Thursday, December 30, 2010

One month

Hello interweb posts are obviously not as frequent as they were prior to baby. Life is busy and it's a rarity to have two hands free and when I do I just want to go pee!  :)

Evangeline is officially 1 month old today. Part of me feels like she was just born and part of me feels like we've had her for years. She is definitely part of our family now and I can't imagine life without her. I'm already starting to forget what life was like with only 1 child. I miss the time I had with Eliana, but wouldn't trade that for our life now with Evangeline. We are a family unit now! Eliana is doing really well with the adjustments. We've done what we can to keep her routines the same; bathtime wed and sat night with daddy, nap times and nighttime with mommy, meals always at the table, etc. I think routines are important for children and the structure helps keep life normal when it could otherwise feel crazy.

Eliana has been basically obsessed with 'babies and owls'. Random, huh? lol. I hear about babies and owls ALL day long and it cracks me up. When she goes to bed she asks if I'll be back, if I'll pick her uppy, and if we can draw babies and owls. HAHA. When she is eating she pretends her bites are baby owls. Needless to say her 2010 Christmas Ornament from mommy and daddy was an owl :) Kids are so funny.

Every day with Evangeline keeps me on my toes. Yesterday she was SO fussy and irritable all day. She wouldn't stop crying and also wouldn't sleep. I'd get her to pass out, put her in the swing so I could pee and five minutes later she was crying her head off. So it went all day long until about 10pm. She slept for an hour and then was up crying again til midnight. Then she slept til 7am! Up for another hour and then slept another 1 1/2 hours. Today she has been pretty much just sleeping and eating. I'm curious what tonight will hold as far as sleep but I'm very grateful that she is not spending today crying like yesterday. It was completely exhausting. I was really looking forward to Craig coming home so I would have some help, but he ended up spending the night fixing the guts in our toilet since it was broken and we only have one toilet :( It was a crappy day- literally.

We seem to have hit our stride with breastfeeding. I think around the 3 1/2 week mark it finally felt 'easy'. Now at one month I don't really have to think about it. She latches pretty easily and I'm still not using a shield. The trick is making it to this point! So, if you are reading this and thinking of giving up- don't give up, it gets easier, I promise. For some it's only tough for a week, for some it's tough for 6-8 weeks. A successful breastfeeding journey is just that- a journey. Stick with it, it's the first of many challenges in parenting :)

The other night I got a blissful few minutes to go to the bathroom with no kids AND with the door closed (since Craig was home) and I was sitting there thinking, 'wow, this is heavenly'. And then I chuckled at the realization that to a mother a few minutes to go to the bathroom alone is about as peaceful as our day gets sometimes. When kids are crying, boobs are out all day feeding a baby, naptime is a failure, and there's no time to shower........3 1/2 minutes in the bathroom alone is HEAVEN. Such is the life of a mother :) So, kudos to us who give up our own peace and luxury for the sake of raising beautiful, healthy, Godly children!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Watermelon Boobs :)

My dear Evangeline is 3 weeks old today. Yesterday at the pediatrician's office she was 10lb 14oz and 22 1/4 inches. She is in the 90-95% for pretty much everything, same as she was at birth. She is my chubby cherub! She's gained 2.5oz a day for the last 10 days which is amazing.

How are we doing? My basic answer is 'pretty good'. Honestly it depends on the time of the day and the particular day you ask me :) Every day is a new day and every day is totally unpredictable with a newborn. The two year old? Pretty much predictable. Goes to sleep at the same time, gets up at the same time, naps at the same times, eats her meals no prob, can tell me what she needs. The 3 week old on the other hand keeps us on our toes. She is growing so quickly and her needs are constantly evolving. Some nights are so rough that I want to hole up during the day and can't bring myself to go anywhere or talk to anyone. I just feel antisocial at times.

Friday and Saturday night were very rough to say the least. She cried for hours. Craig and I took turns rocking, rubbing her belly, pumping her legs, etc. She seemed to be in SO much pain. By the time morning came I was still exhausted and hadn't really gotten any sleep. When it happened a 2nd night I started worrying that history was repeating itself (Elly's horrible colic and GERD). But, then came Sunday night and she did much better. Last night she hardly cried at all, but she also didn't really want to sleep. There were two 1 1/2 hour chunks that she was wide awake. Of course I just wanted to be sleeping! I'm thinking we'll give swaddling a firmer go and see if that helps keep her sleepy at night. Part of the problem is that she seems to like to poo at night which keeps her and me up.  I've been thinking that maybe a meal I had with garlic was to blame for the rough couple of nights we had. Now I'm a little nervous about what if I eat something that bothers her, but it's trial and error.

Breastfeeding is getting much easier. She latches pretty much right away now. The problem now is that my flow is so forceful and fast. I have huge boobs and tons of milk and she ends up choking or gagging and honestly seems a little nervous to latch on like she knows the tidal wave is coming soon. Poor girl! I wish my boobs had a knob I could turn to slow it down for her until she's bigger/older. I'm praying she'll learn to keep up with it and that my milk supply will regulate itself here soon. I block nursed Eliana because of my huge milk supply and I'm doing it this time as well. . I didn't even know that's what I was doing until yesterday when a friend recommended it and I Googled it and sure enough I'm already doing it- yay me! :)

As far as oversupply goes, here's a few things to keep in mind- if you pump to relieve the fullness you will actually cause even MORE fullness over time. Remember boobs work on a supply and demand schedule, so pumping counts as demand, meaning your boobs will supply more. So, learning to deal with the fullness in ways other than pumping may be more advantageous for you. For those with undersupply, go ahead and pump, but never in place of your baby actually nursing for itself. The other thing is that oversupply does tend to even out over time. The first few weeks of new milk your boobs are working like crazy and your hormones are going crazy. Eventually they work more in sync with your baby and the oversupply issue should resolve itself a bit. Your baby also gets used to it and learns to work with it.

Breastfeeding with ginormous watermelon boobs has it's own set of frustrations. For one thing it's almost impossible to nurse one handed. Can you even imagine how much a size H boob full of milk weighs? A TON. One hand is needed to support the breast and the other is holding/supporting the baby. It's a two hand job. You might be thinking, "well I'm a DD and I can make it work." Trust me, there is a HUGE difference between a DD, even a DDD and an H. Two hands are needed most of the time. Another frustration is modesty. It's trickier with a huge boob to not give a show when out in public simply because there's a lot more to hide. It's harder to be discreet when there's so much to cover. And then of course the oversupply is frustrating because of all the pain it causes to baby. Although I suppose large breasts are not synonymous with oversupply in every case, just for me.

As far as PCOS and breastfeeding, usually women with PCOS have supply issues and need to take fenugreek or pump or do something. But I know for myself and also a girlfriend with PCOS and boobs the same size as mine we both deal with oversupply. I guess we should be grateful for the extra milk! These honkers are heavy though, so trust me when I say I'm fully planning on getting these 'taken care of' in another decade or so when I'm done nursing babies. Breastfeeding after a reduction could be a whole different blog, but the reality is there's no complete way to know if you'll be able to breastfeed after a reduction without trying it and I personally don't want to risk losing the ability to nurse. I'd rather wait and do the surgery later.
What I have heard is that if the nipple is completely removed during surgery and then put back on that it typically makes it impossible to nurse later. It makes me a little jealous that someone can go get implants and nurse no problem but if you want to reduce your boobs you risk losing the ability to nurse. Not fair.

For the sake of Google and other moms coming across this blog looking for breastfeeding help and frankly, "where do I buy bras when my boobs are a 40H???" I'm going to plug my favorite nursing  bra- Anita . It's fabulous! I wouldn't recommend sleeping in an underwire bra because of the risk of plugged ducts, so only use it during the day. I have a couple cotton sleep nursing bras from Motherhood Maternity that I use at night time.

This blog is poorly written and all over the brain is seriously sleep deprived!

So, until next time, have a Merry Christmas. It's about God's great love for us and that He sent Jesus to take our place and redeem us. Remember the Redeemer and His unfailing love for you as celebrate the season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Evangeline's Birth Story

I began my 2nd pregnancy seeing an OB I really like. She helped us through the Clomid process and is a great doctor. At around 24 weeks I started writing my birth plan and was in tears at the computer because everything I was writing was literally opposite of what happened with Eliana. I started realizing why I wasn't sleeping at night and why I felt more anxious every day that my EDD was closer and closer- I knew I'd be fighting to have the birth I wanted if I did it in our local hospital. This began a chain of events and me learning a TON about myself, my body, birth, the history of birth, homebirth and basically reading every birth book I could. At 26 weeks I transferred to my wonderful midwife, Mif, with the blessing of my OB.

My whole pregnancy I had a feeling I would go over 40 weeks. I seemed to be the only one who thought that however. My midwife, chiropractor, husband, mom, etc- everyone thought I'd go before 40 weeks. In my head I always knew I'd go over. So, when 41 weeks came I thought, 'well, I'm SUPER glad that I am healthy, baby is healthy, and I'm being 'allowed' to carry still.' I know without a shadow of a doubt that had I been seeing an OB I would've been induced again. I had high bp readings nearly every time a professional took the reading and protein in my urine the last two prenatals. My BP was good every day as I was taking it 5-10 times a day at home, I just couldn't ever calm my insides enough to have a good reading when someone else took it. That being said there's no way an OB would've seen a 150/100 reading and just chuckled and said, "I know you are nervous, your chart from home is good," and then let it go. I would've been coerced and worried into an induction, especially since my fundus measured 46 (!!!) weeks and the BPP showed the baby weighing 9lbs9oz at 40 weeks (which was obviously wrong). My midwife is so experienced and knowledgable that she truly knows when to worry about something and when not to. OB's are trained in the pathology of birth- that means looking for something to be wrong, so I'm sure my minor things would've screamed PROBLEM to them. My midwife understood that the pain and real trauma of my first birth started with just one high bp reading and that a real fear surrounding that lived deeply in me and showed itself every time I had to have my bp read. It was my Scarlet Letter.

Anywho, the night before labor started I did Evening Primrose Oil vaginally and then the day labor started I saw my chiropractor who did pressure points and then I saw my midwife who 'irritated' the cervix to see if it would start something later. I was only dilated to a 3 at 1pm and though things were soft, it was also very long and had a long way to go.
We decided to do a half dose of the magic milkshake that day in hopes of starting some contractions to get some pressure on my cervix, which wasn't happening due to the copious amounts of fluid.
I took the castor oil at about 4pm that day and nothing happened. I didn't go to the bathroom once! It was only 1oz of castor oil anyway, but I thought something would happen. The only thing that did was that I felt exhausted. Like I could hardly keep my eyes open. It was very weird. 4 hours later, around 8pm Craig and I were in our room watching tv and I started having contractions. They were pretty mild, but I felt them down low and that was new for me. After 30 minutes or so I started feeling them stretch around to my lower back. I figured, wow, this might be the real deal! We kept timing them and they were progressively getting more painful. Craig called the midwife at 10pm and she said they need to be more regular and to keep in touch. Basically no one thought I was actually in labor yet based on my internal check earlier that day and that I only took 1oz of castor oil. I remember thinking, "Well, if this isn't real or doesn't end up being enough to push out a baby that sucks cuz it really hurts!" I also got irritable and snapped at Craig a few times. That should've been his first clue that it was real :) I wasn't screaming or anything but holy cow it was uncomfortable. I tried laying down and had some contractions that hurt so bad my eyes filled with tears. My mom came down and tried to encourage me to move around and lean on Craig and then she offered for us to get in the tub and she left to get it filling. I leaned on Craig for the next couple contractions and it did help. He pressed really hard on my sacrum during them and I held onto his shoulders and breathed into his shoulder til each one passed.
Somewhere between 11pm and midnight we went and got in my mom's soaking tub. I figured we'd go in the tub for a while and then I'd probably need to get up and move around to keep things going. Once in the tub it did take a lot of the pressure off. I was able to relax and the contractions felt 'cushioned' from me a little. I got out to pee a couple times and it hurt SO bad having a contraction out of the tub. I realized then that I was not going to be able to leave the tub, I was in it for the long haul. I only hoped it wouldn't be 24 hours or something like that. Craig was also in the tub the whole time with me. He never left! And, since I have a weird pet peeve about mouth noises (as in I hate hearing people chew, crunch, jaw pops, etc) he kindly refrained from eating anything during my labor :) I also had  zero desire to eat anything.

For the next few hours I was wading through the waves of contractions. I would doze in between them which is SO weird for me since I usually take 30 minutes just to fall asleep. Each contraction lasted about 55 seconds and I had about 2 minutes in between to rest and sleep. I would feel one coming and grab Craig's hands and squeeze and then vocalize (think low sounding moan- one note being held a long time) until the 55 seconds passed. I tried to relax my body as much as I could. Craig said he could see my belly turn into a hard ball. Eventually things got more intense and I didn't want to hold Craig's hands anymore. I literally needed every ounce of focus to get through each contraction and just having him there was enough. We were having a very hard time knowing when to call the midwife again. I didn't want to waste their time and have them come all the way out for nothing, but I also could hardly call what I was experiencing as 'nothing'. My mom thought things should progress a little more. Finally I said please call around 1:45am. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure in my who-who. My mom called and my midwife and her team arrived at 3am. After my mom called things had picked up even more and the waves of contractions hit harder and closer. I rolled with them and tried to keep physically and mentally 'open' to my labor. All the Ina May Gaskin books I read really did their job! Shortly before the midwife got there I lost my mucous plug again. I had lost a small one around 9pm, but these were unlike anything I'd seen before. It was like, WOW! Around 3:05am she did an internal check and I was at a 7!!! No wonder things felt intense, I was almost at transition! The team left the room for Craig and I to labor in peace and they left to get things setup. At this point everyone still thought I had a while. But in about 35 minutes my water broke. During a contraction I felt like, 'hmm, if I just push a little I bet my water will break!' I had been feeling a little 'pushy' which my midwife said was because the bag of waters was bulging (in hindsight I'm really glad I didn't push before my midwife got there). So, I pushed and Craig and I heard a 'POP' in the room, felt a gush in the water, and I could see from Craig's face that it was like an explosion under water. Incredible. Within literally seconds I felt her crowning. It was like the pressure from the water breaking just shoved her right out. I had the need to push immediately. I started screaming because I didn't want to do it alone in the tub without my midwife. Craig was hollering MIF LYNN, HELP! and I was screaming so loud I thought for sure they'd hear us. Then I thought, oh no, what if they are downstairs and can't hear us!In my mom's 5,000 square foot home, this could be a reality. Craig started to get out to run and find them and I told him, no no don't leave me! I knew this baby was coming in a matter of minutes. In what felt like 20 minutes but was probably only 2 my mom, midwife, and assistant came running in. Mif coached me to calm my breathing and just let my body do whatever it was feeling like it should do. She grabbed lube and started rubbing and stretching to help me not tear. I remember her being very serious for a moment and saying, "if I tell you to flip over on all fours, don't ask me why and don't tell me no-just do it." I said ok but in my head was running through Ina May Gaskin's books and remembered the Gaskin Maneuver- it is taught to OB's and is in textbooks. It's a nearly failproof way to deliver a baby that is 'stuck' with shoulder dystocia. I thought, "Oh Lord, I can't flip over right now!" Remember all this is happening in literally seconds, it was like time stood still for a moment. Then a contraction broke through my thoughts and I had to roll with it. I had no choice. I felt my uterus pushing down and actually pushing the baby out. It was like a Mack Truck, I couldn't have stopped it if I wanted to. I went with it and her head popped out! I seriously can't stand the feeling of a baby being half in and half out so I gave another 1/2 push and her body FLEW out. It was less than 5 minutes of my body pushing and she was born at 3:55am. Craig didn't get to catch since it all happened so fast. Mif caught the baby and immediately put her on my chest. Craig's eyes filled with tears at the emotion of how amazing the birth was and this sweet baby. I was overcome and still tear up now thinking about it. It was so perfect and beautiful. Evangeline came out pink and gorgeous and gave a couple little cries. Just being able to hold my baby and realize, "Oh my gosh, I did it, I actually did it!" I'm not broken, there is nothing wrong with me, I carried a baby full term and delivered her naturally and she is perfect! It was overwhelming and I was in a sort of shock about how wonderful it actually was. Evangeline was stable and healthy during my labor and so was I, there was no shoulder dystocia, no cord wrapped around her, etc. When the body is able to deliver a baby when it is ready and do it in its own way, how amazing.

I held Evangeline for maybe 20 minutes while the cord was still pulsing, then Craig cut the cord. The pulsing cord was amazing in itself. I encourage all women to research the benefits of delayed clamping and seriously consider it for your children. Immediate clamping is like infant phlebotomy- crazy unless there is an immediate need to cut the cord (wrapped around neck, etc). After that Craig took her into the living room by the fire and just snuggled her. I delivered the placenta, drained the tub, got hosed off, and then joined them in the living room to let Evangeline nurse for the first time. She was awake for about 2 hours after the birth and was a happy little nurser. After a little while we weighed and measured her- 21 inches and 9lbs 1 oz. Her head was 14 3/4 inches! I felt like superwoman! And the incredible thing is that I didn't even tear. I tore with Eliana and she was only 7lbs and her head was nearly an inch smaller than Evangeline's. I thought, wow if this isn't a testament to a home birth I don't know what is!

The birth was so uneventful, and in such a good way. My midwife even says it was a perfect birth. I really took to heart all the books I read and Ina May's message about letting yourself be open to birth, both physically and mentally, really stuck with me. I knew that if I wanted the kind of birth that Ina wrote about I would need to do what the women she helped did. I couldn't fight it or complain or be negative, I needed to just relax and roll with each wave. Did it hurt? Well, yes. Did I feel like I was dying? Absolutely not. My cousin put it this way, "It's always managable and never more than you can handle." That is so true! At my chiropractors 1 1/2 weeks ago there were three of us talking about our homebirths. We were all smiling, happy, had wonderful memories, and would do it again! I have had numerous conversations with friends about our hospital births and unfortunately the conversation was not filled with cheery memories.

After doing my home water birth I feel like I want every woman to experience it. I want every woman, especially my friends, to feel the power of letting your body do it's job uninterrupted. I want every woman to know the pride and joy that comes from having a baby naturally. The euphoria and empowerment is incredible and exactly how God wanted us to experience birth. It's His answer to the curse in the garden. Yes, labor hurts. No, it's not totally pain free- but there is redemption from it. Isn't this the way God works?
I hope to have all my future babies at home in a tub. My labor was 8 hours total from the very first contraction until Evangeline flew out. Not bad and incredible compared to my 50plus hour induced labor with Eliana.

I just can't say enough about a homebirth. I pray that those of you in a position to do so will consider it or even think about a midwife or nurse midwife or a birthing center. I truly believe if every eligible woman and OB experienced birth the way I just did there would be a radical change in the way Americans have babies.

(As far as the cost- it's fairly inexpensive and the midwife fee covers pretty much everything besides labwork and outside ultrasounds. My insurance should be reimbursing me for about half the fee pretty soon.)

I will add more to this post as time allows and details come back to me :)

I love this photo....Craig snuggled Evie when she was about 20 minutes old while I finished stage 3 of labor (placenta).
Such a big and long girl and so alert!

A few hours old....all the amazing vernix soaked in on it's own and her skin was gorgeous!

Two weeks old

My little Evangeline is 2 weeks old today. The last two weeks seriously feel like we've been living in a bubble and that somehow we have lost the time. Other than the grocery store 2x,  Dr's 1x,Costco 1x, and church 1x, we have not gone anywhere. Not going anywhere means we aren't spending money so that's nice and it also means we're keeping Evangeline's exposure to all the nasty winter germs at a minimum- but it is a bit strange to go from busyness and being able to pretty much go anywhere at nearly anytime to being home so much.

I'm realizing how much easier a 2 year old is than a newborn. Eliana tells me when she needs something and is relatively self-sufficient. Then comes a new baby who literally can't do anything without me and can only cry to show her needs. Yes, the 2 year old is definitely easier! I'm also thinking that in our brilliant plan to space all our children 2 years apart we may have underestimated how much work it is having a 2 year old and a newborn at the same time. Perhaps our other children will be spaced more like 2 1/2 years apart! Or we'll adjust to this newness and in a year forget how hard it was and start all over :)

Evangeline had her first bath last night and she liked it for the most part. Granted her first bath was technically when she was born....I've been wanting to write more about the birth and some details and all that but have been having a hard time finding enough time that I can type with 2 hands without someone needing me. Eventually!

Nursing is getting easier. The periods where it would take 30min to 1 1/2 hours for her to latch are happening less and less frequently. She is learning and so am I. I have not used a nipple shield once as of yet, which is really awesome. Just goes to show that with proper support and time even someone with flat nips can nurse. It would've been so nice to nurse shield free with Eliana, but at least I can with Evangeline. Sometimes it seems like she can't get the nipple out enough and just gets frustrated, so then I pump an ounce and it seems to get things out enough for her to do her business. I will feel more confident going out places once she is able to latch all the time without me needing to pump. It's nervewracking to think of being gone from home and her not being able to latch. I know I can bring the pump, but that's a pain in the butt. I already have my hands really full with all our 'stuff' just between the 2 girls and me. My girlfriends who have similar anatomy and used shields with firstborns said this is normal with the 2nd and to give it a little more time and latching will be a cinch.

Eliana has been adjusting really well. She is more sensitive for sure and has been crying more than I would like. She's also been watching more tv than is healthy for a 2 year old, but I'm doing what I can right now to function and it won't always be like this. I always put her down for nap and bedtime so I can snuggle her, pray with her, and sing her bedtime song, "Bible and me" as she calls it :) Actually it's Jesus Loves Me. This time of year is a little tough because we're kind of stuck indoors and that leaves limited things for us to do. We color A LOT, and read lots of books.

My goals today- take a shower and figure out something for dinner!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

9 days old

Last night I actually got 8 hours of sleep only broken up once! I feel like my body is trying to make up for literally 3 days of no sleep (the whole night I labored and the 2 nights after that when Evie refused to sleep), and of course I won't ever be able to catch up, but 8 hours helps. Of course I woke up super full and engorged, but pumped a couple ounces real quick and Evie was able to latch.
I'm SO thankful that Eliana is still sleeping well. We've been getting up around 9:30 or 10 all week and since I was up most nights til 2am with Evie, it's been really nice having Elly give me that buffer to try and get some sleep between feeds/rocking/diaper changes.
Nursing is getting easier, but still has ups and downs. We haven't hit our stride yet, but 9 days in it is getting better. The trouble is getting her to latch when she's super hungry. I would prefer to not let her get super hungry, but she is nearly impossible to wake up and feed unless she really wants it. She latches and falls asleep 1 1/2 sucks in- over and over. I can fight with her and try to keep her up enough to eat and waste 1 1/2 hours of my day or just wait another hour and let her eat when she's super hungry and finally awake-but by then I'm too full. It's a work in progress.

I am now down 35lbs. And since I gained 33lbs that means I'm 2lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight. It's sort of crazy. I wonder what happens in my body after having a baby to cause such quick weight loss. If we could bottle it and sell it I'd make a fortune! Craig says I'm a baby making and feeding machine and it's just what my body was made for. I think that's sort of funny considering I can't even get pregnant without Clomid. Ah the irony :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

6 days in and breastfeeding

Little miss Evangeline is 6 days old already! At the moment she is sleeping peacefully in her Moby wrap on me and Eliana is continuing her plot to make our whole house look like a daycare :)
And on a sidenote- I gained 33lbs total this pregnancy. Not my goal of 15, but fine I think considering I had a 9lb baby, TONS of fluid, and carried 41w2d :) I have lost 31lbs in the last 6 days, meaning I'm only 2lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight. Insane, right?

The last few days have been about the journey in breastfeeding for me. The first few days it's dealing with a newborn and making sure they can latch and get colostrum. That went pretty well for us. I was praying and hoping during my pregnancy that I wouldn't need to use a nipple shield like I did the whole 14 months with Eliana. I had a couple packed in the bag just in case but didn't bring them out and just went for it au natural. It was very helpful that Evangeline was so alert and healthy after her birth. She was awake for nearly 2 hours and latched on pretty much right away. Talk about night and day difference between that and how drugged, lethargic, and completely uninterested in me Eliana was after her induced hospital birth.
My milk came in after 2 1/2 days and then it has been a whole new learning curve. She is learning to latch and eat from a full breast and I am learning to not freak out and to relax. The wacky hormones make things a little crazy at times. Yesterday she wouldn't eat from my right side pretty much the whole day. It freaked me out and I started worrying about latch and supply and all that. In the heat of a frantic, panicked baby that won't latch your hormone insane brain starts telling you the baby is starving and other craziness. I think these are the days that women without support feel they have no option but to supplement with formula or just give up on breastfeeding altogether. I get it, I really do. It's a horrible, panicky, "I'm starving my child" feeling when they can't/won't latch, your milk isn't letting down, etc. I've said it before and it's more true than ever that having support available to you right away can make all the difference in having a successful breastfeeding experience.

I met my friend Katie at La Leche League shortly before Eliana was born. I should've reached out more when Elly was born and could've probably avoided the shield if I did, but I was a new mom and didn't have the courage to reach out. This time I know Katie more, and mostly I know how important it is to reach out before you and the baby are screaming at 2am sitting in a pile of your own tears. Katie came to my mom's house 2x to help with latch and yesterday she walked me through a feeding over the phone and sure enough we got Evangeline to eat from the right side :) Katie is the baby whisperer! She has helped more friends of mine than I can count and is a Godsend to me and my family. What would I do without her? I will also comment that she leads the Central Kitsap La Leche League (open to all, 4th Wednesday of the month 12-2 at Hillcrest Church in E. Bremerton) and that she is an IBCLC lactation consultant AND an RN.
She had some great comments last night and I wanted to share them:
Take it one feeding at a time, you only have to get through just this one feeding (isn't that better than stressing about the next feeding before it's even happened?).
Do whatever you need to do to make the feeding happen. Put your toddler in the tub with some water toys and a little water, sit on the toilet, relax, and nurse. Put a little water on the highchair tray, let your toddler splash so you can nurse, etc. Basically, give yourself permission to think outside the box and do what works to make your home calm, relaxed, and to allow you a moment to nurse the baby (for us it's been a lot of Dora today).
When it comes to latching and baby pulling off- it could be gas, needs to poo, tired, not really hungry yet, etc. If baby is rooting and trying, keep at it. Baby will either tire of trying and pass out, or will eventually latch on. SO TRUE!

It's truly invaluable to have someone look at your latch, look at the baby's positioning, check for tongue tie, etc- that is what IBCLC lactation specialists are for. I highly recommend that everyone attend LLL a few times before giving birth to 1) meet Katie :) and also to learn and establish the best support team you can. If you birth in the hospital, demand (nicely of course) to see the lactation specialist asap, even if you think you don't have a problem. Get that person's phone number and make sure you can call them once you are home, otherwise find someone you can call.

As easy as we all wish and want breastfeeding to be, it's not necessarily. Simple? yes. Easy? Not always. I happen to be *blessed* with sort of flat nipples (although they are already getting tons better from 6 days of nursing) and then once my milk is in these puppies are a size H. I have oversupply, which is probably better than undersupply, but still carries it's own set of issues. Evangeline is learning to regulate her eating, stop to take breaths, latch onto a huge, full boob, etc.

And as far as pain in the beginning goes- it shouldn't feel like you're nursing a wolf. It's normal for your nipples to feel chapped, I mean think about it. Lansinoh Lanolin is great for that. If your nipples are pressed flat when they come out of baby's mouth or they start bleeding there's a good chance baby isn't latched correctly. Seeing a specialist before you get to that point is key.

Ok, more later I'm sure, but that's all for now. And yay me, I showered, made dinner, made Craig's lunch and coffee for tomorrow- and it's my first day home alone without any help :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

The name and why we chose it

Our little one has been named!

Evangeline Loretta Frazier (sometimes called Evie)

Within about 2 hours of her birth Craig and I both had a feeling this was her name, but we wanted to give it a day to think about it. We had a few pages of names ready and a top three names and Evangeline just really fit. The strange thing is that if we hadn't waited to meet her, see her, and see how the birth experience was, we probably wouldn't have picked Evangeline. Another name that I really liked meant Warrior. During my pregnancy that seemed appropriate because I learned so much about fighting for what matters to me and becoming a birth and baby warrior. But then my actual birth was so beautiful and peaceful that Warrior no longer seeemed to fit. Evangeline means "Messenger of Good News". Its root is in the word Evangelist/Evangel and it is said to have been first created by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1847 for his epic and still famous poem 'Evangeline'. She is to us most definitely a messenger of good news. All the healing and redemption I wanted, prayed for, and needed out of this birth God provided in such a powerful and yet extremely gentle way. As women our birth experiences become woven into the fabric of who we are- God knows this and designed this!

Loretta is my grandmother on my mom's side's first name. I have always loved and respected my grandma SO much. She is a Godly woman and a prayer warrior. Her and my grandpa started a school in Africa to give a whole village of children an opportunity to go to school and have food every day. She is generous, smart, funny, and now  has 19 (!!!!) great grandchildren (3 in just the last few months all birthed naturally). Her and my grandpa have been married well over 50 years and both are still active and involved in their church, community, and most importantly- family :) We had wanted to name a child after her for a long time but had troubles finding a first name that fit.....until Evangeline.

So, a big welcome to our beautiful messenger of good news!