Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Open Letter To Friends With Babies

Dear Mommy Friends,

My daughter is approaching 5 months and to the shock and confusion of many of you my sweet daughter has never left my sight for more than 30 minutes while awake, she has never had a bottle, and has slept in my bed from the day I brought her home. My kind hearted friends, you try to tell me that I should teach Kaylee to drink from bottles so my husband can do some feedings. "You need alone time," "You could sleep while your husband does a feeding", "You could have your mom watch her for a few hours," some of you say. Many of you don't understand why I choose to bedshare. "Isn't it harder to sleep?" "Doesn't she wake more often?" Don't you want her to sleep through the night?" Many of you ask. You don't understand my lack of need for alone time, you don't understand why I feel no need to rush my daughter into being independent.

This is what you don't know my dear friends. When you spend your life believing that your biggest dream is completely and utterly unattainable and somehow magically that dream comes true, you never ever want to let it go. You spend every morning in awe that you achieved the impossible and you don't want to miss one second of living out your dreams.  I know many of you have wanted children your whole life and some of you struggled to conceive so you may have some idea why I feel the way I do. And yet it is so much more complicated than that. I know I was able to achieve my lifelong dream and I wake up everyday beyond grateful to have my daughter, but unlike you my friends, who still feel as if death is so far from reality that it never crosses your mind. I know that I stand much closer to my own demise than I would like.

I know I will likely leave my precious daughter much before either of us is ready. I know there is a chance I will miss her high school graduation, college graduation, her wedding day, her children. I want to spend as much time with her as I can while I am still healthy and very much alive. I want to ensure that my love is ingrained in her soul so that even though she will not remember these days she will remember the way I made her feel. I don't want my husband to give her a bottle even during the wee hours of the morning. I would rather her lay in my arms, feeling the softness of my skin against her skin, breathing the soft scent of my milk, my sleepiness. I want her to feel my hands stroking her hair and I want her drift to sleep to the sound of my heart. She will not remember nursing, but I hope when I pass she will still feel the warmth, love, and nourishment my body provided her. I don't want to go out shopping for the day while she stays with someone else. I want to laugh with her as she plays with her toys and makes her silly faces. I hope when I am gone she will remember the melody that the two of us made when we laughed together. I don't want to transition her to her crib, I would rather sleep with her in my bed,wrapped in my arms, dreaming side by side. I hope when she is older and I am gone she will feel the comfort my arms once provided her as she drifts off to sleep all the way until the sun comes up in the morning.

So dear friends, I know you have my best interest in my mind. I know you are looking out for me and want me to be happy. But you must understand that my daughter makes me happy and I know in my heart that what I am doing is what will bring me the most joy and peace in my life. I do not judge your shopping days away from baby, your alone time, date nights or that you are working hard to make sure baby doesn't disturb your sleep in the night, but our realities are so drastically different. And I appreciate your suggestions, but I don't feel like I am missing out on anything I will regret when my lungs give out and my body can no longer hold the little girl I spent my whole life waiting for.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You Just Can't Understand

Around the time I joined the mommy club many of my friends were joining too. We are all entering this new uncharted territory together and it is amazing to have old friends starting their journey as moms at the same time. Soon after I announced my pregnancy a few close friends that live by announced theirs as well. I was elated; how exciting to take walks together, to exchange our favorite brand of breast pads, to empathize with sleepless nights, to watch our babies interact, and experience one of life's greatest joys together. And yet...

It has become so apparent that my life is so vastly different than these dear friend's lives. When we were single we seemed very similar and even with the changes of marriage and pregnancy we seemed so much the same. We had similar careers and hobbies. You would think experiencing motherhood together would make it seem as if we could completely relate to one another and yet, we can't. 

It became apparent when I went to visit a dear friend and her 2 week old son. Kaylee was 3.5 months old and I was the veteran mom of the two of us. I went to help my new mom friend as we all know the weeks after a new baby are a fuzzy blur of awe, sleeplessness, confusion, and intense love. I said I would be there around 11:30. I spent the entire morning rushing around trying to get to her house on time. Between bathing the baby, myself, an hour of treatments that were interrupted by a much needed nap, trying to eat breakfast and later a snack, I made it to her house just a few minutes late. 

When I arrived she opened the door showered and with make-up on. Her house was completely spotless and she looked well rested. I was a little taken aback because when I had a two week old I remember being tired, the house being a mess, and showers were no longer the daily norm. "How are you doing?" I asked. She responded that she was doing great and that they had spent the morning in bed. In fact, she had just gotten up about 30 minutes prior to our arrival. There was a buzz from down the hall and she ran to get a load of laundry. I am pretty sure my jaw  and heart dropped at this point.

I felt like a failure. It had taken me all morning to get out of the house. My home was cluttered and I had a pile of laundry that needed to be done days ago. I should have my act together, I should be the one helping a poor new mom adjust to the demands of a new baby and yet I felt as if I might need her to come and help me out! Oh, my self esteem went down a few notches that day. And yet...

As I thought more about the stark contrast between the two of us later that evening I came to a few realizations. As a person with CF I will never be able to compare myself to nonCFer. And just as I will never measure up to someone that didn't have CF, someone without CF will never understand what it is like to be a CF mom. Here are some of the many reasons I should never compare myself to a non-CF mom:

  • I will never be able to get up 30 minutes before someone's arrival because I have at least an hour of treatments to get done not to mention shower, dress, eat, and get the baby ready. So when someone shows up I may not look very rested because I have been up for hours getting ready for the day.
  • I spend 2.5 hours a day hooked up to machines and coughing. Other women can spend this time cleaning, baking, or making themselves look pretty. Unless I want to ignore my child all day I will never have as much time to tidy up the house or myself as my nonCF counterparts.
  • I may be a little extra tired because my body is already working harder just to breath so that lack of sleep and those night wakings are even harder on my body than that of a healthy mom.
  • I need to eat and I need to eat a lot! Being a breastfeeding CFer means I need a lot of calories and so it may be okay for a nonCF mom to skip a meal here and there it just can't happen when you have CF.
  • My life will never be like theirs. Like, motherhood my health is a full time job and I never get a day off or a vacation.
I need to change my attitude and look at how well I am doing as a CF mother. I need to remember that I am not the normal stay at home mom, but one that has a chronic condition that requires lots of time and energy. I need to be proud of myself and all I have been able to do despite CF. And yet, it is so hard on days like today, when I am still catching up on laundry, have yet to get dinner started, and need to run the dishwasher so I can load it with the dishes in the sink, to get a phone call from my fellow stay at home mom (of a 1 month old) saying she has been baking all day and wanted to drop off some baked goods. Sigh!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Need Your Help

So I think the time has finally arrived that I need to call in backup. I hate to admit, after 13 months free of oral antibiotics and almost 3 (3!!!!!!) years free of IV antibiotics, that I am feeling my lungs slip into that place we all know too well. I feel tight (wheeze!) and am coughing at night (ugh!) and seem to taste my sputum (yuck!). I really want to treat this as soon as possible because I don't want to get to the place that I feel really bad and have trouble caring for my daughter. I still feel well enough that I don't need to nap and can get through the day, but I can tell that the rate I am going that I will be in trouble soon.

Normally I would call in an order for orals, but my doc made it pretty clear that when breastfeeding there were very few safe oral options and I would most likely need a PICC. Not so excited about getting a PICC since I am allergic to chloroprep, and pretty much every adhesive they have ever tried to use. That skin protective stuff, yeah, doesn't work for me. I end up with oozing yucky blisters that take months to completely heal. I am also not looking forward to having a long blue rope hanging out of my arm and dangling in arms reach of my daughter, who thinks everything is food! So here is where I need your help!

  1. I am calling the doc tomorrow and want to know if any of you have taken orals while nursing for pseudo or staph. I am not allergic or resistant to anything and those are my only bugs. I am not willing to stop nursing so if there aren't any safe ones I will go for the PICC.
  2. If you have had a reaction to PICC lines (which I know from my last post about it many of you do) what have you done about it. I know I am highly allergic to chloroprep and have yet to find an adhesive I am not allergic to. Any suggestions or things that worked for you?
Thanks :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A New Low

Motherhood is not glamorous by any means, but today I hit an all time low. I was lifting Kaylee over my head making her smile her sweet gummy smiles when all of the sudden a flood of spit up came flowing right from my dear baby's mouth and directly into my mouth! Breast milk is surprisingly sweet, but I have confirmed today that regurgitated breast milk  really isn't my drink of choice....

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Little Behind

Lots of my blogger friends have been blogging about Autumn. The crisp cool air, leaves changing colors and falling from trees, of warm drinks, and snuggly sweaters. While the rest of the country is welcoming fall we are stuck in limbo. This happens every year, the rest of the country starts to see the bright oranges, fiery reds, glowing yellows while we are just seeing the first glimpses of a potential fall. As the rest of the world gets blanketed in cold winds and winter weather we finally find ourselves in fall. I guess we have trouble letting go of the warmth and sunshine over here.

Our fruit basket is full of all my favorite fall fruits from my parent's backyard, the pumpkins are lined up out front, apple cider is in the fridge, and pumpkin muffins in the over. And yet, there is a watermelon chilling in our fridge, people still in shorts (although some have switched to jeans a tank tops), walks are taken in the evening when the temperature drops and the leaves have just barely, ever so slightly, started changing colors. 

So for now we wait by eating our last few meals outside, rocking on our porch glider in the evening to the sound of crickets, and leaving the windows open to let in fresh air before we close down for winter. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Little Busy

So I have about seven blog posts started that are waiting to be published. I am having trouble finishing them because I have been spending my time listening to baby giggles, snuggling on the cough, kissing little toes, bathing a little splasher, doing loads of laundry, cleaning spit up off the floor, taking hundreds of pictures and just as many videos, wiping drool off my arms, pulling my hair out of little fists, acting as a human chew toy and watching my little girl grow and learn. Best. Job. Ever.

Friday, October 12, 2012

4 Months Old!!!!!!

Dear Little Peanut,
You are four months old today! I have to say in the last month you have become so much fun I can't stand it! My soft spoken sweet little girl is learning she has vocal cords and loves to play with volume when you talk. You love to talk, but are still selective in who you will talk to. Strangers will get a smile, but you never grace them with your chit chat. You roll both ways, but you get kinda mad when you roll on your back because you really dislike laying on your back staring at the ceiling. You grab just about everything and try to eat it.

Things You Love: All the things you adored in the past are now boring and old! You sometimes will glance at your pom poms, but during diaper changes you are usually too busy sucking on your toes. You may glance at your mobile, but you are usually too busy rolling over or pulling off your socks to notice it much. And fanny, well Fanny doesn't even exist in your world anymore. You love looking at the leaves on trees, watching me from your high chair in the kitchen, and watching us brush our teeth! Oh and the carseat you used to hate so much now doesn't bother you at all. Instead you play with your toys or talk to yourself and it is hard to believe, but sometimes you even fall asleep!

Things You Dislike: Oh and the carseat you used to hate so much now doesn't bother you nearly as much anymore. Instead you play with your toys or talk to yourself and it is hard to believe, but sometimes just sometimes you even fall asleep!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Day I Became A Mother

October 8th was a day that will be etched into my heart forever. This is a journal entry from one year ago today. 

There are certain moments that take our world, our lives, our very existence and rearrange them so drastically that our current selves, our current lives will never resemble our former selves again. These changes affect everything we think, we do, we believe. For me on the morning of October 8, 2011 two small occurrences altered my whole entire existence and I know for sure my life will never be the same.
I woke up at 8:30 feeling refreshed even after falling into bed at 1:00 am the night before. I didn't feel groggy or tired or have any desire to stay in bed for even a moment longer for the first time since I could remember. 

No, today was different, I had a mission. I needed the truth and I needed it as soon as possible even if it left me empty and hollow when I was through. The risk of the mission came from the fact that it could end so beautifully and yet it never did, leaving me cold and broken on the floor among dying dreams and fruitless wishes. I pulled my body out of the bed walking across the floor painted with sun beams from the early morning. The air was crisp and the carpet was cold against my rested feet. I woke up with a full bladder. It was the first time in a week that my bladder didn’t pull me out of bed at hours that only the moon is supposed to see. I pushed open the bathroom door and it was there in the tiny apartment bathroom, among the leaking ceiling, the cracks in the walls, and the sink that never drained right my life was forever changed. 

Two bright and happy pink lines appeared in the pregnancy test window filling my heart with a joy I have never known before. The welling of excitement bubbled from my chest to throat to my mouth. “Oh my god!” slipped from my lips first in disbelief, almost a question. It escaped again and again until it came out in a happy rush because I finally believed it to be true, “Oh my god!”  

In an instant I clutched my now occupied womb to speak to the child I have been wanting since as long as I could remember. Thoughts ran through my head so quickly it made me dizzy.  My husband  at work was oblivious to the life altering news I had just discovered which left me with this secret between me and my baby. The two of us shared our first secret, out first moment that nobody else could share. I felt an instant bond to my baby that only I knew existed.

The thoughts and questions come so quickly it makes me dizzy. I wonder if my baby will be a boy or a girl. Will my baby have my husband’s dark hair or my light hair? Will I be healthy throughout pregnancy? I think of CF and all I need to do to prepare for this child by taking care of my lungs. I think of the books I need to buy. I think of the things I promised myself I would do. I need to buy more fruit and I need to make sure I am eating for my baby and not for myself anymore. I feel mother’s guilt for the first time in that I told myself I would not drink caffeine and yet I did. I feel excited that I can feel mothers guilt because I am a mother!!

I touch my breasts knowing that they instinctively are preparing for the baby as women’s breasts have done throughout the existence of human kind. They knew before I did, preparing to nurture this child of mine before his or her existence was in my realm of knowing.  I think for once how beautiful and amazing my body is, to create a life without my knowing.  Despite the fact that my body can’t clear out my excess mucus or properly digest the food I consume this broken body can create a life and be a safe home for a new soul. I am powerful and strong. I am a mother!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Understanding Cloth Diapers Part 3

To read Understanding Cloth Diapers Part 1 go here and for part 2 go here!

If I were to ask 30 women for their favorite brand of jeans chances are everyone would give me a different answer. Your favorite brand may very well be the least flattering brand of jean I have ever tried on. Just as women are shaped very differently so are babies which is why different moms love different cloth diapers. With that being said I am still going to tell you what works for me and why I use the brands I do!

But first, I will say that the cloth diapering world has hundreds of options and when I first started I was a little overwhelmed. Over the past few months I have made decisions that I would not make again, but I was just trying to navigate through all the choices. So here are the things I wish I new before I started choosing diapers.
  1. Variety? Unlike what many cloth bloggers will make you believe you can find a brand, love it, and stick with it. When I was looking up blogs to learn about them so many bloggers had dozens of different types of diapers. I found a brand I liked, but felt like I may be depriving myself of an even better brand. So I bought a few and still preferred my original favorite and shouldn't have wasted time or money on trying to see what was out there.
  2. China vs Anywhere else: I am weird about buying things from China that my baby will have lots of exposure to. For example, teething toys which will be in her mouth nonstop or diapers that she will be wearing over and over for the next few years. I do know moms that actually get diapers shipped from China because they are SUPER cheap ( and love them, it just didn't feel right for my family.

My Favorite Diaper:

So my favorite daytime diaper (drum roll please!) is the Flip. I LOVE LOVE this diaper. To me it is perfection (and  no I am not getting paid to say this, but sooo wish I was!) Here is why I LOVE the flip:
  1. Cleaner: When you change a dirty pre-solids diaper (0-6months) and all wet diapers you can simply flip the dirty insert out of the diaper into the diaper pail. Easy and keeps your hands clean!
  2. Less laundry: Unlike pockets you can reuse the cover so you have to put in the insert in the wet bag/diaper pail every diaper change, but the cover (unless soiled) is not going to be added to the dirty laundry bag every change.
  3. Cheaper: These diapers will fit from 10lbs all the way to potty training!
  4. Faster: There is no stuffing. I simply fold the organic cotton and lay the microfiber in her drawer. Easy!
  5. Leak Proof: I have never ever had a leak!!! And my baby is great at blowing through any disposable diaper out there.
  6. Versatile: You can use Flip brand inserts or any brand prefold so you have more flexibility.
  7. Cute: I love their colors and although some cloth have adorable patterns I like coordinating her diaper and her outfit so solids work better anyway.
The Flip can be used with either the organic cotton, microfiber, or a prefold of a different brand. Below I show you the two Flip brand options:

 The microfiber wicks water away from your baby leaving them drier, but is not a natural fiber.Here is how to use microfiber:

1. Here you have a Flip cover and the microfiber insert.

2. It is hard to see in the pic, but the inside of the insert tells you where to fold the insert for a small, medium, or large setting.
Fold and lay in cover. For a boy the folded part goes in front and for a girl it goes in the back. You are done!  Smooth side should be against baby's bottom.  When this gets soiled, flip the insert into the wet bag/pail.

The second option is Organic Cotton. This is better if you want natural fibers on your baby's bottom. It does not wick moisture away as well as microfiber, but is very absorbent. You want to change baby a little sooner if this is the insert you use.
Here is the unfolded organic cotton insert.

Fold into thirds along the seams.
Lay in cover and you are done!!

What is the difference between the two inserts?

Organic cotton on the right. Microfiber on the left.

The organic cotton seem to stain easier, but since I live in a climate that is sunny most of the year I don't mind since laying them in the sun for a few hours removes even the worst stains. Also, I hang dry in the sun anyway so all my diapers get sun "bleached" every wash anyway. If you live in a climate that isn't too sunny you may want to pass up the organic cotton. (side note: the cotton is MUCH softer if it is dried in the dryer so I usually hang dry and then throw it in the dryer with some of my other clothes for a few minutes to fluff it up. Microfiber is super soft even when sun dried).

Also the organic cotton is a little bulkier so some people don't like the extra bulk. 

The top is microfiber and the bottom is organic cotton.

Things to Note

  • Microfiber is a man made fiber while organic cotton is  a natural fiber. I like using natural fibers, but also like that microfiber keeps her drier so I like to rotate the two inserts.
  • Newborn poop is very liquidy and I felt like the organic cotton protected the cover better than microfiber so I liked it for the beginning when she went multiple times a day. It saved me from going through so many covers. Which leads me to my next point. Yes, the idea is that you can reuse the cover unless it gets soiled and I have heard complaints that newborn poop gets on the cover often. Some people feel this makes the diaper less than ideal for babies before they start solids. It is not a big deal to me if I have to replace the cover a few times a day. And now that she is older I can usually get through the day with 1 or 2 covers. Just know that with newborn poop you may need to change the cover when they have a big poop.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Farewell September

I am sad to see September go. It is one of my favorite months. It was the month 2 years ago that I married my husband, the next year it was the month I conceived (although we didn't know it yet) and it is when the weather (usually) starts cooling down. It is also the time I start getting prematurely excited for the holidays.

I always said I love babies when they turn 3 months, but as I have gotten further away from babysitting I started to forget why. This September reminded me why! I loved every stage of babyhood so far, but 3 month is when Kaylee started hitting really fun milestones. In the month of September she learned to:
Play with her feet
Grab toys
Pull her toy strings to make music play
Talk nonstop!
Spit and blow raspberries
ROLL over!!
and developed such a fun personality! I have a feeling the fun has just begun!