Friday, August 30, 2013

Top 10 things I wish someone told me about breastfeeding while I was still pregnant...

I have been reflecting a lot on my breastfeeding journey with Madeline lately. We have made it to 4 months!! Each month feels like a major accomplishment, as each month she changes so drastically. As she gets older, she has been developing more and more of her own personality, which has been changing our nursing sessions a lot. She's easily distracted. She likes to grab at things. And she has this fierce independent streak, I swear she unlatches and puts her thumb in her mouth instead in a "I don't need you mummy, I can do this MYSELF" kind of way... I digress... I wanted to take this time to list the top 10 things I wish someone had told me about breastfeeding before I was knee deep in it.

Here it goes:

  1. It's ok for it to hurt in the beginning. Everything you read says you shouldn't feel any pain and if you do, you're doing it wrong. I call bullshit on that. Madeline had a great latch (as per my midwife) from the beginning, and it STILL hurt a lot. It takes a little bit for your boobs to get used to that kind of constant action... It's OK. By all means, make sure you're not doing something wrong, but definitely don't feel like you're a screw up just because it's painful. 
  2. The more you nurse, the more milk your body makes. I am fairly certain that the reason I have been successful thus far with nursing is that from the beginning we've nursed on demand. This meant that in the first couple of weeks I had a baby on my boob ALL. THE. TIME. It brought me to tear sometimes because I just felt like a milk machine. However, I believe that doing this caused my milk to come in fast (she was born Sunday morning and I had milk by Monday night), and it increased my supply quite a bit. This brings me to my next point...
  3. You don't produce milk right away! I did know this, but I know a lot of people who don't. Your baby's stomach is so small in the beginning, that the small amount of clearish liquid you produce (colostrum) is enough to keep the baby satisfied until your milk comes in! 
  4. Make sure you have the proper emotional and "technical" support. My midwife was instrumental in my success with nursing, she was encouraging and knowledgeable, and I could always ask her loads of questions. She got right in there and showed me how to make sure Madeline latched properly! It was awesome.
  5. Make sure you have the proper support. For your boobs. Invest in a couple of nice nursing bras as soon as you can! And avoid underwires, they can cause clogged ducts.
  6. You probably won't care who sees your boobs. I lost most of my sense of modesty in the early days. I did have some exceptions, I didn't want my dad or my father-in-law to see my boobs, icky. I did whip out my boobs for almost everyone else. I still do this with my mom and sister. Madeline hates a cover and any time I can get away with not using it, I do. 
  7. You'll probably talk about your boobs a lot. My husband and I talk about my boobs a lot, and not in the way you would have imagined before kids. I also talk about my boobs to other women who have breastfed! I can't wait until they're no longer an acceptable topic of conversation, haha.
  8. If you want to give your baby a bottle, and keep your supply up, you'll have to pump for every bottle. Madeline won't take a bottle (ugh), but I learned that every time your baby takes a bottle, you have to pump. Otherwise you risk your supply dropping because your body thinks you no longer need that nursing session. That means that if you want to leave your baby with someone for an extended period, you best be packing. Your pump, that is.
  9. Some babies just don't like bottles. Madeline acts like you're torturing her every time we try a bottle. I have a whole freezer full of milk that she won't drink. We are still trying, but I truly believe that some babies just don't take to bottles. Of course if I decided not to nurse anymore, eventually she would drink from one, she won't starve herself, but as long as my boobs are an option, she wants those. If you want your baby to take a bottle, I'd start offering one pretty early. It's hard, there is so much mixed advice out there, don't give one too early lest they get confused and don't want your boobs anymore, BUT don't give one too late or they might not take it!!! Ack. So confusing. I wonder what the magic timeline is for offering one... if anyone knows, let me know!
  10. YOU CAN DO THIS. You are awesome. Believe in yourself, your boobs, and your baby! 
There you have it! My top 10. So it's Friday and it's a long weekend! I am so pumped! Madeline and I are headed to a play date later today, and we're in for a relaxing weekend with Daddy. Hopefully the weather will be good and we can do lots of walking with Leroy! Happy Labor Day weekend to all!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

They fit! They fit!

At four months postpartum my wedding rings FINALLY fit! I haven't worn them since Christmas so it's pretty exciting. I'm only about six or seven pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. Pretty damn proud of that. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Madeline's Birth Story

Madeline turned 4 months old on August 21st, and I am only getting around to writing about her birth now. Oops. Luckily, it's still pretty fresh in my mind, and it was a pretty simple, uncomplicated birth, so there wasn't too much to remember anyways.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I ended up going 12 days overdue. During those 12 days I had two ultrasounds to look at fluid levels and placenta activity, just to make sure there was nothing going on that would require an induction. I also had two very unpleasant membrane sweeps. If you don't know what that is, and you really want to, google it. Not pleasant at all. On Saturday April 20th, at 11 days overdue, I met with my secondary midwife (my primary had gone on vacation when I was 10 days overdue!!!) and she did the second membrane sweep, around 2:30 in the afternoon. She seemed optimistic that I wouldn't need the induction, but we planned one for Monday anyways.

Meanwhile, my parents were making the drive from Halifax. They had planned their trip thinking there was no way I would go 2 weeks late!! After I met with the midwife we went home and went for a walk to try to get things moving. Not much really happened, until, BAM, my water broke around 6:30pm. Fifteen minutes later my parents pulled in our driveway, haha! Perfect timing! Around then my midwife called to see how I was doing. I told her I thought my water had broken but I wasn't feeling any contractions yet. She told me to hold tight, get some rest, and call her when contractions were coming 4 minutes apart, or if I couldn't talk through them. Anyways, my water kind of broke in 3 stages. The first time, at 6:30, I was pretty sure it was my water breaking but not 100% confident, about 15 minutes later the same thing happened again, and then maybe 15 minutes after that I had the huge gush you see on TV. Seriously. It was a lot of fluid. And that is when my contractions started, almost immediately.

We figured I had quite a while to wait, since we'd heard so much about early labor and how long it can go one for, so my husband went to pick up some pizza. He decided to stop in and get some beer for him and my dad with supper too. Meanwhile, back at home I was having pretty strong contractions that were about 2.5 minutes apart. I could still talk through them but they were really uncomfortable. My husband arrived back home and I tried to eat a little but really didn't feel like it. I think I managed to eat a half a slice of pizza. It was looking like all of the stuff we had learned about the different stages of labour would be completely useless to me. My labour came on fast and strong, none of this contractions every 20 minutes crap.

When my midwife (henceforth known as Sandra :) ) called back around 8pm I was having contractions every 1.5-2.5 minutes and they were pretty strong, but I could still talk through them. She made the decision to come to our house to check me, since things were so close together. At this point my parents decided to check into a hotel, and they took Leroy over to my in-laws house where he would stay for a few days.

Sandra arrived around 8:30pm, when she checked me she figured I was only 2-3 centimeters. Usually she would have gone home at this point and waited a little while, but since everything was coming so close together, she decided to stay at our house. I don't remember how often, but between 8:30pm and 11pm I was probably checked about 3 or 4 times. At 11pm and about 5 cm dilated, Sandra suggested we head to the hospital before the drive was excruciatingly painful for me. I quickly agreed. The drive was awful. It was very difficult to just sit in the seat during contractions. They were very very intense at this point. We got to the hospital and all checked in around 11:30pm.

I tried so many different things to ease the pain. I got in the jetted tub. I laboured in different positions. I walked around. Nothing helped at all. Strangely, the most comfortable position for my was in the bed curled up in the fetal position. After a while I tried the tub again, no luck. I was so disappointed because I had heard such good things about labouring in water!! It did nothing for me at all. Back to the bed I went! Sometime around 12:30, Sandra talked to me about trying a shot of morphine. I had really really wanted an unmedicated birth, but she encouraged me to try this intervention because I was so tired at this point and things had been so hard and painful right from the start, she was worried I wouldn't have any energy to push the baby out. I hesitated but eventually agreed to try it. She told me it wouldn't make the pain go away, but that I'd feel kind of drunk and would be able to get a little rest. Yeah. No. It did absolutely nothing for me!!! I didn't feel drunk or any relief at all, and certainly didn't sleep.

After it was clear that morphine wasn't going to work for me, around 3am Sandra suggested I try nitrous oxide. I was in transition at this point (at about 7 cm) and contractions were one on top of the other, no break at all. I was desperate for some kind of relief, so again I agreed. This did help a little, I think it was mostly that it forced me to focus on my breathing and it calmed me down a bit. It made me feel light headed and loopy, but didn't take the pain away at all. I liked the noise of the machine though, I found it pretty soothing. I used it until I was ready to push.

I reached 10 cm and was ready to start pushing at 4:15am. A second midwife arrived to help with the delivery. I was so excited to get to this stage, it meant I had made it without an epidural! Yay! There were so many thoughts running through my head at this point. I could feel when I needed to push, but I couldn't tell if anything was actually happening when I did. It felt like it was taking FOREVER. I looked up at the clock and it was 4:45 am. I remember asking how much longer they thought until Madeline arrived, Sandra told me it was probably going to be about 30 minutes. That made me feel SO much better. I really do well with an end point in sight. When Sandra told me she could see her head, I asked her if she had any hair!! She said "not much!" and I remember being excited that she had any at all since both my husband and I were bald as babies. This gave me the strength I needed to finish the job :)

I only had to push for an hour, which is apparently pretty fast for a first time mom! And Sandra was bang-on with her estimate of 30 minutes. Madeline Rose was born at 5:15am on Sunday April 21st. She was 8 lbs 11 oz and 21 inches long. She latched on almost immediately and was so alert right away! I can hardly believe she's already 4 months old :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our first big house project - Basement Renovation!

We bought our house from a builder about 4 years ago now, and have been living here for about 3.5 years. Since it was a new build, we haven't really had to do any major renovations, of course that hasn't stopped us from spending tons of money here. For major expenses, we've put up a fence, built a deck, added eavestroughing, and an air conditioner. Smaller projects have included mostly painting, and upgrading some of the light fixtures. We've also purchased a lot of new furniture over the years. None of these things have involved much of a renovation, or much effort on our part. My dad did all of the painting, and built us our deck. Home Depot did the fence. My husband and I are pretty much the least handy people on the planet at this point in time.

We are hoping to change that a little with our big basement renovation! Of course we won't be doing all of the work ourselves. In fact, a lot of it will be hired out, and some of it will be done by my dad. BUT, we are still excited, and we are going to attempt some of the stuff ourselves. You have to start somewhere, right?

The builder finished the largest room of the basement, which is currently our "family room". There is also a roughed in bathroom, a furnace room, and another small room under the stairs. We are planning to finish the small room, which will eventually become a play room for Madeline. We're also finishing the bathroom. We figure it'll add a lot of value to the house, and won't it be nice not to have to go ALL the way up one flight of stairs to go to the bathroom when in the middle of an intense The Walking Dead marathon? We thought so! As an add-on we will be replacing the carpet destroyed by Leroy with some nice laminate floor, which will run through the family room and the playroom.
That mat is TOTALLY covering where Leroy ripped up our carpet...
I have made a huge to-do list and will update the blog once we've done enough to really warrant an update. Hopefully I will also remember to take some photos as we go. Here are some "before" photos, although the electrical work has been done, so they're not truly before, but close enough!
Leroy photobombing my shot of the playroom! The closet will cover that ugly stuff. 
Leroy loves photobombing!
Bathroom, you can see the roughed in plumbing!
And on to the big list:

  1. Add electrical to both rooms. (75% completed - the electrician will come back after the room is painted to finish up)
  2. Put up framing/drywall in both rooms.
  3. Prime and paint both rooms.
  4. Install light fixture in the bathroom.
  5. Install light fixture in the playroom.
  6. Install fan in the bathroom.
  7. Rip up all of the carpet and remove baseboard in the family room.
  8. Lay laminate flooring.
  9. Lay ceramic tile in the bathroom.
  10. Add baseboards and trim to playroom and bathroom.
  11. Install the vanity in the bathroom.
  12. Install the faucet in the bathroom.
  13. Install toilet.
  14. Install corner shower.
  15. Put up glass tile backsplash over the vanity.
  16. Hang a mirror in the bathroom.
  17. Put a door on the closet in the playroom.
  18. Replace the door of the playroom with a folding door.
  19. Put up some shelving in the playroom closet.
  20. Hang art in the bathroom.
  21. Hang art in the playroom.
  22. Come up with some kind of toy storage solution in the playroom.
Now, let's talk budget! My husband is an accountant, so naturally he's very in to budgeting and such. We talked a lot about what we wanted to spend, and got some quotes for the electrical and drywall work. We also took a trip to Home Depot to figure out just how much things like showers and toilets cost! After all of the we figure we're looking at about $6000. That includes everything, and tax. So far we have purchased a few things and I am happy to report we are under budget! I think I'll do up a budget post once the project is completed. After everything is done we are also planning on asking my real estate agent mother-in-law to do an assessment so we will know how much value we possibly added with this project :)

One of my friends is coming on Monday to start framing and drywalling, and then my husband and I are planning on tackling the painting job so that the electrician can come back and finish his work in the next week or so! Wish us luck! It should also be mentioned that any work that we will be doing ourselves will have to be done during Madeline's super short 45 minute naps (ugh), so it should be a bit of a challenge. I should have an update for you soon :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Breastfeeding is hard, yo.

I've always known I would breastfeed my kids. Well, I have always known I would attempt to breastfeed my kids. There are so many things that can go wrong, so many possible challenges, so I figured going into it with an open mind would be ideal. My mom was unable to breastfeed my older sister, so didn't even try with me. That was her choice and given the anxiety it caused her, probably the best choice to make her the best mother she could be. 

For me, all of the things I thought would make it hard (pain, infections, bad latch, low supply) have been such a breeze. It's the things I didn't think about, like having a baby who isn't a milk monster, that are making it difficult. It's mentally difficult for me. From the beginning I have had an oversupply which is super annoying and uncomfortable. In order to battle this I was feeding Madeline A LOT. Like every hour a lot. This worked for a while, but then she started developing her little personality and a mind of her own, and she stopped cooperating with me. This is probably the first instance of this in a whole lifetime of her being uncooperative I'm sure. I digress. She stopped wanting to feed every time I wanted her to. 

This has been really tough for me, mentally. It feels like I have been rejected by my own flesh and blood, which is silly, I know. She doesn't have the mental capacity to reject me, and she shows me her affection in other ways, like when she doesn't want to be held by anyone but me, and when I get so many smiles and laughs out of her over the course of our day together. But still, each time she refuses to nurse, I feel rejected! I'm working on getting over this. For one, she doesn't need to eat every 1-2 hours like she used to. Sometimes she goes 4 or 5. I am trying to trust that she will let me know when she's hungry. It's proving difficult to do, but I will get there. We've made it 4 months so far, I'm sure we can both make it work for much much longer. One day at a time.

This post didn't really have a point, just had to get it out.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I've been bingeing...

On Gossip Girl! It's my nap time activity of choice these days. I watched the first two seasons when they originally aired but stopped when I moved in with my husband who couldn't be less interested in the scandalous lives of Manhattan's elite...

But it's on Netflix now and I just can't help but get pulled in to its soap opera-esque drama. I've made my way through 4 seasons already! Good thing Madeline has been napping well this week because it is getting seriously intense! It's too bad I'll have to wait for season 6 to go up on Netflix to finish it off. 

Any other way too old for this Gossip Girl fans out there?


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Long weekend musings...

It's a long weekend here in Ontario, which means I'm parenting with my partner, my hubby, for an extra day on Monday. While it has always been awesome to spend extra time with my sweetie, it's extra awesome now with a baby. An extra set of hands!!! Woohoo!

We had some friends over for a BBQ yesterday and it was the first social event I've ever hosted that didn't feature at least one homemade dish. It's just one of the many things I used to love to do that has seemingly fallen by the wayside ever since a certain someone has entered my life! I know this exhausted feeling is just temporary, which is great because I'd really love to feel a tiny bit like my old self soon.

Even so, I've begun to really think about how motherhood changes you. Mentally, and also physically, I am almost a completely different person, and there is nothing wrong with that. Look what I (maybe I should be saying we?) did, I created a new life! And when I did I accepted that it meant that my role as mother would mean shaping my child's life and putting mine on the back burner for a little while. 

Interestingly, the things I miss from my old life are not the things I expected to miss. I expected to miss traveling on a whim, going out to nice restaurants, poker nights with friends. In reality, I mostly miss cooking, baking, and cleaning. Seriously. The level of grossness in our bathroom is horrifying to me. I should possibly be doing that right now instead of writing this blog post... Hmmm... Anyways..

The good news is that these things I miss will come back shortly. Madeline is taking better naps and I am starting to feel human again, it's at the point now where I don't feel like I need to be napping when she's napping, so there's a little room for cooking, baking, cleaning, and BLOGGING. There's also a career/professional task (paperwork to become a P. Eng) that I've been putting off for so long that needs to get done before I head back to work, so that needs to occupy some of my free time too. 

This was kind of a jumbled mix of thoughts, but after reading this post today, I think that's ok. 
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