Expecting our Little Brother in November!

pregnancy calendar

Monday, October 8, 2012

Different Pregnancies

Everyone always says that every pregnancy is different and while I believed them I never imagined how true it would end up being for me.  There have been things that have been the same but so many things have been different:

1.  Morning Sickness
Jamey: Felt queasy from 6.5 weeks, only wanted to eat fruit.  NEVER VOMITED ONCE.  Felt totally better by 12/13 weeks.
Julien: Started feeling queasy already by 4.5 weeks--started vomiting by 5 weeks.  Threw up every single day of the first trimester.  Started usually by 5 am, I would need to be running to the bathroom, and I would throw up repeatedly every 10-30 mins for hours.  I was only usually able to eat between about noon and 4 pm (again I usually only wanted to eat fruit--one similarity to my pregnancy with Jamey).  The nausea would start again around 4/5 pm and usually I threw up at least 1-2 times again in the evening.  I tried every trick in the book and nothing worked.  Sometimes even drinking water would make me throw up.  The vomiting got better around 12/13 weeks but only slightly.  It wasn't until after 16 weeks that I started having an occasional day where I didn't throw up.  These days became more as time went on.  Around 20 weeks I threw up for the last time, and at 21 weeks I was finally able to start eating again.

2.  Heartburn/Indigestion:
Jamey:  Had little to no heartburn in the beginning, but it started up around 24 weeks.  I had to stop drinking tea, had to cut out all tomato and citrus from my diet.  I needed to start using Tums constantly.  Things got better slightly as he dropped multiple times but overall it was pretty bad throughout the whole second half of my pregnancy.
Julien:  Had awful indigestion (and even compulsive diarrhea  during the first trimester.  I would need to sleep sitting up on pillows but still ended up throwing up at least once in the middle of the night and also had awful diarrhea (I guess from all the stomach acids from all the vomiting?).  Nothing like throwing up and having diarrhea simultaneously.  Fun times.  But this went away around 12/13 weeks thankfully.
And miraculously the heartburn stayed away after that for a lot longer than it did with James.  It wasn't until 30/32 weeks that it started to creeeep back.  I had to stop drinking tea around 32 weeks and just that was enough.  I could still eat whatever I wanted when I wanted but just started to have a little discomfort laying down at night.  Now at 36 weeks I just had a fun "vomiting from indigestion from eating tomato sauce before bed" which I guess means the heartburn and indigestion are back now here at the end.  But I felt so good for so much longer than I did with Jamey!

3.  End of Pregnancy Discomforts
Jamey:  I felt AWFUL at the end.  My back and whole body hurt and ached so much that I had to take a lot bath/shower every SINGLE night to relax my muscles or I wouldn't be able to fall asleep.  Sometimes I even had to sleep on ice packs to numb my back or I wouldn't be able to sleep.  There was not a position that was comfortable for me--not laying, standing, or sitting.  At the end I slept with my ribs belted because that seemed to relieve some of the pressure on my back.
Julien:  I might be speaking too soon, we'll see what the last month holds--but so far I have felt pretty good physically.  There have definitely been uncomfortable weeks but they have inevitably been followed by more comfortable ones.

So these are just three points in which my two pregnancies have been very very different.  There are plenty of things that have been the same, as well, such as:
-craving fruit
-my pattern of weight gain (almost nothing the first trimester, 10-15 lbs by the end of the 2nd trimester, and then putting on lots of weight during the last trimester for a total gain of about 40 lbs)
-carrying low
-the positions the babies have been in and when they flipped/dropped

But these things seem relatively minor in comparison to the huge differences in morning sickness, heartburn, and the end-of-pregnancy feelings!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Community Center!

So I did something I've been meaning to do for a long time and our family joined the local community center!    It has a gymnasium, gym equipment, a walking/jogging track, and most especially, a pool!  We were motivated to join this weekend in the unbelievable humidity and went right home to get our bathing suits so we could go swimming!

Other amenities include on-site child care (for an extra $2 an hour), an arts and crafts room (though not really sure what/when it is used for or open?), a teen center, and a community room with this crazy lego structure/bin/table/bridge and books, computers, and TV's.

Our fav things are probably going to be the "Tot time" in the gym (with riding toys and gym mats/soft structures) every weekday morning from 9-12, and of course the pool.  One awesome thing about the pool is that there is not only a regular pool that is often open for general swim, and is 80-85 degrees, but there is a therapy pool which is open every evening and sometimes during the day for family swim and is 90-94 degrees.  I seem to get cold easily in water for this pregnancy (and hot easily in the humidity, go figure), and Jamey can get cold, too, after swimming for a little while, so we have really been enjoying hitting up the therapy pool.  Another benefit to the therapy pool is that one whole corner is a set of stairs which go gradually into the pool--perfect for a little kid to play on.

Actually when we (Jamey and I) went there today, it was not "supposed to" be family time in the therapy pool but I was sort of dreading the 80 degree water so I sort of just walked over with Jamey and got in.  There was only one other lady in there probably doing actual water therapy, and shortly after we got in, the lifeguard went over and talked to her, probably saying:  "Do you mind this pregnant lady and her kid swimming in here with you?"  And she must have said "No" because he didn't kick us out.  Score.  I was careful to stay out of her way though and we mostly hung around the stairs anyway.

I'm really excited about the pool access, especially as my belly gets bigger and heavier, it will be nice to give my back a break in the buoyancy.  I also think it will be really nice, once we have little Julien to be able to go to the Tot time in the gym and the pool--the community center is only about 2 miles away from our house so it is just a really nice accessible activity that is close to home and has a lot of different options for use.

So yay for the community center!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mom of 2?

I'm almost 6 months along in my pregnancy with little Julien . . . in about 3 more months I will have a tiny baby seemingly dropped into my life (that's what it felt like with Jamey)!

But what's different this time around is having another child here already.  I wasn't nervous when we were thinking of getting pregnant, trying to get pregnant, I wasn't even nervous at the beginning of the pregnancy probably because I was throwing up too much to think about anything else.  But as it gets closer . . .

On the one hand I think it will work out fine!  I have been able to keep Jamey interested in nursing (even though my milk dried up after the first trimester), and hopefully he continues to be interested . . . it would be nice to be able to nurse them both at the same time instead of having to try to entertain Jamey separately while nursing Julien... maybe even a little relaxing to have that quiet time?

But what about the other times?  Jamey is really really good about entertaining himself and playing alone, but when he feels jealous of me or like I am paying too much attention to something else, he can get very upset and clingy  . . . if Julien is an easy baby like he was, he hopefully won't mind being stuck in the swing for frequent naps or be propped up on the couch to observe the world while I do normal stuff with Jamey, but what if he's one of those babies who refuses to be put down, who won't nap easily . . . will I be able to handle it?

Then there's me.  The last person on the list . . . I always think to myself that I'll be able to put my self aside and just spend a few months focused on having two babies . . . but will I really deal with this?  In the past the "plan" to forget about myself has never worked out.  I must be a lot more selfish than my Mom was when we were young, but after a few weeks of putting myself aside I start to long for adult time and conversation, for an online outlet, for intellectual challenge . . . and this longing, if unaddressed, becomes something darker and more harmful--a resentment with guilt attached--a sense of deserving but not deserving . . .

So now with three months left I start to worry.  Will I do it?  Can I handle it?  Well I don't honestly know.

What I do know is that I've figured a lot of things out in the last almost-2 years of being a stay at home Mom.  How important play-dates are.  How important it is to try to get out of the house every day.  How much having a bit of a schedule can help me and Jamey both feel happy and healthy . . . How rejuvenating it can be to chat with another Mom at a playground . . . and I have a great therapist right now who specializes in postpartum depression, I've made great strides in the past 6 months in learning how and when to reach out for support and help when I need it.  I'm not the same person I was when I felt lost and unsure of how to find myself again . . . so I'm hoping it will be okay.

Maybe it will even be good.  And in another part of me I start to long to hold and cuddle my sweet new baby . . . I'm excited as much as nervous and so we march on.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Possible Reasons for A Newborn’s Fussy Stomach

Newborns are born with immature digestive systems.  Breast milk is the absolute best thing for their immature system, but even under normal conditions, their bodies/bellies/guts/and little butts are learning how to digest (and poop out) food for the very first time, so some difficulty and a “learning curve” is normal and to be expected.

However, even Moms who are exclusively breastfeeding might observe digestive issues in her baby that she would consider greater than normal: frequent spitting up, watery, green and/or mucousy poop, gas, or discomfort which leads to frequent crying, reflux, etc.

There are two VERY COMMON (more common than not) issues that can cause these digestive problems, and even if you are aware of them, it can be difficult to tease out WHICH of these things is the true issue or if it could be both.


The first most common issue is oversupply which can be coupled with overactive letdown and typically a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance .  MOST Moms are made to nurse twins—evolutionarily it makes sense given the odds of twins and the fact that before formula, a baby who lost their mother during childbirth or who was separated from their mother for any length of time would need to be nursed by another mother also nursing her own baby.  It is literally more common than not to have SOME amount of oversupply; meaning that when the Mom’s milk comes fully in—usually between 5-10 days post-partum, they might find that they have much more than they need.

It is a common misconception that more milk is better.  In fact, it is best for your baby if you are making the exact right amount of milk and no more.

Oversupply causes a fussy stomach for several reasons:
One, the fast flow of the milk means that the baby is taking in extra air when he/she is nursing.  This extra air causes gas and discomfort. 
Two, the milk that comes out at the beginning of a feed (foremilk) is very different than the milk at the end of the feed (hindmilk).  The milk at the beginning is watery and sugary, almost like milk-juice.  This sweet milk gives baby energy and motivation to keep them nursing.  However, the milk which comes out when the breast is getting more empty is equally, if not more important.  The hindmilk is much thicker and fattier, the “cream”.   This thick milk sticks to the stomach and makes it easier to digest. 

The problem arises because oversupply means that often the baby gets full on the foremilk—they are already done nursing before they get to the “cream” which comes out of a more empty breast.  This foremilk is much higher in the sugar lactose, and lactose is much harder for a baby to digest.  This will cause watery, green poops, and stomach upset.

Additionally, babies whose Moms have oversupply will sometimes actually have LOW weight gain because they have so much trouble getting to the fatty milk. 

I think there is a further issue with oversupply which is rarely discussed—it is SUPPOSED to take WORK for the baby to extract milk from the breasts.  Babies who are used to a high supply do not have to work very hard to get milk out.  This can cause issues later when the supply regulates because the baby finds himself for the first time having to work hard to eat.  Many Moms at this point (3-5 months) will start to notice issues like bottle preference or fussiness at the breast. 

In my opinion it is GOOD for your baby to learn IMMEDIATELY that life isn’t easy and that you don’t get something for nothing.  You can think of this as the first way to build self-esteem and self-efficacy.  You are teaching your baby that working hard will reward them, a lesson that is never too early to teach in my opinion.  Babies whose Moms have a regulated supply have much more patience and determination, not only for nursing but I believe this translates into other areas of life as well.

Oversupply can also cause issues for the Mom:  nipple pain.  Because the milk is often flowing too fast for the baby, they will clamp down on the nipple to reduce the flow.  I can tell you from experience: OUCH.

Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Another very common issue is baby reacting to one or more foods in the Mom’s diet.  About half the time, the problem is dairy.  The next most likely culprit is wheat, after that, soy.  Some babies will have issues with caffeine, also, or you can have one like mine who basically reacts to EVERY food in existence. 

However, luckily, half the time, eliminating dairy in the Mom’s diet will solve the whole issue. 

Our society has a growing awareness of food sensitivities, and it is increasingly common to discover sensitivities to dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, etc.    Luckily it has never been easier to lie allergy-free.
Like oversupply, food sensitivities can cause watery poops, gassy stomach, frequent spitting up, and colic.

So if your baby has a fussy stomach and is exhibiting these symptoms, what is the problem?  Is it oversupply or food sensitivities?  It can be very difficult to tease apart the problem, but there are a few ways to tell.

Oversupply will often start causing symptoms from the first week or two.  Mom will often feel engorged, experience her milk leaking, letdowns when the baby isn’t hungry . . . the baby will often be satisfied with only one side.  If the Mom ever pumps and can get more than 4 ozs per side, that is a sure sign of oversupply.    Again, the nipple pain is also a very good sign.

Oversupply is often linked to an overactive letdown…this has many tell-tale signs.  After a minute or a few minutes of nursing,  the baby might start fussing—come unlatched and cry, or be sputtering and choking on the milk.  Mom sometimes sees her milk spraying at this time.  This is a definite sign of oversupply.

Oversupply will more often cause GREEN watery poops, sometimes in huge diaper blowouts.  The green is evidence of the excess lactose in the milk. 

Baby will have issues from the first or second week and the symptoms would usually get BETTER over time, though some Moms unknowingly make the problem worse by pumping off extra milk. 

Supply is highest in the morning and lowest at night.  If you have oversupply you might notice the most spitting up and discomfort in the morning and early afternoon, while the spitting up is less frequent at night.  HOWEVER MOST babies have fussy evenings and want to nurse frequently in the evenings, so this can be a hard thing to gauge.

Oversupply, especially in the absence of excess pumping, will get better over time instead of worse, often resolving itself between 3-5 months.

Meanwhile, food sensitivities look a little different.

Most food sensitivity issues will not be present immediately.  If oversupply is not an additional problem and it is ONLY food sensitivities, Mom probably would not see many digestive problems in the first month.  However, between months one and two she would notice an increasing problem.  Weeks 6-8 is the most frequent time for food sensitivities to start causing major issues.

Food sensitivities will also cause watery poop, and it can be green.  However it is much more likely to be mucousy, and BLOOD in the poop is a very good sign that it’s a food sensitivity issue.  It is less likely to see diaper blowouts.   With my son I NEVER saw “seedy” poops until we eliminated all problem foods.  It was VERY watery.

With food sensitivities, you would notice more of a variety in babies’ symptoms from day to day.  Instead of spitting up equally after every feed, you would more likely have occasional large amounts of spit-up and not as much on other days/times.  You would notice the digestive issues being worse after you eat certain meals and less of a problem on other days.   However, if you are someone who eats a LOT of dairy, wheat, and/or soy with every meal, it can again be difficult to tell if the issue is food-based. 

Food sensitivities can also cause other issues such as a rash (most typically on the face), and/or a flushed red blotchy look to the skin after nursing.  It is much more likely than oversupply to cause weight gain issues, colic, or reflux.

Food sensitivities from week 8 will typically get WORSE over time (from months 2-5 or longer).  Some babies do gain the ability to process the sensitive food eventually, though, so after getting worse it can start to get better.

Hopefully this will help some Moms figure out which of these things (if not both) is causing the baby’s issue!   I will write about dealing with each of these problems in a separate post.
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