Sunday, January 19, 2014

nursing bra fix

Early on in my 5th pregnancy, I needed bigger bras. Knowing that the girls were only going to get bigger, and that I'd be nursing later, I decided to get the nursing bras instead of buying twice. I went to Destination Maternity and happened upon a buy 3 get 1 free sale. I got 4 bras, but 2 had extra fabric around the straps as cushioning. Unfortunately the idea was poorly implemented, and fabric wrapped around what I call the "pop top clip". Those two ended up languishing in the closet after baby arrived because I couldn't close them one-handed. I took them to a friend who sews to seek her wisdom. She took a seam ripper and cut away the extra fabric on one of the bra cups. Magic! The pop-top clip moved a whole lot easier. I brought them back home to finish the task.

I thought if I had this complaint, others did too. So I took pictures of the way I remedied the problem. If you use scissors, use small, sharp ones, and for the love of all that is holy to you, DO. NOT. CUT. ELASTIC!! For this to work, you must cut ONLY THE FABRIC LOOPING AROUND THE CONNECTION. The fabric that makes contact with the pop-top-clip is all you will remove, unless you opt to remove the cushioning fabric so you can adjust the straps shorter. That's up to you. Do not cut the seam in the bra strap or your bra will be of no use. Again, if you remove cushioning fabric, cut ONLY the outer fabric, NOT the elastic of any kind.

Here's your idiot clause/disclaimer:
Please use caution when handling any sharp object. I used a seam ripper. If you use scissors, do not cut the elastic of the bra straps. I am not responsible for blade or seam ripper placement when you do this, as I am not there to physically guide your hand directly to avoid rendering your nursing bra useless. Pay close attention to where you cut, and how you cut. If you lack the skill and confidence, you can hire your local tailor and show this blog post to explain what you want done. If you lack common sense, then definitely hire a local tailor. Come to think of it, if you lack common sense, child-rearing may not be an appropriate life for you.

As you can see in the after/before picture, there is significantly more room for the clip to operate. I don't know who designed this bra, but they didn't think very far in its wear and use when they thought of these things. It makes me think a man with no experience or exposure to breastfeeding and the logistics it requires had a hand in this detail.

The bras adapted here were Motherhood Maternity brand, molded cup, non-underwire bras purchased at Destination Maternity in the Spring of 2013.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Parental Wringers

Because of the speedy exit Mr Mambo#5 was jaundiced, just like his sister was. The muck didn't get squished to the southern exit. Apparently newblings need more than 20ish minutes being squished out of mama's nether-regions for that to happen.
And so began the incessant trips to the lab, back to the pediatrician, lather rinse repeat. He was also tongue-tied. The perinatologists and the pediatricians all said that it was minor. But it was indeed NOT something to be left unrevised here. In our case, baby boy could not extend his tongue far enough to pull milk out of the breast. He was always hungry, always nursing, always gassy and unhappy. He wasn't moving enough of the foremilk to get the fattier hindmilk that keeps him fuller longer. He was exhausting himself nursing all the time, trying to fill his little belly. I was pumping sufficient amounts of milk, probably more than he was moving out of there himself. Babies are supremely more efficient at transferring milk than a pump is. If I was able to pump 3 ounces from one breast with a nursing newborn, then something is definitely amiss.
Add to this scenario, twice a week lab checks, with ped follow up - and a 4 year old in tow. I was supposed to be recuperating. Pregnancy and childbirth takes a big physical toll on a woman's body. And I had a pediatrician's office not listening to me about the tongue tie being part of the problem. They kept suggesting the same things: supplement even an ounce of formula or give pedialyte, or pumped milk - anything to improve what he was taking in, so he could flush the bilirubin faster before it started posing more and major health problems. The problem was my child hated anything but the "gourmet groceries" as Mrs. A calls them. He would begrudgingly suffer a bottle of pumped milk - very reluctantly suffer it.
A friend was at her pediatrician's office, getting her son's tongue tie revised 3 days after he was born. She related our situation. The doctor told her to call us and get in there *NAO*. It was Friday, at 5:30 pm, and the pediatrician could have said "tell her to come in here next week." No, she said NOW. So, we hastily packed up everyone and left. My lil man was 10 days old, barely gaining, still jaundiced, and barely going through any diapers. Average is 10 diapers a day, but we were using maybe half that many.  We had to wait a while, and finally we got his tongue tie clipped. The pediatrician regularly does frenectomies, and understands the impact a tongue tie has on breastfeeding. I was about ready to take him to a pediatric dentist who would laser the tie, as trained by Dr Kotlow. But someone closer to home could do it, and covered with insurance and a copay. And she was insistent that I get to her office immediately, on a Friday evening, because my supply was at stake.
The first day after the revision, he was a little cranky and clingy, but that's to be expected. Then he started making up for lost time. He filled so many diapers over that weekend, and actually did more than a smear of poo. If he had a blowout diaper, I would've celebrated because it meant the bilirubin was moving out of his little body. Thankfully he didn't, but if he had, I would have cheered anyway. Diaper output immediately doubled. And then we had yet. another. follow-up. that Monday. He lost an ounce and the ped's office got all panicky. DUDE! He finally started producing diapers that were worth changing! Look at the whole picture here, will ya? I was supposed to go to a weight check on the Friday of his 3rd week, and I was exhausted. I refused to get in my mom-bus one. more. time. that week. My sanity, and that of my 4 year old needed to push pause on this incessant going places. Not to mention, the household budget needed a break from the fuel expenditure when I was not working to pay for said fuel, and copays.
I'd already had an appointment for the next Monday, so, really, I didn't feel a need to cater to the demands of the pediatrician's office when my sanity just was D.O.N.E.  and I needed to rest. This was not my first rodeo, and I felt safe staying home despite the objections of the nurses at the doctor's office. If mama is fried, the kids suffer. I learned that a long time ago. And I didn't care that they thought I was being neglectful. Yes, it's *just* a weight check. But to my 4 year old, it was yet another disruption this baby has caused her life, and making mommy impatient and cranky with her. She was devolving into a petulant, foot-dragging preschooler who was making mommy late for everything. We stayed home, and I napped on and off all day, with the little girl happily able to do what she wanted.
That next Monday, I had another ped appointment in the afternoon. I made them fax the lab order before my appointment, because I refused to spend my day waiting around and dealing with inefficient travels. I'd done this enough in the 3 weeks, I had a good gauge of the timing. Sure enough, he gained almost half a pound in a week, and the bilirubin was almost what it was when we left the hospital. No more wringers for us. We could resume a typical well-child check schedule.

And then 3 weeks later, for the well child check, Mr Mambo porked up an entire pound. No wonder I was losing circulation in my arms while holding him. Silly medical people, this mama is smarter than you think she is. Maybe you should listen more and wring her less.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Update on Kathryn

Kathryn is making progress.
Colin has more information.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Marrying young has advantages

I never thought I'd marry young, or have this many kids. But life has taken many scenic tours for us, despite what I call our Grand Plans of Marvelous Theory. Here we are, 2 decades together, still running headlong into the cloud of insanity that is our life.

A cousin who is 4 months older than our freshly minted Marine son, got married in May 2013. The same year in December, a friend's daughter who is about the same age got married. And no, neither one was a shotgun wedding. Of course, that has been the assumption and accusation, however unfair and inaccurate it might be.

Colin over at Catholic Husband shared a blog on his Crackbook wall that has me saying a whole-hearted AMEN. In the time of most marriages failing, regardless of the age of the spouses in the beginning of the marriage, there seems to be a resurgence of marrying young instead of waiting till mid-life crisis leers in the wings. And yes, a lot of young marriages HAVE crumbled. But not all of them do. In fact, some of the stronger marriages I've seen (and lived) are those initiated at a tender age.

Here, let me just copy what was posted on Early Mama as written by Gemma Hartley.

So here are 7 reasons I love my young marriage:
We Get To Grow Up Together
There’s certainly something to be said for “finding yourself” before settling down. But I think there’s something equally, if not more wonderfully, beneficial about growing up alongside your husband. Getting to experience such a vast majority of your life together — to grow as individuals side-by-side — is utterly amazing.
I’ve been able to watch my husband transform from the long-haired, baby-faced teenager I used to make-out with at house parties into a hardworking, loving husband and father. Living through that sort of transformation can deepen your respect and strengthen your bond. (Not to mention you'll probably have some epic stories to tell your kids.)
We're More Flexible
In the same way young motherhood has the advantage of flexibility, so does young marriage. We didn't have enough time to get set in our ways, so we've been more open to compromise. Because we got married in our early 20s, we were still figuring out how to "live like grown ups" — which wasn't only easier to do together, but more fun. The thrill of upgrading from a folding card table to a real-deal wood dining table is so much better when you have someone to share the experience with.
We Know the Statistics
Trust me, no one is more aware of the grim statistics surrounding young marriage than people who get married young. Relatives, friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers seem oddly eager to tell us how our relationship is doomed – how we’re na├»ve to think it could ever work, because just look at the facts! And yes, we know there are plenty of people shaking their heads behind our backs as well.
But you know what? Being aware of the statistics just makes us more determined to beat the odds. I think we are more willing to do the work to make our marriage successful because we know there are people out there waiting for us to fail — and we want to prove them wrong. I think we know better than most that problems will arise, and I believe knowing that makes us more apt to rise to those inevitable challenges.
Easier Parenting Transition
The transition into parenthood is never easy, but I do believe young marriages have a major advantage here. When you’re used to crazy schedules and not having lots of extra “me” money or nice vacations, becoming parents is not such a huge lifestyle adjustment. I think young couples are more prepared to roll with the punches, and that goes a long way in parenting.
Accomplishing Milestones Together
Of course most couples get to go through the major milestone of becoming parents together. Young couples, however, get to experience all sorts of amazing milestones side-by-side. Graduating high school or college, moving into your first crappy off-campus apartment, landing that first big job, saving up for your first grown-up car – these are awesome experiences my husband and I get to share in addition to becoming parents.
No Wedding-Fever Pressure
When my husband and I got married, we were definitely the first among our friends. Now we’re going to a lot more weddings, have a lot more married friends, and feel a lot more “normal.” In a few more years, we’ll become the majority and our unmarried friends might begin feeling the pressure to settle down – whether they’re ready or not.
In Meg Ray’s TED talk "Why 30 is not the new 20," she describes the enormous pressure that comes when everyone around you seems to suddenly marry at once. She describes the story often sounding like, “Dating in my twenties was like musical chairs, everybody was running around and having fun. But then sometime around 30 it was like the music turned off and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one left standing up.”
Marrying young has left that pressure off my plate completely, and even though I don’t think about it often, it is a huge relief.
A Great Romance
Great love stories can happen at any age. But the wild and passionate romance of a young relationship is a force to be reckoned with. We made-out in the backs of cars and held hands under the lunch table and stayed up all night day-dreaming and kissed beneath the Reno Arch at midnight to ring in a new year. We’ve done things too inappropriate to write out for the world to see, because we know what it is to be young and in love.
Young marriages get to run the whole course from young and stupid to old and wise. It’s a beautiful journey to make together, and one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Yes, all of this fits us. Yes, we have endured some things that would have toppled anybody else's marriage. And yes, there are days at least one of us has wanted to punt the spouse to the curb with Wednesday's trash pickup. But the difference was that we were doggedly determined to prove those naysayers wrong, and make them eat their own words. Plus, in our case, the romance is still alive. That is documented by the ages of our five children - 20, 19, 11, 4, and the newest sprog born a few weeks ago.
Wedding pressure? Yes, we skipped that in spades. We eloped, and didn't keep contact with most of the peers. Between the 2 of us, less than a handful of the friendships we had as kids survived into adulthood. We felt no pressure in that regard what so ever.
Milestones? WHOOOOboy do we ever have a litany of those.
Parenting? We did this whole thing backwards, and got married after having 2 kids together.
Yes, we know the statistics, but we ignore them in favor of diving into what happens in our own household, not that of the millions of others with problems. It's none of my business really. I have enough on my plate, that I don't need to go LOOKING for problems that aren't mine to solve.
Flexibility? Yea, I learned a lot of that while Devildog was serving in the Marine Corps. We've got that covered, and SOOOO much more.
Growing up together? We did that with our kids too. And to tell the truth, we are still just big kids with big responsibilities. Our bodies tell a different story, but our hearts, minds, and souls decry the body's complaints. We are still young at heart, and that will serve us well when our children finally all fly the nest. We still have a lot of living to do together.