All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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PAIL – Breastfeeding Fun!

Oh, the wonderful topic of breastfeeding!  When we started TTC-ing, I was adamant – I would not breastfeed but I was interested in pumping exclusively.  The idea of a baby being attached to me (more specifically, by breasts) was uncomfortable, and I wanted nothing to do with it!  Well, time went by, and it went by, and it went by – without a baby – and I think that afforded me time to rethink the topic of breastfeeding.

By the time I was in my third trimester, I was signing up for every pre-birth class that our hospital offered.  The one that I was not going to sign up for was the one on breastfeeding.  At that point, I had decided I’d give it a try – so what was I thinking not signing up for the class?  My friend told me I should go so I went.  I am so glad I did!

I was one of the only a couple people there without their husbands, which struck me as odd.  But once the class got going, I realized that husbands have a role in breastfeeding as well – they need to know how hard it can be, they can help position the baby, and they can remember things from class that you may be too frustrated to remember when your baby refuses to latch on.  If I could do it all over again, I would most definitely invite my husband along with me (we didn’t know it was a coed class) and he would go.  He wishes he had had the opportunity.

I learned all about latching, lactation services at the hospital, what all can go wrong, and the different kinds of breast pumps.  I came out of that class convinced that I would not only TRY breastfeeding – but that I would DO it – for as long as possible.

It was not easy at first.  M did not latch correctly and it took a few visits with Lactation to get that resolved.  We even went back after two weeks at home with him because I was in so much pain and on the verge of quitting.  Marg, the consultant, put me at ease and got M to latch correctly every single time.  From that point forward, we were golden.  It took a while for my nipples to recover from almost three weeks of torture, but it worked out and we’ve been nursing exclusively ever since, with the exception of M’s 7 weeks in daycare before I quit to be a SAHM (and even then, he was only drinking expressed milk).

I find myself a little judgmental, at times, of mothers who don’t try nursing, which isn’t fair of me.  I just know that if I had stuck to what I had originally thought, I would have missed out on this wonderful bonding experience with my child.  If I would have believed that we couldn’t fix M’s latching problem, I would have quit.  I, too, would have said, “I just couldn’t do it.”  The truth is, I could do it, WE just needed some help.  M and I had to be taught how to work together.  If you don’t seek help, it’s very easy to quit.  I think breastfeeding is NOT something that comes naturally to many, many women – leading them to think that their body just can’t do it.

I am so pro-nursing that I own a hospital grade pump.  Why a hospital grade pump, you ask?  Because it’s stronger, it does a great job of getting your milk started, and it keeps it coming strong.  Seriously – I tried a consumer grade pump at first and it was doing me no good (or limited good).  The first time with the hospital grade pump produced almost twice as much as the consumer grade pump did the day before.  Here is a tip that no one shares with you.  When you go to nursing class at the hospital, they talk about renting the hospital grade pumps ($60 a month!) but they don’t say you can buy them.  But you can!

Yes, they are very expensive (4-5 times the cost of the consumer pump), but hear me out.  The consumer grade pumps aren’t as strong as the hospital grade ones – hence their lower prices.  However, in the US, you can use FSA (flexible spending account) money to purchase a breast pump – including a hospital grade pump.  You can then legitimately resell the hospital grade pump (because it’s a closed, sterile unit) for about 75% of the cost you paid for it once you’re done with it.  In fact – I spoke with Medela about this and they said absolutely resell it.  If you do the math, you save 30% up front by using FSA money, and then resell it for 75% of the what you paid.  At the end of the day – it truly is free.  When I resell my pump, I will likely sell it for more than I paid when you consider the tax benefit of using FSA money to purchase it.

I tell everyone who nurses to buy a hand/manual pump.  We keep mine in the car, with disinfecting wipes, and I have used it on the interstate, in restrooms at the airport, at my parents’ house, etc.  When M isn’t in the mood to eat, I can pump on the go.  I love it!  I never thought I would be the type to schedule my life around breastfeeding and pumping, but I am!

M was on a very set schedule from the start – I didn’t want to be a snack bar – so we got a schedule down within the first two weeks.  I think that’s important!  I don’t know that we would have stuck it out as long as we have if he was eating on demand and just snacking.

So how long have we been doing this?  Eight and a half months!  I cannot believe it!  Just last week, I said I wasn’t ready to start fertility treatments for baby #2 until after June so that M can be breastfed for a full year (mind you – I have 2 months of milk stored up in the freezer – so this is just me being emotional about it!).  However, he is starting to bite me and that hurts – and he’s also starting to get very distracted and disinterested in nursing during the day, so he may be weaning himself.  If we can get the biting under control, I’ll nurse him as long as he’ll let me up to his first birthday!


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My Community

I have a very close friend – my closest friend, actually – who also did IVF to get her daughter.  We were friends prior to IVF, but not good friends.  When we both started struggling with conceiving, we got to know each other better and became each others’ support systems.  We didn’t read blogs back then – we didn’t know about them!  We knew about each other and we became each others’ rocks.

We had similar, but different, experiences with IVF.  She was older than me and her first cycle resulted in just a few embryos and a chemical pregnancy.  Heartbreaking.  My first cycle, a short month after hers, resulted in 9 embryos – 2 which were transferred and 7 which were frozen, and a total and complete BFN.  Heartbreaking.  Her second cycle was cancelled before retrieval.  Heartbreaking.  My second cycle (the FET) resulted in low betas and an empty sac.  Heartbreaking.  Her third cycle resulted in 3 embryos – all which were transferred – and her daughter.  JOY!  Her beta was 566.  My third cycle, four months later, resulted in 2 more frozen embryos (back up to 7!) and my beautiful son.  JOY!  My beta was… 566!

My friend moved on to TTC #2 when her daughter was just 8 months old.  She’s turning 40 this year and really wants to finish her family building  now.  Her cycle was identical to my first cycle: 16 eggs retrieved, 9 great embryos, 2 PERFECT transferred embryos, 7 high quality frozen embryos, and… a total and complete BFN.  UGH!  As she was going through the cycle and it was a mirror image of my first cycle, I kept scolding myself for worrying that her cycle would end just like mine.  Why think that way?  But it did – it ended in one very disappointing BFN.

She did her FET today.  I spoke with her this morning and we talked about thaw rates, etc. and she asked how our thaw went with our FET 2 years ago.  We had a 100% thaw rate and we talked about our clinic’s latest thaw rates of 90%.  We were positive.  We were excited!  She texted me later, just before noon, saying that she didn’t know much but that they were up to thawing 4 embryos but not sure if it would work and may need to thaw more.  I called her, we talked about it being likely that all would be fine and she’d have her 3 remaining frozen embryos for “insurance” in case this cycle didn’t work.  We were positive.  We were excited!  She then texted me post-transfer.  They had to thaw all 7 embryos.  UGH.  We tried to be positive and excited – but you can tell we’re both deflated.

I will cheer my friend on through this 2WW and will remain positive for her.  If her FET works, I will cry tears of joy with her.  If her FET fails, I will cry tears of sorrow with her.

In light of recent happenings in ALI-land, the activities of my day remind me that you don’t need a whole slew of people behind you.  You need a few good friends to get you through.  Sure it’s nice to have the cheers and excitement of those around the world who have walked in your shoes.  But those near and dear to you – the trusted friends who have been through it themselves and share many of the same thoughts as you – those are the people you  need.

I am lucky to have found a new bloggie friend prior to the implosion of the ALI community.  I will support her as she cycles for #2, and I think she will support me.  I have two close friends in town who have both done IVF and we are as “thick as thieves.”  I have my community – it may be small – but we are a true community who support each other no matter what.

 

 


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I Celebrated with Cake

What a day!  M is still sick, but on the mend.  In the last 8 months, B and I have often asked, while changing a diaper, “do you think that’s diarrhea?”  Well – let me just say that now I KNOW what that looks like and we’ve been lucky enough to avoid it until now.  It was not a good morning, but the rest of the day made up for it.

"What, do my pants bother you? Well then change them!"

Because of the unpleasant diapers, I limited M’s food to just oatmeal today.  He was throwing up a bit yesterday too so I figured I’d give him something smooth and simple so that he could throw it up easily if needed.  He seemed to like the oatmeal quite a bit!

"I could live on this stuff!"

B is traveling for work but he got the baby gate installed before he left.  Thank goodness because this happened today:

"Maybe if I shake it, it will open..."

M took two super good naps – I believe because he was so tired from being sick.  I was watching him on the monitor as he tried to fall asleep and I got to see him trying to pull himself up in his crib for the first time.  I took the photo to send to B.  I shouldn’t have done that, because I think that B is probably losing sleep RIGHT NOW worrying about M launching himself over the side of the crib.  We’re nowhere near that yet – and will get the mattress lowered in a couple weeks (I’m insistent that we keep it where it is because this is a normal part of development which helps lead to walking).

"Are you watching me?"

My day ended with one happy baby:

And a mini cake:

Why the cake you ask?  WELL – this is the last mini cake from one of my baby showers last summer.  I’ve been saving it and I have not really been sure why.  Today, after so many nursings to keep M hydrated, countless diaper changes, and multiple close, warm snuggles, I was really feeling appreciative of this gift of a little boy that is in my life.  I am doing what I was born to do – what I worked so hard to do.  I think taking such vigilant care of him today made me really think back to what it took to get not just a baby – but to get HIM – and I wanted to celebrate that with cake!


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10

M is sick.  Not the teething kind – the real kind.  He’s had colds before, but this is different.  He’s had a fever (broken with some Tylenol), has lost his appetite, took a super long nap, and throws up quite a bit.  He’s not seeming dehydrated, but I’ve been feeding him quite a bit to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Amazingly though – he is still quite happy!  There are moments of instant tears for no reason (other than assuming he feels crappy), but for the most part, he’s been pretty content.

My nephew’s 10th birthday is tomorrow.  I cannot believe it!  He is the first grandchild on my side of the family and I was thinking today about the phone call I got when he was born.  It was so special and fun to be getting a nephew!  The name they chose for him was not on their list, so when my BIL told me his name, I was stunned and questioned back, “IAN?”  He thought I didn’t like it.  I loved it!  I still do – a lovely name for the first little boy who stole my heart!  Double digits for Ian – time flies by so quickly!

B is out of town until Thursday, so it’s just M and me for the next two days.  Is it selfish that I sort of love my time alone with him?  Seems kind of silly considering that I spend every single day with M – but I do love any extra one-on-one time that I get.  As I learned with Ian, babies grow all too quickly and M will be 10 before I know it!


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Random Updates

My “always happy” baby had a rough day.  We think M is teething again – he is just miserable.  I started a new fitness program today and was so excited to take him back to his old daycare for an hour while I worked out.  M is very social and LOVED daycare while he was there, and I was excited for him to see his old friends and have some fun interaction.  He was crying when I picked him up and that hurt my heart. We spent the day snuggling in the rocker, and strolling around the mall.

“Please get me some Advil!”

In other news, we now have a baby gate installed at the top of the stairs.  RELIEF!  We need to leave it open for the kitties to use their restroom downstairs, but we’ll close it when M is cruising around up here on the main floor.  Everyone (but the kitties) is happy about this.

I got the speaker for my jogging stroller just in time for our big stroller debut tomorrow!  Everything is all setup and ready to go – I just need to pump up the tires and we’re good to go!  I’ve got my MP3 player charging as I type so that we don’t run out of tunes tomorrow.

I bought M’s swimsuit today!  It was on sale so I bought the whole ensemble (trunks, top, hat, sandals).  It is very cute!  I am thinking of taking him swimming at the YMCA tomorrow afternoon.  We are signing up for “water babies” swimming lessons that start at the end of the month, so I want him to be comfortable with the pool before we start that.

I sort of made dinner tonight!  I bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store that was too dry (sorry, B!) and made fresh asparagus to go with it.  B decided we needed dessert so got out a leftover cupcake from our trip to Omaha yesterday.  It was divine!  M had stew, peas, and pears.  Oh – and Advil!


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8 Months Old – And the Nursery is Finally Done?!

M’s nursery was a labor of love involving a lot of people.  My mom made his bedding set and window treatments; my sister made his name sign; my mother-in-law bulked up his woodland stuffed animal collection; B insisted that I have a rocker; and many artists on Etsy did prints, decals, and the mobile for his room.  We did not want to go with a commercial theme or anything popular, and we wanted it to be gender neutral so that every child would use the same nursery.  It all started with a quilt and growth chart from Red Envelope that centered around woodland animals that I’d bought a year or so before we even started trying to get pregnant.  The finishing touches were the newborn photos taken by White Linen Photography.  We’ve had the photos framed for a long time, but they’ve moved from space to space until we could get them properly hung.

I’m so happy with how it all turned out!

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Four Generations

Today was a great day – we drove back to my hometown to see one of my mother’s greatest friends, and to stop in to see my grandpa.  I love my grandpa – he and I have always had a terrific relationship!  I can’t imagine going back to my hometown and not stopping in for a visit.  Grandpa loves, loves, loves babies so M’s visit with him today made Grandpa smile from ear to ear.  Heck, Grandpa’s probably still smiling right now!

My dad suggested we take a four generation photo.  I am so glad he did because we will treasure it forever!  We never did get one with my grandma, which makes me very sad.  She was always too sick for us to bring M by to see her before she passed away.  I need to let that go and just be thankful that I still can get photos with Grandpa  🙂