Sunday, April 10, 2016

Beauty School Dropout: Otherwise Known as Quitting Breastfeeding

I had a moment this week where I felt a little like Frenchie from Grease. You know the Beauty School Dropout number? Yeah, that was exactly what I was feeling. After struggling with breastfeeding following Abby's delivery, I decided to drop out. I simply wasn't producing enough for her. The multi step process of breastfeeding, supplementing and pumping was too much for me emotionally. Yes, it boosted my production a little bit but not enough to feed her fully and it left me miserable, which isn't particularly good for any momma.

And so I met with my lactation consultant to slowly begin the process of weaning. Thankfully, we immediately cut pumping. That lifted a huge weight off of me. I got an hour to two hours of my life back each day. And after marathon nursing sessions (suck - sleep - suck - suck - sleep for 10 minutes - suck) we are now at the point where we can cut back the length a bit. Just those two steps alone might keep me nursing. Time will tell.

There is so much pressure to nurse, both from the medical community and from regular people. And honestly, the medical community is probably better and more understanding than the regular Joe. Yes, I believe in the benefits I'm passing on to my child by breastfeeding. But I also believe I need to be healthy, including emotionally, to ensure my child is thriving. Breastfeeding, for me, isn't helping me thrive emotionally. The sleep deprivation coupled with the need to eat constantly (and sneak said food so Chase doesn't insist on eating everything too) plus the postpartum hormones is truly doing a number on me. I reached out to my doctor this week for help. After Chase, they put me on a low dose Zoloft and that made a huge difference. I may need to do something similar again. I know that the decisions I make - whether to breastfeed and whether I seek out an antidepressant - will be determined based on making me the healthiest mother I can be so I can best benefit my kids. Yes, people will judge. My attitude must be "let them" as my top priorities are my kids and my health. I just hope when I don my imaginary pink ladies jacket, I can truly keep that attitude in the forefront of my brain.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Stockpiling Fun + Nesting

The last week or so I've been trying to fit a lot in.  We went to the playground, very close to our house, a couple of times. We walked the dog around the block. We've read a billion books, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed currently leading the pack. I finished a sewing project for the girl's room. I ordered fabric to make a few things for the girl later on (ha - I think that might happen!). I made a pie. I placed an online order for a boatload of groceries to get us through the girl's first week or so of life. Chase and I got haircuts. I bought a birthday gift for my sister in law so we're prepared and not scrambling right after the girl arrives. Of course, I forgot the card but hopefully my husband can get that!

But we've also watched too much TV. My body is saying slow down as my back and hips hurt a bit more. I can't sit on the floor as long. Sometimes Curious George is the only method that allows me to listen to what my body needs. Tylenol and the heating pad are being used more regularly.
We're one week out from meeting my little girl. I can't wait to see if she resembles her brother, to discover her personality, and to introduce her to the family. And, of course, to welcome a new type of chaos and tiredness into my life!
Strawberry pie for my big two year old - it was a hit!
It's all so exciting and yet a bit overwhelming. I am so grateful for an amazing partner in my husband and a generous mom, who is coming to town for two weeks to help with Chase and the new girl. Plus, amazing inlaws who I know will help as we adjust to our new normal. Believe me, I'm counting those blessings!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Idea of Raising a Girl

Happy International Women's Day! As the date for my delivery of our daughter gets closer, I'm thinking more and more about the world we're bringing her into. The various hopes and dreams I have for her. I hope she feels she can accomplish anything. I hope she feels that different career paths are open to her. I hope she knows she is strong and smart as well as beautiful. I hope she always has access to the very best educational opportunities. I hope she's challenged. Don't get me wrong - I wish the same for my boy. But we treat boys so differently, both in gender roles and in opportunities provided. I think it's more challenging to raise a girl to feel strong, able, appreciated, smart, and valued. I sure hope my husband and I have the skills to teach and promote these. I want her to realize her power, to understand that feminism is important, and that girls can do anything.
Source unknown
I want to allow her to determine who she is, without society putting too many gender specifics on her (yet I'm still buying pink clothes.... I love 'em.). I want her to be confident. I hope she feels a sense of safety. I hope I can be a role model for her in body acceptance, leadership, confidence, and strength. Oh, the many challenges I see!! I hope this day, each year, allows me to reflect on the job I'm doing and how I can do better the following year. And I hope your International Women's Day allow you to reflect on what's important to you as a woman or advocate for women you love.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Mom Judgement

I've been struggling lately with the mom judgement. Do you know what I'm talking about? The moms who think their way is the best way of doing things and thus your way is lesser.  For example, everyone should breastfeed. Well, let's start by saying that doesn't work for everyone. Some people beat themselves up with how hard it is, to the point where it impacts their mental health. Some people hate the experience. Some people, like me with my first kid, never have their milk come in. Everyone is different and we're blessed to live in a time where we have the ability to feed a child through formula if needed. Now, I'll agree that a lot of the research says breast milk is valuable for babies development. Newer research says we've overstated that. I don't really know which to believe. But I do know we should honor each mother and her individual way for feeding her child.

Secondly, let's talk about carrying your baby. I have pretty advanced scoliosis. The last two months or so of pregnancy is constant back pain for me. And not like the back pain people with straight backs have. For example, when I was running doctors said I hit the ground at three times the pressure of someone with a straight back. (Thus the reason I don't run anymore!) Pre-delivery, I'm beholden to Tylenol and a heating pad for helping me get through each day. I don't talk about that much because I've seen the looks from moms when I've said how much Tylenol I take in a day. Post delivery, I rely heavily on my stroller so I don't have a kiddo strapped to me creating more back pain. Some mamas who wear the baby just don't get that. To which I really just want to say "enjoy your straight back."

Even the choice of delivery is something that moms seem to judge each other on. Completely natural versus vaginal with epidural versus c section. With my son, a c section was not my ideal. After many, many hours of labor pains and two hours of pushing, his little crooked head wasn't going to make it's way. I trusted my doctor's advice. This time, we're doing a scheduled c section. This is again on medical advice. Because the boy was a failure to progress, the advice was it was best to assume the girl would be the same. It's interesting to me how people react to scheduled c section. Yes, major surgery is not my ideal still. But I've talked it over with numerous doctors in my practice as well as my husband and it seems the best course of action considering last time.

I really wish moms could be more respectful of other moms choices. We all parent differently. As long as your kid is growing, developing, and generally happy (or you are working with a medical team on issues in those areas) let's raise each other up. It's a sisterhood people! We *should* be helping each other to feel acceptance and support. Because mom-ing is hard enough without the judgement. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2 Years Old and Almost Baby Time

This past weekend, we celebrated my son's second birthday. It was a few weeks early but between being 8 months pregnant and five members of my husband's family being out of town the next two weekends, it was ideal to have it early. We did a little bit of a Thomas and Friends theme, as he is currently obsessed. And I outsourced almost everything: cake, pizza, etc. I think the only thing I did was make a salad!
The boy had a great time! I think he was a little overwhelmed with presents.  There weren't a ton but it was one after another with no really play time. Young kids don't get that! (I actually hid one of the gifts that wasn't unpackaged right then so we can bring it out when the baby comes!)
I'm so glad we did it early and were able to have all of the family there! 

We're also less than three weeks away from welcoming our girl. We're having a scheduled c section since my boy was a failure to progress during labor and ended up being a c. I'm getting anxious, probably in part because I have a doctors appointment every time I turn around! This week alone I have two neonatal stress tests (one of which caused a trip to the hospital since baby girl was too tired to give them what they wanted. She's fine.), an OB appointment, and an ultrasound. Three appointments a week for the next three weeks too. But she seems healthy and content in there for now, so that's good. I probably should have everything in the hospital bag but it's still only 75% packed..... might be a project for tonight! We also haven't transitioned the nursery because we just moved the boy into his new room and big boy bed. This weekend might inspire a little nesting in that regard as I'm itching to get everything done.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Baby Prep!

This past week, it feels like we've been doing a lot to prepare for the new addition. The boy is moving to a new room with a big boy bed so getting that together and child proofing as best as possible have been key. We got a new to us dresser for in there. Basically, we inherited the set Ted's sister got when her first child was born. It's beautiful and allows us to put one piece in his room for clothes and whatnot and one in the baby's room. It still needs to be bolted to the wall, as does a small bookcase that is in his room. I realized this morning when the insomnia stuck that I need to get the outlet covers that still allow us to use the outlets. And hopefully early this week, his blinds come! That's what is holding up the transition at this point. This coming weekend will probably be transition time. I'm hoping it isn't too difficult for him or painful for us.

Then, I get to put the nursery together. I'm not being overly elaborate honestly. The only additions/changes will be gold polka dots on the crib wall, a gold initial, and a tassel garland from Glam Fete. I had hoped to make a new valance but was too cheap to buy the fabric I wanted in advance and too short on time to believe it will happen before she arrives. I'm still hopeful I can somehow complete the pillow I was making to go on the chair in her room!

We're doing a scheduled c section with her for a number of reasons, the biggest being the doctors recommended it based on the boy's delivery. We're scheduled to go in on March 22nd. Knowing what I know about c sections now, I have already had a few nerves. Funny, with the boy the transition from vaginal to c section happened so fast and I had so little knowledge or time to think about it, I had no nerves. My pre-op with the doctor is this week and I'm hoping that will alleviate some of the anxiety.  I will say I can't wait to meet baby girl in a month!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Setting Goals

About a month ago I wrote a few short goals for myself for the next year. Not so much resolutions but just a few things to aspire to. I was not overly ambitious as I know I'm having a baby this year!  They are:
  1. Do one craft project each month. I figure 12 per year is doable. I might do two one month and have a month without anything. But I hope to get the creative juices flowing each month. 
  2. Read two books this year. Yes, this is setting the bar low. But I'm having a baby!!! The goal is one book be personal development and one be for pure pleasure. 
  3. Relaunch this blog.
So far, I have started one book and completed two different craft projects - one painting and a bandanna bib for Chase. Here's hoping these are attainable post baby! I figure I might have a lot to say then anyway. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

My Goal to Return to this Space

One of my goals for this year is to relaunch this blog and continue to update it. When I started blogging, this was primarily a crafting blog. I focused on my knitting and sewing projects. As life evolved, I've had less time for creative pursuits. Although this has not always been good, the life itself is awesome. But I also think the topics I talk about need to evolve to keep up with where my life is now. Yes, I'm still creative. I'm currently working on a pillow sham for the girl's room, hoping to have it finished before she joins us in 5 or so weeks. (5 or so weeks!! Seriously, 40 days until c section!)

Yes, that's one of the big changes since the last post almost a year ago. I'm again pregnant, this time with our daughter. This is the last hurrah for that womb of mine. And baby girl is making sure she gets some good dance parties in there.  Normally, they are at 11 at night. She naps late in the morning, making my neonatal stress tests quite fun as they bang pans together over my stomach trying to get her to wake up and move. I started the NSTs last week because I'm old and chubby so they want to make sure she stays healthy. That's not exactly how they phrased it but basically the risk of stillborn increases with maternal age and weight. And so we visit twice a week and I eat chocolate, drink water, or do other things to try to encourage her activity. Apparently, this gets easier further in the pregnancy.... I really hope so because stubborn girl is keeping this momma on her toes!

My son continues to grow and delight. He's approaching his second birthday.  (How did that happen?) My party planning has commenced. We're not doing anything too big and we're doing it two weeks before his day. It's what works calendar wise plus it'll help me out to not have it too close to baby girl's arrival.  He's obsessed with Thomas and Friends so the cake (ordered locally) and napkins will be Thomas. Everything else, easy peasy. Blue plates, plastic silverware, pizza ordered locally. Pregnancy is encouraging me to be low key on it all. 

I am still crafting though so that will carry on here. Look for something on above mentioned pillow sham soon (hopefully). Plus, I have a goal of one project per month at minimum. I'm sure that might be a challenge right after baby. There might be two in one month and none in another. Such is life. But creating is part of who I am and what keeps me thriving. And so I will keep working on making that a priority.

And there will be nursery and little boy room pictures as both rooms come together. I'm hoping to get my son's mostly finished in the next week or so. We need to transition him to a big boy bed before we can finish the nursery. The dresser is coming over from my sister-in-law's this weekend hopefully. The hold up is the blinds for the windows. With windows that are wider than the norm, I had to do a bit more of a special order. I'm hoping they come sooner than promised!! 

I hope some of you will follow along with this journey. I love sharing my life with others on here and appreciate your feedback and love. Here's to happy blogging!