The thought of weaning

I had a realisation tonight.  My baby is 6 months old.  I have planned to breastfeed him until he’s a year old…halfway there.  And I’m so not ready to think about weaning.

I thought I would be eager to wean.  I thought I would be ready to have my boobs back, my room back, my bed back…

but it’s not that simple.

I always thought it was weird when mothers said that they loved nursing.  I guess I just thought of it anatomically instead of the connection side of it.  

And now, I am that mother saying to you that I love nursing.  Nursing is a time when I can cradle my baby, cuddle him, and savour my moments with him as a baby.  As he gets older and busier, nursing is a time when he is still and cuddly.  Nursing is a time when I can breathe in and relax, forgetting my anxieties and troubles.  Nursing not only provides me with a sacred time with my son, but also I know I am giving him the best gift of nourishment physically and emotionally.  I am giving him the gift of antibodies, vitamins, minerals, lowered risk of disease, and a place of comfort and security.  I’m giving myself a decreased risk of breast cancer and, again, time to sit down and quiet my soul.

It makes me cry to think about giving this beautiful ritual up anytime soon.  Because my baby wouldn’t wean on his own for 2-4 years, and maybe that’s what he needs.  Because when he does wean, he will be a little less my baby and a little more grown up.  And both of those realisations sting.  Oh, my heart.

I will cherish every second and hope that we’re both ready when the time comes…whether that’s at 1 year or beyond.

Advertisements

Exhaustion and teething.

Oh, Friends, I am so very exhausted tonight.  

Cody is teething, and every time I think he’s going to cut a tooth, his symptoms get more intense.  I keep wondering how much more intense they’re going to get before we see that first tooth.  

Last night, he wanted to be held all night.  Once, when I tried to put him down, he gagged.  Immediately, I sat him up, and his little tummy was convulsing to vomit.  He’s one of the “happy chucker” babies, but it was different than that.  It was a sick vomit, and he cried and cried…and I’m questioning whether or not my reintroduction of dairy has anything to do with it (I have started this week and that’s the only time he’s done that).  Or is it just another teething symptom?  It’s so hard to tell.  I desperately want it to just be a teething symptom so I can have sour cream on my nachos, but I just don’t know.  Do any of you have advice or information about how to tell if an older baby is intolerant to dairy or other foods in breast milk?  I’ve googled it and looked on kellymom to no clear avail.  

So, I didn’t sleep well last night, but I’m hoping I will tonight.  He was fine all day today (although he slept a lot more than usual).  Anyway, hopefully we’ll get a tooth soon.

Also, do teething symptoms stay the same until they get all their teeth, or do they get a bit better after the first couple of teeth?  I just can’t imagine two years of this, especially since coffee and my beloved tea makes Cody very fussy.  I wouldn’t mind the sleep deprivation so much if I could have a bit more caffeine.  Until then, I’m wearing my “don’t mess with me” face and enjoying my cuddles…even if they are in the middle of the night.

Reflection: Legacies

1043945R-AST10920A5

My mom and me.

I’ve thought a lot lately about the impressions I want to leave on Cody.  I’ve thought about how the way I view myself, treat myself, and express myself directly affects him and the way he will one day view women.  I take this very seriously.

Growing up, I remember observing my mother’s desire to lose weight on a frequent basis.  I remember the way she described herself as “big boned” (she’s not.  She, in fact, wears a petite size and is a very small but shapely woman).  These behaviors often perplexed me even as a child, because all I could see was her beauty.  They did deeply affect the way I have seen myself, inside and out, throughout my life.

I’m happy to say my mom is now becoming more and more confident as each year passes.  She’s finally allowing the Lord to tell her who she is in Him instead of listening to the feelings that have betrayed her over the years.  And this is helping me, even still.  I may be a grown woman, but the life my parents carry out still affects me.

It’s humbling to think that what I do, say, think, and feel will effect Cody so deeply.  I know that if I stay in the Word and continue seeking God, He will let everything else fall into place with my mothering.  I won’t be perfect, of course, but hopefully I can leave a wholesome impression on my sweet son.

Sweet moments in mothering

I have had many moments already in my time as a mother when I took a mental snapshot and knew I could never forget.  

Cody loves to look me in the eyes sometimes when I’m rocking him.  He settles right down and just looks at me, and my heart overflows with love.  A few times, he has fallen asleep this way.  Sweet.

One of my favorite new things that Cody has started doing is touching my face, particularly when he has just woken up.  I often put him up on our bed for his naps and keep a keen ear out for him or stay and do my devos while he sleeps.  I just love it when he first wakes up.  I’ll say a little “hello” and he’ll give me a smile and reach out for my face.  Sweet.

Early this morning, Cody became really fussy.  I kept trying to feed him, but he would suckle and then fall asleep.  I would promptly put him down, he would settle, and I would go back to sleep only to be awakened by more fussing shortly after.  A few times this happened, so I tried putting him up into bed with me.  When he still fussed a few minutes later, I picked him up and placed him on my shoulder.  He immediately fell asleep, and it felt good knowing that my arms are his comfort.  Sweet.

What are some of your favorite sweet moments?

Choosing a name

When we first found out I was pregnant, we discussed one of the seemingly monumental decisions: Whether or not to find out the gender before the birth.  We decided, yes, we would like to find out, because we felt the responsibility of choosing a name and wanted to narrow it down.  I really didn’t care which gender we ended up with, but I knew if we ended up with a boy that the name would be a challenge.

And it was.

For months, I made lists and paid attention to every. single. name. I came across.  I looked on movie credits, my facebook friends list, the Bible, authors, etc.  And, for months, I would mention my listed names to my husband and realise this decision would be even harder than we thought. We either didn’t agree on the name or, because we’re both teachers, we would think of some snot nosed kid who had that name that we didn’t want to think of every time we looked at our snot nosed kid (snot happens).

Here are some of the names I thought about that Daniel said were “okay”

  1. Grayson
  2. Owen
  3. Joel
  4. Judah

There were many more, but these were some that I came back to a few times.  Here are a few of the names my husband liked that I thought were “okay”

  1. Charles (and we would call him “Chuck)
  2. Jehoiakim
  3. Mephibosheth
  4. Joash

Okay, so most of his were a joke, which only added to my frustration.  On and on we looked and discussed.  We wanted a name that had a good meaning that we both liked and that suited our little boy.

We finally found his name in my elementary school yearbook.

Cody (helper) James (named after his grandpa)

When Cody was born and we saw him, we both knew that would be his name.  It’s funny, we didn’t talk about it for several hours after the birth (because with all my recovery, we didn’t get the chance), but when we did, it was a very quick decision.  (May I also add that the name was the one thing we kept a secret until he was born, partially because it was undecided and partially because we didn’t want anyone giving their two cents about whether or not they liked the name since it was our decision.  I am so glad we kept it between us, and I don’t know that we’ll ever tell anyone for subsequent kids, either).

So don’t give up, pregnant women of the world.  You will find that perfect name and be so in love with your little one that you don’t even miss any of the others.

The home water birth of Cody James

I have started writing this post many times, and many times have erased the thoughts I have splattered on the screen.  I guess it’s difficult to sit down and write out your birth story…to pick the parts that matter and leave some of the details that don’t matter.  So, I will attempt it once again and use the photos as my guide to sharing one of the best days of my life with you.

I started having contractions around my due date that were incredibly irregular.  I felt so ready to meet my little boy and not be swollen and pregnant anymore.  The contractions continued for a few days until one afternoon 3 days after my due date.  

I called my midwife, Sonya, to let her know what was going on, and she said just to keep an eye on things and see if/how things progressed.  It was about 4:30 in the afternoon at that stage, and the rest of the night I paid close attention to every twang.  After a few hours, things were getting a little stronger but still irregular.  I moaned through each contraction to keep myself calm and relaxed (and laughed a little when hubby said from the other room “What are you doing?”).  We kept calling Sonya to update her and see if this was really it.  I remember doubting that it was, because the contractions were so irregular, but at 10 pm that night, there was blood in my underwear (something Sonya told us to watch for).  We gathered our things and slowly made our way to Sonya’s house where I would have the home water birth I wanted.

The car ride wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Neither were the contractions.  They were definitely manageable, even as they continued to gain strength.

When we arrived at Sonya’s house, I walked in the room I was to birth in and immediately knew this was going to be the birth I wanted.  The room was dark with candles lit everywhere and twinkle lights.  Everyone was calm, yet I could feel the excitement in the air.

Image

My student midwife, Stephanie, checking baby’s heartbeat in the middle of a contraction.

Image

Hubby reminding me not to tense my shoulders during a contraction (something I asked him to do).

After a few hours, I knew I must be approaching transition, because I was beyond ready to get in the birthing pool and I started to feel the urge to push.  Sonya said that was great but to hold off until my body pushed on its own.  

Let me take a quick intermission and tell you that I was determined not to be two things throughout my labor: A screaming angry woman and a woman begging for an epidural.  I knew I could do this, and I knew I could stay sane in the midst of it.  

Anyway, I put off asking to get in the pool as long as I could stand it and finally asked.  It was a massive pool, and Jorga (the midwife’s daughter and a dear friend to me) and Stephanie (the student midwife) had been boiling water to fill it with for the whole time we’d been there.  Sonya gave me the go ahead as soon as they had it filled, which was only a little while later.  

Getting into the pool felt amazing.

Image

Me and hubby during a contraction. This was pretty much the setup for the rest of the birth.

Image

In between contractions

Soon after entering the water, my body started pushing.  Now, before this moment, I thought pushing would involve a voluntary bearing down that I would enjoy knowing it meant progress.  Boy, was I wrong.  For me, pushing was a completely involuntary thing that my body did, and I just had to ride the wave.  

Image

Pushing

Image

A short break between contractions. Sonya checking baby’s heartbeat.

My contractions never did get regular, so I would have 3 or 4 big pushing contractions and then a longer break, 3 or 4 more and so on.  

Image

In between pushing contractions.

I could feel the baby coming down, and I knew the time would come soon.  That didn’t stop me from thinking, “How much longer?”  Many women speak of birth being like a mountain you climb, and pushing was the part of this journey where I could see the top but everything ached and all I wanted to do was let go.  

At one stage, I heard Sonya calmly say to Pamela (the 2nd midwife) that I might need to get out of the pool because I was bleeding.  I could only see a slight bit of bleeding, and Sonya was calm, so I wasn’t worried.  I knew somehow that I wouldn’t need to move.  Looking back now, I know that things could’ve become serious very fast.  The bleed was fairly massive, but it ended up being a tear and not a hemmorhage.  (I will spare you the photos of the bleed).  We found out later that Cody had his hand on his cheek and at the last minute brought it down which caused the tearing.

I don’t know how much longer it was after that, but it felt like an eternity.  I was sweating, exhausted, shaking from weakness, and irritable (but only in my head).  I was ready to meet my son and have the stage called “pushing” over with.  

And then, suddenly, Sonya said, “Samantha, reach down and pick up your baby.”  I looked down into the water and saw my sweet boy floating peacefully.  I will never forget that moment.

I used to think that love at first sight was a fluke…but after seeing my son for the first time and falling head over heels, I know it is a truth that every parent has experienced.  

I looked over at my husband after Cody was out of the water and saw the look of love and emotion on his face.  We both cried tears of joy and knew our lives would never be the same.

(Sorry I don’t have photos from this part.  Someone took photos, but they got lost in the shuffle…so so sad about that).

Image

Cody JamesImage

Climb every mountain

Image

“Pretty Place” Greenville, SC

Reflecting on labor over the past week has brought up a plethora of emotions.  

I feel like I’m about to go on a huge trip to a majestic mountain…and I have to climb that mountain.  And it’s dangerous.  And it’s invigorating.  And it’s terrifying.  And it’s exciting.  And I don’t know if I can do it, but I have to do it.  And I could die, but I probably won’t.  And when I make it to the top, it will be the most amazing view I’ve ever seen.  A little boy that has grown in my womb for the past 9 months…that looks like the perfect mixture of me and my husband.  Am I ready for this?

To help me through labor, I put together a list of Scriptures that I have also printed and will hang around where I’m birthing.  Here’s the list: 

“But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”  2 Thess. 3:3

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13

“Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged.  For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

And a couple of quotes:

You alone are enough.  You have nothing to prove to anybody.”  Maya Angelou

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” Bill Cosby

From now on, it’s a waiting game.  I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my son.  I will climb that mountain, so to speak.  It will be beautiful.

The closing of a beautiful chapter

The last few days, I’ve found myself feeling sad.  Honestly, it makes me feel a little crazy that I’m sad, because I’m about to welcome a beautiful little boy into the world.  I sat yesterday pondering why I’m sad, and I realised it’s because I have limited time with just me and my husband left.  Of course, I knew this was coming…the whole 9 months, I’ve been thinking about savoring every second I have with just him…but now that it’s here, now that I could have my son anytime, I’m becoming fiercely protective of my time left with just me and hubby.  And, of course, this is the time when everyone wants to catch up with us before the baby comes (which is lovely), but I just want to curl up in our cocoon and be left alone until we get settled with the baby.  Plus, I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable, which adds to my crankiness with people popping by our house or wanting to have coffee or whatever.

I guess the only thing I can do is lean into these feelings and allow myself to process them as much as possible.  I think they are what’s holding off labor right now (it is really such a mental thing, I think), so I’m working on it.  There are a couple of things I want to see and do with hubby (like see the Hobbit movie) before the baby comes, and I have a feeling the baby will feel more comfortable arriving after I’m settled with those things.

Anyone else feeling this way?

Please don’t mistake this post as being in any way unhappy about the baby coming.  I am beyond thrilled to meet my son and know him…and beyond thrilled to move on to the next chapter…it’s just a bittersweet time.

Autumn

Today was one of the first days that (finally) felt like Autumn.  I love Autumn.  Apples and leaves changing colors…sweaters and blankets.  Hot chocolate.  Pumpkin muffins.  Aaaah, I love it.  I celebrated by cleaning, doing laundry, and making apple butter.  When you live in another country and can’t get certain things, you learn to make it yourself.  Enter apple butter.  It turned out very nice.

Another good thing about today: Public holiday.  Today was ANZAC day in Australia.  This is similar to Veterans day in America.  It’s a day where we remember the men and women who have died to give freedom to the country.  I am thankful for them, both in Australia and America.

And another good thing: All signs pointing to O!  The only thing not working in my favor is the fact that my husband is sick.  Makes the whole ttc thing a bit more difficult.  Hoping O happens in the next few days so he has a chance to feel better.  

 

DAY 24:  Does your religion (or lack of) help/hurt/affect your infertility journey?  Have you found religion?  Lost it?  Does it affect what treatments you do?

If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, you’ll know the answer to this question already.  My relationship with Jesus affects everything…especially this time in my life.  His timing is perfect, and I believe in His promises.

DAY 25:  What was your first baby or pregnancy-related purchase you ever made?  Was it before or after you started trying to conceive?  Or was it after you were already pregnant?  Why did you choose that particular item to buy first?  If you haven’t purchased anything yet, why not?

I finally broke down and bought some onesies while in America.  They’re blank, and I’m looking forward to decorating them once I get my bfp.  I did this just before we started ttc.  I thought it would be a good item because it’s gender neutral and will be a fun way to celebrate the good news.

Changing the subject to my top 5 fertility resources.

DAY 14:  Tell us about your funniest Clomid/Follistim/injectables mood-swing story.  If you don’t have one, tell us your funniest general infertility drug story.


Sorry, Ladies, I don’t have any stories yet, as we are new to this ttc thing.  I promise I will share them with you as we go along, though.
 
I wanted to share some of my favorite fertility resources with you sometime, and I think this may be a good time to do so, since the question didn’t conjure up much of a response.  So, here are my top 5 baby/fertility resources:
 
1. Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  A lady from church gave me an older version of this, and I’ve been addicted to charting ever since.  It makes so much sense to be aware of what’s happening with your body, and this has been a vital resource for my pcos relief.
 
2. Making Babies.  I ordered this book with some amazon credit I received for my birthday last year.  We weren’t ready to begin ttc, so this was what I bought to curb my baby fever for awhile.  It has helped to have something to focus on leading up to this ttc.  This book is great when you’re ttc, too, because it has all kinds of tips about infertility and different types of fertility.  The authors combine eastern and western medicine, and I enjoyed the read.  Very informative, and I’m constantly going back to it as a resource.
 
3. Spearmint Baby.  This blog is adorable.  It has everything from maternity photos to birth stories to nurseries and more.  I read this blog when I’m feeling most inflicted with baby fever.
 
4. Passionate Homemaking.  This blog is about far more than pregnancy and fertility.  There are recipes, homemaking tips, and Spiritual articles.  I love that you can click on the “babies and bellies” section and focus on that or just bask in the nature of this family-oriented blog.  I would highly recommend checking out her recipes, and particularly the one about making 4 meals out of one whole chicken.  I do this all the time and make my own gluten free/soy free chicken stock from her recipe.  
 
5. Fertility Friend.  How could I not mention this site?  I am constantly on ff inputting my bbt and charting info, and I’ve just started going on the forums a little bit just to browse and see what the boards are like.
 
Speaking of forums and boards, have you ever been on the bump and browsed some of their boards?  The women sure are snarky!  Makes me so thankful for our little wordpress community and the support I’ve already received from you ladies.  So, thank you so much for being awesome and lovely and not at all snarky.  Hope y’all have a great week!