3…..4 months with a Toddler and a Newborn

Well, I’m 3 months into our new life of 4. It’s definitely hectic and we are still trying to figure things out.

I’ve been asked several times how much harder are things with two kids. Everything is harder. But, in my personal opinion, the hardest adjustment was going from 0 kids to 1 kid. You have to sacrifice literally everything and care for another human being. You have to put someone else before yourself. Our family of 3 got into a routine and then we added Briar. Things are a little shaky, but we are already in the habit of caring for another human being, and now we just added one to the mix.

As I assumed, balancing time between kids, our careers, our marriage, our social lives, household chores is all very hard and stressful. But, we manage. Some days are better than others, and that’s okay for now.

For the first three months, Briar has basically been attached to me. Which leave Scott to care for Raelynn. I’ve had hard time dealing with this because I’m sacrificing a lot of time with Raelynn. In my head, I told myself, things weren’t going to change. I would get equal time with both kids, but that’s just not reality, unfortunately.

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I’m going to lest this post Rest In Peace because we are now 4 months into our new life….

And I’m dying….

Literally dying from no sleep…

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The moment I think that Briar has somewhat turned a corner, it’s like she looks at me and laughs in my face for even thinking such a reasonable thing can happen.

From month 3 to month 4, a lot has changed.

Developmentally, Briar has learned to roll over both ways. She smiles SO much. She laughs out loud. It’s the cutest thing. If we place a toy in front of her, she will grab it. It’s amazing the things we get excited about as parents.  Me to Scott – “OH MY GOD SCOTT, LOOK!! SHE GRABBED THE RATTLE!!!” Scott to me – “KEISH, SHE’S ABOUT TO ROLL OVER, STOP EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING AND COME LOOK!!” I mean, seriously. Who are we??

She is still pretty fussy from 5pm – 7pm. It does seem we have more good days than bad though, so that’s a plus. I remember feeling completely locked down with Raelynn when her last feeding and bedtime was at 7pm and I already feel like again. Briar has no fear in letting you know that she is hungry and ready for bed. It doesn’t matter where we are.

Sleep…Sleep is still the biggest issue for me…I guess sleep really is overrated because it’s still pretty nonexistent. She was really taking well to the swaddle and then she started to roll and I was done with it at that point. I would feed her at 7pm, when she was done eating, I would swaddle her, and then I would have to rock/hold her for about 40-50 minutes before I could set her down in her crib. At this point, there was no putting down to sleep drowsy. This worked for us, so we did it. From there her sleep varied tremendously. Some nights she would wake up at 11pm. The majority of nights she would wake up between 12am – 1am, A very small handful of times she would sleep until 2am, and we had one instance where she slept until 3am. Of course that night, I didn’t make it to bed until almost 11pm :\. Go figure. So, she was overall having a very good first stretch of sleep. I would go to bed anywhere from 8:30 – 9:30. On most nights it was 8:30 just so I could get at least 3-4 hours of sleep. After her first stretch of sleep, her middle of the night wakings were literally everywhere. Sometimes it was every 2 hours, sometimes it was every 3 hours. On average, she was still waking up 3 times a night. After her first stretch, she would either come in the bed with me or go to the couch with me. I couldn’t muster up enough energy to stay awake and nurse her in her room and put her back down asleep in her crib. It was easier for me to nurse her, then lay her next to me so I could at least get some rest.

So, when she started to roll, we ditched the swaddle.I had read several different articles about how to wean off the swaddle: one arm out, two arms out, Merlin’s Magic Sleep suit, Zip a Dee suit. I told Scott that I just wanted to cold turkey it. I figured, there was nothing consistent about her sleep right now, so what’s the point in trying to slowly transition out. Let’s just do it and get it over with. The first couple of nights were a little tough. She had a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep, initially. It would take around 1 1/2 – 2 hours to finally get her to sleep. That was a combination of Scott and/or I going in her room and shushing her or putting that god forsaking pacifier back in her mouth. We let her cry a little bit. I’m very hesitant to do a full on cry it out with her because of Raelynn. I can’t imagine having to calm two kids down and put two kids back to sleep. We do a somewhat modified version. We let her cry for a couple of minutes and then we go in and reassure her that all is well. That has paid off tremendously for us. For the past couple of days she has went right to sleep after her feeding. She may toss and turn for a minute or two to get settled, but no real crying or having to go back in.  For about a week, she was sleeping like a champ, down at 7pm up around 1am-2am then up around 5:30am – 6am. Still very broken sleep for me and no more than 4 hours at a time, but I felt like I could see the light. Then….the 4 month sleep regression happened. It happened with Raelynn too. I was just hoping to slide right on by this time. It started last weekend. Friday night and Saturday night she was up every 2 hours. Then Sunday night happened. She never slept for more than an hour at a time. I was awake from Sunday morning until Monday night. I was awake for around 40 hours. It was terrible. I never EVER go into work late and I didn’t make it into work until around 9:30am Monday morning. I felt terrible. I know I looked terrible. WHYYY was this happening? I swear, I’m never getting sleep again. My body might be regulating to 4 hours of sleep, because now 4 hours of consistent sleep feels natural and normal. This past week (Monday – Wednesday), I thought she had somewhat went back to normal sleeping habits. I was putting her to bed around 7pm, then getting up around 1:30am – 2:00a.m. and then again around 5:30am – 6:00am, UNTIL Scott informed me that she was waking up every night between 10:30pm and 11:00pm. He was getting to her before I woke up and has been able to settle her back down to sleep until she wake up for me. So, instead of the normal 2 night wakings, we have somehow increased to 3 wakings. Last night there was even a 4th waking. All I know to do is to keeping being consistent and hoping this passes soon. I’m at a loss. Since she has been born, I’ve not got more than 4 hours of sleep, a handful of 5 hour stretches, and one 6 hour stretch. And at this point, we are going backwards, but hopefully not for long.

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We had our first overnight with both kids away and I wish I could have enjoyed it more. I guess, the sleep, I mean. That was my only 6 hour stretch. They stayed at my in laws house. I was not sad at all to give them away. LOL. I wish I could do it more often. Scott and all of his guys went to a BeerFest and me and all of the girls went to a WineFest. It was much needed. But, as you can imagine, I didn’t wake up feeling refreshed. I woke up feeling very hungover. I had to get up early to pump, then pick up the kids from my in laws and take them daycare so Scott and I could recover. I didn’t really feel like myself again until about 5pm.

Breastfeeding is becoming another issue. The beginning of our breastfeeding relationship was MUCH better than Raelynn and I’s. Briar is eating MUCH more than Raelynn did at this point. Raelynn was around three or four, 3 – 3.5 ounce bottles every 3 hours while we were apart. Briar is four, 4 ounces bottles every 3 hours. That’s 16 ounces for Briar compared to around 12-14 ounces with Raelynn. It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but I struggle majorly to get 16 ounces a day. I had to add a pump session in at night, which I absolutely hate. Instead of going to bed at 8:30, I now have to pump at 8:30. I’m considering power pumping for a while until my supply goes back up. I drink Mother’s Milk Tea every single night. I put flax seeds in my protein shakes and in my morning oatmeal. I have just recently ordered some cookies from a nursing mom. The company is called Milk Boosters. I’ve read rave reviews about them. I am praying they work. I also just ordered some brewers yeast to make my own cookies. I’m hesitant to take Fenugreek because I’ve heard it can upset mom and babies stomach so I will hold off on that for now. For a couple week straight, I had to get into my frozen stash to make up the 16 ounces. I knew that once I started supplementing with my frozen stash, I was letting my body know it was okay not to make any more milk than I was making, so that’s why I added in the 8:30 pump. I am currently making just enough day to day and as of the last two weeks I haven’t had to dig into my frozen stash. I maybe freeze 3 – 5 ounces a month which is terrible. I think I maybe have around 120 ounces frozen and 100 of those ounces contain dairy :/. So I am on the struggle bus for sure to make the milk. Ideally, I would love to add a pump session in the morning, but Briar is just too inconsistent with her sleep. I know the day I would wake up, so would she and she would want to eat. Or she would wake up as soon as I get done pumping. I would love to have just an extra ounce or 2 a day. I don’t need or want a huge stash, but just enough to feel comfortable if something were to ever come up.

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And my little Raelynn. She is becoming a feisty…almost 3 year old…cue the tears. I don’t know where the last 3 years have gone. It’s really sad. She’s so smart. But, she takes after both me and her daddy…she is a head strong little girl. She is starting to give us a hard way to go. I don’t think it has anything to do with Briar because she gets ample time with us after Briar goes to bed. We make sure to spend quality time with just her. I just think she is going through a toddler stage. She is definitely Miss Independent, she is strong willed, she is so bossy (me). Sometimes I feel like I see some of my negative traits come out in her. I expressed this to my therapist in my last meeting; the bossiness in particular. I want Raelynn to be a good leader and I want her to stand up for herself, but I also want her to listen and be able to help other people. I told the therapist, my controlling and bossy side has come out majorly in Raelynn already. I am scared to death more than anything that I am going to portray my anxiety onto Raelynn and that’s the absolute last thing I want. I would not wish my anxious self on anyone. I try to be very careful and mindful what I say, but sometimes, I just say the wrong shit. I’m trying very hard. Plus, I want to be happy. I want her to see me happy. I want her to see me and her daddy happy. All of those things are very important to me and balancing all of them are really hard.

Speaking of being happy with Scott. We are about the same. We aren’t terrible, but we aren’t great. When we both get home from work, it’s balls to the wall until Briar goes to bed, then Raelynn goes to bed, then I have to pump, then I’m tired so I go to sleep. The weekends are already getting crazy with plans. It just seems we never have time to ourselves. We never MAKE time for ourselves. Just today, I asked him if he would be okay with me going out to eat Friday night with a couple girls. He said yes, and then in turn asked if he could go to grab a drink with friends tonight. I, of course, said yes, then immediately said, “Next time we need to make plans together, not separate.” The last time we had a date night was when I was 6 months pregnant, so around 6 months ago…and before that….I think it was well over 6 months.  Another thing that plays into us never making plans together is that we feel one of us always has to stay home with the kids. If not, we have to find a sitter and they are hard to come by with two kids. Everyone is a little more hesitant to jump on the babysitting bandwagon with two kids. One that we use regularly, we pay hourly, and sometimes that’s just not in our best interest to have to pay someone, or we literally don’t have the money. So we each make a sacrifice so the other can have some time away from the kids. It just sucks that we don’t spend more time together without the kids.

Work is a whole other issue and it’s praying on me more and more each day. Ever since Briar, I feel like I just cannot get back into the swing of things and I hate it. I feel myself becoming less and less focused at work. It’s a very huge struggle for me because I’m normally very work oriented. I stay under a lot of pressure at my job and it really sucks to not be 100% focused.

A couple of pictures of the girls over the last month or so…

 

 

That’s it for now. Until next time…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

And another 6 weeks later…

I’ve been slacking, as expected, just hoped it wouldn’t be another 6 weeks later…

Well, I’m just going to dive right in. These past 6 weeks have been pretty terrible. My thoughts are pretty scattered right now, so I’m sure this post will be too. I apologize in advance.

I am most definitely going through post partum depression again. The realization hit me over the past weekend. I seriously hate this feeling more than anything. Currently, at this moment, I am not in a good place at all.

Picking up where I left off at my last post….I was not getting any sleep, I discovered that Briar probably was allergic to dairy, I was going back to work, I was going to start back at the gym.

Briar is not allergic to dairy, just sensitive to dairy.  I am now dairy free, soy free, and egg free. She got a blood test at her 2 month appointment that tested for the milk protein allergy and it was negative. I have decided to stay dairy free since she had an obvious reaction to dairy. For the most part, it’s not that terrible. I have days where I get really pissed off that I literally have to fix every single one of my meals. There is no “grab and go” when you are dairy/soy/egg free. I was dairy/soy free for around 2-3 weeks and her face was breaking out still. I decided to cut eggs and it seemed to make her face better. I’m still somewhat unsure if she really had a reaction to eggs or not. I plan to reintroduce eggs first to see if she really had a reaction. I won’t reintroduce dairy until she is at least 5 or 6 months old. Hoping she has grown out of her sensitivity by then.

Going back to work and the gym have both been a good thing for me. I thrive on on schedule and routine. Currently, I only have one more week of working part time. I’m so ready to be back to work full time. I’m thankful I was able to slowly ease back into work, but there is too much shit to do and I’m a workaholic, so I’m ready to be back full time.

The most positive thing that has happened in the past 6 weeks is being able to go back to CrossFit. In the beginning, I was so ready to jump back in full force. My body was like, “Hell nah, girl. You just pushed a baby out 6 weeks ago.” I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but it was. I have NO CORE. Core is everything for all of the movements I do. I thought I would just be able to jump back in and be able to hit all of my maxes…wrong. I’ve been back in for about 6 weeks and I’m slowly getting stronger. I started out pretty slow, 2-3 days for the first couple of weeks. Then I started 4-5 days a week. Plus, I have a squat rack, barbell, and weights at home, so I’m able to do some strength training at home which has been very key for my recovery. It was very surprising to me, but I could do more in my 9th month of pregnancy than I could at 6, 7, even 8 weeks post partum. But, again, slowly recovering. Very happy to be back.

So, addressing the post partum depression…

Still…not getting any sleep. For almost 3 months, I’ve not got more than 4 hours of sleep at a time.

No sleep has, in my opinion, been the number one factor. I only know what I’ve been through with Raelynn, so all I do is compare. I don’t remember anything about Raelynn’s first 4 months of life except she just cried non stop and hated her life. I don’t remember too much about her sleep patterns. I just know she slept in the bed with us for the first 4 months.

We have tried everything with Briar. We have found some success, but we still have room to improve. She finally started to take to the swaddle. Technically, it’s a Halo Sleep Sack that we got from the hospital, but essentially comparable to a swaddle. Every night at 7pm, I feed her, then swaddle her, then take her to her room, put on white noise, and rock her to sleep in the rocking chair….

Yes, we tried the infamous put the baby down drowsy and let baby soothe herself to sleep. NOPE.

Yes, we even got so desperate for sleep that we tried, cry it out. I’m not a fan of this, but I was desperate for sleep. We tried it for 2 nights. The first night she cried for 2 hours. The second night she cried for 2 1/2 hours. Never stopped. We went in and got her eventually.

So, the rocking her to sleep works for us now. I’ll take it. Once she is asleep, which takes about an hour, I am able to lay her down in her crib. At first she would sleep until 11:00 – 11:30, she gradually made it to midnight, and now she is sleeping until about 1:00 a.m. in her crib. Two nights, she has slept until 2:00 a.m.

Sounds good right? The problem is when she wakes up. She wakes up, I feed her, and sometimes she goes back to sleep, and sometimes she does not. I tried for about 2 weeks to keep her in her crib all night and I was losing so much sleep. So, I decided after her first stretch of sleep, I was going to put her in the bed with us. In my mind, I could at least lay there while she did whatever and I could rest a little bit. For the most part it worked. However, it was not comfortable for myself, Scott, and Briar to all be in bed together. So, Scott and I do not sleep together as of right now which is a whole other issue. We take turns, one of us in the bed, and one of us on the couch. We are able to safely use the couch for Briar to sleep on because we have a huge couch and she’s not rolling, yet, so I feel comfortable with this.

So, when she wakes up, sometimes she able to settle herself, and sometimes she is not. On the nights that she is not able to, it’s terrible. We had a terrible night last night, which prompted me to finish this post because I needed an outlet. I have such a love/hate relationship with the pacifier. When she actually takes it, it soothes and she is able to go to sleep; HOW-FUCKING-EVER….she will not keep that damn thing in her mouth. She will suck a little and then spit it out and then cry. We have tried every pacifier known to mankind and pretty much the only one she likes are MAM pacifier. She goes through this vicious cycle in the middle of the night and she ends up working herself up because she can’t go back to sleep, therefore, is wide awake. It’s so fucking annoying. Like, I’m ready to get rid of the pacifier.

I’m just at a loss. I need her to sleep. I know that will come with time, which is why I’m wishing these newborn months away. I really didn’t want to do that with Briar because I did it with Raelynn. However, I didn’t regret it, and I don’t regret wishing it away now. I need to be sane for myself first, and my family second.

It is so hard for me to find a good balance in life right now. I honestly felt like Briar was going to be different. That I wasn’t going to have to walk down this post partum depression path again. Yet, here I am, with the exact same feelings that I had approximately 2 years ago.

Besides sleep, I am not enjoying much of anything. I don’t want to do anything, I don’t want to leave the house, and I don’t want to have anyone over. This was my realization that I was in the throes of post partum depression already.

Last weekend, Scott asked if I wanted to have some people over for dinner. Without hesitiation, I instantly said no.

Here’s my thought process:

  1. First of all, I was not going to cook dinner at my house and then not be able to eat it. Let’s face it; most normal people on the weekend do not want to eat chicken and vegetables, which is essentially my diet being dairy/soy/egg free.
  2. I was already anticipating the chain of events that would happen through the night.
  3. Come 7:00p.m. I was going to have to be the one that went back to Briar’s room and secluded myself for the hour – hour and a half that it took to feed her.
  4. I was not going to want to entertain anyone after I put Briar to sleep because I was going to want to get ready for bed.
  5. I was going to have to be the one that woke up with her at 1:00a.m. and deal with her antics, whatever they may be for the night.

What part of that sounds like fun? I instantly realized that I was not enjoying things like I should be. That was my epiphany that I was balls deep in post partum depression already. It was not a welcome feeling. I became extremely emotional after this. I just did not want to be in this dark hole again. I had made so much progress, only to take leaps backwards.

There are several social events that are coming up and I’m probably going to stay at home for all of them. I literally just don’t have it in me to participate. I just feeling like I’m losing control of my life right now.

Another issue…my relationship. Things are not terrible; but they are not great either. I don’t really know what I expected this time around. I mean, introducing a newborn into your life is a big deal. I totally get how couples do not make it through kids. It puts major pressure on your relationship. And, Scott is having a really hard time with Briar in general.

We have several different situations right now that we both do not like:

  • Our sleeping situation is that we don’t sleep together right now. I hate this more than anything.
  • I am the only person getting up with Briar each night. Hence, Scott gets a full nights of uninterrupted sleep every single night. I hate this. He seriously does not even hear Briar cry. I am nothing less than amazed by this.
  • Scott only has to worry about Briar from 5:00pm – 7:00pm; which is her extreme fussy time. He has expressed to me that he does not feel connected with her at all right now.
  • Scott gets to not have a care in the world. I feel as though I carry all the burden.
  • Scott gets to enjoy himself and go out with friends. He does not have a hard time detaching from Briar, Raelynn, or myself at all. For me, I’m more so envious and jealous of this. Not mad about it.
  • I feel like he does not acknowledge any of the hard work that I’m putting into this.
  • Scott gets all the time with Raelynn and I practically get zero time with her.

Whenever I realized I was experiencing PPD, I took some time to gather my thoughts and then I had a conversation with Scott afterwards. It was a good, civil conversation. I told him that I didn’t want a pat on the back because I’m doing what any mom would do, but shit, give me a break every once in a while. Like, I’m not the one that has to put Briar to sleep every night. I’m not the one that has to wake up with her every single night. That’s when he told me that he didn’t feel connected with Briar. It made me sad when he said that, but I get it. We both equally agreed that we weren’t enjoying our lives right now. That made me even more sad. We both knew this, but just to vocalize it is a different story.

Here are the positives with Scott and I. We don’t hold anything back. So, whenever we have an issue with each other or just in general, we talk about it. We love each other too much to just let things keep building until we blow up on each other. We love each other too much to just let things go. We love each other so much that we realize we will have many bumps in the road that will test our relationship, but that doesn’t mean we give up. We fight harder. We overcome. And we always do. Which is exactly why Scott and I are perfect for each other.

Hoping for a more positive post the next time around…

 

–The Kentucky Momma

6 weeks later…

I’m not sure why I had the inconceivable idea that I could actually blog during Briar’s first 6 weeks of life. Sounds really optimistic, doesn’t it? I did, however, keep a small journal of notes, feelings, emotions, etc. that I experienced during the first 6 weeks so I could relay them here.

As I hope you have read, Briar was born 2 weeks early. It was somewhat expected because my first, Raelynn, was 2 weeks early. So, I am going to pick up exactly where I left off at with my Week 38 post.

Right after I had Briar, they had some small issues delivered the placenta. Not a huge deal. After about 15 minutes of trying to deliver it with no luck, the hospitalist just reached on up in there and proceeded to dig it out. That was interesting. It didn’t hurt, I could just feel her whole hand inside of me. Guess there is a first time for everything. Once it was delivered, she showed Scott and I, and Scott compared it to an uncooked steak. I suppose that’s why some people dehydrate it and eat it or encapsulate it. No judgment at all, that’s just not for me. After that, she started to stitch me up. They numbed me, but I could feel everything. Halfway through, my doctor finally arrived. She finished me up. It was somewhat of a blessing that we had her in the middle of the night because we had her all to ourselves for several hours before we ever had any visitors. When we actually got into our private room, it was about 2:00 a.m. My adrenaline was still pumping from pushing out a child not even 2 hours ago. I knew there was no way that I was going to get any sleep. Scott, on the other hand, snoring his little heart out on the pullaway bed. It’s hard to sleep anyways with all of the nurses and doctors constantly in and out.

The first day, we didn’t have many visitors, just family. The second day, we mainly had friends. Scott and I convinced all of our doctors and nurses that we should go home on the second day since there were no complications with myself or Briar. They all agreed, so we only had to stay one night in the hospital. We got discharged on Monday around 3:00 p.m. It was just enough time to get home and get settled before Scott had to go pick up Raelynn from daycare.

Our first week home…

Monday, as soon as Raelynn got home, I immediately started feeling all out of sorts, in particular, about Raelynn. I just spent the last two days bonding with Briar, and essentially not seeing Raelynn at all. It was just a whirlwind to have them both together and finally be a mother of two. It was a lot to deal with. I hoped these feelings would go away soon. That night, Briar nursed for 5 hours straight. It was terrible.

Tuesday, I was feeling so tired from no sleep at all. We had a doctor appointment for Briar. She weighed 5.13. Since she was under 6 pounds, they wanted her back on Friday for a weight check.

Wednesday, I was feeling better because Briar had slept a little. My nipples were killing me. They were so sore and the pain was toe curling. As a matter of fact, my whole body hurt.

Thursday morning, I woke up to the chills, literally teeth chattering chills. I had a low grade fever, my whole body ached. I had a mild case of mastitis. My right boob was the size of a basketball. Not joking. I called the doctor and they prescribed some medicine, but I ended up not even taking it. I nursed right through all of it and it was extremely painful. I wanted to cry every time it was time to feed her.

Friday, I felt much better. Briar’s appointment went well, she was up to 5.15. I started having night sweats. OMG terrible…..drenched in sweat from head to toe.

I was very anxious about Saturday and Sunday because it was our first full days with both kids. Throughout the week, we still continued to send Raelynn to daycare. We wanted things to stay as normal for Raelynn as possible. The weekend went well though.

The first week was as good as expected I guess. Notable items – night sweats suck, nursing sucks this week, I only had irrational feelings the first day, after that I felt okay, I didn’t get more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time all week, but that is expected with a newborn and breastfeeding. Briar slept in our bed all week. We have other options (bassinet, rock n play) that we are going to try next week

Second week home….

Monday, Scott went back to work. Even though I had done it once before, I was dreading  being alone with Briar. Overall, it went well. Briar started cluster feeding again (7-10 day growth spurt) Basically from 5pm – 9pm, nursing every hour, then still getting up every 2-3 hours at night to nurse. Raelynn started acting out today. I don’t think it was because of Briar. I think it’s typical toddler stuff. But, we had lots of spankings and time outs today.

Tuesday, getting really tired. No more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.

Wednesday, I felt like she cluster fed during the day??? I found myself getting really anxious for the first time. I was able to talk myself down though.

Thursday, still no sleep. Up every 2 hours.

Friday, still struggling with sleep at night. She finally goes to sleep around 8pm, then is up at 11pm, 2am, 4am, 6am, 7am, 8am…

Sunday night, getting really frustrated with the 11pm feeding. I feel like she just goes to sleep only to wake up again to eat.

Second week notables – not sleep at all. Still managing to function. Cluster feeding sucks. Being anxious sucks. I JUST WANT SLEEP. She has still been in our bed, by our choice. I’m not sure she liked it though. And she is a very, very loud sleeper. Big grunter

Third week home…

Monday, Tried the bassinet tonight, hated it.

Tuesday, we tried the swaddle and the rock n play for bed time and she slept the first stretch in there and then was back in the bed with us.

Wednesday, hoping growth spurt (2 week spurt) was over with. She slept for a long stretch during the day. I also had therapy today. I took Briar with me. We mainly just talked about how I was feeling (so far, so good) and how things were going. Nothing monumental to report. I also went into work today to talk to HR about my return. Planning on returning after my 6 weeks, part time only. 2-3 days a week for 6 more weeks and then I will go back full time.  Projectile vomited tonight. Completely out of the ordinary for her. Still didn’t think much of it though.

The weekend was not fun. Multiple night wakings. We are trying bedtime between 7pm  and 8pm. Waking between 6-7 times a night. I started experiencing some desperate moments as she would not go right back to sleep.

Week three notables – NO SLEEP SUCKS. Projectile vomit worried me. Only did it the one night though.

Week four home…

She is starting to fall into a good daytime routine. I let her lead. she wakes up from 7am-8am and we TRY to follow eat, wake, sleep. It doesn’t always work, but we try. Nighttime is a different story. We cannot find a constant at all. Nothing seems to work for her. Swaddling is hit or miss, the rock n play is hit or miss, the bassinet can suck it, she’s not comfortable in our bed, up to this point, she still hasn’t taken a pacifier. From 5pm – 7pm – she is becoming colicky. Nothing compared to Raelynn, it’s just frustrating for both Scott and I.

I kept Raelynn and Briar home by myself for the first time this Friday. They both had doctor appointments. They both went well. Raelynn weighed 26.8 pounds and Briar weighed 8.6 pounds. Keeping both of them went better than expected. I actually really enjoyed having Raelynn at home with Briar and I.

With a month of no more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time and some nights, no more than 2-3 hours of sleep PERIOD, I needed a break. I told Scott that us two and Raelynn should go have dinner somewhere without Briar. It was nice to just have us three together. Plus, we both want to have times with just Raelynn. We went to dinner and then went and had ice cream. I had mentioned to Scott that I thought when Briar projectile vomited, it could have been because I ate cereal that day (not sure of timing). I am not a big dairy eater so it just kind of stood out to me. I chose to eat the ice cream anyways and see what happened. Well, she projectile vomited everywhere again almost instantly after  I had the ice cream. So I quickly came to the conclusion that Briar was allergic to dairy. I do not eat big dairy items, so I decided to do the elimination diet. But I also decided that I would eliminate the hidden dairy as well. From everything I had read it would take 2-3 weeks for the dairy to get completely out of my system and it could also be the reason for Briar’s consistent waking at night. Essentially I decided to follow the paleo diet. I very loosely followed it before I got pregnant, but I figured now is the time to do it hardcore. It also goes hand in hand with CrossFit, so it’s a win win for me.

Week four notables – no consistent sleep for me is killing me. It’s all starting to catch up. Really desperate to find some type of night time routine for Briar with my return to work fastly approaching. I realize it’s not going to happen in a week.

Week five home…my last full week home…

I started the dairy free diet this week. It’s going okay so far, just a lot of meat and vegetables. I feel like I cook vegetables about every 2 days.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I slept on the couch with Briar on my chest. Nothing else is working. I don’t get much sleep, but it’s better than nothing. She completely said FUCK your bed and FUCK the rock n play. A couple of nights she was awake for several hours at a time. I was finally reaching my desperate stage. I was feeling so anxious and overwhelmed. I just needed sleep. I was thinking not so great thoughts. **Disclaimer, no babies were harmed** But, all I really wanted to do was swing her by her feet into the wall. Obviously that solved nothing because then she would just more more awake and cry a lot more, but I was over it. Badly over it. Thursday, I finally got four whole hours of sleep, thanks to Scott. I climbed in bed with Scott around 3am and he cuddled up with me and I just started crying. I missed him and us and sleep and just being normal. I know this newborn stage doesn’t last long, but I am just over it.

This week, we also somewhat successfully got her to take a pacifier. We have been trying for about 2 weeks now with no luck, but she finally took one. And now it’s hit or miss. Sometimes it works for her and sometimes it doesn’t. Why am I not surprised.

It’s now the weekend and I am preparing to go back to work. I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed with everything I have to do. I need to make sure I have enough food for the week, I need to remember my pump, I need to remember my computer, I need clothes that fit; which let’s be honest, isn’t happening, is Briar going to follow the schedule that we started? What if she doesn’t? OMG no sleep and now I have to go back to work.

BUT, I also get to start the gym again which I am super excited about. I need the gym so badly. I do need work also. I need adult interaction and I need to something to get my mind off my kids all day long. I need to feel useful. Work does all that for me. I am only starting back part time. I will be there a full day Monday, a half day Wednesday, and a half day.

Here are some pictures from the first 6 weeks. She looks so sweet and innocent because all she is doing is sleeping….

So that pretty much sums up the first 6 weeks. Pray for us, y’all. This momma needs sleep…..

 

–The Kentucky Momma

 

Our Last and Final Breastfeeding Milestone

Friday, November 6th, Raelynn had her last bag of breastmilk. It was a happy and sad day all in one. At this point, I know both my husband and I were tired of dealing with thawing out a bag of breastmilk, mixing it with whole milk, and sending it to daycare. Now we just send a half gallon of whole milk every week and it’s much better and easier and just less to deal with in general.

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Of course, I had to take a picture with our last bag of milk 🙂 It turned out cuter than I expected!

While I don’t feel like a “pro” at pumping, I think I probably have some useful advice to offer or things I would have done differently, especially towards the end. I feel like I must disclose that everyone “pumps” differently. Everyone will develop their own schedules and fall into their own routine that works for you and your family. I felt like I was constantly searching the internet for mom’s schedules and how mom’s made pumping easier because pumping really fucking sucks. So, while this may not help everyone, maybe it will help just one person. And for that, I will feel useful 🙂

  • In order to keep up with the needs of your baby, you have to pump every 3 hours. Some moms even have to pump every 2 hours to produce more. I know if I ever had a dip in supply, I would add in an extra pump until my supply came back up. Breastfeeding/pumping is a supply and demand relationship. You must pump or breastfeed to tell your body to continue producing milk.
    • As far as a schedule goes, I think that solely depends on you and your work schedule. There is not a schedule that works for everyone. After going back to work, it takes a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things. As long as you are being mindful of pumping every 3 hours, you should be okay.
  • PUMP AND DRIVE! I cannot stress this enough especially if you have a long commute to work or if you have things to do on the weekend. PUMP AND DRIVE!! It will save you so much time. This is somewhat controversial because some women do not feel this is safe. I never felt that I was harming myself or other drivers out there. It’s a little awkward at first, but you will get used it to and then you will question yourself as to why you didn’t do this from the start.
    • I had a 45 minute commute to work. I would drop Raelynn off at daycare, pull off to the back of the parking lot, put on my hands free bra, hook up my pump, start the pump before I actually took off, drive to work, then when I got to work, I would unhook and store my milk.
      • Things you need in order to do this: hands free bra, car adapter for your pump (Medela makes them), a nursing cover if you want one (my windows were like limo tint so I never used one), the Medela cooler and ice pack that I could store in my backpack pump, cleaning wipes so you can clean your pump parts quickly.
      • IT’S TOTALLY DOABLE AND TOTALLY WORTH IT.
  • When I started freezing milk, I feel like my logic behind it was good. I started freezing in 3 ounce increments because that’s what she was eating at the time. When she went up to 4 ounces, I increased how much I was freezing to 4 ounces. She only ever took 5 ounces, so toward the end all of my bags were 5 ounces.
    • When she was just getting breastmilk, I would add fresh and frozen. For example, if she was getting 4 ounces bottles, but I was still on the 3 ounce bags, I would add one ounce of fresh milk from the day before.
    • This became tricky when I was trying to portion out whole milk. I very, very slowly introduced whole milk. I did 1 ounce in her bottles for like 2 weeks, then 2 ounces in her bottles, etc…. Towards the end, all I had was 5 ounce bags so it didn’t always measure out correctly. Point being, I wish I would have frozen in all different increments towards the end, if not throughout. I wish I would have froze more 2 and 3 ounce bags because it would have been easier.
      • Something important to remember: from the moment you pull the frozen bag of milk out of the freezer, you are supposed to use it within 24 hours. Sometimes I went over that threshold and Raelynn was fine. But I always tried to be mindful of that.
  • Cleaning pump parts….this is also a touchy subject and totally up to you and how you want to handle it. But here are some options and hopefully helpful information:
    • Breast Milk stays good at room temperature for up to 8 hours. This is good to know in case you are in a bind and can’t wash your part rights away. The world is not going to end and you’re not going to spoil your next batch of milk you pump if you don’t wash your pump parts right away. I’m not saying DON’T wash them every time, I’m just saying shit happens and it’s okay.
    • I am a firm believer in saving time and cutting corners. When I pump and drove, I strictly used the Medela wipes to clean the parts. 3 hours later when I pumped at work, I would go to the bathroom afterwards and rinse out with hot water. When I got home for the night is when I would soak them in warm soapy water and clean thoroughly. Some people feel like they need warm, soapy water every time. Great, if you want to do that. I sure as fuck didn’t want to. I had better shit to do.
    • An alternative, you can store your pump parts in the fridge in a gallon size ziplock bag or by putting them in tupperware. The reasoning: if there is any milk leftover on your parts, the fridge will help keep the milk good. I know several people that swear by this.
    • Sterilizing….sorry, but my take, fuck it. Some people sterilize their pump parts after every pump, once a day, once a week. Me, once a year, when i packed the shit up and I was done with it.  Just solely my opinion.
  • Do invest in a set or two of extra tubing. No matter how careful I was, I would always get milk in the tubing, somehow and I could not get it out. I did try to sterilize it and clean it but then there was condensation buildup and it turned into a moldy mess. Just buy the extra damn tubing and save your time.
  • Also, buy extra membranes. Super cheap pretty much everywhere. They need to be replaced every so often to help suction. I think I replaced mine a total of about 2 times.

That’s it. That’s everything.

–The Kentucky Momma

Anemic

We just found out yesterday that my little girl is anemic and iron deficient. It breaks my heart. I feel like it’s all my fault.

My husband took her for her one year well visit and they did a finger prick and tested some of her blood. I had no idea they were going to do that. They immediately came back and said her red blood cells were low and she would have to come back in three weeks to get her blood tested again. They also commented on her weight gain. She has been gaining every single time, but she’s been dropping in percentiles each time we go. When she was born at 7lbs 8oz, she was in the 50th percentile and now she is in the 5th percentile. Her weight at her one year appointment was 17lbs 9oz.

I took her this past Monday to the doctor just for labs. They pricked her finger and took three vials of blood. That was fun….They called me back yesterday and told me she was anemic due to iron deficiency. From here, they immediately ordered her to be on iron supplements for at least 3-6 months depending on the severity of her anemia. Also, we have to take her to a children’s hospital in downtown Louisville to get blood actually drawn out of her arm like a freaking adult for a complete iron study. I hate myself for this more than anything.

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I just had to post a cute picture of how she sleeps. It makes me smile when I have to get her up in the morning.

I am feeling like a real failure at being a mom. Yes, she is taken care of, yes, she is fed, yes, she is even happy, but I felt like there was more I could do to ensure this didn’t happen. I’m questioning a lot of the choices I’ve made in the past year of her life now. I knew I always wanted to breastfeed. Not only was it the best thing for her, but it was free. As long as I was able to breastfeed, I was going to do it. I’ve always read on several sites that their iron storage starts to deplete around 6 months, therefore, they need to start getting solids, cereal, etc to make sure their iron levels are replenished. Whenever we decided to introduce solids at 6 months, I decided to skip cereal altogether. Cereal doesn’t have much of a nutritional value, except if it’s iron fortified. That will help up their iron intake if I were to give her cereal. I read several reputable sites that you could skip cereal altogether and start on solid foods that were packed with iron. I did a lot of research on what types of food were packed with iron so I could make sure I was taking care of her. I made all of her food with the exception of prunes. I mean, i literally handmade every meal. Unless it was prunes and on the very rare occasion, she never got anything processed or in a package. It was all fresh produce. The point of all this? What if I had just given her formula and given her the packaged food? Would she be in this situation right now? Would we be having to take her to get her blood drawn out of her arm?

Just to clarify, this is not a bash on formula or packaged and processed baby food. I, personally, just tried so hard to give Raelynn everything as natural as possible, breastmilk, fresh produce, etc. and I feel like at this point it just wasn’t even worth my time and effort. Ask any mom who has breastfed alone and they will tell you how much of their personal time it takes to ensure their child gets breastmilk. Not to mention all of the food I made for her and I’m still making for her. I literally spend all day on a Sunday meal prepping for myself and for her to make sure she has the appropriate nutritious food all week. Was it even worth it? Would she have gained weight better if I just put her on formula and packaged baby food? In the long run, yes, she probably would have. Therefore, it really and truly just makes me rethink everything I have done for her so far.

You would never know that she has anemia by looking at her. Yesterday after I found out, I couldn’t wait to get home and just squeeze her. When I walked in, I heard her and Scott playing in her room. When she saw me, she lit up, but continued to play and talk up a storm. She was just really happy to be home playing with all of her toys. I imagine her babbling about inviting us to play with her toys or telling us which one she likes the best. And for about 10 seconds, I forgot about the phone call I had today from the doctor’s telling me she had anemia. I forgot about all the questions I had asked myself all day long. I lived in that moment with my daughter and played and laughed with her.

I wish I could always live in the moment with her. I wish I would not constantly question myself when it comes to her well being. If she had not been anemic, I would question myself about other things with her, I’m not sure what things, but I know I would.

I have a therapy appointment on Friday and it’s the first one in about 2 months and I’m pretty sure the timing couldn’t be any better. New job, house shit, Raelynn shit. Just looking forward to talking with someone who is open minded. She usually puts me back in line when my reasoning is outlandish.

–The Kentucky Momma

Labor Day Weekend

Hey y’all!

I hope everyone had a nice, long three day weekend. I, for one, did absolutely nothing and it was fantastic. However, I feel like I ran a marathon and drank 34 bottles of liquor, when in fact, I did not. I literally sat at my house all weekend long, playing with Raelynn and watched TV. Like what the hell? Why do I feel like such shit? Such a love/hate relationship with long weekends. I did not want to get out of bed this morning. I actually stayed in bed a little longer than necessary and was running late this morning. Go figure. Luckily, at my new job, they don’t really care what time you get here so even though I was running late, no one really knew I was running late. If that even makes any sense.

I have a couple of things on topic for today, Aunt Flo has officially made her return after almost 2 years in hiding and then this stupid house buying/selling shit.

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So, Aunt Flo officially came back last month. While I was weaning, I started to notice some cramps, and I thought, oh hell, it’s about to happen. I’m about to get my period for the first time in 2 years. It may sound dumb, but I was almost happy for the return of my period because I just wanted something “normal” to happen with my body. After being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding for a year, I wasn’t really sure what normal was, but a period just felt like my body was returning to it’s old self. I was really scared to have my period back because I always had really, extreme, bad periods. It didn’t hurt, I was just really tired and exhausted. In my mind, it could have been a lot worse. For that, I was thankful. Speed up to yesterday, I could just feel my period coming on again for the month. My period has always been regular to a freaking “T”. I’ve always had a 28 day cycle. Very very rarely have I ever strayed from that. I like having a predictable cycle. Yesterday was the 28th day and I just knew it was coming. I was so tired and exhausted all day.

With the return of my period, I am also questioning a planned pregnancy in the near future. Scott and I have always wanted to have our babies close together. Is the timing ever right? I mean, I do have a new job with great benefits, but then there is still this whole house thing.

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Currently, we are awaiting our house to be sold. This is the main factor in getting into the house we currently have an offer on. Scott and I have somewhat talked about what we would do if our house doesn’t sell. Our current contract would be void. Could we put in another offer on the same house, sure, but would they want to deal with us again? Probably not. I don’t think I would want to deal with us again. it’s not our fault the house isn’t’ selling, but the sellers of the other house also have a house they want to get out of and into another one. So, I wouldn’t blame them on not waiting around on us. Maybe it’s just not meant to be. Again, I’m okay with that too. If it doesn’t happen, then there is a reason that we are just not aware of yet. We have two open houses this weekend and I think if it doesn’t sell then, we are more than likely going to take our house off the market for the time being. Holiday’s are unfortunately right around the corner so we definitely would not want to move then. I finally had to ask Scott if he would be okay with having another baby in our current house and he said yes. It is not ideal at all. We are completely out of space, but in the same token, when is the timing ever right? If we waited on getting into a house, it could be a lot longer than we think.

I’d like to think that God is looking out for us and guiding us in the right direction. While, we may think the situation currently sucks, He won’t put us through something we cannot handle or overcome.

–The Kentucky Momma

Timeline of Breastfeeding

My ultimate goal when I started breastfeeding was to go to a year. In the early days I never thought I would make it to a week, or a month, or 3 months. BUT, I accomplished my overall goal and breastfed my daughter until she was a year old. It was certainly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, if not THE hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s such an emotional roller coaster.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that every baby is different and every breastfeeding journey is different. Breastfeeding is not for everyone and that’s okay. I was a formula fed baby and I would like to think I turned out okay. When looking for advice, suggestions, or just venting, I always turned to mommy forums or mommy blogs. In my opinion, they were the most resourceful and helpful. I wanted to share my story kind of by month and ending with my weaning process.

So….here goes nothing…

As soon as Raelynn was born, I wanted to breastfeed her. Even though i had read pages and books of literature about breastfeeding, I was so scared. I wasn’t really that sure how I was supposed to do it, I wasn’t really sure how it was supposed to feel. I had an awful labor and delivery nurse that was not helpful at all. I tried to ask questions, but she was just bothered by me. So, 4 hours later, I finally got her to latch on with the help of a new nurse. It hurt like a bitch. I ended up seeking help from the lactation consultant and she was awesome. She helped me so much and described things to me in a way that made sense. I told her over and over that I was just going to take her home because she made me feel so confident. I dreaded leaving the hospital for the sole reason of trying to breastfeed her without the help and guidance of my lactation consultant.

We got home and it was still a struggle. Sometimes she wouldn’t latch and then she would scream forever because she was hungry. Then I would get frustrated, in turn making her more frustrated. It was a really awful cycle. And for whoever says breastfeeding doesn’t hurt is a fucking liar. Raelynn had a good latch; a lacation consultant confirmed that for me. BUT it still hurt like a bitch. I had toe curling pain for about 8-10 weeks. On top of that, I had very cracked and very bloody nipples for the same length of time. ON TOP OF THAT WAS THE FUCKING HORRIFIC CLUSTER FEEDING. UGHHHHH. I know I referenced this in my last post but I just cannot even begin to explain the toll this took on me. ON TOP OF THAT, was me trying to pump after nursing her in the morning to help build somewhat of a freeze stash so I could go back to work. Let’s not forget the key factor here, she had colic. So anytime she was not attached to my tit, she cried. I could barely find time to pump for 10 extra minutes once a day to try and build my supply up.

Looking back, it’s all a little fuzzy with the lack of sleep, but I do remember things getting significantly better at the 4 month mark. The colic started to subside, feedings were no longer an hour and a half, I wasn’t in any pain anymore. Dare, I say, it actually started to get easy?!

Tricked ya!!!! I also went back to work at 4 months post partum. So, whenever things actually started to take a turn for the better, they actually started going back down hill. The worst part? FUCKING PUMPING. OH. EM. GEE. FUCK PUMPING! Pumping in general is a complete mind fuck. For some reason, I never worried if Raelynn was getting enough milk when I solely breastfed because she always had plenty of wet and dirty diapers. I always felt really confident with my supply and she was gaining well also. When I started pumping, family members and Raelynn’s daycare always questioned the amount of expressed milk I was giving her. They didn’t understand the fact that breastmilk changes and adapts to your baby and they don’t need 800 ounces per bottle. I hated it. Then if I even stressed out about ANYTHING, my milk supply plummeted. If I didn’t drink enough water, my milk supply plummeted. It was really awful. My heart goes out to people who dedicate themselves to exclusively pumping. You da real MVP.

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Besides all of this, I suffered really bad with post partum depression and anxiety. It peaked around 6 months. I was a complete nut job. I still might be, but not as bad. I just had a very hard time going back to work and not being able to nurse my baby. The maternity leave in the United States is bullshit. That’s a whole other post for a whole other day.

I digress…Even through the depression and anxiety, breastfeeding continued to get easier. Eevn though my ultimate goal was a year, I would mentally celebrate each month I hit and then proceed to count down how many months I had left. For Raelynn and I, breastfeeding really remained the same from month 4 until about month 10. I pumped while at work and I nursed at night and on the weekends. We had a pretty strict schedule that I stuck too as well. I know scheduling isn’t for everyone, and that’s all fine and good, but it was certainly for me and Raelynn.

In my opinion, it’s pointless to put baby on a schedule for the first 3 months of life. They pretty much feed on demand. Around 3 months old, we started to develop a schedule:

8am – eat

11am – eat

2pm – eat

5pm eat

7pm – eat

This worked for us. I didn’t set the schedule, I let her lead and then I just followed it. She started sleeping through the night completely at about 5 months old. From 4 – 5 months old she would occasionally wake up once a night to feed, but the night feedings were pretty much cut out for us around 5 months old.

It wasn’t until she was about 11 months old that she changed the schedule herself again. She started to extend the feedings to 4 hours in between each feeding instead of 3 hours in between each feeding. So, I followed her lead, and we developed a new schedule:

7am – eat

11am – eat

3pm – eat

7pm – eat

Since she dropped a feeding, I figured it was time for me to take inventory of my frozen stash and figure out if I could start weaning. When she was 11 months old, I had roughly 600 ounces frozen and we had very, very slowly started to introduce whole milk. I decided I could start weaning.

For me, the first feeding I dropped was the 7pm nursing session. We started to give her a bottle instead. I never felt uncomfortable or engorged so about a week later, I dropped the 3pm pump. Same thing, I never felt uncomfortable or engorged; a little “full”, yes; but never uncomfortable. About a week later, I dropped my 11am pump. Still felt full, but neither uncomfortable or engorged. So I was down to one pump. I thought this day would never come. On August 19th, I pumped for the very last time. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that I felt a clog coming on. I hand expressed in the shower. A couple of days after that, another clog. I hand expressed in the shower again. It’s now been almost 2 weeks since my last pump and I can fit back into my pre-breastfeeding bras and I think I am finally and successfully starting to dry all the way up!!!!!

I’m not sure at this point how much breastmilk I have in the freezer, but Raelynn will continue to get breastmilk until my freezer stash is depleted. We are now at about half whole milk and half breastmilk. I am surprising thankful that Raelynn will still be getting breastmilk past a year. I wish I had had it in me to continue past a year, but for my own sanity, I was so ready to be done. It is so incredibly nice to not live life in 3 hour increments. Overall, it took me a little over a month to successfully wean off nursing and the pump. Weaning in itself is a huge process and if not done correctly you can end up with major clogged ducts or even mastitis, something I was so thankful to have never gotten.

I have attached some literature that hopefully someone finds useful. For me it was really spot on when it came to the general timeline of breastfeeding: Timeline of a Breastfed Baby

–The Kentucky Momma