4 Month Birthday

I’ve talked about this before, and probably will again, so try to bear with me.

Yesterday was little B’s 4 month well visit. He got a “perfect” from a doctor and there was even a “you’re doing a great job” for me to enjoy. (Oh, how I love parental praise) He weighs a whopping 16.3 lbs and is 26 1/4″ tall. (Birth stats were 9.4 lbs, 21.5″) He’s a large, healthy baby, we got the go-ahead for solids, and I’m so proud of him and everyday I’m happy to be his Momma.

A thought occurred to me last night as I posted the expected “4 month birthday” photo with his current stats. I am not the only one responsible for his wonderful growth. I’ve posted before how grateful I am to his Milky Momma, but never really thought about just how much we owe to her. This wonderful lady (let’s call her J) donates milk in whatever amount and however often he needs it. We’ve picked up twice so far and my freezer is constantly full of liquid gold.

I say a silent thank you to J with every bag of milk I thaw, especially lately as my battle with supply is finally coming to an end (and not in my favor). This is something I’m struggling with, and I struggle every day. Thoughts that cross my mind;

I’m an inadequate mother.
I’m a failure.
I’m not trying hard enough.
Why can’t I feed my own child?
What will I do if J can no longer donate to us?

Every time I have one of these thoughts, I have to talk myself down. I remind myself, “There is milk in the bottle, there is cloth on the bum, clothes on the back, toys on the mat. Ben is happy, healthy, and growing strong.” This is usually followed by a, “Yeah, but I’m not feeding him.” Where I remind myself I did not continue to feed him formula that his body couldn’t process. I reached out! I found multiple milk-sharing organizations! I not only found them, I found the courage to post my need! I found the time and courage to meet with women I had never met to collect the milk my son so desperately needed. I did what I had to do to feed him without his little body being in constant pain. I am a good mother.

And not all the good parts of milk-sharing have been for little B. I honestly believe I’ve developed a nice friendly relationship with both women who have provided for him. I have two more Mommies to talk to, to depend on. Being able to be this friendly and close has helped me to trust in them more completely, and they definitely deserve all the thanks I can give to them.

4

Do you have special women that contribute positively to you or your child’s life?

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Mommy-time is a Must.

Wow oh wow am I awful at blogging.

I can’t remember when I posted my last one, but I know it was an eternity ago in the online realm. I’ve just been so busy! DH had his birthday, DS is still cutting teeth, I’m still working hard at my hobby/business and making plans to attend Doula training in May (so I have LOTS of reading to do!)! DS also had his 3 month pictures taken! Busy, busy. I also have TWO baby showers this week.

Busy, busy, busy… buuuut anyway.

My hobby of sewing. Since my last post I’ve expanded from wipes to soakers to prefolds to making fitteds out of prefolds…. Soon I’ll be making covers and pockets and hybrid fitteds, oh my! I haven’t been sewing long. I taught myself, and when I first started, I was AWFUL. I messed up a LOT. My stitches were ugly and everywhere, and never straight. I didn’t know to pre-wash my fabric. So many mistakes!

I’ve improved GREATLY. I can be and am proud of my projects, and I really enjoy sewing.

My day is nonstop most of the time. Even when I’m sitting down feeding the baby, I still have to feed the baby. I can’t do something else, and I’m not sitting down because I want to. As soon as the baby is done eating, it’s on to the next chore. There are days where it seems like it never ends. At this moment DS is napping and I’m ignoring laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and re-organizing to write this post. Every day is like this. There’s always more to do.

But at night, I always take a little time just to myself. Mommy-time is necessary. It doesn’t have to be going away alone. It can be a glass of wine, a 30 minute shower, 15 minutes of quiet reading… I am still amazed what 10 minutes a day to myself can do for me. It rejuvenates my entire mood, lifts my spirit, and all around makes me happier. Being a WAHM, I can’t help but hate when I’m not being productive though, so I sew. It’s relaxing and productive, what more could a Momma want?

I think every mother needs to make sure to take time to herself, and this is something lots of new mommies don’t do. I didn’t either. Not for weeks. Not until I was so high strung I screamed at DH for an hour for leaving the swing on (for 5 minutes). Mommies, don’t do this to yourself. You’re not being selfish, you deserve it!

What do you do to relax?

Justice for Quinten

This story is the hardest thing you’ll ever read, but I NEED you to read it, sign the petition, and get everyone you know to do the same. I’m begging you as a mother. As a mother who has literally cried all night over this. I’m begging you.
http://www.viralnova.com/justice-for-quinten/

Goodbye, 4th Trimester

My son turned 3 months old yesterday, and I don’t know where the time went.

I swear he was born two weeks ago, time just flies! I know that on this day last year, I wasn’t pregnant yet. 6 days from now, I would be. It’s crazy to think it’s almost been an exact year since this incredible journey began. The 4th trimester is ending.

So many people misunderstand the term “4th Trimester”. It’s a common misunderstanding that trimester refers to a stage in the pregnancy, out of 3 stages. Really it means 3 months in a stage, there can be as many stages as you want (depending on the subject). The 4th trimester lasts up to 4 months postpartum, and simply refers to the adjustment period. The newborn stage, the postpartum period, the time it takes for hormones to level out and find your rhythm. 

We found our pattern awhile ago. Unlike most other things I’ve tried out in life (dancing, sports, drama, art) parenting came easily and naturally. It was like breathing.

I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t all sunshine. The first few weeks were almost a nightmare. In fact, they were. I had constant visitors for the first 14 days of my sons life. I had my first gall bladder attacks. I had to supplement with formula for the first time within those first 3 weeks. I had the beginnings of postpartum depression. I was having trouble getting enough sleep, finding time to eat, showering, or even leaving my baby’s side. In addition to all of these new adjustments, my husband and I were also in the process of moving into our own apartment for the first time.

All in all…it was all too much.

But we survived it with our sanity intact. Without breaking our parenting beliefs. With a strong, beautiful relationship with our son.

We have gotten the lectures from many older relatives, coworkers, and even strangers. How we shouldn’t co-sleep, attachment parent, even how we should formula feed! 

It’s been a wild 3 months, but the last 10 weeks have been peaceful. We have our routine, and a happy, healthy baby.

I’m ready for the 4th trimester’s end, and everything else to begin.

 

My son’s middle name is Stephen.

Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 40 years old.

My father passed away 18 1/2 years ago. I’m only 20 years old, so simple math tells you I didn’t know my dad, and I don’t remember him. The interesting thing about this is that I have always based my opinion of my father on everyone else. How crazy is that?

It also means that I’ll never know if I’m right, because everyone will say different things. I’ve talked to women my father hurt, so I know he wasn’t perfect. I’ve talked to people my father taught, so I know he was a good student. I’ve talked to people that he was forgiven by, so I know he was a good person. And I’ve talked to people that saw him with me, so I know he loved me.

I grew up with emotionally abusive, alcoholic father figures after my father died until I was 16 years old. Because of this, I grew up with a glorified version of my dad in my head. I had only heard good things at that point (no one says bad things to a little kid), and I was convinced my whole life would have been better if he was still alive.

I used to go to his gravesite with my grandmother several times a year. It was always a day long event, driving to the little town in the middle of rural Nebraska to the cemetery on the hill. We would stop for lunch in the town at the local diner, and then piece together a flower assortment at the local flower shop.

Once at his grave, my grandmother would take pictures. Tons of them. Pictures of us putting things up (she always made a wreath), cleaning the site, me sitting on his headstone or standing behind it. And then she’d quietly sit down and talk to him, and start to cry.

At every visit this happened, and no matter how old I was, I didn’t cry. I felt like I should have, I even wanted to, but I never did. I cried other times as a child, over much simpler things, so why not about my dad?

I struggled with this for years. I thought I was a bad person because I didn’t cry over my father’s death. When people would ask what my dad did for a living and I’d tell them he was deceased, they always said they were sorry. An awkward conversation always seemed to follow. I’d assure them it was fine, they’d insist condolences, I’d explain it had been X many years, they’d say it would get easier…and on. I was so frustrated and becoming more certain I was abnormal for not still being upset.

It’s very hard to miss someone you can’t remember, no matter how hard you want to. I can only miss the version of my father my mind has created based on others’ stories of him, and I will never know if it’s an accurate version. I can, however, honor his memory.

My take on my father is that he was a good person, who was a good father, and had many talents. That was enough for me to name my son after him.

 

Got Milk?

Minus my very short post last night regarding Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness, I haven’t written in quite a few days.

Many things have kept me from posting. Sewing, getting my WAHM business going ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Benjamins-Bottom-Boutique ), another trip to Omaha for surgery…and more. Some nights I chose to use my ‘free’ time for an extra pumping session, a bath, or just decided to snuggle my husband and watch some t.v. You never realize how cool ‘free’ time is until you are a parent!

Over these last several days TONS of topics have arisen for me to write about. What I’ve chosen for this morning is something rather important to me, and I want to document it.

This past Omaha trip was my first real Nursing in Public experience.

It was NOT the first time I’ve nursed in front of other people. Not event the first time I’ve nursed in front of new people. At 10 days old, I nursed at my son’s newborn photo session. Several times, in fact. I don’t count this as in public. It was a private session and Cassie is an amazingly personal woman. I mean that to say even though it was the first time we’d met, I felt completely comfortable around her and with her handling my newborn. I also nursed in front of several sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends in that early period. I also don’t count nursing at the eye doctor’s or WIC office as ‘public’, both times I was given a private room.

All that said, Sunday night we went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Benjamin was asleep, and I was hoping I’d get to order and eat before he woke up.

Now I know the moms reading this are laughing at me. We all know this rarely, if ever, happens.

I did get to order before my baby woke, but while we were waiting food, the inevitable happened. And the bottle of breastmilk wasn’t warm. And my waiter was nowhere to be seen.

I hesitated. I hadn’t brought a nursing cover, but I was wearing a nursing top… I also had a blanket.

We were sat in a fairly secluded corner, so I figured I’d be safe. There was, however, a table directly next to us with 3 people sitting there. Fairly young, loud people. I went for it anyway.

Ben is a particular eater. Sometimes it’s all bottle, sometimes all breast. This particular night was bottle.

I got him to latch for a few moments and it was a learning experience for both of us. We learned we won’t use a cover. Every time I’d cover him, he’d unlatch and get mad. I wonder if I had left him uncovered if he would have nursed in peace. Instead I just made him upset and stressed us both out.

I gave up after 5 minutes and finished warming his bottle in the water I’d been brought. Though I felt disappointed in myself for not succeeding, moments later I realized I had done something else.

That table next to us was now discussing breastfeeding.

I braced myself to overhear negative comments about my choice to nurse in public, in a restaurant, with a bottle clearly on the table, without a cover, etc.

What I heard was much different. The woman I had originally guessed to be a young college girl hanging out with her boyfriend and other friend turned out to be a young mother who hadn’t been able to breastfeed past 8 weeks. Who thought it was cool I had bared my breast for my child in public. That even though he fussed and fought, we tried before giving a bottle.

This made me feel better and strengthened my resolve to try nursing in public (NIP) again.

I got my chance the next morning waiting in the hospital lobby. I’d chosen the wrong entrance and we were waiting for transportation (a nurse with a wheelchair) to take us to Outpatient Surgery. My baby was tired, grumpy, and wanted to nurse to sleep, not because he was hungry. As I went to breastfeed him, my husband shook his head slightly. I’m sure he was hoping I hadn’t noticed, but I did. I was momentarily upset that he just assumed Ben wouldn’t latch, would fuss more, and end up screaming with both of us upset. I had to remind myself that we are different people.

To both of our surprise, Ben latched right on. Hungrily, almost. At first, I was self-conscious again. There were several other people in the lobby. Secretaries, nurses, doctors, patients. I was again without a cover, this time intentionally, but it still made me nervous. Would someone order me to cover up?

A group of nurses walked by at this moment in my thoughts and all 3 of them paused to smile encouragingly at me. My resolve strengthened again and I nursed my son all the way until he was asleep, full, and transportation arrived.

Though it didn’t go well with our first try, I’m glad we tried again.

I will continue to NIP whenever I need to or my son wants to. I realize I’ve been fighting so hard to keep nursing throughout the problems I’ve had, and I’m going to do everything I can to make it a strong relationship!

Remember to believe in yourself, your body, and know your rights to Nurse in Public!Image

October 15th.

Today, for many women and families across the world is a very hard day.

Today is infant and pregnancy loss awareness day.
Though I personally have not suffered this loss, I know many women who have. It is a pain no mother should have to bear.

I don’t have any words of wisdom, no secret method of coping to make all the pain go away.

What I am doing tonight is asking you this;

If you know a woman, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a teacher, a co-worker, a friend, any woman who has suffered this loss…hug her.

A short post, but a sincere request.