Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The B word.

Ahhh breastfeeding... so special, so bonding, so relaxing, so natural, and so much love!

On most days those would not be my words of choice when speaking about breast feeding. In fact, some of those words I have never used to describe breast feeding! Despite my lack of nice words towards it by some miracle we have made it to a YEAR! A whole freaking year of someone else sucking on my boobs many, many times a day. Beyond pregnancy my body has still not been my own. Twenty one months I have not been away from my baby girl for more than 4 hours. It's exhausting. And we wonder why she is such a mama's girl...

As exhausting as it is I have enjoyed it. I love seeing Nova get so excited when she wants to nurse that she jumps up and down in my lap and even helps pull down my shirt. I love when she looks at me and smiles and when her hand plays with my lips. I love when she pops off with milk dripping down her cheek to see what Hudson is up to and then latching back on and getting down to business again. I love that I am her favorite and I love that I can comfort her in a way no one else can. So breast feeding has been quite a different bonding experience. I do feel more attached to Nova. I feel like I worry about her more when I'm away from her. And it's not that I love Hudson any less it's just the mind set of knowing no one else can give her the nourishment and comfort that she gets from me nursing her. Even though I'm sure she could make it a whole day now with out nursing cause she'll eat anything, I just worry about "what if's". What if she really needs me when I'm gone?! It's totally just me now though now that she is older.

I never felt like breast feeding was my style. It's quite rare in my family. I did not grow up around it by any means. I could not have told you the first thing about breast feeding 21 months ago! And now?! Whoa! Could I write a book about it or what?! Totally. I know all the secrets and remedies now! I would probably be the last person you'd guess who would want to breast feed. I'm very impatient, I like taking the fast route and finding the easy way of things. I'm a no nonsense kind of person. Ahh but me and Nova did it! We make a good team. Except for when she wakes up for the third time in the night and wont go back to sleep unless she is nursed. Except for then. Then I don't want to be on her team. We are working on that still! Yes, for the past 7 months! That's one thing I don't like putting up with is the night nursing! I expect it at 4 or 5 months but one year old?! It's completely a habit. I don't care what those breast feeding advocates say! "Oh, but she just needs comfort and needs that good, nutritious, more fatty, night milk!" No! She can have that milk in the morning! Same milk right? Yes, I've gained some more patience through breast feeding.

I fully support breast feeding. It is a wonderful thing! And I do believe it is the healthiest choice for your baby. I think every mom should have a goal to breast feed. I don't support the nay sayers of formula though. And I don't support pushy breast feeding advocates. Look, if nursing is just not working out for you and your new baby after a few good weeks or months of effort then let it go. Let it go! Turn a way and slam the door! I don't care what they're going to say! But really. By all means, get all the help and support you need in your breast feeding journey because my gosh you will need it! It's nothing short of a team effort. I just think some women push nursing moms too far when trying to help out by putting too much pressure on them to keep going. They act like breast feeing is the only way to go and then the moms feel like huge failures when they just aren't enjoying it and want to quit. And then scare them about formula! They need to know that if they do choose to quit that they wont be judged for it. And they need to know that they will be supported in their decision to quit so they wont feel so much regret over it. You don't need that kind of baggage with a new baby. If you choose to quit it's important to know that you still did your best and that you will still be supported in you decision to bottle or formula feed. Fed is best!

It's just not fair though! I've said many times how dumb it is that breast feeding is so dang hard when it's the natural thing to do! Why?! A new baby is stressful enough but throw breast feeding on top and your a wreck for months! Is the latch correct? Do I have enough milk? Is she GETTING enough milk? Why is she eating every half hour? To use the nipple shield or not? She's still not back to her birth weight four weeks later. Let's clip that tongue tie! Try a chiropractor! Don't eat any dairy heaven for bid! And better cut out all greens too! And chocolate! Oh wait are you still eating enough to supply milk? 4 gallons of water a day right? A paci? Heck ya! Why does it still hurt four months later? Thrush and mastitis? Twice!

I knew breast feeding would be hard. I think it was through friends talking about it on mommy Facebook groups that it actually sparked my interest in it. I asked many questions and did my own research. I bought nursing bras, covers, and pads. I felt prepared and I knew I wanted to make it to a year. And then I had Nova. It's a whole other story when the time actually comes to breast feed. I felt so silly as the nurse showed me what to do. We had latch problems right away. During our hospital stay I asked to see the lactation consultant many times but she only came by three times and I was still so lost. By the next day just the gown touching my nipples would make me cringe! SO much pain! I didn't even know if it was worth it now. But from the moment she had first latched I was somehow emotionally attached to breast feeding. Her first week was rough and I fought with myself many times over quitting. But I just could never bring myself to do it. It was really stressing me out. I wanted to keep going but it was oh so hard and I wanted to quit but then I would feel like a failure. I've put in a lot of sweat and tears over nursing Nova.

Breast feeding has been far from a natural experience for me. And I can't say it's been any easier than bottle feeding. Sure it's been nice to not have to prepare any bottles and then wash them, but all that time saved goes into the hours and hours spent nursing. Nova has nursed twice as much as Hudson ever spent taking a bottle. And the diet change? Sorry I just have no self control there! Call me a child abuser if you must but I wasn't about to cut out all my favorite foods! We'll deal with the tummy aches and rashes. Hey, she's still alive and happy today! I never liked the argument that breast milk is ready when ever and where ever cause I also found out with bottle feeding that formula is also. And formula wins that argument in my opinion cause you can't breast feed in a car! A bottle would have come in handy many, many times in the first few months for Miss I-Hate-My-Car-Seat! And a bottle gives instant satisfaction where many times when Nova was just too hungry to wait for my milk to come in she would cry and cry and cry and not nurse. Poor baby would get so frustrated! I hated it! Bottles win again! And nursing out in public was quite the hassle for me for a long time. Covers ARE hot but I wasn't about to let my boobs be seen by the public! I believe in modesty when breast feeding. I can be more discretely about it now that I have more experience but back then and even now Nova is not a neat eater. She was constantly on and off and on and off when she was younger which had to do with our on going latch issues. If we were to nurse in public with out a cover my nipples would have been shown off many times. The struggle is so real! And another win for bottles for lightening the load of a mother. Others can more easily help out! And Nova could be enjoying sleep-overs and Grammy and Pappy's!

You may be wondering why I didn't just pump and bottle feed also which I did for about 2 months but it was rare. Let me tell you my struggle there... We had latch issues. For months. I feared that using a bottle would make her stop nursing since it was much less work for her. Bottles were our last resort during the hard days. And well, pumping is just a pain in the butt! I salute any mom who can do that full time! It's not worth it to me.

I keep telling myself I had no choice but to keep going after every trial we came up to because she wouldn't take a bottle after 3 months old but of course I had a choice! I just didn't try hard enough to quit because deep down this is what I really wanted to do. I'll hate on breast feeding all day every day but I secretly like it people, OK!? I'm not your average breast feeder! I never chose to breast feed for the health benefits. That was just a bonus. I ain't afraid of no formula! It's heaven sent! And I didn't chose to breast feed because I felt denied that option with Hudson. When I had him I could not have cared less about breast feeding. In fact my prayers over the decision to breast feed him or not were answered quickly with the news of his cleft. I chose to breast feed Nova simply because I wanted to. I made a commitment and I learned to love it somehow!

I'll tell you right now if I would have quit that first week it would have made life a lot easier. But you know what? Then I wouldn't have felt the immense amount of joy and accomplishment when we had reached one whole year of breast feeding. Tell me, have you ever reached a goal of a year? And I'm not just talking about nursing. It was one of the best feelings! Especially since it has been one of the hardest things I have done. We've had many trials all along the way. And I have wanted to quit many times through out the year. So if your willing to stick it out through thick and thin then don't give up!! Now that I have reached my goal of breast feeding for a year I don't know what's next! I don't know when I'll wean her and I'm afraid if I don't pick a date soon I'll end up nursing her until she is 5! I'd like my boobs backs soon thank you very much! And so would Curtis! I'm attached to nursing OK!? There I said it! Plus my Nova girl just loves her "milks" so much it's hard for me to take that away from her!

Having done both bottle and breast exclusively I've come to the conclusion that both of my kids are still equally as awesome, smart, healthy, and happy! And I never would have doubted it!! You can't argue that breast milk isn't the best option for babies because it is! And if formula is the worst thing that my kids have eaten then I'll consider myself very, very lucky! I'll never judge my kids based on how or what they were fed the first year of their life when they have a whole life ahead of them!

And that's my breast feeding thoughts and experience for you in a big nutshell. Take it or leave it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Birthday Girl

I was JUST pregnant with her yesterday how can she be one already!? Seriously DON'T BLINK! In my eyes she's still like 5 months old. I'm quickly reminded she's a one year old though when I see her climb all the way to the top of our little slide and throw tantrums when I don't give her what she wants. Drama mama! Oh how fun and different it has been to have a little girl!

We have enjoyed having her in our family! She is a hoot! Just as goofy as the one before her! She is the complete opposite of Hudson. Messy, crazy, no shame, tough, an explorer, and very much a mama's girl! She loves to jump, kick her feet, dance, climb, eat, nurse, bug Hudson, yell, talk, play in the water, wander, snuggle, and play outside. She hates getting her diaper changed. She is very impatient. She has 4 top teeth, 1 bottom, and a second bottom one popping through! She just started actually walking this week! She had to meet her deadline! And she's 18 pounds! According to our scale at home...

Seriously don't let her skinny little self fool you though! She's always ready to go! As crazy as she is she is my best cuddler though! She loves to cuddle before she takes a nap or goes to bed at night. I love it! Hudson never cared to cuddle. She is a very sweet girl too, she gives her stuffed animals loves. I forgot how smart they can be at one year old! She is a quick learner. Although she loves to climb she is very careful and cautious about it too. She will let me know when she is stuck and can't get down.

I had so much fun planning her Pink Lemonade Birthday Party! Pink and yellow have kind of been her theme all along. I love those colors together. So happy and summery! Even her room colors are even pink, yellow, and mint. She had so much fun today! We did it at the splash pad at Espee Park. She loves the water! It was a hoot watching her dig into her cake! I knew she would be quick to do so! She destroyed the WHOLE thing!! And I wouldn't be surprise if it was half she ate. And then she had fun opening her presents! Finally we have girly toys now! Hudson enjoys them all too!

And now for a billion pictures...


And a few from our trip to Mexico!

Happy Birthday baby girl!!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Update of the Century!

Wow. It's been six months since I last blogged! I'm embarrassed. From someone who used to blog almost twice a month! Just goes to show you what two kids has done to me. Obviously a lot has changed the last six months. I even started this post like two months ago and have had to add a lot on! So get comfy it's long.

I'll start with Hudson who turned TWO in January! And if there's one thing I like to keep updated is his cleft progress. We are currently in the middle of getting speech therapy started! Hudson and his lack of proper talking has been very challenging for Curtis and I. This may be one of the hardest parts of his cleft journey for me or just this toddler business for that matter. It's caused a lot of tantrums and much frustration. Since I've been a nursery leader at church it's hard not to envy these moms who's two year olds and even 18 month olds who can clearly say words and sentences properly. He has improved a ton in the last 4 months though and we do know some words and sentences he uses. Lately he has been very good at repeating what we say. Like the other day we were pulling into Target and how can you not shout "Yay! Target!" when parking?! So he starts to say "tah-geh!" It was cute. And today he was saying towel "ow-el". And he says "Oh-wa" for Nova. I love when he's yelling for her.

He was evaluated for speech therapy two weeks ago which he will be starting in a couple more weeks. I really love the speech pathologist who is on his cleft team. The problem with this is that she is in Phoenix. And he will need therapy once a week. Such a drag! But she works specifically with cleft kids and is really great with Hudson. I don't want to have to worry about finding someone else we like if it means we don't have to drive an hour away. So I'll deal with it. I've been looking for fun things to do around Phoenix to make the trip extra worth it and fun for the kids. So far lots of splash pads!

So the speech pathologist, Dr. Leech, went on about how smart Hudson is and how well behaved he was there! But we already knew that... I told him she hasn't seen him at home. She said he should pick up therapy pretty quickly and if he happens not to improve much then it could be a palate issue which means that would need to be corrected with in a year. She said sometimes their palate is just not long enough to make the right sounds. She told me a lot of his sounds come from the back of his throat and that he doesn't use his palate much to talk. So she hopes to correct any bad habits before it's too late! Fingers crossed!

On a happier note he had his two year check up with his surgeon, Dr. Beals, and he was impressed with how everything is looking still. I told him about the hole we thought was in the roof of his mouth but he didn't seem too concerned, nor did he even see it! But I still think it may be there. They took more pictures of Hudson to use to show other parents because well his repair is just that awesome!!! Everyone who saw him that day was SO impressed with his lip repair. They always are. They mention how if they didn't know him there was no way anyone could tell he had a cleft lip. The color is perfect. Makes me so proud and happy. But also kind of sad that no trace of the face I first fell in love with is left behind. To anyone else of course. I can see his perfectly imperfect lips and smile and nose.

On to Nova who became a bit more interesting at her 6 month check up. Her pediatrician has always taken a long time to feel the soft spot on her head I've noticed at every appointment. I always take a feel for myself later and have tried to feel a soft spot that is not there. Well at her six month check up she finally mentioned it. She called it trigonocephaly. And showed me some pictures (bad idea) of other baby's heads that come to a point at the forehead. Although kept saying if that is what she has it is a mild case but it will need fixed ASAP. So she referred us to a neurosurgeon. Awesome right? Because a cleft isn't enough to deal with now my princess may need surgery on her skull! Not cool woman! So of course I researched once I got home but told my self not to worry until we met with the surgeon. Which was in January. It was a quick appointment where he just felt her head and mentioned sutures and premature closure and stuff like that... Apparently it was concerning enough to send her off to get a CT scan.

Two weeks later we went to Cardon's early one morning to have the CT done. And memories of Hudson's palate repair came back to me. Horrible times... Thankfully the wait was longer than the CT itself. It was just Nova, the nurse, and I in the x-ray room and she strapped, wrapped and strapped some more Nova up real tight on the table and I had to hold her little jaw so her head wouldn't move side to side. The machine was big and scary looking and the sound it made was creepy. It was only about 30 second long though thankfully. Nova did great and held still but towards the end her eyes got big and she started to squirm and I could tell she was getting scared. It was so sad!

We met with her surgeon a few hours later to go over the scans and this is what we found out:

It's called craniosynostosis. Premature closures of the sutures on the skull. If you didn't know, when babies are born they have a few different plates of their skull that are not fused together so the plates overlap when the baby is being born. (Arn't we just so thoughtfully made!?) Well one of her sutures, her metopic suture, fused shortly after she was born when normally that specific suture should close around nine months. This can cause the skull to become pointed in the font or the forehead, since babies skulls are also real flexible in their first 6 months. As the brain grows the skull expands and since the skull is not fussed it has room to grow... unless one or more of those sutures is closed already. It can cause too much pressure and other problems like eye sight and learning delays in the future. In Nova's case her metopic one has fussed and although her head has become very narrow in the front it is not sever enough to be considered trionocephaly and will NOT require surgery! Thank heavens!! We had a follow up with the surgeon two months later and he took one look (and feel) of her head and said he will not need to see her again!

But I also mentioned this to Hudson's surgeon, Dr. Beals, who also works with craniosynostosis patients. He looked at her and also agreed it is mild. They took pictures of her head at Hudson's appointment and he wants to see when she turns one to compare.

And that's that in a nutshell. Anti-climatic. And so we joke that she saw that Hudson was born with a cleft so she decided to close everything up early to prevent any clefts from happening. (I can)

And if that wasn't enough for us to deal with she has just been a PILL since the day she turned 5 months. She started waking up in the night every 2-3 hours and would not sleep unless she nurses. Even still she will wake up about 2 times in the night. It's rough. She hibernated the first 5 months of her life and now she's done sleeping I guess! Also around 3-4 months she started getting real bad diaper rashes. She constantly has one going on! And if she does have some clear buns it's only for a day or two. We also found out she has eczema! But it's kept under control when I keep her skin moisturized. It was a lot worse over the winter. And on top of all this we ALSO found out she is allergic to dairy! Come on girl! She kept getting a red (wait, what other color would it be?) rash all around her mouth occasionally and I noticed it once after she was drinking from Hudson's sippy cup of milk. I gave her another dairy product the next day and sure enough...a rash.

I'm thinking her diaper rashes and eczema is probably from me eating dairy too. But I seriously have no self control when it comes to what I eat! It's bad! If I can't change my diet for the sake of my own daughter then there is just no hope for any change in my diet ever! EVER!

On that note we are still breast feeding! Going strong! Well she is... I think I would have quit a months ago when I ended up with thrush which is the worst thing ever, EVER! And so far has been the worst part of nursing! BUT the little girl will take no bottle and no sippy! So I had no choice but to suffer through it. Once it was taken care of (after a freakin' month) I was able to enjoy nursing again. UNTIL I got it again for only a week this time. But I knew what it was right away so it didn't last nearly as long as the first time or as painful. Someone shoot me. My goal is to make it to a year and then I'd like to start weaning her soon after. Hopefully. I've just sacrificed so much to continue to breast feed! It really has not been more convenient for me than a bottle. More trouble than anything else. And I've asked myself many times if it really IS worth it sometimes. But I keep going for Nova, and not because breast milk is good for her but because she loves to nurse. And I'll admit I have some emotional attachment to it too. Although I'll be more than relieved when it's over I also think it will be hard for me when it ends. It's a love/hate relationship really. I'm pretty sure I could write a book on breast feeding now. I've seen it all.

Not to linger on all the negatives... she has also be SO enjoyable lately! She is a crazy ball of fire! She climbs on everything! She loves to bug Hudson and she's good at it. Always getting into is projects. She just yells right back at him when he gets mad. It's cute. She loves to jump! She claps. She dances. She's taking a few steps! She finally got a tooth at 10 months! A top one! Just like Hudson did! She now has just her four top teeth at 11 months. Funny kids. She loves to eat everything now! She loves to talk and is so loud! She is just so goofy and such a mama's girl!

And here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Christmas Day 2013
Poor Curtis was sick with pneumonia and we didn't know it then. It's wasn't really an enjoyable Christmas for me and definitely for Curtis!

They sure loves each other!
They got the wagon for Christmas.

They love playing outside together! I just made them a splash pad out of PVC pipes that I know we'll have good times with this summer!!

Gilbert Temple open house!

Beautiful right? And I'm not talking about the sunset and Temple.

Hudson's 2nd birthday! 1.16.14
It was a present to me to see him blowing out his candle seeing that a year ago just blowing was impossible for him! 

Bowling for the Birthday Boy!

It's my party and I can cry if I want to!!

He rocks at opening presents! He was so interested in them unlike other two year olds I've seen!

Valentine Pictures

Easter Sunday 2014

 I love these kiddos!!
"Oh wow!" he always says.