Thursday, May 30, 2013

The One with the May Cara Box

This month, I participated in another Cara Box exchange.

Cara Box

Cara Box was started by Kaitlyn at Wifessionals in an effort to get to know other bloggers and receive super fun mail!  This was my second month participating and I had so much fun with this project.  Each month has a theme and you can read more about how Cara Box works here.

I was paired up with Krystal at Pressing Pause and Heather from Lawless Life.  It was great getting to know both ladies and I had a blast picking out things to send to Heather (although I will admit shopping with a newborn was a bit more difficult!).  Head over to her blog to see what I sent her in the Cara Box.

Last week, I came home to a super fun box from Krystal.  This month's theme was "Let's Get Regional" and we had to pick items from where the sender lives.  Krystal just moved to Utah and sent me a box of fun things from her state.

 There was such a sweet note in the box from Krystal.

Krystal sent toys for Liam and Max, along with lotion, makeup, and a candle for me.

Once again, I had a lot of fun participating in this month's Cara Box exchange.  I highly recommend looking into it if you like "meeting" new people and getting fun mail.

I am looking forward to continuing to participate in this great exchange!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The One with the 100th Post

It's very hard to believe that I am writing my 100th post. 

When I started this blog with this post, I had no idea where it would go or the path we would take.  I had always hoped it would lead to this miracle, but in reality I knew that may not be the outcome.

Hubs and I are a rare case. 

We moved right from infertility testing to a major medical procedure without having to endure failed procedures in between.

We have insurance that covered a huge portion of our medical costs.

We had one medical intervention to "treat" our infertility.

We got pregnant after only one IVF procedure.

We brought a healthy baby boy into this world after a very easy nine months and a very fast and uncomplicated delivery.

We are beyond blessed and lucky and we have not taken one second of those blessings for granted.

Yes, I am feeling sappy and emotional today.  Yes, I am staring at my son (my son, people...never thought I'd get to say those words) as I type this while he sleeps next to me.  Yes, I still marvel at his perfection and feel immense joy every time he opens those eyes and looks at me.

I am a mother and there is no greater honor in this world.


My plans for this blog will evolve as our family does.  I still want to provide updates on Liam and Max.  I would like to write about motherhood and its highs and lows and the in between daily happenings.  I want to do some product reviews of what we have found helpful during these first few weeks and upcoming months.  I want to talk about food and new recipes and summer get togethers.

Those are the plans.  Who the hell knows what will happen as I navigate this crazy parenthood thing.  I want to continue writing.  It's a great outlet for me.

Thank you to all of you who have traveled on the getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and becoming a family of four roads with us.  Your support means so much to me.

I may not blog as often as before, but I am still reading blogs during 3 am feedings and will continue to write as often as I can.

And because I just can't resist showing him off...

Hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day weekend and that your weather is better than ours (it's cold, rainy, and crappy here).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The One with the Breastfeeding Saga

So it's been a little while since I've blogged because I've been busy, you know, raising a child and all.

But, I do miss getting my thoughts down on paper and I have about 3 minutes before Liam needs to be changed, fed, burped, or loved on so I thought I would sit down and try to get something written.  I will inevitably start this and get interrupted several times so hopefully it won't be too disjointed.

This is a tough post for me to write because it's got a lot of emotion attached to it.  It's going to be long too so prepare yourself.

I have wanted to breastfeed since the moment I found out I was pregnant.  Before even.

I had these expectations of it just working.  Sure, there would be work involved and I fully anticipated having a baby attached to my boobs 'round the clock.  But I never expected what has ultimately happened.

All appeared well in the hospital.  Liam latched on in the delivery room, appeared to be sucking and swallowing and while I was in a little discomfort and my nips were certainly sore, the breastfeeding thing was happening.

Fast forward to Monday night in the hospital.  My mom stayed with me while Hubs went home to be with Max and get a real night's sleep.  Liam was up often throughout the night and nursed for marathon sessions.  The nurses didn't seem concerned, so I wasn't either.  I had heard the second night was a lot more work than the first and the baby is helping to bring your milk in, so I expected to nurse a lot more.  So, I fed him when he seemed hungry and again, thought all was well.

When we got home Tuesday afternoon, I was starting to suspect something wasn't quite right, but I chalked it up to new mom-ness and assumed it would be fine.  By Tuesday and Wednesday nights, it was beyond apparent that my child was not getting what he needed from me.  He was clearly hungry, wanted to suck on something all the time (my poor mother's knuckle was getting raw!), and the big in-your-face sign was his lack of dirty diapers.  We called the pediatrician on Wednesday and they told us to try some rectal stimulation to help him poop.  The nurse assumed he was constipated despite the fact I told her it was a food issue.  We tried anyway and didn't have any luck with getting him to go.

On Thursday, I was in full meltdown mode.  I cried most of the day and knew something had to be done immediately because my poor child was starving and I had to do something about it.  We made calls to the pediatrician and the lactation consultants at the hospital.  The lactation consultant recommended a meeting in the hospital, which we set up for Friday and also said I needed to start pumping after each feeding to stimulate my milk production.  The pediatrician recommended we start supplementing.  While I knew this recommendation was coming, it broke my heart to know that my body was failing my son.  I hated everything about formula, but I knew deep down it had to be done.

On the Friday following Liam's birth (so May 10th, his original due date), we went to the pediatrician's office for Liam's first appointment.  He left the hospital weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces.  By Friday, he was down to 7 pounds, 11 ounces.  While the pediatrician assured us he was within the 10% loss in body weight range, he recommended we continue to supplement and then make some decisions after the appointment with the LC later that morning.

The meeting with the LC was great.  She assured me that my milk was "in" but that my production was just extremely low.  We talked about supplementing and the different ways it could be accomplished.  Ultimately, we decided to use a curved-tip syringe at the breast to give Liam formula while we was "nursing."  This would help to continue to stimulate my milk production and also allow Liam to breastfeed and get what little milk I was producing for him.  After each feeding, I then had to pump with a hospital grade pump (which we rented) for 15 minutes.  She also recommended that I start taking Fenugreek pills, drinking Mother's Milk tea, and talk to my OB/GYN about a prescription for Reglan which can help to increase production.

So began our saga.  Each feeding beginning on that Friday afternoon, Liam got 3 ounces of formula in the syringe while nursing.  After I finished feeding him, I went off into the nursery to pump.  During the two overnight feedings, I would only pump while Liam got a bottle of formula.  I drank the tea and took the pills and even called my doctor to start the medication.  It was a grueling schedule and left little room for anything else, but I was committed to making it work.

By the time we went back to the pediatrician's office last Monday, Liam was back up to 8 pounds, 5 ounces.  This was because we had been supplementing and I was under no illusion that it was because I had any more milk to offer him.  I cringe thinking about what he would have been down to if we hadn't started with the formula.  He also started having poopy diapers again.  Seriously, Hubs and I were ecstatic when he had his first one.  We literally high-fived in the nursery!

However, despite all of this intense feeding and pumping, I was getting very little milk at each session, even the ones overnight when Liam wasn't taking any milk from me.  We're talking less than half an ounce from both boobs combined during those overnight sessions.  It was so frustrating and made me feel so defeated.

I started to question whether this was the right decision for me.  I am well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding and I so desperately wanted this to work for us.  But, by yesterday, I started to realize the amount of quality time I wasn't spending with my baby because I was attached to that stupid fucking pump.  Fifteen minutes doesn't sound like a lot of time, but when you are doing that eight times a day and all you want to be doing is snuggling with your newborn, it starts to take its toll.

I decided to skip pumping yesterday and just focus on Liam.  I still nursed and did the syringe routine, but I wasn't running off to the nursery after each feeding.  I cannot begin to tell you what a difference it made in my attitude and overall feeling.  I was less tired and irritable and felt more connected with Liam.  I also stopped taking the meds.  I don't really think they had any effect on my mental well-being, but there were all sorts of warnings about PPD and anxiety associated with the pills.  It was a like a weight had been lifted.

This stupid effin machine was no longer controlling my days.

Last night, I pumped during the two overnight feedings while my mom fed Liam.  I got some milk, but nothing remarkable.  I just feel like my supply will never be what it should be, no matter how many times I attach myself to the nipple sucking death machine or how many pills I pop or cups of tea I force myself to drink.  I am cursed with shitty mammary glands.  I suppose if that is the worst thing that happens to us in this whole parenthood thing, we are some lucky mo-fos.

So, it is with a heavy heart but a clear conscience that I, after many discussions with both Hubs and my mom, decided to switch to only formula.  Liam has tolerated it well and has continued to put on weight (little piggy was up to 9 pounds, 5 ounces today at the doctor!).  I want breastfeeding to work, but I know that the mental toll it is taking on all of us is not worth it at this point.  If I had seen some dramatic increase in my supply, I would absolutely be sticking with it.  But that hasn't happened and I really don't think it ever will.

I may still breastfeed Liam on occasion (like I did today because my boobs were aching) until what measly supply I have dries up, but I know he will be okay on formula.  It is not my first choice, but it is the right choice for us in the position we are in. 

And just to prove my baby is still absolutely adorable and thriving...

 Also swore I'd never use pacifiers.  And I've now learned not to swear to do or not do anything when it comes to parenthood.

Mommy and Liam survived some solo trips out this week too!

So that's the not-so-short story of our breastfeeding drama.  Certainly not what I expected, but ultimately the path that we have taken and our little man seems to be do just fine.

Liam's debut with the chalkboard is coming soon!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The One with Liam's Birth Story

So here is the nitty gritty of what happened to bring this truly amazing miracle into the world.

If you recall, at my last doctor’s appointment on April 29th, I was 1-1.5 cm and the baby was head down and low.  Around 2 am on Sunday, May 5th, I woke up to go pee.  When I got out of bed, I felt a little trickle of fluid, but just assumed it was discharge.  When I got to the bathroom, the liner I was wearing was wet and the liquid was tinged with blood.  I thought it could be AF, but I wasn’t have any contractions and there was no big gush or anything so I went back to bed.  I slept on and off until around 5:30ish when I got up with the dog.  By that point, there were continued trickles of fluid every time I got up from sitting or standing.  I thought I was having minor contractions but they were inconsistent in both duration and frequency and weren’t really that painful.  Hubs and I had plans that morning to visit his nephew so we headed out around 7:20 after I took a shower.  Hubs kept checking in on me while I was in there to make sure I wasn't going to have the baby in the bathtub!

By that point, I knew I was definitely having contractions (feeling them in my back) but again, nothing incredibly painful.  We visited with his nephew until around 9:15 and I was having contractions and some fluid leaking throughout the visit.  I promised Hubs I would call the doctor after the visit but only if we went to Target to pick up a few things first!  Walking around Target the contractions were slightly more painful and coming more frequently.  The doctor called me back and said to head to the hospital because I had probably broken my water and that was what the fluid was.  I was so determined not to go to the hospital until we absolutely had to because I had this fear we would get sent home.  So, we left Target, went home, had some lunch, and finished packing a few things.  We got Max settled in his crate and I honestly thought I would be back to see him later that afternoon.

We arrived at the hospital around 11:15ish and they hooked me up to the monitors.  The baby looked good and I was definitely having contractions at that point.  My BP was a little high (unusual for me and this pregnancy) so they ordered some blood work.  Getting a vein was a nightmare and I am covered in bruises from blown veins.  When the ER doctor came to check me, she said she was pretty sure my water bag had broken and no sooner did the words come out of her mouth, then there was a big gush and fluid came pouring out of me all over the floor.  Hubs was thoroughly intrigued.  She did an internal and said I was already 5-6 cm!  We were completely shocked and I really did not expect things to progress so quickly.  She said to start making phone calls because we were having a baby today.  Because of the elevated BP, they had to do a straight catheter to check for protein.  That was pretty uncomfortable and not so fun during the contractions, but the urine came back clean.  Both Hubs and I started texting and calling family and friends to let them know what was going on.  His parents live in Maine so they got right in the car and headed down.  My mom was in NY for the day and once I talked to her and let her know I was okay she decided to finish out her visit (it was a long planned family reunion of sorts) and head up to the hospital later that afternoon.  We all assumed I'd still be in labor at that point...joke's on us apparently!

By 12:30ish, we were wheeled upstairs to L&D where we got set up in a room.  I was having regular contractions at this point and Hubs just kept reminding me to breathe through them. There were a few moments when I wanted to yell at him or tell him to try breathing through pain throughout your entire abdomen, but I kept my cool!  My doctor came in and said he would check me again in a little bit but that everything looked good so far.  The anesthesiologist came in to discuss an epidural but I told him my goal was to do this without one.  The nurse told me to let her know if and when I started to feel any pressure.  I had every intention of sending Hubs out to the car at some point to get our labor bag.  I had my ipod and speakers, lotion for massage, and clothes for walking around in down in that bag. 

However, by around 1:00, I started feeling immense pressure and told Hubs to get a nurse.  She quickly got the doctor who checked me and said I was 10 cm and he could see the baby’s head!  Needless to say, the bag never made it up from the car!  They barely had time to get gowned up and remove the bottom of the table before I started to push.  I started pushing about 1:10 and had maybe 7-8 good pushes before Liam arrived.  The head and shoulders hurt like a bitch, but I had these expectations that things would be so much worse.  And I know they could have been if my labor had been more intense and lasted longer.

Hubs cut the cord and we did skin to skin immediately.  While Liam was on my chest, he pooped and the nurse asked if I wanted her to clean him up then.  I told her that was fine and Hubs went over with him while they cleaned and weighed him, gave him his vitamin K shot and put the goop on his eyes.  I had a 2nd degree tear and had to get a few stitches, but I felt and continue to feel great all things considered.  Liam breastfed in the L&D room and we were moved down to our room around 3:15 pm.

Hubs' parents and my mom came to visit that afternoon and we had some other friends and family come to see us in the hospital.  Dr. Bow Tie even came in for a visit before we went home on Tuesday.

Since being home, we have had some big time struggles with feeding because I am not producing enough milk.  We met with the lactation consultant on Friday and are now supplementing at the breast with syringes of formula.  I am also pumping after each feeding to hopefully increase my supply.  I started Reglan yesterday and am hoping that helps us in addition to the Fenugreek pills I have been taking.  I am planning a whole post on this drama in the near future.

Max has adjusted quite well to the two-legged puppy we brought home and is already pretty protective of his little brother.

Every single pill, shot, tear, and disappointment was worth it to be able to look at his precious face and know that he is ours.

Here are a few pictures of our little man...

 Headed home last Tuesday.  Mom, do these mittens make my hands look big?

 First successful solo trip out of the house with Mommy.

Quick, take my picture before I pee on this outfit.

We are beyond in love.  Thank you for all your kind words of congratulations and support.  Liam is truly a miracle.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The One with the Arrival of the Little Man

Waiting for my 39 and 40 week posts?

Not gonna happen my friends!

Liam Michael arrived on Sunday, May 5th at 1:28 pm. He weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. 

I will do a full post with Liam's birth story when there is more than a moment to breathe but it was a very fast labor and delivery. We didn't even really have much time to process the whole thing before Liam was placed in my arms. 

He is wonderful and we are so in love. Liam is the image of his daddy right down to his blonde hair!

It's been such a journey to get here and I cannot express how grateful we are that this little guy has joined our family. 

And of course a few pictures of my son...


Might be a few days before I blog again but I'll definitely be back soon. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The One with the Thursday Thoughts

1. Tomorrow is my last day of work until September.  Not sure how I got to this point already, but I can't believe I am walking out of my classroom tomorrow and won't teach again until September.  I have obsessively left way too many plans for my substitute and the most detailed explanations of routines and procedures.  I know she is perfectly capable.  I am just a control freak.

2. We had our growth ultrasound for baby boy last night.  Turns out he's weighing in at an estimated 8lb 3oz.  These ultrasounds are notorious for being off, so I am hoping he is actually smaller than that at this point.  I go back to the doctor on Monday so we'll see what he says then.

3. At the u/s we got to see some great pictures of the little man.  He looks like he's going to have chubby cheeks.  I can't wait to see this kid!

4. I am loving all the fun new summer country songs that have come out.  Like this one by Hootie (I will always refer to him as such).  And this super catchy number from BP.  Oh and this Lady A one makes me want to get up and dance waddle every time I hear it.

5. The weather has been unbelievable here lately.  Gorgeous sunshine with warm temps and no rain in sight.  Makes me blast those songs mentioned in number 4 even louder.

6. I have been craving me some Diet Coke lately.  Definitely one of the first things I am having post delivery.

7. My feet look like sausages.  I hate it and being on my feet all day long doesn't help.  But the mani/pedi I got today does at least make my toes look cute.

Oh, ankles.  Those are a thing of the past.

8. Anyone watch Hannibal?  I still can't decide if I like it or not.  I mean it's thoroughly creepy and holds my attention for the most part, but I'm not sure if I can fully commit enough add it to my list of DVRed shows.

9. We started getting deliveries from the local dairy about a month ago.  The milk tastes so much better in those adorable glass bottles and I love waking up to the cow truck on Friday mornings.

10. Speaking of milk, the cookies and ice cold milk are calling my name.