Remembering a stranger….

I didn’t know Kobe. My kids didn’t go to school with his. I don’t even like basketball, but yesterday when news broke about the helicopter that claimed his life along with eight others, I was shocked.

I immediately posted the article with the comment “Wow. So Sad.” Shortly a friend commented “sorry for your loss”. Initially I thought that was a strange response, but then again, I survived the loss of Paul Walker (whom I ALSO did not know) and the memories of people being catty about the heartbreak felt across the world for someone most of us knew only from the Fast and Furious movies came flooding back. (I don’t fault my friend for her comment, I totally get where she’s coming from and there’s lots of other folks that feel the same.)

I could tell you about Kobe’s basketball accomplishments, if I really understood what they meant. But I don’t, and I won’t. I WILL suffice it to say that even though I don’t like basketball and don’t understand one thing about the game, someone getting a professional contract at the ripe age of 17, so young his parents had to co-sign for him, and then becoming the highest scoring player in the history of the game is pretty damn amazing. I’ll move on though….

We could debate on what kind of person he was. I don’t know what causes he championed, if any. I don’t know how much money he made, and I don’t know what sponsorships he had, so we’ll move on from that too.

When the article alerted on my phone, these were my first thoughts:

  • Holy shit, Kobe Bryant is dead.
  • Oh my God, his wife must be devastated.
  • Oh my God, what about his kids.

As more information came out and it really had time to sink in, this is where my mind was and I’m betting I wasn’t alone.

  • Holy shit, Kobe Bryant is dead.
  • Holy shit, his wife is learning she has lost not only her husband, but one of her children as well.

Then my mind started to really wander and I thought about a 26 year old girl who passed suddenly while pregnant and I wondered why my 41 year old self made it through my pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum with a completely healthy, perfect baby – and I’m still here to talk about it.

I thought about one of my kids who drives late at night coming home from work – and that made me think of a classmate who’s been waiting for her son wake up from a coma-like state caused by a vehicle accident on New Years Day. #LaneStrong2020

I thought about the other kid who took a nasty fall from her horse a year ago – and that made me think of the family member of someone I know who recently took a fall from her horse and she’s now paralyzed from the neck down.

I thought about Kobe’s kids finding out they’d lost a father and a sister, and I empathized with them because I know what it’s like to have your mother look you in the face and tell you that your daddy is gone and he’s never coming back. I silently thanked God I was 23 when I got that message and not 17, or 3, less than 1 and faced with growing up my entire life with only the worlds memories of my father. I got to have prom, graduation, my first kiss, my first boyfriend and my first breakup with my dad. These girls will now miss most of these milestones with theirs.

I thought of Kobe’s wife finding out she’d lost her husband from a news media outlet. I thought of my mother being told my dad was gone. I thought about how she went home that night and cleaned to have something to do, how she walked around with a shocked look on her face because her whole world was gone. I thought about how I’ve watched her try to build a life for herself the last 18 years.

And yes, I saw the articles circulating about the helicopter full of Marines that crashed and they all died. That was 2005. I mourned when that happened 15 years ago.

And yes, I saw the article about the Army soldier who died yesterday and I thought about my husband and how at any point during not only his deployments but his training exercises, various schools, traveling in between, and regular work days on base, he could have died or been killed and I thanked God he made it home, he made it out, and he made it here with me and how grateful I was for him (even when he thinks I’m not, which is probably every day right now because I’m an angry, bitter lady stuck at home all day and I have not come to terms with the changes in my life or found my new footing yet [so hoping I’m making some points by acknowledging my angriness here] but I am trying – and mostly failing).

Kobe dying is no more sad than losing anyone else who isn’t famous.

Losing Gigi isn’t any more sad or tragic than the death of any other child.

There were two other young girls on that plane.

There were two moms and one dad on that plane.

There was a pilot.

There are so many families mourning today. I don’t know any of them.

What I DO know is that their loss reminded me about the things I have to be grateful for.

It was a reminder that life is short. Time is up before you know it, and rarely ever when you’re prepared for it.

Make the most of what you’ve got and love the people in your life.

Not your typical breastfeeding post…..

If you’re looking for a post that’s going to tell you that you SHOULD breastfeed, or attempt to make you feel guilty because you’re NOT going to or don’t want to breastfeed, you’re in the wrong place.

To breastfeed or NOT to breastfeed…..

This is more a place for moms who are on the fence about breastfeeding, and quite possibly for moms who ARE breastfeeding and thinking everything I’m about to say but don’t because you have more tact than I do… which is probably a good thing.

As many of you reading already know, 16 years ago I gave birth to the most perfect baby ever. It’s hard to believe that baby now towers over me, talks about boys, wears makeup (occasionally) and is talking about college, but here we are. It is ALSO hard to believe that as I’m preparing one to be a junior in highschool, I’m also prepping for the 1st birthday of my second birth child.

When the first baby was born 16 years ago, it wasn’t a question. Formula was my only choice. Her father didn’t really have an opinion one way or anther, and I was going back to school and work 4 weeks after her birth so I never gave breastfeeding a second thought.

Bow from:
Mimi’s Tutu Parlor

When my SO and I began discussing our wants and needs for this pregnancy/delivery/baby raising, breastfeeding was something that was important to my SO, not me. Quite honestly I found myself in a different place because of my age, my job, my goals, my belief systems, and past experiences. Truth be told, pregnancy was really rough on me, and my mental health had tanked in a LOT of ways so old memories crept up and forced me to deal with them again.

As we talked about breastfeeding or formula feeding, the memory of being molested as a little girl was brought front and center. This was the main reason I didn’t breastfeed with my first birth child, and the other factors I had going on in my life at the time just reinforced that I was making the right decision to formula feed. This time around was a bit different as many of the stressors and obligations I had 16 years ago were no longer an issue for me. I was done with college, I was going to work from home, my other kids are old enough to be (mostly) self sufficient. It really just came down to deciding if I could get over it and give it a shot.

Waiting to be induced!

Now, I want to make one thing VERY clear here…. My SO really wanted me to breastfeed. He was also aware of my childhood experiences, and the bullying that followed and how that had affected me throughout my life. He was also extremely aware of where my head was (and wasn’t) throughout this pregnancy and he was a champ. As much as he REALLY wanted me to do this, if I’d said I couldn’t do it, he would have been okay with it. AND, had he NOT been okay with it, I would not have EVER let him force me to do it and I’d probably be writing a blog on coparenting an infant with an ex. I don’t think ANYONE has the right to tell you to just get over it. My SO was always great about understanding that this was 50% HIS baby, but 100% MY body and as such, there were many things that I got the final say on.

Our final agreement is that I would try, but if I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. If I could, then it was baby steps in timeframes… 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, etc…. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that almost eight months later I’d still be breastfeeding.

He obviously loves me, and I’m so high I love everybody….

I have to admit moments after she was born she latched automatically. It was a really special moment that I will probably never forget. My SO got to help with the latch, and in that moment we were the only three people in the room. This bliss was only momentary, and I’m happy to share the ups and downs with you.

My situation: I am currently a stay at home mom. It wasn’t initially going to be this way, but it’s just easier right now for us.

Does it hurt? Initially no… a few days later it feels like someone is raking razor blades across your nipples and then they adjust and it doesn’t hurt at all. (At least until they get teeth, or so I’m told. We’re not there yet.) There were some days there that every time she latched I cried and said lots of bad words. But LITERALLY, that’s only a week, if that, or so. Nipple cream is your friend. It doesn’t last forever so don’t let that be the deciding factor.

Is it easy? Yes. You’ll figure out your system and you’ll be off and running. I had to watch videos on Youtube and read websites because I literally had not ONE clue how this all works, but a little research points you in the right direction, and Mother Nature will take care of the rest.

CharlieJoy prefers boob to bottle. Obviously.

Is it convenient? For Me? Not in the slightest. I’m the only one that can feed the baby. I don’t pump because I don’t have time (more on this later), so literally every time the baby has to be fed I have to stop what I’m doing and feed her. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, taking a shower, sleeping, taking 37 seconds to myself, it all stops because nobody else has boobs with milk in them. If you don’t mind that, then breastfeeding is for you. If you have two teenagers, your mom, a husband AND a house, PLUS the baby, then you’re gonna make some concessions like taking a shower, brushing your teeth and sleep, or you’re going to want to make sure you have a good backup system to help out with your everyday routine that you will no longer have time for.

You haven’t lived until you’ve pulled a boob out in Chic-Fil-A.

How is nursing in public? People look. You’ll notice it more in the beginning. By the time you make it to my point, you’re googling nursing t-shirts with people flipping the bird because you literally DO. NOT. CARE. You will pull a boob out in the middle of the cereal aisle in Walmart to quiet a screaming baby, regardless of how many old men, five year old children or baptist ladies are standing there, and you will keep right on moving with deciding between Cheerios and Fruit Loops. I promise.

How does your SO and other kids feel about it? My SO has done fine. He’s a help when I need a shoulder covered or don’t realize I haven’t put my clothes back on. The older kids have gotten used to it. It was weird at first, but they’re fine with it. I’m fairly discreet about it, so that probably helps.

Pumping in the car.

Do you really bond? You do. It’s just different. I don’t feel any closer to Charlie than I do Grace, but it IS different. Ask me again when Charlie is 16 and I’ll tell you how it all turned out.

Biting/Pulling/Clawing: We don’t have teeth, and I’m not looking forward to that part. She DOES pull hair and she DOES claw. That part sucks. Trimming nails helps, but I woke up the other morning to having my nipple pinched. Welcome to co-sleeping with a seven month old.

Do I stockpile milk? Nope. Never even felt the need. I did a lot of reading on that thinking that I should do it, but then I ran across something that said if you’re stockpiling for daycare, remember that you only need enough to get through the FIRST DAY and that changed my whole mentality. I think the only time you need to worry about stockpiling is if you’re worried that your milk might dry up and you’ll have to formula feed before you’re ready. If it’s for daycare, remember you’ll pump that first day and that will give you then next days milk. Of course, pumping a few bottles ahead is never a bad thing which the few days I’ve sent her to daycare, has come in handy.

Anytime you wanna go anywhere this is part of getting ready…

What pump do I use? Spectra 2. It’s awesome. I’ve never had one problem with it. I got it because it is able to suck clogs out. Or so it says… I’ve never actually had one, but just in case, I didn’t want to be stuck. If I got another one, I’d want the Spectra 9 hands free. I would probably pump more if I had that so that I could still be productive while pumping. The Spectra 2 keeps me tied to the chair, couch, or bed. At night it’s not so bad, but when you’re up moving, it sucks to have to go sit down for 25 minutes at a time when you have other things you need to finish.

Did you introduce solids or are you waiting? We started on solids at month 4. She wanted to eat. It was totally baby led. There are ALL SORTS of groups that will JUMP YOUR CASE for giving a baby solids before a year if you’re breastfeeding, but truly, I think it’s a personal choice. For us, if she wants to eat, she eats. If she doesn’t, I don’t worry about it because she’s breastfed. I know that she’s getting what she needs from me.

Pumping at work… the parking lot of the Federal Courthouse. It was a LONG day.

How long will I breastfeed? The goal now is one year. I have four and a half months left. There are days when I’m ready to throw the towel in because I just want to sleep for one damn night, or take a shower while someone else feeds the baby, or just finish one freakin’ thing without having to stop and nurse, but literally I blinked and my firstborn is ready to start driving. This too will be over before I know it. There are so many times when it just sucks. There are so many days when I look down at her and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. There are times I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a mom again and have this little moment before she realizes her dad is more fun, or she’d rather hang out with her friends.

CharlieJoy’s Tree Of Life Photo. The only public photo you’ll ever see of my breastfeeding journey.

Would I do it again? Yes. Absolutely.

Would I do it differently? Yes. Absolutely. I would have a handsfree pump in addition to my Spectra. I would exclusively breastfeed for some currently undetermined period of time and I would pump from that point on. Doing so would allow others to step up and help giving me the opportunity to take care of things that need to be done and take care of myself as well.

Overall. breastfeeding has been a great experience. It has definitely not been a bed of roses, but there was never anything so great as to deter me from trying it or that would make me stop. I say that to say that I think there’s a misconception that this is the most amazing, beautiful, simple, and natural thing a woman can do. For some, maybe that’s true, but for me, it’s not. I write this to the woman who feels overwhelmed by the pro-breastfeeding community and just isn’t sure she agrees or belongs, or the woman who isn’t sure she can do it. You CAN, and if you choose not to, THAT’S OKAY TOO.

4 Month Sleep Regression

*** So, I wrote this… posted it… and then after reading it a couple of times after it went live, it became painfully obvious exactly how tired I am. So much for proofreading. Please enjoy the edited version… you know, the one with correct spelling and decent grammar.

Since birth CharlieJoy has been pretty good sleeper. I was warned about cluster feeding, but that wasn’t that bad. I have always been able to feed and get her back down without incident. The doc mentioned something about teething disrupting her sleep, but she’s been trying to teeth since she turned three months old, and that hasn’t been that eventful either.

About two and a half weeks ago things completely changed. I can get through our normal bedtime routine and get her down. She sleeps for no more than two hours. I’ll get her up, feed and lay her back down and she’s restless until she wakes herself up again. The only way I can get her down to sleep – and get any sleep myself – is to put her in the bed with me and nurse on my side. She latches and essentially pacifies for what feels like forever, going in and out of sleep. She’ll unlatch, I’ll push her away so I can’t roll on her. An hour or so later she starts with the restless thing, so we latch again, she pacifies and then falls out and I push her away. We do this dance all night until somewhere around 4 am when she completely falls out and I could throw a circa 1995 rave party and it wouldn’t wake her up. At that point she’ll stay asleep all morning until about 10 am.

Now, I get that babies are babies. They are growing and changing, their little brains are going about a million miles an hour, everything is new, and they are learning. However, as 24/7 caregiver to this tiny human… well, I’m learning too, and to make matters worse, I’m exhausted.

Image from rawpixel.com

I hate bed sharing with CharlieJoy. I hate it. I gave in on about night 3 of this mess and let her sleep in the bed, but my bed is not safe baby sleeping surface friendly – and when I gave in she had just learned to roll. I am also a sound sleeper – a sleep through Armageddon sound sleeper (or at least I was for my entire life until 4 months ago, I’m not convinced I’m completely over that so I don’t want to risk it).

I did a little post on my personal Facebook page about putting her in the bed with me to finally get some sleep and several friends commented on how wonderful bed sharing is. Apparently everyone does it and everyone loves it. That’s so awesome. I wish I could.

I am paranoid to DEATH about SIDS and accidental suffocation. I worked really hard and put up with a lot of crap (and by crap I mean needles) to get this baby here. I don’t want to lose her to something so absolutely avoidable.

I did some research on bed sharing and found out that according to the APA about 3,500 babies die from SIDS, accidental suffocation and unexplained causes every year. I was confused by the fact that the La Leche League encourages bedsharing and cosleeping saying that mothers instinctively form a cocoon around their babies to protect them and that they are getting the most sleep by doing so. My instinctive parenting looks like a trainwreck… I’m thinking I don’t want to risk anything that has a consequence like accidental suffocation.

HOWEVER, I’m now two and a half weeks in. Totally gave up. I’m bedsharing now that my little munchkin has learned to roll back to front and front to back. I still don’t like it. I’d never recommend it. EVER.

I’ve managed to come up with a system where I use the same boob all night, and that boob determines how we sleep. If it’s right boob night, then I feed her, push her away and surround her by pillows, I roll to the middle of the bed and hold her foot all night so I’ll wake up if she rolls. Her pack n play is also right next and it’s got the mat in it so if by some chance there was an accident, she’s not rolling very far. If it’s left boob night, then she feeds and I push her away a few inches and put a pillow between her and my SO who is a very light sleeper. I try to use right boob all night though since it’s super boob anyways and then I don’t have to worry about my SO.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, I do wake up with one super deflated boob and one full boob. It’s pretty comical. My hope is that since she’s basically continuously feeding a little all night long that it will help with milk production. I give her the one that’s full after she has her cereal or I pump. I’ve been trying to store some milk in the freezer for days she goes to daycare, so it actually helps get a good pump out of that wimpy left boob but honestly, I HAVE seen an increase in production in the left boob since I’ve been doing this whole “same boob all night” thing.

None of this gets her out of my bed though. So I went to my Facebook groups for moms who nurse. I asked this question about her latching off and on all night and how to deal with it. Apparently all babies go through it and it’s called “4 Month Sleep Regression”. This is a thing. I had no idea. Apparently everyone knows about it but me. It has to do with brain development and it lasts 2 – 6 weeks. Cue my incredibly sarcastic happy dance right here.

Image from rawpixel.com

So I got several responses and one lady was kind enough to give me some pointers on encouraging healthy sleep practices. Okay, totes cool, but I asked the obvious question of what about it they cry? Do you let them cry it out? Do you pick them up? How does this work?

Back in the dark ages when I had my first baby (which feels like it was in a stall with the village midwife), we just put them down groggy after a bottle and if they stirred, you patted them on the back and as they started to go to sleep, you dropped to the floor and quietly low crawled out of the room. Was that just me? Please tell me I’m not the only one….

Fast forward a little over a year with that same first baby and she was still waking up at 2 am for a bottle and I was losing my damn mind. The doctor promptly informed me that she had ME trained and I needed to knock it off. At the time the Ferber method was all the rage. I totally see why too. By day three her little behind slept through all through the night, and it has continued to do so for the 15 years that have followed. If she’s up she is sick, dying, or there is some unexplainable teenage drama that I have to sort through until we determine the actual problem… but I digress….

I’m certainly not going to even consider the Ferber method with a 4 month old baby, but I do want to know more about healthy sleep practices and how to implement them because I still fully believe that I probably was not the wisest choice to entrust the safety and raising of a living and breathing tiny human to. The response to my “do we let them cry it out” was “we’re not allowed to talk about that thing you referred to that starts with a ‘c’ but you can try…..” and then she went into giving me some options like putting her down awake so she learns to put herself to sleep.

Then I was like wait a minute, hold up, what is going on here??? It’s true as we went back and forth in this conversation I clearly explained that it was cool, I understand parenting has changed over the DECADE AND HALF SINCE I’VE DONE IT and given that, I’d like to know what’s common practice now so I can explore my options, etc, etc…. It appears that you absolutely cannot talk about crying it out. Like they will delete your comment if it even indirectly refers to it – which mine was clearly a “what do I do IF” statement and not a recommendation or direct reference to crying it out. AND ADMIN IN THE GROUP DELETED IT FOR VIOLATING GROUP RULES. I can’t. I’m done.

So here we are two and half weeks later…. She’s still in my bed. Last night was right boob night in case you were wondering.

This battle goes to CharlieJoy. I admit defeat. Anyone else?

Dear Diary: 4 Month Update

Dear Diary….

I have survived four whole months in captivity… not including that previous 9 months. My living quarters have definitely expanded, but the chaos that ensues out here daily is ridiculous.

This has been a big month for me, so here’s the recap….

My mom never stops with this stupid camera.

Let’s just get the ugly out of the way… my dad is a University of Florida fan. My mom is a Florida State fan and a University of South Florida graduate. I think we all see where this is going…. My dad bought me a small collection of UF outfits and my mom lets me wear them for big game days for only a few minutes as seen here:

I know, I have no idea why I’m wearing this either…

NOTE: Come November I’ll be in FSU gear. NO NEGOTIATIONS. GO NOLES!

In other news, my mom is going back to work for a few days before she officially accepts the position as my full time servant, so she’s going to be documenting her transition from boob to bottle… or rather MY transition from boob to bottle. I bet she regrets that decision. Stay tuned….

I’m not mad about the copious amounts of lactation cookies she’s flavoring my milk with…

One of the cool things I’ve done this month is learning to roll over. I hate tummy time, so I’m one of the few who learned to roll back to front. Mom and dad discovered this at midnight the other night when I rolled myself over in my sleep. Listening to them panic, debate on rolling me over and finally googling if it was safe to leave me face down was entertaining. They were both up and down all night long making sure they could see me breathing.

I’ve also started eating real food. Thank God. The breastmilk I’m getting is 3/4’s Pepsi and the rest is just her tears of pain and suffering. So far I’ve had rice cereal, rice cereal mixed with pears, bananas, and apples, and green beans – sort of. If you’ve ever seen my mom feed a baby, about half of it actually makes it in my mouth. I’m really better off feeding myself. I’m starting carrots tonight. Wish me luck.

Why Lord… Why me?

This month also consisted of about a million trips to Walmart because well, we live in the woods and it’s this or Dollar General…

One trip in particular I had been very quiet, so if you know my mom, she just has to ruin it by saying something… so she says “Did you just poop your pants?” I gave her this angelic face….

Just wait, it gets better….

So…. ten minutes later when she figures it out…. here I am in the bathroom in my birthday suit…

Note: Still. Wearing. A. Bow.

An outfit change and some clean panties later… She thinks I’m going back in the restraint chair…. I think not.

I feel like I should mention here that I’ve found my voice, and I love the way it echoes for aisles and aisles in Walmart…

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE….

I can’t let her make it out of Walmart without one good nipple exposure…. Here’s the hot mess that is my mother in the checkout line, in my 75 year old disabled grandmother’s walker… NURSING.

Nursing bra hanging out and everything…

I bet she never asks me if I’ve pooped my pants again!

If you want to read the story about how she left me asleep in her king size bed to chase the dog down the street in her underwear earlier this week, those shenanigans and more can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/SincerelyCharlieJoy

Sincerely,

CharlieJoy

My AMA Pregnancy Journey Part One: I’M PREGNANT

If you know me personally, my pregnancy was pretty well documented on Facebook and Instagram. During that time I received so many comments and a lot of support – not that my journey wasn’t without it’s negativity for any number of reasons. I’m going to share to my pregnancy here, and of course, I’m pretty much an open book, believing that women should lift each other up, so if you have questions, please feel free to comment here or send me an email at SincerelyCJinFL@gmail.com.

I intend for this to be a multi-part series. There’s really no way to cover it all in one post and I’m hoping it will be a relief to others out there who are trying to conceive, are AMA, post DVT, unexpectedly pregnant and the like.

Some of this will seem negative, some will be graphic. I’m one of those “Don’t make it pretty, just tell it like it is” kind of people. If you find a part of these posts that seem terrible or make you think I hate my SO, kids, life, family, or this baby, just know right now that I don’t. I’m sharing my thought process and it will come back around, so just hang in there. I find it really frustrating that I’m supposed to keep a happy face and pretend everything is perfect or the most amazing thing in the world just because I’m a mom. It’s not. And I refuse to pretend it is. HOWEVER, it’s a bad five minutes, not a bad life.

Nothing I share is intended to be taken as medical advice or the gospel truth. ALWAYS make informed decisions based on recommendations provided from YOUR own doctors and health care providers. This is MY own experience and yours may differ greatly.

Circa 1995 or 1996

First of all, while my SO and I have known each other since we were 14 and 15 years old (that means 25 years), we’d only been dating for 11 months when we got pregnant. We had literally just gotten engaged on July 1st of 2018, we celebrated our birthday on September 8th (I turned 40 and he turned 39), and boom, four quick weeks later on October 5th… we’re pregnant.

Circa 2018

I think there was this assumption that we were somehow trying, or planning to get pregnant, wanted to get pregnant, thought having a baby right at that moment would be literally the best thing we could ever do… FALSE, it’s all so far from the truth it’s not even funny. I’ve seen a few snide looks whenever I tell people that this wasn’t a planned thing and it always irks me.

I had a 14 year old at home, he had a 17 year old. Literally, we’re looking at planning a wedding and within just a couple of years being two people, head over heels in love, who were in our early 40’s with the ability to do whatever whenever, and most importantly wherever. We were batting around moving out of the country, not gender reveal ideas.

In terms of kids, we WERE considering adoption and there are reasons for that. 1: Adoption sits close to BOTH our hearts. 2: As previously mentioned, I had a 14 year old, he had a 17 year old… I have yet to be informed that the process to get pregnant has changed… and we both only had one. Neither one of us has even had so much as a pregnancy scare, so we were 98% positive that pregnancy wasn’t an option for either of us. I also have DVT (deep vein thrombosis) history so I’d been told for years that more kids wasn’t an option for me.

We had actually already looked through available children, got the paperwork, made an appointment with an adoption counselor so we could go in and sit down and really start to get our ducks in a row. I remember joking with my SO about folks that start this adoption process and wind up pregnant. Thank God we’d never be those poor souls…. One day I’m going to learn to just be quiet. I might be dead when it happens, but one of these days it’s going to happen.

Anyway… I actually only took a pregnancy test because my SO suggested it. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I might be pregnant. I figured I’d take the test, it would be some stress related thing that was causing me to be late and the test would kinda kick things in gear and all would be good.

The stupid test was supposed to be a 4 minute test… in my case it was like a 37 second test. It was one of those “you’ve got to be f$%$ing kidding me” moments. I walked out of the bathroom and took the test straight to my SO who’d gone outside to water the horses.

Well… That was unexpected.

Now, mind you… we’d made so many plans for this time in our lives. We had things we were going to accomplish, renovations, trips, our kids had things they needed and wanted, new car, a Harley, emergency funds, school loans, maybe a credit score or two, there was a whole list… We had said to each other that for all the things we would get to experience and accomplish, having birth children together was one that we would always be a little sad about because at this age, it just wasn’t an option. No way were we starting over. And… well… that explains the whole train wreck I was as I walked out the front door on a full fledged completely selfish mission to completely wreck delivering the news about being knocked up because I refused to have this nervous breakdown by myself…

If you can picture me walking out of my 1984 trailer home that is in desperate need of renovation, wearing only a tshirt and underwear, barefoot, yesterday’s makeup, bed head, and a lit camel in my hand (yup, it’s as bad as it sounds)…. My SO turned around and looked at me, looked at the cigarette in my hand, and then looked back at me and said “NICE babe”… I just looked at him and said “shut up, it’s my last one” and handed him the pregnancy test.

That’s it. That’s how I told him. I’m old. This is bad timing. We’re in the worst possible financial situation right now… but I’M PREGNANT. Literally every single plan we had was consistently being derailed by one unfortunate ass kicking after another, but somehow we DID manage to get knocked up. WE are the only two people this could this happen to. I swear.

The day we found out – after I managed to pull myself together.

It didn’t get any easier telling people either. While lots of people were supportive, there were a lot of THESE comments too:

  • You’re not keeping it are you?
  • I wouldn’t keep it if I were you.
  • I’m so glad it’s not me.
  • Oh man, your life is basically over.
  • You know it’s not good to have a baby at your age.
  • You know there’s a lot of things that can happen to a baby when you’re pregnant at your age.
  • And my favorite was after I’d BEEN pregnant for a couple of months someone actually looked at me and said “oh, so I guess you’re still gonna have it, huh?”

I think the comments that were hardest to get used to were the ones that pretty much assumed we’d be having an abortion, or that the only logical option was an abortion, or that if we had half a brain, we’d be HAVING an abortion. I found it amazing the ease with which these comments would just ROLL off of the tongues of random people. I understand that most of the people making these comments were really trying to be supportive in their own way, but it was not received that way.

As previously stated, I wasn’t happy about this pregnancy. Having another baby was about the very last thing I really wanted to do. It was most definitely the very last thing I needed to do, and with DVT history, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to carry the baby, or die myself trying to carry it. However, adoption and abortion weren’t options, so I was very scared and very stuck having this baby whatever the outcome was going to be – but apparently to many other folks an abortion was a walk in the park.

The first thing I did was tell my BBFITWWW and my brother, and then I called the doctor. They didn’t want to see me until I was 8 weeks, even with the DVT history. That just didn’t sit right with me, not to mention the doctor was a million miles away from where I live here in Central Florida. Luckily, I got a recommendation for another doctor up here. I made a second appointment and since this doctor ALSO didn’t want to see me until I was 8 weeks, I decided that it must be okay. I counted the days.

I spent a lot of time crying. I spent a lot of time assessing life. I spent a lot of time arguing with myself, praying for guidance, reminding myself that the opinions of others didn’t matter because of the people we told, very few were happy about this pregnancy, and finally I tried to force myself to come to peace with the fact that I had this tiny little bean of a baby in there, and no matter what, I was a birth mama for the second time. It was an overwhelming whirlwind of emotion and at times it just felt like I had ruined everything.

Note: Nothing REALLY worked. Until I went to the doctor and had an ultrasound. There it was, that tiny tadpole with a big ol’ heartbeat. My newfound doctor was a Godsend. She gave us what felt like a three hour ultrasound – not really, it was minutes, but it was long enough to fall instantaneously head over heels in love with this tiny little life I was growing. I don’t think I ever really reconciled anything, I just knew that I was going to have a baby, and I was finally okay with that.

An 8 week old Baby CharlieJoy

I hope you found a little humor in this post as that was my intention. There are three reasons for this initial post:

  • I know that some of you reading this are AMA and are still trying to conceive. If you’re kicking yourself because it hasn’t happened yet – STOP. You either can or you can’t, you will or you won’t. Either way, stop blaming yourself. There’s a million ways to be a parent aside from pregnancy. I urge you to consider those other options – or at least research them. I get the desire for biological children, but if it is wrecking your life, making you depressed or giving you anxiety, or making you feel like a failure, please take a step back and at least explore your other options. I get comments all the time from people who are so distressed about getting pregnant and my heart hurts for every single one of you because I can feel the pain you’re in, but please know there are other avenues.
  • If you’re like me and unexpectedly pregnant, then you’re probably scared and feeling hopeless. Just know that it’s okay to feel that way. It is not okay to harm yourself or your baby and I urge you to reach out to a medical provider for help. It is NEVER wrong to seek help. It does NOT make you a failure because you need help.
  • Finally, if you struggle with anxiety and depression, pregnancy may make that worse. PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER. Reach out to your medical provider, they can help you. Pregnancy hormones made my anxiety go through the ROOF and for the first time almost two decades I could not get a handle on it. I am grateful every day for my doc. She made sure that mental health was as much a part of my pregnancy as my physical health and the health and development of my baby was. You CAN get the help you need, and no it will not harm your baby.

Given my age and medical history, there were a lot of moving parts to this pregnancy. It was a dramatic change from being pregnant at the age of 24 and it took a lot of getting used to, so…..

Stay tuned for Part Two: I can’t stop going to the doctor.

Note: If you are a DVT survivor or suffer from blood clotting disorders, do not lose your mind like I did. I was 11 years post DVT and hadn’t had follow up care in years. I was going off the care I received previously which made pregnancy seem very dangerous and impossible. I now know that information was only partly true. With appropriate medical care and supervision, a healthy and successful pregnancy is completely possible – which is why you should call your doctor immediately and stay actively involved in your treatment plan!

Note Two: Main photo courtesy of Nadine Amos Photography located in Brooksville, FL.

Dear Diary: 9-25-2019 4 mos

Dear Diary:

Me and my pal Mila (a/k/a Mila Kunis)

Hereโ€™s a sneak peak at my Wednesday morning workout routine. ๐Ÿ‹๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Being outside and staying active are my favorite things, and I like to alternate between jumping in my #fisherprice #rainforestjumperoo and forcing my parents to walk endless miles around the yard while wearing me in my carrier. ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Hey, my parents are old, so I gotta do my part to help with things like cardiac health, weight gain, and regular bowel movements. ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿป ๐Ÿšฝ

Iโ€™m basically a pro at that last one… see my previous posts… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ #noshame .

My parents are thrilled about our family workouts – especially when itโ€™s midnight, on a workday. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป

#sincerelycharliejoy #stayfit #revengebody #diaperblowout #babyworkout #wednesday #humpdayhumor #charliejoy #callsigncharlie


Moms Notes:

Today my tiny little baby is 4 months old, or 17 weeks. I’m not really sure how that’s possible. It seems like yesterday this was us:

Me, my SO and my amazing Doc

I thought I’d snap a quick photo with my munchkin before we took a walk outside. It’s started to cool off just a little bit here in Central Florida and Charlie loves being outside and seeing the animals. Luckily the last week or so I’ve been able to do that for longer than 3 and half minutes without having a heat stroke. However, I breastfeed so… Anytime I try to take a picture laying next to her, I get this….

Every. Single. Time.

I am more than just my boobs. I’ve never been able to say that in my life, I just want to get in all the boob related humor I can while I still have them.

After this failed attempt at making a memory we can look back on fondly, I gave up and opted to go outside for fresh air. I have a little stump in the center of the front yard that I will occasionally sit on. It’s low enough that I feel like I’m on the ground but I’m not actually on the ground, and I don’t have to worry about bringing a blanket since well, my arms are now full of a baby I wasn’t expecting to have (stay tuned for that blog post).

The aforementioned stump.

I’ve got blackberry bushes all over my yard. They just pop up in random places. I find them when I’m barefoot, or when I have to walk across the yard in shorts, in the dark. I could clearly see that the bush on the right of the stump is a blackberry bush, so I made sure to angle my descent toward the left of the stump.

I also have free ranging goats. Translation: between the horses and goats we never have to mow. Note: a lawnmower is cheaper. I digress….

Apparently the goats like blackberry bushes too, but they must also have ADD and got distracted after they ate the bush on the left, which is why I never saw it. Until I sat on it. This very instant was like a metaphor for basically every single day of my life. I think I’ve got it all figured out and then well… nevermind… I’m not sure where I was going with this but with MY sense of humor it probably was’t appropriate.

So awesome when stuck in your butt cheek.

I managed to haul myself up but I think from now on I’ll just go get the stupid blanket to be safe.

In other news, I also decided to pack up the bassinet this weekend. Charlie has started rolling on her side and moving around more, and I have this intense fear that I’m going to wake up to a thud and find her on the floor.

New bed with my dino buddy to watch out for me.

Since her nursery isn’t finished… still… I’ve replaced the bassinet with the pack n play and so far it’s a hit with her, and I figure once she gets used to sleeping in that moving her to a crib won’t be so difficult. Except that it’s a completely different thing. In a different room. In the dark. And I’m not there right next to her. I swear, this works out perfectly in my head. I’m gonna go with that until the day arrives and then there’ll probably be a blog post that says the exact opposite happened.

I’ve also been trying to get out a walk more since I have DVT history and well, I have another 10 pounds I want to lose. Since Charlie hates her carseat, I’ve had to swap to the other attachment and try to make it sit up where she won’t lose her mind. You see how well this worked out….

I swear I fixed this right after this photo.

I laid it back some and loosened those straps. She was clearly not amused.

I’m probably not going to win any parenting awards, but it sure does make life interesting…

Sincerely,

Mama

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Boobie Cookies

While there are many products out there promising to turn you into a super milk producer such as pills, drinks such as teas and sports drinks geared toward hydration, I’ve opted to stick to cookies. I just find it’s quicker and simpler to deal with. I can usually find time to snag a cookie and go rather than try to make an entire meal geared toward lactation.

I’ve picked up a couple of bags of lactation cookies in the baby section at Walmart and they were good, but I’m one of those “why am I paying $1.98 for 5 cookies when I can make these” kind of people….

I think the most frequently asked question is simply “Do they work?” The most specific answer I can give you is “I don’t know”. The reality is, I believe that hydration and diet are probably the two most important factors when it comes to breastfeeding. The next factor would simply be to recognize that some women can breastfeed, some can’t. Of those of us that CAN breastfeed, some of us are going to be those super producers that can supply a small country.

I am no expert. I’m just wingin’ it. I’ve done some research here and there so what I share with you here is from that tiny bit of reading and my own experience and should NOT be taken as medical advice or the gospel truth.

I DO notice that after I eat a few of these cookies, I tend to feel fuller the next day. I’m not going to be able to feed the neighbors kids too, but I feel as though my kid is getting a super size meal if that makes sense. Is it medical? Is it psychological? Is it just me? I don’t know. If you read the reviews on ANY product that guarantees you’ll make more milk you’ll see the following:

  • “This product sucks. In fact, I dried up after three days of using it.”
  • “No change. Waste of money.”
  • “This product turned me into a super producer and I’m now donating 3 gallons of breast milk every week to my local NICU.”

Seriously. So remember, you’ll try things, try different things, but whatever you try, maybe talk to your doctor first? And don’t do it right as soon as you get home from the hospital. Milk takes a bit to come in. Don’t mess with it until you know that you really need to.

And if you can’t breastfeed, you’ve tried everything under the sun, you just know you can’t do it and you’re feeling defeated… IT’S OKAY. IT REALLY IS. My first birth child is 5’10” and 168 lbs. She’s smart as a whip, an excellent artist, can read, write, has excellent communicatin skills, etc. Her attitude sucks some days but that’s probably more a result of her age than what she ate as a baby (which was Enfamil until we became poor, and then it was the Nestle Good Start the WIC program gave us).

When it comes to breast feeding, there appears to be a holy trinity of products that are most commonly associated with increased milk supply:

Oats, Flax Seed and Brewers Yeast

As you can see, I’m the big spender with my Great Value brand Oats and Badia Flax Seed. The Brewer’s Yeast is from GNC. This product is a little tricky because it tastes awful. Read the reviews before you buy it. There are other brands out there that aren’t as strong in taste. Also, you may not need all of these products to up your supply. Obviously for these cookies the Oats are going to be a must, but you may find you can leave out or the other, or both of the flax and yeast. In my case I use all three, but I only use about one and half tablespoons of the yeast. YUCK.

And on with the recipe:

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal (ground)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspon of vanilla
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of chocalte chips (I used semi sweet)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of Brewer’s Yeast (I used 1.5 tablespoons)
Never fails.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flaxseed, and water together and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Beat butter (I heated the butter up for a few seconds to soften), sugar, and brown sugar well.
  4. Add eggs and mix well.
  5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
  6. IN A SECOND BOWL: Sift together flour, brewer’s yeast, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
  8. Stir in oats and chips.
  9. Scoop onto baking sheet.
  10. Bake 12 minutes.
  11. Let set and then remove from tray.

Notes: My oven died forever ago so I’m using a toaster oven. I baked mine 14 minutes, and then moved them to a wire rack to cool before packing up.

Also, this recipe makes a TON of batter. The stack you see is only HALF of the batter, minus the 4-5 that had already been eaten. The other half of the batter is in my freezer waiting for the next time I get the urge to bake.

Once they cool they tend to get a little tough. I put two on a paper towel in the microwave for 15 seconds and it’s like they just came out of the oven – or toaster oven in my case.

Finally: I totally stole this recipe from: https://www.food.com/recipe/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-lactation-cookies-by-noel-trujillo-192346

Dear Diary: 09-15-2019 3 mos

Dear Diary:
.
It has been 3,842 days since we got in this car. ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿป๐Ÿš—๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป
.
Not really, it was just this morning, but I bet after all my screaming my mom and dad THINK itโ€™s been 3,842 days. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ


.
This highly inappropriateย @eminemย playlist onย @applemusicย is the only thing that keeps me sane and adequately expresses my rage. ๐Ÿ˜ก
.
Someone save me.๐Ÿ˜ข
.
#sincerelycharliejoyย .
#currentmood#roadtripwithbaby#hometown#takeyourbabytowork#workvibes#goingtoworkwithmommy#sunday#isitoveryet#arewehomeyet#charliejoy#callsigncharlie

Dear Diary: 09-14-2019 3 mos

Dear Diary:
.
There are moments when I look at mom and think to myself โ€œWHAT IN GODโ€™ S NAME HAVE YOU BEEN EATING?โ€ ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ


Itโ€™s usually right before a diaper blowout. ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’ฉ
.
It was Spicy Shrimp Mei Fun in case you were wondering. ๐Ÿค๐Ÿฅก
.
Does anyone have coupons for Desitin? ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ”ฅ
.
Happy Saturday.
.
#sincerelycharliejoyย .
#charliejoy#callsigncharlie#mybuttisonfiyaaaah๐Ÿ”ฅ#weekendvibes