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?

Welcome to the chaos!

Photo Courtesy of the BEA-U-TIFUL and TALENTED Nadine Amos. Find her here: https://www.facebook.com/PhotosbyNay88/

Thanks for stopping by! I’m a mom of three daughters, and the wife of one good man. I’m known for keeping it brutally honest and I am NOT known for being appropriate in the process. I suck at adulting and I’m not going to win any parenting awards either.

This is literally “The Adventures Of Us”, that’s no joke. Some days are amazing, some days we just beat our heads in the wall and use a lot of inappropriate language.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit a spell and have a read. At most you’ll have a laugh on me or, at minimum you’re gonna feel much better about your own life. Regardless, you’re welcome!