Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Card Giveaway

My good friend in real life, Meagan, is hosting a giveaway on her blog. She has been given the chance to giveaway 25 Christmas cards from Shutterfly. I LOVE Shutterfly. We have made books, cards and calendars from them. I'm really excited that she has this opportunity to do this. So head on over to her blog and enter into her contest. It ends this weekend, so you might want to hurry up.

-Caren Link

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've Given Up

So after almost 8 months of failure to nurse my child, I've decided to give up trying. I'm not giving up pumping until at least a year, so at least he is still getting the very best from me.

After getting his tongue clipped, another round of crainosacral therapy, and visits with Early Childhood Intervention, it has become apparent that Aaron has "outgrown" his instinct to suck, therefore, making nursing very difficult. He has also sprouted 3 teeth and one on the way. With the fact that he bites down on anything that comes in his mouth, I wasn't about to try to nurse him with those things in there. Ouchy!

However, I am still going to continue to pump for him. It still sucks, but at least I know I am giving him 100% of what he needs. I have a goal to make it a year and I think I can do that. I've been told that once I hit a year, it might be hard for me to stop since it has become such apart of my life for 8 months. I will be gaining 3-4 hours a day by stopping, so we'll see how that works out.

I don't see this as failing completely. Even though I've failed at nursing, I have not failed in giving him what he needs. I've learned about sacrifice and love because being an exclusive pumper is a major sacrifice and, frankly, a big pain in the rear. But my child is not starving. He gets everything he needs and it a great eater when it comes to milk. He is still not eating solids right now, but I'm not worried about that. He will when he's ready and I'm not going to push him.

So there it is folks. 8 months of doctors, lactation consultants, sobbing, soreness, and other professionals, I'm ok with not trying anymore. But for people who say, "I couldn't nurse," I'm here to tell ya, neither could I, but that didn't stop me from pumping to provide for Aaron. Thankfully, I have saved our family so much money over the past 8 months because of my refusal to use formula (except for a month or 2 when my supply was super low). I'm excited to see how the next 4 months or so goes now that I've given in and am no longer stressing about whether or not Aaron will ever nurse.

Thank you to everyone who has and continues to support my decision. Nuge has been such a huge blessing. Without his support, I would not have been able to continue. Also, thank you to Le Leche League of Arlington and For Babies Sake for listening to me, letting me cry, and giving me options and support. I defiantly would have stopped pumping 7 months ago if I hadn't found yall. And to prove that Aaron isn't starving, here is a picture of my sweet little chunkers!

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Step Closer

I am one step closer to nursing my son for the first time.

We had a lactation consultant come out last week and she felt around in Aaron's mouth for like 45 minutes. She concluded that she was about 95% sure that he was tongue tied. He had a very strong gag reflex, a disorganized suck, and a high pallet. I told her that we had already seen an ENT (ears, nose, throat) doctor and he told us Aaron was not tongue tied. When she asked which doctor we saw, it became clear that we saw the wrong doctor. When I made the appointment 4 months ago (when the same LC told me he was tongue tied), the office told me I could get in sooner if I saw the other doctor. So we went in and the other doctor had no clue what type of tongue tie there were. He said that Aaron's mouth was great and there was not a problem. So we tried every other form of "fixin'" we could and nothing seemed to help.

When I called last week to make the 2nd appointment, I told them I wanted to see the other doctor. The nurse asked why and I told her everything that was going on. That we saw the other doctor and he didn't catch the tongue tie and the other one had the experience in what we were looking for. She transferred me to a nurse who promptly told me that she has been in the business for over 30 years and she has never heard of Types 1, 2, 3, or 4 tongue tie and that my LC didn't know what she was talking about and probably couldn't fix the latch so she was pawning me off on someone else. She also told me that some kids just don't nurse and that was probably what was wrong with my kid. I told her that I wanted a 2nd opinion about the tongue tie and tried to remain calm. Inside, I was so upset. How dare her tell me that. I've been struggling for 5 months to get my son to nurse because it is so highly important to me. I just knew it was Satan saying that to me so that I would lose faith in my LC and give up. But I had faith in what Deirdre said and I wasn't going to let that nurse bully me.

Today, Nuge and I drove out to Dallas and saw the correct doctor. He felt around in Aaron's mouth and said that he was, in fact, a little tight. He went ahead and clipped his tongue and that was that. Immediately, Aaron was able to stick his tongue out beyond his lips, which he has never done before. I gave him some breast milk and he calmed down.

So now, we have an appointment with the DO on Thursday to make sure that everything is good to go in Aaron's skull. Once we get that checked out, we will have Deirdre come back out and work with us on his latch.

All of this is working out the way the Lord has planned it. Every step closer that we get is because of His awesomeness. It is because of His strength that I have been able to continue on even though I've been pressured by so many people to give up and just feed Aaron formula. The Lord has carried me emotionally through all of this and I feel that His work is still not done yet. I feel that He will allow my son to nurse! And once he does, all the glory will go to my Lord, Jesus Christ. Because I know that it is not by my own strength that we have made it, but by my Jesus'. So I'm gonna continue to pray for Aaron to nurse and I'd like to ask you to join me. For those of you that know me, this has not been the easiest road. You know my struggles and you know how much this means to me. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FYI: About Breastfeeding Troubles

Just wanted to warn the boys before they read this and heard more than they wanted to hear.

In the past 5 months, I've battled all sorts of nursing problems. It just seems to be one thing after another.

I'm an exclusive pumper. Not by choice, but by necessity. Aaron refuses to latch on. After much heartbreak, tears, sweat, blood, and medication, I've come to terms with it. But it's still something that I am willing to try and praying that the Lord will grant me my heart's desire.

My soreness NEVER went away. I mean never! So anytime I tried to nurse Aaron, it was extremely painful. Pumping was painful showering was painful; shirts were painful; sitting still was painful. I was in constant pain. I had never breastfed before, so I kinda thought it was normal. A lot of people had talked about sore nipples before, so I just thought it was normal.

Aaron also would chomp instead of suck. Not just on me, but on bottles, fingers, pacifiers, or anything else would put in his mouth. That, combined with the soreness was NOT fun!

We tried an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to see if maybe he was tongue tied. He wasn't.

We took Aaron to a chiropractor and he did an adjustment on Aaron and the next day I went to a La Leche League meeting to have support for when I tried to latch him on. He chomped. Chiro didn't work.

I worked with lactation consultants and other nursing moms at LLL and For Babies Sake (another breastfeeding support group). They all were very supportive and gave me things to try. None of it seemed to help.

I showed one of the lactation consultants what was going on with me and she said I probably had staph and needed to see a doctor. So the next day, I made an appointment with a dermatologist. Sure enough, I had severe staph. He treated it. But Aaron still chomped.

I took Aaron to a DO who specializes in cranial sacral therapy. He discovered that Aaron had tension in the side of his skull as well as a jam in the base. He released both of those and the results were immediate. But we still had to wait for me to heal.

Finally I was staph free. When we tried to latch him on again, he freaked out. By this time, he was 3.5 months old and had no idea what those were for. All he knew was that he was hungry and I was trying to present something that wasn't his bottle. So I was going to try a supplemental nursing system. Basically, it's a feeding tube that goes from the bottle and runs next to my nipple so that he gets the idea that "they" are for food. But as soon as I got the feeding tube, I got another infection.

This time, it came with itching, soreness, redness, swelling, etc. I talked to the lactation consultants at my "milk makers anonymous" meeting and they thought it could be either thrush (yeast infection in my nips) or my staph was back. So I used my staph cream and nothing happened. I started to use Monistat 7 per the lactation consultant and nothing happened.
I went back to the doctor today and it turns out, a severe yeast infection. Why does it always have to be "severe"?

So with all that being said and explained, let me encourage the moms that have had similar issues.

I would say, "It gets easier," but with me, it hasn't. It just becomes a part of my life. Painful pump, bottle feeding, bottle cleaning, pump sterilizing, time constraints. I often feel like I'm a slave to my pump. And I guess I am. I pump every 3-4 hours and it takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes. I do power pump sessions which is pump for 15 min, take a break for 15 minutes, repeat for an hour. Take an hour break and do it again. I also wake up in the middle of the night to pump. Aaron has been sleeping through the night since he was about a month and a half old, but I still get up to make sure my supply doesn't diminish. I have pumped in the car on the way to and from Lubbock or after I've been at a certain baseball game for 7 hours. I've taken my pump to my bible studies and have excused myself for 30 minutes to take care of business. I've had to excuse myself at family events and lock myself in a room alone to pump as well. It sucks. It's inconvenient. It's painful. And I hate it!!

But I know that in the end, Aaron is getting everything that is good for him. I am providing him with all the nutrients that he needs. All the antibodies he needs. He is healthy because of what I'm sacrificing.

If you are struggling with breastfeeding issues, I understand. I've been through them. But I can also tell you, don't give up! I've wanted to quit almost every day for the past 5 months, but I'm continuing on. My ultimate goal is 1 year. But right now, my goal is the next pumping session. Through the power of my Lord, I'm able to find the strength to pump one more time. One more day. One more week. I have surrounded myself with people who are supportive of my decision to provide breast milk for my son. I attend meetings with For Babies Sake once a week, every week. I also attend La Leche League meetings and play dates to surround myself with other mommies that share the same ideas that I do about breastfeeding.

It's not easy for everyone. I thought it would be and I think that's why I'm so disappointed in my nursing experience. But because of it, I now want to be able to encourage other moms to continue through the rough patches, infections, and emotional issues that come along with nursing a baby. Maybe I won't be able to be an actual lactation consultant, but I do want to help support other moms that might be on the verge of quitting. Don't quit. Persevere through it and you'll be glad you did.