Posts tagged ‘writing’

It’s So Much More Than Just The Thighs.

 

I’ve thought to myself many times, will my son ever forgive me for some of the pictures I post of him, publicly, on the Internet?  Will he care that his most beautiful, most precious baby thighs are slapped here, amongst a few late-night words, not ONLY for the sake of a post, but for the bulk of a post, at least?

There’s really so much more to it than that.  I’ve often wondered to myself, should I be blogging so much about my son’s life, should I be plastering his photos for all the world to see?  I’ve thought about it so much, and really, that is a post for another day.  I’m curious about other mama’s bloggers perspectives on this, and if they have certain personal ‘rules’ they abide by.  I mean, obviously there’s some things I just wouldn’t blog about.  But I have blogged about our take on circumcision, for example, and our choices and decisions around that.  Will he care, when he’s 10 and essentially everybody knows about his most precious boy parts?
The ethics of it all.  Not even just that, the morality, humanity aspect of it too.  I obviously would never seek to exploit or harm my child, or to damage him, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically.  I want nothing but the best for my baby.  By exercising my creativity and my quest for inner peace and spirituality, am I harming my son’s sense of self in the process?  It’s really up for debate, and I don’t think there is a right answer.  I do think there are lines that need to and should be drawn, and I think as he gets older, we will figure out exactly where and how those lines need to be drawn indeed.  But for now, this face-less photo of the cutest baby thighs I ever did see.  It’s late, and I am partially posting just to post, but mostly, I am posting because this is something that I’ve thought about incessantly and I don’t want to forget about it.
Happy Friday, Happy Weekend, and Happy Baby! xo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 2, 2011 at 11:12 am 3 comments

C25K: Week 9 Day 3, The End!

Or, graduation, as it is called in the Couch-2-5K world.

I DID IT.

I am so stinkin’ proud of myself for completing this program, for running 3 days a week for 9 weeks, no setbacks, nothing, just perks and awesome progress.

I conquered a fear.  I went from a place of complete and utter exhaustion after several interval runs of 60 seconds each, to this, to 30 minutes of running non-stop, and to feeling like I could continue to pound the pavement for many more minutes.   I’ve stuck to my word and I’ve run 3 times a week, as well as basically walked every day of the week.  I have NOT done strength training on the off days as planned, but I do plan to.   That’s the hardest part though – setting out and doing it.  Heading off to the gym, or even the backyard, with a few weights, and going at ‘er.  This is something that I really need to do though, because I really feel my lung capacity building and building, but my overall body strength doesn’t really seem to match up.  I feel like I am and would be capable of more more more and my endurance could be greater, it’s just that I need to build myself up.

I also have not taken weekly photos or measured myself weekly as I had planned.  That’s kind of a bummer, but I’m okay with it.  I would like to measure myself this weekend, weigh myself, and see officially where I’m at.  I think I’ve lost about 11-12 lbs, given what the scale tells me on any given morning, which is my own personal legit weigh-in that I have come to rely on.  The most important thing of all is I feel stronger, I feel healthier, and I feel happier.  The running has taken over this huge health component of my life and has strongly encouraged me to pursue other healthy habits.  Everything in my life, since having Cade, has had such an amazing and positive domino effect that shit, I really have a LOT to thank that little guy for.  For reals though.  Cloth diapers have motivated me to be more enviro-friendly in other areas of my life, hence my deep desire to get a Diva Cup very soon, to use our own cleaning supplies and rid of the chemicals, to minimize the use of plastic snack bags and what have you.  Exercising with such a strong and intense purpose has motivated me to put good stuff into my body, to consume loads and loads of water, and to model this to my boy, so he in turn will feel good about treating his body with respect and love.  Gosh, I really do owe this little angel a lot.  Give it up for Cade, y’all!  And that’s not even the half of it.  Cripes.

I shed a few tears on my run last night.  Did I mention that I am also a sensitive and fragile being since I’ve experienced pregnancy, birthing and becoming a mother?  It’s ridic.  I cry at everything.  I think I actually have mentioned it. It’s a pretty strong and rampant theme in my life right now, so it absolutely trails into my running. I’m one of those saps that chokes up at silly TV commercials. I am one of them.

This whole journey has been extremely emotional and empowering for me. I have shown myself that I can DO things. This body is capable of a whole lot that I might not have thought it was a couple years ago. A whole lot of it is mental. I really had to put my mind to it, I really had to set out and convince myself, tell myself, that I am a capable, strong woman, who can DO shit. And I DID shit, alright. This body, this big ol’ body that I have criticized, that I have had up and down relationships with, that I have loved and loathed, is now one of my friends. We’re becoming all chumpy and what not, once again, and you know what, it feels really good. I am learning to respect it and treat it how it wants to, needs to and should be treated. Rome wasn’t built in a day though, and so we too are learning. How can I treat myself, my body, the vessel that carries all my own most preciousness, in such a disastrous way and expect it to reward me with life? I absolutely cannot, that is not an option and the only thing that was getting in the way of that was fear and self-loathing tendencies. It’s not fair to my family and it is not fair to me to have went on beating myself up, theoretically I mean, with food and bad energy and sedentary ways. So we’re on this journey and I feel so very committed to it, and I can’t even really say that. I don’t feel like it’s apart from me, I don’t feel like it is something tangible that I must grab a hold of and commit to. I feel like I have truly and genuinely internalized the shit out of it, this new way of living, and so now we just motor on, going about our life, because that’s just the way it is.

August 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm 5 comments

C25K: Week 8 Day 3

Woop!  Killed it this time instead of just mildly torturing it.

(Oh! I want to link to this article comparing breastfeeding to running.  I’ve linked it before but it’s friggin’ awesome hence the double link.  Enjoy.)

I killed it in terms of pace, speed and challenge, but I did not kill it in terms of distance.  In fact, I have taken a few steps backwards when it comes to distance, but only for this one run, and I THINK it’s because I tackled a MASSIVE hill, I ran at a very very intense incline for probably about 6 blocks.  It was hard, it slowed me down to no end, and there were many-a-time where I thought I should stop and walk the hill, then give’r the rest of the way, but not once did I stop, not once did I let my negativity overcome my abilities, because I knew that it was there.

I ran down to the river tonight and along the river for only a slight bit, and then back home.  It’s funny how I can always time my runs so that I am arriving home just as the run should be done.  I guess I’ve been running around this neighbourhood for the last 8 weeks so I’ve got a pretty good grip on how long it takes to get from point A to point B.  I am SOOOOOOO excited to start week 9 because I KNOW THAT I CAN TACKLE IT, ROUGH HOUSE IT, and MAKE IT!  And that just makes me so astoundingly happy.  Two more minutes of running than what I’ve been doing?  Piece of cake.  I’ve got this, baby, I’VE. GOT. THIS.

Whenever I see other people running, I feel like we are in a bit of a secret club and we can connect on a level unheard of.  It’s a neat feeling and I feel good to be part of ‘that group’, or clique, really.  Grade 8, how I’ve missed thee.  And this is totally egotistical and actually I am wondering if I should even put this anyway but I’m going to because I know deep down that I am not an egotistical selfish person, and I hope you know that too, so… here goes.  Sometimes when I see people running intervals, like they are just starting out a program, or doing a different kind of running program, I VERY SECRETLY (not so much anymore, sigh) think to myself, maybe they read my blog, and maybe I inspired them, and maybe they’re doing the C25K challenge and secretly following along on my blog!  YAY.  Likely NOT but it’s fun to think that and it gives me a jump in my step.

Since we’re divulging, I’m going to divulge something to y’all that makes me feel like a big whopping loser but that’s okay.  I think I did so well tonight at running because I was totally using it as a therapy tool.  A couple hours prior I had a meltdown on the phone with the National Student Loans Service Centre.  Like, I’m talking a breakdown.  I’m kind of embarassed and I’m willing to bet I was the girl they talked about after we hung up the phone.  Ugh.  Since I’ve been on maternity leave I have readjusted my loan so that I only have to make interest payments.  I initially wanted to do repayment assistance where the government would help me, but our income was above the limit for that.   That was stressful, because they have super strict dates and things you have to do and if you don’t get it in RIGHT on that date, it’s kibashed, but yet you still have to wait for pay stubs, information saying how much you make, etc., and if you don’t have it by that date, kaboom, done.  I kind of got the runaround with that so needless to say whenever Student Loans comes into the picture I have a mild panic attack.  I got a letter in the mail saying my account was SERIOUSLY PAST DUE and I owed like, $3000 or something, and my account was negatively affecting my credit.  I was ultra confused because I HAD made the payments that I was required, however, they had sent a letter with my revision of terms that I was supposed to sign and return by a certain date (aforementioned STRICT DATE) and since I didn’t, blam, all done, things got f’ed over and cancelled.  I DIDN’T GET THE LETTER.  So I started crying on the phone.  To the poor lady at the student loans centre.  Whom I said “Just listen to me PLEASE! I keep getting screwed over! I am so confused, please just listen to me explain this, *sob sob sob sob*”  Like I said, UGH.   This is what pregnancy and motherhood hormones do to us!  So long story short, I’m kind of a loser, it’s all figured out now and all is well and I don’t owe $3000 after all (good grief, thank goodness), and I took out my lameness on my run hence the awesomness.  The end.

Week 9, you’re on baby, YOU ARE ON.  I’m pumped.  Cue Rocky theme song music here.

July 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm 2 comments

C25K: Week 8 Day 2

Well my friends, we’re nearly there, and this run was a bit of a downer.  I shouldn’t say that, but it was rough.  I did the same route I did on my 25 minute run, and only increased the run by about 2 blocks, which I know is better than nil.  Especially considering the circumstances surrounding this run.   I had about 4 hours of sleep the night before, due to Cade having a super rough night, likely due to sprouting 2 teeth in 2 days.  I did my run not even 30 minutes after I ate supper.  We actually attempted to go before supper, but 2 minutes after going out the door there was a MASSIVE down pour that would’ve drenched us in a block, so needless to say, the Lil’ster and I turned around.  We had to rescue the diapers too because they were outside “drying.”  Yes.  Drying.  In a downpour.  Makes so much sense.

So we pushed on, and right from the beginning, I had a terrible negative mindset that rushed over me and tried to dominate the run.  I confess, I totally almost let it.  I was going to let it run me over, and then I would just run the next morning, however, I conquered thee and pushed on, pushed past it.  I had to.  I couldn’t let myself NOT do it because deep down inside the sometimes super nasty discouraging but mostly encouraging motivating depths of my soul, I knew that I. COULD. DO. IT.  And I so did.  I wouldn’t say I killed it, like I killed day 1, but I, err…. slaughtered it.  It just didn’t die.  (Oh my god, that’s so morbid.  I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.)

One thing that is really shocking me about the C25K program is that I am still enthused about it, enthralled with it really, and excited and anxious to take on each new week, each new run.  I think because it constantly keeps me motivated and believing in myself.  And I’ve said it before (honestly, the C25K people should like, pay me for all this advertising ;) but the program is so do-able and SO challenging that it doesn’t get boring at all, it doesn’t get too hard that you get discouraged, but it stays consistently challenging so that you are always pushing yourself, taking your self and the beliefs about yourself to new levels, new heights, really.  That’s the best thing about it.

I’ve lost between 8-10 lbs, depending on the day and when I weigh myself.  I’m pretty stoked about that actually.  Running is a thinning agent, I guess?  I’ve totally readjusted my eating habits too (still have to blog about my issues with food, NOTE TO SELF!) and I think that absolutely helps.  What’s the percentage of importance placed on diet and exercise in terms of weight loss?  I heard 20/80 or something, but every resource tells you different things.

Some of my favourite things to eat right now are: quinoa mixed with a bit of olive oil, red onion and feta (OMGOMG), tuna wraps on those fancy shmancy lettuce leaf wraps, so light, fresh and tasty (this ain’t your regular tuna wrap, I’m talking sri racha sauce, light mayo, light ranch, celery, onions, cucumbers, red/green/yellow peppers, tomato, mushrooms, sprouts, pickles, light cheddar cheese), chicken/spinach/strawberry/red onion/feta salad with Fig Balsamic dressing (so sweet, smooth and that bit of bite from the balsamic).  Every day I have a 1 litre water bottle that I typically fill up about 3 times.  I think that has totally aided the weight loss process too, as I am ensuring that I am sufficiently hydrated each and every day, and it makes it easier when I don’t have to be running to the fridge a million times a day, because a girl gets lazy, you see.

So to end fitness blog with Trista day 235135, I want to say, thank you to all for encouraging me and supporting me in this journey.  It’s an amazing one that is almost (sadly (!?)) done, but not complete.  It has merely opened up many more doors for me, for my family, and for that I am eternally grateful.  4 more runs to go!  I will see YOU on the finish line.  And you, too. <3

July 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm 4 comments

A Story of Blessings, a Baby, and Breasts.

 

 

*EDIT: I forgot to add this within the story, and I just want to make a note that I did have blood work done in November when I was first struggling with low supply.  Nothing of concern was noted.  I also had more blood work (hormonal levels and thyroid) checked in March at my annual physical, and again, no concern.  I do realize this does not MEAN there are no physiological reasons, but these were explored and so that is why I am at such a loss!  Thank you for reading – I am overwhelmed with the response to this post, and I feel SO honoured to hear so many stories from amazing mamas.  <3 

When I was pregnant, one of the biggest themes present in my crazy, extremely vivid pregnancy-style dreams was that of breastfeeding.  My baby, in my dreams, was faceless, but beautiful.  I didn’t know if my baby was a boy or girl, because we had decided not to find out, let nature run it’s course, and find out when I gave birth to our child.  In my dreams, it was the same, I didn’t know if it was a boy or if it was a girl, and sometimes, it was a boy, and sometimes, it was a girl.  But for the most part, when I would dream about my baby, my baby was simply that – a baby.  But MY baby, a beautiful tiny little being, full of life, love, and full of dreams.

Just like I was.  I frequently had dreams about my unborn baby, and I would always wake up and tell Kyle what happened that previous night in dreamland.  Most of the time, it was nothing new.  Most of the time, it was simply that I was holding my baby, rocking my baby to sleep, and breastfeeding my baby in my arms.  Simple, right?

Throughout my pregnancy, and for any of you that have been pregnant I’m sure you can relate, one of the hot topics is how you are going to feed your baby, except it is not asked in such a way, it is asked of you if you are going to breastfeed.  It’s just one of those natural things, right?  Right.  I had done a lot of reading about pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding (however, not NEAR as much as I do now, the birth junkie that I am) and so I felt like I had a good handle on it.  I was not fearful of the labour or birthing process, in fact, I was looking forward to it.  I was amazed that my body was going to take over, with the aid of my brain and my baby, and we were going to do something miraculous, yet totally normal and happens all the time.

For the 9ish months that I was pregnant, I was waiting for my breasts to change.  I was waiting for them to get ginormous, to say the least, and it never happened.  I knew that this didn’t always happen, but I never really experienced much in the way of breast changes.  The only time I remember any pregnancy symptom that was breast-related, was in the summertime, being in the hot sun and going for dunks in the lake, and having the sorest most tender nipples EVER.  It was uncomfortable but secretly I was cheering inside because I had always wondered up to that point what was up with the lack of boobie changes?  On more than one occasion, did I wonder out loud if I would have issues with not being able to produce milk for my child because my breasts were not showing any evidence of this whole pregnant deal.

Cade was born on November 3 at 8:08pm and as most of you know, it was the most beautiful and transformative experience of my life.  Cade was born and I was born as a mother.  Just like that.  It still blows my mind, really.  He was immediately placed on my chest for me to introduce myself (though he had known me all along) and love all up.  I was in a state of complete bliss, and perhaps a slight amount of shock, but most of all, I was ecstatic and beside myself.  I couldn’t believe it.  “Oh my god, Oh my god!  I can’t believe this!  I can’t believe you are mine!  You are so cute!  Oh my god!  You are so beautiful!  I love you so much!”  I wish, to this day, that the moment that Cade was born was video’d, because it was incredible.  And not only that, but my declaration of love was, am I allowed to do this, flippin’ AWESOME.  I was over the moon for this little being!

And while I was beside myself, blissed right out, it did not cross my mind at that moment to breastfeed my son.  I don’t know if it crossed anyone’s mind, because it didn’t happen right then and there.  I wonder to this day if it would have made a difference, and I don’t THINK it would have, but I’m a sucker for not knowing.  I held my son for quite awhile, and Kyle and I gushed over him like mad.  I don’t remember timelines exactly, I don’t remember when he was taken to the warmer, Kyle right beside him for the whole time, and I don’t remember when they wrapped him all up, but I know that we had skin-to-skin for awhile.  I have tried not to have any regrets about this moment, because I know in my right, rational mind, there is nothing I can do differently about it, and having regrets is unhealthy.  So I don’t regret it, but I use it as a learning tool.  I would loved to have delayed everything, the “cleaning” of my son (rub that goodness right in!), the weighing, you name it, and I would’ve wanted us to attempt the breast crawl right off the bat, to initiate eye contact and bonding in such a way.

It wasn’t until we were up on post-partum, after I had showered and cleaned up, and after Cade had been wrapped in blankets, warmed right up, and had a bath, did we attempt breastfeeding.  He knew exactly what to do.  I remember the nurse that was helping me, bless her heart, said “look, wow, he knows exactly how to do this, he is a pro.”  I believed her and we went on with our night, as rough as it was.  Cade cried most of the night, despite frequent attempted feedings, cuddles, and skin-to-skin.   Kyle and I were both exhausted, and I broke down at one point because I “didn’t know what to do and I was so tired” and the nurse swaddled Cade up tightly, rocked him a bit, and handed him back to me.  It was not until 6am that he finally got some sleep, and so did I.

I always say that the beginning of motherhood is so insane.  You start off after going hours, days without sleep, and then you are thrown into a whole new wild world of breastfeeding, caring for a baby, and trying to heal, physically and emotionally from everything that just took place.  That’s exactly where I was at.  I could barely lie in bed without my perineum aching, and not only that, but I couldn’t pee due to the epidural/IV combo I had been infused with.  Toss in sore and cracked nipples into the mix and I’m spent.

The next day I remember being a bit calmer.  I would frequently breastfeed Cade, and I felt that things were going well.  I was in a sleep-deprivation induced haze, but was over the moon and in love with everything.  The tears poured out of my eyes over any and everything.  I was tired, so I cried.  I was in love with Kyle as a father, and so I cried again.   I remember the nurses in the hospital telling me to rest up that day, as baby’s second night of life was usually chaotic and they wanted to be up eating all the time.  I felt somewhat prepared, but that didn’t really happen.  That night, actually went off without much of a hitch.  Cade would wake up every 1.5-2 hours to feed, and would then go back to sleep.  Kyle and I woke up feeling somewhat refreshed, but still extremely exhausted.  Mostly, we were excited to be taking our little boy home, as that was the plan.  They tested his bili levels and they were fine, he was not jaundiced, and so we were able to go home.  That morning, I remember asking a nurse for the help of a lactation consultant, to ensure that everything really WAS going well and that we were latching.  The nurse basically denied me this request, saying that the LC’s were usually reserved for individuals who were struggling and having breastfeeding issues.  At the time, I accepted this, especially because she told me she had a passion for breastfeeding and offered to help me out.  I thought this was fine and dandy, and she really WAS of great assistance and showed me different positions to ease my achy nipples, however, looking back, I do think this was wrong.  I should have not have been denied the support of a LC by any means, and while I don’t think this affected our journey at all, I just think it’s unfortunate.

So homeward bound we were, and we couldn’t be happier.  I was on a strict regiment of having 2 baths a day, and to feed my son on demand, which I would do anyway.  The thought of using formula never crossed my mind.  I thought things were going quite delightful actually, until that night.  The sun went down and the evening reared its ugly head.  Cade turned into a nightmare, and in turn, so did his mama.  I must say, thank goodness for the best father ever, because he really was our rock at this time.  I’m sure there were times where he wondered who he should comfort first, though obviously that answer is pretty clear-cut.  Cade screamed.  All.  Bloody.  Night.  Despite constantly nursing him.  Despite endless cuddles and swaddling.  We swaddled him with an additional blanket.  It was shortly after that that he stopped crying and slept.  That was around 7am.  And I must say, we were pretty proud of ourselves.  Oh, so THAT was it. He was just cold, well DUH!

But it wasn’t just temperature regulation that was the issue, oh no, because he lost his mind the next night too.  And I felt oh so bad for this poor little boy.  What an entrance to this thing called life.  He screamed.  He screamed some more.  He cried.  He yelled.  He wailed.  I cried.  Kyle rocked and swaddled and patted and rocked and cuddled.  I think it was about 8am that Cade finally crashed for a couple hours.  Kyle and I were absolutely zonked.  I knew in my heart that something wasn’t right, and Cade looked a little on the yellow jaundicey side of things, and so I called the Healthy & Home nurses and demanded that they come for a home visit that day.

It pains me so hard, it breaks me into pieces, and it hurts my heart to think what COULD have happened if the nurses didn’t come that day, if something wouldn’t have told Kyle and I that we NEEDED to seek out support immediately.  I was starving my boy and I didn’t even know it.  Except, I did.  I knew something was wrong, and it was only after 2 nights of solid screaming did I wonder if perhaps he wasn’t getting enough to eat?

I was in tears on the phone with the nurse.  They sensed my urgency and they came over within an hour and a half.  They weighed my poor, sad, hungry little boy, and he had lost a pound of his body weight, which totalled 13 % which is a major red flag.  He hadn’t pooped in a couple days, and I really don’t remember his wet diaper count, but it wasn’t good.  I know that some major lactivists might say I was booby trapped after I say this next point – and maybe I was and maybe I wasn’t – what I DO know is my boy HAD to eat and he was a completely different baby after we fed him formula.  The nurses with Healthy & Home are lactation consultants as well, and Cindy, oh dear Cindy, was a kind, compassionate soul.  She understood my deep desire, my need, to breastfeed my son, and she understood my need to nurture him, with love and with nutrition, and she understood that he HAD TO EAT.  This was not an option, and I was not producing enough for my poor, sweet boy.  When we came to this conclusion, I was heartbroken.  I burst into tears, I had a million questions, and Cindy was amazing.  I swear, I should’ve sent her flowers.  I don’t know if it’s because she was the first nurse we encountered after going home or what, but she is the only LC’s name that I remember, and there were I think 5 different LC’s that visited us at home within a few days, to check on Cade’s bili levels and to provide breastfeeding support.  (Actually, this is an aside, but I think I am going to contact Cindy and let her know how much I appreciated her. )

Cindy basically demanded that we had to get some calories into this boy asap.  She asked if we had some on hand, and sure enough, WE DID (go on lactivists, attack me for not tossing out the free formula samples).  I saved everything we got in the mail, why?  I don’t know.  I remember thinking when I got the formula samples “oh, well, I’ll never need these, in the closet they go.”  I showed her the only bottle we had on hand (also a free sample), and she encouraged us to try the Supplemental Nursing System if we wanted to continue breastfeeding as well as getting formulas into our boy at the same time.  I remember the method seeming petty and confusing, and WORK.  But we agreed to try it out, and she showed Kyle and I how to team up and make it work.  It was complicating and stressful and just thinking about it gives me a lump in my throat.  Basically, we would fill a syringe with formula, attach a tiny sterile tube to the syringe, and then place the tube alongside my nipple as Cade latched on.  We were still trying to perfect the latch, so adding an extra step in caused much grief, but we did it.  For nearly 4 weeks, every feed, we would use this tiny little tube and place it as Cade latched, so that he would still nurse and hopefully stimulate my breasts to provide milk and increase my supply, but that he would still get substantial calories as well.  I remember feeling increasing anxiety as it came time for Kyle to go back to work, because how the hell was I supposed to do this on my own?  It took my tears, many tries, until we figured out a system that (sort of) worked.  When the tears got to be too much, I would just use my finger and feed the tube along my finger to feed Cade, after breastfeeding him.  I was scared of the bottle and we avoided it for as long as I could stand to.

After going in to the Breastfeeding clinic to meet with an LC there, Cade’s suck was evaluated and determined to be great.  The LC checked out his slight tongue tie, and also determined it to be very slight.  Our doctor has said the same.  This is still something to this day I wonder about.  Everyone has said it would not affect breastfeeding because it’s so slight and far back, but I am skeptical, if only because I am searching desperately for answers.  At one point when we met with the LC, I was breastfeeding Cade, and the LC was doing hardcore breast compressions to attempt to get the milk flowing.  And it still didn’t flow.  It just would NOT flow, stubborn supply.  The plan was to rent an electric hospital grade pump and attempt to pump after every feed for approximately 10 minutes per side (or all at once if using a double pump).  Needless to say, this was exhausting, but we did it.  The pump became my worst enemy.  I felt overwhelmed and intimidated by the pump.  We were not friends and I don’t believe this helped to increase my milk supply either.  I began to despise the pump, everything about it.  I hated washing out the pump parts a million times a day, I hated sitting there with the flanges on my breasts, making the “werr, werrrrrr” noise with every suction.  I hated anxiously watching the bottles that would catch the pumped milk, waiting to see a bottle at least half full.  I hated seeing next to no milk come out of my pumped breasts, my breasts that were so desperate to be full.  I’m sure one day I will regret it, but I wanted to experience hard, aching, full of milk boobies.  I felt envy and jealousy when my friends would have to slip in a breast pad because they were leaking.  I wanted to leak.  Shit, let me leak all over my shirt, let’s soak it up.  It never happened.

I attempted to take Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, two supposed galactagogues, but the only thing they did was give my body a sweet and spicy odour.  I took these in combination with Domperidone, a prescribed medication used to treat stomach issues with the sometimes fortunate side effect of inducing lactation.  Again, I’m not sure it did much, though I did take it for about 6 months.  After 4 weeks of feeling in my heart that I tried everything I could to increase my supply, but to see really no improvements, I retired the SNS and revamped our routine to 1) Breastfeed Cade for as long as he would latch and suckle 2) Give him a bottle with formula to top him off.  This worked and I felt like a huge amount of pressure was eased off of me.  The SNS created stress and I began to cry at almost every feed.  Was it worth it?  Was Cade benefiting from a depressed and completely worn-down mother?  Eventually, I returned the pump.  I held onto it for a very long time, because I couldn’t bring myself to take it back for fear that it was signalling I had given up.  I hadn’t used it in days, and it was sitting there, taking up space, it was almost daunting in a way.  I returned it, and I felt a twinge of sadness, until I realized why I was returning it.

It took me a long time to realize what our feeding routine was doing to my son, and to myself.   I was completely worn out, I was stressed, and I was depressed.  I had begun to question if I really did everything I could, surely I missed something, right?  But when I realized that I did everything I could, and when I realized that it was worth it for our feeding routine to change, was when I felt a complete let-go of the stress that had been bogging me down.  I felt this within myself, and I noticed a change in my son at feeding.  He took to the bottle like a champ, and he took to the breast like a champ.  There were no issues with him going from breast to bottle and back.  Was it so important to me to not use a bottle because it might mean failure, even when it might have meant not so pleasant things for my son?  He truly thrived when I was happy, and I didn’t realize that in the moment until we had decided to change our routine, for everyone’s sake, but mostly Cade’s and my own.   Cade needed me, he needed his mother, to be happy, and to be content, and to feel GOOD about the time spent feeding him.  I was not feeling good about this, and what was this doing to him?  Did I want to transfer so much negative energy to a sweet little baby?  Of course I didn’t, so why I was doing that for so long, I don’t know.   I have determination and I have perseverance, and because I knew in my heart that that was one of the best things I could do for my son, was breastfeed him.

This was what factored into my decision to keep at it for so long.  I understand that everyone has a choice to make, and that choice is truly their own.  I respect each woman’s choice, and I do believe that decisions are made for a reason, based on past experiences, life issues, and the like.  The choice that I made, that we made, as a family, was for me to continue to breastfeed Cade for as long as we could sustain it.  Even if it was a teaspoon of milk he was getting from me.  Even if it was a drop.  We had become pros at breastfeeding, and it was part of our routine, so we kept on keeping on.  Gradually, he started to get more formula and less breastmilk, though there were times where he would breastfeed and did not want to take a bottle after that.  Those times?  I felt happy.  I felt good.  I felt like that was a huge success for us, and it was sort of a gift, a karmic gift, after the breastfeeding struggles we had endured.

We kept on with this routine until Cade was about 8 months old.  Eventually, it had turned to where he would only breastfeed in the morning when he first woke up, before having a bottle, or in the middle of the night when he would wake up to eat, while waiting for the bottle to warm up.  He got to an age where he got so distracted, and nursing was not on the top of his priority list, and so we went with it, and we excelled at that for awhile too.  Around 8 months old, he lost his interest in nursing, and it sort of happened gradually, which I am thankful for.  I remember thinking that I had to prepare myself for the end of this rocky journey that we had had, but because it just dwindled off, I am just now mourning the conclusion of it, pouring it all out there.
Truthfully?  I feel okay with how things went.  I had to come to terms with it, and I still have many what if’s that cross my mind, sometimes on a daily basis, but not as much anymore.  Do I wish that things would have went differently?  I do.  But I have learned so much based how things did go, and they went according to the agenda in which they needed to go.  Not only have I learned an insane amount about breastfeeding, pregnancy, birthing, and how the birthing process can affect breastfeeding, I have learned even more about my son and myself.  My son is patient and determined.  He possesses these traits like no other, and while some might argue that I can’t determine that since he’s so young, I CAN and I know that he will fight for what he wants, and if he wants it, he will get it.  I feel like at such a young age, only 8 months, he already knows exactly what he wants and how to go for it.  When my son is old enough to understand, I want to talk to him about our journey, and I want to thank him for being patient with me as I learned, and for helping me to learn.  He taught me the gift of patience and perseverance.  He taught me to believe in myself, and to be strong when times were tough.  And really, by simply being born, he has encouraged me to conquer my fears, to take on anything.

Still to this day, I don’t know why we were not able to exclusively breastfeed.  I don’t want to say that we weren’t successful at breastfeeding, because the way success is measured can be so trivial.  We were successful in ways that we had to be.  Was it the tongue tie?  Is it because I was induced and my body just wasn’t ready?  Was it the epidural and intense infusion of IV fluids?  Did the pitocin have something to do with it?  Should we have done skin-to-skin sooner and commenced the breastfeeding journey right then and there?  Do I have insufficient glandular tissue, a physiological condition that can prevent a sufficient supply of milk?  There were times where I wanted to be more successful, and around 6 months old I seriously considered attempting the process of ‘relactating’, but aptly decided that I would be doing more damage than good by taking on that.  That’s just a whole other ball game.

Just like any other mama who breastfed once but is no longer, I miss the feeling of my beautiful little angel’s tiny hands on my chest, resting on my breast, as he nursed and looked at me, or nursed and got so comfy he dozed off.  I miss being skin-to-skin and having his warm and so very soft tummy pressing against my own.  I miss his little “hmm” noises he would make when he was latched on.  I miss the feeling of nutritionally nurturing him, knowing I am providing him with the antibodies that he needs and his body desires.

I had many moments where I felt extreme amounts of guilt.  I didn’t want to feed him in public, because pulling out that bottle meant that I had failed breastfeeding, and so obviously I had failed as a mother, right?  WRONG.  I learned that breastfeeding did not equal perfection, nor did it equal motherhood.  Was it a huge component of motherhood?  Yes it was, but it was not the be all and it was not the end all.  In the end, I was doing for my son what I needed to do for him.  We learned along the way.  I’m hoping with future babies (probably only just 1 ;) that breastfeeding will work out, and that I will be able to use the tools that Cade taught me, in order to be “successful.”  But that’s for another time, and for now, this is where we’re at.

But most importantly, I am proud of where we were and where we have come.  I feel blessed that we were given an obstacle, a hurdle, and we flew right over it, with a little bit of turbulence along the way.  I know that my experiences might seem trivial compared to other’s, but the fact is, this is our story, and it does matter.  Our story might help others, but most of all, it has helped us.  It will make us better people, more empathetic, stronger individuals.  I feel like I have a surge of compassion that has been injected in me because of it.  I feel better able to understand other’s experiences with breastfeeding.  I never realized the emotional intensity of a breastfeeding journey and all that goes along with it.  I now do, and I think that that is beautiful and such an important part of the life that I want to lead.   My boy is thriving and I am happy and as healthy as I’ve ever been.  We work as a team, and this was only the very start of it.  We are in for a very wonderful, a very fulfilling, and a very triumphant ride.

July 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm 26 comments

Reflections of a Day.

I am on a total health kick, except this time I feel like it’s for real.   I can only say that now, because I’ve experienced the feeling of health kicks that feel like they may only be momentary.  But this shit feels real, and that’s why I’m blogging about it, because I think I’m on the right track.  Could also be that runner’s high people speak about, but I’ve only done the C25K once, so I doubt that.

My biggest motivator in wanting to be healthy, overall (in mind, body, spirit) is my dear angel, Cade.  I want him to see his parents living an active and healthy lifestyle, and with us being his biggest role models (at least ’til the whole peer thing kicks into gear), I want him to adopt some of our healthy habits and ways of living.  I want him to feel good about the things that his body CAN do, not should do.  I want him to feel confident, and have a super healthy level of self-esteem, which he can use as a nice and secure grounding for everything he does in his life.

Honestly, I see my little boy moving about so insanely, so manically, and I want to do the same.  I’m going to have to do the same, because once he really gets crawling and walking, there is no stopping him, and I may have to be on the chase.  I’d really love to be able to be on that chase without a cherry-red tomato face and a lack of breath, and the only way I am going to be able to do that is to train my body and train my mind to believe in my body.

While the thought of him becoming active and never stopping is a little bit daunting, especially as I sit here at 11:00 o’clock at night, telling myself that my legs don’t hurt (they are aching so bad) and that I won’t be tired in the morning when I get up at 7am to do my run (I likely will be, but once I get going I’m sure I’ll be fine.. no, I will be fine), I would much rather have a child who is active (can’t say it enough, in body and mind) than one who sits in front of the silly television and watches super lame shows and plays crappy video games all day long.  It’s common knowledge that children are spending less and less time outdoors and engaging in human-to-human interactions, and I don’t want Cade to be one of those statistics.

I want to be a healthy mom, but more than that, I want to be a healthy woman.  I want to feel good about the activities I engage in, the food I put into my body, and the words and pep talks that I give myself on a daily basis.  What I put into my body almost directly and immediately affects how I feel about myself.  I want to allow myself some freedom though, too.  A girl’s gotta treat herself sometimes!  I want to feel what my body can do.  I carried my son for nearly 9 months, I nurtured both of our bodies while doing so, and I birthed him into this wonderful world.  I can surely do anything.  Birth is so incredibly empowering and has opened my eyes to the beauty of being so self-aware, and believing in the power of my own mind, my own spirit, and in turn my own body.  But that is for another post.

For now, what my body needs is rest and sleep.  It has been a busy day, socially, mentally, and physically.  We have visited with dear friends, walked around the neighbourhood and played on the ground, and I have studied for an upcoming interview, and to say the least, it’s draining and exhausting the crap out of me.  I don’t want to fall short on my run tomorrow, and since it’ll be an early one, I ought to call it a night.  Goodnighty night my friends, and if you’re doing the C25K, or another running/exercise program, let me know, comment, talk about your struggles, whatever it is.  I know there’s a few of you who have started the program and that makes me ecstatic beyond all belief.  We’re creating a revolution, y’all!

June 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

2/2 – The 2nd 3





I feel like I am going to put a big jinx on everything that we have accomplished up to this point by saying what I am going to say next, but because I am brave and courageous I am going to say it anyway: months 4, 5 and 6 were easy-peasy in comparison to the first 3.  Oh isn’t that lovely, just after I typed that, I heard a mysterious screaming noise coming from the boy’s room.  Lovely is right.  I have come to dread the evenings again, and we were doing so, so, so well.  Sigh.  And so we march on, and another hurdle we will conquer with our fists held high.

4 months old

I guess I shouldn’t say easy-peasy, as month 4 was still winding down from the chaos of the previous months.  Month 4 saw several 2am car rides as well, which were enjoyed by all, even Lily.  I have never seen someone get as pumped for a late night car ride as her.  Oh my babies.  Basically we spent the month of March attempting to level out the wild crying activeness of the boy, and eventually, they settled down.  Cade had his first ride on a Greyhound bus, which went off pretty smoothly, thankfully.  It was actually quite peaceful, just being able to chill out with him in a vehicle, pick him up if he needed soothing, and feed him as need be.

Month 5 saw big changes in regards to Cade’s motor abilities.   Our little baby who just looked around and took in all the new sights now started to physically take in all the new sights, wanting to grab at them and shove them in his mouth.  This happened more so towards the end of the month, and the middle of month 5 saw a huge milestone in the life of Cadester – he started sleeping in his crib at night and during the day for his naps.  One Saturday eve, when Kyle was at soccer, I was lying in bed with my boy attempting to watch some NetFlix and hopefully have him fall asleep next to me.  After 2 hours of him lying there, calm though, he still had not fallen asleep.  That should have been my cue to try the crib, but intead, we persevered and we both eventually dozed off.  The next night, I suggested to Kyle that we should give the crib a try.  We had tried dozens and dozens of times, but Cade was never ready and would scream bloody murder as soon as his head hit the crib, even if he was fast asleep when we put him down.  So, the night of March 20, we went about our evening routine, nurse, bottle, bath, book and bed.  We aimed for a bedtime of 8PM, hoping earlier would mean better chance of crib sleeping success.  Turns out, it may have.  We laid our little guy down, patted his bum, popped the soother in his mouth, and he drifted off.  An hour passed, and Kyle and I were amazed.  Another hour, and same thing.  Granted, we had to get up several times that night to pop the soother back in, he slept in his crib from 8pm – 8:30am, minus getting up to eat two times.   I was curious what the next day’s napping schedule would bring, but it went off without a hitch.  Our boy was READY!  And mama was sad, because it meant no more naptime cuddles or no more bedtime cuddles.  Well, at least not for a little while until he got used to the crib being his bed.  If he wouldn’t have been ready, we wouldn’t have pushed it, but I truly believe it was just ‘his time’ to sleep on his own.

5 months old

I must say that month 5 was full of big things for this little guy.  First off, he decided that everything he saw, he had to touch, attempt to grab, and then shove in his mouth.  This started earlier than month 5, but was really exacerbated in month 5 and taken to a whole new level, and this has just gotten progressively crazier.  I can barely drink a glass of water without him grabbing it out of my mouth and putting it up to his mouth.  Reason #5328573289572389 why I love my boy, because he is hilarious and persistent.  He fights for what he wants.  Atta boy.

Cade had his first taste of ‘solid’ (read: pureed) food on March 29, which was homemade pureed chicken.  Pretty sure more ended up on the bib, on his face, on his hands, and up his nose, than in his mouth, but it was fun and it went well.  He figured out pretty quickly how to open his mouth for the spoon, and in fact, wanted to do it himself, which I partially obliged to until he nearly shoved the spoon down his throat.  After the introduction of chicken went off without a hitch, we proceeded to make some more food and introduce slowly, allowing for a few days in between so as to notice any adverse reactions.  To date, Cade has tasted avocado (loves), sweet potato (loves), beef (meh), carrots (loves), rice cereal (likes quite a bit), banana (loves), as well as small tastes of apples and peaches from using his ‘safe mesh feeder’ where he just sucks on the fruits through a mesh cover, so he can taste the juices.

Delish

Cade had his first HUGE shopping trip over the Easter weekend in Edmonton.  I did not expect him to be the trooper that he was (I shouldn’t say that, he is an amazing little boy and I thought things would be ok, but I knew we would be going shopping crazy and I can’t even handle that let alone a 6 month old boy who needs naps and down time more than I do!) but he showed us all up and braved the 9 hour shopping day with all of us, Lily included, since she was puking the night before and the morning of, we didn’t want to leave her alone because we were worried.  So in her travel bag she went, and both the sibs got to hang out with us for the day, checkin’ out West Ed Mall, South Commons and Ikea.  Nine pure hours of shopping and Cadester barely fussed once.  I was seriously amazed but moreso I was proud of my little guy for being such a trooper.  He is a shopper at heart, oh yes he is. Kyle, look out, ’cause now you’ve got two of them.

Cade had his first swimming adventure at the beginning of April, when we went to the Shaw Centre with our little munchkin.  It was super fun, and so nice to be in water with my boys.  Water is so relaxing and so natural, and Cade seemed so comfortable being in it.  He loves his baths, so it only made sense.  He wasn’t a huge fan of the kiddie pool, I think because it was a bit chilly, but he absolutely loved the family hot tub, which was set to bath water temperature, and had jets.   What can I say, I loved it too.

Waterbaby

The relationship between Cade and Lily has just continued to grow and grow.  He watches her everywhere she goes, every move she makes, and she is pretty actively into what he’s doing too, but mostly I think because she knows that his spit up makes for good treats for her.  Yup, I know, its not the most pleasant thing ever, but it’s pretty funny.  Lily has come to recognize when we start burping him, that his burps often mean spit up will come, and she is on her toes.  He gives her treats and and he doesn’t even know it.  However, while she loves his spit up, she is not the biggest fan of his grab & ingest behaviours.  She has figured out how to dodge his flailing arms and legs so she doesn’t get booted or grabbed.  The other day, Cade actually got a good grab of Lily’s fur, and while she frantically tried to get away, he pulled tighter, and the menace-like grin and laugh on his face got brighter.  It was quite hilarious, though I felt bad for the little gal.  Once Cade is an appropraite age, I’m excited to teach him how to treat animals and what the correct way to engage with them is.

Besties

In April, we made the decision to switch to cloth diapers, based on environmental impact, chemicals in the diapers, as well as finances.  We’re still using disposables as we’re building up our stash of pocket diapers (we’re at 16 now, woo, with 2 diapers from eBay enroute).  Soon, we’ll be able to mostly use cloth, with a few disposables here and there, and do laundry every 2 or 3 days.  We purchased a couple different brands to try, and have purchased a few of one particular brand that we like.  They are so darn cute, and we really feel a lot better about having our babe’s bum draped in chemical-less cloth diapers, and in turn, not throwing out a bajillion diapers that will sit in the landfills.  We’re leaving a legacy behind for our little boy and his grandchildren and so on, I guess you could say.

                                                                                    

Clothbum

6 months old

Month 6 has seen Cade develop a growing disinterest in nursing, except for his middle of the night feeds where when Kyle is prepping a bottle, I breast feed my boy.  I am not sure what it is, actually scratch that, I am the mama, I am pretty sure I know what it is, but can’t quite pinpoint exactly what it is.  I think it’s more of a combo deal, he knows he gets the bulk of his nourishment via the bottle, which comes out faster, he gets distracted when nursing, and since it’s not constant, fast flow of milk, he is more likely to turn into wandering eyes. 

So 6 months, eh?  Where did the time go, I have no idea.  I couldn’t tell you.  I guess we were busy, though some days I feel like we just did the same thing as the previous thousand days.  It’s all good though, because if I had to choose between doing the same thing over and over by myself or with my babies, I would obviously choose with my babies.  I cannot even verbalize how much I love my boy and how much he has changed my life for the better.  The photo above is one of my favourites, taken today.  It speaks so clearly about our family.  There you have Kyle and I smiling at our boy, who is grabbing for my glasses and Lily, simultaneously, while Lily is barely hanging on, trying to escape from the Wrath of Cade.  I love us and I love what tomorrow will bring.  Happy 6 months, my boy, you are beautiful.  xoxo.

These are a few of Cade’s favourite things…

Month 4

  • Sucking thumb and fingers
  • Rolling over from tummy to back
  • Chillin’ out in my Ergo baby carrier

16 lbs 8 ounces

Month 5

  • Chewing his feet, fingers, toes, and virtually anything he can get his hands on
  • Sofie the Giraffe and Lily are probably his besties
  • Loves his Lamby lovey and Sleep Sheep, they are his sleep companions that replaced mama and dad
  • Solid foods!  Chicken, avocado, rice cereal, sweet potato…

18ish lbs

Month 6

  • Solid foods, more n more… beef, carrots, banana
  • Being busy and never ever sitting still, that is my boy’s main motive right  now
  • Jumping jumping and jumping in his ‘jumperoo’, related to the need to mov
  • Non-stop til-you-drop shopping (okay, maybe not his favourite thing, but he was a trooper, so it kinda counts)

19 lbs 8 ounces and 26 inches

May 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm 2 comments

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