Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tea/Coffee and Books..., originally uploaded by Art Flow.

Hot (and strong) coffee, a beautiful Spring day, and lots of fun projects on the brain. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cool digs

for chickens. Would love to have one of these (and a few chickens to go with it): cooped up 

I'm assuming this would break some sort of ordinance?  I should check into it.

sighs of relief.

it's like that auto insurance commercial.  or is it a law office commercial?  where they show a bunch of people sighing all because they have great auto coverage (or a great attorney, since i can't seem to remember the actual commercial).  anyway, that's me.  sighing.

life is back to normal.  piper and i are back to normal.  happily nursing again.  such a relief.  granted, it wouldn't have been the end of the world to stop nursing her at this point.  but, i would have forever felt guilty about it because i left her for those days, which in turn caused our struggles.  however, all is right with the world of nursing once again.  i'm glad i stuck with it.  i'm glad i didn't quit.  i wanted to quit so many times.  but, i knew we'd get through it.  and, we did.  and, i'm happy.

now, i can get my focus back onto other things.  spring is my favorite time of year and am looking forward to doing a lot of work outside in the coming months.  i have big plans for our vegetable garden this year (now that i will actually be able to work in it without a big pregnant belly in the way).   first on my garden to do list this year is to NOT plant pumpkins or gourds.  i had no idea how much they take over their space (and every other vegetable's space in the garden as well).  they were awful garden residents and neighbors and i was forever cutting back their 4+ feet of new growth each day.  granted, we ended up with some pretty cool pumpkins and the kids loved watching them grow throughout the season, but they tried their darndest to take over the place.

i found a great vegetable garden plan on the better homes & gardens site that i'm planning to use this year.  it will hopefully make our garden a bit more organized and easier to access.  we're also adding a little bed of herbs this year, too, and am so excited about that.  fresh basil is one of the best smells on the planet.

Friday, April 23, 2010

mind games.

so, it's been over a week now that i've been trying to successfully resume breastfeeding piper.  it's been terribly stressful and not going well at all.  yesterday was such a bad day that i officially decided to quit.  i was sad and disappointed in myself for not being able to fix things.

i took the kids out for a walk shortly after my big decision.  i needed fresh air and we all needed to get out of the house.  a funny thing happened on that walk.  a weight appeared to be lifting.  i, all of a sudden, didn't feel so stressed or overwhelmed.  all was ok.  it wasn't the end of the world that i was done nursing.  piper is just shy of nine months old and i had met the two goals i had originally set for us.  first, i wanted to make it to six months and then second, i wanted to make it until we went to disney.  it was only a few weeks before disney that i had decided to continue nursing to a year if we could as i just wasn't ready to quit.

so really, what was the problem?  it wasn't the end of the world, or her world.  and, all of a sudden i started feeling some freedom in my decision.  wow.  i wouldn't necessarily have to be the one to get up with piper in the morning if she woke up early.  if she was taking bottles full time, gene could now participate and share in that responsibility.  i wouldn't have to schedule my day around her feedings and or need to be home for them.  i wouldn't get anymore calls while at target saying the baby is awake and i need to come home to feed her.  gene could take care of this now.  nice!

my anxiety was instantly gone.  my "end of the world" feelings and pressure to make it work was gone. plus, i was going to pump to continue to feed her as much breast milk as i could and i have a freezer stash to tap into as well.  all was going to be ok.

when we got back from our walk it was time to feed piper.  for the first time in a week, i wasn't nervous about it.  so, i thought to myself, why not give nursing another try?  no big deal if it doesn't work because, well, i've officially quit.  no strings attached.  no pressure.  and guess what?  we had one of our best sessions since i returned home.  and then another, and then another.  and so far so good today, too.  i guess saying i was quitting (and meaning it) was all i really needed to do to let it all go.

now, i'm not saying we're fixed.  we may still have issues.  my anxiety over it may return.  but, for now, i'm in a much happier place, taking it day by day, with no pressure.  who would've thought that quitting would have been the best thing i could do?!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breastfeeding woes

I'm in an awful downward spiral that I can't seem to stop or make any better.  Everyday is worse than the day before and I'm in a constant state of anxiety now that I can't stop.

After returning home from Disney, Piper refused to nurse the first few times I tried to feed her.  She pushed away and cried, etc.  It was a total blow.  I was devastated.  Thankfully, I continued working with her and by the afternoon, she was latching/nursing just fine.  To help to get her back on the breast again, I pumped until I had a letdown so she'd know that the milk was there, etc.  That worked fine.

Fast forward to the next day, I decided just to try to latch her without pumping first.  She latched right away.  Unfortunately for me, I was so worried about letting down before she got frustrated, that it was causing a slower than normal letdown.  She'd get frustrated/cry, which in turn would make me more stressed, which in turn would cause my letdown to take even longer.  One session that day was taking so long and I was so worked up that I had to take her off of the breast, put her in her exersaucer and use my pump.  Of course she was screaming her head off by that point, which make me even more stressed, and it took about 20 minutes to have a letdown.  It was AWFUL!!!!   That experience was so stressful that now I fear it happening every single time I try to latch her on now.  Which, I know, is the worst thing I can do.

I've had several sessions over the last few days that just didn't happen because I couldn't letdown.  I'm sooooooo nervous and anxious now.  And, believe me, I know this is the problem.  I know it is, but I don't know how to stop it.  I'm afraid I'm single handedly ruining our breastfeeding relationship and I can't stop it.   I've tried deep breaths, I've tried distracting myself, I've tried drinking water, I've tried singing, stretching/relaxation techniques before I try to latch her, etc.  Problem is, as soon as I pick her up to put her on the breast, my stomach turns to knots, I get hot, etc.  And, I CAN'T STOP IT!!!!

I know that part of the issue is that she got bottles for six days which gave her immediate satisfaction.  You don't have to wait for a bottle to letdown.  The milk is there instantly.  So, she's definitely less patient that she was before I went away.  But, my stress is making it take even longer than it should  What do I do??  Should I pump to get a letdown for a day or two to see if I can get myself settled back down again (so I don't have the stress of trying to letdown for her)?  But, I'm afraid that's just going to teach her that the milk will always be right there for her and that's not going to fix our problem. 

The other side of me is saying that maybe it's just time to throw in the towel.  My goal was a year and I want to get there but this has just become such a source of anxiety/stress and I don't know how to make it stop.  I'm starting to feel like a crazy person.  I do realize that it's all in my head.  Problem is, I can't make it better...  which is why I'm starting to feel crazy.   What do I do?  Stop bfing?  Pump to letdown?  I just don't know.  I'm writing all of this minutes after having an unsuccessful session with her and I had to put her to bed without nursing.  She's going to start to hate this as much as I am if something doesn't change. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're home!  Disney was wonderful and EJ and Olivia were the perfect age for their first trip.  Old enough to be relatively well behaved (out of the throw yourself on the ground temper tantrum phase, anyway) and young enough to still believe that the characters they were meeting were the real deal. 

The first night there we had dinner at the Akershus Dining Hall with all of the princesses.  What I didn't realize about "character dining" is that all of the characters will make their way to all of the tables for pictures and autographs.  I had just assumed that it was a hit or miss kind of thing and maybe you'd get to meet them and maybe you wouldn't.  It is wonderful that they have it set up this way.  Olivia was just beside herself meeting the princesses.  I think it was as much fun for me to watch her as it was for her.  We had four character dining meals during the week so the kids had the opportunity to meet a lot of the characters.  It was great. 

We tried to keep the trip as low key as possible.  Lets face it,  park vacations are exhausting.  The parks are crowded.  The lines can be long.  The sun is hot.  The kids get tired.  We were with my in-laws, too, so there was constant coordinating of plans.  We tried to spend the mornings at the parks and would often head back to the hotel in the early afternoon.  This allowed for some pool time and much needed nap/rest time for the kids (and us).   Our dinner reservations were always later in the evening and then there were late firework shows and parades so we were often heading to bed around 11 pm or later.  There is no way the kids could have done a full day like that without a nap.  So, this schedule worked so well for us. 

We stayed at a resort in the park that I can't imagine doing it any other way now.  Disney takes care of picking up your bags from the airport and delivering them to your room when you arrive.  And, they handle all transportation to and from the parks and the other resorts.  You could take the bus, monorail, or boat and would rarely wait more than 10 minutes for your ride.  Definitely the way to go.

It was great spending a week with just the twins.  As much as I missed my baby girl and couldn't wait to get home to her, this week gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my older two a bit.  I didn't realize how much I was missing because of the distractions of a new baby.  I actually got to have conversations and snuggle time without being pulled away because of a crying baby, diaper change or nursing.

Speaking of nursing, thankfully Piper and I are back on track.  We hit a few bumps when I got home but she's happily nursing again.  I am happy to report that my supply stayed intact as well.  Pumping was a huge pain in the arse and I tried to do at least four sessions a day, but it was worth the work to be able to continue nursing her.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip.  In the eyes of a five year old, I don't think there's much that can top celebrating your birthday with Mickey and friends.  I'll be back later with more photos!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

two days...

til Disney.  I can't believe it's here.  I still have a lot of packing to do but am feeling pretty organized at the moment, at least.  This trip is bittersweet as I'm so excited to be taking the twins to Disney for the first time but am leaving my sweet baby girl behind with her grandparents.

I know it's for the best.  I know that Piper would be miserable being strapped into a stroller, in the heat, for hours on end everyday. I know that the twins will love and appreciate some undivided attention from me.  They've lost a lot of "Mommy time" since Piper arrived in August.  I know that Piper will be completely spoiled by my parents over those six days.  Still, it hurts my heart to leave her.

And then, there's the irrational worrying.  I worry that something will happen to us on our trip.  Plane crash?  Shuttle/Monorail/boat accident?  We all die and leave her behind.  Granted, I wouldn't want her to die right along with us but she'd be left without her family.  Terrible thought. Then, there's the irrational worrying about her.  Will she choke on something?  Fall out of her highchair?  Be in a car accident with my parents?  Become deathly ill and I'm not there to care for her.  All of these thoughts plague me in the wee hours of the morning.  Crazy, I know.  I fully admit it.

And then, to add more stress to the situation, I'm still nursing her.  Now, she takes a bottle with no problem so I'm not worried about that part.  I also have been stockpiling milk and have 200 ounces (give or take) in the freezer at the moment.  This will be more than enough for her while we're away.   But, I worry about whether she'll latch again when I return or will want nothing to do with nursing.  Also, I have to take my pump with me, obviously, and will need to find the time to pump throughout the day.  Then, there's the issue of getting all of that pumped milk home. Ugh.  It makes my head spin.

I figure it will all work itself out.  We'll have a wonderful week with the twins celebrating their 5th birthdays and their final months before they start school.  Piper will have a wonderful week with her grandparents and they will enjoy spending that time with her as well. Hopefully I'll find the time to pump regularly so that it won't affect my supply much and we can resume nursing without a hitch when I return home.

My perfect scenario.  Crossing my fingers it plays out that way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

my little ones sporting their Easter attire.  Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

an everyday conversation

between me and ej about babies.

me: "so ej, do you think mommy should have another baby or should i be done having babies?"
ej: "um, i think you should be done, mama. it would take like a whole week for another baby to pop out. and, that's just too long."

a "whole week" to "pop out" another baby. oh how i wished it worked that way. :)