Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From Loaves and Fishes

.. is it actually "fishes?" I googled it and couldn't figure it out. The census is split.

The last few days have been a roller coaster, and my baby is mirroring me and that SUCKS! He isn't sleeping, his teething is ridiculous and clearly painful (8 months and 5 teeth already!) I was ready to give him away last night at 2am. Of course I am kidding, but I miss the days of him sleeping 7 to 11 hours a night! One day he will be grown up and I will miss him needing me... but I'll cross that bridge then. For now, I should be asleep, but I wanted to update you on my newest Blessing.

Lately I have been panicky over my milk supply and stockpile.... and stress leads to a lesser production. For me, that means only around 30 extra ounces a day after nursing Atlas. I know I know... that is a ton... but for someone who was casually pumping almost 40 ounces a day or 48 when I was really working on it... it's a big difference. I do think that part of it is Atlas becoming even more efficient and he has been nursing a whole lot more. We are the "on demand" type of nursers and it seems like he is attached to me non stop lately. Maybe he knows.

I got an email today. The director of Get PUMPed found 200 ounces of my baby's milk stuffed away in the Get PUMPed freezer!!!! As we were figuring out how or when it was coming home, she says she opened the freezer and there was another 300 ounces of his milk just there!!! She says she had searched and was certain that Atlas' milk brother had gotten all of it.

It was just yesterday that I sucked it up and filled out an application to become a recipient. Knowing full well that my baby isn't as needy as some of the babies they care for. They collect and donate to babies in extraordinary circumstances. Most babies are just a few months old when they apply. Most only get donations until around 6 months due to supply and demand. I don't expect special privileged due to prior donations. After all, it is ME who chose not to start Atlas on solid foods at 6 months old.

However, God has always provided. It is just amazing that 500 ounces of Atlas' nourishment were discovered today.

I might not have needed Get PUMPed's support anyhow. (I haven't been approved yet, but even if approved I hope I never have to ask for their services.) I talked to my endocrinologist yesterday. She told me that 1. I am jumping the gun worrying about radiation. I am not though. I am the type of person who MUST have a plan. I have a baby that depends on that plan. I can't sit back and worry about it when the day comes. I have the opportunity to make sure a plan is in place if I have to face a worst-case-scenario. She told me that 2. She will work with me and if I am determined to nurse Atlas until 1 year old, then I will be put on a low dose hormone until I can have the radiation, but it will take me weeks to completely dry up. The imaging requires me to be dried up. I want accurate results, I want to have more children and live for the one I have. Plus, radiation while lactating can cause breast cancer. I am totally diggin' boobs and I want my future kids to have them too. And 3. I have 3 months to stockpile for future, WHILE still nursing!!! That is the absolute best case scenario!!!  (Aside from being able to avoid radiation, of course) Do you know how much I can produce?!!?!? Even if I only produce 30 extra ounces a day, Atlas starts solids in 2 weeks and 30 ounces a day for 3 months is over 2700 ounces! If a baby who is NOT on solids takes 750 ounces a month, Atlas will still have breast milk for 6 months!!

God is so good. He has never let me fall. And while none of this is my ideal plan. I can not complain. I had the best luck when we got pregnant on the first month trying, we had the perfect pregnancy with no morning sickness or complications, we had the PERFECT home birth, our baby has remained completely healthy even without a single vax (yet) and so far my lactation has been so fruitful we have exclusively fed a whole 'nuther baby!!!

It is less devastating that I MIGHT have a completely curable cancer than the thought of forcefully being made to stop nursing my baby.

I did learn that IF I need the Radioactive Iodine, I will not be away from my baby for a couple days... but MUCH longer... 3-5 days away from not only my baby, but the most supportive person I have ever known, my husband. It breaks my heart. But I know what I have to do and preparing for the worst, praying for the best is certainly the way I am going.

Surprise me by letting it not be so bad... but dont surprise me with having to spend an extra day away with no longer being able to nurse my baby. There are some things I MUST be ready for.

Pray for the doctors hands to be gently guided on January 7th, that I only have to spend 1 night (not 2) in the hospital,  that I can get right back to nursing my baby with breastfeeding friendly pain killers, that I am not infected with cancer, and if I am, that the radiation is flushed from my body in a very short time and I can return home. Pray that my baby sleeps well and doesn't miss me. Pray that my husband has the strength to play supportive role along with mommy-role, husband-role and still maintain not only his job but our household while I am gone. They ARE lucky to have me. Pray that I will believe that, but be able to release myself from that burden so that I can heal.

OH! OK explain this... they need me to be completely dried out, but the quickest and most efficient way to extract radiation from the body ( is to pump it out.

Back to the subject, God really does provide.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Stress leads to less production... even if you are pumping every 3 hours apparently.

I am frustrated. I am pumping every 3 hours to try to increase my supply but I am still stuck at 35 oz. I have a let down (sure enough) just about the time that 3 hours approaches... but I am not INCREASING.

Advice is MORE than welcomed!

I am not donating that last 800 ounces. It will only last my baby a month... and I need a solid 3 months worth to get him to 1 year. I dreaded and feared this day and even through *fish and loaves* I still feel panicked. Very panicked.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Infant Heimlich just saved my baby's life

Good Grief, Crisis-Mode-Overload.

Really, God. What next? I'm ready.

My favorite girlfriend called this morning to take our babies to the library for infant nursery rhyme time. 10 minutes before needing to leave, Atlas had a blow out. I took off his shoes and socks and darted with him back to the changing table, ripped off the fluffy cover and set him down. I handed him his changing table finger puppet. It is big enough to play with, but not when he is by himself... I feel like I can watch him closely while changing him. I get his onesie and pants off and then his diaper. I am starting to wipe him when his mouth becomes this open cave and he starts gasping.

He has done this before and I generally sit him up and watch him eye-to-eye to reassure him. It generally calms him and he takes a breath or swallows or does what he needs to do to to catch his breath. Poopie butt and all he is sitting and he is NOT breathing. I lean him forward and not even with my dominant arm I pound on his back 3 times hard. He starts crying. Whew! Right? no. I stand him up and hug his naked poopie self and then realize it isn't over. I sat him back down and looked into his mouth and saw something square and white. I reached my finger back to grab it and I think I pushed it down because he took a breath and I heard it flap. Mommy-instinct took over without my conscious help. I flipped him over my arm that I had used to pound on him the first time and used my dominant hand to thrust against his bare back. He immediately began throwing up. He didn't throw up much, but it was enough to dislodge and expel a small piece of packaging tape.

Earlier I had opened a package of Christmas gifts I had been waiting on. I had no idea anything had fallen off. He wasn't even near the box!

I took a babysitting class when I was a teen, I have taken CPR classes throughout my life. Never expecting to use it and even a little unsure that I would even remember what to do. And honestly, I'm not sure I remembered what to do. It just happened. Praise God! Nothing in my life has ever scared me as bad as seeing that look on my precious baby's face.

Needless to say, we needed more than a baby wipe after all that. So we went and played in the bath tub while we called daddy... and canceled library story time. Mommy is in no place to drive right now. 

Infant Heimlich techniques

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jesus Take the Wheel

Surely with all the milk I produce it is just that the doctor wants to meet and discuss my abnormally well functioning Thyroid.

I had a lump biopsied Tuesday (11/30/10)... just as a precaution. My doctor has been telling me for 2 years that it is probably nothing, it is smooth not ridged and it hasn't really changed in size. But I have a baby now and a wonderful marriage. No use in risking anything.

I was told the hospital lab would take 2 days and then the Ears/Nose/Throat doctor would look at it and get back to me 2 days after that. I called on Monday and they said everything looked benign, but lets set up an appointment for Wednesday. Today is Wednesday (12/8/10)

No news is good news... moving my appointment up 3 weeks seemed concerning, but they said benign.

"Occational groups of atypical follicular cellular, characterized by longitudinal nuclear grooves, and fine nuclear chromatin. The background demonstrates hemosiderin-containing macrphages and scant colloid. The finds are suspicious for a thyroid neoplasm, possibly a cystic papillary carcinoma."

Love the run-on sentences. It might be cancer.

I can have part of my thyroid removed, but the doctor recommends all of it. If part is removed and it turns out to be cancer, then all of it has to come out.

This is a very slow growing cancer and could take years to effect me... but he says not to wait more than a month or two.

I have spent my life worrying about my metabolism and my hormones. I have had to take anti depressants. None of that could have caused this, it could be genetic... but no one in my family has had this problem. I will have to take pills every day for the rest of my life.

I'm not ready to stop breastfeeding. I'm not. I wont be able to reach my newest donation goal. But I do intend to live forever. And I will still be able to nurse my baby.

The Day I Watched God Work

I held a baby yesterday. I fed him from a bottle. He is 6 months old and loves to eat, he is a tiny little baby but he is healthy and beautiful. The bottle was mine, the milk was mine, the baby was not.

It is hard to write about this because I don't want to sound prideful ain any way. I know my gift is from God alone and nothing I could do would have given it to me any other way.

When Atlas was born I knew I wanted to pump and save whatever I could. I knew too many people who had had production issues and I did not want to be one of them. I also was determined to nurse MY baby for at least a full year. With much work and dedication I have pumped and donated over 5500 ounces to Get PUMPed. I still have another 800 ounces (and growing) in my freezer.

So one day I get an email forwarded to me from the director of Get PUMPed. It is from a mom who is grateful for the organization. Her baby can't stomach any other mom's milk my mine. He is fussy and pukey and has skin issues with the other milk... but not mine. He can't even tolerate formula... but loves my milk. My milk has kept this tiny little precious gift from God alive and healthy. I burst into tears and tried to explain to my husband who was instantly concerned with what was wrong. He had to come read over my shoulder.

The first time I donated, I cried. I was giving away all this nourishment that God had Blessed me with... all of this that was supposed to be for MY baby. I was taking it from MY baby. Depriving him of something meant specifically for him. But those tears were quickly dissolved at my next pumping... yeah, my baby would always have enough. More fish and loaves. And believe me, I dont know where it comes from. I was a glorified A-cup.. padding and underwires required. These days I wake up and am practically nursing on them myself.

On Monday, I get a call from the director of Get PUMPed. They want to meet me. I dropped everything and said YES!YES!!YES!!! We met Tuesday at 2.

Their older son walked in first. I have never met such an eloquent person in my life, and here was this bright and brilliant 10 (today) year old. He was charming! And then I met Baby J and his parents.

I have never felt eyes on me like I did that day. The dad just looked at me like I had done something amazing. He looked at me with awe. I have preformed my whole life on stages for recitals and plays and never had a reaction like that. I was a little bit uncomfortable. Basically I see pumping as something I have to do. It is just part of my day, not a big deal.. but to them, it gave them a life. Even my husband told me as we left that what I did WAS actually amazing to him.

Our babies looked at each other. They are Milk Brothers and will always have that in common. Who else do you know has a relationship like that? I hope they will know each other forever.

I held this little boy with my first bottle ever, of my milk, and fed this baby. My baby wont take a bottle... we are on to sippy cups when he needs a little extra fluids, but otherwise he is a boob-baby. Baby J was so calm and just looked all around. He was peaceful. I asked if he needed to burp, and with my milk they said he doesn't. Which is weird. My baby has never had to either. I hugged this baby and he hugged me back. I fell in love. This family is a good Christian, God loving family. They are missionaries who are helping children in other countries. They are just beautiful and I could not have handpicked them ... my milk would not have been worthy of them. But for some reason it is. I am so Blessed to know that I have helped them in such a way. Something so easy and comes so naturally for me, has meant so much to someone else.

It's really hard for me to wrap my mind around. It is just to big for me. I am just honored I get to be a part it.
(Atlas is still dressed for Santa, we had pictures earlier in the day)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Health Scare

It's been a while since I posted. Atlas is 8 months old and has NOT been vax'd yet at all, he will be in the next few week, but just Polio to start with. He is healthly, crawling, 4 teeth, pulling up, trying to walk, saying "Kitty," has said MOM and DADA... and we are ECing.

Elimination Communication (EC) is a mom potty-training ... so far I catch his cues frequently, he also catches mine... he is on the potty 3-4 times a day and is successful almost every time. He has mastered the "squeeze squeeze squeeze" and generally CAN squeeze out a tiny little poopie at least.

Now lets talk about me.

I have a bump on my neck and it has been there 2 years or more.. My doctor felt it, said lets watch it, let me know if you get worried, so far so good... fast forward 2 years... I have a baby and I go back to her. She says it has not changed, it is smooth, same size-ish, not causing me pain or discomfort, I swallow normal ect. Again.. nothing to worry about, but I do, that's who I am.

She sends me to have an ultra sound and they now send me to a specialist (ears nose throat Dr.) . I go to him, he sends me to get a biopsy... I go. The Dr dude is younger than me... wth?!?! I feel old. He stabs me in the neck with lanocaine. Ouch! Bee Sting! Then he takes 3 samples. The lab guy who is in the room says the second sample is not very good... he stabs me with a 22 vs 25 needle and gets more. My neck is numb but I can feel him aiming for it. He has the ultrasound wand pushing against the other side for leverage and he had to move the needle a bit to get to the right spot... bleh! Not painful, but creepy. I felt it. So everything looks good. He says that part of it was tissue and part fluid that is why it was tough.

Give it 2 days the lab guy would get it back to my Dr; give him 2 days and if I havent heard back then "no news is good news" (my appt was December 31st) otherwise I can call if I am worried. I call this morning (4 work days later) and leave a message. I go about my day and forget about it. My family heads out for a walk after dinner at 6:30 and my phone rings.

The lady tells me the "nodule" is indeed a tumor. It is likely benign, but the dr may want more tests, they want to reschedule my appt for as soon as possible...On their schedule that is Wednesday at noon. I hav eno idea what the difference is in a nodule and a tumor... if you know PLEASE comment!

This freaks me out bc you cant give out bad news on the phone.. you aren't technically allowed to give ANY news over the phone. The fact that they would encourage me to come back in regardless of the fact the secretary called me back in... that is something to worry about.

I was pretty OK for the first 2 hours, then my husband went to bed and I kind of freaked out a tad bit. We had a girlfriend come over when Atlas was several weeks old. She meant no harm but jokingly told me, "I could run off with this sweet thing, and he would never remember you." That stuck with me.

Also I am still donating 40 ounces a day to Atlas isnt on ANY solids yet.. not until Christmas day and 9 months old. I am not ready to be put on medications or anything weird... I dont want to stop nursing... It is all frustrating for me.

Today (Tuesday) is a great day... Atlas is having his 8 month pictures taken with Santa at Target and then we are going to meet Atlas' Milk Brother, Josiah. It is a pretty special day.

Please say a prayer for our family. Thanks!