December 19, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday! 5 things....let's do this.

{one} Don't forget I'm co-hosting the Christmas Pajama Party link up on Monday! I can't wait to see your little ones in their Christmas jams!

 {two} This week Hudson had his Christmas program at school. My sister-in-law, mom, husband, and I were all taking bets as to his performance. Half of us thought he would rock those jingle bells. Half of us thought he would stand there and give the crowd his blank stare. Luckily my mom and I were right and he jingled those bells like it was his JOB. And then when he had to come off the stage and sit with us while other kids got up on the stage he had a meltdown. Figures. 

{three} This is what happens when you give your two year old stamps. 

{four} I recently started using the Car Seat Cinema to protect my iphone when Hudson uses it....and I'm in love! It's super cute, and easy to use. 

The plastic cover allows Hudson to easily use my phone without me worrying about him dropping it or getting it dirty. Total lifesaver! The clips also allow it to be clipped to a shopping cart, the back of your chair in your car, or even your stroller. You can learn more about the Car Seat Cinema here. We've used it at Target a bunch of times...only problem? Hudson was using my phone so I couldn't snap a picture! Ha!

{five} These. Are. Amazing. And I haven't been able to find them this year. WTF. Pregnancy cravings are kicking in strong and I can't do anything about it. So sad.

Happy Friday! And now I'm linking up with basically everyone....

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife!

And 5 on Friday with A. Liz AdventruesCarolina CharmHello! Happiness, and The Good Life.

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December 17, 2014

The Breastfeeding Diaries: DeNae from Big Love, Epic Fail

 Hi there. I’m DeNae and I blog over at Big Love, Epic Fail where I talk about life, the magic in the mundane, homeschooling, and the adventure and joy of raising children in this beautiful, terrible world. I love reading, writing, running, drum solos and singing loudly in the car, and laughing. Spending time outdoors with my family is my happy place and calms me when life feels too crazy. Jim and I have been married for 17 years (what? How? Impossible!) and we have four kids. Our three boys are Isaac (10), Elliot (6), and Asher (1) and our daughter is Audrey (8).

Between the four kids I have breastfed for over 6 years and I currently breastfeed our 14 month old. In fact, in the mid-to late 2000s, I was pregnant or nursing for over 6 years. So, yes, these breasts have a very full breastfeeding resume. During my first pregnancy, I planned to breastfeed because I read about the health benefits for the baby and I wanted to experience that level of bonding. We attended a class on breastfeeding, but I didn’t do much research beyond that. I just assumed it would work because women have breastfed for all of human history, so why couldn’t I? 

With the help of a lactation consultant who I will love forever for her gentle and reassuring care, my milk came in around day 3, but two weeks in my nipples were extremely cracked, to the point of bleeding, and my son would no longer latch on. This, combined with the general hurricane of hormones associated with pregnancy and childbirth, triggered post-partum depression. I vividly remember sitting on the floor in the hallway of our teeny apartment, bawling on the phone to my mom and telling her that my baby was perfect and he deserved a mama who could feed him and I wasn’t good enough to be his mama so he should be someone else’s son. Thankfully she called my husband who got me straight to my OB and we talked things over and she prescribed an anti-depressant to take if those thoughts continued.

During that time I pumped around the clock to feed Isaac the pumped milk. I remember a foggy haze of pumping and cleaning pump parts and feeding and copious amounts of nipple cream and loving my baby. At first my nipples were so cracked that the pumped milk looked like strawberry milk. Oh the pain. I kept trying to get Isaac to latch on, but he refused every time so the pumping continued.

Finally, on a Friday afternoon when Isaac was 10 weeks and 2 days old I decided to try one more time. He latched on! Jim got home from work and I was on our couch breastfeeding our baby with tears streaming down my face, but this time they were happy tears. I was fully prepared to pump exclusively and feed him with bottles, but I was thrilled at the chance to breastfeed him again. 

I ditched the pump and breastfed him until he was about 14 months old. My routine with him and the rest of our children was to feed on demand. I’d start on one side and switch to the other when it emptied, then start on the second side for the next feeding. When Isaac was a baby I read all I could about breastfeeding, the history of formula, and the health benefits to mother and baby because I was so amazed by the miracle that my body could produce exactly what he needed. I never knew that breastmilk for newborns is so different from breastmilk for 8 month olds or that the milk at the beginning of a feeding is different than the milk at the end of a feeding. I am still in awe that our bodies can do that.

Audrey’s and Elliot’s breastfeeding stories are much less dramatic. Feeling much more knowledgeable about breastfeeding and how to avoid the problems I had with Isaac, they both latched on and breastfed with no problems. I never got the breast pump out with Audrey or Elliot because I was still sick of it from the first time around and too tired with three kids in four years to bother with the extra dishes it would make. I breastfed Audrey for 18 months, even after getting pregnant with Elliot when she was 15 months old, and I breastfed Elliot for 19 months. The weaning process was very gradual although it was more difficult emotionally with Elliot since we thought he’d be our last baby.

Now I’m nursing our beloved surprise of a fourth baby, Asher, aka choochie face. He was one hungry newborn and worked hard to get my milk in one and a half days after delivery. He was a big, hungry baby so I had to be sure to stay well hydrated and keep my calories up to provide enough milk for him. We ran into a slight hiccup at eight months when my supply dipped. I had started running more miles again and also got my period again so I think the combination contributed to supply issues. I ran, not walked, to the internet to get any and all ideas on how to boost my supply. I used some essential oils, started drinking Mother’s Milk tea, ate lots of oatmeal, and started pumping between feedings and was able to work through the issues. Thankfully Asher kept latching on and doing his job of sucking/gently tugging until the milk let down even when he was frustrated. Now he’s 14 months old and he still loves nursing. In a busy house with four kids, those quiet, tender moments with him are a beautiful blessing for both of us. He nurses to sleep most days and I feel such peace as I watch his eyes drift closed and his face and body relax as I provide nourishment and comfort for his strong, growing body. It is a joy. 

My hope for all mothers is that your breastfeeding story goes how you want it to go. Whether you want to formula feed immediately or breastfeed until your maternity leave ends or you want to hit the one year mark and stop or you want to breastfeed until your baby is three or you want her to self-wean when she’s ready, then that’s what I hope happens. Because when the reality of feeding our baby doesn’t match our dream, then we are so quick to beat ourselves up for it and think of all the things we’re doing wrong. We are so good at forgetting that feeding our babies is one teeny part of being a mama. We forget the lullabies we sing and the rocking in the middle of the night and the baby massages and the post-bathtime snuggles and the beautiful act of being there for our babies, no matter how they are fed. So, I would say that my advice is go in with a game plan and the knowledge you need to succeed, but be prepared to have nothing go as planned. And if nothing goes as planned, remember you’re still a beautiful, strong mama and that God gave that child to you because you are just exactly right for each other. Even if he needs formula.

When I think about my breastfeeding experience, I feel thankful that I had minimal problems. I feel overjoyed that I could provide not only food, but also comfort and care for our babies. I grew them for nine months in my womb and nursing feels like such a natural outpouring of my love for them once they enter the world. I do not have the easiest breastfeeding stories or the hardest breastfeeding stories. I just have my stories. The stories my children and I wrote together in the back seat of the car on road trips and in the middle of the night in the glider, on the green couch in the living room and curled up on the floor. They are beautiful, sometimes painful, lovely, fulfilling stories and I am so thankful they are ours.

Thank you for reading and thanks to Julie for the chance to share our stories.

Be sure to catch  up with the rest of the Breastfeeding Diaries series at the top of my navigation bar.

Calling all moms! I'm taking Breastfeeding Diaries submissions for 2015! I'm looking for well written stories of breastfeeding and also for stories where breastfeeding didn't work out, or mom's who chose not to breastfeed. All are welcome! Please email me if you are interested at thegirlintheredshoes @ gmail. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. 

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December 16, 2014

Let's Talk All About Baby #2

Thank you again for all of your sweet comments on my blog, facebook, and instagram! You sure know how to make a girl's day!

Okay, so I promised to answer alllll your questions....

How far along are you? I'm 15 weeks as of today! I have a feeling this pregnancy is going to go by super fast.

When are you due? June 10! I had to have a c-section with Hudson but would really love to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) this go around. So we'll see!

How are you feeling? Well, I've been feeling all sorts of awful. When I was pregnant with Hudson I felt mildly nauseous basically the entire 1st trimester, which was zero fun. This time around it's been a lot worse. I've been really sick, throwing up, you name it. And I've had just about every other sickness too, including two stomach bugs, and a sore throat. Luckily, I am starting to feel more and more like myself, and thanks to some Zofran, I'm not throwing up anymore. I also had to pay a little visit to the ER in the middle of the night a few weeks ago. I woke up with really bad chest pains and was having a hard time breathing. The doctors thought I might have a blood clot in my lungs so they recommend a CT scan...and of course I'm assigned a resident who says the risk of a CT is "fetal demise." AND THAT WAS ALL SHE SAID. So basically, you need a CT, but your baby might die. So of course I lost it. And luckily my mom works with my doctor and knew that he was on call and actually in the hospital, so she walked upstairs to talk to him and he came down to the ER to let me know it was totally safe to do the CT scan. And that my baby would be fine. And that residents are scared of pregnant women. So...long story short, I had the CT, they didn't find a clot, silly resident wanted to do more tests, I said no, they sent me home, and I'm fine. 

Are you going to find out if it's a boy or girl? We found out with Hudson because there was NO WAY I could wait one more day to find out. But this time around, we are thinking about letting it be a surprise. With Hudson we knew he was a boy and we knew his birthday (thanks to a breech baby)....and I guess it took some of the fun and excitement out of things. So we might be surprised this time around. We still have a few weeks to think about it, so we might changed our minds!

Do you want a boy or a girl? We would love for Hudson to have a brother. We would love for him to have a sister. We really do not care either way....we just want a healthy baby. I know everyone says that, but we can see ourselves having a boy or a girl...and we are excited by either one! Also another reason we might wait until delivery day to find out the sex. 

What does Hudson think about all of this? Hudson has no clue what is happening. I think Wrigley knows more than he does. Hudson says "NO baby" when we ask him if he wants a baby. He also thinks he has a baby in his tummy just like mommy. Hudson will be 2 years old and 9 months when this baby comes, so hopefully his feelings will change by then!

Will you do weekly bump updates? Probably not. Sorry. You can see my weekly updates with Hudson here. I really loved do them...but they were SO much work. I hated that stupid chalkboard towards the end. I can't imagine having time to do that this go around. I'll post pictures every now and then so that you can see (because there's nothing cuter than a baby bump, am I right?) but probably won't be updating it every week. (p.s. dang, I was cute last time! And tiny! I already look like I am 20 weeks....hope this bump slows down a bit!)

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December 12, 2014

Oh Hey Friday!

Three cheers for Friday! Let's do this....

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{one} First of all, thank you all for your sweet comments on our big news yesterday! I am so excited to finally be able to share it with all of you! I promise to answer all your questions in a bump post (yes...there's already a bump!) next week. And here's a tip for all of you....if you put your pregnancy announcement on the back of your Christmas card, you might want to follow up with some of your family members to make sure they actually saw it! My aunt was texting me and didn't mention anything about the baby, so I finally asked her if she got our card...and she was all "yes! It's so cute!"...and then I asked if she read the back. Well, a few minutes later she called me all excited. So no, she hadn't read the back. My grandma got it right away, so I totally had to tease my poor aunt!

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{two} Bring on the Christmas jammies! Here's Hudson in his jams last still my heart! So just a heads up, there is a jammie link up in the works! Can't wait to share the details!

{three} So far Hudson has zero clue what is going on. He thinks the baby is in his tummy, not mine, and he also says "NO!" when we ask him if he wants to be a big brother. So yeah, we're working on it.

{four} Hudson "helped" me bake cookies the other day and it was so much fun! I cheated and used cookie dough I bought, but it still totally counts as baking in my book.

Hudson had a blast helping me shape the cookies and then watching them bake. I wish I could bottle him up, he's so stinkin' cute!

{five} I'm giving away a $100 Amazon gift card's super easy to create an entry, trust me! And the odds are totally in your favor!

Happy Friday! And now I'm linking up with basically everyone....

Oh Hey Friday with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife!

And 5 on Friday with A. Liz AdventruesCarolina CharmHello! Happiness, and The Good Life.

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