Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Jumble of Updates

I'm going to get this post written. Even if it kills me. Which it might.

You guys, things are rough. I feel like my life is getting away from me. Like I'm drowning. Like I will never be able to catch up on everything--work, laundry, dishes, putting together a nursery for a second time.

A huge part of this is my own fault. I'm exhausted. Every single day for the last 2.5 months I have taken a nap during Jack's nap. It's ridiculous, because that's really my only free time during the day to get things like laundry and dishes done. But I also feel like if I don't lay down and nap, I'm not going to make it through the afternoon until Bobby gets home. And thus, I feel like everything is piling up, and it's such a struggle to get things done.

This pregnancy has been hard. Really, really hard. In a side-by-side comparison to my pregnancy with Jack, maybe it hasn't been that much worse. But it sure feels like it--for many reasons.

1) I'm older. I know, I'm not even "Advanced Maternal Age" (I'm 28, I'll be 29 when I deliver), but my body feels like it's aged 20 years since my (first) pre-pregnancy body. When this pregnancy is over and I'm recovered, I need to get serious about working out again. I have literally the exact same pre-pregnancy weight as I did with Jack, but I don't understand how. I'm flabby. My eating is out of control. I need to get serious about getting my health back. I'm still playing volleyball 1-2 nights a week (mostly 1, I often skip the non-league night), but that's about it for my exercise. And that is very, very sad.

2) I'm throwing up more. I'm not sure if I'm actually more nauseated, but I'm unable to avoid throwing up when the feeling strikes. And while throwing up in an office bathroom wasn't pleasant, throwing up with a toddler peering over your shoulder and copying your spitting into your hair is worse. I've actually been taking Unisom every night and some B6 during the day, and it's been helping. I mean, sometimes I think it's not, so I skip the Unisom, and every single time I've done that, I've thrown up the next day. So yeah, I think I'm going to be taking Unisom for the next 6 months.

3) The most obvious reason this pregnancy has been harder is because of Jack. While I was nauseated 24/7 last pregnancy too, I combatted it by spending virtually every moment I wasn't working by lying on the couch or sleeping. That's obviously not an option this time, as my parenting work definitely doesn't end at 3 p.m. Bobby comes home around 4 most nights, but he's tired too. He's been picking up a lot of the slack around the house (dishes, laundry, meals), and I know it's not fair to make him be a solo parent from the moment he gets home. But honestly, he does it a lot of nights while I sit on the couch and try not to throw up.

And yes, I feel awful complaining about all of this. This is seriously miracle pregnancy #2 for me, and I'm being so terrible about it. I'm sorry. You can hate me if you want. Most days I hate myself anyway.

I need to post more often because I have a million things I need to write about (and attempt to keep track of this pregnancy somewhere!), but I just have one thing I need to get all of your opinions about. Most of you that still read this have had miscarriages. I'm sorry you're all part of that unfortunate group, but I'm hoping because of your past, you can give me some insight into a difficult dilemma I'm having.

This past year, my cousin had a miscarriage. We're close (she's my only cousin that I've ever met), but my family is not really a "sharing, mushy, talk-it-out"-type family. So I actually only know she had a miscarriage because I heard it through the family grapevine. I don't even know if she knows I know--or any of us, really. She might assume that her mom told my other aunt who told my mom who told me (which they all did), but we've never actually discussed it.

But the fact is, I do know. And I want to be sensitive. BUT...she's not a very emotional person. And in many, many ways I know they weren't ready to have a baby. I'm not even positive they want to have kids...other than they feel like that's what you do in life, you know? Like, they don't really like kids. They complain about the messes and rowdiness when their nieces and nephews come over. Cousin and her Husband are both very independent, a little spoiled, and a little selfish. I honestly don't see them having kids. And apparently they can't really afford it, either (mostly because they both have extremely expensive tastes). They just built a huge 4-bed, 3-bath house. From what I heard, my aunt basically told my mom that the miscarriage was "somewhat of a blessing" because they really couldn't afford a baby right now. Now, that's obviously an awful thing to say, and I REALLY hope she only shared that with my mom and not my cousin. My other aunt (not cousin's mom), had mentioned to me that Cousin and Husband were now trying to work hard to save some money. I'm not sure if that means they're trying again or getting ready to.

All of this to say...how do I handle announcing my pregnancy to them? We almost shared the news at Thanksgiving, but I chickened out. I just couldn't figure out how to do it tactfully. I honestly don't think my cousin will be overly offended or upset. Her sister-in-law had a baby a few months ago, and my cousin has talked a lot about going over and getting baby snuggles in and wanting to be around the baby. So she's not really going in the direction of not wanting to talk about or be around babies.

The big dilemma is that I'm obviously pregnant in our Christmas card (oh yeah, I started showing around 8 weeks this time. Yikes). We're planning to share it on Facebook next week as a way to let our extended family and distant friends know--as this is the same way we announced on Facebook with Jack. Should I text my cousin to share with her first so she's not blindsided by a Facebook post? Or would that make her feel more uncomfortable--remember, I don't "officially" know about her miscarriage. Secondly, we'll be spending Christmas weekend with my family, including my cousin and husband. This will be the first time we're all together where everyone knows about the new baby. I'm sure it'll be somewhat talked about (we're the only couple with kids). But I obviously don't want to make a huge deal about it and make her feel bad. She loves Jack, so I'm kind of hoping that Christmas will center around him and his excitement this year.

I know this is a mess and not worded well or polished at all, but I need to get this out there and get some thoughts. What would you do?

Also...so I remember someday: I'm 13 weeks pregnant. Up 4-5ish pounds, but already with a noticeable bump. I'm wearing mostly maternity clothes because my pants got instantly uncomfortable and my shirts stopped being an appropriate length. My boobs (which were sadly very low and deflated post-breastfeeding) are enormous, perky, and painful. I haven't thrown up since last Tuesday. I'm craving burgers like you would not believe (could be contributing to the pants not fitting...) and I haven't gotten anywhere near 10,000 steps in the last 3 months.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Once Again

Right around two years ago, I was in early pregnancy with Jack. Despite the fact that he was this miracle natural conception after two years of infertility, Bobby and I somehow got on the subject of our "other, future children." As if having them was going to be easy. And we'd get to choose when and how.

I think it was Dr. G who casually asked during one of my early appointments if this would be our only child, or if we'd want others. I sort of laughed it off at the time (polite smile, shoulder shrug, casual indifference: "We might like another someday, but we're happy with this one right now.") Dr. G then said that a lot of women say that, but then somewhere around six months, when their baby starts looking less like a baby a more like a child, they get baby fever and want another.

I told this to Bobby. I said I had my doubts, especially because pregnancy was totally kicking my butt at the time. But I also made him promise, that no matter what I said or thought I wanted at sixth months postpartum, we were NOT going to have another baby that soon.

At my six-week postpartum checkup, Dr. G and I had the birth control talk. I almost laughed out loud when he asked what we were currently using for birth control. Uh, how about a baby that never sleeps? Nipples that feel like they’ve been run through a paper shredder? The endless bottles and pump parts that need washing? Or how about that massive incision and Frankenstein stiches across my stomach!?! Instead, I politely said, “We plan to use condoms.” He said, “Great,” and we all moved on. 

At six months postpartum, Jack was not sleeping. Like, ever. I did not get baby fever. Bobby asked about it briefly, and we decided we’d assess the second kid situation when Jack turned one.

That ended up being a very brief conversation. Bobby asked my thoughts, and I said that while I did want Jack to have a sibling, I wasn’t ready. I had been pregnant for nine months. I breastfed for a year. I needed a little time for my body to just be my own. I was finally feeling like I was hitting my stride with motherhood. We were having more good days than bad. Jack was fun. He was walking and running and climbing. It was getting nice outside, and I was excited to start jogging with him in the stroller. I was excited to take him to the park. I was excited to go to the beach and get out his kiddie pool. I just wasn’t ready to be pregnant.

But then a few months passed. I started seeing pregnancy announcements from many of the moms who were pregnant the same time as I was with Jack. I started feeling left behind. I started having those infertility doubts—what if it takes us another two years? Shouldn’t we start now then? Shouldn’t we have another baby while ours is still “baby-ish”? While we still sort of remember what it’s like to have a newborn. Before Jack is totally done with naps and wanting to be out and on the go all the time. Before I’m 30 and my back is so damaged it could never support another pregnancy.

So a few months ago, we stopped using condoms. My periods were regular, 28-day cycles. I wasn’t temping or charting or using OPKs. We were doing this the real old fashioned way. We dared to think that we were normal.

At the beginning of September, right around when my period was due, Bobby and I both got sick. Like, sinus infections, flu, allergies, anything else you could throw at us at the same time sick. We begged my parents to take Jack for three hours on a Saturday so we could just sleep and relax. Because, oh yeah, Jack somehow skipped being one and jumped head first into terrible twos (soooooo much whining!!!). I was so worried I was pregnant. I lay on the couch begging my period to come. Repeating to Bobby over and over that I could not do this. I could not handle being this sick and having ONE kid. There was no way I could do this with two.

Mercifully, my period showed up the next day. I have never been so thrilled to be in so much pain.

We recovered from the sickness from hell, but forgot to buy more condoms. I don’t even know how to write this next part. I think my infertility card is officially going to revoked. I’m—once again—that girl. The girl that after having one baby is somehow fertile. So fertile, that in a month where she had unprotected sex exactly twice, without monitoring any sort of ovulation, managed to get pregnant.

I’m pregnant.

Somewhere around five weeks.

I’m not totally sure how I feel about it yet.

I’m excited about the idea. I do want another baby, please don’t get me wrong. But I have reservations. I’m nervous because I know how much I hated being pregnant. I’m not looking forward to morning sickness kicking in and lasting for 17 weeks. I’m not excited about the pregnancy rhinitis that sucked the life out of me last time around. I’m worried about how my back is going to hold up. I’m nervous about another c-section recovery—this time with a two-year-old. I’m equally nervous about attempting a VBAC. I’m worried about how this is going to affect Jack.

Part of me is still really pessimistic. I’ve been urging Bobby to not get to excited until at least after the 7-week ultrasound. I’ll feel better after hearing the heartbeat at 12 weeks. I wasn’t careful this time. I haven’t been taking prenatal vitamins (for two years) like I was the first time. I’ve been guzzling caffeine lately. I don’t even remember all the “right” things I should/shouldn’t be doing because I wasn’t ready for it to happen this fast.

Well, I feel a little better getting this typed out and sent into the universe. I’ve actually suspected I was pregnant for a little over a week, but I finally took the test yesterday and told Bobby. I guess part of me wasn’t ready for it to be real yet.

But a bigger part of me is ready. Jack is going to be the best big brother to this little person. Bobby’s already an amazing dad—and he was actually way more excited by the news than I thought (I think he’s actually wanted another baby for a while, but he wasn’t going to voice that opinion while I didn’t).

If you need to unfollow me, I totally understand (if anyone is even still out there reading, since I'm a terrible poster these days). I guess I’m THAT girl again. I’m pregnant with Baby #2.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

One

I'm finally posting this on the day that Jack turns 13 months, but I figure since it's also Mother's Day, it's sort of symbolic. And also I'm a terrible blogger. (Ha, case in point. I had this scheduled to go out on Sunday. For some reason it didn't. This is my life right now.)

Jack is one. I can hardly believe it. I know every mom says that, but it's so crazy that just a year ago he was still inside my tummy. As he was playing with little plastic eggs this Easter, I remembered that last Easter I was a big round blob on my couch. Bobby and I didn't even travel to see my family like we always do because I was too uncomfortable. Even though I was still two weeks from my due date, Jack was born only four days later. Everything has felt like that recently. There's been so much of "Last year, this was my last day of work" (Apr 3), or "At this moment last year, my water broke in the hospital parking lot" (Apr 8, 4:30 p.m.) or "Last year, I took our tiny newborn to Bobby's first softball tournament of the season, and now he's running around on his own" (first weekend in May) or "Last year at my first sand volleyball game, I was so nervous to dive and split my stiches back open." (6 weeks ppd)

We had a small birthday party for Jack - just my parents and two of our close couple friends and their two kids. It was totally a Pinterest party with handmade decorations, a full themed buffet of delicious, homemade food, and a ton of fun party games! Just kidding...did you forget who's blog you're reading? We ordered Pizza Hut and I managed to scrounge together some chips and make boxed cupcakes. And Jack couldn't have been happier.


On to the stats:
Size
At his 12-month appointment, Jack was 23.9 pounds and 29.75 inches. He's in mostly 12 month clothes, occasionally some 9 month pants, since he has short legs. But his 12 months pjs are getting stretched to their limit, so we may be heading in the 18 month direction. He's in size 5 diapers, and can still manage to leak through overnight diapers and soak his jammies nightly. I don't complain too much, since he sleeps close to 12 hours a night now.

Sleep
Speaking of sleep - sleep is good! There was a point in my life where I thought I would never sleep again. At least not for any substantial length of time. I mean, I'm still tired a lot of the time, and when Bobby asked what I wanted for Mother's Day, I said (without hesitation) "a really long nap," but I get 7-8 hours most nights (if I go to bed at a decent hour). Jack is somewhere in the 2-1 nap transition. Like today, he slept until 8:30 a.m. So I put him down for his nap at 12:15 p.m. He babbled and rolled around in his crib til 12:30. He should get a couple hours in and make it til bedtime. BUT...often on one nap days, he needs a slightly earlier bedtime, which means he'll probably wake up earlier tomorrow morning, which means he'll need 2 naps...but on 2 naps, he has a later bedtime and tends to sleep in a little bit. So...you can see the endless circle. Obviously one solution would be to wake him up at the same time every morning. But on days that I work, it's kind of nice to be able to get ready without someone tugging on my leg the whole time. And on days I don't work, I can also sleep in a bit, or enjoy my breakfast by myself. So, we're in nap transition limbo. And for right now, it works. I'm a big fan of not fixing what isn't broken.

Movement
Jack's been walking completely on his own since 10ish months, and occasionally runs. Especially towards people's knee caps or collar bones (if sitting on the floor), which he loves to headbutt at full speed. I often get comments about how well he gets around for his age. He's the only one in our Baby and Me class that can walk - though he is a month or so older than all the other kids - but he was walking at their age.

Language
He has a handful of words: mama, dada, ball (bop), duck (dut), up, banana (nana), diaper, moo (when he sees a picture of a cow), bubbles, dog, and cottage cheese (this is my favorite. It's so cute. It's generally only one he'll repeat, not say on his own, and it comes out like "cot cheese" but it's freaking adorable). He'll also repeat "brush teeth" if we say it first. He'll also say "pu-pu-pu-pu" when he sees a picture of a pig, so I'm guessing that one is close. There may be a few more I'm forgetting, but those are the ones he uses consistently.

Likes
He loves books. While we play in the living room, he constantly picks up books and brings them over to me and climbs on my lap. It's very sweet and makes this English major very proud. My parents got him a quiet book for his birthday, so he loves to play with all the snaps and hooks on it. He can't do everything, but I love these and I think it's a toy that will grow with him (and maybe keep him quiet someday in the car/restaurants/church without the use of electronics? I can dream!).

Jack loves watching cars out the window and playing outside. We're hoping to fence in our backyard this summer, which would give him more freedom, and I wouldn't have to be right on top of him - trying to convince him not to run and grab the neighbors firepit or kick his ball into the street.

Growth
I did take monthly photos, but I never posted them here since I was nowhere near getting around to posting every month. So here's a big dump of all of them. I printed them and attached to scrapbook paper and hung on our wall above his high chair for Jack's birthday. Everyone loved looking at them, and they're actually still up. Eventually they should make their way into his baby book...but I'm about as good about updating that as I am at posting here. It's crazy to see how much he's grown and changed in the last year, and I kind of like to be able to look at little tiny Mr. Burns Jack every day.

(tapping fingers together) "Excellent"




 


This was the best I got this month. He was too enthralled in the bear.
 




On his first birthday. What a little boy - definitely not a baby anymore!
And since it's FINALLY spring here in Minnesota, our cherry tree has blossomed. That always calls for a photoshoot in this house.

That little tongue. He does EVERYTHING with his tongue out.

My two favorite boys

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Boob Talk

Here it is. I'm going to get this post done. It's been in the works, both in draft form and in my head for months. Today I'm going to finish it. It's not going to be as pretty and polished as I would like, but here it goes.

From Day 1, I didn't love breastfeeding. I mean, I didn't really expect to. I'm not really the kind of person that is obsessed with "bonding" anyway. I have close friends, I have casual friends, I have acquaintances, I have soul mates. All of whom I have bonded with in one way or another. And with the exception of my mother, none of that bonding has involved drinking milk from their bodies.

We didn't get off to a great start. In the hospital, Jack didn't latch well. I had a few really helpful nurses, I had a few nurses who handed him to me and told me to point his mouth toward my boob. I wasn't producing any milk, he wasn't transferring any milk, and it seemed doomed. We ended up using a nipple shield which helped a lot with his latch/my pain. A lactation consultant also suggested pumping - so after every feeding, I pumped for 20 minutes. I didn't even need bottles attached to the pump - after 20 minutes, there was only ever a drop or two of colostrum on the flanges that Bobby or a nurse would wipe off with their finger and let Jack lick. But the LC praised me and said that was awesome and to keep at it.

When Jack was five days old, he had his tongue tie clipped. That was the same day my milk came in. I kept up pumping after every feeding and built a nice freezer stash (this was the smartest thing I ever did, and probably the only reason we're going to make it a full year...more on that later though).

The first four months were not easy. My supply was great - in addition to full time nursing, I generally pumped at least an extra bottle to keep in the fridge, plus an extra bag to freeze. But it was still painful, and we used the nipple shield for a full four months.

I didn't love it, and I felt bad about that. But other than my nipple pain and annoyance at not being able to be away from my baby or pump for more than two hours, there wasn't really any reason to stop.

Plus - the one thing I did love about breastfeeding was how it helped me lose weight. I gained less than 30 pounds during pregnancy. I left the hospital down 15ish. At 6 weeks, I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight (though it was still shifted pretty significantly. I do not have my pre-pregnancy body). At 8 weeks, I could fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. I'm still hovering about 5 pounds below my pp weight. And the ONLY reason for that is breastfeeding. I haven't been working out as much as I want (read: at all) and my eating is absolutely terrible. But I'm burning calories!

And for the record, I don't think it did much for bonding. Bobby has never once breastfed Jack (which I think is pretty darn unfair), and they are best friends. And who really thinks you can't bond while giving your baby a bottle? I mean, are you handing your newborn a bottle and walking away? Figure it out on your own, kid! You're five days old, can't you feed yourself yet? You're still cuddled up, snuggled together, watching those sweet eyes thanking you for providing them nourishment. We did plenty of bottles of pumped milk to give my nipples a break. And those times were just as sweet and special as actual nursing. Maybe more so because I wasn't wincing and trying to fix a bad latch.

"Breastfeeding is the easy part."

I don't even know when it happened. Somewhere around five and half months, I realized that nursing was easy. I could do it while walking, in public without a cover (and still not showing any skin), in my car. It was easier than having bottles prepared and kept cold. I had all Jack's food with me all the time. It required no pre-planning. I didn't even realize when I stopped hating breastfeeding.


My mom is of the formula generation. She breastfed my sister and me for 3-4 months and switched to formula around the time we started solids and started getting teeth (apparently we were biters). According to her, that's what everyone did - if they breastfed at all. The accepted theory was that formula and solids made babies sleep longer, so starting both of those as early as possible was best for everyone. She continually brought up these points to me and asked how long I was going to keep breastfeeding, especially when we started Jack on solids at 5.5 months.

And that's when I said the above words: Breastfeeding is the easy part. Even as they left my mouth, I couldn't believe I said them. Easy? When did it get easy? Remember those nightmare days of marathon pumping, bleeding nipples, lanolin stains...plus waking up in pools of my own milk when Jack had a long stretch of sleep? Or getting up to pump at 2 a.m. - despite the fact that my 3-month-old was going to sleep through the night - because there was no way I could sleep with the boulders on my chest? Now it was different. He only took 15-20 minutes to eat, and only ever three hours or so. My nipples were fine. I pumped before bed and froze the extra. No engorgement, no leaking, no greasy lanolin.

Breastfeeding as the "easy part" was actually in reference to starting solids. We started at 5.5 months because Jack was showing signs of reflux. Getting some oatmeal in him, especially before bed, seemed to help. But this meant having available food for him - even on the go. I had to pre-plan if we were going out. Or if we had a spontaneous trip, I had to try to come up with something he could eat. I had to somehow squeeze in an actual lunch - between nursing sessions, naps, diaper changes, plus trying to leave the house occasionally...how was this all going to happen? We had originally intended to do a more Baby Led Weaning approach, but for various reasons, it didn't work out. We started with mostly purees and that meant I had to either have a store-bought puree available, or have access to a blender. That's why I told my mom breastfeeding was the easy part. The hard part was spoon feeding a flailing baby. And getting enough food into his mouth (and not on his face, his hands, his shirt, his hair) that it calmed his reflux.

Somewhere around six months, I got my period back. My supply took a nosedive. Since it was now easy, I didn't really want to give up yet. So I did the oatmeal, gallons of water, Gatorade, Fenugreek thing and brought it back up. Then I got sick. Another nosedive. Then my period again. Oh, and Jack was allergic to sleep at this point, so I was sleeping in 45 minutes intervals. Also not great for milk supply. It was rough. I started giving Jack bottles of pumped milk before bed. I knew my supply was low in the evening (my before-bed pumping dropped from a solid 4-5 ounces to 2 on a good night. On a bad night, less than an ounce) and I wanted to be sure he wasn't going to bed hungry. I'd pump later to make up for the bottle, but I wasn't getting anywhere close to what he was eating. It was disheartening. I felt defeated. I felt like a failure. It took us this long to figure it out and everything was going well and now my body was failing me again. It sucked. I seemed to be producing enough to keep Jack happy during the day, so I decided to just take it day by day.

Bobby was super supportive. He reminded me all the time that this was exactly what my freezer stash was for. There was no reason to just keep saving it. We'd use it up, and then we'd use formula. No big deal. I relaxed a little (even though the speed at which we were/are burning through my stash is a bit alarming), but I'm just taking it a day at a time.

"When did you become such a breastfeeding advocate?"

Around 8-9 months, Jack because super distracted. I was never sure he was eating enough because he'd nurse for less than five minutes at a time. I couldn't really tell if it was because that's all the supply I had, or if he'd just rather play than eat. He was eating massive amounts of solids, and I checked with his pediatrician at his 9-month check up, and he said it was fine. Some kids nurse a lot, some eat a lot of solids, and Jack was healthy, hitting his milestones, so he wasn't worried.

My mom is again responsible for the above quote. She was once again (around 8 months) asking how long I was planning on nursing. I said I didn't know. A year, if I could make it. So she asked, "When did you become such a breastfeeding advocate?" I almost laughed. In fact, I may have. I mean, I'm not really. I'm definitely not a lactivist. I honestly have no opinion on how any other mom chooses to feed her baby. Right now, at this moment, breastfeeding and supplementing with our freezer stash was working. I didn't see any reason to change it.

Now, before this makes my mom sound like a horrible person, she's really not. And I don't mean that she's actually trying to undermine my breastfeeding experience either. When this conversation happened, we were in the pit of our sleep hell. I was getting up 10-12 times a night, and nursing most of those times just to get Jack back to sleep. I know she was saying this because she thought I needed a break. She thought if I wasn't nursing, she and my dad could watch Jack for a whole day and let me sleep (and not worry about pumping). They could even take him for the night. I would stop putting so much pressure on myself to guzzle gallons of water. And stop drinking that nasty tea.

Part of this makes no sense to me, even as I'm writing it. I didn't ever love breastfeeding, I'm not sure why I was so hesitant to stop. Why did even care if we kept going? I have nothing against formula. We even have a bunch of cans in our cupboard that came as samples when I was pregnant. I was using some of the pre-mixed stuff to make things like french toast for Jack. I have no idea what was driving this insane inner need to breastfeed my baby for a year. Before Jack was born, before I was pregnant, I never even thought about breastfeeding. It never once crossed my mind. Even as my friends had kids, I never really noticed who breastfed and who used formula.

When I was pregnant, I decided I'd give nursing a try. Why not? Free milk, right? I figured we'd attempt it, and if it worked, great. If not, we'd supplement. It was the same thought I had about having a natural birth. We'd try - but whatever happened would be fine. (Note: That didn't work. I'm Team C-Section.)

Once Jack was born, I decided I'd at least breastfeed a week. That would be giving it a fair shot. He'd get the "liquid gold" colostrum, get off to a good start, we'd "bond," and if that's all he got, at least he got off to a good start. After a week, things were going okay. I decided to try to make it a month. Then to my 6-week incision check. Then Jack's 2-month appointment. Then 3 months. Then 6. When I was at my height of pumping/storing/building my stash, I thought I might be able to quit breastfeeding on my birthday (Feb 2) and still have enough pumped milk for Jack to make it a year (Apr 8). When I started going though my stash much more quickly than I planned, and not being able to replace it at the same rate, I hoped I could at least quit pumping on my birthday - still nurse during the day, but not have to pump to replace the night bottle or for any other missed feeds. That also didn't happen.

Jack is 10.5 months old. I'm pretty sure I have another month of freezer milk left (including what I'm currently pumping). At 11.5ish months, I've been given the go-ahead to begin transitioning to whole milk. I'll have to recount my frozen ounces again, but I think I can quit pumping at the beginning of March. I'll still be nursing during the day mostly, but start transitioning to more cups with part pumped milk, part whole milk.

But it still isn't easy. In fact, I just made (and ate in 3 days) a batch of lactation cookies. I'm once again doing my best to boost my supply just to make it a year. I really wouldn't care if we had to start supplementing with formula during the day for a few feeds (although Jack hates it - so it would be a battle).

But a few weeks ago, I had this overwhelming sadness that I would make it this far, yet not quite a year. Even if I could only keep one feed, even if it was the 4 a.m. one, I was desperate to keep it. I never have, and still don't, love breastfeeding, but I was just hit with this overwhelming desire to nurse Jack for the last time on the morning of his first birthday. To relive those moments I first held him. To realize how far we've come. From how tiny he felt and how awkward it was for me to try to nurse him the first time. To now. To how awkward it is these days because Jack is half my height and barely fits in my lap. His legs hang off and kick against anything he can get his feet against. To remember that we've sat here and done this every single day; many, many times a day. In many, many ways I'm so ready to wean. No part of me wants to go past a year. But I do want that memory. That picturesque moment in the early hours of his birthday. I'm not a sentimental, emotional person. So the fact that I want this so badly confuses me. But there it is.

I don't know why any of this matters so much to me. Other than calorie burn, I don't know why I didn't just start on formula a long time ago. I have no idea if it's related to infertility, or just my general tendency to be stubborn goal oriented. Whatever the case, for now, I'm pushing on. Maybe I'll make it a year, maybe not. I keep telling myself the same thing I did in the beginning: I'll nurse the next time Jack needs to eat. Maybe that will be the last time, maybe not. I just need to make it through the next feed. One day at a time.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Longer on the Outside

Jack is nine months old. He's officially been on the outside longer than he was on the inside. I suppose it's time for me to update about him, even if no one reads this anymore. I might like to remember this someday.

He is now 20 pounds, 10 ounces and 29 inches long. His weight really slowed in the last few months because he is so freaking active. He started crawling a week before he turned 7 months. A few days later, he was pulling to stand. On Everything. Now he can easily cruise around the room holding on to furniture/toys/walls/people's legs. He has a perpetual bruise on the middle of his forehead from letting go and attempting to walk.

He is still breastfed - barely. He is so distracted, I feel like the only full feedings he gets are the early morning one and the bottle of pumped milk before bed. Then he snacks for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. He eats a ton of solids though. We're working on using a sippy cup because at one year I am done nursing. It's been a good experience; I'm glad I'm doing it; it's beautiful; we've saved a boatload of money on formula; yadda, yadda, yadda; but I'm ready to be done. I'm ready to have my body back. I'm ready to be free from the pump. I have a whole post drafted in my head about the whole breastfeeding experience. Maybe someday I'll get it written.

Sleep. I guess I can talk about sleep now. It was rough there for awhile. I actually have a post drafted that I wrote at a really low point in our sleep deprivation nightmare that lasted about 4 months. A post that would get me kicked out of the infertility community permanently. I was not in a good place. I hadn't slept for more than 2 straight hours in months. I had a constant migraine. My vision was fuzzy. I was afraid to drive anywhere because I knew I would fall asleep at the wheel. I laid down during most of Jack's naps, but they only lasted 30 minutes, so it didn't help much. Many days I would lie on the couch while Jack played on the floor and just try to keep my eyes open. And in my really low moments, I admitted that this was why I was infertile. I never should have messed with nature. I wasn't cut out to handle this. I wished I wasn't a mom.

Things were not getting better. Jack was waking up at least every 2 hours during the night, often more. I was in an ugly pit of depression. Bobby was doing everything he could to help, but he works 9 hour days. He'd take vacation when he could and let me sleep, but it hardly made a dent in my exhaustion.

So we did it. We started sleep training. We tried no cry methods and baby whispering. It'd work for a few days, but nothing substantial. Same with Ferber checks. On Christmas Day, we bit the bullet. We let Jack cry himself to sleep for as long as it took, with no intervention from us.

1 hour, 14 minutes. Since Bobby was off the next day, he agreed to take the full night, and I would sleep. Jack woke again at 12:30 and cried for 10 minutes. Again at 2:30 a.m. for an hour and a half. Slept til 7:30 a.m.

The next night he cried 44 minutes at bedtime, 29 minutes at 1 a.m., a quick feed at 4 a.m. and slept til 7 a.m.

Night 3, he cried 46 minutes at bed time, 8 minutes at 1:30, up for the day at 7 a.m.

He had one 40 minute relapse on Night 6 an hour after bedtime, but I think I messed up his schedule and he went to bed too early. Other than that, he goes to bed awake with zero crying, one feed after 4 a.m. and generally goes back to sleep until 6:30 or 7 a.m. Occasionally he'll wake up and fuss for a few minutes in the middle of the night, but he puts himself back to sleep in less than 5 minutes.

So...we're those parents. We did full extinction Cry It Out. We're terrible people who must hate our kid. Judge all you want. I'm well rested enough to take any criticism these days.

Jack's a good kid, and I'm a better mom now. We do much more playing and activities. We take a weekly Baby and Me class. We go on adventures. He loves going to Cabela's to look at the animals, especially the fish. My mom got us a family pass to the Minnesota Zoo for Christmas, so I'm excited to start going there whenever we can.


Other things...Bobby's brother moved in with us at the beginning of December. He's got a mountain of student loan debt (and didn't graduate...so not a lot of job prospects either...), plus credit card debt. He was crashing at a friend's house since he doesn't have enough money for an apartment, but they finally booted him after six months. His car doesn't run and he had no where to go. It hasn't been the best situation for me, home all day with a baby - plus breastfeeding, pumping, etc - not things I want to do in front of my brother-in-law. We're managing, but I'm seriously hoping he can find a place soon.

I'm also working two mornings a week for a few hours. It's been pretty perfect. I'm tutoring at the high school in an elective class. It's good for me to get out, and good for Jack to have a few hours without me. He's having some rough separation anxiety right now. I am at a loss for what to do about it, so advice is certainly welcome.

Last Friday, we had 20ish* weather, so it was perfect for building a snowman. Jack had fun playing in the snow as long as one of us was holding him. When we set him down, well...this might be my new favorite picture of him.

Plus here's a bonus picture from Christmas Eve:

As always, I will try to update more often, but in any down time, I'm mostly trying to dig myself out from the pile of laundry, dishes, and Cheerios from under the high chair. If you're still following - thank you. I need this place much more than any of you, but I do appreciate you coming along for the ride.