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Friday, September 28, 2012

Why I Want to Be a Lactation Consultant

I just started my LC program at UCSD online, and will soon begin my internship with Nurse Debbie at Scripps Encinitas. By July 2013, I will be an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant! In class, I was asked to write a paragraph about why I want to be an LC...and I came up with a few more than just one. Thought I would share, Enjoy!
Since the first Halloween costume that I could choose what I wanted to be (a Pediatrician) I have always known I wanted to be around and work with babies and children. I babysat a lot growing up. In college, I chose Psychology as a major and Child and Family Development as a minor, with the goal of working with kids and families in a therapeutic setting. That evolved to my earning a multiple subject teaching credential and subbing in elementary schools for a few years. I have always LOVED children, and I have been told by many, that they really seem to enjoy me as well.

In 2010 I had my first daughter, Avery Patricia. I knew I wanted to breastfeed her since all the books I’d read and all the websites I’d visited told me that was the best thing for her. When she was born (after a 12 hour-epidural-2 million cc’s of fluid-2 hours of pushing-vacuum extraction, labor and delivery), I had family waiting in the hallway and didn’t put her to breast immediately. When we finally got around to it, it was hard. She didn’t get it. I didn’t get it. And I cried out of frustration and disappointment in my hospital bed in the middle of the night all by myself. Until a lovely, warm, huge teddy bear of a nurse with an accent came in and helped me get her to latch. She rammed  my baby into my breast and she latched! It was a revelation and a relief. Upon discharge I was still struggling and went to see Nurse Rose at Kaiser San Marcos a few days after she was born. Sweaty, scared and emotional, I drove myself and my screaming, hungry 3 day old to sit in a waiting room, nervously rocking her car seat and apologizing to others. Then I was ushered into another room and told to whip it out. So I did, while 3 (presumably) LC students looked on and smiled knowingly as I tearfully told Rose my nipples were very sore and I couldn’t get her to stay on for longer than 1-2 minutes at a time. She said, “Ok! I can help you!” then she left for about 15 minutes. I remember figuring out later that she had 3 moms lined up in neighboring rooms and she flitted from one of us to another. She told me what bottles I should have, then left again. She told me to get the gel pads and put them in the fridge and left again. She had me weigh her, nurse, then weigh her again and praised me for how much milk I made. At the end of the hurrican, I clearly remember her telling me “I promise you, in a week from today you will be a pro and your sore nipples will be gone.” AND SHE WAS RIGHT. I was in love with the profession then and there, though I didn’t think of it as a career for me until about a year later.

As an “experienced” mom with 1 single, pretty easy-going, through-the-night-sleeping, well-nursing baby, my pregnant and new-mom friends were constantly asking me advice on everything from what to register for, to how many days between poops is acceptable. They would always tell me, after I answered with nothing more than my research and anecdotal experience, “You are so good at this! You should make it a job somehow.” These comments coupled with my experience led me to do some research and I found the UCSD program.

The first few days home with a new baby is the most terrifying and overwhelming experience a woman can ever have. My goal is to work with new moms and put them at ease about breastfeeding and related worries with empathy, humor and current information. I would consider myself fulfilled if I could help just one mom look back on that first week home with her baby as an enjoyable one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Family Catalina Adventure

We had our first visit to Catalina as a family of 4 and we had an amazing trip! The month of September in Avalon is perfect. Both the air and the water are so warm, the huge summer crowds are gone aside from the Tuesday cruise ships, and we get the condo to ourselves for a week. Both the girls do great on the Flyer, and Pat and Al were nice enough to let us stay at their house the night before. Joe dropped us off at the boat in the morning and kept an eye on the truck for the week, and also picked us up when we returned.
We did so many fun things! We went on a little hike up near the Wrigley Memorial, rented a peddle boat for an hour, went fishingoff the green pier, went on a glass-bottom boat tour and of course spent a lot of time at the beach and pool.
It was a wonderful vacation from reality and so great to all be together as a family for so long. Alex has said he definitely respects me more when he spends so much time with the girls, they are pretty tiring! But also so funny and cute, and while he recognizes I have the best job in the world, he also admits it is the hardest. I love having him around 24/7 to witness the crazy, frustrating, hilarious and sweet moments that make up my days.
Enjoy the pics!
Harper took her first swim in the Sol Vista pool on 9/20 (our 4 year anniversary!)

The heat and lack of water made the deer come down to
the town all over the place! They are very bold
 (she didn't feed it anything or get any closer than this)

Avery LOVED the golf cart! This isn't even ours, just some
nice couple's rental who were kind enough to let her play around in it

Avery and me in the back of our golf cart on our way to a hike

We did the 2.2 mile "Sky High" hike from Wrigley Memorial to the ridge...
VERY hot and dusty and not that exciting, but good exercise

My girls
Sisters holding hands while watching Bugs Life
before our lazy day at the beach begins!
(I swear I didn't pose this or ask her to hold
Harper's hand, total spontaneous moment!!)
Avery with the mer-people

Pat and Al GENEROUSLY left some money for us to take Avery on a tour
and we chose the glass-bottom boat, my first time too! SO cool!!

We decided to try our hand at fishing off the green pier one morning...
not a whole lot of luck for us (or the pelican) but Avery enjoyed feeding the fish
food and watching them swarm around to eat it


Thanks for the memories, Catalina!!
We cannot WAIT to visit again!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Harper is 4 months

My little roly poly girl is 4 months (on Sept 11).  She is rolling from her back to her front every chance she gets! It drives both of us pretty crazy, as she tends to do it when she is trying to nap and I go in there and roll her back over. She also has been pretty fussy the last 3 days, not sure if she is going through a growth spurt (only seems to be really happy when she is nursing or sleeping) or if she is teething. She constantly has her hands, toes, toys, my hair, anything within reach in her mouth while gallons of drool pours all over herself. She has a little rash on her chin from the moisture as well, poor baby. I hope she isn't teething yet (Avery didn't get her first teeth until her 8th month) as that would present nursing challenges I am not looking forward to. I can't see or feel anything on her gums so I hope it is just the heat or something tat will pass.

Harper smiles whenever anyone talks to her (especially her sister or me) and she makes the cutest and most high-pitched screeching sound that I find totally adorable. No outright giggles yet, can't wait for that to happen!
She is 14 lbs 5 oz and wearing size 2 diapers. She is just now growing out of her 3 month onesies and pj's. Harper continues to nurse like a champ though she does get more distracted and we don't love nursing with a cover on in this heat and humidity, bleh!
She has her official 4 months appointment at the end of this month, more shots, boo.
Enjoy the pictures!

Trying out the jumperoo! Not a fan yet...

Sister love

My sweet baby

Avery's Big Girl Room, Part 1

On September 8, Avery jumped out of her crib. She was unhurt, but it was scary and I raced into her room when I heard the thud. If there was ever a clue that we needed to transition her to a "big girl" bed, that was it! In my Lactation Educator course I completed this week, the professor has a motto: If is isn't broke, don't fix it so it is! I was stalling because Avery has always been a great sleeper and I really didn't want to mess with that, especially with a sleeping baby nearby. All my friends whose kids have transitioned swear they sleep just as well or better than before. I had visions of Avery wandering all around her room and the hallway in the middle of the night and my solid sleep being forever interrupted.
So we (well, I mostly) decided we were going to re-vamp the whole room! Her crib set is dark and light pink tulips with white and dark brown. I found a quilt at Pottery Barn with pinks and blues and grays that inspired the colors of the room.

Greenwich Garden Quilt & Sham
I envisioned a large stripe on the wall in shades of pink to match the existing dark pink curtains.
Home Depot matched the lightest and darkest pinks in the quilt and we got painting!

Step 1: paint the walls light pink (I ended up lightening the lightest pink 2 shades)
Step 2: tape out the stripe...a LOT harder than it looks

Step 3: prep the stripe tape with a bottom coat of the light pink and
caulking along the tape line to prevent bleeding (which worked pretty well!)

Step 4: remove tape and touch up any slips. So proud of how it turned out!
I put up a gallery wall of pictures and prints on the bed wall and put up some paper lanterns (both of which are not quite finished yet!)

The other side of the room has a reading nook in the corner, her small table and chairs set as a craft station with a gallery wire in the stripe to display her art projects, and a small bench where a vintage dollhouse will be. Under the window is an Ikea bookcase turned on its side, and I plan to make a cushion for it. I will take a photo of that side when I have it all finished!

The big question...How is she sleeping with her new found freedom? PERFECTLY! She naps and sleeps in her bed just as before (though she did fall out the first night and was curled up on the floor when I checked on her!) She doesn't get out in the morning, she waits for us to come in and get her. I am not sure how long it will be until she realizes that she can roam around, but for now so far so GREAT! Woo hoo!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer Fun

We are so lucky to live in southern California, and especially Carlsbad where there are so many fun outdoor activities to do. I have loved spending the (very!) warm days with my little family, and of course, taking photos.

Harper in a swimsuit!

Hanging at the Donavon Frankenreiter concert at Salt Creek

Harper is a rolly polly, always on her tummy

Daddy, Avery and Tim rolling down the hill

Goofy girl
Avery and me at Salt Creek

Avery modeling some adorable bikinis from "uncle" Owen

Family fun at Lake Arrowhead

Monday, September 10, 2012

Harper's Baptism

Mamina and Tats (Norma and Gaston), Alex's wonderful grandparents on his mother's side, live in Santiago, Chile. To avoid the southern hemisphere winters they come and spend the summer months with Solange and Ken, visiting with their state-side family. They were set to leave on Sept 5th so we decided to baptise Harper while they were able to be present.
We chose John Paul, the second oldest brother after Alex, to be her godfather. He lives in San Francisco and is working very hard in a culinary program at SFCC as well as working at a restaurant, but when we asked him to be Harper's godfather, he rearranged everything to be at the ceremony. It meant a lot to us that he was able to be there and we are so grateful.
Lauren, my brother Corey's wife, was gracious enough to accept our request and also rearrange her schedule, and is Harper's godmother. My brother is Avery's godfather, and we love them both so much. She is expecting my first niece, Penelope Louise, in December!!! We really appreciated them making the drive down to be there at the ceremony.
We had her baptised at St Edwards in Dana Point where we were married on September 20, 2008, and Avery was baptised December 2010. She wore the same dress Avery did and a bonnet that my Aunt Kathy sent her that can turn into a hankie for her to include in her wedding as her "something old" (that sure did bring tears to my eyes when I imagined that day for a moment!)
Father Steve was the officiant for the group baptisim that included about 5 other families. He is very funny and knows Alex's family well. It was a quick and meaningful ceremony and Harper didn't make a peep (thank goodness for that paci!!) She was a complete angel and looked the part in her big white dress.
Alex's parents were kind enough to let us have a small get together at their house after with lots of delicious mexican food and some good times in the pool.
It was a wonderful day, and we appreciate everyone who was able to join us in celebrating our sweet baby Harper!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Harper Joy, 3 months

My sweet, adorable, precious baby now TAKES A PACIFIER!
She is officially perfect now! She hardly makes a peep but too coo and gurgle sweetly. One night, after I had given up, Alex tried a nearby paci (that I kept around in hopes that she would change her mind) she just took it! And then she took it the next day! And then that night!

I know you might think I am making a bigger deal out of this than I should but it has seriously changed everything with Harper. She used to get SO MAD when she was tired, we even suspected it was colic a few times, that nothing would soothe her. She would just cry herself to sleep despite all our attempts to shh, rock, sway, sing, freakin' monkey dance, WHATEVER! But now she is a perfect baby. Yippee!
I have noticed a routine has begun to develop. She takes a nap after waking up to nurse and hang out in the morning around 8:30/9, until 10:30/11ish. I put her in her crib or swing for this if we are home, but generally we are out and about and so she will sleep in her carseat. Ah, poor second baby! She does little cat naps here and there the rest of the afternoon until bed time. We are definitely on an Eat Play Sleep schedule and her awake times have increased to an hour or more.
She goes to bed around when Avery does or just before, 7:30/8 and most nights she will sleep through until 6 or 7, and some nights she will wake once around 3 or 4. I used to nurse her because I didn't want her crying to wake Alex and Avery but now that she takes the paci, I try giving that to her before nursing her.
Harper sucks her thumb when a paci isn't available, but I am trying to discourage it as much as possible, although it is super cute.

She still nurses exclusively, and we rarely do the bottle and I don't pump hardly at all anymore. I have a decent supply of frozen milk and am still aiming to nurse for a year. If it remains this easy, who wouldn't?? I have not had one second of pain from nursing aside from the few days of engorgement I get in the very beginning. I know it will likely be a challenge to maintain my supply once we introduce solids at 6 months, but I am learning so much in my Lactation Educator/Counselor course work that I am more dedicated to breastfeeding than ever before.

Harper Joy, 2 months

My little baby is living up to her name, and is an absolute joy! I fall more in love with her everyday. She has always had a pretty strong neck and is still doing great at tummy time. She seems to enjoy the bath, it always calms and interests her. She LOVES her big sister and rewards her with big smiles and attention whenever Avery is near her. She naps best in her swing and pretty well in her crib, and has been sleeping in her crib at night since about 6 weeks. She resembles Avery in many ways but reminds me all the time that she is NOT her sister!
Harper weighs 12.5 lbs, and is 23.5 inches long
She sleeps 10 hours a night
She is wearing 3 month clothes and size 1 diapers
She loves to suck her fingers and anything else that gets near her mouth (except the bottle or the paci, ugh)

Avery's First Day of Preschool

Before Harper came along, we decided we wanted Avery to have something fun she could do on her own, a few times a week once Harper had arrived. We considered many things (swim lessons, music classes, soccer) but at her age everything is "mommy and me" and I didn't know what to expect with Harper, so we decided preschool was a great place for her. At 2 years old, it isn't that in-depth, mostly arts and crafts, singing, reading, playing outside and learning social skills. We toured a few, and decided La Costa Valley Preschool in La Costa/Carlsbad was the best place for our little girl. She started on July 9, 2012 just a week after her birthday.
I was so anxious and emotional in the days leading up to her first day (being less than 2 months post-partum might have had a little to do with that!), but I also thoroughly enjoyed filling out her paperwork and putting together her school stuff (emergency kit, extra outfit, lunches, backpack). It was one of those moments that I remember looking forward to when I was pregnant with her.
True to form, Avery LOVED preschool (and still does, as I write this nearly 2 months later)! She ran right into the room with her little backpack on, hopped on the carousel they have inside and wouldn't even get off to say goodbye to us! Also true to form, I held it together until I reached the parking lot and allowed myself a weepy mom-moment. My girl was IN SCHOOL! Away from me for the first time in a new place with people I barely knew for 3.5 hours twice a week.
Avery always comes home from school dirty and chatty, and we are starting to get adorable little art projects to take home and display. I have very much enjoyed my little breaks with Harper. Alex drops her off and then heads to the office. I do Stroller Strides those mornings at La Costa Resort and still have an hour and half to run a few errands before we pick up our little student. Then she comes home and it is nap time!
It has been a wonderful experience for all of us.

Beach party...Birthday Part 2

On the Saturday following Avery's actual birthday, we went to Tamarack beach to celebrate with all her friends and our family. The weather wasn't very cooperative but I believe everyone had a great time! We brought the new water table that Nana got Avery for her birthday, a lot of sand toys and yummy food.
We really appreciate everyone joining us to celebrate our 2 year old monkey!
Enjoy the pictures.