Exclusively Pumping & Milk Production Tips

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**This is all about breasts and pumping, so if you don’t want to read breast about 80 times, I’d go ahead and stop reading now.

I had every intention of breastfeeding Molly until she was one year old. I was so committed to making it work. While in the hospital, the pediatrician commented that I probably set a record for feedings in 24 hours for a first time mother after reviewing our feeding log. I wanted it to work. I was so hellbent on it working. And, you know what? It didn’t.

Molly had a lip tie that made it impossible for her to eat effectively. We unfortunately couldn’t get an appointment for her to get it fixed until she was 2.5 weeks old. By that time, she’d lost 10 ounces. After vomiting twice at a weight check appointment the day after her lip tie got fixed, she was hospitalized for failure to thrive. I can’t even begin to explain how much that sucked. I felt like a bad parent. Like no matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough. Fortunately, she gained enough weight after 24 hours in the hospital that we were cleared to go home (and then move 2 days later). But, the way she gained that weight was from bottle feeding pumped milk (and a little bit of formula because my supply wasn’t where it should have been because Molly couldn’t feed effectively).

So here we are 3 months later. I’m exclusively pumping, and I get at least 40 ounces a day. I have about 400 oz of milk in a deep freezer in our garage. I thought I’d share some milk making tips and some EPing tips for anyone else faced with this. Most of these tips apply to breastfeeding too.

  1. Hydrate. I drink about 120 oz of fluid a day. I water down juice (about 2 oz of juice to 10 oz water) so it has just a bit of flavor, make flavored water with cucumber or lemon and limes, drink decaf coffee, have some milk, etc. If you don’t drink enough, you won’t make enough.
  2. EAT. I was really worried I wouldn’t lose any weight after I delivered if I ate as often as I was hungry, but that wasn’t the case. You need an additional 500 calories a day to produce milk–this is more than you need while pregnant. Pick proteins and healthy fats. Both encourage milk production. Once you get used to eating so much, you can plan ahead so you don’t end up ravenous.
    1. Fats: Greek yogurt (2%, not 0%), cheese, milk, avocado, steak
    2. Protein: Meats, cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, eggs, KIND bars
    3. Other helpful foods: Oats!
    4. Herbs: Fenugreek (makes you smell like maple syrup, which is awkward) and Mother’s Milk Tea
    5. AVOID: Peppermint and Sage (both reduce production)
  3. Pump every 2-3 hours in the beginning. The first 12 weeks are the most important for creating a supply. For the first few months, I pumped every time Molly ate so I’d have enough for her. Now, I’m down to 4-5 pumpings a day. I pump every 3-4 hours during the day and then if Molly wakes up at night, I’ll pump then too. Currently I pump around 6 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm and 9:30 pm (right before bed). My first pumping of the day yields about 14 oz, as I haven’t pumped in about 8 hours.
  4. Lube. Use some sort of nipple balm before you pump. It helps to reduce friction so pumping is more comfortable. This allows you to pump for longer, making sure you fully drain your breasts. I use this Honest Co. Organic Nipple Balm and I really like it.
  5. Relax. If you’re stressed out, you’ll yield less milk. When we were still trying to find a house and living in temporary living, I was hardly getting any milk. Once we found a house and everything settled down, I saw a HUGE jump in my supply. I also get that it can be difficult to relax when life is so stressful with a new baby, but it does help!
  6. Flange Size. Have a lactation consultant check to make sure you’re using the correct size flange. This makes a huge difference in comfort. If you’re uncomfortable, you’ll yield less because you’ll stop pumping too soon.
  7. Pump an extra five minutes.  This is the SINGLE BEST TIP I ever got. This probably makes no sense unless you’re actually pumping. When your milk stops flowing while pumping, continue to pump for an extra 5 minutes. The milk should resume flowing after about 5 minutes. Once it stops again, continue to pump another 5 minutes. Continue to do this until your breasts are 100% empty. If I stopped the first time my milk stopped flowing, I’d get 2 oz on each side. Instead, I get 5 oz or so on each side. It takes me about 20-30 minutes to pump because I let the pump continue to run to make sure I get as much milk as possible.
  8. Get extra pump parts. It’s annoying to wash parts all the time. I’m lazy and it makes me cranky to have to wash them all the time. Having extras reduces the annoyance factor, which makes me keep pumping.
  9. Storing Milk. I use the Medela storage bags to freeze my milk. I group a week of those bags into a gallon ziploc bag and date it with that week. It helps organize the milk in the deep freezer so I can use the oldest milk first.

If you get blocked ducts, most of the advice you’ll find online will tell you to breastfeed and then pump after. This is just mean because you can’t breastfeed if you’re EPing. The only solution I’ve found is to use a heating pad for five minutes before pumping and then continue to hold the heating pad on the hard spot while pumping. I’d also suggest avoiding anything with underwire while you’ve got blocked ducts, as it seems to exacerbate the situation.

 

If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me! I’d love to help! Healthy Children, a website created by the American Academy of Pediatrics, also has an extensive section covering breastfeeding and related issues.

Pregnancy is NOT a disability

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Full disclosure: I understand every pregnancy is different. The things I’m saying apply to a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy. And, make sure your doctor is on board.

I really lucked out and found a doctor at the Naval hospital who was fully supportive of me continuing to stay active and really encouraged it. He told me to listen to my body and to not do things that were painful. He gave me the blessing to keep lifting weight and do whatever cardio made me happy. No maximum weight lifting limit. No maximum heart rate.

I got a lot of stares at the gym–particularly in the weight room. I continued to lift weights until I was 39 weeks pregnant. I only quit because I was worried I’d be too exhausted to labor if I went into labor. I continued to use 20 lb dumbbells for a lot of my sets and set most machines around 60 lbs. I dropped my weights by about 20% because that’s the weight my body felt comfortable lifting without straining anything.

A few older people said something along the lines of “wow, I’m impressed you’re still here.” And the military men (I went to the gym on base) typically gave a little stare with a furrowed brow like I shouldn’t be in there.

Here’s my issue. A lot of people use pregnancy as an excuse. I get that I was lifting before so I can continue lift, but I don’t really get why weight limits are imposed on pregnant women with healthy pregnancies. There is no reason to suddenly change everything you were doing, unless it’s causing issues or discomfort.

I got some commentary along the lines of “I’m impressed with how well you’re getting around. I figured you’d hardly be able to walk by now” around 33 weeks. Again, I think this has to do with maintaining my fitness level as best as I could while pregnant. I really think a lot of people get pregnant, eat whatever they want and use it as an excuse to be lazy. I don’t think I’d be where I am in terms of postpartum size if I hadn’t continued to exercise through my pregnancy. I swam or used the arc trainer two days a week and lifted three days a week, averaging about five hours a week in the gym.

I honestly was nervous to ask my doctor if he was fine I was still lifting weights. I was worried he’d tell me to stop or max out at 25 lbs like many doctors tell their patients–which for someone who lifts regularly is just a cruel joke (sorta like the cruel joke that is my life right now since I can’t work out at all). My doctor told me to treat pregnancy like I was training for an endurance race. Labor is the big event at the end after all the training. I do think labor was easier for me because I was in good shape. I never felt too exhausted to push, and I really truly felt like I’d just run a marathon when I was done delivering Molly.

Molly’s Nursery

Since we moved when Molly was just 2.5 weeks old, we didn’t buy much of anything for her nursery before our move. She slept in the 4moms Breeze until we moved into our current house and ordered her crib around 7 weeks. Poor kid was living in a really sparse room for a few weeks. But, we finally got it together and made her nursery a little more interesting. She’s got a ton of books because most of them where mine when I was a kid, and I saved them because I planned on being a teacher until I was 17 or so. We went with a nature/explorer theme, but I use the term theme loosely.

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nursery 1

Chalk Paint Chair 

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nursery 2

Chalk Paint Bookshelf

 

My favorite part of Molly’s room is her name. I used cardboard letters from Joann, then covered them with a map using Mod Podge.

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Crib: Jenny Lind DaVinci

Crib Sheet and Changing Pad Cover: Aden and Anais

Lamp: Target

Dresser: Joss & Main

Map: Papyrus

Wall Quote: Chick Lingo

Baskets: Target & Joann

Table: World Market

Folk Art Chalk Paint Projects & Review

**This is not a paid review. Folk Art has no idea who I am. I just wanted to share a cool new product I found!

I don’t know about you guys, but the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint–as magical and beautiful as it is–just isn’t in my budget. While I’d love to buy it, it’s just not a reasonable way to spend money when living on one income. And, quite frankly, I’d rather spend my money on wine since wine country is like 30 minutes away. When I saw the Folk Art Chalk Paint at Joann for $8.99, I figured it was worth a shot.

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I bought this chair at a yard sale for $5 when we were still in Washington. I assumed at some point I’d repaint it, but I didn’t know exactly what to do with it. I had originally planned on staining it dark brown, but when I was buying fabric to recover the chair, I happened upon the Folk Art Chalk Paint and figured I’d give it a try. There’s no prep work before painting with the chalk paint. You just paint over the finished wood–a major selling point in my book. I did this project one afternoon during nap time. It took 2 coats of white (White Adirondack) to finish the chair. You can still see some of the wood grain through the paint–a quality I wanted in the finished product. We were so happy with the chair we also painted a bookshelf for Molly’s room!

Chair Before:

chair before

Chair After:

chair after

Chair detail:

chair detail

To paint the bookshelf, we decided to make a custom color. I wanted a blue, but I didn’t love any of the blues Folk Art sold. I mixed two White Adirondack jars, two Cascade jars and one Parisian Grey to make our bookshelf color. The bookshelf also took two coats, and some areas needed three.

Bookshelf Before:

shelf before

Bookshelf After:

shelf after

Come back Friday to see Molly’s nursery!

My Post Baby Body

This post is full of pictures to honestly portray my body after having a baby. I want to share my experience, while respecting that not everyone has the same experience. I was in great shape before I got pregnant (in my opinion), and I continued to work out throughout my pregnancy. I haven’t been able to work out since delivery due to some complications. I also have a diastasis–where your ab muscles are separated down the middle–so my body could obviously be more toned now. I’ll get my diastasis fixed after we have a second kid, which we plan to do in the next few years. I should be cleared for exercise early next year after having surgery for my complications.

However, I’m honestly pretty pleased with how I’ve bounced back with zero exercise since I was 39 weeks pregnant. So, while I haven’t been able to work out since delivering in July, I am OK with how I look. I’m 100% sure this is because I was active prior to pregnancy and continued at nearly the same intensity until the end of my pregnancy. Also, breastfeeding is your best friend when it comes to weight loss! My diet still isn’t stellar, because you need a lot of food to make milk, so I’m feeling pretty lucky with where I’m at.

I gained 23 lbs total during pregnancy–mostly because I lost 5 lbs between week 6-8 from vomiting/not eating. I also craved salads during pregnancy and ate relatively healthy the whole time. So, moral of the story is workout during pregnancy because you’ll bounce back more easily–even if you can’t exercise after you have a baby!

5 weeks pregnant at 135 lbs–and I’m 5’9″ for those of you who are as nosey as me (s0 basically where I started):

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38 weeks pregnant at 158 lbs (at our favorite park in WA):

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12 hours post delivery:12hrs

5 days post delivery at 147 lbs:5daypp

2 weeks post delivery:

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4 weeks post delivery:

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8 weeks post delivery:

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12 weeks post delivery at 136 lbs:12weekspp

 I hope that once I have surgery, I’m able to get back to running and weight lifting. I plan to share my progress once I’m cleared for exercise again.

Lemons

You know that whole “when life gives you lemons” bullshit? Yeah, I’m not making lemonade. I’ve been absent here for a while, and I’ve got about 75 reasons why. Let’s preface this with this isn’t meant as a woe is me post to get sympathy, but rather an honest, life is hard kind of post. I dig honest posts and not the “my life is perfect” shit everyone presents on the internet in an attempt to one up each other or compete in some disgusting way. Moms are the worst about this.

The last seven and a half weeks have sort of sucked. Not because our little baby arrived, but because life has just sort of given us the short straw time and time again.

I don’t plan to share my birth story just because I think it’s very personal, most of you probably don’t care and it’s a long one. Basically, I went into labor on Wednesday with contractions 2 minutes apart and lasting 2 minutes (so really in labor) and I was almost admitted for delivery.

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Pretend labor fun

Then they slowed down to about 8 minutes apart and one minute long for oh just umm FOUR DAYS until I actually was in “real” labor again Sunday afternoon. Also, best part? My doctor, who I loved so much, left on Saturday for Taipei so he wasn’t going to be the one delivering me (and he’d been so sure I’d have the baby early because let’s just say things in the progress department indicated the kid was going to come out soon..clearly that meant nothing and she came on her due date). So I had strangers deliver me, but it was awesome. I was able to do it without any drugs, which was something I wanted so desperately. And, I’d do it that way again and again. So Molly arrived after about 12.5 hours of labor on a Monday morning. We went home Tuesday afternoon, and all was well.

Twelve days after delivery (and this is basically when shit hit the fan), I ended up in the ER hemorrhaging. FOUR pelvic exams later by 4 different doctors, only one of which had any idea what they hell they were doing apparently, I got to have a D&C to make it stop. Good times. And at that point, about 12 new people had seen my crotch. So this is where we stop counting on the running tally because it gets awkward. And, I’ll just let you venture to guess how good a pelvic exam feels 12 days after delivering an 8 lb baby. Hint: not good. Then multiply that by 4. Yeah.

The movers showed up and started packing out house 14 days after I had Molly. That was a great clusterfuck. And we got to sleep on the floor. But the packers weren’t done when the movers showed up. Also, fun update: Our bed is missing the feet and support beams for the center…so we had to rig it to even sleep on it and maybe the Navy will give us some money since they lost our stuff in the move? Oh and it’s all scratched and dented and we’re missing other furniture.

Molly had a lip tie, so we had to spend about 2.5 hours on the phone with Tricare trying to get coverage so we could get that fixed. At her two week appointment, she was still down 10 oz. so they wanted to weigh her again the next day. That afternoon, I took her to a dentist 1.5 hours away to laser her frenulum so she could feed more effectively. Picture this: your screaming two week old getting a needle shoved into her gum and then having her skin lasered while she screams and you hold her while smelling her burning flesh. Life gets a point, us: 0.

So I take Molly the next day to get weighed after my follow up appointment from my ER visit–which was all good (point for us). She’s still not gaining enough weight. So they decide I need to start supplementing with formula, which for anyone who knows me and my love of nutrition, you know this burns my soul. But first, she projectile vomits up what I fed her. So the lactation consultant who weighed her wants me to give her formula because she’s worried she has pyloric stenosis and formula makes them definitely vomit if they have it. Molly proceeds to vomit all of that up in the car on the way home–which the lactation consultant said warranted an ER visit if it happened again. So I took her to the ER. ER visit number two for us. Another point for life. So lots of familiar faces and “why are you back?” And then the admitting doctor–who was one of the doctors who checked Molly right after birth came and was like “I was looking at your chart. You guys have had one hell of a week.” Yes sir, we know. (He also commented right after labor “I had to do a double take because I didn’t think you could be the mother when I saw her birth weight.”) So they decided to admit her overnight for observation because her bilirubin levels were too high and with the weight gain issue they’d diagnosed her with Failure to Thrive (which basically made me feel like shitty parent of the year, even though it’s not my fault). Oh and let’s recall that this day is our second wedding anniversary (and we spent our first apart with Sully at sea…so third time’s the charm?)

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So I spent the night in the hospital giving Molly pumped milk, because they wanted to be able to track her intake, and formula as needed. She gained 100+ grams in 24 hours, so we were finally able to go home the next night. Sully came back and forth multiple times as he was cleaning the house and packing our cars because we were going to start our move the next day. Needless to say, our move got pushed back a day.

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The hospital room at least had a nice view of the inlet

We went to dinner the night she got discharged for a belated anniversary dinner and slept on the floor of our living room the last night in Washington.

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Flat Iron Steak with Gorgonzola mascarpone & balsamic glaze
#eatthefeelings

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Now Molly can’t latch and will only eat from bottles, so I’m exclusively pumping which is something I really never saw coming. I’m dedicated to giving her the best nutrition for as long as I can, so I’ll be sticking with it for a year as long as my supply hold steady. But again, not super fun. Every time we stopped on our move, Sully fed Molly a bottle while I pumped.

Friday morning, we loaded up the cars and took Molly to another appointment at the hospital. She’d gained an additional 120 grams and her bilirubin levels were down 7 points, so we were cleared to start our move! We wanted to get going so Sully could stop burning his leave time.

We finally started our drive for the move after her appointment on Friday. Rookie mistake. Portland traffic was hell. We drove 23 miles in two hours. TWO HOURS. It took us 10 hours to do the drive that usually takes 6. Molly was awesome and only ate every two hours or so and slept a lot. We stayed the night at Sully’s dad’s house. Then, the next day took us another 9 hours, which also should have taken 6. But that day’s fun was courtesy of Molly. She wanted to eat every hour. She had a wet diaper all the time. She was cranky. She didn’t want to be in the car anymore. I didn’t want to be in the car. So when we finally got checked into the lodge in CA I was just happy to go in another room and not hear her cry for 10 minutes. So sue me. The hotel had roaches in the kitchen, so that was a great time obviously. Shall we give life another point?

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Rest stop in Oregon with a dog run! Those granolas. Gotta love them. 

House hunting was great fun because houses had 15 applicants after 2 days on the market. We finally settled on a house the guy Sully is replacing is renting out. We’re happy enough with it. We originally applied for another house, but the property manager kept changing the date we could see it–which was still 3 weeks away and nobody wants to live in a roach infested hotel that long. We moved into our house at the end of August, and we’re still trying to get settled in and figure out what’s missing from our move.

In other fun news, I’m still not cleared for exercise at 7 weeks postpartum, which is basically like the doctor telling me to be miserable. So I’m impatiently sitting around and resting (and being in a foul mood) to hopefully eventually be cleared before I lose my shit. I worked out until a few days before I delivered so the 6 week break felt really long to me. I go back in three weeks. Say it with me. Eight pound baby. Point for life. But, I’ve only got 3 lbs to lose, so could be worse. We won’t discuss the number of inches I gained (2″ pretty much everywhere). I ended up gaining 23 lbs total and was down to like 7 to go after the first week. And, I’ve got a diastasis, where your ab muscles are separated, so if they don’t go back together on their own, I can have surgery to tack it back together. Clearly pregnancy recovery is my thing? I’m allowed to walk though, so Molly, Walter and I have been out checking out our new neighborhood every morning before it gets too hot!

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Sully didn’t have to go to work until the August 25th, so I basically had him home for the month before I had Molly and the first month of her life, which was super helpful. Point for us! And, we got Molly weighed around 3.5 weeks (after arguing with the hospital here to give us a damn appointment) and she was up 22 oz in 10 days, so she no longer has FTT. AND, I’m making enough milk that I no longer have to supplement with formula, which is basically the best thing ever. I’ve even got more than 100 oz in the freezer. Sully calls me milk maid now. I’ll take it. Another point for us!

So, needless to say, I’ve been a little absent lately. Throw in returning to classes, and I’m just a little busy. I’m hoping to be fully settled into the house in the next few weeks as my parents are coming to visit in early October. I also don’t know how much of Molly’s life or photos of Molly I’ll share on here. I just don’t love the idea of her being sprawled all over the internet, and I don’t think it’s fair to her to have her life chronicled online for everyone if she decides she doesn’t want that when she’s older. So for now there may be an occasional photo of her but this won’t turn into a mommy blog (despite my love of a good baby bump photo). Plus people are creepy and steal your baby photos.

He’s Home and Some Pregnancy Thoughts

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37 weeks

Sully got home right before I hit 35 weeks. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. The night before, I could hardly sleep. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come. After 140 days apart, with a total of 9 weeks of zero contact, just knowing that he’d be home if the baby decided to come early was such a relief. The boat got delayed a total of 28 days, so I was starting to lose patience as well as hope. But, it was the most exciting thing to see his face light up when he saw me.

Seeing his reaction to feeling the baby’s kicks the first time was amazing. Everything that excites me daily was new to him, so it’s been really fun for him to experience everything he missed out on in the past 4.5 months or so. He got to see my belly move for the first time, feel the baby kick and feel hiccups.

We’ve spent the last 2 weeks getting reacquainted with each other, taking our childbirth class, setting up the baby stuff and getting the house ready for our move. The childbirth class was really great. We both learned a lot–which was surprising after how much of a disappointment I found the lactation class–and we both feel more prepared for delivery day, whenever that may be. Sully also got to meet my doctor last week which was great. He really liked my doctor, so now we both really hope he can be there for delivery!

Sully got 5 days off after they’d been home for about a week, so we spent the two days after our childbirth class doing baby laundry, setting up baby’s little corner in our room, creating little diaper stations in a few places in the house and generally preparing for the baby’s arrival. We went to Seattle this weekend to have dinner with some friends and meander through Pike Place one last time. We’re trying to soak up our last days without a baby.

We STILL don’t know the gender. We decided with a maximum of 6 weeks left after he got home (my doctor won’t let me go past 41 weeks), we’d both rather hold out for the surprise at birth. We’d already had the gender in an envelope for 17 weeks without peeking, so what’s 6 weeks or less at that point really?

Walter is super pleased Sully is home. Here’s the video of Walter being reunited with Sully. It kind of melts my heart. Make sure you have your sound on. The noises coming out of that dog of our are priceless. He’s a big baby.

Walter and Dad Reunited from Chelsea E on Vimeo.

 

At one point I remember writing that I wasn’t really enjoying being pregnant. Early in pregnancy, I truthfully didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I was sick all the time. Once I got over the vomiting all the time, I’ve really come to love being pregnant. Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of big, and it’s getting harder to move around. But, I’ve honestly been enjoying my pregnancy. I feel pretty good about myself. I’m still doing most of my normal activities without too much extra effort. I don’t have any swelling or pain. My one complaint is that my super long torso means that all my maternity shirts are now getting too short, but most of them are still baggy. So I’m just trying to hold out until the end without buying anything else.

My doctor has been really supportive of me maintaining my previous activity level. He basically told me as long as it doesn’t hurt, I can continue to do anything I was doing before I got pregnant. I’ve been lifting weight still, but I’ve reduced my total load by about 20% just out of comfort. I’m still doing cardio a few days each week, but I’m dying to get back into running. I get quite a few stares and/or comments at the gym. One little old man asked me when I was due this week and after I told him July 21st, he told me I was amazing. Old people who are nice are basically my favorite! I plan to lift and do cardio until I either can’t do it anymore, which I don’t foresee happening, or until I deliver! My doctor is a strong advocate for staying active in pregnancy because it makes labor and recovery easier, so I hope he is right.

It Grew

I know it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my belly keeps growing, but when I compare the pictures, I’m always really surprised. I’ve got quite the belly these days. I think comparing them side by side is so funny because you can realllllly see the growth. Week 32 I was still pretty tiny, and now I’m getting pretty big. The 34 week picture sort of does look like I just shoved a basketball under my shirt though.

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Rather than bore you (and me) with three long lists of updates, I’ll just summarize. I’m up 18 lbs or so. I miss sushi, any sort of cold and/or icy beverage containing alcohol that I could drink on the patio in the sun and my husband. I pretty much only want to eat fruit, salad and icees. I’m trying not to partake in the icees too often because they’re gross if you read what’s in them.

I don’t feel too tired yet. I’m still getting to the gym 4-5 days a week. It’s been getting more comical. There have been some concerned looks, particularly when I go for the 20 lb dumbbells. My doctor is supportive of it, so I plan to keep on lifting until the end, unless gets too uncomfortable. I’ve been enjoying a nice 30 minute nap nearly each afternoon to make up for waking up in the middle of the night to roll over.

And, I’m looking forward to my husband coming home and enjoying our last few weeks before we’re parents. I have a list of dates I’d like to go on once he’s home. Most revolve around food. Pregnant people like food. I’m excited to go to our favorite breakfast place as many times as possible before we move and to just enjoy the nice weather before we go. We’re hoping to meet some friends in Seattle for dinner one night, and I’d like to go wander Pike Place one last time and get some flowers. We’re both just excited to soak up our last little bit of time just the two of us.

I’m most looking forward to seeing Sully’s face when he sees my big belly. I just don’t think pictures do it justice. I’m glad we had mail drops with the SIX delays the boat has had so it’s not a total surprise. (Yes, the boat really has been extended six time and they’ve already set a record for number of days at sea for his type of sub). But, I can’t wait to see his reaction to the first time he feels the baby kick or sees my whole belly move. There’s just so much to look forward to in the next few months!

We’re pretty much set on baby stuff. I’m holding off on baby laundry until Sully gets home so he can veto anything he really hates (but I doubt he will). But, I’m really excited to rip the tags off and put all the baby laundry away in my dresser until we move.

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I’ve got 2 months of Honest diapers ready to go so we’re covered until after the move when we’ll have a mailing address again. Newborn sized diapers might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Tell me these aren’t the cutest, tiniest thing ever.

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Once we find a house, I’ll use the Amazon Mom completion discount to buy everything left on our registry that we actually need–including the crib! So for the time being, the baby will sleep in the 4moms Breeze. I’m really happy with this purchase, and I think it will suit us with all the traveling we have planned for the next few years! Once I found out it opens and closes with ONE HAND, I basically didn’t care what the price was (though the 20% off from diapers.com was really what sold me…because it is really expensive).

Bandaid Rippers

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This is what “I hate people and want to be done dealing with them for the day” looks like. And has nothing to do with bandaid ripping, other than that we are the bandaid rippers in question. And this picture makes me laugh because it depicts us so well.

My doctor called us bandaid rippers when I asked him if it was OK to move two weeks after the baby comes. I actually don’t think I’d argue with him. We are the bandaid ripping type. I moved across the country to be with Sully before we we’d been together for eight months. Our wedding? Planned in three months because that’s when Sully could get time off. Moving right after a baby? Totally doable.

This summer is going to be a whirlwind. I don’t have any issue admitting that. I’ve been mentally prepping myself for the cluster F that will be this summer. I’ve given myself a pep talk or 57. Here’s a fun rundown of our current plan:

  • July 21: Due Date
  • July 31/August 1: House pack out dates (tentative, we’ll see what the Navy will give us…but Sully has to get home before we can plan this one)
  • August 3: Leave for CA, drive 6 hours
  • August 4: Drive the last 6.5 hours, live in a hotel until we find a house

Oh yeah, did I mention that? Since I can’t travel pretty much right after Sully gets home from sea because I’ll be too far along, we can’t go find a house. So, we’re going to be living in the hotel on base in CA for as long as it takes to find a house. With Walter AND a newborn. Try not to be too jealous. Sounds like a shit show, yes?

Walter will ride in Sully’s car, and I’ll drive my car with the baby. We’ll stop every few hours to feed and change the baby…or more often depending on how often “it” screams at me. So the 6 hours of driving will turn into closer to 10 hours from point A to point B each day. We’ll be packing everything we need for the baby for at least the first few month into our cars just because we won’t be able to access anything the movers pack until we find a house.

Now, if that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. Really, our options are limited. Sully has to be in CA by the end of August. We need to find a house, preferable before he checks into his new job so we can get at least a little bit settled. I have to have this baby here since I’m cut off from travel way too soon after he gets home, and he has too many things to do on the boat up until when we leave.

But, this will make us more flexible. And hopefully, it’ll make our baby more flexible. I’m not a “go with the flow” person. I’m a control freak. I think this will be a good lesson in patience and flexibility–two things I’m going to need as a mother.

And, I know the baby may not be here by my due date. My doctor and I have discussed options. He’s willing to help move things along if needed/wanted–within reason obviously. I’m undecided on this whole idea, so we’ll play it by ear. I’m sure I’ll make that decision in bandaid ripping kind of way too.

Leaving Washington

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The view from our patio  |  Olympic Mountain Range

Leaving Washington will be so bittersweet. I have loved living here–despite my bitching about the weather–but I’m also looking forward to all the new memories we’ll make it California. I have such mixed feelings about saying goodbye to Washington. It’s been our home for more than three and a half years. Walter joined our family here. We got engaged here. We lived here when we got married. We got pregnant here. We’ll welcome our baby into the world here.

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The day we brought Wal home

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The day we got engaged, right where he proposed

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We’ve spent about a year of our time here apart because of deployments. Deployments with limited contact via email and that’s it. Sully worked well over 15,000 hours here. We spent weeks not seeing each other while he was in shift work. Coming home at different times, just barely missing each other by an hour. We spent two months with him not being able to communicate off the boat. We spent weeks of every deployment not being able to communicate. He went to sea seven times while we lived here. It hasn’t been easy for either of us.

I got my first real job here after college. I found myself here. I decided to go back to school while we lived here, thanks to the support of Sully and sweet friends I made.

I’m glad to be saying goodbye to the boat. The crappy hours. The uncertainty. The lack of schedule. I’m glad to not suffer through the winter here again. I won’t miss the 8 hours of sunlight in the winter. I will miss the sun rising before 5 am in the summer and setting around 10 pm. I’ve never experienced such a beautiful summer until we moved here. I’ll miss the hours spent outside in the summer, surrounded by mountains. I’ll miss seventy degree summer days. But the lack of sunshine in the winter? Not even sort of sad to not do that again.

In some ways, Washington has become home to me, which I never thought would happen. This place will always hold a special place in my heart because of everything that has happened while living here. We’ve been on many adventures and explored this beautiful state. I’m excited for a new adventure and to see where life takes us, but I can’t help but feel sentimental to leave a place where our lives changed so much. Where we became who we are today.