Friday, February 24, 2012

Three Weeks Three Days in (update on my last post)

Hi, there!  Here I am, three weeks three days into the newborn phase now.  I wanted to say a big "THANK YOU" to all who have prayed for us during this time.  Your prayers have been felt and your encouragements have been SO uplifting.  THANK YOU!!! I wanted to give a little update on my last post since I wrote about a few things that are now much better--praise the Lord!!!

Well, I can now say that we have been breastfeeding pain-free since my last post.  :) I am so thankful for that!  Also, I mentioned Isabella's tendency to leak breast milk during our feedings and many of you mentioned that it was most likely a latching problem--yes, yes, you were right on!  I focused more on getting her to have a proper latch and I have had very little leaking episodes since then!  

Currently, I am hoping and praying this girlie gets herself into some sort of a nursing schedule!  And I'm not talking about some hard and fast, concrete thing, just a nice natural rhythm that I can mostly count on! Hoping and praying!  ;) 

Some good news though, Isabella has given me two nights in a row of five consecutive hours of sleep!  That is progress!  After that it goes back down to 2-3 hours but those first five are wonderful.  Let's keep it up baby girl!

On other news, I am washing my first load of cloth diapers today.  :)  It was a bit frustrating at first since the washing machines here are SO different and I had NO clue as to how to do a "pre-wash" (and our washing machine is a little schizo) but I just guessed at a setting which I think was a rinse and spin cycle (which kinda works as a pre-wash).  Now they are on the actual wash cycle and I am hoping and praying that they are clean.  Some say to do an extra rinse/spin cycle after the regular wash cycle but I'm hoping I don't have to because that means it wouldn't be done until close to three in the afternoon (I started washing around 9:30 this morning!!!!  The washers/dryers here take two to three times as long to wash/dry--yes, frustrating ).  That means that I won't be able to count on the covers line drying because it is later in the day and the sun will start going down shortly after that time.  And, over here, when the sun goes done it gets cold!  Translated to mean "no dry diaper covers."   Boo.  Anyway, we'll see how it goes!  Depending on how things go today, I might have to start the diaper wash much earlier in my day.  We'll see.   I will say though that I have really enjoyed using our cloth diapers.  The are super soft and I love the idea of not having to buy diapers again.  Very nice indeed.  Well, they are super cute, too.  ;)

***UPDATE on the diapers****
Well, I started this post yesterday and wasn't able to finish due to baby girl's aforementioned erratic nursing/sleeping schedule!  ;)  SO, the diapers "pre-washed" ok but not good enough.  Some of the diapers still had "stuff" on them.  :(  I decided to just put them to wash they wa they were though because I was pretty frustrated AND we are just talking about breastfed baby poo at this point.  I am happy to report that all but two or three covers came out completely clean and stain free.  Yea! Those that had a few stains were taken care of by the sun, which I should say is staying up longer now and I was able to dry my diapers with no problems later in the day.  YEA!

During my frustration as to what cycle I should have put my diapers on, Luke found a helpful guide for our washer (after the fact but for next time it will be helpful) and discovered that three cycles offer a pre-wash.  Yea!  Now I just need to know if the pre-wash will be COLD or HOT.  Ha!  I'm assuming that if I put it on the hot cycle the pre-wash will be hot???  This is a concern because cloth diapers are supposed to be pre-washed on a cold setting so that stains don't set in the inserts or covers.  Anyway, my other option I thought about was to start a cold cycle and stop it at some point into it (I did some research online and apparently some people do this successfully).  Well, there you have it, my cloth diaper update.  :)  I must say, even though I was frustrated with the washer yesterday, I thoroughly enjoyed having a fresh set of diapers for my baby girl and can say that even after just one wash, I am a cloth diaper convert.  Gasp!  Yup, there, I said it.  Genny Cornell, if you are reading this, can you believe it?  ;)  Hee hee.

I need to say thank you again to all of you who have been praying for me and my transition here.  I have really been feeling more joy and have walked around with a much lighter spirit after writing my last post and receiving all of your encouragement.  Of course, I know that transitioning into a new place takes time and feelings come and go. I'm praying that I am able to find peace and contentment in this new place.  God has called us here and as they say, where he calls he provide.

Blessings to you all,
Janice  :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two Weeks and Two Days in (Warning:Breastfeeding is discussed in this post)

Hey, there!  Here I am, two weeks and two days into "newborndom"!  I use that exclamation point to express the happiness that I am still alive!  Lol!  Well, that might be a little exaggerated.  Hee, hee.  

I am thankful that these past couple of weeks have "seemingly" flown by.  I think sleep deprivation has helped it to fly by in the sense that my memory of it is just about as faint as my past two newborn phases!  We have had some challenges though.  I was able to nurse my boys with hardly any issues but this little girlie has proven that she does not like to follow the crowd.  ;)  We were nursing ok for the first couple of days but my milk didn't come in until the fourth day so Bella Wren was pretty fussy most of the time.  Then, I got a sore on my left side and the pain that I was having while she nursed there was excruciating!  And I mean excruciating--I shook, tensed up, cried and totally stressed out.  I finally broke down one day and gave her a bottle of formula.  It was a hard day.  I was feeling guilty for giving her formula (my boys never tasted the stuff until much, much later.  And, NO, I don't think those of you who formula feed your babes are doing something wrong, I just wasn't prepared to have a hard time with Bella and I was producing plenty of milk so I felt a bit guilty.  I know, I shouldn't have felt that way but I did.  I guess I just wanted to give her the best that I could and for me that meant breastfeeding) but just didn't know what to do.  After thinking and praying about it a bit I decided to trying pumping and bottle feeding for a few days to give my sore some healing time.  Well, after one day of pumping I tried again and had minimal pain BUT the pain increased as the day progressed and I had to go back to pumping by the early evening feeding.  I gave my sore two more days (or so--sleep deprivation has truly zapped my memory of just a few days ago!)and lots and lots of applications of this all natural salve that a friend let me have and it healed up completely!  I have now been nursing pain-free (apart from what I consider the "normal" initial minor pain which should end soon I hope!) and nursing Bella for the past couple of days.  Yea!  And praise God!  I was really stressing about it those first few days and I am just so thankful that I don't have to continue my pumping regimen.  I know some women solely pump and bottle feed but I just don't like that. I feel like it takes twice the amount of time and during the day it is just me the the girl, so it does since there is no one here to feed her a bottle while I pump.  Anyway, I hope and pray I don't get any more sores and that we can continue breastfeeding until we both feel its time to move on.

Now, another thing that has been happening, mostly during our late night/early morning feedings, is Bella will nurse but will let most of it (it seems) leak out so that when we're "done" and I put her down to sleep she wakes up immediately and is hungry.  I realized this was happening when I noticed her outfits would be soaked on the side the I laid her on.  I started putting a burp cloth by her mouth and at the end of a nursing session it would be soaked!  Now, how do you explain that?  I know that she does take in some of it as I hear her swallow but it seems she is mostly letting it leak out.  Frustration.  Last night she did it just once (thankfully just one time!).  It is frustrating because the milk is being expressed but she ends up still being hungry and I end up being exhausted!  We just end up giving her a bottle of stored milk (from my pumping days) and she doesn't leak any of that out!!!  Gobbles it right up.  Now, I know, bottles are more efficient and my warm breastmilk adds to her sleepiness but goodness, really?!  

Anyway, if you have any thoughts on that problem I'd love to hear them!  I consider this a minor issue compared to my not being able to nurse at all so I press on.  :)

Now, I will be so very thankful when Bella starts having some sort of a schedule.  She has some terrible gas sometimes which, I think , messes up any schedule that might start naturally happening since she'll wake up early from a nap crying out in obvious pain and then will want to comfort nurse.  Oh, the joys of newborndom!  

We are hanging in there though!  I have been able to get back to crafting during the afternoons while she sleeps.  For those of you who know my, this is something that I really enjoy doing and brings me a bit of life.  Now, what I should be doing during those afternoon times is filing insurance claims and getting some administrative type things done!  Feel free to ask me if I've got started on that.  I am setting a goal to  at least have them started THIS week.  Maybe I'll get on that today!  Not quite as fun as card making but something that has to be done.  Too bad life doesn't just go on pause during these early days with newborns!  ;)

Well, the boys are getting along great with their little sister.  They don't seem to phased by her at all as she really doesn't do much right now but they do like to look at her and ooh and aah at her adorableness.  :)  They try to be very gentle with her and even try to make her happy when she starts getting fussy by being silly or singing to her.  So, so sweet!  I just love me boys so much!  After having Isabella, the boys look and feel so much bigger now.  I feel they are just so grown up (at the ripe ages of 3 and 5!).  They continue to go to Portuguese school.  Elijah now says he likes going but Judah is still fighting it.  :(  I can't blame him though, he is only THREE!  Not too many three year olds are put in school for a good part of the day and on top of that a school where they speak a different language! My heart hurts for him but I know that with time he will learn the language and things will be easier.  I pray for their little hearts and minds every day, giving them to the Father to watch and care for them when I can't.  I'd love for you to pray for them, too! I always pray for God to give them supernatural ability to understand and speak the Portuguese language quickly and for him to guard their hearts and minds.  I also pray for their innocence and purity to be protected (you just have to pray for it all when you are in a new culture--well, anywhere really!).
 Comparing Judah's size to that huge fish behind him.  @Oceanarium in Lisbon

 At his 5th birthday party at McDonald's.  Face-painting is really popular here.

 Meeting Isabella for the first time.
Meeting Isabella for the first time.

It has been four and a half months now since we've moved here and I still don't feel like this is "home."  I miss "home" big time!  I miss my church, friends, the Texas sun, really anything to do with Texas, family.  I miss Waco, Cameron park, all the different parks we would take our boys to, HEB.  Oh, there are lots of things.  I have to be careful where my thoughts go though because if I dwell on those things too much it doesn't make for a happy heart.  I look at our team leaders and this is truly their home.  They have a beautiful homey house and their lives are tied to this place.  It boggles my mind how they became like that but I know that it is just something that God has done and that it took time.  They have been here for two years now.  I often wonder how long it will be for us to feel like that.  Someone told me that it takes six months or so for a new place to start feeling like "home" so again, I press on.  I also wonder, too, if God will place us somewhere else soon.  If he will call us back "home."  I must confess that I think of that with such hope.  We have lived such transitional lives that it wouldn't surprise me at all if he did.  But maybe, because of my past experience my thinking is clouded a bit.  Steve Backlund talks a lot about not basing your faith on your past experience but on the word of God.  I think I struggle with that quite a bit.  It is just so hard to let past experience go.  It is what you know.  What has been fact and true for you.  But, we are not called to live out of our past experience.  We are called to live by faith.  God is an omnipotent God and that means he can do all things.  SO, I land on that.  On his goodness.  On the knowledge that he has us where he wants us and if we're here for years and years, it will be because of his good plan.  And if he moves us to wherever tomorrow, it will be because of his good plan.  I have to have faith and rely on the knowledge that he has the best planned for me.  

Well, that was quite a bit more than I had planned on sharing but it is a well-rounded update on our lives.  :)  Thank you for letting me share!

Blessings to you,