Friday, July 31, 2009

True Colors

It has been a busy week around here. I have discovered that the more we go out, the faster the days go. And for the most part, Little G only looks like this...

...when we're home. Although, sometimes he screams and rants and rages in the car seat.

On our laundry list of things that we have accomplished this week:
  • On Monday, we went to the baby class at the hospital that had been cancelled last week. I am pleased to report that we are now on the mailing list so we will receive notification of cancellations from now on. Additionally, it was at this class that Little G discovered the great and powerful mirror. Oh, the things it can tell you if you only stare at the handsome man in the mirror long enough...

  • On Tuesday, we made a quick errand to go visit a nice lady in Jamaica Plain from whom we purchased a gently used infant cabana. This way Little G can be outside with us in the yard and not be in the sun.

    Then later on that morning the visiting nurse came to visit us and after that we headed back to the hospital for the breastfeeding support group. We had lots of fun at that group and are both a bit sad to have to stop you think it would be inappropriate for us to pretend our bottle of formula is actually expressed breast milk just so we can keep going to that group?'re probably right.

  • On Wednesday, we didn't have any regularly scheduled events (next week is when the official 'Great Beginnings' class starts for us at ISIS Maternity) so we headed out to the grocery store. It was great fun fooling the many people there into thinking I was (still) a grossly huge pregnant lady and then to have them see Little G's head sticking out of the Moby Wrap. And it was nice to be back in a place that has some sort of routine for me.

  • Thursday afternoon we headed out to meet some women with babies around the same age at JP Licks in Jamaica Plain. Even though Little G had been a pill all day, he was able to pull it together and sleep peacefully in his carseat the entire time we were there. The trip marked another milestone for us, as it was our first outing where Little G was NOT the youngest kid present...there was another little boy who is 5 days younger than Little G in attendance.

  • Today, Friday, we are hoping to make it out to Baby Yoga where I used to attend Pre-Natal Yoga classes. I can only imagine that we are not going to have as lovely and agreeable a baby at this class...but we shall see.

In all, aside from the breastfeeding issues that kept us all up at night crying earlier in the week, it has been a good week...MUCH better than last week when I was about ready to stomp back to the hospital and leave him there for someone, ANYONE, else to take him. And I know that it won't always be easy...but at least we seem to be finding our rhythm. And if it all falls apart in the future...we can always ask the man in the mirror for some advice.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The best decision

Twelve years ago, over Christmas break during my Junior year of college I had a breast reduction.

I lost 2 pounds from my right side and three from my left side going from a 40DD to a 36C.

It was, at that time, the best decision I had ever made.


I was told when I had the surgery that I most likely would not be able to breastfeed, but that meant nothing to me.

Fast forward to when I got pregnant with Little G and I was again told that I would most likely not be able to breastfeed.

Then a good friend of mine asked me if I would be breastfeeding and I said that I didn't think I could and she said that was nonsense! That I could breastfeed. She pointed me in the direction of the Breastfeeding After Reduction (BFAR) website. She was turns out I COULD breastfeed, even if just a little.

I told my mom that even if I could just breastfeed for one hour, it would be enough for me and I set out to learn everything I could to help that dream come true.

I read the books on the subject.

I spoke to lactation consultants about it.

I discussed it with our doula.

I explored the concept of natural childbirth so that I could better my chances of success.

I researched pediatricians with it in consideration.

I decided on a hospital based on it.

I prepared my breasts in the hopes of being able to overcome it.

And then he was born. And I breastfed him within the first hour and he took to my breast like a champ. And I continued to breastfeed him at every feeding. I felt everything I was supposed to feel; my uterus cramped when he was on the breast in those first few days, just like it was supposed to. I felt my milk come in a few mornings after coming home. I even fed him at at his first pediatrician appointment so they could weigh him before and after a feeding.

I had milk. I had lots and lots of nourishing, antibody producing, mother's milk.

And then I got an infection on my left nipple. It was an infection from Little G not latching properly over the span of just a few hours. We went to the pediatrician because I thought we had thrush, we didn't. I went to the OB because we thought I had mastitis, I didn't. Instead, it was a topical infection and I was put on antibiotics and told not to feed from that side. Not to even give what I was pumping from that side to him.

So for over a week, I only breastfed from the right side. And we supplemented with formula because I wasn't pumping enough to feed him. It was an incredibly rough week. I was trying to pump 8-10 times a day, on top of feeding him from my right breast and supplementing from a bottle - all while being home with him alone for the first time. To make matters worse, he was going through his 2 week growth spurt and was cluster feeding.

I didn't do well. He was very cranky. And I yelled at him and felt awful things towards him. All things I am told are normal feelings, but still, when you yell at your newborn and then he cries even harder, you start to cry and feel like a horrible person and then your newborn cries even more and sooner than later you are both sniveling messes sitting on the living room floor trying to make sense of what the hell just happened.

I called the lactation consultant sobbing and she suggested that my milk supply was low and to start taking Fenugreek, an herb that helps to boost milk production. She also suggested pumping every two hours, so my husband and I worked out a timeline for him to feed/change/etc. at night while I pumped.

Finally, after ten days, I was given the go-ahead to nurse again. Little G latched on the same as before, with gusto. And for two days, I fed him exclusively from my breasts. We both felt much better, but he was still very fussy after a feeding. We thought it was because he was just a fussy baby, so we introduced him to the pacifier which seemed to help.

A visiting nurse came on Monday and noted that Little G had lost weight since her last visit. I mentioned that I was going to a breastfeeding support group the next day and she suggested that I weigh him before and after feeding him again.

So I went to the group and we weighed him and he only gained half an ounce from feeding from both my breasts. That isn't enough.

The lactation consultant started telling me about another drug I could take that wasn't approved in the US, but was available in Canada that would also help to boost my supply. And she suggested that I pump some more so that I could supplement Little G with breast milk.

I got home from the meeting and he was hungry and my breasts were soft. So I made him some formula.

In the middle of the night, my husband and I had yet another long, tearful talk about our options and we decided rather than quitting, I would feed Little G from the breast and then supplement with a couple of ounces after each feeding.

The next morning, I tried to breastfeed and the pain was ridiculous. I decided right then to cut my losses and fully transition to formula feeding our child. That was yesterday.

I wrote a letter to Little G that fully explained how much I wanted this for him and how hard I had tried and that even though this wasn't the decision I wanted to make, it was the best decision for us. Sadly, the letter is forever lost in cyberspace.

I can not even begin to describe the emotions running through this entire sequence of events. I never ever thought that breastfeeding was even an option for us. But I was doing it...and doing it well! I had milk! I had lots and lots of milk!! And now I don't. I know that giving him what I was able to give him was the best gift I could give him...and yet I am so angry that I can't continue to give that gift.

I am scared to tell my friends that I have failed at this. I live in an area where I am afraid people will look down at me for not breastfeeding my child. I am afraid of people saying 'I told you so' when they hear I finally quit. I am frustrated at the amount of money I poured into nursing bras, shirts, pjs, breast pads, pump equipment, etc. I am annoyed at myself for even considering the cost of all of this as a factor. I am sad that in the end, I quit because I couldn't find a way to feed my child and pump and supplement without losing my mind; as a mother, I should be able to fight a lion for my child, and yet I gave up, I didn't fight hard enough.


Twelve years ago, I had a breast reduction. It was, at that time, the best decision I have ever made.

I do not regret having the surgery. If I hadn't, I most likely wouldn't have worked at Disney in entertainment, I wouldn't have met a boy and moved to Jacksonville. I wouldn't have had to escape Jacksonville for the first place that responded and ended up in Boston. I wouldn't have met my amazing husband. I wouldn't have my beautiful son.

Yesterday, I decided to lay down my weapons and surrender the fight. No matter how much it hurts, it is the best decision I have ever made; for my child, myself and my family.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our other baby born on 07/08/09

First...a little background.

Below is a picture of our yard the first winter we lived in our home. You can see the two very large 'dwarf' apple trees on the left, the decaying pile of wood along the back fence, and the deck on the right that was rotting:

The spring after we moved in, we paid to have the landscapers come and fix the garden along the side of the house. While doing that, they also took away the decaying wood pile and spruced up the area around the dwarf apple trees:

At the end of summer last year, we had the dwarf apple trees removed because they were over three stories tall, dropping apples on the neighbor's car and there was no way to cut them back without damaging the integrity of the tree.

We had plans to redo the foundation of part of our house and in the process, replace the deck, so below is a picture of the back yard and deck just prior to that work starting:

Over this past winter, the foundation and deck work was is beautiful, but as you can did some major damage to whatever yard we had:

We tried to do something with the yard ourselves, slowly picking out all the rocks and debris that had collected over the years...but it was just too big a job for us to do on our own...and we wanted to be sure that after spending money to fix the yard, it would be done right.
So we called the landscapers back and on July 8, 2009, they started work on the yard (note: picture taken by my mom on her cell phone, oh, and the dumpster is actually our neighbors):

So when we got home from the hospital, we were greeted with a brand new, graded lawn and two Cleveland Select Pear trees...which actually don't have fruit.

Here's hubby getting ready to mow it for the first time this past weekend...he was like a kid waiting for Christmas he was so excited to get out and mow it!!

It was so thick the first time he mowed it, he filled up the grass catcher on one pass!:

And just to finish the series of is a picture of the awesome grill that his parent's gifted us with for Christmas and our is a charcoal grill with a gas starter so that the grill is ready to go in 10-15 minutes!:

And mommy's new addition to the backyard...this lovely car in the driveway:

If you are interested in seeing the entire series of pictures of the work done on our house, you can access it here:
House Renovation Pictures

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jeckyll and Hyde

How is it that my son can go from this:

to this:

in the blink of an eye?

The good news is that he can go back to this:

so that you forget about the crying and screaming and just want to love him and cuddle with him.

Needless to say, my second day home alone with him was no where near as idyllic as the first day...and there wasn't even an erupting toilet incident today!

On our own

This past Monday was my first day home with the little guy all by myself. We did pretty well... the things I thought might go wrong didn't and the things I never expected to go wrong did.

For instance, the little G (his first bloggy nickname) and I headed out to a class at the hospital where he was born...basically it is a class for infant development and massage and although he is super young, it was a goal of mine to get out of the house. Also, I tend to be a bit skittish about things like that, so I knew I had to treat going to the class like ripping off a bandaid and just do it or else I would be stuck forever just sitting in my house too afraid to go to the class. Yes, I'm weird like that.

Anyway, we made it all the way to the hospital and then parked and got inside at exactly 10:00, but there was a group of geriatrics checking in at the reception desk with one of their kind and so it took 10 minutes before I got to talk to the octogenarian receptionist to find out she had no idea what class I was talking about. She looked it up on her handy dandy cheat sheet and called a number and left a message that I was there looking for a class and suggested I step aside and wait.

Pretty soon there were three of us in the lobby with infants and we figured we were all there for the same thing so we went to an area of the lobby and sat down and waited together...but no one ever came. So finally, one mother went back up to the desk to find out the status and another mother called some magic number she apparently had been storing away in case of emergency (why she didn't call right away was beyond me) and when she hung up said that someone was on their way down. Seriously...if you have a number to call, why wait 15 minutes to decide to call it??

So we waited even longer and eventually someone did come down apologizing profusely and saying that class that day had been cancelled for a staff meeting and that since it is a drop in class there was no way to notify people. I pointed out that they could have taken it off the calendar on the website, and she said 'yes, we're working on that'.


So I told her I had another random question and explained that it was my first day by myself and that I had left the house with only $3 to my name so I was wondering if there was an ATM in the building. She said there was and then paused and offered to get me a parking voucher. I agreed, thankfully, and she told me she might be a while because her office was in another building but to just sit tight.

So sit tight I did...for 20 minutes!! Finally she returned with the voucher and we were on our way.

So there you go...and example of something that I would have expected to go mostly-to-plan that ended up in the crapper on day one.

BUT, in speaking of crappers, something I was prepared for to go wrong went right...that would be the use of the G Diaper. If you recall, we were going to try the G Diaper system because it is more environmentally friendly and is a nice compromise between the hassle of cloth diapers and the never ending landfill contribution of a disposable.

We held off on using the G Diapers until after the little guy's umbilical cord fell off and since that happened on Saturday, I declared Monday the start day.

I am pleased to report that we have been doing rather well with the G's. They are very easy to use; no where near as confusing as I thought they might be and clean-up is pretty much a cinch. Plus they are super cute and have a 'G' on them which makes our little G think that his super-cool parents went out and splurged on monogrammed diaper covers :)

However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER...I will say that it is imperitive that everyone. in. the. house. know how to use the G Diapers. Because while I had a fairly successful first day on my own with the baby...once daddy got home it was a different story. I don't want to divulge too much lest I completely bruise his ego, but I will leave it at this equation:

Misinformed father + Flushable G Diaper + Old House = buckets of toilet water raining down into our kitchen through the pot lights, frantic calls to the plumber, and possible replacement of the kitchen ceiling.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Introducing Garrison Reid

Born 07-08-09 at 4:50am

10 pounds 5 ounces

21.5 inches

A natural delivery...all are well and home resting!!

Garrison and Gram

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Waiting for the pot to boil

We're still waiting around over here for our little one to decide to make his grand entrance into the world. In the meantime, our new deck furniture arrived yesterday....yay! Perhaps this is what the lil' guy has been waiting for...a decent place to have a sandwich on the deck for lunch...

The table is teak and the chairs are teak, mesh and aluminum. We purchased four chairs for now, and will get four more when the financial timing is right.

Additionally, to celebrate the first sunny, warm days of summer (since, if you hadn't heard, New England has had something around 48 straight days of rain)...we spent some time over at the neighbors' pool yesterday. Ahhhh...nothing like a pool owned by someone else to get your spirits up!!

And while this may seem like an incredibly uncomfortable position, I actually fell asleep like this for a few minutes and really, REALLY enjoyed my weighlessness for a while.

Later on in the day we decided perhaps we should pack our bag for the hospital...but no sooner had we put the bag down and the kitty decided that perhaps we shouldn't pack the bag for the hospital. No worries, crisis averted...we are bigger than her, you know.

And finally, we took (what we hope are) our last set of belly shots. It is unfathomable to me how big my stomach is!!

So there you go...hopefully we will have a baby soon and won't have to sit around coming up with activities to keep ourselves occupied!!