Costumes

This post is intentionally not titled “Halloween”.

I have decided that I don’t like Halloween.  In the past, I have enjoyed pumpkin patch pictures, carving jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin seeds, making fall treats, dressing up and trick or treating!  All of the above!

This time around, though, all I’ve done is stress about candy, HFCS, dyes, gluten, soy, and how to keep all of that to a minimum.  I’ve felt guilty about not feeling up to going to the pumpkin patch.  We didn’t even buy a pumpkin to carve.  I have had so many negative feelings about this holiday that I decided to hate it.

But that’s okay!  I’m NOT going to beat myself up, because there’s always next year, and we still had fun, and not every holiday has to be perfect.  That being said, I will continue to dislike Halloween in the future.  Intensely.

I didn’t get many, but here are a couple SOOC pictures of my Ironman and my Cupcake.

Ronan is 3 years 8 months.  Ruby is 1 year 8 months.  I am 38 weeks pregnant.

Happy Halloween.

 

Blog It Out.

I’ve been blowing up on Twitter, and several people have made the suggestion to “blog it out.”  I think it’s time.

I am not having a good go of it.  Nothing has gone well for a long time now, and it’s getting overwhelming.  I am twelve weeks pregnant with a 3 year old, a 1 year old, and an international vacation.  I flew with my very young children to Canada to spend some time with my parents and to “get a break” from it all.  It hasn’t, unfortunately, been much of a break.

One of the things I greatly underestimated was how difficult it would be for my children to adjust to SO many changes all at once.  Different place, different people, different sleep schedule, different beds, different food.  Seriously, so much.  And every single person here is so in love with them, all they want to do is get the chance to spend some time with them.  I don’t blame them, these kids are great.  But it is so overwhelming.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to a 3 year old brain.  The tantrums have been epic.  He is lashing out, and I’m safe, so he lashes out at me.  I understand it, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Sleep has been at a premium, and no one is getting any.  Ronan has been unable to settle himself and has been awake until after 10pm every night.  Waking before 6am.  And I have been Losing. My. Shit.  Over and over again.  I think I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation.

I have hope that once we get home – to a shiny, spanking new house that Brock has been moving us into while we’ve been gone – back to our beds and our routines and our life, that things will get back to normal.  That bedtime wont be a struggle, and I wont have to worry about what Ronan ate today.  That we’ll spend less time fighting and more time playing.  That I wont feel so guilty about being such a terrible mom ALL OF THE TIME.  I’m ready for that kind of change.

Ronan having a bit of a grumpy… week.

Ruby’s first chocolate cookie.  Hey, it’s vacation.

Ruby is 9 months old.

Yeah, another post that should have been written days ago.  Whatever!  Get off my back!

You’ve never met a happier baby.  She smiles all the time… except at Granddad.  He makes her cry.  She crawls at lightening speeds, and gets into EVERYTHING.  She puts everything in her mouth, although lately she’s taken to licking it first to see if she likes it.  She loves food.  Any and all food.  If you are eating, and don’t share?  She will grunt her displeasure until you offer her a bite.

She isn’t really nursing.  I know, I know… it was going so well.  Our lovely nursing ‘vacation’ lasted about 3 whole weeks before we reverted to regular behaviors.  For now, we are both content to bottlefeed/pump during the day and breastfeed at night.  We are both happy, and that matters.

My sweet Ruby, growing up before our very eyes.  Two teeth.  Standing and cruising.  Demanding attention.  Finally starting to babble.  Loves her brother more than anything in the world.  Giggles for daddy.  Kicks when she’s excited.  Pouts when she’s sad.

You are our world, Ruby Kate.  Happy 9 months.

 

The Cold, Hard Truth.

I’m a liar.

I didn’t mean to be.  I thought I was telling the truth.  But I wasn’t – I lied.

And I’m not sorry.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… these are worth millions.

Ruby and I have been breastfeeding.  Exclusively.  For nearly two weeks.

I don’t know what changed.  I don’t know why it happened.  I said I was done, and I meant it… until I tried again.  And something was different.  Perhaps I had given up the fear of failure.  Perhaps I was no longer hurting in my heart.  Perhaps Ruby just knew.  I don’t know why and it just started working.

Ruby and I took a 2 day nursing vacation.  We started giving her my milk in sippy-cups whenever I’m not here.  I pull her hands down gently when I need to.  I make every effort to nurse every single time that I can.  And it just keeps getting better.  Her latch keeps getting better.  Her patience keeps getting better.  She doesn’t pinch, she doesn’t pull back.  It. Doesn’t. Hurt.

I have been SO EXCITED to write this blog post.  I have been LOVING taking pictures to share.  I have been terrified that if I breathed a word, if I mentioned it, it would all fall to bits.  I wanted to wait until I’d worked enough shifts, until I’d successfully come home and nursed again enough times that I felt like I no longer needed to hold my breath.  I don’t know that we’re entirely past that point… but we’re getting there.  Every day we nurse, we’re getting there.

I want and need to thank every single person that has helped us on this journey.  Every cheerleader.  Every encourager.  Every supporter.  Each one of you helped me take it one day at a time, push for one more try, not give up in my saddest, darkest moments.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you.  Thank you so, so very much.  Thank you for this.

 

At Peace.

It’s been two weeks since our journey to Albany.

Ruby’s tongue has healed beautifully. There is no evidence of any tie. We continue to pull/stretch her tongue several times a day to be sure that there will be no readhesion. She appears quite pleased with her re-found tongue mobility; especially when eating solid foods.

And yet… once again, my sweet dream of a quick fix, an easy solution has gone awry.

For the two days I was gone, Ruby nursed exclusively. I didn’t bring bottles and I didn’t bring a pump, so all of her feedings were at the breast. When I got home, I continued to nurse her without offering any bottles, and it felt like nursing was getting better and better. Her patience at the breast improved, and she seemed less frustrated. She nursed for longer periods without pulling or pushing away. It started to feel like we were on an upward trend…

… and then I had to go back to work. Always, I end up going back to work. Ruby ends up getting bottles, and I don’t get the chance to nurse her for 48 whole hours. When I got home after the first weekend back after the clipping, I ran a warm bath. It had been several hours since my last pump session, so I was quite full and Ruby was quite hungry. I stripped her down and we got in the tub together. We relaxed, stayed calm, played. I didn’t offer her to nurse, and I didn’t put any pressure on her to try. I just wanted to enjoy some motherbaby love time and see what happened.

She very quickly made her way over to the breast and showed her interest. She pinched and grabbed at my nipple, trying to pull it to her mouth instead of moving in to latch. I helped her get into a comfortable position and she brought her mouth to breast… sucked a few times, got angry, and quit. She didn’t try again. I offered the breast a while later and she turned her head away again. With not a few tears in my eyes, I handed her over to her father, who had a bottle prepared, and I went to pump.

That night, I continued to try to nurse her while co-sleeping, as I have always been. She was brutal. She pinched and pulled. She cried on and off the breast. She seemed frustrated and angry, and I didn’t know what to do. I simply kept offering the breast over and over again until she finally latched, and then I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the pain of her pinching and pulling back in order to keep her calm enough to go back to sleep. Every nightwaking was this way. I spent most of the night crying too.

Every time I say I’ve reached the end of my rope, I find more rope. Again and again, I’ve found more rope. There might be more rope out there this time – perhaps someone else has more rope to give me. Perhaps someone will be able to help me find more of my own. But right now, I’m grasping on to the wispy threads of the end of this ratty rope, and I don’t feel like fighting any more. I don’t feel like hurting. My hands are tired of hanging on.

I’ve been pumping lots and lots of milk. We’ve been cuddling and snuggling during bottle feeds. She will still sleep in my bed. Not much else will change… but at the moment – this very moment – our nursing relationship on hold. I wanted to write “over” but I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe that will change. Maybe it wont. But right now I am at peace.

And if anything changes… I’ll be sure to let you know.

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Ketchup.

I have intended to sit down and write every single day since we got back from Albany.  I have lots to say.

First, our trip went flawlessly.  AFTER we got over the 2 hour delay in CLT on the tarmac, the rest of the trip was smooth as silk.  Dr. Kotlow and his whole staff were amazing, as usual.  They stuck around to wait for us because of our delay, and Ruby’s procedure was done in mere moment.  Ruby was un-phased and back to smiling within minutes!

Ruby with Dr Kotlow after the procedure.

Immediately after, Ruby and I had the immense pleasure of meeting one of my sweetest online friends for dinner.  I can’t even begin to describe how thrilled I was that Kimberly and her husband were willing to drive over two hours to get to Albany just to meet Ruby and I.  Have I mentioned before how much I love twitter??  We had such an amazing time.  Ruby and Kimberly’s sweet boy were angels during dinner, enjoying some food a la baby led weaning, and grinning at each other from their highchairs.  When the held hands?  I DIE.

Ruby and her pal! Blurry ruby wouldn't stop moving. 🙂

Beautiful Kimberly and her sweet husband Joshua were so fantastic.  It’s hard to describe what it’s like to meet someone that you just know you’d be perfect friends with.  It’s even harder to realize that, if not for the distance, you could hang out every day.  Your families could grow up together.  You could get coffee, and go on walks, have barbecues, sleepovers.  You could cry together.  Laugh together.  It’s hard to realize that despite how the internet makes the world so small, it’s actually still just a little too big.

Ruby and I spent the night in a motel in Albany and flew home first thing Thursday morning.  I’ll gloss over the airport security woman that felt it necessary to tell me that breastfeeding is “gross” and fast forward to being HOME.  I had nursed Ruby exclusively the whole time we were gone, and I felt like she just kept getting better and better.  I feel like nursing without the use of ANY other feeding mechanism would be our fastest and best bet and nursing well.

Thursday night, I took another step in a wonderful direction; I took my first class on the road to becoming an IBCLC.  It was so perfect.  I felt like I absolutely was supposed to be there.  I am so, so, SO excited about it, and I find myself eagerly awaiting the next class – even more so, awaiting the start of clinicals!  I hung around after the class and was able to speak with Gretta, our instructor.  We talked a little about Ruby and our nursing journey.  She asked me a few questions.  I lamented that we’ve given up on professional help because we simply can’t afford to spend any more money on consultations and appointments that yield no results.  She told me, “Well… I think we’ll just have to make you our special project then.  We’ll get you and Ruby nursing.  I think we can.”

And then I cried.

I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday, unable to get the chance to nurse Ruby for 3 days straight due to sleeping, pumping and eating schedules.  When I offered her the breast this morning, she bit me.  The first time she has ever, and I yelped.  It made her cry.  Two steps forward and a quick jog backwards.  This blog has gotten much longer than I had intended, so I’m signing out!  This is the current state of things, and thanks for letting me catch up!

A Last Hurrah.

Well, here we go.

I’m typing this from the airport. Ruby and I are headed back to Albany to have her tongue tie re-addressed.

A few weeks ago, I emailed Dr. Kotlow pictures of Ruby’s tongue, stating that I thought she ha re-adhered. He agreed and told me if we could make our way back out, he would divide the tie again with no charge.

It has taken me this long to get everything lined up and secure tickets, but now we’re on our way. We are flying stand-by and not returning until tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a long two days. Please keep your fingers crossed that there will be a seat for us.

As far as breastfeeding goes, I dont know that this will fix our problems… but it can’t make them worse, right? I feel like this is my final big effort to make things work. If it doesn’t, no one will ever be able to say I didn’t try hard enough. I won’t be able to say I didn’t try.

Wish us luck. I’m excited, nervous, a little scared… mostly hopeful.

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