Sunday, February 28, 2010

Breastfeeding and Me

This week one of my friends was verbally attacked on Facebook. It disturbed me greatly. Her response was well thought out and concise and far more diplomatic than I would have been. I admire her for that.
But it has led me to write this post.
It is about my breastfeeding journey. It explains why I will never let anyone belittle me for being proud of breastfeeding. It will explain why I will always seek to support and educate women.

I couldn't breastfeed Ryley.
After a traumatic birth, in which I was sent to recovery for 2 hours and he was sent who knows where (up to the ward with my parents I think), Ryley wasn't interested in feeding.
Oh he must be just sleepy, nevermind, lets get some of your colostrum anyway and we will try again later.
OK. So it's not my fault then? Phew.
I then got milked by the nurses. Every 3 hours.
I was told that I wasn't attaching him right. I was getting too upset, which made him upset.
We had better give him some formula.
OK. So now I am starving him. Great.

I had so many people around me who told me I was the one doing everything wrong that I actually believed it.
Everyone can breastfeed. It's not hard. Stop getting so upset. Let me try and attach you.
I ended up expressing milk for Ryley for nearly 8 weeks. He would take an hour to feed what little I had expressed. He would then sleep for an hour (which I spent expressing) and then he would wake up vomiting.
I had no choice but to feed him formula. I barely had any supply left and was exhausted. He wasn't putting on much weight and it was apparently because of my milk.

It was devastating for me. As it turns out, Ryley didn't have the jaw strength to breastfeed. He just couldn't attach. Partly because he has a disability. Not because I am a total failure as a woman.

I still wish I had went and searched for more support. But I wonder if I would have found it? Possibly not.
Do I regret not being able to feed Ryley?
Not anymore.
It was just one of those things. I did try and I should feel proud of myself for giving it a go.

And then there was Braeden.
The minute he was born and placed on my tummy, he started making his way up to my breast. He got there so quickly! All 9lbs of him wiggled up and just latched on.
Perfectly.
We gazed into each others eyes as he drank, and I felt this amazing euphoric feeling. All my fears about breastfeeding just melted away.
I was actually doing it!
I cried with utter joy.

Braeden is 25 months old and still feeding. I am so proud of myself for sticking to it. I have fed through mastitis twice. I have had nipple blisters several times. I have fed when I have been so sick I can't move. I have given up sleep because Braeden still feeds through the night at least 3-4 times (if not more). It has been HARD BLOODY WORK. There have been times I have just broken down crying in the middle of the night because I am so exhausted physically that I feel like I can't go on. I have put up with people's snide remarks and judgements of me because I continue to feed.
I will NEVER apologise for being proud of breastfeeding. I have worked hard to keep up and give my son the best start I can give him.

I have never judged someone for breastfeeding or not. Because I have been judged myself. I know what it is like to feel the pressure, feel like you are the worst mother in the world. No woman should be made to feel guilty for the choices that they make in regards to breast or bottle feeding. It is a personal choice. Not everyone can breastfeed, not everyone wants to.
I think that there needs to be more support out there for women full stop. Having a baby is hard work. Once upon a time, all the women in the neighbourhood would support each other when a new baby was born. This doesn't happen anymore.

So breast, or bottle.
It doesn't matter.
But own the choices that you make. Don't blame others. Don't be afraid to seek support. Don't feel like you need to justify yourself.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Let me try again

Thankyou Caitlyn for your comments to my last post. I think I just needed to hear it was actually ok for me to not blog. Thanks so much for always inspiring me to write! You just know exactly what to say!

So...this post will be short and sweet.

Today, Braeden and I filled our day by making cupcakes...and playing with Playdough. The Playdough part was pretty much all day.

Ryley got an award at school yesterday because he won the game of 'Musical Statues'! He loves that game. We play it at home all the time.

Tonight, being Friday, is snuggle-with-my-husband night. We will watch a movie and eat stuff we don't need to eat. I heart Fridays.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lost

I have lost my blogging mojo.
I will admit it.
There are a lot of things I want to write about. But I can't find the words.

So I am here. Trying to blog, but everything is coming out all wrong. I write these awesome posts in my head when I should be sleeping, but of course they never get to the blog because it is usually midnight and I can't be bothered getting out of bed.

Please bear with me. I am certain I will be full of interesting things again soon.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nope, still nothing

I am just checking in really.
I have written about 5 posts lately and deleted them all.
Why?

I don't know.

I have at least almost achieved the goal that I set myself for the whole year. Last night I ran 5.5km around the Lake. It took me 46 mins. But it's the first time I have run that far without stopping so I am pretty proud of myself. Can't wait to start getting faster!

David also went in a charity bike race yesterday. He rode 50km! Fantastic effort considering he hasn't done any training or anything for it!

I came out from the shower this morning to fits of giggles coming from the loungeroom. Ryley and Braeden were in there wrestling around on the floor! SO cute! Great way to start the day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Toddler Tantrums

It's a funny thing really. I thought that Braeden's tantrums couldn't get any worse. And then they did.

That kid seriously tantrums over EVERYTHING. Normal...good development...very good for his self-esteem blah blah blah. I know all that.
You know what my solution is though? Shove a breast in his mouth and let him drown his sorrows. And while he drinks up, he even gets to listen to a lecture from me about why screaming when he can't do something is not going to help.
Don't ask me what will happen when he no longer wants his "Mulk". I might sell him on ebay or something.

In all seriousness though, I am seeing for the first time exactly HOW frustrating it is for him when he can't do something first go, or when he is trying to tell me something and I don't know what it is. He expresses himself well by screaming blue murder, or throwing the item. It has got me thinking about how hard it must be for Ryley. He can't even always express his frustration at what he is frustrated about. Imagine being locked inside your body and desperately trying to get your mouth to say the words, or your hands to draw.
Last night, I sat with the boys outside and I was getting Braeden to name things and say the words after me. For the most part, Braeden can say the word, or an approximation. I then turned to Ryley to give him a go. He can say Mumma (which is what he calls me as opposed to when he just says Mum-that doesn't mean me), and then he tried his hardest to say the other words. In the end he realised he couldn't say them so just said nothing.
I can't explain really how that makes me feel. 
I gave him a cuddle and we went and did something he CAN do. We pulled the washing off the line and took it inside to sort and put away.
For some reason, my kids love to help me with this and are actually pretty good at putting things away.
Best I make the most of it now, seeing as in a few years I bet I won't be able to even pay them to do it!

Thanks to those who have been busy sending me questions through my side link. I haven't had time to blog because I have been busy answering them and fighting off a stupid migraine which plagued me for 4 days.

Keep the questions rolling in and feel free to go and take a peek at the questions and answers.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Got a question?

I am copying my friend Lauren and putting in a place for people to ask me questions! They can be anonymous if you like and can be about anything at all!
If you have a question about a blog post, or just want to know something more about me, or where I stand on a certain issue, then ask away!
All the answers will be there for you to read!

So please feel free at any time to ask me something. I will try and answer as best I can, and it may even be a blog topic you would like me to write about.

I have already answered a few questions, please keep them coming!!

A big welcome too to my new followers. For those that read, but don't neccessarily comment or Follow, please drop me an email or a comment from time to time, just so I know you are there. Many times I have thought about making this blog private, but for now, have decided not to. So if you are a regular reader, please say Gday or publicly follow!

I have also added a few new WHS families blogs to my link thingy. So welcome to the blogging world! Go and visit them and lend your support.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things I love today

I love watching Ryley and Braeden develop their own way of communicating with each other. They use sounds, signs and eye contact. I watched this morning as Braeden got their toothbrushes and he nodded at Ryley who nodded back as if they were saying "You wanna clean your teeth?" "Yeah alright".

I love how Ryley gets Braeden's shoes for him, and how Braeden tries to pick out clothes for them to wear.

I love how independent Braeden is.

I love how independent Ryley is trying to be.

I love that there are so many blogging WHS Mum's out there now. When we started Ryley's original blog back in 2004, there was virtually NO other blogs around. Now there are wonderful new blogs being written all the time. Not only is writing a blog a great way of meeting others and sharing information about WHS, but is also a wonderful therapeutic tool for parents. Being able to read what others are doing and make comments and ask questions is something that just wasn't possible...well even 5 years ago!

I love my WHS family. Wherever in the world they may be.

And. I love that it has finally cooled down a bit! I am a little sick of the muggy humid weather. I guess I live in Ballarat for a reason. I think I prefer the coldness (despite craving sunshine during winter).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just 'cos

New Haircut!
No Mum, I WILL NOT smile for you!
Happy Birthday Ryley
Ryley's main birthday present!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stormy weather

I used to hate storms.
I would hide under my doona or put my head under my pillow until the rain came, and only then would I feel safe enough to stick my head out.
David, on the other hand, has always loved storms. He used to sit outside with his Dad and just watch the storm move around the hills. He still heads straight ouside at the sound of a storm so he can be part of it.

Over the years, I have come to realise that the storms can't actually hurt you if you are inside. I am now brave enough to stand at the back door (under the verandah) and watch the lightening.
But it is still the rain that I love the most. If I had to to choose my perfect weather. I would choose rain. I love the sound, the smell (especially in summer) and I find watching it really soothing.
Of course trying to entertain kids when it rains non-stop for days is something I don't neccessarily enjoy, although that hasn't really happened all that much in recent years due to the drought.

We have some stormy weather happening in our neck of the woods at the moment, and as I write this, all the boys are...you guessed it...outside!
Once upon a time I would have made them come in, but you know, I think it is good for the kids to grow up not being scared of things for no reason.
I mean, I can't think for the life of me why I would have grown up being scared of storms. It must have been the noise or the combination of the noise and lightening. Don't know.
But hopefully the boys can learn from David that a storm is actually a pretty cool thing-so long as you don't go play with metal things in the middle of a lightening storm...!

Aaaah...
Here comes the rain...
Think I might go stand in it awhile.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear Ryley

Here we are.
Another birthday milestone.
It's truly hard to believe that we have made it this far sometimes. I can remember when you turned 3 and we were about to have some very serious operations (Posteritor Fossa Decompression and removal of cysts from you spine). You were so small and not very robust and that was one of the most horrific times of our lives. To this day, I will never forget the look of sheer panic and horror in your eyes as you pleaded with me to take the pain away. I still tear up now just thinking about it. You were supposed to be in ICU on painkillers. Instead you were in the ward writhing in pain when you should have been lying still. Lucky I am one of those persistant mothers who refuses to let people not listen to her.

You are so special to us Ryley. It is because of you that we have this life. It is a wonderful life, despite the hardships. But we get to see life for what it really is. Filled with suffering at times, but nothing can beat that overwhelming beauty and hope that we see in each brand new day.
We don't take a thing for granted. Life is for living. We will always try and give you (and Braeden) the opportunity to experience as much of this rich tapestry of life as we can.

We are very proud of how far you have come. We know that it gets frustrating for you at times, and that you want to tell us what is on your mind. We will always try and hear you no matter how you tell us.
You are one tough little bugger! Stubborn too. No idea where that comes from though..!
We love you so much.

This is the song that I used to sing to you when you were a newborn. This will always be your song from your Dad and me:



The words:

How do I love you, well, let me see

I love you like a lyric loves a melody
Baby, completely wrapped up in you
How do I need you, well, can't you tell
I need you like a penny needs a wishing well
Baby, completely wrapped up in you
Every now and then
When the world that we're living in's crazy
You gladly hold me and carry me through
No one in the world's ever done what you do for me
And I'd be sad and lonely if there were no you
How do I love you, well, count the ways
There ain't no number high enough
To end this phrase
Baby, completely wrapped up in you

Baa baa, ba ba, ba ba, baa baa baa
Ba ba ba, baa ba
Baa baa, ba ba, ba ba, baa baa baa
Ba ba ba, baa ba

Every now and then
When the world that we're living in's crazy
You gladly hold me, and carry me through
No one in the world's ever done what you do for me
And I'd be sad and lonely if there were no you

How do I love you, well, don't you know
I love you 'bout as deep as any love can grow
Baby, completely wrapped up in you
Baby, completely wrapped up in you

How do I love you, well, let me see
I love you like a lyric loves a melody
Baby, completely wrapped up in you

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Quick Update

Ryley managed to get through the day at school today which is a very good sign. I am hoping he is just exhausted and needs some extra rest.
It is always so hard to tell. And I am finding it is getting harder as he gets older. There just seems to be more and more things to be worried about.
Wish he could tell me.
He is the toughest person I know.

Whining at the World: Lemonade Stand Award

In amongst the crapness that has been the last few weeks, finally something to make me smile (and feel like I am going red). E. over at Whining at the World: Lemonade Stand Award has given me this award.

Thankyou so much.

I have got a couple of other awards too which I must find and acknowledge! So I will do that a bit later.
But for now, I need to pass on this award to  bloggers who show great attitude and gratitude.

Now that isn't hard!

Firstly, Jen (Where is Juni) who has a two beautiful children. One of whom has Autism. She is brutally honest and I love reading her posts.

Then Liv (Lover of Little Things) because she is way awesome!

Bron (Big brother, Little Sister) is on there because I learn so much from her and Cooper.

So there you go. Go on over and have a read.

PS. These aren't the only ones who show great attitude and gratitude. In fact most of the bloggers I follow do. I just decided to pick bloggers I haven't given love to yet!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ryley not so well

First week back and Ryley is already home sick.
Can he ever get a break?

Poor kid. He is fast asleep at the moment. His little body is just completely drained.
I am tipping it is partly due to the intense two days we had last week at the RCH. Plus he is more than likely coming down with something, or fighting something off.
I don't know.

Of more of a concern for me is that he is falling a fair bit lately. His teacher reported to me today that he just fell straight back today, no crumple of the knees, just straight back down on the ground.
He actually has been making us pick him up a fair bit lately in hindsight, so now I am starting to get a bit worried.
It could be quite a few things that causing it and they are of a huge concern (I won't go into here).

So I will keep an eye on him and just monitor what is going on.
Geez I am worried about him though.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I love you routine..

I am a little sad today.
Always happens.
I look forward to Ryley going back to school for the whole holidays, and then when he does go back, I feel this awful pit of sadness because I miss him like crazy.
Ryley barely slept last night. He was up at 5am ready to go to school! He was so excited!
Usually I take him for his first day, just so I can double check with his new teacher that they have the PEG feeds all sorted and to answer any last minute questions that they might have.
'Cept today there was a bit of a stuff up.

I called the bus as usual and left a message to say that Ryley wouldn't be catching the bus this morning because I always take him for his first day.
Well that was all well and good until the bus pulled up out the front.
Ryley spotted the bus.
Ryley ran out to the bus.
Sigh.
I guess you can go on the bus seeing as you are already on and racing down to your seat without so much as a goodbye and only a brief pulling of your cheeky face at me.

I must admit, I panicked a bit. As the bus pulled away (without so much as a wave from Ryley), I started to stress about whether I should ring his teacher or go up to the school anyway.
After a consultation with David, I decided to hot foot it up to the school and just double check that everything was fine.
Good thing I did.
The staff were waiting to talk to me about his PEG feeds and to show them what to do (not that they really needed to be shown-it is pretty rare to find someone who knows what to do already!!).

Ryley was not impressed that I was there. I forced him to give me a kiss (much to his disgust) and then he bolted away from me. He even looked at Braeden like he was a pesky fly.
At least he was happy.

Braeden and I then went and caught up with Jen and Ellie for a coffee and a play (you can meet Jen here).
It is so good to be able to catch up with another Mum who understands the morning I had.
I joked about it being the first time I have ever been able to go to Macca's and let one of my children play in the playground while I sat and had a coffee and chatted to another Mum.
Just like those Mums over there Jen said.
Yep. Just like those Mums there.

So we have leapt back into our routine again. I can feel the layers of stress peeling off me. I think maybe I need the routine almost as much as Ryley does.

PS. Quick update: Ryley has to go and have nearly all his teeth out in a couple of months. Poor kid. Another GA, another stay in hospital (though with a bit of luck it won't be for long) and more pain.
We aren't even sure if he has any adult teeth. So it is possible that once we take out his teeth, he will never have them replaced.

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