Tuesday, August 05, 2014

breastfeeding is hard.

Every pregnancy book has a million chapters on it. Millions of women (probably even a billion!) do it every year. Apparently it's the most natural thing in the world for a mother to do for her baby. No one told me it would also be one of the hardest.

Nursing RC has not been an easy ride from the very beginning. I thought my breasts were tender during pregnancy - ha! I would take that over the pain I've experienced since then!

My labor was very quick and his delivery even quicker. From water breaking until his arrival was only 9 hours, with only 25 minutes of that spent pushing. Since he came out so quickly, he didn't get "squeezed" as much as he should have so he had some fluid and mucus in his lungs and stomach. The only way it seemed to come out was through nursing - if RC drank, he spit up. And that was if we could get him to even wake up to nurse! He would only nurse for a few minutes and then cough and spit up periodically for the next hour. It was so sad and scary as the mucus was thick so he'd choke and gag on it so we really had to be ready to flip him over to burp him.

Once all the mucus was gone, we were in nursing heaven. Other than him wanting to eat every 15 minutes for 2 nights in a row, it was bliss. He was a pro at latching and I loved looking down at him nursing until he passed out, lips covered in milk and completely content. He was so sweet, nursing was so comfortable, and I loved it.

Then, my milk came in and ruined everything.

People have asked me if I was sore postpartum; if I was uncomfortable. I would say no - I hardly noticed anything in my nether regions. I don't know if it was because I was actually okay or if it was because my breasts were so out of control that I didn't notice. HOLY COW. Nothing prepared me for how engorged I would be and how much it would hurt. I felt like my body was completely out of control. I woke up on our second day at home from the pain of my breasts. They were like two cannon balls under a thin layer of skin and felt like they were on fire.

Thankfully the public health nurse stopped in that day so I could ask her some questions about it. She said they should regulate in a day or two. The next day, they were even worse - bigger, redder, shinier and hot to the touch. I was  scared of infection. They were too firm to even massage or express milk from by hand. I was freaking out. They extended all the away into my armpit - I thought it felt like having a softball shoved into your armpit under your arm. I couldn't fit any of my nursing bras or any of my shirts.

Poor RC didn't know what to do either. There was not much for him to latch onto as my nipples were stretched to the max and flat as pancakes. So we went from sweet hours of nursing to him shrieking and clawing the air and me whenever he was hungry. It was horrible. That night he would hardly eat and fuss at the breast and scream hysterically. This also meant that none of us slept and frankly, mom and dad shed more tears than RC.

(A humorous anecdote during that horrible night: when we went to bed, I was so sore and full to capacity that it felt like my skin was going to tear. We had heard that cabbage leaves could relieve some of the pain and swelling and I was desperate. Terrell offered to go buy a cabbage from the 24 hour Sobeys near our house. When he went to leave, the car wouldn't start and the battery was dead. So he walked there at 2 am and bought 1 cabbage and came home. The image of him walking down the street with one cabbage makes me laugh! And proves I have the best hubby.)

The next morning we called the nurse and asked her to come over. She was there in 10 minutes. Her eyes widened at the sight of my breasts and she confirmed what we thought - that they were too big and full for RC to handle. She recommended getting a pump to relieve myself until my supply normalized. She also was worried about infection for me since they'd been swollen so long. Terrell left immediately for a pump and she massaged my breast while RC nursed to make it more manageable. Nothing like having some lady you don't know man-handling your boobs. Another humorous scenario in a difficult situation.

Pumping has definitely helped and by the next day things were so much better! RC went back to nursing without hysteria and I started to feel physically more comfortable and like eventually I'd be able to wear a bra and go out in public again.

This has been a super long post! Unfortunately the story isn't done when it comes to BF woes. Stay tuned for part 2 and an update on where we are currently at.

Friday, July 18, 2014


WOW! life has changed very drastically in our house recently. the last month life has been a lot different than it used to be! eight days early, we welcomed out baby boy into the world! he will be referred to on here as rc henceforth...that is if i ever get around to having the time and energy to write another post! i want to write his birth story as its already been a month and i don't want the memories to be forgotten.

anyhoo, i just wanted to update that i am now a mom and that i am starting a password-protected photo blog with life updates for little rc! i will gladly share the password with family and friends once the site is up and running.

hope y'all are having a good summer!

Friday, May 02, 2014

4 years

Terrell and I reflected that this year is our last wedding anniversary that we will not have kids. We were very happy and blessed to have 4 wonderful years together as a family of 2. Now we look forward to growing our family and celebrating many many more years together!

Every day I am thankful for Terrell - that we work together, live together, play together and laugh together. He is a wonderful friend and support, and has taken such good care of me, especially since I have been expecting. I know he will be a wonderful father and an incredible support to me during labour and post-partem. God is good!

Our wedding day, May 1, 2010.

4 years of anniversaries!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Letting go of the rope

Forgiveness is hard. I actually think its the hardest thing God calls us to do. Whenever I struggle hard with the idea of forgiveness, I am incredibly inspired by the story of Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who (along with her family) was imprisoned during WWII for helping Jewish people hide/escape captivity. Many of her family members died at the hands of the Nazis in the prison camp, yet she always spoke of love and forgiveness. I once read this snippet about her and it really connected with me - the visual is one I can really relate to:
Corrie ten Boom told of not being able to forget a wrong that had been done to her. She had forgiven the person, but she kept rehashing the incident and so couldn't sleep. Finally Corrie cried out to God for help in putting the problem to rest.
"His help came in the form of a kindly Lutheran pastor," Corrie wrote, "to whom I confessed my failure after two sleepless weeks."
"Up in the church tower," he said, nodding out the window, "is a bell which is rung by pulling on a rope. But you know what? After the sexton lets go of the rope, the bell keeps on swinging. First ding, then dong. Slower and slower until there's a final dong and it stops. I believe the same thing is true of forgiveness. When we forgive, we take our hand off the rope. But if we've been tugging at our grievances for a long time, we mustn't be surprised if the old angry thoughts keep coming for a while. They're just the ding-dongs of the old bell slowing down."
"And so it proved to be. There were a few more midnight reverberations, a couple of dings when the subject came up in my conversations, but the force - which was my willingness in the matter - had gone out of them. They came less and less often and at the last stopped altogether: we can trust God not only above our emotions, but also above our thoughts."
These days I am really struggling lately with forgiveness involving a conflict. What I am struggling with the most is that it doesn't seem to be me that keeps re-tugging the rope - whenever the bell slows to a stop, the people that I am in conflict with seem to wail on the rope again, or so it feels to me. Then I find it hard to not fume about it because when I do, I tug and tug on that rope again and again. It is very frustrating. What do we do when the person you need to forgive does not seem interested in receiving your forgiveness, and they keep doing things that keep the bell of anger ringing? I know we are to forgive whether anyone accepts or even wants your forgiveness, but boy! They are really making it difficult to let go of the rope.

Prayers would be heartily accepted in this situation. To end, another Corrie quote:
Forgiveness is the key which unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. The forgiveness of Jesus not only takes away our sins, but makes them as if they had never been. – Corrie ten Boom, "Tramp For The Lord”

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

30 Things Challenge: Week 8

What are 5 passions that you have?

Here are 5 in no particular order:

1. I am passionate about being genuine and authentic. I work with youth, and in a world where they are thrown fakeness and lies constantly, I value and know that they value authenticity where they can find it. Everything, from Facebook to Instagram to celebrities to whatever promotes wearing a mask and presenting the best or most beautiful version of yourself, not necessarily your true self. So I am passionate about being a genuine person, and hope to be an example in that.

2. I am passionate about animal rights. I absolutely cannot stand violence or injustice or any mistreatment of animals. It makes me sick. If people treat animals, living creatures, that way, how will they treat humans?? Animal abuse is disgusting. Treat animals right, treat people right. Respect all life.

3. I am passionate about being a woman. I am passionate about equality and women's rights. I can't stand feminist hate and blatant sexism because its so backwards and asinine. I am proud of being a strong, intelligent, capable woman and I want to empower other women as well. Some recent issues that have fanned the fire of my feminist views are victim blaming/shaming in rape cases (instead of just telling women not to drink so they don't get raped, lets tell men not rape. Hello!), sexism in the media and politics (absolutely appalling things are said by old white men about any American woman running for political positions), and sexism that promotes violence towards and sexual objectification of women (yes, I am talking about you, Robin Thicke). It disturbs me that this is the norm, and even affirmed by some women! Watch the movie Miss Representation - it will change you life. It infuriated and inspired me at the same time.

4. I am passionate about my faith. I am passionate about loving how my Jesus loved, serving as my Jesus served, and embracing others as my Jesus did. I wish I was as loving, accepting, and compassionate as him. But I have dedicated my life to trying, even though some days I seem to forget. 

5. I am passionate about speaking out for and standing up for those who can't do it for themselves. I have been born into a life with privileges that I take for granted that others can only dream of. It is my responsibility now to speak up and show through actions that I am grateful for the privilege and will use my status, however big or small it is, to stand up for them.

Friday, January 31, 2014

30 Things Challenge: Week 7

What is your dream job and why?

I LOVE what I do for a living, but if I could do ANYTHING and get paid for it, here are some fun ideas:

- a professional cat cuddler (because cats are awesome)

- a judge on So You Think You Can Dance (because its the best show on the planet!)

- a cast member on Myth Busters (because they do awesome things! and that would mean I'm good at science, which I am not)

- a professional ice cream taster (because, duh)

- an artist (because I desperately wish I could create beautiful things. It looks so freeing to do so)

I could think of more, but I'll leave it here!

Monday, January 27, 2014

30 Things Challenge: Week 6

What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

Gah, this one has been difficult to write because I haven't wanted to think about it. I guess just because I need to write about it doesn't mean I need to write out a big long thing, although maybe at one time that would be therapeutic for me. So we'll see how long this gets and then this week is over and we can move onto the next topic.

The hardest thing I have ever experienced was almost a year ago when I suffered an early miscarriage. It was honestly the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I had taken a positive pregnancy test and was just starting to feel as though it was actually true - Terrell and I both said earlier that day that after sitting on it for a while, it finally felt real that we were pregnant.

That weekend we were at CMU at a conference, and in between sessions we went out for supper with a friend. We had a great time and ate great food and the whole while I felt like I was busting with a secret that was so delicious and so kept to ourselves. At the end of our meal, I went to the washroom and was alarmed to see some pink on the toilet paper. I immediately started praying and hoping that it was just light spotting, which is totally normal.

We went back to CMU and I could hardly think during the session I was so worried. I knew by the end of the session by the cramps I was feeling what I was experiencing. I didn't want to talk to anyone and quickly rushed Terrell out the door. For some reason on the way home I didn't say anything about it to Terrell - I think I was in shock and denial. Once we got home and I went to the bathroom it was inevitable. I came out and told Terrell what I believed to be happening and immediately got on the computer to do a bit of research.

After that, I spent the evening either on the couch or in the bathroom. I bawled. I hardly slept that night. The conference continued into the next day but I didn't go. I told Terrell to go because I preferred to be alone and pretty much spent the day in the bathroom so it was good to have him out of the house.

I don't know what to say other than that it is something I do not wish upon anyone to go through. The worst of it was not just knowing in your mind that you are no longer pregnant, but having your body constantly reminding you as well was just salt in the wound. Plus, even after the bleeding is done there are other reminders for weeks. I had at least 6 weeks of HORRIBLE and humiliating breakouts on my face and no period. But I was lucky, some women miscarry for weeks and I only did for 3 or 4 days. We had a big service at church on Sunday that I was worship leading, singing in a women's group and being re-installed in my position during that I felt it was easier to stumble through than miss.

I don't know why I did that. When I look back on it and reflect on it, that was really stupid. We didn't tell a soul because we wanted it to be a big surprise when we did get pregnant so we didn't want people to know we were trying. Terrible idea! I should have told my family and my co-workers so I could have felt more supported. They would have helped me through it. But in the same way I almost didn't want any attention. Even writing this post makes me uncomfortable - not to share so vulnerably, but because I don't want to upset other people or really have a big response from it. Its weird - its almost like by not sharing about it I felt like it would go away and be like it never happened.

Its hard to remember the feelings I had for the next few months now that I am 18 weeks pregnant. I am so grateful to God for this pregnancy. I think I appreciate it more and see it as the gift it is knowing the sadness of loss. I pray every day that this baby will be healthy and strong, and so far my Dr. confirms just that. And overall this experience has given me such strong empathy with other women who experience the same thing, some so late in pregnancy. It is a comfort to know a God who can take all my sadness and anger with no offence, and one to trust in - He is faithful.

Sorry this was such a downer post!