Monday, September 28, 2009

I guess he's not as over it as I thought

So, after writing a nice long post about how I was trying to nurse Nate until he was a year old, it seemed as though he was done on Thursday night. We were down to nursing only at night (we started him on cow's milk last week so he gets a bottle in the morning and then sippy cups of milk at lunch and dinner) and it was taking him longer and longer to even get any milk, so Friday night I just didn't nurse him.

He didn't seem to notice.

I was a little sad. I like the breastfeeding snuggly moments. But I was okay with it. I had made it through the really difficult first few weeks while mom and baby are getting used to it. I had made it past the freak-out where I thought he wasn't getting enough. I made it past the painful blocked milk ducts (no mastitis, thank goodness) and the engorged breasts when Nate decided to sleep 8 hours straight one night, but only 4 hours the next but 9 the next but 3 after that, etc. Made it through going back to work and pumping 3 times a day ... then twice a day ... then once .. then suddenly none. So we did well.

Then Sunday morning I made him a bottle and sat in the glider in his room like normal. He drank his bottle and then we were playing in the chair like we do. Pointing at the animals. Giving kisses (or his new biting my nose thing). I was wearing my fuzzy robe and we were playing peek-a-boo (he like covering his face with anything: blankets, stuffed animals, the shower curtain in the bath, a book, a shopping back) and suddenly he saw the old familiar milk source. He immediately laid on his side in nursing position and latched on. Well okay. It had only been a couple days and apparently my milk is not totally gone yet. He was all happy and actually nursed longer than he had all the past couple weeks of just nursing at night.

So I guess I'm not the only one who will miss the breastfeeding.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please make a giant cut in my abdomen

[DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, duh. This is just an opinion and the "facts" here are possibly wrong. Please don't be mad at me, I'm just repeating observations.]

Sometimes the whole OB medical thing gets me a little miffed. I recently read a book discussing the history of childbirth, and I promise to look up the actual numbers and post it back later, but once men decided that women needed their help to give birth and turned childbirth from a natural procedure done with midwives and mothers and other women who had actually gone through the whole thing into a medical, sterile, "painful" procedure that needed intervention, deaths of mothers and babies actually increased (before eventually, more recently, decreasing).

O of course there are cases when medical intervention is necessary. Heck, Nate's birth was such a case - if we had not been able to get a Cesarean and were in an area where they were not safe and readily available, one or both of us likely would not have made it -- probably Nate. He got himself into a position that really wasn't going to let him come out.

What gets me upset is when women are told that their pelvises are too small. It does legitimately happen -- usually when the mom has gestational diabetes which can cause the child to grow larger and faster than normal. (Or if you have rickets, common in Victorian times because sun was the devil and women didn't get an vitamin D). Otherwise, a woman's body is an amazing thing. The hormones and chemicals that are released during childbirth actually make the pelvis malleable enough to accommodate the kid. A woman's body knows how big of a kid it can handle and adjusts accordingly. Average-sized women have given birth vaginally to 13-pound babies, so why are women with 7 or 8 pound babies being told they can't do it? It seems to be a combination of things that usually get labeled "small pelvis". From the women I've known that have been given this diagnosis, they started off with back labor, which is not so much fun (read: VERY painful). So they get an epidural. Nothing wrong with that. But then their contractions slow or since they're essentially stuck on their back, the baby's heart rate goes down (when I was in labor, I couldn't lay on my back because something about that position made Nate's heart rate decrease -- so I layed on my side or stood or walked), or any number of things happen that leads to an emergency C-section. And the poor woman is told that their pelvis is too small, but maybe the doctor just got impatient.

I chose midwives. I still gave birth in a hospital. They're certified nurse-midwives and they have a little more time for you and they've gone through labor and birth (though not always, but most are mothers) and they're not going to deny you drugs if that is what you want, but they're willing to take a little more time with you and work with you so that you're not automatically rushed off for an emergency Cesarean. Some women are so torn up (emotionally, not physically) after getting C-sections (that were unplanned) because they have feelings of inadequacy because they've been told that their bodies weren't good enough. Though I had an unplanned C-section, I certainly feel like I gave it a chance. I labored (after they administered pitocin since my water had broken 36 hours earlier) for 10 hours and made it to 10 cm dilated (without any drugs, though I was definitely considering it at that point) before my midwife discovered Nate was face-first and not going to come out vaginally. ("Normal" babies come out head first, with their chins tucked to their chests. Nate was trying to look out where he was going and trying to come out face-first with the back of his head against his back.)

And I am planning to go for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean). There is no reason for me not to. Once you have a C-section, you do get a bit of a choice, you can plan another, or try for the VBAC. My midwives told me that as long as there are no uterine problems, there are no reasons not to do the VBAC. So we'll see what happens. Not pregnant yet, so I don't really have to think about it too much. :) Everyone's different, but I don't understand women who choose to have C-sections (for their first births, I don't mean those who have one for whatever reason and then choose to have a second, that doesn't bother me at all). It's major abdominal surgery. I'd much rather have a sore cootchicoo than a giant incision in my stomach. And I didn't even have that much pain and healed really quickly! But still. Giant gash that needs staples and being told not to lift more than the weight of your baby and still having an 8-week "period" or some soreness "down there" and the same 8-week "period"? Well, it's your choice.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"What your baby may be doing"*

"By eleven months, your baby...

...should be able to:
  • get into a sitting position from stomach ... check
  • pick up tiny object with any part of thumb and finger ... check
  • understand "no" (but not always obey it) ... check and check
...will probably be able to:
  • play patty-cake (clap hands) or wave bye-bye ... check
  • walk holding on to furniture (cruise) ... check
  • point or gesture to something to get needs met ... check
...may possibly be able to:
  • pick up a tiny object neatly with tips of thumb and forefinger ... I think check
  • stand alone momentarily ... check, but then when he figures it out, he sits back down again
  • say "dada" or "mama" discriminately ... no check
  • say one word other than "mama" or "dada" ... no check
...may even be able to:
  • stand alone well ... no check
  • indicate wants in way other than crying ... like what?
  • "play ball" (roll ball back to you) ... check
  • drink from a cup independently ... check, if it counts that he's in the tub and drinking bathwater :) He's very good at it.
  • use immature jargoning (gibberish that sounds as if baby is talking a made-up foreign language) ... check - he babbles a lot, just not words that we understand
  • say three or more words other than "mama" or "dada" ... no check
  • respond to a one-step command without gestures ... check, sometimes anyway
  • walk well ... no check
*from What to Expect the First Year

If breastfeeding problems aren't enough, there are plenty of checklists that you can use to make yourself worry about your kid. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Got milk?

Let's talk about breastfeeding.

Seems like an ongoing theme from new mothers is how surprised they were that breastfeeding was so difficult. Now, I didn't have a hugely difficult time with breastfeeding. Yeah, I had some cracked nipples and minor latching issues, but really Nate was pretty good about it. But then the pediatrician said he wasn't gaining enough. (I think she overreacted, but whatever). So I freaked out. I felt like I wasn't good enough and I cried and cried because he wasn't eating enough and wasn't getting enough food (when probably he just pooped right before she weighed him). So we supplemented a little with formula. And then he was fine. And then we stopped supplementing with formula. And he was fine. And occasionally he'd get some formula and I was fine with it. The whole ordeal made me realize that there is so much pressure put on mothers these days to breastfeed. But there is nothing wrong with formula. Some women choose not to breastfeed, and that's fine! La Leche League is a little militant sometimes.

I think I gave poor Jen a hard time a bit as I came to terms. Now Nate gets most of his "milk" each day from formula. I think (I hope) I'll be much more easy going with the next one. There's definitely a period when the milk supply is ramping up and figuring out what is needed, but once breastfeeding is established, a bottle of formula here or there isn't going to ruin it. (At least not for me, there are women who do have supply issues, but I was not one, so I'm just speaking from personal experience).

My mom nursed me until 13 months and my brother until 10 or 11, so 13 has kind of been my goal. I decided that I should make myself smaller goals after I started back at work and realized that pumping was a pain in the butt. So my first goal was to pump and nurse until 6 months. Did it, okay. Then my next goal was to continue pumping the same number of times he had a bottle during the day while I was at work (twice) until after our summer vacation and then go down to 1. He was 9 months old at that point. Coincidentally, at the same time I decided to go down to 1 pumping a day, Nate went down to one feeding during the day. Cool. Next goal, 11 months until I stopped pumping at all during the day at work, so that I was just nursing morning and night. Coincidentally, Nate sometimes skips his daytime bottle and has more at the other feedings. So, now I'm just playing it by ear.

I do love the breastfeeding as a snuggly part of my day. Since I work during the week, I don't get a lot of alone time with him, so the nursing is some nice mom and Nate time. But. I think I'm ready to stop. I'm letting it happen at its own pace.

Friday, September 11, 2009

And here we go

Seems like everyone has a family blog these days. I've been wanting to do one, but now that Nate is 11 months old, I seem to finally have a chance to do what I've been wanting to do since he was born.

Tomorrow Nate and I are walking in the American Heart Association Start! Heart Walk in Boston. It's supposed to be cold and raw and rainy. We may do the shorter 3-mile route instead of the 6-mile route. I picked up one of those plastic bubbles for the stroller (okay, it's really just a cover) so that Nate won't get wet. They don't make those for adults though. I'll have to settle for a raincoat or an umbrella.