Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's coming to an End

My set up at work: the "mothers" room.

Only I can do that.
My breastfeeding days are coming to an end.  I knew it would happen and I knew I would have conflicted feelings.
As time oh so quickly goes by I want to try and remember all of it with my special little girl, and I feel like breastfeeding has been such a struggle and a milestone all at the same time.
Let's start with the pumping.  Oh the pumping.  Pumping was not part of the plan.  I got a pump for the sole purpose of going back to work.  I can still remember the lactation consultant bringing in the pump and instructing me on how to put all of the pieces together.  She said "You can't put it together wrong."  Which makes medela pretty smart.  I remember her telling me that Helena had a good latch, but she was quick to point out her tongue was tied (as was mine, but I didn't get mine clipped until I was 16).  We got her tongue clipped (which she thankfully slept through the whole thing) and I started pumping when baby girl wasn't gaining enough weight.  We supplemented with breast-milk in the hospital, and I pumped and pumped.  I remember getting a tiny bit of colostrum, and my mother accidentally threw it out.  I cried.  They advised that we should get a hospital grade breastpump to rent for the house.  My vision of having my newborn lay next me, and being able to pick her up in the middle of the night to lay with me and eat was slowly dwindling. That's the one memory I really wanted that never happened. 
Our first trip out of the house without Helena was to go get a pump a couple days after we got home.  I remember pumping and see the milk actually spray out.  I had called my friend Dena for advice, and I said to her "It's spraying out!  What does that mean?!"  She advised me, my milk had come in!!! 
Helena immediately got used to the instant gratification of the bottle and really wanted nothing to do with me.  We tried the breastfeeding group at the Mamahood when she was 5 days old, along with the group at St Anthony North, where (after a couple of weeks or so?, who knows I don't remember) she finally latched on with a nipple shield.  I continued to pump and she stayed latched to the nipple shield until she was 10 weeks old.  I still remember the first time she latched without it, by total accident on the 4th of July.  I cried because I finally felt the bond I was yearning for.  With the nipple shield gone, I finally got a glimpse of what I wanted my breastfeeding days to be like.  I've really enjoyed being able to feed her in public, to know that all she really needs is me.  Feeding her, along with pumping at work gives me a weird feeling of empowerment.  That I'm doing what's best to care of my daughter.  But oh, pumping at work.  And pumping period, just isn't fun.  On days I'm at work I pump twice, and I always pump at home, once at night before I go to bed,  and again in the morning.  Loading the pump to work back and forth, it's just a pain.  I definitely won't miss pumping. 
With all of these struggles I had decided six months was enough.  My pre-baby self said I would breastfeed for 1 year.  But then we decided to fly for Christmas, and a friend told me that nursing her would give her comfort on the plane, and to feed her during take-off and landing, to help with the pressurization of her ears.  So now that's the plan.  I'll nurse Helena through the end of the year.  Which means I have a little bit more than a month left.  As I think about it now, actually typing it out, I'm about to cry like a baby.  I know I'm going to miss it.  I'm going to miss the closeness and comfort it brings to both of us.  I obviously, won't miss the pumping.  I also won't miss those times (usually after a nap) when she's too distracted to eat and wants to play, and moves her head while trying to take my nipple with her.  Ouch!  My favorite time to fed her are the times she's tired.  She just lays there and cuddles.  We both get to enjoy it.  I also wonder that once I'm doing breastfeeding how in the world I'll clip her fingernails?!
I've read some information on how to stop breastfeeding, and honestly I'm not too concerned because my supply has always been low.  I think the whole process will be pretty easy.  I'll just fed her less and pump less.  I hope to be completely done by my birthday which is January 19.  I'm looking forward to truly sleeping in.  Right now I have to get up and pump after about 7 - 8 hours of sleep because I'm so engorged.  Being able to sleep a whole night without having to pump! 
Oh but I'll miss my baby girl falling asleep eating.  The past two nights we have had some really good feedings, and I just want to bottle them up and treasure them forever. 
I feel proud knowing that with all of the struggles, for the first 7 and half months of her life she primarily got me.  My batch of frozen milk that I saved up for when I returned to work on Labor Day was finished on Monday.  Almost a 3 month supply, not bad.  I honestly don't think I would change anything.  I of course, wish my supply had come in sooner, and that I had more to give, and that I wasn't attached to my breast-pump as often as I have been.  But all of that was so worth giving my daughter me and feeling that closeness for as long as we have.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Six Months






We celebrated Helena’s half birthday on Monday!  I can’t believe it.  We’ve had an extremely eventful month!  I hope to document it all.
We went to the doctor today in this single digit weather.  She got another round of vaccines including her flu shot.  To recover we’ll be staying in where it is nice and warm, and most importantly above freezing.
She weighed in at 14 pounds 10 ounces and 26 inches long.  I was hoping she would have doubled her birth weight, but even better is that she’s back on track with her original growth chart after her dip from her four month weigh-in.

She’s officially sitting up.  She was able to sit up for a few  seconds around her five month birthday, but throughout the past month she’s getting better and better.  I can confidently leave her on the floor now.
We’ve started her on solids.  As of right now she’s had banana, carrot, and sweet potato.  She knows exactly that food is coming her way, and opens right up, but once the food is her mouth she acts like she has no idea what’s going on.  For the most part she pushes it out, but she is slowly getting the chewing reflex down and eventually does swallow some food.  Yesterday was a huge accomplishment as more food got in her mouth than on her bib!
No teeth yet.  The doctor didn’t notice any coming in, so that means we’re still at least 3 weeks out.  She’s definitely drooling more and most things go into her mouth.
I hate to jinx myself, but she’s a pretty easy baby.  We can take her out pretty much anywhere and just hangs out.  Even the week that Chris was in the hospital she just played on the floor.  She didn’t nap very well, but that was to be expected. 
She loves to grab at things and shake them vigorously.
She’s amazing at  going in reverse.  Once she’s on her tummy she moves all around but can push herself backwards super fast.
She laughs and it is pure joy.  She loves it when I hold her baby style and bring her up to me and kiss her swaying her back and forth!  Also playing “bouncy” on my knees.  That is a sure thing to get a giggle!
We need to retire her swing.  She’s been in the swing once over the past month.  I think it’s time to put it away.
Her vocabulary is growing.  I love our conversations.
She’s still in size 6 – 9 month clothing and size 2 diapers.
We definitely have a routine.  She’s usually up by 8:30am and gets a 8 ounce bottle of breast milk for breakfast.  After some play time she’ll feed on me if I’m home, or have a 5 oz bottle of BM {next week my frozen milk will be all gone}.  Nap time starts anytime between 11am – 12noon.  Once she wakes up we feed again.  Have play time, then we’ll snack on some food, then I’ll feed her again (or bottle feed).  Her afternoon nap happens anytime between 2pm – 3pm.  Once she’s up we do all of that again on repeat (except for the food, she gets that once a day).  Her bedtime routine starts anytime between 7:30pm – 8pm.  We take a bath which always includes singing and signing the ABCs, numbers, and the itsy bitsy spider, then our prayers.  Her nighttime meal is always about 7 oz of formula, and she’s usually down for the night by 9pm at the latest.  She’s still sleeping through the night.  I can’t remember the last time she was up in the middle of the night.  It was before I went back to work, because I know that since I’ve been back at work I haven’t had to get up.  If she does get fussy in the middle of the night she’ll move around a little and always puts herself back to sleep.
I feel so blessed to call her mine and that I’ve been trusted to take care of her. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Younique!

Pretty awesome if you ask me!

C'mon you know you want to!  Who doesn't LOVE some free make-up!?

I’m finally taking the time to tell you all about this new thing that I’m doing.  I’m not as ready or prepared as I would like, but I have to kick start it at some point.  I’m already a month in, so it might as well be now
At the end of September I signed up under my High School/Facebook friend Bre to a presenter for Younique.  
What is Younique you ask?  It's amazing make-up and so much more!  I'm just learning how fantastic this stuff is and I'm pumped up to experience all of it!
Back in June while I was in the awe of a newborn, that included many late nights and early mornings.  Helena definitely got my attention, but this time was also spent randomly looking at Facebook.  My friend Bre would post about Younique, loving her job, and getting paid to play with make-up.  Her postings definitely caught my eye.  In the past, I had been interested in some sort of direct sales thing to try and bring in a little bit more cash flow for my family, but hadn’t found any that truly spoke to me. 
Until Younique.
Over the summer I didn’t really do anything about my interest in this company I had never heard of, as I was enjoying my newborn daughter.  But then in September I decided to take the leap and join.  As previously stated October got away from me, but now I feel ready to tackle this additional role.  I’m excited to learn and grow with this company, and of course the extra cash won’t hurt either. 
I’m part of an awesome team and have lots of support! 
I’ve played with the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes, which is beyond wicked awesome!  Along with tons of eye shadow!  It’s a thrill to be part of a fairly new company that’s growing, and I’m excited to be part of it.

By the end of the week I’ll be throwing my Launch Party via Facebook.  If we’re friends you’ll be invited.  I ask you to reply “YES” and join the fun.  Even if you have no intention to buy anything or check out my website, please join, as your replying “YES” just gets my name out there to all of your other friends, and at this point in time that’s all I’m seeking.  Secondly, I’ll “suggest” my Younique page to you, also to just get myself out there in this new role.  Please “join” and “like”!  Just doing those two simple things will support me greatly!  In advance, I thank you!
If you do decide to purchase, or want to throw your own party, even better!  If you have any questions please let me know!

Here’s to a new venture and being successful!
No make-up

Regular mascara: I use Clinque

3D Fiber Lash!  Ohhh la la!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 2014




Helena and I had a super fun Halloween.  Helena was the cutest little owl you ever did see!  I can't remember where I got the idea for an owl.  I originally wanted her to be a turtle, because Chris called her turtle way back when she was only a few days old, and it kinda stuck with me.  But all of the turtle costumes I found were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed.  Somehow I randomly thought owl, and then when I saw this uber cute costume and its big eyes, I thought it was perfect.  Plus she'll be able to use the hat through the upcoming winter months, so its multifunctional.
We had a great day.  She played and took a nice long nap, and then this afternoon we went down to The Mamahood, where they were having a Halloween celebration.  This place is just great.  I wish there was a place like this near where I live.  Helena has had this habit over the past week or so where she only poops while on car rides, a stink move if you ask me!  So once we got there I changed her diaper and we got in line for the professional photographer they had for the event.  After Helena got her picture taken we played on the floor with some toys and met some new friends, including another little owl whose name is Vaughn.
Then tonight we handed out candy to all the kiddos.  Overall it was a great day!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Four month pictures








Helena had her photos taken at the end of September, as part of our baby plan package through BrynMaRae Photography.  We had a great time, and Bryn captured Helena's personality beautifully!  The first one is my favorite!  Helena looks great in blue!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October Randomness

This was taken at story time, right before we went to admit Chris to the hospital last week.  Officially sitting up!

The day Chris got discharged.  She was so happy to be with daddy at HOME!

Playing with Grandma!  I'm so thankful she was able to come out last week.

Just hanging out on the couch.
October has flown by.  I can't believe it is almost November.  I like to think I'm pretty aware of my time but I feel like October has seriously passed in a blink of an eye.
I have so much going on in my head, that I need to arrange my thoughts.  That if I at least, don't let some of it out I won't be able to sleep tonight.  So I apologize in advance if this is vague.
I have a post that I need to write, that I've been meaning to write for the past month about something new.  It has nothing to do with Chris or Helena, just a new thing I'm doing. 
I also want to write about last week.  About Chris' stay in the hospital.  But I don't know what I can write.  As previously expressed, this isn't my story to tell, its his.  At the very least I want to write about last week from my view point. 
I want to write about Helena and all of the big milestones she's recently accomplished.  How she is such a joy.
I recently read an article that was posted on babycenter I believe about the stresses of being a mom.  How something like 1 in 4 woman cry a week about trying to do it all.  I surprisingly haven't cried (I thought I would cry a lot more in my motherhood role {all 5 months of it}) as much as I thought I would.  I'm trying to find things that will make the stress easier.  A big challenge with this is how I communicate with Chris.  I think a lot of this comes from how I was raised, but I also know that I can only blame so much on that.  I have difficulty expressing myself, until I just explode.  Which isn't good.  It's this cycle I have of having something I want to express or try and change, and I tell myself rather than express it I'll just either forget about it or try and take care of it myself, and by doing that my thoughts and feelings about the subject will just go away.  But of course, they never do.  They eventually come out, and when they do, it is not productive.  The conversation usually always ends with Chris telling me that I should have just told him to begin with, and that I can always talk to him.  Deep down I know this to be true.  And I always tell myself that the next time I want to talk to him about something, I'm just going to talk to him about it.  Things are easier said than done.  It's so hard to break a cycle that you are so used to.  I hope and pray that soon, I'll break this circle, and the circle will come to an end.
Another thing I'm looking into to help with the stress of motherhood is a house-cleaning service.  I've never had this before, or looked into it before, but I know it would help extremely.  We have a relatively large house, and to have someone come in and help would be huge.  I have talked to Chris about this, and I've already gotten a couple of quotes.  We're going to sit down and see if this is really a possibility when we do our November budget this weekend.
I hate that even finding the time to blog is hard.  I really love my blog and all of the memories it holds, but after I put Helena down for the night its the last thing I want to do.  Ok, so not that last thing, but when Helena goes down I just want to sit and do nothing.  I try and give myself about 45 minutes a night before I get up and do the dishes and titty up the house a little bit before I go pump.  Speaking of pumping, I want to write about that too.  And just breast feeding in general.  I'll add that to the list too. 
I'm also trying to decide if I should do a 5k on Saturday.  It's for my church and an organization they support.  I'm scared to do a 5k.  I was thinking about it while I was on the treadmill today at the gym and realized that even if I walk the entire 3.1 miles, it'll take me almost an hour to do it.  That alone makes me want to cry.
Speaking of the gym, I take Helena to the infant room at the daycare inside of the gym.  I have many friends who utilize the daycare and have used or are currently using the infant room, and through them I've been informed about some the "rules" about the infant room.  When I signed Helena up to use the infant room at 3 months I received no paperwork about the infant room, and the various rules.  I thought I would get something, but I got nothing.  So the past few times I've taken Helena in, I've asked.  And the ladies look at me like I'm speaking a foreign language.  They say they'll try and find something, but nothing is ever found.  Today I was referred to my original contract when I joined the gym.  I told the lady, "Who knows where that contract is, I joined this gym in 2008."  So then she sent me up front to speak to one of the member advisers.  They did give me something, I just find it crazy that when a place enforces rules and procedures, they don't document those items and have them be readily available for people who use the area on a somewhat continuous basis.
Lastly, I'm so ready for this election to be over with.  Honestly, this is the first non-presidential election I've voted in.  And I almost feel like I was bullied to vote.  All the horrible ads, people knocking on my door, calling me.  I need to put a note on my front door that says "YES I VOTED."  Ugh!
As my randomness comes to an end I know I'll look back at this time and remember the stress but also all the happiness and blessings that surround me everyday, because there are just too many to count!

Monday, October 20, 2014

the other thing


 The "thing" that lives with me
I have known this “thing” existed for over three and a half years, but truly have only lived with it for a little under two. This “thing” is something that worries me, keeps me up at night, and makes me wonder if I am going to be okay. It is also the greatest “thing” I have ever lived with.
In November, 2012 shortly after a wedding, my wedding something happened that caused this “thing” to come back with a vengeance. A car accident woke the “thing” up. Roughly a year and a half into me living with the “thing” that I knew, I finally got to say hello.  It was the scariest most awkward introduction you could ever imagine. It was so scary that I cried and cried and never wanted to meet this “thing” again. I was so mad that I was forced to meet this “thing”. It had been on vacation for three years, why did it have to come back now?
Ever since I was introduced to this “thing” it won’t go away. It’s like you’re in laws.  It’s great when they visit but no one wants them to stay…It comes and goes as it pleases. It shows up once a month or sometimes three times a week, completely unannounced, with no regard for your privacy.  At first when this “thing” decided to live with me I wanted to change my way of living and how I planned my day around if it would show up. I soon learned that you can’t wait around for something to ruin your day so I decided to live my life, as my life. I take the “thing” with me because I know it’s going to show up any way so why not just plan to have fun with it. I’ve realized that makes things much easier for me.
This week, the “thing” is going to the hospital to be studied again. To be controlled, removed, reduced, ect…This is a week with mixed emotions, you pray for the best while expecting the worst.  No matter the outcome with this “thing” I am so glad to have been part of this journey. It has given me the opportunity to overcome fears and believe that things always happen for a reason. This “thing” has also shown me what true love is like, I mean how could you truly love something that you hate?
This “thing” Is Epileptic Seizures
It lives with my husband
He lives with me…

***********************************************
The above was written by Chris.  I went to him last week to ask if I could write a post about his epilepsy.  I'm obviously very open on my blog, but this wasn't my story to tell.  I wrote a post, and in response he wrote the above.  It's his interpretation on his epilepsy through my eyes.  
He told this story simply as a fun way to let people know he has epilepsy, not to ask for sympathy. This is something that lives with him, lives with us.  I specifically wanted to share this so that I could ask for prayers and happy thoughts as we enter into what will be a hard, difficult, and emotional week. 
For the most part I've dealt with Chris' epilepsy by myself.  It feels good to let it out, and if anything it opened up an even bigger line of communication with my husband, and for that I'm grateful.  I pray nightly that God will take away Chris' seizures, and I feel He has opened this door to help us onto a journey so Chris is back to being seizure free.