Friday, November 14, 2014

my dirty little secret

I've debated and thought and pondered about this post.
And here I am.  Ready to tell my dirty little secret.

I have an auto immune disease. 

Some of you know this.
Some of you know that I just don't eat gluten anymore because "I have stomach problems," but my diagnosis is Ulcerative Colitis. 
(You've probably heard of Crohn's disease...mine is similar, but a little different.)
I didn't always suffer from its symptoms (but as I understand it, it's always there, just laying dormant/in remission.) 
My sweet darling boys both sent me into a flair up of the disease during their births and my postpartum recovery, stress, and not sleeping through the night. 
Stress is a HUGE hindrance to me feeling well.  

Sometimes I feel like a SUPER lazy mom.  Especially when I was raising Sam (the first born) I felt like I just couldn't get my act together.  It wasn't until my pregnancy with my second born that I started to take my situation a little more seriously.  Partly because my doctors wanted to put me on lots of expensive medications for the rest of my life, partly because I was tired of taking the medications and the various routes they entered my body, and partly because they were SOOOO expensive.  I was not ok with paying over $100 a month for medication that was only somewhat relieving my symptoms and that I was told I would need to take FOR-EV-ER. (Sandlot, anybody?)

So I started researching and trying different things.  Especially when my gastroenterologist tried to scare me by telling me my unborn child was not going to absorb nutrients and could die.  Thanks a lot, guy.  Luckily, my OB settled me down, assuring me that he was being, shall we say, dramatic!!!

So here I am. 
Trying to figure out my life with this disease that I've only recently come to terms with.  It took me awhile to absorb the words "chronic disease."  I still believe in a God who is bigger than anything chronic and I pray for healing daily. 

He has answered a short-term prayer because I have been off gluten for several months now and taking smaller doses of one of my medicines and have stopped taking the other one.  I think I am in remission and feel stronger than I have in quite a while. 

I still struggle with feeling like a lazy mama.  I still feel guilty when I utilize my mom and MIL to watch my kids while I have a day off.  But I have to remind myself that rest is SUPER important for healing and that I can't be a good mama if I'm always feeling sick.

Thank you for listening to my tale.  It may be one you never wanted to know, but I feel auto immune diseases are becoming so common and that we need to start speaking out and sharing so that we can all feel more peace on a daily basis. 

Striving to serve The Prince of Peace,

P.S.  Any other autoimmune sufferers out there!?

Friday, September 5, 2014

a talk with my baby

As you may have read, I'm not really breastfeeding my baby anymore.  I am still nursing him "recreationaly" (a term coined by a family member...meaning just for fun/bonding, but we both know he ain't gettin' anything.)  I plan to stop nursing him on Monday just so that I can say I nursed him for 4 months.  (Isn't it ridiculous that I feel like I even need to be able to say that!?)  We're still going to pump after that, but my only goal is to feed him.

So I had a talk with him about it. 
And this is how it went.
(In this conversation, both parties were voiced by me, but I could tell what he was thinking, so it was basically like my 3 and a half month old was talking.)

Me: Hey buddy, I'm sorry it's not working out this time.

S: [smiles]

Me:  I know if I put a lot of time and effort into it, we could probably make it work, but honestly, I don't want to.  I don't want you to scream and be frustrated as you try to re-learn the correct way to nurse and I don't want to have to hear you scream and have your brother hear you scream, too.  And also, it's going to be really hard to pump all the time and power pump and take care of you and your brother.

S: [kicks his feet and smiles some more]

Me: Baby, I'm sorry you're not going to be EBF (exclusively breastfed) or that I'm not going to EP (exclusively pump) for you.  But I promise I'm going to EF you.  (My own abbreviation...EXCLUSIVELY FEED.)

S: It's fine, Mom.  I love you and I love to eat. 
I really don't care if it's pumped or powdered or straight from you, I just want to eat.

Me: [smiles and tears up a little]

S: Mom, you're doing your best and you're the best mom God could have picked out for me.  Thank you.  Oh and I love you.

Me: I love you, too, precious boy.  Thanks for being flexible.

S: No prob, Mom. [spits up a little]

Hope you enjoyed this.  It's a "conversation" I have to play over and over to myself to help me remember that babies don't have expectations.  They just want to eat.  Fo' real.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

i did everything right, and yet...

So baby number two has arrived.  And, boy, was I gung-ho about nursing my little bundle.  As you might have read, it didn't quite work out last time with baby number one.  So this time around I was ready.

During pregnancy I weaned myself off of caffeine and pop because I thought it contributed to the reflux and colic I experienced with Sammy.

I was very aware of my postpartum feelings and was prepared to treat postpartum depression.

I had wrapped my mind around nursing on demand and that babies take a LONG TIME to feed, especially when they're itty bitty.

I was ready to get up during the middle of the night to take care of my little nursling.

And then he arrived.  And when he let out his little cries I scooped him up and fed him. And fed him. And fed him.

I drank buckets and buckets of water.

I felt like I was doing everything right.

And at his check ups he was doing great...staying at a steady 35th percentile for weight, weighing in at 11 pounds at his 2 month appointment.

And yet... (you knew it was coming...)

I started realizing my little lovey wasn't really feeling any heavier.  He was happy enough (like night and day from baby number one.) He seemed to pee enough and his razor sharp finger nails were growing like thorny weeds.  ...but he just wasn't feeling any heavier.  So we got on the scale together and he came out to be 11.5 pounds at three and a half months.  I called the doctor for a weight check.

At the weight check we found out that the baby, my sweet little lump, had gained a whopping ONE OUNCE in a month and a half.  1oz.  One 16th of a pound.  (Just to let you know, "typical babies" at this age gain about an ounce a DAY!)  So instead of being 11.5, he was 11.06 pounds.

Despite doing everything "right" we had to make a change.

After hours of feeling guilty, crying, feeling angry, feeling frustrating, and completely baffled, our decision right now is to supplement with frozen and donated milk along with infant formula.  So I nurse my sweet babe, then feed my toddler some peanut butter, and then mix up a bottle of half and half.  He gulps it down and though I grieve slightly, it's also a joyous feeling seeing him being full!

And guess what, ya'll?  My baby who was eating at 7:30pm, 11:30pm, 3am, and 7:30am, got a bottle after his 7:30 and 11:30 feedings and slept until 6am, nursed and went down again until 8:30am!!!  And his mama got sleep too and I feel so much better today. 

So while I still believe the slogan "breast is best," I also remember that just because it's best doesn't mean that formula is the worst thing for your family.  Plus, a sleep deprived grumpy mama is not "best" either.   It's funny (strange) how I had to learn this with baby number 1 and then re-learn it with baby number two.  But this time around, I did everything right and got the same I'm making peace with that.

Friday, July 11, 2014

feeling conflicted

Is anyone else feeling super conflicted about all these viral posts floating around about modesty and breastfeeding!?

I read them and don't know quite how to feel or respond.

(And I realize those of you who do not (try to) live by the teaching of the Bible and are passionate about breastfeeding will likely HATE reading this, but these are just my thoughts that I wanted to share because I'm so tired of reading the same controversial stories about someone nursing in public and then someone else being outraged about it and saying something to the person and then someone else being outraged that the person said something to the mother.  Enough already.)

Yes, breasts were designed to feed babies which is a natural and beautiful thing.  And yes, absolutely, it seems WEIRD for people to be disgusted when they see women publicly breastfeeding.


I think it's naive to pretend that just because the intentions of this body part are pure, that we are not a fallen people.

Genesis 2:25 describes how Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed.  Then over in chapter 3, Eve falls into temptation (verses 6 and 7.)
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Ok, so that's where I am.  I'm not a theologian.  Please don't rip me a new one.  I'm just trying to balance the two sides in my head.

I wish we could pretend that we've not oversexualized everything and that breast were purely a milk supply.  You've seen the commercial that blurs out chicken breasts, right?  Maybe people would better handle the whole situation if we weren't constantly bombarded with these kinds of things!?

So I'll leave you with this...because I KNOW this is one of those topics that can NEVER EVER be resolved peacefully, but wanted to share my two cents worth:

I understand that it is NOT my RESPONSIBILITY to guard others against temptation.  But it is my choice to be kind and considerate to others and be discreet with breast exposure.  A milk suppler to you is still a breast to everyone else.  Consider the people who struggle with pornography--it might be impossible for them to see your breast as just a way to feed your child.  Please take into consideration that I don't want my husband seeing your boobs (in a skimpy bikini or any other way) and that I don't want your husband seeing mine.  In my humble opinion, it would be awesome if Christian mamas would stop ignoring the fact that boobs are sexual when it comes time to feed their babies.

And seriously, I'm still conflicted on this even as I type it...because I understand completely that boobs are ALSO very much intended to feed babies AND that some babies love to fling off covers and that in some environments it's unrealistic to wear a cover because of it being too hot (although, every cover I've seen is a light breathable cotton, that is generally serving a dual purpose of helping keep the sun out of baby's eyes, too.)

So just think about it before you get all heated about it.  Think about all the sides of the situation. 
...I know I'm STILL thinking about it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Daddy Comes First

***I will add this disclaimer for my sweet single-mama friends.  Feel free to skip this one.  I realize how it won't make much sense for you.

I read a blog entry recently that several of my friends had linked on Facebook.  It was super encouraging for moms and I loved reading (most of) it.  However, there was one line that stuck out like a sore thumb.
"Mommy means my husband and I haven’t had a real conversation in weeks."
Women, that is NOT what 'mommy' should mean.

I'm not writing this to be hateful toward the writer, she has encouraged many women and I am grateful for that.  I remember.  I remember how tiring, draining, exhausting being a mom is...I'm still there!!!

However, I think it's important to remember where our priorities should lie. 
For me, they are in this order:
  1. God
  2. Husband
  3. Kids
Mommy does not mean we neglect our husbands.  It is not ok with me.  It's easy to get caught up in thinking that once we become a mom, that is our new identity and ONLY identity. 

You are still you outside of having kids.

Kids should be a part of your life--not your life. Your kids should be a high priority in your life, but not your top priority.  I know this goes against a lot of what we hear, but I'm serious.

Invite your kids into your life, don't allow them to take it over. 
Don't let your marriage take a backseat to your kids.

Put the baby down when your spouse gets home from work.  Talk to each other.  Spend time with each other.  Love each other.  Your small children won't resent you for it and later in life they will admire watching your strong marriage get even stronger.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

dr. seuss said it best

I hate the term "mommy wars."  The thought of it makes me sad and angry at the same time.
Isn't there enough going on with our own kids and in our own lives?  Why should we bring in more drama by comparing our self to others...or comparing others to our self!?

I like to think Dr. Seuss said it best in Oh the Places You'll Go.
(Ok, seriously how cute is this wall art!?  Only $8.00!!)

So take Dr. Seuss' advice and stop the comparing and judging game. 
I'm friends and relatives to mamas who work full time, work part time, work from home, stay at home with kids without getting a paycheck, and mamas who've developed some kind of side business to generate extra income (and in some cases validation for staying at home.)

I honestly believe that God doesn't call all of us to stay at home, He has specially designed some of us to do work that does not involve working cartoon jigsaw puzzles and wiping snotty noses all day.  I also, believe, however, that some moms are called to stay at home, whose time is best spent singing nursery rhymes and potty training.  They are equally important callings.  For real.  It's easy to forget that, isn't it?

So before you start looking down on a mama for doing something different than you, or before you start looking down on yourself for feeling like you're going against the grain, stop and remember that you are in the middle of God's plan for your life.  Pray about where He wants you and know that He's got the whole world in His hands and that "there is no one alive who is youer than you."

Monday, January 6, 2014

reflections of my baby boy

While I sit here next to my man waiting for the football game to finish, I'm thinking about my sweet baby boy during the tail end of his second birthday.  Where did this year go!?  Like, seriously.  I blinked.

I love my sweet Sammy because he loves singing in church.  He belts out his notes without reservation...and on occasion...after observing those around him...puts his tiny hand up in the air to worship with the church.  It is my absolute favorite and brings tears to my eyes every time!!! (...though, since I'm pregnant, that's not hard to do!)

My baby loves to pray...his prayers are usually a little shorter, though, and when he's finished he blurts out a loud "AMEN!" whether we're in a restaurant, in church, or at home.  ...though if he feels like we didn't pray quite enough, or well enough as a group, he holds his hands out, reaching for ours and says amen until we hold his hands, say another quick prayer, and end it with Amen. 

Because of seeing so many mangers during this past Christmas season, Sammy now says "Jesus" whenever he sees pictures of babies.  Eventually we'll work on differentiating between babies, but for now, I'm fine with every baby reminding him of Jesus.

I know these are all tiny little things that only parents cherish, but to me they are also hope.  Hope that we're doing something right to raise our boy in an environment that helps him connect to Jesus and be in a real relationship that he chooses.

He's also got a tender heart that points out people who are sad and offers hugs freely.  When he thinks of his cousins, he blurts out, "Miss you, Ella.  Miss you, Morgan."  (He hasn't quite bonded as much with his boy cousins, yet, I guess!) 
His heart makes mine so happy.

As my little toddler morphs into a person during this coming year, I pray his heart will continue to be shaped into one that resembles Jesus.  I am so thankful to God for his tender little spirit.

Love you, Sammy J.  Happy 2nd birthday.