Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Milk issues again

I am thinking that my milk supply is not keeping up with Daniel's growth.  He was unsatisfied for a while now, and I don't have the same approach with him as I did with Emma, thinking that my body will keep up.  I now know better.  I tried to pump a bit each morning to have enough for the evenings, when the supply issue happens, but then I ended up not having enough in the morning either, and having to supplement twice a day, which was not good.  I started by pumping 30 ml (one oz) each morning, and weighing him to see how much he ate when he woke up.  He would eat 70ml and be hungry still, so I often would give him back the pumped milk, then he was satisfied.  I then stopped pumping and he would just eat 100 ml and be happy.  This is a lot less time consuming and much more satisfying to both of us.  My body just cannot make more than 100 ml, that's the way it is.  Pumping first, waiting a bit and feeding later does not change things either, that is the way I am built. The sooner I accepted this, the better it was.

My advice for the lactation-challenged ladies is (after much, much experience with hitting my head against the wall):  recognize the problem early.  If you think you don't have enough milk, it is likely that you are right.  Daniel was gaining 20g per day and doing fine, but with supplementation he is gaining 30 g and he is a lot happier.  He only needs 1-2 oz at night extra, but that is what he needs, and I won't argue with it.  Second piece of advice:  supplement at the breast using something like the SNS or Lactation Aid devices.  Bottles are fairly deadly in this situation, because a frustrated hungry baby will always prefer the faster milk flow that comes from the bottle.  Third piece of advice:  feed often.  Allow the baby to soothe-suck at the breast whenever he wants to, it will increase the prolactin levels.

I was lucky enough to have two ladies in town donate milk for him (just as it happened for Emma) and will probably be able to avoid formula until he is a bit older, and perhaps if we are lucky indefinitely :).

Friday, July 18, 2014

biking with the bears

Yesterday morning I had a biking date.  For anybody who has missed the recent developments, I bit the triathlon bug and am trying to learn some road bike skills on my second hand bike that is extremely temperamental (hopefully the bike technician comes back to town pretty soon to fix my large gear problem).  Anyway, so yesterday morning I was supposed to go biking with a lady in town, who has to go to work at 7 am.  Hence I got up extra early, at 5:15 am, to feed Daniel and change him and put him in the swing before I have my coffee, get dressed, try to find my helmet that has a bad habit of prancing around the house all by itself, etc.  I showed up at the meeting place at 6 am, and this lady was not there.  I waited for a bit, riding around in circles (I would have dismounted the bike, but the clip pedals make me fall each time I try to dismount, so I thought I'd better save that fun for later, at the end of the ride, or at least for some "stop" sign excitement!).

Finally, after ten minutes of small boring circles around the block, I felt the need to go do my workout and left.  It was about half an hour earlier than my usual riding time, so I ran (biked) into these ladies running on the road towards me.  They yelled at me "there's a momma bear with cubs further up the road, don't go there".

The local people are (rightfully) terrified of bears.  We carry bear spray in our purses just about everywhere, and definitely on any of the paths around here.  That being said, although we encounter them often, I have not met anybody that ever got attacked, except for this guy who decided to shoot one and the shot was not deadly (I think that he told me that bear was dangerous for some reason, whatever).  In general, I have the feeling that if you don't bother them, they don't bother you.  And it is generally wise not to walk too close to them with your camera, ahem, MrH...Yes, yes, even if it looks like the bear is smiling at you.

Well, that blocked my workout path alright.  I had to decide whether I was more afraid of riding past the lady-bear with the babies, or of riding on the highway, with its bigger, longer hills, and the less welcoming truckers with their fast semi's.  I chose the bear, and rode on.  I never saw her, she must have just dashed into the bushes.

That's the problem around here with riding too early, there's a lot of wildlife.  It is also what makes me relish my early morning rides, since some of the wild life consists of momma deer and their fawns too :).

Speaking of which, I cannot wait for my new cruiser (cruising bike) to arrive.  It will have breaks that don't screech bloody murder and 18 speeds.  More for me to climb the hills with!  My quads will soon need me to pay property tax on them.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Daniel is growing. And lots of mosquitoes in town.

Little man Daniel is growing so fast!!!  I feel like he is developing a lot faster than Emma.  At first, I felt that one of the advantages of having a preemie is that you get to spend more time with him.  I got two more months of life to get to know him (ok, one of those two months was not particularly pleasant for anybody, given that it took place in the NICU, but the second one was definitely a bonus).

Anyway, I digress.  He got some oral thrush, and he is so busy chewing on everything in sight in order to relieve his itchy mouth, that I have no idea whether he needs more milk (i.e. whether I am keeping up with his requirements for breastfeeding) or whether he simply needs to chew on my nipples.  I was quite in doubt of my boob-ability the other day, when he sucked me dry and continuously asked for more, when I realized that:
1.  He is making enough urine to water a whole garden, and I keep on changing his diapers/clothes/sheets/my clothes every five seconds.
2.  He is growing at 30.6 g per day on average (that's one ounce).  Which is fantabulous.

All in all, that realization has restored my boob-confidence.
Why doubt myself in the first place?  Well, here is a bunch of reasons:  firstly, I did not have enough milk with Emma, by far and wide, and secondly, I train every day for at least one hour, which is a lot of physical activity for somebody who was formerly confined to bed just two to three months ago.  The level of training together with the time away from him can definitely contribute to decreasing milk supply, so I have to be on guard and watch it.

I am planning on completing the local Olympic distance triathlon next summer, so I have decided that I had better get the 40 km bike ride under control this year, because the triathlon is in June and we can only start riding after defrost (which happens in May or so around here).  Therefore, I had better start with the road balance and gear shifting and clip less pedals and overall road testing this year, because although I have the winter to do some stationary biking, I won't be able to practice all of those skills before the event, and I will stress out about falling off/getting run over by a semi truck/eaten alive by bear/getting a flat and not knowing how to change it, blah blah.  The swim is completely under control, and the run is totally do-able on the treadmill, but the bike is another story.

In case anybody wants to do a newbie triathlon, come along for the ride.  Before this bug itched me, I had no idea what those funky road bikes were for, i.e. I had never ridden anything that does not allow riding in a skirt and have a basket in front.  Now I am considering installing aerobars on my new-used bike.  Go figure.  I have even gotten myself cycling shorts after the lady parts started hurting.  And I just did 30 km on the bike yesterday without blinking, after which I went for a 7 km run during which I blinked a lot.  A fair bit of the blinking was due to mosquitoes and other bugs.  Some of the blinking was due to the newly installed sign at the entrance to the forest trail "BEAR IN THE AREA".  A momma bear with her cubs lives there now.  Bye bye trail running for a while.

There are numerous bugs around here in summer, but this year they are so bad that we cannot live outside without oozing DEET from every pore.  I went with the kids to a park play group, and it was ridiculous that we all huddled up in the rain when it started to drizzle instead of hiding under the tree where it was dry, because the mosquitoes run away from the drizzle under the said tree.  Rain is infinitely preferable to mosquitoes.  The bugs are another reason why I have to train in the mornings, because in the evenings bad things happen.

I took the kids in a double stroller for a jog through the forest path, and unwisely gave Emma a cookie that I had made with dates.  Within a few minutes, the hornets started circling her menacingly. I stopped just for the second that it took to retrieve the cookie and hide it, and in that second, the mosquitoes, all 150 of them, surrounded us.  Daniel had about ten on his face, Emma had thirty bites on each leg, and I did not even care to stop and count because it was freaking terrifying to see my kids covered in mosquitoes.  So we started running even faster, to get away from them, but they followed us in a thick cloud.  I stopped again to spray DEET all over everybody again and over the back of the stroller, and that helped things for about two minutes, but the mosquitoes continued to threaten us every time that I dropped my running pace below 6 mph.  That is pretty fast for trail running pushing a double stroller, and I got tired, but could not stop until we got to safety, so I had a gruelling workout.  Now, as a mother, I had to do it, but my running partner, who did not have her kids covered in mosquitoes because she had not stopped to get rid of the hornets, had no need to run so fast, and I think I unnecessarily fatigued her on a day that was supposed to be a "easy run".  It turned out into the run from hell for both of us.  When I got to the car, and quickly threw Emma and Daniel inside, folding the stroller and launching it with both hands like it was a stroller-launching Olympic event, quickly hiding in the car myself and closing all the doors and windows, we had about forty mosquitoes with us for the free all-you-can-eat ride.   You try and concentrate on driving when your right ankle is currently attacked by the bastards.

If any of my friends want to come visit, I highly recommend winter when it is -40C.  Much better to be outside in those conditions.  (Just kidding.  I love summer.  I am just in awe at how tenacious these insects are).

Monday, June 30, 2014

busy and self absorbed

I am rediscovering my body, the one that is quasi-normal and not sick or pregnant.  What an interesting time I am having!  First off, I started by exercising.  I found out that although I had not lost as much fitness as if I had never exercised at all, I was down to about half of my usual mileage in running and swimming.  I sometimes think that I am able to do something just because I could in the past, and then I realize that it I persist with this mad form of thought I will get injured...  The second thing is that I am busy trying to lose weight, because although I look fine, it is rather hard to run with an extra 20 lb on board.

I felt a bit selfish initially, because here I am, with a brand new baby, and I am expanding energy into fitness instead of gazing lovingly into his eyes 24/7.  However, I feel that I have reached a good balance now.  My exercise time is 6:30-7:30 in the mornings.  I take full advantage of it, I enjoy it, and then I let it go.  The rest of the day is spent with the kids at the park, and yes, gazing lovingly into their eyes comes in too, when I am not busy giving Emma time out in her room for throwing sand in some poor child's face... she keeps me on my toes.  (We were at the park, and she threw some sand at a young girl-18 months or so- who was throwing sand at her too, BTW, but was just not as coordinated as Emma is.  So Emma got her straight in the eyes.  I put Emma on the time-out bench, and administered first aid (i.e. removed grains of sand from poor baby's left eye), when Emma decided that she had done enough time-out and got off the bench without permission.  I asked her if she would rather do her time out at home in her room, and she agreed (to my surprise).  I personally would have liked to linger on the grass at the park a lot longer, but I had to keep my word so we went home and she went straight to her room for about five minutes, which is the longest time out she has had so far, but she did not mind).

That is how exciting my life is!!!

Daniel is coo-ing so sweetly.  I am going to try to make a video of him making his sweet baby sounds.  He is also looking at me and smiling, sometimes giggling, in the rare moments when my boob is not in his mouth.  For some reason he has thrush, which I am trying to cure with Nystatin suspension, but so far not very successfully.  If anybody has any other remedies for thrush (not so much gentian violet, which stains clothes) then please let me know.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Emma wants to be a doctor. I want to be a shepherd.

She is gone to the hospital with daddy, which is their special thing to do every Saturday morning.  They go on rounds "to see the sick people".  She loves it.

Here is a picture of her listening to daddy's heart.  I am pretty sure she thinks that the heart is in the big toe area but never mind...

As for Daniel, I was planning on taking some fabulous pictures today, but the light is not very good (it is cloudy and drizzly outside), so will have to postpone the great photography until tomorrow.  Here is something that I got so far, just of him in the swing.  I find that for most newborn photography to look good, I need my husband to entertain him somehow so that he opens his eyes:

Life is really good.  I am preparing for the triathlon, and have shaved off one minute from my 1 km time, which is really good.  I am still the slowest on the morning training team, but so what, I am the only one that just had a baby there, and by next year perhaps I will be able to keep up more consistently.  I have started running as well, and found that actually running 5 km is really not that hard, especially when I don't have to push a double BOB loaded with my kids and the neighbours' kids at the same time (for some reason I thought that was a great idea, don't ask!).

I do a lot of art and Romanian lessons with Emma in the mornings.   We keep it fun and light, and at 10:30 we wrap up all activities and go outside to play at the park.  She is learning how to cut with scissors, and enjoys cutting both paper and play dough.  The play dough part is very messy, so I am starting to get her involved in the cleanup on a more consistent basis.  So far, I would clean up her messes and make it fun for her to help if she wanted to.  Lately it still fun, but it is becoming compulsory.

I have started reading the book on Love and Logic parenting recommended by blogger friend Lara, and it is a great, great book.  I have realized that up to now I was focusing more on being a friend to Emma, and not as much a parent.  And it was the right, age appropriate thing to do.  However, she is growing up, and she needs to start integrating into society.  That involves doing her share of work in the family (which is her little society at home) and learning to interact with the outside world (her friends, the neighbours, people we meet at the grocery store).  She is doing really well, except for the sudden bursts of wanting to make a mess (she even says "mommy, I want to make a mess"), and then I know I need to send her to her room, because if it happens in daddy's office, it involves taking all the paper out of the shredder and spreading it joyfully all across the house, including in the flower pots.

She also needs to work on respecting the cat.  Our cat is very kind and gentle, and would never hurt my kids, but since the neighbour's kids play in our house, the whole gang thinks it is great fun chasing the cat and throwing pillows at her, which we (the parents) disapprove of. (Even though I think it is hilarious to see the cat challenged a bit, since all she does is sleep and shed hair, but ahem, don't tell Emma I said so).  Here is the cat, trying on some baby clothes.  That was my idea.  I was making baby clothes by hand before Emma's arrival, and was trying them over the cat's head to make sure that they were wearable.  (They were not wearable, by the way).

Anyway, life is smooth and wonderful.  I am baking bread tonight, so I took out the sourdough starter and am feeding it some flour.  Soon I will be milling the grains.  I should move in the prairies and get some goats.  Here in town I am quite sure that one cannot keep goats.  I am craving some fresh, unprocessed milk, lots of it, to drink and to make fresh cheese from.  Mmmmm...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The height of embarrassment

Here is how to get into a really embarrassing situation: 
Step 1.  Receive phone call yesterday from nice lady who says she would like to bring dinner tomorrow night (i.e today).  Make arrangements for 18:30 drop off. 
Step 2.  Forget all about said conversation.
Step 3.  Make dinner, put it on the table, and start eating with family at 18:15, finish and relax with conversation and coffee.
Step 4.  As soon as 18:30 arrives, hear knock on the door.
Step 6.  Whisper at husband to CLEAR OUT THE PLATES ASAP.
Step 7.  While husband (who has no idea what is going on) tries unsuccessfully to clear out the table, answer the door so that both kind lady and her husband step right into the dining room with a roaster full of chicken and a wonderful apple pie.  Too bad that the table is already full of dirty plates. 

I don't think anybody bought my story about serving dinner to Emma because she is a picky eater and just had gastroenteritis.  I have no idea what I should have said.  Nothing really made sense at this point to anybody other than myself.