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12 Weeks: Feeding Journey Update…what a journey it’s been

17/08/2014

I can’t believe that she’s 12 weeks.

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She’s cooing, smiling and dare I say that she’s on the verge of laughing. I can’t WAIT for her to laugh. In saying that, this week I’ve had the realisation that she’s no longer a newborn…she’s an infant. Gah!

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We’ve also turned a corner, another corner, in our feeding journey.
Stage 1: Donor Milk Community / Stage 2: Donor Milk Grace … now Stage 3: SNS (Supplemental Nursing System)

The Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) is a feeding tube device to provide babies long-term supplemental feedings at the breast. When a baby is at breast over a period of days or weeks, a hormonal mechanism is triggered that causes milk to be produced.

The SNS can also be used for:

  • Inducing lactation
  • Keeping special-needs babies at the breast
  • Premature babies
  • Weak, ineffective or lazy nursers
  • Failure-to-thrive babies
  • Impaired babies
  • Low-milk supply mothers
  • Relactating mothers
  • A teaching tool to “fingerfed” babies who have had difficulty latching onto the breast

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I had some sort of hormonal whim two weeks ago after joining the IGT/Low Supply facebook group. *I highly suggest this group for ANYONE struggle with low supply, PCOS, IGT, etc. Amazing wealth of knowledge and support* After I found this group, I bought an SNS, started on herbs (Goats Rhu is a must!) and then joined another AMAZING Facebook group: Supply Line Breastfeeding Support Group Australia (you do NOT have to be in Australia and/or Australian to join) Amazing group of women. Amazing.

How did I re-lactate?

  • Started pumping as much as I could during the day
  • Started motilium at 90mg…gained 3lbs/1.2kg in a week. My supply was only about 60mls/day so I’ve weaned off because the weight gain isn’t worth the output.
  • I started taking herbs, with no real benefit. Then I found this local health food store that makes a “lactation formula” –what I call “liquid nursing potion”…that is revolting in taste, but it’s totally working. It’s working so well that even though I’ve decreased my motilium I’ve maintained my supply.
  • Got an SNS and breastfeed on demand. Pumped after some feeds.
  • Feed on both sides.
  • Am trying Paleo after reading from IGT support group about insulin resistance — which I think I do have — and linking to low supply. Paleo helps with both.

How did I re-latch?

 IMG_6697First time she latched on..short lived..and husband was helping

I offered in this order almost always: boob, nipple shield, newborn bottle teat/nipple, Medela Calma nipple. She was only ever bottle fed with the Medela Calma nipple. For the first day I had to put the calma nipple of my nipple and thread the SNS tube through the end of it. Then I weaned her off of that and used the newborn nipple over my nipple with the SNS on the outside. Then I offered nipple shield (Medela) with the SNS tube on the outside. We tried with it through the inside but I couldn’t get a good suction. I would bounce back to teats if she wouldn’t take the nipple shield.

Then she took the nipple shield without any bottle teats. Day 2-3

Then she took my bare breast..for a FULL FEED!!! I cried. Day 5.

IMG_6768a WEE bit excited!!!!

**I am NOT going to lie, this has been emotionally exhausting. There have been episodes of frustration on both of our parts. There have been times when I’ve wanted to give up. I did feel anxiety around “the struggle of the next feed**

-BUT-

It’s gotten SO much easier. She has her latch back (thank heavens), I have more milk then I thought I’d have. We’re giving between 50-165mls of supplement (my express milk after feeds, donor milk and/or formula) in the container. I’m grateful for the bond, I’m grateful that we’ve been able to do the almost impossible, I’m grateful I didn’t give up.

We’re still getting donor milk (Thank you donors) and I was recently interviewed by the local news station about milk donation and SNS. “We want people to know about it”. They then told me they are going to try and push for the story to go national…YIKES! I should have gotten my hair done.

Twelve weeks.

IMG_6810a hot fashion-mess

What a wild, beautiful, messy, grateful ride.

~Mish xo

If you have any questions please leave a comment and/or e-mail me michellegay (at) gmail.com –> happy to help whenever I can :) I’m not a licensed Lactation Consultant, but I’ve been working with one. I highly suggest you seek professional advice if you’re having supply, feeding issues and/or thinking of using an SNS. What we did is unorthodox, but it worked for us. Always follow you’re mama gut :) xo

Eat Like an Engineer

15/08/2014

My husband is an engineer through and through. He’s a process freak. He LOVES safety, predictability, comfort, things he can manage.

He is the man who still eats a lot of the same food he did when he was growing up. He loves white bread. He loves comfort. He’s logical and not easily flustered (unless his beloved sports team is loosing and then it’s a huge emotional mess…I just stand back)

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The other day I was sitting on the couch and I asked him: From an engineering point of view, how would you stop a binge?

He paused. Looked at me perplexed.

“I just wouldn’t do it.”

(yeah, ok!) “No, well how would you STOP it?”

“Well, I guess I’d look at how you got there and change the process.”

Bam.

Good job Husband…sage advice. Stop the process. Fear not the binge. Examine the process and change it. Examine the binge detour and get off of it. It’s SO not the destination with most things in life, it’s the journey.

Isn’t it?

I always try to trump my Husband, and most of the time he’s right. It’s kinda annoying.

~Mish

the ONE thing I’d want my daughter to be…the one

08/08/2014

I always dreaded having a daughter. I always thought I’d screw her up. LIKE HARDCORE SCREW HER UP!

I’m a mess.

A recovering mess.

I knew that I was pregnant with a girl the whole time. Call it mama instinct, I just knew.

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It’s a fascinating journey to think about the notion that you’re raising someone. The good, the bad, the ugly, the amazing…you’re implanting all of that in them from the beginning. It’s a beautiful process. I have also found it overwhelming. She’s unwound a lot of my emotional hang-ups for me, because I don’t want her to deal with them. They’re not hers to bare, they’re mine..solely.

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I don’t know what I’d hope for her entirely. I would love for her to be respectful, confident, and a contributor. In whatever way that manifests, I don’t really care. I don’t care what she does for a career, but I’d like for her to apply herself. I’d want her to be fulfilled with her days and I’d want her ‘to suck the marrow out of life’…and ALSO know how to relax and soak it all in. I’d want her to be aware of her world around her, and also how that world impacts her. I’d want her to find her wings and fly…soar.

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But if I were to sum it up in once word..I’d choose Brazen

Bra-zen

/ˈbrāzən/

bold and without shame (v) // endure an embarrassing or difficult situation by behaving with apparent confidence and lack of shame (adj)

Not bull-headed. Not ruthless. Not stuck-up. Not arrogant. Not meek. Not cowardly.

Brazen.

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I have never put expectations on our relationship. I just hope I give her what she needs to be her own. Her own brazen self.

~Mish xo

my dear friend Carla is behind these bracelets here.

Our Feeding Journey: 2 months in

02/08/2014

I thought I’d write a post about how we’re doing with our feeding journey. To refresh, this was us 8 weeks ago. It was the beginning of our feeding/breastfeeding story.

Midwife put the fear of God into me and said that I had two days to put weight on her or we’d have to supplement. She was only 12 days old and I really didn’t want to start formula that early and I didn’t even want to do bottles.

I got some expressed milk from a friend to get us through the night. Ainslie gulped down 85mls the first feed. All of the wind/colic pain I thought that she had, was really due to the fact that she was hungry. I decided to have a lactation consultant come to our house on Saturday. I pounded herbs, gulped tea, doubled my placenta encapsulations, expressed every three hours, breast fed…I tried everything.

We’re now at week 10, week 8 of the insane whirlwind that has become the feeding/breastfeeding journey of navigating through Insufficient Glandular Tissue.

Called primary lactation failure, this condition occurs when a mother’s body does not make an adequate amount of milk for her baby, even when everything else (including but not limited to: latch and positioning, breastfeeding frequency and exclusivity, mother and baby are kept together, baby’s oral anatomy is fine – no tongue tie, cleft palate) is in order.

What we’ve been able to accomplish:

  • she’s gaining weight!!! She’s up to 4.8kg/10.5lbs
  • she was EBF (through donors and myself) for first four weeks
  • weeks 4-6 was 80% breast milk (donated) and 20% formula (Holle Organic)

IMG_6355donated milk!

Our current regime:

  • 6 bottles/day (2 donated breastmilk and 4 formula)
  • Maximum dose of BabyProbiotics

She’s thriving. She’s smiling. She’s cooing. She’s kicking. She’s just coming into her own.

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I still have moments where I grieve that I can’t BF her totally. There are days when I feel like I should have tired harder, fought longer, pumped more, or even tried an SNS. But to be honest, I didn’t have it in me 6 weeks ago to push any harder than I was. I was running around driving hours getting milk (thank you Milk Donors) and providing the best that I could for her. I did my best.

I can NOT thank our lactation consultant enough. Not only for her ongoing support, but for getting me linked up to IGT support groups on FB. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one AND that there are options for the next little munchkin.

We’re also forever grateful for local mamas, who are still pumping for us, and for HumanMilk4HumanBabies. I have always felt that I’m being used for something WAY bigger then myself. In light of all the grief and stress it’s caused our story has impacted women all over the world:

  • A friend donated through HM4HB while she road-tripped across USA
  • A friend went to a LL mtg, got support for BF and is now donating through HM4HB
  • Another friend has donated through HM4HB and is pumping for us when we visit in October
  • I’ve had SO many personal and FB conversations with mommas who struggled. Bonding.
  • I’ve enabled people to have a face to IGT and to hear our story. To know that there is such a thing and where to at least find a mama who has dealt with it.
  • The local news station has found this blog and is going to do a piece on our story to raise awareness.

WAY bigger than myself. I don’t have a quiet personality and when I need people to feel supported, I need to share my story. My daughter is doing awesome and because of the immense support around me…I’m doing awesome as well.

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So we continue with our regime until we run out of donated milk. I’m just amazed we’ve gotten this far. We’re forever grateful.

Mish and Ainslie xo

 

not SUPERmom

29/07/2014

Today I started crying at 0715 and didn’t stop the intermittent breakdowns until I strapped my kid into our Manduca and hit the path along the creek behind our house…around 0930.

Maybe I’m a hot mess?

(most likely)

I also have changed my child’s outfit three times today due to saturation from vomit, pee and poop..or a combo of all three. Sometimes you just have to give in, put a diaper on and wrap them up in a blanket…it’s all just too much.

————–

I’ve learned that the best thing for me to do is to: ask where all the tears are from.

I started Crossfit a fortnight ago (two weeks) because I wanted me time. I realised, quickly that I had to sacrifice my morning sleep (0530 class meant with the 0300 feed I was essentially up from 0300 onwards) or if I went to the 1730 or 1830 class I didn’t see my husband for pretty much the whole night.

More though, my body isn’t ready. It’s a combo of a pretty lazy pregnancy and also having just given birth 9 weeks ago. Maybe I’m being soft….Maybe I’m finally saying “yes I’m listening.” I wanted CrossFit to work badly. I really wanted to be THAT girl/wife/mom who had it ALL together. Could find time to do EVERYTHING…superMOM from the word go. I wanted my body to bounce back, for my husband to have less squish to poke. For the weight to fly off like it did the week after I gave birth.

I wanted to full throttle my life. I wanted, really, to reduce the anxiety laden fear that I’d NEVER loose the baby weight and I’d be squishy and fat forever. (That’s what I’ve held onto for five years, I’d fed the anxiety laden thought. I’ve bought into that so many times. The only way I’ve ever tried to control it is yo-yo dieting and crazy exercise regimes I can’t and don’t have the heart to maintain. I have only tried to control the anxiety, I’ve never just stepped away from it. I’ve never trusted myself to just be. If I wasn’t trying to manage it, then I’d spin out of control. The irony is, that my obsession makes me feel out of control. It’s a vicious cycle)

Ainslie needs me to show up.every.day in being present in parenting her and taking care of myself. The anxiety of trying to fit in, of trying to juggle the time crunch of sleepless nights and workouts and eating healthy and the mind games of it all…is too much. I realised that I had to let something give. I know it sounds SO silly to be crying over letting CrossFit go…but it actually means something bigger for me. I’m facing my fears down. I’m having to accept that I can NOT fit it all in…right now.

I’m NOT superMOM, fitMOM…I AM A mom who can squeeze in walks with my girl and who has to just BE STILL in her own mind.

I’ve fed, literally, the anxiety for so long about not being able to do what I need to do to be healthy, happy and fit…that I’ve never let myself and my body accomplish a balance. It’s always been feast and famine. It’s never been enjoy.

I prayed today for some sort of mantra. Some sort of insight. Something I could hold onto to let it go.

BE STILL

Mish xo

Falling Head Over Heels

24/07/2014

I had AInslie in her bouncy chair (the only thing that girl will nap in during the day) and I decided to read outloud. “Surprised by Motherhood” is such an amazing book. I have nodded my head so many times and for some reason this passage made me weep

There is no part of our everyday, wash-and-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fights and worries and playdates and aching budgets and preschool orientations and work and marriage and love and new life and bedtime marathons that Jesus doesn’t look deep into and say, “That is Mine.”

In Him all things hold together

I just looked at her, falling asleep, me reading…and realising that there is something so divine about our relationship. Something so much bigger and stronger than my own love for her. It’s what has bound us together. To know that you’re loved beyond your own transgressions, exhaustion, sin and mistakes is something that I’ve have a hard time wrapping my head around. I’m loved no matter where I am, not matter what I weigh, no matter what I eat, no matter what. That eternal love is profound.

When I look at her I love her more and more. I love her deeper and harder and wider and more purposefully. I realise that each moment with her is precious and that they are fleeting because she’s growing every.single.day. I also know that in the midst of my own issues, struggles, battles, headspace energy sucking days in my journey in recovering with food…I am loved. The truth is that. I am loved no matter what. When I binge, when I contemplate binging, when I overeat, and wallow… it’s NEVER from a place of love. It’s desperation to overcome feelings that feel so profoundly overwhelmingly negative that the only escape is to stuff.

It’s never from a place of love.
It’s also never from a place of truth.

The Bible tells us that we can be rooted in love, not emptiness that was have the power to choose truth; and that as we comprehend the love of Christ, we will be filled to the measure of fullness — not of the brownie — but of God ~Made to Crave

The truth is that I have emotional baggage I have to work through. The truth for me is that I’m worth (we’re worth) working through that emotional hurt. There have been times when it’s felt bigger than life itself, because well it has been…and also I’ve made it. I have only recently started to really let love work through it. God loves me no matter what. It doesn’t excuse poor eating choices, but it elevates the need to go, and to go back, and to go back to the old patterns of coping. It alleviates the desire to run from the place where I do not feel love for myself…when really what I desire is peace with it all.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and stop tearing it all apart, but to recognise that we are woven together with something bigger, deeper, more steadfast and gracious then we’ve could ever know.

I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you that it was easy to just sit back and let my soul marinade in God’s love for me. It hasn’t been. It hasn’t been because I haven’t felt worthy. Because for so long I’ve just hammered myself, punished myself and neglected nourishing my soul. It’s taken effort and acknowledgement and practice to let God, my husband and my baby love me. Truly, and deeply love me. It is one of the best things I’ve done.

~Mish xo

 

Trials

21/07/2014

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

~James 1:2-4

Hands down one of my all time most favourite verses. A friend of mine had asked for prayer and I sent her this. So did another friend. God works in fascinating ways sometimes. When we need to be uplifted, we are.

As I read through the daily reading of Made to Crave I realised that it was more about having self-control….which is fine….but I think it’s bigger than just self-control. Or at least it is for me. I have often questioned a lot about my food/eating/weight journey. What on God’s green earth is God doing in my life to be handing out this path for me? What am I being used for? Why?

As a new parent the trials are vast, well I think as a parent the trials are vast. Everything is new, breastfeeding hurts, my milk supply wasn’t enough so we reached out to donors to provide breast milk for us. And you know what…I am being used. Three friends (all over the world) have decided to donate their extra supply, one friend kept breastfeeding after finding support inspired by us, and even a local news agency has reached out to feature our story. I’m connecting with women who share similar stories and have found a place to unravel their grief.

I have been tested so many times as a new mom. I have been tested in every.single.aspect of my being. Beginning with sleep deprivation and ending with how to best go about repairing my relationship with food and exercise to impart a balanced approach for Ainsle. BUT more so, a balanced approach for myself.

I do not even begin to understand why we are given the trials that we have been given. Have no idea. However, when we look around the world some of the most inspiring people are those who just go with the trials…who persevere over them…and use the gifts that they’ve been given. If that’s donating money to charity for a cause, starting a memorial race, volunteering in local schools, going on mission trips, or changing their lives..the inspiring are those who use their trials to become mature and complete.

For along time, I mean five years, I have fought against my trials with food and weight loss. I fought hard. It felt unfair. I have felt doomed so many times, I couldn’t even remember. But one thing being a parent has made me realise is that you just have to relax and do your absolute best…every single day. I’ve also learned that a lot of trials in our lives need us to afford more rest, patience and love thrown at them.

So today, my clingy child is going to be cuddled. In turn, I’m going to take that lesson for myself and afford myself more grace and perseverance.

Mish xo

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