7

Mom Life: An Update

Wow, I cannot believe it has been a MONTH since my last post!! &, at the same time, I am laughing at myself for being half shocked at this. Since it has been a hot second since my last post, I wanted to give a bit of an update before I, hopefully, get back to posting more frequently.

Mom life is a busy life, to say the least & put it ever so lightly. We’re, at the end of this month, HALF WAY THROUGH OUR FIRST YEAR, & I am just now getting to the point where I can sneak in a shower…this shower looks like me sitting one of E’s activity chairs outside the shower beside me while I, more frequently than I’d like to admit, rip back the curtain to make sure he’s still doing just fine. Yeah, I’m a crazy person lol

Eli has also newly started entertaining himself for a few bits of time & babbling away. He cries for people & puts his little arms up when he wants to go to them (which is pretty intelligent, if I do say so myself lol), & loves Peppa Pig. He had his first cold starting last week & it has been the saddest thing to watch because I just want to fix it & make him better in an instant…& not give him the breathing treatments he so hates with a passion. Unfortunately, we are still not sleeping through the night yet. We sleep quite terribly actually. lol Feel free to bring me all the coffee!!!

We are still living in Eastern, KY & also still hate it. We’ve came to the conclusion, a few months ago actually, that this just isn’t where we are suppose to be. Our old town felt like our home, despite the fact that we are actually both from here originally, & we’ve been homesick in the worst way. Because of this, we’ve never gotten settled into the new place, are tired of feeling unsettled, & want to go home. We are both  looking for jobs there & hope to get moved back ASAP. We know we will be much happier there, as we were never dissatisfied living there before, & saying Eli will have so much more to do is an understatement. There is literally nothing for children to do here….they have a Gatti Land, for older kiddos, & A FEW parks that hail in comparison to the ones in Lexington….that’s it! No Gymbroee classes, no baby swim classes, no mom/baby groups, no family days, nothing! If I want to run now, I literally have to drive 35 minutes to get to a place to do that. It takes about 20 minutes to get to a grocery store. It’s insane when we were both accustom to being 5 minutes away from everything we needed, or wanted on any given day.

Other than that, I feel like I’m still trying to find some balance in this whole mom thing to find some time for myself. As a social worker, I know self-care is so important but, as a parent, those moments are few & far between. Even so, I think we need to prioritize ourselves sometimes, too. For me, I think going out to dinner with a friend, date night, & a girl day on occasion (&, lets be honest, going to Target because who doesn’t love that? LOL)  will be my go to self-care days. We shall see how that goes since I also never want to leave my tiny human.

To my followers: How have you been?? What’s new??? I know I’m so behind on your posts & feel out of touch with my WordPress fam. Sending love to all of you! Xo

Also, does anyone have any tips on how to sneak in some self-care as a parent, or on improving baby sleep? I’d LOVE to hear it! 

Until then, I’ll leave you with a few pictures of little man 🙂  

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Pregnancy & Infant Loss 5K

Y’all, I-along with Scott & Eli-did my FIRST 5K this past Saturday!!! & the cause couldn’t have been more fitting. It was a Pregnancy & Infant Loss 5K &, if you’ve followed this blog even a little, you know  it’s a cause that will always be very close to our hearts. Even though infertility seems to be becoming less taboo, I still feel like it’s something that isn’t discussed near enough. 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage, yet, it’s still something that isn’t talked about near enough. When I had my miscarriages, I couldn’t believe how many other women that were aware they happened  had a me, too story. It was mind blowing for me, especially with my first.

This month is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month! While I know not everyone wants to share their story, I do like to to take the time to share ours. I want anyone who has, is, or will experience a miscarriage to know they are not alone &, if they so choose, it is okay to talk about it. I saw a post just last night from a girl disclosing she & her husband miscarried over the weekend. In the same post, she’d written, “even though I was only five weeks along,” as if she had to let the world know she was aware of that or that it, somehow, wasn’t suppose to be as painful had she been further along & it absolutely broke my heart that she felt she needed to justify her pain. I’m sure anyone who has also had a miscarriage knows that, no matter when you lost your baby, it will hurt…a whole awful lot. It will rip you to your core. &, it is my hope, that, as time goes on, no person ever feels that they have to justify their pain over such a HUGE horrible loss. As the book The Fault In Our Stars reads, “It hurts because it matters.”

Your pain mattered & will always matter. It is real. & you don’t need to justify that to anybody.

On a lighter note, here are some pictures from our first 5K. While we weren’t the fastest, our goal was just to finish. & we did! &, to our surprise, weren’t even last 😀 We hadn’t trained since we live somewhere that isn’t close to a place to run so didn’t have high hopes but we did it!!!

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“When Are You Going To Have Another One?”

It’s a question we got, almost immediately to my surprise, after Elijah was born.

“Well, when are you going to have another one??”

It shocked me for a few reasons, the biggest being our infertility has never been any secret to the public eye. I shared our struggles from the beginning of infertility treatments to the very end. So, being that everyone knew just how much of a miracle Eli was, I never expected to be questioned about the possibility of a second child. Especially IMMEDIATELY following his birth.

I am still reeling in the magnitude of the blessing God has given us & in awe of him every single day. I’ve said it before & will say again that, if we are blessed with another baby somewhere down the line, then GREAT! If not, it is still great. Because God has been more  than great to us in giving us what we never dreamed we’d have.

Going back to the question, it is still, nonetheless, a question that still haunts me a bit. Scott & I have talked more about other children lately. I think this has been sparked in part by his upcoming Birthday, calling attention to the fact that he is getting older. A unique element for our specific infertility feat is that he is quite a bit older than I am. One thing that means is, as he’s shared with me recently, is that he doesn’t want to be fifty years old & still growing our family. If possible, he’d like to be done, meaning he’d like to have another sooner rather than later.

For me, with my endometriosis & my own fertility issues, I also worry the longer we wait the harder it may be for me to get pregnant again. My eggs were not the best when we did our IVFs, which may have been because of the endometriosis our fertility Dr failed to ever test & diagnose (that’s another story/rant), we aren’t sure.

He’s ready to try to have another now but I guess I’m the one that’s conflicted. While I do acknowledge I have my own fertility issues & my endo is likely still clear since I had the laparoscopy, followed by two pregnancies, I also want to be able to be completely present in enjoying the miracle we have. I think my biggest worry is, again, pregnancy loss. I was sooo stressed my entire pregnancy that something was going to go wrong & I don’t want to be in a constant state of anxiety when I can enjoy my rainbow now. On another hand, I’m getting older too & nearing 30. The fact that, as women get older specifically, certain abnormalities become more common as well is something that has also been on my mind lately.

Basically, we are conflicted on the decision currently. There are a lot of factors at play & infertility is a tough beast, even if you’ve slayed it once before.

P.S. Maybe you shouldn’t ask someone when they’re going to have another baby-esp if it was hella hard to have the first. Just a thought 😛

 

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I Had To Stop Breastfeeding During Breastfeeding Month & This Is How It Made Me Feel

Like a failure. At first, anyway.

During the month where breastfeeding selfies & statistics were everywhere, my milk decided to dry up. To make matters worse, this happened just after little guy & I were at a good place in our breastfeeding journey.

Our journey, a lot like our journey to parenthood, was never easy. From the start, he had difficulty maintaining a latch. I was also told I may have flat nipples. After seeing a lactation specialist, she determined I did not, in fact, have flat nipples & felt our LO could nurse just fine if he went to suck training. So we did. & he did! But right as we started doing soooo good, bam! Or lack thereof? Nothing. When I was usually able to pump 19 ounces a day at the end, it kept reducing. Firs down to 16, then 15, then 13, & then 10. Ten whole ounces out of EIGHT sessions of pumping. Eight!

My supply was never up to par with where it should be. It had reduced & raised one other time when I took an antibiotic & then stopped but not this time.

I drank more water. I ate oatmeal (every damned morning). I took my vitamins. I sipped Mother’s Milk Tea & threw back lactation vitamins, along with my lactation cookies. Still, no dice. For whatever reason, breastfeeding longer just wasn’t in the cards for us. I was greatly disappointed at first after we’d overcome so much to get to where we were & felt this was made worse by the glorification of breastfeeding. Not to say that breastfeeding should not be glorified, I’m just explaining it was an extra sting when I sooooo wanted to breastfeed little man for at least a year.

Once the initial sadness wore off, however, I’m now at a place where I can say all of this:

-I’m proud of both of us for sticking with breastfeeding for the 2.5 we did

-& even prouder of all each of us overcame in order to do so. From working to ditch the nipple shield to driving 3 hours to suck training biweekly, we did it! &, even though the speech therapist said E prob burned more calories to eat because he wasn’t eating effectively, it never stopped him from getting more & more adorable rolls

-I’m so thankful we got to experience breastfeeding. Through out infertility journey, along with mourning potentially never being able to carry a child, mourning the breastfeeding relationship I wanted was also something I was really sad about. Little did I know, that wasn’t out of the cards for us so all I can be now is thankful that I was able to experience it at all

-I’m glad that, if miracles strike twice & we ever have another child, I’ll be more equipt in knowing what to do next time

Something else I have to say is I am more thankful than words for our sweet donors who have donated breastmilk to us! & to the women who told me about the FB page for KY & Indianna breastfeeding mamas. They have sweetly given me milk that our baby is use to so his tummy doesn’t get all messed up. As someone who was also strapped to a machine, for hoursssss in a day, I full well know these sweet ladies also put A LOTTTT of time into this donation & we are so, so thankful for that. Something else I have to say is I am more thankful than words for our sweet donors who have donated breastmilk to us! & to the women who told me about the FB page for KY & Indianna breastfeeding mamas.

Breastfeeding is beautiful! It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done & I am forever thankful I worked hard to get to have that experience.

I would also like to say if, for whatever reason, breastfeeding just isn’t in the cards for you, it’s okay! FED IS BEST! Say it louder for the people in the back.

Sending love & wishing a beautiful weekend to all!

3

Postpartum Vultures

Ever since I’ve had Elijah I’ve been approached by several individuals who found me on some form of social media one way or another. Individuals who are either wanting to sell me a product, or enlist me in whatever fitness program they’re selling. I can only guess these people found me through hashtags relating to babies & the like (since some noted that they’d noticed I was a new mom). When looking further into the issue, it became clear that I am not alone in this sick phenomena.

For one, I think it’s very sad that people are using motherhood to prey upon people & take advantage of new moms who may be vulnerable in their new bodies & fluctuating hormones in order to make a profit for themselves.

After struggling with an eating disorder for years, I’m finally in a place where I love my body & truly appreciate all it has done for me. Watching it grow & change in pregnancy, birth, & then, somehow, snap back from it all is astonishing to me. But I know too well I didn’t arrive at that mindset overnight & worry about the woman who haven’t arrived in this mindset that are being hunted by these people. Women who, for the first time in their lives, may see numbers on a scale they’ve never seen before. Women who think they’ll never, “get their body back,” & are self-conscious about the body motherhood has given them.

For me personally, it also took me four years to be immeasurably blessed with my sweet boy that my body grew & even longer for me to learn to love my body. Yes, it has scars. Yes, it has a few stretch marks. But I’m finally at a place where all of that is okay & I’m in awe on what my body is capable of. 

 I want to use my body to enjoy the sweet boy I thought I’d never get to have. I want to use it to continue meeting my goals, one being working up to a 5K because running is fun & it’s something we do together-not because I want to lose weight or,”get rid of,” my body.  I want to use it to enjoy life & live it to the fullest, not to count calories, eat, “meal replacements,” or obsess about covering it with creams. I’ve lived that life for far too long & know too well it’s not a life.

If you’re someone preying upon new mothers, or anyone, in order to make a profit for yourself, shame on you.

If you’re being targeted by these individuals, know it isn’t about you & your body is absolutely amazing just the way it is. ❤

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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!