Monday, August 8, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 2! Something You Regret Not Having Done Last Year

I'm going to alter this one to be: Something you regret not having done in the last 12 months, as we're well past the new year.

I really regret not trying harder at breast-feeding. With all the hubbub of World Breastfeeding Week, I have really felt attacked by "lactivists" recently. Yes, I made the decision to formula feed Monkey. But I also felt, at the time, that I had really given breast-feeding a fair shot.

We tried to exclusively breast-feed for six weeks. We had some major roadblocks: I had a breast reduction in 2003, 7 years and a few weeks before Monkey was born. During the procedure, the surgeon made an incision that looks like an anchor, he started on my side, almost as high as my armpit, and cut under my breast all the way around to the other side, and then made an incision from the middle of the under-side of my breast up and around my nipple, on both sides. The purpose of cutting around the nipples (removing them) was to make them proportionate to the rest of my breast post-reduction. This, of course, resulted in severed nerves, which makes breast-feeding VERY difficult. Even 7 years post-op, the nerves on my left breast hadn't fully healed, meaning Monkey was never able to establish a good latch on the left side. This meant that I was trying to exclusively breast-feed a very frustrated baby on just one breast. Add in reduced supply because of the tissue that was removed during my reduction - there's no way to know what kind of tissue is being removed, as everything (except fat) looks the same - and, well, you can see the problem!

On top of those issues, I also had a spinal headache for 5 days after delivery, which greatly affected my initial supply. During the placement and use of my epidural, the needle punctured a small hole in the tissue surrounding my spinal column, and I was leaking spinal fluid, the stuff that keeps your brain in suspension. I eventually had to have a blood patch, a simple procedure in which a nurse draws blood from your arm (she took A LOT of blood - 20 CCs) while an anesthesiologist reopens the epidural site. The blood is then inserted into the site and coagulates around the leak; basically a blood band-aid. While spinal headaches are not uncommon, one as bad as mine is VERY rare; my mom (who was a labor and delivery nurse for 16 years) had never seen a blood patch until mine. In the days between coming home from the hospital and returning for a blood patch, I progressed from having what felt like a dehydration/caffeine-withdrawal fueled headache, to hardly being able to lift my head to look someone in the eye, to not being able to get out of bed and walk on two feet - the day of my blood patch, someone had to hold me up or I'd have to crawl on all fours. I had a CT scan just before the blood patch was performed, and the doctor said my brain was essentially resting against my skull, matter to bone. Try to breast-feed when you can't lift your head up; it's not easy.

Breast-feeding is hard work. I really don't feel like I was prepared for it; I felt that it would just come naturally, and for some women - and babies - it does. This time, I know what to prepare for. I know that it hurts like hell; that bloody, chapped nipples are normal; that owning a comfy chair is a must, as that's where you basically live while establishing breast-feeding and supply; that drinking lots and lots and LOTS of water is not an option.

The fact is: I feed my baby. She's healthy and happy and growing and developing just like she should be. Yes, I regret not trying harder at breast-feeding, but I know that we have an awesome relationship despite, maybe even in spite of, all the difficulties breast-feeding threw our way.

And I know that I have a second chance with Niblet. Here's to hoping she's not a pirhana like her big sister!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

30 Day Challenge: Day 1! Something I'm Looking Forward to This Year

The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the topic for today was seeing Niblet in her newborn diapers! I hope to start using cloth in the hospital (as long as they allow us to; if not, we'll start as soon as we get home), and I'm in love with the (few) tiny diapers we have. A friend of mine loaned me some Thirsties newborn covers and some newborn fleece covers, which are adorable. We'll be ordering 20 Green Mountain Diapers Workhorse fitteds in September, and already have a few Kissaluvs size 0. The Kissas have a snap-down notch to accommodate the cord-stump those first few days, which just adds to the cuteness of them. I took a picture this last week of a fitted and cover that Monkey is currently in, snapped to her current size, next to a picture of a fitted and cover that Niblet will wear when she arrives.

Of course, I'm also looking forward to Monkey's birthday next month! We decided to go with a monkey theme (it's only fitting) and will be celebrating with a big group of friends and family. I'm not allowing myself to stress over her party; after all, the whole point is to enjoy her big day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's Been Waaaaay Too Long!

I've honestly been aching to post for awhile now, but keep getting distracted, so I'm going to challenge myself (again) to blog about something for 30 days. I'm using this list as a jumping-off point. There are 3 "open" days, so I think I'll do a recipe, a photo, and a project on those days.

Since it's been so long since I've updated, there have been even more major changes (or updates) to our situation. Here's a quick run-down:
  1. My brother-in-law married my cousin on June 9th. We're very happy for them, and can't wait to meet our nephew around Thanksgiving.
  2. My mom passed away very unexpectedly on June 22nd. She had a massive heart attack while taking her normal afternoon nap and passed away instantly. I'm immensely grateful that she felt no pain, and that she died in her own bed with her husband by her side. I'm also extremely sad that she won't be here to see Monkey turn one, or meet Niblet, or any of her other grand-babies. Niblet's birth, and this holiday season in particular, will be very difficult, but I have amazing in-laws who will be by our sides.
  3. Niblet is another little girl! Monkey knows there's a baby in my belly, and wakes me up every morning by giving baby sister kisses (eg: Blowing raspberries on my tummy). She's still due at the beginning of November, and every night is a dance party in my belly!
  4. Monkey had a HUGE week last week! She took her first steps on Sunday, started clapping on Monday, started using some very clear words ("down," "hi," "buh-bye," in addition to "dada," and "mama," which have already been a part of her vocabulary) mid-week, and her first tooth broke through on the next Sunday morning! It was amazing to see her grow up so much all in just a few days. We got her first pair of shoes today (and we got a pair of tennis shoes in the next size up, since the store was having a sale. Two pairs of shoes for $22; yes, please!).
Me and Monkey on the Fourth of July. We spent her first Fourth with my step-dad on the coast.