Saturday, August 24, 2013

thoughts on going over

Found this post in my drafts folder... I guess I never went far enough over to get to post it - but there are kernels of truth worth remembering in this post...
Elmer, I loved carrying you...


My due dates are approaching. I say due dateS 'cause I have the one from the ultrasound... and then the padded one that appears on my papers giving me a little breathing room for my babies that seem to need to cook a little longer.
As I was thinking about going over this morning, I was thinking how it's kind of neat how some women never get to experience those wild emotions and incredible anticipation that some of us go through when we carry our babes beyond the normal time frame. I remember that when I carried Sloanie *one day* past the expected "date" I broke down in heaving sobs on the couch... I wanted her to be in my arms - safe - so very, very badly and when she didn't come as anticipated, I was undone. I only ended up carrying her a few extra days - but each one was torture an emotional turmoil that felt like a marathon when I compare them to the 16 far more peaceful days I carried Ephraim past his expected arrival date.
So, there's no comparing experiences - even for the same mama... There are bits and pieces of our own stories that make our experiences unique. Sometimes we're struggling with health issues that make medical intervention and induction a safer and better alternative; and sometimes we're blessed with peace and health to carry our little ones until nature brings pregnancy to it's inevitable end.
So today, my musings on the good and the bad of carrying baby a little on the longer side...
First the not as nice... cause I wanna be honest... The anxiety is the hardest part of the end of pregnancy for me. I worry about carrying him too long, about his arrival, about his little home inside me, about labour, about meconium, about the timing of his birth and about every circumstance surrounding it. It's a daily, hourly battle for me to lay that down... It's also hard physically. Just this past week, it seems like all my ligaments and joints said, "Oh! Let's get ready for baby! Everyone, LET GO!!" And suddenly, things that were easy for me at 37, 38 & 39 weeks... are incredibly awkward and even painful. Things like walking, picking up a a cup (pregnancy carpal tunnel? Never had that one before!!), putting on shoes... (ahem... finding a pair of shoes that actually fit). These are parts of the 'hard' for me... Now for the 'nice'...
Getting to carry a baby past it's expected date usually means that things are continuing to go ok... Serious complications like cholestasis, incompetent cervix, pre-e... etc... those haven't been your issues. That's something to have a lot of gratitude for! There are a lot of ladies that would exchange the moderate discomfort of carrying baby for a little longer for healthier, more "complication free" pregnancies. It's exciting to carry past the expected arrival date... like waking up every morning, wondering if today will be the day. You've reached the "end" - and even though your brain tells you, "i'm never, ever going to have this baby...." that's just not true. All pregnancies end. Yours (& mine) will too... Any day now... and that's exciting. Going over also gives room for lots of contemplation and *absorbing* of those last sweet days of pregnancy.... As I type this, i'm watching my son wiggle, twist and turn in my belly... I won't be able to do that much longer - and it's an incredible feeling.


And now, as I read this, he's wrapped in his soft blue blanket at my side. His pink feet are peeking out the bottom and the soft rise and fall of the blanket shows his breaths.
Grateful for each stage of life - for the One who gives and for the little one we get to raise.

Friday, August 23, 2013

darling babies - later-post

i picked up my computer a dozen times in this last couple of months to blog - and a dozen times I haven't been able to follow through.
Even now, I hear Elmer stirring upstairs and I doubt i'll get more than a line or so down before he calls with his gentle cry and i'll have to run to him. He's tiny and soft now - his baby rolls are just starting to form - and the feeding of his little frame has consumed us both these last weeks.
(True enough, this post had to sit half finished while I filled the needs of my tiny one who cries to be held - and rewards my efforts with giant gummy smiles.)
We're in some years that feel like a giant rollercoaster ride - or maybe it's something less civilized yet - this season that rocks and sways, brings us to terrifying heights and plummets us towards earth while our hearts pound and we wonder if we'll survive at all.
We have you, daughter entering your last year of highschool, and you, tiny son, just born - and six of you in between, all at various stages of growth and life. We have a daddy who travels  (who by the time I post this will have come and gone again maybe a dozen times...) and a mama who clings to Jesus - a family that is held together by love and grit... And a Saviour who holds us all.


I can tell it's him - arriving home after a late night flight - because the door shuts softly. My sprite daughter won't be home from work for another half hour, and my tiny baby won't wake for his first night feed for another hour after that. He pads up the stairs, and I rub my eyes and struggle to sit up in bed.
He always looks so good to me when he gets home from the road. His shoulders are so broad and his skin so brown. He smiles that smile that melts me and starts to unload his suitcase. His voice is low and full of warmth - and mine answers his in sleepy-we-have-a-newborn-again tones. Our conversations wind gently around you children that we made together.
And the one thing that I feel like I did right is to love your daddy. We've fought and made each other mad and sad before... I made him want to pull out his hair, and he made me cry... but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I love this man who has borne the weight of this growing family all these years.
Cause it all comes down to relationships, little ones.
It never stops being about relationships.
You can try to do and you can try to be and you can give and cry and rage...
Or you can just love and open yourself up to real relationship.  The kind that bends without breaking, stretches without tearing and grows you stronger with the joy and the pain...
So I let him see me.. like... really see me. When he's gone, I text him my vulnerability.
"Be soft with me when you get home."
Because he's a big exhausted man who might miss the subtle nuances of a tender wife who has missed him desperately.
"I will. I promise." He responds.
And i'm heard.
And he does.
Babies... I love your daddy.
And together... we love you.
And this family - is a gift that none of us choose to take for granted.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

posterior tongue tie - part 2

A week after Elmer's revision, his improvements seemed significant to me. I decided to wean him off the supplements. I decided if I just nursed him more - i'd have to pump less - and so I pumped less and less and nursed more and more - till I was nursing almost constantly. Within a couple of days, I realized that he wasn't pooping or peeing like he had been. He quit sleeping any longer chunks and was constantly fussing and rooting. I realized quickly that I needed to start pumping again, but those couple of days wreaked havoc on my supply *again* and I had to build it with constant pumping and nursing yet again. I finally awkwardly managed to figure out pumping and nursing at the same time to save some time - and as my supply returned, I found myself grateful that at least I *had* milk - even with the other trouble, I was grateful that it really could be so much worse.
By this time, I was two weeks past his revision... I went back to the dr. to check on his progress - and she confirmed that he was in no way ready to quit the supplements. She also wanted me to stay on the Domperidone - which honestly? It has a side effect that makes it impossible to lose weight - & unless i'm really careful, my body wants to gain weight... I know, I know... vanity... but I still have 10-15lbs leftover from pregnancy... and i'm used to it falling off at a nice pace... This little piece of my vanity makes me uncomfortable & it's not very fun... but... i'm a stubborn mama sometimes, and so the Domperidone stays - and apparently, so does the baby weight -  until we really feel that I can wean off of it... and I guess I can't just yet.
The dr. wanted me to continue pumping like crazy, building up my supply to the point of oversupply to see if it makes it easier for Elmer to nurse.

I also decided to contact Dr. Jack Newman on his website to see if he had any insight into my situation. When you contact him, you have to limit your question to a certain number of characters - and it was really hard to be detailed and brief at the same time. As a result, his answer wasn't as useful as it could maybe have been, but I did take from it a renewed interest in the idea of breast compression. I had been foregoing the breast compressions in favour of the tandem nursing/pumping. I only have 2 hands after all... and I figured if I nursed, I could pump more - and maybe the reverse was true too... But after reading Dr. Newman's response, I rethought my goal. My ultimate goal isn't to pump more - my ultimate goal is to have Elmer solely on the breast - so I decided to go back to breastfeeding with compressions and then pumping after the feed. This seemed to have an almost immediate impact. He was swallowing more at the breast - it was like I was pumping - and instead of going into a bottle, it could go straight into my babe...
The breast compressions were so successful that even though I was terrified to quit pumping for fear i'd have to rebuild my milk supply yet again, I decided to try again. When Elmer was 5 days shy of 2 months, I quit pumping. I weighed him at the beginning and at the end of the trial and he had gained appropriately, so I felt confident to continue as we were and to continue weaning off the Domperidone too. This is a really slow, laborious process. I was on the lowest dosage of 8 pills per day, but even so, you have to wean down 1 pill every 4-5 days and if you notice a drop in supply you have to go back to the last dosage that was working and stay there for 2 weeks before attempting to wean down any further. Needless to say, i'm still in the process of weaning off of it, but honestly? It looks like at 2 months post partum that there's a light at the end of the tunnel & that we've made enough progress to feel pretty normal (we're down to 3 pills per day). This is a huge step considering our doctor felt at his last appointment that his latch was still unorganized and weak - enough so that she didn't feel sure we would ever be able to wean off the domperidone as long as we wanted to continue nursing.
I know that this journey was one that I chose. Other women would have chosen differently - & that is totally cool. I just knew that *I* needed to listen to my mama heart and do everything in my power to make this work. Yes, it was a ton of work - and yes, I wanted to quit several times... especially in the middle of the night when I hadn't slept. Yes, it hurt. A lot. Yes, I got discouraged and wondered if maybe we just weren't going to be able to do this thing...
But i'm so very glad that we were able...
And i'm looking forward to the next months and years of our breastfeeding relationship with tender hope and awed pleasure.


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