Thursday, November 29, 2012

Supply Struggles

:: warning, I will talk about breastfeeding in this post, so if you don't want to think about that type of thing, feel free not to read further ::

Well, for some reason God has really allowed me to struggle with my milk supply with Aria. I never really had these struggles with Levi so it's a learning experience.  Maybe it is because I have more to think about with two kids, maybe it was my pride of thinking, "I nursed him for 14 months, I can do it easily with her!" She's just a different baby, my life is different, it's just different.

Last week I was sick as a dog. Fever, strep, some other kind of virus I think. All I could think about was survival.

I got on some amoxicillin and started to feel better on Saturday but then took a turn for the worst on Sunday. I looked at Ben Sunday night and just said, "Can we go to the emergency room? I don't think I'm going to make it through the night." He graciously took me even though it was 9:30 pm. Mostly, I could feel myself getting very dehydrated. Between nursing and barely being able to swallow I knew that was a bad combination. They took my blood and my urine and confirmed that I was in fact dehydrated but did not have the flu or mono. Whew. The Dr said I probably also had some kind of virus that the amoxicillin wasn't getting so they gave me a steroid shot as well as a bag of fluids.

In the middle of all that my supply has dropped frighteningly low. If you have never nursed before you may not know what I'm talking about, but I stopped feeling full in the morning. Usually you wake up and you feel like you could nurse and have plenty for your baby. I have not felt that way the past couple of mornings. I thought, am I being forced to wean my daughter simply because I'm drying up? I don't think I have dried up completely though because I have felt my milk let down a few times while feeding her. It's been a struggle though. Trying to feed a wiggly 11 month old who may not believe you have anything worth nursing out can end up being a wrestling match.

Why am I blogging about this? I guess to share the struggle. Starting to dry up before you are ready is scary. If you are a breastfeeding momma you and you get sick you need to not take it lying down. Be very aware of your fluid intake. I realized I wasn't drinking as much because it hurt to swallow, I've healed a lot in the past few days, but I haven't gotten in the saddle again as far as drinking. I'm now trying to chug liters at a time to catch up. I'm also fixing myself a few cups of Mother's Milk Tea made my Natural Medicinals. I'm taking Fenugreek tablets when I remember to (though I feel like I'm taking a million pills between the vitamins and antibiotics). Ben even got me a six pack of beer. I'm hoping all this will help.

I really want to continue nursing, I hope all this stuff works and I can continue for a few more months. I feel like the nutrition and antibodies are good for her.

Okay. That's all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Letters To My Littles

Dear Levi,

On Friday you turned three. Already. And just like that you were a year older. Oh the changes I have seen in you as a three year old already (they've been coming about for a few months now). The maturity and decision-making abilities, the ability to follow through and remember what in the world you are doing. As a mom it has been life-changing.

Some say that the twos are terrible. I've heard a few others say that threes are worse. I'm not sure which category you will fall into. I'm hoping we have simply put the terribles behind us and are moving on. i have noticed a more passionate anger in you than before. You seem to have more stake in the game now that you can remember things a little better. You cried all the way home about a shovel we left at a friend's house one day. I thought for sure I could distract you or something but you would not be deterred. It wasn't until we pulled into a deserted parking lot, I got you out and spanked you that you realized I was serious. I told you that if you mentioned the shovel one more time that we would have another spanking. We hugged and I told you I love you and I want the best for you. I told you it was not appropriate to act the way you were acting and that is why I had to punish you. You didn't mention it again.

This week is Birthday Week in the Hefner House. Yours is the 23rd, mine is the 24th (meaning it will from now on be forgotten in the shadow of yours and I'm completely fine with that), and your Daddy's is the 29th. There are some more extended family birthdays in there too but I didn't want this to be such a long paragraph. I'm glad you start off Birthday Week, it's just right. I decided to tell you in advance that your birthday was coming up soon. I thought maybe you could handle the thought of waiting a few days for you birthday to come. I still didn't know how to explain the days of the week to you since we are still pretty inconsistent with our schedule and we had our friends over for most of the days. So I decided to take from the book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. Every time I read to you I include the author and if they wrote it for someone I read that part too. He wrote it for his sister Christa. You often repeat these parts back to me. Then I help you try to say your "L's" and we move on. I explained to you that the day we were on was Monday and on Monday the caterpillar ate through one apple and your birthday would not be until Friday when he would eat through five oranges. We talked about the days in between and what he ate on those days too. If anything, we did succeed in practically memorizing The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
My favorite parts are:
After he eats a ton of things on Saturday we both say together "and that night he had a stomach ache!" then we fall over and hold our stomachs making groaning noises.
You say in the lowest your three year old self can muster: "he was a big, fat cawerpiwar (caterpillar)." I laugh every time and you love it.
At the end he turns into a beautiful butterfly. The first ten-fifteen times we read it you asked where he was and I told you that he became the butterfly. Now we finish, you look at the picture and say in casual observance, "hm, dat's him."

The sad part about Birthday Week this year was that mommy became deathly ill. You would try to come up to me and hug me or kiss me and I had to tell you not to come near me because I was sick. One time, you went and got a throw pillow, put it on my legs and said, "Here mommy." I think you just wanted to help. So sweet.

Later, you would just come up and ask me in a soft, high voice, "Are ya sick mama?"

Levi, you are a gift given to me a thousand times over already. The way you make me laugh with your stories and dancing, they way you make me burst with pride as you obey and help. You have the most expressive eyes I have ever seen on anyone so young. I remember even as a baby you seemed to to intuitively know how to make people laugh. You are so much like me in that you can experience the whole gamut of emotions in just one day and you express them readily for all to see.

I pray that the Lord saves you at a young age and that you grow to know Him and love Him as your Daddy and I do. We pray that this passion and emotion would be used for His glory. We pray that you would grow in wisdom. We pray that you would have a love for learning and beauty. We pray that your sensitivity would render compassion for others. We pray that you would conquer your fears in the Lord and know that the God of all peace will watch over you and protect you.

We love you Levi. Happy Three Years.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Not-So-Happy Birthday (and Thanksgiving)

Well, as I get my token Facebook birthday wishes I like to take the time to just sort of... laugh. I don't mean to complain or anything, but really? What else is the internet for but to vent your complaints?

I came down with a wicked case of strep throat. It hit me the night before Thanksgiving. Yes. Right after all my family got in town. I was kind of feeling sort of not so good but then that night it got BAD. Chills, fever, muscle aches... When morning finally came I felt like I had been run over by a truck.

And it was Thanksgiving.

Am I supposed to be thankful for this??

I stayed home that morning while Ben took Levi to my mom's house to hang out with my family. I stayed home... in bed. I did muster enough energy to drive myself to my mom's house to eat some turkey and dressing. (so good!) Ben said I probably shouldn't have any pie though because sugar isn't good for the immune system. I hate it when he's right. My biggest fear though was infecting my sister in law who is 18 weeks pregnant. I didn't know if I had the flu or what. That evening I got worse and Ben just drove me home.

Why in the world am I recounting all of this for you? I can't believe I just typed all that. Who the heck wants to hear about being sick on Thanksgiving?

The next night was the same as far as the sickness went. Yeah.

That morning I decided to go to a walk in clinic. The Dr took on look in my mouth and told me I had strep. What's worse? Strep or the flu? Right now it feel like strep.

But that's not really the worse part.

So, for me Thanksgiving is synonymous with birthdays.  We like to call it Birthday Week. Ben's is on the 29th, mine is the 24th and Levi's is the 23rd. So I was knock down drag out sick on Levi's birthday as well. Ben and I debated if I should just do what the Dr said and stay home or if I should participate in the celebration. As if a sick person can actually celebrate... but whatever. (I feel like I'm being so dramatic. But I literally have not been this sick in a very long time).  Ben wanted me to be there and I wanted to watch Levi open his presents and blow out his candles (he's obsessed with blowing out candles and does an amazing job of it). I kind of just sat miserably in the corner. I sort of felt like I was just this wet blanket on the day. People would be smiling and happy and then glance at me with a pitiful look. Yes, feel sorry for me.

Now, today is my birthday. I have been on penicillin for almost twenty four hours and I'm feeling a lot better, though not up to 100% yet.

So, with all this nastiness I think the best thing for me to do right now is just to be thankful for what God has given me. I need to focus on the good. Scriptures says, "in everything give thanks.' I thought I would make a Thanksgiving list:

I'm thankful for...

- Modern medicine and the miracle that penicillin can work.
- My husband who works so hard and is so capable with our kids. He's pretty much been taking care of them since I got sick.
- A comfortable, warm house that I can be sick in. How much worse would it be if my bed weren't so soft and we didn't have a nice thermostat to keep the chill out.
- For little things like our Camelia bush blooming outside the kitchen window. The trees that are turning radiant yellows and reds outside our bedroom windows.
- That my children and my husband are still healthy.
- For walk-in clinics and kind doctors
- For a clean house (again thanks to my AMAZING husband. He came home yesterday evening and in a whirlwind cleaned our ENTIRE house. Makes being sick in a clean house much easier than being sick in a messy house :))

Lord, help me to give thanks in all things. Thank you for slowing me down. Thank you for humbling me. Thank you for showing me what it's like to be terribly sick. I know some people live with terrible illness for much of their lives, help me to be more compassionate. Thank you for keeping me alive and well for 28 years. You are so good and what you do is good.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday's Psalm

Lord, please prepare my heart to worship you. Thank you for your son who died on the cross. Thank you for prophecy and how you moved in David to write this. I am continually amazed at your Word. 

Psalm 22

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.[b]
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.[c]
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
    before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him—
    may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thoughts on motherhood

We have been very busy this week. I hate busy weeks. I never thought I would be a home body, but I guess I'm becoming one. I have missed being home for nap times so I can do laundry and just straighten the house. Maybe I'm a home body now because I am the keeper of my home... I don't think I ever had that responsibility before.

Maybe that was why we had an explosion today. 

At least, I think you could call it an explosion. Let me just say that Levi is a pretty easy going little kid. He is fun, loves people, he's creative, independent, and pretty trustworthy. But when he's tired things just get out of hand. Also, if things are not "just so" he can get pretty testy. We had a perfect match of those things today as I tried to lay him down at his Deedee's house. Aria was already asleep in the closet or else I would have picked him up, thrown him in the car and taken him home. There was lots of screaming and probably too much or not enough spanking. (I hate spanking with all the screaming because it only makes it worse). I'm currently at a loss as to what to do when your child just escalates his screaming while you are spanking, it feels like we are going in the opposite of the intended direction. Usually just leaving him in his room helps. I just tell him that mommy will not listen to him unless he stops screaming. 

Eventually we worked it out. Eventually he fell asleep. 

Here are my thoughts about the episode:

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. I have been stretched and pulled in ways I never thought possible. Your rational mind is thinking, this child has to stop sometime and your irrational mind is wanting to strangle them. There has got to be some middle ground. You think, how could I think such a thing? How could I possibly hurt my child? But at the same time you kind of understand the people who do hurt them... I don't like all of these conflicts inside of me. They make me feel guilty as a mother. 

Lord, help me in this. Help me to find out what makes him tick, help me to guide him. Help me to mother him as you mother us. This is really hard. It just is. This is a huge weight. It's not just a one time weight, it's a day in and day out, moment by moment I am shaping and raising a human being. These little people are in my care and I am going to answer for that responsibility someday. Please help me in this Lord. I need you to guide me. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Wow, how many millions of things do I want to blog about right now. I want to write about being a mom and how that has changed me. I want to write about what I am learning in the book of Daniel and how I want to be wise. I want to write about how the Lord is changing my body image. I want to write about saying goodbye to friends and having long-distance friends... and the list goes on.

Lord, what should I write about today?

I wanted to just say on here that a few weeks ago I was talking about struggling with my body image and food and I realized that I just needed to stop. I needed to stop thinking about it. I needed to stop obsessing over it. I needed to stop punishing myself for eating the "wrong" things and I needed to stop criticizing my body every time I look in the mirror.

It's a work in progress but over the past few weeks I have asked the Lord to remove those things from my heart and mind and He has been faithful. I'll just say that.

I guess that change has allowed me to focus more time and energy on my kids, my husband, my household and others outside.

I also spend a lot less time on pity parties and hating myself. This is good.

Do I want to write about the elections? No. God establishes kings and He is the one who brings them down. That's all I'm going to say. I did vote though.

I just spent a morning with some very dear friends. There was laughter, kids, tears, heart-wrenching, beautiful stuff. This is a group of women I have grown to absolutely love. We have breakfast together every Thursday morning. The rules are: come as you are. Don't worry about putting on makeup or combing your hair or taking a shower, just come. If you want to bring food, bring it. There will be coffee (praise the Lord) and if you need to lay your baby down in a back room, do it. If you need to put your child in a naughty chair or take them to another room and spank them, we will not judge you. We are all young mothers with children ages 5 and under. I think what I love about it is that it's just real. It can be raw, it can be quite chaotic with several 18-24 month and beyond children (this is the hardest age in my mind because they can do stuff but communication is difficult). As moms we have learned to block out the chaos and just talk.

Why are we not more like that? I think especially as Christians who live in the Bible Belt there is this persona that we want to keep up or something. We want to keep people out of our dirty kitchens and messy lives. But I think that's the only way that healing can take place. If we keep putting up just this pretty front, we are just going to keep dying inside.

Lord, thank you for this fellowship. Thank you for other women who encourage me, admonish me and lift me up. Thank you that you are the author and perfecter of our faith. Thank you for bringing this into my life. You give and you take away.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Letter To My Little Ones

I think that this series is my favorite thing to write about right now. I love my kids.

Dear Levi,

The other day we found an excavator toy at a garage sale while we were out on our walk. Just you and me because daddy was home with Aria. Well worth the three dollars I paid for it. We got some more dirt from Mimi's house and the backyard is becoming a land flowing with dirt and honey. It's the first thing you ask to do when you wake up in the morning (even though it's 45 degrees outside). Because of this you tend to track a lot of it into the house. I am constantly sweeping and washing your pants that are caked with mud. I'm completely fine with it though. I think dirt is good for you. I'm glad you like to be outdoors, it's so healthy and clean. Plus, you're not inside trying to splash in my dishwater or make messes with the granola I am trying to make.

A friend was volunteering in children's church last week and she said she watched you during the main worship. She said you were the only kid who jumped around and did all the motions to the first song, (that's my boy) but when it came to the second song you lost interest and walked away from your class (this also sounds like you). I think you will be pretty social even though you're shy at first (we can work on that one). You are always asking if mommy or daddy will come and play with you and you are excited when we go play with friends. I so wish your cousin Caroline was still here in Little Rock. You had so much fun with her. Of course, at first you hated her back in December when they first came back from Africa. We couldn't leave the two of you together for thirty seconds without there being something. But by the time she had to leave in May she was one of your favorite friends. I'm sure she would dig with you in the back yard. We miss you Caro. Again, I am stumped at trying to explain to such a young, small person how big the world is.

 I love you so much,