Thursday, March 24, 2011

The hardest job I'll ever love....

Hi Friends,

My apologies for my absence from the blogging world lately. I've been loving on a sweet girl and learning to be a mommy which is simultaneously the hardest and greatest thing I've ever experienced.

Tomorrow is my sweet Carys' one month birthday and I can't hardly believe it's already been 4 weeks since she arrived. In some ways it still feels like yesterday.
I could write a post about how wonderful life has been since she arrived but I pride myself on going deeper and showcasing the real me so I hope you won't mind but I'm going to keep it real.

Don't get me wrong my baby girl is the absolute apple of my eye and brings joy to every moment of my day, but being a mommy is hard plain and simple. Carys has had some issues gaining weight since we brought her home from the hospital. For starters she was jaundice and had to be under the billirubin lights at home for 2 days which absolutely broke my heart all I wanted to do as a new momma was cuddle my baby and I couldn't I had to leave her under the lights unless she was nursing.

Unfortunately lowering her billirubin levels wasn't the end of our struggles; at our two week check up she hadn't gained any weight from what she weighed the day we checked out of the hospital. So we nursed even more often and when we went back for a weight check it looked like we were moving in the right direction. Then came the acid reflux and the constant spitting up and crying and the next weight check two days later she'd lost again, we continued this trend for two weeks until finally yesterday at her weight check she had continued gaining and is now over her birth weight. I think I did a happy dance in the pediatrician's office!

But that victory didn't come without some defeat, we had to start supplementing her feedings with formula to get her weight up, talk about breaking this breastfeeding momma's heart, I felt like a complete failure that my milk wasn't enough to sustain and support growth in my daughter. I spent many a nights crying after a nursing session when my sweet girl would spit up half of what she'd taken from me and then down a bottle of special formula that's made for babies with acid reflux like a champ. I'm happy to say she still nurses more than she takes formula but I absolutely had my heart set on exclusively breastfeeding and it kills me a little bit everytime she takes the formula because of acid reflux and after extensive diet limitations to try to figure out if my diet was what was causing the reflux we can't find any one thing that seems to be the problem.

In the end I've made the decision to continue breastfeeding and yes even pumping when I go back to work until at least the 3 month mark and hopefully she will grow out of the relux issues and we can go on to breastfeed to that one year mark like I had planned and if not then I will take solace in the fact that she got my milk for at least the first three months of her life. I know ultimately it's what was best for her but it was still a hard pill to swallow. If any of you mommy's out there have any advice on breastfeeding or any ideas as to why she spits up my milk but not the formula I'm open to any and all ideas or insight you may have.

Sleep has been a whole other issue, for the first week I don't think either myself or Mr. A slept more than 30 minutes at a time. It's gotten steadily better and now that we know a little more about what she prefers we get 3 hour stretches. I never knew I'd wake up doing the happy dance if I got 3 hours of sleep in a row before, but now it's an awesome night if I got to sleep for at least 3 hours in a row at least once. This is where my sweet husband became a rock star on Friday nights he stays up with her and feeds her pumped milk and lets me sleep as much as I can and I love him for doing that for me. Carys and I do our best to let him sleep during the week since we can nap during the day but he has to go to work.

I have cried more than I ever have in my entire life in the last four weeks. I've cried because of sheer exhaustion, frustration, joy, pain (post partum recovery is no cake walk) and so much more but it has all been worth it.

I never knew how big my heart would swell when she came into the world I would day dream about what it would be like to have her here when she was in my belly but, I can honestly say my dreams never did it justice it truly is like my entire heart is laying in the bouncy seat next to me and it truly is the hardest job I'll ever love.

I heard a song today on the radio and the chorus spoke to me so much. The title of the song is "This Is The Stuff" by Francesca Battistelli and the chorus ends with "in the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed" I am one blessed lady with an amazing husband and equally amazing daughter and even if things aren't exactly how I'd pictured at the moment I am big time blessed and I thank God everyday for the life he has chosen me for.

and because I can't write a post without adding a few pics of my precious Carys for your enjoyment.

Our first family pic.

First tub bath which she hated....

she's not quite sure what to think of her activity mat.

wide eyed girl.

This picture melts my heart she already loves her daddy so much.

and just because I love it here's the sneak peak that our photograpers sent us from her newborn portrait session that was done when she was a week old I cannot wait to get these back!!

Well that's about all the time I'm going to get cause the girl is starting to fuss, but hopefully this is the beginning of a better trend with my blogging I do truly miss it when I don't blog regularly and there are so many moments I don't want to forget, and no I haven't forgotten her birth story will get told eventually.

Later Alligators....

Mrs. A


Mrs. Lukie said...

She's such a beautiful little thing! So happy for you guys!

Melanie said...

Bless your heart!! She is just absolutely precious! I hated to hear of the hard times you've endured with everything since she's been born but it sounds like things are beginning to look up! Since I'm not a momma just yet..I'm not positive on this one but I know babies can be lactose intolerant and can't handle breast milk (that was the case w/the Duggar family on tv w/little Josie). I'm not sure if that has to do w/the acid reflux or not though..but just know that you are definately not a failure!!! Blessings to your sweet family!

Callie Nicole said...

She is adorable! I'm sorry the breastfeeding hasn't
been going as planned. The bath picture is so cute- Wyatt hated his first bath too- it made me so sad to hear him cry so hard. :-(

LeAnna said...

She is precious, girl! This post reminded me very much of a few I wrote after I had my first. I struggled with PPD something terrible, and we had a lot of breast feeding issues. I had to eliminate all dairy from my diet, and that helped Q out a TON. It can take up to 2 weeks for dairy (and other offenders) to completely leave your system, so figuring it out can be time intensive and frustrating. Onions, tomatoes, chocolate just to name a few are common bf'ing offenders. Q also was a huge "spitter upper" and we dealt with that well into his 5th month. In some babies it just takes those muscles some time to mature up and keep milk down. Have you talked to a lactation consultant? She may have some improper latch issues that are causing her to suck too much air while nursing, and causing a vicious cycle to continue.

Natural gripe water (can be found at Walgreens) was another life saver for upset tummies. We use that a lot. With Sprig, I've had to go completely off dairy again, but she's slowly becoming more tolerant of it. Don't be discouraged by a supplemental bottle, but keep up the nursing and pumping. Remember, the more you nurse/pump - the better you will be able to keep up your supply (beware of pumping yourself into over supply, though!) above all, trust your Momma gut. My little Q was a slow, slow gainer but he was meeting all of his milestones so I didn't worry about it. I'm positive they would have had be supplementing him simply because he was on the low end of the percentiles, but I knew he was just a tiny guy - and he still is! Always go with your Momma gut!

Sorry this is so long, I just remember what this was like, it hasn't been too long ago for me. :) If you ever need to chat, email me! I know it's kind of weird, too, but we don't live that far away and if you ever want to meet for lunch or something let me know. Hang in there, Mama. The first few months are the hardest but it DOES get easier. I promise!

Lauren said...

She's so beautiful! And I'm so thankful for your truthful and real moments. As a yet to be momma, I'm so thankful for your honesty.

Risley said...

sorry to hear about everyhting..
I promise, things get better!! Kallen was born 3 weeks and 3 days early and his sugar levels were low so we have to give him formula also since day 1!
I BF till he was a about 4 months old but we fould his tummy was better on sensitive formula.
Since I finally gave in and let go of BF we BOTH sleep thru the night!!
remember... we all have ideas of HOW we are going to raise our childeren and what we this is the best idea.. most of those will go out the!!
She is adorable!