Postpartum Check Up

Lets talk Postpartum!
I have officially reached 6 weeks postpartum. It was the second time that I have been to my OB practice since I have had the baby but the first time that I had seen the OB that delivered my daughter. The first time that I went to the OB was a week after I was released from the hospital just to check my stitches to make sure that everything was healing properly. I had internal stitches and because of the location of what needed to be stitched they wanted to make sure that everything was coming along and it was.
At my check up I was weighed. I finally could see how much weight I had lost. Now grant it, I could tell that I had lost a lot of weight because I could see it in my waist and in my body, but I didn’t know if I was just being tricked into thinking that it was a lot of weight lost because I was so used to seeing myself pregnant. 
Just to kind of remind myself where I came from as far as “pregnant face” is concerned, this was from not to long before I gave birth. 

Well, on the scale I am only down 3 lbs from when I got pregnant but that means in 6 weeks I lost a total of 27 pounds. Its not where I want to be but that just happened with me still eating like I am pregnant and sitting on the couch barely breastfeeding. I want to lose 27 more pounds in the next six weeks and I am hoping once I return to work and I am more mobile that the next few pounds will be not be far behind. 
My blood pressure has returned to normal! That is a praise report indeed because my blood pressure at my two week postpartum visit was still up. I have begun to take my iron pills because I noticed I was gaining this weird habit of wanting to eat ice and not just hospital ice chips, which is a sign of low iron. I have definitely seen marked improvement in my energy level. And thanks to “Obamacare” all of my prescriptions are $5 so it didn’t hurt to give it a try. 
I had to fill out a postpartum survey that asked about the baby: name, the sex of the baby and if the baby was being breastfed or bottle-fed. It also asked what form of contraception I would like post pregnancy. Now I am not sure if I have mentioned this before but my husband and I have decided not to accept any contraception. One, I don’t care for the hormonal side effects of the pill and do not want an IUD or any other form of contraception. My doctor was at first surprised but not trying to talk me out of that decision as I thought she may. She just said “with a newborn at home, I thought you may want some because you will be very fertile after having a baby.” My response to her was “we want more babies, so thats fine.” She said that if that was the case just know that I can easily get pregnant within 6 months of this baby and that if I changed my mind that it was too soon that we could go the “family planning” method. It means that I would have to know when I ovulate and avoid those days as best as I could. Only thing is once you have a baby, your period does not come back as soon as the time it takes to ovulate. So this shall be interesting. 
We always said once we start a family that it would be a journey. You saw how far it took for us to get our first born so we are excited to see what the future holds. We aren’t through yet. So you never know when I will have another announcement in the future for her siblings.
Until then, we are soaking up all this newborn goodness. 

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Preparing to Transition from Maternity Leave to Working Mom

Well, the day is fast approaching where I will have to return back to work. I check the website where my leave is calculated weekly hoping that I added incorrectly. As much as I would love to just go ahead and cut into my annual leave since I have taken all of my sick leave in advance just to stay home the 8 weeks that I have been home, I want to save that leave for doctors visits (like when I take her to get her ears pierced after her next Doctor’s appointment) and much needed vacation or should I say first ever Family vacations. 
It has been absolutely amazing to be home with my baby for the first six weeks of my life. I absolutely wish that I could spend the first year with her and had a maternity leave like they do in Canada. Its so heartbreaking because just as soon as your baby gets used to being awake more during the day and becomes more interactive with you, you have to make plans for them to be with someone for at least 6-7 hours out of the day. 
We have begun the process of looking for child care but thankfully have at least a month where she will be home longer because my sister in law is coming in town to stay with us for a month. She will get to spend time with her niece and she will be doing us a favor by watching her during the day. I absolutely wish that I could alter my work schedule where I would only have to report to the office when I have clients scheduled and for all the data entry and phone calls that I make, I could do them at home. At this point, I only have the majority of my offenders reporting to the office only one week every 60 days. It would be so nice to only have to go to the office 2 weeks every 60 days. That would be a dream!
Well time for me to wake up and face reality. I see how hard it is for my husband to leave in the morning once he spends time with baby girl. Its absolutely hard for him to leave her smiling face after he lays her on his chest. I absolutely know that it will be just as hard for me. Some of the adjustments that I plan to make initially is to change my work hours. I used to work 9 hours a day which including my commute would equate to 11 hours away from the house. I am now hoping that since baby girl’s sleep schedule is now first long sleep from 9pm to 12am, wake to eat 2oz at 4, again at 6am – that when she wakes for her 4 am feeding that I can get the energy to go ahead and head to the office. If I report at 6:30am, then I can leave the office after lunch at 3pm and be home within a reasonable amount of time to nap and spend a great deal of time while its still light outside with my daughter. If not, then when she wakes at 6am, I am up right before then and heading to the office by 7:00-7:30. I am also hoping that my commute will be shortened because of the time of day that I head to the office. Now that I am thinking this out – I may just go into the office a few days next week for half days just so I can get used to that schedule but not be required to come into the office every day.
I have a super stressful job, so its a dream that not only will I have help at home the first month that I return back to work but also its a dream that I have such a pleasant baby. My mother said that I am blessed. As much as people would fuss about my continued use of caffeine while pregnant saying that my child will be fussy because of the withdrawal, etc. and so many other things like “sleep now because you will never get sleep later”, in all honesty, we are blessed. She does not get up in the middle of the night as if her days and nights are confused. She only wakes to eat and goes right back to sleep within 15 mins. She doesn’t spend her days crying – she spends them smiling or silently content. 
The hardest part of returning back to work will not be physical exhaustion but it will be certainly emotional. That is my first born, my baby that I will be leaving at home. It is going to tear my little heart apart. I know that I said that I quit breastfeeding but I went for my 6 week postpartum check up and since I had only stopped pumping a week and a half prior, my OB gave me a prescription that is going to help the production of my milk. As much as we make bottles around here, if I can just make enough to supplement all the formula that she is getting these days, it will make me feel better and it will save some money. I have only been taking the medication for three days but I have already been able to see my milk returning. I will have to find a place to pump when I return to work and prayerfully I can do that – unfortunately I don’t have the office that I used to have and have been moved into a cubicle environment so this will be quite interesting. 
If you have any tips for me as I return to work, just let me know.. 
Until next time, 

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Life Lately: The Wonder Week & Hip Update

During Gracia’s Doctors visits, her pediatrician was worried about her right hip clicking and wanted us to go to Children’s Hospital to have a sonogram on her hip. It is something that is common with babies who are born breech. So as you can imagine, we were asked a thousand times was she breech. She wasn’t but the doctor at the hospital also said it could happen if there was low fluid during the time when her hips were developing. I believe it was because she was in an occiput posterior position for so long and came out that way as well. 
I can’t lie, being at Children’s Hospital made me very nervous and it was downright depressing. So many children were there with illnesses and deformities worse than Gracia and it made me thankful and sad at the same time.
She did so great to be so little and woken out of her nap to two strangers holding her down pressing down on her hips. We both thanked the Lord above that it was such good news and that she will not have to wear a harness to correct any deformity. She was such a happy baby that day. 
I am loving how I can say things to her and she smiles or laughs back at me. 
Now that she is smiling, I am beginning to think that she has a little of me in her (hoping). She looks like her dad mostly, but as her face lengthens she has my smile and my eyes! I had to compare her picture to my childhood pictures and saw that she has those puffy eyes just like me… at least for now. 
Gracia is typically a very happy baby. We are absolutely blessed in the fact that she sleeps fairly long throughout the night and that she usually only cries when there is something that she wants, mainly food. So when she started becoming fussier, we knew that there had to be something wrong. 
When she first became fussy, I realized that I was not making enough breast milk and therefore she was hungry. When we switched to increased quantity of formula instead, we found our happy baby again. 
Well all of a sudden, fussy baby returned – this time she would even squeal and cry with her binkie in her mouth. We knew that something was not right – first it was gas which was cured by me getting her some gas drops. Then she would burst out in fits of tears – when I couldn’t get anything done through her tears, I put her in newborn time out in her 4moms Mamaroo. 
Then she didn’t want to lay down by herself, which is so not like her – so I had to take to the internet to figure out what is going on with her and her development. 
I discovered “The Wonder Week” app. 
Wonder Weeks are described to be :
A leap in the mental development of your baby means that suddenly there are many changes in his head. Suddenly, his brain perceives things it wasn’t capable of perceiving before. This change is so great that his entire world suddenly looks different.
and because of this she was the Three C’s : Cranky, Clingy, and Crying. I texted my husband and told him his child was not herself. She was neither of these things. Now she absolutely wanted to sleep on her mommy or sit with me to be happy. Once I read up on the Wonder Weeks and when to expect them and how long they would last, it made it easier to adjust and be less cranky myself and simply enjoy her wanting to be with me. 

Once we understood what she was going through, it was a little easier to deal with her quickly changing moods. It was obvious that she was developmentally growing because she was starting to coo more and try to “talk”. She is holding her head up more and can recognize things a bit more.

Her new friend is a Hello Kitty.. she loves to sleep with it near and her hand and eye coordination is getting better. She knocks it off the couch as best as she can as a means of entertainment.

So what is life like lately? 
She wants to be held.
So it takes me longer to blog as its so hard to type anything holding a baby. 

The best part is – it doesn’t take long for her to fall asleep in mommy’s arms. Only thing is she doesn’t stay asleep not in mommy’s arms. Oh well.. I am soaking up all of her wonderful baby smell.

And yes, my baby is one of those who can sleep with her eyes open.
Now that we are at the end of her Wonder Week, her happiness is returning and she is starting to enjoy tummy time a bit more. She can lift that big ol’ head of hers with a little more ease these days.

I swear raising a newborn is like pledging… She is hazing us and I have a feeling she knows it. 
This face says I have them right where I want them. 

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Breastfeeding Woes

For all of these reasons listed above, I was all the more accepting of the “Breast is Best” mindset when I was pregnant. I just knew that it would be the way that I would feed my child. I thought the hardest part would be not getting irritated because she would want to eat so much when I would be tired. I had no idea that the hardest part of breastfeeding would be producing milk! 

Yes, this may seem like Too Much Information, but I absolutely must talk about how hard it is to Breastfeed – not just for my future self but as a means of support for others who are finding it as hard as I am. 
When Gracia was born, although her delivery was really quick, my postpartum experience was one that was less to be desired. The stress in my back that was triggered, I believe, by the car accident we were in a week prior in addition to the two hours of being stitched up compacted with the large loss of blood had me in an exasperated state after delivering her. While I was being tended to, Gracia was first introduced to a pacifier not because she was crying but because she was sucking her thumb. As soon as I was lifted back on my bed and reevaluated for the excruciating back pain, it was then that the nurse brought Gracia to me and asked did I want to nurse. At this point, I was exhausted, still in pain and unsure as to how to even nurse. I told the nurse, please give her a bottle if she is hungry and for her second feed I will learn at that time. I was completely out of it – not to mention my doctor still wasn’t sure if I was going to have a blood transfusion. Thankfully it all went well. 
Despite all of that, once it was time to feed Gracia again, I was ready to breastfeed. She latched perfectly and we were able to get a rhythm where she cluster fed while she was in the hospital. The lactation consultant came and observed and even corrected if need be and also taught me how to pump just in case. 

Well once we were home and took Gracia to the doctor’s, we realized that she was losing more weight than the average after birth loss of weight. The doctor increased her feeding times from once every three hours to every two hours just to see if she would begin to gain weight. By her next doctors appointment she had began to gain weight so that was a good thing. 
We did good for the next two weeks with mostly breastfeeding and supplementing perhaps twice with a bottle when it seemed like she was not full. 
It was at that time that it seemed like she was going through a fussy phase and the once happy and content baby was no where to be found. I realized then that it was probably because she was not eating enough. With a bottle, she would eat and soon fall asleep. With breastfeeding, she would fall asleep during the feeding and then when put down she would soon awake and be fussy. I was getting frustrated because she was crying all of the time. My husband began to see the frustration building and began to try to support me by telling me that its ok to do what is best for her. However, I was DETERMINED to breastfeed just because of all the “Breast is Best” messages that I heard. I felt like I was failing my first test as mommy. 
I tried EVERYTHING to increase my milk supply. I would pump soon after she fed in order to stimulate more milk, I ate lactation cookies, I tried Mother’s Milk tea as recommended by her Pediatrician, I tried Fenugreek supplements, I even tried dark ale in order to have increased let down and a more relaxing breastfeeding experience since stress is factor… it never increased to the point where I was able to pump the quantity that she was eating. Although people kept telling me that it was fine, that she is probably eating more than I was pumping because “babies have a way to get more milk out of you”, it was not helping my psyche. All I kept thinking about was that I am not like these other mothers with newborn who are having no troubles producing a freezer stash of milk so that when I return to work when she is 6 weeks old, she would still be able to be solely on breast milk. Frustrating was mounting!
Eventually with tears, I gave in. I had the biggest bout of mom guilt. It took me a few days to accept that giving my child formula was still feeding my child to the best of my ability in order for her to grow. I was still able to at least pump a full bottle (2-3 oz or less) once a day.  She drinks about 6 bottles of Similac daily so there in lies my frustration. 
I wish I had a success story of how I overcame my breastfeeding supply issue, but I can say instead of comparing myself to those who could do it with much more ease, I found support from those who were honest enough to say they too had a hard time.
I also had family support in my husband who reminded me, it wasn’t easy to get pregnant and it may not be easy to breastfeed for us but luckily we can supplement and provide for her. When I stressed about the added cost, his response was best – “God will provide.” And He has.
If it wasn’t easy for you, know that you have a person who sympathizes with you here as well. I will try again with the next baby.

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Legacy: Happy Founder’s Day

Vashti-Jasmine Murphy, Vashti Murphy, and Vashti-Gracia Murphy
I remember when I was a little girl, many days were spent at my Grandmother, Ida Ann Murphy Peters’ house where we had to sit down in front of the television and watch my Grandmother’s favorite “movie”, the videotape of the history of Delta Sigma Theta and the founding of the Baltimore Alumnae Chapter. We watched it so much, my sister and I, along with any little girlfriend that we brought over, knew every background song and word at the age of 7 and 4. 
Around Christmas time, we would spend our earlier Christmas’ with my grandmother at her sister Bettye’s house. It was a family tradition to sit around and share stories. Reason being, in our family as much as we are mostly all journalists, we do not have a written history of our family that is readily available. We would share stories so that we not only remember our family history, but so that we are able to learn from our elders and share those stories with our future generations. That being said, growing up and even now, I heard so many stories about my Great Grandmother and who she was, the life lessons she taught and what her temperament was like that I felt like I knew her, even though she passed away years before I was even thought of.  I feel like I know her so intimately that I could say that we have the same temperament : Iron Fist in a Satin Glove – just like my grandmother was as well. 
The stories that were shared around the dinner table were never of sorority secrets, but it was a lifestyle that was instilled in us, passed down from our Great Grandparents. We were raised by our mother and grandmother to be ladies of dignity and grace. We were raised where if we see an injustice, it was up to us to do all that we can to take a stand to make a change. If not us, then who? We were raised that if we see a void where we can help the community, that it was up to us to go out and develop a program and assist the community. These things became so ingrained in us that when it came time to make the decision to pledge, in spite of the fact that we had no real choice but to carry on the Legacy (after being threatened that if we chose another way that they would roll over in their grave) that there was no other choice that I would ever make. I wanted to be like the women in my family. I wanted to make them proud.  
Before I was even in the 1st grade, I walked around singing “Oh just to Be! To be a Delta Girl.. the finest in the World”.. not like I knew what I was singing but I knew that one day I really wanted to be like all the Delta Girls and the Delta Women that I knew. While my grandmother was living, it is true that we were not allowed to wear pink, especially in her presence – so much so that if we did we would have an impromptu shopping trip and be sent home to my mother in other colors. She trained us up at a young age and we never questioned her about it. If a Murphy Sister told us to do something, we did it – without question because we knew that there had to be a reason as to why and it was a reason that was not superficial.  Tradition was very important to my grandmother who named her only two children after her parents along with the passing down of the name Murphy as a middle name. 
It is unbelievable that 101 years ago, my Great Grandmother with her sorority sisters, having initially pledged another sorority at Howard University decided that their sorority should stand for more. That it should be something that would help assist a movement for the betterment of women. Delta Sigma Theta was founded in that sorority meeting on January 13, 1913. 
Now, 101 years later – My Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother, Sister and myself have all crossed the burning sands into Delta Sigma Theta – the Legacy continued and prayerfully will continue through my daughter Vashti-Gracia. When she is old enough, I will begin to teach her the importance of Legacy and tell her the stories that have lasted now 101 years. 
Happy Founder’s Day to my Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

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