Saturday, May 5, 2012

If I were rich...

I would hire someone to start my garden.  To get all the soil tilled and de-weeded.  To plant my seeds exactly where and how I want them.  To weed it as the weeds grow.  To water it when I don't want to, or don't have time to.  But I want to pick everything!  And eat it, of course ;)

When we moved into our house, the crazy old bat of a woman who lived here had a huge (21x30 feet or something like that) overgrown "garden" of perennials.  There was no order to the garden.  Just mass chaos and overgrowth.  Last summer I tried to do what I could to organize it, but being knocked-up made doing any work involving bending over difficult.  So this year we decided to do something about it.  I wanted a veggie garden.  Joey is almost 6 months old and ready to start eating solids.  What better to feed him than something grown from our garden?!

My husband, the wonderful man that he is, tilled everything once for me.  It needs to be tilled one more time and then a fence put up to keep the buttonholes (ok, dogs) out of it.  I did some weeding today of weeds that have popped up since the tilling.  So much more needs to be done.  I think tomorrow I'm going to head to central tractor to get some fence.  Since, according to dear husband, the garden is my job, it should be pretty comedic watching me try to put the posts in and then fence up.  But, I WILL PREVAIL!  I may come out a little bloodied and bruised, but I will conquer the fence, and then tiller!  Then come my seeds.  :)

Ok, I have a screaming child who I should probably attend to ;)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Nursing

16 and Pregnant tends to annoy the shit out of me.  But, like most horrible TV, I just can't stop watching!  Here you have these young girls who are pregnant, and almost always broke. Then you see them shopping in boutique baby stores, where things cost 5 times as much as a consignment store.  THEN, after the baby is born, you see them formula feeding their new baby!  So, I've decided to talk about nursing a little bit today.  And to tell my story.

While pregnant, I decided that I would nurse my son.  It was going to be perfect.  They were going to put him on my belly as soon as he was born, and I was going to immediately put him to breast.  He would then latch like it was second nature, and that would be the beginning of a beautiful and wonderful relationship.  Boy was I WRONG!

After he was born, he was put on my belly, then immediately snatched away to do his APGAR scoring and clean him off.  ("Ok, fine...he will just latch in a minute.)  Once clean, they put him in my arms and I immediately tried to nurse.  The kid had no desire to latch.  He just didn't get it.  We tired our whole hospital stay and had no luck, except for maybe once, with a nipple shield.  I had read about nipple confusion, so I made sure he didn't even have a paci during his circ (which I will talk about at a different time.  Not the best outcome...).  I told them he could have the nipple shield dipped in sweeties.  And I absolutely was not going to formula feed.  WHATSOEVER.  Our first night home was miserable.  The lactation consultant had met with us at the hospital and suggested syringe feeding.  So up to my comfy rocker I went, with pump in hand.  I pumped for about a half an hour and got what looked like maybe a quarter ounce of colostrum.  I pulled the shield off my breast, and about a quarter ounce of colostrum spilled onto my pants.  I CRIED.  I was devastated.  I quickly learned to work with gravity while pumping.  Well, we syringe fed him when he wouldn't latch with the shield and he was screaming with hunger.  This went on for the next week or so.  I always put him to breast first, and always with the shield.  He eventually latched with the shield so we didn't have to syringe feed anymore.  Unfortunately, every time he latched, I was in terrible pain.  I felt like someone was sticking daggers into my nipples.  Not only that, we would spend about 15 minutes every time he went to nurse trying to latch.  Ugh.

Fast forward to 4 weeks.  My boobs were killing me.  Turns out I had bilateral mastitis and nipple yeast infections.  Every single nursing session had me in tears.  The LC has come to our house three times trying to help.  He just wasn't getting the latch without the shield, and even with the shield I was so uncomfortable.  A friend of mine had told me to hold out until 6 weeks.  That at 6 weeks, everything would turn around.  So I had that in mind.  I would wait til he was 6 weeks old, then if it still was as awful as the first 6 weeks, we were done.  I had given it everything I had.  I still didn't like the idea of "quitting" though.

6 weeks came along, and someone flipped a switch in Joey's head.  He finally understood how to nurse without a shield!  And all my pain had disappeared, too!  So this is what nursing is like!  It's actually enjoyable!  Phew, I'm glad I stuck it out!

Today, Joey is 22 weeks and 4 days old.  We are still nursing on demand, and I love every second of it.  Including the night nursing sessions.  We snuggle and bond, and I wouldn't change it for the world.  I'm so glad I stuck it out.  It's so nice to be able to calm and feed my son with purely me.  There's no better feeling in the world.

Now, I will say, I have had to cut out all cow products (dairy, beef) and soy products because of Joey having an intolerance to both.  He had terrible reflux and once I cut those things out, it went right away.  When I hear mothers saying their kid has reflux, the first thing I ask is if they are breast feeding.  It's almost always no.  There is no formula (that I know of) that is both soy and dairy free.  There is the sensitive formulas, but they are almost always soy based.

"I've already quit breastfeeding a few weeks ago.  It's too late to go back now."  No, it's not.  Drink Mother's Milk Tea (2-5 cups a day) and pump every hour, if possible.  And put that kid to boob every chance you get!  Only formula feed AFTER putting the baby to breast.  It will take work, but you can do it!

Ok, and since I've gone off on such a tangent, I'm going to bring it back around to 16 and Pregnant.  These girls say they have no money.  Breastfeed your child!  IT'S FREE!!!  Formula is so expensive.  Not only that, but in the middle of the night, I don't have to go downstairs and warm a bottle up.  I just whip my boob out!  No clean up needed, either!  It's on demand feeding.

I really wish hospitals and pediatricians would do more to support breast feeding.  Is it easy?  No, not always.  But once you get the hang of it, it really is simple.  And the bottom line is this...

There is nothing out there that is made more perfect for your baby's nutritional needs.

What more reason is there to breastfeed?  When you have a baby, it's not about you anymore.  It's about that baby.  Nothing could make me stop breastfeeding my child.  I will always put my child first, even if it means doing something that isn't always easy.

Those are my $0.02.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of...

Friday morning, around 5:30am...

I was in a deep sleep.  I had finished nursing Joey and put him back to bed around 4:30.  All of a sudden Joey's monitor alarms.  I race into his room to find him not breathing and not responsive to calling his name or gentle touch.  I give him a quick sternal rub and he "wakes up".  This is the second time in a week this has happened.  

The monitor we have is from AngelCare.  It's a movement monitor.  There is a pad that goes under his crib mattress and senses his movement.  If he stops moving (breathing) for 20 seconds, it alarms in his room and on the remote unit.  It doesn't stop alarming until it senses movement again.  I was terrified when it stopped alarming that it was just sensing my movement, and not his.  I can't tell you how relieved I was when he stretched and acted like nothing had happened.  Am I sure he wasn't breathing, yes, absolutely.  I didn't see chest or belly rise.  There was no movement with me calling his name or touching him.  This is the kid who wakes up when someone opens his bedroom door while he's napping.  The kid you don't dare touch while he's sleeping, or even go near, because he's such a light sleeper.  

Absolutely terrifying.

I called his pediatrician the next morning and she wanted us to bring him in.  She couldn't find anything "wrong" with him to explain what happened.  But she did find it interesting when I told her a similar event happened last weekend, but it was dark and in the middle of the night, and I wasn't sure if he really had stopped breathing that time, so I hadn't mentioned it before.  This time was different.  There was no question.

So she set us up with an apnea monitor.  It will monitor his heart rate, breathing, and oxygen saturation level.  He will have it for at least a few days.  

I am thanking my lucky stars, and God, for that AngelCare monitor.  I don't even want to think about what might have happened if we had no warning that he wasn't breathing.  This post would have a different tone, that's for damn sure.  But I don't want to think about that.  I just feel so blessed to have a little boy full of life.

Parents, AngelCare in no way is paying me to say this.  Please, I urge you, go out and spend the $85 on their monitor.  No, it's not video.  Yes, it may false alarm.  But it can also potentially save your child's life, like it did mine.  


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Home again, home again

For Easter weekend, my family traveled the three hours back home. It was Joey's longest car ride. We were really nervous because he hates to be in the car. Screams the whole time. That's even with one of us sitting in the back next to him. His usual bedtime is about 7:30. He gets his bath at 6:45, jammies on, and is nursing by 7:15, usually asleep by 7:30. We skipped the bath and just fed him til he was sleepy, and hit the road at about 6:45. Kid was asleep by 7. Thank GOD! Slept the whole way home. He woke up around 9:30 when we got there, I nursed him, and he was back out for about 5 hours or so. This was Thursday night, by the way. Friday, my mom and I had some Joey shopping to do about 45 minutes away, so my husband watched Joey til we got home. His mom works 5 minutes from my mom's, where we were staying, so she was able to visit him at lunch. It was great! Friday night, DH went out with the boys, so it was just me, Joey, and my mom. It was nice and peaceful. A friend came to visit for a bit, but other than that it was a nice, quiet night. DH came home around 10, and I was out like a light. I vaguely remember him coming to bed and NOT groping me like he usually does after a night with the boys. That was a definite plus! Thanks baby! ;)

Saturday brought a cousins birthday party and then an early Easter dinner at mom's. Joey put on a show for the family, impressing them with his ability to fill his diaper with a series of lout toots accompanied by grunts. Funny how people never go "eeew!" when babies toot. It's more like, "awww! How cute!". The kid did a number on that diaper, let me tell you!

Sunday was off to my husband's family's house for Easter dinner. His grandparents hadn't seen Joey yet, so they were thrilled to finally meet him. Joey once again impressed his audience with his pants filling abilities during dinner. The kid has some serious timing, that's for sure.

Sunday night, Joey had rice cereal for the first time! He did awesome! Opened his little mouth like a baby bird does for his mama. I was so proud!

Monday morning we were back on the road. This time involved much more screaming than the last. Bummer. I tried pumping and bottle feeding him, playing a movie from my phone for him, toys, nothing worked. Until I pulled out the game-changer...singing the ABC's while rubbing his head. Kid was O-U-T. Too bad we were only 40 minutes from home by that point. But we did get some quiet, so that was nice.

All in all, it was a great trip home. We saw a ton of family, and Joey's schedule didn't get too far off. I'm actually looking forward to going home again Mother's Day weekend. We will definitely leave at night again though. A sleeping kid is so much better than a screaming kid. I think everyone can agree to that!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Cup Runneth Over

What I experienced tonight with Joey, I don't even know how to describe. Bath time was over. Jammies were on. Lights were off and we were rocking in our chair while he was nursing. He hasn't been feeling well and hasn't nursed well the past two days. He was falling asleep while nursing, when he pulled off quickly and rested his head in the crook of my arm. The lights were out, but I could see his little eyes staring up at me. I started rubbing the back of his head and singing "ABC's". Then he cracked a smile. Then a giggle. He was so relaxed. And so happy. He stared at me with a smile for the next minute or so while I sang and we rocked. He fell asleep with that smile on his face. It was heaven. It was magic. In that very moment, my heart was so full it felt like it could explode. I've never felt anything like that before. Never would I have imagined how amazing being a parent would be. Never had I imagined how much I could love something. My heart is so full. I go to bed tonight with a smile on my face, just like my son.

Quote of the day ~ "My cup runneth over." From one of my favorite movies of all time, Hope Floats.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

I haven't been feeling great these past few days (ok, weeks...darn lack of sleep!), so today I decided to make homemade chicken noodle soup, complete with homemade noodles.  Now, I don't have an actual recipe for you, but I can tell you how to make it.  Here's what you'll need...

A big pot
A whole, uncooked chicken
Carrots
Celery
Onion
Garlic
And whatever other veggies you like in your soup
Flour
Eggs.

Take the chicken and put it into the pot, adding water just to cover the chicken.  Simmer for as many hours as it takes for the meat to fall off the bone.  For me, it took 3.5 hours today.  This will very based on the size of your chicken.  After the chicken is cooked, remove it, and set it aside to cool.  Cut up your veggies and add them to your stock that you've made by cooking the chicken.  When you're done with the veggies, take a mixing bowl, and add somewhere around 3-4 cups of flour.  Add about as many eggs as you have cups of flour.  Mix them together so they make a nice dough.  You don't want it to be sticky.  Roll the dough out to be paper-thin, adding extra flour to avoid sticking to your rolling pin and the counter.  Take a pizza cutter and cut the pasta however you want it shaped.  Place pasta out to dry.  I put mine on paper towels.

Now, back to your chicken.  Take all the meat off the bone, discard bone, fat, and skin.  Put all the meat in chunks into the stock with the cooking veggies.  Cook meat and veggies together until the pasta is almost dry and hard.  (This may take a few hours.  If you're impatient like me, you can add the pasta while it's still a bit moist, it will just have to sit in the soup longer).  If you're smarter than me, you can also make your pasta when you put the chicken in, so it has longer to dry.  Once you're ready, put the pasta into the soup mix, and cook to desired done-ness.  I turned the burner off and let the pasta cook in the heat of the soup.  Took about a half an hour.  Make sure you keep checking the pasta!  This is an imperfect science!  I don't want to be responsible for overcooked pasta!  :)

Add salt to your liking, and enjoy!  My husband who hates soup, even liked this one!  It makes a pretty big pot, so hopefully you will be hungry for soup for a few days ;)

Enjoy!

Bibbity bobbity boo

Today is my day to sleep in. In fact, I am writing this post from bed, thanks to the handy blogger app! My husband is wonderful. He got the baby up, let the dogs out, and closed all the doors to our suite so no one could bother me. (When I say "suite", we have an old Victorian and our room and bathroom are the old servants quarters in the back of the house with their own set of stairs and doors up and down to connect to the rest of the house).

So I'm enjoying the quiet, having just given Joey back to his dad after his morning nursing session, when I hear "eeert, eeert, eeert". I peek around the corner and this is what I see... (you may have to go to the end of the post. Not sure where the app will put the picture and there's no "preview".)

Our crazy old lady cocker has decided she MUST get to me, and her head fits through the kitty door, so why not try the rest of her body?! Needless to say, she does not fit. I am also now awake. Might as well get up. The leaves aren't going to rake themselves (although I was really hoping over the last two weeks they would...), the car isn't going to change its own oil, and the groceries aren't going to magically appear in my kitchen.

Where's a magic wand or a fairy godmother when you need one?!