Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Naturipe Produce Coupons

This is a little random, I know, but I have recently become completely and totally addicted to couponing.  I am naturally a cheap bastard with a streak of psycho competitiveness.  Couponing has become a game to me... me against the store, and I am determined to win.  I'm getting a little nutty.

I haven't come out of the closet on this blog about what a crazy lady I am, but then I came across this deal and I couldn't keep my mouth shut.

I prefer to buy organic produce, which, as we all know if more expensive.  As my ideal family grocery budget is $60 a week, this doesn't give me a lot to spend on pricey produce.   

I recently read a blog somewhere, and now have no idea where, that many companies will send you coupons if you write to them and let them know that you are trying to improve your eating habits and would like to try their produce.  My local grocery store carries a considerable amount of Naturipe organic berries, so I decided to search their website for coupons and when I didn't find any I submitted a request asking for coupons to try their product, and look what I got!

They sent me 6 coupons that total $18 in savings, including 3 coupons for free products up to a $5 value. 

Total win!

You can also receive coupons by signing up for Berry Blast membership.

Do you have any great deals that you can't keep to yourself?  Link up below.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dear Bug: Our First Month Together

Dear Bug,

I can't believe that a month ago you were still bouncing around in my belly. I can no longer imagine life without you, nor would I want to. In this month, you have gone from being a virtual stranger to the person my entire world revolves around.

I have to admit, I really wasn't sure I wanted a baby. I was afraid because I knew my life would never be the same after you came around. But in this month I have come to realize that you are the something that was always missing from my life.

It hasn't been easy. All of books I read and research I did couldn't prepare me for just how much you changed my life. People told me I wouldn't be sleeping much and all of my time would be devoted to you. I somehow imagined that you'd spend a significant amount of time in your swing, or a crib or something and I'd be able to continue one with my day-to-day routine while you slept. But you are truly my Snuggle Bug. You LOVE being held and don't spend much time outside of my arms, though you will (thankfully) tolerate your co-sleeper in 2-3 hour stretches throughout the night. (By the way, you just spit up down my shirt and into my bra!)

We are learning so much together. I am slowly learning the things I need to know about you to keep you happy and healthy, and you have grown incredibly strong. You can hold your head up while you are on your tummy and even look around for a few seconds before taking a break. In the last week you discovered the animals hanging from the mobile on your swing, learned to smile when I smile, and rolled over from your tummy to your back once (though you haven't been able to repeat it... yet). We are also starting to figure out that whole breastfeeding thing and I can't tell you how entertaining it is to listen to your noises when you eat. Daddy says you feed like a baby velociraptor.

Sometimes I can't believe you are mine. You were already over 1/3 of mommy's height when you were born and your legs are so incredibly long that you are starting to hit the ends of your 0-3 month old feety jammies, though they are loose everywhere else. At your last doctors appointment you were in the 95th percentile for height and 53rd for weight, something very foreign to your short and chubby mom. But you have my brow, most noticable when you are angry, and a ton of hair, just like me. Your dad and I spend a lot of time figuring out which parts you inherited from whom.  It doesn't really matter because the parts fit together perfectly and you are absolutely stunning.

My life has changed this month is more ways than I ever could have imagined, but there has never been even a momentary wish that I could go back to my old life. There is nothing I have experienced that is more wonderful than being your mom, and I am so excited to watch you continue to grow.

Love always,

Your adoring Mommy Bug

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Milestones

This is perfect timing for this post.  I am beyond excited to announce that by some miracle, my Bug has decided to breastfeed.

How did this happen?

I had tried many times, to no avail, to get help from Kaiser.  They'd continued to schedule me with a nurse practitioner, who was nice, but wasn't getting the job done.  She'd taught me how to use a nipple shield (TERRIBLE) and promised to help me to get Bug to breastfeed without it, but never followed through with scheduling an appointment.  Bug was able to use the nipple shield well at first, but within days, she was gumming the end of my nipple causing quite a bit of pain.  I quit using it and went back to pumping and bottle feeding.

After reading everyone's posts on support last week, I realized that I needed to push a little harder to get some support for me and Bug.  I attended my first La Leche League meeting last Thursday in hopes that I'd be able to find an LC that could help us out.

What ended up happening was the group went around discussing the benefits of breastfeeding and I burst into a big teary mess.  I didn't just cry, I broke down into hysterics to the point where I couldn't even explain why I was crying.  I finally managed to get out a few sentences explaining the problem, and was met with overwhelming support, which of course made me cry more.  Stupid post pregnancy hormones.

They suggested an LC who worked with WIC, a program that helps with the nutritional needs of low income pregnant and breastfeeding women.  I never thought to look to them for help because I don't qualify as low income.  However, they provide lactation support to all women, regardless of income.

The minute I got home, I called and requested to speak with this LC who I was told could help anyone and found out that she could only provide service to people living within the county where they are located.  I live 2 miles over the county line, and therefore, didn't qualify.

More tears.

Apparently, this was the perfect time to call Kaiser.  I cried to the advice nurse who helped me get in touch with lactation support.  Within an hour, someone called me back.  I was scheduled for the first available appointment the following Tuesday.

And guess what?!?!  Within minutes of meeting with Barbara, my new LC and personal hero, Bug had latched.  She showed me how to recreate the latch.

And she has done it every time since.  HOOOORRRAAAYYY!

I don't think I've ever been so proud, relieved, excited, you name it.  I can't tell you how wonderful its been.

Don't get me wrong, its incredibly awkward as she refuses to open her mouth wide enough most of the time.  We have a long way to go, but for the first time I feel like we are well on our way.

Four weeks after Bug was born, to the day, we learned how to breastfeed.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Weigh In Wednesday: Week 3

Date: February 22nd
Current Weight: 204 pounds
Change from Last Week: 0
Pregnancy Weight Lost: 23 Pounds
Next Goal: 186 pounds

Bug's Weight Last Week: 8 pounds 11.2 ounces
This Week's Goal: 9 pounds, 1 ounce
Bug's Current Weight: 9lbs, 6 oz
Next Week's Goal: 9 pounds, 13 oz

Take a look at Bug's weight!  It AMAZING!  We met with an LC yesterday (more on that later) and had a weigh in, and OMG!  She's back on pace.  We'll have another weigh in next week, and if we get a good number 2 weeks in a row, our weight concerns may be a thing of the past.  It's nice to feel like I'm doing something right for a change.

Me... well, at least it didn't go up.  

I had 3 goals for last week:
  1. I'd make and eat breakfast.  Mission accomplished thanks to Christy at Average Mom's Wear Capes for inspiring my one-handed breakfast selection for this week.
  2. I'd make it to the grocery store and work on making dinner again.  I left Bug at my sister's on Sunday morning and was able to take a leisurely trip to Target and Trader Joe's.  Not only did I buy groceries that helped me limit my intake of crap this week, but I LOVED the alone time.  (Sorry Bug!).  I made black bean enchiladas that were easy and DH approved.
  3. I'd work out at least once.  On Monday, Daisy Dog and I did the 2.33 mile loop around my neighborhood, again, without the company of Bug.  I did week 1 day 1 of the couch to 5k program and then walked the rest of the loop.  I was worried I wouldn't be able to do it, but it was actually a little too easy.  I want to start out slow, but, I also am hoping to do my first post pregnancy 5k, the Zoo Zoom, on April 10th.  It's one I've always wanted to do, and if I'm not concerned with my time there is no reason not to.  Although.... it would be nice to set a new PR.  Um, maybe later in the year.
My training partner Daisy at the end of our walk.  She looks tired, but, um no.  Not even close.

      So, I accomplished all three of my goals for the week.  BIG pat on the back to me.  I'm not officially a super model yet, but I am going to continue to focus on making healthy lifestyle changes. 

    Here are my goals for this week:
    1. Zumba anyone?  I am going to up my workout goal to at least twice this week.  Me and one of my homies have a date for Zumba on Saturday.  I have never done it before, and I have the coordination of an elephant on stilts, so it should be fun for everyone who gets the chance to watch me.
    2. Get at least 3 servings of fruits and veggies a day.  I know I should opt for more, but I have to start somewhere. 
    3. Stay away from the Reduced Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake at Starbucks.  I am addicted.  There are too many drive through Starbucks around me and I can't stopped eating these because they are delicious cinnamony moist and delicious gooey goodness.  But, did you know these little bastards pack a whopping 340 calories.  Yikes!  No mas.    

      Tuesday, February 22, 2011

      One Handed Breakfast

      One of my goals for the week was to start eating breakfast. I need something easy that can be eaten in one hand and filling enough to last me until whenever it is I am able to eat again.

      Thanks to Christie over at Average Mom's Wear Capes who suggested baking egg beaters in a muffin tin and adding a little cheese. I modified her suggestion a little and used whole eggs (because that's what I had) and adding veggies.  Check out the recipe below.

      I added half of a whole wheat bagel with an organic butter spread and apple slices from Trader Joes. The whole breakfast is about 400 calories, filling, and can be prepared and eaten while holding a Bug.

      6 whole eggs
      3 cups baby spinach torn into smaller pieces
      1 tbsp chopped chives 
      1/2 cup diced baby bell peppers
      1/2 cup shredded cheese
      - Mix all ingredients except cheese and pour into muffin tin.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Add cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.  Voila!

      Thanks Christie!
      Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

      Wednesday, February 16, 2011

      Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Support ~ Week 7

      My mom has been my biggest supporter and advocate through this breastfeeding journey.

      It started as soon as she found out I was planning to breastfeed.

      It wasn't until then that I found out that my mom was never able to successfully breastfeed me.  I remember my mom breastfeeding my sisters, at least for a little while, but I guesss I never really gave it much thought.  I'd always just assumed I was breastfed. 

      I was born in 1981, a year when just over half of new moms breastfed.  Neither of my grandmothers breastfed because it just wasn't what you did at the time.  They weren't able to provide support to my mom.  I had difficulty latching, and I quickly lost weight.  She became self-conscious of her decision to breastfeed and felt that everyone was blaming her for my weight loss, which could easily be rectified by switching to formula.  Over time, she reluctantly gave in and switched to formula.  She had more success with my sisters, but only nursed my sisters for the first 6 weeks or so because it was too hard.  She promised that when I had my baby, she would be there to support me, no matter what I decided to do.

      But I wouldn't need support.  I was prepared. 

      I attended prenatal breastfeeding classes, read everything I could get my hands on, and adjusted my birth plan to make sure that latching on in the delivery room was a priority.  My baby would do just fine.

      And then she didn't.

      The first encounters with breastfeeding were difficult, but I wasn't too worried.  The day after we left the hospital, I took Bug in for a weight check.  Her weight had dipped from her birth weight of 8 pounds 11 ounces to 7 pounds 9 ounces, and her Pediatrician recommended I supplement.  I'd pump to maintain my supply, and it was a temporary solution.  She'd have her tied-tongue clipped, and it she'd be a breastfeeding baby in no time. 

      I called my mom every night to update her on Bug's progress and told her everything was going just fine.  And every night she told me that if it ever wasn't fine, she'd be there for me.

      The night before Bug's surgery, I told her that I wasn't expecting much, but I was hoping that there would be some noticible change.  My mom said that if there wasn't, she'd be there for me.

      I was worried about the surgery, but Bug slept through the whole thing.  The doctor numbed her tongue and then held it up with a tongue depressor and clipped her frenulum with a tiny pair of scissors.  And just like that, it was done.  Later that evening, Bug experimented with her new tongue, rolling it around in her mouth. 

      I decided to give breastfeeding a try.  We'd been given a nipple shield by a lactation consultant at our last appointment.  I placed it on my nipple, positioned Bug, and tried to get her to feed.  She gummed the nipple a few times then burst into hysterical tears.  I cried with her. 

      DH supported me the best way he new how.  He told me that it was okay if she was never able to latch on.  He told me we could use formula, or I could continue to pump and everything would be fine.

      But it wasn't fine with me. 

      I called my mom for our nightly check in, and told her that the surgery had gone well, and everything was fine.  And she told me that if it wasn't, that was okay too. 

      Once again, I burst into tears, and so did she. We spent a long time crying on the phone together and sharing this mutual heartbreak.  I don't know what I would have done without her support.

      We are still struggling, and I am reaching out in every way that I know how.  We've been to support groups, lactation consultants associated with our insurance company, outside lactation consultants and tomorrow we are heading to a La Leche League meeting.  I am hoping that at some point, Bug will be able to latch consistently and I'm doing everything I can to make that happen.

      But if it doesn't, I know my mom will be there to support me.

      Weigh In Wednesday: Week 2

      Date: February 15th
      Current Weight: 204 pounds
      Change from Last Week: +3
      Pregnancy Weight Lost: 23 Pounds
      Next Goal: 186 pounds

      Bug's Weight: 8 pounds 11.2 ounces
      Next Week's Goal: 9 pounds, 1 ounce

      If you've ever been concerned about your weight, you've had a moment like this.  You step on the scale and feels like someone has punched you in the chest.  You feel fat, discouraged, and more than a little helpless.

      I guess those days of dropping an ass-ton of weight without doing anything different are over.  Darn.  I liked those.  Now I have to decide what to do. 

      I have been spending a LOT of time thinking about weight.  That, and breastfeeding, are taking up most of the mental space not allocated to the moment to moment care of her Bugness.  You may have noticed I have included her weight as well.  Why?  She is also having a bit of a weight issue.  Hers is the opposite of mine.  At her three week appointment, her pediatrician told me that she isn't gaining wieght quickly enough.  He'd like to see her gaining about 3/4 of an ounce a day, and in the last 11 days, she'd only gained 5 ounces.  Breastfeeding isn't going well, but I'll be spending plenty of time talking about that.

      Its been a VERY long time since I've been happy with my weight and I have wanted to do something about it for awhile.  And I have changed many of my eating habits, lost quite a bit of weight, and gained a chunk of it back while pregnant.  No big deal.  I can live with that.
      I know how to loose weight.  In fact, I am great at it.  In the past, I have had a TON of success with Weight Watchers.  I lost 30+ pounds.  I can get back into the 160's pretty easily and I know if I stuck with the program, I'd easily be able to get to my goal weight. 

      But I can't stick with it. 

      Having a daughter has changed the way I think about my weight.  I worry about her modeling her eating habits after my own and it scares me.

      I am a serial dieter.

      I eat like crap for a few months until my weight gets to where I can't tolerate it anymore.  Then I diet.  Then it gets old and I stop.  Then I eat like crap for a few months.  The cycle continues.  I gain and lose the same 10, 15, 20 pounds over and over and over again.

      This is me this morning, trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans that was practically falling off of me before I got pregnant.  Don't worry, that skin you see isn't crotch or tummy or anything gross like that.  Its my leg.  I barely got these suckers over my knees. 

      Yes, I just had a baby.  Yes, it will take time to loose that weight.  But if I'm being honest, I let myself get completely out of control and ate whatever the hell I wanted during my pregnancy.  I continued my unhealthy relationship with food.

      And it has to stop. 

      Because I don't want my daughter to have this feeling. 

      So, what do I do about it?

      My first thought was to go back to Weight Watchers. 

      And then I read this post by Colleen over at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans.  Colleen discusses what we all know... that diets don't work.  Focusing on healthy living does.

      What do I want to model for my daughter?  Do I want her to see me on a diet? Or do I want to model a healthy lifestyle?

      Of course, I want to model a healthy lifestyle. 

      Will Weight Watchers help me do that? 

      Not sure.  It has helped me learn to eat fruits and veggies.  It has helped me to eat whole grains and high protein foods.  But so far, it hasn't helped me make a lifestyle change.  It hasn't turned into more than a diet for me. 

      I know there is a new program out.  If anyone can fill me in on the changes, I'd love to hear your feedback.

      But for the next week, I'm going to set a few goals to make minor changes in my lifestyle.  Here are my goals for the week:
      1. I will find a way to eat breakfast.  I haven't been eating until around noon everyday because mornings are, um, challenging.  Any suggestions for easy breakfast ideas would be greatly appreciated.
      2. I will go grocery shopping and make dinner at least once this week in an attempt to get back to my goal of distraction free dining at night. 
      3. I will exercise at least once. 
      Easy, right?!?! 

      We'll see how it goes.

      Tuesday, February 15, 2011

      Daddy's Little Girl

      DH has struggled with the new daddy thing a little. I have been struggling with balancing not being a total nag and getting him to be more helpful. He hasn't been able to take time off to spend with her because we made a team decision to save his days off for when I go back to work, and consequently he is having a little trouble learning her cues and all the little extras that need to be done around here.

      Well, he's making an effort. This morning he woke up early to feed and dress her so I could get a little extra sleep. Check out the wardrobe choice.
      Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

      Sunday, February 13, 2011


      I had intended to write about the ups and downs of breastfeeding in the order that they happened, but today we had a huge breastfeeding victory and I couldn't wait to share. 

      This morning I couldn't find my stupid nipple shield and decided that I would try to get Bug to latch without it.  And it worked!  She breastfed all by herself... and I know she got plenty of milk because she had a little spit up after. 

      Its taken two weeks and five days, and I know this rollercoaster ride is far from over... but we did it!

      Saturday, February 12, 2011

      Top 10 Registry Recommendations for Your Newborn

      In these first few weeks as a mom, I've discovered what items I can and can't live without.  Here's a list of the top 10 things that got me through the first few weeks:

      1. The Arms Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet:  In the last few days, Bug has a decided she doesn't want to be around anyone but me and she doesn't want to be put down.  However, she sleeps in her co-sleeper every night very happily.  It's close enough to where she can still be near me, and I can pat her tummy while she falls asleep.  There is also a canopy that can be purchased separately, which has been a life saver because it keeps the cats out when we aren't in the room.  You might remember, I had a little trouble with George and Lox using the co-sleeper as their personal love den.

      2.  The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B: This sheep plays 4 sounds (heart beat, ocean waves, rain and whales) for 23 or 45 minutes.  After feeding Bug, I turn on the sheep to the whale noises and rock her to sleep and she is out cold in minutes.  LOVE THIS!  In fact, I love it so much, I'm getting the travel size so that we can keep it in the diaper bag.  Cloud B also makes the same products with different animals. 

      3. The Sleepy Wrap.  Did I mention my Bug will rarely let me put her down during the day without a fight?   Did I also mention that the school I work for doesn't seem to understand the concept of maternity leave, so they call me constantly to do things.  It would be impossible without the Sleepy Wrap.  Its similar to the Moby, but personally, I prefer the fabric of the sleepy wrap.  Bug can hang out in here for hours and I have heard, though we are definitely not there yet, that many moms can breastfeed their babies while in the wrap.  That would be wonderful!  It takes a few tries to get the hang of putting it one, but there are a ton of youtube videos to show you how to use it.    

      4. A swing.  I don't care which.  The only time Bug will let me put her down during the day is in a swing.  I have one downstairs and one upstairs in the master bathroom, which has allowed me to shower daily, quite a feat for a new mom.   Babies only use swings for so long and then their parents get rid of them to free up some space in their house.  I got both of mine for free, but you can also find them cheap at garage sales and craigslist.  There are a few things I would recommend looking for in a swing.  First, one that allows you to adjust the amount that the seat is reclined is very nice to have.  Secondly, I'd recommend one that can be plugged in and will use batteries.

      5. The First Years Breastflow Bottle.  Think you will be exclusively breastfeeding?  So did I.  And then I had a tongue-tied little girl.  We haven't given up on breastfeeding yet, and these bottles are making the transition between bottle and breast a little easier for both of us.  The baby needs to work to get the milk out of here, and these have really helped Bug get the hang of what she should be doing at my breast... these are like boobs with training wheels.  If you are doing any bottle feeding, I'd recommend these highly.  And its good to have a few bottles around so that you are prepared in the event of an emergency.   

      6.  A breast pump.  I registered for a Medela Pump in Style, but was fortunate that my health insurance also covered the first month of a rental for a hospital grade pump.  Check into it and see what your insurance offers, but remember that breastfeeding supplies are now tax deductible.  Wooohooh!

      Also, make sure that you fill out that little card to register your breast pump.  Mine has already been recalled and we haven't even used it yet.

      7. Baby Gowns with Elastic.  I registered for/bought a bunch of sleep sacks and we don't use them.  These work so much better for late night changing.  Also, she sweats like crazy in the sleep sacks, and that makes her angy.  Nobody likes an angry baby.  Oh, and notice the snaps next to the neck, they make life so much easier when you have a big headed newborn.
      8.  The Bob Revolution Stroller. I know, you don't want to spend $300 for a stroller, but it is so worth it.  We also have a Snap-N-Go stroller (another easy to find used item... we got ours for free) that I keep in the car.  The Snap-N-Go is easy to pull out of the car and to snap the car seat into, but it drives like a crappy car with no power steering.  Its clumsy and difficult to turn and maneuver over bumps, even the tiny bump created by our door frame.  The Bob handles all of this like a champ and handles so nicely.  I still haven't been able to take it on a run, but I did take the hellion Daisy Dog with Bug and I for a walk and it was wonderful.  I have a friend who also got one by having the person who threw her baby shower ask for donations toward the Bob from people who were stumped for gift ideas.  That way, no one person has to shell out the cash for this guy.  

      We got the car seat adapter, which needed a few modifications to make it snug.  Ask, and I'll show you what we did.

      9.  Seventh Generation Diapers and Wipes.  We two packs of these newborn diapers from the woman my sister works for who has more money than time and bought the wrong size and never returned them.  In our prenatal classes, the instructors warned us not to use wipes because newborn skin is so sensitive.  They suggested using cotton balls.  Yuck!  Seriously?!?!  If they want to come over and wipe my kids ass with a cotton ball, they are more than welcome to.  But I decided that we'd use chlorine free, unscented wipes and diapers until there was a problem, and then, if we needed to, we'd switch.  So far, so good.  No rashes or irritations.  The diapers are absorbent and high quality.  The wipes are very thin, which sounds like it would be a problem, but actually, the worked much better than the Babyganics wipes we purchased first, which were much thicker and more expensive.

      10.  A pacifier.  We worried about using one, especially since Bug was having so much trouble latching.  However, after a few days of her attempting to suck her thumb and having a melt down every time it didn't work, we decided to try it.  It made a huge difference in the number of melt downs we had in a day.  We have been using the soothie and the gumdrop, both of which she likes.  Several moms at my Mother and Me group suggested the Wubbanub Pacifier for older babies (right).

      So that is my list... what were the things you couldn't live without as a new mom?

      Friday, February 11, 2011

      Crying Over Spilled Milk

      Breastfeeding is natural.  I've seen the videos of babies, only minutes old, crawling from their mothers stomach to the breast and latching on.  And it looks so easy.

      It hasn't been that way for me.

      The nurse in the delivery room attempted to get Bug latched on as soon as she was cleaned off and assessed.  This relative stranger, who would later help me put on underwear and watch me pee, grabbed at my breast, manipulated my nipple and tried to shove it into Bug's mouth.  She didn't show me how to do anything, and quickly proclaimed that we'd try to get a latch later.

      The next nurse, who met me in the recovery room, did the same and then told me my nipples were just too big for this newborn baby.  She then instructed me to try to get her to latch on every 1-3 hours and write down how long I spent trying.  She returned one time during her shift to take Bug's temperature, but didn't offer any more help.

      Not all of the nurses were the grope and leave type.  A few did show me how to hold Bug myself and how to yank on my own boobs, but nothing was happening in the latching department.

      Bug, however, was doing quite a bit of work.  She peed, she pooped and she spit up a ton of amniotic fluid.  When the nurse weighed her that evening, it was no surprise to me that her weight was down, but her weightloss alarmed the staff.  She'd lost over 7% of her body weight before her first 24 hours of life.

       The next morning, they had me meet with the verbally abusive lactation consultant, or VALC.  Okay, maybe she wasn't verbally abusive, but she was abrupt at best and I might have been a little hormonal.  She assessed Bug's latch and proceeded to tell me everything I'd been doing wrong.

      Then she dropped the big bomb.  According to the VALC, Bug was born tongue tied.  This meant her lingual frenulum (the thingy under your tongue that holds it in place), was short and preventing normal movement.   I tried to get a picture of Bug's, but getting a baby to hold her mouth open long enough to get a picture is virtually impossible.  Hers looked a little like this.

      The VALC explained that this would prevent her from being able to breastfeed until she had surgery.  She also pointed out that I had been starving my newborn baby and we'd need to get her started on formula immediately.  All I heard was starving baby and surgery.

      DH had also been tongue tied, but since he's so freaking old, he grew up during a time when women almost exclusively bottle fed.  He didn't have surgery until 2nd grade, when one of his teachers noticed a speech impediment.  He remembers the surgery, in detail, and said it was awful.  After his tongue was clipped, they had to sew it down to prevent tearing and several days and he was unable to eat, drink or speak.  It sounded like torture to me.

      VALC didn't explain how simple the surgery is for newborns or do anything to put me at ease.  Instead, she hooked me up to a breast pump while she retrieved formula.

      Now, by design, you only produce very small amounts of colostrum in the first 48-72 hours after childbirth.  I now realize that even if Bug had been able to latch, her weight loss would have been the same because no one produces more than a few teeny tiny little drops per feeding.  All babies are "starving" until their mother's milk comes in and a more understanding, less abrupt lactation consultant would have explained this in detail to a frightened, sleep deprived new mom.

      Instead, I was conviced that 1) I was the worst mom ever and 2) I was starving my baby and 3) she needed major surgery and 4) she'd never breast feed.  And aside from the worst mom ever thing, DH pretty much thought the same thing.

      After pumping for 10 minutes, I was able to fill a 1 mL syringe with colostrum and feed it to Bug.

      Definitely not enough to do anything about her weightloss.

      There was still a teeny tiny bit left in the bottle, so I returned to get it and somehow managed to knock the bottle over.  There was a teeny itsy bitsy puddle of colostrum on the counter and in that moment I think I thought that the little itsy bitsy puddle would make the difference between my baby thriving and starving to death.

      And I started to cry.

      DH came over to see what I was upset about, saw the little puddle, and said, "What did you do that for?"  Not good timing.

      I sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed.

      This would be the first of many times that I would cry about breastfeeding.  For me, this has been the most challenging aspect of being a new mom.  It has been 90% terrible and 10% wonderful, as each day Bug and I are hopefully moving forward to becoming a breastfeeding team.  The good news is that she hasn't starved to death, and though her weight did drop to 7 pounds 9 ounces (down 1 pound 2 ounces from her birth weight), she's gained back 14 ounces.  The bad news is that we are mostly pumping and bottle feeding, but we are still working toward breastfeeding.

      I am going to continue to fill you in on the major ups and downs, including Bug's first surgery, the even more terrible lactation consultant from hell, and the things that we have done to make this who process a little easier.

      If you have a similar breastfeeding horror story, share a link below.

      Wednesday, February 9, 2011

      Weigh In Wednesday: Week 1

      Date: February 9th
      Weight: 201 pounds
      Pregnancy Weight Lost: 26 pounds
      Next goal: 186 pounds

      So, I told myself I wouldn't do it. 

      I wouldn't be one of THOSE women who gains a crap-ton of weight during pregnancy.

      I'd be active.  I'd eat right.  I wouldn't let the prego-lady-blues prevent me from doing what I needed to do.  I'd gain no more than the recommended 35 pounds.

      Haha!  That's a joke.  I gained 60 pounds, and quickly.  I gained less than 10 in my last trimester. 

      How did this happen?

      Well, in the first trimester, I couldn't eat anything except for simple carbs without wanting to barf my guts out.  Sourdough bread.  White rice.  Mac and cheese.  Chips Ahoy cookies.  Gross, right?!!?   Oh, and the only thing that prevented the constant nausea I felt was eating this crap.

      I'm normally a pretty healthy eater, but throughout my pregnancy fruits and vegetables sounded  like ass.  Most meats, especially chicken, made me nauseous.

      Oh, and the worst/best thing ever happened.  I got a temporary reprieve from my lactose intolerance.  You know what that means.  ICE CREAM!  For the first time since I was about 12 I was able to eat as much ice cream as I wanted without spending the rest of the night doubled over in agony. 

      So, 60 pounds later.  Here I am.

      Well, not exactly 60 pounds.  2 weeks after Bug's arrival, I'm down 26 pounds. 

      That puts me at a slim, trim... uh... I'm too embarassed to say.  I've NEVER weighed this much in my life, and I NEVER thought I'd be this big. 

      Before I met DH, when I was dating the Dreaded-Ex, I hit quite a rough patch.  I  had a job working with severely autistic kids in a program that used food to reward students for appropriate verbal responses and other behaviors.  The job itself was torture emotionally, mostly because I let myself get too close to the students and their families.  Their setbacks made their way home with me, and my home life didn't provide any relief. The Dreaded-Ex plain and simply wasn't right for me.  We'd fight constantly and it was obvious to everyone but me that the relationship was going nowhere.  Instead of dealing with the job and the boyfriend that were both a poor fit for me, I ate all of the reward foods that I held in my pockets for the kids.  Soon enough, I weighed 196 pounds. 

      My weight has fluctuated since then and I gained a nice little chunk of weight when DH and I started dating, this time for a completely different reason.  I was "fat and happy", but overall I've managed to stay active and keep my weight in the 160's.  At 5'4, that's still chubby, but not huge.

      An now... I'm heavier than ever.  I weighed in this morning at 201 pounds.

      Holy crap. 

      But I'm not going to sit here and be sad about the extra junk in my trunk.

      I'm going to eat well, and exercise when I can. 

      My goal is to be back to my pre-prego weight by the time Bug is 6 months old, on July 25th.

      As for mini goals, I'm hoping the next 15 pounds comes off almost as fast as the first 26.  I have to make an appearance at work on March 10th, so that's the date I'm setting for my first mini goal.  That's only 4 weeks away, but I have nothing but time on my hands. 

      Right now my ability to work out is limited to walking, but by next week, I'd like to restart the Couch to 5k.  I was doing a 5k three times a week before I got pregnant, so starting off slowly shouldn't be too much of an issue.  I'm not going to follow a specific weight loss program, I'll just try to make healthy choices until my weight loss slows down. 

      I'd love to hear your own post-pregnancy weight-loss stories.  Share below!

      Tuesday, February 8, 2011

      Our Birth Story: Part 2 of 2

      The epidural itself was a whole drawn out process... including catheterization.  Yuck!  More of that another day.  By 10 pm, I couldn't feel anything below my belly button. 

      At 12:30, I'd passed the 18 hour mark.  My contractions still weren't showing up on the monitor, so they decided that they would check my cervix and then insert an internal monitor.  They would also need to start doing blood work on Bug.

      Surprise!  9 1/2 centimeters, just like that. 

      Bug was at a +2 station and they estimated it would only be another hour or so until the pushing began.  I momentarily started to regret the epidural, knowing I could have pushed through that much longer, but the lack of pain was wonderful and I decided that would be the last time I felt guilty about it.  They held off on the blood work and monitoring device and told me to rest... pushing could take over 3 hours.   

      At 1:30 a nurse checked me and saw that I was fully dilated.  She frantically ran around the room and set up for delivery.  She called the doctor and let her know I was getting ready to start pushing.  DH went and told my family that the pushing was about to start and that he'd tell them when the baby arrived.

      By 2 am, the nurse had finished setting up and told me that we were going to do a practice push.  She showed me how to hold my very numb legs and push down... and there she was.  The nurse explained that as I was pushing, she'd seen a small part of the head pushing through.  There was no more time for practicing.  She told me to relax and not to push until the doctor arrived.   

      At 2:15 am the doctor had arrived and set up shop.  I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, without the pain, but they still weren't able to see them.  The nurse kept her hand on my abdomen to feel for tightening, and I told them when I felt pressure and then I'd push while they counted.  We'd do 3-10 counts of pushing and then rest.

      During the first set of pushes, the doctor cried "I see hair, and lots of it!  Dark hair!"  After the first set she told us that the head had pushed its way back in, but the hair was still out.  They offered a mirror, but I declined.

      After the next set, they explained that there was a quarter sized piece of head out.  A few more sets and I'd be done.

      After 16 minutes of pushing, at 2:32 am, the doctor told me to give one big push.  Seconds later, there was a pop and an explosion of blood and gross, and then there was Bug. 

      She did have a beautiful, full head of hair.  She was blue, but screaming, and quickly growing pink.  She had the most gorgeous long legs and perfect skin.  DH squealed like a little girl.  "Look at her!  Look at her!"  I sobbed uncontrollably as they placed her onto my stomach.  They offered to let me cut the cord, as I'd requested, but it was short and I didn't want to let go of Bug for one second so that I could do it.  They cut the cord and brought her up to my chest and I cuddled her wet screaming body and cried. 

      They let me hold her for a few minutes before they evaluated her.  She scored a 9 on the Apgar scale.  She weighed 8 pounds , 11 ounces and was a long 21 and 3/4 inches.  And she had huge feet.   

      She is very obviously DH's child.  She has his dark hair, his almond shaped eye and his slightly upturned nose.  She has my brow-line, which is very noticeable when she is upset.  But these feet?!?! 

      DH says she got these from his brother.  Apparently, when they were kids Bug's uncle used to pinch DH with his long monkey toes.  She has already pinched me a few times. 

      And, where did I get such a long and lean little girl?!?!  I am 5'4 and all torso.  Seeing these elegant long legs on my daughter is so strange. 

      I can't stop staring at her.  I don't know if I have ever seen anything so beautiful before, and every time I look at her, I find something else to love. 

      So far, I like this mommy thing.

      Monday, February 7, 2011

      Our Birth Story: Part 1 of 2

      Whew.... this mommy thing definitely takes more time than I thought it would.  Somehow I pictured that at some point during the day I'd be able to put Bug down.  Nope.  She LOVES to be held and will thankfully allow herself to be put in a co-sleeper from about 10-7 at night, but during the day, hell no.  That's mommy time.  So, its been almost 2 weeks and I haven't even written the birth story.  There is so much to tell about the last two weeks.  It has been a rollercoaster.  I'm going to try to go back and write what happened in some kind of linear way, but who knows how it will turn out.

      On Sunday, January 23rd I was still having irregular contractions, but after all of the false labor I had experienced before, I wasn't at all convinced that it could possibly be time for the baby to fall out

      My contractions were about 10 minutes apart, as they had been, on and off, for about a week, but they were a little more uncomfortable.  I had the most terrible night sleep that night, waking myself up every 10-20 minutes with my groans of discomfort. 

      This continued until I woke up, groaning at 4:30 am.  Then I felt a weird little pop and instinctively knew my water had broken.  I somehow managed to keep my legs together and my hips parallel to the bed as I scooted off so that I wouldn't ruin the mattress.  Not sure why this was the biggest concern I had at the moment.  I pushed myself off the side of the bed and wooooooooosh.  As soon as I was vertical, the literal wave of amniotic fluid gushed out of me.  For those of you who are more queasy, skip my next post as I will be going into detail about many of the interesting things that happen in labor.

      I tried to get myself dried up and prepared for the trip to the hospital.  Again, I'm not sure when I turned into such a clean freak, but I was very concerned about getting my new car all wet and icky so I put on a pad, some temporarily dry pants, grabbed the ugliest towel we had and a garbage bag and made myself a little seat cushion for the trip to the hospital.  DH showered and got Daisy and the cats set to spend some time alone.

      We were told we should eat on the way to the hospital because we wouldn't be given much in the way of sustenance once we arrived, but the only thing opened was a McDonald's.  I had two Egg McMuffins with no egg. 

      When we arrived at the hospital at 6:30 am, we were immediately admitted because my water had broken.  I was hooked up to a contraction and fetal heart rate monitor, and given an IV shortly thereafter because Bug's heart rate was a little on the high side. 

      At our birth center we were given the option of delivering with a certified nurse midwife (CNM) or an obstetrician.  Because I'd planned to deliver naturally and my pregnancy was considered low risk, I'd decided to choose the CNM.  She shortly came to discuss our birth plan and options with us.

      Holly, the midwife, explain that because my water had broken, there was a heightened risk of infection.  They'd done one exam and determined that I was between 3 and 4 centimeters dilated but would limit the number of times that they would check me for the remainder of the birth to limit the chances of infection.  Holly explain that 18 hours after my water broke, they would have to start drawing blood from Bug to start testing for signs of infection.  If everything went according to plan, I'd deliver before that 18 hours was up.

      My contractions were between 3 and 4 minutes apart and I wasn't too uncomfortable, so I was allowed to unhook all of the machines as long as I returned every hour for them to do a 10 minute check of Bug's heart rate.  I knew that I was still in pre-labor so DH and I decided to walk laps around the floor to try to get the real laboring processes.  Though we'd tried our best to convince my family that it would be a long time before the baby arrived, they all arrived at about 10:30 am.  DH and I were planning on doing it alone, but since I wasn't really laboring, we visited and had lunch with the fam.

      At around 12:30 pm Holly returned, and monitored my contractions again for several minutes.  My contractions were now about 3 minutes apart and 45 seconds long, but not really very painful.  She suggested that we wait until 2:30 to see how I was progressing, and then decide whether or not to start giving me pitocin to speed up my labor.

      I'd decided I want to have this baby naturally, and knew that my chances of being able to manage my pain on my own were significantly reduced if I did start using pitocin.  However, we were worried about infection, and didn't want my visions of a perfect birth to potentially put Bug at risk.

      At 2:30, Holly returned again and started discussing the use of pitocin.  She offered to check me, but told me that it was likely that I wouldn't have dilated much based on my behavior and the level of pain I was in.  I agreed and we opted out of a cervical exam.  After a great deal of debate between DH, Holly and myself, we decided to start a pitocin IV at 3:00 pm.

      Once you started the pitocin, I needed to stay on the fetal heart rate monitor at all times.  Though I was allowed out of bed, I could no longer use some of the pain management techniques that we had planned on (ie. walking and laboring in the shower).  This proved to be extremely difficult.

      They continued to monitor my contractions, and would continue to up the pitocin until my contractions were no more than 2 minutes apart with no breaks in between contractions.  They would be between 1 and two minutes apart for 10-15 minutes and then there would be a break in the contraction pattern.

      Holy shit... let me just tell you that pitocin crap is terrible.  Every 45 minutes or so, they would up the amount of pitocin, and each time that they upped the dosage I would have 3-5 minutes of excruciating pain until my body adapted.  The pain wouldn't have been so bad, except I knew it was coming.  It's like telling someone you are going to punch you in the nuts then making you watch you prepare to do so.  Every time the nurse came in, I prepared for a 3-5 minute nut punch.

      I started noticing that some of my contractions were showing up on the monitor, and when they were, they were extremely small.  Because they couldn't see the contractions, the continued to up the pitocin.   The thought it may have been difficult to see the contractions because I was laboring in a rocking chair and discussed putting in an internal contraction monitoring device.

      At about 7:30, I felt like I had to go #2, and it was terrible.  It felt like this particular bowel movement was filled with razor blades.  At the same time, the round ligament pain and sciatica that I'd experienced throughout my pregnancy became excrutiating.  My pain level was at a 10 during each contraction and about a 5 between them.  There was absolutely no relief.  I hadn't slept well in days, and hadn't slept in more than 20 minute increments in the last 48 hours.  I couldn't focus on any questions that were being asked and my responses were almost inaudible.

      DH asked if I thought I might want to do an epidural.  I nodded and managed to squeak that I wanted to be checked first.  I hadn't been checked for 13 hours, and if I was close to the end I'd continue doing what I was doing.  Otherwise, I knew if there were hours and hours more of this I wouldn't be able to do it.

      DH informed the nurse of our plan.  She explained that it was shift change, but that after rounds, someone would be in to check us.  It was now about 7:45 and the nurse promised she'd have someone in by 8:15.  Also, my regular OB/GYN just happened to be at the hospital that night and the nurse offered to request her to come and see me.

      At 8:30 no one had arrived, but the nurse returned to up the pitocin.  I was having trouble managing the pain I was already in and I couldn't imagine that 3-5 nut punch.  I'd much rather do it after the epidural if that's where we were heading.  All I could say was "please don't".  She explained why that was a bad idea, and I didn't care.  I shook my head and DH refused to let her up the pitocin.  It was at that point that he started to lose it a little.

      "You told us the doctor would be here at 8:15.  Its 8:30.  Where is the doctor?"

      The nurse explained that after a relatively quiet day, there had been 2 emergency c-sections right around shift change, which was slowing everything down.  But she promised that the doctor would arrive in no more than 10 minutes.

      At 8:45, an hour after we'd requested to see the doctor, DH was furious.  He ran out to the nurses station and I could hear him yelling from my room. They promised 10 more minutes.

      At 9:30 my doctor finally arrived and DH unleashed his fury.  He screamed at her that it had been nearly two hours since we'd requested to see her and he demanded to know where the hell she'd been.  My doctor, who had by the look of her had one hell of a night already herself, apologized and promised that she'd take care of me as quickly as possible.  She and DH helped me into bed and she checked my cervix.

      5 and a half centimeters.

      It was almost 16 hours after my water had broken, and I'd only dilated to 5 and a half centimeters.

      I cried and asked for an epidural.

      And that is where I'll leave you, until tomorrow because this is where the story gets good.