Friday, May 30, 2014
As of late I've been having nightmares surrounding the idea of extended pumping upon my return to work. They all involve lost breast milk, and leave me feeling anxious, worried and upset. It's so obvious to me that these nightmares are connected to my return to pumping in place of nursing.
There is just so much fear! Fear that my supply won't be enough for what he needs while I'm away. Fear that I will drop a bottle and spill the liquid gold within it. Fear that the pump will suddenly stop working and I'll be left unable to pump, which will lead my drop in supply. Fear that Parker will wean himself from nursing much sooner than I would like. All seemingly irrational and yet so rational.
I have hundreds of ounces frozen (another fear: the deep freezer will go caput and my entire frozen stash will be lost, this makes me sick to my stomach!), and he only needs 3oz per bottle, and only two to three bottles per day that I am gone. I am pumping twice a day currently, so I am still adding to my stash. And I will pump and pump and pump and pump, as much as I possibly can if he weans early due to an increase in bottle feeds. And while I hate pumping and the time it takes away from doing other things, I do like the control of it. I can see what I am producing, tweak volumes with my diet if needed. As I've mentioned before, it is really the one thing that I can control, versus the chaos that was the NICU and Ps first month in this world.
My feelings toward pumping are apparently shared with other pumping moms. Here is a great article that explains this love hate relationship between a mother and her breast pump:
I couldn't stop shouting in my head, yes! Yes! Yes! What really stuck out to me was the explanation of how natural breast milk is for my Baby love 2, as compared to all the unnatural things he has been subjected to. From ultrasounds almost daily to multiple blood transfusions to a 'planned' and yet unplanned early c-section, my pregnancy with P and his first couple months of life were surrounded by the unnatural. Everything so completely opposite the natural birth I had envisioned from even before I was pregnant with Korbin.
Because of this, I will do everything I can to continue to have this ability to give such wonderful, and natural, sustenance to my precious second baby boy.
Because I got a lotta love to give.
Monday, May 26, 2014
The past four or five days now, Parker has had a moment of giving the biggest smile possible. His eyes light up, dimples show in full effect, and my heart melts. It's been happening when he locks his eyes with mine - only adding to how much my heart melts - until today.
Today, he looked over my left shoulder, and there was this beautiful smile. He coos, smiles, and just looks so beautiful. I want to capture this, but I can't look away to grab my phone to snap a shot. And I'm okay with that. Especially this time as I asked P who he was smiling at. And then I asked him if he was smiling at Korbin. The smile lasted just a few seconds longer, as long as it has been since this started, and then the moment passed, leaving my heart aching, on top of already being melted.
When Ry is home with us, I'm okay. We're (almost) all here, together, living the life we have now. But when he goes to work, for some reason the loneliness creeps in, and I start missing Korbin and thinking of him more strongly than when Ry is here. My heart just starts to ache more. And I cry for Korbin each day.
I'm grateful Korbin is here with Parker, doing the most amazing job of watching over his little brother. And I find it just so beautiful that he made P smile today.
I may be in my moment of tears right now, but it's for a mix of being thankful and grateful and longing and sad and blessed all at once. I hope Korbin is always watching over Parker, as he has his whole life ahead of him (I so hope and wish and pray).
And because we got a lotta love to give.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Quite possibly one of the most amazing things to see, I swear, is when your baby looks to really, truly smile at you.
Today, for the second day in a row, Parker has given me the most beautiful, huge, twinkly eyed smile I've ever seen a baby make. And he did the same with Ry yesterday. I just so absolutely love seeing him do this. Part of me wants to grab my phone to capture such a beautiful moment, and yet I dare not miss a second of it looking away to do so. Being in the moment is so much more important these days (even though I do manage to take like 100 photos a day...okay, maybe exaggerating...but I take a TON).
Because I got a lotta love to give.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Time is flying by way too quickly these days. Parker is growing, developing, changing, right before my very eyes. And I just can't seem to slow things down enough.
Sometimes it feels a bit depressing, thinking about going back to work, everything I'll be missing each day. I get filled with anxiety at times, even though I look forward to one day returning to the work I do outside of home. But I just so love watching him. I could sit and stare at him, hold him, snuggle him, all day long. Yet I need to eat, do dishes, pay bills, check laundry because he spits up on everything (I stopped changing my clothes each time...it's not worth it!), think about dinner, etc. where's the balance? How do you put your precious baby down to do something so dull and meaningless? How do you stop doing this:
To catch up on this:
?!? The pile is even larger now...but a huge part of me doesn't really care. A poem in the NICU talked about how the dust bunnies and whatnot can wait, because my baby can't stop growing and changing. So we need to hold him now.
Because we got a lotta love to give.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
We wanted some wireless (and outside the NICU) shots so our friend Jon Kaplan of Jon Kaplan Photography helped us out and captured some great shots. My only regret is that we didn't include Korbin Bear in a couple of the family photos. For whatever reason I didn't think Ry or I would be in any of the shots, and that we'd just be capturing P on film. Silly me! And now we know for next time!
Here are some of my favorites from the shoot, which was at the end of April (when P was technically an official newborn by gestational age):
And I did my own mini shoot to include Korbin Bear:
I do wish we'd gotten some of the neat more prop-type photos, the ones that really show how tiny P really is. And I wish I'd done something better with my hair, and worn different pants.... But I still love the moments captured and am planning to get many printed and framed for our home.
I think ours just really show the love we have for P (I just can't put him down!).
And We got a lotta love to give.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
After being a slave to the pump in the for so long, I became desperate to get nursing figured out. I mean come on now, our Baby Love 2 is home now, and yet I was still pumping and then measuring out specific amounts and hoping he'd eat it all. I need that bonding time with this new little one, we've gone too long already without it.
I stopped the formula additive as soon as he was discharged. Formula can be a good thing, but I don't want it for our second baby. He's being checked once a week so far so we can see quickly if that was a bad idea or not. So far, he is still gaining weight. Yay! I feel so much better without adding that.
But as I did a hard stop of pumping over the last weekend, and switched solely to breast feeding, I felt the huge decline in my supply. And this made my heart sink and my stomach ache. Could this have been panic attack number three coming on?
I immediately scheduled an appointment with a lactation nurse, and started up pumping again. My supply returned, but do I really have to keep this up? Can I emotionally make the switch? I need to see what I'm producing, yet it's time away from Parker. And exhausting.
The hard part now is not knowing my volumes when I nurse, and just trusting Parker is eating enough for him. Yet not knowing my volumes is really hard on me as my volumes are something I became so proud of while P was in the NICU. The nurses would always comment on how lucky he is, to not have to worry about getting enough of my milk without supplementing. And it became something I could control with my diet and taking supplements. Most importantly, breast milk is like the one thing I can give Parker. I have to be able to continue this!
After meeting with the lactation nurse, I feel such relief in the new knowledge she gave me. Turns out, I'm a super producer. At my peak when I was solely pumping, I was producing 40oz+ a day. The average: 20oz. Okay, I guess I'm doing okay. But, as hard as it will be mentally to do so, I have to reduce this for P. Being a super producer means he only gets fore milk, and none of the fatty hind milk where the major calories are. This imbalance can mean tummy troubles for him, which would explain the green poops since switching.
Thankfully, the volume reduction isn't forever. Biology is amazing. As he needs more, he'll stimulate my body to produce more.
For now, I'm on a pumping reduction plan for the next two weeks, taking out one pumping session a day until we're solely EBF. This will be hard mentally and emotionally for me as, again, this feels like the one thing I've been able to do for P and have control of. But it must be done so I can produce what's best for him.
The time I spend nursing P is so important, especially as I never had the opportunity to do so with Korbin. Which is why in my mind I have to make this work and keep it up for as long as possible.
Because I got a lotta love to give.