Category Archives: Newborn

An Emotional Miscarriage

Part of the craziness of the past summer included 2 miscarriages for me. Before the 1st, I knew a few friends had had one, but I didn’t get it. I probably even said, “It’s because something was terribly wrong. It’s a good thing.” Or some version of that dreadful line. I didn’t know what to say. And I definitely had no way to relate. Our two boys’ pregnancies were smooth sailing. But now I get it. At least a little bit. Having a miscarriage is one of the most emotional things that I’ve gone through.

Unfortunately, it’s a special club that only those who have experienced it can understand. And then for some reason we never talk about it.

I had a missed miscarriage. That means I found out by ultrasound that our baby did not have a heartbeat and that I would be miscarrying sometime in the coming weeks. That day was full of mixed emotions. Disbelief. Hope that they were wrong (I’ve read lots of stories where that has happened). Guilt that something I had done caused it. Fear about what would happen. Heartbreak that we had lost our baby. Over the next few days life went on as normal in many ways. I still had to be mom, D still had to go to work and yet lingering over me was the threat of a miscarriage at any moment. I had the ultrasound on a Monday and I had the miscarriage that Friday. Those days passed like a haze. I know I was delusional because I went to the zoo one of those days. Thank goodness nothing happened then!

A dear friend was my ‘on call’ buddy. I knew I needed someone to be here, but Damien couldn’t just wait indefinitely for something to happen. My girlfriend had had a miscarriage and she was so kind to be with me. God orchestrated that day perfectly. My friend was here when I needed her, D was able to come right home, the boys were able to take their naps right in the middle of everything and the miscarriage was resolved by bedtime. I don’t understand why miscarriages happen (well, scientifically I do). But I do know that God is there. Even in the hurt and the heartbreak and the disappointment. He is there and He is good. I can’t explain that, but I can tell you beyond any doubt that I have experienced it.

Throughout the whole process, one of the biggest blessings was that I had announced the pregnancy before the ultrasound. And so then I told everyone that our baby did not have a heartbeat. The support and prayers and messages from friends who had experienced miscarriage too was overwhelming. I know that those prayers helped carry me through. I was stunned by how many of my friends knew exactly what it was like to lose a baby. Why don’t we talk about it more? Why don’t we support each other? Why do we not announce pregnancies before the end of the 1st trimester? Every baby matters. Every single one. Ask any mother who has lost one.

If you have had a miscarriage, my heart goes out to you. Your baby(ies) are loved and you are loved. If you haven’t had a miscarriage, I am so glad for you! Find a friend who has and give them a hug. Pray for them. Get them some small token to remember the little ones they have lost. And don’t try to say anything to make it better.

And announce your pregnancies. Every baby matters. Just because they are lost before 12 weeks does not make them any less in God’s eyes. And definitely not in their mother’s eyes. Get the support that your heart will need.

And with that……

I just found out that I am pregnant!

I would love prayers for a healthy pregnancy and for peace.


An Incredible Blessing

It’s been a little while since I updated everyone on Little C’s weight gain issues.

At our 4 month appointment, the Dr. said he looked good, but wanted us to continue supplementing him with 2oz of milk a day. I’m not really sure how long she expected/s us to do this, but I’m hoping to schedule another weight check in the next couple of weeks to see if we can stop.

The bad news is that I have officially run out of my own expressed milk. I continue to try to pump, but I get roughly 1/2 an ounce at night before bed and if I pump in the morning I am just stealing it from him; it’s not really a supplement at that point. I can pump 3 oz, but then he doesn’t have those 3oz to drink when he wakes up. I’m not refilling as fast as I would like so it’s not really working.

The good news is that I have an incredible friend! I knew that one of my friends had/has over 400 oz of milk in her freezer and I took the risk and asked if she was willing to share. I know that sounds pretty crazy, but I decided I would rather use breastmilk (from a healthy friend I trust) over formula. In the end if we need formula, that’s fine. I just knew I had a potential source of mama’s milk and I didn’t want to not ask. God is so good, because not only did she say yes and give me 50 0z!!!, but it’s from when her daughter was the same age as Little C. He has had a few bottles now and he didn’t even notice. It is such a blessing that she was able to share and hopefully I can use the time while I have her milk to pump at least some of my own.

Both boys are doing great and they are such a blessing. I am so thankful that God has given us two perfect little boys.


And We’re at it Again…

So… After all that we had a not so good third weight check this week. In the past week he has only gained one ounce! I’m not even sure how that happened. He eats constantly, and I definitely feel like there is more milk for him.

In general, I do pretty good about avoiding mommy guilt, but knowing that he’s not getting enough food is tough. He’s a pretty happy kid and I just need to focus on that, but it’s so easy to feel like a failure. I just want the best for him and currently, my body is not cooperating.

Over the next few days I need to focus on pumping and I think I’ll focus on having some more cuddle time with the little one. Let’s see if I can get him to nurse all day and boost my supply that way.

I would appreciate your prayers and encouragement! Thank you for supporting me, even just by reading.


Supply and Demand

A little over a week ago, I found out I was having supply issues and little C wasn’t getting enough food. I am happy to report that we had our check up with the lactation consultant and all is good!

God’s timing is pretty amazing. I just happened to find out that I would need to pump several times a day as I was headed home to Havasu for a week. Talk about a mini miracle. Pumping when I’m home alone with the boys is basically impossible. If it’s a good time to pump, Big C needs me. If he’s happy or asleep, little one needs to eat. It’s a vicious cycle. Pumping with my family around to take care of the boys was actually nice. Pumping became a time where I got to sit by myself and be left alone for a few minutes. Because I was able to pump a bunch my supply has seemed to recover nicely. Little C gained 14 oz in 8 days! I’m excited to see how much he continues to grow between now and his 4 month appointment.

I do still have to make sure I keep my supply up and pump sometimes, but not constantly. I am so thankful that everything went so smoothly.


Bumps in the Road

Little one just turned three months. It has been amazing watching him find his hands and smile and start to laugh. It is so fun when he smiles and coos at us, but even better when he gets excited to see his big brother. Amidst our lovely baby moon, we hit a slight bump.

Little C is in the less than first percentile (just like big brother was), but he actually didn’t gain enough weight in the past month so we went to see a lactation consultant. I was worried that they would want me to do one or both of a) wean big brother and/or b)supplement with formula. It’s not that I am unwilling to do either of those, but I didn’t want that to be the quick answer instead of investigating the real problem.

Thankfully, we eliminated problems like tongue tie or a sucking issue. It seems like it is definitely a supply issue. I was surprised because it seems like big brother can get whatever he wants, whenever he wants. However, sleeping through the night in the first month (I know, I know, but now I have to pump around the clock. I got my payback.) killed my supply. I didn’t really think about it because getting to sleep was so amazing. I should have realized that I needed to pump or do something at night. Lesson learned, that’s for sure.

I’ll supplement little one with pumped milk to help him get enough while I get my supply back up. I’m just so thankful that although the solution is time consuming, there are no issues with Little C and I don’t have to do either of the things I was dreading.

I could definitely use some prayers as I’m pumping all the time. I’m not sure how that’s going to fit into taking care of two boys. Oh, and did I mention how much I hate pumping?!

Any tips to help me out? I’d love to hear them!


If I could do it over again

My little one is now almost 3 months old and so I’ve been tandem nursing for 3 months. If I had the chance for a do over, I’m not so sure I would do it again. I know several people who are currently pregnant and thinking about tandem nursing and I know I had a hard time finding anyone who had written about their experience, so I thought I would share the pros and cons. I honestly don’t know if I would choose to wean Caleb if I had the chance to do it over, but I would have loved some honest information.

The Good:

I love having designated time that I HAVE to sit down with Big C and focus on him. I don’t have to make an effort to make sure I’m paying attention to him because I have that time built in by default. I also love that my rowdy, active, and not so cuddly boy has to calm down for a few minutes and just cuddle with mom. I love that I can comfort him so easily when he is tired, hurt, scared, or just wants to be loved.

The Bad:

Logistically, it’s almost always inconvenient. When little brother is hungry it seems to remind big brother that he’d like a snack too. For the first few weeks (maybe the whole first month), big brother was very jealous and had a really hard time understanding why he now had to share and/or couldn’t be eating at the same time (sorry, not happening here).

The newborn phase already makes you feel like a dairy cow. Without fail, the minute I finally get a chance to eat, drink, pee, whatever – that’s when Big C wants some milk too. Generally speaking I’m not stressed out, but I don’t really ever get a break. On bad days, it’s pretty draining. On good days, it’s pretty inconvenient.

The Ugly:

Because Big C is only 18 months older than Little C, we have some communication issues. He doesn’t understand the “Cole only gets milk – you get to eat food,” or “You can wait, he can’t” arguments. The biggest issue is in the morning. They both nurse like crazy when they first wake up. Many days they wake up at different times and so this doesn’t really matter (except it’s still inconvenient 🙂 ). However; when they wake up at the same time, I feel like I’m in the middle of a war zone. I have to change diapers and get us all in the same place – usually our bed since it’s big and comfy. Then I try to feed Little C first since he obviously actually NEEDS the milk. Well, that doesn’t go over well and I have one angry toddler on my hands. He screams, he tries to climb on me, sometimes he even gets mad at his little brother. It’s all totally understandable, but it makes for an awful morning. If I try to sneak Big C in for a minute or two, the little one screams. It’s pretty much a huge lose, lose situation. I feel like I could have saved a lot of trouble by just weaning him before brother showed up.

Conclusion:

I still can’t tell you what I’d decide if I had to do it again. Some days I am so over nursing them both, I’m ready to forcibly wean big brother. Other days, I love getting to spend quality time with them both. When I was pregnant with big brother I didn’t have any goals related to nursing. I wanted to do it because it was free. Now I’m some kind of hippie who not only nurses her 20 month old, but is tandem nursing 2 kids! I think for the sanity of our family, we will strongly consider weaning around his 2nd birthday, but for now we’re still carrying on. Choosing to tandem nurse is obviously a personal one. I don’t regret tandem nursing, but I can’t say I’m thrilled that I chose to. Hopefully, my experience will help you decide for your family.

 


7 Weeks

Our little man is already 7 weeks old. It’s hard to believe how fast it’s gone. Having two kids hasn’t been nearly as tough as I had imagined. Most of my expectations turned out totally differently.

Having a newborn has been so much less stressful the second time. It’s easy to just enjoy him and big brother. Life is crazy, but it’s not overwhelming. I remember feeling constantly overwhelmed the first time. Everything was so new, nursing hurt like crazy, and I was pretty sure we would break him. I never felt like I knew what I was doing and I was always second guessing myself. Thankfully, in the past year and a half I’ve learned to trust my instincts and I’ve gained a lot of confidence in myself. God has really helped me through my biggest fears and struggles. Without turning to him, I don’t know how I would be able to overcome some of the fears that come with parenting.

The biggest challenge with two seems to be logistics. How do I accomplish the same things I used to? Feeding two kids, changing two diapers, getting two kids dressed, packing two kids into the car. It’s quite the challenge. It can be tough to divide my attention. It seems they have an uncanny ability to both need me at exactly the same time. It’s hard to let one cry while I deal with the other one, but there’s no other solution. It’s not for very long and big brother is great at trying to help entertain little C.

Little C has finally started having longer awake periods – and more importantly stretches of time where he’s not just eating, but happy and just looking around. It is fun to get to know him and start to learn about his personality, but it is even better to watch him interact with his brother. Big C loves to go lay down right next to him or pat his belly, hold his hand, or give him a kiss. The best is when little brother actually pays attention to him. On several occasions, he will even stop crying if big brother comes over. It is amazing to watch them together and I can’t wait until they can really play together.

Big C is so much fun. I think this age has to be my favorite so far. He is learning a million words a day and he is so funny. He loves to joke and be silly and he loves his little brother. He finally likes (will actually let us) read to him and his bedtime stories have become a favorite. He knows the names of the main characters of each one and will ask for them by name. During the day he will go pick out a book and ‘read’ it aloud. He just babbles for each page and generally inserts real words when he sees something in a picture that he recognizes. He is also obsessed with disc golf and loves the kid sized basket and discs we got for him. He can actually throw them pretty well too.

I love watching him with Damien. That boy loves his dad! He copies everything dad does – even how he is sitting or standing. He yells every time dad gets home, and asks for him first thing every morning. I am so thankful for a husband who is so active in our kids’ lives. He loves to play and wrestle with big C and he also is great at giving him a bath and reading him bedtime stories. He willingly changes little C’s diapers and makes sure he holds him when he can (meaning when he’s not attached to me). He is great about taking the boys if I need a break and he understands when things aren’t done around the house. I couldn’t dream of a better partner to raise our kids or a better example for our boys to emulate.


Elimination Communication a Year Later

Fair warning – I’m talking about pee and poop here.

It has been a year since we decided to try elimination communication with Big C. We started right at 6 months and it was great timing. As we started solid foods, it became more necessary for us to know when he had to go number two. We had started cloth diapering a few months earlier and both Damien and I were pretty nervous for the transition to solid foods. Starting EC at that time was a huge blessing. From 6 months on I think we easily caught (in a potty) 80% of his number 2’s. We never really had to stress about the cloth diapers because we so rarely had a mess to clean up. We also quickly noticed that not only were we way more aware of C’s patterns, but that he was actively holding it until we offered him the potty!

We started out pretty zealously and were catching a lot of pees too. For a few months we lost some of our rhythm and mainly focused on catching poop or obvious pees like right after getting out of the carseat. After his birthday we started being more successful. At 18 months he is now wearing underwear around the house except for naps and night time. In the 6 weeks he’s been in underwear, we have had less than 10 accidents and most of them were our fault for not taking him. He doesn’t actively tell us he has to go (although he has a few times and he’s getting better), but he goes willingly when we ask and he holds it until we take him. We take him roughly every hour and he does great. He tells us all done and more to communicate if he’s finished and he really enjoys wearing his ‘big boy undies.’

With Little C’s arrival I wanted to at least attempt to EC right away. I wasn’t sure how exactly that would work, but I knew I wanted to try and Damien was up for it too. It’s only been two weeks so we’re not doing anything crazy, but every time I change his diaper I give him a chance to go to the bathroom before I put the clean diaper back on. I just hold him over a prefold or flat cloth diaper – I don’t put him over a potty or anything. He goes pee almost every time even though his diaper is normally wet and today, he went poop for the first time (not in a diaper). Maybe I’m imagining it, but he seems to appreciate the times where he doesn’t have to go in the diaper. His whole little body relaxes when he is able to go. I’m not too worried about doing anything more official, but we definitely plan on continuing and I’m excited for him to never lose awareness of when he has to eliminate. It will be interesting to see how things progress since we started from day one.

The most surprising thing about EC is how much communication there really is. I can almost sense when Big C has to go to the bathroom and that’s because I’ve spent the last year really watching him. I’ve been learning his subtle cues like the look in his eyes, the pause when he’s playing, or the change in his demeanor. People ask how I know and it’s hard to describe. I just do even when I’m not sure what cue I actually picked up on. That’s how we have been so successful even though he doesn’t ‘tell’ us that he has to go.

With Little C, that communication has already started. When he fusses I know that it is often because he needs to go to the bathroom. Most of the time, I hear confirmation of that just a few seconds/minutes later. It’s amazing how often the fussing is because he needs to go to the bathroom. Picking up on this (even though I don’t necessarily do anything about it yet), has helped relieve a lot of the stress of calming a newborn. I know why he’s fussing, I try to put him in a position that will help, and then he soon calms down. No more mystery crying.

Even if you don’t do any more than just pay attention, elimination communication is a great way to get to know your kids. Being able to pick up on potty cues helps me be more in tune with them overall. I can definitely tell more about Big C’s moods and attitudes just because I’m used to paying such close attention and I know it helps relieve some of the typical toddler frustration because we are able to communicate that much better. EC doesn’t have to be more work. Just start paying attention and acknowledge when your kid is going to the bathroom no matter how old they are.

One of the coolest things is that Big C likes to watch us change Little C’s diaper. He makes the pee and poop cue sounds (‘pssss’ and a soft grunt) because he knows that his brother has to or is going to the bathroom. I think that is pretty awesome. He doesn’t have any idea that EC is out of the ordinary!

If you’re interested in my post from a year ago, you can find it here.


Tandem Nursing

Tandem breastfeeding is turning out a lot different than I thought. It’s not bad, just different. Breastfeeding Cole has been a breeze. I think a combination of still nursing Caleb and the fact that I have been really relaxed about the whole process has helped things go very smoothly. This time around I ‘know what I’m doing.’ It’s just been a big adjustment for both Big C and I.

On top of having a new brother, Big C is getting 4 molars all at the same time! The poor guy walks around with his fist in his mouth. He has been asking to nurse more than before, but he always does when he is teething. I can also tell he’s in pain and I know that sucking relieves some of the pressure. With the teething I can’t tell how much of his extra clingy-ness has to do with Little C.

The transition for me is the dairy cow feeling. Nursing a newborn is demanding enough, so having a toddler that wants me the second I’m finally not feeding the baby can get a little overwhelming. Thankfully, Damien is a great distraction for Big C and helps get me a break when possible. And I have to admit the quiet time with Big C is a great way to focus on just him.

I also had to learn how to tandem feed them. At first I was super worried about Big C drinking too much and then I worried that him nursing a lot would make me really engorged. Then I realized that if I don’t let him nurse as much as he wants in these first few weeks, I may miss the opportunity to up my supply. I don’t want to limit him now and then have to limit him later because there isn’t enough.

When I relaxed about how much Big C was drinking, everything got a lot easier. When I get a chance, I let him nurse as long as he wants (which is almost entirely just for comfort) and that has really helped with his jealousy of Little C eating. Most importantly, I am now really enjoying those few moments with him and trying to give him all of my attention. I think that has been helping. At the very least it has really been helping my attitude.

I didn’t know what tandem breastfeeding would look like, but I’m glad we are. It gives me a set time to focus on each boy individually. We are still in transition, but I’m looking forward to what comes next.


The First Week

Little C is a week old! It’s amazing how he has fit right into our family, but at the same time I look at him and just can’t believe he’s really here.

Overall, things are going really well. Big C really likes his little brother and asks to hold him, rubs his head, brings him toys, and laughs hysterically anytime he makes a noise or a funny face. It is amazing to watch them together and I can’t wait until Little C can actually interact. Big C has been doing much better about sharing his milk. We have just been telling him that it’s Little C’s turn for breakfast/lunch/dinner and he seems to take that better. Big C is SUPER food centric and he understands the difference between his breakfast and mom’s breakfast (or I’d never get to eat!). When Little C cries I ask Big C, “What do you think he needs?” and he signs milk. I don’t think he cried when I fed him at all today.

There are other times that are tough though. I’ve noticed that Big C is a little clingier especially if he’s tired. He asks to be held when I’ve been holding little brother for too long. I can’t say he ever asked to be held before. He always giggles and tries to run away when we ‘trap’ him to give him hugs.

I’m also on sensory overload. I’m a pretty touchy-feely person, but when a newborn is nursing constantly and a toddler wants you for every other second, it’s a little much. Thankfully, Damien is awesome about trying to give me breaks when he can. I am so thankful that he gets to stay home for 5 weeks (I know!!), but him going back to work is going to be a rude awakening. I definitely need to take advantage of as many breaks as possible.

Friends have been bringing us meals this week and it is a huge blessing. We are so thankful to not have to worry about making dinner! It’s also really nice to get to see people for a few minutes since we don’t exactly get out much. Thank you to everyone!