04 November 2014

Also... Cute Kid Pictures!

Zoe's first selfie with the wee babe child!
Do you want to making sleep, bezerker?
Even gangsta's gotta get their grading done.
Look mom, I got a new doll to play dress up with!  Also, Rocco photobomb.

03 November 2014

Crying over Spilled Milk

Disclaimer:  This post does not contain cute pictures with witty commentary.  I've broken our usual mold and written down my rambling thoughts as a new mom to Des.  Please excuse my typos and grammatical inaccuracies.  I blame "Mommy brain".  

Today I made a choice.  Sitting on the couch with my son after an “unsuccessful” nursing session and then giving him a bottle of formula, I decided to cuddle with him on my chest instead of pumping.  As he melted into my chest in a post feeding coma, tears streamed down my face and bathed his sweet smelling head. Why the tears?  Why this feeling of guilt and sadness?  I still don’t completely have answers to these questions, but I suddenly felt the need to document this journey… so here it goes.

Des is 5 weeks old.  He was a whopping 9 lbs at birth and in the delivery room the nurses joked that I would need to eat a lot to be able to feed this kid.  Or maybe they weren’t joking…  In his first few days of life, Des was sleepy sleepy.  He finally got the hang of latching on, but would promptly fall asleep as soon as he lay on my chest.  The lactation consultants set me up on a pumping regimen so that my milk would still come in and guessed that he would start to become more active once there was milk for him to drink.

And so it began.  My milk came in and Des nibbled, but was never in a hurry to eat.  At 2 weeks, Des was nursing constantly or crying.  At his 10 day check up, he was 8 lbs.  While the doctor wasn’t yet concerned, I was.  A few days later, I paid a visit to the lactation consultant who confirmed my suspicions that Des was getting precious little food from nursing.  Depending on the day, I call his eating style poky, laid back or dare I say lazy.  Whatever you call it, it was rapidly diminishing my milk supply.  At the suggestion of the lactation consultant, I went on a binge of nursing, bottle feeding and then pumping for each feeding-- for almost 2 weeks.  Des gained some weight and then I eased off of pumping and supplementing.  Then he gained a little weight, but not enough.  Now the pediatrician wants me to give him formula after every feeding.  And it breaks my heart.  Why?

I had issues with breastfeeding Zoe, but the issue was never my milk supply.  This is new territory for me, and it’s proved to be very rocky and emotional territory.  When asking the proverbial question “Why?”, there are many ways to ask and answer.  Why is this a problem?  Is it really just that Des is a poky eater?  Am I too skinny?  Am I too stressed balancing the needs of 2 kids?  I’ve done this before-- so I should be a seasoned pro-- what’s wrong with me?  And then the Mommy guilt sets in.  But it’s more than just guilt.  

Then there is this “why”: Why am I beating myself up over this?  Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just throw in the towel and declare Des a formula baby?  Sure-- “breast is best”, but at what cost?  I have this snapshot in my mind of the moment when I was trying out a supplemental feeding system with my 4-year old bouncing around in the background.  While I inserted a small feeding tube into my son’s mouth, I delicately balanced a vial in between my legs.  I reached out to get the 2 ounces of milk that I had pumped to pour into this vial, and my bouncing 4-year old bounced right by and bounced that breastmilk right onto the floor.  All that work and love soaking into the carpet.  It was enough to send me over the edge.  But instead of rage, I felt a deep deep sadness.  Talk about crying over spilled milk...

So why am I still clinging on?  Why is breastfeeding so important to me?  It really goes well beyond the health benefits.  I love the feeling of closeness that it gives.  I love the visceral feeling that my body is feeding my child and helping him to grow.  I love that it is something that only  I share with my child-- our delicious secret.  I’m not ready to give this up.

You could argue that by supplementing, I’m not completely giving up.  You could argue that he is still young and all of this will change.  But somehow, when raising a child, every problem seems eternal and insurmountable-- especially in the sleep deprived and hormonal haze of raising an infant.  It’s so hard to hold onto perspective-- but I’m trying.  

Ultimately, I fear that this “feeding problem”, as labeled on Des’ latest report from our pediatrician, is a sign of times to come.  Yes-- I know that he’ll learn how to eat well.  I know that he will grow and be loved, but if I can’t figure out how to do this very primal task of nursing my child, then how will I help him solve the bigger problems that life will present to him and us?  This is the fear that has bubbled up over the last few weeks, and I haven’t yet figured out how to sooth this fear, but simply voicing it helps me to regain some of that perspective that is so hard to keep a hold of.

So where do I go from here?  I don’t know. By writing this blog post, what am I hoping for?  I’m not asking for advice or answers.  I’ve simply been amazed at how emotional and torn I feel over this first parental “bump in the road” that I’m experiencing with Des.  If I feel this way, I’m sure that there are countless of other new and “experienced” moms that feel this way or have felt this way before.  In a way, I want them to know they are not alone, and I’m also reaching out to the collective wisdom of mothers throughout the ages.  Please give me the wisdom to know if this is one of those challenges that I can overcome or if I should put aside my fear and pride and let it be.

01 November 2014

All the Hallows in the Hook

Raise your hands if you're excited for Halloween!  But first, the pumpkins.   Wee Des is our happy pumpkin this time around, so the amicable Zoster set to work in crafting a sad, sad, pumpkin to complement the jovial fella.

Scoop, scoop de doop.  This year's carver was a tough one, but no match for a determined four-year-old.   Zoe had already sketched out pumpkin face plans in her notebook, and picked the best one to be recreated on the good side of the pumpkin.  Then she watched and learned while papa wielded knife and set to work, realizing her design in the (pumpkin) flesh...   But before dusk, it was costume time!

That's right, Zoe went fully home-made this year as a bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans.  (mama's genius idea...)  Big Z even colored in the logo sign herself, and piles of hilarity were had, both in sourcing the materials (they don't see clear garbage bags anymore!) and in the construction.  Let's just say it was not a particularly easy costume to take on and off.   The up side of a costume consisting of inflatable confectionary bliss, however, is that it proved to be a great insulator.  While everyone else outside froze, Zoster was boiling lava hot.