just like that… i quit.

pumping… it’s over {well to feed brian at least, i’m still removing milk to try to avoid mastitis as i wean}.  this is a hard post for me to write.  my breastfeeding journey was full of highs and lows.  obviously, most recently lows.

brain did not latch initially and needed his tongue clipped.  after we got that taken care of {when he was 2 weeks old} i got mastitis.  i was going to try to get him back to breast, but the mastitis did me in.  it was all i could do to even pump during that time.  i definitely couldn’t handle a {h}angry fussy baby on top of feeling like death between mastitis and zero sleep.

eventually i got into a routine with pumping and taking care of brian.  i consistently overproduced, but i wasn’t too upset because i could stash the extra away for a rainy day.  however, pumping around the clock got old once brian started sleeping through the night.  my last pump of the day was around 10 pm, and i was {still am} always up to pump no later than 5:45 am.  usually my body would wake me up before, but i’d make myself wait it out in hopes that it would eventually regulate.  no such luck.  i would consistently pump 15-17 oz in the morning, and 7-11 oz throughout the day.  that’s just ridiculous.

there was one stressful period in june when my boobs wouldn’t let down.  it lasted for a week.  after that, my let down reflex was phenomenal.

on august 12th, brian started getting green poop that smelled like vinegar.  a couple of days later, he started cutting another tooth so i was hopeful this was related to teeth.  however, the poop continued on so i finally took him to the pediatrician.  since dr. google informed me that the weird poop could be related to lactose overload, i brought a bottle i recently pumped to our visit.  the nurse practitioner we saw is also a lactation consultant, and she instantly said the milk looked a little green and appeared to be mostly foremilk.  so i went back to fully emptying to try to balance things out, but the next evening my supply tanked.  the following morning i wouldn’t let down, and that’s when i threw in the towel.  brian is now getting milk from my frozen stash – we started with april and may when i know the milk was better quality.  he has already gained 4 ounces from Wednesday… the prior 10 days, he barely gained an ounce.  worst.  mom.  ever.  fail.

naturally, i’m second guessing when my supply deteriorated and worry about feeding him anything from the last month or so.  i have an email out to the lactation consultant at his pediatrician to get her opinion and thoughts on maybe switching to feeding 1/2 breastmilk, 1/2 formula from now on.  more to come.

pumping was a lot of work, it came with a lot of sacrifices for me.  my goal was to make it {no set amount of time, just make it}, and i did.  for 4 months.  i never thought i’d stop this abruptly, but i don’t trust my body any more.  i’m done.  i’ve read that PCOS can cause oversupply, or maybe it was because i exclusively pumped.  of course i want an explanation, but i really just want to put this behind me and continue on with a healthy baby.  this has been hard, but i’m trying to focus on the positives with brian.  i just hate to think he wasn’t getting all that he needed, breaks my heart.

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what they see vs. reality

well, it’s happened again.  my mother has wiggled her way in to break down instead of build up.  apparently i’m not spending enough time with my sister-in-law and nephew.  i also get the judgement from my grandmother who is always trying to organize lunches an hour away from my house and expecting me to attend.

this is what they and the world see… my best foot forward, my happy moments.  the pictures of happy brian or progress on house decorating that i choose to share.

this is what is really going on… a mom who can barely keep the wheels on the bus.  she is tired.  she exclusively pumps and makes too much milk, so she never sleeps longer than 6-7 hours {that’s if her boobs don’t wake her up at 4 am}.  she wakes up at 5:45 am to pump, even on weekends.  she freezes extra milk from the day before after waiting the proper amount of time for the fat to melt off the top of the bottle because she knows you can’t shake breastmilk.  she feeds herself and tries to ready herself for the day ahead through quiet time and prayer.  her husband leaves at 6:45 am, so the three hour baby schedule is almost completely up to her until 7 pm {and she fits in pumping}.  she tries to exercise for her {showers follow only when her baby naps, of course}.  she keeps up with the dishes and laundry and tries to keep up with the other chores.  she is on her feet until 10 pm after her last pump of the day.  aside from the day to day, she deals with disappointment in her marriage and tries to mend it with weekly counseling.  until recently, she had almost weekly doctor appointments due to bleeding for 13 weeks postpartum.  there’s also the normal doctor appointments that need to be taken care of, that usually don’t {except for weekly allergy shots}.  this week she is trying to comfort a fussy baby who is teething {again}, who has diarrhea because his mom can’t produce a normal quantity of milk and he gets too much foremilk, and who has had fevers off and on since sunday.  she is also focused on decorating the house and getting home things done before she goes back to work in a few short weeks.  she deals with the medical bills and chasing down the money she has overpaid to several doctor offices.  she calls the power company because for some reason her power goes out way more than it should.  in between all of the must dos, she takes an hour for her to work on her son’s scrapbook or maybe to meet a friend for lunch.  she is certainly not sitting in front of the tv and eating cupcakes all day.

this is not a pity post.  i do not want anyone to feel bad for me… i just want them to understand that i’m doing my best.  i’ve made sacrifices in some areas in order to take care of my son, myself, and our household.  forgive me if i’m not meeting your expectations.  my maternity leave is for me, not anyone else.

at the end of the day, we are all just doing the best we can.  we get into trouble when we start passing judgement and imposing our expectations on others.  it took me a while, but i eventually got it.  i hope my family gets it one day too.

things i never thought i’d do {until i became a mom}

go out in public with no makeup.  one word – yikes.  i’m pretty sure makeup was invented for me.

similarly, not care one bit what my hair looks like.  99% of the time it’s in a pony.

be ok wearing the slight stench of BO instead of my marc jacobs “eau de parfum.”  if it’s slight, it’s unlikely that people at a normal distance can smell, right?

live in running shorts and t-shirts.  t-shirts stained with baby drool, baby spit up, the food i spilled on myself, and who knows what else.  i don’t even care what’s on the shirt, i will go almost anywhere dressed like that.  i think i surprised the furniture sales associate in crate and barrel when i dropped a few hundred dollars on some side tables after walking in wearing my typical mommy attire {there may have been no makeup and pony tail hair too}.  when we began finalizing the transaction, she complimented my engagement and wedding rings {probably the only thing complimentary about me at that moment}.

wear cabbage in my bra outside of the house. in addition to BO, i may smell like cole slaw.  lactation issues… that is all.  momma’s gotta do what a momma’s gotta do to spare the boobs.

i’m sure this list will continue to grow.  i guess you can say my priorities are shifting.  hats off to those moms that take care of their kiddos, take care of themselves, and take care of the house.  it is all hard work!

happy 4 months

baby brian,

seriously?  how are you 4 months old already?  you are little, but oh so big to me.  and you’re as cute as ever.  you still have peach fuzz, and with your two crooked little teeth, your baby grins light up my day!  you grow and change so much from week to week.  this month you started going 12 hours between feedings at night (july 14th).  mommy didn’t think you could do this until you started solids, but you surprised me!   daddy and i slowly decreased your 10 pm feed, saw that you were still sleeping through the night, and then just dropped it cold turkey.  i only wish i was sleeping 11 hours at night too {pumping is a sacrifice}.  this month you also started to grab and pull toys hanging in front of you (july 13th).  you also talk so much more and make new sounds all the time.  my favorite one is the sound you make when blowing bubbles.  recently, mommy saw you take your wubbanub paci out of your mouth and put it back in (august 3rd).

your favorite activity is {still} eating!  you are currently taking 6 oz each bottle for a total of 30 oz every day.  when you see the bottle coming, you open your mouth, and you often cry after you suck the bottle dry.  but if we feed you more, you spit up.  i think you will really like solids – we will see if the doctor clears you for them at your 4 month appointment in a few days.  your second favorite activity is bath time, especially when we “brush” your teeth/gums with a wash cloth.  you also love to be carried around so you can see different things.  the playmat and saucer get old quickly.  you do love to hold and chew on burp cloths, which is one of the only things you can successfully get to your mouth right now.

you’ve gotten a little better about tolerating the car seat to go on outings with mommy and daddy.  since you are more alert, you usually stay awake and watch what’s happening.  you don’t talk or cry much during our outings, almost as if you are shy.  at home you are much more vocal – even your everyday babble has approached a new volume!  we get lots of squeals!

we had a couple of “sick” doctor visits since last month.  one was because you were causing your arm to turn purple from sleeping on it before you could roll over all of the way.  the doctor said the blue blood was pooling in your arm because you were cutting off your circulation.  but since the color would quickly come back, we didn’t have to worry.  thankfully that only lasted a few days before you could flip all the way.  our second doctor visit was for your asymmetrical head {officially known as plagiocephaly}.  the left side is bulging in the back a little, and your left ear is not in line with the right.  mom and dad think this could be caused by you sleeping on the left side of your face {from sleeping on your belly, you almost face plant in the crib… scary!}, which could be potentially causing things to shift back on that side.  well, that doctor visit landed us a referral to the pediatric neurologist since your case of asymmetry is a slightly more pronounced than those your pediatrician usually sees – he thinks maybe the neurologist will want to rule out more serious issues.  that appointment is 2 days after your 4 month checkup.  mommy and daddy are praying that it goes well, which is all that we can do.  that was the story when i was pregnant with you too – daily relying on God to carry us through the scariest of moments.  i tell you, never a dull moment for us!

otherwise, our daily prayers for you are mostly the same.  we pray a lot for your general health and safety, that your sacral dimple doesn’t cause developmental delays, that your sweet little head is ok.  we want you to come to know our Lord from a young age.  we want you to rise above the pressures of this world and the distractions that rob you spiritually.  it’s so easy to focus on what society says is valuable – money, the latest and best gadget, fancy possessions, beauty, etc.  i know this is a lot to tell you at 4 months, but those things are fleeting… they and the “happiness” they provide are temporary.  we want you to focus your energy on things that are not of this world, things that God delights in.

i love you, baby buddy.

mommy