Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"She's a recording artist."

This is how my neighbor and good friend, Stacy, introduces me to people. I love it! I toss my hair a bit, square my shoulders, and reply, "Pleased to meet you!"

Recently, I was interviewed by the fabulously talented photographer. Read about it and see some CUTE pictures of Adam!

Then visit her other posts and website and drool!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Catching Up Part I

Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house - not a creature is stirring... Because the hubster took the toddler to Lowe's and left this pregnant mom alone all morning to do nothing but lie in bed, sip tea, watch HGTV, and browse pinterest.

Can you hear the angels singing???

So, while the house is so quiet - I thought I might update you all on October and November.

I'm having trouble remembering the fall... I know it was here. I know we did stuff, lots of stuff. But its all a blur! Somewhere in there we packed up our house into two suitcases and loaded our carry ons with baby gear and headed to Phoenix to watch Andy's sister get married.

Have you traveled with a toddler? Oh, my. First Andy and I packed as light as possible into one suitcase and Adam got his very own suitcase. Lots of outfits, sleepers, diapers (cloth), sleep sacks, bottles, pacifiers, toys, books, the partridge in a pear tree. Then Andy had a carry on - a diaper bag - full of diapers for the trip, extra outfits, milk for the plane, snacks, two turtle doves. And I had a carry on - an additional diaper bag packed full of entertainment for the plane ride including three french hens. Add to that a stroller that we gate checked and stroller bag to protect the outrageously expensive but totally worth it Orbit stroller gear and four calling birds. Lastly, we somehow managed to get Adam, our two carry ons, my purse, and his convertible car seat, plus five golden rings on the plane. Thank God for Aunt Julie who flew down with us and Grandpa Lyle who flew back and helped as best they could!

We were so grateful to be able to see Hannah and Will get married... But after Adam developed an ear infection on our second day, a trip to urgent care and two exhausted parents boarded the plane to come home - we decided we'd put traveling off for awhile! 

Not long after we arrived home - it was time to trick or treat!

Andy as the milk man and me as the knocked up 50s housewife off to a neighbors bash!
Let's see - Halloween! That was fun! Adam was a monkey. But he found the whole event rather emotional and so we only trick or treated at two houses before turning around for home. In fact, we were rather lame this Halloween. We set an ORANGE bowl out on the door step and hung a sign that said, "RING THE DOOR BELL AND DIE! BABY SLEEPING!" Ok - maybe it was bit nicer than that but not much... Andy and I watched a movie and we called it a night!

You might notice I have pink in my hair. After 11 years, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer again. This was a big blow for her and all those who love her. Things seemed to move at a snail pace as she navigated through treatment options. Luckily, the cancer was noninvasive. But because our family history is so strong in the breast cancer department, and because this was a second cancer for my mom, she and her doctors decided to proceed with a total mastectomy. This would allow her to escape radiation and other long term drug therapies that carry enormous side effects and risk.  After the mastectomy, the pathology results came back showing an additional cancer that the mammogram hadn't found. This additional cancer was an invasive cancer and reassured mom that she had made the right decision. Because the lymph nodes came back negative for any cancer, mom is now cancer free and not needing any further treatment. Just rest and serenity!

I have to tell you how amazing my church family was through all this. They supported my little family here which helped me support my mom and dad there. There were tons of prayers said and I know they worked. Mom is still recovering 6 weeks later but doing great and going back to work full time this week!

My mom is brave. And strong. And ate a lot of patience pie. I love my mom.

A couple weeks after her surgery it was time for Thanksgiving! Last year I had double stuffed oreos for Thanksgiving dinner because I was nursing an MSPI child - and oreos have nothing real in them - making them safe for me to eat! So this year, I went nuts. I went pyscho cooking crazy.




I set the table on Monday and started prepping as much as could on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

My final menu included: Alton Brown's Brined Turkey
Bon Appetit's Spinach-Porcini Stuffing which I made gluten free
 My Grandpa's Sweet Potatoes
 Gravy with Cognac (made from the turkey stock simmering on the stove all day)
Mashed Potatoes
 Sue's cranberries (Sue is a chef with a fabulous blog and I make her recipes all the time.)
Libby's Pumpkin Pie 
Vision's of Sugar Plum's Pecan pie with homemade pastry crusts
 Freshly Whipped Cream
 Bon Appetit's Real Creamed Corn Pudding  which was a new recipe I tried out
 and Roasted Green Beans with Shitake Mushrooms. 

(Click on the dish and the link will take you to the original recipe!)

PLUS my mom brought her famous oyster stuffing and some rolls and a family friend, Mary, brought cranberry fluff. 

After we feasted, we reheated, loaded the car - twice - and then headed up the road to Andy's Grandparents house where we feasted again. 

I miss Thanksgiving already. 

Then it was December. That's when all heck brook loose. 

To be continued... 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It Was the Best of Times...

I remember these days... I think.... Well, at least I think I remember these days... 
Just hours old. Not one of us knows what we're really in store for. What came was a baby with severe reflux, food allergies, terrible nurser, triple feedings... but so sweet and so beautiful.

Somehow we manage to survive and thrive though only sleeping for 2-3 hours total a night. And that's not in a row.

Merry Christmas Baby! Nursing pro and sleeping 5 hours straight almost every night. Food allergies have been identified and the mspi diet is in full swing. 

6 months old! So happy. Such a busy baby! 

9 months old. Swinging at the park. And a smile for everyone!

My beautiful boys. 

11 months. Sitting, standing, cruising. Always on a mission. 

And then the big day!

First Birthday! We had a Little Man theme complete with mustaches, bow ties, pretzel cigars, and lots of cake!

Almost everyone liked the cake!

The cake made one little boy a bit nervous...

FOUR generations. How blessed are we!

Granddad and Adam 

Mommy's Little Man

Happy Birthday baby! 
We had such a special day! Andy put together a video capturing Adam's first year. It was so special. We were overwhelmed with family and friends who came to celebrate Adam's first year with us. Adam is loved by so many!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barefoot, Pregnant, and Enchiladas

On a whim, I decided to make enchiladas for dinner tonight. Easy for the picky husband to eat. And easy for the toddler to gum.

Getting to the kitchen was the most challenging part of the recipe. Said toddler had taken every last tupperware and tupperware lid out of the tupperware cabinet and strewn them about in an almost impossible, genius obstacle course. He is a genius, you know.

Adam had his first year check up with the pediatrician last night. It was the usual weight, length, head check, chit chat, and............ shots.  Adam weighs 21 lbs 5 oz now which is about the 20% for weight on the CDC growth chart. He is about the 70th% for length. 

But his head. 

His genius head. 

92%. Need I say more? 

I tripped over the intricate, deliberate maze that my genius child expertly constructed making sure to put any pieces I disturbed back in place so that Adam's daddy could share in the proud moment.  It was only fair. 

Really, though, this is a post about enchiladas. 

Growing up,  our big family get togethers almost always included a Mexican Enchilada night. The recipe is quite easy and quite delicious. 

You'll need: 
2 T Oil. (I used safflower. Canola, Veg would also work, but not Olive oil.) 
2 T Flour. 
1 - 12oz Can of Tomato Sauce.  
Palmful of Cumin. 
Half Palmful of Chili Powder. 
Garlic Salt.  
1/4 t Oregano.  
Dash of Crushed Red Pepper. 
Whatever other spices you can find in your pantry that sound appealing.  
Cheese (Jack, Cheddar, whatever) freshly shredded is best.  
Diced Onion (red is best)
Beef or pulled chicken, or whatever meat you want.

I browned Ground Bison and seasoned it with Kosher salt, pepper, cumin, crushed red pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, etc. Then I set it aside. 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over med. high heat. Add the flour and whisk until the flour is starting to brown. Pour in the tomato sauce. Use the left over can of tomato sauce to add a can full of water to the pan. Whisk until smooth. Fill the can once more and set to the aside in case the sauce gets too thick. Which it will. 

Add the spices. Taste for seasoning. A TINY dash of cinnamon could be yummy! But don't over do it.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 min. stirring occasionally. Add some more water as it cooks to thin out slightly. 

If you are married to my husband - skip this next step. In a bowl, combine the freshly shredded cheese and diced onion, reserving a bit to sprinkle on top. 

Butter a couple 9X13 baking dishes. I take a dinner plate and set it near the enchilada sauce. Take a tortilla dip both sides in the sauce then set on the plate. Put the desired meat in the tortilla leaving a little room at each end and sprinkle some cheese/onion mixture. Roll the tortilla up and place seam side down in the dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Keep adding water one tablespoon at a time to thin out the sauce as needed to finish the job. I thinned it out after every couple tortillas with just a bit of water. I ended up with 9 or so enchiladas.

Top with remaining sauce (if there is any) and remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and crank the oven to 425 and bake for additional 5 minutes or until cheese just starts to brown. Let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before serving.

They were delicious! Andy said the best ever. He said that AFTER he interrogated me on my use of onions in the recipe. If I wasn't pregnant and wasn't exhausted and was in a good mood, I would have grated some onion or pureed it in the food processor to trick him. As my readers know, I'm not above tricking (lying) to my husband while in the kitchen. We're really in trouble. I heard that tricking your husband into eating foods he thinks he doesn't like is the 4th leading cause of divorce.  You can read about my first trick here. (Click on the word "here".) 

I made some rice to go along with the enchiladas. (en-chee-la-das) This was another classic recipe that my mom always made during the big family get togethers or special birthday dinners. Also very easy and tasty. 

You'll need: 

2 T. Oil
Diced onion
1 C rice (I used brown basmati) 
Just under 2 C water, broth, or combo. (I used a leftover container of vegetable broth I had in my fridge.) 
2 T hot sauce
Half palmful of cumin
1 T Chili powder
Garlic powder

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan with a tight fitting lid, heat oil over med. high heat. Add rice and onion and stir while the rice toasts. Add the water or broth or combo, hot sauce, and seasonings. Add a generous sprinkling of garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce to low. And let it cook according to the package directions. Mine took 50 minutes. Well, that's a lie. My stove sucks. I hate it. And it doesn't know what low means. So mine took way longer because after 50 minutes I realized that my oven thought low meant off. So, if you have a pyscho oven like mine - give yourself some extra time. 

It was a delicious dinner. Even my toddler enjoyed it. He didn't enjoy it enough to swallow his bites. But he did open his mouth wide like a fish and take every bite. He even chewed it. Then he spit it out and looked at me with the strangely familiar twinkle in his right eye. I know that twinkle. It means, "Whatcha gonna do about it, huh mom?" 

But I know better than to mess with him. After all, you can't mess with a genius.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just when we thought we had it all figured out...

You know, things have been nice lately. We're getting sleep! Like long stretches of uninterrupted sleep! 

We have a nice routine with two naps a day, play time, eat time, clean up time, walks in the stroller, giggle time.

We can even start to see light at the end of the diaper tunnel. 

Food allergies have become a distant memory.

Tantrums are easily dissolved by bursting into random song while dancing like a chicken with its head cut off. 

Things are nice. Predictable (as they can be with a toddler). Smooth sailing. Fun. Always interesting.

Its like Andy and I decided that we were getting too much sleep. Saving too much money. Enjoying too much free time. That's what I thought the first time anyway... 

Well, we did it again!!!

We're expecting Baby Dokulil the Second to arrive in the very beginning of April! We're all thrilled and looking forward to a bit of chaos again! There's a bit of calmness surrounding this pregnancy. I'm not a "rookie" this time as my doctor called me the first time. I will go hours (ok, maybe ONE hour) before dashing to the bathroom where I somehow lose my cookies and then remember that Oh! That's RIGHT! I'm pregnant! AGAIN! 

Things are so different this time around! When I was expecting Adam, Andy would rush in every morning with a chef's coat on and a delicious 3 course breakfast fit for a Queen of a small country.  He rubbed my feet, rubbed my back, he held my hand when I felt a little funny. He would proudly announce to people that "WE" were pregnant. Then he'd get this evil stare from me and soon he started telling people that "I" was pregnant. 

Now, he stands in the door way and tosses me my Zofran and progesterone before he rushes down the hall to pick Adam up from his crib, change his diaper, get him dressed (which is still a major source of contention because Andy lacks fashion sense which I hear is the 3rd leading cause of divorce), get him fed, prepare his oatmeal, and get to work before the office closes for the day. 

So, all alone, I drag myself out of bed and head for the nearest place I can toss my cookies. Splash some water on my face. Gag my way to the oatmeal. Eat a few bites. Make a face at the toddler who thinks me gagging and running from room to room is hilarious. And wave goodbye to Andy as he squeals his tires to freedom. 

Then our day starts! And its non stop and go-go and never a dull moment. No more laying in bed all day. Or being pampered all day. Now its a non stop cycle of diaper duty and chicken dances. 

And I have to say, I love it. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My life, My circus

A few weeks ago, OK - like September 3, 2010 - I started planning Adam's first Birthday Party. A Petting Zoo. Clowns, not the scary kind. Happy Clowns. Elephant Rides. Fireworks. Gourmet Chocolate Cake. Tea, in fancy cups. A live orchestra serenading us with Mozart, Chopin, and the occasional children's song.  My list went on and on.

Andy grew tired of talking about the details. I knew this party would only succeed if I took over.

I'm very lucky to have a friend/nanny/former student named Laura who is so talented and creative and great with Adam. She got on the computer and pulled up idea after idea. Blog after blog. She's the real brains behind this circus!

The invitations have been sent. I really had thought about just doing Evites. But then a conversation with Megan abruptly changed my mind. That conversation MAY have gone something like this:

"I'm thinking of doing Evites for Adam's First Birthday party. That's OK, right?"

"What?!? No! Its absolutely not OK. Only mothers who only half love their children do evites for a FIRST Birthday!"

"Oh. Ok! Well, I'll order some paper ones then."

So, the Evites went out as I was waiting for the paper ones to come in. Then the paper ones came in and went out. And on another note - have you noticed that RSVP has gone completely out the window? You can write RSVP or PLEASE LET ME KNOW - And it just doesn't matter!  I may have food for 60 and only have Andy, Adam and I. Oh well. It'll freeze.

I do have this problem about feeding people. I've convinced myself that all people who enter my home are starving. They come from a land with no food. They may never have had food before. Ever. And its my job to feed them. To nourish them before sending them back to their land of saltless, stale crackers and tepid, moldy water.

A few years ago, I was dating this wonderful, handsome, smart, funny guy. We decided to host a Christmas Party. This wonderful, handsome, smart, funny guy did, in fact, own a home with a kitchen, but it was for looks only as it had never been used. Well, maybe to heat up the occasional pan of frozen taquitos. I think he was thinking a few bags of chips, we'd splurge on a couple dips, some liquor and maybe even a Christmas tree.

Well, unbeknownst to him, I was scouring cookbooks and online recipes coming up with the most fantastic menu ever. And for some reason I was particularly found of shrimp. In fact, listening to me talk about the menu for the party was like watching Forrest Gump. We were going to have Shrimp Cocktail, Hot Shrimp, Pepperoncini Shrimp...

Let's just say I've never heard the end of the time I put 12 lbs. of shrimp into said man's grocery cart.

He married me anyway. And he knew well before the nuptials that I had this problem with feeding people.

Adam will hopefully get a balanced side of the two of us. Hopefully, he'll enjoy feeding people, but also have the brains to realize that 12 lbs. of shrimp is a bit much. I think he's pretty smart. Sometimes he looks and me says, "Mother, must you really insist upon serving every food group at every meal?"

Speaking of Adam, he's this close to walking. He'll can walk about 4 feet on his own without falling. He gets pretty proud of himself at about the 2 feet mark and starts clapping his hands so wildly that it almost causes him to wipe out. If he'd just concentrate... He's like his mother in that regard. Doing two things at once, especially when one of those things is walking, is too challenging and most often results in a dislocated knee or a bruise on the butt.

We just had a scary week here at the Dokulil house. Out of nowhere, Adam spiked a temperature on Monday and we raced off to the pediatrician's office confident we'd come home with some magic concoction and expert advice and he'd be better by Tuesday. Instead, we came home with no prescription, print outs on how combining tylenol and motrin causes toxicity and ER visits, and encouragement on not to freak out because he's got a fever. We also came home with a 104.7 fever.  Of course I did the right thing. I freaked out! I administered tylenol. Cursed terrible words (in my head) at the pediatrician for not sending us home with the magic concoction and checked on Adam every 15 minutes that night and slept with the monitor attached to my ear. The fever went down, and then the crying started. Then mom went down. Then dad came home. Then out of nowhere, Adam shot up from my lap laughing and talking about how much fun his birthday party was going to be and could we make sure there were zebras in the petting zoo.

By Friday, Adam was back to his old self again, starving, and complaining about the all the food groups on his tray.

It was a long week!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Mom's Milk.

Goodbye Medela Symphony Pump.

Goodbye Medela Pump in Style.

Its over.

I'll continue to nurse, but I'll have to offer at least 2-3 oz of formula after each nursing session.

ON THE BITTERSWEET SIDE... Let me introduce you to Megan. (Click on Megan to read her story.) Megan is one of my bestest bestest friends in the whole world. We share the same birthday.  We both had blonde hair until I died mine brown, but I've bleached it back - so now we both HAVE blonde hair. We both adore pugs. We both got pregnant at about the same time. We both obsess about breast milk and breast feeding. Megan has twin girls. Two beautiful, healthy, amazing, smart, charming girls. And she nurses them when she can and pumps when she can't.

I won't lie... To listen to Megan talk about how much milk she produces in a day is like being on a strict diet and watching someone eat an entire chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate curls and chocolate ice cream, and chocolate wonderfulness.

Megan also has a huge heart. She's cheered me on through the trials and tribulations of breast feeding. And is fluent in my saga. (Click here if you want to be too.) Now that her girls are 9 months old, she's producing more milk than her girls need. So, each Wednesday Megan loads up her little cooler with breast milk and hands it over to me to take home. Are you shocked? Another mom's milk?

I guess some people would be weirded out by it. And while everyone is entitled to their own opinion and reaction - I challenge you to think like a parent and not a pervert... What if there was no formula? Remember that? Remember when there was no formula? Probably not. It was a LONG, LONG time ago. But its a true story! (There also used to be no running water or electricity too... but I digress!!!) Moms who found themselves in situations like mine found themselves a wet nurse. Someone to nurse their baby because they couldn't. Breast milk is best. There's no denying that. Formula is fine. I've had to use it from day one. But breast milk is alive with enzymes and immunoglobulins and all sorts of specific nutrients that a baby needs that can only come from the breast.

So, when Megan offered her breast milk for Adam, I humbly accepted it with so much gratitude. I know Megan well. I even seen her medicine cabinet! :-) She's a non smoker. A non drinker. Her worse offense is a serious sweets addiction. I think Adam is enjoying the sweeter milk!

I decided to write about it because I'm proud to be giving her milk to Adam. I'm not ashamed of it. I don't think its weird. I don't think its perverse. I made the decision carefully and deliberately. And I thought, just maybe.... someone out there needed to hear that.

Birthday Buddies!

Megan: Andy and I are very grateful and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Me, my family, my mountains!

Back in June, we loaded up the car  - Wait. Let's start over. We crammed everything we possibly could into our Honda Pilot. Toys, Baby Food Cooler, Baby Supply Crate, Toy Bag, Pack and Play, Stroller, 2 Large Suitcases, 2 Diaper Bags, Portable High Chair, Mother-In-Law and said Mother-In-Law's 2 very small bags.

Off we went! Estes Park - HERE WE COME!

Heidi, my mother-in-law was assigned with the most difficult task of all. Keep that baby entertained for the duration of the car ride! We split up the trip on the way there and stayed in North Platte. Adam did great in the car. And did OK for the overnight in a strange hotel in a strange bed.

We stopped in Loveland, CO to hit up the Coach Outlet and the Gymboree Outlet. My partner in crime, Megan, had a special request to be filled at the Coach store. And so did I! A special thanks to Heidi, who bought part of my new Coach bag as a birthday present!

My Mountains
Finally, we arrived in Estes and met my Father-in-Law, Lyle! I love the mountains. I love them so much that I call them MY mountains. I don't think they mind.

We checked in at our cabin and received a great surprise! The one bedroom cabin we had originally reserved was under construction. Would Andy and I mind switching to the three bedroom, two bath cabin with washer and dryer instead? Um, NO PROBLEM!

We walked up and down the streets of Estes, buying souvenirs, chocolate,  and popcorn.      We took a day trip up Trail Ridge Road. Andy and Lyle held their breaths around the sharp turns. They would look down the side of the mountain, thinking the worst, talking about how dangerous this road is. Adam and I sat in the back seat rolling our eyes and smiling! (We were very glad that WE didn't have to the driving!) There was so much snow at the very top! In fact, there was so much snow that they had JUST opened Trial Ridge Road for the season. (A full week late!)

We tried to hike around Bear Lake as it has a paved path around the entire lake making it great for a stroller, but the lake was still partially frozen and the path still snow packed. A park ranger stopped me and said, "Don't take that baby in there." We didn't argue!

Instead, we headed over to Sprague Lake! Sprague Lake is GORGEOUS! The views around the lake are majestic and breathtaking!

Growing up, Andy and his family came to Estes Park each year! Everywhere we went was another story! Remember the time when Jon and I hiked around this mountain and found this resort. Remember the time, I got to ride the trolley into town all by myself from the cabin? Remember the time, Hannah would ride the horses every year even though years later she would admit how much she hated it! Remember the time Dad said he would climb that mountain? Remember the time... Much has changed in Estes since the original Dokulil Family started going. But still, much hasn't. Laura's Fudge shop is still there. Everyone went home with pounds of chocolate in the car and in their tummies!

One Night, Andy and I went on a date night! Lyle and Heidi took care of Adam while Andy and I went out to dinner at the Dunn Raven Inn and saw a movie, The Hangover II. Our first movie in over a year. Where has the time gone?!?

We took loads and loads of pictures. For all the pictures, go to

It was a wonderful trip. Every time we're there, we start scheming ways we could stay up there forever. But reality set in and it was time to cram everything back in the car to head home. This time, Heidi rode home with Lyle. With no one in the backseat to entertain Adam, we were sure nervous that it would be a terribly LONG trip home. We made plans to stay the night again half way to make it easier. But Adam had other plans. He took a long nap and entertained himself so nicely that we decided to do the whole 9 hour trip in one day. He. Did. Great!

Grandpa Lyle and Adam
We are looking forward to making Estes Park a yearly thing just as it was for Andy in his childhood. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Low Milk Supply and PCOS and Other Woes

For those friends and family who read my blog, consider this your warning that you're about to learn more about me than maybe you wanted to know.

I've been so sad. So mad. So frustrated. Defeated.

PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) has struck again.

You see, just getting and staying pregnant with PCOS is a big accomplishment. For many women, its an awful, grueling, heartbreaking battle. Andy and I were so lucky. First, I knew I had PCOS before I even got married. Because of this I didn't have endure the typical year of trying to get pregnant on my own. Because my doctor knew beforehand, I was monitored from the get go. I was given Clomid when my test results showed anovluation. After one dose of 50 mg we got pregnant. I was given progesterone as a precautionary treatment as up to half of women with PCOS miscarry early on. I suffered no real morning sickness. Just an exaggerated bout of fatigue in part from the progesterone. Pregnancy was fairly easy. And the scooters at the grocery stores made it even easier.

Finally! I thought. This wasn't so bad, I thought. I started making plans for my child. He needed a cute room to live in. A blue room for a boy. A crib. Fancy diapers. Fancy stroller. I was going to be the best mom that ever was! I took all the classes. The baby 101 class. The lamaze class. (Then I ended up with a Cesarean due to a breech baby.) The breast feeding class. I took pages and pages of notes. I bought a pump, nursing pillows, books. I read about it daily. I talked about it daily. I was obsessed. I couldn't wait to nurse my child. I thought about the miracle of bringing life into the world. How my body was designed to birth a child and then nourish him. God has chose me to be a mother to His child. I prayed and prayed for a spectacular child. I promised to do my very best and prayed for God to show me His way. I felt honored. I knew so many who struggled far, far worse than I to get this far.

The day arrived where I finally got to meet my precious son, Adam Jones Dokulil. The love swelled in my heart that its a miracle it didn't explode out of my chest. I looked at this not so tiny newborn baby and promised all over again: To hell and back I would march for this gift. Nothing would ever be as important. Only my best would I give. I fell in love with my new family.

Then my milk came in.

The greatest pain I've ever felt. Far, far worse than my fresh and raw incision from the Caesarean. The nurses came in frequently to check on me and asked me about my incision. I would say it was completely fine. No pain. But my chest was excruciating. They smiled and said, that's normal. Seriously? I thought. This is normal? Ok. Well, I'll deal with it. I did my lamaze breathing as the lactation consultant massaged my breasts every few hours while I pumped. My child couldn't latch yet. So, it was up to the Medela Symphony hospital grade pump to provide me with some relief. Bruise after bruise formed on my chest from the deep massage. But to no avail. Very, very little milk was coming. We were sent home with our new baby, my gigantic breasts, and very little instruction.

The next day I desperately sought help from Milkworks. My lactation consultant (LC) took one look at me and told me I was severely engorged. Before we could even try to get Adam latched we had to get the engorgement down. Ice and cabbage leaves followed with lots of pumping and frustrating attempts to get Adam latched on. A far cry from the hot compresses they were putting on me in the hospital. My engorgement came down to what she considered a normal engorgement and the process of teaching Adam and myself how to nurse began. We clipped Adam's tongue thinking maybe he had a posterior frenulum. He'll latch right on afterwards, they said. No. He didn't.

I went through several nipple shields as we were learning. I cried and breathed deep breaths as he and I tried over and over again to latch. He clamped down on to the shield causing more bruising and bleeding and blistering. But I had promised. To hell and back I said.

This wasn't our only battle. He wasn't gaining weight despite the formula supplementing. Despite the pumping. He was refluxing the entire contents of his stomach several times daily. By the 9th week, we discovered he had a milk soy protein intolerance. (MSPI). I cut out all traces of dairy and soy. I scolded our pediatrician for making me feel like a panicked first time mom whose child dribbled a bit of milk down his chin on occasion. We put Adam on Zantac then Prevacid to protect his vulnerable tissue from the excessive reflux. We discussed surgery options if this became worse. The doctor yammered on about the importance of stuffing him full of food. He has to gain or a failure to thrive diagnosis would be made. I joined a support group. I forced every drop from my breasts and the bottles into Adam's mouth. I forced all those who fed Adam to do the same. We had dropped from the 85% at birth to the 10%. I found out Adam was also sensitive to peanuts, tree nuts, avocado and citrus. I religiously avoided all of it. My best would be all I would give.

We rented a scale and I pre and post weighed him at each nursing session to see how much he would take. Each day was like being in a 2nd grade math class. Adding ounce after to ounce to a feeding chart. Each day we concentrated on getting Adam to eat as much as we could. We still do. We were still using nipple shields but he was slowly learning. I was only having to offer formula once sometimes twice a day. I knew my supply wasn't great. I had accepted that I would never have a freezer full of milk like so many other moms I know.

I took herbs. I power pumped. I nursed more when I could stand it and felt brave. I prayed. I meditated. I continued with my LC for 12 weeks. I ate as much oatmeal as I could. I made lactation cookies every few days.

And finally one day. Adam latched. After 12 weeks. I slipped off the nipple shield during our nursing session and he went right back on. No pain. We did it! No more nipple shields. I could nurse so much easier now where ever I went. No pain. I looked forward to feeding my child. He loved it too. He could bounce on and off so easily. Our patience paid off. I was so proud of myself. So many would have given up. But I didn't. I promised. And I kept my promise. We made it! From here on out, it would be easy.

But it wasn't.

I will still using formula. Now 2 bottles a day. And the formula wasn't cheap. Because of his MSPI, we were having to use Neocate. Adam hated Neocate. And so did we. It was clumpy. It would get stuck in the nipple. It would frustrate me and everyone else who fed him to no end.

I knew Adam just wanted my milk. Oh how I wished I had enough milk for him. But I didn't. I had tried all the tricks. But this was the best my body could give. PCOS had struck again. Just when I thought we had made it! We had conceived. We had a successful first pregnancy. PCOS struck again and robbed me of my obsessive desire to exclusively nurse my child. For many weeks, I was able to provide 21 of the 28 ounces Adam needed to thrive. Then, for many weeks, I was able to provide 20 of the 27 ounces Adam demanded. Then 19. Then 18. Then 17. Then 16. Then 15. Then 14.

Today, Adam is 9 1/2 months old. He nurses like a rockstar. But only twice in the morning as there's too little of milk for him to get a full meal in the afternoon and evening. I'm able to give him 13 ounces of milk out of the 28 ounces he demands. Many of you might say, at least its 13. Yep. At least its 13. You're right. 13 is better than zero you might remind me. Yep. It is.

I don't know how much longer I'll get to nurse. How much longer my milk supply will hold out before it counts down like a rocket ship to nothing. Despite all those "tricks" to boost milk supply, when you have a hormonal imbalance like PCOS, you are ultimately at the mercy of your body. No amount of herbs, pumping or increased nursing is going to fill my freezer full of milk let alone satisfy my child's daily appetite. I often wonder what would happen to us if it was a few hundred years ago. Long before formula. I guess some other lucky mother would have to nurse my child.

When I think back to my plans to nurse Adam for at least two years as recommended by the World Health Organization, I feel like a failure. Is this the first time I've given every thing I have and lost? I just can't will my body to create more milk. You have more to offer your baby than your breast, they said. You did your best, they said. I wanted it all. I want so badly to wake up every single morning, pick up my child from his bed, brush his hair across his forehead, curl him up in my lap and stroke his cheek while he quietly nursed to his heart content. He is still then. He is quiet. He is my little baby growing up. He deserves the best. You'll find other quiet times, they said. Yep. I will.

I struggled last night with the reality that the privilege to nurse my child is coming to a close much sooner than I wanted. Much, much sooner. I'm taking Metformin now trying to wrangle PCOS under control. I'm using the hospital grade pump yet again. But its just a matter of time. Hopefully I can beg, barter, or steal 10 more weeks.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

This and That

Awhile back... Andy took the day off and the Dokulils were off to the zoo! Hannah, Andy's sister, had given us some "Zoo Bucks" and it was such a beautiful day to use them! THANKS HANNAH!
We walked all over the zoo and as always, Adam LOVED every minute there.
A few weeks later, we celebrated Mother's Day.
Andy made the entire day so special! I was pampered all day! From breakfast to the spa to shopping to a homemade lasagna dinner with grilled asparagus straight from the garden and even a new ring to replace my wedding band so I can at least look like I'm married! :-)

The day was wonderful! Can we do this every week???

May just flew by. We had a Barbeque here over Memorial Day weekend. A couple friends and their kiddos came over. I should have got more pictures but Megan managed to snag a couple!
I love their faces!

Say a special prayer tonight for the Billings family. They held the funeral for their 6 month old baby boy Owen today. We wore Orange to support the family today. Orange was Owen's color.
To end on a happy note - It was MY mommy's "DOUBLE NICKLE" birthday today! We celebrated by bringing dinner to her and sharing some dessert! It was a lot of fun! Adam loves seeing his Grammy! We definitely missed Granddad - but someone's gotta catch those fish! We're looking forward to seeing you both this weekend!