Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BFing and Being a SAHM

I admit it. When I first started learning about br.eastfeeding, I was judging moms who didn't. ESPECIALLY those who didn't even try once. It seemed terribly lazy to me for any mom to not a least try when you learn about the benefits to both baby and mom. A friend who was a SAHM gave up after eight weeks and I was like, "Really? You don't even WORK and you gave up?" I was full of plans about pumping at work once I go back after twelve weeks (I have an office door I can shut and have complete privacy). I was going to MAKE it happen for myself and my baby.

However, as the time to actually DO this BFing thing approaches and as I learn more about it, my opinions have changed. Apparently, this BFing thing is HARD. It is time-consuming. It is messy. It is super challenging if you have problems with the latch of the baby. It is inconvenient. And it adds a LOT of stress to the life of the mom, especially a first-timer.

I have now changed my plans. I am no longer going to try to attempt to BFeed once I go back to work. I am happy and confident in this decision and have no regrets about making it. To me, having to take 20 minutes out of my day, at least three times a day, and worry about storing and transporting the milk, pump and accessories just sounds awful. My days are never the same due to the nature of my job and I need to have flexibility to deal with emergencies, attend meetings and rearrange my daily schedule at the last minute. A co-worker and new mom who tried doing this very thing said it was a good decision - she only lasted a week.

Yes, it was mostly a selfish decision on my part and I am comfortable with that. I work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday and my commute is at least 45 minutes each way. I do not want the added stress.

Plus there are many other things that lead me to think stopping is ok: not worrying about having enough stored and frozen and letting others be able to easily feed the baby, being able to eat and drink what I want without worrying about it affecting the baby in any way, not having to worry about leaks and stains during the day, not stressing over my supply and if the baby is getting enough, being able to make love to Mr. M. without spewing all over the place, etc. Also, just generally getting control of my body back. I have been so restricted on what I can do this entire pregnancy, and I am ready for my body to be MINE and mine only again.

These are my reasons, and I neither expect others to agree with them or judge other people who have chosen differently. I am, however, much more relaxed now that I have figured out my plan. I won't be buying a pump but will be renting one from the hospital for the few months that I am at home. So flame me if you will, but I am firm in my plans and while I appreciate the concerns you might have, they will not sway me. If I was a SAHM, it would be an entirely different story.

Speaking of being a stay-at-home-mom.

Will you think me a terrible person if I told you that I never, even for a second, considered being a SAHM? Because I haven't. I have always planned to return to work.

I do have some experience with staying at home, albeit not with a baby. After Mr. M. and I got married I was still trying to find a job (tough in my market with my degree) so I stayed home every day with the dog, making trips out to the gym or the bookstore or whatever.

I was miserable. Despite my tendencies to be kind of a private person who enjoys being alone, I hated it. I felt guilty that I wasn't contributing to the household income and Mr. M. had to carry us both. I was depressed that I couldn't find a job after all my years and expense of college. I was bored with no one to spend time with during the day. I slept in until 11 after staying up until the wee hours of the morning, consoling myself with junk food (in a very sneaky way since Mr. M. would already be in bed) and occasionally (I am hesitant to admit it) taking a painkiller of some sort to dull the ache of loneliness and uselessness.

I know that staying home with Baby would be a completely different thing, but I still don't think I would enjoy it. I have watched my friend who is a SAHM and she seems to alternate between exhaustion and desperation to find entertainment for herself and her young daughter. She always looks tired and harried and it just doesn't seem like she is enjoying it at all. I admire her a LOT for sticking with something she feels so strongly about.

I have a pretty strong feeling that after 12 weeks of being alone with baby I will be happy to return to work. Happy to be able to work and accomplish things for my organizations and to interact and socialize with my wonderful co-workers. Happy to have an hour lunch break with no baby to run errands or make a trip to the employee gym without having to go before or after work while hauling baby around. Happy to have the peace and quiet of my little office around me and no thoughts of formula, diaper changes or naptime.

This is the best path for me, and I know it.

So there's my two cents on bfing and being a SAHM. What are your thoughts on these issues when applied to your life? I welcome thoughts and ideas, but please don't be nasty. Show respect for the choices others have made just as I show respect for those who choose opposite of me.

34 Weeks and Overwhelmed!

Holy. Crap there is a lot going on right now. And a lot for me to do.

May I first begin with the great daycare debacle? Apparently in the town where I live, you have to put your name on the waiting list for daycare BEFORE you're even THINKING about trying to get pregnant so that there is the tiniest sliver of a chance that you might get a spot. I, happy in my ignorance, had no idea, and of course when I started researching daycare centers last month everyone I talked to was aghast and agog that I was needing care in APRIL and hadn't signed up before that. You could practically hear the sneers in some of their voices at my pathetic ignorance.

We found THE daycare, the one that we love and want. Originally the director seemed optimistic about finding a spot in April, but when we went for a tour she seemed pretty doubtful that it would happen. It was very frustrating as both Mr. M. and I are totally in love with the school. We're on the waiting list so we'll see what happens.

In the meantime I've been researching the other options in the town. Of the other "good" centers (meaning they come highly recommended from friends), one assured me that they won't have an opening until at least August, one said there were 30 people ahead of me on the waiting list for infant care, and one said they currently have ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY people on their waiting list. In desperation, I called several in-home caregivers recommended to me, but of course none of them answered and none of them have called me back.

Frustrated beyond belief, I took to F.acebook and posted that I was "beating my head against the 'there is no infant care available in (town)' wall". I immediately received numerous helpful responses and suggestions, some of which I had already tried, some which I hadn't.

So, long story short - a girl I went to college with (who has an education degree) said she works at a center and I should check them out. I called the director, and they have. An opening. In April. I could NOT believe my ears. They are a privately-run Christan center with only four spaces in their infant room, which I like. So I have been "slotted in" for April and will be going by to tour the center once I can arrange for some time off.

I can't describe what a HUGE relief it has been. We still want to go with our first choice, but this center has a good reputation and will suffice until our first choice has an opening.

Daycares without openings remind me of doctors who don't have available appointments for weeks at a time - what's the point? What do you do if you are actually sick? (I asked my GI doctor's nurse this after my THIRD week of suffering from what turned out to be an intestinal parasite, and the answer was "go to urgent care or the ER." Well, thanks for caring, asshole). What do people do with their children if, like us, they have no family members available to watch their kids and can't find a daycare opening?

On to other concerns. We still need a lot. Of stuff. For me and this kid. And I'm talking necessities. Diaper bag, diaper genie, and of course the actual diapers. Bottles. Crib mattress. Bedding. N.ursing b.ras, pajamas and a couple of tank tops. The stupid little practical things like b.reast pads, maxi pads and hand sanitizer. I have yet to make any freezer meals for right after baby. Need to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels and the little household necessities we won't want to run to the store for. With Christmas coming up, the price tag is going to be hefty, and while we can afford everything without any hardship, it is still stressing me out and making me feel somehow guilty.

Oh, and when I got on the scale at my appointment last Tuesday I nearly fainted. I gained a HUGE amount of weight in just two short weeks, and it was a huge shock to me as my weight gain throughout this pregnancy has been fairly slow and steady. So now I am trying to be even more super careful about what I eat, which is SUPER hard because all I crave is sweet and salty things! Sigh.

Oh, and apparently there have been TWO recent break-in attempts in our nice quiet middle-class neighborhood. Two. Now I'm terrified I'm going to come home and find the house emptied out and my precious puppies gone forever.

Oh, and my husband's grandfather keeps letting himself get swindled my crooks over the phone and my poor mother-in-law, who is beyond stressed already, just learned he gave TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to crooks in Panama which he can never get back. He thought they were going to send him a check for $450,000. The whole family is very worried about him, as this is NOT the first time he has been taken in by schemes like this.

Argh! Okay, enough whining. I'm going to post my weekly update now. If you made it allll the way to the end of this blog: bless you. :)

How Far Along? 34 weeks

Maternity Clothes? All maternity all the time! The pairs of jeans I bought early on are (wince) getting a bit tight, so I stick to knits, cords and lightweight pants most days. Lots of soft T-shirts with sweaters to layer over them.

Weight Gain? Um. Yeah. A lot. We'll see how next week's appointment goes and then MAYBE I'll tell you how much. Perhaps. We'll see.

Stretch Marks? So far so good! Still search suspiciously for them every day but none have appeared...yet.

Sleep? Actually have been sleeping better lately, which has been nice. Only waking up once or twice to pee. I'm trying to get most of my water in by 4 p.m. to reduce nighttime pee trips.

Best Moment of the Week: Loved spending Thanksgiving with my wonderful family. Then Mr. M. and I holed up in our house all weekend and did nothing. It was AWESOME.

Weirdest Comment: A lot of "When are you due???" type questions (as in, 'aren't you about to POP?'), and today a co-worker said "it feels like you've been pregnant for forEVER!"

Movement? Of course! Baby is head down so I get lots of movement up under my ribs (not painful yet, just weird feeling) and little punches down in my abdomen. When I lay on my side he usually goes nuts. He also gets the hiccups a LOT. My OB nurse told me that what they want at this point is ten movements in ten hours, since the baby spends so much of his time sleeping at this point.

Gender? A boy!

What I miss? Being comfortable at my desk. I just can't get there - feet up, feet down, leaning back, sitting forward - all get uncomfy after about ten minutes. I miss being able to get up and down easily. I miss having the freedom to do and eat whatever I want without worrying about anything else.

Symptoms: Acid reflux, weight gain and general tiredness. Aching shoulders and back. Lack of mobility, hormonal craziness and insomnia. Constipation. Swollen fingers (about time to take off the rings, I think).

Milestones: Every day is its own milestone. This week his little t.esticles are descending, which is cool! Nature fascinates me...

Emotions: Very nervous and excited to meet our little guy! Overwhelmed by all that I have to get done!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Okay, so (kind of) funny story.

We went to childbirth class last night - the subjects covered were birth interventions and post-partum recovery. We learned about the use of vacuums and forceps (REALLY hoping to avoid both of these) and then we covered C-sections.

I was worried that we were going to have to watch an actual live C-section birth and was very relieved when the video just covered the reasons you might have one. Then it showed a (non-bloody, non-gory, totally chill) animation of a C-section - where the incisions go, what happens before, during and after, etc.

I managed to do fine, although the part where they separate the abdominal muscles made me wince. Mr. M. held my hand during that part.

So, the lights came back up and the RN started going over C-section recovery details, and I noticed Mr. M. leaning forward in his chair. I put my hand on his back and it was burning hot through his sweater. I heard him taking some very deep breaths.

I asked if he was okay and he said he felt terrible, very sick to his stomach. Remember, this was while class was still going on and there were seven other couples in the room. After several minutes of breathing and leaving forward I convinced him to go out into the hall.

He looked TERRIBLE. Absolutely no color to his face and covered in sweat. It was much cooler in the hall so he took off his sweater (had a T-shirt underneath it) and lay on a couch with his feet up for a while and immediately felt much better.

After he was feeling better we determined the cause of the sickness.

My husband has apparently chosen this very opportune moment to turn into a complete and total WUSS.

He has always been a little squeamish about injuries to other people but I had no idea it was this bad. He couldn't even stomach an ANIMATION of a C-section with no blood or fluids or anything! How the heck is he going to survive even a v.aginal birth? That's a LOT more nasty than a C-section. The stupid thing is that we have WATCHED several v.aginal birth videos in class and he seemed fine. Argh!

Good thing we have my grandma as back up in the birthing room in case he hits the floor or something.

Seriously shaking my head. This guy needs to man up because he is NOT getting out of changing poopy diapers, cleaning around the cord and circumcision, mopping up vomit and all the wonderful things that come with childbirth.

I love the guy, but - SERIOUSLY???

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maternity Pics

Here are some of my (anonymous)favorites so far. My extremely talented friend L took them at my grandmother's house this past weekend.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

32 Weeks!

In the words of one of my favorite bloggers: HFS!

I promise I WILL post some maternity photos on here, but first I need them without my photographer's trademark on them. They are beautiful!

How Far Along? 32 weeks

Maternity Clothes? All maternity all the time! The pairs of jeans I bought early on are (wince) getting a bit tight, so I stick to knits, cords and lightweight pants most days. Lots of soft T-shirts with sweaters to layer over them.

Weight Gain? As of last week I am up 27 pounds total, which my OB is VERY pleased with. I only gained two pounds in the past four weeks. I don't own a scale at home so only ever get checked at the doctor's office.

Stretch Marks? So far so good! Still search suspiciously for them every day but none have appeared...yet.

Sleep? Sucks. I am up a bunch of times each night to pee, even though I try not to drink a lot of water right before bed.

Best Moment of the Week: Having some beautiful maternity photos taken and enjoying a shower with some of my favorite people in the whole world!

Weirdest Comment: People who haven't seen me in a while keep saying things like, "Wow!" or "You're getting BIG!" Um...thanks?

Movement? Of course! Baby is head down so I get lots of movement up under my ribs (not painful yet, just weird feeling) and little punches down in my abdomen. When I lay on my side he usually goes nuts. He also gets the hiccups a LOT.

Gender? A boy!

What I miss? Sleep! Ohhh, sleep sleep sleepy sleep sleep how I miss thee. Also I miss just being generally comfortable during the day, which I most certainly am NOT right now.

Symptoms: Acid reflux, weight gain and general tiredness. Aching shoulders and back. Crampy abdomen. Lack of mobility, hormonal craziness and insomnia. Oh, and constipation is a new thing I am dealing with. Fun times. But ALL worth it. :)

Milestones: Every day is its own milestone.

Emotions: Happy and relieved, but overwhelmed with all the things I need to get done within the next 6-8 weeks!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby Shower #1 recap

Just wanted to post a quick recap of baby shower #1, aka the "Books and Blankets Shower", which happened on the 6th. It was hosted by my lifelong friend L and three other dear friends. This one was mostly for friends my age, although of course my mom and grandmother, my mother-in-law and several relatives came. It was wonderful and so much fun!

When the guests walked in, they signed a register and then were encouraged to write some advice for me as a new mom onto a card and tie it onto the tree centerpiece. At the end of the shower I read them all aloud. A lot of the advice was very helpful, and some of it was just hilarious.

Example: "Don't dangle baby over balcony. PR nightmare." (I work in PR)

"Don't ask J and C to babysit." (from two married friends who are SUPER nervous around kids."

After enjoying some delicious food (did I mention my sister-in-law is the head decorator at a cupcake boutique?) we played a quick game. L had a large paper sack filled with baby items, and you had to blindly reach in and see how many you could identify. Out of ten items, I got seven right, and tied with my MIL for the win! However, the prize went to me by default since she just started guessing what might be in there and writing things down before she even felt around in the bag! Sneaky sneaky MIL!

After that there was gift opening, which was a LOT of fun. I felt so bad all day due to my cold, but I medicated up and powered through, managing to look only slightly out of it in the photos.

Here's a photo of the gifts, laid out for everyone to look at after opening. I have to say that was MUCH easier than trying to pass each gift around.

I seriously need to count how many blankets I have now. :) But I have a pretty good idea of what to do with some of the extras...we shall see.

That day and at my shower this past Sunday, I just felt so blessed to have so many generous, loving, supportive people in my life. I know they will shower Baby with as much love as they show me each and every day.

Next post - maternity pics! Will I get brave enough to post one of my face? We shall see!

Friday, November 11, 2011

31 weeks and updates!

Argh! Where does the time go, seriously? I have SO much stuff I could/should have written about in the past week, but now am way behind and will have to resort to the old bullet-style writing style.

-Mr. M. and I had a wonderful 5th anniversary. We saw Be.n F.olds perform live and had the BEST seats - 4th row and on the left. We could see his face, the piano AND his hands. We stayed overnight in a swanky hotel and spent the next day shopping for rocking recliners (for the living room) and buying our glider (we wound up with a Shermag from BRU).

-Mr. M. gave me THE sweetest anniversary gift - he picked out a C.oach handbag for me and also bought an outfit for baby! If you knew him you would know that both of these things are A-mazing.

-Unfortunately, he also gave me the cold he had been fighting for two weeks. I'm now on day 7 of coughing and hacking. My OB checked my out yesterday and said it's just a virus and I'm going to have to suffer through it. I am medicating with C.laritin, and Ro.bitussin, which have all been approved by Dr. A. Took a sick day on Monday and just stayed on the couch with the puppies all day, which was nice.

-I had my first baby shower this past Sunday and it was SO wonderful! This one was mostly friends my age with some family thrown in. I was actually a little disappointed because I only received a few outfits for baby. Mr. M. has (meanly) been stopping me from buying baby clothes because he keeps saying "You'll get tons at your showers." Instead, I got blankets and books! I am a TOTAL book nerd and always have my nose stuck in a book. So three copies of Goodnight Moon and two copies of Cat in the Hat later, baby's library is looking quite well-stocked. :)It just shows that my friends know me well. I felt bad for coughing and hacking the whole time (literally had to take a break during opening presents for a cough drop) but had a good time.

-I have a baby shower tomorrow in my home town (about an hour from where we live) and am super excited about it! My God-sister (Godmother's daughter if that makes sense) is hosting it at my grandmother's house. This will be an older crowd filled with family and church friends, some of whom I haven't seen in years! I love seeing everyone together.

-We will be taking maternity photographs this weekend with two different photographers - my best friend and then our wedding photographer. I am excited but a little bummed because my face has definitely gotten bigger the past few weeks. I hope they turn out well!

And now for the "week" update thingy:
How Far Along? 31 weeks

Maternity Clothes? All maternity all the time!

Weight Gain?
As of yesterday I am up 27 pounds total, which my OB is VERY pleased with. I only gained two pounds in the past four weeks.

Stretch Marks? So far so good!

Sleep? SUCKS right now because of my cold. I can't sleep on my back and get all stopped up so have to get up every hour to blow my nose.

Best Moment of the Week: Lots this past week! My first baby shower, our anniversary together, and a glowing health report for both me and baby yesterday at my check-up.

Weirdest Comment: None to report!

Movement? Of course! Baby is head down so I get lots of kicks up under my ribs (not painful yet, just weird feeling) and little punches down in my abdomen. When I lay on my side he usually goes nuts. He also gets the hiccups a LOT - some days up to 6 or 7 times! I asked Dr. A. about them and she said that's "good."

Gender? A boy!

What I miss? Sleep! Also I miss just being generally comfortable during the day, which I most certainly am NOT right now.

Symptoms: Acid reflux, weight gain and general tiredness. Lack of mobility, hormonal craziness and insomnia.

Milestones: Every day is its own milestone.

Emotions: Happy and relieved, but overwhelmed with all the things I need to get done within the next 6-8 weeks!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Getting Schooled

I had my first breastfeeding class last night, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience (literally)! While I understood the basics of breastfeeding, it was great to learn all of the many, many things I didn't know!

This was the first class in a series of two. We talked about the benefits of breastfeeding, how it works, what makes a good latch, breastfeeding positions and lots of other things. I loved the LC who taught the class (you have to be comfortable with yourself to spend 2.5 hours grabbing your in front of a room of strangers). Everyone seemed to pay attention, although this one guy across the aisle from me kept snickering at the pictures of n.ipples. Really, dude? Seriously. I was one of only 3 in the class who didn't bring their partner with them, but to me it wasn't a big deal. I told Mr. M. I wouldn't make him attend as long as he promised to read all of the materials. He was VERY grateful.

I thought I would pass along what I learned to anyone who maybe isn't taking a class, is a clueless as I was, or is just curious in general.

First, and most importantly: The Benefits of Breastfeeding

-Complete and superior nutrition for the infant. The baby uses every part/nutrient in the milk.
-Mutual needs of mom and baby are met. The tactile contact with mom and physical stimulations aids in baby's brain development.
-Excellent development of baby's jaws, teeth and gums.
-Cost savings compared to formula. Breastmilk is FREE!
-No preparation required. No heating, storing, freezing, bottles, etc.
-No problem with baby having constipation. This is because baby absorbs ALL of the nutrients from the milk.
-Fewer allergies, colds, ear infections, diaper rashes and eczema. Baby gets the helpful antibodies he can't make on his own yet from mom's milk.

Pretty great list, huh?

Instead of boring you with textbook-like talk, I'm just going to make some bullet points of things that either 1) I didn't know or 2) I think you might find helpful.

Did you know that...(I didn't)
-Your n.ipples actually STRETCH OUT when you feed? I didn't and it looks CREEPY! :)
-Milk usually comes in 3 days after a v.aginal birth and 4-5 days after a C-section.
-Your ribcage will shrink after you give birth so you need to make sure your nursing b.ras have room to tighten.
-You are supposed to wait 3-4 weeks after birth before offering baby a bottle or pacifier (unless directed otherwise by a medical professional) so he establishes a great latch and has no confusion.
-You aren't supposed to wash or scrub your n.ips while BFing because it strips off the protective layer of skin cells that help you from getting rubbed raw.
-You don't need to worry about baby not being able to breathe with his nose all smushed up on your b.oob. If he can't breathe, he will let go!
-For sore n.ips, the only approved treatment is anhydrous lanolin. There are two kinds - Lansinoh or Tender Care by Medela. Our LC prefers Tender Care.
-You should unswaddle the baby during feeding time - just leave him in a diaper and onesie or sleep sack.
-You should ideally try to BF within the first hour after birth, when baby is most awake and alert. After the first couple of hours he will get VERY sleepy and stay that way for 24-48 hours, making feedings difficult. This is why babies lose weight after birth.
-The LCs at our hospital actually prefer for new moms NOT to bring B.oppys or other nursing pillows to the hospital. The prefer to use their bed pillow. That was a helpful heads up and one that I don't really mind.

That's all I got besides the actual techniques and positions, which are covered in every childbirth book, etc. It looks like cross-cradle and football hold are the best when learning to feed, and cradle hold and lying down work better once feeding is established.

Hope this is helpful to someone!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Just Fell in Love

Here he is, at 30 weeks, measuring right on and perfectly healthy.

He sleeps with his right hand up by his face, just like I do.

I just fell in love.