Breastfeeding

Let’s talk about World Breastfeeding Week. 

Kinsley was born June 25th. Leading up to her birth I did everything I could to prepare to be a breastfeeding mom. I purchased a pump, I stocked up on storage bags and nipple cream, and I told myself every day that no matter how hard it was, no matter if she couldn’t latch, or my milk didn’t come in for a week, or my supply wasn’t what I’d like it to be, or my nipples cracked and bled, or I got mastitis, I told myself these things would not be excuse enough to formula feed my baby when I have what she needs right inside me. I told myself I would find a solution to any problem we had. I told myself I was not allowed to give up because I wanted so badly to provide for her in a natural way. It’s something that is important to me.

She was born via natural vaginal birth. No drugs, no pain meds, no epidural. Just sweat, tears, and pure love. I was so proud of myself and at that time imagined breastfeeding would be the same way- hard work but worth every bit of sacrifice and resulting pride. 

But I hadn’t planned or even considered the complication we face today. It wasn’t that my milk didn’t come in. It did, and within 24 hours of birth I was making more than enough for her; it wasn’t that she couldn’t latch, the nurses and I came to find out in the third week after her birth that she was a better breastfeeder than bottle feeder. It wasn’t that my nipples cracked; they didn’t, not even from pumping so much. It wasn’t that I got mastitis; I DID, and I figured it out.

I prepared for these kinds of things because they were the struggles I’d read women often had. But our struggle is different.

Kinsley just can’t eat altogether.

Her congenital defects make it difficult, painful and dangerous for her to take any food by mouth, something I am still coming to grips with.

We got to breastfeed for a little over a week, but when her feeding therapy became dangerous and she needed a second surgery, all oral feeds, including by breast, were forbidden. It isn’t me, it’s her, and no one told me this might happen, in fact it was the farthest thing from fathomable. It still is.

But I still want to provide for my baby, even if she is unable to eat right now and for months to come. I said I would do this no matter what, and I will.

So I have been exclusively pumping around the clock, every two hours to provide the volume that her body needs now, which is 2.5 ounces every 3 hours or 20+ ounces total per day.

It’s really hard. Harder than the struggles I was imagining we might go through.

I don’t get to wake up in the night and put her to breast in our bed for 20 minutes and place her back in her bassinet once she’s full, only to turn over and go back to sleep myself. No, instead she sleeps soundly in the NICU while I wake during the early hours of the night to sit on the second bed in our hotel room and turn on my pump. After 20 minutes I unhook myself from it, turn it off and clean the parts. I walk to the second floor and place my labelled liquid gold in the fridge. Then I return to my hotel bed feeling angry at women who complain about waking in the middle of the night to feed their child, feeling the need to scream, “AT LEAST YOUR BABY CAN EAT.” And then I try to sleep for two more hours until I must repeat the process.

The anger and sadness I’ve felt have been hard to deal with, because I want someone to blame and it isn’t anyone’s fault. I feel angry when I see other moms who have it so easy and don’t realize how lucky they are that these struggles aren’t part of their every day lives, when I would do almost anything to struggle with latching issues or milk supply instead of my child’s inability to eat. I sometimes look at my child and feel so sad that she has to eat through a tube in her nose that nick and I have to learn how to put down her esophagus. It’s scary. It’s painful for me, and it doesn’t feel normal because it’s not for many others. But it is for us.

It’s not glamorous. Its not what I imagined. It’s not fun. But it’s honest motherhood.

I have struggled so many days and nights with the blind commitment I made months ago, to continue on no matter what. At night I have sat up in bed with both shields attached to my breasts, wondering why I am still doing this when many women have quit before enduring half of what I’ve been through to do this for my child.

But then I think of how different this is for me, and the perspective I have now because of this. Then I remember how my story can be inspiring to others, and how the pride I feel by providing for Kinsley this way is 10 times the pride someone else feels for providing for their child because the struggle I have endured is so much greater. I remind myself that nothing about this is easy but that’s okay, because these results are so much greater to me and mean so much more in my heart than if we had had smooth sailing from day one. And the bond I have with my child is something no one can even come close to measuring because they have no clue what this has been like.

All that being said, I hope if you’re struggling with breastfeeding this week or in the future that you remember how much more difficult it could be and it helps you keep going. And if you decide you can’t, I hope that you feel confident about your decision. I know what that’s like too.

Recently I was faced with the decision to go to 50-50 feedings (half breast milk, half formula) temporarily because I had to return home for a short time and had no way to transport milk 200 miles to the hospital while I was gone. Even though I knew she would be back on straight breast milk when I returned, it was devastating and I felt at first like a failure, but babies are fed formula all the time, and there is nothing wrong with that. I had to remind myself that you can only do what you can do.

So no matter what, I hope if you’re a mom, breastfeeding, formula feeding, or otherwise, I hope you know that even women like me, who have fought tooth and nail to do this for our babies, even we support your decision whatever it is, because FED is truly best no matter if it’s formula or breast milk and no matter how it’s given- by breast, by bottle, or in our case, by feeding tube. 


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Due Date Day

12:01 AM 7/1/17

Happy Due Date day Kinny Jay 🌸

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

What we’re going through is so hard but you’ve proven your tremendous strength and we are so proud of you for hanging tough and pulling through more in 5 days of life than most people ever endure in their entire adult life. You are so special and perfect and we already cannot imagine life without you. 

You have your daddy’s nose and hair and mommy’s lips and chin, and time will tell whose eyes you’ve got. The little patches of hair on your tiny shoulders and back have earned you the nick name “little chewy” which your uncle Brendon says definitely makes you my child. The little faces you make show how much personality you already have, and you’ve certainly already got daddy wrapped around your finger. I can tell. 

You’re so perfect. Two perfect ears, ten perfect tiny toes and fingers, a perfect head of beautiful dark hair, two perfectly adorable chubby cheeks and cute little leg rolls. Perfectly made and loved immensely. I cannot even begin to explain it. 

Kinsley Estelle June, you are the light of my life and my entire world all wrapped into one tiny, perfect, adorable bundle. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 💕🌸


#30DaysBeforeKinsleyJune

Today is the 14th of June, and two weeks have gone by since I began my countdown to Kinsley. Two weeks. Gone. Already. How? I don’t get it.

That being said, I thought now would be a good time to compile the photos I’ve taken of my countdown thus far and show you guys what I’ve done on the list and what still remains to be done before baby Kinsley is born.

June 1st, Day 30:
-pick fresh lilacs
-enjoy a casual Thursday
-make note of the sun and summer smells

June 2nd, Day 29:
-deep clean without interruption
-listen to a new album
-go on a date with Nick (El Ranchero)
-take the dog for a long walk

June 3rd, Day 28:
-enjoy quiet breakfast with Sam
-visit the state park with Nick & puppy
-picnic at the park
-go to starbucks
-explore bayview


June 4th, Day 27:
-have roast and toast with Nick
-relax together
-run errands alone


June 5th, Day 26:
-meet for cookies and lemonade with Carly
-tackle long monday to-do list

June 6th, Day 25:
-tour hospital & have carseat checked
-take a long bath
-eat ice-cream on the deck


June 7th, Day 24:
-pack hospital back
-reorganize closet


June 8th, Day 23:
-organize planner
-update calendar
-work on college course

June 9th, Day 22:
-craft baby shower center pieces
-pick tons of lilacs


June 10th, Day 21:
-celebrate baby shower
-enjoy day with friends and family

June 11th, Day 20:
-sleep in
-put away all baby shower gifts
-make breakfast together
-visit state park, swim with Nick & merlin

June 12th, Day 19:
-deep clean entire apartment
-move furniture
-reorganize reading nook

June 13th, Day 18:
-play Sims 4
-watch criminal minds

June 14th, Day 17:
-spend morning reading
-finish to-do list

With 16 days or less remaining until we have a newborn baby I feel a lot of different things. I feel some part of me not being ready, thinking I have so many things I need to do even though we are very much caught up and if Kinsley came today we would be totally (i think) prepared, which brings me to the other part of me, that is ready right now, and has no idea what I will do for the next two weeks if she’s not ready to come yet.

I have nothing to worry about, here’s the rest of the things that will keep me busy before I become a parent.

-go on a motorcycle ride with dad
-color for a few hours
-bake pumpkin muffins
-get a pedicure
-watch a sunset
-prepare dinner with Nick
-do absolutely nothing
-write a blog on kids before marriage
-buy and read the newspaper over coffee
-look for petoskey stones
-lay out at the beach
-clean out email inbox
-take a hike
-spend time with Berlin
-try something new
-get down comforter out
-go grocery shopping alone
-take the jeep for a drive
-binge watch season 5 GOT
-get ice-cream in town

This seems like a very completable list to me. We’re so close now. Every night I go to sleep thinking, “Is this it? Is this the night I’m going to wake up, go into labor and come home with a tiny baby in the morning, forever changed?”

Only time will tell…(:

Baby Shower 🌸

So we (finally) had our baby shower today!

What a beautiful baby shower. I am in awe of the generous outpouring of love (and gifts- holy cow!) that we received today. The time and money that people put into this to make sure we had an amazing celebration did not go unnoticed. I could not be more grateful or have a fuller heart. ❤️

The people who showed up to the shower today brought food & gifts & smiles & laughter & warmth, and really made me realize even more that I have the most amazing family. There is no doubt in my mind that we will have more than enough support if we ever need it. 

I’m so glad that all these special people were able to come together to help celebrate Kinsley June and our growing family. I could not be happier. 

So now we just have one thing missing: a baby! 

Any time now Kinny Jay- we’re ready for ya 😉 (as soon as I get all these gifts put away! She is one spoiled girl).