Month 12/ Year One

Dear Benjamin,

You are now a year old!  I seriously feel like I just wrote your 6 month letter, and I can’t believe that you just had your birthday.  You turned one on June 19, but on the 18th, I found myself super emotional, to the point of tearing up several times.  I just kept thinking that, a year ago on the 18th I was in labor with you.  I started having regular, but FAR apart contractions around 4:00 in the afternoon.  I realized that I was in fact in labor at about 10:00 pm.  We got to the hospital around 2:00 in the morning and I was 8 cm dilated.  You were then born at 4:23 in the morning, in a tub of warm water.


You are talking and babbling all the time right now!  You can say:

  • mama
  • dada
  • stop (dop)
  • no
  • night night (nye nye)
  • cat (tat)
  • hello/hi

You are starting to really use the baby sign language.  You can sign:

  • milk (although, we think you do this for “food”)
  • all done (but you don’t do this that regularly
  • water

We’re working on a few others, and I’m sure that you’ll pick those up soon as well.


You’re doing so well in your PT!  So well in fact that they’ve dropped you down to just twice a month, instead of once a week.  You’re crawling, and cruising, and getting into everything that you can possibly try and get into.  Right now you love to take the sheet trays out of the cabinet, and push them around on the kitchen floor.


You absolutely love the pool!  We got a membership there for the summer, and you love to cruise around the edge of the pool, and you’re pretty fast too!  You’ll also crawl up and down the ramp into the pool, and we have to really watch you because you’ll crawl until you’re almost under water – you just don’t seem to know when to stop.


You are also really trying to be more and more independent.  You want to do things yourself and you don’t want anyone or anything to stand in your way.  For example: you’re trying to put your food on a fork and feed yourself with it.  It’s adorable to watch you pick a piece of food and place it on your fork, and then try to turn and maneuver your fork into your mouth.  The down side to your newfound independent streak is that it also applies to you wanting to crawling into the dishwasher; to pulling the childproof plugs out of outlets; to chewing and pulling on electrical cords….and when we try to get you away from those things, your temper checks in.   And you have a TEMPER.  When you get upset or angry you scream, cry, throw things, collapse on the floor and kick and your legs….you have perfected the 2 year old tantrum a year early….


You’re still nursing!  We’re down to just three times a day.  Once before I go to work, when I get home from work, and at bedtime.  You still love it, and ask for it all the time.  You’ll pull at my shirt, or stand in front of me and sign for milk.  I don’t want to say no to you, so any time you want to nurse, I will cuddle you and nurse you.


I’m not sure if I mentioned before, but you LOVE to dance!  If music comes on, you start moving to it.  You’ll bounce in place to the beat, clap your hands, twist side to side, throw your hands in the air (like you just don’t care).  It’s adorable.  I hope you keep it up!


You and your brother had a joint birthday party this year at the Splash Park.  It was amazing!  You had such a great time playing in the water and watching all the big kids run around.  You were crawling all through the splash pad, and getting soaked, and you were loving every moment of it.  I made a cake for you, and a separate one for Henry.  Yours was a chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream frosting and a batman logo on the cake.  You loved that cake, and happily gobbled up your dessert as fast as you could.


This past year has been amazing!  It really and truly has.  I cannot believe how fast it has gone by, and how much you have grown and changed.  You are an incredible boy.  You bring so much joy and laughter into my life.  I’m trying to soak up every moment and savor everything that I can.  You make me laugh and smile every day.  You warm my heart, and have taught me how to be a better mother.  I love you with all of my being, and I always will.


Keep growing, and dancing!

Love,

Momma

Breastfeeding Judgement

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went to my in-laws for dinner and to hang out with family.  Our original plan was to hang out there during the day and then for the boys to spend the night there, and for J and I to have some nice adult time together that evening.

In all of our haste to get out the door on time, we forgot to pack the cooler of breast milk for Benjamin.  So, J ended up driving 45 minutes home to pack it up, and then driving 45 minutes back to his parent’s house.  When we realized we forgot it, several people tried to tell us that Benjamin didn’t need it, and we shouldn’t worry about.  J and I ignored those comments, and J headed home to get the milk.

During the time that he was gone I was asked by 5 different people (mother-in-law, father-in-law, paternal grandfather and grandmother in-law, maternal grandmother-in-law) how long I was going to breastfeed Benjamin.  Each time, I gave the same answer: “well, I nursed Henry until he was two, so I think I’ll try to do the same thing for Ben.”  Each time I’d get a “harrumph” in response.

A little while later, while J was still gone, I overheard my FIL, and GFIL talking about how it’s wrong of me to continue to breastfeed my son this long.  That it’s gross, that I should get over myself and just stop.  That I’m doing it more for me than for my son.   They even went so far to say that I was having a “junior moment,” whatever that means.  Best I can tell, I think they meant that my arrogance and shortsightedness are getting in the way of me seeing what the “right” choice is.  They were talking about me and my choices across the table from me, and never once thought to include me in the discussion.  I knew that if I piped in, that it would only end up in an argument.  But as I sat there, feeling ostracized and judged, I seriously thought about packing both my boys up and leaving.  If J and the car had been there, I might have.

I comprehend that they don’t understand my choice, but they damn well should respect it, and me.  I don’t understand why they can’t see how well Henry is doing, and how healthy and strong he is.  I’m not saying it’s all from breastfeeding, but I think it played a part.  Why can’t they see how well Benjamin is doing, and factor the same things in?  Why can’t they do a modicum of research to see that breastfeeding can make a difference in Crohn’s Disease, which runs rampant on that side of my family.  Why do they continue to judge me and find my decisions lacking?

Hypocrite 

Yesterday on facebook I shared an article from Scary Mommy about the reality of a working and breastfeeding mom and how that reality is at best difficult, and at worst fucking awful. It hit very close to home for me. I’ve worked full time with both of my boys and I’ve had to pump milk for both of them while I’ve been at work. Having to worry because you’re sitting next to doors that don’t lock and anyone could come and open it and see you pumping in a storage closet. It’s so hard for me to relax enough to get my milk to let down when I’m constantly hearing door knobs rattle, while I loudly shout “occupied!”
Anyway, back with my first kid, I had to drive 5 minutes down the road to another building to pump milk for my son. So, what should have taken my 30 minutes (set up, 20 minutes to pump, and break down), ended up taking closer to 45 because of traveling, and I had to do that 3 times a day (one of those was my lunch break though). Anyway, my employers – WHO WERE MY INLAWS didn’t like how much time time it was taking away from my desk (despite the fact that I got my work done anyway) and they wanted me to either stay late, or come in on Saturdays to make up the time I spent pumping during the week.  

I was already working from 8-5 anyway, and had to leave no later than 5:30 because Henry’s daycare closed at 6:00. Which meant that I needed to spend half my Saturday at work – away from my kid – who I then had to pump for…..the cycle was endless and it caused major tension between my inlaws and myself – still to this day.

Anyway, back to the article I posted, my MIL had the nerve to comment “I admire how strong you are about this. I wish I had your strength!”  

I saw that comment and my blood started to boil. The rage that I felt was instantaneous. How dare you say that after the absolute hell you put me though when I was trying to feed your grandson! You only think it’s admirable when it doesn’t affect you! The moment you were the slightlest bit inconvenienced you wanted me to stop because you think breastfeeding is gross and a waste of time, and that I should have just gotten over myself and formula fed.

How hypocritical can you be?

I want to delete the comment, but I know it would only cause tensions to become worse. Even though it’s been just about 4 years since I’ve stopped pumping for Henry, I’m still angry, sore, upset, and hurt over how they treated me. And situations like this don’t help me get over it any faster.

Mastitis…

I think I’ve had my first case of mastitis. I noticed at work yesterday that I had a plugged duct, so I knew that I’d need to nurse Ben a little more to help get it unclogged. However, around noonish, my body was really starting to hurt. I was having major aches and pains, chills, followed by body sweats. At one point I literally had sweat running down my back and the entire underside of my hair was drenched.
I barely made it to the end of the day, but I went home and put a heating pad on my lower back, which felt really good. I tried to nurse Ben a few times on the affected side (right side), and each time it helped.  

Around dinner time, I hit a major fever. My body felt unbelievably hot, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that hot before. I skipped dinner, because I just couldn’t eat, and instead napped on the sofa with my heating pad.  

Somehow I found the strength to make it up stairs and was able to lie down. I kept oscillating between sweating profusely and freezing.    

I managed to nurse Ben for bedtime, which helped my breast feel so much better. I managed to take 3 ibuprofen, took my temp which was 103.4 and then I went and passed out in bed. 

Ben woke up a little while later, which is abnormal for him, and when he woke up, I got up to go to the bathroom, and I noticed that I had completely sweated through my clothes, as in tank top and flannel pants stuck to me. My sheets and pillow were also soaked through. My hair was completely wet and plastered to my head. Ben managed to put himself back to sleep, and I dried myself off as best I could. And, then I went back to bed.  

Ben woke up again at 12:20, and I got up to nurse him, and again I felt better afterward.  

While pumping at work today, I only got half of what I usually do out of my breast, and I noticed that I have red marks and spots that look almost like bruises. I called my midwife’s office to ask their opinion and they’re calling in a round of antibiotics for me. I’m really hoping that it starts to work soon…This shit is beyond painful.

Pity Party

I feel so unmotivated. Mostly because even when I do stick to my workout goals and calorie restriction, it doesn’t do any good.
I didn’t post a Weekly Weigh-In Thursday last week because I gained weight. And, I was so upset and felt defeated that I couldn’t even bring myself to record it. I still feel defeated. I need to come up with a fitness plan, and meal plan that fits my life, and I’m STRUGGLING with that.

I hate the weight I am right now. I feel ugly, fat and uncomfortable in my own skin. I hate looking at pictures of myself because I think I look like a blob, a blob with 3 chins. I don’t want to take pictures with my kids/husband because they always show (incredibly accurately) how fat I am.

As a working mother of two, I do not have time to exercise more than 3-4 times a week. But, all of the fitness programs that I like are 6 day a week programs(T25, Insanity, Piyo). So, when I fall behind because I literally got less than 3 hours of sleep, or had to take my baby to the emergency room, or have a 4 year old who’s crying because he wants me to spend time with him and not go upstairs to uselessly jump around, I feel guilty for missing those stupid workouts. I feel like a failure, because I should be able to devote 30 minutes a day to me, but it doesn’t ever happen. In my household, I always come last.

And on top of that breastfeeding makes me HUNGRY! I want to continually stuff my face because I feel like I’m starving. I’m not, but I feel like I am. So, when we have leftover cupcakes from baking for Henry’s class, I eat them, and then want to cry because I stuffed my face once again. Showing once again just how much of a failure I am.  

I feel defeated. I feel ugly. I feel fat. And, I don’t know how to fix it.

Month 7

Dear Benjamin,
You are now 7 months old! I can hardly believe how big you are and how much you’re growing. Babyhood really does fly by, and while I’m a teensy bit sad that time is flying by so much, I’m also amazed at the little boy you’re becoming. You’re one incredible little boy. You smile, talk, laugh, and chuckle all the time. You really are a very happy baby. That’s not to say that you never cry, you do. You have a really solid pair of lungs on you, and you know how to use them. You have three big triggers for crying: 1. Being tired, 2: being hungry, and 3: tummy time. Of course you cry at other times, but these are the biggies.


You are doing so well on solid foods! You will pick up and eat just about anything we put on your mat. The other night you had refried beans and avocado – we were all eating tacos/taco salads, and you just dived in, and you looked adorable with refried beans smeared all over your sweet little face. You love crackers and pretzels, and we’ve noticed that if you’re getting antsy and bored, if we give you food to suck/chew on, you’ll be a happy camper for a solid 5 minutes. You dad keeps saying that you’re very food motivated.     


This past month you got your first major sickness. On Sunday, January 1, you developed a lot of congestion – like a lot, and it seemed like it came out of nowhere. On Monday, you developed a fever, and on Tuesday morning you were crying, unhappy and not nursing well, so your Gram took you to the doctor. I was thinking that you had signs of an ear infection, but the Doc said that your ears were clear and it just looked like a virus. So, you came home, and we treated your symptoms (saline, suction and fever reducer) and just tried to make you more comfortable. As the days wore on, you just seemed to get worse and worse. Your fever was hovering at over 103 without a fever reducer, and only came down around 101 with one. You became so lethargic, and were just pitiful looking, and by Wednesday night I decided you were going back to the peds the very next day.


I was literally in tears in the waiting room because I was sure they were going to send us to the emergency room with you. Your breathing was labored because of your severe congestion, you weren’t nursing well at all anymore, and I was having to pump to keep my supply up, and you looked like a rag doll with how lethargic you were…I was so worried about you. We were at that doctor’s office for over 3 hours. They tested you for RSV (which came back positive), they tested your pulse ox (which was around 94), they tested your white count (28,000). They gave you tylenol in the office. Then the Doctor came in and thoroughly looked you over. For most of the exam you were in my arms asleep, and the doctor was kind enough to keep you there while she listened to your lungs and heart, and peeked in your ears (and of course you had a double ear infection). They decided that they were going to give you two shots of an antibiotic, one in each leg, and then have you come back the next day to see how you were doing. I got a phone call from the doctor that night to make sure you were doing fine. She was also kind enough to give us a print out of everything they did and results in case you needed to go to the ER over the night. 

By the next day, you had perked up a lot. You were still pretty sick, but you had moments of your happy self that was shining through. You were then started on a 10 day course of a strong antibiotic for your ears. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that you’re better. I hate it when you’re sick. 


Your Dad and I have started to sleep train you…at least we’re trying. We need to be more consistent with it, but consistency is really hard to do at 3:00 in the morning. The good news is that we pretty much (knock on wood) have it so that we can lay you down and walk away at night. I’ll nurse you to sleep, but you usually always wake up from transitioning you from the rocking chair to the crib. But now we can lay you down, cover you with your blankets and walk away, and you’ll put yourself to sleep. Middle of the night doesn’t go so smoothly. I’m hoping that you will learn to sleep completely through the night soon….


You’re sitting up really well, and you’re getting better at tummy time every day. You’re tolerating it more and more, and I have seen you start to try to get your knees up under you too, which is awesome! You still haven’t rolled over from your back to your tummy yet, and I’m hoping that it’s just around the corner. Your pediatrician did say that if you haven’t done it by your nine month appointment they’ll look into getting you physical therapy like your brother had.


I think that you are one amazing little boy. I love every moment that I get to snuggle and cuddle you and hold you close. You are my light, my love and I’m so happy that I get to watch you grow up. You mean the world to me, and you always will.


Love,

Momma