I’m Going to Have My Hands Full? I Had No Idea.

This piece was originally posted on Her View From Home

That’s it. It’s time to call you out.

Yes, you. The person who feels the need to interject their commentary on strangers in the grocery store, post office and yes, even in a public bathroom.

I’ve met you before – about a year ago – when my belly was busting at the seams and my ankles were overflowing from my shoes. You were astounded by my size and convinced there wasn’t a baby, but in fact a toddler swimming around my womb. And if I recall correctly, you rubbed my belly…just to be sure. Thanks again for that 😉

Now here we are again, a year later. My belly not quite big enough to draw your attention, but my situation appealing nonetheless.

You see us – me (pregnant belly and all), my husband and my one-year-old son – and instead of smiling at our beautiful (and exhausted) young family, you share a critical piece of information we may not be able to live without:

You know, you’re going to have your hands full.  Smirk, smirk. Giggle, giggle. 

It’s cute. It’s innocent. It drives me batty (that’s not the hormones talking).

I’m not quick on my feet to come up with a witty-response to your well-meaning comment. That’s why I’m taking it here – to the internet – to rant in all my glory.

Look, I get it. We’re going to be busy and I’m terrified. But, that whole having a newborn thing? I’ve done it. I know exactly how hard it will be and exactly what to expect. I may not know how to manage a baby on the boob while keeping my toddler Picasso off my walls or change a wet diaper while my older one decides my grandmother’s antique bowl is a potty… but we’ll figure it out, just like we did the first time around.

I love when you approach me and comment on how beautiful my son is or how my pregnant glow reminds you of a Christmas display. I’m not screaming, “Stranger danger!” when you come my way. But I’m not sure what the criteria is for the other type of comments. Is it seeing a parent with one misbehaving child? A family with two, three, heck, four kids? How many kids does it take to demonstrate a mastery in the art of multi-kid-tasking? (When I figure it out, I’ll let you know).

Whatever it is, please just try to smile and nod the next time you feel a parent is downright doomed (we kind of feel that way already and it’s always the last thing we want to hear).

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Now, to the parents. I know you’ve heard this before. Hit me with your best comebacks!

Jack | One Month Old

Dear Jack,

Today you are one month old. Life before you seems like a distant memory. Adjusting to having you in our world rather than in my tummy has been one of the most incredible experiences your Dad and I have had the privilege living. This isn’t to go without saying that having a newborn hasn’t been a lot of work.

Our new life has been complicated, messy and often unpredictable. Your Dad has quickly grown to resemble a member of the Nascar pit-crew. He approaches a diaper change with speed, precision and great care – constantly challenging his time  and improving on his method to avoid and combat disaster. While I on the other hand have quickly grown to resemble my pre-teen self. I enjoy 2 hour windows of sleep, have my very own brand of eau due parfum and wear pajamas as if they’re “what’s hot” this season. There are nights I seem to rock you endlessly, as you press against my chest while I whisper lullabys in your ear. There are days I drink my coffee ice cold because you’ve pooped on me for what will be the first of many times of that day. Then there are days I look at you and cannot believe my body was able to create something so perfect. That your Dad and I were able to create something so perfect.

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The speed in which time has passed this month has terrified me. I’ve been warned that my life will flash before my eyes as I watch your life grow – and now it’s happening. As I fold your little newborn clothes and pack them into storage, my heart aches and celebrates the next step you’ve taken in your very fresh but very real life.

You have gone from our tiny 7 pound, 10 oz infant to our sturdy ten pound baby.  You have beautiful grey-blue eyes and have started to use them to explore your new world. You are beginning to recognize your Dad and I,  and you capture our hearts with each gassy smile. You love bath time, car rides and being rocked and swayed to rap music. It appears you have your Dad’s taste in music, we’ll work on that.

Jack Josef, you are the apple of so many eyes. You have brought sleepless nights and endless joy to this little kingdom you call home. Each and every day your Dad and I grow and learn more about you, more about being a parent and more about each other. The best part about having you here is the new purpose and thrill we’ve discovered in our lives.

This is only the start my sweet boy – of change, of learning, of the love we expect to grow within our home and family, and you are in the center of it all.

 

 

Confessions of an Exclusive Pumper

Our experience in the Labour and Delivery ward of our hospital was outstanding. Our nurses were kind, compassionate and caring. They were my biggest cheerleaders next to Dave and when it was time to say good-bye at the end of their shifts, I felt as though I was saying good-bye to friends. I recovered from birth in the Post-Partum ward, where the nurses were friendly but not nearly as kind, helpful but not nearly as patient.

We were discharged from hospital 24 hours after Jack’s birth. For those 24 hours in hospital the nurses did what they could to help Jack latch. This included forcing his head to my breast repeatedly, even when he showed signs of frustration. When we arrived home, we quickly learned their helpful methods were incorrect and a big no-no to establishing a healthy latch. This resulted in a frustrating start to a breast-to-baby bond with my son.

Jack struggled to latch in hospital and continued to struggle when we arrived home. Our discharge nurse told me Jack “wasn’t going to breastfeed” and sent us home with formula. As a first time mom, I felt completely defeated.

For the next two days Dave, my mum and a hospital lactation consultant attempted to  help Jack latch onto my breast. Just as he did in the hospital, Jack would flip up his bottom lip and suck on his tongue rather than his meal source. The hospital lactation consultant advised us not to intervene with a breast shield, a pump or a bottle. We were encourage to syringe feed our son while practicing “suck training.”

When Jack was three days old we had our first appointment with our family doctor. It was then we would find that our baby’s inability to latch was having larger consequences than we anticipated. We discovered Jack was discharged from hospital on the high end of normal for Jaundice. Sending him home with the inability to latch resulted in breastfeeding Jaundice. Jack was not receiving enough to eat through the syringe method and was nearly readmitted to hospital that day for treatment.

Our family doctor immediately connected us with a private lactation consultant. Within an hour of leaving the doctor’s office Jack was breastfeeding with the aid of a breast shield and topping up with the use of a bottle. Over the next 24 hours he would gain 3 oz. Within two days his Jaundice symptoms began to ease up and within three days he returned his birth weight. We accomplished this by exclusively pumping.

A few people have asked me whether or not I’m breastfeeding my son. We’ve all heard breast is best, after all. The question, which is a sensitive one, especially when a mum’s experience isn’t what she expected, is one I’m addressing today because I believe no mum should be judged for the way she chooses or is obligated to feed her child. Weighing out all of our options (cost, nutrition, benefits to baby and mom) we decided to exclusively pump and feed our son breast milk via a bottle.

The decision to exclusively pump first made me feel defeated. My son and my body weren’t bonding easily like I anticipated and I felt as through I wasn’t providing my son with the best source of nourishment possible. As we’ve transitioned into this new parenting plan, I feel empowered because despite being unable to breastfeed, I’m still able provide my son with breast milk (really, this was my number one priority and goal). Bottle feeding also allows my husband the opportunity to bond with our son and give this Momma an extra hour of shut-eye during some of the late night feeds.

Our decision to exclusively pump is a decision that requires commitment. Although I’ve only been at it for little over a week, here are some highlights from what I’ve learned:

  • To establish a good supply you will want to pump every 2 to 3 hours for 15 to 20 minutes (for the first three months).
  • Your body produces the most amount of milk between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Try to pump between those hours if you can!
  • Stay hydrated! You will require lots and lots of H20 to keep your supply up.
  • Continue to practice skin-to-skin contact. It will help you gain some of those hormonal benefits for yourself and baby without actually breastfeeding. If you feel ambitious, you can also try latching your baby to your breast during this time. Jack and I give it an honest effort a few times a day. When he becomes frustrated, we stop.
  • Invest in a good pump. I love the Madela Freestyle.Madela It is a lightweight, rechargeable double pump.  Some insurance companies will cover the cost of your pump, so be sure to check with them!
  • Massage your tatas while pumping. The last thing you want is to develop a blocked duck. Massaging will help you with your let-down and milk production.
  • Invest in good bottles. Bottle fed babies are more likely to suffer from gas and colic. We are using a slow-flow nipple head provided to us by the hospital on our medela bottles. The slow-flow nipple head controls the flow of milk into the baby and helps establish a good suck. Your baby is more likely to transition onto your breast while using a slow-flow or natural-flow nipple head because it mimics the flow of breastfeeding more accurately.
  • Remember the 6, 6, 6 rule. Your breast milk will last:
    • 6 hours at room temperature
    • 6 days in the fridge
    • 6 months in the freezer

As a new parent, you have many important decisions to make. One is to choose whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby – make the decision that works bets for your family in consultation with a health care professional. Coming to the right decisions can take time and can be frustrating. Whatever decision you make, stand proud by it and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re doing anything less than your best – you’re one strong Momma!

Exclusively pumping is something that will be a big part of my life, so you can expect to hear more about this topic on my blog!

Introducing Jack Josef

Four days ago, on August 6 at 4:59 p.m. my husband Dave and I welcomed our first child and son. We are overjoyed and so very proud to introduce you to Jack Josef:

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Jack was born at 38 weeks 4 days gestation, and in true Jack fashion – wanted to make his entrance into the world one to remember.

The day before Jack’s birth I was a ticking time bomb. I literally spent the entire day sobbing. My mom called me, I sobbed. Dave called me from work, I sobbed. Jack had dropped into position at 31 weeks and by this point I was having the “I’m done with pregnancy” feeling many Mom’s experience in their third trimester. Although I had been uncomfortable for weeks leading up to Jack’s birth, I had not experienced such a rush of uncontrollable emotions – thankfully Louie was around to lick up all my tears before I drowned in them.

That afternoon Dave decided to lift my spirits by treating me to what would be our last date-night as “just us two”. We polished off too many servings of all-you-can-eat vegetarian sushi  and made our way to Canadian Tire to stock up on some final items before Jack arrived. It appears all the sushi left little room for Jack because as soon as I stepped out of the car I felt a pop in my abdomen. I turned to Dave to tell him something felt wrong (seriously, I thought my bladder exploded) but before I could get the words out – gushes and gushes of water began pouring out of me in the middle of the parking lot. Side note: this dramatic gush only happens in about 10% of pregnancies. Two 15 year old Canadian Tire employees looked at me with fear and horror in their eyes – I began laughing uncontrollably – super clean Dave grabbed whatever towels/blankets he could find in his car and lined his front seat before loading me in. Off to the hospital we went!

This is how we arrived at the hospital – I was pre-contractions – Dave was convinced I was a rockstar – we had no idea what kind of agony I was about to undergo.

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Since I wasn’t contracting, the hospital sent me home and told me to return when my contractions were four minutes apart. Within one hour, my contractions were four minutes apart – and let me tell you – contractions = not fun. I laboured at home for 6 hours before I found myself vomiting on our front lawn from pain. It would be a total of 17 hours of labour and one hour of pushing before we would meet the baby boy who had been living in my belly.

Since the arrival of Jack my heart has exploded with love in more ways than I can imagine. I’ve become even more obsessed with Dave, as I watch him transition into the most incredible father. This man was literally rubbing chapstick on my lips and giving me sips of water between each pushing cycle, he’s changed 99% of our sons diapers, and he’s up with me each and every night to help me feed our especially sleepy baby.

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We are so thankful for all of the support extended to us during our pregnancy and now, with the arrival of Jack. We cannot wait to share this new adventure in our lives with you.

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