It's been more than three weeks since my last check in, so I wanted to do a brain dump style post. This one is going to be all over the place. I'll try to divide it into sections to make it easier to follow (or skip parts if you aren't interested).
Brendan and I finished the spring semester made possible by a visit from Brendan's sister, aka: the best Auntie ever! Annie was here for a week, and she was instrumental in helping us with Willa while we graded (Brendan had five classes worth, and I had two since I'd front loaded my semester) and gave final exams. She even kept Willa so we could have a date night, and we went to eat a nice dinner, which was such a treat.
My first day back at work coincided with the annual awards ceremony, so I could pick up my five year pin. It ended up being so wonderful that I was there because Brendan won the teacher of the year award for our division for the second time in five years. This is a student voted award, and our division has all the "fun" classes (art, music, drama, journalism), so I'd say the competition is stiff. Needless to say, I was so proud of him; what a way to end a very challenging semester.
|Photo by Katherine Prementine|
We are currently both teaching one interim class. I only have seven students, but Brendan has twenty (popularity has its price ;). So far, we're one week in and it's going well. We will be done in just ten days.
First of all, thanks to those that reached out with kind words after my last post. I feel like I have the most supportive and lovely group of friends. I had an excellent Mother's Day this year. We had a low key day at home and went for a walk with my mom and Willa in the morning before it got too hot. Brendan gifted me a beautiful necklace with Willa's birthstone and a sweet card, my dad sent flowers to the house for my mom and I, and several family members sent me cards.
Emotionally: I'm still feeling really good. Brendan and I have made an effort to get into a routine, which I think is helping. We get up early and go for a walk before it gets too hot. This also ensures I get dressed early in the day. Saturday, we even made it to the farmer's market and ate brunch with friends. We usually watch Netflix/HBO/or Hulu together every night (Westworld and Handmaid's Tale are our current shows). Making an effort to do the things that are normal for us makes us feel, well, normal. I think the other key is that I'm kind to myself. I know I'm doing my best, and I don't beat myself up over anything. Instead, I look at myself and think "good job for keeping a person alive" and I also think "wasn't it cool when there was time to shower whenever you wanted?" but that's not really related. The adjustment is HUGE, but each day that goes by feels more normal. Hey, one day I may be able to finish the book I started before Willa was born!
Sleep: Willa being a good sleeper probably accounts for a lot of the reason I'm feeling good. She only wakes up once a night, nurses, and goes back to sleep. In the past week, she has slept 5-6 hour stretches for three nights.
Physically: I had my six week appointment last week, and my tear has healed/stitches are gone. I'm five pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight and officially got the go ahead to exercise again. My clothes don't fit the same at all, but right now, my focus is on eating healthy while getting plenty of calories so I can nurse. I am hungry all the time!
Willa's Personality: Willa is a fun and easy going baby. She only cries if she is tired or hungry, and she stops crying as soon as we feed her, swaddle her, or read and rock her. She smiles at us, plays on her activity mat, grabs things with her hands, and is already trying roll over (yikes!). She is the light of our lives, and I feel like we've always had her. We love her so so much.
Breastfeeding: I mentioned some of our struggles in an earlier post, and breastfeeding has continued to be a lot of work, but thanks to some tips from the hospital support group, we are making great strides. I'm going into details in case this helps anyone else with similar issues. Before we had a couple of problems. One is that Willa is a snacker. She will fall asleep constantly, and she really doesn't care that much about eating (she's a little too easy going in that way). If she had her way, she'd probably eat one ounce every hour all day long. Not practical. We also had latch issues in the beginning that led to pain for me and frustration for her, so we were using a nipple shield. On top of all that, I was struggling with low supply.We needed to supplement with formula to make sure Willa gained enough. I choose this one, and she did well on it. 20-30% of her diet was formula and 70-80% was breastfeeding from weeks 2-5. Then, I found a great support group at the hospital (and Annie helped me get there!), and we started on a triple feeding regimen. It takes a lot of time, but it really helped us. For one, Willa is on a schedule of sorts. She eats every two hours (it takes about an hour to feed her though...so every two hours from the time she stops), which means I have some time in between feedings now. This alone has been great. Additionally, my supply has increased. Last week, breastfeeding was 90% of her diet, and this week we're up to 100%. I even was able to fill my first freezer bag. After pumping over 360 ounces with NO freezer supply, I felt so happy just to get that one bag in there. Lactation cookies, fenugreek, go lacta, mother's milk tea, natural calm, blue gatorade, lactation smoothies (1 cup milk, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 tablespoon flaxseed, 2 tablespoons brewer's yeast, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract, and 1 cup ice) and epsom salt baths are other things I've tried. In the past week, she stopped caring for the nipple shield, and I think that may be helping her to get more milk as well.
Stuff We Love (Added to this list)
Chicco Liteway Stroller and Keyfit 30 Carseat (did so much research, and I love this travel system).
Activity Mat and Rock and Play (both handed down to us)
On My Mind
I was really upset by Friday's news. You guys know what I think. I don't want to keep living in fear. Can we try something (anything) yet?
I'm sending all my love and light to the Gouldie family. Please consider joining me in donating to Gavin's Gift of Grace to help the Gouldies support other grieving families as a way to honor their son's life.
I hope to check in much sooner next time. Happy Tuesday all.