a song that fits

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know I desperately wanted a baby for a long time. There were many days of longing and tears of wanting before God brought Melody into my life. Now each day I breath words of thanksgiving as I hold her close, see her smile and hear her laugh.

(It is similar to my first year of college. I had finally found "my place." Each day I woke up with a song in my heart and a smile on my face, because of the drastic difference from the previous year at a rural high school where football and trucks were the main things. But I digress...)

There is a song that tells the story of Melody. It is by Waterdeep. We sing it in church from time to time. I seldom make it to the end of the song without tears streaming down my cheeks. Before Melody, I cried because I wanted her so much. Now that she's here, I cry for thanksgiving and awe. The words go:

You are so good to me
You heal my broken heart
You are my Father in heaven

They are simple but powerful. Another neat thing about the song is the bridge. It contains Melody's name, which seems fitting.

You are my strong melody
You are my dancing rhythm
You are my perfect song
And I want to sing forever

I want to make a something to hang on her wall that says,
"You are my strong Melody."

She has changed my life so much, and she is only five months old. I cannot imagine how I'll feel in the years to come as she continues to grow up.



I really admire the many moms out there who persevere through trials of breastfeeding. It is admirable to beat the odds of infections, depression, medication, low milk supply, and other factors. When these things occur, the simple act of feeding our babies from our own bodies becomes a threatened privilage. There are many reason why I want to continue breastfeeding Melody. One of them is the following question:

"If I quit breastfeeding, will my friends still like me?"

There. I said it.

Over the past few months I've become well aquainted with four moms. We all breastfeed. My main reason for wanting to keep nursing is Melody's well-being. The number two reason is close behind -- I want to continue having it in common with my friends. It is a central topic and activity during our times together. I am sad and nervous about loosing this connection. I know people say things like, "If they don't like you because you stop breastfeeding, then they weren't true friends to begin with." Though true, statements like this do not make it easier.

If I stop will they say it's cool, but then talk about me when I'm not there? Why am I insecure about this? Breastfeeding was always a no-brainer for me. Of course I'd do it; it's the best option. Now that I'm faced with a low milk supply, I am dealing with questions I didn't foresee coming my way. I never realized this topic would lead to issues of acceptance, loyalty, fear and possible isolation.


my biggest problem

Pumping is hard!!! For the past five days I've been pumping breastmilk in order to increase my milk supply. I try to pump every two hours, but sometimes four or five hours quickly pass before I find my way to the pump again. I'm using an expensive Medela hospital grade pump. It's a great machine, but that doesn't make it fun. I am not able to pump "hands free" yet so the whole time I am unable to do anything else. I also have not found a comfortable position. I sit tall and slightly forward in order to the milk to fall into the bottles. Also, I tend to watch the milk the whole time which means my head is tilted down, resulting in neck and upper back pains.

This morning I had a breakdown. The tears began falling shortly after 7:00am as I sat hooked up to the pump waiting, waiting waiting for milk to fall. Twenty minutes later I still didn't have one drop of milk yet. Sitting on the center cushion of our old orange couch I began to cry. I felt hopeless. "When is my milk supply going to return?," I thought forlornly.

Around me the house was a disaster. Every single room, including the hallways were lined with items that didn't belong. Bills were waiting to be paid, toilets were disgusting, etc , etc, etc. Chad came into the room to put his shoes on for work. He sat and looked at me with concern. "What's wrong?"

"I don't know why I'm so upset. I'm so overwhelmed." I replied.

"How can I help you?"

"I don't know."

He hugged me and sat silent for awhile. Then left for work. Less than two minutes passed before Laura let herself in through the garage. She came and sat by me. I spilled my guts. "I'm so overwhelmed with pumping, the house, the baby, and work." She immeidately sprang into action. She cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen. She bathed, fed, and held Melody. She did four loads of laundry. She hung all my clothes up that were piled on the floor. In the meantime I walked around the house with a foggy brain. I emailed a mom-friend and told her about my hard morning. She called me less than a hour later to talk. She assured me that I'm doing a good job and that things will be easier soon. She made me feel so much better.

After that I found Laura in Melody's bedroom, sorting through a pile of random stuff on the floor. I sat on the unmade bed and sighed. "I'm so glad you're here. I don't think I could let anyone else -- besides my mom and mom-in-law -- clean our gross toilets." She smiled and said, "Kotter, keeping this house going is a HUGE job. You shouldn't attempt to do it alone." (She calls me Kotter which is my maiden name. I think it's a cute option for a baby boy someday?) Hearing those words from here was such a breath of fresh air. I know she is right.

I am a strong and capable individual. I'm fairly organized and on-top-of-things. I am very guilty of taking over and doing everything myself because that seems easier than delegating and teaching others to help me. Chad has always been willing to help with house work, but 90% if the time I just do it myself. When I get sick or a crisis happens (ie: breastfeeding problems), things fall apart quickly. I hate that everything depends on me, but I recognize that I've made it this way.

Does anyone else struggle with these problems? How can Chad and I come up with a plan so that we both participate in running this house? How do others clean their houses? Do you do it every Saturday morning or a little bit each day? Do you nag each other? Do you fight about it? I don't want to nag or fight. This is one of the first times in our 4+ years of marriage to have a communication barrier. I'm just not sure where to start in order to change this pattern. Help, anyone?


my days lately

Life has been interesting lately. I will bullet point the recent developments:

• Depression.
I am feeling better!! I started taking an antidepressant three weeks ago. I began feeling like myself about a week ago. I realized I felt better one afternoon as I became aware that I wasn't thinking about being depressed. It is such an underlying thing. It effects everything and yet it's so easy to ignore. I have minimal side effects from the drug, which is a relief. I am glad I took the leap into the antidepressant world that I feared for so long.

• Breastfeeding.
Last week it came to my knowledge that Melody wasn't getting enough milk. She was not pooping / peeing enough, had barely gained any weight, and was increasingly frustrated while nursing. She was also sucking on her fingers all the time. (And I mean ALL THE TIME.) I was not concerned for a long time because she is such a happy baby. She smiles, laughs, coos, sleeps well, etc. I became alarmed when I gave her a bath and noticed her little ribs poking out. I visited with my Le Leche League leader (too many L's) and she watched Melody nurse. She said Melody was sucking-sucking-sucking, but not swallowing. Poor baby!!

• Social.
Since this breastfeeding wall occurred I've had an amazing support network. One mom gave me her expensive Medela pump. Another offered her pumped breastmilk for supplementing. Each day someone has called to check on me. Then Ellen gave me bags and bags of her pumped frozen milk. My mom has been my biggest cheerleader, offering tons of moral and emotional support. I am overwhelmed and grateful.

• Schedule.
I've been trying to pump every two hours for the past few days. I am suppose to give Melody about 30 ounces a day. I'm only getting about 15 ounces from pumping. She drinks my pumped milk from a bottle and then I supplement the rest with Ellen's milk. In the past four days she has stopped sucking her fingers all the time and has developed dimples in her knees. Also, her ribs are covered up with a big belly!! She is heavier too. Today I took her to the doctor office and she weighed in at 11 lbs / 5 oz. I have a feeling she'll gain quickly for awhile as she catches up. I still nurse her to sleep and a few times thoughout the day.

• Freelance.
A few weeks ago I aquired a few freelance design projects. I committed myself to a hefty amount of work. The deadlines do not begin to roll in until June, which is approaching with speed. I began the projects, but put everything on the back burner when the breastfeeding problems surfaced. Now I'm stressed out about the work and have decided to forego my precious Friday Mom Get Together tomorrow morning. I'm sad to miss it, but I won't enjoy it if the projects are weighing on me.

So that's pretty much everything for now. I hope to blog more often. I always say that.