March 26, 2015

Name that Baby...GIRL Edition!

Hearing all of your boy names last week was SO much fun! We still haven't decided on a boy name yet, but added a few more to our list, thanks to you guys! So today....let's talk girls!

When I was pregnant with Hudson we knew we were having a boy, so we didn't talk about girl names too much. I can't even remember what names we liked in the beginning, but we did pick a middle name which we love and is a family name too.....I'll tell you the name when and if we have a baby girl (sorry!).

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We would be thrilled to add a little girl to our family....but we would be just as thrilled to add a baby boy. Some of you have asked if I have a feeling as to which gender our sweet babe is...and honestly, I don't. I was strongly on team boy at the beginning, then switched to team girl....and then I got back on team boy. But as of right now, I really have no clue! This pregnancy has been so different from my first, that it makes me think we might be having a girl....but at the same time, all of that could just be in my head and be because I'm busy chasing a toddler this time around. Heartbeat patterns, my recent symptoms, cravings, and "activity" seem to flip flop around too. So basically I've got nothing.

SO, help us out with a name! What are your favorite girl names that go with Hudson?

I can't wait to read them!

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March 25, 2015

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Katie from For Lauren and Lauren

Hi there!  I'm Katie and I blog at for Lauren and Lauren, and am mom to 20 month old Addilyn.  I'm excited to share on Julie's blog, as I have loved reading everyone's stories.  It's wonderful when you can find someone who can relate to you, especially when it comes to such a personal and emotional thing as motherhood.  But it's also amazing to see how every mom and baby are so different, yet we're all doing what is best for our babies and families.  

Before Addilyn was born I honestly didn't have a whole lot of set plans on how I would parent. I knew we'd love our baby like crazy and do our best to teach her the important things like to love God and love others, but I honestly didn't know how we'd handle all the other things.  Like how our routines would work, how sleep would (or wouldn't!) happen, or when I'd be ready to leave her for long periods of time.  I did, however plan on breastfeeding, although I knew very little what to expect or how long I would do it.  

My labor was really rough, and I had always imagined the doctor putting Addilyn on my chest right away, then nursing her soon after.  After a crazy long labor, she came out and wasn't breathing, so within minutes the room was filled with extra doctors and I didn't get to see her for the first 30 minutes.  Thankfully after that she was put on my chest and latched on right away.  I still think it is so amazing that babies know exactly what to do.  I felt incredibly out of it after she was born and it all just felt like such a blur.  I think my labor was a little traumatizing to me and I just felt so exhausted and overwhelmed.  I so badly wish I could go back to those first moments with her.  

The next morning Addilyn tested positive for jaundice and she was put under the lights in the NICU.  I was devastated.  Looking back I know there are so many worse things that could happen, but I felt so sad that I couldn't hold her and that we couldn't go home right away.  I was allowed to take her out to nurse, but my milk wasn't coming in and she seemed hungry and frustrated and it was so far from easy and relaxing.  Because of her jaundice they wanted her drinking to flush out her system so they wanted to give her formula.  I was so worried that if they did she wouldn't want to nurse and we wouldn't have that bonding, especially since she was under the lights most of the time.  The lactation consultants at the hospital were amazing.  They put a little tube into the formula bottle then put the other end near my nipple so Addilyn thought she was nursing, but was getting formula.  They only had to do this a few times until the next day when my milk finally came in.  Of course while I was yet again crying to the lactation consultant that I was worried something was wrong.  Pregnancy and post pregnancy hormones are crazy, right?! So many tears. 

Addilyn had to stay two extra nights in the hospital and we had to go home without her, which was so hard,  Again, I know moms have to go through so much worse and I'm grateful our time there was so short.  But it was hard to drive home without her.  I had no idea how painful the first stages of nursing would be.  The first few nights (especially the ones when she was in the NICU) I was incredibly uncomfortable.  I pumped a handful of times and had a ton of milk right away.  Which was great because they were able to give her bottles overnight, and I started with extra milk.  Quickly I learned that if anything I had an oversupply of milk.  I always felt "full" and had no problem pumping 4 ounces in between feedings.  I didn't pump all too often as I was staying home with Addilyn and if I left I did right after nursing her.  She would take a bottle, but never the whole thing and sometimes she wouldn't drink it at all.  We weren't super consistent with giving them to her and it really was hit or miss if she would take it.

I honestly can't remember the first few weeks in terms of nursing, except that you do it all the time.   I'd sit on the couch for hours and I look back and feel so thankful for all those hours.  I had an awful recovery and I don't know how I would have managed taking care of other kids or other responsibilities.  It wasn't until three months that I started thinking more about a schedule in terms of feeding.  Before that I'd nurse when she'd cry, nurse her to sleep,and hold her for all of her naps. After the first month and a half of very little sleep, Addilyn would usually only wake up once around two or three, eat and sleep till early morning, nurse again and sleep another hour or so.  I felt so lucky.  She seemed like a great eater, was gaining weight great and nursing was pretty easy.  Still time consuming, but I was home with her all the time and it felt easy.  Again, I wish I could go back to that time for even just a day.  I miss her tiny newborn self and those hours of laying together.  

Around three months I started working on a more eat, play, sleep schedule to help with her napping on her own.  Especially after we hit the dreaded four month sleep regression.  She went from waking up once to waking up every hour to hour and a half.  I felt so tired and didn't want to let her cry so I would just nurse her every time.  It was exhausting.  Looking back I don't even know how hard I tried to do something other than nurse her when she woke up.  It felt like the easiest and quickest solution for us both to get back to sleep! Finally around six months I felt like I was barely sleeping and we dealt with some tears from both of us, and went down to two feedings a night which sadly felt heavenly! 

Around nine months Addilyn, who had been in the 90th percentile for height and weight until this point, dropped to the 40th and then to the 20th at her next appointment.  She wasn't too interested in baby food and I felt like I was constantly pushing her to nurse or eat so that she'd gain weight.  She was always an active baby and got easily distracted.  She was still waking up twice at night and although still anxiously awaiting full nights of sleep, I felt like at least she was getting in extra calories.  Our pediatrician had us go through a ton of scary tests, that looking back seem so unnecessary, but she had us worried something was wrong as to why she wasn't gaining weight.  She suggested once or twice trying formula, but I was so sure that I had an oversupply of milk and felt like that wasn't the issue.  

Long story short, we determined Addilyn most likely has had acid reflux her whole life. We ended up switching pediatricians as I felt like this is something she should have caught early on, and could have spared us from a lot of stress and a whole lot of money for the tests we went through.  Again, looking back I feel like there were plenty of signs, but I had no idea as a first time mom.  She spit up all the time, slept way better prompt up, was a pretty awful sleeper most of her life and wasn't gaining weight.  I know so many of those are common newborn and baby symptoms so I had no idea.  But within a month of being put on medicine she gained over a pound and a half and we were so relieved. 

Before Addilyn was born I assumed I would nurse her until a year and then quit sometime around there.  I did not expect it to be a battle or to have mixed feelings about it.  It's ironic to me because when Addilyn was a baby she was never a comfort nurser.  I tried to nurse her when she would get her shots or would be crying for something else and it would make her more upset.  But as she passed 14 months, nursing became a huge source of comfort.  She went from never initiating nursing to asking and saying "nurse" all the time.  We were nursing when she woke up, before bedtime, twice during the night and then a few times during the day.  

Around 17 months I felt exhausted from nursing her twice a night and was ready to be done and ready to get a full night's sleep!  I started to feel frustrated with nursing as it felt like her only source to sleep during the night and I thought in order to cut that out, we'd have to be done altogether.  I was dreading cutting out those feedings and was sure it would be hours of tears, as we've already had our share of bedtime and sleep battles with plenty of tears.  I was relieved that after a few weeks she finally started sleeping through the night. With not too many tears and a whole lot of singing and rocking, she stopped asking to nurse when she woke up at night. A few weeks later she stopped waking up during the night, and now most nights now she sleeps all night and I can't tell you how happy it makes me.  

I thought night weaning would be the hardest and the others would eventually fade out, but here I am, still nursing my 20 month old morning, night and usually one or two times during the day.  And if it were up to her I'd probably be nursing many more times a day.  I feel ready to be done, yet the thought of being done makes me sad too.  We struggled with infertility for a few years before we were given Addilyn and I don't know if I'll ever get to breastfeed a baby again.  I think the idea of her being done makes me sad that this stage is over.  Yet I am so ready to completely have my body back and the freedom that comes with that.  It's crazy to me how many emotions have come with breastfeeding.  

I don't know how we'll approach weaning.  She does completely fine when I'm not around or when my husband puts her to bed, but will cry and say "mama, nurse please?" (which just about breaks my heart at the thought of saying no) if I try to not nurse her before we read our stories and she goes to bed.  I would love it if it would just happen on it's own, but right now she doesn't show any signs of weaning.  I don't want it to be too hard on either of us, so right now I'm just waiting it out until I have a better plan, and enjoying the extra months of bonding time I have with her.  If you've been through the weaning process with a 20 month old or close to it please share!

If I've learned one thing about motherhood it's that you have no idea what it's going to be like until you experience it.  You can't imagine how much love you'll have for your baby, and you have no idea how you'll navigate each stage, breastfeeding being one of them.  And that every mom and every baby is different and you just do what is best for you and your baby.  I get nervous thinking about how hard weaning will be on Addilyn, but I know I need to do what is best for me too, and that we'll work through it together whenever that time comes.  And with getting through hard things, better things come.  And with letting go and moving past wonderful stages, there are more wonderful stages to look forward too.  

Thanks for sticking with me and reading my lengthy post! 

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

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March 24, 2015

7 Things that should NEVER EVER be said to a pregnant girl

1. Any day now huh? Um, no. I have like two more months to go, thank you very much. Thanks for that boost of confidence. For the record, a man said this to me. I don't think a mother would ever say this to a pregnant girl. And I never once got this comment during my first pregnancy. #SecondPregnancyProblems 

2. I bet you're hoping it's a (insert whatever gender you don't already have here) right? Who says this? Yes, I'm hoping it's a girl, and if it's not I'll be sending it back. #SaidNoMomEver

3. If it's not a (insert "preferred" gender here) you can always have another one. WHAT? Basing my family size on the gender of my unborn child is a fools game. I'd end up with enough boys to start my own baseball team if the plan was to keep going until we have a girl. If I want 4 kids, I'll have 4 kids, regardless if they are all boys, all girls, or a mix match. 

4. I hope you are getting lots of sleep now, because when that baby comes you'll never sleep again. This just makes me laugh. Because it's partially true, but should NEVER be said to a pregnant women. Why would you want to bring someone down by telling them that they will never sleep again? Sleep deprivation is a severe form of torture that all moms go through. I know I will sleep again, eventually, but why break a mom-to-be's spirit? Let her discover this on her own. Especially don't say this to a pregnant woman who has a 2 year old at home who also doesn't sleep....she's been there, done that. When a woman said this to me at the grocery store it was all I could do to no roll my eyes. Way to make motherhood sound horrible, lady.

5. Can I touch your belly? This needs no explanation. Unless you are my husband, my doctor, or I invite you to touch it, HANDS OFF THE BELLY. 

6. I only gained 10 pounds when I was pregnant. Shut up. Go away. You are a unicorn and don't really exist. 

7. Wow, you're so small/big/whatever. Unless you are saying, "wow, you're so beautiful" zip it. So far with this pregnancy, I haven't been told I'm so "big" but when I was pregnant with Hudson a few people told me I was small....and it upset me. It felt like they were implying that something was wrong with my baby. So unless you are commenting about how amazing the mom-to-be looks, keep your opinions to yourself.

What have people said to you when you were pregnant?

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March 20, 2015

Name that Baby....BOY Edition!

Don't worry, we still don't know if we are having a boy or a girl...but friends, I need your help! Baby #2 will be here before we know it, and sense we don't know the gender, this babying naming business is even harder, because we need a boy name and a girl name! So that's where you come in.....I would love to hear your favorite boy names!

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When we were having our first sweet boy, on our list was:
1. Hudson
2. Harrison
3. ???

And I'm sure there were more names on the list but neither of us can remember. Obviously we went with our #1 pick for HUDSON! And although I still love Harrison, I'm not crazy about double H names. So I need some more fun names to add to our list!

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So....let me hear your boy name suggestions that would go well with Hudson. I seriously can't wait!

(p.s. how cute are these one-year-old Hudson ALL BOY photos? I can't believe he's already 2 and a half!)

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March 18, 2015

The Breastfeeding Diaries: Sharlee from My New Lines

Prior to ever getting pregnant I had things I just *thought* I knew about breastfeeding:

*I would do it.  And I wouldn't "give up" like so many women I had met or heard about.

*I would breastfeed for one year and then wean.

*I would combine pumping and nursing when I returned to work.

*It was hard. 

And it was pretty much as simple as that. I thought I knew it all and I thought I was prepared. (And boy, was I ever judgmental.) I knew that it would be hard, I had definitely done some research. I wasn't prepared for how hard and how emotionally draining. I just didn't realize that there would be so many preconceived notions and emotions tied to breastfeeding.

Immediately after she was born, they placed my daughter on my chest for some skin to skin action.  A nurse helped her latch on and she began nursing. Simple enough. It didn't hurt and it felt that it came pretty naturally.

Fast forward four days. My daughter nursed so frequently that I couldn't sleep at night. (I had to return to the hospital just two days after she was born due to high blood pressure). She wanted to nurse all night long. I had a visit scheduled at the hospital with a private lactation consultant. She weighed my daughter and while I expected her to loose some weight, I didn't expect her to have lost 12% of her weight in four days.

I began crying, "No wonder she's been nursing so much. She's hungry." And I already felt like a failure. I already felt horrible. The lactation consultant looked my daughter over and noticed that she had a tight jaw and tongue tie. In addition to that, after asking me a few questions, she basically told me I didn't have enough glandular tissue to ever fully sustain my daughter.

I wasn't prepared for the devastation I felt at that. My milk hadn't "come in" yet and my breasts weren't full. My baby wasn't gaining weight. I had all the cards stacked against me and I felt so tired and weepy that I didn't have the energy to face this breastfeeding battle.

 But I had made up my mind that I would give it six weeks prior to giving birth and so we set up a plan of action and I promised myself to keep at it for six weeks.

In order to help me out, the lactation consultant first showed me some positions for nursing. She adjusted four different pillows behind my back, under an arm, and in all sorts of weird positions. I remember thinking, " How am I supposed to do this all by myself at home? Why is this so complicated?" That first nursing session in the delivery room was definitely too good to be true. 

Our plan consisted of supplementing my daughter's intake and trying to increase my milk supply. We would feed my daughter a combination of donated breast milk and formula through an SNS feeder tube while I nursed. My husband had to help with this. He had to set it up and get it ready and help me latch. It was exhausting and frustrating and it seemed all our time was spent warming milk, pumping milk, nursing, latching, cleaning only to start all over again.

I was released from the hospital on three different blood pressure medications. I had alarms set to take them at various times throughout the day (and night) and a newborn to feed. I was so tired, emotional, and struggling to heal from childbirth. I felt like the world was caving in. At one week my daughter was holding steady with her weight but she still hadn't gained. My health care providers recommended a strict schedule of feeding every hour and a half followed by a twenty minute pumping schedule. "When will I sleep?" I asked teary eyed. They assured me that this would all be temporary. I felt like nobody cared about me and I didn't have the energy to care for myself. I had to use up every single ounce of energy to care for my daughter.

I was so ready to be done. I finally realized why so many women stop. Why it was so hard. It was beyond hard. I felt like such a mess and a failure. My world was turned upside down. At her two week appointment, my daughter had finally started gaining weight--and more than enough. My health care provider (a different midwife from the same practice) realized what a complete mess I was and suggested that we introduce a bottle and have my husband feed my daughter one time during the night and told me to sleep. She suggested I only pump a few times throughout the day. Thank goodness that SOMEONE finally seemed to be looking out for me.

I was a new mom and I suppose I needed the "permission" to go off course and take care of me. I needed to be reassured that my daughter would be fine no matter what. And I really just needed sleep.

My husband took my daughter for her late night feeding that night and for a week following. She gained weight and I continued to pump and supplement her intake as needed. Just after six weeks I went off my blood pressure medications and started taking a prescription medication for milk supply (I only took this prescription for one month and went off of it with the support of my daughter's pediatrician as her weight gain was fine.).

Around this time, the pain from nursing finally began to subside and we finally fell into a groove. In fact, so much so, that my daughter started a bottle strike that lasted until we introduced her to sippy cups. That's right--I was told I'd never fully sustain her but she nursed exclusively from 6 1/2 weeks to 12 1/2 months.  She is 14 months old and we are still nursing, but we do give her whole milk in a  cup with her meals. . I don't know where we are going next. I know what I'd like to do and I'm just hoping that as we prepare to wean eventually, my daughter will be ready. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've had to nurse her. It wasn't easy at first and even later there were days that were hard (I was staying home with a baby that wouldn't take a bottle or pacifier. The first year went by super fast but some days were very long and hard.) But my daughter wanted me. She preferred me. And I was and still am, more than okay with that. I'm grateful that I can be that for her.

 I have apprehensions about weaning. Fighting so hard to nurse her meant that I fed on demand for the entire first year--night and day. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I am not sure where I'm going next. Breastfeeding goes so far beyond getting started, but so few people share their experiences past the "getting started" stage.

I am not a wealth of knowledge but I will tell you this. If you are a new mom or an expectant mom: don't give up--give yourself time to adjust--and you likely will. If you don't adjust or it's not happening, give yourself permission to care for YOU--body and mind. Do what you need to do to take care of you. For the first few weeks I felt like nobody was thinking about me and I sort of felt lost to the world--which didn't help when I was already so tired, weak, and emotional. So I when I say, "Take care of YOU!" I mean it, from the bottom of my heart. I also just want to let anyone out there know that the ONLY indication of sufficient milk supply is baby weight gain. Some women's breast don't change. Some women never experience milk "coming in." Some women never leak. Some women can barely pump a few ounces of milk in a setting. I experienced ALL of those things, but eventually (with the help, guidance, and supervision of many health care professionals) my daughter started gaining enough weight. I'd love it if you stopped by my blog--or at least come by to check out my 5 Breastfeeding Tips for New or Expectant Mothers.

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

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March 17, 2015

Kiss Me, I'm Irish (maybe?)

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Kiss me, I'm Irish! Or at least I think a little bit of me is? But who knows for sure? So obviously we are celebrating in our house. Mostly because redheads look good in green. But any excuse works, right?

And now, a St. Patrick's Day list.....

 1. A certain little leprechaun woke us up at 2am and was ready to party. Too much talk about rainbows and pots of gold I guess. Long story short, a toddler who sleeps in our bed horizontally = mommy goes to sleep on the couch. 

2. 28 Weeks tomorrow....holy cow! 

3. I have another ultrasound scheduled tomorrow, which means I have to stay strong AGAIN and not find out the gender. Send up a quick prayer!

4. I don't know how I waited until March 16th to have a shamrock shake. Thankfully my husband understands my sudden cravings and jumped in the car to go pick one up for me last night. He knows the way to this pregnant girl's heart. 

5. I promise that one day my blog posts won't be filled with iphone photos. I need to step up my game.

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