Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Liquid Gold"

Due to the amount of blood loss I experienced because of my retained placenta issue, I was told by the doctor and nurses that I would have trouble getting my milk to come in.  Breastfeeding was something that I knew I wanted to do (if possible), even if only for a few months.  We took advantage of every opportunity for guidance and encouragement in regards to breastfeeding while I was in the hospital.  James and I met with two different lactation consultants.  This wasn't just for me but James also had to learn how to get Hudson to latch on because the first five days or so after labor, I was not able to tilt my head enough to see that part of my body.  With James's assistance, the first night we latched Hudson on almost every hour because we knew that the more frequently Hudson latched on, the better chances we had of my milk coming in.  I woke up in the middle of the night on the third day after birth, seriously engorged.  It hurt but I could not have been happier!

When I had Hudson, I was only allowed to take six weeks unpaid leave.  From the day my milk came in, I began pumping 1-2 times a day.  I knew from other mother's experiences that if I was going to continue breastfeeding when I returned to work, I was going to need a reserve in my freezer.  I returned to work May 9th.  I was pumping twice a day at work to supplement what Hudson needed while I was away from him.  To make a long story short, for a handful of reasons, James and I decided I would quit my job.

I have spent the last three months stockpiling "liquid gold" in our freezer.  Since I am now able to be with Hudson almost 24/7, I don't have such a dire need for the previously expressed milk.  During our Bradley Method classes, we met a woman who was not able to produce breast milk for her newborn.  The couple located a milk bank and was able to provide their newborn with breast milk from a donor.  This was my first time hearing about "donor milk banks". 

I began researching donor milk banks to see if I wanted to donate.  I have to admit, initially I was a bit apprehensive about some other infant drinking my breast milk.  It seemed a little strange to me.  I read about why these babies desperately need the human milk and as I stared down at my little guy, I couldn't imagine doing anything else with the milk.  After reading more about the process, I decided to donate to OhioHealth Mothers' Milk Bank.   

It's an interesting process.  When the milk is donated it is logged in to assure tracking from donor to recipient.  The milk is thawed and placed in testing flasks to check calorie and fat content.  Milk from three to five donors is combined to evenly distribute protein, fat and antibodies.  This is done in a laminar flow hood to prevent contamination.  The milk is then pasteurized.  It is heated and then cooled to eliminate bacteria while still maintaining most of the milk's beneficial components.  The milk is labeled with a batch number and expiration date.  Then it is placed in a freezer until it gets shipped out.  With a physicians prescription, the milk is then packed on dry ice and sent to hospitals and recipients The milk is typically used by those who are pre-mature, ill, or have life-threatening illnesses.  There is a constant need for milk.  The OhioHealth Mothers' Milk Bank sends out between 15,000 to 25,000 ounces per month.  If you know anyone who is able to donate, please spread the word.

Here are a few things you might want to know if you are considering donating.  Milk that has already been expressed can be used!  A minimum of 200 ounces is required for your initial donation.  You can be a one time donor or a continuing donor.  There is a screening processes you must go through.  First there is a phone interview.  You must then complete a medical and lifestyle history review and sign release forms so your Obstetrician and your child's Pediatrician can share your medical information with the donor bank.  You can also sign a release so that your milk can be used for research.  Once that is complete, you will be sent a blood work kit.  You then go to the hospital and have your blood drawn to check for several illnesses which would exclude you from being a donor.  As soon as all of this is complete, you will receive your donor number and you can begin donating.  You just have to contact the milk bank when you need more milk storage containers or boxes to ship the milk in.  All of this is free.  You just have to take the package to FedEx and they will bill the milk bank.

If you or someone you know is interested in donating human milk and you have questions, I would be happy to answer them.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Road Trips to Biloxi, New Orleans and Indianapolis.

It is amazing to see how much Hudson has changed in only three months.  He looks more and more like James every day.  I am amazed at his level of interaction with people.  He is constantly smiling and laughing when he is talked or sang to.  I just love listening to his little coos and watching him hold his bobbly little head up.  Many other parents told me of the amazement you feel when you see your own child do these things and now I am getting to experience these surreal feeling first hand .  I am still shocked that James and I made this little creature.  It's been three months and I'm not sure that I will ever stop looking at Hudson in wonder.

Hudson has experienced a lot his first few months of life.

When Hudson was five weeks old, James headed down to Biloxi for military training.  I decided that we should go down to visit him, so Hudson, James's mom and I drove down to Mississippi right in the middle of James's time away.  We took his two month photo on the beach.  The beach photos were much more exciting for James, Tammy and me than they were for Hudson.  :-) We spent a week down south visiting James.


While we were down there, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to visit New Orleans since it was so close.  James and I had both been there before but separately.  He went to the Sugar Bowl and I visited while on a business trip.  While we were there we went on a tour of the French Quarter with Free Tours By Foot.  The tour was great and I would recommend the company to anyone.  Free Tours By Foot does not have a specified price for their tours.  At the end of the tour, you give the tour guide whatever you feel they deserve.  The company operates in several different cities.  I will definitely be looking into tours with the same company when we travel to other cities throughout the United States.

James is so wonderful.  He was even brave enough to wear the Moby wrap.

While in New Orleans we visited the National WWII Museum.

While James was at work, Tammy and I drove to Gulfport via Beach Boulevard.  On the way back we stopped to eat at the Love Shack for lunch.  It was delicious.  Thank you Urban Spoon!  We decided to take James there later that week for dinner.  The next day Tammy, Hudson and I started our trek home.

Grandma and Meemaw had some fun with Hudson while we waited for James to get home.

Once James got back, it was time for some Bumbo time.

We took Hudson to our pool and he loved the water.

Supporting the Cincinnati Reds...

James surprised me with an anniversary trip last weekend.  On June 21st we headed to Indianapolis (those advertisements on Hulu got us!) for the weekend to celebrate 5 years of marriage and 10 years together.  We had a precious little third wheel.  I had only been to Indianapolis for a business trip and we didn't have time to venture out into the city so I didn't know how amazing the city is.  There are tons of restaurants and sites to see.  I even felt safe walking around downtown alone (with Hudson) while James worked out.  It was the perfect place for a weekend getaway.

We went to Dicks Last Resort for our anniversary dinner.  Romantic right?  It wasn't what most women might want to do for their anniversary but ever since I saw a feature on Dicks Last Resort on the Food Network, I've wanted to go.  For those of you that don't know, the waitresses and waiters there are rude to you.  If you ask for a refill, they will tell you to get it yourself.  You can basically expect rude remarks in response to anything you say or ask.  Also, the waitress makes a paper hat and writes mean things on them.  James tried to prepare me before we went in there by saying that they will probably tell us that our child is the ugliest they have seen, and other things of the sort.  I'm not a violent person but I think I might become one if I heard someone talking trash about Hudson.  :-)  Lucky for the the waitresses face, she only said nice things about our son.  :-)

James and I have talked about going to a children's museum for a few years.  We didn't want to appear creepy and show up without children so we waited until we had one of our own.  We visited the Children's Museum in Indianapolis and it was wonderful.  They even had an Avatar exhibit that opened the day we went.  The Avatar exhibit was interesting.  It explained a lot about the making of the movie.  

This was a water clock that absolutely fascinated me!

They had a doll house exhibit and these are two of the rooms I thought were really cool.

Family Photo with Bumblebee.

They had these cool miniature statues right outside the museum.  Of course we took advantage of them!

This one below is my favorite.  I love his facial expression.

Off to the many war memorials in Indianapolis.  They are all right in the middle of the city.  We went inside the enormous memorial that housed a small Civil War Museum.  You had the option to either walk up the 34 flights of stairs to the top or take the elevator.  James and I, being the extremely competitive people that we are, decided we wanted to take the stairs. 34 flights didn't really sound that bad.  I mean we walked up the stairs in the Eiffel Tower and the Cologne Dome in 2009 so we weren't worried.  Anyway, we couldn't take Hudson with us because we had the stroller so James went first.  When he made it back down, he looked hot and exhausted.  I was next in line.  As I was about to go up, I noticed a sign that said, "Please do not attempt the stairs if you are afraid of heights or claustrophobic".  Lucky for me, I am both of these things, plus my only option was to go alone.  I tried to go up as fast as I could so James wouldn't think I was weak.    :-)  I would realize later, that was a bad choice.  I observed the beautiful view at the top then enjoyed the much easier 34 flight descent.  Afterwards our legs felt like noodles.  One day post stair climb my legs were sore.  Two days post stair climb, I tried to stand up out of bed in the morning and collapsed!  I told James that if I were able to go up and down 34 flights of stairs daily, I think natural birth with our second baby will be a piece of cake.  The only thing I feel could have made labor easier was some decent leg muscles.  Anyway,  more war memorials.

Happy Summer!