Thursday, May 26, 2011

"C" is for Cache (cont.)

The milk monster is back, and so is my supply!  YAY!  I had to give myself a break from Tully updates on the blog last week and earlier this week until things were back to normal.  It was really rough these past few weeks.  There were days when Tully wouldn't nurse more than a few minutes because I didn't have much milk.  I pumped like a madwoman though, including getting up not once but twice (2am and 5am) each night, while Tully slept peacefully.  This made for one very tired momma, but it was SO worth it.  I have three, count them, THREE bottles of pumped milk in the fridge, and just recently I have been able to give Tully a full feeding without the bottle at all.  When I started out, Tully was nursing for a couple minutes and then getting 3-4 oz of formula.  Then when I started pumping we would give him breastmilk from the bottle and then formula.  He was still taking 2-4 oz or more from the bottle.  Breastmilk can stay room temp for up to four hours, so my milk rarely made it to the fridge.

In addition to pumping I had lots of support from John and my mom, and a neighborhood girl started coming by for a few hours on MWF to help with laundry, dishes, and dinner.  This reduced my stress tremendously, which definitely helped my supply increase.  I bought Fenugreek supplements and saw an immediate improvement too, but now I smell like maple syrup!  I also went to another LLL meeting to talk with other breastfeeding moms and visited the lactation consultant a couple times, which made me feel so much better.  The lactation consultant also raised a really good point while I was visiting with her.  I was doing an elimination diet (no milk, nuts, eggs), but Tully was getting cow milk-based formula.  If he had a problem with cow milk proteins in my milk, he should exhibit the same problems with the formula.  Since this was not the case, I reintroduced milk, followed by nuts and eggs, into my diet.  It was SO hard not to eat things with milk, so I'm happy to be eating "normally" again.

It's been three weeks since our last doctor's visit and my baby boy has gained another pound and a half (we stopped by for a quick weigh in with the lactation consultant last night).  It feels so good to have him nursing again, and I can't wait for our 2 month appointment next week!  I'm also happy to not be mixing up stinky formula or washing 500 bottles a day.  It was such a pain to pack up all of the formula and bottle supplies just to leave the house.  Nursing him is a thousand times easier for sure!

Here is Tully's one month photo with Lambsy.  He looks so tiny here.  He'll be two months next week, and it will be fun to compare the pics.  He has outgrown all of his newborn clothes, shoes, and diapers.  We're on to size 1 now!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"C" is for Cure

Last weekend we took a road trip to Texas for Head for the Cure 5K - North Texas.  The event was organized in honor of my friend, Stevie, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year (See "C" is for Crowder).  They expected about 500 people to run and fundraising of about $25,000 from registrations, donations, and sponsorships.  The primary beneficiary of Head for the Cure is the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative (BTTC), a group of highly respected and dedicated doctors in a network of renowned medical centers.  Led by MD Anderson Cancer Center, the BTTC has grown to more than 15 member institutions and has experienced unparalleled advancements in the research of alternative treatments of malignant brain tumors.  Research studies, also known as clinical trials, are being conducted to learn of promising advances to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatments that are safe and effective.  Funds raised through the Head for the Cure Foundation provided the seed money to help launch the BTTC, and Head For the Cure remains committed to supporting the BTTC and its mission with ongoing financial support.

Registrants were able to create teams and do team fundraising too.  We wore our pink and black shirts to support Stevie.  Many people were inspired to run in honor of someone they knew, and they had a nice ceremony after the event to honor several survivors, including Stevie.  It was very touching, and TEAM STEVIE had the largest team and raised the most funds!  Hopefully some of the money raised at this event will help researchers find a cure!  I also have to give a big shout out to Shari, Dusti, Tyler, and Tricia for making the event such a huge success.  Your hard work really paid off, ladies.  The event was awesome and so well organized!

The final results for the Head for the Cure 5K - North Texas event were astounding:

2,219 registered runners (500 expected, remember?!)
126 volunteers
283 TEAM STEVIE members$11,415 TEAM STEVIE fundraising
$152,000 total fundraising for brain cancer research at MD Anderson (a little more than the $25K they hoped for, right?!)

This was Tully's first 5K to complete, and we definitely didn't set any records.  As a matter of fact, we walked with John and Grammy, but it was a lot of fun.  I'm hoping to restart the Couch to 5K program I was doing during my pregnancy (See "C" is for C25K) and complete a 5K sometime this year.  I was able to jog easily starting a couple weeks ago, but Tully's hectic schedule hasn't allowed for much free time for exercise.  Hopefully that changes soon!

Here are some more photos from the event.  John did an awesome job capturing everything, especially when we were doing the actual 5K.  Thanks, sweets!

Starting line
Me and Tricia, the TEAM STEVIE captain
Helping Tricia with TEAM STEVIE shirts
Stevie (pink shirt w/ mic) kicks off the event
After kicking off the event, Stevie put in her earbuds and got serious running!
My dad ran the event.  Go Paw Paw!
Mom and I about to cross the finish line with Tully
Stevie gets a sneak peek of Tully after the race
Sonic was one of the event sponsors
Hanging out at the TEAM STEVIE picnic after the race
Me and Stevie after the picnic
John took a nap
Head for the Cure will be an annual event in Frisco, TX, so mark your calendar for May 19, 2012!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"C" is for Cache

I have good news, and I have bad news.  First, the good.  My content baby is back!!  No more crying, and he's sleeping 6+ hours through the night again.  A quick visit with our pediatrician, Dr. Alka Sood, and the problem (See "C" is for Crying) was fixed.  After listening to the story of Tully's last couple weeks, Dr. Sood determined that Tully was not getting enough to eat.  No overfeeding.  No gas.  No reflux.  Simply hungry.  She noticed Tully wasn't gaining weight properly, and I told her I had just fed him while we were waiting, so she came back with a bottle of formula.  My mom saw my jaw hit the floor.  I was not ready for bottles, and I was definitely not interested in giving him formula.  Dr. Sood assured me that one bottle of formula would not undo all of my hard work over the last month, and she needed to see if he would take it to help determine if her hunch that he was hungry was really the issue.  It took him a few minutes, but once he figured out the bottle, he sucked down the formula like he hadn't eaten all day.  Poor little guy was so hungry.  Since I was exclusively breastfeeding I've carried around a lot of guilt after finding this out.  Tully was really thriving the first few weeks, and he was still putting out lots of dirty diapers.  He was gaining weight like a champ, but all of that changed in a matter of days, which leads to the bad news.  My supply is low.  I think several factors contributed to this decrease with stress being #1.  In order to increase my supply I have to nurse as often as possible and pump in between.  I can barely find two free seconds to go to the bathroom or feed myself much less an extra 10-15 minutes to pump a minimum of 8 times per day.  I won't mention all the time it takes to clean pump parts and bottles.  And after Tully peed all over himself and my living room, and my dog, Zach, puked up some small dead animal on the rug yesterday afternoon, I was convinced I needed help.  So in my attempt to eliminate as much stress as possible, I called in for backup from John, my mom, and a neighborhood girl who will start helping during the day until the nanny starts full-time in June.  Fingers crossed that my cache of milk returns, and I can do away with the formula for good.  I'm okay with some bottle feeding using breast milk, especially since it gives John and my mom a chance to feed the baby, but I'm really missing all of the one-on-one time Tully and I had during our nursing sessions.  He has to work super hard to eat, which makes him sleepy, so our time together is limited for now.

I should also mention when all of Tully's fussiness started, I eliminated dairy, nuts, and eggs from my diet on the off chance that he had an intolerance to one of those things.  He also had some really bad infant acne that was on his face and neck.  Looking back now I'm now I'm not sure that my diet had anything to do with his fussiness, and I'm left wondering if the lack of protein and calcium isn't contributing to my low supply.  I'm leaning towards reintroducing at least milk, so I can eat regular food again.  (Milk is hidden in EVERYTHING!)  I'm hoping his little face stays clear.  If not, no milk for me.

On another note--if someone needs fire kindling, I have a copy of the Babywise book that you're welcome to have.  We will no longer be implementing any two or three hour schedules in this household, and there will be ZERO more days of crying it out in the crib.  It felt wrong when I was doing it, and my instincts were right.  Demand feeding is the best option for our family.  I know I can't blame a book for my decisions, but the concepts we implemented from Babywise definitely contributed to Tully's unhappiness and weightloss.  I think it's a good idea for new moms to read the book to arm themselves with as much information as possible, but boy do I regret the days of trying to make Babywise work.

Also, a huge thank you to all of the moms, friends, and blog followers who provided encouraging words when I was trying to figure things out.  It was a rough week, and I really appreciated the comments and messages.  I was also really encouraged when I took Tully back in for his follow-up appointment yesterday.  Dr. Sood informed me he had gained AN ENTIRE POUND in three days.  This is huge!  Now that all the crying is behind us, I need to snap a one month photo of the little guy.  He's already 5 weeks old!

Here's a sweet pic my mom took of me and John during Tully's newborn photo shoot few weeks back.  John has been really patient and supportive through all of the craziness.  I know he's relieved to have our happy baby back too!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"C" is for Crying

We survived the newborn photoshoot a couple weeks ago, but it didn't happen without some tears from both mommy and Tully.  Poor Tully was so cold during the session that he just couldn't get to sleep.  Every time we'd take him out of the blanket to snap the pics, he'd tense up and cry.   I broke down after we left the studio the first day too.  As a new mom I'm constantly bombarded with advice, which I think I take pretty well, but when your baby is crying and someone's trying to convince you you need to bottle feed and give the baby a pacifier, it's tough.  So I had to go back the next day for a new session.  Luckily the room was much warmer, and the photographer was able to take some good photos without us using a pacifier or bottle.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Although I was enjoying 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep last week, there was a trade off: nursing every hour during the day with a fussy and gassy baby.  It was exhausting work, and Tully was clearly uncomfortable, so I knew something had to change.  I read enough of the Babywise book to get an idea of what a schedule could look like for a one month old.  The concept was that baby nurses every 2.5-3 hours, so I figured it was worth a shot.   The trade off for longer times between nursings during the day?  The return of 3am feedings and some 20-minute cry sessions before going to sleep.  I do not fare well when Tully cries.  It's heartbreaking.  I feel worthless.  I feel like a mommy failure, but the schedule Tully chose was negatively affecting his health (green diapers, gassiness), so I had to make the difficult decision to change something.  John constantly has to reassure me that we're doing the right thing, but it sure doesn't feel that way when I have to listen to Tully cry.  I told myself I would give this process a try for at least a week.  I can't wait until Friday gets here, and I hope to see more improvement.  The green diapers and gas are gone, but I want the crying to stop too.  I also picked up two other books for ideas of feeding/sleeping schedules.

I'm not totally convinced the Babywise concept will work for us.  Sometimes I just can't handle it.  For example, earlier this afternoon instead of letting him cry himself to sleep I rocked that sweet baby until he drifted off to dreamland.  It was so peaceful.  Speaking of dreamland--I need a nap.  Being a mom is HARD WORK!
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