Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why I Breastfeed

I used to have awesome boobs.  No, seriously.  They were large, but not too large, perky, and looked damn good in cleavage-showing shirt.  I can't count how many times they got me free drinks in college!

Now, I have mom boobs.  National Geographic, African tribes-woman, dangly, saggy, food-bags.  And I'm totally okay with!

When I was pregnant with Noli, I knew I would breastfeed.  It didn't even register that it was a choice - it's just what mothers did!  Now that I've joined 30,000 mommy groups online, I realize that so many women struggle with breastfeeding, or choose to formula-feed without even giving breastfeeding a chance!

Nursing Noli was easy - we didn't have any latch problems, supply issues, nada.  Since I stayed home with her, I didn't even really have any nursing tops, I just flopped the boobies out and let her eat!  Nighttime was harder, because I would take her in a different room to eat and change her diaper, then I'd bring her back to bed with me.  J started sleeping downstairs, and then I just nursed her in bed.  So much better!  Eventually she stopped nursing so often at night, and we put her in her own crib and J could come back to our bed.

Nursing Goldie is a little more difficult, simply because I have a toddler that needs attention too.  I can't just sit for hours and let her nurse as she pleases.  I haven't quite masters nursing while walking, or wearing the baby in a wrap (hey, it's only been two weeks!)  Nighttime nursing is MUCH easier, because a)We have a king sized bed now and b) Goldie can nurse laying down, a skill Noli didn't master until at least 3 months.

So, back to why I breastfeed.  Besides the facts that breast milk is nutritionally superior to formula and that it's the best way to bond, the reason why I breastfeed is because I am lazy.

That's right - I am lazy!  I could spend days in bed watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on loop (Or Doctor Who).  I could plant my ass on the couch for an entire weekend surfing the web, looking up stupid memes.  Breastfeeding is perfect! I get to sit in a recliner, set Goldie up on the Boppy (best breastfeeding accessory EVER), and play Candy Crush to my hearts content!  If I were to formula-feed her, I'd have to get up, walk to the kitchen, scoop some power into a bottle, heat up the water, shake it, feed the baby, then wash all that crap when I'm done!  Way too many steps for a sloth like me.  I sit.  Unbutton bra/shirt.  Feed baby.  Burp her, and DONE.

Bottle feeding at night?  I'd have to get out of bed, go downstairs, carrying the baby, mix the formula, yadda yadda yadda.  God, that would take FOREVER!  Now, Goldie doesn't even cry because I co-sleep and I hear her cues before she gets upset.  I just simply pull her to me, and let her nurse!  More often than not, I fall asleep with her still eating.  And then she'll fall asleep, and use my breast as a pillow (it's wicked cute!)  I joke that she's like a hamster with the water bottle thingy - she suck a little, sleep, come back, suck a little more, sleep... Easy peasy!

Now, let's talk about leaving the house.  Of course, I still carry a diaper bag.  But that's what it's for, diapers!  And wipes.  And a change of clothes, some spit-up rags, a plastic bag for gross stuff, and a blankey, and some pacifiers...and sunscreen...and snacks.  It's full.  Now, I couldn't imagine adding formula and bottles to that mix!  I already feel like a pack mule, why add more bulk?  My boobies are portable.  I literally cannot forget them at home.  You will never hear me utter the phrase "Oh crap, I forgot my boobs, we need to go to Wal-mart real quickly"  I may run out of diapers and walk around with spit-up all down the front of me, but my kid will never be hungry!

So, for a lazy-ass like me, breastfeeding is the only way to go.  Are there moments when I wish I wasn't stuck in a chair feeding my littlest?  Sure!  It's not always a beautiful and joyous thing.  I wake up covered in breast milk, leak through my favorite shirts, and sometimes my breasts hurt.  I have to go back to work in a few weeks, and I'm nervous about pumping and making sure my daughter has enough to eat.  But over all, breastfeeding is what works for me.  I wish it worked for everyone!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Photo Bomb!


Magnolia and Marigold

Making Goldie's Birthday cake!

Papa holding Goldie

Aunt Momo and Goldie

My sister and Dad

Throwing gang signs!

Jeremy and Goldie

Nursing because breast is best!

Noli loves her little sister

Melt my heart!

 Hope you enjoyed my photo bomb!

Friday, June 14, 2013

1 Week Postpartum

I can't believe it's been a week since Goldie came into the world!

Goldie so far: Nursing well (cluster feeding in the evening, sleeping for longer stretches at night)
                      Lots of poopy diapers
                      Starting to  be awake and alert more often
                      Waiting for umbilical cord to fall off

Noli (aka Little Toots) so far: Wants to hold Goldie all the time
                                              Struggling with being gentle and quiet
                                              Seems to be adjusting, although bedtime routine is taking much longer!

Mom so far: Down 14 pounds, 11 to go to pre-pregnancy weight (21 to pre-Noli weight)
                    Stitches hurt, and make it awkward to sit or stand (let alone go to the bathroom...)
                    Nervous about caring for two children by myself!

Dad so far: Good, I think, although he doesn't have mommy's skill at waking up in the middle of the night and not being miserable!

I wanted to do a weekly body/baby pic, but with no smart phone, it's hard to do that!  Maybe later tonight.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Birth Story of Marigold Louise

I woke up at 4:30am on Friday, June 7th having the same contractions I'd been having.  They were about 10 minutes apart at first, then they spaced out and I would go up to a half hour without having one at all.  Since it was the same pattern that we saw since Tuesday, J decided to go to work.  His mother was coming to drive me to my check-up, since it was over an hour away and my biggest fear was having a baby in the car, alone!

J's mom, Lorraine, got to my house around 11:00am.  I was still having contractions, some more powerful than others.  She helped apply counter pressure to the small of my back when they got a little rough.  I ate a some lunch, and then we headed out.  It's roughly a 1 hour and 15 minute drive to Deb's office, and we stopped for a pee/candy bar break on the way.  When we got to Deb's, she hooked me up to the NST machine (the reason I was there), and I told her about my contractions.  She said it sounded like I would probably have the baby that weekend, but I was still doubtful.  She asked if I wanted her to check my cervix, and I agreed.  Originally, I didn't want any cervical checks, but after a week of contractions I had to know!  I was dilated about 2.5 cm, and I gave Deb permission to stretch me a bit further.  That. Was. Not. Pleasant. We were hoping it might just nudge me over the ledge in to true labor.  Well, it worked!  I had my first contraction as we were walking out of the door, and they continued for the entire drive home.  I was timing them using J's tablet, and they were never further apart than 8 minutes.  My poor mother-in-law was a nervous wreck (although she didn't tell me that at the time!)  We had planned on stopping by Target to pick up a yoga ball, but I was having too many contractions and said screw it.  By the time we got home, the contractions were 3 minutes apart!

I waited about half an hour to call Deb, just to see if the contractions would stop once I was out of the car.  I gave her a break down of how close they were and how long they lasted, and she decided to come up.  I called J to see where he was - he had just left work!  It was a little after 4:00pm at this point, and I was upset he hadn't left sooner.  He finally got home around 5:00pm with Little Toots.  I looked at him and said "We're having a baby today."  His response? "Oh, ok."  Then I told him Deb was on her way, and all of sudden he realized that I was serious!

 When Deb showed up, we decided to head up to my bedroom because Little Toots and Grandma were in the living room.  J brought up a soft lamp so I wouldn't have to use the overhead light, and he and Deb started lining the bed with plastic.  I thought I was super prepared, but we still scrambled to pull things together.  I had stopped timing contractions at this point, but I think they were about 2 minutes apart and lasting an eternity.  Meredith, another midwife, showed up to act as an assistant, and I was so happy to see her!  She was the first person I contact once I had made the decision to have a home birth.  Unfortunately, she had a client call almost as soon as she got here, and she had to rush off.  I was disappointed, but my labor was picking up and I didn't have time to dwell on it.

Deb suggested a shower, and it was wonderful!  The hot water was magic, but we decided that the jet tub downstairs might be better.  It was probably 7:00pm, although I"m not sure.  Little Toots kept coming in and feeding my strawberries, and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.  She was a nice distraction, but when a surge hit, I had to focus all of my energy to remember to breathe the baby down, instead of wasting my breath blowing out.  J and Deb were great, reminding me to relax.

To be honest, during this whole time I thought that these contractions were fake and would go away, and that everyone would have to go home disappointed.  Even when I felt like pushing, I thought I was making it up in my head!  I gave a few pushes, and while it felt good it didn't feel right, so I asked Deb to check me.  I was 8cm!  Since I was out of the tub, I walked around a bit.  I think this is when J's sister, Jen, showed up, and did a little Reiki on me.

I needed to get back in the tub, and once I did things really picked up.  I remember shaking my head "no" during a couple contractions, like I was not allowing it to happen.  I remember feeling so tired, and I said aloud "I just need a break" and my body listened!  I had a short break between contractions, and when they started up again, my body pushed.  I pushed  sitting in the tub for awhile, and Deb was trying to offer me suggestions but I knew I was in the right position.  I needed to move, but in the middle of pushing it literally seemed impossible.  Somehow, J and Deb got me to turn so that my back was in the corner of the tub - I was able to spread my legs more, but it still didn't seem right to me.  Deb asked if she could check the baby's position, and I must have nodded or said yes.  She said "The baby is RIGHT THERE!"  and then she apologized because when she felt the position, she broke my water.  I had been hoping for a baby born en caul, but it wasn't meant to be!  Anyway, hearing that she was so close, I gathered all my strength and hoisted myself up into a squatting position and pushed with every bit of myself.

I felt like I was roaring at the top of my lungs!  Everyone else said I barely made a noise, so it must have been my inner birth warrior screaming.  It burned, and it hurt so bad that I wanted to stop, but knowing that I had no choice I just kept pushing.  No, that's a lie.  I didn't push - my body took over and pushed without me.  I opened my eyes and all of a sudden - A BABY!  There was none of the "there's her head, now her shoulders" stuff; she was out in one big push!  Deb and I scooped her up and I looked at her and said "She has hair!!  Why does she have dark hair?!"  I think this picture says it all.
 She cried right away, and was amazingly pink and clean.  We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and J cut it.  My mother and sister-in-law had been standing in the kitchen, and J ushered them in to see our beautiful little girl, Marigold.

It's all such a blur, but there are bits and pieces that stand out to me:
J and Deb tag-teaming my contractions, one pushing on my back, the other hugging me.
The smell of the clary sage oil in the tub.
Little Toots feeding me strawberries and asking if I pushed the baby out yet.
Finding out Little Toots ate an entire carton of strawberries and being really concerned that she would have a tummy ache.
Deb telling me to grab my knees, me telling her I couldn't then doing it anyway.
Saying "I can feel her!!" when she was just about to crown.
Thinking to myself 'Keep your eyes open' so I could see my baby right away.
Holding my new baby and just sobbing!

When I stood up, I was bleeding a little too heavily, and I had a second degree tear, so Deb and Jennifer (the assistant that showed up sometime between 8cm and pushing) helping me to the couch.  Deb gave me a shot of pitocin and cytotec to stop the bleeding, and started to stitch me up.  The stitches seemed to take forever, and I still hadn't nursed the baby, so J brought her to me. 
Goldie is a champion nurser!  After I got sewn back together, Deb stayed for a while since my bleeding was a little concerning, and I passed a few huge blood clots.  By 1:00am, it had tapered off enough that Deb felt comfortable leaving (she had another birth to get to!)

I am not a talented enough writer to fully express what this birth experience meant to me.  This pregnancy was long, and at times really rough.  Sometimes I doubted myself, and I often felt guilty about not being satisfied with a family of three.  Now, I realized that this was the best gift I could give to my daughter and my husband, and myself.  Our family is complete.  And, I reaffirmed my belief that I can do anything I set my mind to!

Friday, June 7, 2013

So frustrated!

10 days past my EDD.  Seriously??  I thought I would have this baby at 39 weeks.  All the signs were there, increased Braxton-Hicks contractions, sore hips, everything.  May 28th came....and went.  My little May flower has turned into a June bug.

When I was in labor for Little Toots, I remember it hurting, but being manageable.  Every contraction was one step closer to holding my baby.  I breathed in through my nose, out through my mouth, and wondered why some women screamed and cried and begged for drugs.  It was no big deal, just labor, not pain, just strong surges.

Now, after 4 days of start and stop contractions, I think I'm starting to get it.  I'm having these really intense contractions, sometimes 10 minutes apart, sometimes 3 minutes apart (sometimes hours apart), and there is no end in sight.  It's so hard to say "I am strong" when I feel like I'm at the mercy of my body.

I know waiting it out is better than the alternative.  There is a reason she isn't ready to be born yet, and to induce labor simply because I'm losing my mind is selfish.  Motherhood means doing what is best for your babies, always, and if she needs time, then time she shall have.  If I was with an OB or midwife that worked in a hospital, they would be pushing me to induce, and feeling as miserable as I do, I might consider it.  My will might crumble, and I might just throw my hands up and say "Fine, I quit!"  But that's not me.  Anyone who knows me know that I'm strong willed, and if I say I'm having this baby at home, then I'm having this baby at home!

For now, I'll just practice my breathing and find the best way to cope with these spine-splitting contractions, talk to my baby, and urge her to come out.  I have a non-stress test this afternoon, just to make sure everything is okay (I'm sure it is).  No woman has been pregnant forever, so eventually this baby WILL come out!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


June 4th:

At 41 weeks pregnant, I was starting to feel like my body forgot how to go into labor!  However, when I woke up on Tuesday, I had some mucus with red streaks in it.  I literally said "FUCK YEAH" and fist pumped!  I hopped in the shower, and had a pretty strong contraction that started low and wrapped all the way around to my back.  Excited that something was happening, I finished getting dressed.  J was driving me to my check-up at Deb's office, so we dropped Little Toots off at daycare and headed out.  I had a few more contractions on the drive to Deb's, and I noticed that they were coming about every half hour.  Woo hoo, consistency!

Since I was technically past my date, Deb wanted to hook me up to the non-stress test monitor, just to make sure that everything was okay.  It was such a change from the NST at the hospital!  Deb sat on the floor, and J was next to me.  We talked about GMOs and fracking, the state of the USA and how medicine is standing in the way of families having great birth experiences.  The baby must have been sleeping, so J fed me some gummy bears...except that they had melted and congealed into this passive gummy bear steak.  One bite, and the baby started moving!  It was really funny.  After about 20 minutes, everything looked good, and we decided to come back on Friday if she hadn't arrived by then.  The great thing about Deb is that she trusts my body to do it's job, but she's still medically professional and monitors accordingly.

Since it was kind of late, J decided to just take the rest of the day off from work.  We went out to lunch, and then walked around Barnes and Noble.  I was still have surges every half hour, and more lovely mucus.  I went about our evening routine, dinner with Toots and some TV.  Contractions picked up to 12 minutes apart until I went to bed.  I fell asleep after watching some classic Doctor Who in bed.

June 5th:

During the night, a few contractions woke me up.  I went to the bathroom, and had so much mucus that I figured it must be my plug.  I hadn't turned the light on, but from what I could see, there was a lot of brownish-redish in it.  However, surges really slowed down.  I got out of bed at 7:00am, and took a shower.  I asked J to stay home with my and Toots, because I just didn't want to be alone if something happened.  We took Toots to story hour at the library, where everyone was like "You're still pregnant?!  When are you getting induced??"  I just smiled and said "Well, we're doing a home birth, so we're letting nature do its thing".  I had a few more surges during (a very loud) story time.

Contractions tapered off again, and I went to bed early because I was just feeling beat.

June 6th:

Little Toots screamed in her bed at 4:30am, and I rushed to her room to see what was wrong.  Turns out, her blankets fell on the floor (heaven forbid...)  but that little jolt caused a really strong contraction.  They started coming roughly every 10 minutes.  After I woke up and took a shower, I started really timing them.  They stayed at 10 minutes for over an hour, so I called Deb.  She told me to rest up, and call back when they were 5-7 minutes apart, or if my waters break.

For some reason, though, they seemed to slow down again.

Now I'm sitting here, feeling like a failure.  Why can't my body just do it's job?  I've gone through the "signs" of labor, yet I'm still not really laboring.  I've made my poor husband take 3 days off from work, wasting his precious vacation time.  My dad is nervous, people keeping calling and texting, and I'm just sitting here, 9 days late, with nothing to show for it other than some contractions.  Knowing that this could go on for hours, days, weeks...ugh.  I feel like I'm going to crack!

I have to drive all the way back to Deb's tomorrow for another NST if the baby doesn't come today.  Please, baby, please come out!!!