parenting, pregnancy

Five Tips for Exclusive Pumping Moms

Callie Here 🙂

If you are an exclusive pumping mom lets face it… its really freaking hard. No one knows how time consuming it is until you have to do it. Moms can be EP by choice or if their babe does not latch properly and they still want to provide for their little one.. they may choose the EP life.

I made it to 9.5 months EP. Nine months was my goal… and soon as that hit, gosh I was so done. I was over the pumps, I was over the full boobs feeling, I was over washing the pump parts, and mostly I was really over taking time away from my son to go pump. That sucked and was the hardest. Luckily I had a decent freezer stash so me stopping gave us enough milk till he was a year (mixing some formula in too when needed)

These are my tips/tricks that helped me stay sane and on track during my EP journey.

  1. Hydrations is key
  2. A great support system
  3. If you can afford it a hands free pump
  4. Set short term goals
  5. Exclusive Pumping is breastfeeding

Hydration, hydration!!!! Ladies you have to drink your water in order to make your milk! I noticed if I did not drink four 32 oz cups daily my supply would not sustain. I am a visual person so I purchased a 32 cup and I made sure I drank 4 of those daily. I also read in one of my pumping groups to drink the Body Armor sports drinks and wow did those work! They have a lot of electrolyte’s in them so if you are a dehydrated person boom supply can go up (this may not happen for everyone)

A great support system. This person can be your spouse/partner, best friend, or family. EP is so hard. You have to take time away from your child to go pump which sucks. You can pump while taking care of them… but lets face it Mom’s its really freaking hard. So your support person needs to be able to help you when you need it and also keep you motivated to keep going. Be there for you during the ups and downs of pumping. They have to understand why you are EP and not make you feel like a bad mom for doing it. Chad was a life saver for my support person. He understood why I was EP and was supportive throughout my entire journey.

LADIES A HANDS FREE PUMP IS A LIFE SAVER- Well… at least for me. I made it to the 6 week mark and I had the S1 spectra which is not battery charged.. so I had to plug into the wall. It sucked. I hated that I felt like I was on a leash and had limited room to take care of my little guy while pumping. I invested in the Elvie and loved every second of it (Elvie tutorial to come soon) But there are so many pumps on the market to help make your live easier. (Elvie and spectra linked at top on Amazon)

Short term goal. If you are set at pumping for a year that way seem like a life span away. Set short term goals. I did mine every 3 months that way when I reached a new goal I was a little victory for myself and I felt I got somewhere. It motivated me to keep going.

Exclusive pumping is breast feeding no matter what anyone says. You are doing your best to provide for your child and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. Momma you are doing a great job and remember that. That’s the important part!


The Itch Didn’t Stop: Cholestasis Continued

Once I was diagnosed with cholestasis, my 3rd trimester became an emotional roller coaster for me. I was going to my OB twice a week for non stress tests to monitor little man. Though it was super nice to hear his heart beat so frequently, I was also so nervous every time I went.

I constantly thought, what happens if he is not okay? What happens if he is under stress? What happens if they rush me to delivery today? It was such a relief every time I was told he was okay until the next appointment. I was constantly worried. I cried a lot to Chad. I was an emotional mess. I read so many stories of heart break and I just couldn’t imagine. My heart goes out to any Momma who has experienced that heart break.

And then there was the itching. Even with the medication my skin did not stop feeling like it was crawling. It was so bad at night. I used to get into the shower before I would go to bed and turn the water super hot and essentially scold my skin, then turn the water to super cold and freeze it. I would then use an anti itch for eczema body wash while doing that. I would get out of the shower and apply this thick lotion that was anti itch and get dressed quickly, lay down in bed and pray I fell asleep before the itching became extremely bad.

I tried to stay the most positive that I could an enjoy my third trimester but it was hard. So many tears shed for worry and for uncomfortableness. I started just telling myself surviving another week was one week closer to little mans lungs being fully developed and ready for delivery. I was so fearful internally. Fear of something happening, fear of being a new mom, and fear of the delivery process.

My OB and I had discussed that I would be induced at 37 weeks once his lungs were ready. My goal was to just make it to that with no complications. I would lay in bed every evening, rub my belly and tell Chase, buddy we can do this. All you have to do is tell Mommy everyday you are okay. Just grow big and strong, that’s all you have to do and Mommy will do the rest.

Having cholestasis was really hard. Like I said it took a huge emotional toll on me and Chad as well. He says to this day that it was so hard to watch me go through that and be so uncomfortable for so long. He was very fearful to the future as well. He kept me sane and was my person to lean on and pull me out of that dark fearful hole that I fell into multiple times. Because of what we went through, we are very unsure of having another child. We are very thankful and blessed to have one healthy child who is our entire world.

If you feel you are suffering from symptoms of cholestasis please contact your health care provider who is managing your pregnancy immediately.

Up next will be my birth story and being induced at 37 weeks

  • Callie

Cholestasis Of Pregnancy

Callie Here 🙂

Pregnancy story continued:

Everything was great until the week of Christmas.

I was 27 weeks pregnant and I started to have really itchy hands and feet. It was winter, and there was snow on ground so I assumed it was just the usual winter dry skin. I figured it was worse this year because I was pregnant and lets face it hormones make everything worse. I tried lotions all over my hands and feet with no relief. I was loosing my mind. I could not stop scratching. I was cutting my skin all over my hands and feet from scratching. Finally, I decided to call my OB because I just could not take it anymore. When I spoke to the nurse, she said we need you to come in tomorrow for a visit…… Oh Wow… I did not think I was going to get that response. So I hung up the phone and of course did what you are NOT suppose to do… and googled and WebMD pregnancy itching in hands and feet.

What I read, made my jaw drop…

I went into my OB the next day explained my itching and had labs drawn looking at my liver levels for cholestasis.

What is cholestasis of pregnancy? Thought you would never ask!

Cholestasis of pregnancy is the pregnancy hormones affect liver function, resulting in slowing or stopping the flow of bile. The gallbladder holds bile that is produced in the liver, which is necessary for the breakdown of fats in digestion. When the bile flow in the liver itself is stopped or slowed down, this causes a build up of bile acids in the liver which can spill into the bloodstream.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Itching, particularly on the hands and feet (often is the only symptom noticed)
  • Dark urine color
  • Pain in the right upper quadrant (RUQ), without gallstones
  • Pale/Light coloring of bowel movements
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Less common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellow coloring of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
  • Upper-Right Quadrant Pain
  • Nausea

How does it effect the baby and the mother?

Cholestasis may increase the risks for fetal distress, preterm birth, or stillbirth. A developing baby relies on the mother’s liver to remove bile acids from the blood; therefore, the elevated levels of maternal bile cause stress on the baby’s liver. Women with cholestasis should be monitored closely and serious consideration should be given to inducing labor once the baby’s lungs have reached maturity.

How many pregnant women are at risk for this?

1 to 2 pregnancies in 1,000 are affected by cholestasis.
The following women have a higher risk of getting cholestasis during pregnancy:

  • Women carrying multiples
  • Women with previous liver damage
  • Previous family history Cholestasis or ICP

Holy Cow…

After reading this and getting my results back from my OB I was shocked. I blacked out in the room with her. She told me they were putting me on a medication to help with my liver levels and I was going to be hooked up for a fetal monitor non stress test. My husband was not with me for that appointment. As soon as my OB left, I started sobbing in the office. My hands were shaking, and then next thing I knew, I am hooked up and hearing my little guys heart beat and tracking his movements. I sat there and just cried. I was so scared. I was so anxious, nervous and full of complete fear for our future. Being this far into my pregnancy and the thought of a stillbirth I was an emotional mess.

If you feel you have any symptoms of cholestasis please contact your provider as soon as possible and speak with them regarding your symptoms.

All information for this post was taken/cited from the American Pregnancy Association

Cholestasis of Pregnancy

parenting, pregnancy

What Happens In Vegas… Doesn’t Stay in Vegas: Pregnancy Edition

Callie’s Story:

My husband (Chad) and I planned a west coast vacation the summer of 2019 and this was our last big trip before we wanted to start a family. We planned our trip around the national athletic training conference that was in Vegas that summer. So we flew out early and hiked some of our bucket list spots. We had discussed before the trip that if we conceived in Vegas it would be a funny story. We had the moto the entire trip of well we may come home as a family of three (I had known I was going to be ovulating during our vacation) and said screw it (literally) we were going to let fate decide if it would give us life’s biggest blessing. I had been off my birth control for a year already so we were ready to start a family. We had been married for 3 years together for 6 and had just bought a house… so we said well why not ? LOL

Right after 4th of July that summer I had this feeling that I was pregnant. I had different kind of cramps in my hips and I was starting to get really nauseous driving to and from work. I remember sitting in clinic with my coworkers and telling them how I was feeling. They were telling me I was pregnant and I brushed it off saying no way (secretly hoping I was). I went home after work that evening and took a test. OMG it was the longest two minutes of my life waiting for the results. While waiting, I changed into my workout clothes to go walk Gunner and I came back into the bathroom and looked at the test and saw it said pregnant. My hands literally started shaking, heart beating so fast, and I started crying. I composed myself and went downstairs to find Chad. I remember standing at our kitchen island, looked up at him and just slid the pregnancy test across the island. He looked down and said “is this real??” My response as real as it can get ! We both hugged and cried tears of joy and happiness.

Ally was one of the first people I told I was pregnant. We were both so excited and then sad only because we were finally going to be in the same state together and had plans to go to a wine bar (and still have not been to the wine bar) . But really we were excited lol

I was blessed with the worst morning sickness the first trimester. I survived on ginger ale and club crackers which made it so hard to hide being pregnant to my coworkers. I am creature of habit and only drink water and coffee plus I usually eat the same snack and lunch daily. So when I started drinking ginger ale and eating crackers instead of a morning banana and afternoon popcorn… they were on to me. I would then come home from work and sit in the bathroom and sob to Chad telling him “I had a lot of fun making the baby but I am not having any fun anymore” he would then respond saying I look like the character from the Mr. Yuck commercial.

Oh but all the morning sickness was worth it when I saw our precious little one at the 8 week ultrasound. The amount of love you feel as a parent when you see your child for the first time is breath taking. My OB called the 8 week old photo the gummy bear phase and wow that was so true. That’s exactly what Chase looked like. He looked like a gummy bear but Chad and I also pictured him with reptar arms and legs since they were just growing, so we came up with the nickname and called Chase reptar gummy (until we actually picked a name)

My second trimester was very uneventful. I finally felt better and was able to return to my normal self. Its so so so true when they say the 2nd trimester is a breeze.

Now my 3rd trimester… that’s another story and a long one….. so we will save that for another post. Stay tuned 🙂

Until then lesson of this story…. what happens in Vegas… Does not always stay in Vegas…