Thursday, December 29, 2016

Raspberry fingers

Never gets old and I think I'll be measuring raspberries for Charlotte in increments of five until she leaves this house : ) 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Sous chef (a series)

We had to make muffins on our last special Tuesday stay-home day; chocolate chip of course because they're Charlotte's favorite!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Feeding with love

Being out of control is not my strong suit, in fact it’s a place of discomfort for me and I don’t like it one bit. As a cancer patient, I find myself there often.

During my pregnancy with Madeline, a kidney issue was detected and I was eventually referred to a nephrologist who followed me through the end of my pregnancy. We discussed many theories around the cause of the kidney issue, including the fact that it was related to pregnancy in a roundabout way. When the issue didn’t resolve post-partum, we started testing, and lots of it. Everything suspected came back negative and eventually a kidney biopsy was needed to understand the root cause. The results of the biopsy revealed an autoimmune disease where antibodies were being created to attack my kidneys. Riddle solved? Not so fast; now she needed to understand what underlying disease was at fault. More testing was scheduled, but in the meantime I needed to start medication to protect my kidneys. Medication that was not compatible with breastfeeding.

I breastfed Anna and Charlotte until they weaned around one year of age. It was something I wanted to do, something I enjoyed, and something I vowed to do with each of my children as long as it was worked for all parties. For almost a year with both of the big girls my life revolved around a feeding schedule, bras that unlatched, clothing that was easily accessible, and a mental note on the number of ounces of milk were in my freezer at any given moment. It was a sacrifice of love, but one I was more than happy to make because it was my choice and what worked for our family.

Weaning Madeline early hit me hard. Because it wasn’t my choice and because I had no control. I didn’t know how to tell her I couldn’t provide food for her. How to tell her she had to take a bottle instead of the comfort she’d known her entire life. I felt like a failure in all sense of Motherhood. 

*Dramatic much, I know … *

I saw my doctor on November 30 and received my prescriptions that same day. I cried when she left the room and made a half-assed attempt to pull it together when her (really bad) MA came back to review the details. My doctor understood I’d need some time to wean the baby, but had also already given me some leeway until she knew exactly which drugs were needed, and was frank that not starting the medication could put me at a higher risk for eventual dialysis. The choice was clear, but emotions made it hazy, as did the tears. I needed to be a good mother to my baby and other girls, and I couldn’t do that if I was sicker than need be.

My goal was one bottle the first day, December 1. And one additional bottle each day after. I’d pump in between for comfort, and used the small frozen milk supply I’d accumulated, slowly mixing formula and increasing the ratio each day. Breastfeeding experts recommend that first bottles be given by someone other than the Mother to ease the confusion, but in this case, I needed to be the one to make this transition. And it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was heartbroken. Madeline cried for 30 minutes straight before eventually drinking her first bottle. I’ll never forget the confused look in her eyes. I’ll never forget the sound of her cry. We both cried. A lot. I was truly in mourning, and to this day I still feel pangs of sadness and tears well up when I think of that week.

The second day was a tiny bit better, but still grueling. Each day she cried a little less … 25 minutes, 20 minutes, 15 minutes. We found bottles we both liked after some trial and error and I asked around for tips to make the process easier (formula pitchers, bottle warmers … all the gear). I bought into the old wives tales and took Sudafed and stuffed by bra with cabbage leaves to help ease the pain, and pumped only for relief. After about a week, we’d made it through and I’d started my medication; there was no turning back. Formula and bottles were our new normal.

Parenting is full of important decisions, and each one comes with judgment or opinions from someone. The way you feed your baby should work for your entire family and should be your decision. At the end of the day as long as your baby is thriving and happy and healthy and being FED WITH LOVE, you’re doing your job as a Mother. And that’s what I’m doing … feeding with love. And health. And knowing that I’m doing what’s best for everyone. The road travelled doesn’t look the same, but that’s what life’s all about, right? Where there’s love, there’s life; and we sure do have a lot of both in our home.

Post script:
As sad as I was to close my breastfeeding chapter, there are silver linings. Regular bras! No more leaking! DRESSES! Nudging your husband to take on a middle of the night feeding. All that mental free space where frozen milk ounce counts used to be. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A little pie with your whipped cream

It counts as a veggie because it's pumpkin, right? : ) 

Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Funny

For that someone special at the holidays : ) 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


 Just your regular Wednesday evening when Daddy is out of town ... 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sister sillies (a series)

A little sister sillies before school today : ) 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kids these days

Not even half a year old and already learning how to use an iPad : ) 

Miss Smiles

Loved seeing this smile the week we had to transition to formula ... everything's gonna be alright : ) 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Girly and glam (a series)

A Tuesday stay-home day treat ... manicures with pink polish!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Go Fish!

This little card shark beat me 2 games to 1!