Thursday, April 29, 2010

Letters to my son

IT speaks for itself:

Dear Jackson,                                                                      April 29, 2010

          I just put you down for your morning nap, covered you with a warm fleece blanket, and was bopping down the stairs to finish up some household items when I heard on The Today Show of this woman who wrote letters to her daughters.  She wrote letters because she saw a picture of a vacation she went on when she was little and realized that she didn’t remember a thing about her childhood.  And I feel like I have had all these great experiences and stories to tell but I only remember bits and pieces of my grade school days let alone high school and college.  It is because of that that I immediately opened up my computer and began my first letter to you. 
You mean so much to Daddy and I and I think that perhaps someday you will understand it when you have children of your own.  I know I didn’t have any concept of or appreciate how much love and attention my parents gave me when I was growing up until I had the unbelievable pleasure of meeting you my wonderful son.  Jackson the love that I have for you is overwhelming at times, it brings tears to my eyes, a smile to my face, and many many times a giggle to my lips.  I  know every parent feels this way about their child but I love feeling like I am the only one in the world who feels like that towards you (well Daddy does too)!  My heart is bursting with love and delight for you.  I would do anything for you!  Sometimes I wonder if I have so much incredible, immense, blinding love for you because of what we went through (you know, the omphalocele and all), but I think I would feel the exact same way if we had the boring ole pregnancy your Dad and I were expecting to have in the first place.
I loved being pregnant for you, eating food with abandonment for you (I am paying for that now), seeing you every month during our sonograms, feeling you roll around, and kick me, and dance with you in my belly.  Watching my belly move every which way was absolutely a miracle.  Your poor Daddy would try to watch my belly and feel you move but you always got quiet the minute he put his hand on my stomach or began starring at you intently, and you know Daddy, he loves to be on the move so he couldn’t stare too long at my belly.  Right when he would look away, you would give me a gigantic kick and I would squeal, “Did you see that?!”  It always amazed me that you were growing in my belly…I was making you right in my stomach…I am still in awe about that.  The day you were born I looked at your Dad and said, “Can you believe he was just in belly and now he is here?  He seems so big to have been in my stomach.”
Having you in my life has made me a better person and I love that my new name is MOM.  Honestly there are no words to describe how you have changed my life for the good…for the unbelievable. 
You are growing up so quickly, you roll over and over to get to where you want, you chew on everything that you can get your hands onto, you swim with Daddy at your lessons at the Y, you stand up and hold onto the laundry basket and balance yourself (well you fall when you start trying to take everything out of it), you LOVE to jump in your baby Einstein jumper from Grandpa Dave, you spend every Friday afternoon with Grandma Deevy (Sometimes Gramps come too) while Mama teaches dance, and you laugh, and laugh, and laugh.  
Well you just took a really long nap in your crib!!!  In fact, it will be a two hour nap in about 15 minutes!!  And for the thirdish night in a row you have slept through the night in your crib…might I just say THANK YOU for doing that!!!  We are off to take your 6 month pictures.  I love you


Monday, April 26, 2010

Laughing so hard I am crying...

I just had to quickly log on and post this...I was busy reading my cousin's blog about her bearthday (it is on Earth day) and about Liam's spectacular poop in the potty...Jackson was in the boppy napping on the other side of the couch. It was pretty quiet in the living room except for the low hum of the television.  I looked over a couple times at my sleeping little angel and then continued to read my cousin's blog. 

All of a sudden I heard a weird sucking sound...I looked over at Jackson and there he was, sitting up, staring at me with a big smile.  I don't know how long he was in the position, but it surprised me and I couldn't help but start to laugh, which of course made him smile even bigger ear to ear!

He caught me off guard, sitting up on his own, staring at me.  I guess his stomach muscles are getting stronger!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I didn't believe the hype, but they were all right...TIME does FLY!!

Jackson turned 6 month on Saturday and I just couldn't believe he was that old already.  Jackson is eating oatmeal, quinoa, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, and bananas now (all homemade baby food). He rolls all over the place, especially in his crib.  Jackson also likes to try to walk when he holds onto my fingers, and when he sees Jesse James, he tries to run!  Here are some new picture of my little man.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Breast Feeding...An Epic

So this has and probably still is a sensitive topic for me to explore here on my blog.  I never talked about it because even to this day I am sensitive and sentimental about my story.  My friends made it seem so easy and I never heard about any trials and tribulations until I told them about mine...So without delay, here it is...

From 4 hours after Jackson was born I was pumping to be able to give my little man my liquid gold.  Before the neonatalogist told us that breast milk would be best for Jackson because of his surgery and stomach situations, I strongly  believed in breast feeding or at the very least having breast milk in the NICU (and for at least a year) for him when it was time for his to start feeds. That being said, everyday that I was in the hospital and that Jackson was in the hospital, I met and worked with a lactation specialist to help me get my milk in, find the right flange to fit my breast, and eventually get Jackson to latch onto my breast.  TWELVE days of meeting and classes on breast feeding and still I was having trouble.  My milk supply was very low even though I pumped 6-8 times a day (even through the night), I was exhausted, and Jackson was not latching onto my breast without a nipple shield and sometimes he didn't want to latch at all.

When Jackson was released from the hospital I continued to pump and tried every day to get him to latch onto my breast with no success.  Because my supply low and I was doing EVERTHING known to man to increase it...Drinking Mother's Milk tea, taking Fenugeek supplements, drinking lots of water, pumping like a machine; the doctor decided to prescribe (with the suggestion of a lactation specialist)  Domperidone to help increase my milk supply.  I kept doing my homeopathic remedies and added the Domeperidone.  I had my own system of doing all of this while taking care of Jackson and pumping all at the same time.  Did I say I was exhausted? Still having trouble getting Jackson to latch I decided to have a home visit with a pretty well known lactation specialist in Bergan County NJ, Ann Anderson.  Upon talking to her for the first time I finally felt a sense of relief and accomplishment.  After telling my story she reassured me that I was doing everything she would have recommended and asked me if I would like to meet with her in person..."YES!!!" I supply was starting to increase which I was happy about but the one thing I really wanted to happen over everything was to actually breastfeed Jackson.

The next week after talking to Ann and being on Domperidone I drive the 45 minutes to her house to have her shed her breastfeeding wisdom on me. Ann was incredible, from the minute she met me in the drive way to help my bring in Jackson, the hospital breast pump (oh yeah I ended up having to rent a hospital grade breast pump because it is stronger and will get more milk out of my boobs), diaper bags, and my Pump In Style Medela pump.  I went into her office and the first thing she did was weigh Jackson on her own baby scale.  Then I took off my shirt and whipped a boob out (if you are a breast feeder you know that there is no such thing as modesty anymore, especially if you are desperate).  After a couple tries Ann got Jackson to latch onto my breast!!!  It was incredible, his latch was correct and he was sucking away.  Ann told me that my breasts were very wide and thick and Jackson has a very small mouth and that is why it has been so difficult to get him to latch.  She showed me how I had to contort my boob to get it into his mouth and he took to it like white on rice.  He breast fed on the right boob no problem but insisted on using the nipple shield on the left boob.  Ok, that was a start!!  After about 30 minutes of breast feeding Ann weighed Jackson again...he had only gotten 1 ounce of milk total after breast feeding from both sides!  "WHAT?!" I thought.  How could that be?  What is going on?  Well, my breasts are really dense and therefore it takes ALOT of strength to get the milk out there I was back to pumping and bottle feeding.  However, Ann showed me everything I needed to know and told me to call her anytime and that I could come back anytime.  Ann made me feel great, that was the best money I had ever spent!!

Home I went to practice what I had learned.  So now I was breast feeding, pumping, and bottle feeding.  Sometimes Jackson would latch and sometimes he wouldn't, sometimes after breast feeding my breasts felt like they were on fire and sometimes they didn't, ALL the time I was exhausted and all the time I was pumping, and all the time I was bottle feeding breast milk and supplementing formula.

While this was all going on, Jackson had the worst diaper rash I had ever seen.  Bleeding and raw and nothing I was doing was helping it.  I tried EVERYTHING, we aired his butt out, we used cold black tea bags, Triple Paste, Desatin,  Balmex...nothing was working.  My husband and I decided that I would pump one whole day and store it and try out formula.  By mid day Jackson's diaper rash was completely GONE!  I called my husband at work and told him, we were in shock.  The bleeding stopped, the cuts healed!!   Thankfully we had our next pediatrician appointment the next day.

At my son's two month check up I confessed to his pediatrician (who is very homeopathic) what I was doing in the secret of my own home and I told him about what happened when we gave Jackson the formula.  He looked at me and said, "Morgan you have to relax.  Try to pump a little less, start storing a supply in the freezer and give him a little more formula than breast milk."  I looked at him and said, "But."  He stopped me and said, "Listen, I could sit here and tell you to only give him breast milk, but look at yourself and how you are doing and now how Jackson is doing.  Happy mom = Happy baby."  And that is when I started to decrease the amount of breast milk I gave him per day, which also made his terrible diaper rash never come back and I began freezing a stash.  I told myself that ALL I wanted was to have breast milk for Jackson to mix with food.

Eventually my supply dried up and I had to start delving into my freezer was both a relief and sad all at the same time.  I went to the hospital and returned their pump (see my post on that in March).  My journey was half over.

On Saturday April 3rd I fed Jackson his last bottle of breast milk, Jackson has been eating bananas and quinoa for 3 weeks now.  I had made my goal and even surpassed it by a couple weeks.  I cannot say that it was easy, I cannot say that I wish I had done it another way...what I can say is that I am proud that my stubbornness paid off.  My son got breast milk for as long as I was able to give it to him.  Giving him that last bottle was sentimental and I thought about everything WE had gone through just to get that milk for him.  Do I wish I had more breast milk to feed Jackson?  Of course I do, but this is my story and I am sticking to it!