Friday, April 26
Here's the thing about exclusively pumping after your body has gotten used to 90-minute feedings because your baby has a congenital throat condition that makes it difficult for her to regulate breathing and swallowing at the same time so it takes her for-ev-er to eat.
You spend a lot of time pumping.
Like, let's say I pump eight times a day. Each of those sessions is half an hour so I spend more than four hours sitting in a chair, attached to a breast pump, with a computer on my lap because hey, I get super bored. And here's what happened today.
I ran out of things to do on the internet. I didn't even know that was possible, but I guess it is. New shows to watch? Check. Online window shopping? Done. Obsessively following Kate Middleton's every fashion move? Yep. Pinteresting every cute outfit, DIY project, home inspiration, and recipe I come across? Absolutely. I've come to the conclusion that the rest of the world needs to be on pinterest as much as I am because my feed is not filling up with new things often enough.
Raise your hand if you can't wait for your baby to start eating solids!
Thursday, April 18
This is my husband. He's a manly man. Once when I was ordering lunch for him at a restaurant neither of us had ever been to, I said to the waiter, "What's your manliest sandwich?" knowing that the result would be palatable for Bryan. It's just how he rolls.
Last July, Bryan took the Montana bar. Three days of eight-hour testing and a lot of missed hours of sleep, not to mention an entire summer dedicated to studying, after, ya know, three years of post-graduate education.
Then, he and his boss decided he'd take the Idaho bar too, thereby increasing the area in which he's certified to practice. So he started studying for that bar. And then, as you know, the year from the seventh layer of hell happened, pretty much stalling Bryan's studying. Three funerals and a life-shortening diagnosis will do that to a person. And then, the day before the bar, Bryan worked until five, started driving to Boise (which was six hours away), ran into weather suited only for the arctic circle (and I'm not talking about the restaurant), got to Boise two hours before the test started, slept an hour in his car, went in, and took two-day sixteen-hour thing like a boss.
Today, we found out he passed.
My husband, the ultra marathon runner, jumps-out-of-helicopters-for-fun-er, wild beast slayer, baby cuddler, handy man fixer, priesthood holder, lullaby singer, hand holder, rock star love of my life, is the most amazing person I have ever met. I'm grateful every day we found each other and grateful every day that he picked me. And grateful that I'll never have to go to law school or take the bar, because watching someone else do it was quite enough work for me, thank you very much.
Saturday, April 13
It's a well-known fact that bigger babies do better with cystic fibrosis as adults, for whatever reason. The bigger the baby, the healthier the adult. So I know in my head that it's such a fantastic thing for Rosalind's cheeks to feel the effects of gravity, for her stretches to bring her ever closer to the confines of her bassinet, and for the numbers on the scale to continually climb. But in my heart, I want her to stay my tiny baby forever.
Before the cystic fibrosis diagnosis (what a fun rhyme is that!) came, she was gaining weight by a few meager ounces every month. At six weeks, she was in the fifth percentile for growth. As an 8lb 7oz baby that grew into an adult and married someone who had been 9lb 8oz at birth, this was baffling. But now I feel like, with the help of her enzymes, Rosie's body is catching up to where it should have been all along.
Course, that doesn't stop my irrational heart from wanting her to stay my tiny sweetheart from just a little longer. Hearts are totally unreasonable.
Friday, April 5
One of the things that has been most difficult about being Rosie's mom is feeding her. Of course, it's a heck of a lot easier for me to feed her than it actually is for her to eat. When I think about how difficult it must be to keep on swallowing when your throat collapses in on itself, I am awed at how brave my little girl is and what an insanely hard worker she has already become.
The tracheomalacia is what makes eating so hard for her. I got some breastfeeding help at the hospital after she was born and ordered a few books on breastfeeding, but books, for one of the first times in my life, completely let me down. NOWHERE in ANY of the books I read was there a "What To Do If Your Baby Eats For 90 Minutes At Each Feeding And Never Seems To Be Full Even Though You're Producing Plenty Of Milk" section. Because Rosalind has to fight herself with every breath, regulating eating and breathing is harder for her than it is for normal babies. Most babies eat for 10-20 minutes on each side... that was most definitely not what we experienced. And then the cystic fibrosis makes her insides all slippery like a fish I once tried to hold onto that was most definitely NOT dead like my husband had told me it was before I picked it up, so all the food she ate (before we started giving her the right medications) was going right through her, causing her to be hungry pretty much right after she finished each meal. It was exhausting and frustrating and disheartening for both of us. I started pumping after she was done eating because I was convinced she wasn't getting enough to eat. I'd bottle feed her what she couldn't get from me, which prolonged the entire process by about another 45 minutes. Looking back, I'm not exactly how I survived the first few months before we knew what was wrong. Or that anything was wrong, because I am sure now that there is not a more confusing or self-doubting time in one's life than being a new parent. Eventually though, it got to the point where I had to take a hard look at what I was doing and decide if it was truly best for Rosie. The bond I felt with my little girl when I was feeding her, knowing that I was the best person on the planet for doing exactly what it was she needed, was fulfilling in a way I had no idea it could be. But watching her struggle so hard to do what should have come so naturally and been so comforting for her caused more pain than any plugged duct ever could.
I remember one night in particular... I was trying so hard to figure out how to feed her. I had called La Leche League leaders, seen lactation consultants, read book after book... I cranked up the heat in my room, undressed us both, and sat her tiny body on top of mine, convinced that the skin-to-skin would work and that it would be the missing piece in feeding her. She'd start to eat, and then scream. I'd try to feed her again, and she'd try for a few seconds, and then start screaming. I didn't know what to do, didn't know how to help her, and didn't know what was wrong. Finally, I asked Bryan to make up a bottle of formula and feed her. He took her away from me to do just that, and I sat and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I'd never felt more helpless, or more like a failure. "Babies are born knowing just what to do," was what every book and every person was telling me. So obviously, I thought, the problem must have been me. When I realized how difficult it was for her to breastfeed, how much energy she had to expend simply to keep from suffocating, I made the decision to stop breastfeeding altogether. Now, I spend hours on end every day attached to my pump, and I bottle feed her what I produce. It is so much easier for her to eat from a bottle. So much less work, even though it still takes about an hour for her to finish one meal.
Anyway, that's how, yesterday on our trip to Missoula to visit the cystic fibrosis team, I came to be pumping in the car without a nursing cover. It was just Bryan and Rosie with me, and I wasn't exposing anything the two of them haven't seen and don't fully appreciate. Unfortunately, it's also how I came to be flashing the trucker that we happened to be passing at a very inopportune moment. And that's how he came to be honking his horn at me as he experience what I'm assuming was the most surprising part of his day.
Flashing truckers. Just the latest on the long list of things I can tell Rosie I did in an attempt to feed her as a baby. Get ready for teenagedom, little girl. Mom's going to have so much in her guilt trip arsenal, it's not even funny!
Well, maybe it's funny for the trucker.
Monday, April 1
My mom came to visit over the weekend. It was heavenly. Most babies do okay with one parent around, but this weekend we defined Rosalind as a Three-Adult Baby. Three adults is perfect. The house gets clean, the mom gets showered and deoderized, the baby gets fed, the percussions get done, the husband gets to go on runs, and the parents get to go on dates for the first time in three months. It was, in a word, awesome. My mom took off for home yesterday and now I am, in a word, still in my pajamas at 7pm.
Like I said. Three-Adult Baby.
For the first time, I got to make my mom an Easter basket, instead of things being the other way around. I hid Bryan's basket and hers outside and positively cackled with joy watching them search high and low. In this house, we believe that you don't get Easter treats without working for them.