Breastfeeding, Donor Milk and Me

22-IMG_0244Since having twins last year, I have been committed to breastfeeding them.  I NEVER judge others for their choice, or their decision to formula feed.  It is, however, my personal choice, and I’m wicked stubborn.

Since June, I cannot tell you how many times I have been pushed to try formula.  I have been criticized for my choice and encouraged by many family, friends and providers to switch.  I have been called selfish, I have been criticized and I have left conversations doubting my ability to provide adequate calories.

Add that to clogged ducts, lip ties, tongue ties and overall terrible latches, and it’s been pretty shitty.  I love nursing and I love that the boys have had only breastmilk and nutritious foods, but the actual process has been hard.

And then I accepted my first bags of donor milk.

I had bronchitis and I was in the ER.  My cousin over-nighted it (yes, that’s a thing).  17 ounces.  It got me through a day of dehydration, fever, and overall feeling lousy.  She has twins too, so she didn’t hesitate.  She just called FedEx.

Then

A high school friend walked up to me at a community event and offered it. I wanted to say no, because I don’t need anyone’s help.  *lie*

But I said yes.  Tears flooded my eyes and I couldn’t make any more words.  This amazing human being delivered it to my house in 3-4 oz bags and helped me get through a huge growth spurt.  I don’t know how I would have survived that week without that milk.

Then

Dunkin Donuts and Lansinoh
Drinks all around!

My best friend had her baby.  She would drop off bags every once in a while, sometimes with a coffee….(I have amazing friends)  Her baby was 6 weeks old when this started.

Now, if I need a few ounces she comes over and pumps to put it in the fridge.  That is love.  That is support.

Then

A random person on Facebook reached out to me.  She had found me through Human Milk 4 Human Babies and she wanted to help.  I picked up a huge bag of pumped, creamy, fatty, amazing milk for the boys.  I cried as I accepted it.  I cried because this amazing gift nourishes my boys, and therefore nourishes me.

I know that not everyone can donate, and not everyone feels comfortable sharing milk, or accepting shared milk.  For me, it’s like holding my hand.  This is fucking hardMotherhood is hardNursing is hard.  So to you, women in my life who have given me this gift…

Thank you — Because I don’t think you really knew…

You didn’t know that I have often felt like I’m *not enough*; that there is not enough of me to go around.  Between two babies, my beautiful daughter and my amazing husband, I’m spread thin.

You didn’t know that I have been accused of being *not enough* by others, judged for not using formula, for not feeding cereal (it constipates them) or for not choosing the same route that others have chosen for their children.

You didn’t know that the day they were born, a nurse told me that I shouldn’t be upset if they need formula, and I wasn’t even off the surgical table.

You didn’t know that there are people who have broadly challenged my parenting choices, and brought me to question myself.

You didn’t know that I celebrate when my sons maintain their weight curve above the 5th percentile

You didn’t know that I have cried over this, A LOT.  I have sat with my crying babies, rocking them, nursing them, drinking quarts of water at a time, feeling like I’m failing.

You didn’t know that I sighed a huge relief when I opened my freezer and had those medela, lansinoh, nuk bags waiting for us.

You didn’t know; now you do.

Thank you

Scary Mommy

5 Things I Know About Life After Lap Band Surgery

A Guest Blog By: Heather Kemp

Lap Band surgery is something most have heard of.  It is a great weight loss surgery option.  It is an outpatient procedure that is done laparoscopically.  It can be taken out if you change your mind or something better comes along and can even be adjusted if you decide to have more kids after the procedure.  However, it is a weight loss tool, and it comes with many lifetime adjustments.  Here are 5 of the things I know about life after lap band.

Time To Adjust
For the first year, you will be going back every 4-6 weeks.  You get weighed to see if there is a difference (and yes, sometimes there is not.)  You will be filling out a questionnaire about any possible complications you have had over the last few weeks.  It will ask how much food you eat on average and more.  If it is determined you need to have more or less fluid added to your lap band, that is done through a port.  You are usually asked to stand and sip water while the adjustment is being done.  This is to make sure you are still able to swallow.  The port is on your abdomen under the skin and is not visible.  The needle is poked right in and fluid is adjusted.

Plateau
This surgery is not a miracle.  You need to be ready for weight plateaus.  At the beginning the weight feels like it is just falling off, but then it slows down.  Some weeks it will be mere ounces you lose, others you may have no difference, or even an occasional gain.  You need to mentally prepare for these times or you may just go a little crazy.  While you may not need a doula necessarily, you will need support for during these times.

Liquid Calories
One of the things you need to be careful about is what you drink.  While you will definitely be changing what you eat, it may be harder to change what you drink.  You don’t need to completely give up your lattes, cutting back would be a good idea and maybe not getting a grande.  You are able to drink without too much problem usually and because of this you could tend to intake too many calories.  If you really want to make this surgery an effective weight loss tool for yourself, consider tracking calories and not having a whole day’s worth of calories in one drink!

Rejection
Food rejection is a real thing.  This will be a complete lifestyle change and it takes time to find out what your body will and won’t have problems with.  Your surgical team will likely give you a list of typical “problem foods”, but it is different for every person.  Most people have problems with breads, some pastas, rice, and tough meats.  Personally, I cannot eat most of those foods.  However, while I have had to give up pizza (mourn with me), my body has been kind enough to allow me to still have steak as long as it isn’t too dry (medium rare is usually ok).  I am almost a year post-op and I am still learning what my body will reject.  Also, by reject, I mean just that.  I will literally have to excuse myself because of “productive burps”, which means I will burp and vomit.  Quite fun when out to eat (note the sarcasm).

Night Coughs
Night coughs have to be my favorite, NOT!  These usually happen if you eat too close to the time you go to bed.  Laying horizontal, if the food hasn’t digested yet, will travel back up.  Typically, you will wake up coughing and not realize what caused it at first.  It is once again a form of vomit coming up.  I tend to notice it happens about the time I would fall in the deep sleep and relax enough for it to travel up.  On occasion, it will happen even if you haven’t eaten too late or even come back up closer to the morning.  Unfortunately, once this happens the best thing you can do it try to sleep upright (in a recliner is most comfortable).
Now while there are side effects, this surgery can be a very useful tool.  Make sure you follow the instructions given to you by your surgical team to have the best success.  Join a support group if possible and make sure you have supportive people you can turn to at home.  GET A GYM BUDDY to help you stay motivated!!

If you would like to follow Heather’s journery or get more information on the doula services and more she if offering in the Kankakee and Iroquois county Illinois areas, check out www.GeminiBirthServices.com