Friday, August 6, 2010

ode to breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has lots of e's. e's but not ease. You would think I would be the breast feeding pro by now. I have had five children. the nurses assumed I was an experienced mother. well I am. just not in breastfeeding. no m & m's here just lots of ill at ease. when I was pregnant with my fifth child, I had decided. committed. was excited to at long last be a successful nurser. I didn't buy one bottle. I was given a very elegant nursing cover up at my baby shower. I had the books. I had nursing bras. I was ready.

two years prior to my pregnancy with my fifth child, I had just delivered twins. prior to my delivery of twins I had had two natural births. no medication. just arrived at the hospital 30 min before the birth of my first and 2 hours before the birth of my second. delivery of my babies was never a problem. quick labors and big babies. then the twins came a long.

I grow big babies. two at a time was too much for my body. I kept going into preterm labor. they gave me a steroid shot to help their lungs in anticipation of an early arrival. I was put on bedrest. I was given shots to stop labor twice at 29 weeks. after almost a week of hospitalization and attempts at stopping labor, the twins were delivered as an emergency c section at 33 weeks. they required oxygen and NICU admittance. our daughter required several weeks stay due to persistent apnea.

when I found out I was pregnant again only 1 year and 5 months after the traumatic experience of their pregnancy and delivery, I was so concerned this would all happen again.

Anytime I felt practice contractions I was afraid I would go into pre term labor again. Due to the emergency c section, by doctor said I could try a VBAC if I wanted to but it would require over an hour drive to the hospital that would do it. Since my labors are notoriously quick, I thought that probably wouldn't be a good idea. So I was scheduled for a c section again. When the time came, it did not go well. I was scheduled on a Friday at 39 weeks. I went into labor that Thursday. just 12 hours prior to my scheduled appointment.

I had to work with a doctor on call. I reacted to the spinal they gave me and ended up really sick to my stomach and my temperature dropped. I had to stay in recovery for hours after the birth. and now we are back up to my desire to breastfeed.

They asked me if I wanted to nurse his first feeding. I couldn't. I was so sick still that I couldn't move or I got dizzy and threw up. I couldn't stop shaking. so my husband gave our new baby his first bottle feeding.

Several hours later, I started to feel better and began my journey of trying to successfully feed my new baby. He latched on right away! My milk came in just two days later! The lactation consultants offered help but I declined! Things were going SO well.

Prior to my twins, I had tried to nurse my second child, but the doctor was concerned that she wasn't gaining weight. I eventually gave up nursing for formula with her.

This time, I wanted to conquer breastfeeding. Things went really well while my husband was home and he was able to watch our two year old twins and I was able to recuperate from the c section and nurse. Then I went to the baby's check up. He was not gaining weight. I was devastated. I could not believe it. Everything was going right this time and yet he wasn't gaining weight. The doctor suggested supplementing with formula.

I continued to nurse and then ended with a bottle of formula. This seemed to satisfy him and his weight didn't drop. But he still wasn't thriving in the doctor's opinion. Opinion. see my last blog.

I persevered supplementing. Then nursing became painful. really painful. I stopped nursing for a few feedings and went to a lactation consultant. She agreed something was wrong. I was treated for thrush. I decided to pump while I healed. Then my husband went back to work. I had two two year olds running circles around me, while I tried to pump. The last time I tried to nurse, I tried and tried to get him to latch on correctly again and finally gave him the bottle and he guzzled it down.

I became depressed and discouraged. THIS was supposed to be my successful nursing child. It was falling apart quickly. I loved nursing for the first 3 weeks and now it was becoming so stressful. I didn't have help with the twins and I couldn't get the rest that I needed and the time to figure out nursing again after healing. I went back to a lactation consultant one more time in a last ditch attempt and decided something had to go. I finally relinquished my dream to formula again.

As a side note, we then had to adjust his formula because on pure formula, he was suddenly throwing it up. Which he had never done breast feeding. We switched him to no spit up formula and he held it okay and began to thrive.

so here is my story for national breast feeding week. I desperately wanted to be successful and look forward to trying one more time if we have another child. But some of us have to resort to formula and sometimes that is okay too.

I think I will console myself with m & m' s.

Mothering magazine

Mothering magazine has a blog site: M...and....m. enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


opinions. no m & m' s in opinions. In my opinion, people with lots of opinions, have way to much free time on their hands. People with concrete opinions and lots of them think that they have single handedly figured life out for us. thank you!

but are these gurus that we climb up large mountains to find in caves dispelling the meaning of life on us? no. these are the people that we bump into at the grocery store or see at family reunions or meet at church or run across on facebook. These are the people that have decided which detergent we are to use, which restaurants we should eat at, which discipline methods we should use, which hairstyle is most flattering on us, and definitely how much we should weigh. I'm sorry. Did I ask?

These people seem to want to convert the rest of the world to match their lifestyle so that they can live in their perfect utopia with all of their little mini mes and never have conflict or ignorant people to live with ever again. As far as I recall, at some point, Dorothy returns to Kansas. and wiser. for people weren't as she thought they were and she realized that things weren't so bad as she had thought originally.

so what to do with these anti m & m people? will they eventually self destruct as Hitler did? He had lots of opinions. when push came to shove, he crumbled. what happens to these people when they can't convert you? They get angry. why are we so stubborn. they are just trying to help us. why can't we just see what is best for us? when we look close at these people, I think we find lives that we don't agree with. we form our own opinions. but we keep them to ourselves unless they decide to hike up the mountain for some very solicited advice. or wisdom. which ever. just always carry a bagful of m & m's because they probably could use one the most.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


again Drama is only one m. missing an m. no m & m's when drama is concerned. who's drama? mine or theirs? my drama is suffocating. Their drama is fun, entertaining? frustrating. when drama continues and cycles and repeats, it becomes boring, irritating, a problem. sometimes we like a little drama. like a soap opera or reality show. we want to see what will happen next and how they will respond. Are we living vicariously through their lives? Do we learn from their mistakes or do we secretly feel better about ourselves that it is THEIR drama and not ours? I think as we mature we finally begin to tire of all of this drama. We realize that we want to live in our lives not next to our lives. we don't have time to think about it over and over and text about it and call about it and be angry and gossipy about it. I think the more we live the more we enjoy living and realizing that people that carry drama with them, need to grow up. If you aren't happy with a situation then be the change that you want to see. If someone is gossiping then end the gossip. If someone hasn't called to say Hi, then call them. If someone is creating a dramatic production then leave. In Mother Theresa's poem Do It Anyways, she says:

People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If we as individuals can practice altruistic behavior then we can put out some drama fires. We then become the example for others to learn from. The more we put our free time to good use, the more we make the world a better place. Again, its not our circumstances, its our attitude. the drama queens will tell you that you don't know how hard life is on their end but really you do. Mother Theresa CHOSE, CHOSE to live in the slums of Calcutta India. She didn't have to. She wasn't Indian. She wasn't poor. She was healthy. She CHOSE to live in the slums of India to sacrifice her time and resources to change other's lives. no drama involved. just action. As a famous sign states in the office of a homeless shelter: preach the gospel and when necessary use words. carry a bag of m & m's to share with that unsuspecting receiver. you never know the smile you might suddenly put on someone's face. no drama required.


Sunday, July 25, 2010


You notice how tomorrow is spelled with only one m? not m & m just plain m. I had to retype tomorrow a few times with spell check to make sure I got it right. whether tomorrow contains m & m's or not it is up to us decide what tomorrow may bring. You never know what the day may surprise you with or disappoint you with but what you do know is how you plan to respond to it. My husband reminded me the other night that he hadn't changed it was the rose colored spectacles that I chose to wear that night that had changed. I made a point to thank him for helping me clean up the dinner dishes. I tend to get tired and frustrated and notice what he doesn't do instead of what he does do. we take turns with each other being the pessimist in the family. As I write this, my youngest daughter is playing with a helium balloon that we have hung onto since May. There is just enough helium left in it that she can toss it up in the air and it will slowly float back down to her when the energy that was put into the throw is slowly released again. She has the patience to wait for the balloon to return to her during this flight in the air because she knows it will return and because she through it. I think part of her patience too is the wonder of the amazement of this balloon supposedly drifting off to the ceiling to suddenly stop and come back to her. It's easier to stay optimistic in a situation when we feel we are in control of it. Even if there is some surprise in the situation, we are still ultimately patient in the end result if we feel confident in what the result will be. But what would happen if that balloon suddenly floated by the open door and sailed off to eternity? My other daughter experienced this fate when she was confident that holding the balloon string one day was sufficient to tying the string around her wrist. As soon as she walked outside, the string slipped from her fingers and off the balloon went. She was so devastated that she wanted to make balloon wanted signs to post in the neighborhood. Sometimes we think we are in control of our situation and confident of its results and then we find out we aren't. So what do we do then? This is when you must practice with your rose colored glasses in advance. so that when the balloon drifts off unplanned you can be thankful for the time that you had with the balloon or trust that it will enjoy its journey and land in someone else's excited hands. Tomorrow may not hold m & m's but maybe someone will surprise you with a bag of them in the mail instead. and then you can be thankful that you stayed optimistic. It's all about rose colored m & m's.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's all about m & m's and marshmallows...

This is what I return to when I think of parenting. There are so many parenting theories and controversies but the reality is; what works for you. I have potty trained successfully using m & m's as a reward when tinkles finally happened. Then I progressed to m & m's for staying dry for a good amount of time and eventually through the night. The one day I was having trouble getting my 2 year old twins to stay put at the dinner table. Then I remembered the m & m's. If it works for potty training, why not other behavior therapies? When one child stayed at the table and politely took a bite of food. I placed an m & m next to his plate and said "Great job, staying put and showing good table manners." Then his sister observed the reward for good behavior and quickly imitated the good behavior too. I waited a few minutes and then rewarded her with the m & m too with the same phrase "Great job, staying put and showing good table manners." They quickly learned that it was smart to stay put and eat their food. Some people see this as bribing but not when it is a reward. I didn't promise m & m's for sitting still. I just reward good behavior. When I was teaching, we did the same with tickets or happy faces. My aide and I would catch the troublemakers or unmotivated students, doing something right and reward them with a raffle ticket. It's amazing how a little piece of paper can encourage good behavior. Instead of lecturing on good behavior or discipline, just a little piece of paper. It's all behavior management. Just like Pavlov's dog. Behavior that produces a good reward will be repeated. You could spank for undesired behavior but aren't m & m's just more fun? What about the marshmallows you ask? well when we ran out of m & m's we tore open a bag of marshmallows. and now when he stays in his bed all night, he awakes with a reward of a marshmallow. Like I said. It's all about m & m's and marshmallows. no manuals required.