Thursday, July 30, 2015

My boob saga....part 2

This post is sponsored by Similac. Not really, but it should be, because I've put so many future mothers off breastfeeding at this point. It's shameful.

To catch up, last week I nearly had to stab myself in the nipple with a needle to unclog things, but managed to avoid that by using tweezers. Lucky me.

As you might imagine, I was hopeful to avoid that fate again, to say the least. When I realized I had a clog in the same spot this past Tuesday, only one week after the incident, my blood pressure started rising.

I managed to keep the clog at a manageable level with frequent nursing and, everyone's favorite phrase, hand expression (or is it just me who hates that?). The pump was not helping at all. Problem was, I have other things to do in my day than just milk myself.

I could tell things were getting worse, so I went out to Babies R Us and bought a hand pump, since mothers I know have had better luck with those. It didn't help.

It was getting worse and Wednesday morning I was starting to panic again. I thought that I had the solution (tweezers, nipple), however unpleasant. But even though I did try, I just couldn't spot a visible blister to attack like the previous week, so I was SOL. Pumping wasn't helping, nursing wasn't helping, there was no way out.

I called the lactation consultants back. This time they said I needed to buy a cabbage, put it in the freezer, then pound it with a meat tenderizer, place it all around my breast, and cover the whole thing with saran wrap, and lay down for at least an hour to use my breast to "cook" the cabbage. More than one person was convinced they were completely screwing with me. But, you know, desperate times and all.

Now my bed is full of cabbage.
Again, didn't work. It helped with the pain but not the overall issue. Last week, my OB said if this continued, I could see a breast specialist, which the lactation consultant agreed was a good idea. For those in the know, I've already run through the gamut of usual fixes. Hot compresses, massage, lecithin supplements, dangle nursing (that's a joke at this point, he just crawls away), etc.

Mr. On the Move

The breast specialist got me in that day at the request of my doctor, which was great. Making the appointment, I was SO relieved that finally I was going to see a medical professional who could help me.

I arrived at the appointment, filled out 25 minutes of paperwork, and finally the doctor came in. One of the first questions he asked me was what my breastfeeding goal was, which I felt like was a good sign. I know this is going to sound terrible, but when I made the appointment, and found out it was a man, I wasn't thrilled. It's a huge generalization, and I have an awesome male dentist, but in general, I prefer to see women. And come on, the title is breast specialist. I'm not trying to say he's not good at what he does, but get real. I could study hard, become a penis specialist, use as much compassion as possible towards my patients, but the bottom line is, I'm never going to properly empathize with how it feels to get kicked in the balls.

I started to feel like maybe I was just being sexist, and this guy gets it. But then he asked me what I wanted him to do for me. I kind of stammered "well, uh, you're the one who went to medical school, so...?". Then he told me he didn't really know much about lactation.

I was pretty thrown by the fact that he had introduced himself as the specialist of a body part and practically in the same breath stated that he didn't know much about the only function of that body part. Ok then, what, are you an expert in? Helping me use them to get free drinks? That's ALL THEY ARE FOR. It would never fly to be like oh hey I'm a lung specialist but breathing? Can't help you there, I don't know anything about that.

He emphasized that he was pretty sure he couldn't help me and told me to wean. He said ten months was "more than most women". That comment really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not trying to win some contest here, and I really don't give one teeny tiny crap about how other women feed their kids. My goal is a year because that's what I decided was best for me and my son, so I just felt that was completely irrelevant and pointless.

Obviously I stayed mute because I was trying not to cry, and he said he would do an ultrasound just to make sure I wasn't about to die. He did the ultrasound himself, and told me that there wasn't any milk clogging anything up.

I was pretty surprised to hear that my engorged breast was milk free. He said production had stopped or slowed in the ducts on top (the problematic ones) and that the fact that it felt solid was just dueto swollen breast tissue, and again recommended weaning to get rid of it (but agreed I could still nurse when I told him I wasn't weaning).

Despite the rocky start, this was a huge relief, because if it was just swollen tissue, it wouldn't continue to blow up and get worse and worse like last time, I just could wait it out with Advil and ice packs and cabbage.

When someone wasn't stealing my cabbage
I wasn't too concerned about the low/lack of production, since the right side seemed fine and it wasn't like I needed to worry about starving this child. I went on my merry way, no more pumping, since I wasn't trying to get any milk out, none there!

He actually eats more than the average adult HLB. 

The night is dark and full of terrors, and when it hit, I was suddenly like "this diagnosis is sketchy as hell". I really respect doctors, they have a ton of education and experience, so I'm not one to play internet MD and second guess things. That said, it made no sense to me how there could be absolutely no milk in a rock hard boob. That's not what boobs are supposed to feel like.

I woke up at 2am, crazy engorged and in too much pain to sleep. I used the hand pump and got almost two oz, and then Dalton woke up and nursed a little on that side (and trust me he lets me know when things are not to his liking). Clearly something was in there, but I was still super engorged after nursing and pumping.

I went to work, called every doctor back saying my boob was twice the size it was yesterday, of course I got no responses to my messages. I had stretches of solid, lumpy skin reaching up almost to my neck. It was exploding out of my shirt. It seriously felt like a metal plate was under my skin. I made all my coworkers touch it and the general response was "go to the ER", and I would have, but what would they do that a breast specialist couldn't?

Facebook saved me. I posted a message in a local Facebook group (Baltimore's Badass Breastfeeders, FYI) and a wonderful LC gave me a link to a physical therapist that specializes in women's health. By some miracle it was in my insurance network. I had no idea physical therapy had anything to do with anything, but I called them, and they got me in within 30 minutes.

The PT, a breastfeeding mom herself, said she would treat me like it was a clog despite what the ultrasound said and I totally agreed. She explained they often help women with clogs and was telling me how she had recently seen the worst clog she'd ever encountered. I asked her to see how mine stacked up. The moment she touched it, she was like, nope, this is the worst. She then went to tell the secretary to call everyone with appointments the following day to figure out when they could fit me in because it was pretty much HOLY SHIT level and I really don't swear much on this blog but I need you all to understand how close my boob was to exploding.

She used heat ultrasound, then massaged it super hard. I'm guessing it's similar to a sports massage because it's the kind of thing where the more it hurts, the better it's working. After about ten minutes, milk started spraying out. She did more heat, then let me massage, then I was getting plenty of milk out.

As a final measure (until the next day), she taped me using Kinesio tape, the stuff runners use on their injuries. Apparently some moms have luck with it keeping the ducts in line with the nipples. I was super skeptical.

I went home and tried to nurse. Dalton had pretty much no interest and just went down for a nap. I decided to try pumping, with low expectations.

And here's what I got from the side that "had no milk". Imma need you to double check that ultrasound, doc.

I managed to massage it enough that the clog finally broke up and my boob is squishy again and doesn't feel like a suit of armor! That tape AND the PT are miracle workers. Next up: figuring out how to go a week without this ordeal (without weaning). Ideas?

Now I've spent the whole week milking myself or having others do so and this place is a hot mess and we have a housewarming party in less than 48 hours.

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you trust doctors? I was a 10. Now I'm down to maybe a 6 or 7.

But for real, breastfeeding is awesome (see above re: refusing to wean) and I stumped all the doctors so don't worry, it won't happen to you.

Monday, July 27, 2015

I'm kind of a grown up

We recently bought and moved in to our house, and it finally feels real enough that I believe we actually own it, or at least owe the bank lots of money for it while they let us live here.


A really awesome part of this whole process was the timing. Since our seller was a real jackass, and so many things were up in the air with the buying process, by the time we felt confident enough to tell our apartment leasing company "peace", it was the same price to either break the lease or just finish it out. We chose option B, so I've kind of felt like this whole home owners thing isn't truly "real" since we still technically have the apartment.

What that boils down to is that we've been paying for two places this summer. It's cool though, payroll has my back. I get emails that say things like "you will be compensated on August 14 for your work on June 25". Then last week they just plumb forgot to give me half my paycheck! When I called, they were like, yup, looking at the time sheet, whoops! Good times.

I hate money! Don't give me any!

We can all agree moving is actually the worst and I truly don't recommend doing it with a baby. As we do with many things, we half assed it. We mainly completed the move, except for a bunch of random crap that we left sitting in the apartment. Including, but not limited to, board games we haven't played in years, clothes we don't want and intended to donate, lamps we don't need in the new house, things hanging on the get the idea. Sounds lazy, and it is, but our thinking was that we might as well deal with it in the summer when we were working part time and therefore had child care, instead of continuing to do insane stuff like trying to move my entire closet while wearing Dalton since we had no one to watch him nights and weekends while we tried to move.

That put a whole bunch of irritating tasks (moving random things, cleaning, etc) in that sweet spot of "future problems to ignore in the present" which is always satisfying in the moment. But our lease finally ends on Friday, so we were forced to deal with it. The amount of items that still needed to move had really shrunk in our heads and we were very unpleasantly surprised with what we found when we arrived.

I really struggle with getting the motivation for cleaning a place I actually live in and can actually reap the rewards (sitting around in a non-filthy house), so to spend a hot afternoon cleaning a place I'll never see again was a hard pill to swallow. Don't even get me started on the fact that Dalton had to stay at daycare for it. I am financially motivated though, and we need that security deposit back. After last week's half paycheck (which was only supposed to be for 2 days to begin with, even though I had worked the full pay period...yeah) we had exactly $8 left once we paid daycare.

We persevered, got all our crap out, cleaned all the nastiness, and turned in our keys. It felt so good to be done with that place.

Dalton's first nursery
I was a little nostalgic, since this was our first home for just the two of us (we had roommates when we rented a house downtown), and of course, we brought Dalton there from the hospital!

This picture gives me PTSD about my ab binder...that's why people don't want to have c-sections.

He had a lot of firsts in that apartment.

This must be photoshopped. He could not have been that tiny.
One of his very first teeny little smiles.
Santa feet. I cannot.

I will not miss apartment living, and I will miss hauling that car seat up three flights of stairs even less, but we definitely have many good memories there. It's been real, it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun.

The point of all this is not to complain about my lack of income, but to say that now that we are done with the apartment, I finally, finally feel like an adult. I did a whole bunch of stuff that is often considered grown up in the past ten years. Moved to a new state, held a job that requires professional dress, used my own health insurance, got a masters degree, saved for retirement, married, procreated, even hosted a holiday. But I always felt like an imposter. Even looking at that Christmas photo, it didn't feel like real Christmas, because it wasn't our real, permanent home. Now we have one, and it's conveniently filled with all that random crap we didn't bother to move just in time for our housewarming party this weekend!

What was the one thing that finally made you feel like a real, live grown up?

Worst moving/homebuying/selling experience?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Utterly unimportant life updates (see what I did there?)

I was getting just a tad bummed that my blog comments were down (not that they were ever anything to write home about, but I enjoyed them). Nothing brings people out of the woodwork like posting a picture of a giant inflated breast with a horrifying story to go along with it, apparently.

All standing, all the time. (Picture unrelated to previous paragraph for obvious reasons.)

Since that awful day, I've naturally lived in fear of this problem returning. So far, so good, knock on wood. Once things were back to flowing, I had to deal with the resulting issue, which was the fact that it tanked my supply. I didn't really think one day of holding all the milk inside would make so much of a difference, but boobies be crazy. The following morning, when I pumped at work, I was getting jack. I called the lactation consultant yet again, and ended up removing myself from the pump and literally milking myself like an Amish cow (my sister reminded me regular cows get machine milked) into a bottle. Always a good way to start off a work day. Someone remind me how much money I'm saving by not buying formula, please?

The silver lining to all this was bringing lactation cookies back into my life. I hadn't made them in months.

Pretty much the only things I've blogged about this summer are my new niece and my exploding boob. Sometimes blogging is hard.

No blog for you.
Here's some other random things we've been up to.

1. Emptying every item out of every drawer.

All day, every day.

2. Exploring at the expense of his personal safety, on a daily basis.

Yeah, that's blood. Upset him for ten seconds, upset me for much longer. 
3. Baby swim classes - SO MUCH FUN. He went under water for the first time today, and was totally fine with it. He's a little honey badger.

Can you see the pure joy on this kid's face? 

4. Baby music class

We tried a free one and it was fun! But not $120 to sing in a church basement level fun, so we haven't been back.

5. Road trip! To Eric's family reunion, in Ohio. Dalton got to meet a ton of his extended family!

We got tired, he had to take the wheel.

Matching shirts!
6. Biking! Well, once. I hadn't been in two years, because pregnant and winter. I forgot how much I liked it, I should totally do it again before winter. I'm currently watching live Ironman Canada coverage because my friend Rachel will be crossing the finish line soon! Just reading about her training made me tired.

8. A college reunion! A few of my besties from college came to visit from out of state, and brought their babies/toddlers/fetuses, and it was amazing. We are totally going to get into the alumni magazine.

Those who couldn't make it, Facetimed. 
It was pretty much the best thing ever. While I would love to magically make it so we all lived within a mile of each other again, and I wouldn't mind a wild night out at our favorite bars, getting together at this stage of life is even more fun. It still blows my mind that it's been an entire decade since we graduated. #classof2005

9. We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! On our last anniversary, it was crazy trying to imagine what life would be like the following year with a 9 month old, and little did I know it would be better than I ever imagined. 

We watch our wedding video every year. 
10. (Some) exercise. Such as running. With and without strollers.

I've also been into the T25 workout DVDs, but let's get one thing clear. I like the workouts, they are quick and make me want to die, but it ends there. I do not drink Shakeology, and I will never message you on Facebook pretending like I'm interested in talking to you and then sneak in a reference to your fat ass and try to get you to join my beachbody team. To each their own, but I'm pretty devoted to eating, not drinking weird ass shakes instead of meals, especially since I'm (about to be) training for a half marathon and breastfeeding.

11. General summer shenanigans.

11. Napping

These baby naps are KILLING me. I was so excited to get more quality time with Dalton while only working half days (summer school) for four weeks. I pick him up, we get to eat lunch together, and then it's time for his nap. More often than not, he doesn't even wake up until the time I would get home working a normal day! I mean, it's nice to be able to do housework or exercise during that time and not be trying to cram it all in at 9pm or 5am, but why do babies need so much sleep? Not to mention the fact that it's killing me on playdates. Nothing makes a baby sleep like making plans. Nothing. 

12. Girls night out!

My BFFs and I got dressed up and went out for restaurant week. We forgot to take an awesome picture of ourselves, which really upsets me because I was wearing eyeliner for like the fourth time in my life, and put it on myself, for the first time. But here's my beautiful iPhone photo of delicious seafood risotto.

So good, but like four bites worth.

That sums up my wild summer that's much too rapidly coming to an end. Mostly baby updates, naturally, since that's my (wonderful) life now!

What's the most annoying marketing scheme on your Facebook feed right now? Definitely Beachbody for me. Unless I specifically post "I'M TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT", feel free to not message me suggesting that I do just to get my dolla bills. If I did want to, I know how to cook chicken and veggies and actually make it taste good. 

What's the best part of your summer so far?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

That time I almost had to pierce my own nipple

Despite having more free time, I am blogging less. Now that I am popping in, during a long nap, I decided to use this opportunity to share a horrifying story about my boobs.

Warning: This post contains graphic breastfeeding information. Not recommended for pregnant women planning to breastfeed or male members of my family.

Just when I started getting cocky, and thinking that my goal of breastfeeding for a year might actually be within reach (ten months on Thursday!), the universe decided to give me a quick little bitch slap to remind me who's in charge.

It's not me.

I've gotten a million clogged ducts throughout my time nursing, which are about as fun as they sound. The main issue with them is that they can lead to worse problems. So far I've been lucky and they haven't. I would rate them as minor irritations in the grand scheme of things.

Monday night, pain woke me up around 3:30am. I was insanely engorged all around the top of my left side. I tried to nurse, but that didn't work out. I tried to pump, but I was getting nothing on the left, not even drops. Every other time I've had a clog, I've at least been able to get something out, even if it's less than usual. I had Eric help by massaging, which really keeps the romance alive. Nada. I tried to milk myself until almost 5, including using a diaper for a hot compress. Sitting in bed pumping at 4am with a diaper on my boob has been a high point in my life. Then Dalton woke up again, so I tried to nurse again, and he was just pissed that he was ordering a meal and getting jack squat.

Finally everyone gave up on everything and passed out in the bed for an hour until it was time to get up.

The alarm went off, the lights went on, they didn't stir

When my alarm went off, I was naturally quite rested, refreshed, and eager to start a work day with one boob twice the size of the other and throbbing. As anyone in that position would, I took pictures to text to all my friends.

Imagine how bad it was six hours later.

I tried dangle nursing before work (where you pin the baby down and stick your boob in their mouth while on all fours). It was unsuccessful and angered my child. I tried pumping again at work, while wearing a warm compress, in a 95 degree room. NOTHING was getting any milk out at all. I was so upset I had coconut water instead of coffee, because everything on the google said stay hydrated.

I called my OB and a lactation consultant warm line. The LC was calm, clearly used to dealing with hysterical women, and was able to explain what was going on. I picture it like a hose that was turned on but the nozzle wasn't opened. The water is just building up more and more and it's backing up the whole system, and the only solution is to unblock the exit, which in my case, was something called a milk blister, or bleb.

She gave me some advice to open things up.

As soon as I got home, I got in the bathtub. It relieved the pressure and the epsom salts smelled nice, but ultimately, there was no improvement when I pumped after. I got back in, tried again, then called the lactation consultant back and left a sobbing message. I was really starting to panic because my boob was blowing up like those high top shoes from the 90s and I'd done everything every medical professional had told me with no success so I was fairly sure it would explode.

On my way to daycare, the LC returned my second message. She said to continue with all the crap that wasn't working, but if all else failed, I could lance the nipple with a needle.

At that point I was so desperate that it didn't seem completely out of the question. However, I was fairly certain I was in no way qualified to do such a horrifying thing. I called my OB again and left a message. I tried soaking again and nursing, but Dalton wanted no part of that empty buffet.

It seemed my only option was to go to urgent care and ask them to lance my nipple.

I wasn't too happy about this, especially since there's none within walking distance so I couldn't first take ten shots of tequila like I wanted to. But I really needed that milk OUT and my boob was just making more and more. I called my friend and asked her to come over and stay with Dalton (Eric was at work) while I did this awful thing.

The things we do for love.
Thank goodness my friend Kristin is a google fiend. Before she came over, she found a site that says warm coconut oil can help pop milk blisters. I use coconut oil for everything, and at this point was willing to try ANYTHING to avoid this whole lancing thing. I slathered some on, and then decided pointy tweezers were a desirable alternative to a needle, so I went at it. I GOT THE BLISTER OFF!!! And that's the last time I want anything pointy near my nipple. But I was able to pump after that, remove the milk, and return it to a human size, THANK GOD.

Then I felt like this.

What's the craziest thing you've done for love (and/or to save $$ on formula)?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The happiest days are when babies come

I HAVE A NEW NIECE!!!!!!!!!!!

Little baby mini Sloane, born on July 10. 

There is something so incredibly wonderful about meeting a niece or nephew. You hold this perfect precious teeny creature, that you already love so much, because biology. Then as soon as he or she cries it's straight back to mom and you go home and get a nice restful night of sleep.

I remember that as soon as I met my nephew, nearly three years ago, I was so crazy about him, that I was scared of what would happen when I had my own, because it would be out of control. And I was so right.

I'm not right a lot, in fact, I would say my ratio of being wrong vs. being right is something like 80/20. So I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about another important time I was right.


My sister and brother in law didn't find out what they were having. I was 150% positive it was a girl the entire time. I've always had fun making guesses for friends' babies, but this was different. I'd never been so sure except when I was pregnant myself. I called the baby "she" almost exclusively, even though everyone else said "it" or "the baby". One time I casually said to a friend "I'd love to have a daughter someday, but if not, at least I'll have a niece", and it took me a minute to realize that wasn't technically confirmed yet.

I wasn't surprised when I finally heard the official ruling.
My BIL was sure it was a boy, so we had a bet. Now, a devout Cowboys fan, he has to cheer for the Giants (their rival, apparently, idk Eric came up with it and based on the reaction it seemed good) for the first week of football season. Of course, we don't live in the same state as them to enforce this, but if he doesn't, Sloane will grow a penis. God heard our bet and that's how these things work.

So squishy

We planned to visit and meet the baby in three weeks, for my nephew's third birthday. But when I FaceTimed with the family and saw her and everything I was like MUST SNUGGLE THAT BABY. Unfortunately, that plan had some holes. 

1. Sloane was in a hospital, 400 miles away.
2. I have an infant. Infants aren't allowed in hospitals as visitors. 
3. I have an overwhelming addiction to my own child to the point where I refuse to so much run to the grocery store without him if he's awake because I NEED every single second with him. I can't even explain it.
"What's that about you leaving?"

That left me in quite a pickle. I just wear so many hats! Mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, now aunt again...the struggle was real. 

I went with the "aunt" and "sister" hat. I was in no way ready to leave Dalton overnight, but I'll be lucky if I'm ready by the time he leaves for college, and I don't have an adorable little niece born every day.

While pregnant, I was concerned I would be one of those mothers that micromanaged everything her baby daddy did and insisted everything be done my way (I can be a bit particular in general). I think I'm in the clear since I decided late Friday afternoon I was going out of state for the weekend, and the only "directions" I left Eric with were "text me when he drinks milk so I know when to pump". Other than that, I packed a bag, kissed them goodbye at 5am Saturday, and took off.

Why doesn't he look like a little baby anymore??
1. Not driving yet 2. I look naked but I'm really not the cover is just hiding my shorts. 

6 hours of Kesha and audiobook later, I got to the hospital, surprised the hell out of my sister, then stole her baby for the rest of the day. I only gave her back for feedings, and they're lucky they got even that, since I could have just taken over there too. I even changed two meconium diapers (this weird sticky stuff that babies have to get out of their intestines when they're born). I was weirdly fascinated and actually asked to change her. I never got to see it with Dalton, since he jumped the gun and let most of it loose in utero, and then the only time he had a meconium diaper on dry land was while I was still tethered to the bed so Eric dealt with it.

When I was having a breakdown over the thought of leaving Dalton Friday night, I told myself I could drive back Saturday evening so I wouldn't have to be away from him overnight. Deep down, I think I knew I wouldn't really do that. I needed to spend some time with another important little guy in my life. 

Harrison! <3 td="">
We rode the (Greece Ridge, holla) mall carousel, got Abbott's custard, and then he even washed my arms for me in the bath. What a guy!

With rainbow sprinkles

Jumping practice 
Sunday morning, I was back in the car at 5am, and I couldn't get home to see my boys fast enough. All in all, it was really tough for me to be away from Dalton for that long. I hate myself for saying this, because it's disgustingly cliche, but I really did feel incomplete without him. The time with my niece and nephew was worth it though - I just love those two kids so much! I'm pretty sure Eric generally likes having me around, but he was not-so-secretly pretty psyched to get Dalton all to himself (I'm a baby hog, I admit it). Dalton always has a great time with his dad, so I wasn't concerned about anything, I just always feel like I'm missing out when I'm not with him.

I know most people probably just looked at the cute baby pictures and I can't blame you.

Does your husband do things as well as you? (The answer is always no)

Who knows where the title is a quote from?

What's the best thing you've ever been right about?