Friday, May 30, 2014

Encouragement

The other day, someone I know on Facebook posted this:


Dear Facebook: TMI. I do not want to know how long you breastfed your kid 
and certainly not how dilated you are. Go enjoy your child, don't post that shit. Love, Everbody.


Not to sound a little defensive, but I am pretty sure this was directed towards someone like me since the day before I posted a link to THIS POST and announced that we had made it to our goal of breastfeeding for Henry's whole first year of life.  When I read her post and the very few that agreed with her after it, I was a little enraged.

Good thing I have my very own space on the internet to share my opinions.  And the beauty of this blog is that if you don't like what I have to say, you don't have to read it.

I'll admit that before I had kids, I would have thought these things were kind of overshares too.  Seriously who needs to know about your dilation and boobs?  I also thought breastfeeding in public was disgusting.

And then I had a baby.

Although I will admit that I am a prude and prefer public breastfeeding be covered as much as possible (or should I say as much as the baby will allow), I think commanding women to nurse in the bathroom or their cars is disgusting.  We would never expect adults to eat in a public restroom, why should my baby?  When a mother is nursing her baby uncovered in public and I don't want to see it, I do something completely revolutionary and JUST DON'T LOOK.  It's crazy.

The truth is that having a baby is hard and terrifying.  It's not an overshare to talk about the birth process.  Birth is amazing.  The fact that the human body is capable of growing a person inside itself and then pushing a person out of itself and THEN feeding another person is MIRACULOUS.  Not gross.

And that feeding another person... that is hard work.  Because as a woman, you just gave up your body for 9 months and then went through the process of giving birth and now you have to learn how to feed this brand new person who also has to learn how to eat.  It's hard.  Not a little bit hard.  REALLY REALLY HARD.  Even once you get the process down, nursing continues to change as the baby changes.

When it's the middle of the night, or your milk supply is fluctuating, or you want a night out with the girls or a date with your husband but you have to pump, or your baby bites you over and over and over, one of the few things that can keep you nursing... encouragement.


{I think of this clip anytime I hear the word "encouragement"}


The benefits of breastfeeding are not a secret.  And we should be encouraging women to breastfeed for as long as they and their baby can.  I gave my baby the best chance at long-term health, healthy weight, good ears, protection from disease and sickness, good social skills, and better literacy by breastfeeding him for a year.  I gave up having more than one cup of coffee, more than half a glass of wine, an entire night's sleep, cold medication, and going more than a few hours without lifting my shirt up for an entire year.  I should have a damn parade thrown for me, not be verbally accosted by strangers on the internet.

How dare anyone do anything other than pat me on the back for voicing my excitement that I accomplished this big goal!  I guess it is just another example of how messed up our society is when it comes to birth and breastfeeding.

Ultimately, I feel sorry for people who agree with what that woman posted.  They haven't had the joy/anxiety/love that comes with having a baby.  They haven't realized what an amazing responsibility it is to bring another person into the world and then expect to keep them alive when they can't take care of themselves.

If you don't like what I have to say, don't read it.  Let's work on encouraging each other, instead of judging, shall we?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thanks I didn't ask

Nothing warrants unsolicited advice quite like having a baby.  I would say a close second to actually having a baby would be the unsolicited advice that comes from trying (and struggling) to get pregnant (because obviously something teenagers manage to do in the back of the car is too complicated for some of us adults).

But still... I think it is worse when there's a baby involved.  It takes a village and I guess people feel like their contribution to the village is to offer any "helpful" piece of information they can remember.

In my experience, there are two types of advice:

(1) helpful advice

and

(2) advice people give to make themselves feel better


Personally, I don't mind helpful advice.  My policy is to listen to all of the helpful advice people shell out.  After all, they have been there and I'm not so arrogant to think I have it all figured out.  I don't.  I have managed to keep Henry alive, but that doesn't make me an expert.  I try my best to listen to all of the advice and then pick what I want to put into practice.  As I learned the other day at Henry's doctor appointment, that includes information from the pediatrician too (but that's for a different post).

The second type of advice is what I would categorize as "advice people give to make themselves feel better."  Whether it is to make themselves feel smarter or to justify actions they have taken in the past, this advice actually does very little to serve the person the advice is given to.  For example, when someone tells an expecting mother to "sleep as much as you can now.  You won't be sleeping when the baby comes."  First of all, expecting mothers don't sleep well, so you couldn't follow this advice even if you wanted.  Secondly, reminding someone of their impending sleep deprivation solves nothing.  I think this kind of advice is just a misery loves company kind of thing.

That kind of advice is really hard for me to listen to, but I usually just try to brush it off and move on. It's important to recognize that the person giving that advice feels the need to share it for some reason and I figure I am just being a sounding board for some time of baggage they feel the need to unload.

For that reason, I personally only try to give advice when I honestly think it will benefit the person receiving the advice.  Other than that, I think the most important thing to do for people is to encourage them and (most of the time) keep my mouth shut.

So since you didn't ask... that's how I handle unsolicited advice.  :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Googly-Eyes

Last weekend, my cousin got married.  He's the first of my younger cousins to get married and in some ways it was kind of weird to go to his wedding.  I used to baby-sit him.  It kind of made me feel old, but it also made me feel seasoned and wise.  I know I'm not, but I choose that over old.

The whole wedding was so beautiful.  And it was really cute to look over at them, all goggly-eyed at each, saying their vows with tears in their eyes.  So excited for their future together.

I remember that.

And then I thought to myself, I'm glad they are so madly in love with each other.  Because life certainly doesn't guarantee sunshine and rainbows.

Phil and I are a rarity, I know this.  Most couples do get to experience years of bliss before the struggles of life.  And that's a good thing.  Our pastor told us in our couple's counseling that we needed to build years of happy memories so we could draw on those experiences when life was hard. We just had to do things the opposite way.

It's not that there's any less love when things get hard.  But it is different.  Things change.  Seeing someone scared, coming out of surgery, recovering, completely helpless at times.  You kind of lose a little of the mystery.  Love grows mostly through admiration and a need to bare the weight of situations together.  When your grief and burdens are too much to carry alone, you can carry them together.  That's what marriage is.  Good and bad.  Sickness and health.  Feast and famine.  

The truth is, things feel different these days in the Janney household.  More like they probably should have over the last few years.  There's still grief and fear.  Those things will fade over time, but never fully go away.  But there's also optimism and excitement.

After we get Henry down for his nap on Monday, we walked around the backyard talking about things we wanted to do for landscaping, changes to the house and fence.  We've talked about changes to the front door and the fireplace.  How I want to change the kitchen backsplash or the 2nd bathroom.

We walked Henry to the park and took him down the slide for the first time.  His face lit up and we talked about bringing him back to that park during the summer to use the splash pad.  And the closest park with swings.  We talked about running loops to get back into running again.

We are planning.  We are living.  And it's exciting.

I can feel my goggly-eyes coming back.  :)

{The park wore him out}

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cow Tales: The finale

It's over.

The shop is closed.

We did it.

The morning of his birthday, after barely breastfeeding for a couple of minutes, Henry bit me and showed zero sign of wanting to nurse.  I decided that was it.  He had been distracted when he nursed for at least a week, if not longer.  And when he did nurse, he mostly bit me.  He was obviously done nursing.  We made it one year and a feed, which was my ultimate goal.

I told Henry, "No more boobs until college."

In the last couple of weeks, my supply just kept dropping.  I was faced with a couple of choices.  I could supplement with formula, just switch immediately to cow's milk, or drive myself crazy trying to pump around the clock.

I decided to go with a fourth option and supplement with cow's milk.

We started slowly.  Just an ounce of cow's milk with 4 ounces of breastmilk.  Then the next week, it was 2 ounces of breastmilk.  And then 3 oz of breastmilk.  Now we are on all cow's milk and he's doing pretty well.

I like supplementing with cow's milk for a couple of reasons.  (1) It didn't make sense to me to get him used to formula for a couple of ounces a day for just a few weeks.  (2) I was concerned about Henry rejected cow's milk because of the taste and gradually supplementing helped him to get used to the taste.  (3) My body was able to gradually reduce nursing so weaning really hasn't been uncomfortable.

So that's it!  We made it to our breastfeeding goal!!  The next step: getting him off bottles.  But I don't think I will attempt that for another month or so.

{My big boy needs his own chair}

Friday, May 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Henry!!!

It won't be official until 11:32 tonight, but...


HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. HENRY!!!




You are an awesome dude.  And I love being your mommy.  You've been such a light in a time of a lot of darkness.  I really think God knew our family would need you between mommy's cancer and Papa Ed's cancer.  While we have struggled through the some parts of the first year of parenthood together, all in all you are a pretty darn good baby.



You're not a fan of hugs and kisses, but that makes the ones you give all the sweeter.  And you like to show your affection with proximity.  If I'm walking around, you want to be held by me.  When I'm making dinner, you are at my feet, begging to be picked up.  If you are playing, you like someone in the room with you, preferably on the floor with you.





You took your first 2 steps Wednesday night.  I think it was by accident.  But both your Daddy and I got to see it, so thank you so much for that.  I had resigned myself to the fact that your first steps would probably happen at daycare.  But they didn't.








You made me a mommy and you are such an amazing little man.  I love you more than you will ever know.



In some ways, this year has flown by.  Honestly, I don't think it has.  Your first year of life has had a lot of challenges and changes for all of us.  We made it through together, as a family, just like I hope we will all of life's challenges.  I'm also not so secretly hoping that your second year of life is a little calmer.  :)





I love you, Hank the Tank!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I need to forget...



My little man is almost a year old!  This time last year my water had broken, even though I didn't know it.  I just thought I had lost control of my bladder a little.  It was pouring down rain.  Phil and I went out to breakfast and then to Target to do laps while I had some contractions.

I can and can't believe it all at the same time.  Having a brand new baby usually keeps people from asking about your family planning plans, but as the baby gets older, the question comes back up.  I know this partially because I ask other people the same question (I'm a big believer in having absolutely no shame).

But whenever I get asked this question, I think people are a little taken back by my response.  It probably isn't the response ("Not for a little while longer") as much as the utter look of terror that crosses my face.  And I think that surprises some people because I have always been very vocal about wanting a large family.  I still do want a big family...

However...

There are a few things I need to forget before I am ready incubate another human.

-  Pregnancy wasn't so bad for me.  I didn't have morning sickness, but instead had terrible indigestion.  I didn't have to pee a million times in the middle of the night.  Sure, I was uncomfortable at the end but I plan on counterbalancing that the next time around with a king bed and giant pregnancy pillow.  You know what did hit me hard... pregnancy weight gain.  I ate pretty stinkin' healthy and still managed to gain 59 lbs.  I gained a steady pound a week for the first 2/3rd of the pregnancy.  That much weight gain was terrifying.  And even though I had lots of women telling me that I would lose the weight and not to worry, it sucks to gain so much and feel like an absolute whale.  I have very few pictures from my pregnancy with Henry because I was so embarrassed with how I looked.  I need to forget about the weight gain.  Next pregnancy... much more working out.

-  I won't even get into his birth because I think I am still traumatized from it.  How I ended up avoiding a c-section is beyond me, but I think it is SOLELY because of Phil and Joanna.  If they hadn't been there cheering me on, I would have given up during pushing.  After 2 FULL DAYS of labor and 2 hours of pushing every 2 minutes, I seriously almost gave up.  The kid's giant head was stuck on my pelvic bone.  Next pregnancy... A LOT of walking and squatting.

-  It started almost immediately after he was born.  I thought I was allergic to the bed sheets, since my toes were super itchy.  Turns out it had actually started before he was born.  The rash I had all over my stomach turned out to be a hormonal rash.  It moved to my feet after he was born and then spread up my legs.  Awful little blisters everywhere that burned and itched so bad.  Showers made me itch.  Blankets made me itch.  Pants made me itch.  The only thing that helped with the searing pain was bags of ice.  It only lasted about 7 days and then it started getting better.  Next time, I am going to start taking Zyrtec at like 37 weeks.  Plus someone told me that they got the rash once, but didn't get it with their next two pregnancies.  Fingers (and itchy toes) crossed.

-  The hormones didn't just give me a rash, but also some AWFUL baby blues.  Looking back, I actually think I had a little post-partum depression.  When the evenings came, I just wanted to cry.  I hated being in our bedroom so much that we actually camped out in our living room for almost a month, sleeping on the couches.  My parents spent a lot of time over at our house that first month and every time they would leave, I would cry.  I didn't actually snap out of it until we went back to Virginia for an emergency trip when Phil's dad was in the hospital.  And even then, I cried as we packed.  I'm hopeful that this next time won't be as bad because it won't be as overwhelming.

-  Pumping.  I hate pumping.  Breastfeeding is no problem.  If I could stay home with him all the time, it would be fine (except for the biting.  Ouch).  Don't get me wrong, I am super thankful I have been able to pump and have enough milk to last for basically a full year.  But I HATE pumping.  I need to forgot about my disdain for pumping.

-  Henry is an awesome baby.  I seriously don't know how we lucked out.  I take ZERO credit for how cute and happy he is.  So it isn't like we have had a super challenging babe to take care of.  Quite the opposite.  If I could be guaranteed to have all my babies be just like him, I could have half a dozen (although I would like at least ONE baby to be cuddly, please!  I only get Henry cuddles when he is sick).  But there are no guarantees in life (except death and taxes, I suppose) and I am slightly terrified that we will get a very high-maintenance little one next time.

-  Daycare.  It is EX.PEN.SIVE.  Seriously.  I at least need Henry to get out of the baby room before we have another kid.  Ideally, it would be nice if he was out of the potty-training room (yes... they do the potty-training at daycare).  It drops significantly in price.


I don't mean to sound like I am complaining.  I am overjoyed that I was able to experience pregnancy and childbirth since I know there are so many women who can't.  Ultimately, the real reason I want to wait a little while longer is because I am absolutely loving all the time with Henry.  We get to focus all of our attention on just him.  It won't ever be like this again.  Just the 3 of us.  So while I am trying to forget about all the reasons above, I am enjoying my little man.  Was he worth absolutely everything I listed?  Totally.  Without a doubt.  I'd go through even more for him.

But if given the choice, can we please skip the rash next time?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Oh yeah, we bought a house

I apologize for the blog silence.  I know I've said that for a while.  But we have had a good reason.

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

Henry says, "I'm moving!!"

We closed last Tuesday.  Took possession on Friday.  Celebrated with some champs and a floor picnic Friday night.  And then moved in on Saturday.  Also thrown into the mix was Henry getting the stomach flu.  You know what makes packing difficult?  When the pediatrician tells you to spoon feed your baby 2 teaspoons of Pedialyte every 2 minutes for at least 4 hours after he last vomits.



We fell in love with this house the second we saw it.  The home owner was quite a stickler through the whole process, but it all worked out in the end.  We have some small things we need to do to it this summer.  Minor repairs.  But all in all, it was move in ready.

So now we are frantically trying to unpack.  The sooner we unpack, the sooner we can relax and enjoy our new house!

Henry has already found a new favorite spot.

{He took his own pants off.  Pants are overrated.}

Monday, May 12, 2014

Some thoughts on Mother's Day

There are a million Mother's Day posts on Facebook and in blogland from yesterday and today.  I will add to the bunch.

Yesterday marked my first official Mother's Day and my guys spoiled me.

Henry dressed up and they took me out to breakfast where Henry proceeded to be very good and eat his first pancake.

{Ignore the Christmas bib.  We are working on getting our money's worth out of that one}


Then he was very tired.  Cause pancake eating is hard.



We went to church, then home for a nap (just Henry) and then over to my parents' house for lunch.  Back home for another nap (everyone) and then a phone call to Phil's mom, dinner, bath and early bed.

It was a wonderful day, full of reminders of how blessed I am to be a mom.

But the day was also bittersweet.

I couldn't help but think about all the childless Mom's out there.  The ones who have lost babies and the ones who are still waiting and wishing for their babies.

I'm not sure if part of me will ever get over the pain of past Mother's Days.  The pain of not pregnant month after month.  Of finding out there are actual road blocks in the way to having a baby.  Of having cancer and (even though the prognosis was always good) fearing illness may make having a baby impossible.  And then the pain of having to wait after cancer treatments.

All while everyone else and their dog seems to get pregnant at the top of the hat.

I remember one day, finding out that 5 people were having a baby all before noon.  That required cake.  And wine.

I bargained, begged and pleaded that I would become a mom.

The challenges to become a mom and the sad Mother's Days of the past changed me.  It made me painfully aware of how precious the gift of motherhood is.  And how painful it was to wait for it.

I'm so grateful that I get to be a Mommy.

I didn't need a gift for Mother's Day.  Being a Mom is a gift.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

My week of radon... we survived

In case you were wondering, my radon class was A BLAST.  I mean... absolutely no question, right?  5 whole days of learning exactly how radon can make you sick, the stats about radon making you sick, and then learning all the challenges about mitigating radon really made me feel like living in a tent outside.  But I don't like camping in the rain, so I decided that wasn't a good idea.

Let me just say this... TEST YOUR HOUSE FOR RADON!!

If you want to know how to do this, send me an e-mail or leave a comment.  There are a couple of different ways to test for it and depending on the test, the time of year, and how long you are willing to wait for an answer, you can get different answers.

ANYWAY...

Besides sitting in a cold classroom for 5 days, I also got to drive in traffic for 2 hours each day.  And what really made it so much better was that I didn't get to hang out with Henry in the morning.  Not only did I miss him, but since I usually nurse him before he goes to daycare, it posed an additional challenge.

I ended up having to wake up at 4:50 in the morning every day so I could pump, shower, get ready, and get out the door by 6:15 every day.  What is really weird to me is that I haven't been able to get up before 6:20 any day this week.  Funny how that works out.

We survived the week.  I have to say it wasn't nearly as bad as Phil and I thought it was going to be.  And I think that was largely because I had made all that food ahead of time.  We had time to hang out, eat, do the 3 dishes we generated from dinner, and pack everything up for the next day with enough time that I still got to hang out with Phil after Henry went to sleep.

And it helped that Phil sent me pictures of Henry every morning.

{They might be blurry, but I don't care.  Too cute}

Being a working momma is hard.
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