Prenatal Vitamins: Part Two

passed out on my huge post-pregnancy belly. i hope i never forget...

So, my baby girl and I were happy. We continued on this easy streak for almost six months at which time she began growing too quickly for my boobs to keep up. I tried to continue breastfeeding and supplementing with formula but it eventually led to the end of her total dependence on me. I was fine with it. I knew I had done what was best for my baby and she seemed to be growing and developing as babies should and I was happy to leave her with the bottle...even though the spit-up smells ten times nastier. Yep, I just gagged.

Of course, this whole time I was taking prenatal vitamins to compensate for what she was sucking out of my body (that phrasing sounded more graphic than I intended.) Anyway, my lovely girl was six months old when I found out that I was pregnant with her baby brother...again, another story for another time. Just to let you know though, it was an OH MY FUCKING GOD moment. Needless to say, I continued taking the prenatal vitamins and gave birth to a perfectly pink little baby boy in November of 2008. My son and I had a totally different experience while trying navigate the somewhat scary journey that is breastfeeding. He was a pro and it seemed in the nine months that I hadn't fed a child, my body had regressed to total novice in the sport of nursing. In the hospital, at the very very beginning, we were quite a team. He sucked and I supplied. Forget Supply and Demand theory, its the Suck and Supply theory that is important.

Towards the end of our hospital stay, my boobs began stinging when he latched on. I gritted my teeth and remained calm and thankful that we were doing it. Jason asked if I wanted him to get me the lactation specialist but I knew what they would tell me. "Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt." "Try a different position." "You need to be using a nipple shield with those terribly flattened and atrocious nipples of yours." I didn't want to hear it. Unless you were me, inside my boob, feeling the pain that I was feeling...you had no idea what the fuck you were talking about. Did I mention I'm a little stubborn?

We went home. In the following days, the pain increased every time his little lips neared the boob-al area. The only thing that helped for those few months was my beloved and most hated pump. It was far less ferocious than my baby boy. I would pump as much as I could and we would store and use bottles to feed the hungry little man. When he woke up through the night, I would pump and Jason would make him a bottle of pumped breast milk. Thank you, sweetie. You helped out...a lot! After a few days of pumping, I would let him try again. It would start out pain free and the next feeding would sting a little and the one after that...Oh my ever loving shit. This sucks, you suck (my boobs, not my boy...well, he sucked too but in a more literal sense.) I remember doing the sideways feed in the middle of the night, which seems to be the easiest when you are slit-eyed and sleep deprived, and scissor kicking my legs and crying in pain with Jason sitting in bed next to me, useless, wondering what he could do. I slathered Lanolin and salty tears on my nipples while Beckett returned to my milk from the bottle. Discouraging, at best. Of course everyone had their advice. And by everyone I mean my mother. "You should go see your doctor. You probably have mastitis, like you did the last time. My friend told me that your baby shouldn't be sucking for longer than five minutes on each side. She said you're probably letting him suck on an empty breast. That's what is wrong. I met someone at the shop today. They said there is a breastfeeding specialist in our neighborhood. I've already placed the call for you. You know, if you feed him with the bottle too much he's never going to want to breastfeed, regardless of whether it hurts or not. Does it really hurt that bad?" Holy shit mom, I would have never had any of these problems had I only talked to you first, The Official Breastfeeding Guru. Remind me, the next time, and we can avoid this whole ordeal. Also, remind me to give you some boundaries of who the WHITNEY'S BOOBS conversation can and cannot happen with. Lord woman...keep it to a maximum of say, 13 of your closest Vera Bradley carrying buddies instead of 1300. Thank you.

Anyway, Baby Boy and I carried on and pushed through, pumping and crying and so on. I remembered the helpful and oh-so-encouraging advice that I got from my girl's breastfeeding days. Continue to nurse to six weeks, then decide. That advice is truly golden because all the breastfeeding kinks must just find a way to work themselves out by that totally random time frame. At six weeks I was pain free and breastfeeding while vacuuming and reading Vogue. I know you can't help but get a visual, let me tell you...it was H.O.T.

Well, now we are at six months of breastfeeding and again, my body can't even attempt to keep up. My little man is a Big Man and he is totally over the boob. He needs more so we are all happily moving on to formula and mushy avocado. I know he needs it and my body can't provide for him any longer but I'm having some major mixed emotions. As of right now, we are thinking that this baby is most definitely our last. I know, I know this might change but won't it be sad if I never again get to have a little one cradled in my arms, slowly falling asleep as he eats. Having to wake them up for just a few more sucks and then, nod of again. Seeing they're sleepy little eyes roll back and flutter before completely closing. Knowing, just knowing that someone is completely dependent on me for one moment in time.

Though it was a struggle, I've had that moment in time and I guess my children will grow to be dependent on me in other ways...but, never in that totally basic sense. I never thought I would, but I am having trouble turning my back on these days. Having the ability to breastfeed both of my children, provide them with nutrition and a strong immune system was most definitely a gift. Though I'm having trouble letting go, I am thankful for the time we had together. We played a great game. We made a great team...both of you. It was not without struggles but we made it and I did the best I could for you. I will never forget it.


Oatmeal Cookies with Apricot and Pistachio

I know my camera is shitty, please forgive.

Well, friends...first, I have a bit of mommy joy to share with you and then we'll move on to the recipe.

1) My baby got his first tooth. Lower right side of his little red gums there is a tiny bit of pearly white sticking through and it is adorable. One morning I woke up and both of my kids are out of infancy. One is well on her way into being a toddler (2 in July) and the other is 6 months old. When did this happen? If you broke into my house and stole my time, I would like it back if you feel like turning yourself in. I won't press charges...I'll just relax and press rewind.

2) Right now is my absolute favorite time. Not only because it is 8:34 am on a Sunday morning. But, because the little one got up early around 7:30 am and decided he was not really ready for the day, as he usually does. He had his morning eats and returned to the Land of Nod (sleep, not the store.) The little girl has decided she wants to sleep in on this lovely Sunday morning despite the fact that some P.O.S. is jack hammering the street in front of our house. So, what does that leave mommy with...coffee and quiet. Two of my favorite things. Oh, and Jason is still sleeping too which is FINE by me.

On to the COOKIES.

Cookies are one of m favorite things to bake. I adore them for many a reason. One being that they're convenient for packing in a picnic, taking on walk,or eating on the spot sans the burden of a plate and fork. My daughter loves them. She love to watch them rise and expand in the oven, changing shape and taking character. Cookies make excellent hostess gifts or gifts to people who have done you a favor. They make excellent holiday treats and the packaging options are endless. The Cookie is my friend. Especially when the little dough balls turn into to something as tasty as the ones below.

Not too long ago, I made these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and though they were not at all what I expected I was completely enamored with their taste and texture. After spending many years being on the consuming end of baking only I had met many Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that I would not call back after a one night stand. Cold, I know! The dry, flavorless dough that would often break instead of crumble or tear left me wanting a large glass of milk instead of more. Where was the hearty flavor of oatmeal? I see the little flaky discs but failed to taste what they contributed to the cookie. After many years of disappointment, I just plainly decided that this cookie variety was not for me. That is until I met the Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie linked above. I vowed to no longer discriminate against baked goods that contain oatmeal and its a good thing I was so forgiving. Because, I found this winner on the oh-so-talented Orangette's website. If you notice that I often use her recipes its because I have never met one that I didn't like...especially of the baked variety. She is a genius in the department of bread, cookies, cakes and pies. Genius, I tell you!!!

So, these cookies flattened out on the parchment paper and there were spots that were almost transparent when you held them up to a window...not that I tried this, eh?!?! Hole-y or, just holy...because they're that good. The edges caramelize because of the high brown sugar content and the chew is clost to that of candy. The apricots are chewy and tangy, as apricots always are. And, the pistachios are not obvious but when you bite into a little bit of delightful crunch, you will not doubt be pleased. When you're mixing the cookies up the dough (almost batter) is very runny but keep going...you're haven't forgotten a whole cup of flour.

I think that's what makes them melt in the oven and spread out to form thin chewy discs of heaven. I used roasted, salted pistachios and reduced the salt just a tad and they were perfect. Make them - now - seriously - go get you butter out, throw in a load of laundry, let the butter soften slightly and get to work. You and your family will be happy you did. Happy baking lovelies.

P.S. Lots of love to those we've lost on this memorial day weekend.


prenatal vitamins: PART 1

I have spent the past three years on prenatal vitamins. I found out that I was pregnant with my first (holy shit, it still freaks me out that there is a first AND a second) in November of 2007. She was a surprise to my husband and me but that story will be a different post for a different day. She was born on July 30, 2007 and we fell in love with her instantly. That also could be a different post for a different day. I had a excessive laundry list of problems with breastfeeding but I had my mind set on it. I'm not sure what made me feel so strongly about wanting to breastfeed but it was something I was NOT willing to give up on. Maybe it was that my mother did it and look how fabulous her offspring are (ha). She didn't want to latch on when the nurses wrapped her up and lay her on my chest. I tried every position...football shmootball, nothing worked. Oh, it was discouraging. I thought your kids weren't supposed to reject you until they were teenagers and mine was rejecting me when she was mere moments old. I had the hospital nursery take her for one night and requested she not have a pacifier and not have a bottle. "Please just bring her to me when she gets hungry." They seemed to get it, but they didn't. She came back in the morning plugged up with a pacifier and having finished 3 bottles during the span of the overnight. UGH, I felt like I had take giant steps backwards. We tried nursing her every twenty minutes or so. The lactation specialist told me I had inverted nipples. I turned Jason as if to say, "You don't think there's anything wrong with my nipples, do you? You've been hiding the fact that my nipples were weirdly irregular and backwards since we met? You bastard." It turns out he didn't think there was anything wrong with them but my little girl had a different opinion. So, they gave me this odd contraption called a nipple shield. If you've never seen one it sort of looks like a clear plastic UFO with holes in the top. Its designed to be placed comfortably (yeah right) atop the nipple and suction it when the baby sucks through the holes. Jason would spend 20 minutes dipping the shield in cold water, turning it inside out and then suctioning it to my boob. It was like a love scene out of a Hugh Grant movie...flawless (my ass). Keep in mind the baby was cring this whole time, can you hear her? Can you see him? It was a disaster. It never stuck and Jason felt like an official Nipple Shield Failure of the highest degree.

After alot of practice and the discovery that all the technique of the water dipping etc was totally not necessary, we got the hang of it and Baby Girl got fed. I started to question my motivation though. She was sucking through this unnatural apparatus and that was one of the reason I had ruled out bottles in the beginning anyway. I thought nursing was supposed to be so natural and her we were not even skin to skin. Not to mention the inconvenience of it all. We would leave the house without the all important nipple shield and have to drive back to the house in order to feed my BREASTFEEDING daughter. So, now both reasons (doing what was natural and convenience) I has come to breastfeeding were gone. I thought my body was physically rejecting being a mother and I started to doubt my choices. "see, I wasn't cut out for this," I would complain to Jason. He always had something comforting to say but it never made me feel any more confident. He was the one changing diapers and doing little tickle games with our new baby. I mostly pouted in the corner scared I would break her. I knew I loved her but could I ever learn to take care of her and give her everything she needed? In the following weeks I cried as I fed her from my plastic covered cracked nipples. I cried and cried and cried. In all the books I read pre-baby there were wonderful photos of mothers cradling their babies to their breast, looking down at them with a peaceful, loving and pain-free smile. I wanted that picture. I didn't want the tears or the pain or her dissatisfied cries. I wanted, instead someone to be cradling me, telling me everything was going to be alright. The pain turned out to be mastitis and thrush. When I was diagnosed with these infections they told me the baby should be treated because she might have thrush as well, in her mouth. I cried some more. Now, I had given my brand new healthy baby girl a sickness. My sick body had made her well body, sick. We both took the antibiotics and I, someone who has never had an allergic reaction barring a rash I got from amoxil at age 6, was allergic to these antibiotics. They made my skin crawl and made me feel even more crazy than I think I was. Because now, I was wondering why my whole body itched and why I couldn't sleep or sit still. It was horrifying.

Needless to say I got off the antibiotics and received some of the most helpful advice when it come to breastfeeding. Finally, useful, helpful, real advice from a woman whom I respect and admire. She told me to just keep at it for six weeks. After six weeks she suggested that I reassess the situation and give it up if I was still in so much agony. It was PERFECT. I had a time frame. A time to which I could push myself towards but all the while knowing there would be relief if I made it there. I don't know why I didn't just give up at the beginning but I had this feeling that this was best for my daughter and that's what I strive for. After hours of Internet research and countless lactation specialist home visits and La Leche League advice it turns out that this woman's advice was all I needed to turn my attitude around. As we neared the six weeks mark, my daughter's jaws got stronger, her suction improved, my nipples slowly healed, and the pain subsided.

One day, I sat down in a chair with my baby, yanked down my shirt and she ferociously gulped and stopped and gulped and stopped with a perfect rhythm. Jason walked in and said, "well, we're at six weeks...should I go buy formula?" We still didn't look like the pictures in the nursing brochures but we were just perfect. And it only took six very short weeks.

What have your breastfeeding experiences been like? Good or Bad? Love or Hate? How long did you last?

This is her at about 11 months. And, though we had quit breastfeeding and she had fallen hard for avocados...I still think we made a great team!


i'm honing...

So, I've realized this blog is a little vague. And to me, vague is generally a bad thing. I mean I don't want it to be a stiflingly structured place to browse. Rather, I would like it to be a sweet little corner of the world where I can stow away my thoughts and ideas; plans and memories. Right now, it is none of these things. I started it in order to check items off an unwritten list...obviously a bad idea considering none of the items on said list have been completed.

Dear readers or lack there of, we have come to a crossroads. What to make out of this lovely blog place thingy??? I have been mega inspired by a place called www.girlsgonechild.net and I do so love how she has documented so many events as her children grow. But many other mommy bloggers have inspired me as well. Obviously, they are much more versed at this blogging thing because as you can see I can't make my spot in the blogosphere look cool if my life depended on it. WTF, indeed?? On the other end of the spectrum there is this site that I check on a bidaily basis. Then, I refer to this site on a (at least) weekly basis. They say that your 20s are for figuring out who you are and I clearly have not decided. But, there are two things I love more than (or at least almost as much as) mi esposo and they are my babies and the things that come out of my oven on an almost nightly basis. Baking and babies.

Here's what I envision:

Me: blogging on a nightly frequency. One night's musings will be about the confectional delight of the evening. The other night will be dedicated to some wild mommy news, of which there is plenty.

You: reading on a nightly frequency and posting clever little comments that keep me motivated and smiling.

Sound good? I'm glad we had this chat. We will now commence in this fashion.

Thank you and goodnight!

Now, for my first attempt at a picture....eeeeeeek! If it shows up: meet my little girl at 22 months. She had just finished dinner and had spaghetti all over her shirt. Shirts are totally overrated anyway..."playing" basketball in the alley, now that is important! (okay, so it ended up at the top...and i don't know how to move it. but, its up there...and she is freaking awesome!)

Have a lovely weekend.



My husband tells me I look pretty almost 5 of seven days of the week. I consider myself lucky. Not just because he compliments me but, because I'm almost convinced that, even though I haven't lost all the baby weight from No. 2, he genuinely means it. I also consider myself lucky, that I believe him to be one of the dreamiest men of all time. Sometimes I imagine myself being single again and dream up different scenarios in which we meet. At the grocery store, in a bar (which, incidentally is how we met), at a drive-in movie or a cocktail party. Even my single alter ego thinks he is irresistible. That's a very good sign, yes?

It is finally May. It is raining in the midwest right now, but it is still May. He will start to wear shorts, I love him in shorts (and sunglasses and a t-shirt). I love him (in anything).