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Our baby girl (PH calls her Baby Puppy, which my mom doesn't like, but she doesn't understand how much he loves dogs, and therefore, it is a term of endearment) is three weeks old today. Every day I stare at her in wonder. She is changing so quickly and it makes my heart hurt a little because these precious days are going so fast. On the other hand I'm also grateful because breastfeeding has been a battle royale for us.
I have been experiencing the joys of having flat nipples and nipple shields don't work. At least they don't for me. they move around and come off so she ends up with a shield in her mouth and nothing else. I also tried a nipple everter, which works except it expresses milk that gets everywhere and that is annoying. However, on those rare occasions she has latched she tries once and then gives me a look that says, "why have you done this to me?" then she goes to sleep and doesn't eat. Most nursing sessions have ended with us both in tears. Her crying because she is still hungry, and me crying because I am in pain, and feel like a failure as a mother.
I personally am not ready to give up the ghost and switch to formula. (I am not judging anyone in a similar situation who has switched, or if you just started with formula from the get go. Although I know the nutritive properties of breast milk are better for baby, I am from the fed is best camp. You have to do what is right for you and your baby, and it is none of my business what that decision is. Just as long as you are feeding your little one.) This flu and RSV season have been horrible. We just heard on the news last night about two more deaths from the flu, and three children who live in our same county have died from the flu. So I am determined to give her breast milk at least through this RSV season, while I keep us quarantined in the house.
Because of this struggle I have become a pumping warrior. Every time she eats (from a bottle) I pump. I have been trying so hard to do everything I can to increase my milk production so I can start storing breast milk and get ahead of our little eater.
I take my daily vitamin every morning along with two fenugreek capsules. I eat oatmeal with flax seed, and I put brewer's yeast in my morning shake and chug it. Of course, I am trying hard to stay hydrated. In all of this effort I have been able to get back into baking a little more with lactation cookies.
I mean, I don't know if you've ever had brewer's yeast, but it tastes like vomit. I personally do not enjoy that flavor, and somehow, when I put it into these cookies the vomit taste goes away, and I have something that will increase my milk production, AND taste delicious!
Of course, I had to come up with a version that included pumpkin.
These cookies are moist, soft, and pumpkiny. They don't taste a thing like brewer's yeast, they taste like fall, and happiness. If you're looking for a way to boost your lactation, these cookies are the perfect solution. Pop a couple every day and watch your milk production increase!
I am sorry I have been MIA these last few weeks. I've been a little preoccupied with the most beautiful and perfect little person on this earth.
Would you like to see her?
She is so amazing. I spend most of my time staring at her and wondering how on earth we were blessed with such an amazing little thing. She is so perfect, and such a good little baby. She hardly cries, she's a good sleeper, and she doesn't even spit up. She is so alert, and already laughs! How many two week olds do you know that laugh? We are so in love with her.
I want to share the story of the day she was born. My due date was December 29, which also happens to be my brother's birthday! Well all throughout my pregnancy people made commentary about how I was going to have a big baby, and was I sure I wasn't having twins? (People are rude.) Anyway, I started to get nervous that if she didn't come by her due date she'd be too big and I'd end up having to have a C-section. I really wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
My doctor's appointment was Wednesday, December 27. I went in at 1:30 and was still dilated at a 1, hadn't felt a single contraction, and was barely effaced. My doctor told me she would induce me that week if I wanted to, but she was also fine going another week to allow me to go into labor naturally.
I also REALLY wanted to give birth in 2017 (hello tax break) and I told my doctor I would prefer that, as long as she believed that getting induced that week wouldn't stress her out, or cause any problems for her. My doctor (who is great by the way, I'm so grateful for her) told me that the risk of a C section would probably be greater the longer we waited. She just warned me that if I was induced it could take longer, and I wouldn't be able to be in early labor at home, if that had been my original hope.
So the hospital was called and my induction was scheduled. I was told that I would be called on December 28, as early as 2 AM, once a bed was available. Well, instead, the hospital called me at 10:30 the night of the 27, and told me to be there an hour later. So PH and I loaded up the car with my overnight bag and the cooler that PH had filled with food and snacks for us. My mom and Alicia told me to take a shower before going to the hospital because I'd feel a lot better, so I did. Then we drove to the hospital and checked in at the maternity wing, and they sent me to labor and delivery.
The nurse in labor and delivery hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor, and they had a hard time finding good vein for my IV. So I got a couple bruises, before they found one in my left arm. The baby's heart rate was spiking a little bit, so they had me lay on my left side for awhile before giving me the pill to get my cervix going. Originally I was supposed to take three doses of it, but I ended up only taking one. She gave it to me at about 2 AM.
I started feeling light contractions, like cramps. PH was interested in watching the machine to see when another one was coming. We both tried to get a little sleep in our incredibly uncomfortable beds and my IV didn't like when I lifted my arm up and it would beep.
My doctor came by at 7 AM and then decided to start me on Pitocin. On a side note, I would just like to say that getting your cervix checked is one of the most uncomfortable experiences you will ever have. I started to dread it because it hurt so bad every time!
A few hours after the Pitocin drip started I woke up to my doctor telling me she was going to break my water. I was dilated to a 3 and she thought that breaking my water would help my body get going on it's own. After she broke my water my contractions suddenly came on a lot stronger. Each time I felt water gushing out of me, and I could feel my contractions all the way into my hips and thighs. It was terrible. So PH called for the nurse and I told her I wanted the epidural.
The epidural guy came, and having to get up for the epidural is also pretty awful. You're contracting and water is gushing out of you and they want you to sit up and put your legs over the side of the bed while they inject it into your back. However, after the epidural got going I suddenly couldn't feel a thing except tingling in my legs, feet, and hands. They gave me the epidural at about 2 PM and started having me lay on my side with a peanut (it looks like a yoga ball, but in the shape of a peanut) in between my legs. I slept so well!
Every time the nurse came in however she'd remove the peanut and ask me if I was able to lift myself up a little so they could change my pad. I guess I was able to do it, but I felt like I could hardly move. At one point when my nurse had me move sides she told me to lift my right leg to put the peanut back and I heard her say, "whoa! Can you feel your legs at all?"
"Not really." I responded. "Sorry if I kick you!"
Well my doctor came back in at 8 PM and checked me, and this time with the epidural it didn't hurt! I was fully dilated and effaced and she said they were going to get set up and in about half an hour it would be time to push!
Now here is where I will admit that PH and I never went to a childbirth class. I had watched some videos on childbirth online through baby center, but we had never practiced any breathing or massage techniques, or pushing, or anything. They put the stirrups up and set my legs in them and the nurse told PH he'd need to help. Every time I had to push the nurse would push back on one leg, and PH would push back on the other. At 8:40 it was time. They gave me some oxygen which they said would help the baby, but I had to take the mask off every time I pushed. I started being able to feel the contractions, but they felt more like pressure in my lower abdomen instead of painful like they had been pre-epidural. With each contraction I'd have to push while the nurse counted to ten, three times during each contraction.
I started being able to feel the baby moving, I could feel the pressure in my lower extremities, and I'm not going to lie, it was kind of a weird feeling. At one point I looked at the clock and it was 9:10 PM and I thought, I don't know if I can do this for several hours. I mean, honestly, not to be too graphic or gross, but imagine you're going to the bathroom after eating only Taco Bell for the last two months. Now, magnify that pressure and force that you are using to go to the bathroom by at least 100. That's sort of what active labor feels like.
Well my doctor came back in at about 9:30 PM. The nurse tried to have me push during one more contraction but after the first push I felt so nauseated. The nurse stopped and gave me a little pan which I held on to until feeling passed. Then the doctor said it was time and I gave one last great push and then suddenly there she was, our sweet little baby girl. They put a towel on her and laid her on my chest while PH cut the umbilical cord. She was crying and had this beautiful, distinctive little cry. You know those squeaky toys that you have to squeeze to make squeak? That's what she'd do at the end of every cry. My doctor said that if she was in the nursery she'd be able to pick her out with that cry. It sounded so beautiful to me. PH was proactive about taking pictures, and he remarked that he couldn't believe how grey she looked when she first came out. He stood over by her while she got weighed and measured, cleaned up, and had her little foot pricked while I delivered the placenta and had my doctor stitch me up. He called out to me that she weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 20 and 3/4 inches long.
Then they brought her back over to me and placed her on my chest. Out of the corner of my eye I caught PH being a little emotional. We were both so happy. All I could do was stare at her and marvel at how perfect she was and is. She had a head full of hair, and she was so alert and every little thing about her was the most perfect thing I have ever seen. I knew I had been in love with this tiny little person from the beginning, and here I was, finally holding her in my arms.
It's been two weeks now and it's already been quite the journey. She really is such a good and well behaved baby. We've struggled (and are still struggling) with breastfeeding, but honestly, the struggle is all because of me. Everything about her is truly perfect and every day I look at her and marvel all over again. How did God ever decide to trust us with this little spirit? How are we so blessed and lucky? Why do I get to be her mom? It's all already going by too quickly, but I am so thankful to have her for forever.
So, if you're considering trying to have your own baby, I highly recommend it. She is the finest thing I have ever done.
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If you subscribe to this blog or follow us on social media, you know that Lindsey had her baby! We are so happy to welcome Baby Emily to our family. I haven't had a lot of chance to enjoy her because I have been down sick for the past few days. I am starting to feel better and I can hardly wait to get over there and cuddle her again.
In the meantime, I realized that I never told you about the baby shower Lindsey's MIL Joanne and I threw for her back in November. The holidays hit, and I saved it for later. Since Emily is here, now seems like the perfect time to talk about the shower.
Since Joanne had to travel from CA, we felt it was easiest to have the shower right at Lindsey's house. It turned out perfectly because we didn't have to pack up and haul the gifts away in a car. We just put them down in the nursery!
I sent out the invitations. LIndsey asked people to give her addresses on Facebook so I would know who to send to. A few people didn't give me their addresses in time. Sorry!
Here is a tip when designing your own invitations, Make them fit on postcard sized photo paper! The paper is glossy and looks nice and they are easy to print from home! I like to use Google Draw to design things like that.
We used a storybook theme for the baby shower. On each invitation we asked for a storybook instead of a card and those who did that would be put into a drawing for a prize. We also did a thank you drawing for people who brought diapers.
Lindsey's favorite children's book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. She is using that as her theme in her nursery with colors and decor. I used a silhouette of one of the monsters and framed a picture for the room. I had seen it done somewhere and it was easy to design on Google Draw.
To decorate the refreshment table and to use in Emily's room later, Joanne did a project that I think is to die for. She found a used copy of Where the Wild Things Are and used it to decoupage the art work onto the letters of Emily's name.
We had a lot of good food, and we played a couple of games at the party. Joanne hit the jackpot at a thrift store she frequents and found a boxful of plastic pacifiers on ribbons. She picked them up for a song. We gave one to each guest as they arrived and told them that if they heard anyone use the word baby they could take away their necklace. (I always lose that game immediately.)
Another game we played was a spin off from Scattergories that we called Scatter Baby! You can download the double sheet below. We used the babies initials on the blank lines and gave everyone 2 minutes to fill in the blanks. Then we would start with whoever had the most filled in and had them read what they thought of. If anyone had a match, then they had to cross it off. Whoever ended up with the most ideas not crossed off won the game. It is a lot of fun if you remind everyone to think out of the box. Let me tell you, you had to think out of the box with Emily's initials. We used E G because her name is Emily Grace. Or you could use the first and last names.
Just click on the image to get a prinable version.
The shower went very well and Emily received many beautiful gifts! Fun was had by all. Now that she is here and using the gifts, we are all so appreciative of the love that was shown to her and her mother. We hope you can use some of these ideas at your next baby shower! For more ideas, check out past posts about baby showers here and here.
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to nearly nine and counting! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Read more about us here!
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