Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Weight of Breastfeeding

Avalina Elise

Days 10-13

So, because I am being completely honest here, or at least trying to be, I have to dedicate a moment or two to one of my faults, vanity. I am totally vain when it comes to my weight. I think for me it was something that was instilled in me when I was younger. I was a size 0-2 for many many years. Not that I was the healthiest of people at that weight and please don’t think that my goal is to get back to that. I am being realistic! Although, it would be pretty awesome! Of course as you get older you put on more weight and when you are older and having babies it gets harder and harder to lose your baby weight. I am truly blessed though, my body tends to bounce back pretty quickly from having babies, however, I always get stuck with 8-10 pounds to lose that just seems impossible to get rid of. (When you are 5 feet tall this can show A LOT)Which is what I am faced with now and to make matters worse, there is a family wedding coming up very fast! Of course there are pressures, in my own mind, to look as I did before I was pregnant for that. AHHHHH! I am breastfeeding, which so helps with the initial weight loss, but after a while you plateau and you have to keep your calories up in order to provide the sufficient nutrients your baby needs…..I can’t start running yet, maybe in another week. So mentally, it is messing with me a little bit. SO, on top of the baby blues I am now having this that I have decided to deal with. Good Times! Say a prayer for my kids and Patrick…They totally need it!

So breastfeeding, some people LOVE it, some people HATE it. My experiences have lead me to fall somewhere in between. Vanity speaking, I LOVE that it burns so many calories with very little effort. I HATE that I have yet to have a baby latch correctly, so I have had the sorest boobs ever! This makes it a less than a wonderful experience. I am the type of person that I don’t mind breastfeeding, but I am very self conscious of how other people feel about it. I usually go into another room or into a bathroom if we are out so that I don’t make other people uncomfortable. I am pumping but with all of my kids I have had a strict no bottles until 4 weeks old. We have made some exceptions but its usually right around that 4 week mark. So feeling like I am missing something is usually a factor. This is the first time that I have incorporated pumping into my whole breastfeeding routine. I have always tried to add it later and it has never worked out for me. So, I decided to try something new. So far it seems to be working pretty well. I was inspired by a friend of mine that has about a gagillion ounces pumped. There will be more than enough for her daughter to make it through her 20th birthday. Can you tell I have pumping envy? My problem has always been that around months 4-8 I don’t produce as much milk as is needed for my babies to feel full. So I end up supplementing, which makes me feel like I am cheating them out of something, not to mention its really expensive! So I am hoping that pumping 4-5oz a day (this is nothing compared to my friends 12oz in a sitting!) will help me out when I hit that 4 month mark. That is if I don’t use it all for date nights!

Ava is just such an easy baby. She has a pretty good schedule now, she still sleeps a lot during the day and is a cluster feeder between 6pm & 11pm. This actually works out really well for our family, although it does ground us a little in the evenings. She has her 2 week appointment next week so we will see what happens with that.

My family is/has adjusted pretty well. My Littles are still little tsunamis that run through the house destroying everything in their path. The highlight of their destruction has been Patrick’s coveted Plumeria tree that he has been growing for the last 4 years. Dirt & leaves EVERYWHERE!! Hopefully it has been saved and is now on top of the island. However, when Avalina is around they are the most precious little mothers. Celeste is actually getting better and Stella worse. We are hoping that we can start potty training them both soon. Hmmmm that should be fun! Me, I am doing ok, I am still having moments of weepy times but not for any particular reason. I am still freaked out by social situations I have to work on that. There will be more soon. Be Well!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Timely "Episodes"

Avalina Elise

Days 7-10

I think it is absolutely amazing how quickly 10 days can go by when you have a newborn. I just want to make time stop so that I can catch my breath. I am quickly learning that with a family that has 5 children time can be a reclusive cousin that you only see once every 10-15 years! There are those moments though, as few as they are where time does stand still and you realize that life is truly good.

Ava, is a great baby. I hate to brag, but I will she is amazing. She does everything a newborn should do, she eats, sleeps, poops, & cries only when one of the other things is affecting her. She is filling out although her legs are SO skinny! Right now she is all legs and she has the longest fingers I have ever seen on an infant. Perhaps she will be the concert pianist that Patrick has always wanted. Only time will tell…There’s that word again, time.

Nothing really crazy has happened in the last 3 days, unless of course you consider my “episode” as note worthy news. I am an extremely outgoing person. I LOVE meeting new people and I adore being invited to parties and hanging out with friends, showing off my family and just having a really good time in general. Apparently this is true for all times except 8 days after having a baby. We were invited to a party on Saturday for one of our dear friends’ birthdays. They are very chill and lovely people and their friends really do reflect that. They were cooking out, there were kids there my kids’ age, and there was Frisbee and a huge yard for the kids to run around in, sounds like the makings of a very relaxing and beautiful time right? Well, apparently miss social butterfly, aka me, could not handle all the people. I have never experienced anything like this in my life. One minute I am sitting there having a conversation, the next minute I am having full blown panic attacks because I can't figure out how to get my entire family together in the case that aliens start attacking! Ok maybe that’s a little over the top but you get the idea. I was a wreck an absolute wreck. What was also interesting were people were saying “I can’t believe you’re here”. In my paranoia that made me question if I had done something wrong by coming. I know now that there was absolutely nothing hidden in that statement, people just couldn’t believe that I was brave enough (ha ha) to commit to a party like that. The truth was, I had no business being there. My psyche is still way to fragile to be exposed to a group of people that I hardly know. Luckily, there were 4 good friends there to keep me from completely jumping out of my skin, my kids had an absolute blast, and I got to be a part of the celebration. Those were the positives that came out of it. Still, as soon as I was in the safe hold of my home and my kids were happily playing the backyard and sweet Ava was asleep, I cried my eyes out for about 45 minutes. My poor poor amazingly supportive husband had to endure it, this was a rough one. There was really no rhyme nor reason to the tears, just a little embarrassment, a thought of will I ever be back to my old self again, and am I now the laughing stock of all our friends because I made a poor choice. Goodness, I hope not!

Here is the deal though, I think a lot of times new moms are terrified that they are going to miss out on something because we just had a baby and our obligation is to that baby. Yet, we forget that we also have an obligation to keep ourselves sane as well. I have to tell myself that it is ok to sit out of some parties, its ok not to be in the center of everything. If you know me, you know that is very, very hard for me! Does this go deeper though? Perhaps it does. Another issue of having a larger family is not being included in things that we were once included in. Lets face it, if you invite our family over we are a party in and of ourselves. When you include us in a party setting, you are inviting 7 people, that’s a lot. I understand that but over the last few years I have noticed our dance card has not been as full as it once was, and when you are as social as Patrick and I are it can be a little hard to take at times. So maybe, that had a little something to do with my snap decision on Saturday to attend that party. Not only did I not want to miss out on being a part of the celebration but I also wanted to feel included.

In the end though, the positives of having a larger family, in my mind, definitely outweigh the negatives. It all goes back to those moments that stop time and you know that you are truly blessed and you are doing exactly what you should be doing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The First of Many Challenges with 5......

Avalina Elise

Days 4-6

I would have to say that the biggest challenge for us over the last few days have been our “Littles”. To be expected right? They are little, they don’t quite grasp the concept of “just hang in there a few weeks and everything will return to normal”. Or become the “new normal” which just seems normal because this is just what we do now! Our 3 year old has a mind of her own, will not listen to anyone to save her life and is now teaching our sweet little 2 year old how to behave very badly. They are like little tornados, whirlwinds, hurricanes, earthquakes and any other natural disaster you can think of! I think that once we get a handle on that (Ha! Ha!) the family should be in full swing. Our “Bigs” have taken it all in stride. Millie had a few adjustments, she was worried about me, she saw and understood that I was not feeling well the last part of my pregnancy. I think she also worried about her role in the family. Once she saw it was business as usual just with an extra little person hanging around, she has been really good. Of course we are dealing with the usual not listening, “they know better then the parents” etc issues of life. For the most part we have been really very blessed with our kids and their behavior…. Although, Celeste really does go against the grain in everything! I promise this will not be the last time you hear about her!

So the freak out that we have had over the last day and a half has been our car situation. We currently have a Dodge Grand Caravan, bought 3 ½ years ago when we had Celeste. It was a big jump to do the whole “mini van” thing. We had previously made some very poor automobile choices prior to this which made us upside down in our current car loan. In short we have to stay in this vehicle until Millie is old enough to drive it!

So there is the background, here is the freak out. Car seats! Sure, I have a van that seats 7 right? Wrong! Unless you take out the 4 car seats that we have to have, otherwise, we have a ¼ of a seat left for Millie to sit in since she is the only one not in a car seat. What it comes down to is that we need an 8 passenger vehicle. Well, crap! So, as Patrick and I tend to do we frantically ran around to every dealership we could find locally looking for the perfect car to handle our entire family. We found one, but its not what we wanted. What we want is way out of our reach right now so we would be settling and that is really something that we are not wanting to do. So after a lot of freaking out, a little research and some deep thought, we found 2 booster seats that are a little smaller in width then the others. They will fit in the back and then Millie will have her own captain’s chair in the first row. So, for now, everyone is safe and has their own seat! Who knew car seats would pose as one of the many challenges that we have with the number of children that we have? Not the last I am sure!

As for Avalina, she is getting acclimated to this big world very well. She LOVES to be held which is just fine with us. As a matter of fact, she is curled up in my lap as I type this. I am becoming a wiz at typing with only one hand. She lost a little too much weight after she left the hospital so we had a follow up weight check today and she is doing great. She is so beautiful and sweet, I promise to get a picture or 2 up here very soon. I think one of the most special moments you can share with your child is in the first few months when they aren’t distracted by other things. You are their main focal point, you are their main source of entertainment. I believe this is the time that bonds you, that you fall in love over and over and over again. As parents, we tend to get bogged down with what went wrong, what went right, we forget these little things, like gazing into the eyes of a 6 day old for hours on end. It really is a beautiful thing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Home Avalina Elise…. Days 0-3

So here we are, baby number 5 making us a proud family of 7. New Moms whether they are bringing home baby number 1, 6 or 8 all go through some form of Baby Blues. For each woman it is very different. For a lot of women each child brings about their own set of fears, wishes or wants. For me, I have had the same sadness for my last 2. I find it very hard at times to comfort myself this time though, even though I know it is what is best for all concerned.

When we brought our beautiful little Stella home 2 years ago, she was our last child. I knew that after having 4 Patrick and I would not “try” anymore. I was a wreck thinking that my baby days were over for good. Then, two years later, by some sort of miracle and not for trying, we discovered that baby Ava was on her way. Number 5, a blessed miracle in her own regard. After the shock and awe wore off I was secretly giddy at being pregnant again. My days weren’t over after all, I had one more shot at feeling those feelings and reliving those experiences. I was going to make this one count, and I really think I did, but right now 9 months, as long as it seemed on Thursday, just doesn’t seem long enough.

I know for some women it is a relief to know that they are done being pregnant because they detested being pregnant. Trust me; I was NOT a good pregnant woman with any of my babies. This time though, I was very Zen...I enjoyed feeling her move around in me, I enjoyed growing this tiny human. I appreciated the changes my body was making to accommodate a baby, and thankfully for Patrick, I really didn’t complain all that much. I truly enjoyed being pregnant until the very end. In the end I realized that my pregnancy was taking a toll on my younger 2 children. I couldn’t keep up with them I couldn’t play with them like I had been earlier in my pregnancy, I was just sooo tired. It was then that I realized that I may just be past a good age to be pregnant.

I was A.M.A., in some practices that’s what they call you, Advanced Maternal Age. At others they call you Geriatric Pre-Natal or Elderly. I am 35. I also had to deal with the fact that my Nurse Midwives who had seen me through my other 4 pregnancies were no longer practicing due to cutbacks and insurance issues. My 2 biggest fears, having a Dr. I didn’t know and not being able to get an epidural! Well, luckily for me the Dr I had even though I hadn’t met him was wonderful and the epidural was just fine. My labor was so fast though. Not at all what I had had with my last 2 and that has left me feeling a little jipped. Patrick and I had had such amazing connections during those hours walking the halls. Going through the pain of labor together, as one. This all adds to me thinking my child bearing days are over and done.

Its scary for me. I love having babies, I love what they add to our family, I love connecting with my husband in that way. I am devastated to know that this phase of my life is over. Then there is the optimistic side of me really trying to pull through all of these thoughts. It really is reminding me that things change usually for the better. I had extremely wonderful and uplifting moments not being pregnant. My husband and I have one of those scary amazing relationships in which we connect often. So why am I so down about all of this? Time will tell, in the mean time I am enjoying this beautiful little baby that has chosen us as her parents. I owe it to her to be the best mom I can be, and I intend to be.

I plan to go through the next 60 days (hopefully more) of Ava’s new life as well as managing a house of 7. So check back.