Thursday, April 26, 2012

Confessions of a Dairy Cow: MOO

Boobs. Well now I've got your attention don't I?
This is the story of my journey so far as a nursing mommy, or my favorite term: dairy cow.

Our society is seemingly obsessed with breasts for every reason except what they were made for. If you don't believe me just go look on the lake during any holiday, or check out "Party Heat: lake havasu". Yeah, I'm just so proud of our town. Society loves boobs...unless you happen to be using them to feed your baby.  Thankfully more people are coming around and breastfeeding is making a comeback.

Before I even got pregnant I knew I was going to breastfeed. Afterall, it's perfectly formulated for my baby and enfamil can't even begin to compete with it. I always have food at the ready for the baby, and at 2am it's much nicer to just attach baby to me rather than get up and prep a bottle. The bonding experience and feeling of love you get is amazing as well. Plus one of the biggest's FREEEEE! Have you looked at formula costs lately? It's expensive!

So, I did all my homework and made my choice. In our childbirth class we were given a booklet on breastfeeding. It was full of pictures of women happily smiling at their babies while they fed them. I figured thats exactly how it would be. I had heard a ton of women say "oh it was sooo painful at first" but my book, and just about everywhere else, said  breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. I figured those women who said it hurt were just doing it wrong.

Well Roxas was born and I added dairy cow to my resume. Moo. Although his initial feeding went well it all went downhill from there. The nurses at our hospital were wonderful but all of them had different advice. At any rate we came home and I started getting used to being a 24hr, all you can eat buffet. Fast forward a week and we found ourselves in the presence of a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding had become what everybody said it shouldn't be: painful. It was excrutiating. I could probably have had my nipples pierced and it would have hurt less. Anyways, we were getting help from a pro, she would be my magic cure right? Well she did help, and showed me how to get his mouth open more because his latch was shallow. It wasn't the cure though.

In the weeks to come feeding became worse. I developed a huge crack that would open up and bleed at every feed. I would often have to psych myself up to feed my son and then I would scream, cry and yelp as he latched on. Thats an awful feeling by the way- not wanting to feed your baby, talk about guilt. Roxas was gaining weight perfectly though so we were doing something right. I was so close to giving up many times. Thankfully I have a ton of support from my husband, family, and friends who helped me stick with it. It helps that I'm impossibly stubborn too.

Now, 7 weeks later I can feed Roxas with only a slight wince at first, and things are on the mend. Although now I have developed a case of mastitis (boob infection) which makes me feel like I have the flu and the infected breast is very tender. I caught it early so with my antibiotics I should be better soon. Lots of rest until then, hence the blog post.

So, all those books are wrong if you ask me...sometimes breastfeeding hurts! You might be lucky and have no problems at all, in that case count your lucky stars and if you value your life keep your mouth shut around any mommy who is having a hard time. If you aren't lucky I encourage you to get  some good support stick it out, it really does get better! I'm so happy I stuck with it. There are so many great things about breastfeeding and I love being about to provide food for my baby. It's also pretty cool knowing that the food I'm making for him is what's keeping him alive and healthy.

So my journey as a dairy cow continues.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

7 Weeks Old- Thankful

Roxas was 7 weeks old yesterday! I am still amazed at how so little time has passed yet he has grown so much! He is one smiling and happy boy, I often wake up to his cute little smile grinning back at me from his cradle. Kind of makes all the exhaustion and frustration just melt away instantly. He babbles and coos at us all the time now too, he is even starting to try and laugh! His neck muscles are starting to become strong enough to hold his head up most of the time with only a little help. All signs our little boy is growing up. Sometimes it feels like he is growing so much but then I also realize he still has so many more things to learn like sitting up, rolling over, his first foods and words. I can't wait for all those great things but I'm sure I will be sad too. Heaven help me when he goes to school, I may need to be medicated. I found this song called "Safe and Sound" by one of my favorite artists, Matthew West. I made a little video montage with it complete with some of the video from when Roxas was born. I hope you enjoy it. I titled this blog "Thankful" because sometimes I have a hard time with wanting the lives that others have and I need to stop every now and then to look again at what I have and realize I have more than I think I do. While I might not have everything I want (Disney timeshare anybody?)I have a lot more than some people have and I am thankful for it. I have a healthy son who I absolutely adore, a husband who would go to the ends of the Earth for me and a ton of family and friends who are always by my side whether I realize they are there or not. Even though I would love to be a full time stay at home mom I have made the choice to go back to work and that choice has taken a awhile to become comfortable with. I am so thankful for a job that will let me come back slowly for a few hours at a time first and ease my way into things. I am also very thankful for a husband who works so hard to allow me the freedom of only working part time. For these things I am very thankful and I don't deserve to be so blessed. Well that's all for this week, until next time.

Monday, April 16, 2012

6 Weeks old- Keeping it all together

Our little monster is 6 weeks old today. Time has really flown by and it is amazing how much he has grown.

In Roxas news: I know every mom thinks her baby is some kind of genius so I will spare you my tales of how advanced he is and how he is surely going to be a rocket scientist just because he can chew on his fist. He is actually quite amazing sometimes. His legs are very strong and he love to push on anything he can with them. If we put our arm behind his feet while he is having tummy time he will push himself across the floor! Granted, he is dragging his face on the ground but hey he is moving! He has also found his hands (as I mentioned earlier this is a sure sign he will be advanced) and loves to chew on them prompting quite a bit of drooling. Oh boy. He is really starting to notice things like toys and people and actually focuses on them unlike before when he would just look around without actually seeing much. His nights are getting better and better (knock on wood) in fact he slept from midnight to 5:30 this morning! Hooray! Although the trade off for these great nights is apparently awful evenings. The past two days he has decided to be incredibly fussy in the evenings. He ends up so overtired that he won't sleep even thought that is exactly what would help and make him happy. I hope he can grow out of that soon. Speaking of growing...he is growing fast now. I nearly had an emotional breakdown over a pair of dino footie pajamas last night. I tried to put them on Roxas only to find they are too small. I had to go into the 0-3 month section of the closet to find him some PJs. I'm very sentimental and just having to put away these newborn clothes is another sign he is growing up. It's rather bittersweet. Of course I want him to grow up and become a smart, sweet little boy but I wish I could hold on to him just as he is now too. Oh dear, now I'm all teary eyed. Better move on.

Here are a couple of videos of Roxas using his little legs to launch himself out of his Boppy and scoot across the floor...on his face.

In Mommy news: Well I am still loving my position as mommy and the jury is still out on when my return to work will be. I think I will be going back but only part-time, possibly only one or two days a week instead of my usual 3 or 4. In other good news too, I have reached my fist goal in breastfeeding: 6 weeks of exclusive feeding. He only had two bottles in his first 6 weeks and I am darn proud of myself for sticking it out until now. I am still dealing with a few issues but for the most part we have made it over the biggest hump and it's all downhill now.

Well that is all for this week, I shall see you all next time.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I love my new mommy job

In Roxas news:
He had his big theatrical debut last week! He played the part of baby Jesus in our church Easter play. He did pretty well for his performances except for the last night. I guess 2 out of 3 is all I can really ask of a one month old!

He also had his first Easter this year. We didn't take him to see the Easter bunny because, well he won't remember or care and I didn't want to tote a baby into town and then attempt to get a picture with some guy in a bunny suit. It just wasn't at the top of my priority list. We also aren't going to do the whole "Easter bunny" thing with him either. We will still have fun with some of the mainstream Easter traditions like egg hunts and baskets with candy and toys but we will explain that the Easter bunny is just for fun and isn't the reason we celebrate with all this fun stuff. We want to make sure Roxas understands and knows we celebrate Easter because long ago Jesus rose from the grave and has made us a promise, not because some bunny-chicken hybrid likes to go around laying colorful eggs and handing out candy. Part of me will miss not being able to play the Easter bunny and do some of the things my parents did for me, like putting bunny footprints on the floor or leaving out half nibbled carrots, but we will still have lots of fun in every other way. We won't have to worry about that for a little while though, I don't think he was even vaguely aware that yesterday was special in some way.

He is growing like crazy now. He is now wearing size 1 diapers instead of newborn size and it just reminds me how quickly he is growing and there is nothing I can do to stop it so I had better just get used to it. He is really strong too. He holds his head up a lot of the time with very little support and his legs are really powerful. If you put your arm behind his feet while he lays on his tummy he will use it to push himself across the floor. Granted, he pushes himself across on his face but he can move! He is making all kinds of new noises too, and occasionally mimics me when I make the same kind of noises back at him. His nights are still hit and miss. We have been on a good streak lately and hopefully that keeps up! Fingers crossed. He does sometimes pull the fussy time stunt of crying non stop for an hour or more. We can get him to calm down for only minutes at a time. Those are the most frustrating times for me. I try everything I can to make him happy (food, diaper, pacifier, rocking, bouncing, swing, outside, dark, name it I try it) and it is all for not. The funny part is when he just switches off. All of a sudden he will calm down and be happy again. Weird baby.

We had another big first this weekend besides Easter. It was really more of a first for me than anything. Kenny and I went out on a date (no that's not the first I'm talking about) and left Roxas with his Grandma and Grandpa Stutler. I really loved going to see a movie with just Kenny and I. It was a nice break for sure, but I did miss my little man. Truthfully I wasn't terribly anxious. I know my in-laws wouldn't let him play with knives or climb on the roof or anything so I felt fine knowing he was safe. It was just more the feeling of not having him near me. I've been near him every second of his life and it was a little weird leaving him. Driving out to the theater I caught myself thinking about the empty backseat a few times. It went quite well though and I didn't have any breakdowns so I call that a win.

In mommy news:
I love my new job as a mommy. I spend my days (and nights) tending to Roxas and enjoy it so much. When Roxas allows it I get other things done too like keeping up on the housework, not like I used to but it's good enough. I have only had two "real" jobs in my life and I loved both of them too. Technically I am still employed but I am just on leave right now. Those other jobs were wonderful, don't get me wrong, but I love being a mom and wife the most. In my previous posts I've mentioned pushing my maternity leave back farther and farther and I'm still battling with myself over when I will go back to work...if at all. I have been struggling with this question pretty heavily for the past week or so. I do enjoy my job, but I really have no desire to go back right now and I don't know if I will in the future either. Being at home with Roxas just feels so perfectly right. Then again, my going back to work means two paychecks get added back into the monthly income pool each month. I just finished paying the bills and it's getting tough to stretch every last cent as far as I can. We now have hefty medical bills on top of our regular ones too. Part of me feels like I have no choice but to return to work for the financial aspects of things. The other part feels like I would be taking something away from Roxas. I'm also hoping to begin nursing school (hey look, more student loan bills!) this fall and the thought of work, school and being mommy for Roxas really makes me feel sad. School and mommy just sounds so much nicer. I don't want to miss out on time with Roxas. On the other hand again is my loyalty to my boss. I love my boss like a second mom, she has done so much for me it's ridiculous. She treats me just like a daughter and spoils me accordingly. I will never work for somebody so amazing I am sure. I feel awful when I think about telling her I won't be coming back. She has hired another girl to help out while I've been away but I feel terrible that she is working pretty much 7 days a week due to my absence. So there is my dilemma. I continue to fight myself on this and go back and forth coming up with a pro for every con and a con for every pro. I don't know ultimately what we will decide to do as a family but I am praying for guidance from God and hope that I can listen to His advice.

Well, I wanted to type more but according to Roxas it is brunch time so I had better go open the buffet. Until next time...

Monday, April 2, 2012

One Month Already!

Wow...a month has gone by since Roxas was born. I am always amazed at how time can fly when you don't really want it to. Roxas is happy and growing, he is already changing right before my eyes. I find it really amazing that I have kept a tiny human alive for a month. We had quite a busy day Saturday with pictures and Roxas's dedication.

We don't do baby baptism or anything, instead we do a dedication where we promise to raise him to know and love God just as we do. Roxas was a champ at church for the first time, he only got a bit fussy during the message, but we got through it pretty well. The pastor who did his dedication is very special to us as a couple, he was our youth pastor when we met, he married us and now he did the dedication for Roxas. That probably doesn't happen too often. We also did professional pictures which I will be getting back next week [yay]. It was quite an ordeal though, our appointment started late and that just threw off our entire groove. We did manage to get a decent amount of good shots with the whole family and Roxas by himself. I can't wait to share them!

Leaving the house with a baby is a whole new experience in itself. One does not simply walk out the door with a baby. No. There is intense planning and plotting that must happen first. I make sure I'm ready to go, then I make sure Roxas is ready to go, and the diaper bag is stocked. Then I feed Roxas and we leave as quickly as possible after he eats and hope he stays happy for the outing. It takes me a full 45 minutes to an hour to get out the door, gone are the days of just spontaneously heading to the store!

One of the biggest and hardest things to do as a mom is to remember that I am also a wife. Roxas demands pretty much all of my time and it is very easy to forget that I also have a husband who needs my attention too. Several years of couple's getaways have taught me a few things and one of those is: I don't ever want to let our relationship become neglected. We have a wonderful relationship now but that doesn't mean I'm not on the defensive looking for the first sign of attack on us. If there are any new moms who read this, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to never forget your husband. I know the baby is always needing something but just a quick hug or conversation about something other than baby is helpful. Someday the kids will all be grown and leave the nest...then you'll be left with just each other.

Roxas is now tired of being bounced by my foot in his bouncer so I had better wrap it up.

I've been a mommy for a whole month and I can't imagine a better job. I love this little monster so very much I can't imagine life without him now. Even though he can make my life very difficult at times I still love him more than anything on Earth.