Friday, July 6, 2012

Why I advocate so hard...

I'm sure that is a good many people who are tired of hearing the benefits of breastfeeding.  Tired of reading my posts.  After I read a recent posting on I was inspired to tell my story. 

There are a good number of reasons that I feel the need to advocate.  First, because I feel there is a need to normalize nursing in public.  If you google, "breastfeeding is" in the search engine, you will find, "... gross, ... hard...exhausing". (I recently leard this).  That is not very encouraging for a nursing mom looking for help. I nurse whenever my baby is hungry- where ever this happens to be.

Second, my son had a difficult time keeping food down.  He dropped off the growth charts and I was told by many people that this was because I had a, "low supply".  That was absolutely not the case, and with the care and help from an amazing chiropractor- my son was able to be back in the 25th percentile within 8 short weeks.  However, I am so fearful of how his health would have been had he not been breastfed and at least able to digest some of what he was taking in.  (He would LITERALLY vomit up anything that went in his mouth).

And lastly, because I feel people need to see that there are other options besides formula when the going gets tough.  Pediatricians, well meaning family and friends ALL misinformed us.  And had it not been for an amazing group of women and my own gut- things would be much different.  So, here is Brendan's story:

I made a promise to my son that I would do WHATEVER IT TAKES to nurse him as long as he wanted.  It certainly has not been easy, and I could have given up about one million times by now.  If it weren't for that promise that I made to him, and a group of incredibly supportive women online (facebook's BRAS group *Breastfeeding Resources And Support*) it would have been so easy to do so.  My son was induced a little early due to preeclampsia.  I had been placed on bed rest for a few months, and my blood pressure was no longer being controlled by bed rest as well as having a ton of protein spill into my urine. 

When he was born, his sucking reflex was not fully developed.  Because of this he had a terrible time getting milk and even more horrible latch.  I pumped and used a nipple shield to work with the latching issues.  The first midwife (yes, I'm a strong believer in midwives- but this lady was an idiot) told me that because of my nipples, I would be unable to breastfeed!

In addition, my son took 3 weeks to go back to birth weight.   I had high blood pressure due to the preeclampsia and was pumped with pitocin/antibiotics during labor/delivery that much of his birth weight was inflated due to water weight.  I was advised by his pediatrician to supplement with formula.  I was told that since I could not pump more than 2 ounces that he was not receiving enough milk.  (Thankfully, I knew better).  I found Human Milk for Human Babies and found a gracious mom who was willing to donate milk instead of formula- if we needed to use it.  Fortunately, the doctor was wrong and we didn't have to. 

After 3 weeks, I thought things were starting to get easier.  BOY WAS I WRONG! To compound the problem, I had caught an infection from the hospital in the incision sight when the OBGYN gave me an episiotomy (against my wishes).  My OBGYN was treating me with breastfeeding safe antibiotics, but they were doing nothing.  I was changed to another breastfeeding safe antibiotic, and nothing (I tried a couple other antibiotics after this as well).  Come to find out, it was MRSA.  I was advised to stop breastfeeding so I could take the medication required to treat the infection.  My heart was SHATTERED.  I was being treated in the emergency room at this point (long story, but I felt terrible and it was a long holiday weekend) and I agreed to get the script for the medication while I did my own research.  In fact, the ER doctor, who clearly knew nothing about breastfeeding, told me to go home and pump enough to store up while I was on the antibiotics.  REALLY???? As if anyone could go pump 10 days worth of milk in one day.   It was an amazing ER nurse to came to talk to me as I was crying about having to make this decision, **that to other people seemed so trivial and did not understand my grief**, who told me I didn't have to give up on breastfeeding. She told me she was still nursing her baby at 13 months and that there were options that I had.  She informed me about, "power pumping", to keep my supply up  in the event that I didn't nurse during the 10 day antibiotics/shots.  She also advised me to speak with my son's pediatrician (because he would know better than the ER doctor who simply looked the medication up in a book and said it was 'contraindicated').  This stranger was the one who gave me hope- and understood the deep pain that I was feeling.  My son and I had worked so hard to get him nursing over the last few weeks that I didn't want to give up.  I called and spoke directly with his pediatrician.  He told me that while it is contraindicated, I could continue to breastfeed under close supervision of him.  He monitored my son for any kind of jaundice, which he never ended up getting. I continued to nurse on the MRSA approved antibiotics/shots and he was fine. 

I thought I was in the clear.  UNTIL….. my son and I got thrush.  By this point I had been on about 6 different kinds of antibiotics.  I had been using coconut oil, but it was not enough.  I called the pediatrician and we both received some medication to treat this.  Ok, I thought, we have got to be in the clear now.  Nope!  About one week after the MRSA was treated, I came down with a bad case of mastitis.  Back to the doctor I went for MORE antibiotics, which caused another case of thrush (despite me and my son taking probiotics).  By this time, my son was about 3 months old. 

The thrush was treated (for the second time) and we were in the clear… for a month.  I came down with another case of mastitis. I thought that for sure things would get much easier from here.  Around this time I was able to wean my son off the nipple shields.  Oh what a glorious day that was! But a month later, ANOTHER CASE OF MASTISIS! (are you keeping count?  This is #3) But this time I was able to treat it naturally with colloidal silver and oil of oregano. About 3 months later, when I began my monthly cycle again, my supply dropped.  LOW.  I was only pumping ½ ounce total and my son was crying in hunger.  Thankfully to some gracious friends I was able to supplement with donated breast milk.  A truly wonderful midwife wrote me a prescription for domperidone which I immediately filled. Domperidone along with fenugreek and lemptaden was able to increase my supply back to what I needed for my son.   My son is now 2 weeks shy of his first birthday and we are STILL NURSING with no signs of weaning in the near future.  Just writing this brings me to tears.  I am so incredibly thankful for the group of women that I have met to support me and give me good solid information.  I am also proud of myself, for not listening to the doctors when I didn’t feel right about it. 

I’m sure there are some things that are missing from this story.  So much of this past year was just a blur.  People who are determined to breastfeed can do it.  There has to be a “WHATEVER IT TAKES” attitude not an, "If I Can" attitude.  Sometimes, that mantra was the only thing keeping me nursing from day to day.

** Disclamer, I know there are people not physically able to nurse.  This is not meant for them.  However, only 1-2% of the population actually can not nurse.  I am not bashing formula or a parent's decision to use it for various reasons.  Dr. Nancy summed up my thoughts perfectly when she posted, "So many people out there using these challenges as “excuses” propagates myths about breastfeeding. When women hear “Oh I tried to breastfeed but I didn’t have enough milk,”  it sets them up for this as a possibility in their lives. When they have challenges they think oh I guess I can’t breastfeed instead of seeking out solutions.  Those of us who understand that this “excuse” is rarely a whole truth tend to become judgmental of that excuse because we know that there are many solutions that could be tried if that mom wanted solutions.
Yes, less judgement of moms in general is what is needed here.  I think it is  judgement about making the choice not to breastfeed that is driving the perceived need for excuses.  If you choose not to breastfeed just say it.  If you think you tried everything but are not open to solutions say that too.  “I tried nursing and I have decided that I want to feed my baby differently”, end of story no excuses.  If you think you tried everything and you are open to solutions have a dialogue about it.   “I have tried nursing and have been having challenges, this is where I’m at.”    More honesty about it would create less animosity, I think.". 

There needs to be more open discussion so women actually looking for help have it!  I personally know a couple of women who didn't have a choice but to formula feed- and part of it is becuase they didn't know there were other options.**

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just life lately

I have nothing important to blog about, but a heaviness in my heart lately that I need to get out on paper.  Recently it seems as if my eyes are open to everything I fail at as a parent.  I have guilt and feel resentful over the fact that I can't stay home with the kids; and I beat myself up about the fact that I actually enjoy my job and am not entirely sure i'd want to be a stay at home mom.  Yes, it doesn't completely make sense to me either.I struggle with the knowledge that I can't protect my children from everything I know is causing them worry and fear. 

I fail.

But tonight, after putting the kids to bed it was if the Lord was opening my eyes up to what I am doing.  A slap in the face as if He is saying, "Lindsay- did you forget? I've got this".  And the truth is, I did forget.  I get so caught up in my shortcommings that I forget about the fact that I don't need to have it all together.   In Isaiah 65:10, God explains that the valley of Anchor would be a place of rest.  What irony, that a valley filled with rocks and nothing would be a place for the weary to rest.  But GOD and his grace can turn a rocky path into a resting place. God offers to transform our discouragements and defeats into a ray of hope.

Tonight, as I laid both my kids to sleep I was remided about how truely blessed I am.  And how, if I was doing things as terribly as I feel like I'm doing them right now, my children would not be the loving and compasionate kids that they are.  Baby B is teething like mad and did not want to lay down easily.I nursed him and watched him as his eyes got heavy and I transfered him to his crib.  I hugged him over the crib as he stood there and my arms went numb.  I stayed there still, as he went from standing to sitting and hugged my arm tight.  And I rubbed his back when he finally felt comfortable enough to lay down and eventually drift off.  I didn't let him, "cry it out".  I nursed him to sleep like I've been told not to do by so many of my, "main stream" friends..... and I feel good about it.  I then went the little H's room as she read me the entire story of, There's a Wocket in my Pocket perfectly on her own.  (wondering, when did she get old enough to do this!?) I closed my eyes as she prayed and talked to Jesus like He is her friend.  I listened as she asked for forgiveness for pouting then asked that Jesus help her feel comfortable to tell all her friends about Him. 

I was reminded tonight that failure is not fatal.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eyes of a child

I love getting a new perspective on the world through my daughter.  She just turned 5 and this is by far, one of my favorite ages.  Not simply because bed time is easy and tantrums are all but non existing- but because I'm excited for things again, seeing them through her eyes.  Easter is on Sunday and she is so excited about the, "Easter bunny/chocolate/eggs".  But i'm so proud that she truly knows what Easter is all about.  She is proud of it, says her favorite time in school is Bible time, and has unwavering faith. 

This morning she comes running into our bedroom like she does almost every morning and says quite factually, "Today is Good Friday.  People like you and me nailed Jesus to the cross.  He had to die so we can live.  I can't wait to die mom, so I can see Jesus".   Wow.  Just wow.  So much wisdom and faith in those few words.  She doesn't question it.  Jesus died so we can live. No second guessing, no fear, no wondering. 

I often wondered why, of all things Christ could have chosen, he picked children to be OUR example.  In Luke 18:17says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” or Matthew 18:4, “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I don't run my household like a child, work like a child, etc.  But my faith?  I need to have faith like a child? Hannah sees things differently than I do.  She is simple.  She has humility.  She understands grace. Jesus died so we don't have to. To her, there is nothing to question.  

Walking on the road to Jerusalem.
The time had come to sacrifice again.
My two small sons they walked beside me on the road.
The reason that they came was to watch the lamb

Daddy, daddy, what will we see there
There's so much we don't understand
So I told them of Moses and Father Abraham
And then I said dear children watch the lamb.

When we reached the city I knew something must be wrong
There were no joyful worshippers no joyful worship songs.
I stood there with my children in the midst of angry men.
And then I heard the crowd cry out crucify Him.

I watched Him as He struggled I watched Him as He fell.
The cross came down upon His back, the crowd began to yell.
In that moment I felt such agony, in that moment I felt such loss.
Until a Roman soldier grabbed my arm and screamed "You carry His cross.

At first I tried to resist him, then his hand reached his sword.
And so I knelt and took the cross from the Lord.
I placed it on my shoulder and started down the street.
The blood that He'd been shedding was running down my cheek.

They led us to Golgotha they drove nails deep in His feet and hands.
And yet upon the cross I heard Him pray, "Father, forgive them."

Oh never have I seen such love in any other eyes.
"Into thy hands I commit My spirit." He prayed and then He died.

I stood for what seemed like years I'd lost all sense of time.
Until I felt two tiny hands holding tight to mine.
My children stood there weeping I heard the oldest say.
"Father, please forgive us the lamb ran away.

Daddy, daddy what have we seen here.
There is so much we don't understand.
so I took them in my arms.
We turned and faced the cross,
and I said, "Dear children,
Watch the Lamb."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Are you a Godly Mother?

Somedays (okay, most days) my time with my kids seem to just FLY by.  Wake up at 4:45, feed the baby, get myself ready, take out the dog, fix meals for daycare, feed toddler, bring in dog, find something for breakfast, get baby ready, make sure toddler is ready, walk out the door and get to work all before 7 AM.  That is just my morning schedule!  (leaving out the occasional argument and grumbling).  Sometimes I sit back at the end of the day, for the few minutes the house is quiet and think.  Think about the impact I'm having on my children.  Did I make a difference?  Did I do the right thing?  Did I spend enough quality time with each of my children to where they BOTH feel loved.  Did I show them compassion and the love of, Jesus....  Or did I let my tiredness get the best of me and I rush my kids to bed so I can sit in the house, alone, for 5 minutes. 

This is my story.  Good.  Bad.  Hard.  Joyous. 

Last night, I kept wondering, how can I be a better mother to my children?  Many people don't realize the influence that parents have on their children.  2 Tim 1:5, the Apostle Paul makes the following statement concerning the GODLY INFLUENCES of a Mother and Grandmother, upon the life of Timothy, Paul states;

"I have been reminded of your sincere faith , which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice, and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also ............."

How then does a Godly Mother INFLUENCE her children?

A Godly Mother Has a PROFOUND INFLUENCE on Her Children

It was Lord Shaftesbury who said, "Give me a generation of Christian mothers and I will undertake to change the whole face of society in twelve months".

The word translated SINCERE, comes from the Greek word, from which we get our English word, HYPOCRITE. It means to be undisguised, to be without hypocrisy, to be genuine, to be sincere, to be without pretense or deceit. It is a word that RINGS with REALITY. Paul employed this word in 1 Tim 1:5, were he said,

The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart (speak truth in love... not being blunt or rude and calling it honest) and a good conscience and a SINCERE faith. And again in 2 Cor 6:6, Paul used this word to describe his sincere love, he call's it ‘GENUINE Love' . James also uses this word, as he describes the final qualification of the ‘Wisdom from above ...', James 3:17;

Wisdom from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, WITHOUT HYPOCRISY.

The SINCERE FAITH of Timothy's Mother Eunice and grandmother Lois made a DEEP and LASTING impression on Timothy's life. The REALITY of their faith, deeply impressed Timothy. Timothy was a young man who had a Godly heritage.

It is my prayer today that I can be a mother more like Eunice and Lois- and make a lasting impression for my children and generations to come.