Experiences with Breastfeeding: Part 2

It is such a relief once breastfeeding becomes “easy”. I guess a better word would be relaxed. Baby has become more efficient and I have become more comfortable. These days there isn’t much pain and leaking is minimal. Things are good.

At 4 months I had to go back to work, which meant that baby would go to daycare and I would pump in my office. The first two days were difficult for her, but since then she has been totally fine. I had trouble pumping enough for her in the beginning, but with a little patience and more frequent pumping sessions I was able to send her with enough milk without having to do any extra pumping outside of work. Thankfully, my experiences with pumping at work have been wonderful. I have my own office and I’m able to just close and lock my door when I need to. Also, there are other women here who have been in the same situation and so everyone is very understanding and supportive.

However, during that month we found out that baby seems to have a cows milk protein allergy. It was causing her to have a lot of mucus and sometimes blood in her diaper. The doctor asked me to put her on a special formula for a week, but to continue pumping. I guess the doctor felt that the formula would give us a faster answer, but it broke my heart to hear those words. Anyways, I listened to his advice and after two days passed and neither of us had slept very much, I gave up and I put her back to my chest. (A week before that I had stopped having any dairy myself. The doctor had told me to cut back, but I decided it would be easier for me to just avoid it as much as I could.) It took us three to four weeks, but we saw improvement. I have continued to avoid dairy and breastfeed and I’m happy with my decision to do that. I’m also grateful that the pediatrician was supportive of my decision as well. Continue reading

Experiences with Breastfeeding – Part 1

I never really had a second thought about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. However, I was not 100% sure that I would be physically able. I just kept reading and as much as I read, the most support I felt. I didn’t really know how difficult it would be, but I felt prepared to face any challenges that might come my way.

I remember thinking about it a soon as my baby was put in my arms. I remember the first time that I put her to my chest and she latched, even though very briefly. I felt relieved.

Not long after I started having worries: is she getting enough milk? am I doing this right? is she latched correctly? am I holding her the best way?

The lactation consultant at the hospital was not much help, if I’m being honest. The only tip I really took away from speaking with her was that I could try to wake my baby by tickling her feet. One of my nurses on the other hand saw my concern and brought me a pump to use. She said at the least using it will help stimulate milk production and if any milk is expressed I could try feeding it to the baby if I was worried about how much she was getting while nursing. I think she was right, in that it did help me product milk and it also put my mind at ease, but I think that the shields of the hospital pump made my nipples sore and possibly even bruised.

I continued to try to nurse baby while at the hospital. I used lanolin constantly as my nipples were very tender. My right even had a purple bruise. I’m not sure if it was from baby or the pump. I left the hospital unsure, but hopeful.

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Echolac Bags 

I bought a diaper bag while I was pregnant and I like it, but I don’t find it convenient to pack or carry. Because Y and I travel quite often, I decided that a backpack style diaper bag would be much easier.

I stopped in a luggage store while taking a quick walk at the mall. I found a backpack that I liked and next to it was a little shoulder bag.

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Hospital Bag

From the beginning of my pregnancy I saw blogposts, YouTube videos and pins on Pinterest about packing a hospital bag for labor and delivery. I even received advice and suggestions from friends. However, I didn’t even start thinking about my own bag until about midway through the 35th week. One of my friends said, “You better get going on that.”

I took my overnight bag out from my closet and set it on the floor in the living room. It sat there for a couple of days staring at me before I began putting some items beside it.

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Postpartum in KSA – At the Hospital

*WARNING – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES AFTER LABOR & DELIVERY.

There I was on the hospital bed feeling all sorts of relief. My full and stretched belly was now strangely empty. The tiny kicks were no longer there. The pressure and pain I had been feeling for weeks was gone. But nearby was a tiny little baby.

There were all sorts of feels as I held her in my arms and she looked up at me with her precious eyes. I held her close and attempted to feed her for the first time. She latched and sucked, but for what only seemed like a few seconds. That made me nervous, but hopeful. I knew that breastfeeding was probably going to be difficult, but I felt determined.

Soon after the nurse came and told me that they would take the baby to the nursery. I said no, but she insisted. I tried again to say no, but in that situation I really think as a first time mom it is necessary to have someone to advocate for you. The nurse took her to clean her up and dress her in the nursery.

As I waited for a room to become available for me, I felt the sudden need to use the restroom. I called the nurse, who told me that she didn’t want me to get up as I might pass out. She handed me a bedpan and closed the curtain around my bed. 10 minutes later I called her back and told her I couldn’t manage this way and wanted to go to the restroom. She nervously dealt with my IV and walked with me across the room. I didn’t imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to get up and walk, but that wasn’t even half of it. Once in the bathroom, I did what I needed to do. Wiping was the most terrifying thing of the whole labor and delivery ordeal. How could I possible be this swollen? Is this normal? Am I going to be like this forever? The nurse helped me clean up with some cool water from the bidet sprayer. She then helped me into a pair of disposable underwear while inserting the biggest, thickest, longest pad I’ve ever seen. That was another terrifying thought. Blood, blood and more blood must be in my near future. I had seen the outcome of that on the pad that they had placed under me on the hospital bed, but I guess I assumed that was more from the delivery and not the aftermath.

Eventually, they came to take me to my new room. I would stay there for two days until I was ready to go home. They wheeled me down the hall, through a door and into a room. I moved from one bed to another and looked around…

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Labor & Delivery in KSA

*FYI – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES DURING LABOR & DELIVERY OF MY FIRST BABY.

November 21, 2016

At 7:40 pm I woke up from a short nap with back pain. I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I pulled the shower curtain outside of the tub, closed the drain and turned on the hot water. I got in the tub slowly as it was filling. Bubbles formed foamy clouds as I felt the pain in my back and tightness in my belly come and go. They lasted about 45 seconds but within the hour the time between them varied from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. I relaxed in the water until I felt I had enough. I pulled myself out of the warm soapy water and wrapped a towel around my round pregnant belly.

Y was still sleeping. I went to the kitchen and made myself something hot to drink. In the living room I turned on the tv and sat on my rubbery blue exercise ball. Bouncing and rotating my hips made me feel more comfortable and lessened the pain in my back when it came.

Around 10:00 I asked Y if he would take me to a nearby park to walk, as around the apartment had felt better than sitting. We walked for about 45 minutes or so. I was still having the contractions. During that hour they were from 20 seconds to a minute long and happened anywhere between 2 1/2 minutes to 14 minutes. On the way back to the apartment Y stopped to get me a vanilla milkshake from Baskin Robins.

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Pregnancy in KSA

*FYI – THIS POST IS ABOUT MY EXPERIENCES DURING PREGNANCY.img_9504

Wednesday: March 30, 2016 – First hint of pregnancy
Monday: April 11, 2016 – Confirmation of pregnancy!

First Trimester

Morning sickness  [more like all day sickness]
Unhelpful – car rides, heat, lack of sleep, most foods
Helpful – sleeping in/naps, lights off
Foods – Kraft macaroni & cheese, DQ slushies, Ramen noodles, Pediasure (with milk)
Other Items – Sea Band (acupressure bracelets for nausea)


Trips
– Dubai {weekend getaway}, Ha’il {to see Y’s family}
Events – Work, Start of Ramadan
Beauty – Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil
Medication – Navidoxine (for nausea), Prenatal vitamins, folic acid

Appointments:
April 20 – 7 weeks –  Ultrasound — check to see developing embryo with heartbeat
May 16 – 11 weeks
May 30 – 13 weeks – Ultrasound — first time to see “baby” (head, body, limbs, heart).

Overall feeling – Sick. Tired. Happy to be pregnant.

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TTC in KSA

*Warning – this post is about my experiences while trying to conceive.

*You’ll find hyperlinks within the text that connect you to helpful websites.

Before I begin I would like to say thanks be to God for everything and every situation.
الحمدلله على كل شيء
الحمدلله على كل حال 
ِEverything happens (or doesn’t happen) at exactly the right time based on God’s plan.

Y and I had waited a long while for the paperwork to come through making our marriage legal here in the Kingdom. By the time everything finally happened both of us were more than ready for our family to grow and so our TTC (trying to conceive) journey began.

It was August 2015 and we were in Ha’il just after our wedding celebration with the family. While driving around the city in the car I looked at Y and said, “I want to ask you something.” He smiled at me as he usually does when I say something like that and replied, “What is it?” I’m not sure if I thought there was a chance he might say no or if I just felt more comfortable shyly bringing up the topic as a question instead of a request. “Can we start trying to have a baby?”

I was nervous about the whole thing. I was afraid that for some reason I would not be able to get pregnant. I had been on the birth control pill from the time I was 16 or 17 (for severe menstrual cramps) until I was 22. That September (2013) I started feeling very strange about the chemicals that I had been putting into my body for so long and decided to start praying Istikhara (prayer done while seeking God’s guidance) in order to make the decision to continue or to stop using them. After a few days of prayer and a couple of dreams I made the decision to stop taking the pill and to use other methods of birth control. This led me to start researching fertility awareness methods.

My first cycle off of the pill made me remember why I had started taking it in the first place. The cramps came on slowly and before I knew it I was on the sofa in the fetal position moaning and groaning while I waited for the Advil I had taken to kick in. It took me a few months, but I finally figured out how to deal with the pain and carry on with life.

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