P is for PPD

I’ve never officially been diagnosed with Postpartum Depression, probably because I hate doctors and am afraid of the side affects associated with most medications.
Needless to say I never talked to my doctor about this. But I certainly believe I do in fact suffer from PPD. The first 6 weeks was hard but I’m sure no harder than any other first time mommy’s experience so I never gave it a second thought. I wasn’t concerned about my new found sadness until I was about 3 months postpartum and still in a slump.
I was so angry with myself for being sad about having the privilege of having a beautiful, healthy, perfect child. How could I be sad about that?
I was so ashamed of myself for not being happy about my new life as a mommy that I walked around with a fake smile and when I couldn’t I would just blame it on lack of sleep.
I would lay in bed at night crying cause I couldn’t understand why I hated my life so much.
Eventually this ended, at least for a while. Every time my hormones shifted (certain times of the month) I would find myself sinking back into a hole of despair, I didn’t want to be around anybody, I couldn’t talk to anybody without wanting to bite their head off and I felt like I would never amount to anything but then the next day everything would go right back to normal.
After a few dozen fights with Brad about my mood we did some research on PPD. I finally swallowed my pride and admitted to myself that I had a problem. Still hating medication and doctors, I had to find new methods of tackling this for the sake of my family’s sanity.
I started making myself go on walks. The fresh air and sunshine that I would get from a 20 minute walk would perk me up. I would suddenly remember how great my life really was, how loved I was. My most recent down period lasted about 36 hours. That’s more than I would like but less than before. I’ve started taking a Vitamin D supplement and continue to go on my walks everyday. Now all I can do is hope that next month will be better. I’m not ashamed anymore. I know now that it’s ok to not be ok and that I have friends and family that can support me.

This is what worked for me and these results aren’t typical. If you think you may be suffering from Postpartum Depression, please talk to your health care provider so you can discuss a treatment that will work for you. For more information you can visit Postpartum Progress for a list of possible symptoms and resources.

Did you or someone you know suffer from PPD?
What techniques were used to tackle it?


R is for Rice Sock

I don’t know about your baby but after Harry gets his shots he’s just plain pathetic for a couple of days. His favorite side affect? Sore muscles. A wonderful friend of mine taught me about the glorious invention that is the Rice Sock. Rice socks are a wonderful, reusable and inexpensive alternative to a heating pad that will sooth any achy little muscles you can throw at it. Wanna know how to make one? Follow these super simple steps and you’ll be on your way to a comfy little bundle in no time.

  1. Grab an old, clean sock.
  2. Fill it with dry, uncooked rice.
  3. Tie the opening shut like a balloon.
  4. Microwave it for about 30 seconds.
  5. Wrap in a receiving blanket.
  6. Place on sore area.

F is for Formula

Harry a couple days after starting formula

I was breastfed. My siblings were breastfed so when my older sister had her daughter and couldn’t breastfeed I assumed it was an isolated incident and not something I’d ever have to worry about. I was so wrong. Try as I might, my journey in breast feeding ended after a short 6 weeks.
Most of the 2 days we spent in the hospital was spent learning to latch. I spent hours in the middle of the night with nurses teaching me their tricks and offering formula for my quickly dehydrating little dude. I wasn’t going to have it. I was determined to feed my baby from my breast and he wasn’t going to touch that horrible “fake milk”!
When I got home my milk started to come in and we were finally able to get some stuff flowing into that little belly. We were still having issues latching but everything seemed to be working out ok and we were gonna get the hang of this.
After about 3 weeks I was having to feed so often that I was stuck to the couch. I couldn’t go anywhere without my starving baby screaming at the top of his lungs. I felt so helpless. I couldn’t keep up with his demand and forget even trying to find time to pump. On top of this Harry always had horrible gas. I felt like the worst mom in the world! But I was determined to make this breastfeeding thing work. I wasn’t going to have my baby “suffer cause I gave up”.
At our 6 week check up our pediatrician was concerned with Harry’s lack of weight gain. He was a pound less than they would have liked to be at that age. That coupled with the constant gas the doctor suggested trying to supplement with formula. Again, I wasn’t having that. “If my body can make a baby, it can sure the heck sustain that baby!” He mentioned that he was concerned that Harry may be allergic to something in my milk and put me on a special diet to see if we could pinpoint the issue. This diet entailed me eating pretty much nothing but bread and water.
I was so determined to breastfeed that I would have gone along with that, as impossible as it seemed. When I got home I looked at my little boy, as he uncomfortably slept next to me suckling the air and scowling. I realized for the first time how thin he really was, he didn’t look healthy and he didn’t seem healthy. I talked to my mom and sister and (one who would never formula feed and one who didn’t have much choice). All I could do was weep at the idea that I failed my baby. I couldn’t do something that should have come so naturally. I was devastated at the thought of not breast feeding. My sister bought me a can of formula and encouraged me to try it and see how it went.
So we went home, I made a bottle and swallowed my pride. Harry immediately latched and finished the 4oz bottle in just under 5 minutes. He looked like a puppy who hadn’t eaten in 3 days. I wept. I felt like such a failure. I was starving my baby and didn’t even know it. The next day I fed him again and wept again. (I wept every feeding for the next 2 days) By the end of day 2 I noticed less gas, less frequent feedings. I could leave the couch! Most of all I noticed that my baby was happy! It tore me apart to know that it wasn’t me making my baby happy but I didn’t even care at that point. My baby was happy and healthy too! He was even sleeping better. That’s all that mattered to me. How could I be a failure if I had a happy baby? After a week of formula, harry was quickly catching up with his weight percentile and looking like a happy healthy baby.

If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Seek help but don’t be ashamed to give up if you need to.

For breastfeeding support and information check out La Leche League International

C is for Circumsision

Contrary to popular belief, there is no shame in having your son circumcised. I believe this decision should be based on the educated research and beliefs of the each boy’s parents.
We decided to circumcise our son at 3 weeks to give us time to do the necessary research to make an informed decision on the matter.

I’ll start off by saying that my husband is circumcised. For many people that is their main reason to circumcise their son. While it wasn’t our main reason, it did help us to make our decision. Many people also base their decision on religious beliefs (in the Old Testament it was a  requirement for all Jewish boys to be circumcised on the eighth day). Since we are not Jewish this did not apply to us. I have a teenage relative who was not circumcised (do to cultural beliefs) that wishes he had been. This too helped sway our opinion. We did some research on the medical pros and cons of the procedure and in the end decided to go through with it.

He did so wonderful! The nurse brought him back to me from the procedure and he was just a relaxed little 3 week old. I assumed this had to do with all the numbing but 1 week later still hadn’t showed a single sign that anything had been done. He was extra wiggly the day the ring fell off but aside from that, everything went perfect.

In the end there were those who supported us and those who accused of  doing “barbaric, out dated and unnecessary surgery” on our child but I am a firm believer that each parent has the knowledge and the right to make an informed decision regarding the health of their child.

If you are debating whether to circumcise, I encourage you to weigh the pros and cons of circumcision and trust your parental instincts to do what’s right for you and your family.

How much did you allow the opinions of others sway your decision to circumcise or not?
Tell us about it in the comments section of this post.

V is for Vitamins

Breast milk is best for your new baby. It has all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs to thrive and grow up strong. So you can imagine my surprise as a brand new mommy when my pediatrician prescribed Vitamin D drops for Harry. I’ve never heard of this before! Shouldn’t my breast milk supply Vitamin D already?
Being the naive, non confrontational person I am, I reluctantly picked up the drops and gave Harry his first dose. This was immediately followed by projectile vomit and a screaming baby. Desperate to please my pediatrician, I tried again the next day only to experience the same results.
Rebellious little me decided that I wasn’t going to listen to doctor anymore and stpped giving Harry his drops. I went online and did some research and learned that giving vitamins to newborns who are breastfeeding was the latest trend amongst many pediatricians. The reason? Doctors are worried about mommies having low levels of Vitamin D due to a decrease of sun exposure.
Armed with this new information and a little belly that couldn’t handle drops, I started taking extra Vitamin D supplements and spending a little more time outdoors to make sure that my body was producing enough to get into my milk.

This isn’t how I recommend everybody to handle doctor’s advice that you don’t agree with. If you have concerns about something your doctor has prescribed for baby don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient in the absorption of Calcium which baby needs to grow healthy bones. For more ways to make sure you and your baby are getting enough Vitamin D please visit LLLI: Sunlight and Vitamin D

B is for Bedtime

Sleeping snug as a bug at 6 days old.

I know, I know, you’re not supposed to sleep train newborns because you’re going to have to do it all over again when they go through their 4 month sleep regression. That being said. The most common thing I remember hearing in my 3rd trimester was “If you think it’s hard to sleep now, just wait ’til the baby gets here!” Needless to say I was terrified that I was never going to sleep again. Lucky for us after just 5 nights we had it down to a science. These results may not work for everybody that tries our methods but 5 months in we’re still consistently getting a good 10 hours straight every night. Might be worth a shot if you’re desperate.

Night 1: After 30 hours of labor I was moved to a recovery room and decided to hit the hay. Unfortunately I had nothing to say in the matter. After all I had to feed every 2 hours and have my vitals checked every 4. With this information in hand, I developed a wonderful plan that would allow me to sleep for about an hour at a time. I snuggled into my creaky hospital bed, fluffed my pillows and hit the lights. Turns out Harry wasn’t crazy about being in the dark (why a new born would be afraid of the dark beats me).  Anyway between vital checks, feedings, and having the lights on mommy got about 25 minutes of sleep that night.

Night 2: See Night One.

Night 3: Now back in our comfy little home I was sure to get some sleep right? We tucked in to our cozy little bed, fed Harry and settled him in to his bassinet. Lights out, cue scream! Terrified of the idea of co-sleeping, I stayed up all night rocking Harry and snuggling him to my chest. I got about 30 minutes of sleep that night.

Night 4: Ask and you shall receive! After posting a desperate, dire lament on Facebook my brother-in-law hopped on Amazon and overnighted us a sleep wedge. After that a friend stopped by with a Swaddling Blanket. The combination of these 2 wonderful items sent us on beautiful journey called sleep, 5 hours of sleep to be exact.

Night 5: I was perfectly happy with 5 hours of sleep. That’s what you get with a new born, right? Wrong! You don’t have to settle for just 5 hours! Amongst all the advice we were getting from friends and fellow parents one little tidbit broke the bank for us and catapulted us into 9-11 hours a night. Are you ready? A simple bedtime routine is all it took!

This is our routine. We start 30 minutes before bed time.

Do a final diaper change
Put on PJs and sleep sack (or swaddle)
Have last baba
Cuddle and Sing
Once he’s been asleep for about 20 minutes*, transfer him to the bassinet.

*This is how long it takes Harry to get into a deep sleep. Adjust it according to your baby.

I strongly encourage you to develop a bedtime routine that works for you and your family.

Do you already have a bedtime routine that works for you?
Tell us about it in the comment section.

Here are some links to sleep acesseories that may help you in sleep training
Co-Sleeper Bassinets
Swaddling Blankets
Incline Sleep Wedge

H is for Harry (Our Birth Story)

At my 40 week check up I heard the same report I’d been hearing for weeks “0 cm dilated, 0% effaced” sigh. Based on a few different ultrasounds (and daddy’s genes) our ‘little’ bundle was estimated to be a whopping 9 ½ lbs! All things considered up to this point, my doctor wasn’t convinced Harry was going to come on his own before he got to big. We scheduled an induction for 4 days later. The weekend included painful, inconsistent contractions and almost no sleep. Bright and early Monday morning I hopped in the shower, sat on my yoga ball and called the birthing center to confirm my time.

At noon I packed my hospital bag, husband, mom and ‘doula’ (my very close cousin that’s in nursing school) made a stop at Sonic the 30-minute drive to my birthing center.

When we arrived my contractions were consistently about 10 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds.  At 2pm I was checked for progress (now at 1cm and 90% effaced) strapped down and given a strand of Cervidil and my first dose of PCN and left to just kinda wait and see what happens.

Everything was pretty chill for the next few hours aside from a confirmation measurement ultrasound and a couple of walks around the garden. With my little dude still measuring at 9 ½ lbs the sun began to set. Grandma headed out to the car to catch some shut-eye while my cousin snuggled up in a corner on the floor. But there would be no sleep for daddy and I as labor was rapidly becoming stronger and stronger as the night went on. At about 3am I was begging for an epidural but the nurse encouraged me to try a warm shower instead. So I sat in the shower with water running on my belly for about an hour before heading back to bed to get my next dose of PCN.

At 8am my doctor came in to check up on us (4.5cm and 90%) pull my Cervidil and approve my epidural. By noon my epidural was in place and I was feelin’ good. My heart rate began to drop so I was put on oxygen. (FUN PART: I suddenly felt a very wet gush of liquid on my legs and called a nurse in to confirm that it was my water. It was pee.) After a few hours I was starting to feel the sharpness of my contractions that were now a minute and a half apart. A nurse then informed me that they’d been having issues with the anesthesia pumps going out all week so I ‘probably wasn’t getting the full effect of my epidural’. At 1pm and 7.5cm my doctor decided to break my water to push things along. Harry’s head wasn’t descending. Still at station 2, the pain began to get so intense that I was given some Thorazine to help me rest up before the big push.

At 5:15 my doctor came in to check and it was time to push! 20 minutes later, after 30 hours of labor, my perfect 8lb 14oz, 21 ½ in ‘little’ boy was on my chest and I was in love.

Check Out our Labor Video-Coming Soon

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