Last week was hard. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have known that Addison’s second extubation didn’t work. I thankfully didn’t stay in her bed space when they tried again, and had my parents with me for moral support. Mathew had to work, and I definitely knew I couldn’t do it alone. The doctor came out and I KNEW her extubation had failed. It hadn’t hit me right away and I stayed pretty calm. We’d talked to the doctors prior to extubation and the words “tracheotomy” and “trach” were discussed as one option if the extubation failed. It truly hadn’t hit me though, until I’d come back to Addie’s bedside and a trach nurse stopped by to tell me about trachs. That’s when I lost it and realized God hadn’t answered my prayer right away like I thought. What do you do when God tells you no? Or is it..”try harder?”
A tracheostomy is a SERIOUS and HUGE deal. My older sister has two amazing daughters (the best nieces an aunt could ask for), and one of them had a tracheotomy as a baby. Trachs are a lot. They require possible ventilators, nurses 24/7 in your home, medical supplies, and more. Not only that, but there is a lot of learning and care involved, it can cause high stress in a household, and Addie takes longer to heal than most. I prayed a lot before Addison’s 2nd extubation. I prayed endlessly from the day her first extubation failed until the doctor came back from her 2nd extubation. When the doctor told me it didn’t go well a second time, I wondered why God told me no to my prayer. Sure, I’d always said God wasn’t a magic genie who granted wishes, but still, I’d hoped with all my heart that she would be able to breathe with the cannula. It was a punch to the stomach knowing that my prayer seemingly hadn’t been heard. But then I kept thinking…maybe God is telling me to try harder.
Is a tracheotomy the only option? Should we get a second opinion? Would going to Texas Children’s in Houston be what we needed to do?
I made the decision to ask the doctors to come together for a big round table meeting. Our meeting is tomorrow at 7 am. We are going to sit down with all the doctors, Addie’s nurse, the trach nurse, my in-laws (my MIL is a Speech Pathologist), the Social Worker, and the Chaplain and hash out every question we have about Addison’s care. Mathew and I want to make sure we’ve done everything in our power to get the best care and options for Addison, and this is how we’re going to do it. It’s not going to be fun, it’s not going to be easy, but I feel it’s where God is leading us.
I can’t shake the feeling that God told me “no” to her extubation so we could “try harder” for better options and truly advocate for our daughter. I’m not sure what our meeting on Tuesday will hold, but I’m hoping that we can work something out besides a tracheotomy. Being away from home will bring it’s own set of challenges including Mathew and Addie not seeing each other except on weekends, being away from Pearl, among other things. It would be insanely hard, but only temporary and would bring us closer to bringing Addison home to live a “normal” life.
Please pray for us today and tomorrow that Mathew and I will make the right decision for Addison’s next step in her care. I so desperately do not want her to have a tracheotomy (though I will if that is the only option). Please pray that other options will be available and that we will be able to do what’s best for her so that she may thrive and grow at home sooner rather than later.
When one door closes, another opens. God…I’m listening. I will try harder. Help guide the way.October 13, 2014 12 Comments
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I’m gonna be really honest with you guys- I HATE doing my hair. HATE it. It’s naturally curly, and although many would “kill” for my hair type, I don’t like it one bit. I can’t just wake up in the morning most days and get it to look right without it taking up a good chunk of time. I’m on a schedule in the mornings – wake up, pump, shower (or not on some days), fix my hair quickly, pack my pump parts, lunch, and clothes for Addie, and run out the door. I always try to get to the NICU as early as possible, and that can be hard with my challenging hair. Lately I’ve been doing these 3 quick 5 minute hairstyles for the mom on the go so I look put together enough to talk to doctors all day, but I’m not in front of my mirror for an hour in the morning.
I went to Walgreens after being at the hospital the other week to grab my essentials (deodorant, toothpaste, etc) and saw that they have a Buy 1 Get 1 Free Goody TangleFix and Quikstyle hairbrush deal now until November 1st, 2014 (while supplies last) if you have a Walgreens Balance Rewards card. I snagged my brushes and wanted to try them out. The Quikstyle half round hairbrush has super absorbent microfiber bristles that work like a towel removing 30% of water, while the shape makes it the perfect blow-out brush. I initially use it out of the shower to detangle my hair and then let my hair air dry. Then, I use it to help style my quick 5 minute hairstyles.
The Goody Tanglefix that comes with the Quikstyle is my favorite brush for coming out of the shower because my curly hair gets so tangled. It has 3 different bristle lengths to get out tangles without ripping my hair and has easy grip sides so the brush isn’t coming out of my wet hands. Then I do a once over with my Quikstyle and I’m good to go!
The Fun Bun is my most commonly done hairstyle. If I wake up with frizzy hair all I have to do is use my Goody Quikstyle half round hairbrush to give a little volume on top, then I secure my hair into a ponytail. Then, I wrap my ponytail into a donut shape, and put another hair tie on top to hold all my loose hair. I don’t need bobby pins at all, and it stays ALL day.
The Simple Chignon is another favorite quick 5 minute hairstyle of mine because it reminds me of Izzie from Grey’s Anatomy. I twist the side of my hair into a low ponytail, and then pull my ponytail through the middle to create more of a twist. I then grab the ends of my hair in the ponytail and roll my hair up and pin with bobby pins in place. Then, I use my Goody Quikstyle to smooth out any frizzies to finish the job.
Lastly, the Twisted Pony is my other go-to quick 5 minute hairstyle. I twist the top and side of my hair, use my Goody Quikstyle brush to smooth my hair into a ponytail, and wrap a 1 inch section of hair around my hair tie and tuck the ends of that section back into my hair tie so it’s all secure.
The Goody Quikstyle is such a time-saver for me because it helps my hair dry as I brush, and the microfibers don’t make my hair frizz. I can spend 5 minutes (or less) on my hair and get to Addie in the NICU faster each morning. Our lives are crazy right now, and anything that makes my day go more smoothly I’m all for!October 10, 2014 11 Comments
Since Addison’s first day of life, I’ve been an exclusive pumper (aka EPer). I remember shortly after getting to my postpartum room after my c-section the hospital Lactation Consultant came in and gave me Medela supplies and a hospital grade pump. I had never seen a breast pump other than the display one at Target, and as she put together the pump parts, I asked Mathew to video tape her so I wouldn’t forget how to do it myself. I was a total newbie. I remember wishing I’d had breast pumping tips to guide me into the process, but I didn’t, so I thought I’d post some of my favorite tips for y’all!
1. Invest in a good quality pump. I was able to get a “free” pump from my insurance and they had an assortment of pumps to choose from. I scoured online reviews and finally picked the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump. It’s great because it can be plugged in or use batteries, has 2 phase expression (like a hospital grade pump), is double electric, and isn’t huge. I have mine by my bedside so I can wake up at night for my pumpings.
2. Pump on a schedule and start ASAP. Your body WANTS to produce milk for your baby once it’s born. That’s why it’s important to start pumping ASAP to help build supply. My hospital told me to pump every 3 hours for the first 12 weeks, and praised me even if I only got a few cc’s or mL of milk. Once your body figures out that you’re pumping on a schedule, the milk will come more easily. I notice that whenever I’m putting together my pumping parts to hook up to the pump, my breasts start to let down because it knows my schedule. The more you stick to your schedule, the better. Don’t miss a pumping if you can!
3. Invest in a hands free pumping bra and tumbler. I am so thankful for my Hands-Free Breastpump Bra because many nights I wanted to just sit up with my eyes closed for those 3 am pumpings. Pumping every 3 hours can be exhausting (and that’s because Addison is still in the hospital!) and my bra really came in handy. I love this particular one because it has a velcro panel in the back so you can adjust it to fit you. You’ll want at least 2, so you can have one handy while the other is in the wash. I also recommend getting a high quality tumbler like this Tervis Water Bottle to keep at your pumping station. Breast pumping can make you thirsty, AND when you’re trying to keep a good supply, you’ll need to stay especially hydrated. Drink, drink, drink during your pumping sessions!
4. Buy extra pump parts and a bottle steamer. Let’s face it- I’m not washing all my pump parts at midnight, 3 am, and 6 am. I wouldn’t be able to keep my eyes open! Buying an extra Medela Replacement Parts Kit has completely saved me. I use my Dr. Brown’s Microwave Steam Sterilizer before bed to sterilize all my parts, and then use them throughout the night (rinsing immediately afterward of course- you don’t want milk building up in your parts). You can also purchase Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags if you don’t want the steam sterilizer. I love them for use at the hospital when I’m with Addison. Once they’re steamed, I just let them dry on our Boon Lawn Drying Rack so they’re ready to grab whenever I need.
5. Eat foods that aid in milk production. Keeping a healthy diet is important when pumping. Oatmeal, proteins (chicken, yogurt, etc.), vegetables, and fruits. If your supply is still low, try lactation cookies. There are TONS of different recipes on Pinterest. Also, make sure to eat about 500 calories more than usual, to offset the calories burned by pumping.
6. Bust out the lanolin. Trust me…don’t pump without using lanolin first. Put a little on your nipples and then pump. The lanolin helps them glide through the pump shields much easier and smoothly. Plus, it helps so you don’t have nipple cracks or bleeding, which are SUPER uncomfortable. I use the Medela Tender Care Lanolin and love it. A little goes a long way, and that tube barely looks like I’ve touched it, and I use it before every pumping.
7. Don’t go crazy on the settings. You would think that the higher the settings, the more milk you would produce, but you would be wrong. Start pumping on the lowest setting and see how you do. If you need to bump it up a little, go for it. You want to be comfortable when pumping, and pumping should NOT hurt. If you are hurting during pumping, try purchasing a set of bigger shields and/or putting the settings down.
8. Get a massage. My LC told me to pump for 15-20 minutes per session, so that’s what I do. Sometimes by 10 minutes, I notice that milk isn’t expressing yet my breasts are still firm. Best thing to do? Massage about 1 minute before pumping, and then massage them while you pump. This is easier with your Hands-Free Breastpump Bra, and just massage in a circular, downward motion towards the pump. You should notice milk coming out faster, it will assist you in not having plugged ducts or mastitis, and you’ll get more milk out per pumping.
9. Follow breast milk storage guidelines. Because Addison is still in the hospital, and initially was on a TPN bag before weaning onto breast milk, I pumped and pumped and got a really good supply set up. So good, in fact, that I ended up having to buy a 7 foot Deep Freezer to store my milk that I pumped at home (I give the hospital what I pump while I’m there, so Addison can have it for her feeds). Kellymom has a great chart for referencing when it comes to breast milk storage. Additionally, if you bought a Medela pump, you should have a chart like the one below in your kit as well. Whatever you do, don’t store your milk on the freezer door, as it can spoil a lot faster from temperature changes when you open and close it.
10. Clean up. It’s REALLY hard to get rid of thrush once you’ve got it. I am so paranoid about this, that I make sure I keep my chest really clean and dry. I use Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes when I’m done pumping (they have soothing aloe vera and chamomile!) and then put Medela Disposable Nursing Bra Pads in my bra to make sure I don’t leak during the day or night. If you have thrush, make sure you don’t freeze your milk and use it at a later date. You could reinfect your baby, and that would be no bueno.
All in all, these breast pumping tips have REALLY come in handy for me. I’ve helped several friends figure out how to increase their supply, and I’ve been able to give Addison the best nutrition possible while she’s in the NICU. Addie is up to 80 mL per feeding, and is growing like a weed! It’s true- mother’s milk is best!
Do you have more breast pumping tips? Sound off in the comments for future readers!