Thursday, December 31, 2015

Breaking the Silence

I have Postpartum Depression (PPD). I'm currently trying to control it with medication and therapy. One of the things my therapist suggested was blogging about my journey. Here goes.

When I went back for my postpartum checkup I knew something wasn't 'right'. I'd felt drained and frustrated for weeks, beyond the typical new mom sleep deprivation. I talked to my doctor and he offered to put me on medication or let me talk to their therapist first. I chose therapy. After talking with her, she suggested a low dose of medicine to take the edge off. Within a week of taking it I saw improvement. My moods changed, I was able to get things done around the house, and I was bonding well with Faith. We talked about coping skills, things that I could do to help take some of the pressure off. At my last meeting, I set goals to accomplish in the next few years.

Everything was going great, but in mid-December something snapped. It felt like no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't control the thoughts and emotions anymore. I think it's because Christmas is such a hard time for me anyway, and we had added stressors of my step-dad being in the hospital. I couldn't get in the Christmas spirit, and I just felt more and more alone and depressed. My go to coping skills are no longer working, so I'm trying the ones I don't use often. Today I'm blogging. Tomorrow I'm going to set aside time to paint and Bible journal. I'm praying this is truly just a side effect of the holidays, but if things don't improve by the 14th I'm going to call my counselor again.

Everyone thinks depression is just a deep sadness. Many people feel you should just 'get over it'. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. I have moments of total joy. Looking at my laughing daughters, joking with them, spending time with them or Shaun all bring about feelings of happiness and contentment. For me, depression means I don't WANT to do ANYTHING. Go to the store? Maybe tomorrow. Fold the laundry (my favorite chore)? Probably never. Play with the baby? I just don't want to. I don't want to do any of the things I love to do. I was reading 8-10 books to Faith every day. When the depression hit hard I didn't want to read one. There were weeks where we only read 4-5 books. I didn't even want to read MY books. I can't tell you how many books I've set aside because my depression was keeping me from enjoying them. Reading is one of my coping skills, so when that was no longer effective I knew something was wrong.

My word for 2015 was JOY. I knew if I got pregnant, I would have to work to remain joyful. I knew if I didn't get pregnant, I wanted to choose joy without a baby. My word for 2016 is Focus. I need to focus on whatever I'm doing at the moment. I need to put aside Facebook and focus on my relationships; my relationship with God, my relationships in my family, and my relationships with friends. I've pushed most of my friends away since Faith was born, and for that I'm truly sorry. As I write this, I'm feeling led to take a Facebook Fast. I've done it before for short times, and I think it's time to do it again. I'm going to remove the app and messenger from my phone tonight. I don't know how long I'll break from it. So, I hope you and yours have a Happy New Year. May your 2016 be filled with unexpected blessings!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Breastfeeding Resources

This is my ultimate list of breastfeeding resources. If you're struggling on your nursing journey, read on! If you missed out on a great breastfeeding journey due to lack of information, don't feel guilty! You did your best!

Breast is Best:
La Leche League USA: This site has forums, resources, a store and so much more! Pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting, etc. This has been our go to site with breastfeeding questions.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding: No need to pump and dump!!!

Books about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding after a C-Section

Donating/Receiving breastmilk

Find a friend on the Breast Friends Facebook page and read all the files! There are more resources than I can copy and paste in the short time I have to blog. Find the Breast Friends Off Topic page and join that group, then ask someone there to join the Breast Friends group. Both pages are excellent resources!

To Blog or Not to Blog...

That is the question. I considered quitting after Faith was born. Why continue looking for a rainbow when we found ours? Her first few days home have been difficult though, and after an hour trip to pick up 100 oz. of donated breast milk, my mom encouraged me to keep writing. Maybe another mom is struggling in the same way, and maybe she can take comfort in knowing she's not alone. So if you want to keep following, please add your email to follow my blog. I don't think I'll post on Facebook anymore, as my friends see enough of my updates about our miracle. If enough friends want to follow on Facebook, I'll keep posting it there. Now, onto the adjustments...

We came home from the hospital Wednesday night. Faith woke up frequently, but Shaun and I felt pretty good the next morning. Thursday was uneventful, until that night when I realized she hadn't had any wet diapers. She was still struggling to latch, so I met with my lactation consultant on Friday morning. We tried a nipple shield and different holds, but our struggles stemmed from Faith's lip tie. She strongly encouraged me to have her doctor clip it. When I met with her doctor that afternoon and tried to explain our struggles, he completely brushed off the lip tie and tried to push formula. I refused, and he relented on the condition that we take her to a children's hospital if she didn't have enough wet diapers in 24 hours.

Poor Shaun fought with me Friday night. I desperately didn't want to supplement, because I supplemented with Hope and wanted this time to be better. Eventually he gave her a little bit of formula Friday night so I could get some sleep. I have never felt like such a failure. My colostrum wasn't enough. My body couldn't make enough to keep my baby healthy. As the weekend progressed, I remembered having similar troubles with Hope. That's one more reason we supplemented for a while with her.

On Saturday one of my friends hooked me up with a Certified Lactation Counselor. Jo Stein (click her name to go to her site) was the best thing that happened to us this weekend. She coached me through latches, encouraged me to prop myself up with pillows and get comfy for nursing sessions, and talked with me about my doctor and her personal experiences with him, taking away much of my "mommy guilt". She also hooked me up with a donor mom who gave us 100 oz. of breast milk! We met the donor Saturday night and brought home a cooler full of liquid gold. If you're struggling with supply or latch issues, find your local Eats on Feets group on Facebook. Every state has one, and the moms on there are 100% dedicated to giving away their overstock of breast milk. Like any online meeting, take someone with you to be safe. I can understand why some might be hesitant to accept milk from a stranger, but this is something Shaun and I researched heavily while I was pregnant and agreed would be the best solution for us. We actually planned on me selling or donating through a website, because I had such a surplus with Hope.

On Wednesday morning I FINALLY woke up to the full feeling of my milk coming in. It took just over a week, but now I know Faith is getting enough milk. She's finally having enough wet and poopy diapers. There have been moments when I'm overtired and stressed and want to give up, but she holds my finger while eating and looks so happy. Even when we were struggling, she would look up at me and smile when she finished. She's worth every struggle and every tear. If you're finding breastfeeding is 'natural' but not 'easy', don't give up! find a friend, a doula, or a lactation consultant to help. Now I'm going to sit back and enjoy the nursing cuddles while the laundry waits another day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Story Behind Her Name

Update on blood sugar: Because low blood sugar is Faith's only symptom, the doctor isn't as worried about it now. She has to have it checked every hour, and they're hoping to get it to 50 before sending us home. Right now it's at 45. We're nursing on demand and doing skin to skin to try to pull it up.

I knew when I wrote earlier I was forgetting something, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what. While I was resting this evening I remembered I was supposed to explain her name, and I didn't. Sorry about that. Here goes: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was always one of my favorite books growing up. I watched all three movie versions, and I read the book in fifth grade and loved it. Lucy was always my favorite character. Really, who didn't love Queen Lucy the Valiant? I considered naming Hope Lucy, but it means "light' or "spark" and that didn't feel significant to me at the time. Now I'm so glad I didn't, because Lucy's name means "Spark of Faith". How perfect is that for our Rainbow?! Shaun and I chose our children's names while we were planning our wedding. Originally we agreed to look at the baby before naming it. Shaun loved Lucy, but wanted it to be short for Lucille, after his great-grandmother. A few months ago, Shaun came home and pleaded his case for choosing a name in advance. He said since Lucy Faith means Spark of Faith, we should go with that because this pregnancy has restored our whole family's faith in God. How could I argue with that?! It didn't hurt that both girl names were names I chose. Early on I struggled a bit with Lucille, but I walked around the house all day saying it, and I thought about Lucille Ball, whom I've always referred to by her whole name. Eventually it grew on me. She's not going to be called Lucille, anyway. Hope calls her Faith, Shaun mostly calls her Lucy, and I switch back and forth. When she's older she can choose how she wants to be known. Any questions? Feel free to ask!

Meet Our Rainbow!

Lucille Faith was born at 4:27 this afternoon. 21 in. long and weighed a whopping 7 lbs 9 oz. And by the time I delivered her, the demerol wore off and I still had three minutes before I could have more! She's having a little difficulty maintaining a latch, so I'm talking with two lactation consultants tomorrow. Her blood sugar is lower than what they'd like, and the hospital pediatrician is encouraging us to supplement. I'm nursing as often as I can to avoid that, but please pray we can keep her healthy. Her birth was insanely fast. My mom ran to get Taco Bell for Shaun and completely missed it! Dr. Brown was a little slow arriving and almost missed it. One of my friends from high school worked at the hospital when Hope was born, and surprisingly she now works at the hospital where Faith was born. She came in while I was in labor and we talked briefly, and she planned on returning to help catch Faith, but she missed it too!

Faith is a heavy sleeper just like her dad, so it's going to take a while to figure out how to wake her up for feedings. With her low blood sugars I'm very worried about missing one. Sleep tonight is hit or miss. Of course Shaun is already passed out on the couch.

I was worried she wouldn't fit in all the small clothes we have, but it looks like those worries were unfounded. She feels so tiny! She's resting on my chest right now. I love listening to her breathe. Hope had the chance to hold her tonight and was dancing on air. She is absolutely in love! We all are! God has answered so many prayers this pregnancy. I'm forever grateful for my amazing friends and family who've been supportive along the way. I'm going to try to get some sleep before her next feeding. Thanks again!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Final Update Before D-Day

I don't think I'll post another blog before Baby Girl arrives. I really don't see a need to. Something may change over the weekend, but I doubt it.

For the first time I had multiple strong contractions during the NST. It's always nice to see my body doing what it's supposed to. Her heart rate was good, and she passed with flying colors (as usual). Then she decided to show off during the BPP. She did everything she was supposed to in record time. She even let us get two (semi blurry) pictures!

I'm still being induced Monday, unless she decides to come on her own before then. My doctor is using a pill to induce labor. He said it could be as long as Wednesday before she's born, because she's not ready and I'm not dilated or effaced. There's also an increased risk of C-Section. Let me pause here and say I CANNOT have a C-Section. It's not happening. I've delivered all of my babies vaginally and I'm not stopping now. I am terrified of a C-Section for two reasons. 1) I refuse to have an epidural. I know too many people who've had complications, and it's not worth the risk. 2) My cousin died during a C-Section. No one ever explained to my family why she died. They're using her story as a teaching tool at our local community college, so someone must know what happened. Until I know, I won't have an epidural or C-Section.

I've had several prayers throughout this pregnancy. One is that this labor will make Hope's look hard. I was induced at 9:00 p.m. (same this time), active labor started at 3 a.m. and she was born at 6:12 a.m. For a while they had to wake me up to push! I had Ambien and Demerol in me and was practically asleep for the first few hours after she was born. It wasn't all roses and rainbows, but it was about as good as it gets for a first time mom. With William I was induced around 7 a.m. and labor started around 12:45 a.m. and he was born around 2:15 a.m. That happened exactly as my doctor expected for a late miscarriage. I really feel once labor starts my body knows what to do and just does it. I hope I'm right and this time is quick and relatively easy. Shaun has Tuesday and Wednesday off work, so if she's born on Wednesday he won't have much time with her and probably won't stay that night in the hospital. This is a huge concern for me. He had to work the day after William was born, and it was hard on both of us. Yes, that situation was a little different, but I still want him to have as much time with Baby Girl as possible.

Please pray for a safe and healthy delivery for Baby Girl and me. Pray for Shaun and me to be well rested when active labor starts. Pray for Hope and the family she's staying with next week. Pray that Shaun's mom can come for the delivery or shortly after. Above all, pray for peace for our family during labor and delivery, as well as the transition to a family of four.

One final note. Shaun insists if she's born in the middle of the night he won't text anyone the stats. I'm not sure if he'll post it on Facebook right away, or if he'll wait until a decent hour to contact immediate family before posting it. Don't be offended if you don't receive a text right away; I've tried to keep the list to five people or less. My mom will take pictures with my phone that I'll post in a new album when I have time. Shaun will take pictures with his and keep everyone informed when he has the chance. Thanks for all your prayers and support! Next time you see us we might be a family of four!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Needs vs. Wants

I have been trying so hard to purge our household of anything we don't need. I've tried to think of the baby registries as "wants" as opposed to "needs". Because of this, when people ask what we still need, I draw a complete blank. So today I'm reviewing all three registries and narrowing them down to needs and wants. Wherever I feel necessary, I will explain an item, because I know our needs are different from yours.

Baby Girl

  1. Elastic or woven headbands to hold her beautiful bows (any and all colors)
  2. Bins/Baskets 
    1. One for diapering supplies 
    2. One for bathing supplies
    3. Two small ones to hold hats and bloomers
  3. My glider from Edwardsville to get to her nursery (pm me for details)
  4. Bassinet sheets
  5. Med/Lg sleep sacks
  6. Diaper changing pad for diaper bag
  7. Avent NATURAL bottles, small size
  8. Outlet covers
  9. Pink step stool from Target (I chose matching ones for both girls so I can paint their names on them. This is a need for Baby because I need to use it to reach in the crib when we lower it.)
  10. Under bed storage tote
  11. Humidifier (there's a pink one we registered for. It's available at the Glen Carbon Target, and it's the best one I've found.)
  12. Trash can for dirty diapers or diaper pail from Babies R Us

  1. Toy hammock
  2. Ottoman for glider
  3. Shades for car windows
  4. Mirror for back seat
  5. Car seat guard (to protect Shaun's leather seats)
  6. Car seat toys
  7. Microwave steam sterilizer for bottles
  8. GermX
  9. Thermometer for bath water
  10. Bath toy storage container
  11. Temporal thermometer
  12. WET Brush
  13. Crib mattress pad
  14. White hot spoons, bowls, etc.
  15. CD player


  1. 5 Shelf closet organizer (hangs from a bar and allows her to store daily outfits)
  2. WET brush (She's been begging for one for a while. They're supposed to be amazing at getting out tangles.)
  3. Pink step stool from Target (a need because there's still things around the house she can't reach. If both girls have their own, I'll always know who left it out).
  4. Under bed storage tote
  5. Closet organization kit 


  1. Maleficent
  2. Grace (American Girl books)
  3. I Survived book series
  4. Annie (new movie)
  5. Wreck it Ralph
  6. Big Hero 6
  7. Brave
  8. Toy Story movies
  9. The LEGO movie
  10. Muppets Most Wanted (and the first one)

  1. Breast milk storage supplies
  2. Ice pack for breast milk
  3. Washable nursing pads
  4. Company (though please text before you come over!)
  5. Babies R Us and Target gift cards to pick up anything we've forgotten

  1. Amazon gift cards for Kindle
  2. Blue Gatorade
  3. Snacks for power nursing sessions
  4. WalMart gift cards for nursing bras/tanks

Casey's gift cards
WalMart gift cards

Diet Dr. Pepper (so he can stay awake after Baby keeps him up all night.)

That's absolutely everything I can think of. If I've told you something that's not on here, know that I specifically didn't list it because I already told you. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm constantly asking for things; I'm just trying to figure out the most efficient way to let everyone know what we still need. Above all else, we need prayer in the coming weeks. Thanks for all your support!