Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shhhhh, don't tell the truck!

I just paid off my Explorer. I called the credit union to get the amount of my last payment due October 31 and they reminded me that I have shares in my savings there as collateral for that loan so I just had them draft the last payment from that. Ta da! No more Explorer payment! With two in daycare sucking the money out of our checking faster than we can get it in there, that $328 will come in handy. Won't pay for the daycare (not by a long shot), but it won't hurt freeing that up!

Now, just don't tell the Explorer. It's bound to shit itself as soon as it knows it's paid off. So it will be our little secret.

I love this video!

Someone posted this on my mom's group board yesterday and I just can't stop watching it! I love how normalized breastfeeding is that there's a commercial for it, that it's open and free, that it's not just infants but toddlers and older children also. Oh, if only the US looked at breastfeeding this way!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can I get a "Holy Cow!!!"????

10,000 ounces.

That's how much milk I have pumped thus far. In fact, I reached that milestone a few squirts ago as I am pumping as I type this entry.

Jesse will turn 2.5 years old tomorrow. I started pumping on his birth day, March 18, 2006. His was a rough entry into this world and he was quickly whisked away from me (before I even laid eyes on his beautiful face) and taken to the NICU. Once I finally stopped bleeding enough to be released from Recovery and taken to the Special Care unit at Magee, I was greeted by a wonderful nurse who reminded me somewhat of Dan's Aunt Debbie by the way she talked and her mannerisms. She asked how long ago my baby was born and if I was able to nurse him at all. I told her he had been born 11 hours earlier and I had never even seen him. She left the room for a minute and came back with a Medela Symphony on a wheeled stand and told me I had to start pumping immediately. And that's how it all began.

I pumped for Jesse and my colostrum was fed to him in his bottles of formula in the NICU. On his fifth day of life I was able to attempt to put him to breast. Of course, by that point he wanted easy food from that dummy nipple so it wasn't smooth sailing for us. But with the help of a wonderful lactation consultant, Diana Jordan, who came to our home once he was released from the NICU and worked with us one on one, we got him to take the breast eventually. I pumped and bottle fed him for a while though until he figured it out. (Major props go out to all those moms who exclusively pump for their babies for one reason or another. I have EPed for a couple months total between my two boys and I cannot imagine doing it long term. A special shout out to my friend, Betsy, who pumped for her twin girls for 21 months. She rocks something fierce!) After Jesse got it, I still had to pump for relief since I was graced with a raging oversupply of milk. I had mastitis twice, recurring painful clogged ducts, blebs, leaking, spraying wasn't able to feed my baby in public for fear of showering everyone in a six foot area with my own liquid gold...

Once I returned to work, I didn't mind pumping for my special boy. It was a way to feel like I was doing something for him while we were apart, a way to feel connected. With all my milk though, I had more than Jesse could ever take and through the Yahoo MilkShare group I was able to find a local family whose mama was unable to make enough milk for her baby. I donated about 1,200 ounces to Melissa and Gabe in the fall/winter of 2006/2007.

As Jesse grew and got more into solid foods, I was able to decrease my frequency of pumping at work. When he was 11.5 months old I was able to go from pumping every 3 hours to pumping every 4 hours. Then when he was 14 months old I went down to pumping once a day at work. By the time he was 16 months old and I was a few months pregnant with Simon, my milk supply had diminished enough that I was comfortable not pumping at all while away from him for the day. He still took my breastmilk (from my ample freezer stash) in a cup at daycare until he was almost 21 months old.

With Simon's birth being a (mandatory) repeat cesarean, scheduled and controlled, I always thought he would just come out ready to nurse and I planned to do so as soon as I was able to in Recovery. We tried and tried but the poor boy couldn't latch effectively. He would try to suckle but his mouth was so small and his tongue would just push my nipple out again. We were both very frustrated. Even more frustrating was how long it took to get a lactation consultant to see me in the hospital. When one finally came, I got set up with a pump again.

Again, back to see Diana (this time at the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh) and again back to pumping. I used syringes and finger fed him while trying to latch him along the way for a month until he latched and ate one day when I attempted (oh the tears of joy!!!). After I was sure he could sustain himself by breastfeeding exclusively, I tossed the syringes and packed up the pump. I had already built a stash of milk in the freezer since I was graced with an oversupply again this time around, so I had no need to pump until I came back to work.

Simon's demand for milk wasn't as great as Jesse's and my oversupply isn't as raging this time around (thanks to sage tea) so I was able to go to pumping every 4 hours from every 3 hours by the time Simon was 4 months old. I like this schedule a lot better, pumping at 10 am and 2 pm each day instead of 9, 12 and 3.

I am getting ready to donate milk again, this time to Jo and her twin preemie girls. I hope that I am able to help them out for a while and not just make the one donation.

Someday Simon will start solids and need my milk less and less while we are apart. I pray he continues to want to nurse into his third year (and beyond) like his older brother has, but I admit that I will not miss this darn pump when it's time for me to hang up my horns for good! No scheduling around pump times, no tingly hot feeling when I have to push a session back, no more cow sign on my door of my office, hauling expressed milk back and forth to the fridge, mentally figuring warm storage time and how many more ounces I need to make this week's bottles, spending $10 every couple weeks at work for Lansinoh freezer bags...

In the meantime, I'll keep updating my spreadsheet so I know what's in my inventory at all times. I'll keep pumping as many times a day as Simon requires me to. And I'll keep adding to my 10,000 ounces.

Holy cow, indeed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My guardian angel in a big yellow school bus

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sir!

On my way across Liberty Avenue this morning in Bloomfield to get, what else?, a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks, I crossed between a big yellow school bus and the 54 Chicken. I made eye contact with the school bus driver to make sure he saw me so he didn't creep up on the PAT bus too closely. It was gridlock and no one was going anyplace, just me happily on my way for a treat!

Beep, beep... beepbeepbeepbeep! The school bus driver started honking while I was crossing right in front of him. What the heck? I don't know this guy, surely he's not a stickler for reprimanding jaywalkers, he can't be beeping at the PAT bus driver in front of him. I paused to look up at him as I slowed my pace.

BIG WHITE FLASH! Right in front of my face. Not 4 inches in front of me. Some jackass in a white van flew down the side of the road between the school bus and the curb. Apparently, where this guy had to be (later discovered to be into the Sunoco for a pack of smokes) was extremely important.

You know how you hear a tragic story about an 83 year old female pedestrian hit by a vehicle in the Strip and think hard about the intersection where it happened and wonder how a tragedy like that unfolded? Yeah, this is exactly how it happens.

Had that bus driver not seen that van coming in his side mirror or had he not made the connection between me and the connection that was about to happen between me and that van's grill, I would have been toast. Toast, I say.

Once I caught my breath and hurried onto the curb, I was shaken. All I could do before ducking into Starbucks was turn around, point at the school bus driver and mouth "Thank you" while patting my chest where my (still beating) heart lie.

So to the vigilant black man in a red t-shirt who was driving a big yellow school bus at Liberty and South Mathilda in Bloomfield around 8 this morning... thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. You're an angel.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Poor Bub

Poor little Simon. Tonight was his first ER visit. His first ear infection. When I went to dry him off after his bath and he screamed bloody murder when I touched his left ear, I knew it. We took him into Passavant to have it confirmed though. With the wind from Ike blasting the 'Burgh, they were swamped. And with us going in outside of regular channels, we expected a bit of a wait. Luckily the whole thing took a touch less than 3 hours and we were able to be on our way about a half hour after the entire North Hills lost power (including the hospital - very eerie, indeed).

Dr. S was a saint to take his time to see Simon under the table. He did a full examination and confirmed that the left ear is red and inflamed, no fluid yet though. He promptly wrote a script for amoxicillin. We thanked him profusely, thanked the nurses who came to coo over Simon, and went on our way.

By this age, Jesse had already had 2 or 3 ear infections. Not knowing any better, we filled the amoxicillin every time... until it stopped working. Then we filled the next antibiotic. Then the next. Then we dealt with the runny diapers, the raw behind, the resulting impetigo on his bum (which the ped wanted to treat with yet more antibiotics!). Eventually, I had an aha! moment. There had to be a better way.

I started taking Jesse to my chiropractor. Dr. Brian helped align his neck and voila, no more ear infections! Not a one. Not even a hint since he started seeing Dr. Brian.

I've still got the script from Dr. S. But I'm not filling it. We're going to take the "wait and see" approach. Simon will see Dr. Brian tomorrow. If I can't find some garlic mullein oil, I'll make it. Well, I'll at least make garlic oil since finding herbs in Pittsburgh is like finding a snowsuit in Arizona in July. But I'll see what I can do. Then we'll go back to the pediatrician later in the week to see how his ears are doing.

In the meantime, extra snuggles and lots of nursing. My poor little bub.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good and Bad

Today is a good day. And it's a bad day in other ways.

First the bad. Does anyone else wish we could just skip from September 10 to September 12? We need to remember and never forget the tragedy that occurred 7 years ago today. But I get a pit in my stomach and can't shake the sadness that surrounds everything 9-11 related. I don't want to remember where I was when I heard that a plane struck the WTC or the feeling I had when I heard a second one hit and I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there was no way it was accidental. I don't want to recall hearing the 911 calls coming in from Flight 93 and wondering how those people felt or how their families handled receiving those final phone calls. I don't want to remember watching the news, the disgusting news that we somehow could not tear ourselves away from all night, seeing people leaping to their deaths. I don't want to think too much about the widows and children of the 343 fallen firefighters and how their lives were shattered that day or about Father Mychal Judge, a hero in so many ways.

But I have to. We all have to. For the rest of our lives we have to remember. And we have to make sure our children learn and know so that they can remember for us when we are gone. We can never forget. As bad as it feels to remember, we can never let ourselves forget.

Now, on an entirely different note... the good.

It's about time! It's not without its faults, but Pennsylvania's statewide smoking ban went into effect at midnight. Hallelujah!

Can it be? Is it true? Will we be able to patronize the Cranberry King's Family Restaurant without walking through a cloud of thick smoke from the old men sitting at the counter in the front of the restaurant?

Finally! A choice! We can choose to stick to places that aren't flat-out bars. Since a business with gross revenues of more than 20% from food is effected by this ban, we would seriously have to go to a straight up bar to be surrounded by cigarette smoke. With two little ones and our nights of clubbing at Jimmy D's on the South Side far behind us, it's very unlikely we will be barhopping anytime soon. Still we should be able to sit at the bar at our favorite restaurants while waiting for a table without choking to death from the Marlboro Red that Smokey Joe on the next stool is "enjoying."

Aaaaaaaaah! That was me, breathing a breath of fresh air!

Now, when will PA make it illegal to smoke on the sidewalk? Or in your car? Oh, I know, I know, smokers have rights! Yeah, whatever! I can't wait to sit in traffic or walk down the street without a chance of catching that whiff. It will likely never happen without tobacco becoming illegal (and with Big Tobacco's hands in the pot in so many places these days shyeah like that will happen!), but one can dream!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

That was rough!

What's worse than one sick kid? Two sick kids.

What's worse than two sick kids? Being sick at the same time.

That was not fun. Luckily, both my babies are feeling better now and I am back to work. Poor little peanuts. They are both troupers. Jesse wasn't as bad as Simon (though there was a pretty nasty poop episode resulting in poopy footprints all through my kitchen) and Simon smiles through everything even when he's sporting a fever and utterly miserable.

Maybe our immune systems got a little boost that will see us through the winter. One can hope.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My little daredevil!

We took the kids to the Stoneboro Fair over Labor Day weekend. Jesse had a great time! He rode the motorcycles (over and over), sat on tractors, checked out farm-grown fruits and vegetables, liked the cows and pigs... It was a good time. Simon liked watching people and stopping every hour and a half to nurse. Darn 6 month growth spurt!

When we spotted the bungie jump, we weren't sure if Jesse would A) be big enough to go on it (he was too short for the little kid swings) or B) want to go on it. But he was all smiles as we stood in line watching the other (older) kids and adults take their turns. Then it was his turn. He loved it! I'll let the video do the talking.