Friday, March 27, 2009

Until Further Notice

I have slowly weaned Charlie from the breast over the last month. My goal was to make it to 6 months, but I wanted to gradually do this so that he wouldn't be shell-shocked by the formula he was getting. This week is probably the end of a milk supply that I diligently worked to keep up. I am so proud of us, today. Charlie and I made it this long, and I am ecstatic about that.

I haven't talked much about my breastfeeding experience, but I am going to now :o) There is your warning!! And this post might get a little long :)

Breastfeeding has been one of the most amazing, instinctual, challenging, selfless things I have ever dedicated myself to. When you are pregnant, I think there is a misconception that breastfeeding is somehow a super easy process that simply comes naturally for mom and baby. This could be the biggest fallacy of new motherhood. Breastfeeding is NOT easy. It is really, really hard. It takes massive dedication, and commitment. Even then, not everyone is able to successfully breastfeed. It creates guilt in ways that I have never understood, but yet it is the most primal, awesome act that I have ever done for my child, so far.

We have had a lot of breastfeeding challenges. It started with the latch in the hospital. I kept Charlie in our room, because he didn't want the pacifier, and he screamed in the nursery. They brought him to me time and time again, so we just kept him in our room. I had a Cesarean section, so getting out of bed, was very difficult for me. The entire time we were in the hospital, Curtis would have to bring him to me, or I would just let Charlie sleep on the pillow next to me. He would stir, I would nurse him. I was sure to seek out the help of the lactation consultants. I made friends with one of them, and requested her for the 4 days I was in the hospital. Every day, she would come by and help us with the latch. She helped me with the pump at the hospital, and I can still remember the day that I saw some colostrum come out of my breast! AMAZING. I really think that as much as I did not want a c-section, being in the hospital, completely helped our breastfeeding experience, thanks to her.

We got home, and it was a tough transition. For a long time, I would writhe and wiggle in pain while he latched on. I read the Nursing Mother's Companion in the middle of the night; the room lit up by Jay Leno, and Charlie attached to my breast. I needed reassurance constantly that we were doing this thing right. I still questioned whether he was getting enough milk, or if I was feeding him often enough, or had we created a snacking problem or what about his poop? OMG HIS POOP!! I over analyze things as it is, but with breastfeeding, it was just compounded. My determination had me wanting it to work out, and for it to get easier too.

When I returned to work, it got even more difficult. Being attached to a pump is not nearly as awesome as watching your baby with content eyes while he nurses. There are no content eyes. Just my office, a computer, me and the pump. Here is where the dedication and sacrifice comes in. Breastfeeding is a sacrifice. Whether it be your supply, or your nipples hurting, or that your child has a dairy sensitivity, or you work full time. There is always something that makes it challenging. All I wanted, was for it to get a little bit easier.

Easier it did get. It took awhile for my supply to establish itself, and for Charlie and I to get to know each other. It took some time. Time is what no one tells you about. I really believe that if you give it time and a TON of energy, you can successfully breastfeed your baby. Yes, there are extenuating circumstances for some people, I know this. (disclaimer: this is in no way a diss on people who can't breastfeed!!) And, the temptation to give up is always there. The formula cans arrive at your doorstep without you even asking for them. You are pressured to supplement in the hospital because your BABY IS STARVING, FEED YOUR BABY!! But, really, this has been the truest test of patience for me as well. It takes a lot of things I never thought I had in me.

Now, onto the good part. Breastfeeding is awesome. It's practical, it's cheap, it creates a bond that is unexplainable. I really believe it is the best thing for your baby. Breast milk has biological properties that are fascinating. To be a source of comfort for your child is something that I cannot define. I feel like I am that for HIM. I often look at Charlie's wrist rolls, or his chubby thighs, and I think to myself, "I did this. WE did this. You and me, buddy." To have 6 months of being the sole source of my child's nutrition really has made motherhood for me. It has created a beautiful bond that I share with my child. I feel a tiny bit of guilt for stopping, but we were both ready. I am going to miss our nursing sessions with his bright blue eyes staring up at me. It's such a trusting, joyous relationship that we have. Curtis congratulated me tonight, and told me I will continue that bond with Charlie. He is right. After 6 months, and a lot of hard work, I know that no matter what this child eats, he will continue to grow and be strong.

I am patting myself on the back. And ladies and gentleman, this milk-factory is closed for business until further notice :o)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sour Face

Sweet potatoes are a hit.

Pears need a little more work.

And I think we even got a tinkle shiver on video.


Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Fog Has Lifted

A couple of days ago, I was telling my sister how excited I am that it is finally Spring. We were chatting about motherhood, and the challenges therein. We talk about that a lot lately. I am really thankful to have her, because she is an experienced mom of 2, and she knows me well. Talking about motherhood with her, is just like shooting the breeze. I told her the other day about how I was excited to get out of the house, and how I was finally feeling like my old, goofy self again. She said "I know what you mean, it's like the fog has lifted." EXACTLY. That is how I feel.

On Friday, whereas I normally would have stayed home all day, I was encouraged to go walking with 3 girlfriends, and their 2 babies. (Well, three, because I have to count Shannon's in-utero baby :o) It was a brisk day outside, only about 45 degrees, but the sun was shining and I welcomed the opportunity to get out. And I was so glad I actually followed through and got out of the house.

Today, we took Charlie out to eat, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. Yes, PPD and snow will hole you up in your house for good, or so it seems(ed). We went to Applebee's, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Charlie bopped his head around, checking out all of the people, and we had a nice meal outside of our house. It was amazing. :o)

When you first have a baby, it's a little overwhelming. Maybe it isn't that way for everyone, but it has been for me. As much as I tried to prepare myself for the entrance of our little boy, I was (and still often am!) blindsided by this entire experience. It's a lot to take in all at once. When it's compounded by a fierce Winter, and a little bit of depression, it can really have you crawling into bed, never wanting to crawl back out. But, now that I see the sun, and the flowers, and the grass turning from brown to green, I feel a bit of myself returning too. I realize that Charlie is a part of this family now, and we need to learn to incorporate him into our everyday. As difficult as it might be or as it might seem.

In those early days, I would go to Babies R Us, or Target just to get out of the house for a bit. His schedule was unpredictable, he hated his car seat, and he was often very fussy. It was so much easier just to stay home. Now, he is easy going, and portable, and interested in everything around him. He is learning something new each and every day. Today, his new trick was to roll across the living room floor. Back to front, then front to back, then back to front and so on. He is a joy, and now that my fog has lifted, and Spring is here, I am excited for what the next several months have to bring. I imagine a Tigers game or two, many trips out to Lake Michigan and Gun Lake, Charlie's first experience in a swimming pool, crawling, maybe even walking, babbling, and eating real food.

Each day just gets better and better.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blogger Layout ADD

I have it. We all know I have a tiny bit of ADD in real life, and I have to confess that it has transpired to this place too!

I know I have changed the layout here a million times in the past few months, but I just couldn't decide what I wanted it to look like around here. After reading, and gathering feedback, I decided I really didn't like the black background. I figured it might be wise to see if Jenni could help me out with my ADD layout problem. She helped me design our birth announcements (no, really, she gets all the credit) and her blog is always looking so fabulous.

This new layout is what she came up with :o) Isn't it awesome?? I love it so much!!

It's the first day of Spring today, and it was time for a change. Don't you think??

Happy Spring!

Oh, and go State!! :o)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Moments I Love

Charlie's latest thing is to grab at my face. Instead of staring over my shoulder, he is leaning way back, his face lit up with such intent; trying to grab my eye, or my nose or my mouth.

Tonight, as I was putting him to sleep, I put him over my shoulder to burp him. It was still light in his room from the daylight savings sunshine, and he was smiling, HUGE, right at me. Then he grabbed my face, put his mouth on my CHIN, and started sucking away. I couldn't help but to start laughing uncontrollably. And he couldn't help it either. We did this feeding/burping/chin sucking/laughing routine off and on for awhile. I even had to call Daddy up to witness his sillyness.

Charlie is so fun right now. Everyday he gives me another moment (or 20!) that I love.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Exhausted

Daylight Savings Time always does a number on me. The addition of Charlie has only made it worse. I had to fight to keep my eyes open all day long. I even ventured out into the sun, to grab myself a caffeinated beverage.

It was a typical Monday. The kind where everything seems to go wrong, and absolutely nothing goes as planned. I got to work, and my co-worker was out with a sick child. The server was running at a snails pace and everyone was complaining about it, so I decided to do an update and see how if it would increase the server speed. In that process, I was asked to install an update for Quickbooks (on the server). I went ahead and downloaded it, and the worst error message I have EVER seen showed up. "Filename is CORRUPT. Please run chkdisk utility." Oh no!! I started to panic, and when I attempted to open the file it read "0 KB" Again, I panicked. And then I spent all morning restoring the backup file from Friday. Thank heavens for $4.95 online backups. I always thought that the $4.95 monthly fee was a waste, but for the first time in 4 years at my job, I had to use it. And without it, I would likely have croaked from a heart attack. :o)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Toodles to the 20's

I turned 30 today. It's a weird sensation, leaving behind your "best years" as some would say. I don't know if my 20's were my best years, but I know that a lot of awesome things happened in the last decade. I graduated from college, I got my first job, I bought my first home. I got married, sold the one house, bought another, had a baby, moved jobs two times, and most importantly, I learned A LOT along the way.

I have long felt that our 20's are there to teach us. We learn right from wrong, how to live on our own in the real world, how to manage our money and so many other things. Some of us learn how to live in the same house with a man who doesn't change the TP roll, and some of us start the path to learning how to be parents. We come into our own in our 20's. We learn what it really means to be alive, and I will look back and forever thank my 20's for teaching me, and teaching me well.

Now, I am 30. I feel a little older. I won't lie. It's harder to lose weight, and there is skin damage, and wrinkles, and even some gray hair. I look older, my soul is wiser and my brain forgets more often. In reality though, and this is my 90 year old grandmothers talking, "I am a spring chicken. I am still young." I know this. I know that 30 is nowhere near being old. But, for the 3 decades I have been here, well, today is the oldest I have ever been. And it feels OLD.

I took the day off today, and I reflected on my many birthdays over the years. There were birthdays with surprises, and birthdays with a lot of drinks involved, and birthdays with quiet dinners at home, and birthdays in other states, and birthdays that meant more than others, and birthdays that I don't miss at all. I didn't do much of anything today. I delivered a meal to a friend that lost her mom, I spoke with my big sister for awhile, I spent the day with Charlie, and I was surprised by a husband that came home at 1pm to greet me with flowers. We ordered takeout and put the baby to bed. Of all of my birthdays, this one has been the most peaceful. I feel like it can only get better from here. I might not be able to drink like a sailor anymore, and I might have a (gasp!) age spot or two on my face, but with age, comes knowledge.

I feel good about today. And I look forward to the next decade. I figure the 30's are when you get to enjoy yourself a bit more, instead of waking up with a hangover on a Saturday morning. It's all about family, friends, my career and so much more. I really feel like I know what life has in store for me now. There is still uncertainty, but it feels good to know what to expect a bit more from here on out.

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A man's age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man's age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell

Everything slows down with age, except the time it takes cake and ice cream to reach your hips. ~Attributed to John Wagner

We turn not older with years, but newer every day. ~Emily Dickinson