Baby Photos

N O E L L E  S N O W  I S  N O W 1.5  M O N T H S  O L D

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Taken by the lovely and talented Mylinda of Mylinda Vollet Photography. I cannot be happier with the results. My little cutie pie is 2 months old now and she’s getting more and more wonderful every day. Ah, mommyhood rules.

– M

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My Breastfeeding Story

M Y  B O O B S  N E V E R  G O T  T H E  M E M O

This is going to be a very emotional account for me. The truth is that I’ve been putting it off because I haven’t fully wanted to face the reality of the situation. I definitely got spoiled with my ‘plan’ when I pulled off the home birth of my dreams. I just sort of expected everything else to go as planned! I had learned that formula was the devil and that mothers milk was the only thing good enough for my baby and her sweet little appetite. She latched PERFECTLY on day one. She immediately recognized me and her urge to suck was immediate. She started heading for my breasts the moment she was laid on my chest. What a relief! After I finally got up off of the floor (7 hours after I fainted), I couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her in bed and start giving her my milk. Day 1 she sucked, day 2 she sucked, day 3 she sucked but I instinctively knew something was off. It wasn’t the latch- that felt right. But she was sucking awfully hard and my nipples were in pain almost always. How is that possible if the latch is so good?

While I was given lots of advice, I knew I needed to consult and professional and rule out any questions. The pediatritian weighed her on day 4 and she’s lost almost a whole pound of her birth weight! YIKES! Everyone was so nonchalant about the whole thing, but I just knew she was getting fed properly. I hired Micky Jones of 9 Months and Beyond Nashville and she came over the next morning for some serious analysis. We unfortunately figured out that baby was getting about 4 ml per feeding and she was very, very hungry. I needed to produce closer to 30 to satisfy babies needs. My milk still hasn’t “come in”. After some analysis we found out that the baby was sucking so hard because she was trying to get milk out that wasn’t coming. I had to supplement immediately. We made her up a bottle and she took it happily. I cried 20 times over the next couple of days- I just had to get my milk in! My husband immediately went to get herbal supplements for milk production, I pumped after every feeding for 10 minutes without fail and I tried to imagine my milk coming in and baby getting her fill.

It’s been 2 weeks since we started pushing and while my breasts have gotten bigger, milk production still isn’t where it needs to be. I’ve had a really hard time with this and cried horribly at my inadequacies. How can this perfect creature be drinking formula? Why shouldn’t she have the very best? We think we’ve figured out why the milk hasn’t come in. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was very young but never wanted children so never took it seriously. PCOS means I produce more of a male hormone than most women so I have irregular periods, rarely ovulate, should have a high occurrence of miscarriage, grow extra hair on my body, could have a hard time getting my milk in and more! Ahhhhhhhh– why has my body betrayed me??!

Since that initial visit, I’ve made 2 decisions: first, to feed her with the help of something called a “LactAid“. It’s an incredible little device where even though I’m supplementing, it’s at my breast where she can pace herself and we’re still getting the bonding time we deserve. It’s been a great little device! Takes some prepping and practice but it’s worth it. Secondly, I’ve gotten some doners! Two wonderful mothers have pumped milk and donated it to my baby to minimize the use of formula. While it’s not my milk, it’s still better than formula. I am eternally grateful to these women and all of the women who have supported me on this emotional journey.

I feel like while it’s been a challenge I’m going to continue to do everything I can to make breastfeeding happen for us! Some days I am so angry at my body and other days I feel so badly for my baby. I’m still struggling with what not being able to breastfeed is doing and then there are times when I remember that I can only ask so much of myself. I feel like my body has betrayed me which is quite a strange thing to think after giving birth naturally. I continue to remind myself that my body is incredible and not to be too hard on myself. My baby is happy to eat, I believe. She’s happy to be warm and near me and that’s it. I know there will never be a point where she’ll resent me for not exclusively breast feeding.

So, this has been my journey and it continues. I’m going to keep pushing, keep pumping and keep doing what I can to bring my milk in. I hope my story inspires you to be thankful for your supply or to attempt alternative ways of breastfeeding. I believe it’s far too important to give up and as long as I’m living I’m going to try to give her the best. Courage, moms! One day a time…

– M

*Update 5/7/2013: I have continued to pump, taken Domperidone and continued to tried to do visualization techniques. The Domperidone upped my milk production from 1 oz. a day to 2 oz. a day and the accompanying side effects included constant diarrea and cramps. I have officially thrown in the towel. My plan is to continue to get her as much breast milk as possible from donors. So far, the plan is going great! She’s only had about three days of using formula and I continue to get calls, texts & messages on facebook with women who have milk to donate! We have been so incredibly blessed with the amount of people willing to help us out. I feel a lot better about things and feel very accomplished in all of my attempts.

Noelle Snow ♥ A Water Birth Story

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L A B O R  A N D  B I R T H

Since we found out we were pregnant, we’ve been planning a home water birth- well, we got what we wanted! Noelle Snow Rivera came into the world on January 5, 2013 at 1:39pm. She weighed 8 lbs 6oz- she has perfect coloring, beautifully shaped head, blue/grey eyes. Here is my labor and her birthing story:

I started to feel strange cramping sensations after I picked my husband up from work on Friday night. I was approximately 42 weeks pregnant at that point so my Mom drove with me everywhere so I wouldn’t get stranded alone. My husband and I had dinner plans with some friends in midtown and we had about an hour to kill before we met up. We were walking around and the cramps got more and more intense- having had twice thought I was going into labor I was determined to ignore the symptoms until I felt them much stronger. We met up with our friends for dinner and the cramps got more intense! We took our amazing food to-go, got in the car and went home so I could rest.

About 10 minutes after we got home I was out of early labor and into early active labor. About an hour after that I was in transition. We called the midwife and doula and they both showed up about an hour later. I was active labor from about 10pm until 7am the next morning. This is not the same for every woman, but for me, the pain was excruciating. Contractions lasted about 2 minutes with about a minute in between for 9 hours. By the end of my transition I was exhausted, even while trying to sleep in between. Jeremy slept next to my tub and woke up with every contraction. We had no clocks or sense of time and only knew it was morning by the light coming through the blackout curtains. I made a medium amount of noise. It was truly a chore keeping the tub full of hot water.

I wanted complete silence, from everyone. I didn’t want to be told what to do or bothered at all. The only touch I wanted was my husband in front of me. I wanted total darkness the whole time. I wanted to be able to listen to my body and not be distracted. Concentration was really important throughout the whole labor.

At around 8am my midwife wanted to check my progress. I was terrified she was going to tell me that I’d been in transition all night and I was still only 4-6cm dilated. Luckily, I was at 8 and 9 was on it’s way. I did a lot of walking after that- got out of the tub and did my contractions leaning on high furniture. This really got things moving. By 11am I was ready to go downstairs and start pushing. I had the incredible urge that I completely understand now and totally hated. I pushed for about three hours- completely soberly. I had no sense of time and had lost all faith in my abilities to it at that point. By the end I decided that I was going to get her out if it killed me and I literally thought it would kill me. The very last push left me on all fours in the tub, ready to pass out. The midwife pulled her out from under me and put her on my back. Jeremy cried his eyes out looking at her. I stared at the water and was told not to move because I had a baby on my back. She didn’t cry for a minute. I couldn’t see or hear her and I was about to pass out.

For what seemed like an eternity I stared at the water & then Sheryl told me to turn over and meet my baby! We sat there skin to skin until the tub got too cold to stay in. Seeing her for the first time was incredible- Jeremy just sat there with his mouth open- and couldn’t stop saying how beautiful she is. I just stared at her, trying to keep my eyes open and kept kissing her head. I barely bled after that until after the placenta was delivered- Jeremy cut the babies chord after it turned white.

My midwife asked how I was feeling and if I wanted to get out of the tub, thinking that getting out of a tub was nothing at this point, I leaned on the edge of it to move my body upwards and completely passed out. I blacked out for about 90 seconds and woke up on the floor- they had lifted me out of the warm tub and I was on the floor, on my stomach, unable to move. I hadn’t slept for 40 hours, I’d thrown up all food, I was hydrated luckily but had lost a lot of blood with the placenta. Sheryl immediately checked my blood loss & blood pressure. Danielle, the assistant, monitored my pulse and they decided I was just exhausted. Daddy took over the skin on skin contact and she stayed with him until I could open my eyes again.

Grandma came in and the midwife asked if she was ready to meet her granddaughter. My Mom cried like a baby- for a long time and just looked at her. I can honestly say she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Absolutely perfect and so wide eyed and alert at such a young age. They examined her health and she was declared practically perfect in every way. While I was on the floor, we figured out a way to attach baby and start breastfeeding. She latched on immediately and took in a really good meal that first night. I stayed on the floor until about 9pm that night and Danielle stayed with me until I could get up and get into bed. She told me I was going to bleed for days but it would slow down a lot. I had to crawl up the stairs into my bed and almost passed out from attempting it.

Since then we’ve told family and friends she’s arrived and taken some pictures. Baby is doing great and feeding really well. She’s not very fussy- she slept through the night and we woke up and fed her around 2am. She’s absolutely perfect. It’s going to take a couple of days for me to eat, sleep and recover but I’ve got Jeremy and my Mom here to help me through. I wrote this very quickly, I just wanted to get it down while the memory is still fresh. But here is my labor story.

I am so proud of myself for following through with this. Our midwife said the baby didn’t go into distress once and that I brought her into the world the most gentle and perfect way possible, also, I didn’t tear at all! I experienced everything and while I’d never take what happened back, I certainly don’t think I could ever do it again. I do feel very empowered, I also feel very traumatized. Jeremy and I are absorbing a lot of what happened still. Would I recommend this to everyone? I don’t know. There’s something amazing about getting through it- but something terrifying about it too. I’m still piecing it together in my head while trying to physically heal. That’s all for now- I’ll update more and Jeremy wanted to write the birthing story from his perspective. But she’s here and I couldn’t feel more gushy about the whole thing. She’s absolutely perfect and we did it!

– M