little bundle. I think she was 15 or 16 days old, (almost too old for her not to be sleepy enough). The session took 6 hours... yes 6 hours and a lot of patience. Maura was a trooper as well as Maren!

Thanks again to our amazing, sweet, talented friend, Maura.
Which one is your fave? I think the last one is our favorite becaus of her sweet cheeks and because she makes that face everyday when waking up.

*All images are property of Maura Dawn Photography

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year and a New Job

Well on Wednesday I officially started my new job as a stay at home mom! Right before Christmas God made it very obvious to me what I should do. I had battled this decision for 11 months and was completely torn. I went back and forth, back and forth. I absolutely loved my job at the church. I did administration for the elementary ministries there. I was in my 6th year and wasn't sure if I could give it up. The team I worked with was like my 2nd family. They have been there for me through it all, prayed non-stop for Marc and I and have been so gracious. I really was unsure how I would ever live without them.
After my first day back I knew my heart wasn't there anymore. The work was clearly not my passion and my heart was with my baby at home. Then on Tuesday afternoon Marc's bosses threw out an option for me to work from home for their company managing some social media for Field Agent. I was so excited and knew right then God was making a way for me to be at home with our miracle baby. On Wednesday I told them and then that next Thursday was my last day. I got to leave on good terms and was able to give myself closure. It was so affirming to me after being there for 2 weeks.
I'm so thankful that I'm able to do this and that Marc is excited for me to stay home. I will forever be grateful for that job because the insurance I had through it made it possible for me to do ivf. If it weren't for that job and insurance we would have never been able to do it, so for that I feel like i owe them everything and we will forever be thankful!

So my first 2 days went well and I could not be more excited to enter this new stage of life. I feel like I've always been jealous of those that stay home with their babies, but never thought I would be cut out for it. I do know it won't always be easy or fun, but I don't think I will ever regret it. I would be sad missing all the "firsts" and the fun in between!

Any words of advice for this new SAHM?!