Sunday, January 23, 2011

the girls are good

I'm happy to report that the girls have been healing up nicely over the last week. (Knock on wood) The two antibiotics I'm on prevent me from using my breastmilk but have been working which is all I really care about at this point! Baby E has been solely on formula for the last week or so and doesn't seem any worse for the wear.

As for weaning, I'm pumping two and sometimes three times a day with a yield of about six ounces. This is a huge drawdown from the 35-40 ounces I was pumping out earlier. The plan is to completely empty the girls each time while spreading the pumping times out. However as per my doc's orders, I'm going as slooooooow as I need to.

Today is the first day that I'm feeling a lot better as I finally have a little energy. I've been allowing myself to just fulfill the basics of life--taking care of E, cooking dinner, working the classes I teach, and doing the bare minimum in the classes I'm taking. Cleaning be damned.

Thanks for all of your well wishes!


The blogosphere

When I first started blogging, I remember just feeling this intense loneliness and isolation as I started towards my first IVF cycle. I thought this blog was just a way to start speaking even if no one was listening.

It felt forced at first because I simply hadn't let myself contemplate most of the ins and outs of what we were going through. My husband was deployed. We lived states away from my family. I felt like I was stuttering, but I had to get some things out. Over the year and a half that followed, I have come to find an amazing group of strong women (and one man :)) who have given me such strength as they walk the same path. Even more, moms and friends of fellow bloggers, people I only knew a little in real life, cousins, and even my hubby's girlfriend from high school came to cry and also cheer with us.

Over the past couple of weeks, it seems like the losses of people around me have been coming with every turn. Wiseguy lost Lola this week. My friend stationed in Germany confided that she lost her twins in two separate miscarriages. Then someone who cheered me on my DE journey IRL lost her triplets when she went into labor early. She was able to hold each of them before they passed.

It's heartbreaking.

Yet, it's in these times that I remember how lucky I am to have stumbled into the blogosphere. Because even when it sucks, we're lucky to have each other.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When mastitis kicks you in the hooters.

My husband called it.

He told the doctor last week that we would probably end up in the ER sometime during the weekend since they had no good suggestions on how to wean. God forbid they tell me to do something and then give me a clue as to how to do it.

Dammit he was right! It gets worse too!

They had to admit me. ADMIT ME!

Essentially on Thursday about 5:30, I started getting the chills and shakes which is my first sign of getting mastitis. I went to the mirror to check out the girls and sure enough Bossie was bright red. Hubby drove the hour home, packed us up, and we headed right back into Anchorage. The ER doc looked at me with sympathy and hesitantly said we probably needed IV drugs. Yep, bring it on man. So we did. When they went to discharge me, they checked my vitals and found out that my pulse was running in the high 140s. Yowzers. Yep, I don't get to go home. Sleepy hubby and son finally headed home around one to get some rest.

The next three days I spent being dowsed with three different types of antibiotics to cover a broader spectrum and plyed with fluids. The doc had me start pumping every three hours again which sucked since I had worked so hard at weaning over the past week and a half. By the second day, Bessie had joined in the fun and turned lobster red. Meanwhile, I felt like doggiedoo and could barely summon the energy to text or talk to my family.

The whole time I laid there being stressed because I had work to do and no internet access. S-T-U-P-I-D. But I had deadlines. And so I laid there like an idiot stressing, trying not to stress, and then passing out because I felt so damn crappy. 

When I wasn't stressing, I raged about being sick again. This episode finally made me hit the wall of patience with this mastitis crap. I got pissed off. Honestly, since baby E was born, I have been on a cycle of getting sick, going to the ER, taking antibiotics, and then taking another week and a half to be better. Then a week or two later, I would repeat the cycle. Once I made my peace with stopping the breastmilk, I was kind of excited that I might get off this roller coaster. Yet, in trying to do this safely (and with no guidance from the docs), I just ended up in the hospital. 

When you put this into perspective of the fact that before baby E was born, I spent eight weeks on bedrest. I have been in a bind physically since this summer. 

None of this negates the fact that I'm happier than anything to have E with me. I just would like to be healthy now so I can give him the best care possible and also enjoy this time with him!

So now I'm home, chugging down antibiotics and trying to get as much rest as possible. Please let this be the end of this crap!

For my final words tonight, let me say that my hubby is a rock-star. While I was away from my baby boy, he took fantastic care of him and even started getting him on a sleeping schedule. I can't tell you how much I appreciate having a hubby who is infallibly reliable. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Three Fabulous Months

While we are a little past E's three month mark, I realized I never posted about it! Bad mommy! So here it is:

Baby E at three months:

This is the perfect picture as E's biggest discovery at three months is his hands. "Mommy I have HANDS and I love to ball them up and gnaw on them."

Stats: At his appointment, he weighed in at 11 lbs, 3 oz and thus moved from the 3-10th percentile to the 50th! He's such a good eater. :) His height stayed at the 10th percentile as he came in at 22.5 in. His little bitty head moved from the 3rd percentile to the 10th-25th. 

Movement: He continues to roll over from his stomach to his back. He loves pushing off with his legs. His rocks his whole body and occasionally head-butts us. Despite this, he has great control over his neck and loves to look around. He's now able to track people and toys with his eyes. He's still hitting his toys on his playmat and sometimes grabs them. Speaking of grabbing, he loooves gripping my fingers.

Facial expressions: Gummy smiles!!!!!! Eyebrow lifting. Forehead wrinkling. Big pouty lip.

Cries: He's definitely found his voice this month and is now letting us know when he's not happy. He developed a new octave this month for when he's really ticked! He mainly uses a "maaaah" sound which makes me hope for a "mama" one day!

Sleep: Still in his vibrating chair stacked in his pack n' play in our bedroom. Spending short spurts in his crib. He's still not a huge fan of lying flat.

Random tidbit: explosive poop has begun. Poo monster!

It's been three fabulous months with my little man. Gosh, I love this kid.


On to Sage...

Well the girls are still full o' milk.

At their height, Bessie and Bossie were producing around 40 ounces of milk per day. Even with my shortened pumping time and extended time between pumpings, they are still managing to squirt out quite a bit. Just yesterday I went to fit the phalange to Bossie when she abruptly shot some milk across the bathroom about two feet. Yep, that really happened.

So I have fully consumed the tin of Altoids and my cabbage leaves have been faithfully applied to the point where I swear I still smell them even though I took a shower. So now I'm onto the third suggestion of incorporating massive amounts of sage into my life. I started off today with sage tea including a cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage, and a squirt of honey...yummy. Tonight I tried putting the 1/2 tsp onto a corner of a peanut butter sandwich. Wow, I did not spread it out enough and ended up coughing up powdery sage for the next fifteen minutes.

In other fun news, the nurse called to tell me the culture shows I have a bacteria in my breast milk. As my doc is out this week, the one covering his patients wants me to come in tomorrow for another culture and exam. This time they're doing an anaerobic and fungal culture. All I think of when someone says fungal is my giant mushroom from Louisiana. Sweet!

My maternal guilt has been easing over the last few days. I was really happy today when I gave baby E some formula and he went right into food coma. I figure this is because formula is a little heavier than breastmilk -- the equivalent of eating a big old turkey dinner and then passing out. I figure that's a good thing. :)

Hope you are well!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The ridiculous

Thank you so much for your supportive comments about stopping breast-feeding and moving to formula. It's so nice to have your voices cheering me on in whatever direction I go.

There's a small part of me that is still holding on to the ideas that: 1. reducing my supply might take a load off of my ducts; 2. nursing again might drain my girls more completely. Maybe a combination reducing my supply to a lower level and nursing might do the trick to allow me to just supplement without returning to the hospital every other week.

Then there's the other part of me that says to commit to weaning. After all, there are definitely benefits to switching as hopefully I won't be sicker than a dog anymore, and I might be able to spend the day in Anchorage without worrying about the time ticking away on my boob-clock while we're shopping. It will also make our trip to the lower 48 so much easier as I won't have to worry about pumping on the plane and holding E when I'm by myself. Can you imagine that conversation with my seat-mates?

Regardless of the pros and cons, I have gone ahead and started trying to reduce my supply. And just like my red and white polka dot pumping bra with the pump phalanges sticking out evokes the ridiculous, so does this endeavor.

After all, who thought of putting cabbage leaves on their girls?

Who started eating a whole tin of Peppermint Altoids, the 'curiously strong mints' in hopes of drying the milk fountain?

Seriously, people who come up with this are wacky cool. Well, they're cool if it actually works.

So here I sit on my couch, popping Altoids like candy with green cabbage leaves tucked into my bra. Come and get it honey!


Friday, January 7, 2011


So I went to the doctor on Tuesday to follow up from my ER visit (I know it's strange to go to the ER for mastitis but that's the way the military health care system works.) Much to my chagrin, over the weekend my non-infected breast started turning red and hot. How on earth can a girl can get mastitis while on antibiotics?  Well apparently my infections have become resistant to the antibiotics which is t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

After a consultation with another doctor, my guy came back with two options: 1) throw in the towel or 2) the next time I get an infection, be admitted for IV-antibiotics.

Seriously?  I usually don't feel much about this kind of crap as I try to focus on what I have to do next. Inevitably though, I spent about five minutes raging inside.

Part of me would like to blame the doctor and say that he hasn't really researched everything I could possibly do. But some things are simple. With my history, I'm more than likely to get it again. The treatment options (or non-options) are clear. The choice is still mine to make even though it is apparent what the docs think I should do.

But part of me just wants someone to say, you can't continue. Because without this clear directive, I feel like I'm quitting on my kiddo.

What I really need to do is take my own advice and be happy that I have managed to do this for three months.

I know it's not the end of the world to stop breast-feeding baby E at three months. I just want so much to be able to provide for him my excellent fatty booby juice that has immunities and has enabled him to almost double his birth weight. That's just it, it's something I want. This desire isn't a statement about the pros and cons of formula. It's just what I want--why can't I get what I want!!!

With that attitude, a temper tantrum should ensue but yeah, I guess I'll be an adult and deal with it by moving on and figuring out the formula deal.


Sunday, January 2, 2011


I mentioned right before New Year's that I had another round of mastitis. Believe me, I had the same reaction you had, AGAIN? Because seriously, there are few mamas out there who get it four times in three months. You probably wonder, is it really mastitis or just blocked ducts? Yes, all four bouts have been full blown mastitis with high fever, chills and shaking, and a red hard cone shaped spot on one of my breasts. Here is what gets me...

Of the four visits I have had with different providers, every one first asks me if I am thoroughly cleaning my hands and pumping equipment. Let me tell you that at this point, I want to SMACK them when they ask me this.

Yes, I know they are doing their jobs. 

According to WebMd, "Mastitis most often happens when bacteria enter the breast through the nipple. This can happen when a nursing mother has a cracked or sore nipple. Going for long stretches between nursing or failing to empty the breast completely may also contribute to mastitis."

So for round one and two I imagine that having a cracked nipple and producing more milk than my kiddo was eating caused the mastitis. But after this point, I had educated myself and essentially switched to eping (exclusive pumping). My husband would walk in when I was pumping and cringe at the sight of me smooshing my boob in an effort to make sure that every possible drop of leche was squeezed from the girls. Additionally since the very beginning, my cleaning routine for my pumping equipment included not only washing it every time with hot, soapy water, but also using the medela bags to sterilize it at various points during the day. The skin around my fingers cracked between the copious amounts of hand-washing along with antibacterial goop I slather on afterwards for good measure.

So, when a health provider insists that mastitis occurs from bad hygiene, I have to hold myself back not to completely lose it with them. Now I just picture angry birds blowing them up (very addicted, must stop playing). I am not dirty!!!! 

Besides giving me a huge dose of Ibuprofen and antibiotics, the professionals really seem to have no answers for me. I'm suppose to go in sometime this week to discuss what we can do to figure this shiznat out. Really, you might do a culture or something? Wow, go all out for me docs. 

The bummer for this time is that the doc put me on antibiotics that I can not breastfeed with which has sent us dipping into my freezer stash. I'm grateful I have my treasure trove, but I don't think there is quite enough milk to get me through the ten days + 1 to let the drug clear my system. These pills also make my stomach hurt all of the time despite the fact that I'm following the instructions and taking them with food. Good times! 

Despite this, my little man is doing great. I'll post soon about him!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Go Give Some Love

Yesterday I wrote about my friend Jenn's adoption, but today she announced that it failed. Please head over HERE and give her some love.