Breastfeeding 101

So, in other posts I have already made mention of when I “WAS” breastfeeding so clearly I have stopped.  It has taken me a while to type up this post because it was such an emotional time for me.  Anytime I would start I would start crying.  I know the “baby blues” were part of it but the whole experience for me was rough.  I am in no way trying to deter anyone else from breastfeeding but I do hope that other parents that feel or felt like I do know they are not alone.

Leading up to childbirth I had made up my mind I wanted to breastfeed this time.  The last two times it did not work for various reasons.  Me and my Breast Buddy as I will call her both had similar past experiences and we both decided we were going to make it work no matter what.

June 15, 2013 my muffin was born at 10:46 p.m.  I think I was nursing her by 11:30 ish..  I was so elated that she actually latched on. I could feel the tightening in my uterus so I knew it was working right.  All I could do was cry.  I was so happy.  Latching on was an issue in the past so the fact that we figured it out so fast was exciting. I kept telling Big Daddy through my tears “She’s doing it!!”

That night she kept waking up to nurse every 1.5 – 2 hours.  Clearly I didn’t do any research about nursing or breastfeeding to know that was normal. Feeding 12-14 times a day in a 24 hour day is exhausting….  I was soo sleepy.  And there is no way for a spouse or anyone to help with it.

The whole time in the hospital, I assume because I was so excited about breastfeeding and she seemingly was doing it right… I never saw a lactation specialist.  I guess they thought I knew what I was doing…  But I didn’t.  Latching on was so painful.  I just thought you were supposed to feel a hard pinch and then it goes away.  Apparently it wasn’t going away, it was getting numb from pain.  In no time my nipples were dry and cracked and in soo much pain.  But.. who knew.  I was just happy it was seemingly working.

By the time I was discharged from the hospital my muffin had dropped a significant amount of weight.  It was due to her being slightly jaundice.  Apparently the difference in our blood types and the anti-bodies created… so and so and so…. She had too much bilirubin producing and had to poop it out.  The problem was she was not getting enough from me to poop regularly enough so I had to start supplementing with formula.  That was the beginning of the end…..

Once I started supplementing I thought I would still nurse at the same time.  Well… I was wrong.  Once my muffin got used to that steady flow of formula, going back baby to breast was a no go!  She was not feeling me anymore.  That was the most hurtful rejection.  She would start, realize enough wasn’t coming out and start whaling!!!  It hurt my feelings so bad.  To want to do something so bad, and get rejected by the person you just gave life is like a knife to your heart.  In my rational mind it made sense why she didn’t want to nurse, but it still was so hurtful to me.  Either way I decided to pump.  This way she can still get all the colostrum and anti-bodies etc. she needed to be healthy.  Pumping brought on a whole new set of challenges.  It was very painful.  I would be pumping one side and the other would hurt.  The main issue was the amount of time it was taking with a single pump, and the amount I was getting after spending so much time pumping.  After about an hour and a half I would only have 1-2 ounces.  That just seemed crazy to me.  I couldn’t get anything done because I was seemingly always pumping.

That’s when Nurse Theresa from Durham Connects came and gave me hope.  She suggested I go ahead and order the parts I needed to make the pump a double pump, and recommended the Mothers Milk tea and Fenugreek pills.  Both of which were to help with lactation.  I became excited and renewed again to make breast feeding work.  I was all over at GNC, Whole foods etc. trying to find the pills and tea.  Once I found them I began popping pills.  I actually hate swallowing pills.  I don’t do it well.  I try to get a liquid form of everything if I can.  However, for the sake of my muffin I was willing to take an additional 12 pills a day to boost my milk supply.  After day 2 I didn’t see a difference.  I decided to google the average amount of time it took for other mothers to see a difference and they said 24 hours.  I was deflated.  I still kept on going for roughly a week and I did not see an increase to how much I was pumping.

I finally stopped right when she became 4 weeks.  It ended up she was on formula and I was supplementing with breast milk which was backwards!  By week 4 she was up to 3-4 ounces per feeding and that’s about all I could get per day so she at least had 1 bottle a day of breast milk.  The pain and emption attached to the whole thing was too much for me.  I was not ready for the emotional highs and lows.  Every time I pumped I was left with a feeling of inadequacy as a mother and as a woman.  I couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t work and it just made me sad and caused me to cry all the time.  So it ended… or so I thought.

Once I stopped supplementing with breast milk my muffin was getting constipated.  She couldn’t go to the bathroom on formula alone.  We switched formulas a few times and finally had to incorporate some juice.  I felt like it was all my fault because I stopped breastfeeding.  That was another wave of emotion.  Every time my muffin was crying in pain or clearly irritated with a tight tummy my heart ached.  Each time I heard her take those deep breaths to cry it was so painful to my spirit.

The last time I was in the doctor office he told me I was doing a good job and it wasn’t my fault.  These things happen and not to get down on myself.  Just hearing someone else say I am doing a good job was so impactful.  This was a medical professional telling me my child was just fine and she was going to be ok.  The remedy ended up being Switching from Enfamil products to Gerber Good Start products and incorporate a little apple or prune juice into her bottles.  Now she is pooping up a storm like she should be.

I have finally let myself off the hook so the guilt is gone.  But these last 4-6 weeks have been such a roller coaster of emptions.  I was not prepared for all that.  For other mom’s having problems it’s ok.  The fact that you even attempted is great.  If all the baby received was colostrum that was still a great thing.  Do not beat yourself up.  You know what’s best for you , your body and the baby.

Through it all I survived…. You can too.

PS – My breast buddy has had great success with breast feeding…  I am extremly happy for her.   (It’s always the folks with small boobs… I figure with all the boobs I have I should have had gallons… LOL)


Lazy Days

Well, I woke up yesterday and walked two miles with my tapes and felt good. Today I am trying to muster up the same excitement about it. Ugh…… It just feels like a lazy Saturday. Somehow I have to find the energy and stay consistent or I will never lose and additional 20 pounds. I just want to be under 200. Even if its 199.9. My stretch goal would be 185.

We’ll see how far I am willing to stretch.

Besides workout tapes, what do you all suggest for excersize if I don’t have a gym membership? Fit now Leslie Sansone is all I have. She is awesome but I would like to change it up every now and then.

Drop the baby, drop the weight…

It has been a month and a few days and I am pleased to announce that after 3 weeks I had already lost all my pregnancy weight and THEN SOME!  Breastfeeding really works because I was not doing anything to lose weight.  WHen I got Pregnant I was about 230.  My highest pregnant weight was about 242 that I can recall.  I am 221 today (WOOP WOOP)

Now…. that I am no longer breastfeeding (separate post to come about that journey…) how do I keep it up.  I plan to start my work out tapes again.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Leslie Sansone.  I don’t know what it is about her videos  but I love her.  She has the line of work out tapes called “Walk away the pounds”  They are fabulous.  I even have all the accessories that the people in the videos use.  (Of course I bought it all off amazon… )  You can walk a mile in 15 minutes with her DVD’s.  I even have VHS tapes I still use of hers.  WHo can’t find 15 min in a day to walk a mile??

Pumpkin Pie and Sweet Pea are going on tour with my mom to NY for a few weeks so my plan is to drop at least 10 pounds by the time they come back.  That should be do-able in 3 weeks right?  I think so too.

But mom’s, other than a few tapes what else do you suggest?  I am bad at dieting but I do need to start making better life choices with food.  Big Daddy insists on more green vegetables in our diet so I already do that.  But I really don’t know how to cook healthy.  There is only so many nights you can eat grilled chicken breasts and brown rice.  Cause that’s all I know that is healthy.  LOL  That gets old quick.

Tonight I am going to do spaghetti with ground turkey and whole wheat pasta noodles.  We will see how that comes out.

Any other ideas of how to drop the weight after dropping the baby?  Anyone have any easy recipes to share with me?  I could really use the help.

I had a blog a few years back dedicated to weight loss.  If you have a few moments check it out.  I am sure I will repost some of those old posts as they will probably become relevant again.

I’m still alive…. overweight…. but alive 🙂

Durham Connects – Community Angels

While I was in the hospital, a representative from Durham Connects came by to see me and offered me a home visit.  She explained a nurse would come by and examine me and my Muffin and just check up on us after we left the hospital.  So I’m thinking….. how much money do I already owe the Duke University Health care system???…Ummm no thanks.  Then she said the magic words..  Like the credit report commercials F-R-E-E that spells free!!!  HELLO.  Sign me up.

I made an appointment for the beginning of July because they were really full.  I am so glad I agreed.  A wonderful woman Nurse Theresa came by to see us and she was an absolute God-SEND.  She totally looked past my crazy family room & laundry situation I had going on and just focused on me and Muffin. She was so attentive to my complaints and what I felt were short comings with my breast-feeding woes.  She had excellent suggestions and assured me I was doing a Good Job.  Again… no matter how many children you have, there is always a touch if insecurity if you are doing everything right.  She made me feel better and assured me by “baby blues” were normal and I was a good mom.

She even called my OB and scheduled my 6 week check up for me.  She made me a list of things to do and gave me folder full of resources and information that is very helpful.  I even got a reusable bag out of the deal.  (I am a tote bag junkie… even though I never use them for groceries… I just like to collect them)

After my first visit I was so grateful I sent her an email, and even during the 4th of July weekend she emailed me back. I was not expecting a reply that soon.  Nurse Theresa ROCKS!

Durham County is so fortunate to have this wonderful program of Community Angels that services all mothers that gave birth the opportunity to have some follow-up contact within the first few weeks of their child’s life.  It’s also not exclusive to just Duke and Durham Regional deliveries.  If they can track your birth, they will offer the service.  So even those born with mid-wives etc… can utilize this wonderful service.  and it’s F-R-E-E that spells FREE!!!!!!!!  Can’t beat that.  All mothers love a good deal.

Please visit the website for more information.  In addition I saw on the site where they were hiring.  Check it out.

And if you are fortunate to get Nurse Theresa…. know that you are in GOOD HANDS! (she asked me about my eating habits and completely ignored the Hardees bag on the counter… LOL.  I’m telling you, she is awesome. )

After all, I signed up for a Durham Connects visit, and through it all,  I’m still alive 🙂

With this ring

After four months I can finally put my ring back on!!!! The carpal tunnel had my fingers so swollen I had to take my wedding rings off to prevent having to cut them off later.

You know how you forget your cell phone or watch and you look for it all day long??? I have been like that everyday since my last trimester began. Every time I put on lotion I would frantically look for my rings, only to remember they were home in the box.

All day today I kept staring at my once naked hand at my beautiful solitaire. It was given to me at the Carolina Theatre on March 20, 2005 at the debut concert of the John Brown Quintet. My husband called me on stage….wait….. Fast backward…. My then fiancé 🙂 called me on stage in front of lots of family, friends, and strangers lol and asked me to marry him. I said I hate you and the rest was history.

No typo. That’s really what I said. I said I hate you over and over because he got me. I hate surprises and he had me looking all plain on the night I got engaged. He could have at least told me to dress up for the concert or something. NOPE! Instead I had on plain black slacks and a plain pink sweater. Also, I think I had a rusty ponytail. Could a sister been told to get her “kitchen” permed??? Smh. In addition to the fashion no-no, the highlight was that he flew in my biological father that I had never met in person. It was wonderful, but my answer was I hate you!!! Lol.

All these memories and more ran through my head today while glaring at my ring. Washing dishes… At red lights…. Cooking turkey wings…. I couldn’t stop looking at my now complete hand.

My wedding bands joined the party on May 20, 2006. Besides sending my ring for repairs, and losing it for a week in my kitchen (don’t ask.. Just know …….. I was ready to call Allstate the day I found it lol) this was the longest period of time I has been without my ring in 7 years of marriage.

I am so excited to have my rings back on. 7 years has not always been easy…..

But through it all…… I’m still alive and wearing my ring!!!!!


6/15 – The Muffin is here !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Part of the reason I decided to blog again was to share the crazy story of my pregnancy and birth of my third daughter, Muffin.  This was the rockiest of all my pregnancies with quite a few hiccups along the way. To make a long story short…  Somewhere around month 5, high levels of protein were found in my urine.  I had to do TWO, 24 hour urine samples which was NOT COOL.  Basically I had to void in a jug and save a whole day’s worth or urine.  AND to top it off they expected me to keep it cold.  CERTAINLY they didn’t think I was going to keep it in the fridge where my food was?  They must be crazy.  It went straight in the garage.  Glad it was January!!! I had to see a Nephrologist at Duke that put me though blood tests to rule out lupus, ultrasounds to make sure I have 2 kidneys, and more and more money into the Duke healthcare system…  Basically all to say… they don’t know what is wrong besides the baby is making my kidneys work too hard..  Hundreds of dollars later…  smh.  The edema (swelling) was crazy too.  My toes looked like Vienna Sausages.  By the last few months I was reduced to Nike Cushion thong flip-flops.  I wore them to work, church and everything.  Even a ballet slipper hurt because the edges pressed into the sides of my foot.  I did keep my feet pedicured because wearing flip-flops all the time, I could not have my heels looking like crumb cake.  That’s not ok.

So…… fast backward (as my nephew once said trying to say fast forward)…  to May 17.  My last day of work.  At my appointment on May 15 my blood pressure shot up out of the blue.  I had already been suffering from pregnancy induced carpal tunnel so work was already a hurdle for me.  For these reasons I came on home.  Moderate bed rest and I had to monitor my pressure daily for the nest week just to be sure I didn’t become pre-eclamptic.

Right about 36 weeks…  I began to have contractions.  I was home alone with my girls and my husband, Big Daddy, was out at a rehearsal.  I was already dilated to 2 cm so I began to worry.  With the birth of my first two girls, both came in less than 3 hours.  So once I started to have contractions I didn’t want to wait for my water to break.  I went ahead and called and they told me to come in.  Well…. now I have my girls, and I didn’ think it smart to drive myself in case a contraction hit on the road…  so I did what every sensible person would do.  Go to the neighbors house!!!!  I left my girls with the neighbors children and my neighbor drove me to the hospital.  The whole time I am calling Big Daddy I am getting sent straight to voicemail.  How smart is it to be in a building on Duke campus with NO SIGNAL with a wife on moderate bed rest at the house that is already 2 cm?? LOL   I called the band leader…. no answer.  NO signal.  Next I called my husband best friend Toothpick. He took over calling my husband for me so I didn’t have to.  He also high tailed it from Raleigh to Durham in no time.  Just in case Big Daddy couldn’t be reached, he wouldn’t allow me to be alone.

So I get admitted and the contractions are still going but I not progressing into active labor.  It wasnt Braxton hicks, but I just wasnt progressing.  I stayed for 8 hours and only dilated 1 more centimeter.  So I was sent home.  This time with the instructions to be on strict bed rest now.  They wanted me to keep the baby in until 38-39 weeks to make sure the lungs were finished developing.  No driving, just resting.  The doctors wanted me to make it to 38 weeks at the least before the baby came.

My MIL came to help me because the kids still had to get to camp, and daycare and I couldn’t drive…  So.. we waited.  The doctor discharged me by saying You will be back probably in the next few days…  so we waited…  three days went by… a week… two weeks… three weeks… no baby.  I made it all the way to 39 weeks.  I had a doctor appointment on June 14 and I was already 5 cm.  Certainly my water was going to break soon.  That next morning about 5:00 am contractions started…..

This is where it gets good… LOL

I called the hospital and they told me to come on in.  After all I was 5 cm and with my history of fast delivery they didn’t want it to happen at home.  So I told my husband giddy up!  We throw on clothes (no shower or nothing, just quick wash face, brush teeth, comb hair down… ) and Big daddy is putting on cologne.  REALLY?  Who needs cologne to go to the hospital at 6 in the morning?? He talking about he doesn’t know who he might run into… SMH.

As we are walking out Big Daddy grabs a blanket.  I thought ” Aww he thinks I might get cold”  after all it is 6 am.  SIKE…  he gets the blanket for me to sit on in case my water breaks on his leather interior on his new Ford Expedition.  SERIOUSLY???  You are worried about your truck??  I’ll just freeze.  Teeth chattering, but the seat is protected.  LOL

We get admitted and Big Daddy with all his personality starts in on the Nurse.  She was really sweet so we had a ball cracking jokes and stuff.  So it’s about 8:30 ish and some of our good friends were pregnant and due around the same time.  She had passed her due date and was scheduled to be induced the following week.  I am texting her saying how we are in the hospital etc.. and low and behold, her water breaks.  REALLY?  I’m 5 cm and NO WATER and she is 1-2 cm and her water breaks???  By now all my contractions have stopped so I am just chillin.  She goes to the hospital, has an epidural, and a baby all while I am waiting for my water to break.  I was sooooo annoyed.  lol  Did she really have her baby before me??  and I am now 6 cm?? Still no water ???  LOL  Dont get me wrong I am very happy for her but I was sooo ready to get this baby out of me!!

Crazy enough Big Daddy had a gig that day and we had to make a decision if he was going to go or stay with me.  Considering it was 2:30-3:00 and still NOTHING happening, I told him to go.  He stayed until the last possible minute and left at 4.  Despite the fact that he smelled good for the nurses he still needed to shower and get ready for his gig.  So he leaves and I am just chillin again.  My MIL and the girls came to the hospital around 5 so I wouldn’t be alone.

The doctor keeps coming in and checking on me in between delivering other babies.  She wont send me home because I am too “open” to be just walking around.  She already tried scrapping my membranes to hurry the process along but that didn’t work.  Finally about 7:30 she came back and said ” You still don’t have a baby?”  This is crazy.  She decided to break my water.  I thought immediately after that happened fireworks would start… but they didn’t.

I texted Big Daddy GIDDY UP!  so he could come on back because any minute now the contractions were going to start.  He got back to the hospital around 8 ish and still nothing.  Around 8:30 – 9:00 fireworks pop off.  I didn’t want the girls to see me in pain so we sent them and the MIL home to get some pizza and wait for the good news before my face started twisting in anguish.

9 Pm… it was on and poppin.  Like the delivery of my last two girls I am anti-pain meds.  NO EPIDURAL…  So I had to Man up and endure the pain.

If no one has ever described to you the feeling of a contraction it is indescribable.  And keep in mind this started when I was 6 cm so they didn’t start out like baby ones… when they came… they came.  The delivery nurse was really good.  I guess she was trying to help and she took a wet face cloth and was trying to wipe off my face… but she was getting my hair wet.  Ummm that’s a NO-NO.  While I appreciated it all I could think about (in the midst of contractions) was…. I just paid for this hair.  My stylist came to the house that Monday to have this hair “laid” and she is messing up my edges.  NOT OK.  I asked her to stop.  I can’t have my hair messed up.  I can remember Big Daddy explaining to the nurse I didn’t want my hair messed up.  I don’t think she understood…. but my husband knows how I am.  He told me he would get it done again if it was messed up… LOL  It was not a game.  Black women don’t play with getting their hair wet.  LOL

As the pain and contractions get closer and harder Big Daddy keeps telling me “You’re doing good!”  Those three words mean a lot.  During labor and delivery and after…

So.. finally I get to the point where I feel I need to push.  And in 4-5 pushes she is here!  My Muffin is born.  She was 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.5 inches.  I was sooo happy it was over.  Hearing her cry is the best sound in the whole world.  The person that was growing inside me has joined the world and made her first sound.  It’s such a profound moment that tragically gets interrupted by the pain of another contraction.  And this hurts even worse because you are done but not done.  Your miracle is born but the pain hasn’t stopped.  You still have to pass the afterbirth or the placenta.  UGH.  This sucks.  I mean, they have the chord, why can’t they just yank it out?  I suppose that would mess up stuff.  So 10 min later the placenta is passed and then it is really over.  Or is it?

NOPE….. now I have to get up and finally go to the bathroom.  This is a part I used to look forward to.  The nurse would clean your “area” with warm water which feels soo good.  However, as I am walking to the bathroom I start to feel like an addict going through withdrawal.  My teeth are chattering, my body is shaking and I am freezing.  The nurse said it’s just my body adjusting to the fact that I am 1 person again and not 2.  Either way the crack head effect was not the business.  I did not like that feeling.

Finally my nerves settle, I get back in the bed and I have a Muffin all wrapped up in my arms.  Big Daddy went to get the girls, my MIL and some FOOD!!!  By now it’s almost midnight and nothing is open.  I wanted some REAL food.  So Big Daddy called Trips because they close at midnight.  He got them to place an pick up order!!!  I got some shrimp and scallop pasta and a Cesar salad!!!

My soul was happy!  My Muffin was born, and my belly was full.

Through it all….. I’m still alive.  Now the real work begins…  a newborn.

Just Me – Durham Diva

A moving GIF showing a basic 3 ball-cascade ju...

A moving GIF showing a basic 3 ball-cascade juggling pattern: good for juggling explanation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello.  I am the Durham Diva trying to hold it down with 3 kids, a fabulous husband, a job with direct reports…. OH…….. and did I mention one of the 3 kids is less than a month old???  Whew.  I juggle lots of balls, schedules, and people.  How does it all happen?  This blog will give you some insight…….

Hopefully from my blog women, wives, and mothers, will be inspired or at the very least feel like someone out there is worse than you are, so you can appreciate your situation. LOL  I insert humor in almost all things so feel free to laugh at my pain 🙂

This blog will entail my most recent birth story, weight loss woes, work stuff and more…  I often talk about many people in my personal life but I give them code names.  While I have agreed to open up to the world, they have not. 

Hopefully you will enjoy reading about my juggling act.  It’s no special story, as I am sure MANY mothers and wives share the same story.  But this blog is MY story.  Full of ups and downs but through it all…. I’m still alive

Queue music…. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little longer…. (Kelly Clarkson)