Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Battling Breastfeeding.. again

How do I even begin to write down how I have been feeling lately?

I could write down lost or failure or quitter or maybe I should just add them all together and that would sum it up..

Or maybe a short story:

Once upon a time there was a mom who thought she had it all together. With her first baby she produced milk galore in the first 5 months and she felt like a champion.. and then her baby got thrush which started the 2 month battle of passing it back and forth until her milk dried up and she had to let go of her list of expectations of what it meant to be a "good" mom. Just because she couldn't breastfeed anymore didn't mean she loved her baby less.

But then 2 years passed and she forgot about the lessons she had learned the hard way and baby #2 came.

She had every intention to breastfeed and make it longer than she had with her first. But something was different this time and it just wasn't as easy as she had thought it would be the second time around.

Instead the battle resumed in full force.

And here I am again.. currently trying to let go of my list of what it means to be a "good" mom. This list always seems to weave itself in my head whether I want it to or not. I find myself adding things to the list as I read articles online or scan Pinterest or compare myself to my fellow moms through Facebook or Instagram. Sometimes I catch myself doing this and stomp it out.. other times. I let it get to me.

Near the top of that list is breastfeeding.. That boat set and sailed off with Lydia at 7 months but I was determined to make it to at least 6 months this time, if not beat Lydia's feeding record. Make it at least until 6 months.. Like biting into a piece of cake, right?

Nope. More like biting into a rock. Ouch.

So my new story is this---Due to my postpartum hemorrhaging it took longer for my milk to come in and when it did, I just never felt full.

I remember when my milk came in with Lydia.. All the sudden I was full and I was going to fall over because my chest felt so heavy. I had a large milk supply and was able to save months worth.

I expected a similar feeling with my second baby but that didn't happen. I never "felt" my milk come in. I just kept feeding her and then as she started to drink longer I thought, "Well, I guess my milk came in finally." And life went on.

But it got harder. Adeline never had as strong of a latch as Lydia. I definitely had to work for it, but when she did.. she would latch firm and wanted more and more. I just never felt like I had much milk and so I felt like I was just constantly feeding Adeline. I felt like I stayed in the same place all day.. And nights were even worse.. She just wanted to eat and eat and eat! I even tried the co-sleeping and feeding thing just so I could catch a little bit of sleep.

When I talked to the doctor about it he told me that as long as Adeline was gaining weight then I should just keep doing what I was doing.

This response frustrated me because I knew that I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.. how many episodes of Care Bears or Curious George could Lydia watch before I was considered a "bad mom" on my list? To be honest.. she'd already watched too much as I tried to figure this feeding round 2 out. It was the only way that I could focus on Adeline and try and get her to latch and not have Lydia running around trying to hold or jump on the baby or feed her goldfish crackers.

I was so focused on Adeline's latch and trying to feed her that I didn't notice the cracked and dry nipples and the pain that started to intensify. I was focused on how Adeline would cry before, during, and after feedings and her latch was getting worse. Brian finally was the one to point out we had another problem. Thrush.

Nooooooooo!!! [insert loud groan here]

The dreaded thrush was back... even after trying to avoid it in all the ways I could think of and read about.

And we were back at the Doctor's office where I told him that I was losing my milk and needed something to work the first time. I didn't want another 2 month battle with this.

He told me we had to try Nystatin first because even if it didn't work with Lydia it might with Adeline. I left the office feeling sick but determined to make this work. I couldn't lose my milk...

But now after 2 weeks since that appointment and having done the 10 days of Nystatin diligently and trying my hardest to make sure it was working.. thrush has not disappeared.

But my milk has.

And it's consuming me. My every waking moment is spent in "How can I save my milk?" and "What more can I do?" and the fear that my milk is drying up completely.

Because it already is. My right side is completely empty. There is nothing left.

Right now I am getting away with a night feeding and a day feeding.. and as much "snacks" as I can get in with supplementing after.

Even as I write that my eyes fill with tears because it feels like such an ultimatum. If I let that last feeding dry up that's it.. that is the end. Addie will never have this again from me.

I know that breastmilk is not everything. I know that this is not life and death. And how grateful I am to live where I can go to the store and buy formula.

But I did have high hopes and when they come crashing down it hurts.

In the hospital when I gave birth to Adeline, I asked for a binky for Adeline to suck on and I got a big mouthful from some of the nurses saying how they promote "breast is best" and having a binky that soon wasn't protocol. That's how the rest of my hospital stay was.. I honestly felt like I was being congratulated for breastfeeding my baby and that the 2 oz bottle of formula my baby was fed while I was recovering from the birth was awful of me to make them give her. "How could I have done that?" they all seemed to say.

I left feeling even more determined to breastfeed and not let myself fail.

So when things went downhill.. those feelings of failure have engulfed me a bit. Those things that were repeated over and over and over keep coming back to me as I struggle. "Breastmilk is the best thing for your baby," "drink more water!" "nipple stimulation" "keep up on your vitamins" "Fenugreek" and "offer both sides" and lots and lots of oatmeal, salmon, spinach and carrots.

The worst thing when your supply is low is to supplement with formula.. but my baby was not getting enough and I was honestly sitting in the same spot all day trying to nurse her.. which is practically impossible with a toddler. Lydia watched TV all day long on those days in the beginning and that only made me feel like a worse mom.

And so after crying to my husband on far too many occasions.. I called my mom.

It is so true that you learn to appreciate your parents more and more the older you get. My mom is a wise woman and is often inspired to say just what I needed to hear.

She told me that breastfeeding does not mean I am a better mom and nor does formula feeding. It isn't a test of motherhood and I shouldn't feel guilty for nourishing my child with formula.

Sometimes there are factors outside of your control no matter how motivated or how hard you try.

I have done my best and that is enough. She said if I want a stronger bond with my baby then feed her the bottle by holding her and not propping it up on something. I should stop what I'm doing to do so.. just like I would have had to do if I were breastfeeding. I should look my baby in the eyes and chat to her like I do when I breastfeed. And turn off the distractions like the tv and phone so I can give her my whole attention.

I am not lost. I am not a failure. And I didn't quit. I need to kick those feelings out. These are just Satan's lies to get me to doubt myself and my abilities.

Even with my few feedings my current goal is to make it to 3 months and if I make it there then I might aim for the end of the year. But I can't let myself be angry if it doesn't work out.

I truly am grateful for record keeping. Seriously.. reflecting back on life lessons help me so much in learning today's lessons.

I wrote this journal entry of my first breastfeeding battle and the 4 things that we all should remember with formula vs breastfeeding. To summarize my own thoughts in two sentences: Don't judge others because the way you feed your baby is your business. Nurturing is more than milk and you know what is best for your baby.

I gotta kick my "perfect mom list" away and focus more on loving my children deeply. I need to base my decisions on love and not so much on being perfect.

It's okay to feel sad that things haven't worked out how I wanted them to but I also need to learn to accept that I am still a good mom who loves her baby and just wants what is best for the both of us.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Adeline Baby Journal

This child is growing like dandelions on a windy day in my yard.. If I were to post a picture of my yard this analogy would be complete. 

Life with 2 kiddos has been challenging but so heart warming and special. One of my worries about having another child was the fear if I would love her enough. My heart was already so full of love for Brian and for Lydia.. could it expand any more for another human and hold as much love as I already felt?

The answer to that is yes. My "Grinch" heart has grown in size and my love for this new darling spirit is unfathomable. Some people are not "newborn" people and enjoy kids the very most when they are a little older like sitting up or talking or the wild getting-into-everything stage. Having a newborn again has made me realize that I may just be a newborn person. I love how little they are and how they snuggle up next to you. I love to work to get a smile out and I love LOVE the smell of new babies. Though getting up at nights is tough, man it is holding that baby worth it. 

I just love this little girl so much. And I love these two little girls so much.. And I love their love for each other.

Kids come with their own personalities.. that is for sure. While Lydia has always been a wild child going 100 miles per hour.. Adeline is much more content. Lydia was not a snuggle bug at all and just wanted to be on the go.. and Adeline just wants to be held ALL THE TIME.

One thing I really do love about her growing is having this personality of hers poke through even more!

To cut Addie's hair wasn't a debate like I had, had with Lydia. My kids loose their hair around the time the baby acne hits and they are left with the old man half-bald look. I waited til 3 or so months to finally buzz Lydia. This time I just did it. Lydia's had grown in thicker and much more even and already I can tell the same for Adeline.

But this little ball of fluff is so soft.. and that is what it feels like.. like a really soft feather and is extremely fine.

Lydia's favorite thing to do right now is have the baby on her back. It sure makes for a cute picture. They are such beauties and boy do they look alike! Can you tell they are sisters?!

I do get the question pretty often of "do I think Lydia and Adeline look alike" and my answer is yes! They look an awful lot like me but have their daddy's eyes. Sometimes as I am feeding Addie I'll look down and feel like I'm looking at a baby picture of myself. Totally a weird feeling to have little minis!

Adeline is very strong for her age.. Lydia was too and started rolling at only a month old, but Addie beats her in her endurance. It may just be that Addie's acid reflux causes her to be stiff all the time, but she is always trying to stand and has been able to hold her head up since day one.

Lydia continues to love pretty hard on Adeline. I have started to wonder if she'll ever get bored of her sister because there is no sign of that happening anytime soon.

Here is the start of Adeline's baby journal.. I love doing these and seeing how much they change and grow. I think all too often that I'll totally be able to remember the little things she does at different ages, but I know that isn't true. Already I try to remember what age Lydia started doing what.. for example "cooing" and I have to go back and find where I wrote it down. I am so grateful for journals and records and need to do better at writing it all down so I can remember these precious moments!

This is to show Adeline's eyes.. I don't think she's going to be a blue-eyed girl! Her eyes and coloring are much darker. Right now her big eyes are leaning toward hazel like Brian's.

Adeline at 2 months is currently 12 lbs which puts her around 70% percentile for height and she is 23 inches which is 96th percentile for height. I have really tall babies (Lydia was also this way).

One of my favorite things about Adeline is when she smiles she gets so excited that she throws her arms up and her tongue instantly covers her smile... and her eyes get these little wrinkles in the corners like her daddy's...

I also love how much she loves baths. I remember wanting Lydia to love them so bad but she never did and still struggles at times with wanting to take them (Thank goodness for bubbles and bath crayons.. they are the best at helping her want to take them).

Adeline can sit in a bath until it is no longer even warm or lukewarm and she cries when I take her out.

It feels like we have always had this little pug in our lives. (Yes... her nickname is pug due to her constant snorting and snoring). It seems like we just woke up and she was in our lives and it just felt so natural that we never questioned it.

I like it that way.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Marriage Journal Update

It's been a while since I've posted the update of our marriage journal. Along with the pregnancy, and baby journals, I've loved making these along the way.

I'm a big believer in journals. Even though I am far from perfect about writing in mine, I like to find creative ways to document our lives from big to small. This is part of why I blog.

President Henry B Eyring gave a talk years ago that has always hit home with me. The talk is titled "O Remember, Remember" and in it he tells of a story where he returns home late one evening to find his father-in-law rushing out the door after helping his family and hears in his mind very clearly the words, "I'm not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down."

He goes on to explain that we are to make a record (a journal of some sort) for our children to read and see how Heavenly Father blesses each and every one of our lives daily. Since this talk given 9 years ago now I have tried harder to keep a record of our lives and our blessings.

I kept a pregnancy journal for both Lydia and Adeline. And a baby journal for Lydia and have started Adeline's. Having one for our marriage is special to me as well, especially as we look back to see how much we have changed and matured!


I'm not one to sugarcoat my life.. and truth be told marriage is hard... amazing and worth it, but hard. Year 5 has been a rough year with so many changes and with residency kicking us in the face but I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am to have memories to reflect on as well as a journal of all of the great moments to drown out the hard ones of this year. I'm grateful. 

And that feeling of gratitude is what I'm going to choose to focus on.