Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Unexpected Emotions On Ending Our Breastfeeding Journey.

When I started breast feeding Carson, 13 months ago, my goal was always to make it through his first year. If possible, I wanted to avoid formula & exclusively breastfeed to provide his nourisment & antibodies. I was blessed & did not have issues with milk supply like so many momma's do. My heart aches for all of you who are unable to make it to your goal - whatever that goal may be.

I never really thought about the end of this amazing relationship until we started to approach his Carson's birthday. As we approached his birthday in April, I began speaking with Adam about extending our breastfeeding journey to 18 months & potentially, even, 2 years. The benefits of the added antibodies is what made me most interested in extending breastfeeding. I want a healthy kid, as do all parents, but knowing that this boosts those immunities really made me want to continue. Plus, honestly, I didn't feel that either of us were ready to give it up.

However, things change. The week of his first birthday my supply dropped & I began to notice that he wasn't really nursing for long during our nursing sessions & was spending more time pacifying than taking in milk. On Easter, the day after his first birthday, many cousins, aunts & uncles, even my mom, started asking me when I would stop breastfeeding. Everyone had their opinion. They all indicated that he was now a year old & we should stop. I'm ashamed to say that this did encourage my decision to start the process of weaning. There are other circumstances that come into play as well but not anything that I am ready to share on the blog. We started weaning & within a week he was only nursing at night. His night feeds continued to get shorter each feed & fewer per night. As of this last week we were down to one nursing session per night. Meaning in a 24 hour period he would only nurse once.

Emotionally, I was fine with this. We still had some time to snuggle, I cuddle with him while he drinks his 3 cups of milk a day, and we're nursing once in the night as well. I felt we were both getting what we needed. Until, last night, when he didn't wake up to nurse. He slept all night. I started to think about how much time had passed since his last nursing session - currently 43 hours & 11 minutes. Suddenly, I'm overwhelmed with sadness. I didn't expect the end of this journey to be so soon after we started. Nor did I expect it to be so emotional.

I'm proud of the fact that we made it through his first year. I'm so proud of Carson for working so hard & for transitioning so well from breast milk to whole milk. I never saw that transition being so smooth or so easy. In three short weeks we went from exclusively breastfeeding to weaning 100% to solids & whole milk.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to bond with my baby through breastfeeding & that I was able to stay home with him through his first year as well. I know that made a huge difference in our breastfeeding journey.

Now, I'll go take a bath, cry over the fact that we're officially "done" breast feeding & take a moment to reflect on the gratitude that I feel over the last 396 days with our beautiful baby boy.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Carson's Birth Story - Part 3

You can read pt 1 here & pt 2 here!

Ok, so my OB wished us luck & was on her way home for the weekend. Shortly after my OB left my mom arrived to keep us company. She fielded multiple calls from my dad & my sister. They're not patient people! Not long after my mom got there the nurse came in to tell us that my OB had ordered the Epidural & that it shouldn't be much longer before I was give then epi. I was thankful & tried to rest while I waited for the anesthesiologist. Well, I waited, & waited, & waited some more when the nurse returned to tell us that it was going to be a while. The anesthesiologist was in the OR with an emergency c-section so she would be at least an hour but it would likely be closer to two hours before she was free. It was now about 630. I knew there was pretty much no hope in me getting the drugs soon but I was thankful it wasn't me who was in need of the emergency c-section & understood. I tried to rest while I waited & I tolerated the pain pretty well but still was sure I didn't want to feel anything more if I didn't have to.

Note: It has taken me 3 months to post the final part of Carson's birth story because I could not rememeber for the life of me what happened after the nurse came in. Did Adam go home now? Or was it later? I finally asked Adam & we debated about it for a while but finally came to the conclusion that is as follows :) 

I remember cursing through contractions & my mom saying that they were really close together. She mentioned to Adam that they were only about 2 minutes apart at best but most were about 1 min 30 seconds apart. Even still I wasn't in an insane amount of pain. I'd say the worst I felt during all of this was only about a 4. The nurse checked on us a few more times & let us know to call her if we needed anything. 

Adam went down to get me some ice chips & I went through those babies like they were going out of style. I was extremely parched. Finally at about 845 the nurse came back in & told me the anesthesiologist would be in shortly & I needed to decide who I wanted in the room during the placement of the epidural. We decided Adam should stay & my mom went on the hunt for some snacks for her & Adam. 

The anesthesiologist arrived & started to prep me for the epidural. I was so nervous. I would say easily, the placement of the epidural was the worst part of my labor & delivery & it wasn't that bad. She told me to lean forward & the nurse held my shoulders & talked to me while she was placing it. Adam sat at the foot of the bed opposite of the anesthesiologist - they have to be on the other side of the bed for sterile reasons - she told me to expect a quick stink like a bee sting & to try to sit still. I did feel the sting & she commented on how well I was doing. She said most women jump & I was still as a statute. Then she explained that she was running the catheter up the spine & it might feel like I am being shocked on my spine - it did & this was by far the WORST part of the entire process. It wasn't painful but it was unsettling to feel a shock along your spine. Then she told me I was done & asked what I could feel. I suddenly felt really warm & tingly when I mentioned this to the anesthesiologist she explained that was totally normal & would fade shortly - it did! Moments later I was feeling NO pain & awesome. 

Not long after my epidural was placed my mom came back with a candy bar & two pops. I remember us all laughing because Adam had asked for a Mt. Dew - well after wild goose chase & multiple vending machines (the cafeteria was closed since it was after 8) she could only find a Diet Mt. Dew! LOL! 

We decided now would be a good time for Adam to run home, feed our dog, Roy, and get dinner while my mom stayed with me. Adam called 930 and asked my mom what she wanted - the decided on Subway.. Well, about 10 my phone rang & I instantly said to my mom "I bet Subway just closed" sure enough, that's exactly what happened. So he had to run to Taco Bell instead. Adam showed up with dinner about 1030-1045. I remember telling my mom that I hadn't noticed any contractions on the monitor for a while & I certainly wasn't feeling anything (I had actually taken a nap :)) & said that I was worried the epidural had slowed things down. Well, about 1055 I felt an insane amount of pressure. I told my mom that I suddenly felt a lot of pressure & she went to get the nurse. The nurse came in and checked me and I was fully dilated! So 2 hours after receiving the epidural I was ready to push! 

At 11 the nurse came in & started helping me push! I pushed for about 45 minutes & the nurse then called the doctor to come in.. Well, the doctor made it in & had one glove on when Carson SHOT out! :) The nurse prepping for Carson had just stepped out to get a few things thinking I would be pushing a lot longer & she missed it. 

At 12:04 AM on April 19, 2013 the most beautiful 6lb 14oz 19 & 3/4 long baby boy joined our family. 

Going home as a family of 3! :) 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What No One Tells You About Parenting

As I sit down for the first time today to take a moment to myself & watch the Bachelorette - 35 minutes after it has stopped airing - I begin to reflect back on my day today with Carson.. Realizing that I had about 7 minutes to heat up & eat dinner. I probably could have had a lot longer if I had not sat next to him on the floor for an hour watching him play, smile, squeal & giggle at his toys this afternoon.. Doing so prevented me from getting in the shower sooner & then it was downhill from there. Then I think about the fact that I wouldn't have it any other way. I certainly wouldn't have rather had a longer shower, I wouldn't have wanted a more peaceful or less rushed dinner to miss out on that time admiring him. I can't even begin to tell you how quickly these last 8 weeks have passed. Carson will be 2 months old by the time this blog post is published. It's true when people tell you how quickly the time passes you by before you have children doesn't compare to how quickly time passes by after you've become  a parent yourself.

When you first announce that you are pregnant suddenly everyone wants to give you their opinion, their unsolicited advice, the dos & don'ts, without having any inkling to ask you what you & your husbands (or partners) beliefs are on the subject matter that they are trying to push said unsolicited advice or opinions.

I can not even tell you how many people emailed me, called me, text me, to tell me that I needed to get my son on a sleep schedule by the time he was X days/weeks old. How many women I ran into at the grocery store who proceeded to tell me why it was horrible to vaccinate - women I didn't even know. The number of people who insisted that I never feed Carson on demand and only feed him when I said it was time to eat.

My point is that everyone has an opinion on all the things you don't really need, or want, to hear their opinions, or advice on. Everyone tells you that you can never imagine the love you will feel for your child until you have them. This is true, but what they fail to mention is that most days you'll spend the entire day holding that baby, loving on that baby, talking to that baby, and your household chores will fall the the wayside & you won't care! Even the most OCD Momma will love and cherish these moments with their babies while the house is torn to shreds.

Everyone tells you to enjoy these moments because it passes by quickly. What no one tells you is that while you're eager for your baby to reach a new milestone & anxious for them to explore & learn everyday, when they reach those milestones you'll cry... Not necessarily happy tears either. You'll cry because when people said it would go by fast they never said it would go by THIS fast. I bawled like a baby the day that Carson outgrew his newborn diapers, newborn clothes & the swaddle - yes this all happened in the SAME day. While I was so happy that he was growing & I was providing him with what he needed, I was so sad that he'd gone through this phase so quickly.

No one ever tells you that some days you will spend the entire day in bed with your baby feeding.. All. Day. Long. These days will be some of your favorite days. I know some women have said that these growth spurts made them feel like a cow because their baby was feeding nonstop.. I was ok with this & cherished this time with Carson.

No one ever tells you that when you finally get that baby on a schedule that works for HIM (I let Carson set his schedule & have never let him "cry it out" as I believe he is only crying if he NEEDS me at this point. He's only 8 weeks old & he doesn't fuss unless he is hungry - not even when he's wet), that your sweet baby will go through a growth spurt & suddenly you'll go from sleeping 6-7 hour stretches at night to being up every 1.5 to 2 hours. This will last a week or so & then he'll slowly start to get back into his routine. Even though his schedule was off & I was sleep deprived, I enjoyed it.

Everyone tells you that being a Mother is the most challenging & rewarding thing a woman can do. While I agree with this whole heartedly, I find that the challenging portion, so far, hasn't really hit. I'm totally in heaven with this boy. So even the "hard" times have been so much fun for me. I know there will be a point when I look at Adam & just want to cry, in fact, I probably will cry, because it's been a particularly hard day but my point is, that I wouldn't give even a second of the hardest day with Carson for the world.

What no one tells you is that being a parent is all the wonderful things you imagine it will be only it's a thousand times better than you could imagine.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Carson's Birth Story - Pt 2

So we left off here.

Adam & I walked around the hospital for the next hour. I did 3 sets of stairs, walked up hills, walked down hills, walked, walked, walked. The contractions did grow stronger but I was still able to walk & talk through them. Still, I was sure we were making progress. At 9am we agreed to meet our nurse back in the triage room to be checked again.. 

9am came, the nurse walked in and asked how I was doing. I told her that I felt the contractions were stronger but not any closer together. She said that was great, she was sure I was in the early stages of labor & had me lay down to check me again. Before she checked me she asked me if they were to send me home if I would cry on her.. I told her that while I would be disappointed, I would not cry. So she proceeded to check me and said that there was no change. I was still only 3.5cm. She then asked if we wanted to stop the progress or bring it on. Without hesitation Adam & both said "BRING. IT. ON."!! We were very ready to meet our baby boy! She said that we could either continue to walk for the next several hours & they would check me every hour, or we could go home & wait it out. We decided that going home was the better option for us. The nurse gave us some "homework" and said she was pretty positive she would see us back within the next 6 hours. 

We left the hospital slightly discouraged but also knowing that this was likely it. I really wanted no bake cookies & knew we did not have all of the ingredients at home so we swung by the grocery store to grab the ingredients I needed to make my cookies & we went home. 

Once we were home I made my cookies & promptly started to clean the entire house top to bottom. The contractions completely stopped. I figured it was all just more false labor & this time that he'd tricked me into actually going in to get checked. I decided to go ahead & take a nap since I obviously wasn't helping things along by all the activity I had been doing that morning. I figured at this point that this wasn't the real deal & I wasn't having him anytime soon. 

About an hour after I laid down I felt a strong contraction come on. Again, I thought it was just false labor & tried to sleep through them but they were so strong & consistent that I was unable to sleep. Adam had gone outside to do some yard work while I was resting so I text him & told him the contractions were back & stronger. I told him I was going to go get in the bathtub & see if that helped me relax. Adam came in about an hour later & I was still in the tub & the pain was worse! At this point, I was in a lot of pain. I was unable to talk through them & certainly couldn't walk through them. Adam & I agreed we should probably head back in to the hospital since I had been having them about 5 min apart for 2 hours & they were definitely strong. 

We loaded up into the car & Adam wanted a cheese burger so we ran through Carls Jr for him. I remember having a pretty intense contraction while we were in the drive thru & Adam making a joke that if I had him in the car in the drive through we could name him Carl. I really remember not finding that amusing at all & telling him that he needed to get me to the hospital because I wanted drugs! He ran one red light & hit about 3 others on the way. I told him that if he missed anymore green lights because he was too busy eating his cheese burger that I was going to throw it out the window. He found this funny - I did not. Haha!

We arrived at the hospital & the nurse who was there that morning smiled & said she knew she'd see us back. She asked if we had done our homework & then said she would check me. I told her that if she sent me home this time I would cry. She laughed & said she didn't think I would be going home. She checked me & then said the words I was dreading hearing... "No Change". I instantly said "Are you kidding me?!" with tears welling up in my eyes. I was so tired, so ready for pain meds & so DONE being pregnant. She instantly said "YES, I'm kidding! You're 5cm! You're staying!" I remember thanking God for allowing me to get this far & telling Adam to call our parents. 

They moved us to the room we would be in for the remainder of our stay. My hospital does not move you at all throughout your labor & delivery to postpartum. You get to stay in the same place the entire time which I love. At this point it was about 430pm. 

My OB, who was on call until 5pm, came in to check on me at about 530pm. She came in to let me know that she would be leaving but that I was in good hands with the OB coming in. She then asked if I wanted her to break my water now or if I would rather wait until after I had my epidural. I opted to wait for the epidural. She said that was smart, wished me luck & that she would come check on me the following night. 

This is getting really long - Part 3 (the finale!) on Monday! :) 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Carson's Birth Story - Pt 1

I have wanted to make sure that I document Carson's birth story before I forget any of the details, unfortunately, I am sure by now I have already forgotten some of the small details. However, his birth seemed to pass so quickly that I am sure I wouldn't have gotten it all down anyway. 

Carson started preparing me for his birth much earlier than most babies do. I had preterm contractions starting at 26 weeks. Thankfully for us the preterm contractions were not causing dilation so I did not have to be admitted in the hospital or going on full time bed rest. I did take 5 days off & spend those 5 days in bed to see if that would slow down the preterm contractions or make them stop entirely. That did not happen but it all worked out anyway. 

My last day of work was supposed to be on April 12th. The last week at work for me was really rough. I was so sore by the end of the day & was hardly able to concentrate due to the contractions I was having & the intense pelvic pain. So after working from home Monday & Tuesday, I called in on Wednesday, April 10th & said I would not be in anymore. I spent the next few days in bed, relaxing, watching TV, napping, and running a few errands here & there. Overall, we had a pretty uneventful weekend. My sister in law, Allison's baby shower was that Saturday so I got up and went to her shower. I was pretty sure I would have him any day at her shower as he was really low & I was already 3cm dilated. 

I had an appointment on Wednesday, April 18th & I knew at this appointment my OB had planned to sweep my membranes if I had not delivered before then. Monday & Tuesday came & went so I knew that the membrane sweep would be happening at my appointment. I had heard that this was a painful procedure so I was mentally preparing myself for the pain. I knew it would be nothing in comparison to labor so I was ok with it if there was a chance it would get things moving & we'd be meeting our baby sooner rather than later. When I arrived at my appointment my OB confirmed that I was still 3cm dilated & that she was going to sweep my membranes. She did the sweep, which I am happy to report was not at all painful. In fact, I didn't feel a thing! I was surprised when she said that she was done. My OB finished my exam, told me she was on call the following day & that hopefully she would see me then. She also stated that if your body is ready most women go into active labor with in 48 hours of having their membranes swept. YAY!

Adam & I decided to go out to eat at Gustav's to enjoy one last meal (possibly) without children. We had a great dinner & went home to get to bed. I was preparing myself for my last good night of sleep (Ha! Says a pregnant women who gets up to pee 32 times every night! :)) & a long day the following day. Wishful thinking! I woke up at about 3am to go to the bathroom.. When I laid back down I couldn't help but notice that I was having cramping. I started timing them & they were about 10-12 minutes apart. I continued to count them for the next 2 hours when Adam's alarm went off. When his alarm went off they were about 8 minutes apart. I told Adam he probably should stay home but he decided to go ahead and go to work since he only works 10 minutes away & I had a lot of false labor over the last few weeks. My contractions would get as close as 3 min apart & then totally stop. I agreed that this wasn't a bad plan & I would call him if they got any closer for him to come home so we could go in to the hospital. 

6am the contractions were now about 5 minutes apart & these contractions were more intense than the false labor contractions I had been having. I called Adam & he decided to come home. We then decided to go ahead & go in since they were close together consistently for over an hour. I walked into the hospital at about 730am. My OB was at the counter, she smiled and said "Hi Karli! What are you doing here?" I responded that "Hopefully your little sweep worked!" - the nurse took me to the triage room where she checked me.. I was 3.5cm dilated! I was so disappointed. I had though for sure I had progressed more than .5 cm overnight. Oh well. The nurse told me to go ahead and walk for an hour & if I progressed anymore then they would keep me.. 

A walking we went... 

Part 2 on Thursday!