About Me

I am an insane human being. I have been a wife for 15 plus years, and a mom for almost as long. I had 3 children early on...then struggled with life and IF and loss for 8 years. Thought our family was complete, so I compensated by adopting all the shelter pets. Then we were surprised that our luck changed. Our running total is Parents: 2, Kids: 5, Pets:4. My life is far from perfect, and much of our happiness was hard fought and won, from the death of a parent, job loss and marriage troubles, miscarriage and IF, we have been through it all, and dare I say we made it, with a lot of love and laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Domperidone Experience: Getting Back to Breast

This story is super hard to write about, and I still carry a lot of shame and guilt over this. To this day the only other person who knows this story is my husband. But I feel like I need to tell it here.

Breastfeeding was going perfectly well right from the start, until sometime in the 4th to 5th month. Despite one wonky weigh-in during his 2 month appointment (which I blame on inconsistency with person weighing and how, sometimes they would say no clothes, sometimes clothes, always a diaper...) baby boy was doing well. He was always a very content baby from the start...Happy to be put down and look around, never complaining. I had seen him roll over both ways a couple times but he didn't seem interested in going anywhere. But during that 4th-5th month he was cutting his feeds short. He wasn't crying like he was still hungry, he only actually cried when I tried to keep putting him back on the breast. When I was at work I wasn't pumping as much as I had been, but I didn't think anything of it really. One day during his 5th month I just started to think he was kind of skinny-looking. All of my breastfed babies were long and lean, but he just looked...tiny. I felt like he had barely nursed that day, so I grabbed one of the sample cans of formula and a bottle...and when he saw the bottle he went nuts, crying and fussing. And he ate a ton. And I melted down. My baby was hungry and I was starving him. I am making light of it here, but trust me when I say it was bad. I was a hysterical, depressed mess for 3 straight days. I had enormous guilt and shame that I didn't notice sooner. What kind of mother was I?? I don't deserve to have these five children. I thought for sure people would judge me if they knew...she has too many kids, she can't handle it, her baby was barely eating and it took weeks for her to notice.

What happened? My best guess is that the bottle my husband was using was from my (at the time) 2 year old, and wasn't functioning properly. The baby was getting suuuuper fast feeds from the bottle, and went on a nursing strike, refusing to nurse after the initial let down of milk. He became lazy and didn't want to work for the milk. I noticed the first time I used that nipple that day that something was wrong, but I never gave him a bottle before that. I never even saw him drink from a bottle, so I couldn't catch it, and my husband obviously didn't. He just thought he was a fast drinker. All this is hindsight, of course. I also realized he had slowed down in his pooping and was pretty gassed, but those were all things that can be normal in a breastfed baby. It took me a little bit to put it all together.

After talking with Lactation nurses and googling everything, I decided I would order Domperidone and use that. Of course it's not approved in the US, but it's not unsafe as our friends in Canada have widely proved so I wasn't worried. And I was desperate. I wanted to feed my baby. I didn't want him to have bottles of formula. I wasn't ready for it to end like this. So while I waited on the Domperidone to arrive from Vanuatu, I basically didn't leave the house for 2 weeks. I nursed the baby, I supplemented with a bottle right after, and I pumped right after all of that, around the clock, usually every 2 hours. I was manic about it. I have no idea how I even found the time, looking back. But I did it. As far as plumping my baby up, I had 2 weeks until his 6 month check-up. I was on a mission to make sure he wasn't underweight. So we made his supplemental bottles calorie heavy with extra formula. I also beefed up any pumped breastmilk he got with formula. I also wasn't picky...we used all the different free cans I had gotten in the mail. He never had any issues with any of it. He visibly plumped up quickly, and had actually shot way up on the growth curve by that 6-month check-up just 2 short weeks later.

The domperidone came within that 2 weeks, and I immediately took a dose. It took me a few days to figure out how much to take and how often, but there is a ton of info online that helped me with this. Within a couple days my breast were becoming engorged again, my pumping output was much better so I knew I had milk. Now I just had to figure out how to convince my baby I had enough milk for him. The goal was being consistent about nursing and pumping, and I was quickly building up a huge freezer stash of milk. It only took about a month before his supplements were all breastmilk bottles. Slowly each day he would nurse longer and take less from the bottle until one day I was just able to nurse him again for a full feed and not need a bottle. I think he was around 7 months when that finally happened. I never would have been able to get my supply back if it weren't for the Domperidone.

About the Domperidone: I am not going to put my dosage on here because I am no doctor and didn't have any doctor in my life tell me how to take it. I was on and stayed on a higher-end dose because I didn't want my baby to go in another strike if he suddenly had to work for milk. It took a lot of work to earn his trust back, I certainly didn't want to jeopardize that. Domperidone works to increase breastmilk by raising your prolactin levels, which is why it can make non-post-pardum people lactate. Raised prolactin levels is actually a side-effect of the drug and not it's intended use. It is actually an anti-nausea medication that works by speeding up your GI system. The first time, and occasionally when I would take it, I would be running to the bathroom. I only had to use some Imodium once or twice. I most often noticed this on the first dose of the day. Another side-effect I experienced was weight gain. I'm not sure how it makes you gain weight when it rapidly empties your stomach (unless it makes you eat more?) but I gained quite a bit, all other things being equal. This happened despite a weight-loss program I had gone on right when starting this medication. I easily gained 30lbs, although it could have been 40. I don't own a scale, but know that I dropped quite a bit in the couple months after weaning down from the highest dose I was on, and I was still almost 20lbs over where I was when I first started taking it. From what I have read weight gain is more likely, and increases, the higher the dose. I also stopped getting my period, and my sex-drive took a nose-dive. Sex was uncomfortable because of the dryness. This doesn't last because every step down I took from the medication, the better things got, and all my "signs of fertility" and beginning to return. I actually think I just ovulated about 10 days ago, after dropping down to the last pill and then stopping completely within a week.

My baby is fine, thriving, and happy. Despite feeling absolutely horrible when all this started, I can now look back at pictures of him during that time and not melt down. He doesn't look like the starved baby I then thought he was at the time. He is still happy and smiling. But I will always hold mommy guilt that I didn't notice sooner that my milk tanked (or was tanking.)

But for anyone struggling, it is possible to get your baby back to breast. It is possible to fix your milk supply if you want to. Domperidone works and, for me, is safe.

Monday, March 27, 2017

MicroBlog Mondays:5 Random things

1.) Parenting a teenager is hard. Like Duh, right?! Everyone says that, but no one tells you just how much it sucks when you have to make tough calls regarding discipline. We just had a major issue to deal with, and I was hoping after it was all over I would have a sense of peace about it. But it just feels shitty. And makes me sad. Even though we made the only right call. It really sucks. I don't think I can apologize enough to my own mom for being such a shitty teenager.

2.) I have caught my third cold in 3 months, one for every month of this year so far. I know it's because of all the toddler sharing of germ-y kisses and cups, no matter how much I try to avoid it. I need to buy stock in Kleenex.

3.) I am impatiently waiting for 2 shows to come back with new episodes on Netflix. One is mid-April, the other m-d-late May. I've binged the first 2 seasons of Kimmy Schmidt, Love, LoveSick, Arrested Development, Chelsea Does, Chelsea, Lady Dynamite, a few indie movies, and a couple stand up comedy specials over the last year. I tried watching Shameless but it was a bit too gritty for me. I was thinking of Santa Clarita Diet or The Crown next. Does anyone have any recommendations?

4.)I am excited to go shopping tomorrow for supplies for the Easter Egg Hunt I will do with my kids on Spring Break in a couple weeks. Even the older ones still enjoy doing this, but I think they stop doing one in school in like 3rd or 4th grade. I buy lots of candy and cool little trinkets to stuff the eggs with. I hate the little plastic eggs because I always find them under couches long after Easter is over but that's OK. Maybe I will do a picture post of this if I can get my ish together and remember. I think I am so excited to do the shopping because I am going after a doctor appointment since the party store is in the same area, and I will be kid-free to take my time and shop without rushing. Or buying a million extra things I don't need.

5.) A couple weeks ago my dearest friend and I met up for happy hour, which was a big deal. We both moved at the exact same time, but moved in opposite directions of each other, and the area where she used to live is the halfway point between our houses now. Also, right after I had baby boy, she went in for weight-loss surgery and has spent the last year recovering from that while I was busy trying to keep my head above water with a toddler and a new baby. We talk often, but phone calls end up lasting hours long and involve a ton of kiddo interruptions, so finally we just picked a half-way point and told our husbands they were on for the night. Other than my sister, she is the only other person who truly gets me and my life, and it was one of those good-for-your-soul get togethers. One reason I love and cherish our friendship so much is because it is so balanced and even. I don't have Snapchat, but she does so we spent a lot of time goofing off at our table taking pictures. Here is one of my favorites from the night.

Stirrupqueens.com for More Micro-Blog Mondays Posts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Random Thoughts

I experienced more work drama this past week. Luckily, this wasn't personal in nature or having anything to do directly, but I did happen to be involved by default. I didn't do anything wrong, so all is good. But let me just say that people are freaking crazy. People in high positions are especially freaking crazy. Kindness will always rule over nastiness, and I am not sure why everyone doesn't just understand this. ESPECIALLY when it comes to people who are caregivers or those handling your food.

My dryer is still broken. Repair guy came Monday and said he fixed it. Well, he fixed one problem which was no heat, but there were related problems so on the first load it kept shutting down. After a lot of fighting, someone is coming out Thursday, instead of the following Monday. So much headache. And pethair. The dryer does wonders for collecting pet hair out of the blankets and clothes. Hang drying them does not good, so I feel like there is an abundance of dog hair floating around.

Teaching a teenager how to drive is supremely nerve wracking. I have no idea how anyone ever learns how to drive. I really don't have the temperament to sit in a car with a learning driver. I just want to scream and close my eyes. But I can't so it's really hard. I wish I could pay someone to do it for me, seriously.

I am pretty sure I just had my first Ovulation in a year, thanks to weaning off of the domperidone. Unfortunately, that means my milk supply is pretty much gone at this point. Which really makes me kind of sad. I was hoping to keep the nighttime nursing session, but he is rejecting it and I'm pretty sure it's because I don't have very much milk now. He's 16 months, and I had it in my head that I would nurse him until he was totally walking full time, which he now is. But I can't help but be a little sad at this, especially since he acts like he still wants to nurse. And after struggling so damn hard to get him back to nursing and fix my supply 11 months ago, I just feel so very guilty and sad about this. But I couldn't stay on the domperidone any longer. I fee like there should be more fanfare if he was the last Baby I will ever nurse.

Toddler Boy hasn't been feeling well this week, so it's made for some very long and boring days. It finally want too cold or muddy yesterday so we played outside for a while which was nice. Then it's back to cold today. I can't wait until the weather just makes up its damn mind.

My niece turned 22 today. Which is just crazy to me, because I was there when she was born, and I got to cut her cord. I was a junior in high school, and she is about to graduate college. Man that makes me feel so old.

I have a million spring cleaning items I need to do, but I have no idea where to start. I have a desk piled high with papers and other junk. It's the catch-all area, a hidden room off of the den that's part-office, part dumping ground for things that have no place. There's a door so we don't have to look at it. But it's bad and I can't find anything. It's just so overwhelming, and I need a day without toddlers underfoot so I can get it done. My walk-in closet in the master bedroom is also a mess. I have clothes and items that have. When outgrown and out in there for storage, but it's getting a little out of control. And the coat closet is a mess, but until the weather decides to warm up for good, all the cold weather stuff still has to be accessible.

This month is kind of a quiet month with not much going on. April will definitely pick up. We have Easter and Spring break and all the fun activities we do for that, a concert, a NASCAR race, my sister's birthday, and already a few appointments on the calendar. I can't believe we are already looking at the 4th month of the year already. Time is just flying.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

When it rains...

In my last post I mentioned that during a snow event, my dryer decided to break. That's been so. Much. Fun. Because of course we had like 6 loads of laundry that needed to be done, plus all the wet snow clothes. We literally hung clothes and towels on every available surface on my first floor, including cabinet doors and the blades of the ceiling fans. I could have gone to a laundromat or my mom's, but it's been windy and freezing, and the idea of lugging heavy, wet loads out of the house to anywhere just sounded really unappealing. The stupid thing is we actually have a brand new, spare dryer. But it's electric, and we don't have that hook-up here. We got a quote for that when we moved in, but it seemed like a lot of money to me and we didn't actually need the hook up at the time so we didn't have it done. Hindsight and whatnot. I do have a home warranty so I can get it fixed for the nominal service fee, which is awesome. But it also means going through the process and parts are likely to need to be ordered, so it won't be fixed quickly, but it will be (relatively) cheap. My brother-in-law in another state talked my husband through what it would be to run the electrical himself, but my husband has never messed with electrical and it seems...risky. It involves tapping into the main electrical box, and if he makes a mistake could mean a several-thousand-dollar fix by a real electrician, and possible death, so yeah. Plus, the cost of the material needed alone is more than our service fee, and he won't know it didn't work until it doesn't work, meaning we wouldn't be able to return anything at that point and recoup any money. So, we wait.

I haven't been sleeping well at all for the past week. Between totally weaning from the domperidone and the time change, I'm a freaking mess. My hormones are going crazy trying to regulate I think. I'm flashing hot and cold day and night. Nighttime is the worst because I'm like dying hot going to bed and rolling over constantly trying to find a cool spot. Then eventually I start to be freezing cold, but 5 minutes after I pile on the layers I'm sweating again. The thermostat is right where it always is, so it's obviously me. Not sleeping well is making for a very cranky me, so I hope my body gets itself together soon. My gyn is going to love talking to me at my annual visit in 2 weeks.

Today one of my dogs found a way out of my yard. We have a fence, but it's pretty crappy in some spots, which we rigged up when we realized there was a hidden hole she found. We had a company come out when we moved in and they wanted nearly $4K to replace the fence with the same crappy design we have now, which doesn't work for our dogs. To get the type of fence we ideally need, it was $10K. So we opted to get a much more affordable invisible fence. Only at the time we only got 2 collars for the smaller, more mischievous dogs that were going under, around, and through to get out. Our bigger dog never tried to get out, and we figured we were safe because she could easily leap over the fence if she wanted. And we mostly were, until this hole presented itself and she walked right on through. So we rigged it, but the weather must have knocked the piece down. So my poor husband has to come home and trudge through the icy snow to figure out how to fix it again.

On top of the fence business, he is also trying to fix our basement. I wrote a little over a year ago about how we had a sewer back up in our basement. It wasn't bad, but in my foggy post-pardum state decided to make an insurance claim to get the water cleaned up. I just thought that's what you do. Well, I won't ever make a claim again. Not only did they immediately raise my rate, but I got a letter about a week ago asking for proof that we fixed everything. Apparently this is standard before a policy renewal, so they say, but no one I know has ever heard of this. Of course we had not made the repairs. Because. The area that got wet was our laundry area, and for some reason the carpet came right up to in front of the washer and dryer. So the carpet that was cut out was a big square in front and a small portion to the side of that area. They also cut out 3 parts of the lower drywall, about a foot high each. They took out much more than was actually damaged of both the wall and the carpet. This is the area that boxed in the washer/dryer. It is all off to the side of the main room, right next to the utility room. Initially we were going to put down hardwood flooring and get rid of all the carpet, but it's the kids' area, and they balked, saying the carpet made it more cozy. But then they also proved they couldn't not spill stuff and take food/drinks down there, and I didn't want to get brand new carpeting. Then we had water back up a few more times in that same area and realized that carpeting that area again was a bad idea. So life went on and we didn't fix any of it, and really sort of forgot about it. It's a laundry area and looks like it. Plus, kids toys got put in that corner and you couldn't see the walls anyway. So fast-forward to now, we have to have it fixed to provide either pictures or receipts that says the work is done by the 20th. If we don't, I am guessing they won't renew our policy. So we had to quickly think up a plan to make it looked fixed enough for pictures. My husband fixed and cut the small bit of drywall, and we decided since it's a laundry room area we put down those stick-on flooring tiles that won't get ruined if they get wet again. Currently there are a few more tiles to lay, wall to paint, and trim to nail in. Then I can email over pictures of this tiny little area and it will all be good. But man.

I hope nothing else decides to break down this week. It's utterly impossible to get anything done with toddlers around. The littlest one got mobile and so the steps are his favorite place to hang out. And he just figured out to climb up onto the dining room table and literally try and swing from the chandelier. My mom is super-busy doing her seasonal tax job, so I literally have no back up during the day to try and work on any of this. My poor, wonderful husband.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow is Yuck.

My Toddler boy who is now 3 was born during a Polar Vortex. It was bitter cold when we brought him home from the hospital. Needless to say, he isn't a fan of cold weather. The first 2 winters he was old enough, I tried in vain to bundle him in a snowsuit and boots and take him outside. This was a futile attempt because he would scream and cry and kick off his boots and yank his gloves off with his teeth and throw himself all around in the snow in tears, despite having older siblings who were bey clearly enjoying the snow and trying to take him with them down the hill on a sled. I have even tried just letting him walk out on our deck and check out the snow, giving him a chance to see and touch it on his own terms without having to get all bundled up. Once he got his hands on the cold wet snow, he had had enough. He loves playing in the water so I even let him go out in tennis shoes to stomp around, but nope. If he made it 5 minutes, that was a long time.

He was the only one of my kids who had never been sledding. I couldn't even find the 3T snowsuit, having never pulled it out of storage because why bother. He was out shopping with my husband on Sunday and when the cashier told him that there was going to be snow coming, he promptly said "I no like snow. Snow is Yuck."

So today we woke up to snow. Not the 1-2 feet like they were predicting when I went to bed last night. We got maybe 6 inches of snow with some ice on top, and that's being generous. We haven't had any other substantial snow all winter so this was our last chance. I got up and told all the kids to get dressed and moving, we were going outside in the snow. My darling 3 year old once again told me "Snow is Yuck." But then he watched our crazy dogs go outside, jumping around kicking and biting and throwing around all that glorious white stuff. He laughed and laughed at them. My husband and I bundled the little guys in too small snow suits (that's what happens when it's freaking March and I pulled out the snow stuff way back in October!) and took them outside. At first little 3 year old winced at the cold wet air hitting his face. But then I showed him the little sleds and a small enough hill to go down that was fast enough for him but easy to climb back up. Then he realized I could just pull him around in the "baby" sled. Then he realized we could kind of make a snow man, and oh look at that I can make a ball and throw it. And I can kick and knock my snowman down. Hey, it's fun to stomp around in the snow! So we played until his clothes were soaked through. After lunch he promptly passed out in my arms.

We went back out a little bit later after a nap and a snack. This time the older kids were just coming back from the big-kid hill and played with us. I actually got to take some video of him sledding and of the sibling snowball fight. I came back in as it started to get dark, only to discover that my dryer broke. So now I have a million articles of wet snow clothes plus other laundry hanging all over my house. School is already on a delay for tomorrow with a possible cancellation, and all I can think of is not having a dryer to properly dry snow clothes. Maybe my toddler was right after all.

Monday, March 13, 2017

MicroBlog Mondays: Favorite Pictures

I love having my phone as my camera, because not only can I capture random, mundane moments I would otherwise miss, but also because I can always have them with me. I can scroll through favorite moments and always have my family close, even when we are apart. I also find gems that my kids take when I'm not looking. Everything from selfie after funny-faced selfie, to the floor of the car, to funny things happening in the background of life. Usually I blog from my phone, and I can't figure out how to quickly pull pictures over to blogger, so I never add any. Today I am lucky enough to be on the laptop, so I thought I would share some of my favorites over the last 6 months or so. I have a million more than I was able to post, but here is a sampling. And since blogger is being dumb and won't allow me to caption individual pictures, these are trees peaking in my backyard, one year old pleased with his destruction of his smash cake, practicing blowing candles out with older brother, getting to blow his own candles out, a rare occasion of a clean room, brother love, my first batch of cookies done during the harried and crazy holiday season (a victory for sure), doggie snuggles, baby sweetness, cool shot from NYC trip, and my favorite room in the winter. In no particular order. My girls are absent from this collection only because I didn't really have any from this time frame that were my favorite or just featured them.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Microblog Monday-Sisters/Siblings

My two oldest children are girls, 2 weeks shy of 4 years apart. They shared a room at one point several years ago, but we had to separate them because it was nonstop fighting and I couldn't handle it. This was probably when they were about 5 and 9. My oldest was often the bossy, bully-ish big sister and not very helpful. There was never a point where I could have left her in charge of her two closest siblings, even for a short period of time. My younger daughter would often try and ask for homework advice, as her sister had all the same teachers and did most of the same projects, but she usually got met with grumpiness and an unwillingness to be helpful. It used to break my heart for my younger daughter, and I spent so much time talking to my older one about how mean and hurtful she was being. Her little sister even stood up to bullies for her, taking no crap and calling them out when she would see her older sister get picked on.

But nature has a way of working things out, or time rather. The older they both got, the better the situation started to become. When we moved to the new area, but three older kids really started relying on each other more. The first summer we spent in this house they spent it together, camping out in the basement together, or exploring the neighborhood together. It was so nice to not have them always fighting! My oldest has taken them to football games and after-game hangouts at the local diner, and they often go either one-on-one or as a group to hang out around the neighborhood together. It's so awesome to see that when one of them wants company, they seek the others out and offer to go do something together. They also will often conspire together to ask for something special from us, or one convinces the other to sneak into the kitchen to whip up a batch of late-night cookies. I think sometimes they figure if they are all involved and not bugging me to do it, I won't balk at the mess (or the cookie sheets that always end up being put away dirty.)

The relationship that has really made me the happiest to watch bloom is the one between the two girls. Because my sister has always been, and will always be, my idol and the person closest to me, the only one I want to talk to when things are crappy, or when things are awesome. She is 9 years older than me, but she has absolutely always been my idol ever since I could walk. She just gets me, and accepts me for me. She is the only one who never asked or expected me to be anyone other than who I was. We live in different states now, but we talk all the time and I still miss her.

When my youngest daughter got her first period, after I comforted her, she wanted her sister. Then she was ok. This past week she had a particularly crappy week, that all came to a head Friday after school. I was given a heads up a little before school let out that it was going to be a crappy time. I knew my oldest wasn't going to be home until later that night. I almost texted her anyway telling her that her sister was going to need her, but I decided not to. After I had held and calmed and talked, shed asked if her older sister was home, and said she needed her. She asked several times that evening when she would be home. She needed her sister. And it made me aware of how much I still need mine, and I called her and immediately felt lighter.

When she wakes up with a bad dream, or there is a loud storm, she goes and climbs in bed with her sister.

Later that night she didn't want to be alone. Despite a lot of recent fighting between them, (thanks, stupid girl hormones) she sought out her brother. They watched a movie together and camped out in the basement for the night. They might be mean and yell and fight, but when the chips are down they all seem to step up.

I grew up with lots of siblings, but we were all spread out. Still, my best memories are the ones with a full house and lots of chaos. I remember being my youngest daughter's age (12) and really relying on my older siblings despite the large gap in age. I remember how close I was to my older brothers, and how I found solace in them in a way I couldn't with my parents. I knew how important those relationships were in my life; I just really didn't grasp how important they are in my children's lives until now.

It's really cool too see my Toddler boy kiss his baby brother on the head, or hand him a toy, or take his hands in his and walk with him the way he sees us do. But it is really something special to witness my older children needing and reaching out to each other, to put aside the fighting and arguing, and come together to lift each other up and comfort each other in a way that no one else can.

And I realize that THAT is where my desire for more children comes from. To do what my Dad did for me, that I never even realized until now. To build this family that will always have each other long after I'm gone. So that they always have someone who lived the same life growing up, that can relate to them like no one else. And also, so they will always have a group of people who will love them unconditionally for who they are, who can share in their trials and triumphs, and who will always have their back. Just like I know that I know that no matter the miles or the time apart, I have a group of people I can pull from. I could show up on a doorstep in the middle of the night and I would have refuge from the storm. I know it won't always be smooth sailing. But family is forever.