Friday, October 29, 2010

Life is Precious

I went to the funeral of a good friend tonight. I wish I hadn't. Not that I wish I didn't go, but I wish there wasn't a funeral to go to in the first place.

Roger was 27 years old and died of testicular cancer. Something isn't right with this picture. I know cancer doesn't discriminate between race, age or gender... but I sincerely hope for a day when cancer doesn't kill people anymore. It's not ok that someone with so much life left to live is now gone. Forever. It makes me sad to think of all the things he'll never get to do.

It was weird being back at the funeral home. I hadn't been there since my good friend Charlie's funeral in 2007. He died in a car accident. He hit a tree. He wasn't wearing his seatbelt. Another senseless death.

I suppose it doesn't matter the reason. Be it cancer or a car accident, it doesn't make sense to me when someone's life is so abruptly cut short. Young people shouldn't be dying.

Life is precious and it's too bad that it takes losing someone to remember just how precious it is. Losing loved ones when they're in their 80s is hard enough, but it makes sense when they go. Like my grandparents. I miss them terribly, but it's ok that they're gone now. They were 82 and 83 years old respectively. They'd lived their lives and it was their time. I'm not a religious person, but I won't be convinced that it was Roger's time to go. Or Charlie's.

It's hard enough to lose my friend. But, my heart breaks for his family. For his fiance, my friend Missy. For his brother. His parents. I wasn't close to his family, but I can't imagine. It made me want to snuggle Madeline a little tighter. I don't want her to ever have to face such situations. It made me want to appreciate Jeff more. Roger died at 27 years old. Jeff is 28. Jeff also doesn't like to go to the Dr. when he doesn't feel good - just like Roger didn't. It makes me worried that I'll lose him, too, before he's lived a long life. It makes me worry that these things could happen to Madeline. Death is so final, it makes you realize what's important - who's important in your life.

Selfishly, I hope I never know the pain of losing Madeline or Jeff before "their time" but in all actuality, there's nothing I can do to prevent it from happening if it's going to. I just need to make the most of every minute I have with them. That's all I can do. I need to cherish every moment with my loved ones. And I need to make it known to them just how much I love them. Because once they, or I, am gone it'll be too late.

Hug your babies. Your partners. Your parents. Your siblings and nieces and nephews. Call your friends that you haven't talked to in a while. Tell everyone you love that you love them. You'll wish you did, once they're gone.

But I hope they're not going anywhere anytime soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Exclusive Pumping...

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, for the time being I'm exclusively pumping... this may be a short term thing, or it may be a long term thing... but for now I am an Exclusive Pumper.

Exclusive pumping is like living in limbo when it comes to "how do you feed your child?" I don't feel like I fit in anywhere. Some people who breastfeed successfully tend to view someone who's exclusively pumping as someone who didn't try hard enough to make nursing work. People who formula feed their babies tend to look at an exclusive pumper as a snobby over-achiever - I've actually been asked, from someone with their eyebrows raised in defiance, if I have something to prove and was told that there's nothing wrong with formula so there's no point in trying so hard to be perfect. Um... I'm not trying to be perfect, and I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I'm just doing what I think is best for me and Madeline.

Part of me feels that I still fit in the breastfeeding group since my breasts are still supplying food for my child.... but, then again I'm not nursing her... so maybe I don't get to be part of that "club."

EPing is hard work. You have to clean and sterilize bottles like formula feeding moms do, but you also have to clean and sterilize pump parts. You have to pump every two hours during the day, and every 4 hours at night. So, you're still sleep deprived like you would be if you were nursing a baby. EXCEPT, I have to feed Madeline a bottle of EBM and then put her down and pump and then do dishes. So, it's extra work, and extra time consuming.

It's not that bad when Jeff or my mom can help entertain Madeline while I'm pumping... but when it's just me and her alone at home it can get tricky. I may have mentioned before that Miss M has a bit of a temper and doesn't like to be put down. *sigh* I've had to pump before standing up, holding Madeline out at arms length, trying to bounce and shush her to get her to stop crying... needless to say THAT pump session wasn't very successful! lol! Also, the night pumpings are brutal! Not only am I exhausted, but it's lonely. I wake up when she does and change her diaper and feed her a bottle. Then I sneak out of the room and into the office to pump... then have to get her next bottle ready, do dishes, etc. If I had been nursing her I could have already been asleep for that past hour.... see how it can be extra tiring?

Then, there are the supplements. Nursing a baby directly from the tap stimulates more milk to be made MUCH better than pumping does. Especially during growth spurts. So, I've been taking Fenugreek supplements as well as a Nursing Magic supplement that has extra Fenugreek in it as well as a list of other supplements that all help with milk production. And, with Madeline getting close to her '12 week growth spurt' I'm trying hard to UP my supply. That means extra supplements and extra pumping sessions. EPers suggest doing a 'power pump' day where you pump for 10-15 mins every hour to try to replicate a growth spurt in the hopes it'll increase your supply. I've yet to do a power pump day, but I'll definitely need Jeff's help with Madeline!

I've been writing down how much I pump at every pumping session and tallying it up at the end of the day for the past week. Thankfully I am seeing an increase, slowly but surely. Last Saturday I was only getting approx 22 oz a day, yesterday I pumped approx 28oz! I don't know what I'll get today, yet, so I'm unsure if yesterday was just a lucky fluke or if it's closer to the norm... but it's nice to see that my hard work is paying off. I'd like to be able to eventually have a nice stash built up in my freezer so I can eventually leave Madeline with my mom while Jeff and I go to dinner and not have to worry about rushing home to pump asap. Also, once I get a freezer stash built up (at least 1 week's worth) I'll be able to hopefully drop one of the night pumps... which means more sleep YAY!!

Anyway... the point of this post was mainly for me to talk through how it feels to be an EPer since I don't always feel comfortable talking to someone face-to-face since I feel like I don't fit it with whatever they did with their kid and I don't want to be harshly judged for my choice. It is alot of work, but I'm glad I'm doing it. :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mommy Confessions

My good friend Amy does a "Mommy Confessions" every week on her blog, and I really enjoy it, so (in an attempt to a. stay awake and b. write a new blog post) I thought I'd give it a whirl too.

Copied from her blog Render Me Mama :

Ok, so we all have them. I have decided its time to stop keeping them to myself in hopes that other mommies will realize that none of us are perfect. Here are my dirty little secrets for the week in hopes it will encourage me to be better. What are yours?

What are mine, Amy? Let me tell you...

1. A couple of weeks ago, after a 45 min car ride - 20 mins of which Madeline was FUH-REAK-ING out, I hurriedly parked the car, got out, ran around the back to get her... and realized that I locked the doors. With my keys AND MY CHILD inside. Panic ensued.

Thankfully, it was a nice day for once - only in the 70s, so I didn't have to worry about her dying of heat stroke, and the window was cracked... not cracked wide enough for me to fit my arm in, however. After running inside the center I was at and telling them what happened, asking anyone that could to help me to please come and try to break into my car and rescue my baby I got on the phone with AAA. They say that they'll send a locksmith and the fire department, but it could take up to 30 mins. More crying ensued. On my part. Madeline hadn't ever stopped crying in the first place. While we're waiting for the locksmith and/or fire department to show up the people from the center magically got my car open by using an umbrella and a tent pole. A tent pole? yes, a tent pole. I don't know who had a tent pole in their trunk, but I'm glad they did!

I immediately scooped up Madeline, apologizing to her a thousand times. She stopped crying immediately and fell asleep in my arms after her ordeal. I'm suuuuuper paranoid now and check that the keys are in my hand about a million times before I close the door.

2. Madeline never spits up. Seriously, she's spit up maybe a total of 4 or 5 times in her 2.5 months of life. But there was this one time... that I'm about to tell you about... that may help secure my trophy for Mother of the Year if the locking my baby in my car story didn't already win me that title.

So, last week Madeline would NOT go to sleep. She was fighting sleeping, crying, fussing, squirming, etc. WOULD.NOT.GO.TO.SLEEP. Her bedtime routine started at 7:30. I wasn't able to lay her down until after 10:30. That's over 3 hours people! So... I lay her down - FINALLY - and start clearing off my bed so I can lay down. And I hear the distinct sound of a spit-up-burp. I stop dead in my tracks. OH NO, SHE'S AWAKE AND COVERED IN SPIT UP. But, she's not crying. So, I tip-toe to her bed. Perhaps she just burped? I feel around her mattress, in front of her face, to see if it's wet. Nope, not wet. I don't know what made me think to feel behind her head, but I did and whatdoyouknow... spit up. She had spit up and then turned her head the opposite direction and laid her head IN THE BARF. But, she continued to sleep. It didn't wake her up.

Being the ever-loving mother that I am, I did what I thought would be best... but now looking back I know that I was wrong... I tiptoed over to her diaper drawer and pulled out a prefold. I brought it back with me to her bed, GENTLY lifted her head and slid the diaper on top of the spit up - under her head - and laid her head back down.

That's right, people. I didn't clean the spit up off my daughter's head or her bed. I just covered it up and let her sleep. With barf in her hair.

Calm down. I bathed her in the morning and did bedding laundry. But, the fact that I did that in the first place is pretty bad... and I can't un-do it. Oops.


Alright. Those are my Mommy Confessions for now. Like I said... I'm expecting my Mother of the Year award to come in the mail ANY day now. Hopefully I made a few of you laugh. But, hopefully I won't be doing anything else quite that bad anytime soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sometimes life is hard

I'm going to apologize ahead of time - this post may be a bit rambly.

I get it now. Breastfeeding is seriously hard. Some people get the hang of it easy-peasy, others struggle. I do not blame anyone who gives up, because it's f**king hard. And not just physically, but emotionally too. The pressure and guilt we mommas inflict on ourselves is brutal. I never doubted I would breastfeed my child(ren). It's what is nutritionally best, it is a special gift and bond between mother and child, and it's natural - Hello! But here I am 9 weeks out of the gate pumping every 2 hours. (or as close to every 2 hours as I can, Madeline doesn't let me set her down for very long before meltdown number 836 of the day starts up.) We have latch issues up in here! At first I was using a nipple shield. That was an inconvenience, but it got us nursing so it was worth it. But then her suck got too strong and she started injuring my nip. (I'll spare you the gory details!) There is also the reoccurring thrush. Thrush was, obviously, invented by Satan himself. I've had it 3 times in 2 months. I'm trying to get rid if it currently. I am not strong like other mommas and can NOT nurse through that pain. So, I pump and bottle feed her my milk. I've spent probably close to $500 on getting help from Lactation Consultants to try to fix her latch and buying supplements to try to increase my supply. It's emotionally draining to feel like you're UNABLE to do what you're supposed to do. I figure I'll give nursing one more Hoo-rah after this thrush is (hopefully) completely gone, but if I'm in tears again at every feeding I'll just suck it up and continue pumping for as long as I can.

Ok, I want to give all you moms with happy-go-lucky babies a high five. Actually, out of pure jealousy and immaturity, I want to give you the middle finger. I know it's not your fault, but it's not fair dammit. Madeline is a fussy baby. She's opinionated and a bit of a drama queen. She's crying or screaming more than she's smiling and cooing - and she makes you work for her smiles! (But, oh! I love them so!!) I totally get that people want to see/hear happy babies. I get that they want to "fix" an unhappy baby. But they need to get that Jeff and I are trying EVERY.SINGLE.THING we can to get Madeline to simmer down, but she's not having it. (we've consulted her pediatrician who has assured us she's perfectly fine and healthy - just fussy.) So, we try to remind ourselves to take a deep breath and just ride her waves. This too shall pass. She will eventually realize that we're not trying to starve her to death if her bottle isn't ready BEFORE she wakes up. She will eventually realize that we're there to help when we lay her down to change her diaper. She'll eventually realize that if she startles herself awake while napping that WE didn't pinch her awake, it's not OUR fault! She'll eventually realize that when we put the onesie over her head we're NOT trying to snuff her out! I have a feeling that she will always be an opinionated, emotional, outspoken child (what goes around, comes around I guess!) but I can hope that she learns to reel it in a little bit before I lose my marbles!

People have asked me, "How are you doing? Any baby blues?" And I'm not really sure how to take it. Do I look like I'm at the end of the rope, about to snap? I mean, sure. I'm exhausted. I'm emotional. I am not all sunshine and rainbows 24/7. But I don't think about hurting myself or Madeline. I'm just overwhelmed. I'm still adjusting. I'm throwing out all of my preconceived notions and trying to figure this child out. I don't think I have PPD. Thank you for any concern though. Being a mom is hard work, though and I just need some time to get used to it. Not to mention the other non-motherhood-related stuff that I have going on.

For instance, my grandfather passed away on October 9th. Even though we knew it was coming since he'd been sick for so long, it's still hard. It's hard to know that I can NEVER talk to him again. It's hard to not have any grandparents left. My grandmother passed away suddenly while I was pregnant, and now my grandfather is gone too. It's definitely hard to grieve when you've got a baby. You don't really have time to reflect and mourn the loss. You don't have time to break down. So it builds up and you end up crying, dripping tears on your child's head, at 11:00 at night when she just WON'T.GO.TO.SLEEP.

I'm trying though. I'm trying the best that I can. I'm not trying to be Supermom, I'm just trying to not ruin my daughter. Hopefully all the work and worry will pay off in the long run.

On a positive note:

Fellow hippies rejoice! I LOVE cloth diapering! Besides the environmental benefits, I love matching her diapers to her outfit! She just outgrew the newborn sized BumGenius diapers and we've moved into primarily size Small FuzziBunz. However, some of her convertible one-size diapers fit her already! They're much bulkier than the sized diapers, but still sssooo cute and fluffy! I love diaper fluff! I just ordered more size small FuzziBunz in BRIGHT colors and I'm super excited about getting them in the mail. Cloth diapering is like an addiction. I literally have to talk myself out of buying every cute diaper I see!

Madeline and Jeff (and other people sometimes, if you're lucky) play this game where Jeff will stick out his tongue at Maddy and she'll scrunch up her eyebrows - concentrating - and then do it back. They both laugh about it, and then they start over. It's the cutest thing to see the gears working in her mind. "Ok... how'd he do that? Can I do it too?" and then she does it. She's so proud of herself when she does it back to him. And as silly as it seems, I'm proud of her too. She's a smart, curious girl and she LOVES her Daddy. ♥

Hopefully it won't be as long till I update again, and hopefully I'll have more pictures to post. But until then - xoxo!