Monday, March 19, 2012

A March Madness Love Story

  I realize not everyone loves college basketball and March Madness season.  My husband and I are big sports fans in general and there is usually something important to watch nearly every season of the year.  To me, as far as sports go, nothing is more fun, exciting and anxiety provoking than college basketball during March.  I guess it helps to be a Kentucky Wildcats fan, who play in the NCAA tournament (nearly) every single year.  Interestingly enough, my husband is not a Cats fan (*gasp* I know!)  but is an arch rival Louisville Cardinals fan (*double gasp!*).  Our story of love is tied to this rivalry and I thought this time of year was a good time to tell it. 

  In January 2002, I was enrolled in a vehicle extrication class that was necessary to complete my Emergency Medicine degree from Eastern.  It was actually a pretty cool class where we learned all sorts of techniques to help treat and remove injured patients from wrecked vehicles.  A very attractive football player sat next to me in class, wearing this horrible Louisville hat every Friday morning at 8 am.  Perhaps the hat was why I didn't hit on him sooner?  We had a few flirtatious interactions during the class, but it ended after 8 weeks, and I didn't think much about it, or him.  Until April 5, 2002 when he waltzed into the Richmond Arby's (where I was working the drive thru) to eat dinner, wearing that terrible Louisville Cardinals hat.  I proceeded to tell him (he says flirtatiously, I remember being more rude?) he was not welcome to eat in my store, wearing that piece of crap hat.  I was due for a break and was going to go sit with him and eat, but we were too busy.  I do recall he came back to the counter quite a few times for (probably unnecessary) extra sauce packets.  I thought he'd left without saying goodbye, when I heard his voice in my ear piece, asking to order something else, just so he could come through and talk to me.  I wrote my number on a napkin, and as they say, the rest is history. 
  So I am madly in love with a Cards fan.  How can I hate the Cardinals like lots of other Cats fans do? I just can't do it.  Now I find myself cheering for them (eek!  I know!), so long as they aren't playing UK.  I am actually worried that we are breeding Cards fans, though try as I might to dress them in blue and teach them to cheer C-A-T-S, Cats, Cats, Cats!  They are daddy's girls, and alas, this puts me in a bad spot.  Bribe them to be Cats fans?  Check.  Buy them cute UK clothes?  Check.  Beg and plead for them to say, "Cats rule and Cards drool?"  Well, I begged, they refused.  I've decided maybe Lilly will be a lawyer when she grows up because she successfully plays both sides, saying she is both Cats and Cards.  I told Carl, we'd better be careful not to push for a choice too much or they'll end up going to college somewhere like UT.  Now THAT would be horrible! (just kidding people!)

  Now it's bracket time, and yes my five year old DID pick the Lehigh/Duke upset, as well as several other heralded upsets this past weekend.  Our brackets probably won't win any money, but a little family friendly competition is what started this household, and I wouldn't change it for the world!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The gift of milk!

  Its pretty obvious by now I have been a little obsessed with my journey with breastfeeding.  It hasn't been a very pleasant ride, and once I made the decision to stop the insanity and just give it up, I have felt better emotionally.  I am still sad that I can't be the one to nourish my child like God intended, but I am comforted by the fact that I did quite seriously try everything to help it work for us.  I have also been immensely comforted by my friends and family who have shared their stories of trials and triumphs with breastfeeding.  Its lovely when women can breastfeed successfully, and its also nice to hear the stories of other's struggles and feel not so alone.  If you were one of those people who shared, cared and encouraged, thank you. 

  The best part about stopping breastfeeding has been a huge reduction in my stress level.  I have still been a little misty-eyed about the situation, but merely accepting the situation for what it is has really been a big stress relief.  Add to that, Carl has been able to be even more hands on and share the feedings with me, which is nice in the middle of the night.  We also were blessed with quite a few sample cans of formula from the doctors office, so we haven't had any costs there yet.  Even better has been the gift of an amazing best friend.   I am lucky to have lots of good friends in my life, and four people I would list as my best friend.  One of these people has given us a great gift.  She has been blessed with an abundance of breast milk for her 9 month old son Jude.  She came to our house last night with three bags full of frozen breast milk and jokingly called herself the breast milk fairy.  Breane Breidert has been my best friend since the day we met in October of 2000.  She is such a special person to me, and I don't know if I will ever be able to repay her for this great gift!  I am so grateful that she has been willing to share with Avery the best nutrients nature makes!!  We are so lucky!  Thank you Aunt Breane, from the bottom of my heart!! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Breastfeeding highs and lows....

  What a roller coaster these past two weeks have been.  Mothering three has been harder and more joyful than I could have imagined.  Its funny how hard it is to accept the things God has put in my path.  I wanted so badly to have a son, but God saw fit to give me another daughter, and now I can't fathom any other baby in her place.  She has this beautiful disposition with dark eyes so expressive sometimes I feel like I can see her tiny baby soul.  So far, she seems to have a very laid back spirit and I love how the chaos of our lives doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest.  Carl and I joke she seems more restless at night, not because she has her days and nights confused, but because its too quiet in the house and she can't sleep!!  I also wanted so badly a natural birth, and of course you know, I didn't get that either.  I am healing pretty well from surgery, so its easier not to be disgruntled about the loss of that dream.  Perhaps my biggest wish, was to be successful at breastfeeding #3.  I struggled with both the other girls and I gave up very early on.  I was determined to make this breastfeeding thing work.

  At 5 days old, we had our first check-up and the doctor noted she had lost weight (which is expected) but not too much.  We met with a lactation consultant, who really boosted my confidence as she watched us nurse.  She praised Avery's latch and at the time she ate very eagerly.  The next two days started a downhill slide that I didn't really see happening.  I was worried because Avery wasn't really having as many wet or dirty diapers as I thought she should.  When she did have a wet diaper I was even more concerned because I could tell the urine was way more concentrated than it should be.  I continued to nurse on demand and she latched and ate well, though she tired easily and I had to try to wake her a lot.  We spent a large part of those two days skin to skin, hoping her nakedness would encourage her to eat!  Seems she is a typical Breidert with a good body temperature and enjoyed her nakedness!  Two days later, we saw a different doc who was immediately discouraged.  She checked Avery's diaper and said bad news.  "That is "day 2" baby poop, and she should be having "day 7" baby poop"-basically she was getting dehydrated and not taking in enough fluids.  She watched us nurse in office, watched us struggle to wake her.  She gave us tips on waking her, supplementing her, etc and sent us home with the plan to force her to nurse every two hours round the clock and when finished nursing Dad should give her supplemented formula  (1-3 ounces) and I should pump at the same time to help establish my milk supply.  She said I was dangerously close to "drying up", unbeknownst to me.  So we did this.  The next 12 hours were horrible.  Her dehydration had gotten so bad, not only could I not rouse her to nurse, we could barely rouse her to take a bottle.  We had her naked, with a wet cold wash cloth and still it was hard to get her to take in more than a swallow or two.  Still no pee or poop, and we nearly took her to the hospital.  Carl and I diligently spent the next day setting alarms and force feeding Avery, and eventually she perked up and filled up some diapers for us.  It was pretty scary, and made worse by my misplaced feelings of failure.  I continued to pump, getting out a whopping 5 ml total every two hours.  I know babies are more efficient at removing milk than a pump, but a teaspoon just seemed so disheartening! 

  Fast forward to this past Monday.  I was sent a link to an article by a friend suggesting a link between women with PCOS and a low milk supply. 

  Thanks for reading if you made it this far into my very long vent.  Its just been weighing so hard on my mind and spirit, it feels good to get it all out.  Also, I know PCOS effects up to 15% of the population, and I know sometimes a third of those moms have issues with low milk supply.  I wish I'd known that when I was struggling to breastfeed Lilly five years ago.  I hope the information is helpful to anyone else who could be effected. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Welcome to the world Avery Pearl!

  I figure I should be allowed a few weeks leeway for catching up on my blog, since I have a new baby and three kids now.  I thought, since today was Avery's actual due date, it was an appropriate day to write a quick post about Avery's birth story.
  As you may have read here before, I had a huge desire for a natural, vaginal delivery.  As you also may have read, towards the end of pregnancy, I had a rather uncooperative daughter who refused to stay head down and preferred the breech position.   On Thursday Feb 23rd, I saw my midwife Emily who again confirmed Avery was still head up, complete breech.  I felt pretty defeated, I had huge hopes that she would turn again, and though I knew there was technically still time for her to turn, it just felt like a huge loss. 
  Fast forward to the next morning, 4 am, I was awakened by my first labor contraction.  I tried to go back to sleep, and was unable to because of contractions but also because of the thoughts running through my head.  Slowly but surely, the contractions became closer together and stronger, lasting longer and longer.  I knew in my heart it was the beginning of the real deal.  Sadly, at 38 weeks and 3 days, this should be a wonderful thing, but I was torn.  If labor didn't stop and Avery didn't turn, it meant another c-section.  I knew if I showed up at the hospital with her in the same position as the day before, I would be under the knife in an hour or two.  I just wasn't ready to give in to that yet, and I kept hoping either labor would back down or she would miraculously turn around while in labor (it has been known to happen!).  On the flip side, however, I had NO desire to get to active hard labor if she was still breech.  Why be in pain if the end result is the same?  Eventually, when it because obvious that labor was increasing and not backing down, I summoned Carl home from work and we trekked to the hospital.  I was glad to see Dr. Horn on call, he is a wonderful Christian man, and in prior appointments he had been supportive in my desire for a trial of labor.  However, he confirmed what I already knew, Avery was still breech.  He even agreed to let me labor a while longer at the hospital to see if anything changed.  We did so, but eventually, I decided to throw in the towel.  I won't lie, I was disappointed in the outcome, I wanted so badly to prove I could do it and to have that experience.  However, I am thrilled that I advocated for my wishes during pregnancy, and even more thrilled that Avery got to pick her own birthday!  I had piece of mind knowing that she would be ready to enter the world since my body had started the process all on its own.
  Dr. Horn prayed over myself and Avery, and Carl and my sister Melissa gowned up to join us in the OR.  It is always an awesome day when you welcome a life into the world, but it was extra special to share it with my little sister, who wasn't able to be present at the birth of either of my other girls.  I have some wicked cool pictures and videos of the surgery, which not everyone would appreciate (if you are into that sort of thing, feel free to stop by and check them out-they are a bit gruesome for your average Joe).  I also have some amazing pictures of Avery's birth and the moments that followed, and the feeling of hearing her new born cry won't wear off for some time.  She is quite a sweetheart and really completes our little family.  Avery Pearl was born 2-24-12 at 5:27 pm.  She was 7 lbs, 2 oz, 20 in, and has a TON of dark hair!  Her sisters are so smitten!!  I hope you enjoy her pictures below, I wish blogspot wasn't so slow to upload pictures or I would post a ton more!!

Just after birth!

One week old!