Saturday, June 28, 2008

A rough week...

This past week has been a difficult one for the following reasons:

-My baby has been in pain. Charlie had a really tough week. He was crying all day long, not eating well and not sleeping well either- poor little guy. We were able to determine that he has reflux. My pediatrician put us on an emergency list to see a gastroenterologist ASAP. We had to switch Charlie's formula yet again.

Now we are on Neocate, which costs about $37 per can of powder for about a three day supply. My craptastic insurance will not cover the cost of this prescription formula, nor will it cover Charlie's prevacid to help with his reflux. It will take two weeks for the meds and formula to give Charlie relief, I just wish I could make it all better now.

-I've been mourning the 'loss' of breastfeeding and drying up has made it all so final. I went to a New Mom group organized by my doctor's office and, though the women were lovely, all they talked about was breastfeeding. Not to mention, nearly all of them fed their baby during the session. Just watching them hurt my heart. I couldn't even speak about my story.

One of the women pulled me aside and asked how breastfeeding was going for me and I told her I had to wean. She said she envied me, mentioned how much pressure and guilt there is if you choose not to do it. I wasn't sure how to respond because I fought so hard to try and make it work...Needless to say I left the group feeling very lonely and in a woe-is-me state of mind. Thank God I have loving, supportive family and friends to help me dig out of the hole.

-I had a dermatological procedure (Fraxel laser) on Wednesday morning. Thursday I woke up, looked in the mirror and could not believe my eyes. The reaction I had to the treatment can only be described as severely adverse. I have never broken out so badly in my life. I have not wanted to be seen in public, because strangers did double takes when they saw me. And that was with loads of makeup- or what I have termed spackel- on my face. I understand why people with acne can tend to be shy or introverted, I haven't wanted to leave the house.

Despite all of this I am trying to find joy in the fact that, though my baby isn't feeling well, he is overall healthy. In those moments he is feeling good, he laughs and smiles and that warms my heart a thousand times over.

2 months old

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Mom moment

A few days back when Charlie was soundly sleeping I decided to run over to the Gap. I still don't fit in my summer clothes and wanted to see if I could find a few staples to get me through.

The baby section beckoned me, and, after 10 minutes I had an armful of clothes for Charlie. It took a lot of restraint to put back several of the pieces, but there was one I just could not resist (luckily from the sale rack).

So much for clothes for Mommy!

Good things come to those who wait...

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

My little bean gave me the best gift a new mommy could get: a big beaming smile. Yesterday afternoon we were having a little conversation, Charlie and I. He was cooing away and then all of a sudden he looked directly into my eyes and grinned.

It's true when 'they' say that nothing can prepare you for when your baby gives you that first beautiful smile. He beamed for me two more times and giggled. Totally melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I hope my little man grows into a Momma's boy, because I could live on just those smiles from here on out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ups and Downs

It's amazing to me how much one day can differ from the next. Charlie was a very unhappy baby yesterday for Everything I tried wasn't working.

Today he is totally different baby. Yes, he fusses a bit, but nothing like the inconsolable little guy he was before.

My moods seem to follow that rhythm also. I knew that having a baby would be an incredibly emotional experience. What I didn't expect is that now, even almost 2 months after Charlie's arrival, that I would still feel raw, vulnerable and weepy at times.

Maybe it's the breastfeeding battle and the fact that I have consciously chosen to give up; let go. But I still haven't completely let go. I'm pumping 3 to 4 times a day and freezing as much milk as I can. I was supposed to stop yesterday but couldn't. Now the deadline has be extended yet again to next week. I know this needs to end somehow, but I'm still obviously not ready for it to be now.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

It's amazing how much lighter you can feel when you make a choice to move on and follow through. I am still pumping, but now only 3-4 times a day. That simple change has freed me up to enjoy Charlie and actually accomplish some things around and outside of the house.

I feel like a huge heavy weight has been lifted off my chest. Sure I still get blue when I think of what could have been, but I'm definitely making progress.

I've decided to split the milk that I am pumping into a several small daily feedings for Charlie (supplemented with his formula). I'm also freezing the rest into small portions so I can still provide him with some "immunity boost" as far as three months down the road, should I want to space it out that long.

I'll keep at it until I dry up, and then I am going to have a party and eat every single item that was on my list of forbidden foods- from steak to cheeseburgers to chocolate cake, god the possibilities are endless... You'll all know what I will be fantasizing about for the next few weeks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mourning What Couldn't Be

Yesterday was a rough day. Charlie cried most of the day, it could have been the thrush but I suspect there was something in the takeout Joe brought home that upset him. Of course, the first meal I enjoy in months happens to make my baby colicky and fussy for hours.

This past week I've been coming to grips with the fact that breastfeeding is not working for me and Charlie. He takes to the formula better than my milk and he will only take a bottle, two blows that hurt more than I'd like to admit. Rejection from your own flesh and blood cuts a special type of wound into the heart.

It's heart wrenching when the dream you had can't be realized no matter how hard you try. Until recently I couldn't let go because it wanted to make it work so badly. I haven't been able to enjoy Charlie because my focus has been so intense.

I cried to Joe about how unfair it is. I can see how to someone looking from the outside in that this would seem almost ridiculous and the solution clear and easy. I know I'm being irrational and hormonal, but I can't help myself. I've wanted this to work out so desperately.

My husband, always supportive, reminded me that I have successfully breastfeed for nearly six weeks and that is a huge accomplishment in itself. All the money, effort and pain I have endured has not been in vain. I know I have had a rough path when the La Leche League Leader and lactation consultants have offered support for my grieving and point out that many would have given up weeks before.

I think back to when we were able to breastfeed and the closeness I felt with my son was so beautiful; to lose that is rough. I have never tried so hard in my life to make something work. I know I need to just pick up, let go and trudge forward. I have a beautiful healthy son and I’m incredibly blessed. Joe made a point the other night that resonated in my mind. He said Charlie is only going to be this small once and he didn't want me to miss out or not enjoy it to the fullest. So I've made the decision to wean (slowly). Letting go is the hardest thing to do!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Short post, because I have a high maintenance, colicky child today...Whoever invented the bouncy seat needs to be awarded a medal of honor. At times (not every time) it casts a spell over Charlie, soothing the beast...Let's just say the word "vibrate" has taken on a whole new meaning, ha!

Purple boob monster

This past week I have had to apply a treatment of gentian violet to Charlie and myself to try and shake this Thrush infection. For those unfamiliar with gentian violet, it is possibly the messiest medication/antiseptic on the planet. It stains everything it touches. Even worse, it is water soluble, so although it will dry, as soon as water touches it an awful dripping purple mess ensues (think saliva for Charlie and showers for me).

My poor son has had purple lips, tongue, mouth (and purple beauty marks from spitting out the meds) for seven days now. Not-so-cute for taking pictures and going out in public. I'm sure people think he got a hold of a purple marker when I wasn't looking and sucked it dry. Oh and my boobs look like something out of some space porn movie, I'm sure I would turn an alien on.

In addition to the permanent marker, err gentian violet treatment, I have added two more meds to my pill rotation- diflucan and acidophilus. That brings my daily pill quota to 25+ pills- woohoo- That almost counts as a fourth meal! This whole breastfeeding battle is seriously beginning to wear on me, but I'll save that for another day, another entry.

1 month 1 week 5 days

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A letter to my son

I recently read about baby journaling in Dr. Sear’s Baby Book and thought it would be a great way for me to look back and remember how much Charlie has grown. Here is my first entry.


This first month with you has been a study in contrasts. While I have had quite a struggle (that continues) with breastfeeding, having you in my life makes everything sweeter and more beautiful. I always felt that your Daddy made my life more colorful and fun, so it’s of no surprise that when you came along that everything would become more precious.

I cried on the ride home from the hospital because we had made so many great friends at the hospital, but more so, because we arrived at the hospital a couple, but were leaving a family- all because of you.

I often watch you while you sleep, little one, and wonder what you’re dreaming of. I still can’t believe your were in my belly, maybe it’s because I thought you were a girl for so long –whoops! But my intuition must have told me something, because I gave away all those cute little girl onesies and a sweet polka dot cardigan sweater right before you came along.

I can’t tell you how much I love it when you wrap your tiny, strong hand around my finger. You also do this adorable toe curl every time I feed you where your big toes look they’re doing a “thumbs up.” You also let me know when you’re finished eating by giving me the most adorable pouty lower lip. I call it your locked and loaded position ;o)

Daddy calls you Houdini half of the time because, somehow, you find a way out of all your swaddling wraps and get your arms right back where you love them- near your face. Reminds me of my favorite ultrasound picture of you.

You love bath time. Mom and Dad still haven’t gotten comfortable with the baby bath tub we bought, it’s enormous for you now, so we give you a sponge bath. I think your favorite part is having your hair washed.

You’re always looking around, bright eyed, discovering this new world. You started to smile in your sleep, but I’ve yet to see that toothless grin when you’re awake- can’t wait. The other irresistible thing you do in your sleep- suck your lower lip. You’re also quite vocal, always grunting.

And, oh, the stretches- you look like you’re prepping for a marathon!

Towards the end of this first month I’ve noticed your fingers and face start to fill out; you’ve got the beginnings of baby rolls on those long legs. I can’t wait to see who you’re going to become little man. You were worth every nauseous day, every bit of pain, a thousand times over. I can only hope you know how much you're loved.

Love, Mommy

Lord give me strength...

Friday | June 06, 2008

Lord give me strength...

Ok so I may be acting a bit dramatic (I know I'm a wus) but Joe just broke the news that he is going to have to go on a business trip next week to Philly. In addition to that he'll need to go to California in the next few weeks. I didn't realize this day was going to come along so quickly and frankly, I'm not mentally prepared.

I am not looking forward to temporarily losing my 'relief' at night, my husband to sleep beside and make me feel safe and just the company of another adult. This may be the end of my battle with breastfeeding and round the clock pumping quest. To be continued...

The fun just doesn't stop!

Wednesday | June 04, 2008

The fun just doesn't stop!

Here's a short list of what I've been dealing with over the past 5 1/2 weeks:

-Cracked/bleeding and blistered nipples
-Multiple blockages requiring painful therapy
-Milk supply issues that require me to take 20+ pills daily
-Soy/milk intolerance that has restricted my diet to water and sawdust
-Pump issues that have caused chafing and further trauma to my breasts
-Tongue tie diagnosis and surgery
-Bottle preference and refusal to latch

...and our newest ball of fun: Thrush! Charlie and I both have it. Its causing my nipples to itch and basically feel like they are ready to spontaneously combust at any moment. When they aren't itching and aching I'm getting shooting pains, woohoo! Throw in a few sleepless nights and a colicky baby reacting from something I ate (God knows I'm afraid to eat anything beyond oatmeal right now) and we're having buckets of fun. Gotta run, the baby is crying....

Father-to-be advice

Friday | May 30, 2008

Father-to-be advice

It's been a rough week and I've yet to be able to sort out my thoughts. So while I do that I thought I would share something from my other half. Recently my husband sent an email with some new Dad insights to one of our friends that is also expecting their first son. Here it is in all it's glory:

Go to Trader Joes or your favorite supermarket with a forklift and purchase every prepared frozen dinner and lunch you can stuff in your freezer. This will come in very handy in those first days and weeks. I would also recommend paper plates and paper cups. You're not going to be interested in doing dishes.

Given you having a boy, be prepared to be pee'd on on a daily basis. If you have fear about this, get over it now! You will be surprised how far the little guys can shoot!

Try to support your wife as much as you can. It will be very hard in the beginning, especially if she breastfeeds. Overall, she will take the brunt of everything and may be overwhelmed at first. At times, Kell was weepy and sometimes its hard to figure out how to help. Sometimes a hug is the best solution. It will make you feel better too!

If there are any guy things you want to do, now it the time. So you wanted to organize the garage, forget about it after your little one is here! The boat has been in the water for 3 weeks, and I haven't even seen it. Hopefully it is still floating!

You may feel like you will break the baby. The head at first seems like it will roll off! I try to scoop the head up from underneath when I pick him up.

I like to take my shirt off and lay in bed and put Charlie on my chest for tummy time. This help strengthen his neck. He loves the warmth and seems to really enjoy it if he's upset. I also do a 'baby massage' in a clockwise direction to push out his gas!

If you have a night stand next to your bed, don't worry, it's not big enough. Something the size of a small kitchen table may do better! You'd be surprised now many things need to be within reach at night (formula, diapers, bottles, nipples, burp rags, ear plugs :), and on and on.

Breastfeeding is nothing like I thought it would be. I figured it's like a puppy and you place him near the boob and he goes to town. Not at all! A lot of mom and baby training and learning. When he first learned to do it, it was very special.

Bring good shoes and advil to the hospital on the delivery day. My feet and legs were sore, but maybe you are more used to being on your feet than I. I felt like a wimp that my legs were sore after all Kell had been through! Needless to say, I tried to keep it too myself.

Bring a small camera into the OR if by chance your wife needs a c-section. When the doctor pulled him out, they laid him on the scale and looked to me and said "camera, daddy, camera???". Of course, I left it in the room we were in. No big deal but just a thought.

When I sent out our email announcement with his pictures, I sent it to about 50 people or something like that. Next time, I am going to add a line that says "I may not be able to get back to everyone who replies to this email. It's pretty hectic right now...." That way you don't feel obligated to reply to the hundreds of emails that will follow!

Everyone told me it was going to be hard and I thought I knew. Honestly, it's tought but the thing people didn't express to me was how awesome it all is. It's the best and hardest thing we've ever done. You guys are really going to enjoy it. Even when it's hard, you guys will look at him and your heart will melt. Good luck!

Ready for the weekend

As I mentioned in my previous post this past week was a rough one. We had doctors appointments nearly every day, a surgery for Charlie, an ultrasound at the doctors for me, and then a traumatic time with two lovely lactation consultants trying to get Charlie to breastfeed on my sore chest.

We'll start with Charlie's surgery. The doctor was lovely despite waiting nearly an hour for him to see us. I had a mini breakdown after signing the release form and couldn't be in the room for the surgery so Joe held him and I got to her him screaming down the hall while a kind nurse handed me, the sobbing mess that I was, a cup of cold water to sip on. I still cringe thinking of my poor baby being in any pain. We tried to breastfeed several times on Wednesday with no luck.

Thursday I had an ultrasound and bloodwork appointment to confirm that I did not have any residual placenta in my utuerus (which can cause a poor milk supply). The ultrasound tech did not see anything so she snapped some shots and told me to go back up and wait for the doctor. An hour and a half later and several attempts on my part to politely find out when I would be seeing the doctor I still had not spoken to anyone with a white coat. It's not fun sitting in a patient waiting room with a newborn for an hour and a half. My son was lovely, he barely fussed at all, but I had to feed him, burp and tend to him all with an audience watching. When I needed to change him the receptionist told me she would give me the next patient room so I could do it quickly, yet she still called other patients back- ugh. I ended up leaving without speaking to a doctor (it was later ruled out that I'm all clear on this front).

Today was a really rough day for me. I went to my postpartum Mommy group at the hospital. A couple of the lactation consultants (who know my whole story) were going to help me try to get Charlie to breastfeed after the group meeting.

Everything they tried didn't work, poor Charlie got so upset he nearly threw up. It was just awful- the
whole hour of it. Part of me doesn't understand why this has to be so difficult for us and what is lacking
in me to make this not work. Everything I've tried has been met with an obstacle or set-back (apparently
now he has developed a bottle preference and I am still extremely sore from using the pump around the
clock). Who knew it would be so hard. Honestly, this has been the most difficult month of my life.

I cried to the lactation consultants when they tried to comfort me. I told them that I feel as though I can't even enjoy my son because of the work I am doing around the clock trying to make this happen.

I'm totally in love with Charlie but totally heartbroken that I can't do what is so natural for so
many other women. I haven't even been able to really enjoy my baby. I slap on a smiley face for when we
have visitors but still have that ache in my heart.

The other part of me knows perspective and thanks God that I just have a happy, healthy, beautiful baby and an amazing and supportive husband. I'm going to try and focus more on having the right perspective and having gratitude for my blessings.

Looking for the silver lining

Tuesday | May 27, 2008

Looking for the silver lining

We had a great weekend- Charlie, Joe and I travelled to both of my sisters to introduce our little guy to all his seven cousins on Sunday and Monday. Last night I had a visit from another lactation consultant (LC), I think this is the fourth or maybe fifth I've seen since the hospital.

She examined Charlie and determined that he was tongue tied (a condition that makes breastfeeding very difficult and painful- go figure). Went to the pedi today and she confirmed it. So now my poor baby has to have surgery tomorrow to clip the frenulum (the connective tissue that connects your tongue to your mouth).

The worst part- I am going to have to hold him down while they do this. The other option was to have the procedure performed in a hospital under anesthesia- we weren't going for that considering the risks for an infant to be 'put under.'

I'm trying to be positive about this knowing that it is not an 'optional surgery,' and that hopefully we'll be much more successful with breastfeeding after the surgery. I won't let myself cry about it because there are far worse conditions a baby could have and I'm extremely blessed that Charlie is happy healthy and thriving- he weighs 8 lbs 3 oz now.

The other thing that the LC mentioned was that I should be checked out to see if there is any residual placenta still remaining. This is because my milk supply, despite every effort and intervention I've made, isn't really increasing. So I called my OB and mentioned my situation. I was suprised when they told me to come in for an HCG blood test and ultrasound. I thought with a C-section they would have 'collected' everything, but there's a possibility they missed something. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

4 weeks 1 day

Oh the 'places' you'll go...

Sunday | May 25, 2008

Oh the 'places' you'll go...

Many moons ago when we were going to see the bean for our big ultrasound appointment at 20 weeks, Joe and I were sitting in the patient waiting area paging through pregnancy magazines. Towards the back of one of the magazines there was a big ad section and Joe happened upon this picture of a woman with a double breast pump attached to this crazy bra-like contraption. We looked at the picture and literally laughed our heads off like teenagers because the photo just looked so absurd and bizarre.

Fast forward to this past Friday. I've been attending this fantastic post partum group at my hospital. I found out my hospital maternity store also carried the correct sized flanges that I needed for my pump. I'll digress here for a moment- I've been having a ton of pain from pumping and only recently learned that it's because I had the wrong sized flange or "nipple shield" as they also are known. So anyways, off I go with Charlie to the maternity store to buy my new, improved, smaller shields.

I see-as I'm paying- this breast pump bustier that promises to leave you hands free. I ask the girl if it really works- and she says Yes! Now listen, if you were attached to a milk machine 8-10 times a day for 20 minutes at a time anything that would allow you more freedom and mobility sounds absolutely amazing.

For those that don't know: most breast pumps are not hands free, meaning you literally have to hold the bottles that collect the breastmilk so not to lose suction and spill milk all over your lap (which I have done multiple times and nearly cried- yes, over spilled milk- because every drop is so precious at this point).

I ask the girl to throw in a new sexy bustier for me as well. Then it hits me. As I was walking to the car I realize that the very object I just enthusiastically purchased was also the same one I laughed at months ago in the magazine. Ah, the irony. Here's a shot of the newest addition to my lingerie drawyer:

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