Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 24: Milk, My Nemisis

Popcorn is growing by leaps and bounds.  The mastitis is gone!  There was a lump for a couple more days but no pain.  I used more heat and massage on it.

I have cut most dairy out of my diet because I suspect Popcorn may have an issue with it.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Squirrel has severe eczema and several allergies: peanut, tree nut, dairy, dogs, dust.  {Princess had eczema as a baby but outgrew it.}  The boys are fine, for the most part.  Side Salad had a RAD-like episode in response to a virus last fall.  Allergies, eczema, and asthma are the trifecta, the three sisters.  That's part of the reason I am so committed to EBF.  The boys were breastfeed 13 and 21 months in contrast to the girls' 4 and 8 months.  I'm getting off topic. I cut dairy out because we have a genetic predisposition to these sorts of things. I myself and lactose intolerant.  Yes, I know ice cream is dairy. It makes me obscenely gassy and if I eat too much, it gives me horrendous diarrhea.  For Popcorn, it gave her colicky symptoms like excessive, inconsolable crying, gas, and possibly a funky rash.

This is how she looks when I don't drink milk.
For my sweet baby, I give up ice cream in copious amounts.  A good friend of mine offered me some replacements-almond milk (which I love in my cereal), almond milk ice cream, and coconut milk ice cream. I am going to grab these when I do my shopping this coming weekend.

I myself went to see my GP today. It wasn't baby related. He wanted to check out some things.  According to my last blood test, I have low levels of thyroid, a vitamin D deficiency, anemia, and high cholesterol.  He wants me to taking the fasting blood test so I have to go back but I am pleased to note that my blood pressure is a sassy 100/80 BAZINGA!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 20: OUCH!

Pain during breastfeeding is an indication of something going wrong.

Something has gone wrong.

Yesterday, I started having kind of a pokey pain-like someone was jabbing me with a needle-in my right breast.  It was hot to the touch and swollen.  I took my temp and it was 101.5 and I literally had goosebumps because I was freezing.

I suspect that I have a touch of the mastitis or, as I like to call it, "the devil has taken up residence in my bosom."

It could just be a plugged duct but the fever and general sense of malaise are telling me otherwise.

This is what I did, per Kelly Mom:

  • took a long hot bath and put warm wash cloths on my breast
  • put a warm compress on the bed and laid my breast on top of it
  • started Popcorn on that side whenever possible.  Due to the swelling and excessive milk, she couldn't get my areola in her mouth. I hand expressed almost 2 ounces and then nursed her.
  • got lots of rest-no easy task with 5 kids.  Astronaut made dinner for he and his siblings-hot dogs, carrot sticks, and chips. 
  • drank plenty of fluids, mostly juice and Gatorade
  • slept a lot. I still woke up every 2 to 4 hours from the pain and nursed.
Today, I feel much better. No more fever or chills. My breast isn't hot.  There is far less pain when I nurse. I am assuming it was simply a mild case of mastitis.  All I know is that I feel much better.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 18: The Screamer and 2 things I love

I know you can't tell from the video but Popcorn is a bit of a screamer. She has these crying jags. They aren't super long, but they are long enough, maybe 15 to 20 minutes. I don't want to use the c-word, but I don't know. It's really frustrating but honestly, I feel like nursing brings me emotionally closer to her and helps me function.  This may sound crazy, but breastfeeding clearly defines my goal. I provide sustenance.  No one else can do this. This prevents me from feeling like others aren't doing their share. It may not be like that for other people, but it keeps me grounded when I'm feeling worn thin.  I have a couple of tools to help me cope, my nursing pendant and my slings.

The Seville *drool*
Yesterday, my ring slings from Comfy Joey arrived.  I ordered my slings during Ayesha's (the CJ mama) April Fool's Day sale, before Popcorn was born so I tried to pick gender neutral colors.  I only opened the Marrakech for now. I am only one person with one baby, after all.   I love the color, a warm terra cotta, and the name, a city in Morocco.  Morocco is my number one dream vacation, so it was clearly meant for me. The second sling is Santorini, a deep sea linen.  It is named for the Greek island of Santorini and Greece is my other dream vacation.  Ayesha picks the best names for her slings!  The colors I like are all places I want to visit. I wish I'd ordered the Seville, a spicy olive, though (guess who wants to visit Seville, Spain? Me!!!!). Green is my absolute favorite color but I thought it looked too autumn-y.  Silly me. Oh, well-I guess I'll have to order another in the fall!
Marrakech sling

Santorini sling
I put Popcorn in the sling tonight during her crying jag.  She was refusing to nurse at the time. It wasn't her first time in it. I had her in there while I made dinner, too.  Anywho, she was crying and Lettuce couldn't get her to stop either.  She bobbed around on his chest like she was looking for a nipple, then refusing to nurse when I put her to my chest.  So, I put her in the sing and talked and swayed.  She fussed at first, then quieted down.  I sat down on the couch and she let me nurse her until she fell asleep.  She's still in the sling now, napping quietly.

Nursing in the sling

Finally nodding off

In nursing news, I am still super leaky.  I feel like a milk fountain. The big kids love to point out the wet spots as the appear.  It's annoying and I have to remind myself that it's temporary.  My nursing pads are never ever nearby, but that's my poor planning.

A plus to using the sling is that not only can I nurse in it, the free edge makes a great nursing cover, if that sort of thing interests you.   I personally think my breasts are fantastic and that you haven't lived until you see them.  I'm just kidding.  See how it covers up my upper portion? It's pretty wide so I can drape it over her and have as much coverage as I need.  The fabric is linen, which is breathable.  It can get in the triple digits here in the south, and the heat index is unbearable.  Linen is a natural fiber with a kind of open weave. As far as security, she feels super secure, not like she's going to fall out at all.  The sling came with a DVD to help novice mamas learn how to wear their babies.

Way back when Side Salad was born [4 years ago], I had a pincher on my hands. He'd nurse on one side and want to pinch the other. This was a point of contention for us as I don't like my nipples to be pinched. I heard about the Nurse Purse, the nursing pendant from Lori at Risky Beads, on another blog and decided that it was cheap enough to try out.
I am super frugal and won't buy something unless I know I can use it or it's cheap enough to justify it failing me.
So I order the nurse purse from Lori and it worked like a charm!  You can read about it here.  Then he weaned and I never saw it again.  It's been gone like 2 years.  Right before Popcorn was born, we moved.   Then, literally days before she was born, I found it!  I've been wearing it all the time.  Today, her little roving hands finally found it. It's really smooth and feels warm because I wear it all the time. 

I caught a pic of her holding it.  WARNING: This is a nursing pic! If you offended by my magnificent multitasking bosom, don't scroll down!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day 17: Pumping

Popcorn is 17 days old. Yesterday, I was so worn out from doing to much on days 14 and 15 that I couldn't function. My greatest accomplishment was watching the RHOA season finale, part 3.  And eating nearly a whole bag of dark chocolate Loacker Quadratini.  They really are delicious.  Anyway, it was a reminder that I just had a baby a couple of weeks ago and I still need to take it easy.  It's very easy, as a mommy, to try to get back in the swing of things too early.  You have to rest.  Pretty much every non-Western culture expects new mamas to get lots of rest and recuperate for 40+ days after giving birth.

I don't know why you don't get rest, Mommy, but I sure do!

I have been having a lot of leaking lately so I decided to try to save some of that milk. I'd rather save it than marinate in it.  The first time, I hand expressed after nursing and got about 20 cc from each side. Today, I got about 30 cc on one side while she nursed on the other.  It's not a lot, but I put it in some Lansinoh bags and froze it.
That's her "I'm ready to nurse" face.
Even though Lettuce and I have pretty much decided that I'll be staying home with the kids, I think it's important to have some milk stored for emergencies.  My milk will keep at least 6 months in the deep freezer.  I'd really like to pump some, but I lost the flange from my pump. WIC may be able to help me with one, if I go back to work.

Avent Isis Manual
So let's talk pumping.  With the first two kids, I didn't pump. I didn't have pump money.  They can be expensive, as I'm sure you know.  I vaguely remember trying a Medela with no success. I hand expressed a little for the Astronaut, but my mother ended up bringing him to me to nurse. I know that sounds crazy but I worked super close to our house.

With Squirrel, I knew I was only going to be home for 6 weeks. I began pumping after about 2 weeks and we introduced a bottle at that time.  I am a heavy chested mama (about an F-yes F as in frog-cup) so the flanges of the pumps were an issue with me.  The flange is the part where you put your breast.   I decided to go with Avent for several reasons.  
  •  I'd heard they were easier for bigger mamas.
  • It came with a nice carrying bag.
  • Avent nipples are wider, more like my nipples, so I figured it would be an easier transition.
  • The price was right. It was less than $50, not too big of an investment if I couldn't use it.  
The pump was super easy to use and I pumped the whole time I was home.  I was able to exclusively breastfeed for 7 months, then another 2 months while we transitioned to formula.

But it was hard.

Pumping is so hard and I truly respect the pumping mamas. I nursed first thing in the morning before work, I  pumped on my lunch break at work (my job had a lactation room), which was very lonely business. I nursed as soon as I got home.  I pumped every night.  I was worn out and my supply diminished. There's nothing like baby to breast. In hindsight, maybe I could have used some fennel or Mother's Milk Tea to help me keep my supply up. I was also depending on a manual pump for some pretty high volume pumping. I probably should have upgraded to electric for her.

Avent Isis IQ Uno
With Side Salad, I was a full time student. I went back to school when he was 12 days old.  Initially, I took him with me, but he was the cutest distraction. Plus, I had a professor who was uncomfortable with my breastfeeding.  Yes, she was a woman.  Besides, I was only paying tuition for me, not the kid.  I was only gone a few hours at a time so he took a bottle if necessary, but mostly he slept during my class time. I Supgraded to an Avent Isis IQ-about $150 4 years ago-which is the electric version of my pump. It allowed me to customize the pumping action so it wasn't yanking my nipples off.  I could make the suction as gentle as I needed it to be.  I did not use the petal massager because my breast fit better without it. I told you, I'm a bigger girl.  We ended up with a freezer full of milk.  I was able to go on a cruise without him. He was about 18 months old at the time. He had plenty of milk and I pumped while I was gone to keep my supply up.  I loved my  pump.  As you know, Side Salad self weaned around 21 months.  I put the pump parts somewhere random and now I can't find the flange, though I have all the other parts.

Now I want to pump as a precautionary measure.  Worst case scenario, we use the milk to make her cereal when she starts solids.  Of course, we're team Avent again.

Soon as I can find a flange.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012 [day 15]

Today, we participated in the Great Cloth Diaper Change with about 60 other babies! It was fun and really cool.  I saw some mamas I knew, including some I met at the Target Nurse-In back in December.

Here are a few pictures:

Pre-change snack

Pre-change in a gDiaper

Post-change in a Kissaluvs fitted

Freshly diapered and covered

Happy baby girl
I scored a bumGenius Freestyle Albert (because it reminds me of Big Bang Theory) from Carolina Cloth and then got a Snappi, a wet bag from BubuBibi, and a cloth wipe from Sweet Bobbins in the raffle! There were plenty of great samples in the swag bag, too. Overall, it was a fantastic event. I can't wait to see if we beat last years record, and to participate again next year!

For those of you who are considering cloth, here's a guide to getting started with cloth on a budget. If you're like me, you did it to save money and we really did. You spend thousands on cloth diapers. We spent less than a thousand to diaper 2 kids, including splurges like custom fitteds.  It really is fantastic!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reflecting on labor

As you know, I have given birth 5 times and each time has been totally different.  Popcorn's was by far, the best and not just because it was 35 minutes long.  I was talking to a like minded mama friend and the difference is that, with the first 4 I felt like things were done to me. With Popcorn, I did something. i gave birth. I wasn't a patient. I didn't need help. I gave birth to my baby and my midwives helped me. They didn't order me around or tell me what to do. They didn't do things to me.  My baby was a bit quiet and sluggish when she was born. They didn't take her away from me and do things to her. They helped her by giving her a little oxygen.  The circumstances were different than they were in the hospitals (I had two in one hospital, and two in another).  

I don't think I could go back to a hospital, barring an emergency.  

If Lettuce and I ever have another kid-which is highly unlikely because I'm getting too old for this!-I'd probably shoot for a home birth, like Jessica at The Leaky B@@b just had and live streamed.  It was baby girl #6 for her.  Watching her labor makes me even sadder that we didn't catch mine.  I thought someone had taken pics of Astronaut cutting the cord but no one did.   I wasn't actively watching her birth but the sounds she was making changed. There is definitely a different kind of sound you make right before you actually give birth.  

My camera can take like 4 hours of HD video and my labor was so short. We could have recorded the whole thing. I'm sad, but I'm not going to dwell on it...for long.  

But you know, it could happen. We could have a 6th baby someday. Who knows?

Day 13: We are ready to go! (and how I started cloth diapering)

Baby Update: So Miss Popcorn will be two weeks old tomorrow!  I can't believe she's been her so long. It feels like she just got here and like she's always been here at the same time.   I just love the little sugarfoot so much!  I think I mentioned that we moved last month so the kids had to change schools.Well, Squirrel's former teacher (who is also a distant cousin of ours) just advised me that I was invited to the volunteer appreciation breakfast.  I used to volunteer/chaperone  field trips a fair bit over the years at their school.  It's tomorrow and I-well, we-are going!  The forecast is 82 so Miss P will be wearing that cute little pink and brown polka dot outfit, since it's one of the few things that fit.  After that, we may swing by Target or buybuyBaby and return the plethora of disposable dipes I got for some gift cards or something else I can really use.  I wanted to get some more little gPants, maybe in Good Morning Sunshine and Goddess Pink, in the next size up.  I got a lot of dipes at the shower.  That's crazy because we cloth diaper. I guess people missed the memo.

Speaking of cloth dipes, I am often asked about cloth.  We went cloth when Side Salad was about 5 months old. It was a purely financial decision.  When we found out I was pregnant, I'd just been laid off. I had money saved, a college refund check, severance, and unemployment. We began prepping immediately, buying a box of diapers each month.  SS went throug them fairly quickly and I was tired of tossing money in the trash can 8 times  day.  Since my unemployment was due to run out, we made the switch.  We stared with prefolds and Bummis Super Whisper Wraps.  I got a couple of bumGenius 3.0s for when we went out, too.  I ended up with a varied stash that included custom fitteds from Orange Diaper Co. nee Scuttlebutts and even a goodmama.
Fresh Oranges (previously known as Scuttlebutts)

I actually just ordered Popcorn 3 Oranges, two of them customs. Pics to come as soon as they get here. Hers will be serged, not turned like his. I digress.

Rockin' a bamboo square and snappi
I got deep in cloth diapering and loved it. I sold the hubby on it.  Initially, he would only use AIOs until one day when Squirrel would only bring him a prefold and a snappi.  He got with the program.  Now, cloth diapering is paying off even more because we get to use the diapers on another kid-SCORE!  The only issue is that Side Salad was 2 pound heavier than Popcorn was at birth, and we didn't cloth diaper him until he was about 5 months old.  He has lots of dipes but they are entirely too big for her. I went ahead and got half a dozen newborn prefolds, 4 small covers (the Thirsties Hoot <3 and Kushies are here now, two more Thirsties will be here Monday), and the three newborn fitteds (they fit up to 15 lbs) that are on the way. Those should hold her over until she can fit what we have.
I <3 owls!
Side Salad NIP at age one
Mama Update: Well, I've pooped 3 times since I had the baby. This is such a good thing. Other than that, I feel pretty good most of the time.  I have been having some leaking. I use the term "some" lightly. When Popcorn nurses on one side, milk floods out of the other.  I should put a bottle or something up to it and save it for a rainy day.  You know, the kind where rain means alcohol....  It's only an issue at night, when I am too sleepy to bother with bras and nursing pads.  I sleep on a towel.  It comes in handy when Lettuce annoys me.  I am not above using these puppies as weapons.   Side Salad finds it amusing. This maybe his first time seeing a baby be breastfed. I wish I'd taken more pics of him nursing. I found a couple on the old blog.

Can I tell you something?  Everyday, I feel like I feel every single emotion that I've ever know. I love Popcorn but she cries an awful lot. It can be really frustrating, even though she's my fifth.  I really get down sometimes. I try to keep things in perspective.  Popcorn is a baby; she can't talk. She can't tell me what she wants. She's in a new environment and it can be overwhelming.  Plus I love her so doggone much.  That surge of love hormones business is serious!  When she cries, I feel bad and overwhelmed but I feel so much for the young mothers because I was young when I had the Astronuat (18 and 4 months out of high school) and the single mamas (Lettuce and I have been together for 8 years. The big kids are 9 and 11. You do the math.) because it's hard.  Sometimes I want to cry.  Then she stops crying and all is well. But if I were to be overwhelmed, I could hand her to Lettuce. Not every one has that luxury.

Breastfeeding can be a double edged sword. I provided food and comfort, which is beautiful and makes me feel like, I don't know, Gaia.  I feel like my body cradled her and created her and nourished her before she was born, and now that she is born I am doing the same. At the same time, I provided food and comfort, which is exhausting  and makes me feel like I am handcuffed to the baby.  She's a needy little sweetie, that's for sure.  It's important to keep things in perspective. I can only do this for a little while, in the grand scheme of things. And she won't always be 2 weeks old.  In a few weeks, she'll even out a bit.  In a few months, she'll be doing other stuff.  Right now, all she does is sleep and grow.

I also remind myself of how much work I'm saving mystuff. You see, she'd still cry and need to be held and fed if I wasn't breastfeeding. But if I used formula, I'd have to make bottles and heat them up and wash them, etc. I'd have to get up at night instead of simply rolling over. I'd have to go to the store. It's just too much on top of what I already have to do. Anyways, this entry is getting a little long in the tooth so I'll stop for now but that's pretty much it, just loving my life and the people in it!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 9: I know she's growing because she can wear CLOTHES

Popcorn is 9 days old now. She's starting to develop a little personality of her own. This is how her nursing sessions go:

1. P frowns and rubs her left fist in her mouth while waving her right hand.
2. I pick her up and uncover the boob that she didn't start on at the last feeding.
3a. If it's the right boob, she latches on perfectly and snuggles. Then, looks around and enjoys the sights while she nurses.
3b. If it's the left boob, she refuses to open wide enough and I have to hold left hand in my left and while also using my left thumb (yes, her head is on my left arm) to pull her chin down so she can get a good latch. Then, as she squirms, I use my right hand to smush my areola as small as possible to get as much in her mouth as I can. This sounds complicated. That's because it is.
4. Baby nurses and look around for 20 minutes. Then she either goes to sleep or simply stops nursing. Meanwhile, either my lap or my cleavage fills with the milk running from the other side as I look wistfully at the box of nursing pads on top of my jewelry box across the room an curse myself for poor planning.
5. Suddenly, P stops nursing and looks at me. She makes a face. It looks like she's going to smile but morphs in to a lopsided grimace-one eyebrow up, the other down with a squinted ey, mouth twisted to one side, lips pursed-and proceeds to fill up her diaper in an explosive way.
Pause: At this moment, I pat myself on the back for using cloth. Otherwise, my lap would be full of baby poo.
6. I sight and reach for her diaper change basket, lay her down, and start undressing her.
7. P begins to shriek.  She's not a fan of mid-meal changing sessions.  She expresses her displeasure occasionally by pooping or peeing during the change.
8. I finish changing her and put her on the other boob.

Fun times, fun times.

Many times, people worry about if breastfed babies are getting enough nutrition because they don't know how to gauge their consumption. is a great source of information on knowing if a baby is getting enough to eat but here's a little information on it.
  • One way is by weight. That's probably the easiest way.  Unfortunately, I don't have a baby scale or fish scale to weigh her.  
  • A more common way is diaper counting. However, if you use disposables, this can be difficult.  Sposies absorb a lot of urine before they feel wet. Cloth diapers are easy to count because they feel wet immediately.  Popcorn poos a lot but some bf babies only poo every couple of days. That's normal. 
  • Finally, there are visual cues that let you know a baby is growing. The baby is happy, shiny eyed, bushy tailed and all.  The skin is soft and supple. And most of all, the baby is bigger.  Today, Popcorn wore an outfit.  That's right. She's wearing more than onesies and gowns now. Furthermore, it's a 0-3 months size outfit, not newborn. So I know she's getting bigger because she can wear clothes.  
All dressed up with no where to go


Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 7: Getting in the swing of things

Popcorn is a week old today and we are really getting in the swing of things.  She sleeps at night and naps at reasonable times.  She eats lot and though I am pretty swollen and leak a little, I'm not engorged. Engorgement can be super uncomfy to say the least-like sleeping on two giant red, leaky boulders. I nurse very frequently, on demand, so this isn't an issue. She's gaining weight nicely and interacts with us. She can lift her head, too.  I made her birth announcement today :) I like to wait a little while until that newborn newness wears off before taking pics, but Popcorn is crazy cute. She didn't peel at all, probably because she's never had a bath. I'll elaborate on that later. Anyway, here's the announcement:

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Okay, about the bath. I recently read some literature that indicated bathing immediately after birth could interfere with bonding. She was wiped down, though she really came out relatively clean anyways.  She hasn't been bathed since.  Unlike the other children, she never peeled and her umbilical stump has already fallen off.  The other kids, that didn't happen until they were about 2 weeks old. I only cleaned hers with water and used rubbing alcohol on the others.

Popcorn sleeps a lot better than the others. She takes timely naps and sleeps for long stretches at night. She tends to cluster feed, but I actually prefer cluster feeding because it frees up long stretches of time where I can do other things, like hang with the big kids or bathe.  She's a really good baby and I feel so blessed to have her! The kids treat her with so much love. Here's Side Salad singing to her:

I was looking at last year's Easter pic and it looked like someone was missing.  It already feels like she has always been her, like she's always been a part of our family.  It's amazing how she fills a void I never knew was there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

day 6 and I'm blogging kindle style!

My laptop is acting stinky and blue screening me so I haven't been on much. Then I remembered that I can do almost *anything* from my Kindle Fire so here I am.

Popcorn is 6 days old. She has her one week check up yesterday and she is just perfect! She's gained 3 oz over her birthweight and looks fantastic. Her umbilical stump fell off yesterday, too, giving me a new spot to kiss on. She's also picked up the unfortunate nickname "Pig." She roots around, grunting, and smacks her lips. It's so cute!

{Postpartum TMI: my bowels finally moved yesterday. I am relieved, in more ways than one. Today, I had horrible gas pains that had me in tears. I may need to up the alfalfa...}

My mind has been in overdrive trying to come up with ways for me to continue to be a SAHM. Last night, I tried my hand at making a tutu and a couple of head bands. They came out kinda cute and I'll add pics when I can get my computer to work. My plan is to show Pig off with them on and hope people want to buy them. I also plan to make big girl head bands for Princess and Squirrel to wear to attract the tween and kindergarten set. If supplies for 3 headbands cost $5 and I sell them for $5 each, there's a profit of $10. That's not including tutus. Hopefully, I'll make enough to help Lettuce and have fun doing it.
First attempt at a tutu and headband

And another headband

And here's Popcorn rockin' her mama's creation!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Looking forward to the Summer

This is a totally un-baby post. I was just thinking about the fact that the kids have about a month and a half left of school before they are home the summer.  I want the kids to have some enriching experiences and a lot of fun.  I've been looking into unschooling and it sounds like a great way to help them learn and explore without making things so structured that they have no summer. My good friend R is such an inspiration to me in this area. She is a like minded mama of 3 who unschools her handsome boys.

I think that I'd like to explore two themes this summer and have the kids interact with them in a variety of ways.  The first theme would be dinosaurs and I haven't determined the second theme yet. I have all these ideas for how we can learn about dinosaurs in a cross curricular way.  Here are a couple of my current ideas:

  • Pangaea maps
  • Making fossils
  • Zoo trips to learn about the descendants of and modern day relatives of dinosaurs
  • Maybe a dinosaur skeleton puzzle, if I could find one
  • Museum trips to touch dino stuff
  • Music and whatnot
  • Dinosaur life cycle tableau replete with dramatic music [I can see my kids doing this with mock seriousness]
  • All culminating with a journal of a cavekid. Yes, I know that humans and dinos didn't coexist, but think of the creative writing combined with the practical knowledge. Even Side Salad could do it, albeit a pictorial journal.

Maybe we could even do a joint theme.......hmmmm.....

Any suggestions for the second theme?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 3: Kaboom!

A pre-nursing nap. Or is this a post-nursing nap? I forget.
As I was saying yesterday, my milk is in now. Baby Popcorn is a voracious nurser. This girl gets down to business.  She prefers to nurse on one side per feeding (about 15-20 min) and go until she falls off in a milky coma, complete with a sweaty nose and a satisfied grin. {I've been trying to catch that grin on camera all day.}  She sleeps for a few minutes, maybe 10, then wakes up to eat on the other side.  I know you're "supposed" to switch baby after 15 minutes but I just don't do it like that. We have a more child-led approach. After all, this ain't my belly we're filing. As long as my sweet baboo is happy, I'm happy.

Speaking of happy, I'm about to throw all the big kids out. I swear it sounds like they are remodeling my living room out there.
Except this one. He's too cute.
Gotta make sure we are latched on right-areola, not nipple.
I spend a a good bit of time making sure we have good latch every time I nurse because good latch is vital.  I don't want cracked or sore nipples. I already have lanolin waiting JIC but I'd rather have intact nipples.  I haven't had to deal with engorgement (yet) this time, which makes it a lot easier for me. My motto is, "You can nurse too little, but you can't nurse too much."   Nursing is my default action for her. It may seem excessive but it truly works for us.  She's fed and happy, our nursing is becoming well established.

Anyways, now that my milk is in, Popcorn does more than just eat and sleep. She's picked up a new skill:  she "looks."  She likes to gaze around at her siblings and walls and other fascinating things. She supplements this skill by "making faces at things."  She does some cute ones.  I'm glad she's found a new outlet for her creativity.

I'm not angry. I just look this way.

Reflecting on the time I spent in utero....

Oh and I forgot her biggest skill: filling her diaper.  And man, is she good at it. She was taking an nap and let loose a bowel bellow worthy of a oil tanker.  We're starting off with gDiapers this time and I'm so happy.  There isn't as much trash as with sposies and I'm not up to doing laundry so this is perfect.  If we were using sposies, she'd be blowing the backs out but cloth contains better.   Her last poo was all the way yellow-no meconium at all.  In the words of Squirrel, "You know like Tinkerbell's hair?  That kind of yellow."  Even at 6, she has the eloquence of her mother.  This is a good thing and means her little GI track is up and running.  All that colostrum she guzzled really cleared her out. Her first pediatrician appointment is on Wednesday.

Snuggle time with Daddy <3
Mama-wise, I feel less overwhelmed, probably because the hubby is off today.  I'm not going to lie. It's not peaches and cream every second, though it may seem like that when I blog. I get frustrated, I get tired and I am very much overwhelmed.  I just try to take things moment-by-moment.  I don't look at the big picture, because the big picture is too much sometimes.  But today is pretty good.  He is kid-wrangling and cooking and cleaning and even went to the grocery store.  He had to call me three times and took exceptionally long, but at least he went.  He's off tomorrow, too :)  I still wish some of my friends would come by but I know people always feel like they are intruding when you have a new baby.  My mother and some of her friends my drop by today. Hopefully they will.

Sweet baby toes; is there anything more precious?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 2: Help!!

Happy Easter!

We finally had some company last night!  I have 3 little brothers, though I use the term little loosely.  They are 22, 26, and 27. My baby brother is stationed in California so he only gets to see Popcorn by Skype. He was still the first to see her. My other two brothers both came by last night as did my mom and my extra brother (the 26 year old's best friend whom I absolutely LOVE). It was nice just to have someone here, which brings me to my topic for today, What New Mamas Want.

[Disclaimer: Of course I only speak for myself, but I can't be the only one who feels the way I do.]

I want some company and some help with the kids!!!

{I get lonely very easily.  I wish I had more company. I get frustrated when it's just me and the kids here.  Lettuce has to work so he's gone a lot already but he also just got a second job which means even more alone time.  Popcorn was sweet enough to be born on the first day of spring break so while I don't have to worry about making sure no one misses the bus I do have a house full of kids who just want to be kids. That means they want to run around, jump on the furniture, and all sorts of things.  No bueno. They annoy each other, make a mess, and wake the baby.  Plus, I'm still recuperating so nursing sometimes gives me after pains in my belly.}

The top 5 things that would help me right now
  1. Take the non-newborns to the zoo for a few hours.  I have a membership, so this wouldn't even cost anything. Or take them to the $2 movies, to family night at the children's museum, strawberry picking, etc. I want them to have fun on their spring break, but I can't do it with them.  
  2. Come and hold the baby while I bathe or sleep. Sometimes, I just need a break.
  3. Drop off dinner or a gift card for a restaurant.  My wonderful brother actually left pizza money for dinner tonight and I appreciate it so much! Most people will be having ham and whatnot but we'll be doing Domino's.  Better yet, make me this.
  4. Wrangle my kids for me. Make them clean up the way they know they are supposed to. I just don't have the energy for it and it's already starting to show.
  5. Just be here.  That's all. Watch TV with me.  I don't care. It's really lonely when your world is being controlled by a tiny tyrant who commandeered your body for nearly 41 weeks, put you through the ultimate physical challenge, and now demands my entire upper body.  Just don't leave me here with these kids!
  6. Bonus Points: help me take my braids out and wash my hair.  It's gross.  

 In baby news, Popcorn took the hugest poo two of the hugest poos EVER!  I was absolutely shocked at the size of it them.  I didn't know such a tiny baby could have so much poo in her. If we used disposables, it they would have been a blow out.  Like, ewww.  I can't stay mad. Look at that little face.
Enough with the camera, Ma. I'm trying to sleep.

Oh, and my milk came in!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The first 24 hours with Popcorn

I get the distinct notion that this blog will be morphing into a breastfeeding journal for the time being.  I don't care how many kids you have, each one is almost like the first one because they are all so different.  Popcorn is about 36 hours old now.  It seems like she changed so much already. Her features aren't so "new" anymore. I am one of those weird people who thinks newborns look kinda funny so this is pleasing to me.  She's beginning to look more like Side Salad, which is interesting because I thought she'd look more like Squirrel (they are her full blood siblings).  She's such a sweet little thing and loves to spend time just looking around.

Yesterday, it felt like all I did was feed her.  Because all I did was feed her.  My uterus is going down quickly, though the after pains are something serious when she nurses on the left-yeesh!  Some of them feel almost like contractions and believe you me, I've had enough of those.  I have an abdominal binder that I wear because I have allergies and sometimes I need to cough or sneeze.  I was holding a pillow against my belly until one snuck up one me and made my whole side hurt. My organs are still floating around in my jelly-like midsection and must be reminded where to go.  I slept on my tummy a little. Win!  I look about 6 months pregnant without it and about 4 months pregnant with it.

Last night was a blur of feeding and sleeping. Though she nursed about every 2 hours all day, she actually slept in 3 hour stretches from 2 am to 8 am, which I didn't expect. Of course, she slept with Mommy and Daddy.  All of mine do in the early days.  It makes feeding and changes so much easier.  I also took a shower this morning, a super long one, while Lettuce held our baby girl.

Again, with the weighing?
My midwife Lisa came by for her 24 hour check-up (just because you go home doesn't mean they cut you loose to the wind). My little cricket is doing well. According to DHEC, every infant has to submit a heel stick so we did that today. It really angered my baby girl and she took a TWO HOUR NAP IN THE CRIB!  This may actually be the high point of my day.  It's amazing what somebody smaller than a sack of rice can reduce you to.  Anyways, we talked about breastfeeding and the fact that my clever baby (because aren't all of our babies, geniuses?) may be using me as a paci. She won't take a paci and I'm semi okay with it as long as she's awake. I won't let her sleep at the breast.  Sometimes, I give her a finger to suck on, which she likes. I don't want my nipples to be sore or cracked so I am adamant about making sure her latch is right. That's not always an easy thing with a noob because their mouths are tiny.  I sometimes have to pull her chin down to help her but usually she manages by herself.  Lisa was surprised that my little one has already had about 5 bms.  She is really sucking up a lot of colostrum. It's not even black anymore, more brownish. She lost weight through all that pooping but pretty much all breastfed babies loose weight until your milk comes in.

One thing that has truly shocked me today is how sore I am. And I don't mean in my girly parts, where you'd expect it. I shocked my midwives by not tearing with such a fast labor and I've resumed my Kegels already. My lochia is the lightest it's ever been. I am shocked.  I am still taking alfalfa because we opted not to have Vitamin K administered to her.  This soreness is in non birth related parts.  I don't remember chopping any firewood but my shoulders and back are telling me otherwise. Was it always like this?  That's really why my shower was so long. That hot water was so relaxing. I wish I'd asked my midwife to bring that doTerra blue something cream for my aching arms and back.  It's hard to relax when you feel so crappy. Getting up is an ordeal and I'm afraid sometime that my arms will give out from sheer exhaustion. I can't imagine having to hold bottles like this.

I have been trying to sleep when she sleeps but it sucks with 4 other kids in the house. The big ones are as helpful as they can be. Princess fixed them hot dogs, baked beans, and macaroni for dinner.  When I need a minute to go potty or something, they hold her.  They bring me drinks and stuff, and try to wrangle the littles.  The little ones have low impulse control so my main goal is to keep them from waking the little one.  Side Salad keeps telling me all the things he's going to buy for her: shoes, a new bed if she breaks her crib, candy when she learns to talk-it's really cute.  Squirrel wants to hold her but she's so flighty and bouncy that it makes me nervous. I let her lay next to the baby but then she wants to lean over her and I don't want the baby squished.

Well, now the little one is up and needs some love and attention, so gotta go....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday's Child, or I popped! (a birth story)

Here is Baby Popcorn's birth story:

Yesterday (April 5th), I contracted throughout the day. I'd missed my 40 week appoint on April 4 because of a tummy bug and I was recuperating from that.  My contractions weren't consistent and only moderately strong, so I went to bed around midnight.  At first, I slept through them but about 3 am, I found myself awakened about every 10-20 minutes, then nodding back off.

At around 4, I got nervous and decided to time them.  They were approximately 11 minutes apart and lasted about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  I woke Lettuce up and called my midwife Alex at 4:18 and we had a chat. I didn't want to wake everyone up and get them out of bed if it was going to be hours but after listening to a contraction, Alex decided we should go to the birth center.  Lettuce got the babies up and I got dressed.

We arrived at the birth center around 5 am. Alex was a blur of activity-she had that room ready in no time flat!  Meanwhile, Jen the midwive's apprentice arrived and filled the tub.   I got in the bed around 5:15, 5:20ish and Alex checked me.  I was 3-4 cm dilated and 90% effaced and baby was at -3 station.  Baby was also still posterior.  Alex suggested I wait til I was at least 5 cm to get in the tub because it could slow my labor. Jen put the birthing ball on the bed and I got in a hands and knees position and rocked to help the baby move down.  My contractions were getting a lot more intense but between them, I felt so normal.

Then, something happened. I made sure everyone in the room knew by announcing:
"Something happened!"
I'm eloquent that way.  Anyways, it felt like a little snap so I figured I'd either broken my water or a tiny bone in my pelvis. Turned out to be my water.  That was a preciptious event.  I began making all sorts of ungodly noises accompanied by animal-like wailing.  Fun times in that room. Apparently, there was a marked increase in blood, so the midwives checked the babies heartbeat (fine) and wanted to check me (not fine). I had an anterior or front-lying placenta and we needed to make sure it wasn't detaching early.

Anyways, I as I said, I wasn't fine with being checked as I was frozen in position. I told them I wanted to get in the tub and they said I could after the next contraction. However, on my next contraction I felt this crazy sense of fullness followed by a burning sensation and my body was shoving that kid out! The head was out and Alex looped the umbilical cord from around the neck. Then I delivered the body.

Yep. Kid was born.  5:57 am.  57 minutes after we got there.

The kid was kinda dusky and wasn't crying so Alex laid it on my chest and administered oxygen. The cord had been wrapped around the neck once, possible from the fact that the baby turned around as it was being born.  Popcorn was breathing, but was basically stunned from being ejected from my uterus like the bullet of a rail gun-told you I was eloquent.  The kid looked at me, I looked at the kid. Then I picked it up and looked under the warm towel.

It's a girl!
The long awaited Baby Popcorn is a perfect little girl!   Astronaut cut the baby's cord.  How special is that! He later said, "How often do yout get to cut the cord on your new sibling? Of course I wanted to cut it!"

Never again, my son, never again.
A calm moment

Anyways, I didn't deliver the placenta until 6:35.  Do the math. The baby's birth took about 35 minutes. The placenta took about 40. It took longer to deliver the placenta than it did to deliver the baby. I had to get a shot of pitocin and get on the birthing stool to get it out.

I breastfeed my wee bairn after that. In fact, I've been breastfeeding her since LOL She has an amazing latch for someone so new. I wouldn't be surprised if my milk came in tomorrow. She's passed merconium twice since we got home.  That's right, we're home. We got here a little before noon.
Being born is exhausting. I must eat NOW!

At the birth center, you aren't required to stay home if you have proven your mettle by eating and peeing. I did these with gusto.  I delivered my baby girl over an intact perineum, thank goodness.  Then I took a beautiful nap, the first of many beautiful naps taken today. In fact, naps were en vogue this morning.   Lettuce took a nap. Side Salad took a nap. Princess took a nap.  My mom took a nap. I woke up to a chorus of snores. We got dressed, got our little one ready and packed up.  It feels so very good to be home and in my own bed. I wouldn't trade it for all the nurses in the maternity ward.
The take over of my bed begins

I'll add pictures later because someone tiny is hungry NOW. Man, this kid has a set of pipes on her. Today wasn't just Good Friday; it was a GREAT Friday.
The whole family

Baby Popcorn <3
Baby Popcorn's Birth Stats
GA: 40 weeks 5 days
DOB: April 6, 2012
Time:  5:57 am
Weight: 7 lbs 10 oz
Length: 20 inches
Length of labor: 57 minutes
Interventions: None

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Still Pregnant

So I'm either 40w4d pregnant or 41 weeks pregnant and the natives are restless. I'm actually okay with it, surprisingly. No one else is. Everyday, I'm inundated with texts, phone calls, and wall posts asking when I'm going to have the baby. The answer is, I don't know.

Due dates are not an exact science; they are an educated guess.  Just like baby weights (we all have that friend who was told her baby was 9 pounds and it turned out to be 7), it's impossible to medically predict when a baby will be born.  I think that we are so conditioned to early babies-from preemies to 40 week inductions-that a baby being born after 40 weeks is an anomaly.  Which is nuts because the due date is just the middle date.  My dear friend R went to 42 weeks with her last LO, a posterior little fella we call Pip. She's like me, doing things the old fashioned way. No hospital, no needles, none of that hoopla.

Here are a list of factors I think are keeping my baby in:

  • Princess was a 41 w 3 day induction and Squirrel was a 40w induction.  My babies have a 50% rate of going past the due date.
  • Popcorn is posterior. It's possible that the little noggin simply isn't putting enough pressure on  my cervix to get things...popping. Pun intended.
  • I've not gone into labor with a child under 8 lbs.  Astronaut was 8 lb 2 oz and Side Salad was 9 lb 1 oz. The girls were smaller, 7 lbs 9 oz and 6 lb 13 oz. Maybe my uterus has a weight trigger.
  • I had a stomach virus yesterday and I'm not back on solid food yet. Maybe my body is cutting me some slack because I am too weak to have a baby today.
  • Easter is coming.  Why not show up on a holiday?
  • I have a luxury womb.  Why leave?  Ever.
Anyway, I've still been contracting but not enough to push a baby out.  I'm going to take another nap for now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I want to take the kids camping this summer.

It's one of those things I've never done before. I didn't grow up in a family where people went camping and few of my friends ever did it. But it seems like a cool experience. It would give us an opportunity to just spend time together away from the TVs and computers and Kindles and video games.

I think it'd even be cool, baby in tow. I mean we could use prefolds or gDipes to make it easy. Or we could temporarily switch to sposies.

The problem is, I don't know how to plan a trip. How do I know where to go? Should we get a tent or look for places with cabins? What do we need to take? How will we cook?  Can we fish (by we I mean everyone but me)?  I need like a "Camping for Dummies" which I am absolutely certain exists.  Also, I have to somehow get the hubby on board.  The fishing should take care of that.

Have you ever been camping?  Got any advice for me?

Here's who'd be going:

  • Me, the mama
  • Lettuce, the papa
  • Astronaut, 11 year old boy
  • Princess, 9 year old girl
  • Squirrel, 6 year old girl
  • Side Salad, 4 year old boy
  • Popcorn, tiny bundle of joy
Help us out-how do we plan our first family camping trip?