Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Mommy JD) The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms

Happy Hump Day! Here are some randomisms from my bump and I:
  • Dropping your child off at school in the pouring rain is no fun at all....unless you are the child. He didn't seem to care that neither of us were dressed in proper rain attire.
  • One of my good friends who worked out during both of her pregnancies (not just worked out, spinned) suggested that I ride the bike to help with my pelvic pain. So after the rainy drop-off I played hookie from work and went to the gym. I got on the bike that has a back to it and began to pedal. I had to stop about every 2 minutes to catch my breath. I tried to lower the resistance but I was already on level 1. (Sigh) Not sure if that helped at all but it feels good just to walk into the gym (especially since I pay for it every month).
  • While doing my lazy bike-ride, I got a chance to watch a closed captioned version of the last Oprah show. Some people will not know what to do with themselves without Oprah but I'll be okay. I do wish I could have attended a taping but that was never in the cards. I would say Oprah you will be missed, but I know she's not going anywhere.
  • I think my recent purchase of 100% African Shea Butter was the best purchase I've made all pregnancy. I am super excited to grease up my stomach at least five times a day. Goodbye stretched out skin pain!
  • Speaking of pregnancy pain, lately ladybug's movements have been a little painful. Okay sometimes more than a little. I imagine she doesn't have enough room in there (especially since so many people tell me how small I am). But I don't remember gasping and wincing during my first pregnancy. When her head pops out on the side (yeah, pops out) I always think of the scene from alien... (ok I just googled the scene from alien and as gross as it is, it made me lmao).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Breastmilk is the New Gold

Mommy-ism #11:  She who stores her breastmilk will find her freedom.


Can you hear it?

It's the sound of freedom.

Is it the sound of rushing waters?  Of blue jays and red robins chirping?

No, dear friend.  Those sounds, while lovely, are not the sounds of freedom that you need to concern yourself with.

The sound of freedom for a new mother is the sound of an industrial, hospital grade, fully-functioning breast pump.

I know what you are thinking: I hate being sucked and pulled.  It hurts.  It looks scary.  My supply will go down. I'm not a cow on an assembly line.  

While I understand each of these concerns, please take it from me that the breast pump has done more for women's rights than suffrage, the cosmopolitan martini, and patent leather pumps put together.

It's a shame how much no one tells you before you get pregnant.  First, no one tells you that breastfeeding initially hurts like a be-yotch.  Then no one tells that your milk supply will come to dictate your life and everything that you eat, drink, and think about for the first three months to year postpartum.  

Sorry girls, I can't drink because I'm breastfeeding.

I can only stay out for an hour because I'm breastfeeding.

Baby not right now, I'm leaking and that's so not sexy…I’m breastfeeding.

See where this is going?

What I am saying is this: As someone who wholeheartedly believes in the benefits of breastfeeding I understand how it can come to dictate your entire life.  And because most mothers’ bodies work very hard for their milk, like gold, breastmilk is a valuable commodity.  For that reason, with the right tools and a well thought out strategy - your baby can eat AND you can have a life.

For starters, if you have the financial resources, invest in a hospital grade pump.  This is a “must-have.”  Your body produces breastmilk by demand and the trick is making your body believe that it is utilizing all of the milk that it produces (by completely emptying your breast every time you are nursing or pumping).  By completely emptying your boob, you signal to your body that you need a refill.  If your boob isn't completely empty, your body will not know to "fill 'er up." 

Second, in the early months when your supply is at its peak, use this time as an opportunity to create your stock pile of milk.  Though you may not want to go anywhere now, the day will come when you will want to breathe fresh air or catch a last minute shoe sale and you won't be able to because you won't have any bottles ready.  So when you are sitting around, staring at your bundle of joy as he/she sleeps – pull out your breastpump so you can begin to prepare your stash of milk for a day when you will want to be out of the house for more than 3 hours at a time.

Finally, there are two golden rules of breastfeeding:  
1.) Thou shall never waste thy breastmilk.
2)  Thou shall never get thy baby drunk.  

To abide by these rules, there is one number that every woman needs to know - the metabolic rate for your favorite cocktail.  This is your number.  Know your number.  Learn your number.  Love your number. 

Whether it's wine, rum, or tequila -- learn how long it takes for ONE drink to metabolize.  That way, with time and practice, you will be able to nurse, have a “sip” and nurse again without missing a beat.  But this is only for trained professionals and those with a bra size of C and above.

Disclaimer:  I do not condone getting wasted while breastfeeding but I do think a refreshing glass of wine every now and then is perfectly acceptable.  If you are planning a night on the town and end up partaking in three or more drinks, don’t try to calculate the metabolic rate - especially not while you are drunk.  Wait 12 hours before directly breastfeeding but be sure to pump and dump to prevent engorgement.  And please, be sure to have enough bottles stored to get your baby through the night. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

(Mommy JD) Getting Ready for Father's Day

Super Dad Father's Day 5x7 folded card
Shutterfly has modern graduation announcements and photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

(2 Karats and a Kid) Post partum RAGE!!! (...and why its a very good thing!)

Mommy-ism #10:  Pick your battles.  And don't get a divorce during your first six months post-partum. 

You hear the devastating stories every few years.  A mother suffering from post-partum depression does something that noone could ever comprehend.  For a moment in time, the nation’s attention is brought to the very real pressure, stress, emotional and physical toll that childbirth and motherhood puts on many women.  For a brief moment in time, the mental and physical health of mothers is given the attention that it deserves.
Yet, I would argue that more than post-partum depression, post-partum psychosis, or even the “baby blues”, there is a quiet epidemic that has a near 100 percent infection rate amongst new mothers.
This dangerous epidemic is called, post-partum RAGE (also known as Post-Partum Pissiness, Post-Partum Get that Penis Away From Me-Itis, and Post-Partum Angry Overworked and Underappreciated Woman Syndrome).

The story is almost always the same, the characters just change names.  

After a 40 week pregnancy, a couple greets their lovely bouncing baby into the world.   The woman, armed only with intuition and instinct quickly becomes an expert at newborn developmental milestones, illnesses, eating habits, sleeping schedules, and learns to interpret hungry cries from tired cries and gassy cries from bored cries.  Since the woman is likely off of work for 6-12 weeks on maternity leave, she considerately tells her husband to not to worry when the baby awakes at 12:00 am, 2:00 am, 4:00 am, or 6:00 am.  

“Go back to sleep,” she will whisper as she numbly gets out the bed to stumble through the dark to take care of the wailing baby. 

“I know you have to go to work in the morning, don’t worry, I can take care of it,” she will tell her husband kindly night after night.

And through the day, while the husband is away slaughtering the cows and hunting lions, the woman will be at home, tending to a crying/hungry/gassy/bored baby.  In the fleeting moments of quiet, the woman will surely find herself washing clothes or dishes, preparing a home cooked meal, while making doctors’ appointments, going grocery shopping, and curing everything from constipation to cradle cap with nothing more a thermometer, vasoline, and a soft brush.

Just before the husband is scheduled to come home, the exhausted woman will hurry in the shower, shed her hair scarf, brush her hair, and gargle her mouth just so her husband can for a fleeting moment acknowledge all that she has done while managing to look as beautiful as the day that they first met.

Then the moment of validation and appreciation comes.  The door knob turns, and the husband walks through the door only to stop and say, “You cooked spaghetti, AGAIN?”

Disappointed, hurt, exhausted, and slightly irritated, the woman dismisses and even laughs off the comment and sits on the couch next to husband in hopes of reconnecting, if only briefly, on an intimate level while the baby is napping.

As the woman moves closer to the man on the couch, he quickly retracts and says, “I’m tired babe.  Give me a second, I just walked in.  You’ve been here all day.  I need to relax.”

?!!!!! Muthaf***** what!!!  The woman thinks to herself.

On cue the baby wakes and begins to cry.

Just then the man turns on the tv to play an x-box game/look at the Lakers/or a Yankees documentary when you realize that he is either oblivious to the fact that the baby is screaming or suddenly his legs have become paralyzed from a rare and sudden muscle disease.

Feeling dejected, you get up to tend to the baby when the straw breaks the camel’s back.  

“Hey babe, since you aren’t doing anything, I’m going to run to the gym/go watch the game/go turtlewax my car,” the husbands asks since apparently you enjoy being at home all day, working like your name is “Miss Ceilie Mae,”  without anyone to talk to and without any recognition of the sacrifice that you make of yourself.

Finally, all you can see is RED.   

The conservation that you have tried for weeks NOT to have is upon you.  You don’t want to be a nag.  You swore you would never be a nag.  You always thought of yourself as the cool and understanding wife.  Yet, you find yourself at an impasse between the wife that you were and the wife that you must decide to be.   You are pissed.  No, you are ENRAGED because you are exhausted, sleep deprived, with sore boobs, and trying to be sexy despite having the least bit interest in sex.  And the person who you thought of as a friend, a partner, and your better half is being anything but those things you need the most.
Yet, at that moment, you also recognize something that makes you uncomfortable.  You recognize that despite your great efforts to appear otherwise, you can not do it all by yourself.   And with that revelation comes a little bit of freedom.  Now, you recognize that you must ask for help and be okay with whatever form that help looks like if you want to maintain your sanity.  What you recognize through your rage and subsequent epiphany that you are not superwoman but are indeed merely human.  Yet, by acknowledging your limits you allow your husband to recognize his abilities to fulfill his responsibilities as an equal parent and partner in the household.  

(2 Karats and a Kid) New Year, New Decade - Better Me.

Every December 31st - close to 10:00 pm EST, new year resolutions begin to overtake my Facebook Newsfeed.

        “New year! New me!” proclaims one person.
        “Jesus is doing a new thing in me in two thousand (whatever)!” preaches another.
        “Pastor said, I’m gonna walk in my season!” announces several people.

Usually, I’m quick to ignore a majority of the resolutions that people proclaim to the world because I tend to think that:  a) If you need to tell 500 people your goal for it to be true then it probably won’t happen and b) I have never been able to shake the statistic that said that most people forget their New Year’s Resolution by January 31.

But I had to admit, on New Year’s Eve 2010  there was something different in the air.   On the precipice of 2011 - a new year and a new decade, there seemed to be consistent undertones in the goals of the people around me.  Essentially what I found is that most people yearn to move beyond the fear and doubt that have kept them from moving forward towards their dreams.

[Blogger’s Note:  Now, don’t get me wrong -- these people were not alone with their feelings.  Apparently, I’m as jacked up as everyone else which is the only reason I was reading people’s facebook status on NYE -- to reflect on my own lessons and challenges of the previous year -- and to proclaim to the world MY resolution which I would surely forget by January 31st as well.]

Nonetheless, this year felt different for me as well.  There was no goal weight to achieve, no vices to forego.  I simply want to rediscover “me”-- my authentic self -- straight up with no chaser, just the way God made me.

Like so many,  fear of failure has kept me from pursuing my real dreams for so long that I almost forgot what they were.  Fear of the unknown has convinced me to stay in friendships that have been more painful than loving and more toxic than supportive.  Fear of my own ability almost convinced me that now that I am a mother -- all that was left for me to be was....a mother.

But it’s a new Year...and a new me!

On the wake of 2011, I realized that indeed there was a chasm between the person that I was and the person who I am.  No longer has fear kept me from becoming a writer, because the fact of the matter is that I had slowly but surely began to write.  No longer did I feel obligated to placate subpar friendships with my time, because God had blessed me with an even wider support system through family, new friends, a husband, and a child.    Quite simply, the fear of suffering was far greater the fear itself -- as it almost always is.

So as this year gets into full swing, and as we all continue to move past our old friends of “fear” and “doubt” -- take stock and give big props to the “new” you...the “REAL” you.  Recognize the ways that you have moved forward, make a tally of your blessings, and say thanks for the “closed doors” that you have experienced (because they, too, serve a greater purpose).  You will surely find that not only does your cup runneth over but that it always has.

(2 Karats and a Kid) Post-partum Limbo

Mommy-ism #9:  Yes, you've changed and that's okay.  Over the course of 40 weeks, your belly expanded, your behind and hips spread, even your nose got bigger.  So no, you're not the same you, you've changed and that's okay.  Be willing to adjust and trust that you will figure out your new lifestyle along the way.

It was supposed to be a good day.  In fact, it was supposed to be a GREAT day.  After two months of weekly doctors’ appointments, weigh-ins, monthly echocardiograms, sleepless nights, sore boobs, non-stop cleaning, and uncontrollable hot-flashes, my husband suggested that I enjoy a shopping day to myself while he watched the baby.

All week I had planned for my shopping day, so I began to pump 5 days beforehand just to ensure that there would be plenty of milk on hand while I was out.  Finally, the day for my “day off”came and I was excited…or so I thought.

Prior to having a child, all you would have had to say were the words “shopping” and “all day” and I would’ve lost my mind.  I would have stayed up all night the evening before counting the hours until the stores opened.  Before my husband had time to roll over in the morning and ask me for a kiss, a cup of coffee, or a biscuit – I would have been out of the house, speeding down the expressway and on my way downtown to make my way to the GLORIOUSness that awaited me at the nearest mall.

But to my surprise, when the sun came up the next morning, I wasn’t at the mall doors waiting for them to open.  In fact, by two o’clock in the afternoon, I was still in the house washing dishes and cleaning up.  It wasn’t until the sun began to go down that my husband turned to me and said, “Can I go out with the guys to watch the game since you aren’t going out?”  With those words, I stopped what I was doing, washed my face, threw on some jogging pants, and ran out the house.

Downtown, there were people walking around everywhere doing their Christmas shopping.  Normally, the site of Christmas windows, carolers, and families would be enough to make me happy.  Yet, as I got out of my car and walked through the crowds towards the stores, my mind kept racing with the same thoughts, over and over again.

“I’ve been wearing maternity clothes for so long, I don’t even know what I LIKE to wear anymore.”

“What type of shirts are going to fit over these HUGE hooters?”

“I still look like I am about 5 months pregnant, what the heck and I going to find that will mask the invisible baby that’s still in my stomach?”

Suddenly I realized the physically and emotionally and in every way in between, I had changed and worst of all, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what these changes meant for how I viewed myself.

When I looked in the mirror in the dressing room, I didn’t see the happy, energetic girl I once viewed myself to be.  Instead, as I stared into the mirror, a sleep deprived, mentally dull person who was badly in need of something that I couldn't articulate.  I had spent the past 10 months and eight weeks going through a metamorphosis of sorts only to find myself half naked in a department store about to hyperventilate because I couldn’t choose between an ugly brown sweater over a less-ugly but horribly colored red sweater. 

At that moment I heard the warnings of my mother and the cautioning of so many other older women who have told me, “Don’t lose yourself”, “Don’t forget what makes you happy."   Yet, somehow in a  short span of time, their words came alive like an apparition of what's to come.

So there began the beginning of my journey of trying to hold on to the little pieces of “me” that bring joy, peace, and happiness without completely screwing up the other facets of my life that I hold just as dear.  Being a mother, a wife, a working woman is a fine balancing act that can be maintained by no creature on this earth other than a woman.  Yet, like putting breastmilk in a martini glass, in order to maintain some sense of sanity, I have to choose "me" as much as I choose my family, my friends, and my job.  More challengingly, I have to let go of my previous ideas of how to be a perfect wife/mother/friend/worker/sister/hostess/sexkitten/domesticgoddess and simply do the best with what I’ve got and trust that everything else that doesn’t get done will work itself out.

(2 Karats and a Kid) The Burnt Tit Debacle...

Mommy-ism #8:  Multi-tasking a both overrated and hazardous to your health.

True story.

As a child I had a HORRIBLE temper. I would cut up my siblings' clothes, I would toss my brother's personal items over my bedroom balcony into our backyard, I even have been known to throw a dish or two in my day.  Although 95% of the time I was a sweet, kind, and peaceful kid -  it was the other 5% of the time when people would have to watch out.

Thankfully as an adult, writing became an outlet for my temper. 

Now, as opposed to pulling out a bat when I get mad or cursing like a sailor, I pull out my laptop and write an "enraged letter" to my offender.  Though this sounds benign, I have been put on "writing punishment" by several friends who have witnessed that my words oftentimes get me in more trouble than if I would have pulled out a knife.

This is all to to explain the moment when I knew that I had to start blogging about the insanity of this thing called, "motherhood".

On this one particular day,  Roman had a weekly weigh-in which was always a particularly stressful day for me.  His appointment was in the afternoon and my husband had gone to the gym while I got myself and the baby ready.

By noon I realized that, yet again, I hadn't eaten so I popped my "adrenaline bars" (aka Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookies) into the oven so my blood sugar wouldn't crash before I had a chance to come home and cook dinner.

I nursed Roman, dressed him, and put him into his swing so that I could run into the shower and get dressed.

Just as I turned the knob of the shower to enjoy a few moments of quiet and solitude, I heard...


I made a quick calculation in my head.  Do I go get the baby?  Or do I jump in the shower and wash up quickly since I know that it takes exactly 3 minutes and 30 seconds to wash my face, lather, rinse off, and shave my arm pits?

I decided to go for it.

As I washed my body with the speed of an Isreali solder, I heard the continuous wailing of my son in my ears.


I jumped out the shower somewhere around the 2 minute mark.  My nerves were so bad that my hands were shaking.  I knew that my husband would return any minute ready to go and I mildly resented the fact that he was somewhere working out while I was at home trying to balance this insanity.

Dripping wet, I ran into the living room to get the baby out of his swing, because the sound of his crying became discombobulating.  As I put him in his carseat and stroller and pulled him into the bedroom while I breastpumped, my cocker spaniel began to go berserk - barking and running circles around the stroller like a maniac.

I tried desperately to find a quiet place in my brain, at least for a moment so I wouldn't have a panic attack.  Just when I began to envision my quiet beach on the coast of Bali, I was interrupted by the sound of another round of screaming from the baby.

I looked down and was grateful that I had managed to pump a bottle of milk quickly.  Although my boobs would be lopsided, I knew that the other breast would have to wait a few hours until I returned home.  Just when I picked the baby up, I heard the buzzer on the oven go off to signal that the cookies were ready.

Quickly, I put the baby back in his car seat and rolled him into the kitchen while the dog continued to run around the stroller in circles barking.  In my haste (and hunger),  I opened the oven and pulled the glass cookie pan towards me until I felt (and heard)...

Sizzzzzzzllllleeeeee.  (Yep, the glass pan was baking my boob.)

In pain, I let out a scream that must have been heard down the hall of my apartment building.

As if they knew the severity of the situation, suddenly Roman and Capone stopped barking and crying and were staring at me in silence.

It was at that moment that I thought, nobody would believe this sh*t if I told them, so I knew I had to continue to write (if not as therapy for myself but to continue to amuse people with the random fiascoes of my daily life).

So if you are reading this, and if like me, you have days where you find yourself trying to breastfeed, take care of your two month old baby, calm your neurotic cocker spaniel, preparing bottles for a day out,  trying to feed yourself, and trying to look half "un-homeless" while simultaneously injuring a vital body part on a cooking mechanism then it's time to stop, slow down, and let yourself off of the hook for not being superwoman.

(2 Karats and a Kid) Starve a flu, feed a heart defect...

Mommy-ism #7:  You already have everything you need to be a good mother.

I started to 'develop' boobs when I was in the third grade.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  There I was at our Spring play in a white leotard and pink tutu, ready to perform the rabbit hop to the Lisa Stanfield song, "Been around the world".  As I waited to go on stage, a male classmate ran up to me and pointed, "HAHA!  Kirstin has mosquito-bite titties!!"

I was so mortified.

By the time I was a freshmen in high school, I wore a "DD" sized bra and for many years after that, I wondered why I had the biggest boobs out of friends, my family, and most women on the south side of Chicago.

Now, I know the answer.

Since Roman's initial diagnosis, it was explained that his heart condition would likely affect his ability to gain weight.  Because his heart had to pump harder to circulate blood, what often happens is that babies quickly become tired during feedings and end up eating much less than they need to be fully nourished.

But what the doctor's didn't understand was that I had three things working in my favor:  Two "Double-Ds" full of milk;  love; and nothing but time on my hands for the next 3.5 months.

Roman's feeding regime rivaled the synchronization of the Queen's Guard.  Every 2.5 hours, 24 hours a day - the boob was in his month.  Whether he nursed for 5 mins or 45 mins -- he began to get the hang of this "eating" thing and even started to grab his "human bottles" in protest when I would try to pull away!

Soon, we began to see a trend beginning:

- 8 ounces gained in one week
- 15 ounces gained in two weeks
- 21 ounces gained in 10 days !!!

I don't know if Jesus put a special fat formula in my milk or whether Roman was just born greedy like his momma, but after his third week of life, Roman's weight gain never decreased or halted.  In fact, by the time Roman was two months, he was in the 95th percentile for his weight and in the 95th percentile for his height!  Neither his pediatrician, cardiologist, nor family members could believe what was happening.  Instead of seeing a child with a hole in his heart, they began to see him as the future linebacker of the Chicago Bears.

Every time his pediatrician would see him, he would meekly glance at my chest and say, "Roman is on formula, right?"

"Nope, he's on breastmilk,"  I would proudly say, squaring my shoulders and sticking my magical-milk breasts out even more.

So for the first time in my life, I was grateful for my boobs.  Not only were they giving men something to look at, but they were saving us a boatload in baby formula costs, and in their own little way helping to bring my baby to full health!

(Mommy JD) The Bump's Hump Day Randomisms

Oh, would you look at that. It's Wednesday again. Here's what the bump and I are pondering this dreary Wednesday.
  • When we left for Atlanta we had the air conditioning on. When we returned from Atlanta we had to turn the heat on. There is something very wrong with that. Why do I live in Chicago again? (Oh yeah, because my husband loves this city).
  • Mrs. Michelle Obama is the bomb dot com.
  • Check out my husband's post on SC Commencement
  • We are inches close to getting Gr fully potty trained. 1 down, 2 to go. (Get it?)
  • Friday I will be 30 years old and 30 weeks pregnant. Yea for ladybug and I!
  • I have consumed so much fast food the past few days that I vowed this week to not eat any fast food. Maybe I can last for the rest of the month. Wish me luck.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

(Mommy JD) I wish you would just “sat” down somewhere

Yes I said “sat” instead of “sit” and I can just hear one of my NC Sorors saying that exact phrase to me. So I’m sitting down to do exactly that and write this post. It’s a good time to pause in my long busy day because my child is asleep and I’m conditioning my hair. I’m sitting at my computer half-naked because (drumroll please) summertime is officially here! (read: it’s hot as all hell). But I’m not complaining! I mean, it would be nice if when I turned the air conditioning on my husband wouldn’t turn it off before we go to bed, leaving me to believe that it’s nice and cool in this house until- bam!- early afternoon hits and it’s almost 90 degrees outside and inside. But it’s all good because like I said, I’m half naked.

I’m 6 months pregnant (29 weeks today) and that plus the heat comes swollen, sensitive feet. Hence why I needed to sit my but down instead of walking around this house barefoot. But I’m trying to get us ready for a long drive to Atlanta tomorrow to see my sister-in-law graduate from college. SPELMAN COLLEGE to be precise, my alma mater. And what makes it more exciting is that the FLOTUS Ms. Obama herself is the commencement speaker. So if I can just get through this 12 hour (probably more like 15) drive then it will be all good. My mommy friend/real estate agent/doctor told me I need to stop every two hours to walk around or I could get a blood clot. Ouch. And here I am only worrying about how to entertain Gr instead of thinking about myself (I tend to do that a lot). I’ve already had a busy morning getting DVDs from the library, snacks from the drugstore, packing- and now I’m about to do my hair and pack my husband’s suitcase (yes I am a good wife). But for real, I need to just sat down somewhere because it’s hot and my feet hurt! Once everything is done I will probably pass out. I’m sure that’ll be around 6pm so I hope my husband is home because I’m about to let Gr sleep as long as he wants to (probably 3 hours) which means he won’t want to go to bed until 10 or 11pm. It’s a choice, and I made it because my mother-in-law is already gone and I need the naptime break.

Okay, I gotta get up because if I stay sitting down for too long, I will never get up and I’ll fall asleep with this conditioner cap on my head looking a hot mess....
Blog Design by A Mommy's Blog Design (© Copyright 2012)