Thursday, August 27, 2015

8/27/15 – Week 5: Only Judy Can Judge Me

Happy boy!

Saturday 8/29/15 – Today at 3:00am, I was awake and pumping in the living room.
Suddenly, an error message appeared on the screen.
The machine made a noise like beep, beep, beeeeeep.


It was dead.

I tried plugging it in and unplugging it and it wouldn’t work.

I looked it up and found this:
If the message “ERROR” appears, return the machine to the dealer.  

Are you kidding me?!  
I wake up to pump and it won’t work?!  
I was just starting to get a good amount to come out and BOOM it shuts down.  I’ll be swapping this out in the morning for another one but right now I’m screwed and pissed.

In other news, Evan is so adorable and is smiling so much now.  It’s amazing to watch him look at you and just smile.  It melts my heart.

"I think I like this book."

Fun reading with Mama!

He also LOVES getting his diaper changed!  We put him on the changing table and he starts smiling.  He likes to be fresh and clean!

Today we had an appointment with a baby chiropractor for cranio sacral therapy on Evan.  Basically it looked like a lot of hocus pocus.

This therapy was recommended to us by the lactation consultant who said he is holding tension in his jaw.  This can happen when babies are in the birth canal for a while.  He might need help loosening his jaw and once that happens he can open his mouth wider and it should help the pain while breast feeding.

Julia and I agreed to see this lady once and take it from there.  We are very close to being finished with trying out new things to help the pain of breast feeding go away.

Although it looked like some voodoo shit, Evan responded to this woman and to the therapy.  We made an appointment for the following Saturday as a follow up.  We were told that within 48 hours we should see some results.  Hopefully breast feeding will be less painful.

We just have to do what’s right for us.  Whether it’s breast milk or formula or a combination of the two, we are figuring out what is best for our family.  And for crying out loud, it’s not like formula is f&%$ing poison.

Julia randomly came across this awesome article while searching for something online.  She sent it to me because she knew she was meant to find it.  I read the article and cried.  If you have time to read Susan's story, please do.

I felt so connected to this woman and her experience.  I felt so many of the same emotions that she felt about giving her baby formula and not having an amazing, come to Jesus breast feeding moment.  This made me feel like I’m not alone.  And that it’s ok to do the right thing… the thing that’s right for me and for our family. 

There is something so nice about feeding my baby a bottle and looking into his blue eyes while I have my shirt on and I’m not in pain.  Evan needs a happy mommy and Julia needs a happy wife.

There is so much judgment between moms.  It’s disgusting.  Women judge each other when they hear someone is using formula and not breast feeding.  

I’ll admit, I did it.  I would hear about women not breast feeding and think, “Oh that’s a shame.”  
I judged them.

Now, I would never do that.  You don’t know anyone’s situation.  You have no place to judge.  If a woman is feeding her baby, she is a good mother!  Whether it’s breast milk or formula, it doesn’t matter.  And no one should feel the need to explain themselves and their decision.  There is so much pressure; it’s ridiculous.

For us, we had the perfect storm of a tongue tie, a lip tie, a baby with a small mouth, a c-section mommy that delayed the milk coming in, a nipple shield that limited his intake equaling a bad latch and an extremely painful breast feeding session that made Evan not gain enough weight.

But if you ask me why I’m feeding my baby formula, I’ll cut you!  
I shouldn’t have to explain myself!  It’s none of your business!

Make the feeding wars stop!

When these kids are in kindergarten, no one is going to look around and think, “Oh, that kid was formula fed.  What a shame.”

That’s not gonna happen!

I feel so lucky that we have the finances to have hired doulas and lactation consultants and pediatric dentists and baby chiropractors.  I feel so lucky to have a supportive spouse who says, “Whatever you want to do, I support you.  It’s your body and your decision.”  She hates seeing me in pain from breast feeding or pumping or just emotional turmoil from the entire situation.

Our rented torture device

Only Judy can judge me.

"You're doing great, mama!"

I was starting to feel jealous after going through an awful breast feeding attempt and then giving Evan to my wife for a bottle and hearing him smile and coo.  All while I go back to the nursery to pump so I can stimulate my breasts in the hopes of my supply increasing.  He’s so happy with the bottle – because he’s eating!  This boy loves to eat!

I’ve reached out to friends who breast-fed and not one of them had a perfect, good experience.  
“Does it still feel like needles in your nipples?” 


These other moms know, but no one talks about it while you’re pregnant!  I really had no idea it would be so painful.

Monday 8/31/15 - I'm out of the house. Sans baby. It was weird being in the car looking in the rearview mirror and not seeing Evan in his car seat. I miss his little face! But he's in good hands hanging out with his mama at home.

I'm at the salon getting a pedicure. Sitting in a massage chair. Drinking some water. Going to get an eyebrow wax. Getting an extra long foot massage.

This color seemed appropriate - HEY BABY

I'm out in the world! I'm a mommy!

Moments like these I think, “Ok we can do this!” 
I got an extra 30 minute nap early this morning while Jules fed him a bottle. It made me feel like an actual person. And now I'm feeling pampered and life is good. We are going to get a Starbucks walk in later and this is turning out to be a great day.

Evan getting ready for tummy time with his Mama

Tuesday 9/1/15 – Today I had my 6 week appointment with my doctor. Everything is healed and I can resume normal activities.  I want to start exercising at some point… maybe when I can get a little more sleep.

I have 15 pounds to lose to return to my pre-baby weight. Here we go again – women make such a big deal about losing the baby weight.  And I get it.  I saw the scale and I want to return to the pre-baby number trust me.  I just have to remember that I had a BABY 6 weeks ago.  This will take time and let’s do it slowly. 

Just driving in the car, I can't even sit there without the seat belt rubbing across my nipple and causing me pain. This is not a long-term solution.  I want to return to wearing normal bras again… and not being in pain.  Yeah, that would be nice.

Apparently, I get vasospasms which is basically the blood flow being restricted to my nipples because of past TRAUMA.  So when the blood can't circulate normally, it makes my nipples turn white and it HURTS.

Yeah, it feels kinda like that.

Wednesday 9/2/15 - Jules went to work today. “Ok let's take this hour by hour,” I thought.

I'm nursing for one feeding then giving him a bottle of formula for the next and then nursing. So I skip a feed and don't nurse or pump but that's all I can handle at this point. My supply might go down but we will see.

The lactation consultant wanted me to breast feed, give formula as a supplement to make up for anything he didn’t get from me and then pump.  First of all, I can’t pump when I have a baby and am home alone because he needs to be held and entertained.  
And second of all, by the time I’m finished all of that, he’s hungry again and I’m just feeding all day long.  
And third of all, IT HURTS, SO NO.

At least when I do breast feed I'm nice and full so he gets enough food from me that he doesn't need a bottle of formula after. Then when I bottle feed him, I get a break from the horrible pain and I can recover a little.

So on my first day of being a stay at home mom with a working spouse, we took a walk and went to Starbucks! Evan and me!

Huge accomplishment! My goal is to take a walk every day.

Then Jules came home and made dinner and we gave him a bath and it was a great night. 
The bath was a success and no crying at all!

Tonight I pumped and got almost the most milk ever. My supply is not going down yet at least!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

8/20/15 – Week 4: Return Of The Double Chin

Hi, long legs!

Friday 8/21/15 – We went to the doctor today. Evan has gained weight but instead of the recommended ounce per day, he gained less than half an ounce a day.

We were worried about long term effects from him not getting enough food and the doctor reassured us.  Evan had grown an inch and they said that if he were malnourished or in danger, he wouldn’t have grown.  So he didn’t gain enough weight but we are now supplementing with formula and he will be fine.  We are on the right track.  They said we can come back in a week for another weight check to be sure he’s gaining. 

I feel so much better about formula because my baby was hungry and that was killing me. I just didn’t have enough milk for him. Now he will gain weight and without the formula, he would have suffered.  If formula gives him a full, happy belly, I’m on board.

Saturday 8/22/15 – Today there was fire alarm testing in our building.  We decided to go to a friend’s house so Evan wasn’t subjected to the loud alarm all day long.  I can’t wait until we live in a house and don’t have to deal with these things!

Before we left, they started some testing and we wanted to protect his ears. 

DJ Evan droppin' them beatz

Monday 8/24/15 – We have a new baby.  He is so happy now and actually sleeps in between feedings because he has a full belly. He used to be so fussy in between feedings and we thought he was just going through a phase.  But he was actually just still hungry.

His double chin is coming back and it makes me so happy. 

He loves to eat and is so funny during feedings.  We are doing paced bottle feeding so he doesn’t gulp it all down and then get an upset stomach.  So we feed him the bottle for about 10 sips or 10 seconds and then stop.  And every ounce that he drinks, we burp him.  And he has some burps that sound like a grown man! 

Well in the beginning when we stop to burp him and he’s still starving, he doesn’t like his feeding to be interrupted and he let’s us know!  We put him over our shoulder and he will start crying these “I’m RAVENOUS” cries and it’s so adorable.  Sometimes there are even shrieks and these are my absolute favorite.  Then after a burp we put him back in position for more of the bottle and he’s happy as a clam once it’s in his mouth.  He is quite dramatic and really makes us laugh.  We love this boy so much.

Chatting with Mommy!

Tuesday 8/25/15 – Today we met with a lactation specialist and have a new plan of attack.  The woman weighed Evan and then had me breast feed (which was still just as painful despite the tongue AND lip ties being corrected).  Then she weighed him again to see how much he got from me.  She thought the amount of milk he got from one side wasn’t too bad.  She thinks we can boost my supply and see results, but we have to figure out why it’s so painful. 

I then fed him with the nipple shield on the other side and he got less milk.  I took the shield off and the flow improved.  So it was determined that although the nipple shield helped my pain, it became a barrier for Evan to get a good amount of milk.

So probably between the nipple shield and his tongue and lip ties, he wasn’t getting enough milk.  This then taught my body that it doesn’t need to make a lot of milk because it’s not needed.  Now we have to try and correct this perfect storm that was created.

The lactation lady suggested we rent a hospital grade breast pump because it will be gentler and should produce better results.  I am going to try and breastfeed as much as possible (without the nipple shield) and will pump after each feeding. The extra pumps will help teach my body that it needs to make more milk.

I’m also taking some new herbs to help boost supply.  One of them has the word SHAT in it.  I wish I were kidding.

We will see how this new plan works.

The best thing about today was going out and taking a walk.  My wife and I went out to Starbucks and then walked around the block.  She walked the dog while I pushed the stroller.  Our family.  I love these walks so much.

Happy clean boy after his bath in his elephant towel!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

8/13/15 – Week 3: Happy Anniversary!

"Whoa, I'm 3 weeks old already!"

Saturday 8/15/15 – I’m trying to increase my supply.  I’m drinking Mother’s Milk tea and eating lactation boosting cookies!  

I also am adding an extra pump during the day which is so much fun…. (not at all).

It’s the hardest for me at night when I watch Evan take a bottle of breast milk from Julia and get so excited and drink it so fast.  He looks so happy. It makes me feel like he's not getting enough from me when I breast feed him.

Then I start to tailspin into thinking I can't take care of my baby and provide for him. This is starting to get emotional.

Monday 8/17/15 - How is it that something so natural hurts so much. My new book will be titled “Breastfeeding is Not Natural”. I'm pumping and am in so much pain. The pump is on the lowest setting and it still hurts. I’m not getting even an ounce when I pump. And Evan needs anywhere from 2-4 ounces per feeding.

Not even this Guinness helped... 
Although it was my first beer in 10+ months and it gave me a nice buzz!

Today his poops were dark green and the volume wasn’t what it normally was.

He's not getting enough milk from me. I know it.
I feel like I'm failing him. I would do anything for this boy and am so ready to switch to formula. He's hungry and I don't have enough milk to give him.

We already have an appointment to see the doctor on Friday but we’re calling the doctor in the morning to explain what’s going on. Evan's hungriest at night and that's when I produce even less. He breaks my heart. He will breast feed on each side for 30 minutes and then cry because he’s still hungry.  I’ve been crying myself to sleep at night. I have nothing left. 

Tuesday 8/18/15 – We called the doctor and they were happy we did.  We explained the poop and they said the dark green color isn’t a concern.  The concern is that he doesn’t have a normal volume of poop and hasn’t produced enough pee diapers. 

They said what I knew they would.  We have to supplement with formula.  They said to breast feed him on each side for 10-15 minutes (to keep trying to boost my supply) and then offer him a 4 ounce bottle of formula.  Whatever he drinks from that bottle, great.  If he wants 2 ounces or 4, it doesn’t matter.  Just offer him 4 and he will take what he needs.

I wanted to give him his first bottle of formula.  I cried, of course.  It was so heartbreaking to see that he was hungry and know that he couldn’t be satisfied from me alone.  But what helped me come to terms with that very quickly was how much he loved the bottle.  He drank all 4 ounces of formula.  He was definitely hungry and had a full, happy belly at the end.  This made me so happy.

Happy, full belly boy

Oh, and it’s our third wedding anniversary today.

We made a point to walk downstairs to our favorite sushi restaurant.

Since Evan hasn’t had his shots yet, we went at an off time and sat in the corner away from everyone.  We kept him covered in the stroller.  At one point he started crying and I was like, “Oh God, what do we do?!”

Julia ran back to our house and got a pacifier that we had forgotten.  I rocked the stroller and he fell back asleep.

It was nice to be out of the house in the world with my wife.  I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else.  She is my rock.  I love her so much.

Wednesday 8/19/15 – Today we drove to REDLANDS (i.e. 2 hours away) for a second tongue tie procedure.  Since it is still so painful when I breast feed, the thought was that the first tongue tie procedure didn’t clip enough of the skin.

Like, are you f*&%ing kidding me?!
It was hard enough to go through that procedure with my little boy and now we have to do it again???

"Um, what?!"

So the only pediatric dentist who uses a small LASER to remove the skin is 2 hours away.  There is somehow no one in the LA area.  Which is insane.

Oh, and you want to put a LASER in my son’s mouth?  I was very skeptical about this.

Luckily, our boy slept in the car the whole way there.  The procedure was fast and he cried but didn’t seem to be in pain.  He just didn’t like people putting their fingers in his mouth.

The dentist also noticed that he has a slight lip tie.  The skin on the underside of his upper lip could also prevent him from latching properly, thus causing me pain.  So he corrected both of these and hopefully this will make a difference. 

I’m starting to get to the end of my rope with putting poor Evan through procedures to help my pain.  I know it’s obviously for his benefit so he can get the breast milk, but we aren’t traveling to Redlands again any time soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

8/6/15 – Week 2: Never Say Never

"Um, yup, I'm 2 weeks old!"

Thursday 8/6/15 – Today we had a photographer come to the house and take newborn photos of Evan.  I can’t believe our boy is two weeks old today.

I’m sure the photos will turn out great, but they were exhausting.  We had to heat the house to 80 degrees so he would be warm and sleepy.  The photographer was here for 4 hours and towards the end I was thinking, “I don’t care what these pictures look like, it’s time for you to go!”

We were all sweaty and exhausted.  Evan did great though and I’m excited to see how they turn out.
Spoiler alert: They turned out GREAT!!!

Saturday 8/8/15 – I started pumping in the morning and at night.  I pump for 15 minutes and this ends up saving me time because it takes an hour to breast feed him and if I pump, I have more time.  I pumped enough breast milk today to put in a bottle for Julia to feed him.

Here is Evan with his first bottle!

"Bartender, I'll have another!"

Some babies apparently hate certain bottles and are very particular.  Lucky for us, Evan could care less!  As long as there’s milk in it, he doesn’t care what kind of nipple or bottle.  Just give it to him!

He really is so awesome.  
No matter what we throw at this kid, he’s like, “Ok, I got this.  No big deal.”

(Notice the Superman curl... courtesy of my wife.)

Tongue tie procedure, no problem.  
Breast feeding, bottles… whatever.  No biggie.

“I just love my moms!”

And then tonight we ordered sushi for dinner! My first real sushi in over 10 months!

Sunday 8/9/15 – Evan had trouble sleeping last night. We are still learning the nighttime routine with his feedings so we can try to get a 4 hour period between feedings.  That way at least we get maybe 2.5-3 hours of sleep. It's apparently common at this age for babies to have their day and night mixed up.  And he has been sleeping more during the day and is awake at night.  We need to correct this ASAP!

We gave him his first bath tonight.  And I cried!  I feel like he’s getting so big.  I want him to stay my little boy forever.

"Mom, no photos please!"

He enjoyed the bath because it was nice and warm, but he didn’t so much like getting his hair wet.  Hopefully he will learn to love it. 

Drying off in his hooded elephant towel.

A very sleep boy = a successful bath.

Monday 8/10/15 – Tonight Evan went 6 hours between feedings. 
Omg what bliss! That means we got about 5 hours of sleep! 


We had trouble getting him to go back to sleep though after his morning feed so we could catch two more hours. But I’ll take it!

Tuesday 8/11/15 – Tonight I noticed that my breast milk supply was low.  I wasn’t getting as much when I pumped.  I’m worried that Evan isn’t getting enough milk when he’s nursing. It's also still really painful when I'm breast feeding.

I was able to get him back to sleep after the 2:45am feeding but then he was up again.  I had to give him the bottle of breast milk that I had just pumped as an extra cushion because he was still hungry.

I don’t know what this means but I hope my supply goes up soon.  This is starting to stress me out. 

He’s not sleeping as much in the night and seems more fussy.  We gave him a pacifier tonight.  I was trying to not use the pacifier so he can learn to self-soothe, but when you are desperate, you will do things you swore you “never” would.

A good friend of mine told me, never say never. She was so right.
Until you're in a particular situation, don't judge and seriously, never say never.

I also thought I would NEVER co-sleep and have Evan in bed with us.  But when you are going on 2 hours of sleep all day and it's 3am and your baby will only fall asleep laying on your chest, you will do it!

He is so cute laying on Julia’s chest and sleeping. I know we will be able to put him back in his bassinet soon but for now, we are doing what works best for us.