Weaning (Pt 1)

image image imageThe way a parent feeds a child and how a mother makes her own health choices are intensely personal choices and I am passing zero judgment on anyone’s journey.  I am merely sharing my own current struggle.

On this, the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, I’m weaning my tiny girl.  It’s bumming me out.  I can’t get past it.

I have rheumatoid arthritis.  It sucks in general, but was somewhat in remission during my pregnancies, as well as for a little over a year after Nora was born and a few months after Emeline was born.  It is not even close these days.  That means I have to start taking a scary medicines that is immunosuppressive.  I get to inject myself once a week (or maybe Ben gets to inject me, that lucky guy…) with a biologic that will hopefully keep my body from wearing my joint tissue down to nothing.

People my age aren’t supposed to get these kind of diseases.  I know this because there are questions on the questionnaire at the rheumatologist’s office that ask about your ability to play with your grandkids and how often you walk the mall.  I know this because when I name my disease to others, I get responses that are pretty much verbatim, “But that’s an old person disease.”  Yeah, I know.  I was diagnosed at 22, I believe?  It sucks.  It colors every decision I make every day of my life.  It was a determining factor in when we decided to try to start our family and when we decided to try to expand our family.  It’s in everything.  If you know me, you know I talk about it too much, but that’s because it’s everything… But I digress.  Because my disease is not that of a young person, typically, there is not much known about the effects on women of childbearing age.  Being on these medications prior to or during pregnancy could cause birth defects.  Being that these medications are at most about 14 years old and anyone taking them has probably used a host of other medications, there’s just no way to know.  When we were trying to get pregnant and between the girls, Ben and I decided that it was absolutely not worth the risk.  I could tough it out, tough out the horrific pain, because it would probably subside to some degree during pregnancy.  The doctor told me at the time that they think that the biggest risk is hindering ear and eye development in fetuses.  If that happened to one of my babies, I don’t know if I could live with myself.  I’ve had this in mind every minute of every day since he said those words, and it helped get me through some incredibly painful times.  “Yes, this hurts, but imagine giving birth and seeing that the baby has no eyelids and it’s all your fault.” I know that’s extreme and I know it is highly unlikely, but… That’s where my mind goes.  Now we’re done having babies, but that lactation gets in the way of things.  I nursed Nora until she was 25 months old and I would have loved to have gone as long with Emeline.  This is breaking my heart to write, but I had to get it out.  When I was at the rheumatologist on Monday, we were discussing options:

  1. Keep doing what I’m doing and be in horrible pain all the time,
  2. Steroids, which will probably cause me to gain enormous amounts of weight and give me moon face (if you don’t know what that is, imagine your face getting large and round and the skin so tight it looks like you might pop), because while it doesn’t happen to everyone, you can usually guess it will happen to you if someone you’re closely related to had those reactions, which makes it pretty damn likely for me, or
  3. Biologics, once a week or once every two weeks by self-injection, or once every 4-6 weeks by infusion at their office in Edmond.

So I asked what the risks are to taking these immunosuppressive medications while breastfeeding.  “We don’t know.”  Yeah, yeah, I know you don’t know for sure what will happen, but what potential risks are out there?  You know, like the eye and ear problems during pregnancy?  The answer, and I’m paraphrasing, is “We don’t know.  It’s so new and there’s such a small pool that we have no idea what the risks may be.  We do know that some of the medicine was present in the milk of lactating women.  Do you really want to have your daughter have an issue and then find out it was a risk?”

Oh.

Nope.

So, here we are.  I have about a month to finish up my breastfeeding journey and I really hoped for another year.

Not looking for anything, just sharing my heart.

 

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Independence Day Weekend

Our weekend in pictures, in no apparent order because I am feeling technologically challenged!  Love my little family. 

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Eh

I don’t feel like titling. I mostly just feel like sleeping, honestly.

My baby will be one this month and it’s bumming me out in a big bad way. She’s such a perfect little person and I adore her so entirely… And she’s growing too fast. I’m missing it all. Being a mom who works outside the home is tough. You think you understand, especially the second time around, just how tough it will be, but each day is another trial. She’s my last baby. I am okay with this, most days, but some days… This morning I had to explain stay-at-home moms to Nora. I thought she got it because many of her friends’ moms stay at home, but apparently the concept is more difficult to grasp when you don’t live in a world where mom stays home.

Who’s going to be her babysitter?  Who’s going to watch her baby for her during the day?  Yeah, I know she is home with her older kids during the day, but when the baby is born, who is going to watch the baby?  Just the mommy?  Oh.  But you don’t watch Eme all day. 

Parenting is hard.  It doesn’t seem that there is ever a clear right choice.  Some options are more right at the time in the situation, but for once I would like a clear “this feels all the way right.”  Maybe that’s just too much to ask.

At my last rheumatologist appointment, the doctor asked if I’d had my tubes tied after Emeline was born.  I told him that I hadn’t.  He paused for awhile, probably not as long as I remember it, but definitely paused, and said, “Well, I guess that’s okay.”

Life is complicated.  If I didn’t have my disease, we probably would’ve waited a little longer to have children and I probably would’ve stayed home with them for awhile.  If we’d waited to have children, they wouldn’t be my sweet Nora and Emeline.  If I didn’t have my disease, we probably would’ve waited longer to decide if we even wanted to try for a second child.  I’m sure these other imaginary children would be wonderful, but I cannot imagine life without my girls.

No real conclusion, just that I am tired and love my husband and children.  I enjoy my job for the most part, I definitely enjoy being a two income family, but I wonder if there will ever be a time when I don’t have that nagging “what if” in the back of my mind.  Probably not.  I guess that’s just the human condition.

 

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WHYYYYYYY

WHYYYYY can’t I be consistent in my writing???  I have half a mind to just hit publish on the millions (exaggerating only slightly) of partial posts I have hanging around just to prove I am making attempts.  Sigh.  Someone light a fire under me? Suggestions welcome.

Here’s an adorable family.

 

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Swiped

A couple nights ago*, someone, who shall remain nameless, locked one of our dogs outside overnight and let the other one inside. This morning when questioned, Nora said it was probably Swiper. Now, if you don’t have a toddler/preschooler, you may wonder who the heck this is who Nora is convinced broke into our home for the sole purpose of locking our dog outside.  Oh, you hypothetical person who lacks knowledge of all things Swiper, I envy you.  Swiper is a cartoon fox on the horrible, horrible television show, Dora the Explorer.

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Just typing the name I hear the theme in my head and it sends chills down my spine… We do not watch Dora at our house anymore. Nora watches it with her grandparents or friends, but it’s outlawed from our house, at least when I am home. Daddy is occasionally still a sucker (love you!), but for the most part I successfully avoid this show.  When Nora was smaller, there was no avoiding it.  It was the only show to hold her interest for quite awhile.  This child, apparently in rural Mexico, is running around unsupervised with a monkey and a magic backpack or some such nonsense, and this fox keeps taking her stuff and throwing it away.  He doesn’t even keep what he steals, just doesn’t want her to have it.  This somehow resonates with Nora on a deep level on all sides of the equation.  She has had mixed feelings about Swiper for a long time…  Sometimes she claims Swiper is her best friend.  Sometimes she is afraid that Swiper will kill either me or her father, or kidnap her sister, or just take our stuff and throw it somewhere as Swiper does on the television show.

“Swiper’s going to take our toilet! And daddy’s tools! And my broken shovel! Well, he can take my broken shovel, but not all our stuff!”

“You’d better keep a hand on those Legos or Swiper will swipe them!”

(When asked why she was sad) “I just really don’t want Swiper to steal my baby sister.  I just like her and don’t want Swiper to take her.”

We had a break of probably 8 months or so where Swiper was rarely, if ever, blamed for the goings on in our home.  I’m not sure what inspired the resurgence of Swiper attacks, but I have a sneaking suspicion it may have been Nora’s inability to convince us that Emeline (8 months old, currently) was perpetrating the sneaky crimes in our household, such as missing socks, spilled glasses, hidden cell phones… Damn that sneaky, sneaky fox.

 

*This started out as “Last night,” but I am really great at getting distracted as of late…  Hey, at least I finished it eventually!

 

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I AM Still Grateful…

I haven’t kept up with my daily gratitudes, but I am still feeling grateful, and that’s what’s really important, right?  Right!

I’m going to attempt to get back into the blogging swing at the very least.  For your entertainment, here are two middle of the night Nora sleepisms:

Mommy, I just need the CD back on so I can do that dance.  I need to do the dance of the dog thing so I will be beautiful, but I just need the music!

 

Mommy, here is your order.  It’s in this box and I ordered it to your house.  I ordered it just for you!

She’s pretty awesome.  On nights when I can’t sleep, I’m grateful for her sleep talking.  It is usually pretty entertaining.  On nights when I have the potential to sleep well, I am less grateful for it… But I still adore her with every fiber of my being.

This Friday at First Friday downtown, she got to meet some pretty special ladies…

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Gratitude 8

For Thursday…

  1. Solo time with my firstborn.  Nora and I went to the circus and had an awesome time, just the two of us. I love doing things as a family, but there’s something extra special about just me and my girl out on the town.
  2. I am so grateful that my husband is not afraid of the baby.  There are a lot of men (and quite a few women!) who would not spend an evening at home with an infant out of pure fear, but my girls have a wonderful daddy.  He doesn’t love the sitting still, but he loves his girls.
  3. THE EVENT CENTER, holy cow!  Having something like that in our town… I would not be able to take Nora to a circus on a Thursday if it was anywhere else.  We stayed through the whole thing and she was still in bed about 9:45 (late for a three year old, but okay in my book for special occasions).
  4. I’m adding a fourth… But it’s a begrudging fourth… I’m thankful that the circus was in town on a weeknight on the week of the dreaded DST.  Made her 9:45 bedtime feel a little closer to 8:45… Though I still am not happy about the loss of my hour.

Nora story after the pictures…

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Me: Nora, what was your favorite part?
Nora: The puppies.
Me: Not riding on the elephant?
Nora:  No, just the puppies.  We should have taken our dogs on leashes.
Me:  Well, sweetie, you can’t just take any dogs to the circus.  Those dogs were trained.  That’s their job!
Nora:  Our dogs are a kinda trained.  They’re not all the way trained, but they’re a little trained.  (pause) Well, Joe is kinda trained.  He’s kinda a little trained, but he could get all the way trained.  Joe could be in a circus.

If you know our dogs, you know… No circus possibilities in their future! Little girl, big dreams.

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