January 9, 2018

Some Thoughts On Nursing

I want to start out saying I am not here to condemn people. I understand there are circumstances out of people's control where they cannot breastfeed. I will say though, that I am pro breast feeding and I hope that all mothers at the very least try to breast feed if they can.

I have had quite the mixture of emotions while breastfeeding. Now nursing my second child, I feel like I have a much better grasp on things. So I want to talk about what I learned personally that no doctor ever seemed to tell me.

1. Sometimes babies don't know how to latch properly. I had this problem with Joshua. He struggled for the first few months with latching and we had to go to a lactation consultant and honestly he was partially on formula for the first month of his life until I discovered nipple shields that helped him latch.

2. Birth control can change your milk supply. My doctors vaguely mentioned this, but I had no clue what they meant and they put me on a stronger birth control that dried me up. As soon as I realized this I had to hurry and get my prescription changed.

3. Nursing hurts! Gosh it hurts and between that and my son not latching and my milk supply drying up, I had a really rough start. (And it hurt the 2nd time too for the first month with Addie, though maybe not as bad?). I have to say a HUGE thank you to my mother! She pushed me and encouraged me and I am SO glad she did! No one told me that nursing would hurt or be hard and I clearly did not research things because I thought things would come naturally. HA!

4. There are a lot of ways to get your supply back up. With Joshua (and Addie) I have used fenugreek  (it's an herb that no one really understands, but it helps boost your milk supply) and it works! I took 9 capsules a day for a few weeks and pumped 30 minutes after every nursing, 10 minutes on each side. I literally pulled my milk from being less than an ounce to filling more bottles than I could ever use (with Joshua).

5. If you have extra milk, freeze it! I wish I had done this with Joshua. I had so much milk for the first 6 months, but as he got older my body struggled to keep up and I really wish I stored some of that milk. This time around I feel like I have just the right amount though.

6. What you eat and how much you drink water very much affects your supply! On days where I don't eat a good lunch or drink enough water I can tell my supply isn't as good. I remember thinking with Joshua that personally I have to eat more when I'm nursing versus when I'm pregnant. Now I understand I am a petite person, so others may not struggle with this as much, but I need those calories to make milk.

7. Stress can affect your supply. I'm not sure why my supply dropped off at 6 months with my son. Maybe it dropped because of stress or maybe I wasn't eating enough, or maybe I just couldn't get Joshua to focus enough.

8. Nursing burns calories. I don't think it's all that much, but it is something to take into consideration, making sure you stay hydrated and knowing what is going on with your body can help.

10. Nursing is a beautiful bonding experience. I have a love hate relationship with nursing. It is tiresome and can be exhausting, but it is also a great bonding experience. It encourages you to hold your child more and I have more respect for my body because of it.

11. Guys our bodies are super cool! Not only do our bodies know exactly how to grow these perfect little people and form their hearts and eyes and all the sweetness, but our bodies continue to be able to feed our children! It has been so empowering knowing that my children grow from the milk my body makes. It's really cool!

12. Your milk is never the same! I actually only learned this recently, that when you nurse, it creates a vacuum and your baby's spit goes in and some receptors in your body read the spit like a chart and say "hey this baby needs more of this nutrient" and so your milk changes to fit the needs of your baby. You also give them antibodies which can help keep them from getting sick and if they do get sick, it can help them fight off their illness. Guys breast milk is amazing!

There are plenty of other interesting facts about breast feeding. This isn't supposed to be a lecture on breastfeeding, on the contrary I hope maybe someone who is about to be a mom or maybe someone who is struggling might read this and maybe they won't feel so alone.

I guess I wrote this because nursing can be hard! There are so many factors that can go into our ability to breastfeed. Seriously I cried for the first 2 weeks of Joshua's life because he wouldn't latch and everything hurt and I was scared he wouldn't grow. It has taken a lot of research and personal experience to overcome these challenges. More than ever I have been incredibly worried about Addie growing, because I know the struggles I had with Joshua (she's doing fine by the way). But guys it's okay if it's hard. If you're at home crying being like "am I the only one struggling?" no you aren't.

I really wish people would talk more about nursing, giving birth and pregnancy. Now having had gestational diabetes with Addie, moving across the country, changing insurance in the middle of both my pregnancies and having had 2 c-sections, I kind of feel like I've been through a lot.

I'd like to hear from other moms of their experiences of being able to breastfeed or maybe not being able to. Did anyone else feel like they weren't given enough information?

I'm wish y'all all the success in the world!

October 20, 2017

The Best Worst First Date

          October has always had a special place in my heart. Growing up in NC, it is when the fall colors burst forth and it is time to pull out boots and sweaters, but it's not unpleasantly cold yet. October also happens to be when I met Garett for the first time.

          In a week it will have been 6 years since we met, and I just realized I have never written out our story and oh boy, I think it's a fun one.

          A little background to start: I was beginning my 3rd semester of college and was having the classic "I'm not dating right now, go work on myself" revelation that so many have before meeting their future partner. Dating was exhausting and I needed to get better at cooking, so I was just focusing on me.

          Garett was fresh off his church mission in Zimbabwe and on the opposite end of things. Him and his roommate had decided to try to go on (I swear the number changes every time he tells the story) at least 1 date a week. Though from what I heard from my roommate at the time, it was quite a bit more than that. He got off the plane from Africa, saw his family for a few days and then headed out to Idaho to start college.

          Because he had started the semester late, he was only taking one night class a week plus some online classes. In terms of dating, this made the pool rather small. He had church and this one class and that was all.

          Eventually he asked out my roommate Nikki. I need to note that I was the only roommate not home when when he picked her up, so he never saw me, and he still had some quirks from his mission. In Zimbabwe it was respectful to always face the person you were talking to and to clasp your hands together in front of you as a sign of respect. This wouldn't normally be so apparent, but I'm pretty sure they went bowling on their date. He brought her back and that is when I saw him. I think I was sitting on the floor and their farewell was brief so once again he didn't see me, but boy I noticed him.

          The next day her and I were talking about her date. She wasn't interested in pursuing anything and neither was he. I vividly remember that I was folding laundry at the time and I jokingly told her she should send him my way. After all you can't waste an attractive returned missionary. She asked if I wanted her to and I said sure, being certain that absolutely nothing would come of it. Time went on, a week passed and she asked if he had reached out and I said no. (Another side note, she didn't give him my last name, so he had no clue what I looked like or anything about me, so for all he knew I was some crazy lady, so he was hesitant to reach out) Another week passed and he finally asked me out, unfortunately my friend Rachel was coming up that weekend and then my parents decided to surprise my brother and I by coming up to visit, so we postponed it for another week.

         That weekend passed and at the start of the following week he asked if we could meet up before the date, feeling uncomfortable going on a date with someone he had never met before. I think that's when I gave him my last name so he could Facebook stalk me. He was free before Wednesday and I was free after Wednesday. I was going to school and working and my free time was Friday through Sunday. He insisted that he was busy later in the week though so I decided to squeeze him in between devotional, visiting teaching and work on Tuesday.

         We ended up taking a walk to the apple orchards since he didn't know where they were (funny story, his one class that semester was in the Ricks building....anyone who went to BYUI knows the orchard is RIGHT NEXT TO THE RICKS. In his defense it was a night class and hard to see...but still I laugh every time) So I went to devotional and then was headed to go visiting teaching after that. Normally when visiting teaching, I love to chat for hours on end (if you have ever visit taught me you'll know this to be true) but this time I was going to hang out with a cute guy, so I was dying to leave. Naturally the girl I was companions with loved to talk and so did the girl we were visiting (seriously no fault to them, they are both sweethearts) I was just impatient. It still took at least an hour and I booked it out of there as soon as I could.

         I got to my apartment and Garett was waiting on the couch talking to my roommate. We headed out for our walk towards the apple orchards. I don't remember much of the conversation. He talked about wanting to do a PhD and I think he mentioned he had a lot of sisters. I think I talked about photography and some about my family. Honestly I just remember it being very easy going and that the conversation flowed naturally.

        Garett knew I didn't have much time so he was expecting a 10 minute walk. Apparently after about 10 minutes he asked what I wanted to do, trying to give me an out if I needed to leave, but instead I said we could keep walking. We walked for an hour and a half, right up until I had to leave for work. He was impressed that I didn't mind taking such a long walk, despite being so busy. (Is anyone waiting on our first date still? Almost there I promise)

        I went on to work and came home and then if I remember right, I invited him over to watch Chuck. So he came over that night, then for lunch the next day, and then that evening and the next day as well. Finally it was Friday, our date!

        He was taking me to a haunted straw maze, which I'm not sure if I knew that beforehand....either way I hate haunted things, and I found out on that date that I do not like wandering around, feeling lost, trying to get out of a maze.....To add to the fun of that date, we kept running into my supervisor from work. Have you ever had that one supervisor you just loathe? They are just so obnoxious and rude and you really pray you never see them outside of work? Well that was THAT supervisor for me. So I was not only wandering around a haunted straw maze, scared people were going to jump out at me or chase me, but to add to the fun, I kept running into that supervisor. Garett was rocking this first date....

        Somehow despite that date, we still went on another date the next day and by Sunday we had decided that we didn't want to date anyone else. I found out later on that I was going to be his last date either way. After dating around for a month, he was burned out (if you don't know, Garett is very much an introvert) and that was probably exhausting for him. So it worked out that we ended up dating.

       It's fun to look back and laugh at what probably should have been nothing, because it truly was a terrible first date, but now over 5 years of marriage, 2 bachelors degrees, 2 kids, the start of a masters degree and having lived in 3 different states, we're still learning and growing together.

       It all started with me seeing a cute guy through a window and a terrible first date, but that is our story, I hope you enjoyed it.