Monday, April 29, 2013

You can't always give your children what you want: part 2

Fair warning- if you don't want to read about my breast feeding struggles, close the window and come back another day.  

And if you missed part 1, you're going to want to catch up by reading this post first.


After another two weeks of nursing Haddie Grace, supplementing her with a bottle, then pumping, and working on the therapy exercises to strengthen her jaw and suck I really don't feel like much has changed.  She is 5 1/2 weeks old at this point and although she still will nurse I don't feel like she is as vigorous as she was.  I don't think the exercises have increased her stamina at the breast.  I don't feel like she is getting any more from me than she was 4 weeks ago.  Honestly, she is probably getting less, who knows.

My daily "supplements" to try to increase my supply

After I stopped using the SNS and started to supplement with a bottle after each feeding, Haddie Grace started getting used to the ease of the bottle.  Essentially I think she is self-weaning right now because of the bottle.  (Not that there was much to wean from...)

Phoebe is a big help with the bottle...

Now I am only nursing her a few times each day because I know she's not getting much breast milk from me so it is not an effective use of time.  She has to get a bottle anyways, and let's be honest, with a baby and a toddler, time is a luxury.  I am still pumping 5 times/day so she is getting mostly breast milk in her bottles.

The disappointing scale that confirmed she is not getting very much milk from me

I really had hoped this would not be a repeat of my struggles with Phoebe, but unfortunately it has felt all to similar.  This time I am thankful that Haddie Grace will go to my breast and "nurse".  Phoebe would scream every time I tried to nurse her and it was heart breaking.  I really did struggle with feelings of rejection from my own baby.  I know Haddie Grace is hardly getting any milk from me when she nurses, but I can't yet bring myself to stop.  If nothing else it is a little taste of how things are "supposed to be".   I'm sure I will stop putting her to the breast to eat soon and I'm also sure there will be a more than a few tears on that day.

In all this I do still really struggle to understand why.  I am not devastated this time around- just frustrated and discouraged.  I honestly don't know what I could have done differently in the beginning to dictate a different outcome.  I have trouble accepting that I am one of the "rare" cases (according to all the books and websites) of women who don't produce enough milk.  I know lots of women don't produce an abundance of milk, but it still seems to be enough to keep their babies healthy and gaining weight.  I didn't want a lot, only enough, but I never had enough.  The lactation consultant even let me borrow this book and after scouring it, I can't find (and neither could she) find any reason for my low supply.

In my struggles with Phoebe, God taught me a lot about grace through several women who really came along side of me to love me and give me what I could not accomplish on my own.  Although this outcome is still not what I desired, I know that God is still good, still sovereign, and still working to sanctify me to become more like His Son, Jesus.

As I did with Phoebe I will continue to pump and feed Haddie Grace as much breast milk as I can out of the bottle.  Oh to be a slave to the pump again...  I pumped for Phoebe for 7 months.  This time my goal would be 5 or 6 months, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it that long.  We are moving in about a month (all the packing and unpacking is already stressing me out) and I have a toddler to care for this time around too.  One day at a time.  I really wanted to nurse my kids exclusively for one year, but I can't.  You can't always give your children what you want- it is a hard lesson to learn.

Umm, yes I ran upstairs to get something the other day and this is what I came back down to...

Also linking up with My Pregnancy Journal


Thursday, April 25, 2013

You can't always give your children what you want

Fair warning- if you don't want to read about my breast feeding woes, close the window and come back another time.  Or better yet, check out these adorable newborn photos of Haddie Grace.

A wise friend told me recently- you can't always give your children what you want.  So true.  I would love for my kids to eat all organic, go to that great private school, (and I'm sure many other things that just haven't come up yet...) but you can't always give them what you want.  Sometimes you just have to do the best you can and know that God gave you these kids for a reason and you are the best parent for them.

So if you've been around here for awhile, you might recall my breast feeding troubles with Phoebe.  I wanted to nurse her SO bad, but from the beginning she was not gaining weight, not having dirty diapers, and it hurt something terrible when I would attempt to nurse.  Long story short due to a faulty pump and a baby who couldn't suck, my milk supply plummeted.  I went on a rampage to get it back up and worked to try to nurse Phoebe, but it never worked.  She wouldn't go back to the breast after being supplemented with the bottle and she never really coordinated her suck.

So this time around I had high hopes that things would be different.  I wanted to give my daughter breast milk.  When Haddie Grace was first born, it seemed different, better.  She latched and sucked well.  It wasn't painful, she was sucking and swallowing and I started pumping immediately in the hospital to help my milk come in quickly.  I was pumping out milk rather than colostrum by the end of day 2; all seemed well.  Then on Sunday when she was 6 days old, she nursed for four hours straight that morning.  At first I thought she was cluster feeding, but then when she never seemed satisfied I began to think something might be wrong.  After that four hours she was still gnawing at her fists and crying like she was hungry.  We had to go over to the hospital to get her blood drawn for the jaundice, so we gave her a 2oz bottle, which she sucked dry in no time and was finally satisfied.  And then the same thing happened again Sunday evening.  Next time I went to feed her she ate for almost 4 hours (every time I thought she was done she would seem satisfied for 5-15 minutes and then start crying and acting hungry again) again.  Monday morning we went in for a weight check and she had not gained any weight since Friday morning.  Something wasn't right.  She should have gained 2-4 ounces- especially with all the "nursing" she was doing.

So at that point, I went into 'fix-it" mode.  I was going to solve this problem.  Haddie Grace was exactly one week old at this point, and was finally out of the photo therapy for jaundice.  I knew she wasn't getting enough milk from me so I started using my supplemental nursing system (SNS) to supplement her.  I used this with Phoebe as well.  Basically it is a container you hang around your neck with formula or expressed breast milk and then tape small tubes down to your nipple so as the baby is nursing he/she is not only getting milk from you but is also supplemented at the breast at the same time. Haddie Grace had had several bottles as this point, but I was not wanting to give her too many.  So I used the SNS to supplement her and that way she would also be stimulating my body to produce more milk.  At this point I also started pumping after each feeding to empty my breasts to try to stimulate my body to produce more milk.  (Before I had been pumping on occasion, but not after every feeding.)  I also started taking all the herbal supplements- fenugreek, "more milk two" tincture, and of course eating oatmeal each morning.


On Wednesday of that week I went in to see the lactation consultants.  The first thing she said to me was that my breasts felt very soft for not having fed Haddie Grace in 4 hours.  And its true, I had never noticed a heavy feeling or a full feeling in my breasts.  I had thought my supply problems with Phoebe were completely a result of her inability to suck, but apparently I have problems producing milk as well even with a baby that feeds frequently and has a coordinated suck.  After nursing for 40 minutes in the lactation consultants office, she had gotten 2 1/2 ounces from me, which isn't horrible.  Based on her weight they said that she should be getting between 3 and 3 1/2 ounces so I wasn't that far off.  For the next 2 weeks I continued to feed Haddie Grace with the SNS and pump afterwards.  I was able to do this only because my parents were in town and could help entertain Phoebe.  I had also noticed that Haddie Grace seemed to eat better when I was also performing breast massage, so nursing became a two handed ordeal.   As I said, this was literally turning into a full-time job.  (Amanda, I think I used that word correctly??)   In that two week period I had my thyroid tested to make sure that I wasn't hypothyroid because that can affect your milk production- it was normal.  I also tried taking Reglan to try to increase my milk supply.  This is a pretty controversial drug to be used as a galactagogue (milk producer) but I was willing to try anything and luckily I did not experience any adverse side effects.  After two weeks I returned to lactation, not feeling like I was producing much more milk.  And  I was right;  after nursing for 35 minutes, she ate just over 2 ounces, half of what they said she should be taking to maintain her weight gain.  Talk about a disappointment. 

I feel like I had been doing everything correctly.  I had been eating and drinking well, working to empty my breasts to produce more milk, but Haddie Grace still wasn't getting enough from me.  The thing that baffled me was that after she nursed I could still pump out more milk, so there was milk in there that she wasn't getting.  The lactation specialist suggested Haddie Grace seeing a speech therapist to evaluate her suck and to give me some exercises to strengthen her jaw so she wouldn't tire out as easily.  This is expensive and we had done it with Phoebe so I remembered some of the exercises and still had the sheet explaining all the exercises.   I started doing them with Haddie Grace on my own.  At that point Haddie Grace was 3 1/2 weeks old.  Mom left, so I could not continue to put as much effort into feeding Haddie Grace; I also had another full-time job as a mom to a toddler.  I left my lactation appointment with a scale that had the ability to determine exactly how much milk Haddie Grace was getting from me at each feeding and then I would supplement her with a bottle accordingly so that she could get "enough" to maintain her weight gain.  Again the scale was a disappointment.  She never got more than 2 ounces from me at home.  I would nurse her for 20-30 minutes (until it was clear that she was tired and not able to suck well anymore) and then give her a bottle.  I just couldn't continue to use the SNS.  Its great but a bit of a hassle.

Check back on Monday for the rest of my story...


The final RUF at KSU

A couple weeks ago was our last official RUF large group at Kennesaw State University.  Chris would hate to admit it, but he did get a little sentimental.  He started RUF at KSU 7 years ago and now the Lord has called us to continue with RUF at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.  We are excited (and a little anxious) about the move and unknown but are looking forward to the next chapter of our lives there.
But back to KSU.  Aubra and some former students worked to surprise Chris by inviting RUF alumni who were still in the Atlanta area!  And surprised he was!  It was really fun to see "old" faces and reminisce about RUF in its beginning stages and to see how far The Lord has brought the ministry in the past 7 years.  As Chris reminded everyone it is not him (or really the students) who makes this ministry happen, but The Lord.  God was at work at KSU before Chris arrived, and he will continue to be at work after he leaves as the next campus minister and his family come in to continue to the ministry.  We will continue to pray for RUF at KSU and the students involved especially during this time of transition.  I know the students are not only going to miss Chris, but also our intern Aubra who is saying her final goodbyes to RUF at KSU as well.

The alumni 

Some love

Only my husband would remember this and repeat it, but Chris wore that orange polo to the very first RUF and then also at the very last RUF.  Its ok, he's a little bit of a weirdo, but I love him!
I don't have any pictures, but last Tuesday we also had a final cookout for RUF at some of the students' apartment complex.  Phoebe had a blast running around and it was fun for students to get another look at Haddie Grace.  They might miss Phoebe more than they miss us....
Group Hug

Aubra and the students had another surprise in store for us that evening.  They had made Chris and I a photo book capturing Chris' last seven years of ministry.  It looks awesome and its certainly something that we will treasure as we look back on the Lord's faithfulness in our lives and faithfulness to the ministry.
KSU- we will miss you!  You have all been a blessing to our family and we have learned so much from you1   For you smart cookies who signed up to come to Summer Conference we are excited to spend one more week with you at the beach!

And then onto Winthrop-


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Ponderings of a second child

When Phoebe was born, I didn't fully appreciate the joys of having an only child.  To be able to coo and cuddle with your baby with no other concerns.   I don't know if it will ever be that way again.  Is it?  I had forgotten what that was like until last week.

We drove up to South Carolina last Wednesday for a few days to look for houses.  Talking to a realtor and going through houses with a toddler sounded like a bit more than I could handle, so Chris drove Phoebe up to Chattanooga to stay with Mamo and Papo for a few days.  I missed her like crazy, don't get me wrong, BUT to only have one baby for a few days was AMAZING!

My big girl who I missed for several days-
How could I not miss that sweet face and sassy personality?

Being at home on Tuesday with just Haddie Grace was so sweet (and quiet!!).  To be able to cuddle with her and hold her and just stare at her sweet face was a luxury I've missed with Phoebe running around.  I turned off the TV and thoroughly enjoyed the silence.  With Phoebe I remember holding her and just staring at her for hours on end.  Phoebe sleeping was entertainment for me.  Now, if Haddie Grace is sleeping I'm either trying to love on Phoebe, wash dishes, or fold laundry; I hardly enjoy staring at her the same way I did with my first.  

And one baby is SOO easy!  Now, don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't think that the first time around.  I wish I had enjoyed and appreciated it more when I had the chance, but that's just not the way it works.  After having two kids for a month, going back down to one newborn who just eats, sleeps, and poops was a breeze.  I never could have taken a road trip with Phoebe when she was a month old.  In fact, I was still an emotional wreck at that point in time.  But taking Haddie Grace last week was no big deal.

Thankfully Phoebe LOVES her cousins, so she had a great time while we were gone.  Honestly, I'm not sure she missed me at all.

I'm glad Phoebe is back now.  

Yes, when we are driving up to South Carolina this week with both girls, remind me that I said this...


Linking up with Mom's Monday Mingle // Monday Mingling


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Peanut Chicken Soup

What are you cooking for dinner tonight?  How about Peanut Chicken Soup?  I know the weather is starting to get a bit warmer, but this soup is still fabulous and you can pick up the ingredients from your local farmers market.  Even better.

1/2 onion- chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbls curry powder
14oz can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (You can make your own!  Someday I'll tell you how I do mine)
1 sweet potato- peeled and chopped
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (natural works best)
dash of hot sauce
chopped cilantro

In a soup pot, saute onion for 2-3 minutes. 
Add curry powder and minced garlic.  Saute for another minute
Add canned tomatoes, chicken broth, and sweet potato.  Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes
Add chicken and simmer another 10 minutes
Remove from heat and stir in dash of hot sauce, juice from one lime, peanut butter and cilantro

Serve and enjoy!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mommy Mondays


Wow, have you ever had a blogging block?  Or really in my case, the problem is time getting away from me.  Honestly, I can't believe its Monday again.  I've hardly been on my computer all week!  So no, I have not looked or commented on your blogs recently and I'm sorry.  I also haven't been great about responding to emails either.  I will get to it, I promise.  Life has gotten significantly more busy with two kids.  Between trying to nurse Haddie Grace (which has literally been a full time job) and love a toddler, I don't know where time goes.  Any moment I'm not tending to them I'm either sleeping or trying to have some quality time with my husband.

We are certainly still adjusting to the "new normal" around here.  We spent a couple days in Chattanooga this weekend visiting family and of course we left our camera up there so I have no new pictures to share with you.  And if life weren't crazy enough we're hauling Haddie Grace up to South Carolina on Wednesday to house hunt and hopefully find one.  I haven't been thinking much about "the move" but we're hopefully moving in six weeks or so.  (Ok, so six weeks would be the goal because Chris starts his new job June 1, but in reality we won't move till we close on a house.  Hence, the trip this week...)

Wow, please tell me I'm not the only mommy who feels a little overwhelmed right now?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

{WIWW} I'm back

It has been several weeks since I've done an outfit post.  The last couple weeks of pregnancy I really didn't have much that fit over my over sized belly. (Haddie Grace was 9lbs 4oz so there was apparently a good reason...) And of course the past 3 weeks have been a bit crazy; I'm lucky if I've managed a shower, not to mention getting dressed and actually taking a picture.

But I did make it to church last Sunday and managed to wear something other than yoga pants and a t-shirt.  To be honest, it was a bit stressful getting 2 kids and myself dressed, ready, and out the door on Sunday morning.  Don't get me wrong, it was good to be at and a part of Sunday morning worship, but next week Haddie Grace and I will probably stay home.  Compared to Phoebe, I've been quite emotionally stable since Haddie Grace was born, but the two breakdowns I have had have been on the previous two Sunday afternoons after having little sleep and working to get everyone out the door for church.  It was just a little too much to try and manage.  Chris is normally a huge help in the mornings, but Sundays are tricky because he is typically doing some extra last minute sermon prep.  So next week I plan to give myself a break and just get Phoebe ready for church so Haddie Grace and I can take a coveted nap!

Oh and as far as the outfit goes, I love the birds on the shirt!  And next time (or whenever I can) I would tuck in the shirt, and maybe even wear it with a high waisted pencil skirt.  But for now, you don't really tuck things into a wide banded elastic maternity skirt...

Shirt: Gap
Cardigan: Gap
Skirt: Motherhood Maternity 
(going to be maternity pants for several more weeks I'm sure)
Shoes: Ecco

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy, Because Shanna Said So, and Get Your Pretty On


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mommy Mondays: Newborn photos

Happy Monday!  I'm excited to be hosting a new link up with Rachel over at Can't Google Everything and Renee at Hanson Family Chaos.


I mentioned on Friday how one of our students, Christa, took some newborn pictures of Haddie Grace for us.  We were SO happy when she sent us some of the edited pictures last week!  They look awesome!  We didn't have newborn pictures taken of Phoebe, so this is exciting for us!  Now we just need to finish picking and ordering our birth announcements to get them out!  Christa gave us a lot of great options to work with.
Check these out-

Now grab the button and link up your family friendly posts below!  
Please be kind and follow your hosts and visit a new friend while you're here!
And PS- you can follow me on bloglovin now!
Also linking up with Monday Mingling, YOLO MondaysToo Cute Tuesdays, and Just Because link up