Friday, April 24, 2015

this time around.

I knew deep down that the possibility of my second child being just like my first was pretty much non-existent.

Other than the obvious he was a boy and she was a girl, I knew that there would more than likely be personality differences. My pregnancies couldn't have been more different and I figured that was the beginning of what would surely be plenty of big differences in my children.

I could talk for days about how their sleep is different, or that he always wants to be held while she never did. Or that he is the world's most unscheduled baby while she was like clockwork. But I won't. Not today anyway.

When Ella was born, I never even considered not breastfeeding. I just figured it would be something we would do. I didn't give it too much thought it just was.

Then we had supply issues. From the very beginning. So we started supplementing from the very beginning.

Lactation people were telling me not to (emphatically I might add) while her doctor was telling me it had to be done because we were all watching her bilirubin rise and her weight drop with a quickness. So we supplemented. As I think any parent would have done.

My supply never went up. I tried. I pumped. I put her on every single time she wanted to eat. I did what I thought best for my girl. But things didn't change. She would latch on and scream and hit me with her frustration over low supply and I would cry and it was just AWFUL.

I went back to work and lugged that pump with me for three months. I would sit in a room pumping and squeezing every last drop I could out. We would nurse in the evenings but that ended when she lost all interest. When that happened, I dropped that pump and that measly 1/2 an ounce I was pumping, like a bad habit. I was free. And while I felt guilty as hell, I was also relieved. Beyond relieved.

So many people told me that low supply wasn't real. That it "effects like less than 3% of the population" and that that wasn't my real issue. That supplementing was the problem. That scheduling her was my problem. That made me feel worse than anything. I felt judged and that maybe I hadn't actually tried as hard as I thought.
When I found out about Cooper, I was bound and determined nursing would work this time. I didn't even allow anyone to buy any formula for "just in case" because I didn't want it there. I had flashbacks to Ella screaming all the time in hunger and I was terrified that would happen again, but I was bound and determined it wouldn't.

Then he was born. There was no immediate desire to nurse from him. He actually just laid on my chest for the longest time just staring at me and not making any move to nurse. But then he did. And for the next couple of days, he nursed over and over and over.

Pretty quickly, his weight dropped drastically. That word was brought up again; supplement and I wanted to scream. I was devastated.

They kept telling me that when my milk came in, things would be better. Just to give it a couple of days. So I did. But his weight kept dropping and his bilirubin kept going up. It was just like Ella all over again.

So I ordered some supplements of my own. I tried tea. I pumped after every feeding. And I drank more water than I have ever drank in my life.

I tried oatmeal. I threw any idea of a schedule out the window and let him nurse on demand. It was hourly but I was game. We were going to do this.

His weight went up a little and we were given the ok to stop formula. Almost immediately his diaper output plummeted. I took him up to the lactation specialist to see what was going on. He was getting less than an ounce off of both sides total.

I was so upset. I ordered new supplements. I pumped after every feeding. I felt like my chest may fall off but I was determined.

Through all of this, he hardly complained. He seemed content just to be that close to me. I felt like I was letting him down because my body sucked. To be honest, if he hadn't seemed so interested, I would have thrown in the towel immediately. It was so dang stressful.
Selfishly I wasn't ready to quit. I wasn't ready to give up that quiet time with him. I wasn't ready to give up how he would rub my fingers while he nursed. I just wasn't ready to stop.

So we kept at it. We would nurse and then supplement. It was working for us. He was happy, I was happy. We were good.

Now he is five months old and we are still at it. I've nursed in public (NEVER would have thought), though completely covered (my personal choice). We've nursed while walking around with him in the Ergo. It's a foreign world to me and honestly one I can't believe I'm in. I feel lucky. I do. I feel lucky to be experiencing this with him.

It's a lot of work. I've done some research and low supply is usually caused by some other medical things that I've got going on. Levels and stuff. So yay. But it's worth the work. I pump all day in the car while I'm traveling. I pump at night. I feel attached to that dang thing and I sort of hate it, but it's necessary. He still nurses in the middle of the night, sometimes multiple times a night and while people keep telling me to give a bottle then, it's such a special time and I'm not ready to stop. So we keep at it.

I don't know how much he's getting anymore and most days I think he's just comfort nursing but I don't care. I keep saying, "I'll quit when he's ready" and that's still my plan. I don't know how much longer we have of this but I'm bound and determined to see it through.

So one more difference between my kiddos. This one seems to need and want to nurse when his sister wanted nothing to do with it. If there's anything I've learned it's to just do what you need to do for each kiddo. So we do this.

And honestly, I think this is good for both of us. It's such a special, special time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

5 months.

Oh my boy, slow it down please.

I still think of you as my teeny tiny newborn but you're not. You are five months old and I'm dumbfounded at how we got here so fast.

We had a doctor appointment the other day and you are right around 16 1/2 pounds and about 24 3/4 inches long. You are staying right around the 50th percentile for everything. You are wearing 6 month clothes and size 3 diapers at night and size 2 during the day. You're getting big buddy. You have rolls upon rolls. It's delicious.

You have had another rough month healthwise. You started the month still battling your reflux pretty bad. You quickly ended up with an ear infection. We started up some antibiotics and you beat that pretty quick. But pretty quickly your reflux flared up again and we ended up back at the doctors with a double ear infection. We are struggling big time with your reflux. We are trying to get it under control but you are struggling.

With all that said though, you are still such a joy. You seriously have the best personality. You are still a Mama's boy through and through, but you absolutely adore your Dada and your sister. Your sister still gets the best laughs from you. You think she's hysterical.

So what else are you up to these days...

- you have a little lovey that you kind of like and will grab a hold of. We put it close to your face at night and you love it.

- you moved upstairs to your crib. You just seemed like you were getting too big for the rock-n-play so we moved you. Not going to lie, I really, really miss you down by me. Sometimes I bring you back down at one of your wake ups during the night. I'm a stage five clinger. Oh well.

- you really like sitting up in your little chair and playing.

- you adore your sister. Seriously. She gets the best smiles from you and you love sitting and playing with her. She loves to read to you and you will lay and listen to her. I am beyond thrilled that you two have each other.
- you are still pretty stingy with your laughs but you give out the smiles all day every day. You have the best smile. It lights up your whole face.

- you are still rocked/nursed to sleep and while I know this is going to be a terrible habit to break, I kind of don't care. I know this will be over before I know it. So right now, I'm soaking it in and I'll deal with breaking this habit later. You are also rocked to sleep for nap. It is what it is. I'll deal with it later.

- as for sleep, well, you kind of suck at it. You nap for maybe 45 minutes and then you are screaming to get up. You will sleep longer.. if I rock you and hold you and let you sleep on me. Which is all well and good, but there is another kid with needs in this house so... And night time? It's a guessing game. Sometimes you wake up once a night. Sometimes two or three. There is zero method to your sleep madness. Every night is something new.

- you love to be sitting up but can't sit up on your own yet.

- you are still trying to stand up but that right foot still turns in a bit.
- you have found your feet but you don't quite have them in your mouth yet.

- you now roll over back to belly and then just hang there. You still don't love tummy time but you don't roll from belly to back much.

- you go for your toys but you aren't too ambitious about it. You don't seem to be dying to move much. You definitely prefer sitting up to being on your belly or back. That could have something to do with your reflux.

- you've started smacking after nursing. It is the cutest freaking thing ever.

- you are starting to blow raspberries. You make the funniest noises with your mouth. It's hilarious.

- you attempt to hold your own bottle. But you don't attempt it too hard. You are kind of lazy. It's cool though.

Cooper we love you so much. The days are busy and kind of crazy but we wouldn't trade adding you to our family for anything. You are our best little surprise ever.

And just for fun... a little behind the scenes of the monthly photo shoot..

Thursday, April 2, 2015


And just like that, five years has flown by and tomorrow, my sweet angel, you will be five.

I feel like I'm going to wake up and you'll be sixteen. Not even kidding.
I remember when you were younger, I would write updates on what you were up to and what you were learning. I could fire off tasks and funny things you would say with a quickness because everything was so new. But now? You have exploded sweet girl. This past year has taken you from a toddler/preschooler to a little girl and it happened over night.

The other day we were all in the car and I looked back at you in your seat and I couldn't get over how grown you were. I remarked to your Dad about how you now had "big kid legs", all muscle and length and no more of the pudge of your toddler days. And it made my heart ache. Because while I absolutely adore the girl you are becoming, I do miss my tiny baby. But that's to be expected.

The biggest milestone for you this year was becoming a big sister and girl, you are the best big sister EVER.
Have we had bouts of jealousy? Of course, but you got your world rocked by Cooper joining it and you have handled it with a grace far beyond your years.

You adore your brother. You love to feed him and change him and you get so excited on nights we let y'all share a bath because then you get to help bathe him. When he smiles and laughs at you, it absolutely makes your day and you will turn to whomever is near and excitedly exclaim "he smiled at me!". I'm pretty sure that will never get old.

If you accidentally "hurt" him (like crawling on him to get to my lap), you will apologize til your blue in the face and your little face will still show how worried you are long after we have reassured you that he is fine. You love your little brother. My prayer is that you will always care for him the way you do now. He has one awesome person in his corner in you.

Ella you are hands down still the light of our lives. You make us laugh so hard and you make us absolutely beam with pride at the things you are learning and accomplishing.

You aren't perfect though. You have a sarcastic streak a mile wide and a tongue that is going to get you in trouble a lot. We are working on self control with you but you are one of those people that always have to get the last word in. You get it honest girl and I do apologize for that.

You are smart and you do so incredibly well at school. You know all your letters and numbers and can count to 100 easily (and maybe further, I tune out at 100, sorry). You can write all of our names in the house and can write all of your letters, upper and lowercase. You are learning to read. You are a pro at sounding out words and know your vowels and consonants and the sounds they make. You can read short books to us. You love to do that. You also love to spell and write words. You can be found with a notebook and pen so much of the time walking around asking us "how do you spell.." whatever it is you are working on at the moment.

You are funny. And you know it. You can make a face that makes an entire room crack up. This is also something we are working on self control with as you, like your mother, definitely enjoy the laughs and are egged on by them big time. Time and a place child, time and a place.

You never nap. You are go, go, go from the moment you wake up (7 am) til you collapse into bed at night (around 7:30-8 pm). You love to be outside but you also love curling up and watching a movie. You consider it a huge treat if we eat pizza in the living room while watching a movie. It makes your day.
I asked you about some of your favorite things and you said Sadie was your best friend (school friend) (though sometimes that answer is me!), your favorite tv show is Octonauts, and your favorite color is still pink and purple. You love grilled cheese and orange juice. You're a pretty picky eater. Your sweet tooth is out of control. Your favorite movie is still Frozen (duh) and Big Hero 6. Favorite show is Octonauts and Wild Kratts. You love your tv time for sure.

You still love books and drawing and writing. I wish you would do more of that and less tv but you got your love of tv from your Dad for sure.

Girl you are the light of our lives. We love you so, so much it hurts. You are by far our favorite and we are so proud of you and the girl you are becoming. Welcome to five girl. You're going to rock it.


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