Bring Your Nugget to Work

I did it bitches! I brought my kid to work, count them, two weeks in a row! And you know what? It fuckin’ rocked my socks off. I wish I could have this kid with me every day. I would work like forty-million hours a week if I could just keep him by my side… note to my employer I do not mean that and I do realize there are not forty-million hours in one week……um and I really hope you don’t read this blog because I just wrote about stuff you don’t need to know (re: vajayjay post).

Anyway, I know I said I was going to “verify” with my boss that he really thinks it is okay to bring Jack in with me, but I didn’t. Because I am a freakin’ rebel and shit…..okay mostly because he was pretty clear when he used the words ‘it is okay with me if you bring him in sometimes’. I know, how could I understand what he was saying through all that vagueness? Anyway, two fridays ago I decided to test it out. I was a little nervous. The big boss was in town and if Jack’s first day went rough there was a high likelihood that it would never be happening again. But he kicked the shit out of my worries.

I got up a little earlier so I could triple check that I had packed everything we might need. Score for me for bringing three extra outfits. More on that in a minute. I had like 10 diapers (of which I needed 2) a bagillion wipes and two blankets. I was prepared to wisk Jack away at any moment if he started fussing at all….and what did the kid do? he slept in his carseat until 10:30! We arrived at about 7am and I didn’t want to wake him so I just left him in his seat. When he woke up I took him to the nursing room and fed him. Then he was being real quiet and content, so I set him back in his carseat. Mistake on my part. The angle of the carseat squishes their belly….meaning crazy vomit! Poor kid upchucked pretty much everything he just ate. I snatched him up before anyone realized and changed him. Then he sat on my lap and took a huge loud poo. Kevin heard it and congratulated him on a job well done there. Had to change his clothes again because we had a smidge of a leak. Didn’t want my kid to smell funny though. That was all within 15 minutes.

Kevin snatched him up and was talking to him for about 30 minutes. It was pretty cute and hilarious. By then my work was done and I was just hanging out for the big boss’ wife to come by to meet Jack. BTW the Big Boss was totally cool with Jack being around on Fridays. Score! His wife was so adorable. I am fairly positive they struggled for a long time with infertility. I have never felt quite right about asking her about it, but I do know that they recently “gave up”. The big boss purchased an M5? M3? BMW. Not sure which one. But when he did he jokingly said that his wife told him ‘go ahead it isn’t like we’re saving for the kid’s college education’. So that made it pretty obvious. But they both LOVE kids. I feel for them so much I have thought more than once about offering to surrogate for them…..which would be weird right? But seriously I have a strange urge to give away children all of a sudden. I did hear a radio commercial for donating eggs and was excited that they seemed to have upped the age limit to 33 now. I remember it used to be 25. Anyway, getting off track here.

So after they ooed and awwed over Jack, we packed up and went home. I felt like Caesar conquering a new country!….not the part later with Brutus. Then last week I did it again. The big wigs were all out of the office and I knew everyone else was cool with it. This time I put Jack in the Moby and he slept until 10a. Then I fed him. He played with Mary Jo, then Kevin, and then he sat with me for a bit while I finished up. Then it was time to go again. Pretty effortless. The second time we avoided the several outfit changes. 

I am not too sure whether we’ll do it again this week. It is kind of dependant on whether Jack is taking a bottle this week. He still wasn’t doing so well with it last week. Andy was so stressed out on Thursday I thought he was going to explode. Jack cried the entire day and was not going to take any of the milk. So Friday ended up being a good break for Andy. He slept in, went off and did his own thing, etc. 

I left messages with two lactaction consultants on Friday to try to get someone who could come help him with it….of course I haven’t heard back from either. I am thinking it was because of the holiday, but here we are on Tuesday and still nothing. Pickle’s mom is down today trying to help him out. I am excited and nervous to hear about the day’s outcome. He is obviously not starving and I know that he will be fine doing this whole “reverse cycling” thing. I just really hope we can get him to take a bottle happily and regularly. It will make so many things easier and I won’t feel so guilt-ridden that Andy is dealing with a screaming baby all day. 

I did try a couple of things this weekend. One was a bait and switch. We were driving up to my dad’s and he started sucking on my finger, so I switched it for the bottle. He didn’t really drink from it, but he didn’t cry either and I just let it sit in his mouth for about 30 minutes…he fell asleep at that point. The second was bourbon….I know I know get ready to call CPS on us. But we are pretty certain he is teething. It is early, yes, but all the signs are pointing to it. We were wondering if that was an issue with the bottle. Because he will start to chew on it and then get really upset like it hurts. I thought about going to buy a tube of the baby numbing stuff, but we had a bottle of bourbon handy, so I decided to dip my finger and rub it on his gums.

He seemed to respond well to it. He smiled a lot and I put the bottle in his mouth. He played around with it in his mouth, but again didn’t drink from it. But the sources all say if you can get them to play with it happily that is a good step. So I’ll take it I guess. I’ll keep you all posted on our progress. This totally freakin’ sucks by the way. I definitely thought this would only take a couple of weeks. I NEVER would have thought it would take 5 + weeks. We have officially been bested by a 2 1/2 month old.


A Tale of a Vajayjay

I have to be honest, I really wanted to name this post “A Tale of Two Vajayjays” but who’s vajayjay would I write about….I would have to go out and interview someone about their’s and that would be strange. So I will just tell you about the vajayjay that I know best. If it isn’t obvious to you now, some of you might want to skip this post altogether.

I didn’t really know what to expect from this whole birth business, as illustrated by the fact that I dubbed it Vajayjay Destruction 2011. I was fortunate enough that one of my closest friends taught us our hypnobirthing classes and since I am super special, we were in the class by ourselves…..that was mostly due to the fact that we ended class by hanging out and having dinner together. I asked her all sorts of ridiculous questions, but probably the best one was near our last class when I said ‘um will my vajayjay go back to normal?’ followed by ‘how long will that take?’. She assured me that it would in fact return to normal “fun-having” size and it only takes a few weeks. Geez I hope so – thought me.

Then comes the fateful birth of Nugget. I’ll be honest with ya, that first couple pees afterward stung. Not as bad as I had imagined, but enough to wrinkle your brow a bit. I was stocked up on supplies. I had a ton of those super huge vagina destruction pads (for those who haven’t yet heard about these, they are approximately 6 inches wide by 12 inches long by 1 inch thick, but hey why let your kid be the only one in a diaper?) and two super sexy pairs of mesh undies. I had a squirty bottle, which my midwife explained was for if it was too painful to wipe. I fill that sucker up with warm water and squirt after peeing. That shit felt amazeballs. I also had a perineal ice pack, but I never needed it. Give me a shout out if you’d like me to send this jewel your way.

So you might recall I had a few small tears. Now before I had tears of my very own, the very thought of tears from birth sounded excruciating. Holy Shit it tears? That can’t be good. There are in fact some serious tears out there that recovering from has to be horrible, but let me reassure those of you whose eyes are about to pop out of your head with fearful shock, my tears surprised me. When she said ‘you have a couple tears’, I thought it was going to take forevs for them to get better and that I would be in super amounts of pain. Like I said the first couple pees sucked a bit, but then I never felt them again. Now wipe the sweat from your brow and settle back into your chair.

The “flow” of post-birth is a little interesting. So obviously baby comes out and lots of fluid comes out too. Placenta detaches and comes out. Along with some blood. I have heard that it is only around a pint. But Andy attests that he was shocked at the amount. The midwife had him help her change the pads under me, some guys probably would have flipped out. He is super good at staying calm, um thanks Iraq? I guess. The midwife pushed on my abdomen a few times. Once right after the birth and then again about an hour later and then two hours after. She said it helps to encourage the uterus to contract back down. Interesting. Well each time she pushed there was a gush….eeeeewww! Sorry peeps full disclosure. Even though those giant pads seem ridiculously oversized, you need them that big the first few days. I have told friends if you can steal extra from the hospital, do it. I think I had around 30 of them and used them all up.

Don’t freak out though. After a couple of days….I want to say 4 (sorry for not writing this when my memory was still fresh) things slow down to a medium period level. So you can switch to regular pads. But I wanted to feel fresh so I changed my pad every time I went to the bathroom….which holy crap, the funniest thing about post-birth pees is that you suddenly realized what an insane capacity you have again. I was sitting there thinking ‘wow I haven’t peed this much in forever’.

I was actually pretty surprised that by our 3 day post-baby check-up I was feeling normal downstairs…..obviously I was still bleeding, but I wasn’t in pain and if you hadn’t pointed out that I was holding a baby all the time, I would have thought I was just having a regular period. In fact, my midwife complained that she wished I hurt more than I did. This may sound odd, but I was asking her if it was okay for us to go out for sushi and she was like ‘no! dang it! I wish you were in more pain! you’re supposed to take it easy and mostly lay in bed all day’. She admitted that the problem with natural births (compared to epidurals to clarify) is that women usually feel recovered much sooner and want to go walk around and do things. But her biggest recommendation was in order for everything to ‘get back into place’ I should try to move around as little as possible. This was especially true in my case because I opted not to have stitches. She told me that I should basically walk around with my knees together. Since I wanted things to go back into place and heal correctly, I listened and spent my first week walking like a duct around the basement…..Oh did I mention I stayed in the basement my first week. Another strong recommendation she gave was to not go up the stairs. Thank goodness Jack was down there with me otherwise I would have gone bonkers.

The funniest part of my self-banishment happened pretty early on. I had a bunch of visitors, I think my grandma came and then Pickle’s mom and then the midwife. That was in addition to Bret, Andy, and Andy’s mom which were with me pretty much every day. Well when the midwife came my grandma and Pickle’s mom said goodbye and everyone else went upstairs to see them off. After Jack’s check-up I suddenly realized how alone I was down there…..and how much I had to pee. Shit! Now a rational person would have just laid their baby down in the crib or on the bed, or on the floor because shit they are a newborn and they don’t wake up that often let alone roll away. But in my not-all-there mind I was like ‘there’s no one to hold the baby so I can pee’. FYI this mental state is pretty much the reason he didn’t get set down more than about 30 minutes a day. Someone was always holding him. So I walked waddled to the bottom of the stairs and listened to figure out where everyone was. If they were in the kitchen I didn’t want to yell super loud and be laughed at. So as I was trying to figure out how much volume to use with my voice and what to say: should I say ‘hey’ or ‘excuse me’ or ‘andy’? Andy suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs. He took one look at me and cracked up. He said it was the most pathetic thing he had ever seen. Me holding a baby looking at the stairs like they were molten lava. ‘Can you hold him so I can pee?’. He laughed and came down to take the baby…and proceeded to make fun of me for the rest of the evening. Whatever I would make fun of me too.

Okay so despite feeling really normal, I followed all midwife-recommentations so that my lady bits would get back into place. By about four weeks post-baby I was feeling so normal that I couldn’t tell that I ever had a baby. Well beside that whole saggy belly bit with crazy claw-like stretchmarks on it. Okay but if I’d have closed my eyes – totally normal.

I talked to Caroline, the apprentice midwife, about what she thought about having sexy-time this early. She asked ‘do you feel like having sex?’. And I did. Oh man watching Andy with our baby made me like a bitch in heat running around with my tail in the air….was that one too graphic? sorry about that. 

But I was surprised. How was it possible that I felt like having sex after a grapefruit-sized head popped out of me? But I did feel like having sex again…..of course I decided it would be better to wait until the 6 week mark that apparently someone decided was official somehow. And as luck would have it, the 6 week “official okay” happened right before Andy’s finals week. So he was not so in the mood what with all the stress. Apparently boys can experience stress-related labido reduction just like girls. Who’d’ve thought it? We ended up waiting until the weekend of Mother’s Day after he was all done with school.   

Let me confess that I was scared shitless. Just because I wanted to have sex and things felt back into place, didn’t mean that the rampant thoughts didn’t plague my head about the state of the Vajayjay. Would it hurt? Would I be able to orgasm? Would he feel anything or will it be too big in there still? Andy and I approached this fear the same way we approach most things, with comedy. As I was laying there watching him strip off my super sexy tiny thong giant undies I teasingly asked (but I was seriously wondering) ‘Does it look the same?’. Andy looked at it, a surprise look crossed his face ‘holy shit! it’s sideways’. We both laughed and I relaxed a bit. He also teased me about my new “mom lingerie” which consisted of a milk-stained nursing tank. So hot! We got started with the foreplay and I joked ‘oh crap, where did my clit go?’. So as you can imagine our “first” encounter wasn’t a super hot sex-capade. But that’s just how we roll. Things didn’t feel 100% the same. There was definitely more space, but Andy wasn’t, how do I say this?, basically it still felt good to him. Which I was glad about. All I could think about while we were getting busy was this comedian we had watched who said ‘it’s like throwing a hot dog down a hallway’. FYI since our first encounter I have been kegeling the shit out of my lady parts and that has drastically improved the… spatial qualities? Man, this post is way too revealing. It makes it easier in that I don’t have to look you in the eye as you are reading this.

Which raises the question: why the hell am I telling you all this about my vajayjay? Well because I wondered what to expect and I couldn’t find the information anywhere. I wanted to know if I would ever feel like having sex again and if I would ever enjoy having sex again. I have heard women say it is super painful and their drive tanks, which worried me. So I feel it my duty to share with the world….errr well the four of you…that yes – I did feel like having sex again and yes – I still enjoy it. Woohoo! I was really shocked at how quickly I recovered from birth and that I still had a desire to be a woman, wife and partner besides just being a mom.

So this brings up one last little point….birth control. At my 6 week appointment the midwives told me their suggestions. They both used the low-dose estrogen IUD after their first babies and they really liked it. I talked to them about my apprehension of doing anything with hormones. So they listed off all the options which I am sure we all know: copper IUD, diaphram, cervical cap, condoms…..basically it is their duty to recommend I use some form of contraception. They admit that a lot of breast feeding women don’t ovulate as a means of your body saying ‘I’m busy with this one’, but there is still a wide occurance of Irish Twins so I need to keep that in mind. Then my midwife made me giggle. She said ‘and remember the pull-out method is not an effective means of birth control’. I felt like I was in fourth grade health class….wait that would have been too advanced for fourth-grade….okay middle school health class.

I talked with Andy about getting the copper IUD, but I think we’re going to go crazy and wing it. It seems ridiculous to try to prevent a pregnancy after I spent so freaking long trying to get pregnant. Maybe my lady parts are healed or they realized how to work and I will get preggoed again right away. And if that happens, cool. It is strange how your outlook on life changes. 5 years ago getting accidentally pregnant would have made me break out in hives. Hell getting accidentally anything would have freaked me out. I am a planner. So despite my rational brain saying ‘you should wait at least two years until you have accrued enough vacation and personal leave to go on maternity leave again’, the new baby-loving Natalie is like ‘fuck it! let’s see what happens’…..I am pretty sure that is also the hippie-peace-loving Natalie because that side makes me want to dance around a field with a flowing skirt on…..weird.

This Isn’t a Competition

I think sometimes I forget that life isn’t a competition. No one gets out alive after all. But lately I have had to remind myself that motherhood specifically is not a competition…or at least it shouldn’t be. Women can be so catty. If we thought the talking-behind-your-back behaviour was bad in our teenage years, it is catastrophic now, and, as demonstrated by Crazy Grandma, it becomes nuclear when we are old. I choose to believe our brains are just so high functioning (as opposed to men) that we have to constantly roll thoughts around in our head. Unfortunately these thoughts aren’t always positive. But I am pretty certain that they stem from the doubts we have about ourselves.

Motherhood and its quest for achievment is a littered shit storm of self-doubt. ‘Why won’t Jack take a bottle?….is it because I stood too close to the microwave when I was pregnant?’. And before I was pregnant the thoughts were ‘What is wrong with me that I can’t have babies?…Was I born with boy and girl parts and my parents never told me?’. It is all these doubts and negative thoughts about ourselves that, in my opinion, make us hate on those around us. 

She didn’t even want a kid…She didn’t take care of herself during pregnancy…She didn’t breastfeed because it was too hard…She is just complaining about her pregnancy because she’s a wimp…She just opted for a c-section/epidural/whatever-the-heck because she didn’t want to try….et cetera et cetera et cetera.

My question is this: When did we start having it out for each other? I mean wasn’t the unifying factor about women that we were nurturing and understanding and shit? Maybe I am an idealist, but I feel like we should all be supportive of one another, especially when it comes to motherhood. The blogisphere is great in that women can help reassure one another when we hit those patches of uncertainty. Whether you are unsure about a new hairstyle or struggling with IF or trying to deal with a colicky baby. It seems like, for the most part, we are all here for each other in a gather-’round-the-camp-fire-and-sing-kumbaya kind of way. Of course the great thing about the blogisphere is if we stumble upon a hater (at least a serious hater….comedic teasing haters like myself are okay) we can just go on our happy little way and never look back.

Basically what I am saying is: I have decided to take a vow of unending support and lack of judgement…..I have tried to be this way throughout my life, but I think even I need reminders. We are all out here doing the best we can at this life business and you can count on me to be here to pull you up when you need it and not shove your face in the mud…..unless we are horsing around and there is a big mud puddle….you get the idea.

I hope you all will join me. I hope we can continue to share our stories of heartache and uncertainty, regret and failure, hope and success, lack of bladder control and strange mole growth. I promise never to post a button on my blog that says “Breast is Best” because you know what? not everyone can do it, for a plethora of reasons, and it would make them feel bad for me to basically say ‘you aren’t doing what is best for your kid’. Just like I wouldn’t feel good reading ‘women who go back to work neglect their children’. Similarly I will never buy a shirt that says ‘I make people, what’s your super power?’. Sure it seems good natured and silly, but even I can see how that statement can be hurtful. We are all trying our darndest to do the best we can.

All that being said: Oak you’re exempt from the above statement. I am totally going to hate on you for the fact that Mac Attack easily takes a bottle (mostly because it means you can drink more than me and not worry about damaging your kid’s liver), sleeps through the night, your boobs are milk producing super stars, and your blonde……okay I have never actually wanted to be a blonde and I realize I could be if I want to, I just threw that one in there for the heck of it. Haha!

Apparently I am more qualified than I remember

Dudes! I have so much shit floating around in my brains. I need to dump it on you in a random and chaotic manner. Apologies.

Here’s a fun fact apparently I have professional amnesia. I have had this fear….this fear that I am losing information at a rapid pace. Namely, the information gained during my master’s degree. My master’s is in Historic Preservation….and as you might have noticed…designing new airports doesn’t exactly have much to do with that degree. Okay okay. I graduated in the recession…preservation jobs were few and far between and so I looked at my options, admittedly from a monetary point of view. Don’t get me wrong, my job is the bomb….but the opportunity to combine my love of architecture with that of preservation is kind of like grasping at straws around here. I have had some opportunities, but…..this is what has resulted in me thinking I am loosing information. Well last week the big man asked me what exactly the title of my degree was. “why?” says me, after telling him. “we are going after something that requires a historic preservationist”. me = pee my pants….okay not really. So the dilly is that we might never get the project. Even if we get the project there is no guarantee I will work on it, but there is still a shred of hope that it could all come together and I could be back in the saddle. A lady from our corporate office e-mailed and asked for some examples of work. Over the weekend I dug some up. Turns out, I have experience that I totally forgot about. And the information…yep still in my brains. Score! Man isn’t it amazing how we let our lack of self-confidence totally beat the shit out of our subconscious? I mean seriously, I was like freaking out that I had wasted all this time and money on this degree and not remembered a darn thing. I am happy to report, so not true. Whew!

Oak’s boobs are totally a bad influence. We was texting yesterday during a pumping break…I was excited to tell her about my new hands-free device. Anyway she reported that she has been battling a clogged duct. Well apparently my boob got jealous about her boob’s condition and this morning I have a golf-ball…okay okay large marble sized hard spot that is kind of sore. At first I thought Nugget didn’t get his fill this morning before I left, but when I sat to pump, it didn’t go away. So I texted her and she verified that it was in fact probably a clogged duct. She said to apply heat. “shit! how do I do that at work? put my boob in the toaster oven?”. Good thing for me, Oak is a smartie pants and said I should microwave papertowels. Totally about to try that for my mid-day pump. She then said it would indeed get worse from here most likely. Nooo! I’ll let you know how this adventure goes. In the meantime, stay clear of Oak’s boobs, they might bring yours to the dark side as well.

Oh! The new hands-free device! So my girl Lara (aka Lar-bar, we’ve known each other since birth) commented on my Electric Baby Post that she found these Pumpin Pals flanges that allow you to sit back and pump rather than lean forward. Well I went to their website to check it out and saw they had a kid, which included several sized flanges so you could find the right fit for you, and a hands-free thingie. I was started to get a little tired of just sitting there holding the pump for 3- ten minute sessions everyday. So I jumped at the idea of being able to read….or obviously text. Turns out not only are the flanges awesome, but the hands-free device works too.

On Saturday I decided it was time to try out this running thing….after all I did get a really nice jogging stroller. I got my gear on and strapped Jack in. Andy asked where I would be going just in case we never returned. I started out “I am thinking I will run up through the neighborhood and over to the bike path…then I wanted to go check out the South Platte and see how much water is in it…..on second thought…it is my first time out. Maybe I will just run up to the house with the trampolines and then turn towards the school and head back” (a 1/2 mile loop as opposed to a 4 mile one). Good thing I didn’t over-commit myself. I made it to the house with the trampolines and then over to the corner by the school…..and then i needed a break. It felt like I was moving at the speed of dark. I was so slow! After walking a little ways I decided to try to run a little bit more….that lasted about 100 feet. Nope done. I walked the rest of the way home. So I guess in retrospect it went better than I thought. I was thinking I would make it 100 feet and then have to call Andy to come pick us up.

Yesterday I went out and did it again. Drumroll….and I made it the whole way! Woohoo! Maybe a few more months I’ll be back up to speed and able to go 3 miles again.

We were forced to let Andy’s parent’s babysit Jack on Saturday night. His step-mom battered us into it. On Friday she called my work and my cell, texted me and sent me an e-mail (excessive no?) saying that they could come down and watch Jack if we wanted to go out to eat. Here’s the deal though, we can take Jack everywhere we like to go. He is pretty easy. When we’re eating out, he usually sleeps in his carseat. When we go shopping or whatever, he just looks around quietly. So not only is he easy to take everywhere we go, but we like having him with us. Shocking I know! But obviously they were excited to do this, so I figured we could go to a movie or something with the neighbors. There really wasn’t anything I wanted to see, but Bride.smaids looked kind of funny and the neighbor talked about wanting to see it. So we decided to go on a double-date. Andy and I discussed it later and I am sure Jack would have been fine through the movie as well. Pretty much as long as my boobs are around, he’s content…..which brings us to the fact that bottle feeding….yeah still not going so well.

Lara called what Jack does “reverse cycling”? He will take about 3-5 ounces in the entire 12 hours I am gone. Then when I get home he goes ape-shit on the ladies. It is totally cool with me. The girls seem to be able to accommodate him, but it does make me worry about a few things. First, will we be able to leave him places? I am sure the daycare people are super professional and can figure out how to get him to eat from the bottle, so maybe all our problems will be resolved when Andy goes back to school. But until then, what if I have to travel for work. I doubt that will happen. Pretty sure my boss is waiting for a while to send me back out. It would just be a whole heck of a lot easier if he would just give in already. I have thought about trying to cup feed him. The books I’ve read suggest it, but then there’s the worry that when he goes to daycare they won’t want to take the time to feed him from a cup. *sigh*. Does anyone know like the Na.nny of bottle feeding? Is there like a bottle whisperer? I thought about contacting my La Lec.he Le.ague rep, but I figure that is not really their area of expertise. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Oh, an additional result of the aforementioned lack of eating during the day, is my freezer looks ridiculous. I must have a couple of gallons of milk in there.

All right I am going to stop there. I am known for writing way too much, so yeah.

Up down down down up.

FYI – I started this post in April and just never got around to finishing it. That is why the time frame is going to be all wonky. I must disclose that I have recovered emotionally from all the happenings of mid-April, but didn’t want to throw the post out compeltely. Well here goes:

I do believe there is a balance in life. I don’t think you can have an unlimited supply of happiness and never feel any pain or despair. You need them both….as unfortunate as that might be. Well the past few weeks have been a little rough. Let me tell ya. Grandpa Gumbo’s funeral was tough. I was really sad….but strangely relieved…..and still a sobbing mess. Then I received a call Friday night (just after arriving at my aunt’s after the services) that Andy’s great aunt died. Now to be honest. I didn’t know her that well. I saw her a handful of times and she wasn’t exactly chatty… what I would give to be able to trade Crazy Grandma for someone like that, but that is a topic for another day. I wasn’t exactly distressed over the news of her death, but I was still sad that Andy’s dad was sad. I am empathetic after all. I knew we would be gearing up for another round of funeral services when I arrived back in Colorado.

Then Saturday I talked to Andy and he said Lincoln wasn’t doing well. In all honesty he hadn’t been doing well for a while. A couple of weeks ago he stopped eating regularly. Andy’s response to my worry was that Lincoln doesn’t eat as much when it gets warmer. But this was just Andy living in his own version of Denial-Land. Lincoln eventually wasn’t eating at all. No amount of cheese on his food could convince him to eat. So when I talked to Andy I told him ‘I think it might be time’. Andy’s response was that he would go and get soft food for Lincoln and see if that would help…..which he convinced himself that it did. But Andy was hand-feeding the soft food to Lincoln and practically carrying him outside to go to the bathroom. So when I got home on Saturday night, I knew I was going to have to be the one to make the call. Andy wasn’t going to be capable of giving up the fight. We spent Sunday with Lincoln and I didn’t really say much to Andy about it, other than that I really thought it was time. I looked up vets in the yellowpages to see if there was one who could come to the house.

On Monday, while Andy was at school, I texted him that I was going to call the vet and asked if he wanted me to see if they could come that evening so that he would be home. He said he didn’t think that he could handle being there and asked if I would be able to do it without him. I mustered up all the strength I could and decided that I could do this. I thought about my mom. I imagined her in my head telling me that I was doing the humane thing. That Lincoln was obviously just holding on for our own selfishness and that I needed to set him free. I told myself I was giving him a gift rather than ending his life. I thought about calling Andy’s dad, but thought better of it when I remembered they just put their dog down a month ago and he was so distrought about that. I didn’t think he could handle Lincoln too. I called Pickle’s mom, but being the ridiculous person that I am, rather than tell her what was going on I just asked if she was free that day. She told me she was trying to line some stuff up for taxes, so I hung up the phone without ever saying why I had called. When I got off the phone with her the tears were flowing like crazy.

Then I remembered that Emmicakes was home sick and I called her. I could barely speak when I asked her if she could sit with the baby in the lobby at the vet while I was in with Lincoln. I knew she was sick, but I needed someone. She not only agreed, she told me she was coming over. I protested at first, but then realized that I should shut my mouth and let someone come be with me while I was sad. She was so sweet and brought me lunch. We pet Lincoln and talked. All too soon it was time to go. I put the baby in her car so that Lincoln could lay down in the back seat. I had to lift him down the stairs and into the car. It was hard, but it would have been even harder had he had the ability to get out of the house and into the car on his own.

The drive to the vet was excruciating. Part of me just wanted to keep driving. To keep him as far away from the vet as possible. When we arrived I helped him out of the car and he had to stop and pee on some bushes before we went in. He was sick, but still a boy. The vet took him in and examined him. He was down to 68lbs, which was less than he weighed when we adopted him. It would be just a few minutes while they put in a line to deliver the drugs, so I fed Jack in the lobby and chatted with Emily. She kept telling me what a good life we had given him and that this was what was best for him. I agreed with her, but I still wanted to sweep him up and run out of there.

The vet came back and asked if I wanted to be in the room…..I didn’t want to be, but I thought of my baby alone in there and said yes. She asked if I wanted him up on the exam table or she could do it on the floor so I could sit with him….I chose the floor. She brought in a mat and a fleece blanket. He gladly followed me over to the corner and laid down when I patted on the mat. The rest was a tear-filled, blubbering blurr. I remember petting him and telling him what a good boy he was. I wanted with all my heart to call the whole thing off and take him back home….back to Denial-land. When it was all over, and I must point out that it was very peaceful, the vet said I could stay as long as I wanted, but a cry from the waiting room reminded me that someone else needed me just then.

If it weren’t for him, for that little chubby ham out there, I don’t know that I would have made it back out of that deep dark hole right away. The combination of saying goodbye to a beloved grandpa and my favorite dog (it’s okay if you tell the other two that he was my favorite, they know) was enough to shut my shit down for a week of sorrow. I was so thankful to have him in my arms to bring me back up.

Other Uses for Your Nursing Top

In true multi-tasking form, I was on my way to the bathroom the other day with a pile of change and some ones (I was stopping by the cafeteria next), when I realized the pockets on my pants are faux……I don’t even want to get into the reason that manufacturers choose to make faux pockets on pants….I looked at my options and decided the best one was to utilize my nursing top. We’ve all stored cash, a credit card, an ID in our bras, etc. So why should a nursing bra be any different? Well the only difference is that the nursing top I had on is extra awesome for coin storage…..which made me want to blog about nursing tops.

When I was 38 weeks pregnant I went into this awesome store that only carries stuff for nursing moms. They have pumps, covers, bras, tanks, shirts, sleepwear, pads, you name it they’ve got it. The sales lady recommended I get one day bra and one sleep bra….and then she pointed me to the nursing tops they carry. She obviously realized I was tall, so she said ‘we have a section of long nursing tanks too’. Score! The brand is They are a tad expensive, but sooo worth it. I just bought one at the store and now that I have had a couple months working this whole breast feeding business, I wonder why I ever got those two other bras. I should have spent the money on two more tanks. Nursing bras are great….if you have a nice tummy. My stomach looks like I was mauled by a tiger and there is still a little pooch to it. All in all, not the most attractive aspect of me right now. Nursing tanks provide the critical boob access, but keep your tummy covered. Wearing an overshirt or cardigan lets you hide your boob. Anyway I started out with those minimal supplies. Three options. But from there I started building. I found two white (why on earth they make nursing tops in white is beyond me, they get so stained!) tanks at a consignment sale. They were about two sizes too big, but for $4 each I couldn’t resist (cheapskate). Then I bought a $20 Moth.erhoo.d nursing tank from Babi.esR.US. Even with four tanks and two bras I was doing laundry every couple of days due to extreme leakage, a messy eater (I won’t name names), etc.

So what have I realized thus far in brand comparison? You get what you pay for. The tank was $44, but in my humble opinion they are totally worth it. First off, they are nice and long and they keep their tight elasticity. So when I wear my maternity jeans they hold them up. Similarly there is a lot more to the boob support portion of these tops. The inside of the “flap” (fold down part for feeding) is lined with a mesh material and has holes so you can insert pads and it will hold them still. I use cloth pads most days because I am a hippie and they are washable/reuseable. The cotton is thicker as well so it conceals the fact that you are wearing pads. The other tanks I have make me look like I have tiny dinner plates in my shirt. This tank also has a heavy elastic band to support these gigantic ladies and there is an inner cotton “sling” that holds your boob when you lower the flap to feed…..look at their website to figure out what I am saying. The M.otherh.ood tank starts out feeling like good support but as the day goes on my boobs are saggy. Obviously the two white tanks I got don’t offer any support either and they are short so I always feel like I am reaching under my shirt to pull them down…..I have retired them to sleep duty.

Since the discovery of my preferred nursing tank, I went back and purchased two more (present to myself… I’m so thoughtful).They are the same price at the store as they are online and I wanted to support local business, yada yada yada. If I could make some color recommendations, avoid white! I have a black one, a sage one and a chocolate one…..mmmm chocolate. Nothing really hides milk stains that well, so that is why sporting something over the top is nice. Although with this summer coming up, I am just hoping I have less leakage and Jack cleans up his eating skills so I don’t have to wear something on the top. I noticed on the website they have all sorts of other colors and a few patterns. Um fun! I plan to try to make do with what I have, but i am super tempted.

Obviously one of the vain woman concerns I have is what my boobs are going to look like after a couple of kids. They weren’t like super amazing before or anything, but I don’t want them to be competing with my belly button for a race to the ground. So I have deduced that spending $44 on a nursing top that I will wear for a year isn’t too much. Hell that is reasonable compared to bra prices. I know there are lots of more reasonable nursing tanks out there, but this humungous boobie owner thinks its better to splurge on something you’ll like wearing than be thrifty and worry about your friends dubbing you “Natalie Long-Boobs” someday.

*Note I was not paid to endorse this brand, but if they want to send me some free loot I am totally for sale! hehehe.

The Electric Baby

I thought I would share a few tidbits of perhaps useless information just in case it might be helpful to someone. I have dubbed my pump “the Electric Baby”. It is more fun that way. So I have been pumping since the day Jack was born. You might recall we had to get him going pretty quickly, so I got acquainted with my “Electric Baby” right away…..heck I used it while I was laboring to try to get things going faster….did I ever mention that? Not sure.

Anyhoodles, I didn’t actually start pumping and saving until week two. Once my milk got going I decided to give the ladies a break from double baby action, but after a couple of weeks I knew it was time to start building a stash. I was extremely inquisitive when it came to doing this. If you haven’t heard already, your boobs are pretty volatile the first few months post-birth. The amount your baby is drinking and when is telling your lady mounds how much to produce and at what time. So if I had maintained my schedule of pumping in between feeding Jack, my tits would have been exploding in pain every hour and I would have to maintain that schedule or face some serious leakage and/or pain.

My midwife instructed me to pump right after I fed Jack. The idea behind that being you aren’t stealing any milk from him and you aren’t adding in unwanted “pseudo” feedings that you would have to maintain. So this is what I did. I would get an ounce or two at the end of his feedings and then put my “days work” into a freezer bag and label it. Granted I didn’t do it everyday or anything (this was nice for flexibility, when we traveled I didn’t bring my pump, so just pumping after I fed him allowed this to happen), but it was shocking how quickly I built a stash this way. When I started work last week, I had filled about 20 freezer bags of milk.

Last week when it came time to pump for the realz, I had no idea how much to expect. I knew I would pump about every three hours. The first day I was meticulous. Mentally filing what time Jack last ate and then making sure I pumped right at 3 hours. There is always a slight fear, or at least there was for me, that my supply might be affected by the emotional change of going back to work…..I guess I wouldn’t say it was super emotional for me. Not even as emotional as I expected it to be. So I tried to stay calm about the milk supply thing too. It is one of those things that if you worry about not making enough milk, you probably will not make enough milk. Again this is my absolutely non-expert opinion…I have no idea if that is the case.

So after the first couple of days I instituted a rough plan. I would pump around 9, noon and 3pm. This works out really well. I try to keep the last pumping really close to 3 because I take off between 4:30 and 5pm so I want my milk to be back in for my ravenous little man at home.

The first day I brought two freezer bags (I have come to like the Lans.inoh bags the best. The first box of bags were Me.dela, but the Lans.inoh bags hold twice as much), four storage bottles, and two lids for the bottles attached to my pump. Overkill you might think? Indeed. But I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I would be pumping three times or four, how much would come out, etc. The last thing I wanted to do was run out of receptacles for the milk.

The thing you realize when you start pumping without feeding first, is how your boobs are producing. I discovered right away that lefty was the lazy boob. My first pump resulted in about 5 ounces from the right and under 2 from the left. Oh! you might be interested to know that I pumped for 15 minutes for the first few days and I double-teamed it. Some things you will read will tell you to only pump one side at a time….um who has that kind of flexibility? Not me. My midwife recommended pumping a full 15 minutes when I started out, just to help maintain supply, but I have kind of relaxed this once I realized how much was going to come out. Once I reach those levels, ususally after 10 minutes, it seems silly to sit there for longer.

Once I realized that the left was slacking, when I got home I started always feeding Jack on this side first. Voila! A few days later lefty was doing her share and producing just a little less than my right. So an added benefit to pumping is you can help correct any supply problems you might have.

So you might have guessed you don’t need to bring all your pumping containers with you. After a few days I realized all I really need is two freezer bags. Again they are the Lan.sinoh ones so I think each one holds around 12 oz. or something (mine are only marked up to 6 oz….I have no idea why? Maybe if I read the directions they would tell me to only fill them up to 6 oz for some reason, but I don’t follow directions! I’m a breastpumping rebel). So obviously if you are using smaller storage bags you will probably need more of them.

I can tell you that if you are using the storage bottles (me.dela and/or a.meda) that you will probably need 6 of them. Or at least I would. I am not sure how my supply compares to the “average” woman. I extract 8-10 ounces at my 9am “session”, then about 5-7 ounces at noon, and 4-7 at 3pm. So as you can see, in my case, my supply seems to dwindle as the day goes on. This makes total sense when you think about it logically. Your first few feedings of the day are probably your biggest because your kid has just (hopefully) slept for four hours or more (lucky bitches) since his/her last feeding so they need to make up for it. I am curious if my 6pm, 9pm, and 11pm feedings start ramping back up again? Anyway, my supply does go down, but not significantly, only by an ounce or two.

I have become brand saavy. I have an a.meda pump. but I had some me.dela storage bottles and the little travel thingy with the freezer thingymagigger (so articulate I know). They fit just fine onto my pump. So it’s all interchangeable (shhh don’t tell the companies). (I actually have two pumps now, but that is a whole ‘nother story*)

So for those of you looking for pump “accessories”. If you have a me.dela pump but find a.meda bottles on sale, now you know they will fit….for those who could give a crap, you are now filled with more useless information. You’re welcome.

Okay I seriously need to wrap this up, it is getting out of hand. But one last tidbit I wanted to share is that I have noticed the “let down” from pumping is much more painful then my normal let down. Since I started pumpin’ for realz I get this painful tingly feeling before it is time to pump. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t the worst pain… for example compared to pushing a head out your vag… but it is a noticeable pain. And the first few times it hit me I had to work hard not to grab my boobs and cringe, as I was talking to my boss at the time. I have experienced “let down” before, but it was much more mild than these recent ones so my deduction is that it is related to pumping. Pumping itself isn’t painful though. Nor should it be from what I understand. My pump is adjustable, so you find a setting that works well and is still comfortable and you go to town.

I hope someone somewhere found this information a tad helpful. Oh I should totally open this up for questions because there might be shit I didn’t say that you are curious about. So have at it.

*mkay for those interested. I bought a me.dela pump off my friend and then was offered a free pump from a co-worker. His mom was a lactation consultant and the companies send her free pumps so she will recommend the brands, etc. My SSIL was due in January and needed a pump, so I offered her the me.dela, since I didn’t have my hands on the other one yet. Well turns out she didn’t use it. She had some issues breastfeeding and ended up switching to formula pretty early on. I asked her if she would mind me taking it back because another friend was expecting and could use it and she gladly returned it. Well since that time….this is a very convoluted story in case you haven’t figured it out yet….let me back up a minute. The friend who could use it was Emmicakes. Emmicakes was planning to get her sister’s pump but then she found out her other sister was expecting (she has four sisters, holy crap!) and wanted the pump. Anyway big sister drama ensued.Told you this was convoluted. 

Anyway, I thought I could alleviate all sister-related tensions by getting the pump back from our SSIL. Sadly Emmicake’s sister miscarried, so that put the pump need back in limbo. I decided to just hold on to it and wait because it is possible her sister will try to get pregnant again…..but it has crossed my mind to try this one and see if I like it better. The only issue there is that my SSIL must have tossed all the replaceable parts and bought her own set, because when she gave it back, all that was there was the pump and the bag. FYI you can get full replacement parts for the med.ela on amazo.n for like $50…..long (and probably unnecessary) story short it would be silly of me to buy new parts just to see if I like this pump better, but it has crossed my mind.

For those of you who are grossed out at the idea of having a used pump, you should know that buying replacement parts changes out everything that would touch your boob and your milk. So don’t be squeemish about having a used pump. It is definitely a way to save.