Thursday, March 29, 2012

You Know You Live . . .

. . . in the desert when your son comes in from outside with this gift for you . . . a tiny tumbleweed (in case you have never seen one)!!

"I picked it just for you mama!"

"Careful, mama, it has pokey parts."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Few Myths I Have Busted

There is an ongoing, ugly war in some mommy circles over breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding.  It makes me sad, because no one will ever be a winner.  Everyone has a different journey with each one of their children and thank the Lord, the freedom to choose their path.

Before my own journey with the Prince, depending on *my* perception, I would make my own judgments over other mama's choices as far as feeding her kids.  And I was pretty sure that a lot of what I believed to be true, was truth.

It wasn't.


I know.

Here are some things I had proved wrong!

Myth #1:  Bottle fed babies get sick more often.

Queen's experience:  Nope.  The Prince was only sick once his first year!
Myth #2:  Bottle fed babies don't have that bonding time with their mamas.

Queen's experience:  Not true.  However, I did take this (possibly) to the extreme.  In my mind, if I had had *my* way, I would have been nursing my little one, so I fed him each bottle (as much as was possible**).  I switched sides that I held him to feed on.  And I held him up (thank you boppy) where I would have held him if nursing.

**More for another post!!
Myth #3:  You can make your baby nurse, if you take away all the other option and distractions.

Queen's experience:  Good luck with that. Enough said.
True story:  I did have a well-meaning (I hope) person tell me that if I just locked myself up in a room with the boy and refused to *let* him have the "easy" way out with a bottle, then I would be able to nurse him. Say what??!??
Myth #4:  Mama's that bottle feed are taking the easy way out.

Queen's experience:  Nursing is way easier in terms of convenience compared to bottle feeding, in my opinion.  Just whip it out, after loads of practice.{grin} Bottle feeding takes preparation and thinking ahead in terms of:  enough formula for the outing and possible contingencies on said outing, and source of water, possibly heat to warm up the milk.  I can remember being so thankful for Princess #1.  She could hold the Prince while I juggled getting a bottle together for him, some moms are not as spoiled lucky as I was.

That being said, bottles are great for keeping one modest while feeding in public.{grin}  Two of the princesses refused to stay covered when I nursed them while out and about, which led to several embarrassing situations--for the witnesses.

As for the other way to look at this, try this out, when you see a mama feeding her sweet wee one with a bottle, please DON'T jump to the conclusion that that is her preference or even her choice.  Some of us, didn't have a say in how our journey went.  And even if you do find out that it was by choice--so what?!  We, as mamas, know what is best for our babes and for us, and do our best to provide every little thing our child needs!

Okay, stepping off of the soapbox, for this post anyway!!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Homeschooling Today

So, lest you think that I adore homeschooling on a daily basis, and think that it is the best thing for everyone, let me correct you right now.  I don't.

For the most part, I do enjoy homeschooling our kids, but then there are days.  And days.  And entire weeks where I loathe and resent teaching my children. That, my friends, is the ugly, honest truth.

My life would be so much easier if I just had the boy around, I think.
Or would it?


Then there are days like today, where I am so grateful to have the freedom and resources to teach my children.  Like when one is physically unable write**, so I do her lessons out loud, one on one, and we have so much fun!

It was a good day at the Castle school.

**Princess #3 cut her hand severely on a broken china dish and had to have 8 stitches put in this weekend.  Gah!!  For those of you who know me, you know that the combination of blood and needles are my least favorite maladies put together.  Got vomit, I'm your gal.  Fever, coughing, snotty noses, poopy diapers, sign me up.  Blood, needles, wounds needing stitches, not so much.  Especially not on my sweet little girl.  But we made it through together, she was such a brave girl, much braver than her mama, who needed to put her head between her knees once the stitching needle came out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The One Where I Had to Let It Go

Part Two . . .

The main reason for the Prince's lack of weight gain in the beginning was laziness on his part.  My milk was fine and had been checked, (oh yes, I was asked at the time, so nice) and there was more than enough for him, he just didn't want to do the work to get it.  So, when he nursed, he ate enough to satisfy the hunger and the sucking reflex, but never enough to promote growth!  An interesting conundrum.

So, for March and April, we continued on.  I would nurse the Prince and then follow with 2 ounces of preemie formula.  Finally mid-March, he was back up and past birth weight.  The bi and tri-weekly weight checks turned into every couple of weeks and then (at long last) ended!!  The Prince was on his way.

Then May came.  The Prince decided on some feedings that nursing wasn't for him, and would instead gulp down 4 ounces of formula.  I felt helpless to prevent it. I worked hard to keep my milk supply up, but little by little he began to refuse multiple feedings during the day.  Each time, a piece of my heart broke, as I went to mix up more formula.  Nursing my babies, was quite honestly, a guilty pleasure.  A guilty pleasure in the sense that it was something only I could provide for my babe, and let's be honest it was the ultimate excuse to put my feet up and just enjoy my baby.

Then came the day, when he refused the breast entirely.  I was devastated.

I called a friend who knew what was going on and had been praying for me.  When she answered, I couldn't even talk, I just burst into great gulping tears and choked out the words, "He stopped nursing."  I listened to her encouragement through my tears and somehow made it through the day.

I resented every bottle those first few days.

Especially those middle of the night ones.

However, I couldn't deny that seeing my little guy grow chubby and smiley and so healthy, was making it okay.

It is hard to give up on something when it is out of your control.  It is hard to have something you enjoy and treasure, wrenched out of your clenched fists.  It is hard to stop feeling guilty once you start.  It is hard to watch others "succeed" where you feel you've failed.

Part three to come . . .

Monday, March 19, 2012

The One Where I Disappoint the Boy

Queen:  Do you want to come with me to the yarn shop?

The Prince:  Yes please, sure!

Queen:  Okay, it will be just a quick trip okay.  There and back.

The Prince:  I want to see the horses, sheep, cows and pigs.

Queen:  See what??

The Prince:  At the BARN store, Mama.  I want to see the animals.

Queen:  We aren't going the barn store, we're going to the YARN store, where mama gets knitting needles and new yarn.

The Prince:  (bursts into tears)  I no wanna go!!!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The One Where I Cried At Target

A few months back, before Christmas, I was in the baby aisles at Target getting pull-ups for the boy, when I overheard a conversation that still makes me cringe.

Lady #1:  I can't believe she has bottles and formula on her registry.  Seriously. Is she even going to try to breast feed him??

Lady #2:  Oh, I know.  I was able to breast feed all of my kids without any trouble at all.  Maybe it's too hard (laughs sarcastically) for her.

Lady #1:  All I know is that breast feeding is best, so why even touch formula?

I cried.  I sat there holding a bag of pull-ups and wept.  I wept for that poor new mama they were ungraciously buying a gift for and I wept for myself.

This is not an easy post for me to write.  In fact, I am tearing up right now, thinking of my story.

Here is part one:
The Prince was a great little nurser, in the hospital.  Latched right on, made me look like I knew what I was doing. It was great!

Then we got home, and it wasn't going so well.  He would latch on, but not suck hard enough and then get frustrated. Instead of crying, he would just give up.  So I pumped before each feeding to make it easier for him.  I visited the lovely, wonderful ladies at the La Leche League and got advice and help.  They thought it had something to do with the shape of his chin that made it hard for him to get a good latch.  So we tried using a breast shield and that seemed to help.  His first week of life was complicated with jaundice, and his mama trying to recover from a c-section, but I persevered.

I took him in for a check-up and he had lost weight.  Our doctor wasn't concerned.  The Prince was such a big baby, some of his weight was bound to be water weight, and since he was peeing, pooing, and alert when he wasn't sleeping we didn't need to worry.

Second week, I was concerned.  He wasn't unhappy or acting hungry, he just felt "light" to me.  I don't know how else to explain it.  I took him back in to the doctor and he had lost more weight.  This time the doctor was a bit concerned.  We decided that I would come back in later in the week for another weight check and have the nurse sit in on a feeding.  When I did, he had continued to lose weight, despite eating well for me, and acting contented.  The nurse watched (such an uncomfortable memory!!) and could see nothing amiss.  We set up another weight check.

By the third week, we were going to the doctor at least twice a week for weight checks.  Now I had a system:  I would feed him right before we drove to the appointment and prayed the whole way that he wouldn't pee or poo til after the weigh in!!  Despite my efforts, I was told that if the Prince lost any more weight, he would be considered "failure to thrive" and would have to be hospitalized.  Thankfully, our doctor was committed to helping us avoid that at all costs, she was so wonderful!!  We decided that I would begin supplementing with high calorie preemie formula after each nursing.

Next weight check, two days later.  Weight gain!! The first since his birth!! I was so relieved.  I remember sitting there in the doctor's office with all four kids (you didn't think I went to all these appointments alone did you??), just crying with relief.  We were finally onto something that was working . . . part two to come.

Maybe you are wondering, why post this stuff now, when the kid is three.  I guess, in part, because my grieving process has finally gotten to the place where I feel I can share a bit of what I went through publicly.  And through my grief has come compassion and a bit of understanding that wasn't there before . . .