Thursday, July 26, 2012

Me and My Dairy Cow Schemes

I know I've done a lot of posts involving my status as dairy cow, but it's a BIG part of being a mom for me and it's been littered with little battles here and there but I think I'm finally winning the war on this one. As my doctor said, and I love this, "Breastfeeding is like learning to ride a bike. Anybody can do it, but you might fall down a lot in the process."

 A thought occurred to me the other day...when I start school I will have one heck of a schedule. I have class four days a week; two of them aren't bad at only 4 hours long but the other two...I will be occupied for 10 hours! TEN HOURS. Eight of them are school and two of them are the hour long (or 45 minute if there aren't any cops around) drive to and from another town. I really want to wait until 6 months to get Roxas going on solid foods but this means having to make sure he has enough milk for those long days I'm at school. That's when I realized I'm going to have to really get in touch with my inner dairy cow if this plan is going to work.

 So I've come up with my strict "Dairy Cow Bootcamp" in hopes of increasing my freezer stash which I guard as if that stuff is liquid platinum. I say platinum because it's more expensive than gold. I've been taking fenugreek by the handful three times a day and occasionally getting the ol' milking machine out but I have to really hunker down on this and get with the program. I started looking into lactation cookies. After all...I like cookies. I found this great recipe for butterscotch and chocolate chip cookies through a post on The Leaky B@@b's Facebook page. I will post a link at the bottom of the blog because truthfully they are pretty tasty even if you aren't of the cow persuasion. I hunted down all the ingredients and whipped up a batch yesterday. The best part is now all I have to do is stuff my face with 3-4 of them a day and hopefully see a bit of an increase in my supply. So to clarify: Eat cookies = increase milk. I can do that.

 So I've got the fenugreek and my tasty milk cookies but the real meat and potatoes of the whole scheme is my good ol' buddy the milking machine. Nothing makes you feel more like a cow than hooking up to this machine. Sometimes I want to get a pair of cow ears just to really set the whole thing off nicely. As much as it's silly looking and feeling though, it's the biggest factor in achieving my goals. I have to give huge thanks to the people at the WIC program. I had no clue how helpful they are with breastfeeding. Any time I had a question or needed a little help they were available to answer me. They also provided me with a nice pump that I could never have afforded on my own. I had a rather cheap one that did not work very well and if I never looked into WIC I probably would have had to supplement as a result of returning to work. I owe this program a lot of thanks in their support and determination to get me to my goals.

 So with that I am going to go stuff another cookie in my mouth and tend to my little calf who just woke up from his nap.

Here is the link to those cookies! Butterscotch Lactation Cookies

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Brave- The Physical Aftermath

It was something I feared, dreaded and did not look forward to: How I would look after having a baby. This is the only time I will really talk about it because I don't want to boast and rub it in anybody's face, but I'd like to share the physical aftermath as well as the emotional.I've never been overly thrilled with how I look but I was comfortable. I had nightmares of gaining pounds and pounds of weight and never being able to shed them. I was extremely blessed to have those nightmares never come to fruition. I try not to talk about it too much or flaunt it, but I am one of the very, very, lucky few who have been able to shed the baby weight and then some. When I got pregnant I was 168lbs, this morning I weighed in at 154lbs. Yup. I weigh less than when I got married, I actually weigh about the same as when I met Kenny 8 years ago. That is a feat that I never dreamed possible. I'm still not overly thrilled with my body but just knowing that I am heading in the right direction is a huge motivator for me. I've still got my stretch marks that will never go away, but truthfully I kind of like them. They are my very own custom tattoos that remind me what amazing things this body can do. I truly believe I owe a lot of this weight loss to breastfeeding and just simple genetics. I am very, very, thankful for how things have worked out but I still have a lot more work to do. So...I'm about to do something most women wouldn't do for all the ice cream in the world: put up a picture of themselves in a bikini...4 months after having a baby.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Very Special Mom

Mom. It's a word we have said many times in our lives. It's a job title that comes with more responsibility than a CEO. We apply for the job even though the hours are absurd, the pay is terrible and it can make you actually lose your mind but we do it anyways. We do it because there is no greater feeling than being called mom. Moms have an amazing ability to love beyond what any normal human capacity is. Our moms sacrifice so much for us. They nurture us with their bodies, go through hell to bring us into the world and then care for us and love us unconditionally. After having Roxas I gained a completely new level of appreciation for my own mom and all moms out there. They give us so much and never expect us to give back. We love our moms for so many reasons and that's why I'm asking for your help for a mom who is close to my heart.

Sherry is the mom of my best friend. We've been friends through the most awkward and trying times in our lives and I consider her to be like my sister. There is nothing we can't talk about between us and I'm very thankful for her presence in my life. Sherry has become like a second mom to me and treats me just as she would as if I were her own daughter. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer two years ago and it's been a battle ever since. She has fought hard through so much and is still strong. I'm convinced nothing will break her will to beat this thing. Recently I learned the cancer was becoming more aggressive and the treatment options are few. Sherry's daughter, and my best friend, Tashia has found a treatment center that may offer some hope in killing this cancer. Below you will find a link to donate to the family and help send Sherry to this treatment center. Any amount is helpful, and please spread this link to anybody you may know. Please think about donating for a mom who is so loved and needed by her family.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Roxas has been able to roll to his side for quite awhile and usually you could find me on the floor with him trying to coax him into rolling over all by himself. I looked like an idiot I'm sure, bouncing around waving toys and even getting the dogs to roll over and show him how it's done. He didn't seem to get the point but we still had time. Finally, on July 7th while Kenny and I were playing with him on the floor he rolled from his tummy to his back completely unassisted! See the video below:
We were pretty excited for sure. I was all giddy that finally we had achieved this milestone...but that's not all. When I picked the munchkin up from his Grandma Robin's house yesterday he had now mastered rolling over from his back to his tummy too!
Now on to the next movement milestone: Crawling! I'm so not ready for that, but thankfully we have time yet for that one. I hope.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Admit it, you sang the title. I saw something that inspired me to write about the many changes having a baby has brought about in our lives. Some are good and some are bad but I wouldn't have it any other way.

"Having a baby changes everything." No truer words have been said. Going back in time to May last year I find us happy and enjoying our lives. We had everything we could really want. We weren't wealthy but we could pay our bills an have a little fun too. We made spur of the moment trips to Disneyland, we had just bought our first car together, we had a house and everything was perfect. Looking back I miss it, I don't mind admitting it. I think I'd be crazy not to. Yet there we were discussing the possibility of adding a baby to this picture. A baby that would change everything.

It was something we had to consider seriously. There were a lot of things to think about. How we would cope financially, what to do about my schooling, health insurance, my work. There were so many different things to consider, there is no part of our lives that hasn't been touched in some way by Roxas's arrival.

A baby starts changing your life even before he or she is born. First we had to get health insurance that would cover maternity. This ended up biting us in the keister later but that's another story. The insurance didn't come cheap, so our finances were already affected. We made a tough choice to put our cats up for adoption, one of them we only had for four months. This was an extremely difficult decision to make but it was for the best.

After Roxas finally arrived things were turned upside down. The second I saw him our lives changed forever. We are no longer responsible for just ourselves. We were parents. I was now a mom. I was responsible for keeping a defenseless and helpless human alive. It's terrifying if you really think about it.

The changes continued that first night in the hospital. I had just labored for the past 24 hours and now I had a tiny newborn to keep happy and fed all night long. I think I got 3 hours of sleep, maybe 4. Unless you count the sleeping I did in between pushes, which I don't.

Time went on and we came home, got settled and started our lives as parents.

I've learned how to run on very little sleep, it's amazing how the body can adapt to this sleep deprivation. Sure it's gotten better but I'm still up once or twice a night compared to you know, not at all before.

We learned very quickly that spur of the moment trips are no longer possible. Leaving the house requires careful planning and preparation. No more just running out somewhere. I strategically plan my outings now. I even plan out where I park the car.

I can't go anywhere without what appears to be luggage. I tote around not only my purse but a diaper bag too. I typically look like I plan to stay the night no matter where I go. I have to make sure we have diapers,wipes,pacifiers, back up pacifiers (and back up back up pacifiers), toys, teethers, medicine, extra clothes...the list goes on.

Your freedom is gone. This is perhaps the hardest thing to get used to. We used to have the freedom to do what we wanted, when we wanted. Now we can do that only if Roxas cooperates with those plans which isn't often. We used to go to movies all the time and now it's a luxury.

Financially we are stretched thin. Our hospital bills total over $7000 alone. Throw in my income being significantly reduced and things are very, very tight. Sometimes I don't know how we make it or how we will make it in the future. I have to just trust things will work out. It's not easy to do though.

Physically I've been changed. I've been lucky enough to lose all of my baby weight and even managed to drop an extra fifteen pounds. That doesn't mean I've lost the stretch marks, or the stretched out skin look. Sure in time those things will calm down but for now I just embrace it and I love my stretch marks and flab for what it is: evidence that my body accomplished the miracle of creating a human and sustaining it for 41 weeks.

So far it seems like having a baby is all doom and gloom. Yes, there are some things that are difficult to adjust to and there are things I will miss dearly. There is one reason I do it all happily though. That reason is this perfect little boy that we made. For him I would do anything. That intense love a parent feels for their child makes it all worth it. Every sacrifice, every inconvenience is nothing when it's done for your child. Sure I get frustrated with him, yes I complain but when he gives me that adorable smile I forget about it all. I have no conscious awareness of having given up anything in that moment. All I know is that I love him and he is worth giving up everything for.

As he grows I only love him more. Being a parent changes you in so many ways. You start thinking about your child more than yourself. You start seeing the world with different eyes. Suddenly you have the greatest responsibility on Earth. You are the world to that little one and it's an amazing feeling when you and only you can fulfill their needs.

So, having a baby has turned our lives upside down but the reward is far greater than any gold or riches on Earth. The reward is love and it's worth every last second of uncomfortable change.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4 Months Have Flown By

     I often find myself asking, "Where has the time gone?" Looking at Roxas I see how quickly it can pass and how precious it really is. Not to get all mushy but I never valued my time as much as I do now. Roxas gives my time considerably more value. I don't ever want to look back at my life and feel that I wasted any part of it. I never want to let anything come between me and the family I love. Besides God, they are the most important priority in my life and I treasure them beyond measure.

     Roxas is growing up so quickly I can't believe it. He is over 14lbs now and making leaps and bounds when it comes to learning. He is able to do baby push ups on the floor and can roll over on soft surfaces. He can't quite manage it on the floor yet. He is talking like never before, discovering all of the wonderful and new sounds he can make. Sometimes those sounds remind me of a terradactyl but they are great anyways. I still long to hear him ask for me by name, but that will come in time. He is so aware of his world now too. He's developing likes and dislikes all unique to his personality. He finally found his feet and they are a source of complete fascination for him. Our border collie, Stryker, and Roxas have formed a little bond. Stryker loves to be petted and Roxas finds her very interesting so naturally, they love each other. Roxas can grab her ears, pull her whiskers and poke her in the eye and she just patiently takes it. I can see a special relationship already forming between Roxas and his doggy. It's absolutely amazing watching him learn and just witnessing how amazing our brains are and how amazing we are as humans.

     I still have a really hard time connecting this sweet little boy who smiles at me with his one-toothed grin to the squirmy, little octopus I had in my belly a year ago. It just seems like he has always been with us, and I can't even begin to think about life without him in it. I recently watched his ultrasound videos and I was just in awe at how the little blobby baby I saw on the screen was in my lap at that very moment. It still doesn't seem real, it just seems like some far off dream I once had. Yet it's my reality. I have an amazing husband who works himself to death in order to provide for us and enable me to chase my dream of becoming a nurse. We have a home that is our very own, and I have the most precious thing I could ask for: our son.

     We celebrated Roxas's first 4th of July yesterday as well as another first: his first experience with rain! Only in a desert town is it totally normal to run outside as soon as you find out it's raining. He was a little perplexed at first, but for the most part seemed thoroughly unimpressed by the water falling from the sky. I'm sure that will change once he gets older. We celebrated with a little outing for just mommy and daddy, then we went and had dinner at my parents' house with family. All in all it was a good little holiday, aside from Roxas being pretty overtired towards the end of the night.

     Another first Roxas has experienced lately is sleeping in his crib for the first time at night. Truthfully I didn't want to start this until he was 6 months old but with my school starting next month we felt it would be smarter to start it now rather than add even more anxiety later on. I have been slowly getting used to this notion by putting him down for naps in his crib during the day but I was still having a hard time getting myself to put him in his crib for nighttime. He was fine with it, I was the one having anxiety attacks over it. I'm very attached to him and don't particularly like being separated from him if I can help it but I need to learn how to deal with this feeling because I'm pretty sure he won't want mommy still attached to him when he is 15. It's incredibly hard to wrap my head around the idea that someday he will be 15...and I'll be his mom...I will be a mom to a 15 year old boy...eep. Anyways, we put him in his crib for the first night and he slept through the night, but not really. Our baby monitors stopped working in the night so I never heard him wake up and cry. Pending the arrival of our newer, fancier, baby monitor I brought him back into our room. Crazy enough...he slept through the night again! It was so great getting those full nights of sleep, I felt absolutely amazing in the morning. The past few nights however he has been back to his once or twice a night wakings. I'm fine with it though. As tired as I can be, I want to be there for him when he needs me in the middle of the night, no matter what.

Well that is all I have for now. We have a check up on Monday that involves more shots :-( I really hope he does better with them this time. I hate seeing him upset and in pain, especially with the reaction he had to them last time. Happy 4th of July and enjoy the weekend!