Archive for October, 2014

8. What a Week – Thrusday Full Circle

super mommies & super babies

Grandma’s sickness seemed to be escalating. Amor had to miss out on sleep again to take Mica to school. I was dead set against going back to the store. Sarah still can’t drive so I was hoping Joe could take her to buy snacks but he took off work because he was sick – well, he had a crink in his neck so severe that he couldn’t turn his head. So the house was full of people, no one in a position to drive.

I looked around for what we have to take to the mommy’s group. We had tons of Tuna and chick peas in the pantry. I didn’t think they’d appreciate that. We had a lot of pancake mix, but that would require too much prep time. After some intense searching, Sarah and I put together a mix of carrots & dressing, celery, and a package of cookies. Done.

I took a deep breath and reflected on the stressful week I’d had. I make it through. We were all weak but alive.  (Written for Oct 23, 2014)

Belle & BellaBelle & Brooks
I wish I could say this week has been easier, but Grandma got sicker, and depressed. This weekend both Hope and Mica got stomach bugs. Sarah, Joe and Asher when out of town. It’s the end of the month and our bank account is dangerously low. Because everyone’s sick or gone, the house has been a disaster. I’m off my bipolar meds, so I don’t feel very safe. My throat is sore and my head hurts. At least it doesn’t itch.

Mica and Rewards
I just keep looking up. I’m trusting God to pull us through and keep me stable and sane. I’m looking at the bright side of things. All this “Murphy’s Law” stuff can be quite amusing if you look at it from a certain angle. Right!?! I live with quite the cast of characters. But I love them deeply and appreciate and cherish all the great moments I do have with each of them.

Red twin smiles 1
Wonderful things about this week:
– Mica waiting for 10 minutes in a tiny section of our half bath after hearing me say I had to use the   restroom, then popping out and scaring the skeleton out of me.
– Bella discovering her foot and even getting it to her mouth.
– Brooks crying because he realized Bella was upset (empathy).
– Asher pooping all over Sarah, twice in a row, then peeing on her when she went to change his diaper.
– Joe catching me rapping with ear buds on when I thought I was alone.
– Being able to do one small thing to help Grandma when she was sick, after all the wonderful things she does to help me.
– All the double-talk quotes I got!

7. What a Week! Wednesday

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Grandma was still sick so she couldn’t take Mica to school. That meant Amor had to wake up in the middle of his “shift” to take her. He wouldn’t dare make up the sleep, however by missing his regularly scheduled soccer game. We all paid for that later. (The man gets grumpy if he’d denied the basic necessities of life: food, sleep, sex and soccer).

Bella had thrush that I thought had cleared up. But it was showing signs of coming back. I had to sanitize all the bottles and pacifiers and pump parts, again, no easy task. It felt like a repeat of sanitizing all Mica’s stuff from the lice incident, except with baby stuff. I had to put medication on my nipples, which actually made them sorer than I think they had been in the beginning.
Starla came over at about 1pm. I needed to go major grocery shopping. We have been very strapped for cash lately, and those quick meals that sneak up on us have been costly. Amor “runs” to the store quite frequently to buy a chicken or what-not and those visits not only add up financially, but take a lot of time, so I also feel like I’m left with the babies a lot. I figure by planning meals ahead of time and making one big trip, we can save time and money.

It’s been a while since I was the one doing the shopping, plus I went to a new store, so it took longer than I’d hoped. I also bought a cheap vacuum. We had installed carpet in the room before the babies were born and we don’t allow the pets to come in, but somehow, there is cat hair everywhere. When I got home, I asked Amor to put the food away so that he would know what I’d purchased and where it was. But he flat out refused but did offer to take the babies to Tia’s house while I did that. I pumped then spent the rest of the afternoon doing prep work for meals for the next few weeks. I tried out the new vacuum and it was terrible. One more thing to add to my “to-do” list – return to store. I got done around 6pm, just in time for babies and Mica to return. I nursed one baby at a time while simultaneously helping Mica get ready for bed. I popped my head in to check on mom. She asked me for a Diet Mt. Dew. I’d have to go to the store. I reluctantly sent Amor while I tried to keep my eyes open long enough to get my 3 kids to close theirs. An hour later, he returned with the soda, and all the other stuff he said I’d failed to get from the store earlier. So much for making a list and sticking to it.

Far too exhausted for a shower, I fell into bed, as I started to drift off I remembered: Sarah and I were supposed to take snacks for our mommy’s group on Friday. I had completely forgotten about that while at the store.

6. What a Week! The Last of Monday and Tuesday

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I had to pick up Mica from school early because they found nits still in her hair. Apparently Grandma didn’t get every single one out this weekend. But Amor was still in the shower and there was no one to watch the babies. I considered taking the babies with me, but just as I was putting Brooks in the car seat, Amor came out. I got Mica and went straight to the pharmacy where we ran into a classmate there for the same reason. “I don’t understand how he could have gotten them” exclaimed his mom. Um, me neither?

Back in the van ready to go home – it won’t crank. I saw a female security guard pass and flagged her down, asking for a jump. She called in for help, even though I had jumper cables, apparently, it’s their policy to use the battery box. I waited for what seemed like an eternity. I looked at Mica who kept scratching her head and I could feel my boobs swelling up. Now I actually wished I’d brought a baby or two, or at least a pump. I looked around and saw a guy just sitting in his car. Maybe he could help me. I asked him for a jump just as the second (elderly male) security officer arrived and told him not to worry about it. The man tried charging the van for about 30 minutes while I filled out liability paperwork. (Jeeze, who knew it was so complicated to jump a battery these days!) The van still wouldn’t start. I begged him to jump it from his car. No, no it’s against policy. The first security officer came back and I tried to explain my engorgement situation to her, in hopes that she’d jump it with her car. She was sympathetic and tried, but then she remembered there was a problem with the latch of her hood and she couldn’t get it up. Just then, Amor arrived. He had borrowed a truck, packed up the babies and come to pick us up. Yes…that’s my white (uh, Mexican) knight!
We got home pretty late. We called grandma in for support and they went to retrieve the van (and exchange one of the defective products they had sold me at the store!). Meanwhile, I tended to babies, tried to teach Mica how to essentially do algebra in Spanish (her homework gets pretty complicated sometimes), all while picking nits out of her hair with a flashlight in my mouth or tied to my head.

Really… Where are the reality show film crews? You can’t make this stuff up!

Tuesday Oct 21, 2014
So so very tired. There was some ambiguity about if Mica was going to school today. Her class was scheduled to go on a field trip. I pulled myself out of bed to see what the report would be. She didn’t want to get up, Amor was asleep, and Grandma didn’t feel like taking her (she felt a cold coming on). Ok, so I let her sleep in. It was kind of peaceful from 6:30am to 7. The babies breastfed back-to-back and I got to cuddle each on the bed. Tia showed up. Very unusual, since she’s a night owl and rarely up before 1pm. Bella was cuddle-able but Tia waited for me to finish nursing Brooks (yeah, she plays favorites). Before I got a chance to talk to her the phone rang. It was Mica’s teacher who noticed she wasn’t at school and encouraged me to bring her in just for the field trip. I was on the phone with her when Tia brought a now fussy Brooks back in just as Bella started stirring. I went and got Mica up and fixed Amor some coffee so he could take her to school.
When he returned he told me he had to leave to take the van to get inspected. Déjà vu. Didn’t he spend all day Thursday doing that. He gave me a long story about how it had to be running for a certain amount of time and he’d accidentally turned it off because he didn’t know that and the mechanic was the only one there and etc. It was getting late and I had an appointment later that day so I told him it would just have to wait. I needed his help. I showered!
After my appointment, I came straight home in vain hopes of getting a nap before Mica got home from school. Of course that didn’t happen. We had a church group coming and Grandma was very sick.

I could barely keep my eyes open. I had been feeling a strange sensation for a few weeks. In each moment, I was alert, but looking back, even on a few hours, everything was hazy. Amor would ask, “What have you been doing?” Ummm, I don’t know… surviving?

I came to the realization, that despite all this stress, and that I was handling it well for my condition, I just can’t continue to be this groggy. I feel like the Seroquel helps with my Bipolar disorder but I simply can’t deal with the loss of energy exchange.

Note: please forgive the “free” writing style I’ve been using throughout this series. Just trying to type down this experience and these feelings before they disappear into the past and dissolve into obscurity forever.

5. What a Week! More Monday

Woah mama

… It was 11:15 before I got a chance to take my brake. I knew I’d be pushing it, but I really wanted to lighten my hair and take a bath. It was 11:55 when I was walking out but Amor met me before I even made it to the room with a baby, it was time for him to leave for soccer and apparently, Starla had already said goodbye (although she hadn’t left yet). I realized I’d been too busy to fix Bella’s bottles that morning and he told me he fed her one while I was in the shower. I freaked out because I thought he’d fixed it wrong. Panic started to boil up in me and I let him have it. I pointed at the clock as I finished putting on my shirt, “Look, it is exactly 12pm and I’m back on duty” etc. I felt rage, so I went to the bathroom and started deep breathing exercises. I fought off thoughts too excruciating to type – “That’s a lie from the Devil. That’s not true” I told myself. The bible says…

“Anger is a secondary emotion,” trying to calm down “what’s really going on here?”

Deep breath. Ok. I’m angry, not at Amor, I’m angry at myself. I didn’t have the bottles set up. I took a break. I feel guilty. That’s it. Guilt. That’s completely irrational. I’m being irrational. I apologized to Amor and he left for soccer. Sarah and Joe were walking out the door too, to head to an appointment. Both babies were screaming. Brooks because he was hungry, Bella because she’d just eaten and needed to be held upright. I rocked them both and tried to feed Brooks but he kept coming unlatched. I also seemed to catch the first sense of jealousy in Bella’s eyes as I tried to feed her brother and just rock her. It didn’t work out.

Eventually, of course, it all passed. Amor came home and hopped in the shower. Bella had finally fallen asleep. Brooks had finally been fed. It was 2:10 when the phone rang. It was Mica’s school. I had to go pick her up. They’ve discovered nits in her hair. To be continued…

4. What a Week – Sunday (and part of Monday)

Love You Mica and Twins

Sunday – “Slept in” until about 5 or 6 am. Busy with the babies in the morning. Couldn’t even make it to church. Joel Osteen was just an advertisement that week. Oh well. Back to work on the clothes and disaster that is Mica’s room. Finally got her clothes organized, put in drawers, and dresses hung up in the closet. Starla came over to clean a bit, and Jeff to mow. Amor and I were exhausted but felt we needed to escape for just a bit. I asked Starla finish making the beds. I was so relieved she could help finish up. Amor and I took the twins to the thrift store so he could find some clothes. Bella and I explored the whole store. There was nothing there for us. We ended up in the little back room with the books and I read a baby sign language book to her. It was sweet. On the way home, we ordered Wendy’s for me, Little Ceasars for Amor, and Sheets gas on the way home. We arrived exhausted some more. I fell into bed just in time to hear foot steps into the house. My baby girl was home! Her hair was cut short. I told her she looked like a movie star. We chatted a bit, but not much, I was falling asleep.

Monday Oct 20, 2014
At 3am, I saw Mica’s book bag that I had washed and sanitized all neatly hung up in its rightful place, set out and ready to go, so I thought she had done her “list” to prepare for the next morning. I was wrong. But I didn’t find that out until I had let her sleep in. I actually went and cuddled her for about 30 minutes instead of making her get up and get ready. So it turned out to be a hectic morning getting ready for school. Both babies woke up during this time and I had to feed and pump while she dawdled. The last item on her morning list is “brush and style hair.” We didn’t get to that before time to leave. Looking back on it, I remember seeing her scratch her head. Starla came at about 10 and told me to take some time for myself. She could stay until 12. Amor had to leave at 12 also, to play soccer, which he refers to as “going to therapy.” He goes 3 times a week, for 2 hour each day. He must shower before and after going. I really just wanted a shower during my free time, but Amor and I had a meeting at 10:30 with a parenting counselor. If he’s going to be a hands-on dad, he needs to be educated but he hates reading with a passion. He has ADD big time and although he is incredibly intelligent, it’s because he is highly gifted, not formally educated. Anyway, the counselor gave us part two of a parenting survey and it took 1 hour and 15 minutes for me to read and make him answer a 20 multiple choice questionnaire. I was aggravated, but knowing that this is just not his “thing” and plus he was a bit sleep deprived, so I took deep breaths and remained calm…

3, What A Week! Last Saturday

9 years

Up at 3 am, pumping, going to take over for my shift, get the news that Mica has a terrible case of lice. I see major clean-up in my immediate future. Must strip beds, wash laundry, put away stuffed animals, the works. Must be done by the time Mica arrives home Sunday night to prevent re-infestation. Her book bag was filthy so I washed it, but very carefully because it has flashing lights in the lining. The washing machine and dryer ran all day, as did I.

At one point, Sarah, Joe, and Asher left and Amor pointed out that we were alone in the house. He asked me to put on some see through lingerie that would fit me (I had sorted some old clothes earlier in the week but hadn’t gotten around to going through that part of the closet yet). I come out in a see-through slip with bright pink silky panties and continue the chores. “Ooh, yeah… but what about…” So we went through this and that to find a very ridiculous black netted body suit and thongs. I texted Sars not to come home without calling first. After working for a few hours in the get-up to eliminate the possibility of lice in our home and doing load after load of laundry and stopping from time to time to pump / feed a baby or two, they finally went to sleep and we got our chance to have a short bit of intimate time. Afterwards, as I was putting back on my black and pink skirt I’d been wearing before we started the charade, he says, “You know what, I think you look even sexier in that.” Am I on Candid Camera?

I kept working but it became evident that it just wasn’t going to all get cleaned and sanitized that day.

Written for Oct 18, 2014

2. What a Week – Last Friday

hi cuties 1

Woke up at 12am with Amor scolding me for not having gotten up earlier when he woke me to pump. I guess I’d slept through that. I slept until 3 and pumped again, took over with the babies, cuddled them one by one, couldn’t stay awake though, despite coffee and Adderall. I figured that since we weren’t having the yard sale anyway, I’d stop pushing so hard to sort junk, give myself a break. I did need to pack Mica’s stuff for the beach, but she and Amor were asleep in her room. I’ve been so tired lately, I started thinking, “Am I just not manic anymore, or is this a side-effect of the Seroquel?”  It does make me very drowsy.  I’ve also had a lot of back pain since falling while rushing to see the “blood moon” with Mica while still kind of out-of-it that morning.

Sarah and I went to our mommies’ group at 10. Asher was hungry by the time it was over and it usually takes Sarah a while to breastfeed him, so I lugged the babies downstairs. But, to my surprise, by the time we got down, he was ready to go, so I re-lugged them back upstairs and packed up the car. We arrived home at the time Amor would usually be leaving. But Amor had planned to skip soccer to help sort for the yard sale and I assumed he would be okay sticking to that because packing (for Mica’s weekend trip) is a big chore and they planned to leave at 3pm. When he plays, he returns at 2:15 and then has to take a shower. He was not happy to skip. Starla was here offering to help. We were out of milk and had WIC vouchers. The babies’ laundry had piled up. Mica arrived at about 1pm and helped me pack. I calmly explained to Amor that Starla could help with the babies, if he’d just get the Wic stuff, that would be such a big help. He told me I could do that after I packed and got Mica off. I told him that puts more stress on me and we have help right now, we won’t later! He went. After everyone left (Sars and Joe included), it was just Amor and I and the babies in the house. He was pouty. So I offered to spend some quality time with him and let him choose a Netflix show to watch. I fell asleep nursing Brooksies during the third rerun episode of “My name is Earl.”

1.What a Week! – Last Thursday

Family Picture

Felt like I slept too long but did have some time while both babies, Mica, and Amor slept to finally go through another desk drawer from the dining room. I had started going through kitchen stuff for the yard sale (set for Saturday) but grandma wanted to keep this and that for sentimental value and I got discouraged, no knowing whose was what, so I quit. By the time Mica got off to school and it was finally time for Amor to get up, the babies were up and I was exhausted again. Yeah, my Knight had arrived. But of course, he had something so pressing that couldn’t wait. The van needed an inspection (Tuesday it was a 3 hour oil change). Ahhh! I looked up the location he insisted it had to be taken to on Google maps world view to find out the name of the place to make sure he called ahead of time to be sure they could inspect it right away and he wouldn’t be gone what felt like all day again. He left around 11 and came back at 4, well after Mica had arrived home and told me she planned to go to the beach with Grandma, Hope and Tia and that Grandma was going to pick her up early on Friday. When Amor returned, he postponed the yard sale until next weekend, again, (we’ve never had a weekend where Tia and/or Grandma lend a helping hand with the babies) and he “took over.” I fell asleep. I really wanted to shower but didn’t have the strength. By the time I woke up it was nearly my bedtime again and I was very frustrated because I wanted to spend some time with Mica but hadn’t had a chance. Now, if I took her aside, I would make her late getting to bed. Plus, I still hadn’t showered. I forced myself to get up and shower at least before going to bed for the night. I came out crying and Amor asked what was wrong. I told him I felt like I missed Mica and I got ready for bed as quickly as possible and did get a chance to read her a little golden book I’d found for her the previous Sunday for 75% off at the thrift store. But I felt my night meds kicking in so it was bittersweet. – written Oct 16, 2014

Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

SuperMommy

As a breastfeeding mom of twins who has experienced low milk supply and then regained it, I have put this page together as a referral for all those breastfeeding mommies in need of support. This page includes detailed information that is designed to help you be successful.

1. Breastfeed as frequently as possible:

Instructions: Let the baby stimulate your nipple even if he isn’t hungry. Do this for a few days. If your nipples are sore, try using a nipple shield and/or alternate Lanolin and cooling gels. While awake, use nipple shells.

2. Pump often:

Instructions: Get a quality pump: Quality pumps are expensive. I don’t recommend that you go out and buy the cheapest pump you find. It may not work well, or be too uncomfortable to use. This is something that is worth investing in, if you must buy out-of-pocket (the cost of formula far outweighs the cost of a good pump). There are many other ways to obtain a quality pump. If you are insured, check with your insurance company to see if they will supply you one for free. These companies know that children who are breastfed are generally healthier than those who are not and therefore have a vested interest in preventative care. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover it, you can look into renting one from the hospital. If you are uninsured and qualify, check with your local WIC agency. They may be able to help you get one for free.

Timing: Many women make the mistake of pumping too close to a feeding. If you pump too soon after your baby feeds, it can lead to discouragement when nothing or very little comes out. Waiting to pump too long can interfere with your baby’s next feeding. Here’s a pumping tip: wait 45 minutes after the baby eats. Then pump away!

How to do it: If you can, use an electric pump and pump both breasts simultaneously. Use a hands free pumping bra to hold the pump shields in place. Let the pump keep going even after it seems you have expressed all the milk. You may find that if you wait a few minutes, you can get another “let down” response.

Think about it: Breastfeeding is a very psychosomatic experience. If you are with your baby while pumping, look at your baby. Think about how much you love him or her. If you are not with your baby, look at a picture or video of your baby (use your smart phone if you have one). Listen to a recording of your baby crying, just long enough to get the “let down” response. Just thinking about your baby can help. Imagine he’s crying because he’s hungry. This stimulates your brain into sending the message to your breasts to make milk.

Why pumping works: Another mistake many mothers make is thinking they have to “save” the milk they have in their breast until the baby is ready to eat. Your brain is in control of all your bodily functions and it takes cues from what other body parts are telling it. For example, if you touch something hot, like a stove, your fingers send the signal to your brain that it is in pain. Your brain then sends the command back to the hand to move! Every time milk leaves your breasts, they send a signal to your brain that says, “This baby is eating a lot, I need to make more milk!” Your brain, in turn tells your body to make more. When milk is not expelled by way of pumping or eating, your breasts tell your brain, “Hey, I’m making plenty, so there’s no need to make more.” So your brain doesn’t send the command to make more. By feeding more or pumping, you are essentially “tricking” your brain into thinking that it needs to ‘pump’ up production.

If you go back to work: It is extremely important to pump each time your baby would eat. So even if you’re working part time, tell your employer that you need a short break to pump. (With a hands free bra, you can also eat at the same time). If you are working full time, you need several breaks. If that’s a problem, ask if you can go in a little earlier, stay a bit later or break up your lunch hour.

3. Drink tons of water

Instructions: Forget the 16 – 20 oz bottles, you need much more. Get a pitcher or gallon sized container and drink directly from that. Every time you pee, chug more. Every time you breast feed or pump, chug more. Chug, chug, chug all day long. Keep water by your bed and drink it whenever you wake up at night as well. Staying well hydrated helps your body make milk.

4. Take herbs

Instructions: There are herbs called galactogogues that help boost supply such as fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, and fennel. To get started right away, try your local health food store for these and other “lactation” supplements like teas and cookies. You can also order them online and are often less expensive and easier to find that way.

5. Eat foods that are known to help boost breast milk supply

Instructions: Carrots, oatmeal, nuts and seeds (especially sesame) have been used for centuries to increase breast milk supply. Garlic and ginger are said to help as well. I love to add Chia and ground flax seeds to my oatmeal as well.  As mentioned earlier, you can purchase prepared cookies but you could also make your own cookies or brownies. Use the secret ingredients to make them “lactation cookies” or “lactation brownies”. The secret ingredients that the manufacturers use in order to label them “lactation” are: flax seed, oats, and brewer’s yeast.

6. Make sure you are eating enough

Instructions: Sure, you are eager to lose that baby weight. But your body still needs energy from food. Eat quality calories and foods that are high in healthy fats such as Omega 3s. When you are breastfeeding, you are literally being drained of energy. If you don’t refuel, it will affect the quantity and quality of your breast milk.

7. Sleep

Instructions: This is often the one that mothers have the most problems doing. “Sleep when your baby sleeps” isn’t always possible. But try to get someone to help you do housework and other jobs that must get done. Also prioritize. What’s more important? Doing the dishes or for you to sleep? Sleeping will help you stay well physically and mentally and help you make more milk.

Why sleeping works: Ever notice that your breast milk supply seems to be at its peak in the morning? That’s because sleep helps restore the body and help it heal and function properly. Your brain doesn’t have as much external stimuli to process and can focus on internal tasks. Even when you can’t sleep, try to find ways to relax your mind. Even breathing exercises can help you make more milk.

8. If you have a medical problem that is causing your supply to be low, ask your health care provider if a prescription galactogouge is right for you.

Caution: Prescription drugs for increasing breast milk production should only be used in certain circumstances. They are not likely to be prescribed simply for the purposes of increasing production, rather, they would be prescribed in the event that you have a particular medical reason you are not producing milk. All other options should be engaged before resorting to this one and caution must be used, as these drugs can have serious side effects and may be contraindicated with other drugs or herbs you are using.

Examples: One of the most popular galactogouges that is approved for use in the United States is Reglan (caution to women who are prone to depression – this medication is known to be associated with causing or exacerbating depression). Some other drugs have the side effect of increasing lactation, for example, some atypical antipsychotic drugs have been reported to do just that.

Breast is best but…
Formula is not evil. It has gotten a bad rap but it has been a lifesaver to some babies (and probably mothers as well). In some situations supplementing or formula feeding is warranted. For example, a baby may be underweight and need some extra calories. In rare cases, a baby can have an allergic reaction to his own mother’s milk. Sometimes it’s just a personal choice. Whatever the reason, try not to feel guilty. You have not failed your baby. As long as you love your baby, and do the best you can for him or her, you are succeeding. And if you are a mother who is or has done well in the art of breastfeeding, please do not judge formula feeding mothers. Just because you did it doesn’t mean that’s the best choice for them.

Recommendations:
I am not affiliated with any products or vendors, nor do I receive any kind of incentive to advocate a product, it is simply what I recommend based on experience, cost and value.

Great Pump: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Medela-Pump-in-Style-Advanced-Breast-Pump-Backpack/15388874
Great Hands free Pumping Bra: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=23487406&cp=&parentPage=search (Alternative: cut very small slits in an old spandex bra, preferably one that opens from the front)
Great health food site (free 3 day shipping on $20 orders): http://www.iherb.com

Falling Apart (Again)

Three Earthquakers

I felt like I was getting so much better.
I was getting it together.
Getting organized.
Keeping up with my “to-do” list.

I had a full blown panic attack this morning.

Meltdown, tears, inability to breathe.
So much piling up on me.
Drowning.

Double Talk Quote: “What can I do to help you?” – Amor “…Nothing”
Verse: Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Words that has Lost their meanings: calm down
Relatable Lyrics: “Over My Head” by The Fray https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWRISdwHuwY

Written October 11, 2014 (3 months old)

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