Monday, September 24, 2012

What Love Looks like This Week

White cozy hat to cover a precious bean.

Sibling love.

Spooky kid-made decorations.

Warm pjs.



Marmalade's purse that she fills with toys and takes, no, excuse me it is her "pockabook!"

Entertaining himself with his V-Tech Innotab.

Chica's cheeks!

Twigs and feathers by the bundle.

Just her being her....the biggest gift of my Chica.

................That is what love looked like this week.

What did love sound like this week?

Cooing and bubble blowing from Chica,  and I can just tell that she so wants to laugh out loud for the 1st time!

Marmalade saying "Look at the fans!" when she was pointing to the windmills on the mountains that surround our home.

"I wanna throw a rock in the tubby!" is what Marmalade says about the river every time we pass over the bridge by our house on our walk.

"I wub you Mama." -Marmalade to me.

It was, "Thanks for dinner, Babe, "  and a hug from hubby after our dinner where I made ham, beans from the farmer's market and THESE salt and vinegar broiled fingerling potatoes!

What did love smell like this week? 

Fallen leaves.

A pumpkin candle burning in the house.

That new baby head smell that Chica still has.  If you don't have a new baby head to sniff you should seriously try this new product!

What did love feel like this week?

11.5  pounds of  baby snuggled on my chest.

A bear hug from Bubba.

Crisp cold autumn air, which to me this week is a gift because I am still having crazy hot flashes!  (I feel like I am getting a sneak preview of menosause and guess sucks.)

What did love taste like this week?

Hearing all the compliments from everyone in the family who is on solid foods after eating the pumpkin dip I made for us. (Pumpkin fluff dip = 16oz Cool Whip, small instant vanilla pudding package, 1 can pumpkin, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice....thanks Pinterest for 3 yummy recipes this week!)

Pumpkin pie popsicles!!!   I am obsessed with anything pumpkin. 

Hope that fulfilled all your senses.  Go out there and enjoy the fall!

Mama Nic

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Breastfeeding Blues

This is some straight talk on breastfeeding .  Let me clarify.  This is my breastfeeding experience so far.  Honest, straight from the heart talk. I am sharing because I think people learn from stories like this.  I have read some stories on blogs lately that have helped me out a great deal in knowing we all struggle, that every child brings different challenges and through it all,  all we all want is to do what is best for our babies.  Maybe you will learn something about me, about breastfeeding, about compassion.  Maybe you won't.  Please don't judge because I am not claiming what I do is what every Mother should do.  Trust me, I know every Mom has her own struggles.  This is just one.  Right now it is a big one for me.  I call it the breastfeeding blues because just thinking about it makes me teary, typing makes me choke up, and living it weighs heavy on my heart.  I also had the Mirena removed a week ago and maybe my hormones are out of whack even more than just dealing with this on its own.  Who knows.  Deep breathe.  Here goes............

Breastfeeding Bubba and Marmalade was easy.  A piece of cake.  I never had an issues with low milk that I couldn't fix with a couple of pills of Fenugreek and an extra pumping session here and there.  Latching on and sucking that precious liquid gold came natural to them.  I nursed my 1st born for 12 months.  At three months when I returned to work I pumped at work 2 times a day and sent him to daycare with bottles of mostly breastmilk and a bit of formula.  I added formula in case my milk did get low, I didn't want his tummy to be in such shock.  It never got low and I nursed until his 1st birthday when he could switch to cow's milk and seemed ok not to nurse.  It was a hard transition on an emotional level but we both pulled through it and it was fine.

Similar story with my 2nd child.   Only she had a horrible case of thrush that lasted for 3 months and was also diagnosed really early on with acid reflux.  Despite this we were able to nurse very happily for 9 months.  The transition to stop nursing  was also harder on my emotions,  but physically I was ready to get my body back and she was fine with the bottles and solid food

Then Chica was born.  I had not a care in the workd as far as wondering if breastfeeding was going to work.  In fact, maybe I was a little cocky because I had such an easy time nursing and I always thought my body was an over-achiever when it came to making milk.  I could have fed a small village alone.  So anyway, latching caused some pain for me but we worked through that and things seemed to be going fine.   Or so I thought.  She was always a very sleepy baby at the boob, maybe because of the jaundice she was born with at first.  Even after she got rid of that,  she was still a "lazy" eater and not much of a strong  sucker I realize now.  She never properly emptied both my breast which is not a good thing to promote the whole "supply and demand" that keeps your milk supply up.  I tried switch nursing.    Five minutes on one side, five on the other.  Burp.  Try again.  She rarely would do more than five and five.

She was gaining weight leaps and bounds. Then she got thrush.  Then I got mastitis. When I was on the antibiotics for that I thought once or twice when it was time for a feeding, "well....time to tick off the baby."  You see she would cry after nursing and I didn't put together in my head why or how long this was going on until the day it came to me.  It was so obvious that it felt like a smack in the face.  My milk was low and she was still hungry!  I am sure my body thought,  "There is no way in hell I am making all that milk again and getting mastitis again.  I shall go on strike."

I  desperately  put in a call right away to my breastfeeding support line.  I told her I thought my milk on one side was really low and the baby seems to not like nursing all of a sudden.  I cried my way through the conversation and agreed to come in for a consultation with Chica.

When we arrived she had just eaten an hour ago and so I knew this wasn't going to go that well already.  We were supposed to weigh her and nurse and weigh and nurse on the other side and weigh her again.  She was fast asleep but  we got her up and weighed her.  She gained the correct amount of weight since last appointment so that was at least a good thing!  I got  her to eat some on the left side, my low side and we weighed her. It was shocking that she only took in 8 ml!  8 ml!!  Now I am panicked.  We nurse on the right and she starts squirming and crying like she had been doing every time I nursed her lately.  She took 15 ml.  My heart sank.  It wasn't enough.  Even though she had just eaten an hour earlier she should have gotten more than this.  I felt horrible for not noticing this earlier on.  I was too distracted dealing with 3 kids and maybe I didn't notice soon enough.  Either way, my consultant told me I should offer her some formula after each nursing session to make sure she gets what she needs.  I burst into tears.  I also could physically feel my breast not getting as full anymore.  Especially on the side I had the infection. 

I had this thing about formula.  I don't trust it.  You know what you put in your own body and that is what is in the milk.  But trust my entire baby's nutrition on what a company puts in the formula was too much.  Have you heard about all the formula recalls?  Scary stuff!!

She told me I could take fenugreek 3 pills 3 times a day, breastfeed, give her a bottle and then pump after that.  This would hopefully bump up my supply.  I should try this for four days.  I burst into tears again.  But how can I manage to do all this and care for the other 2 children too?  That is a lot of time nursing, bottle feeding, pumping, cleaning  bottles and pump pieces over and over and over.   I had surgery coming up, I was leaving for vacation in 3 days.   It was an overwhelming.   But I said I would give it a try.

I kept on that schedule the rest of that day, into the night and the next morning until things broke down.  My husband left for work and to give Bubba a ride to preschool and I was home alone with the girls. Besides being exhausted, Chica was extra fussy that morning and I couldn't put her down let alone pump!  So I did what I felt I could do and just decided to give up.  Sort of.  I would breastfeed and bottle feed her but I wasn't going to pump that day unless I was too uncomfortable.  Chica didn't like being switched every feeding from breast to bottle.  I think it was confusing for her.  Feedings  were not getting an easier for anyone.  I cried a lot that day.  Wept.  Sobbed.  I cried myself to bed thinking how I had failed her.  My body had failed her.  Failed us!  I didn't want to stop nursing.  Not at 7 weeks old. It wasn't fair.  Why didn't I realize what was going on earlier?  Maybe I could have fixed it?  I was heartbroken and unclear what to do or how things would turn out.

The next day I switched my plan again.  I would only bottle feed her and I would pump every 4 hours to get her as much milk as I could for as long as I could.  I started taking the fenugreek again.  Besides, even though not nursing her was heartbreaking to me the most important thing her and the thing I had to focus on is that breast milk is better than formula no matter how she gets it, the boob or bottle, the main thing is she gets it.....or at least every ounce I can get for her.  I still cried this day too.  A lot. I felt guilty and still like a failure for her.  Heart-wrenching.  But she was doing fine taking a bottle and not crying after each feeding.

For me stomach cramps and upset set in and the ride to Cape Cod was not fun for me.  I had to stop the fenugreek.  With my pump (with a battery pack for the car), bottles and formula in tow we headed off for vacation.  New ground.  New start.  Unsure of it all.

I realized that night that I could nurse her when she woke at night.  Since she only wakes once a night usually( I know...don't be jealous) , and things were quiet, no distractions, and my breast seemed full......why not try.  And ya know what?  It worked fine.  And after pumping for a couple of days I realized that I did not have a low milk supply.r at least not anymore!   I was pumping basically what she was taking in bottles.  I think the change of scene helped us out on this tough week. I pumped in the car when we were out and about.  It worked fine.  I felt dedicated.

The positive points for her bottle feeding besides she wasn't crying as much and I felt better knowing that I could physically see how much she was taking in,  was that it allowed me a bit more freedom.  Now anyone could feed her in the day and help clean bottles and make bottles.  She eats every two hours.  I pump every four.  Also, If I had a glass of wine and needed to pump I could have one and dump the milk or plan on drinking one after I had pumped.  Not saying this is a reason to ever stop nursing but I am trying to see some silver lining here people.  And wine is a good thing every one in a while.  Yes, I know you can do the same when you are nursing but when baby eats every 2 hours or less sometimes that is a hard thing to time.   It is also easier to give her  bottle and help the other kids out with something if they needed it.  I couldn't really start and stop breastfeeding to help someone but with a bottle I could.  Yesterday I had Chica in her swing, bottle feeding her.  I sat on the floor feeding her and holding Marmalade as she had a meltdown in my lap and needed me to hug her.

Then can another feeling I hadn't experienced before now.  Bottle feeding my baby in public.  The shame and embarrassment I felt was awful.  I thought people were looking at me and judging me.  I wanted to be that Mom at the Museum nursing her baby on the bench but instead I was finding hot water to warm the bottle and stressing that people were thinking I was a bad Mom.

I don't really know or totally understand why nursing didn't seem to work for us if it seems that I do have enough milk or almost enough I guess.    And after all this I don't think I can try to go back to only nursing.  What if it doesn't work?  When I do go back to work, things won't be so hard for her as they were with my other kids.  Chaca did get fussy on regular formula and we switched to a sensitive one.  The verdict is still out on that.  I still cry about not getting all those close moments with her in the day but I do have our nights.  And it makes getting up at night easier when I know I can get close to her and nurse and see her satisfied and drift off back to sleep.  Occasionally I nurse her in the day.  We go with the flow and try to to what we both need to do day by day.  I have no plan from here.  I had surgery and that didn't help things here either but at this point today, I am pumping out just slightly under what she is taking I know she needs a bit of a supplement.  I will think of the formula like her medicine.  (I took that from another Mom's comparison and really liked it.)

Please don't judge me if you see me or another Mom out and about bottle feeding her baby.  You don't know what they have been through.

I try to not feel the Mommy guilt but I have not had any success not feeling that every day.  I don't know how this plays out but I know I an in the thick of some breastfeeding blues, for sure.


Saturday, September 15, 2012


So.  I am exhausted.  I had surgery on Tuesday and finally, I can say.........that #%*%#$* Mirena is out of me!!!!!

The day before surgery I was just pissed.   Pissed to have to go through a surgery to get this iud removed.  I just got back from vacation and now I had to deal with this.  I was angry, bitter, scared and really I felt betrayed.  Betrayed by the makers of the iud, betrayed that this happened, betrayed that doctors recommended this "easy and safe" form of birth control to me in the first place, and felt foolish for believing it all.  I have a wonderful daughter, yes.  A miracle in fact.  Thank God that this didn't hurt her!  The point is the Mirena left me physically hurt, emotionally damaged, financially a mess and I am pissed.  Watch out Mirena.  I am coming to gun you down. 

Laprascopic removal of the iud with possible hysteroscopy.  That is the surgery I went in for.  It was not pleasant.  They did find that this torpedo of an iud went through the cervix, into the uterus and finally landed in a ligament on my right side.  I guess I am "lucky" it didn't puncture a vital organ, bowel, abdomen but I sure as hell don't feel lucky.  I was so nauseated from the anesthesia that I could not move, drink or eat for hours  after.  I was told the surgery was no big deal and I would be home within a couple hours.  Not the case.  I was there all day long and we even talked about staying over.  I wanted out and so I was discharged around dinner time.  Not that I ate dinner. 

I am still sore.  I have three incisions to heal and I am sure that ligament has some healing to do as well.  My throat hurts from having a tube down it.  The skin on my belly is all irritated from the solution they used in surgery, my skin every is so dry it hurts.  I have a lot of emotional healing left to do.  This ordeal with the Mirena is far from over.  I want to let the world know the truth about what can happen to your life if you chose this form of birth control.  But for now, I need to get my strength back.

Life goes on as you can see from these pictures taken over the course of this week.  These are the people that keep me going.

And Mom........thank you!!!!  I love you.

Mama Nic

Hat's on to go to the local farmer's market.  The little one there got a free pumpkin and 2 tomatoes for being so darn cute. 

Discovering Pluto.

A tiny Red Sox fan.

This one.....we are planning his 4th Birthday already!!



mmmm carrots. 

1st day at the gym.  the smile says it all!

Nap time with Maguiness and Marmalade.

My life.  My family.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beach Therapy

Just got back from a little family getaway to Cape Cod.  It was our 1st family of five vacation.  We also had my in-laws down for a few days too.  It is a lot of work traveling with 3 kids that small,  but despite how tired I am now, it was worth it.  

Honeysuckle going up a pine tree in front of our rental house.

Home for the week.

Kids playing "tag sale" on the front lawn.  This totally cracked us up!

We still had our moments of chaos, crying and fits.  But look a the necklace my hubby made for her out of a shell we found.  He made a matching one for Bubba.


The salty air, sand in your toes, crisp water to swim in, endless shells to collect, seagulls to chase away, tantrums before bed were traded for long walks on the beach, sandcastles,  and that sweet coastal breeze..... all of this is a is a cure.  I need more of that in my life.  They say you can shake the sand from your shoes but not the ocean from your soul. I believe this is true. 

I had some wonderful memories from this week.  Let me highlight some of my favorites for you.

With Bubba:


Having sushi together.  He has tried it before and spit it out,  but this time he was sure he would like it and he did!  It was fun eating that together just the two of us.

Bubba says, " I am thinking about going to a restaurant on the ocean for dinner.  I am thinking about it.  Then we can eat there and to right into the ocean after dinner."

He also kept referring to our house as "the house that Daddy built for us."  As opposed to the house that we are borrowing.  He was very confused as to why we were staying all week in someone's home that we didn't know.

"Can we move?  In one of those moving trucks?  I found a better house back there to live.  It was blue."  (his favorite color) He asked this  as we take a ride around the cape.

I also love watching him eat a pound of shrimp cocktail and some lobster.  The kid is super picky and doesn't eat too much these days but here, he found what he likes....seafood!

I also loved watching him so content playing in sand, flying a kite, walking the beach.  It was great.

With Marmamlade:

 "I wanna go in the pool."  This is what she would say every time she wanted to swim in the ocean.

In the morning when I asked if we were ready to go to the ocean she would scream "Woo Hoo!"  and threw her hands in the air.

Some seagulls took one of our balls and bag of chips.  I scared the bird away and he dropped both but after that she would scream at every one of them, " Get way birdie!!  Get way!!"

Flying a kite with Daddy and Bubba.

At the dinner table while we were having a lobster dinner, "Don't eat them Gammy!" (grammy)

She thought it was her birthday all week for some reason (maybe because it felt like a celebration!) and she learned how to put up two fingers and say "I'm two!"

With Chica:

Laying on the couch at the house under the skylight so happy and content, cooing away.  That was her favorite spot all week.

Walking the beach with her to avoid the witching hour that we seem to have lately.  She didn't make a peep.  I bundled her close to me to guard her from the wind and we all walked and walked and walked.  Peace!

Her 1st trip ever to the beach.  Smiling away, laying on the beach blanket under the umbrella. 

With Hubby:

Just being there with him, with our 3 kids. 

Going our to dinner just the two of us.

Walking on beach together.

Him yelling back at me, "How's is going Mama?"  as we walked to the beach with all the gear and kids. 

Our conversation about how we "survived" the week.

I will hold these sweet memories forever.  This week they will come in handy too.  In two days I have surgery to have the damn Mirena removed once and for all.  By the way, the official name of the Mirena is now "that damn Mirena."  Just ask anyone I know.  They all refer to it that way too.  Good riddance to you damn Mirena, good riddance.

Mama Nic