Today, when I went to pump for the second time, the "lounge" where I usually get my privacy was being occupied. Inside of this room is a table as well as a "bed" where employees are supposed to be able to go if they need a nap or aren't feeling well. I think its used more as a nap room because this is the third time since I've begun pumping that it's been occupied when I needed it.
Frustrated, I went to go sit in the chair that is kept in the handicapped stale in our bathroom. The bathroom has very little light, is cold, has no table for me to set the pump and is generally not the most sanitary place for me to be pumping the life-sustaining fluid that I feed to the most precious thing in my life right now. Since this is the third time, I decided to make some calls to see what my other options are when the lounge is being occupied for napping.
After talking to three different people I found two different rooms that are not often used but are technically conference rooms, and I was also offered my department directors office. I'm happy to know I have options, but I still put it to our Ambassador's Group (a group of reps from each department that meet monthly with management to discuss employee concerns) to see if we could find a permanent solution. I may be the only pumping mother at my work now, but who's to say it'll stay that way? One other woman gave birth during April, another gave birth this month and a third is due any day.
Well see that happens.
I miss Evy. This is my 4th week back at work and I'm really beginning to feel it. Last week, I chose to move my day off - which is usually Wednesday - to Friday because we were so short staffed. Then I ended up cleaning most of the day until meeting my sister, and then catching a movie. By the time I saw her again she was asleep for the rest of the night. Then, this week I decided to treat Paul to a trip to Disneyland as a surprise for Father's Day and while we had a BLAST I still didn't get my "Evy Day".
I wish I didn't have to work full time. I don't know what I'm going to do in December when my Wednesdays will become working days again. I was thinking of clarifying with my human resources department to see when my FMLA would be available again, then perhaps I can just start taking them off again after a short period. The other possibility is the fact that my work is considering voluntary furlong days so I may be able to take off Wednesdays again without having to use FMLA.
I'm thinking that next Wednesday I'm going to spend a lot of the day with the video camera on. Maybe if I get some good footage of her I can watch it at work when I'm feeling really down and it'll perk me up a bit.
I feel much better today, about 100% - just a froggy throat every now and again but no coughing! I've been taking my vitamins every day and also taking the fenugreek as I was told (in fact, I upped the dosage after reading on a mothering forum about how much is safe and that if I'm not "reeking of maple syrup" I wasn't taking enough) and I've seen some really good results. I generally pump three times in a day and I strive for 8 ounces as it seems that's Evy's demand during the day.
Well this morning I finished my first pumping session with an easy and glowing SIX OUNCES! That's right, 6 ounces in one session and it was an even 3 ounces from each breast while before I was getting twice as much out of my left as out of my right. It was a great way to start my day, though I was still worried it was just a fluke like last Monday. However, my luck continued through the day. My second session I got 3.5 ounces total and my third session I got 3.5 ounces. Not bad, not bad at all.
I'm not sure what to contiribute it to; nursing/pumping every 2-3 hours instead of on demand, the fenugreek herb, drinking at least 16 ounces of water a half hour before, or the breast massage five minutes before - or if it's everything :) I don't really care at this point. I'm just glad to know that I'm not going to have to stop breastfeeding any time soon.
Just keep your fingers crossed out there, you small and loyal public, that this isn't just a Monday fluke.
I blame it on myself because I had stopped taking my prenatal vitamins recently. No real reason why, just did. Anyhow, I believe it was those vitamins that was keeping me in good health and now I've gotten sick just from someone coughing on me.
I picked up some cough medicine last night (because I have one of those dry coughs, where I have to cough whenever I take in a deep breath - and I can't do that and be talking on the phone all day) and was frustrated to find the many sides the medical community has in regards to breastfeeding and over the counter medicine. Half of them say, "There haven't been any studies to conclude if it's bad or not." The other half say, "Everything that you eat and drink goes into your milk and into your baby - so don't take any kind of medicines." At last I also heard, "Oh, most over the counter medications are fine! The amount that actually get's transferred is so minor." Who am I to believe?! In the end I waited until I went to bed to take it - that way it would certainly be out of my system before I fed Evy again.
So this morning I woke up, and immediately took my prenatal vitamins. I need to get into the habit again because it's really just as important now as when I was pregnant. This morning I also started my first round of Fenugreek. One woman was even severe enough as to say that I should be waking up to nurse, or pump if I can't nurse. Um, I'm going to use that step as a last resort because I am SO blessed Evy sleeps through the WHOLE night and I'm going to take advantage of it.
In my last post, I spoke about the fact that I needed to drink more water. Well, it seems that even that isn't working anymore. Yesterday I was only able to get 7oz when the norm had been eight. Then this morning, I only pumped 3oz when I usually pump four. I know it might seem like that's not a big difference, but it is when you start putting the bags into bottle sized amounts. Evy's apparently been finishing 4oz bottles each feeding so I need to get at least 8oz a day - which I don't think I am. I'm going to look online to see what kinds of foods/liquids I can add to my diet that might help my milk production.
On the plus side, I read in my breastfeeding book that in order to fix lopsided breast size all I needed to do was start each feeding on the breast that was smaller - instead of starting on the side that I ended with the previous time. It seems to have worked - now to just get them both producing MORE!!!
EDIT: Ugh. Well, after some research which didn't tell me anything I didn't already know - it seems I have no choice but to pump more often. I'm going to start taking a herb called Fenugreek, and apparently it works really well but only if you express milk every 2-3 hours. Right now, during the day, I'm only pumping every 4 hours or so. I didn't think it would matter - but it really is starting to. So, instead of pumping at 10am & 2pm I'm going to be pumping at 8:30am, 11:30am & 2:30pm - let's just hope that works!
With last week being my first week back to work - I was hard pressed to get a schedule into place for breast pumping. I found that my breast feeding book was right, I did produce less by Friday than I did on Monday (due to stress, they say). However, when I started pumping this week I thought that my production would have been back up considering I had a good weekend. But that was not the case. In fact, on Tuesday I struggled to get 3 oz in the afternoon! This worried me, and when I told my sister she asked if I was drinking enough water. The truth was, no. After I was done with pregnancy I found that my thirst level dropped and I sometimes didn't drink a glass of water all day.
So, yesterday I tried drinking just as much water as I did anything else - and I even drank a good 2 glasses before I pumped for the first time this morning. Bingo - that must have been it. A good amount for me was 2.5 oz each breast and I pumped much more than that. I'm glad that it's easily fixed but I'm still really disappointed in myself. I need to get my diet into shape for the sake of not only myself but more importantly - Evy.
The other consistency I'm striving for is also in regards to my milk production. It seems that my right breast is producing about half as much as my left breast. I wonder if this has anything to do with my engorgement - because I only became engorged on my left side. I'm not quite sure if I need to be worried about that just yet. I know there's probably nothing "physically" wrong, but I'd like it if I didn't disfigure myself (one breast permanently bigger than the other) if there's a way to avoid it. Must root through my breast feeding book some more...
Last week was a bit of a flop - we survived - but it was hard.
As I mentioned, Monday Paul worked from home. Well, on Thursday his boss calls him into a meeting and - long story short - he's not able to work from home like was previously agreed. They said that Friday was definitely out of the picture and they'd also prefer if he only worked every-other Monday at home and the other Mondays he just brought Evy into the office with him. This was a big blow to our plans and I'm still pretty upset by it.
With the next day being Friday - we were a bit frantic to find a babysitting solution. My sister was more than willing to watch her again, but with her having been there for three days that week already I felt it would be too much to ask. So, Paul asked his mother to come and watch Evy. It was a nice treat for everyone - however I'm not sure if we can count on that for every Friday. The drive between here & there is an easy hour and a half and that's with good traffic - plus with so much dependent on her transportation, if she has car troubles we're really out of luck. But, we're going to just take it one week at a time. This week Paul has Friday off - so that's a help.
Paul took Evy into work with him yesterday and I was sure that after her being there for one day they'd realize how unprofessional and disruptive it was to have a baby in the office. But apparently she was an angel. A big, relatively quiet, blue-eyed angel and she was more of a hit in the office than a hindrance. Plus, its only every other week so I'm thinking we'll probably just go with the flow just as we are with Fridays.
I always thought that having a kid would make me love structure even more - but it's actually helping me to release my need for so much structure and just take each day at a time :)
She's just too cute when she's enjoying it!!!
I started work yesterday, and Evy stayed with my sister. I'm so glad that my sister is watching her because I didn't worry at all. I knew that Rebekah had everything under control, and I only called once to ask her to keep an eye on Evy's milk intake so I knew how much to give her every day.
Evy being with someone else made me realize something: she is at her busiest after Paul get's home. I realized that she slept for awhile after her morning feeding but I never caught on that she's often pretty content until around four or so. While at my sister's she ate once in the morning, and then my sister woke her to make sure she was fed and changed before Paul got there to pick her up (so considerate! Paul said that Evy was a breeze driving home despite a bit of traffic) but she only took about an ounce. However, once Evy was home she became hungry quickly and was pretty feisty for the rest of the night.
Yesterday was the first time, of course, for me to pump milk while at work. I got off to a pretty bad start because when I went to pump at 9am I realized that I'd forgotten the power adapter. I was just going to pop in some batteries that I had at work, but then I couldn't find any. So I had to wait until my lunch time to go home. Then a co-worker suggested a place I could get batteries and was able to just save time and stay at work. Other than that - it was pretty successful! I was able to get four and a half ounces at about 11am, however when I tried to pump at 3pm I really only got about 2 and a half. I'm not sure if I want to adjust my time frame just yet, as that is actually pretty close to how Evy feeds during the hours I'm at work. I would rather get more out of less pumpings, however I don't want to jeopardize my milk production by not pumping often enough. Today I think I'll pump at 10am and 2pm and see how that works.
Today was the last day of my maternity leave - and it was the first day of Paul's working from home schedule. I decided I was going to hang back and leave Evy up to him so I knew he'd be okay by himself on Friday and every day after that. He did pretty good, but stressed out a bit when Evy was crying because he was worried he'd get a phone call or something. I showed him how to use the Snugi Carrier for when he needed his hands but Evy was insisting to be held, and we also decided to replace his Bluetooth headset so he could use his mobile phone hands-free if Evy needed him.
I also went to the doctor's today for my 6-week postpartum checkup. I made the appointment with the same doctor who delivered Evy, even though I'm not a fan of his. I didn't have to wait too long and the exam was VERY fast, a little too fast actually. I worry he didn't ask the kind of questions I assumed he would ask such as, "How are you feeling?" and "Tell me about your recovery period" and stuff like that. He basically plunged his hand into my girly bits, confirmed that my uterus had returned to it's pre-pregnancy size and was on his way. In fact, it almost seemed like he didn't remember me. I wouldn't be surprised, I'm sure he sees a lot of patients. But! I was glad to be out of there and I figure if I want a more thorough exam I can wait until I find a girly doctor I feel comfortable with.
Oh, and according to the scale at the doctor's office - I've lost 28lbs since having Evy. Considering I gained around 40lbs during my pregnancy I still have a ways to go. But I'm not stressing about it. I haven't been watching what I'm eating since I gave birth, but once I go back to work I'm going to use that schedule to put myself on a good eating habits and I'm sure with a good diet on a good schedule it'll continue to melt off.
Anyhoo. Maternity leave is over. My 24/7 Evy time is over. Now it'll be more like... 14/4 & 24/3.