Five Times and Back Again: A Journal of a Sixth Pregnancy (Vol. 4)

Last week I promised I’d write something about nursing while pregnant… I’m in this moment really floundering at coming up with anything positive about it!! It’s been one of those days where I’m tapped out, touched out, and done.. Logically I know there are MANY benefits to nursing while pregnant. It keeps your little one connected and tandem nursing is an AMAZING bonding experience. With as young as my Marah is still she really needs that and so do I as a parenting tool. What starts to happen, though, is your milk dries up inevitably (though not for every woman) and you go through a spurt of dry nursing. That’s the uncomfortable part. It doesn’t hurt necessarily (at least for me) but it sure makes my skin crawl at times. I’m sure that’s a biological thing as your body and brain make way for the new baby/life you will be sustaining.

Sage tuckered out from her 3rd birthday festivities.

When I nursed Sage through Marah’s pregnancy it was a pretty rough ride, her latch was ALWAYS horrid and while it normally didn’t bother me much at all while pregnant I had to set limits. She was old enough (just over 2) to understand that Mama needed some boundaries. She’s the only baby that I nightweaned, she’s the only one that I told that Mama’s boobies were tired like the sun and could only give her milkies when the sun was up (which actually led to waking at the crack of dawn for a few weeks), she’s also the only one (thus far) that nursed right up to her 4th birthday! (that’s when I gently said… okay, I think we’re done..)

Tandem nursing 3 year old Sage and newborn Marah

This time around I was really quite worried about going through the same hell I went through last time but was pleasantly surprised when I made it through the first trimester and I still had abundant milk. If Marah had anything going for her it was her MOST beautiful latch, it really kept things flowing… sadly though eventually hormones take over and there’s not much you can do about it. There’s no herb, supplement, food in the world that will keep an abundant supply while pregnant. Eventually it will dry up and then comes the dry nursing. EEK!

Sleepy baby

I’ve been trying to capture more pictures of nursing Marah because when I look at them, it makes me feel/see the good parts and removes the negative emotions I have associated with the dry nursing. She looks like a beautifully contented, sweet baby girl and I truly can’t wait to nurse her and another sweet little one.  I’ve been so grateful that I’ve had other women in my life to share my experiences with who have shared the good and not so good of nursing while pregnant and tandem nursing. It’s not an easy ride but it is TOTALLY worth it in the end… I remind myself to take it one day at a time and try not to think too far ahead with it. It’s easier mentally that way.

Sweet little nursling, 24 weeks pregnant nursing 17 mos old

Five Times and Back Again: A Journal of a Sixth Pregnancy (Vol. 1)

They say that up to 49% of all pregnancies in U.S. are unplanned… I could probably embrace that as truth, though I don’t care for the connotations that follow the term ‘unplanned’. I spent the first 2 weeks of my 6th pregnancy in complete denial. There was absolutely NO way I could possibly be pregnant again. We had been so careful and the previous month had been extremely hectic as we had lost our home and moved in with family. Apparently this meant that any solid and consistent fertile signs I possibly had would be impossible to accurately decipher. We were trying to avoid conceiving because the idea of another baby at this time in our lives was not in my plans. It seems that I have a knack for conceiving at all the ‘wrong’ (though so very right) moments in life, lol.

Shortly after my youngest daughter’s first birthday, I realized I was late. I thought the move and all the disruptions to our ‘normal’ lives had just caused a delay in ovulation and that I’d get my period any moment. I honestly didn’t FEEL pregnant, and you’d think having done this 5 times already that I most certainly would. Typically, before I get pregnant (planned or unplanned), I have a dream and I tend to feel that I’m going to have another. I was happily, merrily, blissfully ignorant to ANY signs that another life was making its way to me…. until I had one of my dreams. In these dreams, somehow my body communicates better with my brain, and I start dreaming about positive pregnancy tests, funny enough. So here I am, 10 days late, and I have this dream. In the dream, I take a test and it’s ‘inconclusive’; I could clearly see a positive line, but for some reason, it wasn’t very clear (or it wasn’t an accurate test) in my dream. That’s when I decided to bite it and buy a test. Well… I bought 2 tests, and thank goodness I did! The first test…apparently in my trepidation, I over-saturated it. In 17 years of having babies I have NEVER over-saturated a test before. Never. I actually wound up dripping pee from the first test into the second test, and the positive test line came up almost instantaneously. Heh. I truly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry — not even a week before, I had given away a ton of baby clothes and ALL of my maternity gear. Seriously?!

I showed my husband the positive test as soon as I could. He had the audacity to laugh (LAUGH!!!) and say “I told you not to get rid of everything!” Probably not the right thing to say to a distraught and freaked-out pregnant mama, lol. Then he said something that melted my heart into chocolatey goo. He said, “We are so blessed. We have so much love, and now we’re going to have a little bit more.” Our reactions were reversed, usually I am the one fapping on about how wonderful it’s going to be and how blessed we are and he’s the one groaning and wondering how we’re possibly going to pull this off, lol. Three years ago we had something similar happen. 3 years ago I found out I was pregnant, and 3 years ago I miscarried around 9 weeks. It was a little difficult to bond with or embrace this pregnancy because I’m actually due around the same time. I felt quite strongly that I didn’t want to share with any of our family until we were out of the first trimester, just in case. I really had a difficult time weeding through my very ambivalent emotions about another pregnancy and baby — I really didn’t need any other negativity complicating things.

I frequently had evening sickness the entire first trimester (whoever came up with the term ‘morning sickness’ is a joke!). I had lost so much weight leading up to conception that I was able to wear most of my regular clothes up until around the 18 week mark — it was almost like I went to bed one day in regular clothes and woke up the next in desperate need of comfy maternity pants, lol. Such a difference for me; usually I have to break out the maternity pants around 9 weeks! I think those early weeks were hard because I had to keep it a secret; even from my children. I’ve never hidden a pregnancy from them. I wanted nothing more than to share the news with them, and share their joy. My oldest was the first to know, and he guessed it; he took it kind of hard and that hurt a little, but he’s embracing the idea now. He thought he was the only one that didn’t know. The second to know was my 4 year old daughter and she was ecstatic with joy; she exclaimed “Another baby!! You’re going to have another baby! In your belly!!” She promptly spilled the beans the very next morning to anybody who would listen, lol.

18 weeks

Around 16 weeks, I started to feel little flutters of movement, and it made this pregnancy a little more real to me. At 20 weeks, I went in for an elective ultrasound. We found out that we are adding another baby sister; I’m loving the symmetry that my family has going on. Three boys first, and then three little girls. ♥  To be able to see Baby’s face and watch her move (LOTS of movement!) and connect with her — was amazing. I’m so glad I made the decision to have the ultrasound. It’s taken me a bit to get past some residual trauma from my last birth, which has hindered my abilities to decide on what sort of health care provider I wanted to go with. But I’ve finally decided to interview a midwife, and I’m hoping to deliver a new baby girl at home, peacefully, come August.

~ Nic