it’s been a while…

i do not actively blog any more.  my passion sort of fizzled after having brian.  also, i went through a lot of muck trying to conceive again last year and just didn’t feel like i had a lot of positivity and encouragement to share.  however, if someone happens to stumble upon this blog, especially for support through infertility, loss, or a difficult pregnancy, i’d like them to know how things turned out for me.  so here goes my update.

most of 2016 was hard for me.  i do not want to rehash my infertility woes in this post, but see immediately proceeding posts to read about the muck.  i was not in a good place.  hubby and i {mostly i} decided it was time to move to a new fertility clinic.  the one we used to get pregnant with brian operates more like a business than a medical facility with the goal of trying to help couples build a family.  i couldn’t take the nickel and diming any more – after having lots of bad luck and feeling like my doctor {and the other doctors and nurses} really didn’t care about me, i could not keep forking over thousands of dollars for fees not billable to insurance.  we had things all ready to move to a new, smaller clinic that was establishing a presence in town.  in the meantime, we had one last ovulation induction cycle at our {soon to be} former clinic as a trial to see if we could transfer a frozen embryo on that type of cycle vs. a classic FET cycle since i kept having allergic reactions to something in the FET protocol.

so, i took letrozole and used gonal-f, triggered with ovidrel, and just had sex.  i couldn’t even bring myself to pay the extra $160 non-billable fee for an IUI.  besides, i knew this drill… we did this type of cycle several times before moving to IVF to conceive brian, and it. just. doesn’t. work.  at least not for me.

well, surprise!!  as sure as i was that my period was coming – sore boobs, cramps before menstruation – we actually got pregnant!  10 days after triggering, something possessed me to pee on a stick, and there were two lines.  hubby didn’t want me to call the clinic that day.  we’ve had so many chemicals, why bother.  a dear friend who had been walking most of the struggle with me last year encouraged me to call anyway.  i did, had my first beta draw that day, and my hcg was 11.  my estrogen and progesterone were also pretty low.  whomp whomp.  nurse denise kindly told me not to expect this to turn into a viable pregnancy.  that was a wednesday.  she told me to double my progesterone suppositories and originally told me to come in the next monday for repeat labs, but then said she would feel better if i came friday.  i actually got a call the next morning saying that dr. wing wanted to check my levels that day (thursday), so that if everything went up, he could administer intralipids that friday.  {side note: intralipids are sort of a controversial treatment – in theory, this IV administration of fat and proteins is supposed to keep your immune system from going crazy and attacking the embryo.}  surprisingly, my hcg, estrogen, and progesterone all experienced a decent increase the next day.  for the next 3-4 weeks, i had a lot of blood draws to keep tabs on hormone levels and a lot of intralipids.  eventually, we had our first ultrasound and saw one tiny little baby, measuring perfectly on track with a strong heart beat.  i still can’t believe it… i got pregnant by having sex {yes, with letrozole and gonal-f too.  but sex.  and no FET}.  this was definitely healing for me.

my pregnancy was scary, and we were high risk… again.  sigh.  i had a bleeding scare at 11 weeks.  my OB’s nurse had me come in for an ultrasound.  i knew it was a bad sign when the tech left the wand in my vagina and walked out of the room to get the doctor on call.  their assessment, a damage to the lining of my uterus that could cause a miscarriage.  i was immediately sent to the high risk doctor {i was supposed to see them the next day anyway for my initial appointment and NT scan}.  turns out my OB’s office just had crappy equipment and the “damage” to my lining was actually a blood vessel that they couldn’t pick up the blood flow on.  my time at the high risk doctor was supposed to end after making sure the repaired separate uterus didn’t compromise the integrity of my cervix, but by that point i had been diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), so i had appointments with the high risk doctor for the remainder of the pregnancy.  ICP is a liver issue that can happen during pregnancy.  my liver was too busy trying to process high levels of estrogen and progesterone that it couldn’t keep up with processing bile, so bile acids spilled to my bloodstream.  this is super, super dangerous for the fetus, like causes stillbirth dangerous.  believe it or not, my OB did not want to diagnose me as having cholestasis despite lab results to prove it.  he was acting under one of the four high risk physicians who has a wildly different idea of what constitutes ICP.  so, at 20 weeks pregnant, i set out to find myself a new OB.  the new OB listened to me, explained what he knew about ICP, and treated me for it.  this OB is still in the same hospital network and had to work with the same high risk physicians, but he consulted with a different doctor at the high risk practice who agreed that i should be treated.  the most important treatment for ICP is early delivery, and for me, that meant 36w4d.  there was a lot of swirl leading up to my induction date.  apparently the high risk physicians said the baby couldn’t be born before 37 weeks unless i had an amniocentesis to prove lung maturity, even though my new OB had been telling me all along that delivery needed to happen at 36 weeks.  my OB continued to keep tabs on my bile acid levels during weeks 35 and 36, and they continued to rise.  he decided it was best to stick with the original plan for induction at 36w4d.

so, on june 14th, i reported to L&D at 7:30 PM for cervadil.  my nurse told me it would cause strong period-like cramps in my low abdomen and back.  when i was induced with brian, cervadil was a nonevent, i was expecting it to be the same this time.  well, an hour into it, the cramps appeared just as described.  they lasted throughout the night, and IV pain meds were not touching them.  at 4:45 AM on june 15th, i paged the nurse begging for more pain meds.  she said no, that the cervadil could be removed and i could get an epidural and they would start pitocin.  one problem, there were two people ahead of me for an epidural, and one of them was a c-section.  at some point in conversation, it came out that the cramps i was having were actually contractions, but they were not regular, so i guess my nurse didn’t take them seriously.  shortly after 5 AM, my nurse removed the cervadil and checked my cervix, it was only 2 centimeters.  i got up to wash my face and brush my teeth in preparation for the epidural – i knew i would be stuck in bed after that.  i was still in excruciating pain, and the epidural was taking forever to show up.  at 5:30 AM, i got up to pee.  after i was done urinating, i felt liquid running down my leg.  i knew i was not peeing on myself.  besides, who pees down the side of their leg while on the toilet?  that seems almost impossible.  i wiped up some of the liquid with toilet paper, it was tinged pink.  i yelled into our room for hubby to call the nurse {i did have to yell as he was still snoozing}.  she causally shows up 10 minutes later to confirm it was indeed my water breaking.  at this point i think i’m dying through contractions.  my nurse still didn’t take me seriously, she said they will hurt worse now because there is no water to cushion the blow.  she didn’t check my cervix again.  she leaves the room, and my only pain coping mechanisms were squeezing hubby’s hand off and swearing like a sailor.  around 6 AM (i don’t know what time exactly as it was all a total blur at this point), my crappy nurse returns and barks for me to get on my side.  apparently the baby’s heart rate was dropping during my contractions.  i was ordered to breathe too.  i told her i couldn’t and that i needed oxygen.  the oxygen didn’t make a difference, but i wore the mask anyway.  at some point i demanded she find a doctor or an anesthesiologist because i knew my pain was not normal.  she snickered at me and asked why.  she still didn’t check my cervix.  she at least stayed in the room to monitor the baby.  finally, around 6:15 or so, i told her something was coming out of me.  she asked if it felt like i had to poop.  the answer was yes.  i was still on my side and she asked to look between my legs.  she immediately told me to keep my legs closed and paged for everyone to show up – extra nurses, a baby nurse, a NICU nurse, a doctor, and a table of instruments for the doctor.  yeah, turns out i was in transition after my water broke, and my inexperienced nurse still didn’t pick up on that.  the doctor on call from my OB’s practice was in the OR with the long awaited anesthesiologist finishing up a c-section.  so, the OB on staff at the hospital had to be found.  she walked in, and several nurses helped me turn to my back because i was in too much pain to do it myself.  they put my knees/legs in the stirrups, i pushed one and half times, and baby austin entered the world at 6:24 AM {along with a giant gush of amniotic fluid, might i add… so the nurse’s explanation about less amniotic fluid to cushion the contractions was not entirely valid}.  the OB on call from my OB’s practice walked in to deliver the placenta.  my OB showed up an hour and a half later – still in shock from delivering without an epidural, i was super snarky and told him he missed the whole thing, that delivery did not go as planned, and that i did not have an epidural as planned.  i can say that recovery after this birth was much easier and quicker than with brian.  austin basically birthed himself, and i had way less drugs and pain meds, which had to be helpful. 

i struggled a lot, emotionally, throughout this pregnancy and am still struggling postpartum.  i spent the first 18 weeks in denial that i was actually pregnant and that another baby would be joining our family.  i also hid the news from most of my friends.  once i finally started to share about being pregnant, i was diagnosed with ICP, and spent the next 16 weeks living in constant worry.  now that the baby is here, we’ve had a lot of challenges with feeding.  breastfeeding was not going well because austin was too sleepy to eat, then he was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, leading to my decision to wean.  a couple of weeks later, his intestines still seem to be a hot mess, and i’m regretting my decision to wean.  i have a few other health challenges that i’m trying to sort through – following up with the GI to make sure my gallbladder and liver are fine/healing post ICP, a small hole in my left retina, i’m overdue for a filling, and i’m trying to avoid a D&E for retained products {again}.  while none of this is life threatening, the combination of all of these issues plus a fussy newborn and a toddler in the terrible twos has almost sent me over the edge.  

to be totally honest, i’m still struggling with these challenges in the context of my faith.  i didn’t get pregnant when i wanted.  when i finally did, i had a scary condition, despite praying that my pregnancy would be free of complications.  i also prayed the entire time that i would be able to breastfeed, and that didn’t pan out either.  i definitely feel removed from God.  i know my expectations are probably too high in terms of living problem free, i am a perfectionist after all.  the Bible promises that we will have trials in this life, and it tells me i should rejoice through all seasons.  i know a lot of women are still waiting to become a mom, and would take small health challenges and formula any day to achieve motherhood… so, i guess i need to be grateful.

i’ll close by adding some of the verses that carried me through pregnancy with austin. to all those who are still suffering through infertility, loss, or a high risk pregnancy… keep running the race and keeping the faith. 

and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed  {Deuteronomy 31:8}

have I not commanded you? be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go  {Joshua 1:9}

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand  {Isaiah 41:10}

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health updates

hypothyroidism… the pendulum has swung and my TSH is now double the normal range, almost 8x what my historical levels were… and free t4 is low.  synthroid it is… probably for the rest of my life.  could be worse, but definitely adds another layer of complexity for future pregnancies.

never wrote about this one, but started getting random joint pain a couple of weeks after i went back to work (at the same time i had another psoriasis flare on my face).  at first it was mainly my wrists, which i attributed to using the keyboard for 8 hours a day after a 6 month break.  then my knees started hurting, then finger joints.  i spoke to my primary care, who was concerned that it could be psoriatic arthritis.  she ran some blood tests, most of which came back normal, although i am vitamin d deficient.  she referred me to a rheumatologist anyway, as blood work usually appears normal in psoriatic arthritis.  at first look, the rheumatologist thinks this is all related to my immune system going haywire postpartum (that’s what postpartum thyroiditis is caused by). he did order some additional tests to check for joint inflammation, i should get the results later this week.  he also put me on an anti inflammatory drug to see if it helped with the pain.  it did, but then i stopped taking it after a few days because i was taking every OTC medication under the sun for a cold, started synthroid, started an antibiotic, and drum roll please… started birth control again.  so, because the NSAID helped, i fear the worst that there is real inflammation.

on to the next thing, finally got a normal pap smear after over a year of abnormal results with cell changes due to high risk HPV {thank you, husband – still not completely over this one yet}.  although, i’m not holding my breath as i will have HPV for life and it could show up again at any point unannounced.  you know what’s so messed up about this situation {besides me making the right decisions and dealing with the consequences of husband’s poor decisions}?  i got the gardisil shot in high school.  apparently it does not cover all strains of high risk HPV.  abstinence is the only thing that will do people, and you better believe i’m preaching this to my offspring.  i think another reason i’m having such a hard time getting over this one is that i could’ve made different choices too.  i knew some came before, but didn’t think it was a big deal.  wrong, it is a big deal.  it is a big deal because i have yet another health problem to deal with.  life is messy.  it just is.  prime example of my ever growing need to part with perfection.  and to forgive.  why is it hardest to forgive the ones you’re closest too?  including yourself?

moving on, i went to see my RE thinking i would need metformon again since i have a history of PCOS.  and guess what, apparently research shows that it’s only really beneficial for ladies with PCOS that are overweight and boarderline diabetic, which so far is not me {i’ve learned to never say never}.  we discussed the goal of future FET(s) and decided it was best for me to resume taking birth control so that my body will be at baseline when we’re ready to move forward.  i have mixed emotions about this… after all that we’ve been through, it just seems wrong to prevent pregnancy.  however, i truly feel that God gave us the number of embryos we have for a reason and i do not want to waste them.  and to be honest, i don’t want to even think about having another ectopic pregnancy experience.  3 months of being fake pregnant and methotrexate to shut it all down, not fun.  further, the odds are against us for natural conception – even if my PCOS were magically cured, the husband has pretty terrible swimmers {a result of HPV?  kidding.  but really, he should have some sort of consequence}.  {also, if you know me in real life, i kindly ask you not to broadcast this whole HPV thing to the world, or anyone really.}

oh, i almost forgot the best detail yet about this appointment with my RE.  i stopped breastfeeding 2 months ago, but still hadn’t started my period.  until the evening before my appointment with my RE, same day i had the repeat pap actually.  my OB was a bit concerned and told me that if i didn’t start by january, to give him a call.  life has a funny way of organizing events sometimes.  oh, and the first period after you’re done breastfeeding, it’s no joke.

so back to doctor appointments.  daycare is rough.  especially the daycare germs.  they are super germs that don’t give up until they’ve got you pinned.  brian got a cold, turned double ear infection.  husband caught he cold next, but eventually got over it.  i thought i was going to sneak by.  false.  it got me, and it got me good.  it turned to a sinus infection, and i’m pretty sure the worst sinus infection i’ve had to date.  my primary care was off the day i felt the sickest, so i got luck of the draw at the doctor office.  the man i saw is an idiot.  he said “you just have a cold and giving you an antibiotic would be like killing a fly with a machine gun.”  he wrote a prescription for an antibiotic anyway, but told me not to fill it unless things got worse and lasted several more days.  so after two days of having a fever and feeling like crap, i decided to fill the antibiotic.  i made the right choice, because i kid you not, the biggest most disgusting ball of mucus i have ever seen managed to exit my right nostril about 30 minutes after i got back from the pharmacy.  it was green, streaked with blood, firm in the middle, and the size of a quarter in diameter.  so i started taking the antibiotic, until a family member tipped me off that this antibiotic wasn’t strong enough for a sinus infection.   after two days of taking it with no improvement other than the fever going away, i practically had to beg my primary care to switch the antibiotic.  she finally agreed, and it has literally taken an additional 4 days to feel human again.  everything that comes out of my face is green.  with that, i will just reiterate that daycare germs are super germs.

i’m sure the world wide web isn’t all that concerned with what’s going on with my health, but on the off chance that someone is, there you have it, folks.

parting with perfection

here we go, another therapy post.

perfectionist.  type a.  call it what you want, that’s me.  there are good things about this personality type like being hard-working, detail oriented, dedicated, you get the picture.  there are bad things about this personality type like being so concerned that it borders obsessive, having a hard time letting go of injustices, having a hard time forgiving, refusing to accept problems, and the like.

pre-mom amber was punctual, scheduled, followed through on most commitments.  no surprise here, but mommy amber is much the same – i love me some baby scheduling.  i would say that i do seem to know my limits a little better and don’t have a hard time saying no these days, a modest improvement from my child-free life.  one thing that hasn’t changed is the inability to let go when something doesn’t seem right.

before i was pregnant, if someone were to tell me life would not be bliss after having brian, i know i would’ve assured them that it was ok.  i would be ok.  that small problems like postpartum thyroiditis, psoriasis on my face, cervical changes, loosing {what seems to be} half of my hair – they would all be worth it.  but since i wasn’t warned, i feel ripped off.

life hasn’t been perfect for some time, or ever really.  i get it, that’s life.  there are good days and bad.  the bad can be infertility, rifts with the husband, postpartum issues, or really it could be worse.  

is the worst thing that could happen postpartum thyroiditis?  no.  is the worst thing that can happen a rash on my face?  no.  is the worst thing that can happen cervical changes?  no.  is the worst thing that can happen loosing my hair?  no.  the answer is no.  i will keep telling myself this until i truly believe it and stop dwelling on the things i wish i could change.  so here goes my quest to part with perfection.

postpartum thyroiditis 

after 2 rounds of blood work and a radioactive thyroid uptake and scan, the results are in… postpartum thyroiditis it is.  at this point, my TSH is almost nonexistent, free T4 level is elevated, and my thyroid absorbed .5% of the radioactive iodine {10-30% is normal}.  my doctor did note that the scan picked up some activity outside of the thyroid on the left side, and she’s not sure what this could be, so she is going to check with the radiologist.  depending on what the radiologist comes back with, she may order an ultrasound of the area.

regardless, her diagnosis is postpartum thyroiditis.  she believes my thyroid to be permanently damaged based on the low iodine absorption level, and expects me to end up with an underactive thyroid.  she’s not sure when – it seems like it could be weeks or even months.  i have been having an extremely hard time sleeping lately, presumably from the overactive thyroid, which we discussed.  she could temporarily medicate for the overactive thyroid until it switches to being underactive.  i’d rather not be on a roller coaster ride with my thyroid hormone levels, but may consent if  things don’t start making their way to being hypo soon.  i go for blood work at the end of next week, and then we will go from there.

i’d rather not have any issue at all, but i am relieved that it seems to be postpartum thyroiditis and not graves’.  i would end up in the same place long term with hypothyroidism, but graves’ would involve the extra step of killing my thyroid.  

i was reading some of my oldest blog posts last night and was inspired by myself.  i used to be strong, and i used to have an unwavering faith.  recently, my circumstances have brought me down.  there has just been a lot and i’m physically and emotionally exhausted.  but this is life.  this is my journey.  there is still a story to tell.  i can get through this with Jesus, just like i got through {in}fertility.  Jesus calling is one of my favorite devotions.  the devotion for october 1st reminded me that Jesus can help.  i love this verse and am holding on to it for now:

come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest {Matthew 11:28}

postpartum thyroiditis or graves’ disease 

i went to the endocrinologist yesterday.  my primary care doctor wanted to check my TSH level again in a few weeks and then refer if necessary, but i asked for a referral sooner.  i firmly believe you have to be your own advocate when it comes to healthcare.  i’m going back to work soon and wanted to deal with the thyroid mess and any further testing before i’m stretched even thinner.  plus, i just don’t feel stellar.  when i called the endocrinologist’s office, i was told the first available appointment for a new patient was october 28th… luckily they checked the cancellation list and had a spot yesterday.

the doctor i met with was nice.  she asked lots of questions, listened to me recap my recent medical history, ordered blood work and examined my thyroid, then told me what the possible problems are {my synopsis may not be 100% accurate, but i’m going to try to convey what the doctor shared with me}.  she should have a better idea after the results from the blood work are in, but i may need a thyroid scan.

1. postpartum thyroiditis.  apparently after giving birth, something in the body can attack the thyroid.  when this happens, the thyroid releases all of the stored thyroid hormone at once.  the pituitary gland recognizes all of the thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, so it does not make more TSH to tell the thyroid to make its hormone {hence the low TSH level – mine was .027}.  eventually, the thyroid hormone in the bloodstream goes away and the thyroid starts to function again.  however, when the thyroid was initially attacked, it could’ve been permanently damaged.  if this is the case, it is no longer efficient, and you are left with hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid.  hypothyroidism is easy to treat with medication, and you can take the medication while pregnant.

2. graves’ disease.  this is an autoimmune condition in which the body continually attacks the thyroid, resulting in an overactive thyroid.  once this happens, it doesn’t stop, and intervention is needed.  intervention can be in the form of medication, radioactive treatment, or surgery.  medication can only be used for 1-2 years, because it can have potentially serious side effects like damaging bone marrow.  there are two types of medication, one of which cannot be used during the first trimester of pregnancy.  radioactive treatment seems to be the preferred long term treatment plan – it basically destroys the thyroid, so medication for hypothyroidism becomes necessary.  once this treatment is used, the patient stays radioactive for about a year, so pregnancy is not an option during this time.  surgery would completely remove the thyroid, but this is usually only done if there is a goiter.  medication for hypothyroidism would also be necessary after surgery.

obviously, i’d prefer to have neither of these conditions.  but, since i have one, i’m praying it’s only postpartum thyroiditis and that my thyroid makes a full recovery.  constant health challenges are hard.  i truly feel like i’m at a breaking point and something has to give.  God, this is where i need You.

i’ve been having a hard time praying and reading the Bible lately because i feel abandoned.  i had a time like this during my infertility struggles, but i finally gave in and opened my bible gateway app to find a verse that ended up carrying me through my pregnancy.  i opened the app last week, and the verse below greeted me.  i hope it’s a message from God to tell me everything will be ok.

  

if it’s not one thing, it’s another

i heard this phrase from my mother a lot while growing up.  it was almost her motto, and now it’s becoming mine.

stop reading if you don’t want to hear about every problem i’ve ever had since the age of 19.

it started with heart issues – an accessory pathway requiring two surgeries.  then tummy troubles for 4 years.  then a fractured foot {twice}.  then a septate uterus.  then PCOS.  then an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.  then 3 failed fertility treatment cycles before finally getting pregnant.  but then a high risk and scary pregnancy with cervical changes that still haven’t corrected.  then postpartum bleeding for 7 weeks longer than usual requiring a d&c.  then my tummy issue again.  then breastmilk supply issues.  and now, an extremely overactive thyroid.  WTH?!?!  i need a break before i lose my damn mind.

seems the breastmilk issues can be linked to the overactive thyroid, so i’m glad to know there’s an explanation for my crappy milk.  and seems like my tummy struggles and difficulty sleeping immediately postpartum can also be pointed to the overactive thyroid.  i do question whether this issue started while i was pregnant since i really only gained the weight of brian, his placenta, fluid, etc.  no real fat weight gain.  according to dr. google, it is also possible that my thyroid became overactive postpartum as sometimes your thyroid can swing the other way after being suppressed during pregnancy.  either way, i’ve got a hot mess on my hands. 

at this point, my doctor wants to wait another month and repeat the blood work as sometimes thyroids become overactive before switching to being underactive {both my father and paternal grandmother have hypothyroidism, so this wouldn’t really surprise me}.  if my thyroid is still whacked out, my doctor will send me to an endocrinologist.

to say that i’m frustrated would be an understatement.  i’m just ready for some normalcy.  maybe this is normal and i should be thankful that i’m not dealing with something more serious.

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.

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.

d&c

i always try to post updates in case someone in a similar situation stumbles upon my blog and wants to know how things turned out.  my d&c was a week ago, 11 weeks postpartum.  the leftovers were removed from my uterus, and i heard from my doctor today that indeed they were “retained products from conception.”  i’m still bleeding. seems it may never end.  my doctor’s nurse said it could last another week.  at this point, blood is just part of my routine.  when it actually stops, i probably won’t trust it.  i do have a post-op appointment 2 weeks from today.

for anyone lactating and undergoing general anesthesia, i didn’t have any issues with milk supply.  i did try to maintain my same pumping schedule, which meant i had to pump in the pre-surgical area before heading to the OR.  and i did set my alarm for 2 am to guzzle water before the no water cutoff time prior to surgery.

oh, and i should mention that i only pumped and dumped once after surgery.  apparently i didn’t even have to do this as new recommendations are as long as mom is awake and coherent she can breastfeed.  i did receive 4 different kinds of anti-nausea drugs {first 3 didn’t work}, so i figured i didn’t want to pass all of these along to mr. baby.

no LEEP {at least for now} & WTH boobs

the biopsy results are in from the colposcopy… thankfully the cell changes are not bad enough to warrant a LEEP procedure.  so now i’m just waiting for the d&c to be scheduled {as i bleed intermittently}.  it will be nice to know if the bleeding is actually my period or not, or just the residual stuff trying to work its way out.  based on the ultrasound last week, my OB doesn’t think i’ve cycled yet – i sure hope he’s right.

things have been off with my milk supply over the past 24 hours.  hard to know if it’s hormonal due to a maybe period around the corner or the funk that’s been in my uterus for the past 10 weeks {i would’ve thought the funk would’ve caused issues long before now}.  or maybe it was my mother’s visit yesterday that did me in {generally, she stresses me out}.  my pumps slowly decreased throughout the day yesterday to the point where i was barely making enough for brian’s next bottle by the evening {usually i have an extra ounce or two with each pumping}.  when i was finally able to relax before my last pump of the night, i pumped way more than i normally do.  then, my first pump this morning was on the larger side of normal – but one of my boobs had a harder time letting down.  i ended up stopping the pump, applying a warm compress to said boob, and then pumping only that boob for 10 additional minutes.  things seem to be more normal now other than my boobs are taking turns with milk production and letting down {one will produce more and spray more while the other sort of drips}.  has anyone ever experienced this phenomenon of one boob letting down and spraying more than the other?  hopefully my body will get with the program and sort this thing out.