Faith, Postpartum

This is the Day the Lord has Made…

Last night was my night to spend at home. I thought I was going to get home and get a great night sleep, wake up early, and just be productive and carefree… well, boy, was I wrong!

When I get home – later than expected – I am a little overwhelmed by the state the house is in. It’s not a huge mess, but it wasn’t as in order as I would have hoped it would be. Our playroom wreaked of pee (still does, because I can’t find the culprit), Hazel’s toys were all over the living room, and the kitchen was filled with dirty dishes and a full dishwasher. I decide that since I am mostly healed up that I wanted to spend some time picking up my house; who would have thought I would miss picking up toys and doing dishes? Not me! When the living room and kitchen were in a better place, I went down the hallway to put some things away in Hazel’s room and noticed a wet spot on her Nugget Couch. I was instantly furious. This thing had already been peed on once and I was already exhausted and didn’t want to have to clean anything else, but I pulled the cover off and set it in the laundry room to wash in the morning.

I get all comfy and cuddle up in bed. My nice, warm, cozy bed. And I lay there. And lay there. I laid there for hours before I finally passed out. I jokingly laughed to myself that maybe I was getting too used to sleeping in the hospital recliner and didn’t know how to sleep somewhere normal anymore. Before I went to sleep, I had set my alarm for 8am planning on a full day of productivity.

My alarm went off this morning and I shut it off and rolled back over. By the time I woke up, it was 10:30am. I’m not big on sleeping in, because I feel gross and like I wasted my whole morning. Well that was exactly how I felt this morning. I finally got myself out of bed, let the dog out, and wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I fed the dog, started the washing machine, and decided I was going to watch some TV until the washer was done and I could take a shower. When I walked into the living room, I noticed Winnie, my dog, licking something on Hazel’s little llama chair. I shooed her away and noticed a bloody pee spot on the chair. I literally lost it. If I had to smell pee or clean up anything else I just didn’t know what I was going to do. I started crying and called my mom to figure out how to clean it and to vent. She suggested hydrogen peroxide and luckily that worked to get the blood out, but not the pee smell. I wiped the whole seat down with peroxide and then sprayed the chair with fabric febreeze and then put it in Hazel’s bedroom and closed the door.

I guess I should clarify that all this pee is not from my child, but it’s from one of our cats. A few months ago he started peeing everywhere and then we started seeing blood in our sinks and bathtubs. Every time we try to take him to the vet something happens – first it was that he didn’t get enough of the calming medication; the next time I had to go the ER; the most recent time our son ended up in the hospital. We know we need to take him, but we’re not sure how we will pay for it. It’s just an added layer of stress. I love him dearly, but I’m over cleaning up pee and smelling pee.

I’m crying hysterically by the time I’m done cleaning up the chair and I finally sit down and calm down while I watch the TV episode. By the time the show is over, the washing machine has finished, so I lay out the couch cover and get in the shower. The shower feels nice, but I’m not going to lie, postpartum is the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I thought I had better prepared myself this time around. But it turns out I haven’t. I absolutely dread getting out of the shower and trying to pick something out to wear and today was no different, actually it was worse. Because I spend practically all my time at the hospital, I haven’t done laundry in weeks, so the small amount of clothes that fit me and I feel comfortable in are dirty. It took me a little over half an hour to find something to put on. There was ugly crying. There was imagining myself ripping all my clothes off hangers and throwing them in the floor. It wasn’t pretty, but postpartum in general is hard. Postpartum with a baby in the hospital is hard. Postpartum with added layers of stress is hard. It’s just so hard!

As I’m laying there on my bed, tears streaming down my face, trying to have a pity party, the thought that kept popping into my head was, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Over and over. It just kept interrupting every negative thought I had. It was honestly pissing me off. I got off the bed and yelled that I get it as I turned off the light and walked down the hallway. Are you allowed to do that? Yell at God? I’ve been closer to Him than ever lately, so it warmed my heart that I could hear the help He was sending, but I was also frustrated and wanted to wallow. I think it’s allowed. I think He understands.

I wish that was the end of the frustrating part of my day, but it’s not. I get the car all packed up and am headed to grab lunch (the first thing I’ve eaten all day) when I realize I forgot my sweatshirt. So I have to turn around and go back to the house. I know, not a big deal, but it felt like a big deal. One of those, c’mon seriously!, moments. I get the sweatshirt and make it to Taco Bueno and literally everyone and their grandma is in the drive-thru, so I’m forced to go inside, because I have no patience left and I’m starving. I’ll admit that going inside was the best thing that could have happened. I could sit and eat without trying to balance it in my lap and just take a small breather. That’s exactly what I did.

And you know what, my day got better from there.

I made it to the bookstore across DFW to pick up a book I had ordered and then headed straight to the hospital – my happy place these days, how ironic is that? No traffic, no accidents, no stupid drivers. I surprisingly didn’t yell at a single person on the road. And then once I made it to Jameson’s room, I was instantly relieved. I got the latest update on what they are watching and waiting for. I got to kiss his little head. I got to hug my husband. I got to sit in my favorite recliner. I wrote thank you cards to the nurses. I listened to some country music. I sat on hold with the toll tag people to straighten some things out. Now I’m writing to get my feelings out of my head…

So even if I wasn’t grateful for God’s wisdom earlier, I am now.

Motherhood, Postpartum

Tips for Drying Up Your Milk

As a woman who has chosen not to breastfeed with both of her children (after a week and a half with Hazel and before birth with Jameson), I deal with drying up my milk at the same time that I am recovering from birth. I have been searching for the best ways to dry up breast milk quickly and as painless as possible… and that is the ultimate dream, because drying up your milk is freaking painful.

I have done this twice now. The first time I had no plan, because I thought I was going to breastfeed, so I just did a basic google search and tried a few of the ideas. This time I had a plan, but the plan had to be tweaked. I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share from personal experience what has been tried and true for drying up milk for me.

Cabbage

Cabbage is the MVP of drying up milk. It has worked wonders for me both times I have gone through this. I used cabbage immediately and frequently my first time and I recall my milk drying up within a few days. This time around I tried cabbage cream instead of actual cabbage – I started using it in the hospital my first night postpartum and continued to use it for like week before ditching it for real cabbage. After using real cabbage for ONE DAY, I felt relief by that night. I would recommend skipping the cabbage cream and starting with actual cabbage the day your milk comes in. Basically, you put a cabbage leaf in your bra over each breast. I put a folded paper towel between the bra and the cabbage, because it gets wet with cabbage and breastmilk. You can use the cabbage leaves for 2 hours and then switch them out. I have noticed that constantly using the cabbage for a least 2 days (but not while sleeping) will make a drastic difference.

No Milk Tea

Tea has also been a huge asset when it comes to drying up breastmilk. My first time around, I read that peppermint and sage might help, so Jeremiah would make me peppermint tea with a sprig of sage in it. I drank at least one cup every day and feel like it made a difference. This time around I tried just peppermint tea for a couple days and then switched to No Milk Tea. I drink the No More Milk tea three times a days and noticed a huge difference. I also felt like the No More Milk tea tasted really good whereas I just kind of tolerate the peppermint. In addition to No Milk Tea, I am taking No Milk Supplements, but I’m not positive if they are doing anything or not.

Sudafed & Benadryl

Apparently decongestants and allergy medicine can help decrease milk supply. A nurse at the hospital I gave birth at recommended Benadryl to me, so I took that for two nights with little results before reading online about Sudafed being a possible tool. The day I woke up in excruciating pain, I started taking Sudafed every four hours during the day and taking one Sudafed and 1 Benadryl at bedtime, I saw an immediate difference the next day.

Snug Fit Bra

I can’t say for certain whether this is a big one or not, but it is highly recommended and I wore a bra all day and all night both times I dried up my milk. It is helpful for using cabbage and with pads to collect any milk that may be released.

All of these recommendations I use together. Once I started wearing the cabbage in a snug fit bra from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep plus drinking the No Milk Tea in the morning, in the afternoon, and right before bed while taking Sudafed throughout the day and at bedtime with Benadryl, I was NOT seeing any results. By results, I mean less engorgement, smaller breasts, less leaking… getting your milk and drying up your milk is a painful process. I have experienced many tears and breakdowns and feeling like I cannot go on in this much pain, but after starting the regimen above, I noticed results that night. The engorgement has gone down gradually every day. By the third day, my breasts had decreased majorly in size and no longer ridiculously tender to the touch. So personally I know this works and it’s what I am going to start doing on day 1 next time around.

Uncategorized

Self-Control Meets Healthy Habits

Last month I opened up about my insecurities with my postpartum body. Due to my fast metabolism, I have never had to live a healthy lifestyle… I was just thin. Well, for some women (me!), when you have a baby, you lose that incredible metabolism you took for granted your whole life and now you have to rethink e v e r y t h i n g.

I have taken baby steps at getting myself back on track to the body I will feel comfortable in, but it hasn’t helped that much. My confidence is still low, my insecurity is still high, and my anxiety is still getting the best of me. After a few pretty bad breakdowns and meeting a harsh reality, I decided enough is enough. I can’t keep living the way I was living pre-baby and expect my body to just go back to normal. So I made the choice to rethink how I live, what I eat, when I eat, how I spend my day, etc.

During my pregnancy, I gained 37 pounds. I am about 15/20 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight + some extra flab here and there from skin stretching. I don’t have a goal of when I want to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight – because let’s be real, I wanted my body back two months ago – so instead of setting a date, I am just going to create healthy habits that I stick to. I am not implementing anything too drastic, but I do want to challenge myself to make an actual change and that will definitely take some self-control.

My New Healthy Habits:
  • Eating three meals + two snacks every day
  • Not eating after 9pm
  • Giving up soda – RIP Dr Pepper
  • Not eating fast food
  • Not eating junk food
  • Going on a 1.5 mile walk four days a week (working up to every day)
  • Drinking at least three bottles of water a day

I started implementing these new soon-to-be habits this morning. I weighed myself as soon as I woke up to give myself a solid baseline. The goal is to not weigh myself until the first of August. I want to give myself a month of sticking to these new healthy lifestyle changes before I check. Not constantly checking my weight will also help me remember that feeling confident and living healthy doesn’t just have to do with pounds, but with overall look and feel!

Do you have any healthy habits or routines that help you feel confident or lose weight?

Motherhood

Confessions of a First Time Mom #2

Postpartum Body Woes

One of the biggest shocks of having a baby was not the birth part, but the recovery part. I did not feel like I was properly prepared for what happens to my body once the baby is born. Whenever you are pregnant majority of the focus is on how to give birth with a little bit of how to care for the baby mixed in, but only a dash of what your body will go through postpartum. Obviously knowing that information wouldn’t have changed my mind about having my daughter, but I feel like I could have been more mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared.

Getting pregnant was the first time in my life I had actually gained weight. As I have stated on here before, I never dealt with fluctuations in weight as a kid or during adolescence, so watching my body change was definitely an adjustment. But an even bigger adjustment was not going right back to the size I was pre-pregnancy.

I used to be a lil bitty twig. No curves, no extra anything. I wore a lot of the same clothes and shoes from high school until pregnancy. Deep in my mind, I knew that I was going to look a bit different and the shape of my body would be different, but I was not expecting for none of my clothes to fit. That alone made me want to cry… and I have, multiple times. I was stuck wearing pajamas and my husband’s shirts. I felt frumpy and gross. Eventually, my mom bought me a few pairs of shorts in a larger size, so I could go out in the summer heat. That helped for awhile, but I couldn’t wash those three pairs of shorts quick enough for as often as I needed to wear them.

At first I was so against buying clothes that fit my current body, because I am determined not to stay this way. I have approximately 20 pounds that I need to lose to feel healthy and “fit” again. So buying new clothes seemed like defeat, like I was saying that I accept looking like this. That sounds dramatic – I am healthy and I am beautiful – but I am also self-conscious and insecure. I want my confidence back. So earlier this week, I made the decision to buy some cheap clothes that fit my current body. A couple pairs of bottoms, a shirt, and a few dresses. I made this choice, so that I could feel some confidence and positivity when I look in the mirror. It makes a world of difference when you can just wake up, grab some clothes that easily go on, and look at yourself with a smile.

Just this little bit of confidence has encouraged me to start going on walks and buying more healthy food at the grocery store. I am so proud of myself in what I accomplished during birth and I wouldn’t trade my baby girl for anything – not even my pre-pregnancy body – so now I am just accepting that it is okay to take as much time as you need to heal and recover from pregnancy and to not compare your recovery journey to anyone else’s.