Monthly Archives: October 2014

Sitting on top of the Mountain

I feel like I  finished a marathon and can now reflect on those early months. It was too hard to take a step back and articulate the experience at the time.

Breastfeeding on demand is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I remember reading and hearing about people who couldn’t breastfeed, had a hard time with it and/or quit early in the process. I was naive. I thought they just didn’t do it right, weren’t committed enough, didn’t know enough beforehand, etc. For the record, I don’t care if someone breastfeeds or formula feeds. I am a believer in doing whatever is best for you, your baby and  your family. I really wanted to breastfeed and am 100% committed to continue until Thijs weans himself. I feel like that is possible now, but a few weeks ago I was a hot mess and didn’t know if I’d make it six months.

I probably thought about quitting breastfeeding almost everyday the first few months. I thought about reaching out to a lactation consultant. But, I was barely surviving and didn’t have the emotional or physical ability to get say I needed help.

I thought I did everything right. I read books while I was in the hospital on bed rest the days before he was born. I watched latching videos online. We chose to birth at a “baby friendly” hospital. We did skin-to-skin in the operating room while they stitched me back together and again in the recovery room. He latched on but didn’t really suck in the recovery room. A lactation consultant came to our room later and again a couple of days later, and said everything looked fine and gave us a few tips on how to keep him awake to eat.

Then he had low blood sugar and wouldn’t stay awake to eat. I hand expressed colostrum those first few days and fed him with a spoon so that they would stop jabbing him with needles to test his glucose and because I didn’t want to give him formula. My nipples were in so much pain, which I assumed to be normal for the first few weeks because it only hurt when he initially latched, not the whole time. My milk came in the day we left the hospital, which could be considered a fun and awesome experience if you ever wanted to know what bowling balls attached to your chest felt like. I won’t even get into how weird it is to have huge boobs, I’ll save that for another day.

I thought everything was fine, but then he was still jaundiced and not gaining enough weight. So the bi-weekly weight checks started. I had to start pumping when he was 10 days old and give him bottles of 1/2-1 oz of pumped milk after he nursed for 10 minutes on each side. He wanted to keep nursing, but he was using more calories than he was getting. I hated pumping (still do) and having to start so early was difficult. It was also nearly impossible to pump while holding him, since he cried if he wasn’t nursing those first few months. Finally, I was given the green light to stop the pumping and supplementing with bottles. Hallelujah!

My right nipple just barely stopped having a permanent healing and then reappearing blister. Only the right…the left only got one once. I don’t know if his mouth was too little or it was the 24/7 nursing that caused it, I’m just glad it’s gone.

There were days I was resentful and mad that Wifey didn’t want to induce lactation. I felt like I was doing it all by myself and that it wasn’t fair. Now that things are better I think I’d be kind of sad if I had to share the breastfeeding with her. I like that it is something that only I can do and that he gets so excited when I get home and he can nurse, even if he just ate.

When I first went back to work I wasn’t pumping enough milk and he was getting overfed because he is a fussy baby. It was exhausting. I had to nurse from when I got home until I went to bed, pump as soon as he had been asleep for an hour,  nurse again all night, and try to squeeze in a pump before we woke up. I tried fenugreek, lactation cookies, sooooo much water, and cutting coffee. Nothing seemed to work. Then, magically when I went to work on Monday I pumped enough. And then the next day and the next!

I wanted to quit so many times. It was so hard emotionally and physically. I felt bad for making assumptions about women who stopped trying breastfeed. It’s seriously so hard. I feel like we climbed a mountain together, Thijs and I, and we are now sitting atop a beautiful mountainside looking at the view, talking and telling funny jokes back and forth.

Now that the blisters and vasospasms are gone, breastfeeding is now a fun, beautiful bonding experience for me (hopefully him too). He is still tiny(5th percentile) but staying on the growth curve. He loves nursing and I love being able to comfort and feed him.

Our journey in photos:

The beginning

The beginning

...and now

…and now

Breasfeeding in the mountains

Breasfeeding in the mountains

Thijs' many milk coma faces

Thijs’ many milk coma faces

 

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A belated 3 month update

Now that Thijs is nearly 4 months, I am getting around to his 3 month old post..oops. The picture was only taken a week late though, so I’m considering that a win.

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  • Our Little Love has a stuffed monkey (who has since been named Mr. Snuggles) that he absolutely adores. You pull it’s tail and it plays a little song. He has a giraffe that does something similar, but he definitely prefers Mr. Snuggles. This kid has a thing for monkeys it seems. He gets a big grin on his face whenever we pull Mr. Snuggles out. He likes when Mr. Snuggles sings to him, does dances and acrobatic tricks for him, he likes to chew on his ears, face, arms, and snuggle up with him for nap time. I kind of hope he loves Mr. Snuggles for a long time.
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With Mr. Snuggles and friends while out for a walk with the nanny

  • He is such a smiley baby and loves when we try to get him to smile by making silly faces and noises. He has the cutest smile and dimples that come with it, so we try to get him to smile all the time. One day he really liked a scratchy laugh that we did and fake snoring and sneezing. He likes any noise you can make with your mouth really, he’s easy to please. He has yet to really laugh, but it doesn’t stop us from trying.
  • We got a new baby carrier and he loves it much better than the other one we got before he was born. It’s a beco gemini and it’s so great. He loves to face out and look at everything going on. He also loves that he can easily nurse in it while we are out and about and then fall right to sleep.
  • He HATES the car, like so much hates the car. It’s really sad because it limit how much we feel like we can go out and do. He screams and cries, lots of tears crying, the entire time. There have been maybe 2 times he has fallen asleep in the car. All the other times he just cries and cries. It doesn’t matter if one of us is back there with him or not. We are really hoping it’s a phase that he will get over soon. We’d like to take him to visit his family that lives 3 hours away, but I can’t imagine making him do that yet.
  • He learned how to click his tongue,and he learned it really quickly. I was just making silly noises one morning with him and I noticed that he was mimicking what I was doing with my tongue. So, I kept doing it really slowly and then he did it and he was SO PROUD of himself. He just melts my little heart. I got him doing it on video once, seriously so cute.
  • He giggled a little bit once or twice. The first time Wifey was just smiling and making faces at him and he did like a 3 breath giggle. That’s all we’ve ever got out of him, or a 1 breath squeal. We can’t wait to hear what his laugh sounds like.
  • He’s still a tiny little peanut at 11 lbs and 3 oz and 22 3/4 inches long, hanging out the 2-5 percentile. It’s funny because he seems so big to us because he is growing so quickly, but he’s just a little one.

And a couple more pictures from his 3rd month of life:

He loves getting kisses

He loves getting kisses

A middle of the night play party while Wifey was out of town

A middle of the night play party while Wifey was out of town

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He got my long lashes, I think his are longer than mine now

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3rd Time’s a Charm

I woke up yesterday morning at about 7:15. As I was settling in for a long morning nursing session, I checked the book of faces on my phone. The first story on my feed was from a small, local LGBT group. It said SCOTUS denied hearing Utah’s Prop 3 case and that marriage was legal here again. I think because it was this little group and not some big LGBT organization, I questioned whether it was really true or not. Or maybe it was because I slept like 2 hours total throughout the night, but I just didn’t believe it. I told Wifey the possible news and started scrolling to see if there was a news story somewhere and asked Wifey to turn on the news. I found a linked news story and it was true!!!!!

We first got married on July 8th, 2010 in California. It wasn’t legal there, and thus anywhere, but we wanted to get married on the beach. It was also important for us to get married, legal or not. We wanted to make a commitment and promises to each other in front of the people we love. We carried on with life as wife and wife. Then when Judge Shelby ruled Prop 3 unconstitutional and didn’t grant a stay, we rushed to get legally married during the short 17 day window here in Utah. We got married the first day it was legal here and were one of first dozens of same sex couples married in Utah. Of course, 17 days later we were unsure of our legal married status and have been in a strange limbo since. I felt like I was lying when I filled out Thijs’ birth certificate, saying he only had one parent, but we filed our taxes jointly as a married couple. But now, FINALLY, we are now married again for the 3rd time… and this time it’s for good!

Because we were technically married when Thijs was born, we can file for an amended birth certificate, which will list both of our names as his parents. I am researching how to go about doing this, but it will be happening before the end of the week.

AHHHH! This is just amazing and now it’s time to celebrate (or get back to work and celebrate later)!!!!

A belated 3 month post will be arriving shortly. Now that I’m back at work, and not holding our little bundle of love 24/7, I will hopefully be able to commit more time to writing all the mothering related things in my head.

And a couple recent pictures because, well he is just too cute not to share.

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