Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In which I talk about my

Breasts....Well Breastfeeding anyway, or my body's unwillingness to, or my baby's unwillingness to, or any combination thereof.  It Sucks that is all I can really say to sum up my breastfeeding expereiences with both Abby and Jackson.

Abby's experience was tainted from the start, between being unable to even begin breastfeeding till she was almost a week old, the fast flow bottles in the NICU because she was so sick and they just needed to get nourishment in her after her feeding tube was removed, and my extremely fast let down which nearly choked her, we were all but doomed.  I gave it the old college try though and I spent days and nights crying because she wouldn't latch or crying because my baby was screaming because she was so hungry, and then feeling like a failure because this is all so natural it should just work right?!?...WRONG! so in an effort to continue to do what was best for my baby I pumped for seven LONG Months. 

It was a prison sentence of sorts, 8 times a day 20 minutes at a time, constantly worrying about whether I was producing enough, toting my pump to and from work, making sure I made enough time in my work day to pump, racing home everyday to pump before my boobs felt like they would explode ad not running to kiss my baby the second I walked through the door, but rather stripping down to my nursing bra to relieve the pressure of my rather engorged chest.  7 months of planning our days around when I needed to pump, making sure we were back in time from wherever we were going so I could make sure I pumped enough times so my supply didn't dip.  7 months of Pumpng in the car...yes the CAR! on our way to events, on our way home from events, to the park, to the lakehouse, all in the name of what was best for my child.  At about 7 months my body begin to tell me that it was done so I weaned from the pump and we gave Abby formula once my freezer stock ran out. 

What I failed to realize at the time was that what was best for Abby may not have been what was best for our family, I resented pumping, don't get me wrong I did it because I wanted to give Abby everything I could to give her the best start in life and to me that meant breastmilk, pumped or otherwise, and when otherwise, ie. Nursing didn't work I strapped on my milking machine and became Bessie.  It was so mechanical, so cold, yet I pumped on and knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, my goal was one year or when my body quit.  Sadly, I didn't realize how much it was a hinderance to our life until I was done, I was so much happier without constantly having to plan our lives round that blasted machine.

When I found I was pregnant with Jackson I vowed that I would only pump when I was away from him, I googled, I read books, I did everyhing I thought I needed to do in order to ensure a successful breastfeeding experience for both me and my baby.

He was born and I told the nurses that it was of the utmost importance to me to be able to breastfeed right away, I read that would help, so I did, and he latched right on, perfectly might I add, and the thundercloud over my breastfeeding days lifted...or so I thought, at about 2 days old he got very jaundiced and was unable to latch because he was so tired so I pumped and we gave him bottles,but I made sure they were the slowest flow, most natural bottle we could find.  Then he got thrush, and when a baby gets thrush usually so does mommy, we tried to treat it for weeks but it wouldn't go away, all the while I was nursing though, through cracks and bleeds, crying while he would latch on, even with a nipple shield the pain was right up there with labor.  So I started pumping again, and the prison sentence began again, I pumped to see if I could get my thrush to clear up and was hoping it would help his clear up as well.  Oh was I wrong, I remember pumping one night not really paying attention to what I was doing and looking over and seeing this horrified look on Donnies' face, I looked down and my left side bottle as full of BLOOD.  I can handle a lot and I have seen a lot but when you see blood spurting from your nipple...well nothing can ever prepare you for that!  I got the bleeding to stop and called the doctor, who couldn't see me till Monday.  On Saturday I developed a high fevr and the shakes, I thought I was getting the flu till I got in the shower and noticed a large mass in my breast with red streaking all around it...Mastitis.  I massaged and iced and massged and iced, took tylenol, hot baths, anything I could to get rid of the horrible abcess that was forming.  I finally got into the Doctor and I was diagnosed with a resistant case of thrush that had turned into staph, and entered my breast tissue.  About 3 days later I was feeling better but my supply had dipped so low I was barely getting anything out while pumping, and since I had to dump anyway, I decided that it was time to wean. 

No without guilt though, I had guilt because Jackson was colicky, I had guilt because he had thrush, and the list goes on and on, I blamed myself for everything, and when the time came to wean, I was in hysterics.  I felt horrible, I only was able to give him Breastmilk for 4 months, what kind of mom was I if didn't keep going, what kind of mom was I if I didn't give my second born all the benefits that I had given Abby by pumping for seven months. 

Then I took a step back and looked at what type of mom all of this was causing me to be, I was losing time with my toddler by constantly having to pump, I was crying all the time, because of the pain, the guilt, the frustration, and the list goes on and on.  I finally said to myself what kind of Mom am I now, I am certainly not at my best, I am certainly not enjoying my children and all in the name of "Breast is best"...so I came to my own conclusion, that statement does not apply to all women, and it for damn sure did not apply to me.

Now if and when Donnie and I decide to have a third baby, I will give breast feeding the old college try again, and if it goes well I will continue to do it, because I truly do feel that in the right situations it can be the most amazing gift you can give your child, well other than life that is.  I have not yet had that expereince and I would love to, in fact I crave to have a great breastfeeding experience, but if it isn't in the cards then so be it, and I will stop, and know that I am doing what is best for my family and children by being the best mom I can be for them. A mom that is attentive and playful, a mom that is more worried about when they get to the park then when they need to leave so I can stop the throbbing in my chest.

All in all I think Breastfeeding is a beautiful and amazing experience, and while I have not had one such case yet, I am hopeful that I will someday, but if I don't get that I know my babies will be ok, they are far better off with a happy mommy than one who is all consumed with how I will feed them.  So to the ladies at Target who needed to make it a point to loudly talk over and over again about how their daughters breastfeed ALL of their Children until were 2, all while staring me down as I fed my baby the apparent "poison" that was in his bottle, please kindly step off and judge someone else, especially when you have no clue what I have been through.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcome back....

So in Lifes crazy times of new jobs, life changes, moves and babies, I have been unable to update my blog...so I am making a commitment, a commitment to blog at least once a week, and I will do my very best to do more if possible.

So let me see if I can sum up our summer and fall as concisely as possible:

May was an eventful month to say the least, Donnie got a new job, although temporary it was a step in the right direction and a hopeful beginning, I was having success at work and was pretty happy in my position.  Abby was growing into a beautiful toddler and amazing us everyday with a new word or discovery she found, and little man was getting bigger by the day, causing everyone to as if I was sure it wasn't twins.
Shortly before Memorial Day Donnie was burned badly in accident while working on my car, while he was lucky it was a long recovery and he lost his job.  It was a defining moment in our marriage as I had never been through anything like that with him, or anyone for that matter and nothing makes you feel more helpless than watching your spouse writhe in pain after his 5th dose of morphine.  Thankfully he recovered better than expected and is completely healed now.  We also found out we needed to move out of our Condo by the end of July around this time so it became a very hectic time trying to find an apartment in 60 days, and knowing that we would be moving within a few weeks of my due date.

June was relatively uneventful thankfully. Donnie turned 26, Abby was becoming more of a little girl and less of a baby everyday and little man continued to grow big and strong, although I was getting uncomfortable and HOT! We continued to search for an apartment and had to make some big decisions about where we wanted to live and what we could afford as far as area.  Ultimately we decided to move north, near my family as we knew we would have alot of help with the new baby on the way, and the prospect of Donnie having a job and both of us working we knew we would need the support to help defray the cost of Day Care. 

July was a huge month of transition for us.  I lost my job, a month before Little man was due (more on this later as we are pursuing a lawsuit), and became a stay at home mom. We moved, and we also had a few false alarms thinking little man was coming early.  Moving while 9 months pregnant was frustrating to say the least, not being able to do much was very difficult for me while I watched everyone run around and move our things.  Although I am thankful for our gracious and amazing family that helped us so much and made the move smooth.

Donnie got a great Job and began working nights, it was a big transition for me not to have him home at night, but we adjusted and fell into a routine.

Three Becomes four! Jackson Donald Harris Joined our family on August 13th at 8:38pm.  My Labor with him was a complete 180 from my labor with Abby.  I began to have braxton hicks contractions a few weeks prior and the day before I went into labor I had a normal appointment, I was dialated to about 3.5 to 4 cm and the Doc was pretty sure I would go into labor soon, at least that was the hope as he was measuring big.  The next morning at about 6 am I started having irregular contractions.  Donnie had gotten home from work at about 530 so I didn't want to wake him until I thought I needed to, I took a shower and the contractons continued, Abby woke up at about 830 and we went about our routine and while the contractions were stronger they were still pretty inconsistent and irregular, About 11am I had 4 big contractions in a row so I decided to wake Donnie and call the doctor, they said Congrats your going to have a baby today come on in.  We alerted our parents but had them wait to tell the families until we were positive they were keeping me (I guess I was in denial LOL).

 We got to the hospital about an hour later and I got hooked up to the monitors while we waited for the doctor to finish a c-section about 45 minutes later the doctor came in, checked me and said you aren't going anywhere.  They started the Strep B Antibiotic and 2 hours later about 430pm Dr. Akinenni tried to break my bag to get the contractions more regular.  They were unsucessful but at about 5 PM I felt my water break during a huge contraction and then everything started happening pretty quick I went from almost 5 CM to 9 in 2 hours.  At about 730 a huge thunderstorm rolled through and the power went out for about 15 minutes, I was scared I was going to have to give birth in the dark.

At  8 pm the doctor had me push to see if we could bring the baby down since he was still pretty high and I was fully dialated and effaced, One push later and he was crowning.  The room got really busy all of a sudden and 3 pushes later Jackson was born, he weighed in at 8 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches.  I kept asking if he was ok over and over again and He let out the biggest most beautiful cry to let us know he was a-ok.  After Abby's traumatic delivery I was scared going in and that cry was a huge relief.  They put him on my chest almost immediately and Donnie cut the cord and my mom who was there for the birth snapped a ton of pictures.  I got to hold him right away and snuggle with him before they took him to clean him up, We both were in Disbelief that it happened so fast haha.  Once he was cleaned up I got to breastfeed him right away and he stayed with us till we were moved to the family unit around 11pm.  We stayed til Sunday afternoon and headed home.
The last few months since August have been a flurry of Diaper changes, Breast feeding issues, long sleepless colicky nights and huge adjustments for all of us.  It has been an adventure so far and I would not change a second of it, Jax as we affectionately call him has finally started a routine of sorts and calmed down alot, and Abby is finally starting to adjust to her role as a big sister and is a great helper most of the time.

I plan to blog about our trek into the terrible twos, colic survival tips, and adventures in being a stay at home mom in the coming posts but for now I will just post some pictures from our maternity/family/Abbys Big sister shoot and Jax's newborn pictures.  Enjoy and I look forward to sharing our life with you once again!