Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eli- 8 months

Can't. Believe. It.

My baby is getting so big. I sat him on my lap the other day and suddenly realized that my hand doesn't touch his armpit and hip at the same time when I hold him. This was shocking. He's starting to get longer and isn't so round anymore.

Every time he grows my heart just bursts with joy. Things were so bad back in October. Like, really bad, wondering if he's sick or has growth problems or I messed him up by starving him bad. I comment a lot about loving the look of fat babies to friends of mine (a lot of whom have fat babies) - it's because you KNOW they are healthy and growing and have everything they need. Seeing Eli grow and having t move his leg fat to wash underneath is just such a blessing.

The only down side is the sweater I knit him is already looking a little short.

He eats real food now. It dawned on me the other day that he's 8 months old and could probably feed himself. It was just this sudden realization, it feels like I somehow missed a few months or something. He does great with cheerios and other small bits of food. He eats with us at meals now, which is much nicer than having him yell at us the whole time, wondering where his food is.

He's still not quite crawling. He's kind of stuck in reverse, which sort of makes me laugh. He tries so hard to get closer but keeps going further away. It's cute.

These milestones are so great, but hard at the same time. We don't plan on having any more kids (well, we're keeping adoption open as an option in the future, but that's it) so this is the last time I'll see these changes. Sigh. It makes me feel so blessed. Eli is so different from Hana, I can't wait get to know his version of the world as he grows, to see how their two perspectives mesh and clash together and with my own. I can't wait to learn all the things that he has to teach me. Already he reminds me to smile more, to laugh more, to just sit and enjoy what's around me, because it all passes by so fast.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I like knitting. A lot. It gives my hands somethign to do and makes me feel productive. It's a reward for cleaning, a tension reliever in the evenings and gives me an excuse to meet new people.

As such, I've been doing a lot of it lately. Right now I've got three projects OTN (on the needles) - socks, a sweater for the girl, and this shawl. Click that and look at the beauty of the shawl.

It's my first time knitting lace. It's my first time knitting with lace weight yarn (it's like thick thread). I'm finished the first chart and on my second (of ten) repeat of the second chart. It's pretty. I'm really excited.

Unfortunately, the charger for my camera has gone awol, so no pics of my pretty (or many of the things I've finished recently...or of my kids for that matter...)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

sometimes it hurts

When the things I believe and know and want don't line up with reality. Eli is 7 months old, he's happy, growing, wonderful. But there's still something that pains me as I watch him grow.

He weaned at not quite 5 months. Those of you who regularly read my blog know the story. He stopped gaining weight at 9 lbs (weighed at 10 wks). We tried everything. EVERYTHING. feeding constantly. Pumping constantly. Teas, herbs, medications (that made me go nuts), everything. I did all I could to keep him from having formula for over a month. Trips to Drs and lactation consultants. Telling Hana I couldn't play with her because I needed to feed Eli. Getting up at night to pump and to feed. So much work, so many tears and so little gain.

In fact, the gain was only 2 oz. In over a month. He was malnourished. You could see his ribs. It kills me to think that my desire to breastfeed, to keep him from having formula could have caused him harm. It could have affected his growth and the development of his brain. I was under the guidance of medical professionals, which is good, because otherwise my dreams could have killed him.

So I switched to formula. I still nursed as much as I could, but after a while my supply got to the point where nursing frustrated him too much and he wouldn't latch on. He refused me. At five months he was not getting any breast milk at all. Yes, I know, I could have found donor milk for him. Honestly tho, I didn't want to. At that point I think feeding him milk from another woman would have broken me. At least with the formula I was preparing it so I could sort of trick myself into believing I was the one providing the nourishment for him.

For some of you this wouldn't have been such a big deal at all. Some probably think I'm nuts for holding out as long as I did. But it mattered to me. It mattered so much, especially after all I went through with Hana. It matters a lot to me - there are forums I don't go to any more, people I feel uncomfortable around, articles I don't read, conversations I don't take part in.

There's such a dichotomy surrounding formula. The people who use it and think it's great and the people who don't and their passion for breastfeeding makes it seem as tho it should be in the same category as poison. I know they don't really think that. No one that I have shared my story with has ever made any negative comment about me using formula with my kids. But it still hurts.

It hurts to have to explain. It hurts to think people see me as an ignorant mother, or one that doesn't care, or one who isn't as bonded to her kids as they are, or that I am trying to take the "easy" way out.

Nothing about feeding Eli has been easy. For months this has weighed on me, and for weeks I've been half writing it all out, as if to be absolved in the confessional of the internet.

I don't want it to matter so much. I know I made the right choice. Yes, there are risks with formula - lower IQ, higher chances of illness and cancer, exposure to chemicals that I don't want in their systems. But for us it was weighing those risks against malnutrition and having a mother with very unstable mental health.

I don't want to be ashamed or to feel I have to hide Eli's bottles. I don't want to have to pour my struggles out, to admit to practical strangers that my body doesn't work right, that on my own I can't nourish my children. I don't want to try to normalize formula as a good choice, because I know for the vast majority of infants it isn't.

Never have I looked down on a mother who has chosen not to breastfeed. I admit at times I have to remind myself not to take it personally, but it's their choice to make. I do my best to encourage and inform without being pushy, and I admit I live vicariously through the nursing experiences of my friends.

I don't even know what I hope to accomplish by writing this all out, I know my decision was right and I've been validated by the people who are close to me.

Added later, because sometimes I need to write things twice to get where I want to go:

When I hear things about the benefits of breastfeeding or the risks with formula feeding it's like a stab to the heart. Not because I feel guilty, because I don't - I know this is my only option, I know I tried everything else. It hurts because I'm still angry. Something was taken away from me, something I dreamed of, prayed for, worked for, wanted with everything I have. The reminder of what that loss costs - both for me and for my children - is painful.

I don't go to LLL meetings to offer support to other women, because I'd have to bottle feed my son there. I don't go to local meeting about natural birth/parenting, because I don't want to have to explain to strangers how my body doesn't work right. I shy away from people that I know agree with me and feel as strongly as I do about nursing and breast milk and all those other things because I know I look like a hypocrite when I walk into Wal-Mart and pick up a can of formula. I have to remind myself not to take it personally when women I know choose not to breastfeed for what I think are silly reasons. It's hard. It's lonely. It's heartbreaking.

I do think women need more support with nursing. I also think the real problems that can come up - how hard it is in the first few weeks, the uncertainty, the real possibility of latch and supply issues, etc. need to be brought up more. I think there needs to be a distinction between what is NUTRITIONALLY best and what is GENERALLY best for a baby.

Mostly tho, and I say this as a person who lives in an area where a woman can NIP and not be looked at (I was nursing Eli everywhere for months), I think the only reaction people should have when they see a mother feeding her baby in any way is a sense of joy and peace because that baby is being nourished, cared for, and loved.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Who am I?

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about who I am and what kind of person I want to be. The last few years have been quite a transition for me, and it's been hard to find myself int he midst of everything else. These are the tings that are important to me, the kind of woman, mother, friend and wife I want to be. Some of them I'm better at than others, but they are all goals I am activly working towards.

- I want to be the kind of woman who feels good about herself, even on my bad days.
- I want to be the kind of woman who can express her feelings without guilt, malace, insecurity or fear.
- I want to be the kind of woman who takes time to laugh, relax and be thankful for the world around me.
- I want to be the kind of woman who lives a life full of interest - hobbies, studying, events and experiences.
- I want to be the kind of woman who has a deep, rich and relevant spiritual life.

- I want to be the kind of wife that chooses to submit to her husband in love, trust and partnership.
- I want to be the kind of wife that makes the home easy for her husband to come home to - complete with home cooked meals and some form of order.
- I want to be the kind of wife that encourages and inspires her husband to be a better man, giving him strength, ideas, support and anything else he needs to find his dreams.
- I want to be the kind of wife that can talk to her husband - no nagging, no games, not afraid to show vulnerabilities.
- I want to be the kind of wife that is still dating her husband and all the fun and excitement that goes along with that.

- I want to be the kind of mother that gets down on the floor with her kids, gets loud and dirty, makes mistakes and messes and everything else, experiencing life with them.
- I want to be the kind of mother that gets respect from her kids by respecting them.
- I want to be the kind of mother that prepares her kids to live as successful adults, even if that means not always getting my way.
- I want to be the kind of mother that always talks in the positive about her kids, even through all the struggles and challenging times.
- I want to be the kind of mother whose kids (and their friends) can feel comfortable around, talk to about anything and respectfully disagree with.

- I want to be the kind of friend that one doesn't hesitate to call in a time of need, no matter what time of day it is.
- I want to be the kind of friend that will show up and do dishes or laundry or just chat when someone is having a rough day.
- I want to be the kind of friend that will have people over and not worry about the state my house is in.
- I want to be the kind of friend that keeps in touch with people instead of just keeping track of them.
- I want to be the kind of friend that listens and shares and is open with no pretenses, judgment or anything else that keeps people from really being honest and really getting close.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Time Changes

Three years ago around this time I found out I was pregnant. Scared, excited, thrilled, nervous, so many new emotions and plans.

Two years ago Hana was doing little more than sitting and putting everything in site into her mouth.

Last year she was standing, cruising, crawling, but not walking. She was, however, saying a whole lot. At the top of her lungs.

Today, Hana and I were outside jumping in puddles, chasing each other and learning what happens when you throw chunks of ice at the ground.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Personal Solstace

I hate winter.

Well, not really, it is generally my least favorite time of year, but I do like snow and Christmas and other wintery things. What I hate is what winter does to me.

Like many people, winter is hard for me to get through. I'm stuck inside, it's dark and dreary. I get cabin fever, I miss people, I get discouraged and lethargic and can't seem to break myself out of it. It sucks away my energy and my spirit. Some of the worst things I've gone through have happened in winter, which also colours my thoughts towards it.

In short, winter sucks.

And then through March every year I notice things start to take a turn. I think about spring and summer, of rain and the beach. I push myself to get out of the house more and connect with people. I start to feel more alive again.

From now through November things will be much different. It's like I can think again, breathe again, function again.

Now if it would just stop snowing...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Eli - 7 months

Yes, I am aware that this is a few days late. I'm in denial.

I can't believe he's 7 months. He's eating food and spinning in circles on the floor and crawling backwards and all the other things 7 month olds do.

He's my baby and he's just growing too fast!