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Welcome back, old self. It only took 16 months. That’s like low term in state prison.

Welcome back, old self. It only took 16 months. That’s like low term in state prison.

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged.

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I’ve been meaning to blog, but with the birth of my second child, I just haven’t felt up to it. Blogging was constantly on my mind, but it was hard for me to do it. Honestly, going back to writing is about as awkward, unsettling, and weird as having sex for the first time after giving birth (if you don’t know what I mean, read Erin Donovan’s “Dead Vagina Walking” to get caught up to speed). Plus, there was just so much to write about I honestly didn’t know where to start.

Since blogging about all that I had wanted to write about in the past year would take forever, so I’ve just made a timeline. Here’s a year of my life, condensed:

12/2013: I give birth to #2! After laboring at home and giving up because my beloved husband FELL ASLEEP while I was dancing to speed things up, we end up at the hospital, 6cm dilated and me yelling for an epidural because 1) holy oxytocin, back labor and 2) I was so desperate for sleep.

Eight hours later, my husband would help deliver a sunny side up, 7 pound 3 ounce baby girl. Unlike with my first baby, the moment they put Juliette into my arms, I was in love. Unlike with my first, I was not overwhelmed with the knowledge that I was now responsible, legally, morally and otherwise, for a tiny human being whose survival depended on me. Instead, I felt proud and confident. The past nine months had been terrible, both physically and emotionally, but after giving birth I felt amazing.

dancegome

Of course, no way could I ACTUALLY do this immediately after giving birth.

1/2014: On New Year’s Day, we go to Disneyland with my son and my brand new baby girl. Being in the hospital had been terribly tough on Tiny Boss, and I wanted to do something special for him. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a horrible idea and I end up with a sick, feverish infant and several sleepless nights. Those sleepless nights haven’t disappeared, by the way.

2/2014: I am pumping so I can save milk for Tinier Boss because FFS, she is going on the bottle as soon as we get her two month shots. I am NOT making the same mistake I did with her older brother (who never took a bottle and therefore I never got a break).

3/2014: I have way too much milk because she’s not on the bottle. I’m going to start donating milk. Or maybe I should sell it. I found a website that puts you in touch with parents who need milk. This person is willing to pay $2/ounce for fresh, unfrozen milk. I’m pumping 6-12 ounces a day. I am literally a cash cow! Wait, not a cow. Poor choice of words.

Later in 3/2014: I make $20 selling breast milk! After emailing the buyer, who promises to be discreet (ok?), we meet at Starbucks.

You’re K.C.?”

whaaa

Fine. Maybe he’s a dad? But a few hours after we meet up, K.C. texts me, “Your milk is delicious.”

ewBut maybe I shouldn’t judge because thanks to Google, I’ve learned that some cancer patients drink breast milk (it is full of nutrients and extremely easy to digest). Also, some bodybuilders do it too, although based solely on appearance, this guy wasn’t a bodybuilder . . . I speculate that I have sold 10 ounces of my breastmilk to an adult baby (thanks Wikipedia!).

4/2014: I am still disappointed that I can’t make money with my boobs.

sad

What happens to a dream deferred?

8/2014: We travel to Mexico with both kids by plane.

Vacationing with tiny humans is awesome!

Vacationing with tiny humans is awesome!

The kids do awesome and I am proud. On the return flight we are stuck in a holding pattern for almost two hours due to bad weather and no one under the age of three in my row has a meltdown. On the other hand, our surrounding passengers must have been coming back from a convention for assholes. I regret not being a Tom Clancy fan; otherwise I could yell out spoilers at the man sitting next to me pretending to read but he can’t due to the amount of eye rolling going on. Bless his heart, he can’t seem to stop alternating between rolling his eyes and huffing like he’s trying to get to the head of the Hometown Buffet line. dwight

Next time I board a plane with kids, I’m printing out required reading (including this and this) to pass out. How’s that for goody bags?

booobitch9/2014: My son is potty trained! I’m forever grateful for the 3 Day Potty Training method.

At first, this is awesome, but then the realization that my schedule is now ruled by his bladder (or worse) quickly sets in. I learn the importance of always knowing the location of a bathroom or a good bush wherever I go and accumulate bad juju for the number of times we have peed on the seat or elsewhere (shudder). I spend good money on a Kalencom portable potette that is used and accepted by every American toddler except for ours.

11/2014: Flu season has set in. You know what’s worse than being sick with one kid? You guessed it.

12/2014: Baby girl is one year old. I can’t believe a year went by.

And that’s what I’ve been up to since I last blogged.

IMG_9513Actually, it wasn’t that bad getting back into writing. Stay tuned for my next post, which will be about transitioning from one to two kids, and the number of new gray hairs that have coincidentally sprouted at the same time.

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It’s official: I am a crunchy mama.

 I’ve always been on the earthy, crunchy side of things, or at least I tried reasonably hard to be. I EBF’d (no pacifiers or bottles to date, a decision I semi-regret), proudly wore my baby whenever practicable, and pureed some pretty epic baby food. I probably should have cloth-diapered.

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Wearing my favorite carrier at the time, a Didytai.

But today, I made up for it. By rubbing someone else’s breast milk all over my body, in the name of cleanliness.

If this is making you want to throw up your Plum organics a bit, you’re not alone. When my friend gave me soap she had hired someone to make from her own breastmilk, I pretty much said the following (in my head):

  1. OMG
  2. hahahahaha
  3. Ew . . .

Unfortunately today I ran out of shower gel. While showering is still an almost luxury these days, I still hold onto my anti-Unilever stance when it comes to soap, due to the environmental destruction caused by unsustainable farming of palm oil – a key ingredient in soaps in brands like Dove.

My husband couldn’t care less about ecofriendly soaps, so we have our share of Dial, Tone and Dove under our sink. Thus, my choices were between ecologically destructive soaps, Axe “Thai Massage” douchebag shower gel, which I have no idea how that made its way into my bathroom, and the breast milk soap my friend gifted me.

I opted for the breast milk soap. Even though I kind of hate other people’s bodily fluids. I may have a phobia; I don’t know. I still remember being in trial once with my hep-C positive client, and realizing, in the middle of something stupid really, really important that the judge was pontificating upon, that my client’s styrofoam cup of water was perilously close to mine. What if he was drinking my water? What if he had been drinking my water this entire time we’ve been in trial?

And I like to think I’m not the only one who kind of gets grossed out by breast milk in the wrong circumstances. Most of my female friends kind of view it the same way I do – it’s good for the baby, and the baby only. When she told us about how her dad, not trusting her assertion that freshly pumped breast milk can be left unrefrigerated for several hours, tasted the milk before giving it to her daughter, we all shrieked, “Ewww!”

But today, faced with the dilemma of killing some rainforests, smelling like a douchebag, or rubbing Kendra’s breast milk into my asscrack, I opted for the third option.

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It’s (unsurprisingly) creamy.

The scent was fantastic. By that, I mean it smelled like fragrant flowers, and not like breast milk or dairy or bodily fluids. A closer examination of the ingredients list was a nice surprise – it contained a nice blend of hydrating herbs and oils. I started feeling guilty for being unappreciative of Kendra’s gift. She probably had a limited supply and was generous enough to give it to me.

Consider me a convert. I’ll probably still head to Sprouts tomorrow and pick up some Kiss My Face, but I’ll keep using Kendra’s soap. It smells great and so far, no ill effects detected.

So if any of you are in Southern California, and you are not squeamish about these things, go ahead and give it a try. But consider keeping the resulting stash to yourself. You can always give a gift card, or even fruit cake.

Yes, I know there is palm oil in here. I know that now. I'll just say that at least it was locally crafted and maybe, just maybe, the palm oil was sustainably sourced.

Yes, I know there is palm oil in here. I know that now. I’ll just say that at least it was locally crafted and maybe, just maybe, the palm oil was sustainably sourced. So this was not all for nothing.

The Most Interesting Man in the World + Breastfeeding

After Raynor’s cleft palate surgery, he went from a happy nurser to a nursing striker. Hence, I am back to pumping. At 12 months, I am nowhere expressing 8 ounces at a time, especially not from the one boob that is still “active,” but I didn’t think saying “2 ounces from one breast” was quite as catchy.
The sudden nursing strike (or maybe accidental weaning) was very emotionally painful for me at first. Whatever hormones that were in place were now suddenly gone, or were fluctuating wildly. I was as teary as I was when I first gave birth, and I felt a deep, profound sense of loss.

I was surprised to find out what I was feeling was common among women who are forced to wean before they or their babies are ready. Apparently depression and weaning all too often go hand-in-hand and are documented, with even the Huffington Post running an article, but unfortunately there isn’t much research on it. What studies that do exist show are that what I was feeling was real, and it can be bad.

The article states that one reason mothers who wean suddenly might become depressed is due to the “actual physiological changes taking place in the body. Breastfeeding stimulates the production of hormones such as oxytocin, known colloquially as ‘the love hormone.’ Mothers’ moods may plummet in its absence.”

Dr. Alison Stuebean , an OBGYN and assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina, told the Huffington Post, “Research on pregnancy has been focused on the effects of pregnancy on the baby. The mom kind of disappears from the radar.”

Yup and yup. How many times do we say “how’s the baby” compared to “how’s the new mom?”

Anyways, I ended up talking to a couple of lactation consultants recommended by my local La Leche League. I didn’t know if my son was accidentally weaned, or if the post-surgery traumatic feeding experience (more on that in another post) caused a nursing strike. Either way, I’m now pumping to give him breast milk in a sippy (which he doesn’t really like) and to keep my supply up.

I’m open to continuing the nursing relationship if my baby wants to. We’ve gone one step forward, two steps back. The first few nights were tough – since infancy he had always been allowed to nurse at night, which he took full advantage of, up until his surgery. Now, without nursing to sleep as a tool and comfort source, I was exhausted.

Walking him back and forth for naps, rocking every hour on the hour when the rest of the house was in a deep sleep – I was dying. I hadn’t felt this tired since he was a newborn. But he’s since stopped the nightwaking, I’m starting to get more sleep (which is how I’m able to blog semi-coherently) and I have to be honest, the newfound freedom is nice. We use sippy cups or regular cups for everything. I don’t have to rush home to breast feed (we had never used bottles before). But I still miss nursing sometimes.

So whatever happens – I’ll be okay with it. Parenthood is all about doing your best, rolling with the punches, and getting your laughs where you can. So The Most Interesting Man in the World Pumping Milk is funny, right? Right?

Maybe I still need more sleep.