Monday, August 16, 2010

Busy, busy, busy. Yes, that's life with a three year old and a four week old. And the thing is, it's not busy like, "I got so much accomplished today." It's busy like, "I didn't have a moment to myself, and I'm psyched that I got to take a shower today!" But I knew that would be what it's like. I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

The truth is, so far, life with two kiddos isn't as overwhelming as I expected it to be. E is a pretty good baby, and she sleeps well most nights, so my tolerance level is higher than when I just had D (as an infant) and I was getting very little sleep (oh yeah, AND trying to close on our house, pack, and move.) D is still being three, which is challenging, but he adores E which helps a lot. He also has moments when he is such a doll that it almost makes me cry, and that helps too.

The thing that has been pretty much dominating my life for the past month is trying to get this breastfeeding thing to work. And it's not. It's just not. The lactation consultant asked me how much Fenugreek I'm taking (4 pills, 3 times a day), how much water I'm drinking (plenty) and how much I'm feeding and pumping (feeding at least twice a day, and pumping every 2-3 hours during the day, which amounts to about 4-5 times in addition to the two feedings.) She asked how much milk I was getting after going overnight without feeding or pumping. When I told her how much (well, how little, really) I was getting, she said, "honestly, for the amount of work that you're putting into it, and for how much milk you're getting out of it, I think I would probably say screw it." Love her. She is EXACTLY the type of lactation consultant I needed. She gave me the tools, and gave me suggestions on how to increase supply. When I did everything that was asked and it still didn't help, she gave me permission to call it a day.

I'm going to continue feeding and pumping as often as possible until the Fenugreek is gone. After it's gone, I'm going to continue to feed and pump as much as I feel like it until I lose what little production I have. And then I'm going to give up.

I wish I could say that I'm at peace with it, but the truth is I'm heartbroken. I feel like I've failed, and like if I had done things differently at the beginning, maybe I would have been able to produce more milk. And I feel like probably if I was willing to let E nurse whenever she feels like it and deal with more excruciating pain that I could probably increase my production even now. But maybe that wouldn't even work, and then I would be left in excruciating pain with no more milk than I had before.

I know in the grand scheme of things, feeding formula is very minor, and after all, E will be getting more than a month of breastmilk, which is way more than D got. I think part of me is grieving though. This may very well be my last child. I may never have the chance to try breastfeeding again, and I'm struggling with the idea of closing that door before I'm ready, because once it's closed, I can't open it back up.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Loving it (mostly)

These first two plus weeks have flown by. We are totally in love with E. Even though we know they're not "real" smiles, we love it when she gives those little gas bubble smiles, because it gives us a sneak preview of what her real smiles will look like. :)

The good stuff: So far, E is a pretty champion sleeper. We're praying that she keeps it up. She only wakes up once or twice per night, and *usually* goes back to sleep after eating. She makes up for it on the occasional night when she wakes up to eat and decides that it's a good time to stay awake for 2 1/2 hours or so. Luckily, there are more "good sleep" nights than bad. So far, she's been a pretty laid back baby. I guess she may pick up on my signals, since I'm much more relaxed this time around too than I was with D. Speaking of D, he loves his sister. He makes a point of kissing her before he goes to bed, and whenever he talks about our family now, he includes her. For example, he'll say, "Mommy and Daddy and D and E are sitting on the couch together." He's really very sweet with her.

Another "good" thing is that so far, I'm not feeling any post partum depression symptoms like I experienced with D. Again, the fact that my life is so much less stressful now than it was when D was born, plus the fact that I'm getting some sleep at night could be major contributors to keeping the PPD at bay. Long may it wave...

My husband is completely taken with this baby. He said the other day, "I just can't help calling her 'sweetheart' and 'darlin.' It just comes out!" Adorable.

The rough stuff: I do not love nursing. Truth be told, I don't even like nursing. Not even a little. It effing HURTS. I don't feel like I have any more of a special bond with E because of nursing than I did with D. I've seen a lactation consultant several times. She has watched E's latch, and tells me that E is a "muncher" rather than a "sucker" so she basically bites my nipple a few times until there is enough milk in her mouth, and then swallows. In case you're wondering, this does not feel good. We've talked about how much milk I get when I pump, and it's very clear that I'm not producing as much as E needs. Thus, I'm nursing, pumping, and supplementing with formula. I've decided that I can only do as much as I can do. Any breast milk she gets is better than no breast milk, and I'll continue to nurse her at least a couple of times a day (in addition to pumping) so that I leave the door open in case my supply increases drastically or I decide that I want to give it a more enthusiastic try once I'm feeling more like myself. I know that it's a supply and demand thing, so if I wanted to spend my life on the couch nursing or pumping every hour, I could probably increase my supply, but honestly, with a three year old around, that's just not an option. I'll be starting fenugreek this weekend to see if that will help.

And by the way, did any of you hear about what Giselle (Model/rocket scientist) said about nursing recently? That it should be International LAW for the first six months of a baby's life. For real. Giselle, I'm so happy for you that you had an easy time nursing your only child. Now if you could just keep your opinions and judgments away from my boobs, and maybe think about the fact that it's not that easy for everyone, that would be awesome. Thanks.

Also in the category of rough stuff, D is giving us a run for our money. My sweet little boy is suddenly a champion whiner, and the epitome of a drama king. Every little injury elicits fake dramatic crying sessions, and 15-20 subsequent minutes of making up things to whine about. On the plus side, he's still napping most days, so I guess I should count my blessings about that! I think about 75% of the new attitude is just being 3, but the other 25% is probably related to the baby. It's hard not to feel guilty when you can tell that he's feeling like second fiddle when I'm paying attention to E. I know that it will pass, but I'm hoping it passes sooner than later!