How Much is Too Much?

Standard

This post is all about my experience with breastfeeding so far. Let me first say that breastfeeding is a lot more difficult than I ever could have anticipated. I completely understand why some women give up on it or can no longer do it. Breastfeeding is hard! To all of those moms out there who are still breastfeeding, keep it up and hang in there! It does get easier!

When Warren was born, he was looking around and wanted to eat right away. It was a little awkward at first getting him positioned, but things seemed to be going ok. The first breastfeeding session went relatively well. After that first session, things got a lot more tricky. Warren was really sleepy and had a hard time latching on. I tried many different positions to get him to latch effectively, but nothing was really working.

By the time we brought him home, I hated breastfeeding. It was very painful and Warren never seemed to be getting enough to eat. Nights were the worst. Warren would wake up screaming and want to eat, but it then it would take him up to 20 minutes before he got a good enough latch to eat. My nipples started to bleed and blister and I could tell that Warren was not happy.

When the nurse came for the home visit check up, I told her about my issues with breastfeeding. She watched me nurse and suggested that I try a nipple shield. The nipple shield was a lifesaver for me! Warren was able to latch on and eat a lot more effectively. Breastfeeding was no longer painful!

We have now gotten to a point in our breastfeeding relationship where I no longer depend on the nipple shield. I will use it in the middle of the night, or if Warren is clamping down while eating in an attempt to try to slow my crazy flow of breast milk.

Which leads me to our next challenge. I have an over-abundant supply of breast milk and an overactive letdown reflux. No one ever told me that this could happen. I have heard of not having enough milk, but never having too much milk. I found out about this issue when reading through the book “Babywise” when Warren was having a particularly hard day. He was screaming and nothing would console him. I was starting to suspect that he had reflux, or some gastrointestinal disorder, so I was reading information on that.

Warren was/is spitting up constantly. I do not mean regular spitting up, either. When he spits up it’s basically everything he just ate. He will spit up when he’s eating, after he’s eating, and while he is sleeping. This poor little boy spits up all of the time! I never knew a child could spit up so much and still gain weight. He was also having green foamy/watery stools on a pretty regular basis. This symptom was the key to his “diagnosis.” Apparently if a baby consumes too much of the foremilk portion of the breast milk they can have a reaction because they are consuming too much lactose. This problem causes a foremilk to hindmilk ratio imbalance. The symptoms are spot on to what Warren was experiencing.

  • Baby cries a lot, and is often very irritable and/or restless
  • Baby may sometimes gulp, choke, sputter, or cough during feedings at breast
  • Baby may seem to bite or clamp down on the nipple while feeding
  • Milk sprays when baby comes off, especially at the beginning of a feeding
  • Mother may have sore nipples
  • Baby may arch and hold himself very stiffly, sometimes screaming
  • Feedings often seem like battles, with baby nursing fitfully on and off
  • Feedings may be short, lasting only 5 or 10 minutes total
  • Baby may seem to have a “love-hate” relationship with the breast
  • Baby may burp or pass gas frequently between feedings, tending to spit up a lot
  • Baby may have green, watery or foamy, explosive stools
  • Mother’s breasts feel very full most of the time
  • Mother may have frequent plugged ducts, which can sometimes lead to mastitis (breast infection)

The above information is from the La Leche League website. Check out this link for more information on breastfeeding and oversupply: http://www.llli.org/faq/oversupply.html

I had taken Warren to his doctor the day before I made this discovery in “Babywise.” The doctor basically just dismissed all of Warren’s symptoms as colic. He actually asked me if I was a first time mom and then said that what he has is obviously colic. I was so frustrated with the doctor. I should have argued and said that I could tell that Warren had something wrong with him and that it was not just colic. So I took matters into my own hands. This is when I discovered that my oversupply of breast milk was most likely the culprit.

When I say that I have an oversupply of breast milk I do not simply mean that I just have extra milk. I have so much extra milk that I actually spray out breast milk all over my poor little baby every time I feed him. It literally shoots out everywhere! I have tried so many different things to try to tame my supply. Some people say that I should pump so that I can get rid of the extra foremilk, while others say that pumping will just cause my body to produce more milk. I have tried lying down while nursing and allowing my initial flow to spray into a burpcloth. I have also tried blockfeeding where I nurse on one side for 2-3 times and then switch to the next side.

I have found that I really cannot decrease my supply, no matter what I do. Instead, I have discovered that pumping as much as I can in the morning before I feed Warren for the first time and then blockfeeding for the rest of the day really helps. I am donating my extra breast milk to a friend who cannot breastfeed. If I am extra engorged before I am about to nurse, I will pump a small amount (1-3 oz.) before I feed the little guy. The middle of the night seems to be the worst for engorgement. I will wake up with my chest throbbing and it feels like I have bricks lying on my chest. When this happens I have to pump. If I don’t pump, the flow is so incredibly fast that Warren spits up almost immediately.

Breastfeeding has gotten much easier. Warren is not as incredibly fussy and he recently started sleeping 6-7.5 hour stretches at night! He is sill spitting up, but now he is what the experts call a “happy spitter.” He doesn’t seem to be in as much pain and he can nurse more efficiently. He still eats every 2-2.5 hours, but I know that won’t last forever. Sometimes I can tell that he just wants to eat for the comfort it gives him, and that is ok. If nursing him will make him feel better, then I will nurse him earlier than the 2 hour mark.

The best advice that I can give is do what works for you. Breastfeeding is one of the healthiest things that you can do for your baby. No matter how difficult it gets, don’t give up!

Warren Matthew 057 (2) Warren in a “milk coma” shortly after eating

 

Advertisements

Warren Matthew’s Birth Story

Standard

This is the story of the birth of our firstborn son, Warren Matthew. Warren was born on Friday February 28, 2014 at 4:04 AM after 28 hours of labor weighing 8 lbs even and measuring 20.5 inches long.

I had just been in to see the doctor one last time before I was supposed to deliver. Everything was going great. I was feeling relatively well, despite the bad heartburn and uncomfortable nature of the last month of pregnancy. My blood pressure was better than ever and the baby was healthy and in the correct position to be born. The doctor examined me and told me that I was just about 2 cm dilated and about 90-95% effaced. She was pretty certain that I would go into labor before the end of the upcoming weekend. If I didn’t go into labor by the following Friday, she wanted to induce me.

I planned to have a natural, medication free, labor. Of course, I was well aware that no labor ever goes as planned. I felt like I was ready to handle whatever was thrown at me. I was about to find out!

Around midnight on Thursday February 27th I woke up in quite a bit of pain. I was only 2 days away from my due date of March 1st. I really wasn’t sure if this was real labor, the early stages of labor, or just Braxton-Hicks contractions. I tried to go back to sleep, and I was able to do so until I woke up again around 3:00 AM. Tom had to get up to get ready for work at 5:00 AM, so I decided that I would try and relax and sleep a little longer until he woke up. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go back to sleep. When Tom’s alarm went off I told him that he might need to stay home today because I might be in labor. I didn’t want to be too optimistic, in case it was just false labor.

I decided that I would take a shower and get dressed while Tom worked out. If I was still having contractions by the time I got out of the shower and got dressed we would discuss Tom staying home. So I took a shower, and man did that shower feel heavenly. After I got out of the shower I got dressed, put on some makeup, and did my hair. I figured if I was going into labor I wanted to look nice, since I had the extra time.

I texted my doula Elicia, who lives close to two hours away. I told her that I suspected that I was in the beginning stages of labor and I wanted to know if she thought that Tom should stay home from work. I also didn’t want Elicia driving all the way to Plover if what I was experiencing was false labor. I described my pain to her. The contractions were getting stronger, lasting longer, and starting in my back and wrapping around to my tummy. She said that it sounded like I was definitely in labor and that Tom should stay home. She planned on getting her kids to school and then heading to our house.

Tom called his work and informed them that I was in labor and he wouldn’t be coming in. Right around the time he got done calling work, I felt like my water might have broken. It wasn’t a huge gush like some women experience, it was more of a trickle. This was right around 5:30-6:00 AM. I continued to lose “water” slowly throughout the rest of the day.

I hadn’t packed my bag for the hospital yet, so I busied myself with doing that. I also told Tom that he should pack some things as well. Thankfully I had already packed the baby’s bag, so I didn’t have to worry about that.

Elicia got to our house around 8:30-9:00 AM. I was trying to keep myself busy by playing a game on the wii and bouncing on the yoga ball. Elicia started timing my contractions and they were about 30-45 seconds long and 3-5 minutes apart. At this point I was still able to handle the contractions fairly easily.

Warren Matthew 003

I called my parents and sisters to let them know that I was in labor. They were so excited. They wanted to rush over and see how I was doing, but I hadn’t planned on having anyone over except for Elicia and Tom. Tom called his mom and dad and told them that we were in labor. Everyone was making predictions about when our little man would be born, and everyone seemed to think he would come before Friday. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure that he would be here that soon. After all, this was my first labor and I knew that it could take a really long time. I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much.

Around noon my sister Lauren and her boyfriend Curtis came over to see how I was doing. My mom came over for a little bit as well because she wanted to take a few pictures. Originally I didn’t want them to come over, but I knew that it meant a lot to them to be able to experience some of my labor with me. My other sister Annie, and her boyfriend Cody, came over later in the day. By that time, I was in a lot more pain and getting kind of frustrated that people were still at my house. I tried to just roll with everything that was going on.

Annie and Cody offered to go pick me up lunch from Subway and Lauren and Curtis left. Annie brought me back a chicken sandwich and her and Cody hung out a little longer. They then said their goodbyes and wished me luck.

My doula Elicia has a baby of her own and was breastfeeding her. Her baby wouldn’t take a bottle, so my sister Lauren and her boyfriend Curtis had to drive to Wausau and meet Elicia’s husband to pick up the baby so Elicia could feed her. When Lauren and Curtis got to our house Elicia’s two youngest kids were screaming. I couldn’t blame them though, they were picked up by complete strangers, they were tired, and hungry. Elicia went upstairs to feed her baby while Lauren and Curtis tried to console her other child. I was very exhausted and in a lot of pain and could barely handle all of the noise. Tom took me downstairs to our room, closed the door, and started massaging my back with a tennis ball. The majority of my pain was in my back, so putting pressure on the exact spot was all that would help the pain.

Warren Matthew 013

Finally, Lauren, Curtis, and Elicia’s kids left and the house was quiet. My contractions seemed to be slowing down, so I decided to take a shower with some clary sage oil to try and amp up the contractions. That sage oil is really strong and I used a lot, and I mean a lot, to try and get my contractions moving. Elicia said she could smell it all the way upstairs. I also tried moving my hips in a circular motion, while in the shower, to try and get things moving.

It seemed like my contractions were possibly getting stronger, but I really couldn’t tell. Elicia had started watching the movie Blackfish on Netflix while I was in the shower, so we finished watching that movie together. Eventually I got to a point where I was pretty exhausted and my contractions seemed to be getting worse. At this point we decided to call the doctor and see if it was ok to come in. I didn’t want to go to the hospital until I couldn’t take it anymore at home. It was around 7:00 PM when we were told that we could head to the hospital.

We all hopped into our little car and started driving to the hospital. The drive is about 10 minutes, so it wasn’t terrible. I definitely could feel every single bump that we went over, though. Tom dropped me and Elicia off at the Emergency Department entrance and we went inside to check in while Tom parked the car. It was really cold outside, so I was glad that he dropped us off.

The Emergency Department was noisy and smelled very strongly of Lysol cleaner. Apparently some kid had just thrown up all over the place right before we got there. That must have been lovely and I am glad that we missed it. After we checked in a security guard came up to us with a wheelchair to take us up to our room. I didn’t want to ride in the wheelchair, I guess I am just stubborn like that, so I walked. I remember walking past a few people and one guy wished me good luck on the way up to our room.

When we got up to the third floor of the hospital, it was very quiet. I don’t think that many people were checked in while I was in labor. A nurse took us to our room and did a swab to check for amniotic fluid to see if my water had truly broken earlier that day. She came back in to tell us that it had, which was a relief. I had a strong feeling that it had broken, and the nurse seemed a little skeptical. She definitely believed me after the results came back.

After it was confirmed that my water had indeed broken, I was officially admitted to the hospital. We had to wait for the doctor to come in and check to see how far dilated I was. I put on my hospital gown and paced around waiting for her to come in. Finally she got to my room and checked me. What happened next was one of the most devastating parts of my labor. The doctor checked me and told me that I was only 2 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She also said that the little man’s head was still enclosed in the bag of water and that my water hadn’t completely broken, there was just a leak in the top portion of it. I couldn’t believe that after 17+ hours of labor I was still only 2 cm! I wanted to cry, but I managed not to just yet.

The doctor then told me that I would need to be started on Pitocin. This was a huge bummer for me, since I wanted a medication free labor. I also didn’t want an IV, but since I had to have Pitocin, they needed to start on IV. The nurse came in and started my IV. I really don’t like IV’s, so this part was a challenge for me. It’s not the pain that bothers me, it’s the feeling of the fluid going into my veins and making my body cold that makes me feel sick. Thankfully, I made it through the process without getting sick.

Warren Matthew 022

Once the Pitocin kicked in my contractions really amped up. Earlier in my labor, when I first got admitted to the hospital my nurse, Lisa, had asked me where I would rate my pain on a scale of 1-10. I had told her 8 and she had chuckled a little bit saying, “honey, there is no way you are at an 8 already.” I am really bad at rating my pain on a 1-10 scale, but hearing that it was only going to get worse was not helpful. She was most definitely right about it getting worse, though.

I went from what I thought was an 8 on the pain scale to much higher than a 10. I could no longer breathe through my contractions and rubbing my back was not helping. We tried walking around in the hallway for a little bit, but that wasn’t really helping. When I got back to the room Lisa suggested that I try the tub. She got the bath ready for me and I got in. I had tons of wires hooked up to me, so it was a bit of a challenge getting in the tub.

Warren Matthew 023

I stayed in the tub for quite some time, but it really wasn’t helping. I was just not able to think around the pain. Tom and I had taken a Lamaze class prior to my labor, and the techniques from the class were no longer working. Tom suggested that we discuss the option of getting an epidural. At first I was very against getting an epidural, but when I realized that I might be able to get some sleep after I got one, I decided I would try it.

The nurse went to see when the anesthesiologist could get to the hospital. Of course he was on call, so it was going to take awhile before he could get there. I tried to stay in the tub until he got there, but I needed to get up and try and walk around. By this point I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I just broke down and cried. Tom was so helpful and encouraging and he stayed by my side the whole time. I honestly could not have gotten through the process without his help and encouragement. Tom and Elicia both alternated rubbing my back until the anesthesiologist arrived. My back actually got so raw that they had to stop because my skin was peeling off.

When the anesthesiologist got to my room, I climbed up on the bed and he raised it to the highest setting. I was a little nervous about getting an epidural because I don’t like the feeling of being numb or not having control. I had to lean forward with my legs dangling off the side of the bed and sit still through contractions. Sitting still was very hard, especially with the Pitocin. Tom stayed in front of me, held me hands, and kept me distracted. It felt like the anesthesiologist was taking an extra long time to put the epidural in. It turns out he had to do it twice because he missed the first time. I should have figured that out when I felt the weird tingling shooting sensation twice in my legs. I’m glad I didn’t know that he missed the first time, though.

After I got the epidural I finally had some relief. I could no longer feel my contractions, but I could still feel and move my legs. The nurse had me lie down on my back, which I didn’t like. The doctor came in and broke my water completely. We were all instructed to try and get some sleep. I think around this time it was probably close to 1:00 AM. Elicia slept on the couch and Tom instantly fell asleep on the recliner in the corner of the room. The poor guy was so exhausted.

I tried really hard to fall asleep, but I just wasn’t able to. The pain in my back was starting to return and I began to feel really nauseous. I had Elicia go and get the nurse while I pushed the button to self-administer some more medication into the catheter in my back. The medication was not helping. The nurse came back in and gave me some Zofran, which helps with nausea. She also checked me to see how far dilated I was. I was only dilated to 4 cm.

By this time, I was in a lot of pain and the epidural was no longer working. I think the nurse thought I was making it up that I was in pain. Apparently after you get an epidural the pain isn’t supposed to come back. I guess it can come back a little bit, but mine was back to what it had been before I got the epidural. All of the sudden I felt like there was a lot of pressure and that I had to push. Elicia went and got the nurse. Since she had just checked me about an hour ago and I was only 4 cm, she didn’t think I was ready to push yet. She checked me and said, “you know why you feel like you have to push? His head is right there!”

I told Tom that I was ready to start pushing and he literally shot right out of the chair that he was sleeping in. I got set up to push and Elicia held one of my legs, while Tom held the other. I pushed once and it wasn’t very effective. I knew that I needed to change how I was pushing. When the next contraction came I pushed like crazy and yelled at the nurse to just take him out of me. Of course that didn’t help and she told me that she couldn’t help me and that I needed to get him out on my own.

I was really relieved when the nurse called for the doctor because I knew I was close to meeting my son for the first time. The doctor came in and I pushed one more time. Tom said that he could see our little guy’s head. With one more push he was out and on my chest. I couldn’t believe how much relief I felt when he was finally out. It’s like all of my pain was gone and there was my baby boy. I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was! I told Tom that I wanted to name him Warren and Tom had already picked out his middle name of Matthew, so his name was set. Warren Matthew Hoeft.

Warren Matthew 038                          Warren Matthew 040

Warren didn’t cry right away, so the nurses had to take him and try and get him to cry. Tom cut the cord and went with the nurses. Warren actually didn’t cry for the first time until we started to leave the hospital. It turns out he was just a really relaxed baby. He hummed quite a bit, but he didn’t cry. He was perfect and healthy. We couldn’t be any happier. I would do it all again if I had to.

Thank you God for the gift of this beautiful baby boy!

Warren finals-5021           Warren finals-5313

How it all Began

Standard

I have been inspired to share my journey of walking with the Lord, being a wife, and recently becoming a mommy, by one of my friends who just started a similar blog herself. I am excited to share my joys and struggles with you in the hopes that I will inspire you and give you encouragement in your journey. I believe that God has called me to be a wife and a mother, and I am honored to answer his calling.

First off, I would like to give a little background information on my journey so far. This is a long post, so feel free to just skim it and read what you are curious about. I will talk about my spiritual journey, meeting my husband, and the pregnancy and birth of our son.

I made the decision, for myself, to walk with the Lord my freshman year of college. I always believed in God and knew that Heaven was for real, but I wasn’t pursuing an active relationship with God. I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic church, but I was never really interested in what God has to offer. My parents taught me about Jesus and I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was a little girl. I didn’t actually make a conscious choice to walk with Jesus until after I graduated high school, even though I had plenty of exposure to Him growing up. To be honest, I was not in a very good place when I graduated high school. I was making a lot of poor decisions and had fallen far away from a relationship with God.

One of my friends recognized that I was in a dark place and invited me to attend church with her. I had been to Catholic mass more times than I could count, but I hadn’t been to a service at an Evangelical Free church since I was a young girl. Something at that service jumpstarted my soul. I became more interested in pursuing a relationship with God. I started attending services regularly and joined the worship team.

Shortly after I started going to Woodlands Church, I met my husband Tom. Later, I found out that Tom had recently started attending Woodlands Church with one of his friends. I met Tom at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in Baldwin Hall. I had just gotten out of a one year relationship that was not healthy. I didn’t know if I wanted to start a new relationship with anyone, but I wanted to make new friends and really enjoy the college experience.

Tom and I met at a hall wide program in early September. The program was a singing competition. I was entered in the competition and so was Tom. When I walked into the room I noticed Tom immediately; there was just something about him that caught my eye. He was wearing a UWSP baseball cap and sitting next to another guy that I thought was kind of cute who I had spent a little time with. Tom and his friend ended up winning the singing competition by singing a silly Tenacious D song. After the competition I introduced myself to Tom and said that we should hangout sometime.

Tom and I started hanging out, just as friends. We went to dinner at the university dinning hall and spent time playing Guitar Hero and just chatting. I didn’t want to rush into a relationship with Tom because I knew if it was meant to be we would end up together, no matter how long it took.

Tom and I started attending Woodlands Church services together. We both made the decision to get baptized in the spring of 2011. We have been walking with the Lord ever since. I have been on two medical missions trips to Sumpango, Guatemala. These trips opened my eyes up to a whole new world and helped me develop a deeper relationship with God.

Image

In late November, right before Thanksgiving break, Tom and I were watching the movie Tommy Boy (one of Tom’s favorite movies). During the movie he asked me if I wanted to go steady. It was the sweetest thing I had ever been asked. We started officially dating on November 23, 2008, and after three years of dating Tom proposed to me on Thanksgiving November 24, 2011. We got married on July 7, 2012 at Woodlands Church.

Image

After we got married we moved to Eau Claire. I had just been accepted into nursing school at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Tom and I had both recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Tom graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion and Wellness, with a nutrition and strength and conditioning minor. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration and Pre-Nursing, with a business minor. I have always had the end goal of becoming a nurse.

I started nursing school in the fall of 2012. After starting nursing school I felt like I was being called to motherhood. Tom and I knew that we wanted to start a family, we just weren’t exactly sure when we wanted to do so. I wanted to finish school (at the time I had 4 semesters left of a 5 semester program), but I also wanted to be a mommy more than anything in the world. So Tom and I prayed about it. We decided that, even though I was in the thick of school, we would start trying to get pregnant. We wanted to leave it up to God. If we were meant to have a baby we knew that we would.

I have a condition that makes it difficult to conceive. The condition is called endometriosis. This condition causes the lining of the uterus (endometrial tissue) to grow excessively and out of control all over the inside of the abdominal cavity. It causes a lot of pain and scarring. The scarring is what can make it difficult to conceive. Because of this condition we weren’t sure how long it would take to get pregnant, or if we would even be able to have children. I have been in treatment since I was sixteen years old. I have had two surgeries to get rid of the endometrial tissue, but it always grows back. I have also been put in a psuedo-menopause to keep the endometriosis from growing and causing more damage.

We knew that having children was completely in God’s control. We started trying to get pregnant in April of 2013, and by May we found out we were expecting! I honestly didn’t believe I was pregnant for quite some time. I don’t think it really sunk in until I had my 20 week ultrasound and I saw the baby’s little heart pumping away. We found out that we were having a boy. I had really wanted a boy, so I was ecstatic. Tom was hoping for a little girl, but he was thrilled that we were having a boy.

Image

At that time, we also found out that our little boy had a condition called single umbilical artery, or a two-vessel cord. This condition means that the umbilical cord only has one artery, instead of two. The umbilical cord is supposed to have three vessels: one vein and two arteries. This condition can be a sign that other developmental issues are present, such as down’s syndrome or autism and it can also be a sign that some of the organs may not have developed properly. The doctor didn’t see any markers on the ultrasound to suggest that any of our little guy’s organs hadn’t developed properly. We were very thankful for that! The doctor believed that, other than having a two-vessel cord, our little guy was perfectly healthy.

Image

With a two-vessel cord it can indicate that something else is wrong, or it can just be a fluke and cause no other issues. The doctor believed that our baby’s cord was just a fluke and that no other issues would come up. Of course I was freaked out! I searched the internet for all and any information I could find about this disorder. That made things a lot worse. I needed to just trust God that everything would be ok. That was very hard for me.

The two-vessel cord did not end up causing any more problems with the pregnancy. The only thing it affected was that I had to have a few extra ultrasounds to monitor the little man’s growth and make sure that he was still thriving. Sometimes a two-vessel cord can cause a baby to stop growing, and an induction would then be necessary. We thankfully did not have that problem, either. God was definitely watching over our little boy and keeping him safe so that he could grow big and strong.

We then decided that it would be a good idea to move back to the Stevens Point area to be closer to family. I really wanted my parents and Tom’s parents to have an active role in our child’s life. I wanted our little boy to grow up knowing his grandparents. This was a very difficult decision for us because I still had three semesters left at UW-Eau Claire and Tom was really enjoying his job as a personal trainer and fitness center staff member at the Eau Claire YMCA. Ultimately we decided that family needed to come first and I would find a way to finish my nursing degree.

These events have brought us to where we are today. We now live in Plover, WI and are raising our little boy, Warren, and learning how to love each other in the best way that we can. We are working hard to keep God at the center of our marriage and creating an environment that fosters spiritual growth for our little boy. We want to raise our children to know God.

Image