There is a long story behind this, and perhaps the reason that I've been so quiet about posting lately. Let me tell you how it all went down.
Around Andrew's six-month birthday (October 28), I experienced a decrease in pumping output. I had been pumping 20-24oz a day, and over a two week period, I started pumping around 7oz. a day. Andrew needed 12-16oz. a day. This was pretty concerning, as I really wanted to make it to a year on breastmilk and not have to give him any formula. I was upset - I felt like my body was failing.
I looked online and in my books and found two items of interest: (1) pumping output is not an indicator of total milk supply - your baby can get more from you than the pump can, and (2) if you have an oversupply, it will re-regulate itself around six months. I never considered myself to have oversupply, because Andrew never complained that it was too much or too fast, but I did pump extra. I found it weird that my supply would re-regulate to less than Andrew was needing, but okay. As for the first part, I was relieved that we had two long-ish trips coming up (France/Spain for Thanksgiving and home for Christmas), and Andrew would be able to nurse from me a lot.
Right around that same time, Andrew went from sleeping a nice 5-6 hour block followed by some shorter blocks to waking up every 2 hours on a good night, every hour on a bad night. He also started to get a little moody, a little clingy, a little cranky, until, by Christmas, he wanted to nurse every 20 minutes. If I was in the room, he had to be on my body. Daddy could no longer help out at night. Our happy little boy seemed to have disappeared. This I also explained by saying 'well he's dealing with teething, then the onset of object permanence, then learning to crawl.'
Over Christmas, Andrew had his first honest-to-goodness cold complete with fever (no fever for the first 8 months - impressive!), and by the time we got home to Colorado, he was mostly better but still coughing. Worried that it was going to turn into pneumonia or something, I took him into the Children's Hospital urgent care center on December 31. As part of triage, they weighed him, and he weighed in at 17.5 lbs, clothed.
My heart seized. At his six month well-baby visit two months earlier, he had weighed 18 lbs, naked.
Since this wasn't our normal ped with all of our records, no one noticed that anything was amiss. I was too shocked and ashamed to say anything right then, but I was starting to panic. When I got home, I told Travis, and he *really* started to worry. I realized that I didn't have just a pumping output problem, but a total milk supply problem. Andrew wasn't cranky and clingy because he was developing object permanence, but because he was hungry. And had been for two months. There's only one thing I could think of that might totally tank your milk supply just out of the blue like that.
I had been meaning to take a couple pregnancy tests for a while -- all of my tests left over from the "conceiving Andrew" timeframe were expiring. In fact, I had taken one, and the pink dye smeared all over so that you couldn't even see the control line -- definitely expired and useless. But I hadn't taken another one. On New Year's Day, I picked three out of my stash, an internet cheapie dip strip, a First Response Early Result, and a Clear Blue Easy Digital. I peed in a cup so I could use all three, and dipped the cheapie. By the time I got the package for the First Response open, two lines had appeared on the strip. All three tests came out clearly, undeniably positive.
I could say I was shocked, and I was definitely surprised that it was really real, but I was mentally preparing myself that this was the missing piece of the puzzle that I had been trying to solve. Travis and I spent the rest of the day trying to wrap our brains around the idea that we had another little one on the way. See our strategy following birth was to not try, of course, but also not to particularly prevent anything. We figured we'd trust in the protection provided by exclusively breastfeeding, that statistics said we wouldn't catch the first egg, that after my first period we'd know to be more careful, and that if all of this was wrong and we got pregnant anyway, well, we wanted another child someday, so there you go.
Well, as Steve says, "If you're not preventing, you're trying." And apparently my body didn't recognize pumping at work as exclusively breastfeeding. And statistics failed us. And it's a really good thing that we were planning on having another babe, even if it wasn't necessarily so soon.
I estimated, based on when my milk supply dropped, that we had probably conceived sometime around the end of October, and based on that, I was probably 11 or 12 weeks along. Imagine my shock when I had a dating ultrasound and found that I was 17 weeks instead! Not only had I skipped the entire first trimester, but I was almost halfway done! And we could have the anatomy scan in 3 weeks! My due date is June 20th, and if this one comes on the due date like Andrew did, the kids will be one week shy of 14 months apart.
Subsequent to finding out about Andrew's weight loss and the positive pregnancy test, we started Andrew on formula, and he drank up like a man in the desert. In spite of my intention to keep breastfeeding as much as possible and only supplement with formula, he weaned himself pretty quickly once he realized he could have unlimited formula. He has done really well with it, and has chunked up quite nicely - he has gained two pounds and one inch just in the last month alone. Also we took the opportunity of stopping night-nursing to do some non-cry-it-out sleep training, and he picked up on that really quickly as well, and can now put himself to sleep from practically wide awake in his crib. I feel like he has grown up and matured so much in the last month. Maybe he will be ready to be a big brother.
Since I haven't been posting to the blog, anticipating this announcement, I've been storing up posts from the last month to go back and post once the news was out. So those will go up shortly.
We are so thankful for the gift of life and love that's currently inside me. Yes, it was a surprise, but what an incredible thing. She's going to turn our world upside down again, but I say bring it on.
|Hello there, cutie|
|Hands up by face|
|Toes (upper left)|