Friday Favorites – Post Partum Edition

I thought I’d ease back into blogging by writing about a few things that’ve been really enjoying since Rohan was born. I haven’t been able to do a whole lot since I spend the better part of my day breastfeeding a newborn, but here are a few things I am loving for Friday Favorites. These are vastly different than the Friday Favorites I’ve done in the past… here’s hoping I get to write about some of those things soon!

aden + anais for Target Swaddle Blankets. These were on our registry and we ended up getting two packs of them. My husband wasn’t sure what we would do with 8 swaddle blankets, but trust me, we’ve found uses for them now that baby’s here. Since E was born in December, the thick fleecy swaddle/receiving blankets would be way too hot in Texas in May. These linen blankets are just the right thickness to keep baby warm when the A/C is blasting. They’re super soft, but durable, and make a great surface to change a diaper or lay baby down. They’re great for swaddling, too!

Boba Wrap in Stardust. This has been a lifesaver during growth spurts, when Rohan wouldn’t sleep unless it was on me. Wearing him close to my chest in the wrap has been wonderful. I get to sniff and kiss his head, he gets to sleep and be close to me. Everyone wins. I had a different stretchy wrap when E was a baby, but I didn’t care for it. I never felt like I could get it tight enough. The Boba Wrap is very stretchy, which allows me to get it really tight. I’m not sure if it is actually longer than the other stretchy wrap, but I am able to wrap it around myself several times. I wasn’t able to do that with the last stretchy wrap I had. Plus the Stardust print is gorgeous!

In the midst of a growth spurt where someone is refusing to sleep.


Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter
 and Motherlove Nipple Cream. Unfortunately, I did not buy these before I had the baby and was stuck using lanolin in the hospital for a few days. I’m not a fan of lanolin because it doesn’t absorb well into my skin and it likely leaves a film in baby’s mouth. The baby has a pretty significant lip tie and a tongue tie as well. As you can imagine, my nipples were pretty torn up before we even left the hospital. I prefer these to lanolin because they absorb into my skin and don’t feel slimy like lanolin does. I typically alternate between the two of them, even though their ingredient list is similar. I keep one in my bathroom and the other in the pocket of my nursing pillow.

What were your can’t live without post partum items?

Breastfeeding the Second Time Around

This is my experience with breastfeeding my second baby. Please note that my experiences will not apply to every mother-baby dyad. If you are in need of breastfeeding assistance or support, please contact your local IBCLC or La Leche League.

My little man is now a month old and we’re starting to fall into a little bit of a rhythm, growth spurts notwithstanding. Breastfeeding has not been a walk in the park. I expected issues as this is a new baby I’m breastfeeding, but I know so much more about the early days, book learning and from experience with E. However, all of the knowledge that I repeat to other moms flies out of my head when it comes to me. I found myself worrying about all of the same things any mom would – supply, diapers, growth spurts, you name it. Here’s what I thought would happen with breastfeeding the second time around and what actually happened.

What I thought: milk supply would increase like crazy between days 2-5 post partum and I would leak like crazy.
What happened: my milk supply did increase between days 2-5 post partum, but my milk “came in” with a whimper rather than a bang. I didn’t have the rock hard, lumpy breasts that I had with E. Instead, my breasts felt full, but not hot, throbbing, or rock hard. I’ve leaked a little bit, but most days I do not wear nursing pads. It was the opposite with Ethan – I would soak through my nursing tank and t-shirt if I sniffed his head.

What I thought: it’d be smooth sailing with supply since it was my second baby and I had encapsulated my placenta this time around.
What happened: it was smooth sailing with supply for the first few days. Unfortunately, due to some complications with my post partum recovery, I had to take a medication that was known to reduce prolactin levels as a side effect. My milk supply did drop due to the medication. In addition to starting fenugreek, I asked a two trusted friends to pump some extra milk for me. I did have to use their donor milk on a few occasions when Rohan didn’t seem satisfied. One of those times was during a growth spurt at 7 days – you can bet I was thankful for those friends! These were the times where I felt like I was drying up. I finally feel like my supply has caught up with his demand, but it took a while.

What I thought: if there’s a tongue tie or a lip tie, we’ll get it taken care of quickly and move on with our breastfeeding journey.
What happened: I noticed Rohan’s lip tie in post partum the night he was born, but I wasn’t able to get a good look under his tongue. His lip tie is a class 3 (out of 4); it was so bad that even the on-call pediatrician at the hospital pointed it out to me. After an IBCLC friend came over to help the day after we got home, she pointed out his tongue tie as well. Although, I could’ve confirmed it thanks to my sore and bloody nipples. Yowch. I made an appointment to get them corrected with a popular and reputable dentist in the area, but there’s quite a wait. Our appointment is not for another few weeks. Things have improved, but I’m often sore after a feeding. If I’m not careful with how wide he opens his mouth, I can easily undo all of the healing with one bad latch. I’m making it through thanks to alternating Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Nipple Butter and Motherlove Herbal’s Nipple Cream, and ibuprofen.

A quick snack in the car while waiting to pick up Big Brother

And there you have it. That’s what breastfeeding the second time around has been like for me.  It has been more difficult in some ways but easier in others. Despite the ties and the lowered supply, Rohan was a half pound over birth weight at two weeks! Ethan wasn’t back at his birth weight until he was a month old. I’m glad that Rohan was a full term baby and a great eater, but the reduced supply has been very tough to bounce back from. Thanks to a very supportive husband reminding me that I can do this and not waiting too long before calling in some professional help, I believe that things are only going to get better. Here’s hoping Rohan and I make it to two years!

33

Wow, another year has gone by already. Today is the third anniversary of my 30th birthday. The past few years, I have focused on what I have accomplished rather than focusing on what I didn’t accomplish since the birthday before. I’m doing the same this year.

  • Motherhood, Wifedom, and Family: this is probably where the most changes have occurred and will continue to occur. I had a miscarriage last July and then got pregnant again in September. I nearly lost the baby at 21 weeks due to an incompetent cervix and then was on bed rest until 36 weeks. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It put a strain on my family, my marriage, our finances, friendships… nearly everything. But we got through it and have a perfect little baby boy to show for all of our hardships and sacrifices. We’re slowly (very slowly) adjusting to being a family of 4. It has been difficult to stick with the gentle parenting philosophy in which we believe. I’m hoping this experience of adjusting to two children will make me a better mother and wife. More changes are in the near future for our family as we prepare to move from DFW to Austin at the end of the summer.
  • Body Acceptance: the weeks on bed rest took a toll on my body. While I lost a lot of weight (I’m weigh about 20-25 pounds less now post partum than I did before I got pregnant), I lost a lot of muscle mass as well. I’m not as happy with my body now as I was pre-pregnancy… believe it or not, but I miss the way it was. I know the muscle will come back once I’m cleared to exercise and can start doing something, but I still miss it. Jeans are baggy in strange places and not very flattering.
  • Self Acceptance: the best part of being in my thirties so far is that I am very confident in my beliefs and in myself. That has continued in the past year. Sure I have moments where I’m self conscious or less than sure of myself, but overall I like who I am and who I am becoming.
  • Work and IBCLC: I got the amazing opportunity to work as outreach coordinator for the local non-profit milk bank and it was a dream job. Sadly, the bed rest cut me down to part time and moving to Austin has made me resign altogether. It was the first time I was able to say that I truly enjoyed going to work and felt that I was making a difference in people’s lives. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to fully do the job – there’s only so much I was able to remotely from home. My favorite part of the job was to work fairs and conventions where I could speak to moms about the power of pasteurized breast milk and just how much they could make a difference. Once we have moved, I will be able to stay home with the kids. I understand that it is a blessing, but other than my 12 week maternity leave with Ethan, I’ve never been at home in that capacity. I’m a little apprehensive about how I will fare as a stay at home mom.

    I’m still working towards becoming an IBCLC. The pregnancy and baby have pushed the exam back about a year, but that’s okay. I still have a few classes left to take to complete the educational requirement and will then need to take another class that lasts for 3/4 of a year. The move to Austin means I will have to give up my mentorship with the IBCLC I’ve been working with and learning from. I’ll also have to give up my position as chair elect of our local breastfeeding coalition. Definitely sad about leaving those “jobs” behind, they have been incredible experiences. I plan to join the breastfeeding coalition in Austin and hopefully hook up with an IBCLC as well.

Going from 32 to 33 certainly put the emphasis on family and was a life changing year for me. The next 12 months also seem like they will be huge for my family and I. While I’m very sad to leave Fort Worth, my friends, acquaintances, and opportunities behind, I am looking forward to the new challenges, people, and opportunities 200 miles south of my comfort zone. Get ready for me, Austin!

This week’s fruit: mini-watermelon

Alternate title: #stillpregnant

In some serious shock about how pregnant I am…

How far along: 39 weeks. 39 WEEKS. I have never been this pregnant before. I don’t know what to expect anymore! I’m officially full term by ACOG’s recently revised standards!

Total weight gain: Probably about 8-10 pounds.

Maternity clothes: They barely fit. I usually wear yoga pants and a t-shirt that barely covers my belly.

Sleep: It is so interrupted at night! Heartburn, prodromal labor, and getting up to pee every few hours makes it very hard.

Miss anything: Sleep, being able to wear sandals without assistance, shaving my legs without getting winded.

Movement: Yes, but it’s a different type than before – still pretty powerful, but not so many jabs. More like moving around trying to get comfortable with what little room is left.

Food cravings: Those soft pretzel appetizer things from Chili’s, milk & Oreos, watermelon, apples, avocado, mangoes.

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I’m not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: There’s no hiding it, that’s for sure!

Baby’s Sex: Still unknown. We will find out when Baby makes his/her debut!

Labor signs: Consistently inconsistent contractions, I’ve spotted a little of my mucous plug in the toilet, was told of some cervical changes as of 3 weeks ago when I got my stitches out.

Belly button in or out: Still in, but maybe it will pop! Now I know why they’re referred to as a navel orange.

Wedding rings on or off: On.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, but I can go from happy to weepy in seconds.

Looking forward to: Maternity leave starting on Monday, whether Baby is here or not. My water birth (fingers crossed), learning whether this little one is a boy or girl, a baby in my arms! Breastfeeding, being a mom of two, Ethan meeting his little brother or sister. Newborn noises and gulps and smiles and smells.

Lets see if I make it to pumpkin, shall we?

It’s Out

15 weeks ago to the day, I started bleeding and cramping while at work. I went to maternal observation only because I was 21+4 and I knew they wouldn’t turn me away. I was told my cervix was funneling and that my bag of waters was making its way down. I was told I had an incompetent cervix. I got an emergency cerclage that night. I’ve been on some form of bed rest ever since – in fact, it was 13 weeks of strict bed rest at home. The past 15 weeks have included a half dozen trips to maternal observation or labor & delivery because I could’ve sworn something wasn’t right. It has meant not going to work anymore, stopping all other activities, and living a very different life. It has meant not being able to pick up E and cuddle him when he was upset and sobbing, “Mommy, pick me up!”

Well, about an hour ago, the same doctor that put the stitches in took them out. My baby has grown stronger by the day. I am an incompetent cervix success story, an emergent transvaginal cerclage success story, proof that bed rest (while incredibly difficult) does help. This has by far been the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

BUT


Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography

it has been worth it. Every twinge, ache, worry, and tear has been worth the rolls, kicks, punches, and hiccups that I feel. I can finally exhale and stop worrying about having a preemie. I can focus on labor, breastfeeding, and life with two kids. I cannot wait to meet you, Baby. I can’t wait to introduce you to the people who already love you so much.

I Can Countdown the Weeks Using 1 Hand

A sneak peek of my maternity pics that my incredible photographer shared.
Ok, technically I’m 35+5 in the pics, but whatever, they’re amazing.


How far along: 36 weeks even! I never thought I’d make it this far. 36 weeks seemed like an eternity away when I got the cerclage put in. I am so happy to be here. I am so happy to still be pregnant.

Total weight gain: Probably about 5-6 pounds. Baby is gaining nicely and I’m measuring as I should.

Maternity clothes: I bought a new maternity t-shirt (since most of my maternity clothes from E are winter clothes, I don’t have much that fits at the moment) and put it on only to discover it is too small and fits like a second skin.

Sleep: It is so interrupted at night! Heartburn and getting up to pee every few hours makes it very hard.

Miss anything: Sleep!

Movement: Yes, but it’s a different type than before – still pretty powerful, but not so many jabs. More like moving around trying to get comfortable with what little room is left.

Food cravings: soft serve ice cream, a Pizookie from BJ’s Brewhouse.

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I’m not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: Oh yeah. I’m in full bloom.

Baby’s Sex: Still unknown. No longer feeling like it’s a girl, but I’m not getting any strong vibes about baby’s sex. Even when I dream about life after birth, I can’t tell if I have a new baby girl or new baby boy. Weirdest thing ever.

Labor signs: Braxton Hicks continue, but usually go away if I empty my bladder or drink water. I’ve had some contractions if I overdo it that day or don’t drink enough water, but they’ve always gone away. I’m still hoping baby stays in for another few weeks.

Belly button in or out: Still in. Maybe it’ll pop.

Wedding rings on or off: On.

Happy or moody most of the time: Very moody. Regular pregnancy hormones + extra progesterone + dealing with bed rest = moody.

Looking forward to: My baby shower on Sunday, my mom landing in a few hours for the weekend, stitch removal in a few days, and a BABY IN MY ARMS and breastfeeding and the newborn smell!!!  I can’t believe I’m here. I never thought I would get here.

Almost There! – 34 Week Update

Holy crap. This baby’s coming soon.



How far along: 34 weeks – 6 weeks from EDD, 3 weeks from being full term, 2ish weeks(!) from stitch removal!

Total weight gain: about 3.6 pounds. Baby is gaining nicely and I’m measuring as I should.

Maternity clothes: Still in my standard uniform of yoga pants and t-shirts most days, but I’m saving a ton of money on maternity clothes 🙂

Sleep: I’m having a hard time sleeping at night because of insomnia, heartburn, baby movement, and not being able to find a comfortable position.

Miss anything: Social interaction, little things like going to get groceries.

Movement: Still feeling lots of movement and it’s getting stronger.

Food cravings: fried banana from our favorite Thai restaurant in north east PA

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I’m not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: I look like I swallowed a basketball.

Baby’s Sex: Still unknown. I”m so close to the end that I can wait to find out.

Labor signs: Braxton Hicks continue, but usually go away if I empty my bladder or drink water. Hoping not to see labor signs for another few weeks. Lots of the third trimester stuff no one tells you about…

Belly button in or out: Still in. I don’t think it’s going to pop.

Wedding rings on or off: On.

Happy or moody most of the time: Very moody. Regular pregnancy hormones + extra progesterone + dealing with bed rest = moody.

Looking forward to: My baby shower at the end of the month, seeing my mom for my shower, maternity pics, stitch removal, and a BABY IN MY ARMS!

Benefits of Bed Rest The Doctor Didn’t Mention

Bed rest has not been easy. To go from normal life to laying down all the time literally overnight (I was sending emails and making calls from the hospital!) has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I’ve learned that I like to be in control, so letting go has been quite tough. As my weeks of strict bed rest start to wind down, there are some perks to laying down all day that I will miss.

This counts as strict bed rest. I was laying down!
  1. You have a great excuse about why you can’t do anything. This one’s pretty obvious. Is there a household chore you hate doing? A social event you really want to avoid? “Sorry, I can’t. I’m on strict bed rest.” It has been a get out of jail free card of sorts. But then again, I’ve missed (and will be missing) some great events…
  2. Great excuse to grow your hair out. My hair has gotten long. It’s well past the middle of my back when it’s wavy and even longer when it is straight. It’s Kardashian long, but real. This is what happens when you’ve got pregnancy hormones flowing and cannot leave the house to get a trim. I know most of my luscious locks will be history post partum when the shedding begins, but I will certainly enjoy them now!
  3. Bye bye hot tools. This kind of goes with the above. I have blow dried & straightened my hair once in the 10+ weeks I’ve been on bed rest. Once in over 10 weeks is some kind of a new record for me, especially considering that I would straighten at least once a week previously. I bet it is contributing to my hair length as well. I’ve also learned how to embrace the wave: how much of what product to put in, how to keep it looking great on the second day after washing it, etc.
  4. You learn who is there for you when you’re in a bind. I have to say that this bed rest has really shown me who I can lean on when times get rough, and the answers have been eye opening. I have barely heard from some friends in 10 weeks, while others have really stepped up to be there for my family and I. Whether it’s bringing us a meal, coming over with food to spend their lunch break with me just because, or even a text every few days to see how I am doing, I’m very thankful for those this experience has brought forward. Sure, I get that everyone’s busy with their own lives and family, but how long does it take to send a text message when you’re updating your FB? It was quite a rude awakening for me at first and I’m certain I’m still bitter about it, but I’m glad it has happened.
  5. You can get lots of reading done. From old issues of Mothering magazine to books on breastfeeding, I’ve done quite a bit of reading lately. In fact, it is the most reading that I’ve done in years. I think it is the third most amount of reading I’ve done (1 is college, 2 is reading while pumping at work). I know I won’t the opportunity to do this much uninterrupted reading again for a long, long time, and I’ve certainly enjoyed it.
  6. Naps. I took three naps yesterday because I could. Three naps. Just because I was tired and wanted to close my eyes. Pregnancy has made me exhausted. Pregnancy insomnia makes it even worse. I’m glad I can sleep as needed. I am definitely enjoying it now. I know I won’t be doing this after the baby is born!

30 Weeks – The Countdown Begins!

Click to enlarge so you can actually read it!

How far along: 30 weeks – 10 weeks from EDD, 6 weeks(!) from stitch removal, and 2 weeks from even greater viability.

Total weight gain: Within 10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.

Maternity clothes: I got to wear something other than yoga pants this week! The lovely moms from the mom-to-mom breastfeeding group I helped facilitate prior to bed rest threw me a sprinkle this week. I got to wear a maternity dress I bought months ago, blow dried & flat ironed my hair for the first time since January, and put on my going out makeup. It felt so nice to feel normal.

Sleep: I can’t get enough. The baby starts its calisthenics at about 1am every day. I’m usually up, thanks to pregnancy insomnia. I nap a lot during the day.

Miss anything: Social interaction, though the sprinkle helped a lot.

Movement: So much movement! The nightly exercise includes rolls, kicks, and punches. Sometimes I feel like the baby’s going to break through my pelvic floor!

Food cravings: guacamole, chocolate, grilled cheese, and funnel cake.

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I’m not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, I love my big belly.

Gender Baby’s Sex: This has been bothering me for weeks. It’s not gender. It’s sex. We don’t know the baby’s sex. The gender will be determined after its born. Lots of green and yellow.

Labor signs: Braxton Hicks continue, but usually go away if I empty my bladder or drink water. Hoping not to see labor signs for another 6+ weeks.

Belly button in or out: Still in. I don’t think it’s going to pop.

Wedding rings on or off: On and they are kind of loose.

Happy or moody most of the time: Very moody. Regular pregnancy hormones + extra progesterone + dealing with bed rest = moody.

Looking forward to: 32 weeks, seeing the baby at my perinatologist appointment this week, getting baby stuff, stitch removal!

Big Belly Bliss

As I come into the home stretch of pregnancy, I think I can finally say I’m starting to enjoy it. At almost 30 weeks, I’ve grown accustomed to the kicks, rolls, hiccups, and jabs that this little one has been throwing out for several months. The heartburn isn’t that bad (yet) and having to pee every 10 minutes gives me the chance to stretch my legs and walk a little. It makes me a little sad that it took me so long to finally come to terms with the sudden transition from low risk pregnancy to a high risk pregnancy.

One of my favorite parts of pregnancy is the change my body goes through. The hips widening, the curve at the small of my back becoming more defined, the basketball I seem to be smuggling under my shirt, even the new stretch marks appearing because Baby enjoys hanging out on my left side. Yes, I am that weirdo lady that doesn’t mind stretch marks. Pregnancy is a time when I feel womanly and truly beautiful, especially when I’m in full bloom during the third trimester.

My most recent IG belly shot

My stomach has always been where I carried my extra weight. The spare tire, the muffin top, the pooch… I have them all when not pregnant. I don’t like drawing attention to it when my uterus is unoccupied. When pregnant, the opposite is true: I no longer feel the need to suck it in, I own many striped pregnancy shirts, and prefer a belly hugging top to an empire cut. I want to get my bump painted, henna’d, and photographed. I take the pregnant woman pose: hands on the back of my hips, stomach out in all its glory.

My iPhone camera and Instagram feed is filled with bathroom selfies. When I was pregnant with E, I went into labor the night before my maternity pics were to be taken. I don’t have any professionally shot maternity pics, but my husband took weekly bump pics for me (every Monday, after prenatal yoga). He hasn’t been taking weekly bump pics this time around and I’m not sure if the restrictions will be lifted long enough for me to have professional photos taken, so the phone bathroom selfies may just be it. Unless I can talk Dave into helping me with a belly cast in a few weeks…