Breastfeeding :Part Two: Zachary’s Story

I have already shared my first breastfeeding journey, which you can find <HERE>. 

After waiting 13 months to conceive my first son Oliver. Sean and I decided that we would just let nature takes its course with conceiving our second child. We knew we wanted another child and we didn’t know how long it was going to take. When it got to Oliver being 6-7 months old, I had returned to work and life was a little hectic we decided we would take a 6 month break and I would start using the contraceptive pill. What we hadon’t planned for was me getting pregnant and having a miscarriage whilst on said contraceptive. To say it was devastating is a complete and utter understatement. 

After the miscarriage we felt like we had to just do what we had originally decided and let nature take its course. What we didn’t know was we weren’t going to have an easy journey. Over the course of 3 years I had 4 miscarriages in total, never making it past the 8 week mark. Every time we were utterly and completely devestated each and every time. I knew each time before I had even missed my period I was pregnant. During these years I had many tests completed including having a dye put through my tubes to check everything was working. We never got any answers. Just more and more referrals. Then something big happened, we went through something very personal that almost broke us as a couple. Whilst we were rekindling our relationship and had absolutely no focus on getting pregnant (I was 4 weeks into a new job) it happened. The old cliche of it you stop focusing and obsessing about something it will happen. 

The first 12 weeks were the worst, I was petrified that something bad would happen, but forced myself to try and be positive. I wanted to enjoy the pregnancy for however long it lasted. I remember going out to buy baby socks at 8 weeks pregnant and mentally reassuring myself I wasn’t jinxing the pregnancy. I didn’t have a great pregnancy I was extremely anaemic (and I am allergic to iron medication). I fainted a lot and was hospitalised. I ended up having 2 iron tranfusions, I had to be monitored the whole time as I would pass out and throw up. I managed to get through it and at 20 weeks I also had to have a nephrostomy tube fitted. This is a tube that is inserted into your kidney and comes out of your back and drains into a bag. Sexy. I had something called hydronephrosis, in layman terms, your kidney dilates too much and doesn’t drain properly and if left untreated can cause serious complications for yourself and your unborn child. It’s the same thing I had which was undetected when pregnant with Oliver. I was put on antibiotics for 26 weeks and all went well. Like I said nature didn’t have an easy plan in store for us, but then…. Then I had my birth. 

After the trauma of my first birth I was desperate to have a natural delivery, but everyone was telling me to have a c section. I was adamant I at least wanted to try. Long and short is I did and I had the most wonderful birth. 18hrs from my first contraction and water leaking. 45 mins from 5cms to delivery, to the surprise of the midwife and my best friend Rida, who inadvertently helped deliver Zachary and capture my labour and delivery on camera. 

Meeting Zachary for the first time,7lb 4oz

Once the delivery is over your breastfeeding journey begins. Zachary was eager to start his. He was rooting around trying to find some food pretty much straight away. Once everyone had been and gone and it was just me and my boy I had to ask for help with the latch. Oh man was this boy hungry, I remember desperately wanting to shower the day after (I had already showered pretty soon after I delivered him) and all he wanted to do was feed. He fed for over and hour. I was pretty exhausted and when he finally finished I went and got that shower. It was bliss. 

When we came home Zachary would feed lots, which is pretty normal for a newborn. 

Sleep. Feed. Poop. Repeat.

Within the first month, Zachary began vomiting, at first it was after feeding then it was constant. Most times it was a mouthful here and there other times it was the full feed in a mahoosive projectile vomiting incident. Zachary was diagnosed with Reflux. He was given infant gaviscon, it was meant to help with the acid coming up and also thicken it to stop him vomiting quIt’s so much. When it was at its worst he was being sick up to 50 times a day. Do you know how much washing that makes?! 

Whilst this was going on I developed mastitis, if you haven’t had mastitis, it’s a bitch! Imagine the worst flu ever and times it by 100. I required medication, again. I was still on antibiotics from when I was pregnant. I was desperately trying to look after my newly turned four year old and my new constantly feeding and vomiting baby. 

Oliver, the proudest of big brothers
  

We were lucky really as Zachary continued to gain weight really well. There were no concerns there and therefore there was reluctance to do anything else. The first seven weeks with Zachary were intense and stressful. There was nothing seriously wrong, but lots of things which were enough to weigh heavily on me and make this a difficult time. 

Always so dramatic
  

I can’t remember everything perfectly, so I am going to bullet point (and give an explanation if needed). Remember everything I put below happened in an eight week period.

* I got mastitis THREE, yes Three f*cking times, sorry for swearing, but seriously?!!  {I now think I probably never recovered from the first episode}

* I had Four sets of antibiotics

* I was referred to a lactation consultant {Who although she was lovely just kept telling me to compensate wth formula}

* Zachary was having breast milk and formula

* Zachary had jaundice

* I had my naphrostomy bag removed (yay).

* We discovered Zachary had G6PD.             {It’s a missing enzyme, it means there are certain medications he can’t have and he can become very poorly very quickly with anaemia}

We had an extremely scary incident where Zachary started vomiting up blood. It was one of the scariest times of my life. After a rushed trip to the hospital they explained he had torn his Oesophagus from all of the vomiting. They explained it was a blood rich organ and by the time we had got him to hospital it had healed itself. They kept us in to do further tests and tested my breast milk, there was blood in it. They said I was bleeding from inside of my breast. 

the night he gave is a fright, he origibal babygro had to be thrown as it was covered in blood
  
Did I mention I also had eczema on my nipples WTF, so my skin was peeling off too. They said the blood in my milk was going down to his stomach and had caused him to vomit with such force this was the result. They said if I continued to breast feed this would continue to happen BUT I had to bring him to hospital every time it did, incase it ever came from his stomach as that was very dangerous. Their advice? 

“STOP BREASTFEEDING”

Everyone’s advice was Stop Breastfeeding. Once again I was devestated. I was so upset and angry. Here I was second time around and my body was failing me again and I was having to stop breastfeeding before I was ready. Once again I cried and cried and cried. I felt like no one understood why I was so upset. I went to the GP and was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression again. If I didn’t feel like a failure enough. This happened. One week after I stopped breastfeeding. 

* Zachary became very poorly with Broncilitis. *** {He had to stay in hospital, he was originally in the head box, then he moved onto the face mask and eventually onto the nose prongs}  

Zachary with his wonderful nurse Tom
 

I blamed myself, I thought it was because I wasn’t breastfeeding him anymore. I thought it’s because he wasn’t getting my immunity from my milk. Either way, it was a really hard time for me and Zachary. Thankfully he made a relatively fast recovery and we had great staff, who reassured us. 

But that was it, that was the end of our breastfeeding journey. 3 weeks solely breastfed, 4 weeks combination feeds. Then  onto formula.

The joys of reflux

The reflux continued, we were told once we weaned him (we waited till 6 months and did Baby led weaning) it would go away, but it never did. He was around 18 months when it finally stopped.  Regardless of all this vomiting it had absolutely no impact on my his growth, as the picture below shows.    

So what did this this breast feeding journey teach me?

1] NO two journeys will be the same

2] Just because you did it before doesn’t         mean you will do it again

3] There are many different issues both Mum and baby can have

There are some breastfeeding activists who may say I should have continued? That I was still physically able to breastfeed my child, that my child was gaining weight and thriving. That I should have fought more, got more information and become more knowledgable. My response would be 

Great. If you can do that, do that. For me it  wasn’t about whether I physically could or could not. It was the last nail in the coffin so to speak. I was mentally and physically exhausted, we had a lot going on in our lives, choosing a school for Oliver, moving house, returning to work etc. the reality was I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t cope mentally or physically. It’s a really shit thing to admit, but it is the truth. I remember my husband and my Mum begging me to stop. And yeah, sometimes I do wonder, what if I had carried on. Then I see my gorgeous boy and I know. I did good. 

Zachary almost four

I am going to sign off by saying that this journey taught me a lot about myself and is a  huge reason why, I support breastfeeding but and it is a big but. I would never want anyone to feel inadequate for not breastfeeding. I do not believe in participating in Mummy Wars through breastfeeding debates. I think it would be wonderful if everyone have it a try, but I also believe it is personal choice and that we need to change the emphasis from breast is best, to explain more in a non lecturing way. 
So I had one pretty straight forward breast feeding experience which lasted 6 months with Oliver and a troublesome one with Zachary that didn’t even last 2 months, keep your eyes peeled for Journey number three. 
Thanks for reading 

Cherie x

Cherrysnotmyname 🍒

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Bravery and Breastfeeding

To Paraphrase the late Nelson Mandela 

Bravery is not the absence  of fear, But moreso making the decision to take action inspite of it. A Brave man is not a fearless man. 

I began thinking about this quote as I took the following picture

 

I took this photo thinking this would probably be my last time breastfeeding a one year old. You see tomorrow Darwin turns two! I thought about posting the picture and I got a little nervous, what would people think? What would people say? I know that a lot of people I speak to think I am a confident person. That I have posted quite a few pictures of me breastfeeding Darwin on my Instagram account, especially when he was younger check out the hashtag #poweredbybreastmilk. 

When people post pictures of things such as breastfeeding, you automatically assume they are confident in their decision to do so. I do anyway. However, from my own experience this may not be true. I have always doubted when posting, worrying about possible backlash and such. I understand that some people believe it is something that is personal and should not be shared. I agree it is personal, it’s a personal decision and I would never attack a person for their decision to breastfeed or not to breastfeed. But at the same time I remember what a lonely time it felt for me at time when breastfeeding my first son You can read about it here and how I wished I knew more people who did. That there was someone I could talk to etc. 

When I post my breastfeeding pictures it is not because I think I am better than those who do not breastfeed or that I want some sort of praise. It is for the Mothers who feel lonely, who are unsure, it is for those who in their gut know they want to continue, but have people whispering (sometimes shouting) that they should stop. It is a post to say, You are not alone. It is a post to say look how big my baby is. It is a post to say I followed my gut and here I am almost two years later. You too can follow your gut if you want too.

It got me thinking as I thought about all the women on my timelines, friends lists etc that might just want that encouragement. The woman that might have questions or want to know that there is someone out there going through the same as them. I get nervous to feed in public, especially as Darwin has got older. I get nervous to talk about it, to post about it, but I do. I remember the mamas that did  it when I was first breastfeeding and how it  made me feel more confident and I hope to make someone else feel like that too. 

So, No. I wouldn’t call myself brave, but by the definition in the quote at the top of this page. Because I get scared but I still do it maybe I am? 

Thanks for reading

 Cherie 

{Cherrysnotmyname 🍒}

[Self Development Series: Post one] •Trying to silence the voice in my head•

That voice in my head. It is always there. Lurking. I try to silence it. Through music, through TV, by hours spent on social media sites. Occasionally even through reading or knitting or ridiculously long phone calls to my Mum. Do I really need to watch the video of a man singing *read screeching* in a supermarket again? No. But I do. These things are louder than the voice in my head. At this point I have silenced her, her being me.

I assume we all have a voice in our head? I guess it our conscious? Mine is on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. She gets louder the quieter my surroundings become. She is very selfish, she basically talks about me all the time. Constantly comparing and criticising. Nothing is good enough. Nothing is right and everything I do is wrong. Sometimes she tells me “well done for making sure all the kids bags are packed ready for the morning” but she quickly snatches it back as she snaps back “Oh my God, how pathetic, as if you actually need to congratulate yourself on packing the kids bags. You are such a crap Mum. It shouldn’t be such a big deal, it’s your JOB!”.

She tells me I am a rubbish Mum, a terrible Wife, a bad Friend, a horrible Sibling, Aunt, Cousin etc. I try to justify it that there just isn’t time to do everything I want. She says “That may be true, but you would have more time if you weren’t so lazy, if you prioritised, stopped being so selfish and putting yourself first”. Then in the same breath, she moans that I have no time for me, that I don’t know who I am anymore. Sometimes I want to run and hide. Sometimes I wish there was an off switch. To stop all the negativity. Sometimes I think I could get so much more done and I could achieve more if I didn’t constantly have her belittling me, judging me, berating me, once again by her, I mean me.

I decided to do a little experiment. I put a request on my Facebook page, for people to Personal Message me , with either a word or a short paragraph that they felt described me and if possible a little explanation. I did state it didn’t need to be positive, I was more than willing to receive some constructive criticism. I got a few responses and they weren’t necessarily from the people I thought would respond either. The responses were all really lovely. My sister in laws was probably the one which was most accurate ‘clumsy’ I know she meant it in an endearing way. She did also send me another more serious message too.

Anyway, the purpose of this experiment wasn’t to give myself an ego boost. It was to see how people see me and how that differed from how I see myself. My instant reaction was that they only know half the story, they don’t see the what goes on in my head, some of the less positive and kind thoughts, people said I was ‘kind and caring’ yet my response was ‘I don’t support any charities, I don’t give money to the homeless and I can’t remember the last time I bought/ made a gift for a friend’ my response was they think I am kind and caring, but they don’t really know me

However, I began to try and think why people think I am caring. My friends have told me in the past that I am good at listening without passing judgement. I don’t see this as anything special, but apparently not every one is like this. I am an encourager and a supporter. When looking at other people I can always see the positives, I can see how they can achieve and how they can make the changes that they want to. I support them in small ways if I can.

I had a few which said I was ‘Quirky’ this really surprised me. Had it been 5-10 years ago or so then I would not have been surprised at all.  I was the crazy one who cut her own hair, dyed it a range of colours, wouldn’t even blink at the thought of having a mowhawk, piercing her lips and tongue and often wore inappropriate clothing.

{This is when I just decided to shave half of a head of hair off and I didn’t even bat an eye lid}

I used to get my family to dress up like this at Halloween, now we are lucky if we have pumpkin and the kids have a costume on.

I was the rebel. When all the girls did their best Britney impressions at the school uniform disco. I was the one who said FUCK THAT. I got a flat cap, some boys school shorts and drew freckles on my face and went as a boy. It was a great night.


Now I don’t feel ‘Quirky’, I don’t really feel I am anything. I am just here. I think part of that is because I am such a people pleaser that I daren’t find out who I really am. I know some of the things that I am writing about will shock people. What I will say is sometimes the people who are the most confident and socialable are the ones that struggles deep down inside. The ones who try to be liked, hoping that if everyone else likes them then maybe they can begin to like themselves.

The ones who seem like they don’t give a shit about what everyone else thinks are the ones who spend stupid amounts of time analysing what they said and how someone might have interpreted it. These are the people who are so caring and thoughtful yet berate themselves for being so selfish and self absorbed. Only seeing what they haven’t done, rather than what they have done. I know this describes me pretty well. What was surprising and also in a strange way liberating were the following responses.

I think you are a kind thoughtful , funny and caring person who is often far to judgemental about herself & expects too much from herself

I also think you have your own wacky yet trendy style and you are unique , but also I feel that to some people you may come across as very outgoing and carefree when really I think you are quite a quiet, setback and possibly shy person at times
Hope this helps and you didn’t think I was being harsh cuz your a wonderful person and none of these points are bad xx

– Kerri

Sincere.
You are always honest. Even if it means acknowledging something you may have done wrong. You are sincere and always true to yourself xx

– Charmaine

You’re a kind, loving, hard working person (and mother). You put others before yourself, which at times seems to be your downfall to a certain degree. You’re also too hard on yourself.

– Tommy

It’s a funny feeling to hear positive things about yourself, especially when it isn’t a special event like a birthday. I must admit it is nice to hear. I do try to be kind, honest and caring, but I am only human, sometimes I snap, sometimes I forget, sometimes I just get darn right angry at the world and its Dog. I hate thinking that any of my friends could think about themselves the way that I have felt about myself. It’s a lonely, soul destroying way to feel/live and it is exhausting to have to pretend that everything is OK. When really inside everything is feels broken, deflated, defeated.

You feel defeated.

Defeated by life.

Defeated by yourself.

Now do not get me wrong what I am writing about here is not depression. It’s somehow different, you get angry angry at it, you feel trapped and scared. You know there is a way out (unlike depression) but it means change and putting in effort and that voice is shouting loud and clear “DON’T BOTHER” “YOU CAN’T DO IT” “IT’S ALL LIES”

I am fed up of being ruled by this voice. I started thinking what if I started to have a different voice in my head. A positive voice, one that encouraged me instead of berating me. How would that change my life?

This is PART ONE of my self development series of posts. The posts in this series will span the past six months and I will be talking about what I have learnt about myself and how I plan to change. If you would like to follow me on that journey then keep an eye out for my following posts. I would love to know if you have been on a journey of self discovery or if you too have a voice in your head.

you can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram too.

Thank you for reading

Cherrysnotmyname

Self Development Series

I decided to try something different, I am running two different series of themed posts comcurrently. There is the Project Life Overhaul series and the Self Development Series

The Self development Series, is a series of blogs I have been writing over the past six months, since starting this blog. The posts show how I have begun to question certain things about myself and how they have impacted on my life. Some of these posts are a bit negative but if you read them all I promise they get more positive.

I hope you enjoy reading these posts and getting an insight into who I really am.

Check back here for the series link when they are uploaded.

Self Development Post One: Trying to silence the voice in my head
Cherie

Cherry

 

[Project Life Overhaul:Part One] •Freaks Welcome, especially clean and neat ones 

  
As one of Previous posts said. I am going to be making some serious changes. I need to overhaul my life. So I have decided that I am going to tackle it head first. 

I have decided that I need to be more organised and if I can do that it will spill over into other areas of my life and have a positive impact on my marriage, family and myself. 

What I hope to eliminate from my life

* Stress

{ I feel like stress is my default emotion as of late, apparently I am pretty good at hiding it, when I have confided that I feel stressed people have been surprised}

* Choas

{ I feel like I don’t know if I am coming or going, I get easily confused and distracted. Everything is alway slap dash and last minute}

* Feeling out of control

{ I love and adore my children, but it has got to the point where I feel they dictate everything and we need to take the reins back for everyone to keep their sanity}

* Clutter 

{ Oh my gosh, the clutter in my life is getting into dangerous terrority. Of course I always have an excuse, the house is too small, we don’t have the right storage and of course I need everything we own 😁 I also want to get rid of the clutter in my head. All the pointless thoughts worrying, panicking and stressing }

This is where I NEED YOU!

I need you to share with me all your hints, tips and tricks. All the things that help you to stay on track. I need to organise all areas of my life. I feel like if I can get to grips with the house and the children, then I will have the time and the energy to start spending time focusing on my health, having time for me. 

I have started a Homefile which I will share with you soon. 

What I want are tips, pics, hints and links. 

Nothing is too stupid, or too small to have an impact. 

Some ideas friends have shared in the past are 

• Not having a hot lunch (only having cold finger foods) means kids are hungry for their tea/dinner and also not pots and pans to wash up. 

• Spruce up your kitchen whenever you boil the kettle

• Creating and following a meal planner

• Buying children’s birthday and Christmas presents through out the year to save money.

I also want to know why products can you NOT live without. Do you use a specific brand of cloths? Find a certain type of product is great for one type of cleaning? Do you make your own products? Do you have a cleaning caddy? What is your cleaning routine? What tea towels do you use (this is a genuine question – I need ones that don’t just spread the water around). Show me pics of hacks you have done on your house. Where do you file paperwork? How do you organise your important documents? Do you have a budget? 

Please note

• I do not have a dishwasher

• I do not have a tumble dryer

• I have limited conventional space, but am willing to try hacks to create more

Come on out to play all you neat freaks… Come and help a mama out!!! 

I am genuinely counting on getting hints and tips from you guys. For the rest of this month I plan on de cluttering and gathering ideas. Getting lists together of recommended products etc. then in September I plan to attack! I plan to put into place as much as I can to ensure I finally crack this problem. 

I would love it if you would join me either to support me or even to make some changes to your own life. I will be creating a list of some of the best/ most useful tips and writing a post all about it. Get your ideas in and you could feature on this page.  I will be using the hashtag #ProjectLifeOverhaul2015 on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Come follow me and join in too!!

Thanks for reading 

Cherrysnotmyname 🍒