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Breastfeeding Woes

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A virtual friend of mine penned this quote on a post about the frustrations of breastfeeding yesterday: “Never give up on a bad day.”

I’ve had a few of those, with our good days being far & between.

In the beginning, little man could latch like a rockstar but couldn’t maintain it. The lactation consultants at the hospital told me I may need a nipple shield & deemed him a, “lazy eater.” He almost lost too much weight in the hospital so we started supplementing with formula. My milk also took practically a week to come in, which didn’t help matters. A friend of mine suggested I start pumping to speed it up a little so I did, getting tiny bits of colostrum in those first days. Once my milk finally came in, things went great for a few days. We laid around the house & did skin to skin all day in his first days while he ate off & on.

I’m not sure where things turned but this blissful state of nursing didn’t last for us. When we tried breastfeeding, not too long after we’d started, he got really frustrated & started to cry, working himself up & making it impossible for him to feed. Along with that, even when he does nurse now, he doesn’t eat long enough to fill himself up via nursing alone. He’ll go 5-10 minutes tops & want nothing else to do with it.

When we saw a lactation consultant for these reasons, she didn’t think he had a tongue or lip tie but did feel like he needed suck training-something I’d never heard of before that moment. She noticed, on both the breast & bottle, he didn’t use his tongue correctly & sucked with his lips instead. In doing so, he was exerting more energy, burning more calories, &, likely, wearing himself out in the process-in addition to losing a lot of milk either way. The lactation consultant also said she didn’t think I needed the nipple shield & hoped we could work toward getting rid of it.

She referred us to suck training with a speech therapist, who also agreed he definitely needed it & he is already doing better with the exercises she gave us to do with him at home.

Fast forward to now: since it has been more difficult for E to nurse than eat a bottle until his suck training is complete, I’ve been pretty much exclusively pumping. Six times a day, without fail. For about the past week, for whatever reason, my milk supply has dropped. It was never fully there, I produced about half of what he needed I think the lactation consultant had said. I was averaging 17 ounces a day & now I’m down to averaging 13. I eat the lactation cookies, drink Mother’s Milk Tea, drink water, eat oatmeal as often as possible, & this is still is happening. It is beyond frustrating to say the least. I feel like I’m trying to do everything right to up the supply & spending a good amount of my time strapped to a machine for absolutely nothing. Not to mention I spend a great amount of time doing this:

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I want to quit.

But I don’t want to do it on a bad day either & then be full of regret later. A friend of mine suggested, before I’d even started breastfeeding, to make small goals. I.E. don’t go into it saying we’ll do it a year, or two. Start with I’ll do it a week, a month, etc, etc. Against all odds, we’re coming up on the two month mark in 11 days. My game plan is to give it until at least then to see if things turn around. In addition to everything else I’m doing, I ordered some nursing supplements so we’ll see if those help.

Have you ran into bumps in the road with nursing?? How did you overcome then?? What advice would you give someone who is struggling with breastfeeding?

2

The Move

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” -Nelson Mandela

As I said in an earlier post, we moved a week after Elijah was born (because we are certifiably insane lol). What I don’t believe I mentioned was that the move was to an area Scott & I are both from. To give a bit of a backstory, because his job is so specialized, it doesn’t offer many positions in certain areas. Unfortunately, the, “small,” city we lived in didn’t have any openings & the uncertainty of his former job continued to loom over our heads. So, with being responsible for a new human life & all, we chose to bite the bullet & leave before his position was cut. We had a few choices in bordering states, as well as some down in Florida but chose to go closer to family since a job opportunity was here. Here specifically being Eastern, Kentucky.

For my U.K.. & out of state followers: Eastern, KY is a different sort of place than the rest of the U.S. It’s a very rural area with not nearly as much forward thinking as the rest of the states have to offer. It was also an area that massively helped Donald Trump gain victory in the election….let that tell you what it will. lol

With that being said, there have been a few things about living here that have bothered us.

For one, for the most part, the people here don’t trust other people & are leery of outsiders. One quick way we were reminded of this was noticing it’s rare for people to smile at you or smile back at you. I’ve heard of this also being the case in NY as there are just so many people & the lifestyle is so fast paced but I find it interesting this is also the case here. One reason I think this mentality is present in the area is, years ago when out of state people came into the area, they presented these legal documents to Appalachian people who could not read to sell their mineral rights for next to no money & ripped them off big time. Ever since, it seems as if the don’t trust outsiders has remained a common theme.

Something that ties into people not trusting others is that the area, minus within individual churches, is there isn’t a sense of community. What I mean by this is that, unlike places like Lexington, there aren’t any groups like mom groups.. There are no weekly or even monthly events within the community. I had even, going out on a limb, posted on Facebook before the move back asking if anyone wanted to get together for a stroller group sort of thing with their children. Zero interest lol Not one person commented & there are a lot of people on my FB from here.

Another thing my husband, his manager (who lived away from the area for a few years as well), several other people he works with that live out of the state & commute, & myself have noticed is that a lot more people who live here are rude. For example, we were grocery shopping last week &, while I was getting Elijah out of the baby wrap, a lady came up behind me. The parking spaces were at an odd angel so I asked her if that was her car she was trying to get to. She replied it was & I moved over, shutting the door a bit to let her through. My husband came around by that time to put him in his car seat. As he was strapping him in, the woman starts backing up &, had he not stepped out to hold his hand up, would have taken out my car door that she could see was present the entire time. When he closed the door, she backed out & sped off. His manager, who Scott shared this story with, said she’d experienced much of the same while living here & even noticed it in the elementary school her children go to.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT ALL PEOPLE LIVING HERE ARE RUDE, I know a lot of really good people living here/who are from the area.

There’s also a depressed feeling being in the area because it is so rural. There is A LOT more poverty concentrated here than other places. There are a lot of empty run down buildings sitting around, along with some run down ones that are still occupied. In the place we’re currently renting, we’ve seen a few run down or empty homes as well.

There’s also just not a lot of diversity here. I.E. white is the racial majority & you don’t even see a lot of people from other groups. Among other things.

With all of the above, compounded with the fact that you are away from common conveniences (like the mall, Target, Starbucks, a wide selection of restaurants), you are also away from good healthcare/specialty healthcare as well. For example, Elijah needs suck training so I’ll be taking him to Lexington for that biweekly because it’s not something that’s offered here. My husband & I, along with his family that lives here, don’t trust the hospitals in the area &, if possible, would make the drive to Lexington anyway for better care. Fact: 2 out of 4 of my grandparents died in a hospital here due to the fault of the hospital. So yeah, it’s not exactly a promising place to be here.

I asked my cousin who had tried moving back to the area before how he had managed & what his experience had been. For him, it was much of the same, adding, “Once you move away & your perspective of the world changes on every level, you become inherently different.” He also agreed that there is definitely a depressive energy in the air. On surviving it, his advice was to, “try to find people you can relate to…& buy lots of alcohol.” LOL

While I won’t be following the latter part of that advice, Scott & I have already came to the realization that we cannot stay here. Our plan is to ride out the year (as we are locked in per his contract) & then, ideally, move back to Lexington or another city we’d feel more at home in.

I am not saying Eastern, KY is an awful place with nothing to offer the rest of the world. I think it has a lot to offer. What I’m saying is that, once you leave & are use to a totally different lifestyle, it’s very hard to live here again.

In other life update news, we will be moving within he next month…again thanks, to our crapyy landlord/living situation. The AC has never worked upstairs, despite us bringing this up to him, & his solution to cool the 3 bedrooms & 2 baths up there was to, “provide a window unit.” We can also hear our neighbors through the walls, as well as any & all traffic noise. So yeah, it’s not working out lol We will still be living in the area because of the contract, just not here.

I also need to give an update on our breastfeeding journey & what that has entailed but that’s for another post.

Have a beautiful week, friends!

2

A Year Ago Yesterday…

I wrote a blog post a year ago yesterday. A big one. A sad one. It was called, “A Goodbye To Infertility Treatments, For Now.” I wrote it not long after our second IVF fail. Not too long after I’d given up on the idea of you. 

Yesterday, in my present life, happened to be a big day too. We reached the 22 week mark, somewhere I still can hardly believe we are. You’re more wanted than I can ever express to you. I hope that our story reminds you of that. I hope that your name reminds you that miracles happen & you are most certainly, without a doubt, are one of them. 

&, if you’re reading this in the midst of your struggle, I hope that our story gives you hope. If your heart is still hurting today, I’d also like to tell you something my papaw tells me 9 times out of 10 when we hang up with each other: “Hold on & never give up. I love you.”
 “If we didn’t expose where we came from, some of our most difficult moments, then we wouldn’t be fully revealing the depth of the joy we are enjoying today.” 

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Favorite Things Friday: Free Stuff

Special Thursday edition! 😄

I love getting things in the mail, there I said it. Judge me. If you buy something online, it’s like Christmas all over again when it finally arrives. What I love even more than this is when said stuff is FREE!!!!! You read that right, free! 

Take a look at this sweet welcome box I got from Amazon: 


Included was an 80 pack of sensitive wipes, a teether/toy, a Philips bottle (natural bottle), wipe case, Muslin swaddle, nursing pads, & some samples!!!!! Expectant mamas: all you have to do in order to get all of this FREE is create a baby registry at Amazon & make a $10.00 purchase from it. 

Target also gives out a free welcome box of some sort but I’m not sure what is included as the store has been out of them when I’ve checked on it. When I find out, I’ll let you know 🙂 

Also, if you plan on formula feeding, Similac mails out free samples as well. I use to get them when we were going through the throws of Infertility treatment & be so mad so I remember getting those samples well. 

Are there any free samples that have been a favorite for you (baby or otherwise)??? What were they??? 

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An Open Letter To My Future Children The Day After The Inauguration (& Always)

Long before you ever become a real possibility, I let go of a lot of things. You see, before dealing with infertility & a few other things, I use to believe I had it all figured out. What hobbies I hoped you’d be involved in, what interests you’d have. I even tried to decide if I’d stick those tacky: MY CHILD IS AN HONOR STUDENT on the back of my SUV & how I’d deal with my separation from you when you ventured off to college.

None of those things are important to me now &, while I once had so many pre-made hopes & dreams for you, I now only have two. That’s right, just two.

There are many things I could care less about. I don’t care who you grow up to love, or what kind of clothes you like to wear. A lot of people get really bent out of shape about those, “big issues.” I want you to know that I do not, especially in the wake of our new President (Donald Trump) & what his administration stands for for people who love & dress outside of what they feel is acceptable. The only thing I will say on this is, no matter who you love, they’d better be good to you..unless of, course they’d like me to claw their eyes out.

I could also care less if you go off to college & get a fancy degree. No matter if you become a CEO of a big company or part of the garbage crew, I promise to love you just the same. Just know that, either way, I’ll be outside gripping a sign as you pass by that says, “THAT’S MY BABY!” with your face on it. You’ll probably shake your head and roll your eyes as you say, “That’s my mom, she’s crazy.”

The two things I hope most in the world for you are these:

  1. I hope that you are kind. I hope that you sit with the kid who never has anyone to have lunch with. I hope that you stand up to bullies, no matter who they may be, for yourself, as well as for those that cannot. I hope that, no matter someone’s religion, race, sexuality, or nationality, you treat them how you would want to be treated. I hope that you, if ever you notice a classmate never seems to have enough to eat, you grab an extra snack for them.
  2. I hope that you are happy. Many people spend a lot of their lives not being truly happy & I hope this is never the case for you. It doesn’t matter what or how much of it you have if you’re not happy. Just look at the many Hollywood stars who live lavish lifestyles & still struggle with drug addiction &/or depression. All the cars, mansions, & exotic vacations in the world won’t matter if you are not happy. My hope for you is that you get to experience true happiness & utter joy as much as possible. I hope that you get to be a carefree kid who does the things he loves. I care that you will have the ability to look forward to things & are fully immersed in joy when those things happen. And, if ever you are struggling, I hope you always know you can come to me & we will do whatever it takes to make you happy again. I promise to never give up on this dream for you.

Those are the things I hope for you. I know now that the rest is just background noise ❤

 

4

2017

I don’t really believe in resolutions anymore, I prefer mantras…it’s like a promise to oneself without the pressure of I MUST DO THIS IN  A YEAR! Or something we tend to forget about three months down the line.

I have a few for this year:

-Make it through childbirth without dying. That one would be good. lol

-Learn to #MomSoHard

-Become a breastfeeding rockstar

-In the midst of caring for a new tiny human & two fur babies, still find some time for myself & not leave self-care out of the mix

-Continue adventuring

-Oh, & kill some CEU’s so my license doesn’t die along the way

That about sums it up for me! What are some of your hopes/goals for 2017??

 

2

When The Holidays Aren’t So Happy

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A few months ago, I started noticing signs in front of local churches & other public places. They were unlike the other signs I was use to seeing in that they weren’t advertising for foster parents, or asking, “ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW STRUGGLING WITH DRUG ADDICTION? PLEASE CALL……”

These signs read something like, “Are you struggling with grief and loss this holiday season? If so, please call ____ for support during this challenging time.”

Maybe these signs are a new thing, or maybe they’ve always been there…I’ve just never needed to notice them before.

Going into this holiday season, I knew it would be incredibly challenging. It is the first without my very best friend, my rock of our family, our glue, our chef, jokester, stubborn mule, etc, etc. This will be the first year I will buying one less gift, one that was one of my favorites to find in the past. It was the first year a tiny dark skinned woman wasn’t lightly dancing through her kitchen singing, “Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving! It’s the best time of the year!” It will be the first she won’t be following me out to her entryway on Christmas Eve asking me why I can’t stay another night and then, when I tell her I have to spend time with my husband’s family, looking at me perplexed when she asks, “why?” She never really accepted that my marriage meant she ever had to share. It will be the first without charades because those were her favorite &, when people couldn’t guess her not so obvious rendition, yelling, “future, past, you dumb asses!!” She was really sentimental like that 😉

A few years back, I’d heard the statistic that suicide rates sky rocket during this time of year & now I have a clearer understanding of why that is. When you lose someone so close to you, how could anything ever be the same again? Quick answer: it can’t & it won’t ever be. Grief is really teeth gritting hard on a day to day basis, let alone during a season that places so much emphasis on loved ones & people that mean the most to you.

While the holidays are a magical time for many, they also seem to highlight what is missing, what we long for the most. In our season of infertility, I remember being panged with a different pain during this time. I noticed every child in a store, every little one standing not so patiently in Santa’s line, the toy sections that seemed to go on for days. And I remember, all too well, the hurt of knowing that we were facing another year that we thought we wouldn’t without children, or the prospect of having them.

With that being said, I have a few requests from you this holiday season.

  • As Ellen says, “Be kind to one another.” You never know what another person may be dealing with
  • If you’re able to, perform a random act of kindness. It may just get passed on
  • If someone you know may be having  difficult time this holiday, reach out to them
  • And one last thing….if you spot a FB status that you yourself find hilarious that’s a fake pregnancy announcement, trust me when I say it will absolutely NOT be hilarious to someone on your friend’s list. I still grimace when I see these overdone statuses. They seem to come around at damn near every holiday there is. 1 in 8 people struggle with infertility on a daily basis &, to them, your, “joke,” it not funny at all. In fact, it’s downright hurtful. Please think before you post & be considerate of others, especially during this time.

If you’re having a difficult time this season, please take care of yourself & reach out for support.

Hotlines:

National Hopeline Network
1-800-784-2433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255

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