Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This Thanksgiving, I'm Thankful for Jennie

My favorite person, Jennie, Zander's daycare provider is more brave than I. Yesterday when I got home I was reviewing the notebook where Jennie logs their day together and at 9am it said "Painted" 9:30 am "Bath". I thought hmmm, that is wierd. I asked Tyler and we both were so confused, really, she painted. That is something I would never have attempted with a six month old. We both went about our evening, however still perplexed with the idea that at some point during their day together they painted. I went to bed and wanted to call her to ask her about it but I thought, I will see her in the morning so I'll just wait.
I got up this morning, got ready and went to eat breakfast when I found it. The most beautiful picture that I've ever seen in my life, hanging right smack in the middle of my fridge. OH MY GOD, I yelled, and then I started crying. My boy painted his first picture. Then I felt like a complete shmuck since I missed it hanging their all evening long. I called Tyler and told him and he said "Man we are jerks!"
Jennie arrived as I was feeding my boy his favorite new breakfast (Pureed bananas) and I thanked her for the picture. I told her how I started to cry and she said "Well don't open your birthday present then." She had taken his hand and foot prints and pictures of him painting and framed them for me. Of course I cried, it was so amazing and thoughtful. I love her and feel so blessed that my son spends his day with someone so giving. She is providing him the learning opportunities that I love when I can't.
I still can't believe she braved fingerpainting with him. When I asked her how it went she said it was so easy. She explained that she taped the paper to his high chair and let him go to town. Again, she is more brave than me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Homemade Baby Food

This weekend I spent most of Sunday making homemade baby food for my little Zander Bear. I made squash, sweet potatoe, and carrot. Currently, sweet potatoe is his favorite but he will eat the others. I loved doing it, it was so easy and it made me feel very Martha Stewart like. I steamed the carrot and sweet potatoe and cooked the squash and then I just pureed each in my blender. Voila...fabulous baby food. This weekend I'm going to do some more and I can't wait. Here is a picture of my little bear getting ready to go out in his first snow!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

H1N1 and my little boy

On Monday was Zander's 6 month well child exam. I knew he would be getting his usual round of vaccines, which he typical has no problem with. I was curious about the H1N1 vaccine because he is in daycare at my work and he is exposed to so much crap. The doctor told me it was totally safe (being that it is thermerasol free) and that he would definitely recommend it for Zander given his above situation 3 days a week. We decided to do it while we were there even though I felt a little apprehensive.
We went home and he was acting like his typical self, slept more but other than that did not seem bothered. We spent our day like usually, eat, sleep, play, and poop. I put him to bed around 7:30 and thought we were in the clear. Then around 8pm he woke up screaming, his little cheeks were bright red and his entire body was so hot. I checked his temperature and it was 101.6. I called the consulting nurse and she told me to give him Tylenol. I went to bed with him because I just wanted to cuddle and hold my little baby. I was so worried about him. I kept thinking "OH my gosh, this is all my fault." Around midnight I felt his fever break, I was so happy. The next morning he woke up with a slight fever around which steadily climb to 101.6 again, I gave him another dose, broke his fever and he has been happy ever since.
It scared me so bad. I was worried that my decision to have him vaccinated hurt him more than helped him.
This morning he is happy and fever free. Thank goodness!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

To Breastfeed or To Bottle Feed Part Two

After a week of trying to breastfeed and no luck, Tyler and I were off to our first lactation consultation. We met the nurses and lactation specialist who were there to "help" us and who seemed nice enough. We headed into the room where they promptly asked me to remove my shirt, handed me a breastfriend pillow (they explained that the boppy is crap for nursing), and grabbed my week old baby and stripped him naked. Zander became pissed and I tensed up. They were throwing so much information at us and shoving my screaming baby into all of these different positions that I began to feel like I made a mistake coming. The lactation lady asked Tyler to take pictures so we could remember how to do it at home. Then she asked us to show her how to do what they showed us. Every question I had was answered with an extremely condescending tone, and at one point she even yelled at me when I was trying to do what they showed us. She said "How can he eat like that!!!" I started crying from exhaustion and pure embarrassment (I was there for help, hello). She said "Oh god, don't tell me you're crying because the baby is crying." First of all who cares if I was, I was a first time mom, instead I yelled back "I'm crying because you're yelling at ME and I'm trying to learn." I wanted to add "You Ugly Witch!)
After that, Tyler grabbed his screaming baby and gave me a big hug, looked at the lady and said "Let's go." She looked so embarrassed and apologized. From that moment on she was more human. We began trying again, this time however they added a supplemental nursing system, most often known as the SNS. This is a tiny tube that they attach to your nipple that you wear around your neck, that gives the baby some formula while stimulating your milk production. Zander latched beautifully with this attached and we were thrilled. We began to see a silver lining.
The lactation specialist was excited to see that this was working too, however expressed that she would like more of a jump start to my milk production and had us rent a hospital grade pump, recommended some herbs, and had us buy the breastfriend pillow. The pump came in a giant green container, we called it the "BEAST." We were put on a strict regimen of offering my breast with the SNS, then supplementing with the bottle, via Tyler, and then pumping each boob for 10 minutes while I watched Tyler feed my baby. She wanted me to do this atleast 8 times a day. Now remember Zander was so new so he would eat every 1.5 to 2 hours. This entire process was taking atleast a half hour.
I wanted to breastfeed so badly that I became obsessed with this process. I was so strict with the regimen, that on mother's day, I did'nt get out of my rocking chair except to pee. There was one problem that Tyler and I were noticing, each time I tried to pump, there was never any milk...none...dry as a bone. I trudged on because I kept thinking everyone's milk comes in eventually, it has to.
Three, four, five days went by and nothing, not one drop of milk when pumping. My nipples were cracking, peeling, bleeding but I kept doing it. Finally, I lost my mind and just started crying and I couldn't stop. Tyler was getting to hold my newborn baby all the time and bond with him during bottle time, and All I was able to do was torture him with work. They would sit there all cozied up together, Tyler would sing and Zander was happy. I was jealous and realized that I couldn't take it anymore. I was suppose to be able to nourish my baby, bond and snuggle. I was a wreck, I called my mom and my sister and they both told me to stop it, to give him the bottle and be ok with it.
I felt so defeated, I wanted to nurse but I couldn't. I felt like I was letting my baby down and my husband. I wanted to provide what I knew would be the best food for Zander and I knew how important that was to Tyler. But I also knew that I could no longer do what I was doing. Finally after some real soul searching and talking with Tyler, who by the way was 100% behind me on whatever, we both decided our baby was to be bottle fed.
After we decided it felt so good to have a definitive answer. I felt free, we returned the green beast (mostly because I didn't want to look at it again) bought some bottles, Tyler researched what would be the best formula for our boy, and we were on our way. Since then, except for writing this, I haven't looked back.
My mother arrived the next week to spend a week babying us and she was so happy to see me looking comfortable and happy. She admitted that she was worried about me because of our previous conversations. One day when she was here I started to explain to her exactly what I had been through and showed her what were were doing and we both began to laugh hysterically. She said "Oh my god Tammy, no wonder you were miserable." At that moment, laughing about it, I felt healed. I'll never forget it (I'm actually tearing up right now remembering it).
Zander is thriving, growing, happy, and healthy. He is a gift to Tyler and I. The big bad container of formula is our friend not our enemy. We love our bottles so much, he kicks his legs when he sees it coming. What I've learned from my experience is 1) Lactation women are self righteous bitches, 2) to give myself a break and remember as long as I'm trying to be the best mom I can, then I am being the BEST mom to Zander and 3) to never judge someone else's decisions about mothering because you never know what they have been threw in their life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

To Breastfeed or to Bottle feed...Part One

When I was pregnant with my little bundle of joy, I thought for sure that I would breastfeed. I bought a nursing cover, nursing pads, nursing bras, and a pump. I envisioned myself holding my little love in my arms and nourishing him with what has been instilled in me as the best possible food for him. I'm a speech therapist to boot so of course I knew the benefits of this motherly nectar.
And then Zander was born and there was no milk. Our time in the hospital flew by and everyone kept sharing their stories of how long it took for their milk to come in. Most of my friends and family kept telling me to watch and see "you'll feel your boobs get really big and heavy." I felt completely comfortable that this was a natural process and that any day my milk would come in. Just to be on the safe side and receive any free information that I can, I asked the nurse for a lactation consult, which is when they explained that if I really wanted to nurse that I needed to keep trying and by no means ever, give him formula.
We went home and a day went by, no milk, two milk, three milk, I was starting to freak out. My little boy was freaking out too. My sister in law, came over to help me out the day after I got home and she realized that my little boy was starving and went and bought him some formula. She explained that it would just help to supplement while I was waiting for my milk to come in. I was so scared to give it to him after everyone was telling me not to. I gave him 1 ounce and I have never seen a happier baby. He sucked it down so fast and prompltly went to sleep. I started crying because I thought I had hurt my baby. I didn't understand why he wasn't crying anymore. I thought I had poisened him. My sister in law, said relax he's fat and happy right now. I decided that this was a one time thing and that I was going to stay on track with pushing the nursing.
In one day he was back to crying all the time, by the second day he was not latching, and by the third day he only had 2 wet diapers. I called the doctor and told them what was going on, they explained that I needed to keep trying to nurse, and again "DO NOT GIVE HIM FORMULA."
Everyone tried to help. My mother had people from her work calling me with ideas, like having a beer to relax (everyone kept telling me I was too anxious for my milk to come in) warm compresses, and herbal teas. All the while my boobs never felt full or seemed to get any bigger.
I kept calling and asking nurses and doctors and friends and family, "can I just give him some formula, I really don't think he's getting anything?" People kept telling me "no, your milk will never come in then." All I heard was keep trying, keep trying.
I remember one extremely difficult night. Zander was done latching and just pissed at me for not feeding him. I kept trying to nurse and he would clamp down with his little gums so hard and start screaming. We tried for 2 hours and I was crying, he was screaming. I called the hospital at like 2 am and I was screaming into the phone, Zander was crying in the background, and I finally found a nurse with sympathy. She said "mam, give your child some formula and go to bed." I couldn't believe this, I thought, this has to be a joke. I asked her if she was sure and explained how I had been told that he wouldn't nurse if I did that. She said "No, give him food, it's been a week hon' it might never come in."
I hung up the phone and pondered the thought, "No milk? what? she had to be crazy." I told Tyler what she said and he ran into the kitchen and made a bottle. My baby ate 1.5 ounces and fell to sleep so happy. In the morning I began trying to latch for 5 minutes each breast, and then giving him a bottle. I also decided at that point to make another lactation appointment because I still really wanted to breastfeed.
To Be Continued...