Corinne

Got Milk? Thoughts on Breastfeeding.

breastfeeding tips

The two things no one talks about while you’re pregnant: post baby recovery and breastfeeding. Everyone always says, “enjoy your sleep while you can” or “go on as many date nights as possible”, but no one ever talks about the guilt, the bad, and the ugly of all stages of pregnancy and pre and post labor. Not only do people either choose to not discuss or shy away from these subjects, but people pass so much judgement on new moms. Breastfeeding is a hot topic for judgement, “did you know she didn’t breastfeed” or “I can’t believe they’re giving their baby formula”, the list goes on. What I have learned in the seven months of being a mom is, do not pass judgement on other moms! Every mom, every baby, every family has their own set of difficulties and the decisions you make should be made in confidence and supported by those around you. I had my own difficulty with breastfeeding and in that difficulty came an overwhelming sense of guilt and defeat.

 

Within minutes of Maddison being born, she scrunched up her little face and maneuvered her way over to my boob. I was completely shocked that this brand new baby instinctively knew how to find my boob let alone knew that that was where her food would be coming from. We were lucky, we didn’t have any problems with Maddison latching- she was easy! While we were in the hospital one of the nurses showed me different breastfeeding positions which was helpful, but we didn’t go into detail about breastfeeding. We had to log how frequently she ate, how many pees, how many poops, and the feeding times for each day we stayed in the hospital- this was to ensure she was eating enough. We had a lactation consultant stop by to talk about breastfeeding, but when she came by we had visitors so I asked her to come back at another time… she never did. I thought wow this breastfeeding thing is easy! I didn’t need all the creams I bought, I didn’t have to worry about her latch, things were going great!

 

Two days after being home from the hospital, we had a doctors appointment where we learned Maddison had dropped a lot of her birth weight- completely normal, but it was due to my milk supply. I don’t know if my milk hadn’t fully come in or if I just wasn’t producing enough. My heart sank when the nurse told me her weight loss was because of my milk supply- this was a feeling of guilt and defeat like I never experienced before- this was just the start of the endless mom guilt. Because of the weight loss, we had to put an intense feeding schedule in place. I had to nurse her on both sides for ten minutes, then pump on each side for ten minutes, then feed her formula with a tube/syringe, then wash the bottles and get ready for the next round. This took place every 2&½- 3 hours around the clock. Doesn’t sound that awful, right? Well the whole feeding process took about 45 minutes to an hour, then factor in all of the visitors, trying to sleep, go to the bathroom, shower, take the dog out, basically any kind of normal life function into it as well … it was rough. Luckily Jake helped with the formula feeding and would wake up with me throughout the night to get everything setup.

 

Two days in to our new feeding routine and our diligent note taking with how much she was eating, how much I was pumping, the pees and poops for the day, we had another appointment to do a weigh-in. On the same day, I had made an emergency appointment because of my recovery- I could barely walk and get in and out of the car. I thought I had everything scheduled so perfectly as I usually do, I’m a planner what can I say! We had to drive downtown San Francisco and I had my appointment set first thing, we had a two hour gap in between where we went and did our feeding routine in the car, then planned on being fully prepared for Maddisons weigh-in. Jake and I decided we should walk and grab a coffee down the street since we had almost another full hour before Maddison’s appointment. As we’re slowly walking back, we get a call from the nurse asking where we were since our appointment started thirty minutes ago- mombrain! Maddison had gained her birthweight back, but they told us to keep her on the same schedule to help her gain more weight.

 

About one week into the feeding schedule I had had enough. I was defeated; I was exhausted, drained, emotional and had a short-fuse especially with Jake when he didn’t wash a bottle or didn’t get up in time. I called Kaiser and asked to speak to a lactation consultant who told me to stop what I was doing immediately because I was causing more harm and interfering with my milk production- this call turned into a sudden onset of waterworks. I was told to feed Maddison on demand- as much as she wanted. I learned that the baby dictates your milk supply, so by feeding on demand, it would help produce more milk. I started taking supplements to help increase my supply, played around with “booby bites” and lactation cookies, ordered lactation bars, tried to eat certain foods that increase your supply,, I was doing anything and everything to try and up my milk production. I went to a lactation consultant who weighed Maddison after I fed her to get an idea of how much I was producing and gave me some more tips on how to increase my supply. I was also given the hospital grade pump to take home and told to pump after nursing. The guilt started to melt away and the feeling of dread I had associated with breastfeeding stopped as soon as I started to embrace that I was doing everything I could to be a good mom.

 

It’s now been seven months of breastfeeding. I remember telling myself I could make it to two full months and to know that I’ve made it to seven is such a feeling of accomplishment. My goal is to make it to a full year, but Maddison has two bottom teeth and I know more will be coming, so we’ll see if I can stick to that goal! Breastfeeding is tough, it requires a lot of sacrifice and dedication. To all the moms out there, whether you’re breastfeeding or not, just remember, YOU’VE GOT THIS!

 

Xo,

Corinne

 

The Waiting Game

pregnancy

For some reason, I was convinced that I was going to have my baby early- why? I was born five and a half weeks early and I didn’t believe there was any possible way I could get bigger than I already was. My due date was Thursday, November 2, 2017. Since this was my first pregnancy I didn’t know what to expect on my due date. Do you automatically get contractions, have your water break, rush to the hospital, and pop out a baby on the day you’re due? The answer is … NO. Well for me at least. That day came and went. I remember I made a doctor’s appointment for Friday, November 3, just in case I didn’t have the baby by then and I said to my OB, “don’t worry, you won’t be seeing me then, I’m having this baby long before that date.” Jokes on me! I went to that dreaded Friday appointment for a stress test, to check how dilated I was, and for a membrane sweep. We talked about setting up my next appointment for being induced and what that process would look like.

When I got home I was sad, frustrated, and out of breath from walking down the hall thinking I can’t go on much longer. It hurt to walk, I couldn’t sleep because I was so uncomfortable and the heartburn made me sick, my shoes didn’t fit anymore, and I was so anxious to meet this baby! I had to make it one more week before my induction appointment, so I made the best of it. I told myself it was my “bonus” week to enjoy time with family, Netflix binging, and those final pregnancy snacks.

Finally, it was time. Friday, November 10, 2017, the day we were going to have this baby! We were scheduled to call Kaiser at 8 pm to see if they had any beds available. We went to In-n-Out for one last extra American cheese filled burger (yes, the most random craving), threw the hospital bags which had been packed since I was 6 months pregnant into the car, and called Kaiser expecting to hear that we should head in and get prepared to meet our little munchkin… turns out, they had no beds available. They told us to call back in an hour, so we did, again no beds available. The planner that I am asked what a realistic time would be to call and actually get set up in a bed so that we didn’t keep getting the run-around. We finally were told to come in at 12 am.

Jake and I drove to the hospital completely silent, both nervous and excited about what was going to happen. We parked in the designated stork parking, lugged in our bags and pillows, and were shown to our room- a traditional hospital looking triage room. We waited for the Midwife to come in and check to see how dilated I was and talk about what to expect.

Turns out, I was only 1cm dilated so the excitement of meeting this baby turned into a flurry of emotions- why wasn’t she ready to come out, why wasn’t my body ready, what does this mean for me with the actual labor process. They gave me the option to start on a small dose of Misoprostol, monitor the heart rate, then send me home. While they were monitoring the heart rate, the heart rate dropped just for a second- they assured me this could be totally normal depending on how the baby moved, but they needed to monitor for at least another hour. I was chugging apple juice, checking any latest Instagram stories, anxious as all hell all while Jake is wrapped up sleeping on the chair across from me. Eventually, we got the OK to head out at 8:00 am. With the dose of Miso, we had to be back in 24 hours to get the second, which would be 4 am. The nurse told us not to worry and to come back at 5 am to make things a little easier on us. We had yet another “bonus” day. So we came home, napped, binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy, were too tired to get up and go explore because of the emotional rollercoaster and insane amount of time spent in the hospital.

The next day rolls around and we are up and headed to the hospital to get the next dose of Miso at 5 am. We are talking about our options from here- how can we speed this up, what are the other medications I’ll need to get this baby out, when will we get admitted to the hospital. With an hour stay and all our questions answered, we headed home. “Bonus” day number… I’ve lost count at this point.

Since we spent all of Saturday resting, we decided we should make the most of this Sunday and go out to lunch. We headed to San Carlos to the restaurant Town and while we waited for a table, I waddled around the Farmers Market with Jake. I felt some intense cramping… FINALLY, contractions! Never did I think I’d be so excited for contractions! Jake pulled out his contraction counter app on his phone and recorded how long each was and when they were happening. They weren’t consistent enough to head to the hospital yet so we continued our date day. We headed back home, made sure the hospital bags were ready to go, I vacuumed the house and dusted the baseboards one last time, and then I bounced on my large green Pilates ball hoping to speed this process up all while Jake napped (he wanted to make sure he had enough rest before the “big day”). We were supposed to call the hospital at midnight so we could make sure a bed was available to head in and start the stronger doses of the Miso. Around 10:30pm I woke Jake up because my contractions had gotten worse. I tried to push through the pain and wait it out until midnight, but I couldn’t do it. Around 11, Jake called the hospital and they told us to come in. Ok- this was actually it! This car ride would be the last of just us two, it was so surreal.

We get to the hospital, get shown back to our triage room that we had spent the last two days in, and I practically pushed the nurse out of the way so I could go to the bathroom. I came out of the bathroom to put on my hospital robe and answer a few questions the nurse had, walk back into the bathroom and scream for Jake as a huge gush of water bursts- my water broke. There we are cracking up- had we waited to come to the hospital this could’ve been a mess in either our apartment or our car, but of course it happens within five minutes of being at the hospital. Since my water broke, they couldn’t check to see how dilated I was due to risk of infection. My contractions were getting worse and worse and I told them I needed some meds stat. They hooked me up to the heart rate machines and wheeled me in to our new hospital suite-  I couldn’t tell if I was in a hospital or a hotel.

Once we were in the new room, the nurse gave me the options to have either Fentanyl or Morphine; however, the Midwife suggested the Fentanyl since we weren’t sure how far dilated I was and we didn’t want to risk not being able to get any additional drugs. I absolutely hated the Fentanyl- I was hallucinating that there were Zombie’s scratching at my face, completely out of it, and still in pain! After about an hour the side effects wore off and I just felt drowsy and defeated. When I wake up I see Jake sleeping on his new couch-bed in our hotel suite, it was nice to know someone was enjoying this expensive stay!

The nurse came in and explained that the Anesthesiologist would come in momentarily for the epidural and then they would start me on Pitocin. Jake woke up and sat with me as I got the epidural- I was bawling. I’m not sure if it was because of the pain or this last minute freak out I had thinking I may become paralyzed on my right side since that was the only area I felt the numbing. The worst part was over, from here on out I had my epidural in, my button to increase the meds, an unlimited supply of Jello, popsicles, and juice, and a great team of nurses to check in on me. Post epidural I got extremely nauseous and itchy, so the nurses gave me some meds to fix that. Also, the heartburn continued so I had to ask for Tums which used to be easily accessible and now they were technically considered a drug and could only be given to me as prescribed. In between the alloted dosage of Tums, I would have Jake sneak some from my purse- desperate times call for desperate measures!

My mom came to the hospital followed by my sister, dad, and stepmom. Needless to say, I was surrounded by loved ones to show their support and be there when this little bundle of joy arrived, but there was not a moment of quiet.  The nurses kept saying to rest up, but it’s quite impossible when there is chatter all around, you weigh almost the same amount as an elephant, and you are also nervous and excited to meet your baby finally!

Around 5pm the Midwife came and finally checked to see how dilated I was, she said it would be about an hour before it was time. Jake and I took that time to try and nap (I didn’t, but he sure did). The nurses came in to check on me and I asked if I waited longer if that would reduce the amount of pushing. They told me it could help, but it was up to me. While they were there I asked what the room would look like when it was time and they said there would be a total of about five to six people (Midwife, nurses (my nurse had a student with her), Pediatrician, and a couple of other people I can’t remember now).

I waited a little longer than the hour the Midwife had initially suggested. My mom came back to the room and we called the nurses in for some practice pushing, which come to think of it, those were by no means practice, it was the real deal! I never expected pushing to be so hard, but I was exhausted! They gave my mom an oxygen mask to help me breathe. I have to say that my favorite memory of the pushing was when my mom pulled out her cell phone to tell me my dad’s cousin was in town and I yelled at her to just give me the oxygen- no matter how much chaos there’s always time for humor. After about eight pushes, the nurses told me they could see the head and to stop pushing. STOP PUSHING? That’s all I wanted to do was to push and get this baby out! Not to mention, the nurses told me earlier that evening that there were going to be be about five to six people in the room … there were 2! My nurse and her student! What do you know … this baby decided to make her debut during a shift change! Goodbye to the Midwife we had spent a full day with and hello to the new one who sat down told me to push one more time and caught the baby- she had an easy job that day in our room!

Maddison Anne Plafker was born at 8:12pm, I was only in active labor for 42 minutes! I scarfed down the most incredible plain turkey on wheat sandwich I had ever eaten and we celebrated with our small bottle of champagne we snuck in amongst the chaos of Maddison getting measured, weighed, and a thorough check-up with the Pediatrician.  After everything was complete, we were rolled into our new room- by no means was this a hotel suite.

Jake, Maddison, and I spent the next two nights in the hospital where we slept minimally, Jake got to know me on a whole new level, and we got to bond with this perfect angel that God blessed us with. The road to recovery was not a simple one- this is actually what I was most afraid of and my fears were quickly validated, but I won’t bore you with those details!

Xo,

Corinne



 

 

Meet Corinne.

corinne

Hi everyone! My name is Corinne Plafker. I am 29 years old and live in Burlingame, California, a town just about 15 minutes from San Francisco, with my husband, Jake, my beautiful 6-month old baby girl, Maddison, and fur-baby, Nash.

I was born and raised in San Francisco, graduated from San Francisco State University, started my career in event planning in San Francisco, a true city girl, can’t you tell? Little did I know what was in store for me on this crazy journey called life...

In college I met my best friend, Liz, who introduced me to her cousin, Jake. We went on a camping trip to Lake Don Pedro for Memorial Day Weekend 2008 and that's when sparks flew. Jake and I kept in contact for years as friends, but about five years ago we went on our official first date and the rest is history.

Jake was working on finding his career path which drastically shifted from Physical Therapy to Cardiac Pulmonary Perfusion. With this switch meant searching for a school. We had two options: Nashville, Tennessee or Charleston, South Carolina. We visited Charleston for his first interview and took a road trip down to Nashville for his second. On the drive to Nashville, I may have gotten a little ahead of myself and excited about starting this new life together so I started to search for puppies (yes, crazy, I know!). It was love at first Ebay Pet Classifieds ad- the stuffed animal look-a-like puppy! For hours we went back and forth about this insane idea about getting a puppy on a cross-country trip, but in the end went home with our fur-baby, Nash (for Nashville). This story has a slight resemblance of our relationship. Happy wife, happy life, right? Jake was first accepted into Nashville and then into Charleston. This surfer boy couldn't imagine life without a beach, so Charleston it was. Needles to say, this true city girl followed her heart for love to the South!

Three months before moving, Jake popped the question. We decided to have a long engagement so that we could enjoy our new city, apartment, fur-baby, and not stress about the details of wedding planning.  The move was bittersweet; sad to leave everything I had ever known, but desperate for a new adventure. I packed up boxes of my exorbitant amount of clothes, left my job as a wedding planner, said goodbye to family and friends and we hit the road! Shortly after arriving in Charleston, we were able to get settled. I finally found a job back in wedding planning and spent a lot of time networking to meet new friends. The change was hard at first, but was a distant memory once it just became our normal life. Yes, driving away from our apartment complex seeing alligators in the morning was never quite normal, but friendships grew, work became routine, and we were happy with our new Southern life.

After the first year of school, Jake learned he would be traveling to various hospitals within the country for rotations which meant we would spend the next 8 months apart. Back home to San Francisco Nash and I went and spent many nights on FaceTime and exchanged nonstop handwritten letters. I decided to start my own wedding planning business and dabble into a new career path- recruiting. After accepting a position at UCSF, Jake moved back home and we moved into an apartment in Burlingame, California to start our new journey.  Finally, on September 3, 2016 we got married at a winery in Los Gatos, California.

Six months after getting married, we found out we were going to have a baby! Overwhelmed with joy, panic, and all of the emotions you could possibly imagine we shared the news with close family and friends. We were both convinced we were having a boy- we went through all the old wives tales to see what certain cravings meant, checked the Chinese calendar, took gender prediction tests, we did it all! After so much anticipation, we finally found out we were having a baby GIRL! We were both ecstatic. I tried to take control of my shopping addiction and not go too crazy with the adorable baby clothes in Baby Gap which is in walking distance from our apartment (dangerous, right?).

I feel so blessed because I have to say, pregnancy for me was a breeze. I didn’t have morning sickness, I was craving things like cold fresh-squeezed orange juice and fruit loops. The worst part about my pregnancy was the new disgust I had for Mexican food- even the smell of walking into a Mexican restaurant would make me queasy. What was once my favorite food, now made me sick- literally. The months passed by, and I just grew and grew… not only my stomach, but my calves and ankles. I remember one night wanting to walk downtown (or should I say waddle) to dinner, it was cold so I wanted to put on my Ugg boots. I couldn’t get them on, Jake came to help me pull them up and then i just got stuck, so he had to pull them off, with force, which led me to kicking him in the face. The same went for my Nikes, they wouldn’t even tie anymore. I kept telling myself it was only a few more weeks. Finally it was November 2, 2017, the day I had been waiting for, Maddison’s due date, but that date came and went. This baby girl was not ready to come out! I was so unbelievably uncomfortable at this point. I couldn’t sleep, I was popping tums like they were tic-tacs, I cleaned our baseboards daily, I was more than ready to meet this baby, but she wasn’t ready to meet us.

To Kaiser we went, at 41 and ½ weeks pregnant it was time to get induced! We packed the car with our hospital bags, pillows, snacks, both so overcome with emotions we barely even said a word to each other on our drive. We checked in to the hospital, they checked heart rates and to see how dilated I was (or wasn’t!). Because I was only half a centimeter dilated, they gave me a dose of misoprostol and sent me home. We had to go back the next day for another dose of medicine and had to repeat this process one last time since I would be admitted for the next dose. Sunday was the day we had the second dose of medicine, so we decided to make the best of it and went on a date. As we’re walking, I started to get contractions. Jake pulls out his app on his phone to time everything but we still weren’t close. We came home, I sat on my pilates ball bouncing away and finishing any last cleaning I could. Around 11pm I woke Jake up (yes, he was trying to nap to make sure he was well-rested for the hospital) because my contractions had gotten more painful and closer together. He called Kaiser, we repacked the car, and headed in. After five minutes of getting to the hospital, my water broke!

I always thought when your water breaks, it means you’re very close to having a baby… I guess you learn a lot more once you’re actually pregnant and going through labor, because that was false! Sixteen hours, two shots of fentanyl, and an epidural later we welcomed our beautiful baby into this world. She was and is absolute perfection.

I will say that since the beginning of pregnancy I was most worried about the days and weeks post-labor and that worry was validated immediately. Jake and I hit a new level of vulnerability and comfort those two nights in the hospital. We had no idea how life would change, how to really care for a brand new baby, how sleep would be, but we rolled out of the hospital and back home and instinct took over!

This journey is just beginning. Maddison just turned six months old and time sure has flown by! We had our struggles with breastfeeding, a lengthy recovery from labor, sleepless nights, constant Google searches, a career shift, a new outlook on alone time, but it has all been worth it. The most exciting part has been watching this brand-new baby change every single day- hearing her make a new noise, watching her react, seeing her smile or laugh, developing a personality. The lack of sleep, mom-brain, and rare showers are quickly forgotten when this baby girl gives me a smile! I cannot wait to share more about my journey post pregnancy and watching Maddison grow with a network of other moms!

 

Xo,

Corinne