Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Exclusively Pumping the beginning

Over the past 13 months I have been exclusively pumping for Clare. I struggled for 3 months trying to get her to nurse and accepting the fact that she never would. I started pumping in the hospital, but I didn't want to give up. I had NO IDEA that exclusively pumping was even a "thing" people did. I had NO idea what I was doing either. 

I could probably write a book about exclusively pumping... It could probably get published too. There is little knowledge, support or awareness about exclusively pumping. Not many lactation consultants -(LC's) even recommend it. I think they live in their own perfect world where everyone breastfeeds and it's so damn easy. 

After my daughter was born I put her skin to skin with me. It was the most amazing feeling ever. I couldn't believe that in 20 minutes I pushed out a beautiful HUMAN! 
After she got cleaned up I tried breastfeeding. They nurse helped me get Clare latched on... She made it look so easy. I thought to myself, awesome here we go! The second she left clare popped off and when I tried to get her back on it was impossible. 

The next couple of times I tried to breastfeed it was the same thing, the nurse would hang out for like 30 seconds and leave. I was struggling so bad. One of the nurses asked me if I wanted to pump... I said, "Sure!" (Mind you I was still waiting for the LC to come by and see me.) I would have never thought to do that! So I pumped and my husband gave Clare her first bottle, see picture below :)

Monday December 30th 10am

Today is the day we get discharged. It's 10am we are about an hour or two away from heading home. I was STILL waiting to see an LC for the first time. The nurses had come in and helped me latch; they always made it look so easy... It wasn't. It was painful... It was hard... It was impossible to get Clare to latch on my own. My husband would try and help me but he was as clueless as I was. 

So I asked a nurse when I was going to see an LC as we were LEAVING soon. She told me one would be coming soon and to make sure to hide my daughters paci because they would probably yell at me! WTF??? I did what they told because I was not in any type of mood to argue with some random woman and it just seemed easier. (Some people think that a paci and bottle will give the baby nipple confusion and will hinder them from latching correctly or at all) 

So in walks this woman, I don't  remember her name but I will never forget what she said to me, "So, I see that you gave your daughter a bottle this morning?! That probably wasn't the best choice... You should have used a syringe." I think I was so shocked I didn't even process what she said in the moment. It was probably a combination of the drugs, the exhaustion and the shock of, "holy shit I just had a baby!"

She grabbed my daughter's head, which I thought was a little rough, and shoved her on to my breast... Was she thinking the harder you push the better the latch will be?? It didn't feel right, I didn't feel comfortable and she didn't TEACH me... She did it for me and that was that. Have you ever heard the saying, teach a kid to cook and he can feed himself forever? Yeah.. This lady needs to hear that one. 

Ugh, another thing that didn't help my situation; I asked the nurse to write me a perscription for a breast pump. She told me that the only way my insurance would cover it would be if my child was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)  and even then it would be a manual pump... I wanted to cry. I had spoken with someone from my insurance company months before I had Clare and they said no problem they would cover one. I never thought to ask what kind. So not only was I going home feeling like I had NO idea what I was doing, I was going home without a breast pump... Honestly I don't think I would have known what to do with it anyway! I did no research on my own... I went home more confused than I ever had been in my life! Which I guess isn't surprising since I'd never had a baby before. :-D

Note: make sure you call your insurance in advance, ask them WHAT KIND of breast pump they cover. Can you pay an extra amount of money to get a better pump? I had no idea that was even an option. Ask a million questions. Don't feel afraid! There is no such thing as a stupid question. 

So during the first week we were home I tried constantly to get Clare to latch. Most of the time I was either unsuccessful or it was so painful I wanted to cry. My mother in law and father in law were so extremely thoughtful; they picked me up a Tommy Tippie breast pump from target. It was a godsend. I was able to relieve myself and feed Clare! 

My cousin Lisa had voiced to me months and months before that she had a breast pump she could give me if I wanted it. It was time to call in a favor! I texted messages my cousin and she OVER NIGHTED ME her pump!! I was SO thankful! So my pumping journey officially started here! 

Here was this pump sitting in front of me and let me tell you I had NO IDEA what to do with it. Back to my Mommyhood group I went! I wish I could remember the girl that told me about the group Exclusively Pumping Group because I would send her the biggest thank you ever!! This group taught me everything I plan to share with you about being a pumping mama!

Honestly the first couple of weeks were a blur, as I stated above I was going 5-6 hours between pumps because my daughter had to go to the hospital 2x a day to get her blood drawn for jaundice. It wasn't until our over night stay at the hospital did I really say, "ok, maybe this is the road that is going to work for us."  when it came to pumping. I asked to see an LC before we left. My husband wasn't too happy about this because he was satisfied with me pumping; with knowing how much milk she was getting. I'm sure the exhaustion from being up the majority of the night didn't help. (One of us had to be awake to make sure that Clare didn't ripe the shades off of her eyes.)

This LC changed my POV on LC's. She was so kind, supportive and informational. The words she said to me will stay with me forever, she said "I personally don't care how a baby gets breastmilk as long as they get breastmilk." So now I had a little more "support" on my pumping journey. 

So we got home from the hospital around 2pm Saturday afternoon and I started having some major pain in my left breast. I went to my pumping group to ask what was wrong and they told me the basics of pumping. Making sure I was pumping every 2 hours, massage the area that hurts as it is most likely a clogged milk ducts, take hot hot showers and let the water hit your breasts, the hot water will get your milk flowing. Little did I know I was on my way to a nasty bout of mastitis. 

For those of you who don't know what mastitis is, it is an infected milk duct. It is one of the most painful things I've ever delt with. I had flu like symptoms Sunday; chills, body aches, I could not get warm, and a fever of 102.4-103. About 10-15 moms told me to call the on-call doctor and tell them I have mastitis and to call me in an antibiotic asap. My amazing husband went out at 12am and got my antibiotic. Over the next couple of days my symptoms didn't get any better. I went in for a visit and I got a different antibiotic. It took 2 weeks, another doctors visit and another 1/2 script of antibiotics to get ride of it. If you ever get this make sure you call your doctor ASAP, it is not something to fool around with. (Note, you can still feed baby the milk and you will see a dip in your supply). 

Please see my next post of a whole lot more tips I have polled my two groups on. There are some amazing tips that you wouldn't want to pump without. I hope you will find my posts helpful and please feel free to add any advice to any of my posts for other readers!! 

Gestational diabetes

September 27th 8:45am

I'm at my OB's office for my glucose test. The drink wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, but the fasting was horrible. Thankfully the nurse let me lay down in one of the NST (neonatal stress test) rooms. I was able to sleep while waiting to get my blood taken a couple of times. During your glucose test, for those of you who haven't been pregnant, they are testing how your body essentially reacts to sugar. Something to do with insulin levels... See this website and this one to read more about the test and GD 

Anyway, so skip ahead two weeks have gone by and I didn't hear from anyone.  I'm now at my 28 week appointment with doctor McBride. The nurse does all the routine stuff, blood pressure, weight (ugh) and asks me how I'm feeling. Then about 15 minutes later Dr. McBride comes in and also asks me how I'm feeling, then proceeds to tell me I have gestational diabetes. I was honestly shocked! I couldn't believe it! Not one doctor at ONE appointment told me I needed to watch my weight, that it was getting too high too fast, to watch what I was eating or anything. I could barely even breathe. I felt so guilty. I played it cool in the doctors room shaking my head and everything he was saying, hearing nothing. I left the office and as soon as I got out to my car I started balling! 

I was a failure, I was a horrible mother already! I was putting my unborn child in some kind of danger; I had no idea what kind because I didn't hear a word the doctor said. I blamed myself for this. It was ALL. MY. FAULT! I couldn't contain my emotions; I cried whenever I told someone. It was a baaaaad day for me. 

I called the next day to schedule an appointment to go through a diabetes class but it wouldn't be until Monday; it was Friday! How was I going to make it through the weekend?? 

Thanks to my best friend Kathryn I was a member of a large Mommy group on Facebook. I posted that I had GD and what the heck should I do!? So many moms posted their experiences, one mom personally messages me and was so helpful! Another mom told me about the group Gestational Diabetes on Facebook. 

I won't go into details about it, but let me tell you that when I say this group saved my life I do not exaggerate. I couldn't have made it through the last 20 weeks of my pregnancy without those ladies! (And of course the support from my husband and family) There is something about being a part of a group of moms who are going through the exact same thing (or even worse) you are! It was mind settling and I posted almost daily!

So needless to say by the time I got to my appointment Monday I knew more than the woman teaching the class. Between the advice from mommies and doing my own research I knew everything about it. I knew what I should and shouldn't eat. That was the last day I ate any fruit until Clare was born! (There is lots of sugar in fruit.. GD doesn't discriminate sugar is sugar and carbs are carbs). The fear with GD is, if you eat too much sugar or too many carbs and your body can't create enough insulin the extra sugar will go to baby. That will make baby not only grow faster but once they come out of your belly their body will have a harder time controlling their sugar levels as well. 

The first couple of weeks were hard getting used to a new life style.. I had to prick my finger 4 times a day! Once in the morning when I woke up, before I ate,  2 hours after breakfast, 2 hours after lunch and 2 hours after dinner. Between each meal I was allowed a snack and also one before bed. You had to be careful with your night time snack because it could effect your morning numbers! I am thankful I do not have diabetes after experiencing GD. By the end of my pregnancy I was a pro, I didn't freak out so much about what I was eating.

I will say, the one perk to having GD was I got to see my baby once a week and hear her heartbeat twice a week! I had to have NST's once a week and ultrasounds once a week. I didn't mind one bit having to go to the doctors office twice I week. Those ultrasounds were so amazing. Who wouldn't want to see their baby every single week! 

During the last couple weeks of my pregnancy, Clare did give me a scary and I had to go to the hospital to get monitored. She was normally an extremely active baby, as she is now! But this day I didn't feel her moving at all. I was so scared, I was nervous and I couldn't concentrate. I left work a little early and drove to Beaumont. As soon as I got to the labor and delivery floor guess what..?? Clare started doing aerobics in my belly! 

If you or someone you know has gestational diabetes IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! It took me a long time to realize that. It is just something that happens. You can control it by watching your die, which I plan to do next baby. But whatever you do, save yourself the anxiety, the guilt and the blame and accept that you have it and figure out how you're going to deal with it. Let everyone around you know how you're feeling about it and you'd appreciate their support. Don't be embarrassed to ask questions and request special meals. I was always so embarrassed to go to anyone's use in fear of being a burden; I have to have something special, it's going to take too much time to make my own food... how much of this can I eat?

If there is one piece of advice I can give is this: don't stress yourself out! That can cause your numbers to actually go up! If you eat something and you're number is high one day, try better the next meal, the next day! Go for a walk, exercise LOWERS your numbers. :)

EDIT: I wanted to add that Clare came out a healthy 6# 13oz and 19 1/2 in. They tested her sugar levels twice and all was good!

Please feel free to leave comments below if you have ANY questions for me! I will do my best to answer them!! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chicken Piccata

Last night we had my parents over for dinner before they left for their trip to Vegas! I decided to make my go to meal, chicken piccata! (we normally have it a couple times a month) it is so delicious! Last night we had it with brussels sprouts  and spatzel. (German noodles, we serve the chicken piccata over them) 

The recipe calls for chicken breasts but I use chicken tenders most of the time. We get them in bulk from Costco. 

The first thing you do is make sure the chicken is clean, I run it under cold water and make sure all the chicken slim (yuk) is off. Put flour (whatever kind of flour you want to use, whole wheat, whole wheat white or just white flour) either on a plate or in a ziplock bag (which I found found to be easier and leaves less of a mess, thanks for the tip from my Mother-in-law). Add salt and pepper to the bag. Salt and pepper the chicken and then add it to the bag and shake or put it on the plate and dredge both side shaking off the excess flour. 

Get a large pan out and add a couple tablespoons of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil ) and turn the burner on medium-high. Once the oil is hot add the chicken, (you can use whatever amount of chicken you would like.) let the chicken brown on one side and then flip to brown the other. 

Once both sides have browned and the chicken is cooked through remove to a plate. 

Add one can of chicken stock to the pan to deglaze the pan, to get all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan,  1/2- 1 lemon depending on how "lemony" you like things (I normally add even more (: ) and a jar of capers. Bring this mixture to a boil and then add the chicken back to the pan. Reduce to a simmer and let sit for 5 or so minutes. It's best to serve quickly because the sauce will continue to reduce. 

 Now I like a lot of sauce so I normally add an extra 1/2-2/3 can of chicken stock and another 1/2 lemon. Last night we also added a little white wine and it was so yummy! 

I have made this recipe my own so it does not follow the recipe perfectly. 

I sadly did not take a picture of it played because we are so late and we were all starving :) but next time I make it I will try to remember to take a picture. I hope you enjoy this recipe and make it one of your family recipes. I got the recipe from Giada   De Laurentiis cook book. See link below. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

And it's a...... GIRL!

August 12th, 2013 8:00am

Anthony and I are at the gyno's office waiting to have our 20 week ultrasound, which will reveal the gender of our peanut! It was a day we were anticipating for a long time! That night we would be reveling the gender to our family (my sister and brother-in-law via FaceTime). We had asked everyone to wear either pink or blue depending on what they thought we were having. Boys run in the DiTrapani family. Anthony comes from a famliy of 4 boys and his cousins combine have 8 boys; so the majority thought it was a boy. My father in law was so convinced it was a boy, he started calling the baby Anthony Jr.  (HA little did He know...)

"Jamie... Dit..ra..pani" The nurse calls us back. (No one can ever say our last name right.. I'm starting to learn to deal with it). We anxiously get up and walk back into the ultrasound room. This is our 3rd ultrasound (I felt so big that at my 12 or 16 week appointment I told my doctor that I thought I might be having twins so I got an extra ultrasound (:) I got up on the chair and anticipated the cold feeling of the jelly they squirt on your belly. I looked up and there she was, our beautiful baby! She had gotten so big! My husband was holding my hand and the ultrasound tech started talking in the normal foreign language about the fluids and this and that.. then she said, "So would you like to find out if you're having a girl or a boy?!"

Me, personally I am a planner but, and I surprised myself feeling this way, I didn't really care if we found out. I would probably have been okay most of the time not knowing what we were having. My husband on the other hand said we were finding out, there were no if, and's or but's! I did not fight him; he didn't get to carry the baby, feel the baby kick (from the inside of course) so I wanted to give him something concrete to have.

She asked us if we had a feeling of what the baby was. I responded, "My husband has a feeling that it is a girl, my father in law on the other hand is convinced it is a boy. Boys run in their family!" I on the other hand have no idea, no feeling.

The ultrasound Tech responded, "Well it looks like dad is right!" My response was, "so we're having a boy??" and she said, "No it is a girl!" I was not use to hearing my husband called Dad! I thought she was talking about my FIL! I was shocked. My husband was right in his feeling! WE ARE HAVING A GIRL!

Now came the hard part... keeping it to ourselves until later that night! My father in law was calling all day, he even stopped by trying to get the gender of the baby out of us! We almost slipped many times. I actually did slip but thankfully no one caught it.

You can see from the pictures posted who thought it was a girl and who thought it was a boy!

My father in law came straight from work, but he would have had blue on. My husbands Aunt Cheryl came from work also, so she brought Twizzlers, pink of course. 

I made a cake the night before and frosted the inside of it pink when we got home from my doctors appointment. We waited until my sister and brother in law were home from work and we had eaten dinner, we made fajita's. 

We cut the cake and well..

it was PINK

Everyone was shocked! My mother wanted it to be a girl, but thought it was a boy. My father in law couldn't believe it but was excited to have a little "princess" in the family. My youngest brother in law Dominic couldn't believe it, and didn't believe it was a girl until he saw her. (He was supposed to be a girl until my MIL went to her ultrasound at like 37 weeks pregnant and they said, "oops we see something" and 2 weeks later out popped Dominic!) so his POV was, it isn't official until its official! He loves Clare to death now, they're best friends. It felt so good to tell everyone; we were having a reveal party with our friends later that week so it was hard not to tell everyone what we were having! Here are some pictures from when we had our friends over!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mac and Cheese, Please!

So my daughter is a pretty picky eater. She loves her Mac and Cheese though. I personally don't care for the box of Kraft however, so I have been trying to find a quick, one pot, easy clean up recipe. I was search Pinterest (like I always do for easy recipes) and I came across this one. It was so easy. It called for 2 cups of past, milk and cheese, but instead I just did a 1/2 cup of each and I also added a little butter. (I did add a little extra milk because mommy hood called and my daughter needed me and the milk all evaporated and the noodles stuck to the bottom... SAVE!) It wasn't very pretty but it was pretty good! The milk actually made it taste a little sweet... Hopefully after her nap she will eat it...

Update... She wouldn't eat it :( I thought it tasted good tho :)

Sharing the news!

So now that I have told you how my Anthony and I found out we were pregnant I will tell you how we told everyone else! When we found out I was only about 5 weeks pregnant. Most people would say, don't say anything until you're at least 12 weeks pregnant... Do u know who you're talking about here?? I can't keep a secret for 20 minutes! I couldn't wait until Anthony got home to tell him I was pregnant!

When Anthony got home (finally!! It seemed like forever!) we sat on the couch together looking at each other in disbelief... We are pregnant! We were so excited! We discussed how we would tell everyone.. Should we wait? No! I couldn't wait, are you crazy??

So since we lived closest to my parents we went there first. We just showed up, walked in the front door. My parents were getting dinner made. I remember vividly my dad was putting together a salad. We said our hello's, how are you? What are you two up to. And then I said, "Well, the reason we are here is to tell you... We are pregnant! They both looked like deer in headlights. They were shocked. The salad my dad was making turned into coleslaw; he couldn't stop chopping it up. (Let me just say that the two of them are obsessed with Clare and can't get enough of her!) They weren't expecting to hear those words come out of my mouth! I was at the tail end of student teaching, didn't have a job and well.. Wasn't exactly the "best time" to be pregnant.

So after that, we went to Anthony's parents. We had to come up with a reason to be there because we lived a little farther from them and we wouldn't just randomly show up. So when we came in we told them Anthony couldn't find his wallet (which is a normalcy in his life). We had his little brother go get his dad in the office because if one of us went to get him he'd know something was up. So his mom, dad, and two brothers, Anthony and I were all standing in their living room and I told Anthony, we'll go ahead. "Well, the reason why we are here is.. To tell you we are pregnant!" Anthony's father said, "SHUT UP! Oh my God!!!" And let me tell you, I kid you not! He squeezed me so hard I though he was going to squeeze that baby right out of me! He had been asking us since our HONEYMOON so, where are my grand-kids! He even shed a tear!

It's funny because we had them over for dinner the night before and I pulled him aside and told him that I would appreciate it if he stop bothering me, that it didn't help that we were trying and we weren't pregnant yet. It doesn't make someone feel so great when they're trying to get pregnant and you have someone constantly asking you. Little didn't I know I was infact with child!

Anthony's mother was just as excited, but she didn't squeeze the day lights out of me. Dominic, Anthony's soon to be 10 year old brother, couldn't stop talking about how he was going to be an uncle. He was thrilled! And Nicolas, who is the sweetest, most helpful person was beaming with joy! He was also excited to be an uncle!

Next stop, Anthony's brother Joe and sister-in-law Monica's house. They were REALLY confused why we were there as they live a good 20-25 minutes from us. They even said, "what are you guys doing here?" Anthony pretty much just came out and said, "we are pregnant!" The look on both of their faces was sheer surprise! They couldn't believe what they heard. Joe even said, "are you serious??" We all hugged and it was just so exciting to tell everyone that we were having a baby.

Personally I couldn't believe it. We had been talking about a baby for YEARS! I wanted to be a mom so badly, it hurt! We were having a baby!!!

My sister and brother-in-law live in Chicago so I messaged her and told her to FaceTime me when they were both home. It was not the best connection when they called so it was hard to have a conversation but I wanted to tell them as face to face as we could get! So we told them we were pregnant and they were excited. I think they were as shocked as my mother and father. My sister was getting married at the beginning of August and we were on totally different pages in life! (But again, let me say my sister spoils Clare like none other and loves her to pieces!)

So now our immediate family knows that they're going to be Aunts, Uncles, Grandmas and Grandpas. Some are overjoyed, some are shocked and excited.

 Myself.. I was in disbelief to be honest. I couldn't wrap my head around it. I was pregnant. I had an innocent little life growing inside of me. In 9 months our lives would change forever. We had no idea how much it was going to change, how exhausted we would be, how our hearts were going to grow to love someone we didn't even know! It was so much to wrap my head around, but I was THRILLED!!

In only 16 short weeks we will find out the gender!! Stay tuned!!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Welcome to my crazy life!

Welcome to my blog! My name is Jamie and I am the proud mommy to Clare and wife to Anthony; both of whom will be talked about in this blog! I will be 29 on May 15th and I am a co-teacher in a Pre-k 3 room 3 days a week. It is a nice balance between working and still being there for my daughter.

I have been meaning to start a blog for quite some time as I have been on a pretty big roller coaster since finding out I was pregnant almost two years ago!

On this blog I plan to talk about past and present experiences; from being pregnant, delivering Clare, exclusively pumping, troubles with nursing, making baby food, and MANY many more topics! I hope you'll enjoy reading each post and be able to take something from it.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant. My period was 5-6 days late, which was uncommon for me, but I didn't think too much into because I was at the tail end of my student teaching and I was stressed out of my mind! I remember being at a professional development meeting hitting the bathroom every 1/2 hour thinking, oh there's my period... and I had taken TWO tests and they both came back negative. So It's a Monday around 4:30-5pm and I was thinking to myself... where is this period... my husband had told me.. just take one more test. I was thinking to myself... two came back negative and those things are so damn expensive! But, curiosity got the best of me and I found myself sitting in the downstairs bathroom of our little two bedroom town house peeing on a stick. Not but 5 seconds passed and the lines started to show up... not just one, but two lines! Two lines... means... I'M PREGNANT?! I was in complete shock. I looked at myself in the mirror SCREAMING and laughing, almost crying... I honestly couldn't believe what I saw!  Anthony and I had only been trying for A MONTH!

So five minutes later I'm calling Anthony and asking him where he was! He said he'd be home in about 20 minutes. So I'm pacing around downstairs watching the clock tick by. I decided instead of verbally telling my husband I would write him a note and give it to him. I wrote, "So do you think we're having a boy or a girl? :)" I was so excited to give it to him and see the look on his face. So twenty minutes goes by and STILL not husband... So I call him again and calmly ask where he is.. he says he's still at his parents! Well there goes my patience (which you will learn I have none of) and all I had to say to him was, "Are you sitting down?" and he says, "Really?" and I said, "Yes..." and his response was, "I'm on my way home."

April 29nd, 2013 was the day my life changed forever...

This was me the day after we found out I was pregnant. I thought MAYBE I could manage to take a picture of myself every single day.. that worked out real well ;)

It is for sure positive :-D