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Friday, June 27, 2014

Pumping Party!

These past few posts on I Guess Im Due have been focused on the truth behind the ta-ta's.  So let's keep the theme going with a pumping post from Samantha. This momma shares some moments in her pumping journey & these pumping parties were keeping her life entertaining. And when you're a breastfeeding mom, pumping is always an unpredictable party! Enjoy her stories in her own words below...

When you decide to breast-feed, the one thing no one talks about is: pumping. If you are working mom, you will be pumping more than you are actually breast-feeding. Think you felt like a cow at 39.5 weeks pregnant? Wait till you attach funnels and bottles to your utters boobs and see how you feel.

My I Guess I’m Due story comes at the cost of my pride and whatever little dignity I had left as a woman. What I am about to confess are my most embarrassing moments of pumping in the adventures of motherhood.  

After 9 weeks of staying home, I went back to work. I am a teacher, surrounded by teenagers. Most of my embarrassing stories are from school situations. As if being naked on a table, while giving birth isn’t embarrassing enough for you, let the Pumping Parties begin…

50 Shades of Milk

Let’s first start off with the “pumping bra”. Shopping for one was an experience in itself. The ad for the bra was hilarious… the packaging showed a skinny blonde model, pumping hands-free (thanks to this bra) all while typing on the computer, smiling. My first thought is there is no way that this model is actually a nursing mother.

1) That ridiculous flat stomach could not have held a baby anytime in the last two years (could it have?!)

2) Her hair is washed and she has make-up on. What new mom has time for that?!

3) Her house is clean. 

So, case closed. Regardless of the advertisement, I bought the bra. I get home and tear open and try on my new purchase. Picture this- a black bandeau bra that zips up the front. Oh yeah- and there are holes where your nipples are. The image is nothing less than what you read in 50 Shades of Grey. Except, way less hot. When I showed it to my husband he actually laughed out loud. “Where are your ass-less chaps?” he asked. Men.

Despite its embarrassingly erotic look, the bra was everything it promised it to be. It held the pump in place perfectly and allowed me to do important things, like check Facebook.

Pumping While Driving

Among the important things the bra allowed me to do was driving. Now first let me say that I do NOT recommend pumping while driving, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I was running late to work one morning and I didn’t have time to pump before I left the house. I used a converter to plug the pump into my car outlet, took off my shirt, put the bra and pump on and off I went. I stopped my McDonald’s for breakfast and when I rolled down the window to pay the cashier, she did a double-take. “Don’t judge me,” I told her. She just laughed and handed me my change.

When I got to my school’s parking lot, it was time to take the pump off. Thank God it’s 6am and still dark outside! Next, I pour the expressed milk into the storage baggies and accidently spill some on my pants. Oh well, at least it’s not spit up. And so my day begins.

Locked Out

Before school starts we have pre-planning week. This is my first day back to work and thus my first time pumping in a professional setting. During this week, some students come in and help the teachers set up their classrooms. I assigned the students to different teachers and sent them off. Then, it was time to pump. So I lock myself in my classroom closet and begin. As I’m pumping I hear my classroom phone start to ring. No biggie- they can call back later. Then it rings again. And again. So, I turn the pump off, unplug the tubing and run across the room in my bra and half-filled bottles to the phone. “Mrs. Moody- can you send some kids to room 701 to help me hang up posters?” Clearly this call couldn’t wait. I obliged and go back to my closet, only to realize that I’m locked out. Great.

After 2 minutes of panicking, in walks one of my female students. “WAIT!” I yelled, enough to stop her in her tracks. I hid behind my podium and asked her to find my Department Head and get the keys from her. She returns in what seemed like FOR-EVER and brought me the keys all while never taking her eyes off the floor. Great- so this bra/funnel/half-filled milk bottles looks also scares young girls. Hopefully this was enough to scar her from having sex. EVER.

Milking the Cow…

I can’t tell you how many lunches I ate with my best friend at work in that closet. She would tell me her adventures of single life, while pretending to not mind the freak show that was happening before her eyes. How she took me seriously, I have no idea. We’d laugh, cry and swap stories all to the annoying hum of that lifesaving pump.

I recall one particular day in detail. My co-worker was out for the day and some of my students were eating lunch in my classroom. I lock myself in the closet and begin pumping. I hear my classroom door open and this is what ensues…

Principal: “Where’s Moody?”

Student: “In the closet.”

*Principal tries to open the closet door. It’s locked, thank God!*

Principal: “MOODY!”

Me: “Yes?”

Principal: “What are you doing in there?”

*Awkward silence*

Student: “She’s milking the cow!”

Principal: “What?”

Me: “I’m pumping.”

Principal: “Oh, uh. Just, uh, come see me, uh after…”

And just like that, he was gone faster than my chances of ever wearing a bikini again.

Do What You Gotta Do…

I’ll leave you with this final story that was both embarrassing and validating. Halfway through the football season, we were scheduled to play a team in Tallahassee. I have this brilliant idea about taking some of our students up there on a charter bus. 120 high schoolers on a 4 hour bus ride, what could possibly go wrong?

When we got to Tallahassee, we went to a mall so the kids could eat in the food court. I headed to the bathroom to pump. The bathroom in the food court did not have an outlet. Neither did the second, third or fourth bathroom I tried. Finally, I headed into Macy’s and found a bathroom with an outlet. Of course, by the sinks for all to see. Desperate, I plugged in the pump and got to work. I had nothing to cover up with so I just stood there in all my milking glory. Three women came in, all stopping in their tracks before ducking into a stall. The last women came in and when we made eye contact I just shrugged my shoulders. “Do what you gotta do, girl!” she said. And just like that, I didn’t feel ashamed to be pumping in public. I was proud. I was working, living my life and still being the best mom I knew how to be. So what if I had a few embarrassing moments? Not only did I bring a tiny human into this world, but now I was providing food for him. What’s your superpower?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Small Imperfection

Every woman's body reacts to being pregnant differently. My stomach stretched out so large I'm surprised I didn't topple over- I honestly didn't know my skin could stretch that big. My butt grew along with it and my face for some reason thought that having chipmunk cheeks would be a nice addition.
Then, when I thought my body had enough, I had to recover from pushing a baby out, all times three!

I get so annoyed when I see magazine articles, Facebook posts, or Instagram pictures of people (sometimes other moms) that say there’s no excuse not to have a perfect body, mind and soul post pregnancy. No excuses?! My first excuse: I’m a Mom! A realistic mom will agree that the word “perfect” does not exists in your vocabulary. Try juggling a house, kids, a husband, work, and life all in one day then ask me how my mind, body, and soul feel...

The truth is everyone struggles with some sort of challenge after a pregnancy. For some it’s depression, others weight, and there is the child bearing hips, gray hairs, and even hair loss, the list goes on...I am no exception to this rule. I have many imperfections after having three kids. But the one struggle that surprised me the most? My boobs. Yes, you heard me right- thing one and thing two, Barb and Bessie, Lefty and Righty, whatever you wish to call them. You see, before I had babies, I was very content with my 34B’s. Just perfect for my body size. Then, I was delightfully surprised that while I was breastfeeding my breasts grew to be the size of Dolly Parton’s. I had no idea that those suckers could look so good on me. Another great advantage to breastfeeding, I couldn’t have been happier!

However, it was just a temporary fix. Instantly after my youngest turned one, and I decided I was officially done producing milk, the girls shrank. Not a little or just back to their original size, but all the way back to the size of my pre-teen years. That’s correct, I now shop for bras in the junior department, no joke! It is a heck of a lot cheaper this way, but that also means that most of my shirts fit too big in the front, and I can't wear a sports bra because then I could be mistaken for a boy. And of course, now that it’s bathing suit season there’s no hiding these little girls. I had no idea my boobs were capable of being so small.
and now

I’ve learned to slightly embrace this situation, wearing padded bras obviously helps, but there’s nothing like the real deal. For now, I have to just deal with this “small” imperfection and hope that one day they will miraculously grow.

The point of me sharing this embarrassing flaw, is that whether or not we want to admit it, all mommas out there are imperfect in some shape or form- some of us may just be better at hiding it. For me, every morning when I look down at my non existent breasts and slap on my training bra, it’s just a happy reminder that God has blessed me with three little miracles and being imperfect is a small sacrifice I'm willing to take.

Friday, June 20, 2014

the tale of pumping

While breastfeeding my baby is an incredible experience and benefits both me and the little man in a lot of ways, I can't say that pumping causes me the same excitement.  I remember back in January before we had Abram, I received the pump and parts in the mail with an instructional DVD.  I had been warned that I should have my pump set up and ready to go in case of severe engorgement and need of relief when I first came home from the hospital.  Well, in order to be prepped and ready, I decided that Rick and I should sit down and watch this DVD since neither of us had any idea how to use a breast pump.  First they went thru and discussed how to wash your pump parts (soap & water, eh?), then how to assemble them, and then finally they show you how to sit down and pump.  They show this woman sitting in a rocking chair and as she begins to pump the narrator says, "It is always helpful to picture your baby nursing or your baby smiling at you.  It will help your milk let down and make your pumping experience easier."  So the woman in the video closes her eyes and gets a big smile on her face as she pictures her baby and then...ta daaa...liquid gold in her pumping bottles.  Naive little me is sitting on our couch watching this laughing at how corny this video is, but also thinking "seriously, that's all I have to do?"  Well, done and done...this will be a cinch!  

I ended up not pumping for engorgement when I got home, but about a week in I started pumping at random times throughout the day to start stocking up on my milk supply for when I returned to work.  Well, that ended up being a bust because while I asked question after question about anything and everything about having a new baby, I didn't ask enough questions about breastfeeding and pumping.  What comes from pumping at random times throughout the day on top of nursing your newborn every one to three hours?  An increased supply of milk.  What comes from an increased supply of milk with a newborn incapable of eating your increased supply?  Mastitis.  So, note to those of you who are like me and know nothing about breastfeeding and pumping: don't pump just to pump and get a stockpile of milk.  That will come with time.  If you are engorged, pump, but don't empty yourself out.  Pump enough to get relief and be done, even if you've pumped half an ounce.  Trust me, the last thing you want to do is increase your supply so much that your breasts are never emptied and thus you get an infection.  

After talking to a lactation consultant and getting my milk supply issues all figured out, I stopped pumping until I went back to work.  I think I pumped a few times here and there if Rick had to feed Abram while I was gone running errands or something, but for the most part I was home for every feeding, so my breasts were 100% used to a little infant emptying them and not some mechanical pump.  On my first day back to work, I decided that somehow I was going to leave to pump every three hours (if you are a nurse, you know how impossible this is).  Okay, so that didn't happen, and by 11:00 on my first morning back, I was ready to burst and my breasts were hard as rocks.  I go into the pumping room (I will say it is convenient working on a unit where lots of mothers need to pump for their babies), get set up, and I begin.  I sit there in my rocking chair, looking around the room, and nothing is happening.  I close my eyes and try to think of his little face, but all I can think of is that stupid woman in the video smiling as she pumps and produces like a happily milked cow.  Sigh.  What now?  I pull out my phone and set the screen to an adorable image of his face.  Surely, the milk will come now, right?  Still waiting, I ended up playing with the speed and suction dials and I'm not sure how long it took for my milk to let down, but it took a long time and I was in that pumping room almost 50 minutes.  I can't remember who was taking care of my patients while I was gone that first session, but I am so thankful that they showed me mercy.  The rest of the day went better, but it still set me incredibly behind in patient care.  

About a month ago, I got a new pump because my previous one was defective.  It was still taking at least 30-40 minutes to pump, my breasts were only being partially emptied, and I would come home from work at night with knots and plugs in my breasts.  Not to mention, on random occasions the pump would sound like it was dying when it was plugged into the wall!  I decided to call Ameda customer service and they were awesome!  They immediately sent me a new pump (my motor was busted) and they also threw in a couple of extra flanges and valves!  I guess it was yet another lesson learned on my journey of motherhood...should've called sooner and realized that it wasn't me that was defective, it was my pump!  

Well, needless to say, pumping is a breeze now.  No more rocking in my chair at work picturing the little guy's face (even though I see it 24/7).  I finally figured out the proper use of the speed and suction dials to get my milk to let down and once that happens, it is free flowing after that.  Thanks to my new pump, it takes me about 15 minutes to completely empty my breasts, which gets me back to work much quicker!  It was a pretty rough start to pumping, but now I'm okay with it.  That old phrase "git er done" applies here.  Baby boy has to eat, so like it or not, mama has to pump.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

'Moon In My Room' Review & Giveaway!

The "B" word, also known as 'bedtime' is at the top of the list of dreaded words in the Kurecki household. Trying to get three kids to sleep every night is ALWAYS a struggle. On the nights that our kids actually sleep in their rooms, instead of the hallway or our bedroom floor, they insist on using a nightlight. I think it's accurate to say that we’ve owned just about every night light out there, and not one of them seemed to do the trick. But I think the search is finally over! Mounted on Jak's bedroom wall is a moon that lights up and changes phases for a set period of time. This moon, called "Moon In My Room," is genius! 
Jak loves watching his moon change shapes and it seems to give off the perfect amount of "moonlight," not too light but not too dark. I would recommend this moon to any parent who is looking for a unique way to shine a little light on bedtime. The moon can be set to a timer, and often times, Jak falls asleep watching the phases. And that makes for one happy momma!

Thanks to our friends at Uncle Milton's, one of our lucky readers will have a chance to win one of their own!

Congratulations to our winner, Alex Fullenkamp! 

Stay tuned next month for our next giveaway!

~This giveaway is now Closed~

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Father/Son Day

Whitney and I have a goal of her being at home full-time with Abram as soon we can make it happen. We our arranging things around our home to make this possible and we are hoping the time comes sooner, rather than later! However, we are making things work in the mean time.  What this consists of is Whitney working a lot of weekend days.  It kills me to miss out on that time with all of us together as a family, but there is a bright side....Father, Son Days.

I am not sure if I ever really thought about how much time I would miss out on with Abram while I am at work.  After 5 months of Abram being a part of our family, I realize what a sacrifice it will be to be the sole financial provider, but I commend all the parents who have made this sacrifice, including you Mom and Dad!  I believe God knew this would be a struggle that I would run into and has therefore provided me a number of days of just him and I.  Again, I would want nothing else but to have our whole family home, but until that day comes I believe this is God's plan of giving me some precious moments with Abram.

I know I will forever hold these moments close to my heart.  I am so thankful for the times when he flashes his HUGE, toothless smile my way.  Or, when he pauses mid-gulp of his bottle to stare at me until I smile at him, only to flash that patented grin of his.  Or, when he does his screeching/singing/playing sound over and over; although painful to the ears at times, I would have it no other way.  Or, when he takes down his reflux medicine better by the day...I hate giving him his medicine, but his growth in taking each gulp down only shows the growing up he has done already!  Or, when I am doing something completely goofy, only to have him stare at me the way Whitney does sometimes (I can just hear her voice when he does this -- "what are you doing, you goof?!").

Whitney will someday soon (hopefully!) be able to stay at home with our little rugrat full-time.  When that time comes, the times with just Abram and I will be fewer.  It warms my heart to know that I already have these special times, that I will have hundreds more of these moments, and that Whitney will love and hold him every hour of the work day when I can't be there.  Everything happens for a reason.  So, while Whit continues to work, I will gladly embrace all of these Father, Son moments with my little Abester.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Calling In Sick

As a parent I don't have the option to call in sick. I can't just call my three year old up and say, "Sorry honey, mommy is running a fever today so you and your little sister are on your own!" Nope, you get up, pop in a few dozen Advil and pray you can make it through the day. Sometimes, if I'm lucky my "doctor" even makes house calls!
This week has been tough trying keep up with three kids while feeling achy and tired. Most days have been filled with quiet activities, like puzzles, reading books, and coloring. Nap times have been a must and house wide betimes have been around 8:30/9. 

Yesterday I finally started thinking I would be getting better since I started my antibiotics. Except at 2 am I was awakened by a terrible burning itch all over my body. It basically looks like I have some form of leprosy.  

Apparently I'm allergic to the medicine prescribed, just my luck! So now I'm trying to survive in this house both achy and itchy. Hopefully we are nearing the end of all this and life will resume as normal!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

returning to work

In the blink of an eye, nine months has passed, your baby is finally here, and then boom...your baby is 3 months old and maternity leave is over.  It seriously goes by so fast, I can't believe it!  I took a full 12 weeks off and it was AMAZING.  Don't get me wrong, I really love being a nurse.  I love thinking outside of the box while taking care of the tiny human population and I also love the people I work with, but I fell more in love with being at home with my baby in those weeks away from work.   As my first day back to work was approaching, I was honestly okay with it.  I was dropping from full time to part time (2-12 hour shifts per week) and I figured the adult interaction and conversation at work would be good for me after a super long winter at home with a newborn.  Not to mention, Rick would be working from home on the days I worked, so one of us was always going to be with Abram.  It was truly the perfect little set up.  

The first few weeks went by and everything was just fine.  It was great to be back at the bedside taking care of patients and it was nice to be seeing all of my work friends again.  I wasn't at all concerned about things at home because Abram was happy as a clam with his dad.  Unfortunately, just this past week things have had to change a little bit, so being at work has become a little bit harder for me.  Rick is now back in the office full time, so we had to have our first full day with a babysitter. It is not that I was worried about his care at all, I knew he would be fine (he was with his aunt, after all).  I was more worried about the fact that if he had a meltdown, Rick or I couldn't be there to comfort him and take care of him. Abram is a super good baby, but all babies get fussy and I hate putting that fussiness on anyone else to deal with.  So, here I am at work, taking care of two little peanuts that belong to someone else, while I have someone at my house, taking care of my little peanut.  It just makes me sad because he is only this little for so long, and while I am only at work for 13.5 hours, I don't see him before work and he is in bed for the night when I get home, so I always feel like I'm going to miss out on something.

For now, work is a necessity and I am beyond grateful that Rick and I both have jobs that we love.  In the meantime, however, I am working on enjoying every single moment that I get with Abram on my days off and not worrying about the days I'm not with him.  I play, sing, dance, and laugh with him all day long and I love it.  When I do have to work, I always come home and give him a kiss on the head, thanking God that my little boy is so healthy and happy.  My most favorite thing though, is when I go to get him first thing in the morning the day after I work: he never fails to give me a huge, happy grin from his little face when he sees me.  That alone takes away all of my worries and reassures me that everything is okay.  I'm not the first mom to work and I definitely won't be the last, but regardless, it will always be hard for us moms.  It is hard to leave that precious baby in someone else's hands and for me, I think it has been especially hard swallowing the fact that he is going to be just fine without me there 24/7.  

It is in these moments when I have to leave my little boy that I remind myself, life is short and it is up to us to live joyously in the life we have been given.  Until the day I can be home full time, I will work diligently in my roles as both nurse and mom.  However, when that day does come and I can solely work from home taking care of my
family, I will fully embrace the gift that that is.

Hopefully, Abram will too...