Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Breastfeeding Struggles - Brooks

I'm really writing this for myself for next time.  Wow, if I could count the number of times I said "I can't do this" or "I'm so ready to give up" this time.  I figured things would come easily this time having experience, but I think I've just come to realize that most everyone has difficulties in the early weeks.  The key is that you just have to stick it out.  Seek help, and stick it out, because boy is it worth it! 

Things felt so natural in the hospital and he was eating really well that I really thought man this is going to be so much easier this time.  Until I started having pain in the hospital.  I didn't remember having this with Reese much at all, but the LCs just kept telling me that his latch looked great.  Saturday, 5 days old, I went to a support group and heard the same thing, but started bleeding while there.  Then Monday, 1 week, we had his first doctor's appointment and he was back to birth weight per their scale. 

That week I continued to be in pain and went to another group that Saturday, 12 days, to find out he weighed the same as the prior Saturday.  I was so frustrated as he was back to birth weight prior, and I thought we were in the clear.  I was having trouble getting him to latch on my left side and at group he did but "nursed" for 15 mins and didn't transfer anything per the scale.  So she suggested letting him nurse first on my left first every time for only 15 mins (so he wasn't just burning empty calories), then nursing on my right and pumping my left side, then offering whatever I got from the bottle. 

The next Monday, 2 weeks, we had a follow up at the doctor to make sure he was still gaining.  However, he had lost weight per their scale from the prior week.  My doctor and I discussed how things were going and she said she wanted me to try supplementing at the breast (I told her I was going to another support group the next morning).

The next day, Tuesday, I went to the group and a sweet LC worked for over an hour with me showing me how to supplement at the breast.  I don't remember what its called, but you use a syringe connected to a tube that feeds in the side of their mouth while they are nursing to encourage them to nurse, stimulate your breast, and get baby extra breastmilk all at the same time.  She also wanted me to try a nipple shield on both sides, which I just could not figure out and made things a million times more complicated it felt like with the supplemental nursing.  Then continue the rest of the process I was doing, nursing on right and pumping left then offering the bottle.  I just sat there feeling like I was about to tear up thinking how the heck am I going to do this all with only two hands and a toddler I'm supposed to be entertaining at the same time. 

She also discovered that he had a posterior tongue tie.  I was frustrated that many LCs had looked at him previously, starting in the hospital, and all thought he looked fine, but posterior can only be found by feeling under the tognue.  Apparently at 2 weeks out, those three signs of loosing weight, low supply, and severe nipple pain are signs of tognue tie.  There were a few mothers at the group who were a few days out from correcting their child's ties and shared their experiences with me.  This was all so overwhelming that I think all I heard were the negatives to getting it corrected.  I just felt so selfish making him have a "surgery" and doing all the other things and taking so much time away from Reese just to make this breastfeeding relationship work that I wanted so badly.   

I left feeling completely defeated and like I was ready to give up (once again).  Its hard because you want things to work out so much and your hormones are just running wild.  I was also frustrated comparing this experience to that of the beginning with Reese and by this point I thought we were heading in the clear.  I left and immediately called Corey and decided to pump and bottle feed him exclusively.  I figured I would try to last at least a few months and maybe switch to fomula if it was just too difficult.

Then, I'm so thankful, I spoke with a few friends about it and another LC over the phone.  The LC and my two friends really made me think a little more about the proceedure, how minor it was, and what I was really giving up by throwing in the towel on breastfeeding and how I would feel in the long run.  I decided to continue to pump and bottle feed him until his weight check Friday to make sure he was getting enough milk, and then discuss with my pediatrician. 

Friday, 18 days, we found out he was 10 lbs, so past his birth weight yay!  His ped agreed that he had the tognue tie and recommended the same dentist the LC had to correct it.  I called immediately after the appt and was able to schedule the procedure the next Wednesday, 3 weeks and 2 days old.  The next morning, Saturday, I went to another group and tried to re-latch him to see how he did and found out he only transferred half an oz total from both sides - not great at all.  The LC suggested trying that and then pumping and feeding him every other or every third feeding and the others just pumping and feeding. 

Fast forward to Wednesday's proceedure, at this point he had been exclusively bottle feeding (for the most part) for a week and a day, but I was still very hopeful that he would be able to re-latch.  We showed up for the consultation and found out he also had a lip tie.  Dr. Mikel Newman is who preformed the proceedure and I would recommend him to anyone.  He was so kind and knowledgable.  He really cares about whether it will improve the breastfeeding relationship and not just suggesting it he doesn't see the need.  The proceedure was very quick, about a minute for the whole thing, using a laser.

That day he was pretty much just sleepy and fussy if I put him down.  I got him to latch a few times, but he would fall asleep and didn't really have any interest in eating.  I went to a group that evening at 4 to see how he transferred and to get advice from the LC if they had any.  I couldn't believe how wonderful it went!  He transferred over 3 oz and I didn't feel any pain whatsoever.  I would say the worst part of it all were the stretches or excercises you have to do after the procedure with the baby. 

I'm finishing up this post as I'm reflecting on my baby boy turning a year old tomorrow and we are in the process of weaning already.  All this to say that again I wrote this post mainly for me.  And for any other mammas who may be in the midst of the struggle.  It gets easier!  Those first few weeks (with both babies) trying to figure out breastfeeding were some of my most trying times.  But sticking it out was so rewarding.  I look back on this past year with Brooks and I am so thankful we figured it out and made it work.  The breastfeeding relationship is pretty incredible!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Birth Story - Brooks

Here we are with a sweet 5 week old baby boy already!  I wanted to get the story of how he joined us down while its all still pretty fresh.  I know everyone says each birth is so different, but it was really hard to believe his was going to be any different than Reese's.  In the weeks leading up to it I had my mind made up he was going to come early, earlier than she did really, but it just didn't happen that way.

I had been having braxton hicks my whole pregnancy and they really started getting stronger and a little painful the last few days maybe week before he was born.  I also started loosing my mucus plug over a week before he came.  Both signs, among others, that made me think he was coming any day.  The final month of pregnancy makes your mind go all over the place analyzing every little feeling, wondering when that sweet little baby will arrive. 

Two days prior to labor, Saturday the 1st, I woke up and just felt off all day.  I felt like I was nasueas as well as coming down with a head cold.  I was also having strong and somewhat painful braxton hicks that I decided to go ahead and time.  They were getting close to the 10 minutes apart range and stayed that way or closer for that evening.  I wondered if labor was coming or if I was just getting sick and dreaded not feeling well if it was going to happen soon.  Thankfully by the evening I started to feel better and me and Corey were able to enjoy a date night out to celebrate our 6th anniversary that night. 

The next day, Sunday, I felt the same contractions, but more painful.  However I was still unsure if they were real ones or not.  I continued to time them throughout the day and noticed they were in the range (under 5 mins apart, lasting over 1 min long) to head to the hospital, however I still felt unsure as they weren't too painful.  We had planned to have Reese's 3rd bday party that night, so we decided to move it to our house in case things picked up, and head to the hospital after depending how I was feeling. 

My contractions majorly slowed during the party and after, however with how quickly my labor moved with Reese we decided to go ahead and head to the hospital to get checked after speaking with the doc on call around 930pm.  I felt sort of rediculous heading in as my contractions were so slowed and almost painless.  We left dissapointed, as we discovered I was still shy of 3 cms, exactly what I had been at my appt Wednesday.

We headed home around 11 and headed straight to bed.  The next morning, Monday the 3rd, I woke up around 630 needing to use the restroom and immediately noticed a painful contraction unlike any I had the days prior.  I had 3 while up, but knowing my experience the night before (and still being tired), I crawled back in bed to go back to sleep.  I tried to lay there through 2 more very painful contractions and thought to myself, holy cow if the next one is this painful, I have to get out of bed.  And oh it was.

I got up immediately after the 3rd one and headed downstairs to walk around and start timing them.  They very quickly got increasingly painful and I realized they were coming around 2-3 mins apart and lasting over 1.5 mins long.  I started getting a little scared as I realized I wasn't getting too much of a break and they were pretty intense.  I ran up to wake up Corey around 7 and we were out the door and on our way in morning rush hour traffic.  When we arrived around 730 to triage, they found out I was already 7 cms.  I was starting to freak out at this point that I was going to have to deliver this baby without an epidural. 

I couldn't tell you what time I got my epidural, but I know right after I was 9 cms.  Oh the wait was excruciating!  I just felt like everyone around me was moving so slow and no one seemed too concerned where the anastetialagist was.  Thankfully in the car on our way to the hospital, Corey told me to breath through the contractions and I'm so glad he did.  He got me focused on that early and I think that is what saved me and made them managable (and the fact that my water hadn't broken yet).  This labor seemed much more under control to me than Reese's.

I was so happy to have my epidural, but quickly discovered that it wasn't working on my right side.  We tried everything to get it to flow to that side, they gave me as much as they could and also gave me another med to try and numb the pain.  Eventually it worked and I couldn't feel a thing.  I had the most amazing nurse, she was so compassionate and knew exactly what to do to help me relax and get through each contraction.  I was so thankful for her that day! 

She left us to hang out and relax for a bit after that as the baby looked great in there and my water still hadn't broken.  They wanted to just let him move down the birth canal on his own.  However, I quickly started to feel extremely tired and numb and was mentally freaking out a bit.  I kept almost drifting off to sleep, but then thought to myself what if I don't wake up!  I was so out of it and not feeling right at all.  I called the nurse back in to ask her about it and she went ahead and checked me again, which broke my water.  I was 10 at that point and he was ready to come out so she called the doc in.  I pushed for 5 minutes and Brooks was here at noon, August 3rd (two days early), all 9 lbs 15 oz and 22 inches.  I was able to have immediate skin to skin and nursed him for almost 2 hours.

I can't describe the feelings we had when they pulled him out and placed him on my chest.  I was in immediate tears, filled with so much love, relief, and gratitude.  This sweet baby boy we had prayed for and waited for, for so long, was finally here.  There is nothing like that moment. 


Sunday, August 2, 2015

39 Weeks


Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted since 33 weeks...I also can't believe I'm still pregnant at 39 weeks.  I completely expected to deliver at least by when Reese came, but really even earlier.  The end of this pregnancy has been rough at times emotionally and physically.  I just feel like its been a long road to get here and I can't wait to meet the little man.  I wish I hadn't allowed myself to be so impatient because it has really made the end drag on for sure.  I have been analyzing every little feeling this time thinking -maybe this means I'm going into labor, etc.- and have just been thinking about everything- maybe this is the last time for this before baby comes, etc.  I don't remember doing this with Reese and its going to drive me crazy.  I think I'm just way more excited to hold him in my arms than I was with her where I just didn't really know what to expect.  Well he's still not here and so I just need to stop doing that and trust in God's timing for him.  I know that He is sovereign and He will redeem.

I was 1 cm at 36 weeks, 1.5 at 37, 2+ at 38, and almost 3 today at 39 (so following pretty much exactly what I was with Reese, except I had her at 38 + 6 days).  She said my cervix is about 70% effaced as of now and baby is sitting low in my pelvis.  I also started loosing my mucus plug Saturday, the 25th.  She went ahead and stripped my membranes for me, hoping that would help my body go into labor if its ready (which I didn't feel a thing!).  She has also scheduled me for induction August 4th, one day before my due date and Reese's birthday.  I was feeling so uncomfortable with induction a week ago, but after talking with her about it today, we are going to go forward with it and I feel much better.  She said there is no increased risk for a patient like me (who has had a baby previously, and who's cervix is dialated and softened) for any complications (including C-section which I'm paranoid of) vs going into labor naturally.

I am feeling pretty darn well I would still say!  I stopped exercising at 37 weeks because I was feeling flat out exhausted after doing it.  I have been walking everyday at least once to try to help encourage baby to come and its just nice to continue doing something physical with my body.  Reese, Buster, and me are really enjoying this time in the mornings each day!  I think I still have good energy most days, but am getting more and more uncomfortable.  Its really day to day and even notice I feel pretty good in the mornings, but seem to be getting uncomfortable and run down in the afternoon and evenings.  I have started getting that awful rib pain I had with Reese (but thank goodness it didn't start near as early as it did with her, holy cow).  Its totally when he is up in my ribs and its just awful.  I have been sleeping pretty well, just waking a million times a night to go pee, but can usually go right back to sleep.  I haven't had too much insomnia and the heart burn is pretty managable, but rolling over is basically impossible.  The braxton hicks are still coming strong and much more frequent and intense lately.  I am so glad I don't have to deal with any swelling though.  I am happy with my weight gain, I was nervous at first at how quickly I grew, which goes along with the weight climbing early.  But towards the end I've had appointments where I've stayed the same for a few weeks, leading me to gain 26 pounds so far.  This really doesn't matter as I know my body will do what it needs to, but has just made me feel like I've had healthy pregnancy and it will know what to do again after its over.

33 weeks 6 days

34 weeks 6 days

37 weeks 3 days

38 weeks 2 days

39 weeks 1 day


33.5 Weeks


Whooo!  Am I ready!  I'm reaching the point in the last few days where my attitude has shifted to being fully over being pregnant and getting so uncomfortable.  Thinking I am feeling how I was around 36 weeks with Reese.  Its probably just a second pregnancy and coming off of a busy week with Grace kids camp.  I'm just feeling so much pressure down there, especially anytime I get up from sitting, lower back pain, and scrunched up under my ribs when sitting.  We are really thinking he is going to come early again like Reese, maybe even earlier, but we'll have to wait and see - probably just wishful thinking!

Reese's big girl room is almost finished and I am just really in love with it.  We are blessed with amazing friends.  My friend Ally gave us the most adorable shabby chic bedding, Lindsey gave us a beautiful antique chair, and Heather made a perfect wreath to hang over her bed.  I promise some day I'll post pictures.  Baby boy's room is getting close too.  Just waiting on prints to put in picture frames, then hang his gallery wall up.

I am nesting like crazy and just really love washing baby clothes/blankets, organizing his things and shopping for last minute needed items.  We were so blessed by great friends and family who threw us little "sprinkles" and gave us some baby boy clothes and needed items like diapers, etc.  In a few weeks I'll start packing my hospital bag, get the car seat installed, and set up the pack n play in our room.

29 weeks

33 weeks 6 days

28 weeks


I had my 28 week appointment today, whoo hoo!  Praising the Lord for making it to this wonderful milestone of the third trimester.  While I'll be honest that this pregnancy hasn't been as enjoyable as my first at times, it puts things all into perspective when I reach points like this is realize how truly amazing it is.  A year ago, we were still fresh from our first miscarriage and all the pain and healing that would come, and today I am celebrating the third trimester and being so close to baby all of a sudden!  It sure has flown by, and I couldn't be happier.

All looked good at my appointment.  I will find out in the next couple of days the results of my glucose and anemia lab tests.  I am feeling so much movement, which is incredible, and tonight I felt the baby have the hiccups for the first time as we were reading Reese a book before bed.  I have noticed that the braxton hicks have begun in the last few weeks, and they are still very dependent on how much activity I've done that day and not too common at this point.  I am still feeling really pretty great, but have noticed that if I overdue it I feel some pressure and try to take it easy.

We finally switched Reese over to her big girl room (and bed!) last night and its gone great so far.  I've been working on getting her new room cleaned out for a while.  We painted her dresser and were gifted some adorable bedding and finally had everything ready.  I had so much fun doing this move and organizing all her stuff into her new room which is so not my normal type of fun activity so clearly I must be nesting.  I was then able to get out all the baby stuff in the process and start stocking the nursery dressers with cloth diapers, burp clothes, and baby boy things.  Two of my friends have given us some of their newborn and 3 month baby boy clothes to use so I had so much fun going through and hanging all of them up.

We can't wait to meet you baby boy!!!

26 weeks 1 day

28 weeks

24 weeks


Oh baby boy, how much of a joy it is to feel your movements.  Your daddy got to feel you move for the first time a week or so ago which is really fun.  I feel you move sooooo much more than I remember feeling Reese at this point.  This pregnancy has been a lot different than it was with Reese, harder in some ways, but holding my belly and just knowing you are growing in there is so special.  After quite a long road, it sure makes me very thankful.

My belly has grown SO quick this time, I mean, I swear its as big as it was around 30 weeks with Reese already.  Which leads to me feeling constant pressure on my bladder and other aches and pains I don't remember feeling so intensely this early with Reese.  But, I would say my biggest complaint has been my hormones.  Ugh, I'm so tired of them ruining good weekends or occasions with Corey.  Also, I find myself longing for this baby boy to be here constantly.  I just have to remind myself to be thankful that I am even pregnant with him and that he is growing healthy in there when the fears and jealousy creep in.

This weekend we celebrated my 30th birthday and it was so special!  My bible study girls surprised me with some of my favorite treats at our play date Thursday.  Corey took off work Friday and let me sleep in while him and Reese went to get us breakfast for us.  Then he planned for me to have a massage and pedicure that afternoon where he had my mom and sister surprise me and join me for the pedicure.  It was so much fun.  That evening we had dinner at Public Greens and dessert at Cake Bake, both were so great.  Saturday morning we woke up and headed to Chicago for the night.  We did lots of walking around and sightseeing and lots of good eating.  It was the perfect way to celebrate.  He really made me feel special. 

18 weeks 1 day

21 weeks 1 day

17 Weeks


Wow 17 weeks, its pretty incredible!  This pregnancy is still flying by and I'm just so excited to meet this little one.  I have been paying close attention because I remembered this is around when I felt movement last time and I have definitely noticed some in the past week.  Just every once in a while, but it feels so special.  I had my appointment last week and got to hear baby's heartbeat which was in the 150s and my weight gain was 11 pounds.  It was a breath of fresh air to find out baby is healthy.

Our doctor told us about a new blood test this time where we were able to find out the sex as early as 9 weeks.  So we opted to do it and Corey's sister Laura offered to throw us a gender reveal party with our families.  It was just so much fun and I'm so grateful she did it.  It was so sweet to find out with everyone and just made it feel a lot more special.  SO.........we are having a BOY!!!!!  We are pretty dang excited.  We were so completely shocked.  We were both convinced it was another girl and I guess its just hard to imagine having a boy when you are used to a girl - but now, I can't wait and just feel so blessed.

I am feeling great, just have been struggling with the pregnancy hormones.  I just really need to get a handle on them and not let them rule my mood.  Not really having too many symptoms yet, just noticing how quickly my belly is growing this time.  I'm thinking I look around 24 weeks with Reese.  Having tiny bits of back pain and starting to feel the weight of the belly at times, guess things just happen quicker with number two.

17 weeks