Saturday, January 30, 2010

Third Time is A Charm

How I got into this mess!

My pre-pregnancy weight was very nominal-- (I am about four/five pounds heavier than that now).  It wasn't my thinnest, and it wasn't my heaviest.  But it was heavier than I prefer.  I had, unfortunately, suffered a miscarriage in April of 2008 at 13 weeks pregnant.  It was absolutely awful and my heart goes out to any other women out there who know the pain-- both physically and emotionally.   I am not sure what the deal was, but my hormones and body just always seemed a little off for several months-- which I believe did influence my weight.  I got pregnant with Dekker in July, and I consider my pre-pregnancy weight what I weighted at my 8 week appt.  So it was reasonable, but I don't think had ever really balanced out from the miscarriage.

I was super active during my pregnancy.  I LOVED being pregnant.  I walked our dog all the time, even went to the gym.  We had a beautiful summer and fall, and even a moderate winter.  I walked so much, and gained a beautiful 30 lbs.  By the time I left the hospital, I weighed about what I weigh now.

I nursed Dekker.  But here is where it got tricky.  He had a condition known as MSPI (Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance).  I had heard of this, but knew nothing about it.  Starting at about two weeks old, Dekker would nurse, sleep for about 45 minutes, then cry until I nursed him again.  This cycle continued for three months.  I kept track of how often he cried for my pediatrician for one day-- it was 18 hours.  I never kept track again after that.

My sweet friend Jenny, when Dekker was about 10 weeks old, hauled me to Lincoln for an appt with Dr. Leeper (I call her Saint Leeper) at fabulous Milkworks.  They formally diagnoised the MSPI because Dekker had quite a lot of blood in his stool-- a classic sign.  At that appointment, Dekker had an "episode" and Dr. Leeper tried all her tricks to no avail.  She actually teared up with me, and yelled out the door "Turn the AC up!"  She was sweating from bouncing him around.  That trip was validating for so many reasons-- namely to know that healthy babies don't cry this much and that Dekker's crying was abnormal and not something I should just learn to live with, as many had suggested.  In the deep part of my heart, I was afraid that Dekker cried like all "normal" babies and that I just wasn't cut out to deal with it.  Dr. Leeper also clued me in that red beef is a common source of digestive irritation, and she encouraged me to cut that out, along with most of the common food allergens (peanuts, egg, etc).  I ended up on a "total elimination diet."  I ate mostly turkey and rice, while my system "cleaned out."  At the same time we put Dekker on a 10 day formula "vacation" to try and heal his bowels.

This worked.  It was a lot of work and a lot of pumping, but in the end he went back to nursing, and I gradually added back several foods.  I had a very restricted "safe" diet, but I had a mostly happy baby.  Never-the-less, the months of endless crying (until Dekker was a sweaty mess), the dark days of feeding and pumping and calming his tears, the near months that I was afraid to leave my house with a screaming baby, the frustration of trying to explain to others how bad it was (I've given up-- I know and Dave knows and God knows)-- really took a toll.  All of this, along with a few other very tragic events that happened at this time-- set me up for post-partum depression.  I tear up remembering how hard those few months were.  I lost, in about a month, 10 lbs.  Not healthy, and not safe.  Still, I admit that I loved fitting into my skinny jeans.  People told me all the time that I looked great, but I did not care one bit.

If you asked me today, would I rather be depressed and skinny or happy and on WW, I would say happy and on WW any day.  Nothing compares to those first few months of motherhood for me.  As a counselor, I was pretty sure I could admit myself to the hospital-- I felt totally insane!  All the while, I knew in the back of my head that God was building in me a MINISTRY to other women who would have more than a typical "rough go" at motherhood.  I pray to God that I will NEVER forget how miserable, out of control, frustrated, and totally crazy I felt dealing with a never ending crying baby so that I can be a truly empathetic friend to others.

At about 5 months old Dekker was crying much less-- much more like a "typical" baby-- was going to daycare at the hospital while I worked 10-3 everyday, and was very little.  I blissfully quit my job when he was about 5.5 months old.  Days into my new found stay at home-ness, the endless crying was back.  He suddenly quit sleeping through the night.  He cried all day.  Again.  Jenny hauled me back to St. Leeper.  Dekker was almost 6 months old by this time and 11 lbs.  He was totally off the charts for weight.  I was totally embarrassed.  My milk supply had gone from almost too abundant to very slim.  When I nursed Dekker at Milkworks, he took in about 2.6 oz.  Dr. Leeper applauded my continued effort to nurse Dekker, but insisted that I start supplementing with formula-- Alimentum ($$ching ching$$).  My heart was broke-- my dream of nursing to a year was gone, and I felt so bad for Dekker, who had been crying out of hunger for the last several weeks. How had I not known!  St. Leeper helped explain that the bottles he was getting at daycare was masking the problem.  I had assumed he was getting more at the breast than I was pumping while at work, but it wasn't that much more!  (I would often have to add my days pumping with my "back stock" to make the bottles for daycare.)

I started nursing Dekker, then offering about 4-6 oz of formula, then pumping to try and trigger my body to make more milk.  Immediately, he was such a happier baby-- sleeping, cooing, and gaining weight.  Soon, the double duty was more than I wanted to do all day.  (Dr. Leeper had given me permission to quit pumping after about a week because it wasn't helping.)  So I went to nursing at morning and at night.  I took this so seriously.  I called Dr. Leeper and cried and cried.  I called my pediatrician.  I cried out to God.  Eventually, my milk supply was so low that Dekker really didn't want to nurse.  It was such a struggle, and a difficult way to begin and end the day.  Around 7.5 months, I weaned all together.

God built up in me another MINISTRY for women struggling with issues related to nursing.  My heart has grown and my mind has expanded on this issue so so much.  I admit that I was somewhat judgmental before this experience, and God really used it to teach me that being a good parent is relying on Him-- seeking Him with your whole heart and mind-- regardless of how you feed your baby.

Suddenly, I could eat ANYTHING.  Food was no longer labeled "good" or "bad."  Dekker was so blissfully happy, he slept so well, played, was getting bigger and bigger.  I think he almost completely skipped his 3-6 month clothes!  I was happy too.  Stressed from the balance of life and motherhood and starting a new counseling practice-- but happy.  And this, my friends, is when I gained said weight.  This is when I put the weight on that I am trying to lose today.  So it's really not baby weight.  It's just the weight we gain with the ups and downs of life.  Surely, not the first or last time this has happened in my life.

Well so far today has been a good day.  I did in fact make it to the gym yesterday.  And the heater was on in the aerobics room.  Are you serious?  Yes.  Ug, I sweat it out.  Friday's will also be my weigh in day.  So I weighed in yesterday at 8AM and have an official starting weight.  And, I am trying to stay off the scale until next Friday which will be sooo hard.

Dekker is napping and I need to take advantage of at least some of this time.  So this is all for now.  I'm so excited for my folks to get here, to have them see how much Dekker has changed in the last three weeks since they last saw him and to see how good at crawling he is!  We're thinking Mexican for dinner-- I'll need to stay away from those endless chip baskets!

On the journey.



  1. Love love love the blog!! You really have such a talent for using your experiences to minister to others and I'm so thankful to have you as a friend! I can't wait to follow you on your journey through this blog. Love you!

  2. Stef, I just thought I'd tell you something. I was not aware that you'd had a miscarriage until now but I do know that at some point before I knew you were pregnant with Dekker I remember thinking... "I wonder if Stef is having trouble getting pregnant. I hope they're doing okay." and sent a prayer your way. I'd like to think that it was God's way of letting people know to lift you up in prayer at a difficult time. :)

  3. Thank you Amber! And bless you for your prayers. We appreciate them so much.

  4. Jenny, God knew exactly what I needed in a friend when He sent you. Thank you for being someone I can be honest with, cry with, laugh with, scream with, and who knows that I LOVE being a parent, even when I don't love parenting! And thank you for hauling me to Milkworks and getting me some help and not letting me continue to sit in my house :) I owe you..........big time! Love You!