The most difficult part about traveling is collecting and storing milk, trying to avoid engorgement and the dreaded reduced milk supply. I was going to be away for approximately 2 weeks and the thought of pumping breast milk in a foreign country was scaring me and making me lose sleep. I had been home several times with no issues but this would be my first time returning home with all that had happened this year.
How was I going to get the power to use my pump?
How was I going to store my breast milk with limited power?
How much would I keep and how much will I throw away?
How can I travel with the breast milk? Should I check it as luggage? Carry it on? Dry ice? Gel ice?
My head was spinning and I hardly wanted to deal with all of it. I wish the baby could just suck her milk remotely through a spiritual tunnel. Or not… that sounds creepy. Anywho, I had a problem I needed to face head on.
I bought my medela hand pump, packed my electric pump with extra accessories and set out to the airport with a smile on my face. Initially I pumped about 10 ounces in one sitting. Goodness, just my luck to set my personal record for pumping behind the airport security checkpoint, trying hard not to take it as an omen I packed the packets and walked to my gate. (I pumped in the restroom, in front of the mirror and sink; had a conversation with another mama who gave me a high five and encouragement). Between Dallas and Frankfurt I had pumped approximately 30 oz. I was hustling for ice everytime I landed for a layover to keep my baggies cold. Every hour delay I looked at my BM and prayEd we would both make it out of this journey together, as one. I pumped everywhere I could, squeezed into 5 hour increments which was pushing the envelope. My hand was steady cranking under my shirt while the other did wringing motions so as to catch every last drop. I tried to find hidden areas but many times I did the deed right there in my seat with no apologies just contorting myself under my shirt and eyeballing the milk levels with each drop.
Landing in Lufthansa I had an hour to make it to my next flight which was in a gate at another terminal. That airport is bigger, much much bigger than Atlanta I feel. Got to a security checkpoint and was baffled because I never left the airport so why was I being checked again?! I placed my items on the conveyor belt and brought out my breast milk bag obediently feeling that if I were forthcoming things would go smoother. The worker stared at the baggy.
“I have to trash”
“What? Excuse me?”
“See…” he said pointing to the oz levels as the milk was filled all 5 oz. “over 3.5 oz I have to trash.”
“But it’s breast milk, I can travel with breast milk?!”
“No sorry, over 3.5 I have to trash.” He walked away with sack and dumped my 6 sachets like it was junk and then returned the bag to me.
I stood there in disbelief. If only then I had known that I would face far worse obstacles and more breastmilk would be shed.
Could not land in Port Harcourt because of dust from Harmattan making visibility impossible, turned back to Abuja which was a nightmare. Between fighting for transportation, fighting for food and fight for room and board I made it to a bed at 2 am. My hand pump was getting action but at larger intervals because it’s difficult to pump when a stranger is halfway standing in your lap and the bus driving is doing nearly 100mph with no knowledge of where exactly he was taking us. When I finally did plug in my electric pump for the first time since the Dallas airport, flash, pop, fizz and smoke. I blew my adaptor. The converter I bought must have been bad. I stared at my NOW useless electric medela pump. I haven’t been in Nigeria for 24 hours and this thing was now rendered useless! Jesu! I brought out my handy-dandy hand pump and got to pumping and sprawled out on the bed only to be awoken at 5:45 with news that our bus would be leaving soon back to the airport.
Landing in Port things did not get easier, no. While my MIL assured me there would be a working freezer there was not. The milk would go back. More milk was shed and wasted. I looked at my state-of-the-art styrofoam box and 12 gel packs as they mocked me. ‘You carried us all the way here and we will NEVER serve you! Muahahahaha!’
That night I slept through my alarm and woke 10 hours later. Good sleep, engorged breast, personal record for interval between feeding. I pumped off 8 oz but that would be the last large load. That afternoon I could hardly pull half an oz out of each breast. In a shack on Rumiola Road watching passer by’s I pumped hopelessly, no luck. I drank water and pumped, not much. I ate and pump, nada. I dismantled my pump looking for an answer, nope. I increased my interval to 2 hours. Steadily building supply. Between the 29 and 31 I think I managed to make 20 oz which isn’t bad for Jen dust I was getting off earlier.
Still not milk stored for the journey back. In fact, I think I will give the styrofoam box to someone. The gel packs will likely go to refuse.
In looking back on the journey, even if I carry nothing to baby, I will be lucky if I have milk in my breast to feed her. I’m just pushing for 2 oz per breast and hoping for the best!
Baby is doing well, that is the most important thing, can wait to see her. The wedding was phenom, will post pics. Happy new year!!
It was an experience, yes it was. I think everyone should run a race sometime in their lifetime. Whether it be a half-marathon, 10 k, 5k, 1k! Something, get out there and experience the hype. There are so many experiences to live for.
I trained. My goal was not to win, my goal was not to impress anyone. My goal was to finish, to finish with a reasonable time, I would be happy with running 13 miles at approximately 11 minutes per mile and not dying of a leg cramp at mile 9. My goal was not to have a finish line picture where an old man was crossing the line before me with a smile on his face. Old men could finish. They could finish before me. I just didn’t need my personal race picture to immortalize that. I just want to look back at my picture and feel like I am the ish… it that too much to ask for? In 2013 my victory was robbed from me because of that very thing and I was determined to not have that happen again.
There were all types of runners. Big small, old young, white black. Everyone was unified, running together. Cheering and supporting one another. Some people were walking together, laughing at their defeat. Others paced each other, knowing that not knowing the stranger you were running with at least you knew you were not going to give up to a stranger. There was one strange man who ran with me… or at least he used me to pace himself as he would trail behind me walking then speed up and dash ahead only long enough for him to grow tired walk and trail behind me and dash off again. I made eye contact with him a few times. I knew I was his pacer. It made me angry but what could I do. While I ran blisters into the insoles of my shoes he jog-walked and sipped water from his water bag on his back and mocked my half-marathon existence. I refused to walk. I was actually keeping a good 10 minutes pace until mile 12. At mile 12 the 10min/mi group passed me up. My knees and hips protested. I settled into a 10:30 pace. I initially started off with an 8min/mi pace, that was my mistake. I was too excited and I bolted on the start line. 3 miles in I realized I forgot my energy shot blocks and I panicked mentally, that mental panic knocked a good mile off. I stopped at every Gatorade station to get some sugar intake for energy for the miles to come. I hate stopping for drinks. It slows you down, you run into people, you are tempted to walk. Have you ever tried to run and drink Gatorade from a miniature paper cup before? Its hard.
As I neared the finish line I saw the old man. It wasn’t the same old man but nonetheless it was a man well in age with more than enough white hairs on his head and a hunched back. How he passed me I don’t know but he did. I looked for the photographers… they were there. I could not let this happen again so I did it. I sprinted. I sprinted and ran like a rabid pit-bull had broken off its chained leash and was chasing me down the street. People were clapping. I was just trying to pass that man. I did. And I have the picture immortalized, no old man in sight!
It hurt, but crossing that line felt better. I put my medal around my neck so proud. I was hurting but not that bad. Walking around the field with so many other finishers. Eating free pancakes and breakfast burritos… hobbling in line to get beer that I probably wouldn’t drink. I was so happy that my friends convinced me to do this, I was so happy that we endured through the training with all its challenges and despite our busy work schedules, I was so happy I finished.
I knew that this was something I would do again. Very soon.
I was told during my last prenatal check-up that I would be scheduled for induction July 17th 2016.
My pregnancy was not free of problem. I was on bed rest for approximately 5 weeks during my second trimester when I experience bleeding and was diagnosed with threatened abortion. At 19 and again at 23 weeks I was told that I had a 50% chance of carrying my baby to term. I was hospitalized at 23 weeks and told that if my baby decided to make an early appearance then the NICU would be ready, I was in a time and era where there was a decent survival for preterm babies. I researched issues that premies could suffer, read blogs on experiences of mothers who stayed in the neonatal ICU cradling a one pound infant attached to tubes and cords. My heart was heavy as I laid in that hospital bed. I prayed. We prayed. We said the rosary every night and we were comforted because we knew that God was with us.
Now, flash forward to July 11th, now in the final stride of my third trimester with a large gravid belly, I sat staring at my doctor unsure of what to feel. She wanted to induce me because I was somewhat of a high risk pregnancy although serial ultrasound showed the hematoma under my placenta had shrunk and the baby was growing well. I was in between a rock and a hard place. As much as I wanted to see my baby and do whatever it was my doctor needed me to do to have that happen… I still wanted a “natural childbirth.” What is a “natural childbirth” well it that Labor Nirvana that you reach only after surviving hours of labor at home, having your husband drive you to the emergency department in a frenzy, swinging on a birth bar until you’re 10cm dilated sweating bullets and pushing out a baby and having enough energy to run a marathon once this is over. If I couldn’t have a natural childbirth… then all of this was in vain. I was reading so many posts, in the matrix, all the mommy-shaming for women who underwent inductions and c-sections and had birthing processes that required any medical intervention. Babies delivered in a medical way was a sad… sad… occurrence in the “natural childbirth” world… babies delivered ‘the way God intended’ deserved a medal.
While I did try to push the process along by running excessively, going to the gym daily, eating spicy foods and way to much pineapple, this baby stayed put. She kicked. I belly-mapped. She was anterior-posterolatorajumbolumbo and thus not engaged. I was going crazy. I was only sitting on my birth ball and staring at my husband like a wild animal.
“This baby has to come out before July 17th!”
I made up my mind. I was going to ignore the call. I was going to wait it out. I was going to stand-up my doctor and remain on the couch a nervous-wreck watching ON DEMAND re-run of Housewives and Chopped. In fact, they didn’t call me so I got offended. Apparently the hospital was full. July 18th, Monday morning I got the call. I called my hubby home from work and started to pack my bag. How do you pack a bag for delivery… I don’t know, not like I used anything I took looking back.
We got to the hospital in the morning, taking selfies and stuff, looking bad to the bone. Thinking we were going to be parents that nights. I hadn’t experience one contraction yet, mind you. I was escorted to my room. I changed into my jammies. The nurse came in and told me to remove my jammies and put on the hospital gown, that is why it was placed in the middle of my bed, go figure. Another nurse came in and check vitals, started and IV and checked my cervix. My first nurse was my sorority sister (OO-OOP) and this was a good way to start. I was still closed and high. They placed the cervidil and put me on monitoring and I started the habit of craning my neck to check out the fetal heart rate and contraction monitor. My husband was playing movies on his laptop, some stupid lifetime movie about vampires, he thought it was a totally different movie, that was 45 minutes wasted. I got hungry, we ordered Thai, the nurse smelled the Thai and gently reminded me that I was NPO (nothing by mouth). Did I mention she was my sorority sister, she was so cute. When the door closed behind her I asked my husband to pass me my cookie, I needed energy for this journey, NPO my arse.
At 6 am my doctor came and checked me and unfortunately the Cervidil did not work. Whomp whomp whommmmp. We were going to start Pitocin. It was started, I asked if we could just do another Cervidil and cross our fingers. The answer was no. Still no real contractions, I had Cheeto Puffs under my blanket. I was going to need energy for this journey. At 9 am my doctor was back. She checked me, I was still high and a tight 3. In other words, still a high 2. She broke my water. That thing she stuck up there looked like it should have hurt a lot more but I didn’t really feel anything, I still jumped and squirmed. I bloody watery fluid gushed, the nurse cleaned it up, the doctor said “hasta la vista.” Woah, that was a lot of water, when I got up to pee it was literally running down my leg. Yuck. I ate crackers for energy. My nurse came in and saw the crumbs and scolded me. “For real this time!” Pinky promise I responded. “I don’t believe you!” She shot back. You have to, I pleaded with her.
My family was in and out of the room. They are pretty dramatic. My dad kept staring at me with teary eyes and his bottom lip was trembling. It was making me nervous. He held my hand, his hand was sweaty. Jeez, why was this so weird. My husband left so many things in the car, he kept going back and forth, he was probably uncomfortable too. At around 3 pm they turned up the Pitocin. Goodness, whew is that what contractions are… let me just lean back real quick. I didn’t want anything else to eat. It was getting real now. I needed to focus on this… argggghhhh whewwww… ok… ok… I got this. My dad and brother excused themselves. After several orders on how to redirect my pain I finally dismissed my mother. I was alone in the room grimacing, bearing down. I buzzed the nurse. I am going to take the offer for Stadol. Stadol please… now! Nurse gave me the Stadol, she is so cute, did I tell you guys she is my sorority sister, she pledge graduate chapter. Small world… whoa. Check me please. I need to see if this baby is coming out check me please!
“We just checked you… I don’t think—“
CHECK ME PLEASE! This was not a debate. I was 4-5 cm dilated and high. She overestimated the first time so you may as well have told me I made zero progress. GOOOOOOODNESS!! Grr!
“Do you want an epidural?” I looked at her and shook my head. Nah, I’m trying to do this natural. “You’re trying to what?” Look woman, it’s taking me too much energy to communicate with you leave me be. “Well when you need an epidural call me because they are outside waiting. And if they get called for an emergency case you will have to wait.” I got this, thank you! When she left I stared at the ceiling and tried to envision psychedelic triangles moving back and forth… not helping… gosh I knew that hypno-birth mumbo-jumbo was crap. Maybe if I actually took a class and didn’t rely on a free YouTube video. Then a contraction caught me. It was like someone took a vice grip and wrench and twisted my uterus and spinal cord with evil anger. NURSE!!
“Yes ma’am” She smiled, ever so sweetly. I was grimacing, was my pain a joke to her?! I need an epidural now I screamed with foolish authority. She smiled, “ I literally just left the room.”
This was not time to be Father Time or Mother Time or whatever. This was time to get anesthesiology in her. And thankfully they came in like 30 minutes. My nose was buzzing, my head was spinning. They put tape on my back, told me to hunch forward and stay still. I knew the drill, I had done a few of these before. I honestly didn’t care who was holding the needle, a resident, attending, intern hell… medical student or the janitor, I just needed some pain relief. The needle went in, I jumped and screamed, everyone else in the room jumped and screamed. Ooops. Okay, I can wiggle my toes, lol. Laid back in bed as they explained the PCA pump to me.
“Now you really can’t eat.” Smiled the nurse. I haven’t been eating, I objected. She pointed to a half-finished orange juice carton. Oh, I thought you said: No food. “Same thing!” She rolled her eyes. I was a difficult patient. I think all doctors are difficult patients. I had already calculated the chances of my needed an emergency c-section, vomiting into my mouth, aspirating it and that aspiration leading to a full blown gram-negative oral flora pneumonia and not a simple chemical pneumonitis. I was willing to take that risk.
Enter, front and center: my mother. The diva. The wonder. The wild one. The funny one. The can-get-crazy-on-you one. She was already fed up. My dad arrived for the imminent birthing along with my baby brother. My aunty, who had agreed to help with the baby, entered as well. She said a prayer, touched my belly and the contractions got stronger. What the heck? I was giving her the side-eye. My friends visited, someone brought Tiff Treats… my nurse kept checking on my jaw motions. Now we are close enough to the event that I can go into dialogue.
“When are you gonna check her again?” My mom said leaning forward on her hands in a sarcastic way. She is not only a nurse but a mother of five so that give her authority over this L&D, this hospital and this universe.
“Are you her mom?” The new nurse asked. She was not my sorority sister. My sorority sister left, we exchanged numbers hugged and everything.
“Why do you ask?!” Shots fired. The nurse squirmed. I shrugged. You can get on her bad side if you want to but I am only a spectator now that this epidural is working.
“Well.. we just tend to not check so much because we don’t want to introduce infection.”
“That doesn’t make sense.” My mother retorted.
“Well that is what we practice here.”
“I don’t care what you practice here, I need you to check my daughter now.”
“I will check her again if she feels pressure or—“
“Um ma’am” my mom interrupted. She used polite titles when she was about to spewing anger. By this time I had sunk into the bed the best I could. Me and hubby made eye contact, maybe he left something else in the car, he was a little fidgety. My mom smiled, a twisted smile, a smile that let everyone know that she was capable of many incredible things including making your life a living hell. “I need you to check her now.”
“Ok, I’ll be right back!” The nurse jumped up and scampered out. We all exchanged looks. Uche stood up and said something about needing to go to the car. My dad said he was going to take a walk with my brother. The all clumsily pushed out the doorway. My mother looked unbothered, but bothered. I looked straight at the TV admiring my ability to seem so focused even though the volume was on mute. It took a whole 15 minutes for my mother to flip out and grab the first nurse she saw at the nurses’ station. She made up a story about me feeling incredible pressure so this nurse checked me.
“You are a 10!” She exclaimed smiling not knowing what kind of predicament she had just put her fellow co-worker in. “ And the baby’s head is right there! She is already out. Don’t push!”
My mom stared at me. “I hu na!” she spat. You see! (Igbo). I was numb, my brain was numb, I just couldn’t believe this was happening. I pushed the PCA pump away from me with hopes that my epidural would wear off by the time the doctor got around so that I could take another shot at a “natural birth.”
It took the doctor all of 20 minutes to get to the hospital. In in those 20 minutes my mother was a terror, she spent 95% of that time outside my doorway yelling at anyone in proximity. It put the staff in a tizzy. The energy in that room was hot. I was still out of it, probably in shock. The doctor peeked her head in a smiled nervously, “you ready?”
I nodded. Another young nurse walked in and started assembling my bed for the event. I called Uche and told him it was time. He looked like he had seen a ghost. He was really quite. He kept staring at me like I was suffering from consumption in an era where there was no cure. My mother was on my left side with her hands on her hips taking it all in like a mother hen. The young nurse confirmed the placement of the baby.
“Now look,” she said calmly. “The baby is right there, her head is right here. I am going to practice pushing with you ok. Daddy, I’m going to need you to hold this leg, Mama hold up this leg.” She check the baby again, can you feel me. I nodded emptily. The epidural was wearing off, I felt slight pressure, but not a lot. “Push down, push down here on the count of three… now breathe! Ok… ok… here is another one… another one.. ok here we go push push push push… deep and hard…. Good! Wait! Stop! Stop! Don’t push!”
I relaxed and looked at my husband. I looked down at the nurse who looked terse. “Her head is right here she is almost out. I need to get the doctor.” My husband exchanged a glance with me.
The Dr walked in fully gown. “Ok let’s have a baby!” She said firmly familiarizing herself in my space. “Oh, look at that, baby is right here. Ok, let’s get her out. Push mama… down and hard… push… wow! Her head is out!”
I looked down briefly then turned back to the ceiling.
“Push push push!” the doctor ordered. “Ok stop. Oh look! Your baby! Blah blah blah blah whomp whomp whomp blah blah blah”
Stuff was happening in slow motion. She pulled up a baby to show me. I stared at her. Then she handed the baby away and turned back to my afterbirth. My baby was rushed into the adjacent space for cleaning and stuff. I stared at my mom. She smiled at me. She was crying.
I still didn’t understand what had just happened. All in that instant, I had become a mother. My life had changed forever.
Ok, I love reviewing products, in my mind. I haven’t posted any yet, but I will and I will make a habit of it.
So I have had this issue with my breasts and my milk, lol. At first it was way too much and my boobs were little mountains. I mean, they were hard, and painful and they baby just couldn’t keep up. I pumped initially but found that was only making the problem worst (that is a topic for another blog post). Long story short, I was ungrateful of my milk production. I wanted it to die down. I was researching everything on the internet to make it stop. I stopped soothing myself by standing in the stream of a hot shower every morning… that was making it worse.
Now… now that I have returned to work and I want all the milk I can make to build up a stock for the end time… now the milk has slowed down. Baby has no problem getting her fill but I can only pump off 5 oz at a time. I’m at work in my call room twisting and contorting my breasts to squeeze out the last drop and I know that can’t be good aesthetically. So, I took to google again to find the answer. If you can see by now, google is my bestest friend… frenemy at time though.
So I read about the Mother Milk with fenugreek an active ingredient and mild galactogogue (meaning it stimulates your body to produce milk). I heard all types of things, from horrible smell to horrible taste and uselessness and over-priced. Being that I was desperate I decided to give it a try. I went to Whole Foods and picked up a box for $3.99. I’m sure I could have found a cheaper box somewhere else but you always need an excuse to go to Whole Foods so I used it. Not to mention they were handing out free wine and cheese to everyone waiting in line, I resisted because it was my lunch break. I also didn’t want dirty looker from the onlooker who would see me throwing back shots of wine with Mother’s Milk Tea in my other hand. Welp.
Mother’s Milk Tea – Traditional Medicinals
Preparation: I boiled water in my electric teapot. Dropped a tea bag in a cup and poured. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Added 2 cubes of ice. Enjoyed.
Taste: I drink my coffee black. That is all. I don’t think you care what anything tastes like to me after I have informed you of this. Needless to say, the tea had really no taste. Not compared to a strong cup of dark roast Startbuck’s coffee or a potent glass of Merlot. It tasted like tea, watery herbs, light and airy.
Smell: Really? It smelled like tea. I suppose it could have smelled like licorice… if I knew what that smelled like or if I had smell senses. Which I don’t.
Now for the most important part.
Does it work?
It worked FOR ME. Yes, about 48 or so hours after my first drink I was engorged. Engorged in my weak breast, my limp breast, the lil breast that lagged behind and produced an oz less of milk than my leader, winner, golden star breast. I made 8oz in one sitting. Yes, a good 3 oz more. And as long as I kept drinking the tea I made about 4-5oz off each breast every time I pumped. That is a victory so suggest you give it a try. That is all.
You can do anything you put your mind to. Seriously.
There is no imaginary timing that is right. There is no imaginary starting line. You just wake up, take a breath and go. That is how I live my life. I go. I challenge myself. I don’t let anyone tell me that I can’t (in fact that is a surefire way to push me further into the task.)
I am running a half marathon, and I am giving myself 8 weeks to train. That is because I had to sit out for 4 weeks and let my uterus simmer down, but soon as I got the ok I hit the pavement. It won’t be my first. I really like running, it can be relaxing when you aren’t getting injured or feeling like your lungs are on fire. I can’t say it wasn’t challenging. My first run I felt like I hadn’t run in years. I ran 13 minute miles and got home and laid on the floor shaking. Then I bled like a… I don’t even want to think of a simile for that, just know that I bled and I was scared. But I got up and ran following that like a fool. I let my beloved talk me into running a half marathon with them and that is where I am now.
I am breastfeeding, pumping, studying, researching, interview and looking like somebodies scarecrow running down Broadway St at 6:35 pm with a hydration belt strapped around my waist. I am crazy, it is confirmed but guess what? I like it. I like the look people give me when I tell them what I am doing to keep my shape.
I haven’t died yet. I’m still here. Still running.
My race is October 30th, I have bought my new shoes and I’m breaking them in. I’m not bleeding anymore and I have got some endurance under my hydration belt. I feel good, I feel the best than I have felt for a while even after an 8 mile run. I feel invincible and I’m googling more upcoming races because I’m not gonna let this go again.
I wore a waist-trainer. Literally 12 hours after giving birth vaginally. It was hard to get into and my husband helped me keep my balance as I pulled like my life depended on it. The last thing I wanted to see in the mirror when I got home was that Buddha pooch. I mean, nothing is wrong with a Buddha pooch, I just didn’t want to see it on me. So I did my research and purchased a waist trainer. But not just any waist trainer. I purchased a weight trainer that was specially geared towards women who had just deliverered babies.
There were all sorts of corsets on the site, corsets for status post vaginal deliveries and cesarean sections of course. The corset actually works like a belly binder and is good for healing especially after a cesarean. It pulls you torso back up into a normal position so that you can heal appropriately, not to mean it keeps you tight so that you maintain your posture and don’t overeat.
I can’t say that my Bellefit corset was the secret to my success. I’m sure as I say many, many times… genetics is something you shouldn’t ignore. But I will say, if given the opportunity I will wear my postpartum corset after every pregnancy. I wore it faithfully 12 hours a day for a few weeks and by the time I saw my OB my uterus had shrunken down deep into my pelvis and she was impressed. It also gave me confidence as I strutted around in my pre-pregnancy jeans and tops 🙂
One thing you have to have in that hospital bag is you postpartum corset! Don’t leave home without it. Have you used a post-partum corset? How do you feel about? Leave your comments below.
I had my period. 5 weeks post-partum. And I am breastfeeding.
I though that wasn’t a thing. I though I would have a good 6 months. I thought wrong. Clearly nothing goes as planned with me.
Here is how it happened if you care… if you don’t scroll past.
My lochia lightened as expected within a few weeks and tapered of to discharge and boom. Nothing. then I went for a 4 mile run… yeah that 4 mile run I told you about and later that night felt a gush. A gush like gooooosh. Nope. Nope. Nope. That wasn’t normal. I hadn’t felt that in about er… a year. It seemed kinda like a period gush (TMI) so I ran to the bathroom to confirm blood. Either I was hemorrhaging or something my lochia started back up and I wasn’t hemorrhaging. Well, after my google binge research session I finally made my 6 week follow-up with my OB-GYN to hear the worst. And she stood there laughing at me after I explained what I had experience.
“Christine, you had your period!”
“What? But I’m breastfeeding.”
“So?” She laughed.
Hilarious, she’s laughing when my natural birth control method was crumbling before my eyes.
“So what are you thinking about for birth control” She said more seriously as if she was tired of reading my mind and wanted me to speak with my mouth and not the imaginary tears falling from my tired sleep-deprived eyes.
“What about the lactation amenorrhea thing…” I whimpered.
“The what?!” She barked, looking baffled.
“That whole idea that as long as I’m breastfeeding I won’t get pregnant again. I was reading about it only and I was thinkin–”
“Yeah, sure. If you want to come back to my office pregnant in three months.” She laughed. She was very amused with this BC method I could tell, but hardly impressed. “Listen, I’ve had women that thought they could rely on breastfeeding as a form of birth control but the reality is… everyone is different and it just isn’t reliable. So many have come back pregnant and can’t believe how it happened. It isn’t that unusual to get your period back this soon even while breast feeding, again every woman is different. What we do know however is that you are fertile. And although your periods will not be regular with breastfeeding… you are still ovulating and the risk is still there.”
That’s what happened. I don’t want to see here any sooner than I plan to so I am heading her warning. Le sigh.
Ok, I am going to give you a few key points that went through my head constantly as I carried my little one as far as how I felt my body would recover after childbirth. First I want to say, the most important thing when you are pregnant is to carry that baby. Now is not the time to start a crazy workout or diet. Now is the time to thank God for the ultimate blessing.
But we do fall off the wagon when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Pregnancy is not supposed to be a bad experience full of back aches, swelling, food cravings and pelvic mal-alignment. I think because the tradition is to sit up like a robin’s egg during those 9 months is part of the problem. Ladies, it is ok to be active! Get walking, running, lifting. Feel good about yourself and your image. Even if you can leave the house sit on a stability ball and balance your core, open your pelvis. Stretch, lift your legs and do pelvic thrusts. I am no expert but I believe that when you are pregnant there is so much going on in your body already, why not focus on being the most healthy and fit. What other time would be more appropriate.
I make it a point to go to the gym 3-4x/week. It has always been this way because I see exercise as a stress reliever. However when I became heavily (more like noticeably) pregnant, I got many derogatory remarks when I was seen at, going to or leaving my home gym. When I walked the stairs at work and opted for doing my own tasks I was told that I was taking it too hard on baby and would end up having a c-section if I didn’t slow down. When I filled my plate with veggies and nibble on fruits during break I was told that I needed to focus on gaining more weight. What?! Now, as much as I understand that this people were simply *hating* I still questioned why it was the culture to lay around and gain weight during pregnancy. Why was my carrying the lifestyle that I had maintained prior to pregnancy a bad thing? Why was it that dipping fries into a large Frosty drink would have been a more acceptable sight to these people. I was 39 weeks pregnant and taking the stair… BECAUSE I ALWAYS TAKE THE STAIRS.
If you want to look good after pregnancy here is my secret. Don’t LET GO during your pregnancy! Keep up your standard, dieting and exercising. Stay healthy. The American College of Gynecology (ACOG) suggests that women continued to be active with at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week… at least.
So try this next time you get a positive pregnancy test. Promise yourself that this is going to be the healthiest pregnancy ever, as far as you can control. Watch what you eat and make it a point to stay active. Then you won’t worry about excessive weight gain afterwards.
Getting ready to bring a baby home can be so confusing. Buy this, buy that… what will I really need for that darling little love-bug staring up at me? What can I do without? If you have a baby shower, sure you will get a lot of stuff you don’t need, I got clothes sized 2T, and that’s fine just find storage. However, when it comes to spending your pretty little penny then maybe you should consider being a bit more calculated. I’m a month in… so I am going to tell you what Ive needed so far and also the things I will I didn’t buy.
Things I couldn’t live without out… with a newborn:
So I haven’t used the other functionalities thus far, but as a mom that doesn’t like to lounge in bed, I found that having the portable napper in the living room so that I could cook, clean and watch TV when I wanted and being able to peer in on my little on as need. This was a gem. I used it daily, multiple times a day. In fact, it was the first thing my baby slept in as soon as we got home. I actually feel like baby prefers this thing over other options for sleeping.
PROS – cheap. cheap. cheap price. Didn’t cost a million bucks. It will follow your baby as it ages. Sadly me and my husband looked at it and knew this love affair with the napper would come to an end someday soon, but at least we would have a playpen.
CONS – I can’t say I ever used the changer. It looked suspect. The organizer compartment looked like something bought from the dollar store clearance section, but I cant complain because we just didn’t use it. It was a useless appendage.
Vitamin D drops
Unless you want your baby to blame you for their bout with rickets one day I suggest you not forget this step. Breastfeeding mothers this is controversial. Does your baby really need you to supplement or can you just set him/her on the lawn to bake for a few hours and call it done. A lot of factors can affect how much vitamin D your baby is getting. Are you and babe of a darker skin tone? Then you may not be getting the right amount of sun exposure. Are you in the far north with low sun exposure? That a thought. Were you vitamin D deficient to begin with? Good question, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more of a common issue for young women. I just didn’t chance it. Beside, it think baby like it. She smacked her lips and looked at me like, “You’re the real MVP, ma.”
Why the heck was I not told that this would be the single most important clothing item I would own in new mommy-hood? yeah I had a nursing bra that I bought… but no… I needed 400! One for work, one for sleep, one for play… one for the Sundays… one for walking, one to wear when the one for play is dirty. I needed a black one, a white one… a sport-bra like one. I really never had enough nursing bras. And since I plan to be nursing for a long, long time… then its true that I may never have enough nursing bras.
Trust me, trying to maneuver pulling your breast out an around a regular Vickie Secret pushup is not fun… and you baby will stare you down in the worst way.
Ok, they aren’t called boobie pads, but they are the little pads you stick in your bra when you start leaking. You will leak. Its not like one of those problems that SHE has and YOU won’t. You will leak through your bra and fancy shirts and have two bulls eyes on your already huge breastfeeding boobies, when your sleeping and when you out with visitors… so just invest in a few boxes and don’t forget to pop them in your bra especially when you are full. Disposable vs cloth? I’ll leave that up to you.
Are you a first time mom? Have you ever heard a baby that was just recently semi-sleeping screech like mad when a cold, wet wipe touches their bottom. Well, you will. Oh, you will my friend. Initially when I received the wiper warmer, I thought, oh cute. Now when I see the wiper warmer, I offer it a silent thanks and silently wipe my baby.
CONS – You have to be fast. Like Jedi fast to do the transaction before the thing cools back down. I’m not sure if mine just wasn’t efficient, I had the Munchkin brand, let me know if there is a better warmer. It could be argued what is the use if its just going to get cold mid-air. But hey, I got pretty fast warmer to tush so I appreciated it.
Changing table with changing pad
Babies excrete a lot of bodily waste and I’m tall so I appreciated having a designated changing table. We used this daily, many times a day. It was also nice to assort the diapers, warmer and hand sanitizer to have it right there so it was like a one-stop shop for changing. We actually bought a changing topper so it sat on a dresser, so saved room and looked awesome. I recommend, we bought it as a furniture set and the changing table was a $99 addition at BuyBuyBaby.
Simethicone drops or Mylicon drops
Babies have gas that leads to colics that leads to sleepless nights and being so sad because baby is sad. Simethicone breaks the gas up into little tiny bubbles that are easier for the baby to pass. There is no actual proof that it works per se, but I used it all the time and it felt like it was doing something, even if it was just a placebo effect. I swear by it actually, I keeps a stash hunty.
Infant car seat
This is a given, need I say more?
Newborn baby clothes
Ok, so hears the thing… everyone is going to advise you NOT to buy newborn clothes. They are going to swear up and down that your infant will outgrow them in 7 minutes and they will be useless… but um… not true for everyone. My baby is
approaching 6 weeks and we are rotating around the same 3 pants and its getting pathetic. Pictures are getting akward, we are being forced into creativity and sifting through all the oversized stuff is becoming torture. So get a few newborn pants and cute tops so you and your LO will look like you belong to the same socioeconomic class, whatever that may be.
Newborn dry skin and its issues are no joke. Keep her comfortable.
Bows for little girls…
Although not necessary it help me. Babies look unisex for a long long time and dressing in pink didn’t do much. I would throw angry stares when someone did the “aw, let me hold him” and “how old is he?”… didn’t I tell you I had a baby girl? Is it that hard to remember
Yes, the items I couldn’t do without in the first 6 weeks. Frankly, I have a closet full of potentially useful items right now. I know I was running helter skelter before delivery wondering if I had enough, stalking the Target baby aisles and becoming overly acquainted with the staff and BabiesRUs. I’m not saying wait till baby is 2 months to do a mad dash for useful inventory as it presents itself, just reminding you that you don’t have to break the bank at one time if its not needed. Hell, we’ve only used our crib 8 times… for 8 naps that lasted less than 8 minutes. Hopefully, you get the point.
This is me 4 weeks after giving birth to my first child.
Everyone says: “Oh my gosh, you don’t look like you dropped a child out of your body a month ago!”
To be honest, I’m not really sure what that means. I have never had a baby before, and I don’t have many friends that have had babies, so clearly I am not sure what a woman who has had a baby is supposed to look like. But then again, I didn’t even know the term “snap back” until every one kept saying it to me.
Below – 1 week post-partum heading to the first doctors appointment:
I don’t look any different than what I look like before I got pregnant. I can tell you what I did but I didn’t do much. It didn’t require a major lifestyle change or million dollar haul. Stay tuned to see the little things I did that may have made a difference…
Maybe if you know some things about me, you may see why!