Sunday, July 21, 2013

Another reason to love my son

One perfectly beautiful Sunday, I convinced myself I could become "the mom who bakes". Armed with a recipe in my phone, I enlisted our companions to become my baking assistants and I courageously attempted to make banana chocolate chip cupcakes.

Well, what do you know, I learned early that cupcakes and Khaye - they don't really get along. The recipe said I should stick a toothpick in one of the cupcakes to try if it would come out clean, which meant the baking was done. This should take about 60 to 80 minutes, so after putting the baking pan in the oven, I set the timer on my phone to an hour, and leisurely took a bath.

Then, my husband relentlessly knocked on the bathroom door, saying that the cupcakes were almost burnt.

Thirty minutes had passed when I made the toothpick test and it already came out clean. The cupcakes smelled and looked burnt, so I took them out.

Not only were they overbaked, they were extremely dried, with chances of bitter-tasting-portion kind of burnt. :(

Our companions were nice enough to tell me the insides were okay, it was only the edges which got burnt.

My husband, (oh the sweet person that he is), thought I might have discovered the hybrid that will give "cronuts" a run for its money. He called my creation the "cooffins" - because it looked like muffins but was every bit a cookie in its hardness. He went on the whole day annoying me with his suggested jingles for my cooffins, complete with melody and Zohan's mini guitar as accompaniment. And the name was with pun intended, of course. 

But Zohan, my darling little boy, has an entirely different story.

Look at how he devoured my cooffins like they were baked by Sonja's. It made me love him even more.

And when you asked him about it, this was how he responded:

Nanay: Anak, anong kinain mo kanina?
Zohan: Papay.. (Tinapay)
Nanay: Sinong nagbake?
Zohan: Nanay
Nanay: Anong lasa? Masarap ba?
Zohan: Popo. (Opo)

Standing ovation - slow clap.

I must cherish the moment while he's not yet aware what a real cupcake tastes like.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Breastfeeding Story - and How it Ended Twenty-Two Months later..

A month ago, I wrote a post raising the question of how to wean your kid in two months. It was because I have decided to wean Zohan after he turns two, which would happen in two months at the time the post was written. I was running around like a headless chicken, totally clueless on how to go about it and I felt like time was ticking fast. The post never got published, and somehow, the big guy up there provided the answer through this.

After learning about my pregnancy, the husband and I immediately went to an OB to have myself checked. The first doctor that I went to advised against continuing my breastfeeding. She mentioned about the hormone "oxytocin" which is released to the bloodstream each time a mother breastfeeds - which hormone also causes the uterus to contract, sometimes leading to a miscarriage. Given this scenario, and considering the fact that I had earlier decided to wean Zohan in two months, I felt like it was really time to put an end to our breastfeeding story.

Before going to the end, please indulge me as I narrate how we started.

Initially, I made a promise to myself that I would move hell or high water to breastfeed him for at least six months. Then I eased into breastfeeding and have since realized how healthy my son had been. So six months became a year.

After my son turned one, I stopped expressing milk at work and would only breastfeed him when we’re together. Things became easier for me (because really, it’s just the expressing milk and storing and heating and all that jazz which burdened me). What could be more convenient than just popping out my breast at any given time - when my son needed it, and sometimes, when I needed it (i.e.,to pacify him or lull him to sleep)? So breastfeeding became my new normal, and weaning transitioned to an issue that I would always put off for another day.

Before I knew it, he’s only two months shy of two years old – healthy and still breastfed.

Twenty-two months later, and with six posts on breastfeeding, I have decided it was time that he parted ways with my breast. 

Things would have been easier if he’d taken the bottle. That way, he would still have something to suck on to. But ever since I stopped expressing milk at work, he also stopped taking the bottle, mainly because he never really liked any formula milk. We tried almost all brands I could think of and I had asked his pedia for her recommendations – but we always ended up throwing stale formula milk because he never took it. To supplement, we would give him fresh milk and yogurt milk, upon the advice of his pedia. He particularly liked Selecta Fortified Milk tetra packs and Dutchmill Yogurt Milkdrink (all four flavors!).

On June 18, 2013, exactly two months before Zohan turned two (the exactness was purely coincidental, by the way), I started the Herculean task of weaning him. 

It was a Monday (because I didn't want to do it on a weekend and ruin two perfect days that we were inseparable), and after arriving home from work, Zohan was there at the front door, ready to jump on me and feed himself. I had to excuse myself, rush to the washroom, and put red lipstick all over my breast. Yes, this Revlon Colorburst Lipstick - True red was my accomplice!

Image taken from here
With a thump on my chest and a lump on my throat, I coaxed the poor boy into the bedroom and showed him Nanay's breast, with lipstick all over. I told Zohan it was "Yuck", and as expected, he let out a loud, guilt-inducing cry. At this point, I was already crying myself. To add insult to injury, I couldn't even carry Zohan because I was also advised against it by my OB, so the husband had to take charge. 

After a few minutes, Tatay was able to console Zohan. The next bout of crying was at bedtime. He wanted to pull my shirt up but the minute he saw the "yuck" breast, he cried inconsolably. I had to put up a poker face, but inside, I was torn and shattered into tiny pieces.

That first night, the little boy woke up thrice and cried relentlessly.  Each time, I was crying harder than him. Thanks to the husband who signed up to be the night's hero, Zohan would doze off after being carried and lulled back to sleep. The second night, Zohan cried twice in the middle of the night; and on the third night, he cried only once.

The following nights had been peaceful, and that marked the end of our breastfeeding story. Now, if you ask Zohan if he wanted to breastfeed, he'd say, "Noh, noh, Nanay dede yuck." 

I was so proud of that little guy. He has always made things very easy for me, for us. From my uneventful pregnancy, to our smooth breastfeeding experience, until the quick and easy weaning, he has always been kind and considerate. 

But you know what's the clincher? I switched doctors; (more about that in a separate post - and it's all about VBAC) and the second doctor informed me it was not a hard and fast rule to stop breastfeeding while pregnant. (Wtf, right?!) 

She said that in theory, yes, the body releases oxytocin when a mother breastfeeds, but not all women experience uterine contractions. In fact, she has patients who are breastfeeding until six months of pregnancy or even right until they're about to pop. 

This new information prompted me to do some research and I found a helpful article from our reliable muther Kelly. This was particularly enlightening:

Breastfeeding and contractions
Nipple stimulation releases the hormone oxytocin into the bloodstream. Oxytocin is important for breastfeeding because it is the chemical messenger that tells breast tissue to contract and eject milk (the “milk ejection reflex”). Oxytocin also tells the uterine tissue to contract. All women experience uterine contractions during breastfeeding, although they are usually too mild to be noticed. Nipple stimulation can be used to ripen the cervix when a woman is at term, and can also augment labor after it is underway. Postpartum breastfeeding efficiently shrinks the uterus back to pre-pregnancy-size.

Given these associations, it seems a short jump to guess that breastfeeding might trigger labor before it’s time. This question deserves medical study, and it is important to bear in mind that at this time we do not have one. At the same time, preliminary data do suggest that breastfeeding and healthy term births are quite compatible. Sherrill Moscona’s 1993 survey of 57 California mothers who breastfed during pregnancy concluded that breastfeeding resulted in no apparent adverse consequences to the mothers’ pregnancies.3 There are also countless anecdotal reports of mothers who have breastfed throughout pregnancy have given birth to healthy term babies. Of course, some pregnancies are not destined to proceed as we hope, whether the mother is breastfeeding or not, and so breastfeeding mothers have suffered their share of preterm labor and miscarriage as well.
Read the full article here.

Anyway, that's water under the bridge now. I have since realized that I also have to focus on our new baby and his/her (hopefully her) safety. And since there is a risk involved in continuing my breastfeeding, I gladly accepted that Zohan and I have hit the end of the road. I personally believe twenty-two months is a feat in itself, and I'm actually patting myself on the back right now.

It was a wonderful journey. And I hope to tread that road again with baby number two. 

Sadly, this is the only breastfeeding picture that we have. Taken during Christmas of 2012.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Independence Day

On June 12, 2013, aside from staying at home because it was a holiday, something enormous happened to us.

We celebrated freedom from not knowing that the delay of my monthly visitor was not just a mere physiological mess-up.

We're expecting again!

Once more, my husband and I opened up ourselves to a life-long vulnerability - to pain, to worries, to financial woes, to emotional wreckage.

But likewise, and this is more important, we opened up ourselves to loving unconditionally, with only the hope of being loved the same way in return. And that is probably one of the best things in this world. So we both think it's all okay. And we can't wait for the vulnerability to begin..
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