Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baby's 1st Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody!

     I can't believe it is the day after Christmas already. It seems like time just flew by. I remember last year how much I was fatasizing and thinking about how this Christmas I would have our little boy running around and having fun opening presents. It seemed so far away then, and now it's already over in what seems like the blink of an eye.

Family Christmas Picture 2012

     Roxas decided to keep the tradition of children making their parents wake up early on Christmas morning. At about 2am he decided he wanted to wake up and be extremely unhappy until we finally got him to go to sleep about 4am. We have both been fighting this stupid sinus thing that has been going around town and I think that might have to do with some of his cranky behavior. 
     He wasn't over excited about all the presents under the tree, but I wouldn't really expect a 9 month old to be all that excited really. We had to help him open most of his presents but once they were opened (and put together after much frustration on my part) then he loved them. Our living room looks like a toy store exploded. He was SO spoiled it's not even funny. 
     We opened presents at my parents house on Christmas Eve, and he had a fun time stuffing his face with Christmas dinner. Everybody was amazed at how much he can eat! He also made a humongous mess. On Christmas day we went to my in-laws house and opened presents there. For some reason Roxas decided his gift to us was not to all...not even a little bit. He did really quite well for being so tired and overstimulated though. We didn't get him to go to sleep until about 9:00 that night, so it was a very tiring kind of day but a fun day. I can't wait until next year when he will be a little more into the presents and more aware of what is actually going on. 
 Opening his present from Daddy
 Christmas Morning
 Opening one of his presents
 Checking out the box from one of his toys
 Playing with his new Dino Ball Popper toy
 Having a blast on his new ride and learn puppy
Playing his piano from Daddy, one of his favorite gifts

     We hope you all had an equally fun Christmas and we wish you a wonderful new year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Sudden, and Disappointing End to Our Breastfeeing Relationship

     Go back to the first moment I was pregnant and one of my immediate thoughts, right after "NO WAY!!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!", was I am definitely committed to breastfeeding. Screw those crazy formula companies, their product is getting nowhere near my baby.

     Now fast forward a little bit to the few weeks after Roxas was born. I was often yelping, screaming, and gnashing my teeth as I fed him. Out of sheer stubbornness I refused, flat out refused, to give up. I was married to the best cheerleader I could ask for and I credit him with helping me stick it out. I was strong, and after all...those moms on the internet said if I quit now I just didn't try hard enough. They wanted me to try hard? You got it. Bring on the bleeding, cracking and excruciating pain. I could make it through anything.

     Moving on, it got better. The first few weeks where I didn't have to bite a towel to feed Roxas were the best. I felt like climbing on the roof and shouting to the world "We did it! I tried harder and I won!" Then my supply began getting a little shaky and I was having a hard time keeping up my little freezer stash to send with the booger while the grandparents watched him. I was not going to be defeated. I began taking upwards of 20 fenugreek capsules a day, which worked but not as well as I would have hoped. I even tried a very expensive supplement that was guaranteed to work...and it didn't so at least I got my money back. I baked lactation cookies and stuffed my face. I pumped as often as humanly possible and nursed even more. I managed to keep a steady enough supply going although it was never at the level I really hoped for.

     Fast forward again to the end of November. Roxas is just about to turn 9 months old. One day he didn't really want to nurse much, shaking his head and pushing me away. No biggie, I thought it is probably just a nursing strike. Nothing to fear, keep calm and it will pass. The next day it happened again, and again, and again. After three days Roxas had refused to nurse at all and my supply had gone from small but just enough to practically non-existent. Now I wasn't even able to get an ounce after pumping all day, every two hours religiously. Over the next few days it got worse and worse to where now I can't even hand express two drops.

     This was the end. My breastfeeding relationship with Roxas was over. It was sudden, and it was unexpected. I spoke with the doctor and he agreed starting Roxas on formula was the best option. So I bought the special formula for 9-24month olds because somehow seeing "made for older babies" made me feel better. I don't know why.

    I never knew the last time I nursed Roxas would be the last. Typing this brings tears to my eyes because a part of me knows that part of our relationship is gone. That chapter in his life is ended. It hurts. It's devastating. I had set my goal of exclusively breastfeeding until a year (and hopefully beyond) and I fell short. I failed to reach my goal. I've struggled with this idea for almost a month now. It still feels like a fresh wound and it's painful to talk about. I was so dedicated and so attached to this idea that I would be that awesome mom who breastfeeds until a year. My son would never have a drop of formula! I said that so many times I began to believe any other option was failure as a mother. Yes, I failed to reach the goal of one year...but now I'm trying to look at it as I reached my goals of making it to 1 month, and 6 months, and 8 months of exclusively breastfeeding. For the first 8 months of my son's life I gave him the best nutrition I could.

     Part of the reason I think I am having such a hard time with this is the internet. I spent a great deal of time on extreme pro-breastfeeding websites having it hammered into me that breast was not only best but it was the ONLY way. Having statistics like only 1-2% of mothers truly can't breastfeed displayed everywhere I looked. Having people say things like "most mothers who quite just didn't try hard enough" or "they just didn't want it bad enough". Those things. They are what made this transition so difficult. Here I am saying to I must not have tried hard enough...I just didn't want it bad enough I guess. Do the women who say those things even have any idea what they do to the psyche of the women who have genuine issues? It makes them feel horrendous. Like we might as well just put Drano in our baby's bottle if we are going to formula feed. Yes, I know I should believe everything on the internet and part of it is my own fault for letting myself believe those things.

     Now I am working hard on turning around to the positive. I made it to 8, almost 9 months. That's a hell of a feat considering the trouble I encountered and I am VERY proud of it. Truthfully, Roxas is doing just fine with not nursing. I still try to offer it to him but he happily shakes his head no and pushes me away to go play with his toys. He is absolutely fine with this change, and it's somewhat comforting to know that. It's just me that is having the problems with accepting it. I am making progress though. I don't think I will ever be over it completely, and my goal remains the same next time around but now I am looking at it as just raising my "high score", so to speak. I just have more room for improvement now. I know Roxas is happy and healthy and he had the best start in life I could give. I gave what I could and no matter what it was an accomplishment.

     So, it's been a tough change but we are proud of how far we managed to come and what we've accomplished. I will continue to work hard on changing how I see myself as a formula feeding mother, that I am not a failure but rather a victor. I have achieved victory in keeping my baby alive and healthy these past nine months, no matter what my goals or plans were. The plan has to change sometimes and I have to accept it no matter how hard to swallow it may be.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A sad day for humanity

      Many of you have heard about the horrifying, and terrible events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conneticut. 20 small children and 6 adults were killed by a gunman who first shot and killed his mother, a kindergarten teacher, and began open fire on the students and faculty. The picture above I feel captures the feelings of this tragic day all too well. The pain and horror on this poor woman's face wrenches my heart.

     Robert Licata said his 6-year-old son was in class when the gunman burst in and shot the teacher.

"That's when my son grabbed a bunch of his friends and ran out the door," he told the Associated Press. "He was very brave."-NBC News

     This quote brings tears to my eyes as I think of how close this man came to losing his son, and how brave this little six year old boy was. I can't even imagine being six and seeing this unfold in front of me.
     I can even begin to fathom what this man was thinking when he committed this horrible act. To take the life of an innocent child is beyond any reach of my imagination. We have not been told if the man killed himself or if police killed him but I have a feeling he most likely turned the gun on himself. I will not venture into my opinions of this man, however I will say this: I truly hope he pays for what he has done.

     I have to say, I am incredibly proud of all the teachers who risked their lives, and some gave them, to protect their students. God bless you all, you are all heroes to me. In the panic and terror of the day they kept the children as safe as they could and did everything possible to ensure their safety. 

     They say you'll never quite understand something until you've been in that situation. It is true I will never be able to fathom or even come close to feeling what the mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and families of the victims will fell. However, now that I have Roxas my thoughts immediately turned to him and my imagination instantly brought up what it might be like to lose him.

     My imagination brought me to the future, sending him off to kindergarten and waiting for him to come home with a new Christmas craft and stories from the playground. Maybe I would be wrapping up a few last Christmas presents for him while he was in school. Then my world crumbles as I learn he will never come home.

     This. This is what I fear. This is a fraction of how those parents feel. Just this brief and dark flitter of a thought makes my heart feel as if it will rip in two. That is why I have said more prayers today than I can count and shed many tears for my heart feels this sadness. Almost as if I feel connected to every other parent out there. I hugged and kissed Roxas all day today and thanked God over and over for all I have.

    So, hug your loved ones and put aside your differences and be thankful for just having each other. It truly is a gift.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

9 Months!

     Roxas is a whole nine months old. It really seems like time has gone so much faster with him "on the outside" than when I was pregnant with him. He is developing and growing like crazy. He loves to pull himself up on anything he can find. The coffee table, the dog food bin, the dog. He crawls at super speed now and I'm glad I started babyproofing the house. He has already tried to get into a few places he isn't allowed. I also have to get really good about closing doors because he wants to explore everywhere he can fit.
     He is 19.4lbs, and 29 3/4 in long! His head is also 19in around in case you wanted to know. He had his 9 month check up yesterday and did great. The doctor had to poke his finger for a quick hematocrit test and he didn't even acknowledge she did it! Although afterwards he did try to eat the band-aid on his finger. He is a happy and healthy baby boy according to the doctor.

He was facsinated by the paper on the table

He was playing the "drop the toy" game

     The doctor also did agree with supplementing Roxas with some formula since I am not able to provide enough milk for him. I am working to be OK with this sudden change in our relationship and it's not without difficulty. My only positive bit that I'm clinging to is at least he got breastmilk for the majority of his first year. I'll take whatever goal I can get. It's a lot to deal with, emotionally, for me but Roxas seems as if he is just fine with this new arrangement. He loves his solid foods too. He eats almost non-stop, much like his mother. Fruits and veggies are his favorites and he also loves any food I will give him off my plate. Yes, I've even given him french least they were unsalted. 

It's getting close to Christmas time, and that of course means I have to do cheezy and horrendously cliche holiday pictures with Roxas, right?

This outfit is one that has been worn by his daddy and all his uncle!

I just HAD to add this one, how cute is this sad little elf!?

     That's all for now, Roxas is doing so good and I'm enjoying spending more time with him now that I am on winter break from school. He's an amazing little boy and I am really blessed to have such a sweet baby.