Happy Thanksgiving! I’m not sure where to start – I made sure to jot down Alana’s birth story while it was still fresh, and here we are 9 months later without a post in between. In all honesty 2018 has been a tough year for the Breaux household. In the early part of the year I battled postpartum issues – breastfeeding and depression and sleep deprivation (which one is the root cause?), and am now working on healing my body from both a very bad ankle re-sprain and post-baby ab separation. I’m doing great now and my outlook on life is very positive, but I don’t want to erase what I’ve been through either.
After Alana’s quick birth, things went fairly well; my milk took some time to come in so I pumped, but once it did Alana was regaining her weight and doing well. She, like Nathan, was a very constant eater. I blame that on David and my grazing / snacking eating style! David went back to work at three weeks and straight into a turnaround (long hours), but luckily we had both sets of grandparents visit. Nathan had a brief month of acting out, and being especially testy in the mornings – I was so embarrassed for my parents to see him like that – but luckily it passed and he is generally a very sweet and kind brother. Around week 6 Alana’s latching regressed and I wore a fairly tight hand-me-down nursing top, and my friend, mastitis reared its ugly head again. All three times I had it, it came without warning and no chance of clearing via the usual methods of hot showers, etc. The doctors put me on a fairly long course of antibiotics from which I got thrush. Somewhere in there (I think after being medicated with diflucan) my milk supply dried, Alana’s weight plateau-ed, and I spent 3 weeks on a nurse-cation on the couch, getting my body to re-lactate. This may not sound like much, but it was one of the most draining and physically inactive periods of my life. I didn’t sleep much since Alana was in be with me, nursing as often as she liked, and all day we stayed on the couch, making sure she nursed on demand too. Despite my efforts, her weight gain wasn’t enough, so around 10-12 weeks we started supplementing (first with freezer milk and finally with formula). The first time she had formula she made the worst face and both she and I cried, but I slowly got over it, having David feed her the formula first. I struggled then – physically I felt weak (hips, core) and mentally sad being at home most of the day. She was too difficult to nurse in public and didn’t like to nap anywhere but on me. We got through another 1-1.5 months at home, with a lot of carrier walks/naps at a nearby hiking trail, and I finished up Last Man on Earth and Brooklyn 99 on Netflix – trying to keep it light and comedic to lift my spirits! During these times, the thrush finally cleared (after many various treatments), and I pumped extra, once after she went to bed and often once at 2 AM to get my supply up. By the time I went back to work at 4.5 months she was only supplementing 1-3 oz. per day.
Was it worth it? Hard to say, but I will say it was exhausting, for myself and a bit draining on the other relationships in my family and forget having a social life. I also didn’t get to enjoy her time as a newborn because I had constant anxiety about the breastfeeding. I went back to work in July and was relieved to pump and not have a body on me all day. Our daycare is amazing, and got her to nap by herself (they work wonders) and after she started rolling on her tummy at 5ish months she became a better napper. I was thankful to be back at work, but the 2-3 night wakings still occurred for another 2+ months. Pretty sure I had large bags under my eyes for a while. I kept the extra 8 PM night pump until she was 8 months, and finally dropped it. She was very disinterested in feeding at this point, unless she was almost asleep, so I’d only feed at night and early mornings. I let things go their course, and here we are at nine months and I’ve finally gone 1 week without breastfeeding. She is doing well, only having been sick once or twice.
As far as Alana’s nine month update – she is doing so well, my active little girl! She is into everything; pulling up and soon to be walking. The speed of her army crawl is impressive. Her favorite things are the open dishwasher, playing and babbling with Nathan, just about any fruit, and being in the carrier. Dislikes include getting her face wiped, not being fed immediately (hangry little thing) and being sick (not much of a trooper, like her mom?!). She really is a decent sleeper now, after 8 months of hell. Did I mention I don’t do well with sleep deprivation?
In July I also rolled my ankle, just a fluke of stepping on an uneven surface with loosely tied shoes. After PT, I realized my hips were extremely weak and likely contributed. Since then, I’ve done a gazillion single leg deadlifts among other exercises on balance pads, and am feeling so much stronger. I also started RECORE and love the program – I highly recommend it. My ab separation has decreased from 2 to 1 finger widths and I’m starting to be able to run again. I normally get up before the kiddos and do a 30-45 minute trainer ride and/or strength exercises.
To add, David has been working a turnaround since September (12+ hour days, 6 day weeks); he leaves at 4:30AM-5 AM and I hopefully see him again by 5 PM. He’s working today (Thanksgiving, tomorrow, and Sunday), so a lot of single parenting lately. He doesn’t want to be working like that, but the role he is in he has a lot of responsibility. He’s hoping to move to something new next year. Working like this has impacted his health / livelihood – I know he really misses running and the family. We had two days in October we were able to do short lunch hike/runs together and it was amazing. I really want to get back to that. This isn’t a “we have it so hard” but rather documenting what this season of our lives has looked like.
Nathan is handling everything fine, and apart from the occasional testing of discipline is a really great kid. He is really kind to others and I want to keep him sweet and naive as long as possible! He also still takes afternoon naps, thank goodness.
So there you have it. Hopefully things are downhill from here. We are looking forward to a lot of time with family over the Christmas holidays (i.e. grandparent babysitting!) and some R&R, hopefully to include swim-bike-run again soon, or at least one of them.