Saturday, November 29, 2008

Asleep on Daddy

Emma will now fall asleep with Chet...as long as he walks with her for so long his arm falls asleep...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Emma 3 months with Funkin


Cake

Aden built this and said "Look at the cake I made." We had watched Ace of Cakes the night before...teeheehee

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Since i have a minute i figure i will follow suit with most everyone's blogs today and list what i am thankful for. I might try keeping up with a daily or weekly gratitude list too either by blogging or just writing it down - it does so help me to see those things that are great about my life.
  • I am thankful for my kids, of course. Today was spent at United Life Spiritual Center at "Friends-Giving" and my kids were attentive, helpful and participated fully. We all had a good time relaxing amongst our chosen/Spiritual family.
  • I am thankful for my Tribe of friends as without them it would be hard to make it through the rough times as they help me keep things in perspective.
  • I am thankful for the time i spend nursing Emma. I try to stay in the moment every time and am finding it a great spiritual practice.
  • I am thankful that Emma will now let Chet get her to sleep so now it is not all me, all the time.
  • I am thankful for the shower i got this morning as of late they have been few and are farther between than i prefer.
  • I am thankful for my family. I have talked to/emailed with my sisters more this week than most times and it has helped me to appreciate them in my life.
  • I am thankful for donor breast milk, the mom's that give so freely and my wonderful husband who travels to Dallas to get it.
  • I am thankful for the beautiful day today and the great food shared...and left overs!
  • I am thankful for our new family meetings and helper jobs as it has made our lives more harmonious and life easier for me.
  • I am thankful for so many other things that i don't have time to type right now...

i think i do need to keep a running gratitude list instead of saving it up all year ;-}

Hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful one!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Catching Up - Halloween

Here are Halloween pics with commentary:
We went to get a pumpkin and here is Angelic Aden having a great time amongst the 'patch' - he loved this pumpkin:
and these decorative corn - he tried to eat some:

We bought some popcorn cobbs and burned the first 2 - third time is a charm. Pretty cool to pop it in the cobb and it was even fairly tasty:


Aden's jackolantern. He told me how he wanted it to look. I drew it on first to make sure he would like the final result. Next year we will have the right tools for him to do it himself:
What was he for Halloween? A fruit bat of course:
And Emma had a Kangaroo costume that Aden picked out for her but didnt get worn. She wore this outfit instead and helped me pass out candy. The shirt says "Daddy's under my spell"

Seth wanted to be a vampire but didnt want to shell out the cash for a good realistic costume and accessories. He stayed home to pass out candy and seemed to enjoy it...no pics of him doing so, sorry.

Catching Up - Handsome Angst

This pic was taken by Seth and is quite a good one of his hair *and* handsome face:

Catching up - Emma 2 month pic with Funkin

Here is Emma at 2 months with her build-a-bear Funkin (caught a smile even!):

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Breastfeeding Challenges Story

My story starts almost 14 years ago but I will try to keep things brief :}
I was a 22 year old single mom when my now 14 year old was born. He was born at a freestanding birth center with no interventions or hoopla…great pregnancy, great birth. At his 3 week well-child appointment the midwives said he was not yet back up to birth weight and suggested I see a lactation consultant. The one they recommended was on vacation so I ended up seeing one at a local hospital. She watched me with him for a short while and said, “looks like you are doing everything right, I think you are stressed and that is why your milk supply is low. You need to supplement.” She gave me formula samples yet still encouraged me to breastfeed. I tried in vain (with very little support) for 3 more weeks until I just couldn’t deal with it any more…I was way too stressed at that point to see any benefit in me continuing to try…

Fast forward to 3 ½ years ago and add a wonderfully supportive husband. I had a bit of a harder pregnancy (a couple weeks on precautionary bed rest for mild bleeding) but over-all it went well. Gave birth at home with midwives. No interventions or hoopla – great birth! I was determined to breastfeed and made it my focus. I used the excuse that it was winter and RSV season to not go anywhere (except the dr.) and not have visitors. Since the situation was completely different than the first, I was not quite as anxious as I could have been though I did read more info on breastfeeding than with the previous. I read “The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding” and a few other books I found at the library. I was told by everyone not to worry about pumping or anything else just to make sure I was eating & drinking enough and that I was offering the breast at LEAST every 2 hours. So I did, I tried to relax about it all and my husband was a great support…making sure I ate well and drank lots of water, etc. At about 2 weeks we did the circumcision and the dr. was very slightly concerned about weight and asked us to come in for weight checks every other day (or something that seemed like a lot at the time). I started pumping and getting very little but saving every drop. He was either nursing, sleeping or crying…there was really no middle ground and I was feeling like something wasn’t right. I called a different recommended lactation consultant and she said “it sounds like you are doing everything right” which I held onto and just kept doing what I was doing…offering the breast as often as he would take it, waking him if he slept more than 2 hours…everything I had read or heard, I tried – fenugreek and blessed thistle included. I felt like I was being tested every time I stepped foot in the dr. office so I stopped going, after all I was “doing everything right.”
When he turned 6 weeks, I needed to go see a friend (former LLL leader – I had forgotten that at the time) and a few days after we saw each other she called with a concern that he wasn’t filling out the way he should have been. Add that comment to the underlying fear of not doing something right but being told I was, I broke down crying on the phone with her. I called the same breastfeeding consultant and she came over the next day to watch us. Again “it looks like you are doing everything right.” But this time was different than any other time of being told I was doing things right. She went on to say “he is not filling out the way he should be so I am concerned about a genetic disorder.” She recommended (and went with me) to her pediatrician.
Long story longer, he had gone from 8lbs at birth to 6lbs. 5oz. in 6 weeks with me “doing everything right.” The Dr. set up all kinds of testing and recommended I get a supplemental nurser (the thing you put formula in and attach to your breasts while you nurse) to help him gain weight while still breastfeeding. I re-read everything I could about breastfeeding in hope of finding something I didn’t read before. I tried and tried and tried and tried to continue nursing and ended up with the flu but still nursed/pumped pretty much round the clock. During this time, we found out there was no disorder and it had to be a supply issue. A last ditch effort on my part I got a prescription for Reglan(sp) and tried that – in vain. I was too sick to continue – I just couldn’t go on so formula it was – defeated again.

While awaiting Emma's arrival I was more determined than ever to breastfeed. I started going to Le Leche League meetings a few months before she was born. I am re-re-read “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and reading the articles some from LLL sent. I told everyone I know that breastfeeding is my mission and sole focus with this baby and that until I have established a good supply, they probably wouldn't be seeing much of me/baby. I had a friend (who has 7 kids and much experience in breastfeeding) set up to be my post-partum doula – her main focus being to help facilitate breastfeeding in any way needed. I have an arsenal of friends that have successfully breastfed at least 2 children in addition to the wonderful mama’s I met at LLL meetings. I have a digital infant scale, a good quality pump, and every possibility of what I *might* have needed available, including the herbs so it would never be a matter of “I don’t have that on hand.” I kept saying and affirming I WILL SUCCEED and will breastfeed as long as this lil person will let me!

When Emma was born at home unassisted - a great birth again, the beginning looked very promising as she latched well and my milk came in on day 3. Little did I know that when I weighed her a week later she would have lost 1lb instead of the normal 10% with an increase beginning by that time. We went to the pediatrician who was very supportive and suggested supplementing with a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) instead of bottles and recommended seeking help from LLL and lactation consultants. So we supplemented and I contacted everyone I knew could possibly help. There were many suggestions, most of what I had already read/heard but some I hadn’t. We rented a hospital grade pump and I tried to pump but that is hard to accomplish when baby wants to be held and there is no consistent help due to Chet having to go back to work. I started to really loath the pump and only used it once or twice a day which was totally ineffective. I got a prescription for Domperidone and of course started taking herbal supplements and eating everything I could that is supposed to increase supply.
At week 2, I took Emma to an ENT to see if she was tongue tied – “she looks perfect” was the ENT’s response. One of my friends started pumping for us and encouraged me to become a member of MilkShare (thanks Phoebe) and get more donor milk so Emma could have the best live-food instead of having to use artificial dead-food formula (thanks ladies). Around 2 months we started physical therapy and found her suck was weak and disorganized so did various things to strengthen it.
It has been 3 months of supplementing (both myself in form of herbals and prescriptions and Emma in form of donor milk) and I am coming to a point of not seeing any progress. As a matter of fact we discovered through test weights that Emma wasn’t getting the amount from me that we thought she was based on her weight gain, so somewhat of a set-back. A dear friend who has gone through a similar situation has helped me soooo very much in figuring out things to try and encouraging me (thanks Felicia) called a lactation consultant in New York who is an expert in sucking as related to breastfeeding. Through her, Felicia has been giving me even more things to try. We switched from the SNS to special bottles (Breastflow) that require Emma to nurse at the bottle instead of just suck like normal bottles which actually corrected her suck and latch issues. Emma nurses from me then has her donor milk from the bottle.
As a last ditch effort, I committed myself to pumping for 10 days to see if I could increase my supply that way. We had an appointment with a pediatric ENT to get a second opinion on the tongue-tie as we suspect a possible type 4 tongue tie which is hard to diagnose, again "she looks perfect" was the diagnoses. It was my hope that through pumping and her nursing prior to the bottle, my milk would increase and we could stop using the bottles at some point. Due to the pump not increasing supply, the fact i didn't not have any breast changes during or after pregnancy, i think i have Insufficient Glandular Tissue. As an effort to find out why i cant feed my babies i went to a breast imaging center only to find out there is nothing that can diagnose this definitively because each woman is so different there is not a quantifier to know how much glandular tissue is needed to produce milk. There is also no way to know that if the glands i do have are working properly and the closest we could come to seeing the glands would be a mammogram which would also show fibrous tissue the same way so it would really only tell us how much fibrous and glandular tissue i have combined.
So now i am reduced to having to say "i don't produce enough milk" which is used as a cop-out in more situations than not. This says nothing of the 3 months of hell and emotional torment i have lived just trying to do something as natural and simple as feeding my baby. It seems a sick joke to be able to easily give birth to my babies yet not be able to feed them.
I am surrendering to what is, I will nurse Emma prior to the bottle for as long as she will let me and be at peace with using the bottle. I will be eternally grateful for the donor milk she receives for as long as we can get it. This defines our current nursing relationship. I appreciate the prayers and support we have received through this time as i would not have made it very far without it.
(Update) We have not been nursing since 12/18/08 but Emma has thankfully still been on breastmilk due to my wonderful donors! Thanks doesn't even come close to what i want to express...breast milk donors ROCK!