Monthly Archives: February 2011

Seven Years

Today I celebrate seven years of marriage with my husband Josh. We’re just shy of having been together for eight years.

Josh and I had known each other a few years before we started dating. I met him through a friend of a friend and as the years went by I knew that I always had a great time when we got together with friends over games (or political discussion).

During late 2001 and early 2002 I started thinking more and more about him and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get him off my mind. I talked often with our mutual friend, Georgia, about what was going on in my head and my heart. She was an angel to do about fifteen billion tarot card readings for me (each always asked the same question). The cards told us that we’d be good together – but we would have to fight many battles along the way.

On my birthday in 2002 I asked Josh to go out and play pool with me. At the end of the night we went back to his place and ended up like usual – playing card games and laughing with our friends Adam and Shannon. Adam and Shannon left as we reached the wee hours of the morning. When they had gone I asked Josh if he thought we could have a relationship together without sacrificing our friendship. He agreed that we could.

Josh and I had a little bit of a trying time between then and the time he moved out of one friend’s house, into an apartment of his own, and then into my apartment with me. I graduated with my BS degree that December. I took him with me to Mobile to meet my extended family, and then to Bilouxi on my graduation trip. He loved getting the chance to meet my family and said after the trip that he loved me more for it.

Within just a couple of short months, Josh and I decided on Valentine’s Day to tie the knot. It was a Friday night. The courthouse wouldn’t be open for another few days due to President’s Day. The following Tuesday, as soon as the courthouse was open, Josh and I went to the courthouse with a handful of friends to get married. Georgia and Adam paid the wedding license dues as our wedding present.

It was there that my heart burst when the judge asked, “Do you take this woman, April, to be your lawfully wedded wife?” and his response was “Absolutely!”

Wedding Day

February 17, 2004

The tarot cards were right. Josh and I have had many battles throughout our marriage, but we’ve come out stronger as a result of each. Here we are today with an amazing daughter. I’m sure we still have many trials and tribulations to come, but we’re committed to sticking together through it all.

Happy Seventh Anniversary, Josh. I love you.

Perspective

I’m taking a quick break from my Breastfeeding 101 series to write about something that’s been weighing heavily on my heart the last couple of days. I’ll warn you now that this will be a sad post, so if you’re hormonal and / or going through a depressed phase right now, you may not want to continue. (I’m serious about that.)

Tuesday I was plowing through our unpaid bills and wondering how we’re going to make it through. Josh has been talking about getting a part-time job, but there are things he needs to accomplish before he can begin looking. We’re also still waiting for all the tax information we need to be mailed to us so that we can file our taxes. We’re waiting with bated breath until we receive our refund check and can pay off some loans that are nearly choking us. All I could do was hang my head and wonder exactly how we’re going to swing things until we get more money coming into the household.

I decided to take a quick break and head over to Facebook to see if I could find a chuckle. I didn’t find a chuckle – but what I did find made me realize (yet again) that everything truly is a matter of perspective.

One of my new-found friends who is going to help me take this blog places (you should totally visit her blog here or here) posted a blog that she’d found.

The blog was written by a daddy-to-be. He and his wife had been trying to conceive for nearly two years when they received the great news they were pregnant. Their little one’s due date was fast approaching. You could read the light in this man’s eyes as he wrote sometimes to family and friends, sometimes to himself, and sometimes wrote to his darling daughter whom he had yet to meet.

Then an accident happened. Just a few days ago his darling bride and their unborn daughter were in a car crash.

His wife didn’t make it. Their daughter was delivered but stayed in critical condition for a couple days afterward. For two heart-breaking days, the new father watched his little girl in hopes that she would start showing brain activity. . . but she never did.

Everything else I was worried about fell from beneath my feet. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t imagine being within a week or two of my little girl’s arrival and having the two people that meant the most taken from me within a couple of days of one another.

My heart aches for this man. Can you imagine how closely I hugged my beautiful baby daughter, and my husband, when I got home and saw them again?

Our problems are nothing compared to those. Nothing. And this man, partially through the grace of God and partially through the support he’s received in real life and through his blog, is holding his head up high and honoring his beautiful wife and daughter.

At this point, the only thing about which I have to hang my head is my own shame for feeling so sorry for myself – over money.

It really is all about perspective, isn’t it?

Our Story – Persistence!

Brand New Baby

Brand New Baby & Happy Family

I wanted a completely un-medicated birth so that Tori wouldn’t be sleepy when she was born and could nurse right away. I ended up having to have a low dose of Statol late in labor, but it was no big deal – she was born in two contractions (yay!). I had them lay her on my chest immediately before they cut the cord to give her a bit more security. I had them clean her up in the hospital room quickly and then give her back to me so that I could initiate breastfeeding right away. Sure enough, just as soon as I presented her with my breast, she latched on like a champ. Because of the Statol she didn’t nurse but a few minutes before falling asleep and I’m not sure she even transferred colostrum – but hey, that was a start.

I didn’t see a lactation consultant until nearly 36 hours after delivery, despite my attempts to let the labor and delivery nurses know that I was interested in exclusively breastfeeding. When I finally saw the lactation consultant, she helped me make small corrections to Tori’s latch and helped me position her better. Unfortunately, the total time I spent with the lactation consultant was 15 minutes.

Instant Love

Instant Love

The third night I thought I would die. I’d latch Tori on, she’d suck for 2 minutes, fall asleep on the breast, I’d transfer her to her crib and just as soon as I did she’d wake up again. It wasn’t so difficult at first but I was wondering if I was starving her, I thought I was a human pacifier, and frankly latching and unlatching her repeatedly made my nipples worse. If I had it to do all over again I would have left her attached on each breast a lot longer and avoided so much the latching/unlatching dance. This is because through the near-constant stimulation, she was working to bring my milk. The next morning when I got out of the hospital my milk came in.

About 10 days in we were getting a lot faster at latching but my nipples were still *killing* me. My MIL told me to pick up Neosporin Pain. I’d apply it after each nursing session and (gently) wipe it off before she latched on again. It was a life saver. By three weeks my nipples were completely healed and we were nursing comfortably.

Sleepy Baby

Sleepy Baby

We made the mistake of offering Tori a paci when she was a few weeks old because she was nursing all the time. Literally. She’d be on for 45 minutes, I’d put her down to sleep, and 15 minutes later she’d want to come back. Repeat. We tried to give her a paci just to give me a break. That was a bad idea. Because babies suck on a paci differently than they do the breast, it completely messed up her latch. If I had this to do all over again I would baby-wear so I could continue to do (whatever) hands free and Tori could nurse, or comfort suck, or anything she wanted to do.

After the paci snafu it took 3-4 days to correct her latch. By that time the growth spurt was over and she was sleeping a more predictable 1-2 hours between feedings but somehow we developed thrush. It felt like a lifetime before we completely cured her of her thrush. Then, suddenly (and too soon), Tori was six weeks old and I was looking at having to return to work in two more weeks.

I started pumping in hopes that I could build up her first day’s supply before going to work. I screwed this all up and, long story short, I ended up giving her all the milk I’d pumped from a bottle almost as soon as I pumped it. I tricked myself into thinking I had a milk supply problem because I couldn’t get ahead of myself. I did NOT.

Milk Drunk

Milk Drunk

When Tori turned 8 weeks old, I went to work for the first day and got a frantic call from Josh about 10 am. Tori wouldn’t drink any of the milk I’d frozen for her. I made an emergency trip home with what milk I’d collected that morning and she drank it no problem – I wondered what the issue was since she was taking a bottle no problems before. Turns out I had a problem with lipase. We had to overcome that issue. Then a week later I got Mirena inserted because doc advised me that it was a great long-term birth control and because it very rarely affected milk supply. Within two weeks of getting Mirena my milk supply really did plummet (which I should have known – I’ve always been *extremely* sensitive to hormonal forms of birth control; if you aren’t sensitive don’t worry – but if you are sensitive, any form of hormonal birth control can completely screw with your supply). Then I started taking *more* meds to increase my production.

I had only been back to work for a week or week and a half when Tori started refusing the breast whenever I was home to offer it to her. Tori learned very quickly that bottles were easier to drink from. In offering her the bottles too early (and too consistently), I also created a bigger problem that I came to deeply regret. I’d created nipple confusion (or, more accurately, nipple preference.) I’d put her to breast and she’d scream and kick and cry (so would I). I felt so rejected. When I tried to work her out of this nursing strike, she’d strangle from an overactive letdown I had created with all the milk production meds, get more frustrated, and then she couldn’t be coaxed back to breast for the rest of the night. If I had this to do all over again, I’d wait until it was *necessary* to introduce the bottle to her and I’d limit her time on the bottle, meaning I’d run home from work on lunch and nurse, nurse before work, directly after work, etc. so that she’d have as few bottles as possible.

Awww

Awww

The only relief I had from her nursing strike was at night. We bed-share, and, while she was asleep / too tired to fight she’d roll over to me and dream-feed. That’s the only thing that kept my milk production up long-term because after using the production meds so long (and not knowing that was causing my daughter to drown!), I’d messed with my breasts’ idea of what kind of supply they should have, the meds lost their efficacy, Tori wasn’t nursing *enough*, and, my breasts gave up and my supply crashed for the worst. On her three-month birthday Josh and I had to start supplementing with formula.

That lays out the song and dance until she turned one. I stopped pumping at work but she continued dream feeding at night. Within two months she gently weaned herself – going from two nursing sessions a night to just one, and finally in October, at fourteen months old (exactly) she nursed the last time. I tried offering the breast at night for a few weeks since then but she didn’t want it anymore – just her paci. (Insert sad-face here).

All told, my beautiful daughter was exclusively breastfed due to my crazy pumping schedule for the first three months of her life. She was supplemented with roughly 25% formula until six months old. Past that she received 50-75% formula . . . but . . . I never gave up. I gave her every ounce of Mama milk I could until she was a year old. I must say I’m quite nostalgic about our breastfeeding relationship and the hours I spent on the breast pump. I’m also proud of what we accomplished together – but I admit I’m filled with a little regret. If I’d known then what I know now every step of the way, I could have avoided a lot of the boobie traps placed in my way.

That’s precisely why I’m trying to assist any mothers expressing interest in breastfeeding with my new blog series. I hope that the moms I’m helping can overcome any obstacles and breastfeed for as long as they, and their little bundles of joy, wish.

You can find this and other breastfeeding stories at My Practical Baby Guide.

Sweet Nurser

Sweet Nurser

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please click “BF 101” on my topic cloud to see all the posts in my Breastfeeding 101 Series, or choose the topics about which you’re most interested by following the track-back:

Breastfeeding 101 Series (Intro)

BF 101: Preparing During Pregnancy

BF 101: Helpful Resources

BF 101: Labor and Delivery Can Affect Your Nursing Relationship

BF 101: The First Few Days

BF 101: The First Few Weeks

BF 101: Growth Spurts

BF 101: Birth Control

BF 101: Sleeping through the Night

BF 101: Working Mama

BF 101: Pumping and Milk Storage

BF 101: Nursing Strike

BF 101: Supply Issues

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