Tuesday, April 19, 2011

stalwart and true.

my husband is my rock.

i know people say that, and i have even said it before, but i've seen a side of him lately that i don't think i even realized i would see.

he is my defender. he is my shield.

because the baby is so young, we're not taking her to church yet.  but, because he has responsibilities, musicboy needed to go. so he went to the first hour and then he came home to help me and to be with us, and then he went back to choir (because he is necessary there--he's not named musicboy for nothing). 

now before i tell this story, please understand that i am not upset by it. i understand it, and i'm not even really that surprised by it.  i think there's just something about pregnancy and new motherhood that makes people think that they have the right and/or privilege to interject opinions about anything and everything. i didn't get too terribly much of that when i was pregnant, so it's entirely possible that now is the time that i'll get to experience this.

however, on sunday, it was musicboy who did.

let me say, also, that breastfeeding is basically at a standstill. i am taking my magical herbs and i am drinking my water and i am trying to get enough rest (ha--i believe the bags under my eyes are there to stay now), but the supply is just not increasing. the lactation consultant told me to breast feed first, then supplement.  so we are.  that's what we're doing.  and it's working pretty well.  but there's no way on this earth that i have enough milk to give maggie what she needs to grow.  in fact, i have a abysmal amount of milk.  but i'm still trying and we're still going at it and i don't know how long that will continue, but it's what's happening for now.

(the pediatrician basically told me today that there's no real way for me to be an exclusive breastfeeder. this news was far from depressing for me; it's what i've been feeling for a long time, and it's nice to have it confirmed by the guy who is In Charge of Maggie's Health.  so we're supplementers for now and that's fine.  i'm going to try to make it to six weeks. we'll see.)


this has been terribly difficult for me.  it's not that it's a pride thing--it's a frustration thing. it's a "why can't i do it?" thing. it's a "i wish i could do it" thing. it's a "why can't anything go the way i think it should thing?" it's a "why won't you latch?" and "why won't you eat?" and, at times, an hourly struggle to get through feedings and hopefully give her enough so that she is happy and contented and will sleep.

i have cried tears over nipple shields and an obviously hungry baby and a baby who won't latch on and a whole host of other things. i have prayed prayers to figure out what to do. musicboy and i have both felt really good about what we're doing. as musicboy said, much of parenthood is winging it. i think we're winging it quite well.

(confirmed by awesome pediatrician, who gave maggie an a+ today, and said we're doing great. he told me to do what will not stress me out, because it's very hard to do both breastfeeding and supplementing [word--each feeding takes about an hour, start to finish], and that we should do what works for us because she will do equally well on either.  he wants us to be able to enjoy her, because, and i quote, "she'll only be this age once." wise man, that one.)

on sunday, he went to choir. one of the older women in our ward, who i dearly love but who i think sometimes doesn't think before she speaks, asked him if i was breastfeeding. he, honest as he is, told her that we were both breastfeeding and supplementing.  and she basically told him that was wrong, that the baby needed the breastmilk, and on and on.  when told that my supply was quite limited, she said something about supply and demand.  she said something to the effect that maybe she should just talk to me, which he suggested would NOT be a good idea.  at that point, her husband told her they had to go (not out of any sense that she was being inappropriate, but because of some prior engagement).

and my husband came home upset. when he walked through the door, i could tell.

he didn't want to tell me. but he did, because i made him.  and he was upset.  he was as close to angry as he ever gets.  and i think, mainly, it was because of how it might have affected me.  but also, i think it was a small taste, for him, of what women deal with all of the time related to this issue--judgment of parenting styles and choices because someone thinks they know better.

i have been guilty, 100%, of this.  not of judging someone who doesn't breastfeed, but of a whole host of other judgments that were not warranted or fair or even any of my business.

(no one has elected me judge and jury. i like to wear the robe, sometimes, but i'm learning that it doesn't fit well.)

i was struck, through this whole interchange when he was telling me about it, at how musicboy stepped up to shield me from what he knew would have broken me a little. someone that i genuinely like, essentially saying that we were making the wrong decision, that we were putting our child in some sort of jeopardy?

he stepped up, and he took the blow for me.  that's what it felt like, anyways, and i was struck once again at what a fantastic husband and father he is and will continue to be. his instincts are so good.

even the instinct he said he had that, if she had continued, he would have told her that we have stewardship over our little girl. she is our gift, our blessing, our responsibility. that means she comes with revelation--and that nothing we have done yet has been without prayerful consideration. 

nobody gets to question that. NOBODY.

anyways.  i'm sort of sorry to say that i've entered the ranks of Women With Breastfeeding Issues, but i'm proud to say i'm married to the very best man in the world.  he listens to me. he gives me confidence. he takes the baby, even when he has to get up in the morning for school, so that i can sleep an extra hour or so.  he lets me cry on his shoulder about the same things i keep crying on his shoulder about, and he doesn't once tell me to suck it up or that life is hard or that it's not that big of a deal.  he just weathers the storm and holds my hand through it, telling me all of the things that i forget to tell myself--that i'm doing great, that we're doing well, that maggie is healthy and happy, that we will be given all that we need.

for that, i am so grateful.  i am so blessed, and i know it.  even through the hard stuff, it's worth it to see our family begin to take a new shape.  we're all changing over here. i think i'm being humbled. i think musicboy is being elevated, being strengthened, becoming the head of our family.

i think this is a beautiful thing to see.


  1. That is so wonderful that your husband is so supportive! I totally admire how you are handling the breastfeeding issues, you are awesome! I know exactly what you mean about crying over the same things, I can't even count how many times I would be sitting there, crying, the baby is crying and obviously hungry and family is just looking at me and asking me, "is he hungry?" and I would think "when is he not hungry???" and feel like a failure. I hate that I worry about talking about aspects of parenting with other people because of the judging and unsolicited "advice" that people give. I wish that they weren't that way and I wish that it didn't bother me. I swear, you are rocking it girl. You definitely inspire me to turn to the Lord more during my trials!

  2. It'a good that you have the wisdom to make educated (and realistic) decisions for your family, and that you have the strength to stand behind those decisions. This is only the beginning. You will be judged CONSTANTLY as parents for the rest of your lives. Good for both of you for handling this so well.

  3. You are doing awesome Carrie! I think you guys are doing such a great job of rolling with the punches of parenthood. And following your instincts. I feel like that's the biggest lesson becoming a mother has taught me, ALWAYS follow my instincts. No matter what anyone else says/thinks. No matter what choices we make as parents, there will always be somebody who thinks we're wrong. Yay for Musicboy standing up for you:) You two are already incredible parents! Maggie is one lucky baby girl:)

  4. A lot of guys don't seem to understand how important those things are to us. I'm glad your husband is understanding and willing to stand by you during this. I never knew about breastfeeding problems while I was pregnant with my first then when Cory's wife had a really hard time I started to get freaked out. I looked up every bit of info on it to figure out how to make it work. When Patrick was born luckily I had a good enough supply for him and I refused formula. 5 days after having him I was back in the hospital for a possible infection and Cory and his wife took him for a few hours while we waited. They had to give him formula and I was kind of mad at the situation, but it turned out that he slept better and it helped him gain more weight. I started giving him formula at night and it helped my tired nights. I'm glad I got to see a different side of things and know that it will not all go exactly as I have planned.

  5. I had the same problem with EK. No milk, no latching, and a lot of tears... from both of us. Our pediatrician said basically the same things your's did, she didn't want me to stress about it. Her mentality was a happy mommy would make for a happy baby, and boy aint that the truth!

    (you love that word, right? aint?)

    But good news, EK was always the healthiest baby in our play group. She rarely got sick and grew and developed quicker than the rest. Breast is best, yes, but that doesn't make formula bad.

    Fast forward to Avery... again the first two weeks were tough, mainly because of the pain, but we made it through and she's an exclusively breast fed baby. I guess it's really true that every baby is different.

  6. I'd take a good man over super-breasts any day. :)