A Baby, A Graduation and A Move to the Country – Part 1

Where do I begin with this one? We have had a lot of change this past year. It’s been good change but hard, nonetheless. Having one parent as a student and relying on mostly one income is never easy, then throw a pregnancy, baby, some postpartum health issues and a move in there and you’ve got a recipe for some chaos and good stressful times. I will back up to this post and pick up from there because that is where I left you all last. In that last post I shared our baby reveal, which was in August of last year.
S 5
{Can you guess the gender?} 
Then we had our baby shower in October.
FG Baby Shower
{Baby Shower in October. 2 months before due date.}
Everything was going awesome at this point, minus the insane nausea/puke fest that happened in the 1st trimester. And then, the day after my baby shower (literally the very next day) everything fell apart on my end, or so it seemed to me. I got a stomach flu or food poisoning of some kind and was out for a few days unable to eat anything (really great when you’re trying to grow a baby), then I began to have the most excruciating pelvic pain, especially when I tried to move positions at night, yowza!! I had to have weekly chiropractic adjustments just for me to be able to walk and I was still in pain. Apparently, it’s a thing with some pregnant women. It’s called symphysis pubis dysfunction and it lasts until you have your baby. It’s awesome. That was a joke. You women who have had this, it is awful, I feel your pain and you are rockstars! Then, I started having early labor symptoms, so I got put on modified bedrest in November for the last month and a half of my pregnancy  What? But, I move all day. It’s a need, a must. I don’t know how not to move and do things all day long. And…I had to ask people to sign up for a meal train…before baby was born. Humiliating. For someone who is a Type A, do-it-yourself kind of girl, it was humbling, to say the least. And yes, a bit humiliating. I sucked it up and asked for help. I was warned by my midwife if I didn’t, she would. Great. So, I did it and people came and I grew and grew and sat and sat and let the baby bake. Wait, that is horrifying, babies don’t bake, they cook. No. They form? Okay, whatever. I let her simmer. What is up with the cooking analogies, I can’t come up with something better? Anyway, it was seriously the longest month of my life, every second I swore she was coming and every second she wasn’t…until she did! 
December 16th at 5:16 my little Miss shot out into the world as if to scream, ‘Here I am!!’ in an hour and sixteen minutes. 1 hr. 16 minutes. Cray-zy. Apparently, I also have my babies fast, hella fast. It’s a hypno/water/natural/major mental prepping for birth gift, or at least that’s what I tell myself. This is how I prep: I let go of ALL fear, I pray to the Lord above for strength and empowerment, I listen to my hypnobirthing cds around the clock and watch all of the peaceful homebirths I can get my hands on over and over again and this time I read through Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (especially the vagina chapter. Seriously, best chapter ever + highly educational, as if it wouldn’t be?). I purposefully avoid any births with screaming women, talk of of it being painful, hard, awful, bad, etc. and after about a month of submerging myself in all things just mentioned, I’m ready. And, I rock it. Like all of you mamas do. And, it is magical. 
Baby S
{Just Born. The first thing I noticed about her were those lips! My beautiful girl}
{Soraya (so-ray-a) Grey. Less than 24 hrs. old.}
{1st baby bath}
It was an incredible birth and my midwife’s care afterward was unmatched. She was just…so there, you know? She cleaned our house and made us our first meal after S was born and came and checked on us frequently, which brings me to my next bump in the road. Breastfeeding. Yep, it was a doozy. You know how when you first start breastfeeding, (okay, this part is obviously not for you guys!) you feel like you’re going to die, then it gets better? Well, I still felt like I was going to die a month into it. I was in crazy amounts of pain, I thought my nipples were going to fall off they were so cracked and red. Yep, just went there. But, seriously, something just wasn’t connecting. I went to a few different lactation specialists at the hospital who told me her latch was great and I was doing everything right (how was this possible?), my midwife came over, sometimes daily to help me and she said things looked good, I read everything, called friends, tried different nursing positions, ate and drank as much as I could, took supplements. It was painful, it was all I could do not to take NSAIDs around the clock to bear it, (gasp! I know.). She was nursing every two hours for 45 minutes at a time, there was no break to heal in between feedings in those first few weeks. Then at about four weeks, her 1-month mark, she started crying and wouldn’t stop unless she was nursing. This went on for three days.
I took her in. Her doc weighed her. She had lost a pound after she regained her birth weight. “She’s not getting enough from you,” he said. “You need to supplement,” he said. “Here’s some formula,” he said. I was in tears. Tears. How could this be? I had nursing troubles with J and wanted so badly for it to work this time around. So badly. I left with three metal cans of the most awful smelling powder that was supposed to replace the best nutrients on the planet. Really? This was my option? Don’t get me wrong, I used it with my first, I just wanted things to be different this time around. I dug in deep and started looking into donor milk ($8/oz???!!!), thought of friends who had extra to spare, and read everything I could on how to get my milk supply up, I even took her into a specialist to see if she was tongue-tied after the ped. looked at it, just to be sure. I pumped in between feedings, I nursed her on each side and timed it, I downloaded this app. to track my pumping schedule and I finally started using a nipple shield one of the lactation specialists gave me. It was so much better! Who knew that little thing could help so much, if only I’d listened to my friend in the first place, I bet everything would have gone differently.
I could finally nurse her without pain, but now she wasn’t getting enough! :'( I gave her organic formula to supplement after I nursed her, which lasted about a week until I just couldn’t handle the puking and smell of it anymore. I though to myself, “There just has to be something better than this?” I researched homemade formulas and found one that didn’t have a crazy long list of ingredients. I could make it on a daily basis without going nuts and when I broke down the cost it was waay cheaper than store-bought formula and so much better for her. Let me be clear, nothing can or will ever trump mama’s milk nutritionally or take the place of nursing your baby, there is nothing like it, nothing. But for me, this was the next best thing. Note to self: write a homemade formula recipe post
One other thing I should mention, I developed mastitis during all of this and then I got it again and again. The lactation specialist wrote an Rx of antibiotics for me. I just looked at and mentally said, “Nope.” We all know what happens with antibiotic use. It wipes out the good flora in your gut and leaves you susceptible for gut issues and lowered immunity. I already knew I had gut issues to fix before S was born due to a more recent egg allergy, so I knew the risk of taking them. But, it had been a month of horrible pain, I was sleep deprived, I couldn’t get on top of it and I was desperate and decided I pretty much didn’t give a crap so, I pulled the Rx out of my drawer next to my bed one day and filled it. I will write more about this later and how that decision would later bite me in the you know because it ended up being the tipping point for my gut issues. Note to self: write a gut issues + how to heal your gut post
The long story short is Miss S eventually refused to nurse entirely, but I FINALLY got on a routine that worked for me sans nursing. I solely pumped what seemed to be a million times a day to keep my supply up and supplemented as little as I could, but as much as she needed. I did that until she was seven months, as it became harder and harder to pump 5-6 times a day for 20 minutes each session and I then had to return my hospital pump. I switched her over to the homemade goat milk formula and homemade solids and received donated milk from one of my nutrition professors, which was a huge blessing. I can’t even tell you.
I tell you all of this because I, like so many of you, had high hopes of this beautiful nursing relationship with my baby and it just didn’t happen for me the way I wanted. I know for some women it is the same with their births. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, it’s hard. Yes, it comes easy for some, but not all. And for those of you who have had a tough time, I just want to say it’s okay. Mourn your loss, feel all of the feelings and simply do the best you can with what you have and know it’s enough. You’re enough. Take the energy that so easily is given to guilt or ‘not enough’ and instead bask in the love you have for your child. Enjoy every moment with your precious baby, all of the snuggles, the bonding, the late-night feedings, their baby smell because it will truly pass before your eyes. Let go of the guilt and revel in your baby. You’re a good mama and you’re doing the best you can. And those high hopes you had? They will be replaced by a different story than maybe the one you would have written and that’s okay. Life doesn’t always go as planned and sometimes that’s hard, really freakin’ hard, but hopefully in all of its unplanned madness, you will find beauty in and through it all. Find beauty in the squiggly line. 
{not sure who to give photo credit to, but it’s brilliant}
I will end this for now and say, ‘To be continued,’ like an old school “Murder She Wrote” episode, but will fill you in on what I found out about all of my breastfeeding woes after a visit to the doctor + the graduation and moving to the country part and everything in between. Look for upcoming posts and please share any and all of my posts you enjoy via FB, Pinterest and all of the social media outlets you all love. 

A Baby, Graduation, Move Part 1

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