Saturday, January 2, 2016

Year's End

Yikes! 2015 went by incredibly fast and I think life from here on out will only go by faster.

Here's a little bullet-point year in review because I was a terrible blogger:

  • I gave birth to an amazing little girl (read part 1 and part 2 of the birth story), just a few days after my best friend gave birth to her little girl, in the middle of my second semester of nursing school. 
  • I successfully juggled breastfeeding and pumping throughout the semester, as well as being a mostly loving wife to my helpful husband who stayed home with Devin. 
  • I had a very long and fun summer with Devin at home. I feel like we did nothing but relax and play the whole summer, but I feel like that may just be selective memory. I realize I can't remember any specifics right now, so...
  • We moved into my grandparents house that we are renting while they are out of the country for a year and a half, and finally have space to live and breath in. 
  • I completed my last real semester of nursing school and took my LAST final of my undergraduate degree, ending the semester with another 4.0. 
  • I was vice president and then president of my college's Student Nurses' Association and feel very proud of what I accomplished for it and the improvements I made with my team. 
  • I got my capstone placement in the Intensive Care Unit for my last semester in the spring, and am SO excited about it. 
  • I got a guitar and am loving learning how to play.
  • Devin had her first Christmas, which was just magical and amazing even though we didn't set the tree up until after she went to bed on Christmas Eve!
  • I fell even more in love with my husband than I ever thought possible after seeing him as a papi. 
  • I am a very boring person whose life revolves around Devin and school. Such exciting times.

This upcoming year is going to be awesome because:
  • Devin turns ONE in February. AllTheTears.
  • I will be a real nurse. Taking care of real patients. Whaaaaaaat?!
  • Vince and I will celebrate our five year wedding anniversary. 
  • We will be out of all credit card debt and will start paying off school loans and starting a savings account for a little homestead. 
I don't really have any goals for the New Year that are too thrilling. Save money, increase my workouts, explore our town with Devin, go on dates with my husband...just normal life goals!

I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


I should just never say I'm going to post something soon, because I inevitably will jinx myself and that won't happen. Too much has happened over the past many months to catch up on, so I'll do a 7 Quick Takes post a la this blog and move on. I post daily on the 'gram, so head over there if you really want to keep up to date with me! (Or my baby, I know that's why you're all here.)

1) Devin is no longer a baby. She is a crawling, standing, clapping, eating, vocalizing little chunk of joy that is so insanely opinionated already, at almost 9 months old. That comes from the Powell side of my family, so it's a good thing her middle name is Powell.
2) I am in my second to last semester of school, and senioritis is reallllll. So. So. Real. This also happens to be the busiest semester of the program, so if you combine that with having a baby, being the Student Nurses' Association president, and moving, things are cray cray.

3) Speaking of moving, WE HAVE MOVED. Into a house 5 times the size of our itty bitty apartment.  To say we are happy about it is an understatement! Devin has room to move, she has toys to play with now, Roxi has a yard, I have space to exercise in, and we have a giant garden. The house has already been more upkeep than I'm used to, but it's been good and we are less stressed. Oh, and the most exciting thing I almost forgot to mention - we have a washing machine and dryer! No more hand washing cloth diapers. I have no idea how I did it for so long.
(Don't worry, we have a gate up to block of the fireplace now!)
4) Related to the house - my grandparent's have gone on a mission to Mexico City for 18 months, and we are renting it from them. So while I am so excited about the house, it is also very bittersweet because we already miss them. They watched Devin on Monday's while I was in class, and she so loved being here with them! It will be sad that they'll miss so many fun times, but 18 months will go by pretty quickly and we have Skype.

5) I really feel like nothing else interesting is going on. Hmm. I took some fall pictures of Devin, and she is just the cutest ever.
6) I am still not able to eat dairy or eggs (and gluten, which neither of us can have) because of Devin's reaction through my breastmilk, but I've been able to add in almost everything else that I love! I have to restrict the amount of tomatoes, but overall she is handling things well. She likes to eat everything in the world as well. Update: I have been able to add small amounts of dairy back in! Hello, chai tea.

7) Reallllly struggling to think of a number 7. I have really been enjoying eating Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, I just got these leggings from Old Navy (in size tall!) and they are awesome, I won these pants and these pants in a Prana giveaway and love them (also in size tall!), wool diaper covers have been our new favorites, and this ketchup recipe made with our garden tomatoes was delicious!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pumping for school or work soon after birth.

Due to having Devin mid semester, I was only able to take two weeks off of school before I had to go back. Some people say it's terrible timing, but it actually wasn't as bad as I expected. She slept a lot (though she did nurse every hour around the clock for the first few months!) and I was able to nap with her, I was out of the house for 24 hours of the week so it wasn't full-time, I could come home at times during lunch to nurse her, and I was also able to have the entire summer off during her extremely fun months! 
One thing that did cause me stress in the beginning was pumping. It wasn't that pumping was hard or difficult, I was just so worried about nipple confusion or her not wanting to nurse, thus ending our breastfeeding relationship. Aside from her being placed on my chest immediately after birth, breastfeeding was the thing I was most looking forward to and I didn't want to mess with it! Luckily, I had nothing to worry about as we had no problem and she still loves to nurse constantly, and will hopefully continue into toddlerhood.
When I was scouring the internet for advice on pumping really early, I found nothing. 'Early' to most people meant going back to work at 6 or 8 weeks. The advice would be to start pumping 4 weeks before going back to work, and to start bottle feeding two weeks before going back to get the baby used to a bottle. That would have meant I should have started pumping two week before I delivered, and started bottle feeding the day she was born! Obviously, that would be impossible and not ideal. 
So here is a rough outline of what I did, in case you are one of the lucky few who has to go to school/work after a very short period of time and you want to continue breastfeeding.
Nurse on demand. Devin, like most babies, nursed for nutrition as well as comfort. For the first two weeks, we basically sat on a recliner with her attached to my boob about 90% of the day. She would nurse, and then taper off to little suckles while she slept. This signaled to my body to make more milk, and helped increase my supply. While at the hospital she would nurse for hours straight and all through the night, and even though it was really uncomfortable at times in the beginning, I just let her do her thing. 
Do NOT use a pacifier. As I said, Devin liked to comfort nurse. Many moms choose to put a pacifier in for this, but I was adamant about no paci. One) it took away her ability to tell my body to make more milk, and two) it would likely mean that I would set her down to do something else, decreasing our physical contact, and decreasing my milk supply. We started her on a paci around 6 weeks because the comfort nursing was making her acid reflux worse by never allowing her food to digest, but we made sure breastfeeding was well established, I had a pumping routine in place, and I had a solid amount of milk.
Start pumping once your milk is in. My milk came in very quickly - while I was still in the hospital - and continued to increase in amount. Around day 7, once my milk was 'completely' in (it would continue to increase over the next many weeks, but it was changing from colostrum to regular milk), I started pumping a few times a day after Devin finished nursing. I was nervous at first, thinking I was 'stealing' the milk from her next feed, but really it just helped increase my milk supply after a couple days. I would get about a half ounce to start with, and it quickly increased to 1-2 ounces per pumping. I was trying to stock up enough milk for at least the first two days of school, in case I didn't end up pumping enough while I was away for a total of 16 hours. I was following the 'baby eats one ounce per hour' rule, so 16 ounces was my goal. I froze the milk in 1 ounce portions, since I assumed she would stick with her eating every hour routine even though I wasn't there. 
Introduce a bottle. Three days before I was supposed to go to school, I had Vince try to give her a bottle. I heard good things about breastfeeding mothers using the Dr. Brown's bottles with a preemie sized nipple, so the baby still had to work hard to get the milk out. She kept refusing it with Vince and he was stressed out about it (he also got little amounts of sleep that first week!) so I ended up trying to feed her. I was still so distraught about how it could effect our breastfeeding relationship, so once she got a hang of the bottle and started eating, I cried! And then sobbed! It was awful to be the one feeding her from a bottle. Vince realized how upset I was and took over from there. I had him feed her one time for those three days while I pumped so they could both get used to it, and then I would nurse her immediately after as well so she wouldn't 'forget' how to nurse. I could definitely feel a difference in her latch, but after a minute or so she would correct herself and remember.  
Relax. When I went back to school, I was able to pump more than enough for her. I was lucky enough to have Vince or my grandparents be home with Devin, so I was confident she was in good hands getting the love and attention she needed. Had I been stressed out about her situation, I'm sure it would have had an impact on my milk supply. She didn't have any issues with nipple confusion, and she would nurse even more when I was home because she missed the physical contact. We bed-share, which I think also has a huge part in our success because she had full access to my boobs, and I could get enough rest while still feeding her constantly. Every situation is different, though, so you'll have to see what works for you!
My next post will be pumping tips, so be sure to look for that.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Christmas in July.

A friend let me go through some of her old baby clothes, and these Christmas pajamas were in the bin complete with Santa Claus feet. They were for 9-12 months, so I kept them since Devin will be about 10 months at Christmas. Turns out she fits in the now at 5 months, so Christmas in July it is!

Friday, July 24, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Devin

1) Devin woke up at 4:30am (Friday) after being up every...half hour? Hour? And didn't fall asleep until 2. I am verrrrrry over it. So I am currently holding her in bed as she sleeps, willing myself not to readjust even though I'm uncomfortable and I have no feeling in my left arm.

2) Devin cannot handle strawberries in my diet and her poops have been some very strong evidence of that. Going from pooping once every few days to pooping 10-12 times a day has been rough on both of us. But the day after I cut out the strawberries, it reduced to 6 and is getting better! So is her poor red hiney.
3) She just gets more fun every day. (When you don't take into account her early wake up times...) She's becoming even more interactive, loves picking up and chewing on toys, making eye contact and smile. So much fun.

4) Being wrapped is her favorite thing ever still. If she's crying and she sees me pull it out, she stops and gets excited! 
5) Cloth diapering is still going strong and we have yet to need a disposable. Hopefully we'll keep it up through next semester. (I have no doubt that we will. #clothforlife)
6) She loves her dad SO much. If he comes in after work when I'm trying to put her to sleep she'll immediately perk up and smile. Even if she hears his voice she looks around for him with a grin! 

7) Vince and I often comment that any future children we have could never compare to her and that they'll all be little terrors because they can't live up to her perfection. Sorry, future littles!

Oh look, she just woke up again. Maybe our future babes will sleep better.

7 Quick Takes seen on Camp Patton!