Sunday, May 30, 2010

Will I Ever Blog Again?

Crazy. Crazy. Crazy... that's what it's been around here. I don't think there's truly any way to prepare for bringing home a new baby and dealing with the fall-out from a 3 year old big brother trying to adjust. The first 2 or 3 weeks were pretty harrowing. Handsome Man did not handle it too well. Everyone told us to expect this, but, wow. Also, at our first post-hospital check-up we found out that not only was Grace not gaining weight, but she had, in fact, lost a pound since birth. Her jaundice was also getting worse. I felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I was so scared and worried. Back we went to the hospital to have her bili levels checked and to meet with the lactation consultant. Long story short, it was determined that my milk supply was pretty much inadequate. I had no idea. All I knew was I was feeding Grace constantly, it seemed... I thought all was well! Little did I know she was starving. We immediately started supplementing with formula. They wanted me to do 30 minutes on each breast, then supplement with an ounce or two of formula. And do do this every hour and a half. So, in case you didn't just run the math in your head--that's pretty much round the clock, constant feeding. All while being at home with a very rambunctious, needy, acting-out three year old who also needed my love and attention. I did this for about 2 days before I absolutely totally and completely lost it. Oh, I forgot to mention the lactation consultant also wanted me pumping in between feedings to increase my supply. (sigh...). I switched to feeding her breast at one feeding, and then formula at the next, and pretty soon her formula consumption shot up from 2 ounces to four at most feedings. The good news is her weight shot up immediately and her jaundice resolved very quickly without us having to check her into the hospital. The bad news is that the reality of trying to juggle all this to get my milk supply up has proven to be more than I can really handle. Throw into the mix that I have had weddings to produce this month and well....TILT!!!!!! Overload!!!! So, the little munchkin has been getting more and more formula and I have tried to keep pumping but honestly there are days where I just don't have time. My milk supply is dwindling and I am really upset because I would love to keep breastfeeding. But the important things are that Grace is healthy and continues to gain weight (in fact she's turning into a chunky little Bhudda Baby) and that I have time in the day where I can give Handsome Man some individual attention, and that I stay sane, for all of our sakes. So, I'm not sure what will happen with the breast feeding thing. I doubt I'll be able to get my supply up to where it would need to be to feed her exclusively. So do I ditch it all together and just switch to formula? I'm sure at some point I will have to. I pumped four times yesterday and I only get about an ounce and a half combined (both breasts) after pumping for half an hour. Yeah, pitiful. So, the boobs are more of a comfort/bonding/quick snack sort of thing for Grace at this point.

Shutting down the business: I had to move out of my studio. I had it slated for the weekend before I was supposed to have my c-section, but of course Grace had other plans! My friends and family rallied together and got me moved out the following weekend. It was a lot. A week after my delivery and there I was, wandering around the studio, with a baby on the boob, as everything got broken down and moved out. It was all very strange. I am adjusting to life as a stay at home mom. Still have several weddings to produce to fulfill my obligations, but much, much fewer than I'm used to. It's a good thing. But it's an adjustment. I am anxious to get HM back into daycare soon, maybe a few times a week, if we can work it back into our budget. If not, I will have to hold out until fall when I will hopefully get him enrolled in preschool. Trying to get him potty trained once and for all in preparation for this. So far I have been less than successful on that front but we are making progress.

I am hoping at some point I'll have time to sit down and write a more coherent post and tell Grace's birth story.

For now, I will leave you with some photos:

Welcome to the world!!

Mom's not looking to good here, but happy!!

Home from the hospital...

Having a "cupcake party" to celebrate coming home. Handsome Man's tee-shirt says 'Big Brother'. My sister got it for him--totally cute. My face looks totally bloated in this photo. It probably was.

My amazing Grace--a few days home from the hospital.


luna said...

frenchie! so good to hear from you. love love love the pix. grace is gorgeous! what a beautiful family you made.

I hope you find a good balance with the breastfeeding thing. it's a great thing to be able to do, but don't beat yourself up over what you can't do.

that said, have you tried anything to boost your supply? not that you're looking for assvice, but in case you are still trying... I know a great lactation consultant in the east bay I can give you her name if you want. also lots of water and oatmeal, and getting enough food (for you). there are herbal supplements too (I have some organic fenugreek if you want it...)

of course if you should decide that bf'ing is just too much and you need to let it go, that's fine too. I just hear that so many women want support but don't get it.

wishing you all the best!

Just me said...

So glad you updated!!! Things will likely settle down a bit when Grace starts to settle in.

Don't beat yourself up if you decide to switch exclusively to formula. The most important thing is that your little girl is healthy and happy.

Lavender Luz said...

I'm glad to hear from you, too! I'm sorry that it hasn't been easy. But it sounds like you have some support around you.

Your family is gorgeous. Every last one of you.

Eager for you to show up in my reader again. But no pressure!

Kami said...

Beautiful baby! So glad to hear from you, but sorry about the BF troubles.

I highly recommend Jack Newman's site for breast feeding help and find a new lactation consultant. Some are ok, but you will know when you get a really good one.

I ran into a lady the other day who, on her 5th kid (not infertile!) wasn't producing enough milk. She would nurse first then supplement - nothing crazy like they are telling you - and in about 5 weeks she was able to slow down on supplements. I am not saying you have to nurse, but if it is important to you then don't give up.

I think the crazy schedule though . . well, that is just insane. I think a better lactation consultant would help you find a way to keep nursing and improving supply without expecting you to become super human.

Good luck!