the one about addie’s heart gut.

My friend Heather talks a lot about her heart gut.

Maybe it’s because I have so much in common with Heather that I know exactly what she’s talking about when she speaks of her heart gut or maybe it’s something we all understand but on very different levels.

The author of one of my favorite books speaks of a heart gut in much more clinical terms (he’s a Harvard psychology professor) but it’s the same idea. And he says that one of the worst things we can do as parents is undermine a child’s heart gut.

It is natural as parents to want to protect our kids from the ugly and the sad and the scary. But there are also ways to explain the ugly, sad and scary in a way that will not only develop their compassion and understanding, but also develop their heart gut.

Addie has a well formed heart gut. Whether it’s from being trapped inside my broken body at such an awful time or being with me through every treacherous step of my depression, the little kid is smart and in tune with what’s going on around her. The last few weeks have been no exception.

I have cried over the past few weeks. A lot.

Out of frustration, exhaustion, happiness and sometimes simply because it just seems like the only thing left to do.

Of course Addie asks why I’m crying, and while it’s tempting to hide and say that I’m not, I’m just going to the bathroom for a really long time or I have something in my eye…I don’t. I tell her why I’m crying. I explain to her the difference between a sad cry and a happy cry. And most of all I tell her it’s okay to cry, and that there are times when you are so tired it really is the only thing left to do short of pass out.

There have been times in our marriage that Cody has been tending to me when I’m not at my best. Addie comes in and asks what’s wrong. Cody will tell her “nothing” or “mom’s fine” and ask her to go out and play. He’s only trying to protect her from the scary and sad. Addie always catches my eye before leaving the room and gives me this look like “I know you’re not fine and I love you very very much but I’m going to listen to dad.” I always attempt a smile at her, or at least give her a look to acknowledge that her heart gut is right and to never stop trusting it.

Slip n' Slide

And even more importantly, that I will be okay. Promise.

Do you listen to your heart gut? Do you encourage your kids to do the same?

viviculties…resolved, somewhat.

A week and a half ago I wrote about something being wrong with Vivi and so many of you came out to support us through the scary unknown that is a sick baby. I just wanted to give you a little update on the little peanut that has caused me so many tears, happy ones, sad ones and scared ones.

When Vivi was born my amniotic fluid was meconium stained. For those of you unfamiliar with delivery room terms it basically means she pooped in utero and was floating around in it. She aspirated quite a bit of it and had to be suctioned during and after delivery which left her tiny little nose swollen and made it hard for her to breathe as she nursed. This was her first difficulty.

Her second difficulty came when she started peeing blood. Lots of it.

Somehow she had ended up with a severe UTI that caused her immense pain whenever she peed. A week of antibiotics and her second difficulty has been resolved.

Her third and most worrisome difficulty came when she hadn’t pooped in over a week despite our best efforts to get it out of her. Her x-ray showed that she wasn’t making any stool whatsoever which got her fast (FAST) tracked to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Apparently Vivi understood the gravity of the situation after I sobbed my way through my original post whereupon she pooped and pooped good the next morning.

I’ve never been so happy to see crap in my entire life.

After several other appointments Vivi’s “official” diagnosis is an immature digestive system. It’s nothing major (for now) aside from being inconvenient (poonamis!) and making Vivi horribly uncomfortable at times (okay, a lot of the time.) She’ll grow out of it (into it?) eventually and will get a lot better when she starts on solid foods.

It was a lot for her first week, and that everything happened at the same time in such a short amount of time on top of my whole milk supply issues? Whew.

Thank you everyone for your support and prayers and love. My boobs have felt it and Vivi’s bowels appreciate it. My washer could probably use a prayer or two too…and my carpet.

It’s been a long couple of weeks.

But when they’re spent curled up with a tiny little baby scented baby?

eighteen days

They’re good long weeks.

the one where I convince you to wake a sleeping baby.

Let’s discuss the fact that when I started this blog Addie looked something like this…

dandelion

And today? This…

want to know what makes your little kid look huge? a baby.

If you feel an overwhelming need to go grab your baby out of bed, no matter how old they are, and squeeze the ever loving daylights out of them?

I don’t blame you one teeny little bit.

demand with no supply.

I have sat in front of my computer for the last several years watching people fight over breast vs. bottle.

My milk never came in with Addie and while I was always curious what die hard lactivists had to say about such a thing, I never got involved. Don’t poke the boob bears.

I always figured if I ever got pregnant again the boob issue would go one of three ways.

A) A repeat of my pregnancy with Addie leaving me so emaciated that my body would again be unable to produce milk.

B) They’d work like champs.

C) They wouldn’t work very well and I’d just lie to the Internet about them.

Never did I consider the fourth option…that my body would betray me yet again.

PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can and does factor into milk supply. Never was it mentioned in any book that was recommended to me, article I read online or by any lactation consultant I talked to. It just happened to come up in a conversation with a nurse at the hospital during one of Vivi’s appointments that yes, PCOS can affect milk supply but no, she didn’t know how or what could be done about it.

Turns out I am part of a very (very) low percentage of women who will not only have trouble establishing a decent supply of milk for my baby, I will most likely be unable to maintain it for a long period of time. All because of PCOS. Something that kept me from getting pregnant in the first place.

I have been told that the loss of a nursing relationship must be mourned properly. Not that I’m ready to give up yet, I’m not going to. But I can understand why it is said the loss needs to be mourned. Some of the most magical moments so far in Vivi’s life have come when we’re curled up together and she’s nursing. I never understood why people thought breastfeeding was so wonderful, in fact there was a time I thought it was kind of gross.

But it’s not gross. It’s wonderful. And I feel so…angry?…cheated?…betrayed?

I don’t know.

I would just like to be able to pick my baby up, nurse her and have her be content.

Instead feeding her is a marathon of supplemental nursers, pumping, timing and various medications and herbs.

To be honest I’m very tired. This is very hard, simply feeding her has taken up my entire existence, which is fine because she’s so wonderful. And I know that no matter how she gets fed she will always be loved.

snuggle vivi.

I thought the Internet has a lot of opinions on how to get a baby out…turns out there’s even more opinions on how to get milk to come out. Problem is, babies have to come out, milk does not.

the one where a tiny miracle outdoes the biggest plans.

Confession.

I wasn’t very pleased with my due date when I heard what it was.

It was too close to Cody’s birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day and the Indy 500.

Yeah.

Upon finding out I was finally pregnant after 6 long years of hoping and waiting and trying I was disappointed to find out I’d be missing the Indy 500 this year.

To be fair I was also bummed to be missing tulip time again.

Cody and I were going to take a real vacation for the first time ever (just the two of us!) for our ten year anniversary in June.

Way to ruin our best laid plans with your timing pregnancy.

you and me both sister.

I will never ever be able to witness enough baby yawns.

one week

I forgot how wonderful that moment is when your baby lurches up from your shoulder and burps in your face.

miss vivi - four days old.

There is nothing more relaxing than a sleeping baby.

one week

Nor is there a bigger turn on than manly men holding tiny babies.

moosh and mozzi.

Addie is in fact the best big sister ever.

true story.

And I finally know what it feels like to be told by a doctor “Looks like I may have been wrong.

God is good.

You are wonderful.

Vacation? What vacation.

I’m perfectly happy right here.

viviculties.

Vivienne made a very dramatic entrance into this world, apparently it wasn’t in her plans to be four days late and she made sure we all knew that she was not happy with the delay.

one week

Vivi has had to return to the hospital every day this week for one test or another.

Today’s being an x-ray.

There’s something about your baby’s tiny body being held down by a stranger on a giant cold table while you watch from behind a leaded wall. And that something is not wonderful.

She has four doctors appointments with three different doctors in the next week, one of them a specialist whose office is almost an hour away from my house.

Something is wrong with her but no one knows quite what it is yet. Pardon me for not going into details, I’m very tender on the topic at the moment.

playing on daddy.

This wasn’t how I pictured things. It’s very exhausting. It’s kind of scary. It’s also very hard because I can’t fix it.

My milk production still hasn’t kicked in, I have a very dedicated doctor and lactation consultant and together we’re doing everything possible to make it work. Even Vivi’s doctor said most women quit by now, especially under these circumstances, and that I am making a heroic effort with everything I’m doing to make breastfeeding possible.

That made me feel better.

But spending half your day in doctor’s offices and hospitals is not relaxing and makes this whole milk making business tricky.

But I’ll keep going.

Because she’s so very worth it.

one week

the one about my heart nearly exploding.

If you know Cody then you’ll know that he is the very strong, very silent type. He doesn’t show much emotion, especially strong emotions.

There have only been two times in our ten year marriage that Cody has been unable to control what he’s feeling on the inside from showing on the outside. The first time was December 14, 2004 and the second time was May 4, 2011.

The look on Cody’s face when he first saw his new babies was so wonderful that for a split second I convinced myself that we have to do this again.

in daddy's arms

Then my brain caught up with my emotions and reminded my emotions that my parts hadn’t even been sewn up yet so I should probably back off the family planning for the moment.

I was so emotionally absent when Addie was born. I never felt that fierce loyal bond that women talked about, part of me was convinced they were all lying. I saw how in love Cody was and wondered what was wrong with me.

But this time? I can’t get enough of this little girl. There have been several occasions where I am just absolutely sure my heart is going to explode with all the happiness and love that is surrounding me. I have been happy before, I have been in love before, but not like this.

happy.

This is overpowering, all encompassing.

Maybe it’s because I had to wait so long for her.

Maybe it’s because I had to go through so much to get her here.

Maybe it’s because Addie is holding her next to me singing “You are my baby siiiiister.”

addie and miss vivi.

I start to feel guilty that Addie was robbed of her mom for the first several months of her life. But Vivi will never have my undivided attention for the first six years of her life. Both little girls are already so different, and I suppose God knew what He was doing when He sent them to me in the season He did.

I woke up to Addie and Cody snuzzling over Vivi in bed next to me. The sun coming up behind them.

It’s all too wonderful to take in. Her smells. Her sounds. Her warmth.

There have been difficulties. There will probably be more. (and believe me, we’ll discuss.)

But it’s safe to say I’ve never been happier.

apparently my belly is a happy place to be.

hear that?

miss vivi - four days old.

That is the sound of a thousand bursting uteri.