Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ready..set...let go

I am the first person to complain about nursing. I don't like the time it takes. I don't like having to suffer through colds and flu without over-the-counter relief. I hate worrying about using prescriptions that are "unknown" as to whether or not they will affect a baby who is nursing. I don't like sleeping in nursing bras and I really don't like that my sex drive is non-existent.

At Alex's wellness appointment this week, I found out that my "short cake" was just a little too short. In fact, so small, she's barely on the growth chart at all. She has had NO weight gain since her last appointment. None. Not even a little. The poor girl has been starving these last few weeks as I have not been making enough milk to keep her fed. Only recently did she start to complain and I started to get clued in that she might not be getting enough.

Of course, my initial concern after her appointment was getting her fed. So we started to defrost the vast stores of breast milk and supplemented her every feeding. Initially, I tried to nurse her and then give her a bottle. After several very long days of nursing, bottle feeding, and then pumping, I realized I was probably putting in a lot of effort for not a lot of reward. While I was pumping as much as four whole ounces, she was consuming somewhere between twelve and fourteen. It was becoming obvious that the supply and demand were no longer in sync. (I blame the last two months of almost continuous illness but that is neither here nor there at this point.)

I scoured the web and tried many of the suggestions. Breast milk cookies (true story), fenugreek, copious amounts of water, etc. Nothing seemed to increase the supply. I spent most of the weekend agonizing over whether or not to keep nursing. Should I keep trying to nurse in the hopes that the milk will come back or do I accept that we are done with this stage and try to let it go? I finally decided that this was probably it for us. As much as I hate to admit defeat, my body just isn't cooperating with me at all. I didn't think it was fair to Alex to subject her to the ongoing aggravation of trying to get milk when there isn't any or to put myself through the ongoing feelings of disappointment that I was no longer able to meet her needs.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say we are all done nursing. I continue to struggle with this decision, alternating between feeling guilty that I'm just "not trying hard enough" and sad that I won't get to experience that bond anymore. My optimistic side wants to make a list of all of the great things about not nursing anymore and give myself a bright side to look towards, but my melancholic side just wants to wallow a bit longer and grieve for the stage that is over. I can't explain why something that felt like such a drag is now suddenly so hard to let go, but it is.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Heavenly Sarah tagged me in this post so I had to play along! I am not sure who I should tag though...maybe I'll figure it out by the time I'm done!

The Rules:
1. Post the rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself along with 11 random facts.
3. Answer the questions given to you in the  tagger's post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Visit the people you tagged to let them know.

Random Facts

1) So far the most time consuming aspect of this post was finding a picture of myself. The best I could do was one of Alex and I from almost six months ago. I guess I am usually the photographer in the family!

2) My son was allergic to peanuts. Miracle of miracles - he no longer is. I can't tell you how much I've missed Reese's peanut butter cups. 

3) I wish I could knit or crochet. I have tried to learn both on several occasions but to no avail. I think I must not be sticking with it long enough or am a craft-flunkie. I feel certain that if I possessed such a skill, I could craft lovely things while relaxing in the evenings rather than browsing pinterest with nothing to show for it. 

4) I love buying books. I could spend hours in Barnes and Noble just browsing and window shopping. I am also addicted to children's picture books such that I have almost filled both book cases in my children's rooms and yet I cannot bear to get rid of any!

5) I can't sing. Not a single note. I sing very quietly in group settings - church, Kindermusik class, so no one will hear how tone deaf I am. Except at home with the kids. Then I just belt it out because they don't care. Not yet anyway.

6) I once auditioned to be a character at Disney World. Winnie the Pooh, to be specific. I think I would have been hired had my class schedule not been so unaccommodating. I consider this a dream deferred and plan to re-audition when I am living in Florida as a snow bird in 40 years. 

7) I can't tell if we are done having babies. I love both my kids and I feel like I am kept pretty busy with them. But I keep wondering if we are meant to be a family of five. I am told that when you are done "you KNOW" but I don't know. So does that mean I am not done? Or just that it hasn't been long enough since my last baby to really know?

8) I love the smell of play-doh. It's so nostalgic! That and paper lunch bags. I can't explain why.

9) This year will be our tenth wedding anniversary. I have no idea what sort of gift to buy my husband and at this stage in our lives, a romantic getaway feels highly impractical. I welcome any and all suggestions.

10) I am addicted to socks and pajamas. I love to buy both and I have way too many of each. 

11) Every night I sing "You are my Sunshine" to both of my kids. My son now likes to sing it back to us at bedtime. It is the best thing I have ever heard. 

Sarah's Questions:
1. Do you always read the entire book once you get started, or have you ever stopped halfway through a book?  If so, what was it, and why?
I almost always read the entire book or watch the entire movie as (for some inexplicable reason) I feel incredibly guilty if I give up before the end. Even if I hate it. But, I did quit reading "Eat, Pray, Love" a third of the way through. It just felt like someone's very long presentation of vacation slides, minus the slides. I'm sure I'm in the minority on that.
2. Which would you prefer to spend an afternoon doing: painting with a room full of preschoolers or painting with a group of adults?
Debatable. If I didn't have to pick up after the preschoolers or be in charge of them in any way - probably the preschoolers. They are less judgmental of other people's artistic abilities. 
3. Is there a television show on right now that you try to never miss?  What is it?
Downton Abbey but it's not technically on right now. I also watch every episode of Parenthood. I can take or leave just about everything else.
4.  What is the most adventurous food item you've ever tried?
Sweetbreads. Or maybe Alligator tail. It sounds trite but it really did taste a lot like chicken. Must've been the breading?
5.  If you could have as many children as you wanted without fear of discomfort (either physical or financial) or social judgement, how many do you think you'd have?  
Two. Or maybe three. See above random facts. I feel two is more likely because three equals minivan or very large SUV and I'm only just sort of comfortable with the moderately-sized SUV I now drive. 
6.  What foreign culture fascinates you the most?
I don't know that this counts as foreign but polygamists. I am fascinated by their arrangements and how the women divide up duties and responsibilities. 
7.  When you're grocery shopping, what snack item has the greatest ability to tempt you into an unnecessary purchase?
Oreos. Or something peanut butter and chocolate. See above random facts.
8.  When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you succeed?
At one point I wanted to be a writer so in a sense, yes, I succeeded. 
9.  If you could go back to school and get any degree, would you choose differently than you did the first time?
Great question. I honestly don't know. I am a therapist and I loved my job (when I was employed outside the home). However, my chosen profession doesn't pay much at all and certainly not enough to cover the amount I spent on student loans. Probably not the wisest investment ever. This time around, I might choose something that wouldn't leave me tens of thousands of dollars in debt - like business or marketing or something.
10.  You have a $500 gift card to the closest mall: what will you spend it on?
Probably make-up. I am terrible at shopping for clothes, but I love buying cosmetics and could easily burn through $500.
11.  You are headed into a party full of people you've never met before and where mingling is expected.  What one word describes your mindset as you open the door?

New Questions:

1) What is the most embarrassing thing you've ever done when meeting someone?

2) What did you name your children and how did you decide those names?

3) If you had to pick only one book to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

4) Have you ever seen a movie that was better than the book it was based on? If so, what was it and why was it better?

5) What is your least favorite stage of parenting so far?

6) What would your ideal job be?

7)What is your favorite dessert or treat?

8)Who is the person who had the most influence on you when you were growing up?

9) If you could have any super power, what would it be?

10) What is your favorite thing to do when you have time to yourself?

11) If you had to spend a year without watching anything - television, movies, etc. or a year without listening to any music, radio, etc which would it be?

Okay, I still haven't figured out who to tag. I want to tag a bunch of people but I don't know if other people will feel like this is fun or think I am being a nuisance. I am so glad Sarah included me and I love reading these so if you feel like joining in, please do it and post in the comments that you did so I can visit and read it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I wasn't going to go back upstairs. I had finally gotten both children in bed and just fixed myself a large glass of water (which I had been craving all afternoon) when I heard the wailing. The baby that had previously been such a glorious sleeper/napper had turned quite obstinate following her recent bouts of illness. So the nap battles had begun with her. She would doze in the chair and promptly cry once deposited in the crib. Which then resulted in the requisite five minutes of waiting, a return to her room, a pat and some soothing words and then another exit followed by more tears. I am pleased to say that she hadn't taken more than 2-3 pats to settle herself at any given point.

I debated following the 5-minute interval strategy. Had my toddler opponent not finally just given in on his own nap battle, I might have done it. As it was, I didn't want to sacrifice one nap for the other. I sighed and trudged back up the stairs. Initially, I entered the room and attempted to pat and comfort without giving in to the obvious desire of being held and rocked. This worked for all of forty-five seconds when it then became clear to my daughter that I was not picking her up. She decided this was unacceptable and let me know quite audibly.

Back to the chair we went. She squirmed and smiled at me. She pulled my hair and grabbed at my shirt and tried to start up a conversation. I was resilient. Nap was not going to be skipped (and also - OW, I need to get my hair cut!). So we rocked. And rocked. And rocked. Slowly, her breathing slowed and leveled. Her body became a heavy weight on mine. And I was able (with the precision of one diffusing a nuclear bomb) to maneuver her back in to her crib. Finally - two sleeping children. Sometimes to reach victory, all we have to do is surrender.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pink Eye and Easter Dye

Heavenly Sarah tagged me in a fun post and I really want to complete it but the baby is starting to shift so I needed to get this down first. Stay tuned for the "fun" post...

This has been a month of illness for us. Such that I feel a need to hang a "quarantine" sign on the front door. It started right before Ben's birthday with my husband bringing home some hideous illness that he is certain he contracted on an airplane. Of course we share everything, most especially germs. So just as one of us was getting better, another was felled by illness leading to a very long week trying to get the house cleaned for festivities and nursing sick children and adults. The day before the party, I remember bemoaning my existence and wishing fervently that I had planned ahead and hired a cleaning service. In any case, we rallied, healed enough to celebrate with Ben and everyone got mostly better.

I still had a bit of a runny nose and some congestion which I attributed to allergies. So, I started taking Claritin and made an appointment for an allergy test. Then Ben started coughing. Just a dry cough. At bed time. And nap time. And when he woke up. And Alex started to get stuffy again. So we all made a trip to the doctor two weeks ago. Alex had a cold and Ben had walking pneumonia and was giving an antibiotic. I called the husband and he said he was also feeling icky and thought he would stop at the doc on his way home "just in case". He was diagnosed with a sinus infection and given an antibiotic. He came home, I tagged out and went to the doc myself and was also given an antibiotic for a sinus infection. By that evening, I had a fever of 102 and was shaking so bad I could barely sit at the table to eat dinner. I went to bed shortly after the children.

I spent the majority of the week in a feverish haze that started to lift as the weekend rolled around. And that was when I woke up with my eye crusted shut and went BACK to the doctor. I was given antibiotics in the form of eye drops this time...for PINK EYE! I've never had pink eye in my life (that I know of). I was told it was caused from my sinus infection and cautioned on the highly contagious nature. I came home and scrubbed every surface of my house. I laundered every sheet, blanket, towel, etc. I washed my hands to the point of cracking and bleeding.

In spite of my obsessive cleaning, four days later (while we had family visiting from out of town, of course), Alex was diagnosed with pink eye as well. Again with the washing, sterilizing, spraying, cleansing and (ouch!) hands. Again with the eye drops. The doctor also gave me different eye drops since mine didn't seem to be working as fast and another antibiotic because I also had an ear infection!

Everything cleared just in time for Easter. The relatives went home. The kids improved. No one else has gotten pink eye (knock wood) and we were able to celebrate with our friends. We colored eggs, had egg hunts, ate a big yummy dinner and attended worship. The weekend felt a bit thrown together and I am certain that if I had been more functional in the days prior, I would probably have thought/planned many more things to do. As it was, it was a still a beautiful weekend and a lovely Easter.

(Hopefully one day soon, I will stop obsessively peering into my children's eyes for signs of illness).