Sunday, March 28, 2010

Breastfeeding Woes.

I thought I'd give a little "how the baby's doing" update on my blog since many of you are probably wondering. Henry is a super sweet addition to our family and we are enjoying our new life as a family of four. Alex is very sweet with the baby and has really taken to his new role of Big Brother.

One thing that hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be is feeding Henry. He had an improper latch from the beginning, and I let it go for about 10 days. I was extremely sore, but wrote it off as normal soreness. When I took Henry back to the pedi for his 2 week check up, he had only gained 2 ounces in 6 days and was still 2 ounces away from his original birth weight. The pedi was concerned, and as the day wore on and Henry was less and less interested in eating, my pedi (Jason) was also concerned. So we started supplementing him with formula and he was more alert and eating more after a day - a noticeable difference. For those of you who have had a similar issue, I'm sure you understand how anxiety-inducing it is for you to think that your baby is not getting enough to eat. Not to mention the fact that as a mom, there is the never-going-away feeling that somehow you have failed your baby when breastfeeding doesn't work out exactly as planned. I tell you, trying to breastfeed and being unsuccessful (even if for a time) is very, very difficult...both for mom and for baby.

With Alex, I never had any breastfeeding issues. He latched on properly at first and I had good help in the hospital with friends and lactation nurses. Now that I have had a totally different experience with Henry, I fear that I didn't have enough grace for others who had "issues". At the time I was in a small group of women who all had different experiences with breastfeeding, some positive and some negative. While I would have never intentionally been proud of my breastfeeding success, there is a nagging feeling inside me now that perhaps I was. Oh, how good it is now (despite its difficulty to accept and the sadness it brings) to say that I have been humbled. I now have a better perspective and have accepted the fact that God has different journeys for everyone with newborns, hopefully all leading believers to trust Him more and see His goodness in different ways. After all, we have been blessed with health and the gift of knowing Him personally. Who am I to demand more from Him?

Not everyone succeeds at the breastfeeding task. No matter how easy the books and other moms make it sound, breastfeeding is hard work. And sometimes it doesn't work at all. And actually that's okay.

For now, I am pumping my milk and feeding Henry with a bottle. This seems to be more functional for our family than trying to get him to latch on for 20 minutes, hearing him cry and seeing him get frustrated, and ultimately giving up and giving him the bottle. We are going to see a lactation counselor this week to get some advice and guidance about what to do next. So many people have told me stories about how their baby didn't learn to breastfeed properly until a month or two. Of course I am hoping Henry will be in this camp - for the simple fact that it's just plain easier to do the breast than to do the pump/bottle. But there comes a time when we as a family will have to be okay with Henry eating from a bottle if he needs to. Lots of babies do it and it's gonna be okay. In the meantime, we are praying and trusting that God will give us everything we need for today.
And for tomorrow.
And for the next day.

I'm blogging about this because it has sometimes been my experience in parenting that people rarely share about the difficult issues they have with newborns. They are quick to report how much they sleep, how well they eat, how much weight they are gaining, etc., but rarely offer details about the difficult parts. I know lots of seasoned moms, new moms, and expecting moms read this blog. Let our current experience be an encouragement to you - just as the stories of successful breastfeeding are.

I will keep you posted on our progress.

Friday, March 26, 2010

These are so rad.

Last week Jason's mom came to help us out and she brought along with her a huge box of Jason's old things. Class pictures from kindergarten on, report cards, hand-knitted baby booties, and all kinds of other treasures from Jason's childhood. We found these seriously cute little Spiderman shoes in the box too. They are too small for Alex, but Henry will totally be sporting these when he's a little bigger. Hard to believe that these 35-year-old sneakers still look so cool!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sometimes I wonder if my oldest kid is practicing for a modeling career...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Here's a pic of Henry all dressed and ready to come home. He did good for his first photo shoot...he probably figures he'd better get used to this!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Henry's Birth Day.

I know some of you mommy readers are interested in the details of the labor and birth. I know I always like to hear how things go for others...especially when they have a positive experience! So I'll share a little about mine - without too much information for you non-mommy readers.

On Tuesday I visited my doctor for my 41 week appointment. I had not made much progress on labor (only 50% effaced and 2 cm dilated), so we decided that Thursday morning would be a good day to induce. We honestly wanted to give it just a couple more days because I so wanted a natural delivery. On Wednesday, I was really excited when I started to feel regular contractions around 2pm. They were fairly mild, but regular, so we were excited! Contractions became more intense as the day went on, and at 7pm, I was having 3 of them in 10 minutes. We decided it was probably time for us to head to the hospital. So we put Alex to bed, got our things together, and drove the 12 or so blocks to the hospital.

We got checked in and saw the doctor. When he checked, he said I was 50% effaced and 3 cm dilated. I couldn't believe it! I was so disappointed. He gave us the option to stay in the hospital (after all, we were scheduled to be there the next morning at 6am) or to go home and labor some more. I wanted to go home to labor. They said if I stayed, I probably couldn't move around much. I also got the impression that if things weren't "progressing" they would start encouraging pitocin and such. So we decided to leave.

We left the hospital around 9:30pm. I was bracing myself for a long night of laboring and since I didn't eat my dinner, we headed to Whole Foods. I was still having contractions every 2-3 minutes, mind you. So Jason and I walked around Whole Foods gathering some essentials (hummus, pita chips & dark chocolate almonds), all the while stopping every few minutes so I could bury my head into his chest and breathe hard through my contractions. At first I was nervous that anyone who saw might be a bit freaked out. But then I figured of all the places we could be, Whole Foods might actually be one of the best. In fact, while we were standing at the prepared foods section, I had an intense contraction. The woman behind the counter who was preparing my quiche to go calmly said to Jason, "Aren't women amazing?...Congratulations to you. Good luck!" I remember thinking, "yeah, that woman knows exactly what's happening here."

We got home around 10pm and ate a little, but by 10:30 the contractions were hard and intense. I started to feel like it was time to push, which scared me a lot. So we got back in the car. I screamed my way through 3 contractions on the way and Jason ran a couple of red lights. I was getting nervous that we weren't going to make it. In the back of my mind I was preparing myself for Jason delivering the baby on the side of the road!

We pulled into the valet in the middle of a contraction, so I stayed in the car and screamed while Jason got a wheelchair. We had no time to get anything out of the car and went straight upstairs, arriving at around 11:10pm. I went straight to the bed and I was at 8 cm, then 5 minutes later, 9 cm. In between contractions, which was about a minute, the nurse poked me 4 different times to try to get an IV. They probably wouldn't have worried about it except that my strep B test was positive and I was supposed to get antibiotics before I delivered. Finally they gave up on the IV when I was ready to push. I pushed a couple of times and I heard the resident say she saw the head. Even though I was intense pain (natural birth ain't for sissies!), I was encouraged. I pushed a couple more times and Henry came out, healthy and crying.

I have never been so scared, overwhelmed, or excited about such an event in my life. We were SO grateful to have a natural birth. It came about exactly as we had prepared for it before Alex was born. Alex's birth experience was totally different. Still good, just different. I am thankful now that I finally have a perspective on both "ways" of giving birth. Any way you do it, it is an amazing process. After Henry's birth, I found myself constantly in prayer thanking God for allowing us to take part in such an unbelievable process.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for us over the past few weeks and months as we waited for Henry. I am grateful for all the encouragement you have given me and words of wisdom. We feel like we have been blessed beyond measure.

And secretly, I'm kind of glad I had the little things that make labor so TV-like. The contractions, the screaming, the speeding car ride, the wheelchair, the pushing - all of it - made for a great birth day and a great story for Henry. The very beginning of his story is a very good one.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Here's Henry.

Sweet newborn sleep.

Long toes.

Proud Daddy.

Meeting Big Brother for the first time.

Alex loves his Baby Brother.

Henry's 41 week fingernails. He's desperately in need of a manicure!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

He's here!

Henry Lewis arrived last night at 11:49 p.m. We are just now getting all the photos downloaded and hope to have some on the blog(s) soon. Oh and we have a great labor story, so we'll work on that too! He's healthy and we are all doing great. He weighs 8 lb., 2 oz. and is 20" long. He has been a champion sleeper and eater so far, so we are thankful for that. We are hoping to get a little rest tonight and post more soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It is hard to believe that I have carried Baby Brother an entire month longer than Alex. I went to the doctor yesterday and they did an ultrasound to check and make sure Brother is doing okay. He is very healthy and weighing in at around 7.5 pounds. Guess he is just really comfortable in there!

We have decided with our doctor that it is best to induce on Thursday. It wouldn't have been my choice since I am hoping for an all natural labor, but we have faith that it is best. Ultimately the Lord knows the details of Brother's arrival and we trust Him. We are hoping he comes on his own today, but if not, he'll be on his way tomorrow. We'll post an update on the blog when he makes his debut.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Nesting Series #3: The Essential Slow Cooker

I would have never guessed I'd have the time for another lengthy blog, but since I'm still waiting on Baby Brother, here it is...

When I think about one of the ways I've survived pregnancy #2 and a toddler, I have to give props to the slow cooker. Now, at first I was a little reluctant to use it because I really love the process of cooking. I like the chopping, the sauteing, the simmering. You know, the process. The slow cooker doesn't exactly have much process, but it does have convenience. I have discovered the Cooking Light Slow Cooker Cookbook and I love it! The recipes are really, really good and I can feel good about eating them since they use fresh ingredients and are lower in calories and fat.

Jason wakes up for work at 5:30am, so since I'm up early too, I assemble the entire dinner before Alex even wakes up. The only work that's left to do is turn on the cooker. Blissfully simple!

Here are three of my favorite recipes...

Thai Style Pork
We love the chance to get a little ethnic flair with dinner. This Thai pork is almost as good as take out!

2 lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 4 pieces, trimmed
2 cups julienne-cut red bell pepper
1/4 C teriyaki sauce
2 Tblsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
Remaining Ingredients:
6 cups hot cooked rice - brown, or basmati
1/2 C. chopped green onions
2 Tblsp chopped dry roasted peanuts
Lime wedges

1. Place pork, bell pepper, and next 4 ingredients in a 4-qt slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour, reduce heat to LOW, and cook 6 hours (can be a few hours longer if necessary). Remove pork from cooker and coarsely chop. Add peanut butter to cooking liquid, stir well. Stir in pork.

2. Serve over rice in individual bowls and top with onions and peanuts. Garnish with a lime wedge for a real Thai taste and look.
Per serving: Calories 412, Fat 13.6g, Protein 29g

Barley, Black Bean, and Corn Burritos
A meatless burrito using a super good-for-you grain...without losing the great Mexican taste.

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained (I use Mexican Rotel tomatoes)
1 C uncooked pearl barley
2 C vegetable broth (about 1 can)
3/4 C frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 C chopped green onions
1 Tblsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
18 tortillas (whole grain, corn, or flour)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Light sour cream

1. Place first 11 ingredients in a 3 or 4-qt slow cooker, stir well. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the barley is tender. Stir in cilantro.

2. Heat the tortillas according to the package directions. Spoon barley and bean filling into them and top with cheese, sour cream, and salsa. Yum!
Calories: 402, Fat: 8.5g, Protein: 16g (may vary depending on how much cheese and sour cream you use!)

Pesto Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms
This one takes a little more preparation on the front side, but it is SO good. You'd never guess that lasagna could be so good in the slow cooker. This is a great vegetarian meal.

4 C. torn fresh spinach
2 C. sliced cremini mushrooms
1/2 C. commercial pesto
3/4 C shredded part-skim mozzarella
3/4 C. shredded provolone (OR, substitute about 1.5 cups of an Italian shredded cheese mixture to keep from buying two different shredded cheeses)
1 (15 oz) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3/4 C. shredded parmesan cheese, divided
1 (26 oz) jar basil tomato pasta sauce
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
Cooking Spray
1 (8 oz) package precooked lasagna noodles

1. Steam spinach, covered, 3 minutes or until it wilts. Drain, squeeze dry, and coarsely chop. Combine spinach, mushrooms, and pesto in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Combine mozzarella, provolone, ricotta and egg in a medium bow, stirring well. Stir in 1/4 c. parmesan cheese and set aside. Combine pasta sauce and tomato sauce in a medium bowl.

3. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Spread 1 C. pasta sauce mixture in the bottom of the cooker. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce mix, and top with 1 C. cheese mixture and 1 C. spinach mixture. Repeat layers once, ending with spinach mix. Arrange 3 noodles over the mixture, top with remaining cheese mixture, and 1 C. pasta sauce mix. Place 3 noodles over sauce mix; spread remaining sauce mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on low 5 hours or until done.
Calories 398, Fat 18g, Protein 22g

NOTE: I use whole wheat lasagna noodles and they work great. The key is to cook them beforehand for about 3/4 of the time suggested on the box. Then rinse them in cold water and pat them dry. It adds an extra step, but they are healthier and easier to handle when they are flimsy instead of dry.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The official due date has arrived. C'mon, Baby Brother!