Monthly Archives: March 2010

Breastfeeding, take 2

Breastfeeding has not come easy to me. Anyone who has followed this blog has read about my struggles and frustrations. With my son, I spent so much time obsessing over my milk production and my son’s health, that I missed enjoying the first few months of his life.

I don’t want to rehash it all since I have several posts on the subject, but I was surprised that in everything I read ahead of time and in the classes I took before I had my son, that no one bothered to mention that not everyone can breastfeed. Heck, everyone and everything made it look so easy. No one even bothered to mention to me that it might be anything but a piece of cake.

This time I was prepared. No one was going to make me feel bad or try to push me toward something I wasn’t able to do. From the moment my daughter was born, I started explaining my situation to every nurse, doctor and lactation consultant who entered my room. When I went in to the situation, not only expecting to need a bottle supplement, but fully prepared to walk out of the hospital with nothing but the bottle, the whole experience was different.

From the moment they heard of my struggles, everyone at the hospital was supportive. They were impressed with how much I’d thought about my decision and respectful of it. I told them up front that I wanted to try to breastfeed, but would reach for the bottle if it didn’t seem to be working. Without question, the nurse brought in Enfamil in case I needed it.

For the first day, I didn’t think I’d need it, but it was in the back of my mind. Things seemed to be going better. My daughter took to nursing pretty well. Unlike my son, she dropped off after 10 or 15 minutes, then slept soundly. I started to get my hopes up just a bit. My husband got excited.

My nurse, Laura, wasn’t quite as encouraged. She noticed my daughter hadn’t had a dirty diaper yet. She’d had a few wet ones, but it had been over 24 hours and no meconium. Laura told the pediatrician before I even got a chance to, because she was concerned. She agreed with the doc 100%: if my daughter didn’t have a dirty diaper by 6pm, we were adding formula to the mix.

A few hours later, I realized that not only had she not had a dirty diaper, but it had been hours since her last wet one. Before I could even suggest it, Laura told me to get the formula out. She wanted some results before the docs went home for the day. So, I breastfed and then broke out the bottle. My daughter took it. Less than an hour later, we had both a wet and dirty diaper. I realized that even though everything looked like it was going right, obviously it wasn’t.

I found myself reflecting on my son’s birth. Everything seemed to be going right that time too. Everyone seemed convinced he was taking to the breast, only to find out that he went home a full pound lighter (and it took him three weeks to get back to his birth weight) and dangerously close to dehydration. I remembered being stressed out before we even brought him home because he wasn’t sleeping well and wanted to feed every two hours or so, despite all the books telling me that he should have spent most of the first few days sleeping.

This time though, I avoided that. I had a little girl who was feeding every three or four hours. I was getting sleep, she was getting sleep, it was awesome! Unlike the first time around, I sent her to the nursery every night so that we both could sleep better. This was another mistake I made my first time around, I had my son stay in the room with me for all but the last night. Even though he did sleep, he made so many noises, I hardly slept. When my baby girl went to the nursery, she slept and so did I.

When we left the hospital, she was only 8 ounces down. She did lose one more between the hospital and seeing the doc today, so we do have to go back on Friday, but I feel so much better about everything. Last night she only woke up twice, at 2:15 and 6:30. She is napping/sleeping about 18 hours a day. She rarely cries, unless she’s hungry and is just as snuggly as can be.

I even think I’m making more milk this time around. I know it’s still not enough because she does take the bottle after each breastfeeding, but only about an ounce. I think the fact that I’m not stressed out and feeding for an hour, then being off for an hour, then feeding again for an hour, has helped me. The fact that I knew how hard it was going to be, almost made it easier for me. I’m not at all stressed because I know that if she stops taking my breast or if she needs more formula, I’m ok with it. My son, who had a lot of bottles, is healthy and thriving, so I know if it happens again, she’ll be fine too.

I know it’s because I went through such a nightmare the first time and because I’ve learned so much since, but this time I’m actually enjoying the bit of breastfeeding I’m doing. I plan to keep it up for as long as I can. Last time I made it 8 weeks. If I make it longer this time, great. If not, it was good while it lasted, and that’s ok too.

In the end, all that matters is that my little girl is healthy and happy, and that I am too.

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Chocolate Monday: Sweet Ass cake bites

A few weeks ago I went to an art show that featured tasty treats from Cory Shutters at Sweet Ass Cupcakes. The tiny cupcakes were cute and I liked sampling all of the flavors. While there, I also got to try several of her truffles, which were rather tasty. Normally I wouldn’t want to review a place twice so close together, however, while in the hospital, recovering from the birth of my daughter, a friend brought me a box of Shutter’s newest treats, cake bites, and I felt I had to write again.

Upon first view, they are easily confused with truffles. They look just like them, right down to the pink decorative frosting on top. Inside though, there is no gooey truffly center. Instead, it is full of a rich, moist chocolate cake. I’m not quite sure how they stay so moist, considering the cupcakes, which were also bite-sized were a bit dry, but the insides are terrific! Even after four days of sitting in my fridge, when I popped one in my mouth today, the cake inside was soft and bursting with chocolatey goodness.

The chocolate on the outside is creamy and blends perfectly. Not so much that I need a glass of milk to wash it down, but just enough that one decadent little bite does the trick. I don’t feel the need to eat two or three at a time, which really makes them a great little dessert. Sure, one may have a fairly decent amount of calories in it, but if I’m stopping at one, it doesn’t have a drastic impact on my waistline.

While I didn’t find a listing for the cake bites on the website, my dear friend who bought them for me, said they were $15 for a dozen, which makes eat bite $1.25. The bites are the size of a large truffle (think Godiva or Lindt truffle in size) and considering most good quality truffles of this size run about $1.50-2.50 each, these are a good value. They are, in fact, cheaper than the truffles Shutters makes (although I have a feeling this has to do with the time involved in truffle making–I’ve done it, it’s extensive).

If you are in need of a quick chocolate fix, that’s not the run of the mill chocolate truffle and won’t leave you needing to pop the entire box in your mouth to be satisfied, I highly suggest checking out the cake bites. Shutters has contact info up on her website for more details.

Overall:

Taste: 9.5/10

Appearance: 8/10

Value: 8/10

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D’oh!

I screwed up today. Obviously I didn’t mean to, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did.

A parent sent an email to my sub asking for a grade clarification. The parent was asking the sub to shed some light on the situation, but I knew she wouldn’t be able to, so I sent her a quick email, giving her something she could mention to the student and telling her I’d deal with it on Monday.

Or at least that’s what I thought I did. Somehow I managed to respond to both my sub AND the parent. In all my years of teaching, I can’t say I’ve never sent an angry email to a parent, but I’ve always known what I was writing and why. This time, I had no idea she was gettng a copy of the email, so I feel like a schmuck, big time.

Thankfully I didn’t do anything stupid like mock the mother or kid. I didn’t give any smart alec comments and used no sarcasm. However, I was a bit terse and am sure did not give a response a parent would want.

The worst part though, is that she responded. And copied my principal on the response. I’m sure she know I didn’t mean to respond to her. Now I’m going to have to do some serious PR to fix the situation, all on my second day home from the hospital. I really thought I migt be done with working during my maternity leave.

It’s crazy. Last time around, I worked until the day before I gave birth, but when I left, I took no work with me and came back in for nothing. This time around, I took off 7 day early in order to spend time with my son, and have ended up doing work nearly every single day, despite the fact I’m not getting paid for any of the work I’m doing.

I think maybe I should just stop checking my email and really leave work behind.

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Yeah, I’m a mom…still

Yesterday my little girl was born. Even though I’ve done this whole birthin’ thing before, I guess I was more nervous than I realized. Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep.  tried to, I really did. I went to bed about 10:30, but around 11 I realized sleep wasn’t coming, so I got something to read, hoping the sandman would visit me in the middle of a paragraph as he so often does. No dice. I mean, sure, I put the magazine down, turned off the lights and closed my eyes, but I still tossed and turned until about 1 when my husband came o bed.

At that point,I think I actually got some sleep. Well, until my son woke up crying around 2:40. Normally I let him settle himself, but as soon as I heard him, I was up. I checked on him and he was fine. I however, was  wide awake. I tried to lay down and sleep, but wen I looked over and the clock said 3:15, I gave up and went out to the computer for awhile. I kept everything dark and just tried to send a few emails. At 3:40 I once again headed for my bed, hoping against hope to get that last, precious hour or so of sleep, but it did not come. Instead, I found myself watching American Idol (don’t judge man, I was tired) at 4 am.

When 5 am hit, I was excited to give up the charade, climb in the shower and get ready to go to the hospital.

My c-section was scheduled for 8, but we had to be there by 6. We made it exactly on time and were ushered right in to our “holding room.” Unlike my first time around, things went really quickly. Although I was parched from not being able to eat or drink after midnight (I actually stopped at 10:30), it wasn’t half as bad as when I had my son. I met everyone who’d be working on me immediately, my labs came back super quickly and my doctor even asked if I cared if we started early. Heck no! I was on board, let’s get her out.

The spinal block took longer to put in than the last time. The last time they got it on the first try, no problem. It was quick, although not painless. This time, it took several minutes (and stabs) and hurt like the dickens! I shed more than a few tears over that blasted needle and it’s cruel point. But finally my legs were numb and I was ready for the actual birthin’. The whole process only took about 30 minutes, of which, only about four were unpleasant. I guess her shoulders were a bit bigger than expected and they really had to pull to get her out.

I was a bit anxious at this point to find out if she was, in fact, a girl. I know it was what the ultra sound tech told me 18 or so weeks ago, but all during this pregnancy, I kept having a strange feeling she was wrong and the baby was going to be a boy. I have no idea why, other than the fact that I really wanted a little girl. I just kept having images of all the adorable pink, purple, yellow, red and orange clothes people had given me going to waste and me getting home exhausted and having to dig out all my son’s old baby clothes.

But, minutes later, I heard a loud wail and saw them rushing my daughter over to the infant area. It was pretty darn cool! Even though I’d done this once before, tears rolled down my eyes.

Since she was a c-section, my husband got to hold her first, which I still feel is totally unfair since it was my bladder she’d been doing the macarena on for 9 months, but at least she was close to me and I got to touch her little head. It helped that after I was sewn up and being wheeled to recovery, he had to hand her over so I could snuggle her.

She’s spent most of the last 32 hours sleeping, which I won’t complain at all about. I know we have a lot of sleepless nights to come, so I’m taking ay sleepy time as good time. Although by the time I really got to “sleep” last night, it was nearly 11 and was pretty incomprehensible. I did get to catnap for two to three hours at a time, which was really nice.

It’s funny, the first time I became a new mom, I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital. I wanted to do everything quickly so I could get home. This time, I’m milking every second I get in this hospital room. My husband was hinting that since I’m doing so well we might get to go home early and I told him no way. If “check out” time is 3 on Saturday, I’ll be walking out the door at 3. I’m going to let anyone and everyone who wants to give me an extra hand, bring me food in bed and take my daughter to the nursery so I can sleep do so. I remember what it was like when we went home and although I do want to take her home and dress her in cute little outfits, I also want time to adjust to having a new little one.

It really does help that my son is staying with my parents for a week or so. That way we’ll have a little time to actually get used to feedings every three or four hours again. Plus, we’ll have a bit of rest before we have to figue out how to get a toddler and a newborn ready to face the world each morning.

I just hope my son doesn’t want to send her back!

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Just walk the extra five feet…sheesh!

I have one last little rant to go off on before I find myself ensconced and heavily sedated at the hospital tomorrow: pregnancy parking spots.

Now, I realize that unlike actual handicap parking lots, these are a courtesy feature some stores have for their customers. There are no fines or threats of towing because there aren’t any real rules, other than a thing I like to call common courtesy, governing them. Still, with the exception of stores specifically targeted at babies (like say Babies R’ Us), few stores have more than 2-4 of these special spots reserved. Not only that, but often they aren’t on the closest aisle to the store, just a first or second slot on an aisle.

Being a pregnant woman with a toddler, I think it’s great that stores have these special spots. I’ve actually only used the spot once this pregnancy and maybe two or three times during my first pregnancy. While I’m not the fittest person in the world, I can usually find a perfectly decent parking space that requires me to walk, oh, maybe five feet more to get to the store, and hey, why not leave the spot for someone who is struggling a bit more than I, right?

What pisses me off though, is when people who are obviously not pregnant (or not far enough along to even sort of show a little) and have no other small children with them, pull into these spots because they are too darn lazy to take those few extra steps to get into the store.

Today, I pulled in to the local grocery store because I had to get batteries and some nose spray. I took my son to the sitter’s one day last week and he managed to pick up a cold from the little girl my husband and I jokingly refer to as Typhoid Mary. Both my son and I are doing better, but my nose is still a bit stuffy, so in a desperate attempt to sleep a bit better tonight, I decided to give in and try some more nose spray.

Now, I am the person these special parking spots were designed for. Not only do I have a toddler who can be difficult to wrangle, but I am literally one day away from giving birth. Over the past week I think I’ve over exerted myself a tad (pre-baby fun mommy and son trips to the children’s museum, zoo, store, playground, etc) and today I was just a bit tired. For once, ok, well twice this pregnancy, I was going to use one of those spaces. As I was pulling in to the lot, I saw a woman and her teenage daughter approaching the van that was parked in the spot. If the woman was pregnant, she couldn’t have been more than two or three months, and to be very honest, she looked a bit old to be having another baby (not being mean, but she looked about 50).

There was another space on the other side, which I could have driven around to, but what was even more irritating is that the parking space directly next to the pregnancy spot, was empty. It’s the spot I ended up pulling in to because it was nearly as close as the pregnancy spot and it saved me from having to drive around the entire aisle (which may also be a form of lazyness, but I’ve never been one to hunt for parking spaces). The woman and her daughter had one bag to load in to the van, so I can’t imagine it was a very long shopping trip for them either. Plus, when she saw me, about ready to pop trying to free my son from my car seat, she gave me a rather sheepish look which seemed to imply she knew she shouldn’t have taken the space.

Now, I realize I’m being judgmental here. I’ve heard several people argue that since there is no actual rule to those spaces, it shouldn’t matter who parks there. I’ve heard others mention the fact that not everyone who has some sort of physical issue which makes it hard for them to walk has a handicap tag and they should also be allowed to park in those spaces. I’ve heard cases made for the elderly to park there if they don’t have handicapped plates yet. And maybe the woman was pregnant or had some other sad story that made it hard for her to park the extra five feet to get to the store. I don’t mean to imply that no one ever has a good reason to park in one of those spaces, but since I’ve been pregnant this time around, this is the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen someone pull into one of those spaces without a small child or any outward sign of pregnancy and I think it’s just cruddy.

I’m not saying I expect the world to change for me because I’m pregnant, but if a store goes to the trouble to try to help those who are pregnant or have small children lives a little easier, be a good human being and comply. If you’ve never been pregnant or had small kids, I realize you may think it’s unfair to give away those spaces, but let me just say sometimes it’s damn hard to get from point A to point B with a fully formed infant weighing on your bladder 24 hours a day. I realize I made a decision to have kids. But the store also made a decision, and it’s only two parking spaces.

Take the extra five seconds, be a good person and walk a little farther. It won’t kill you.

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Nesting, not just for the birds

So I know it should be Chocolate Monday, but my mind is a bit preoccupied and despite having some good chocolate in my fridge, I have been resorting to the cheap stuff for a quick thrill. Mostly M&M’s and Baskin Robbins’ German Chocolate ice cream. Nothing all that exciting or unique to write about.

My mind is a bit more pre-occupied with the upcoming birth of my daughter. In just about 59 hours, she’ll be here and while I feel I’m emotionally prepared for her, I sort of realized this weekend just how much I still need to do to get ready for her. I’ve been so busy making sure everything was ready for my sub at school that I sort of put everything I needed to do at home on the proverbial back burner.

This weekend I wanted to get a lot done. I had a goal: get the house all cleaned and organized while I had my husband around to help with my son. I managed to get the first item on my to do list checked off: I completely cleaned out my car. Now, this may not seem like a must do as I don’t expect the baby to be crawling around on the floor of my car, but thanks to my son, my car was an absolute pit. I’m not exaggerating for stylistic effect. Things were disappearing into the muck and I was disgusted by it. However, I knew it was going to get a HUGE cleaning right before the new little one came, so I figured I might as well let it get as dirty as possible.

It took nearly an hour to get it all cleared out, vaccuumed and all wiped down. I found more toddler snack cups and water cups than I knew I had. Amazingly enough, I only had one bag of garbage. I had two bags of non-garbage to sort through after I was done, but at least it was out. Later that day we got the baby car seat back in, which took a heck of a lot longer than I thought it would. I also decided to do some laundry. By the time I sat down around 4 pm, I was beyond wiped out. I was having pains and feeling icky, so nothing got done in the house.

Today was a bit more productive. I got two loads of laundry done, the living room vaccummed (well, my husband did that), the dishes done, lunch made (homemade mini-pizzas), toys culled, baby clothes sorted, a few last minute necessities bought and I even found the majority of the baby toys and got them sorted and put away. Still not tons of cleaning done, but at least I do feel a little more organized.

I also got both my and the baby’s hospital bags packed. Well, mostly. This is probably the most comforting to my husband. He’s starting to freak out just a tad. I keep having pains, which I’ve finally figured out are just Braxton Hicks contractions (for a little while I was worried it was real labor). I keep trying to explain this to him, but he wants my bags backed and in the car, just in case. Not that I have many places to got over the next two days–just the pediatrician’s office (for my son’s three year check up) and breakfast wtih my best friend on Tuesday. But still, I think he’s worried real labor is going to start any second, and just wants to be ready.

I’m hoping that I’ll still feel well enough tomorrow to get the rest of the cleaning I wanted to do today done. I still need to find the rest of the baby toys, get the swing up and cleaned off, find my nightlight so I can see my way through those late night/early morning diaper changes and feedings and I’d really like to get all of my son’s toys out of the living room and put away. We’ll see. Last time around when it was just me and my husband, even though I worked until the day before he was born, I was able to get a lot more done.

I know I have a bit more of an “excuse” this time, but I know if it doesn’t get done now, it’s going to be too easy to let it go so that it never gets done. Sigh…

This current need to “nest” is actually one of the signs of upcoming labor, at least from what I read online. Yes, that’s right, I was trying to find out if I was having actual contractions, so I went online to see if I could find a description of what one felt like. My mother-in-law keeps asking if I’ve had them and doesn’t seem to understand that I have no idea what one feels like. I had a scheduled c-section the first time around, and didn’t even have a Braxton Hicks contraction. This time, I also have one planned, but these last few days have been very different from the last time. Lots more aches and pains.

I have to keep reminding myself that I have less than 59 hours to go, so I need to just suck it up, get what I can done. Anything I can’t get done, I just have to accept and move on from. Of course, that concept really isn’t in my vocabulary, so it might be a bit hard. Then again, once the new baby gets here, I’ll no doubt be too darn tired to worry about the way anything looks.

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My cheatin’ heart

I hate to admit, but I did something a little wicked tonight…I cheated on my hubby. I didn’t start out today with that intention, I swear. But after the day I had, I couldn’t help myself. I had a craving that needed to be fed. I tried to hold back, I really did. But before I knew it, I was in the car and on my way.

Minutes later, I pulled in to the lot. I sighed deeply, part of me knowing I shouldn’t go in, but it was too late. I had made my choice. I had to go through with it.

Plus, I had a coupon.

Wait, coupon? Huh? No, dear readers, I am not in any sort of moral quandry. In fact, I even had my son with me. My indiscretion was not the carnal kind…it was the gastrointestinal kind. I went out for Chinese without my husband.

Now, for most people, this would be no big deal, but in my household, this is a serious offense. See, as a rule, I hate Chinese food and never, ever, ever want it. My husband, on the other hand, really likes it and often wants it. I always shoot him down though. It’s not due to any intentional cruelty. It’s just that the thought of going out for Chinese food never sounds appealing to me.

It’s odd, because when I was younger, I didn’t mind it too much. Not that we had it very often. My step-dad was always a meatloaf and lima bean kind of guy (super ick) and my mom rarely did anything he didn’t want, so my exposure was very limited. I think I had garlic chicken three or four times between the ages of about birth and 14. However, every year when I went to the county fair with my aunt, we’d always stop by the Twin Happiness booth and get some sesame chicken. I liked it just fine. Heck, every now and then I’d even go out with her to the restaurant. They had a great noodle dish I liked (which I’ve never found anywhere else–same with their version of sesame chicken).

Sometime in college, something changed. I’m not sure if I just got burned out on it, or if it was the crappy quality of the giant platters we got for $4 from the local take out place, but I just stopped wanting it. Then, I started actively not wanting it. Anytime someone suggested it, I would shake my head and ask for another option. I still do, despite the fact that around the corner from us is what everyone I know says is one of the best places in the city.

And I’ll even admit it isn’t horrible. In fact, the last time I gave in and let my husband order, I ate about 10 bites before giving up. However, being too darn cheap to let an entire container of food go to waste, I tried it again the next day and actually liked it even better. I’m not sure how in the world letting the food congeal and sit in the fridge made it better, but it did. I know some people swear by leftovers, but once again, as a rule, I don’t eat leftovers. It’s not a snobby thing. I don’t think leftovers are beneath me or anything. In fact, if I make them, I eat them often. However, almost nothing I take home from an eatery tastes good the next day, so I usually pawn them off on my husband (and he LOVES food and eats EVERYTHING, so he never complains).

What is odd about me, is that while I don’t like the super greasy Chinese food in most buffet type places, and I’m not even super fond of the “good stuff” at the place around the corner, I do really like crappy mall Chinese food like Panda Express. I have no idea why, but every now and then Bourbon chicken (or as they call it, Mandarin chicken) is good. Tonight, I actually craved it (granted, I am 9 1/2 months pregnant).

So, I packed up my son and headed over to the stand alone store down the street from us. I loaded a plate with Mandarin and orange chicken, tons of rice and some spring rolls. I got my son a side of crab rangoon and gave him a bunch of my rice and chicken. We even ate outside, despite the fact  it was a bit chilly and I ended up putting my jacket on him since he refused to go inside to finish his food. It ended up being cute since when he stood up, the jacket reached his ankles.

The upside of my food trist is that my husband actually doesn’t like Panda Express at all, so he won’t be fuming. He might be a bit disappointed that I had some sort of Chinese, even what he considers crappy Chinese without him.

This will cure me of my need for anything resembling Chinese food for at least a few more months. It’ll make him sad, but as I keep reminding him, he can always take our son to go get his fix. I’m just as happy making some Stovetop stuffing and spinach for dinner.

Yeah, I’m odd, I know it!

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