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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Baby Margaret - One Month

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So in April Miss Margaret turned one month old and what a whirlwind that first month was for us all as a new family. One of the things we did was I basically "went to bed" for two weeks. Other than the required appointments for Margaret, I didn't leave the house. Here's some of my thoughts that I typed out and saved as draft before finally posting... in September. Amazing how things have changed...

After delivering Margaret (and enjoying our peaceful 2 hours of skin-to-skin and a few sweet attempts for her to feed from me, they moved us into the recovery wing of the L&D at Martha Jefferson. It was a beautiful few days with a view of Carter Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Margaret was with us the entire time except that first night when a sweet nurse said she was going to "give her a bath" and "bring her right back" and she was sympathetic to the fact that I hadn't slept in 2 days so Mike and I got a blissful 5 hours of sleep. Outside of the amazing staff, I really wanted to leave the hospital as soon as possible... the hospital bed was really uncomfortable (as I felt relatively fine, just sore and mentally all over the map) with the bar that folds the bed riding into my back... and the nursing staff was absolutely amazing... but their frequent bursts of coming in and out would coincide with being right when Margaret and I had gone to sleep which was honestly incredibly jarring. My parents came to visit and my Mom would be joining us at our home the day of discharge. There was some drama about my discharge but thankfully that was remedied and so M and I were able to take Margaret home by around 2pm on Friday, March 24. Starting with discharge day, I used the Notes app on my iPhone to log in feedings (which side, how long) and diapers (type of diaper) - this has proven to be SO helpful when the Pediatrician asks questions at appointments!

So M took a month off from work, and my Mom stayed with us for two full weeks and then came back and stayed with us for another week at around Week 4 and 5. (One of those, "Thanks Mom, we're good now." to "JK Mom PLZ COME BACK HALLLPPPPP"). I had been on a cooking frenzy before the baby arrived and so I had split pea soup, chicken tortilla soup, chili, lasagna and a bunch of frozen stuff ready to go in our deep freezer.

I really cannot recall a whole bunch of our days but I know I was bad about sleeping as I like to read to defuse and relax before bed. I struggled to sleep as Margaret struggled to sleep in her HALO Bassinest. We had ordered a new bed/frame and the metal basic one kept creaking and making noises which kept bothering poor Margaret! Then we made the mistake of introducing her crib to her during one very early naptime and that was it. She probably would have loved the Bassinest if we hadn't shared with her the glorious roominess of the crib. That said, the Bassinest was great for AM naps and when we needed to run to the restroom. Our long waisted and long-legged baby girl liked having stretch out room! So... sadly... M took the night shift (he handles shorter sleep shifts than I) and moved into the nursery with the twin size bed and the crib while I stayed in the master to sleep nice and long overnight. This helped my mental health and prevented post-partum depression, I am fairly certain. That solid sleep almost every night made a MASSIVE difference.

Because Margaret was discharged at the adorable but light weight of 6 pounds, 1 ounce, we had to see our pediatrician a little bit more frequently than is typical. On Friday the 25th the pediatrician weighed her at 6 pounds 1 ounce. On Tuesday March 28th, the lactation consultant was really proud of us for trying to increase my ability to feed (nips couldn't do it alone, so I had been pumping to keep supply up and Margaret took a spoon okay, but nipple shields were our saving grace. Nips were starting to look a bit worse for wear (and not in the good way) and I had been drinking a little bit of milkmaid tea to keep things going in the early first days due to the feeding issue. Anyway, Caycee the LC told us that (1) my latch was awesome... so clearly it was the nips themselves not a latch issue and (2) Margaret had gained more than 1 ounce a day since our previous appointment which was amazing! So on 3/28/17 Margaret weighed 6 pounds 5 ounces. On the 30th (Thursday) the umbilical cord stump came off - which honestly was GREAT as that thing was both fascinating from a science standpoint but also really weird? and inconvenient location (in the postpartum life). So that was a big development that day, haha!

We gave Margaret her first bath on Friday, March 31:

Heading into April was such a blur! Margaret typically had me feeding her around midnight, then 4ish AM then 7/8AM, 10AM, 2/3PM, 4PM, 6/7PM, 8PM, 10PM, 11PM. Sometimes it was for an hour at a time (both sides). Due to my PCOS, my Doctor has had me stay on Metformin as I breastfeed. Staying on this medication has prevented me from losing supply. It has been such a relief to feed Margaret as needed and while it's been tiresome her output and growth (head circumference and length have always changed the most over weight gain) have been great so I haven't cared over wanting our girl to thrive! (Don't get me wrong, I definitely on occasion would say "already?!" as I was tired and adjusting and dealing with hormones!) Her two week appointment on Wednesday April 5th was great, too. We started Margaret on Vitamin D drops and she didn't fight us too hard on them. She continued to gain weight while I exclusively breastfed. I would pump and put them in our deep freezer... eventually enabling me to donate some milk when I could. During her second bath ever she peed on me as I pulled her out to wrap her in a towel. That was hysterical and happy for me... better than poop, right? When we got to one month of age, we started her on a bottle. We did this typically only as her last feeding for the night and/or when I would leave to have some "mommy free time." At her one month appointment she was already up to 8 pounds and 22".

Some get real thoughts:
1. If I hadn't had an amazing nurse (Nancy!) during delivery, I probably wouldn't have had such an amazing gluten free dinner of chicken caesar salad and 2 servings of french fries. She was my hero in making sure I got the right nourishment to recover my body. Each AM I had like 3 hard boiled eggs, too, just to make sure I had plenty of protein! Make sure your nurse helps you feed solids again ASAP during recovery. It's so important and it will totally help your mood, too!

2. The nurse who has the honor of helping you go from wheelchair to bed or bed to wheelchair to toilet is a G-D saint. Then there is your postpartum lady bits ensemble to ease pain - the mesh panties are a real thing, as are kinda stretchy biker shorts, ice pads, Dermoplast spray around your parts, witch hazel pre-moistened pads (the ones for hemorrhoids are heaven all over the lower half), adult diapers (that are like underwear so actually perfect under your sweats/yoga pants) and that isn't including the pain killers and stool softeners. NEVER turn away the stool softeners. Seriously.

3. Don't go up and down stairs. Just don't. I missed that part on our paperwork until like 2+ weeks later and it didn't help with my postpartum bleeding. At least I know this information for next time. Hopefully by that point we will have a main level master bedroom or something slightly more convenient?

4. Nothing is supposed to make sense and life shouldn't feel normal. Don't put on appearances. Truly. Just try to relax your mind and don't be afraid to cry and be whatever or whoever you need to be as your mind/body/self heals.

5. Nipple shields are not something to be ashamed of. Some of us are just not built to breastfeed without them as we're not equipped with adjustable nipples like other women. And that's ok. She's still getting your milk, dammit, so who cares!? No shame, baby gets fed through the shield which is great, nips are only happy when you pump, and you figure it all out!

6. Amazon Prime is SO helpful. So are local shops that may have classes or provide advice. We really were grateful I over prepared as we honestly think it was why I didn't have that typical postpartum anxiety. If you love to read and are a fan of learning the good and the bad without getting wrapped up in hypotheticals, you may be like me and always have options A, B, C, D, E, F etc. etc.!

I hope if anyone reading this post has any questions, they know I am happy to answer anything at all! I'm an open book on my experiences.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

James Addison Jones I: strict discipline - thrift and generosity

{this post continues with the text of Minnie B. Jones Ussery, who wrote this in 1960} Previous posts here.

Strict Discipline

But my father's efforts to rear his large family in his religious beliefs and customs were not as easy as Bishop Harrell portrayed and Berryman recalled. I remember several times after family prayer Dad felt he had to whip one or several of us for giggling (my big offense) or otherwise being irreverent. If the use of punishment following our devotions ever seemed incongruous to him, he never gave any indication of such.

For my father controlled his large family as a patriarchy, using corporal punishment whenever he thought necessary. This was the only way possible for him, considering the size of our family as well as his own background. I realize now, too, that he had to maintain control over his children very firmly, because of the deaths of our mothers, and the number of housekeepers and mothers in the home. For to him to have done differently would easily have led to the flouting of all authority in the home. He demanded, expected, and was given obedience and respect by each of us, followed by love, as we came to understand him and his deep love and concern for us.

We were expected to do our duties assigned to us, to get our school work done promptly and on our own initiative, to be prompt at meals and eat what was served, to attend family prayer every night and all church services, to be courteous and respectful to our parents and all our elders, to be kind to and considerate of our servants, and to treat one another kindly. These and many other things were expected of us, and usually we did them. Although Dad seldom was demonstrative in his love for us (after we passed the baby stage) he almost as seldom used any physical punishment. We dreaded this so much that we preferred to do what was expected of us. Also, we were aware that he tried to treat us all equally (except for short periods when Emma Renn and Charles* were favored as small youngsters), as he understood it.

*WWJA note: these were two of her three youngest half-siblings

Self-Reliance and Responsibility

I cannot recall my father being overindulgent with any of us, unless it was to the youngest ones in the family in his later years. I believe he realized that any overindulgence on his part would actually hinder the development of self reliance and independence in us. He put each boy of his, when he became thirteen or fourteen years old, on one of his local jobs during the summer months, to serve as a water boy. He hoped that this would help to develop self-reliance in them, as well as expose them to a fundamental knowledge of the construction work and acquaintance with the working men and their life.

Although several servants were employed in our home, Dad expected all of us to share, as we grew older, in the responsibilities of the home. During most of the time, the boys were responsible for the yard... for cutting up discarded lumber into stove wood (we always had a large wood range as well as a gas stove), and for the care of the automobiles, while my sisters and I had duties inside the home. Besides the daily care of my clothes and room, I was expected home immediately after school to supervise my younger brothers and sisters at play. I also had the full responsibility for Robert* at night for many years, for he was not quite two and one-half years old when Dad took his third wife. But my main weekly job, and one that I hated but held for years, was the family darning. As this was in an era when children wore long stockings, knees were frequently torn in them and the darning required was large. In fact, it usually took me all of every Saturday morning and frequently it required more time than that.

*WWJA note: Minnie was 12 when her half-brother Robert was born in 1918. Robert's mother, Emma Lockart Renn, died on March 4, 1919 of pneumonia after contracting the Spanish flu while nursing some of her 11 stepchildren and children who had the flu. Baby Robert was only 8 months old.

For several years I was trusted with several responsibilities that pleased me. One was the annual ritual of filling the stockings of the younger children on Christmas Eve. As the stockings were hung in each bedroom, I had to stay up quite late and be a very quiet Santa's helper.

Another duty I liked and was proud to be trusted with, was a big responsibility, but I believe I carried it all through high school, at least. It was the job of determining what school books in the house could be used another year and what school books needed to be bought, and then to purchase them. My estimates had to match the cost of the books to the penny, and I was careful to figure correctly. Dad was quick to praise good work but equally as quick to notice when we (or anyone else) did not come up to his expectations. To have lost Dad's faith in my ability would have been a major catastrophe to me. I feel sure the rest of the family valued his good opinion as much as I did.

Thrift and Generosity

Another quality my father tried to instill in his children was the habit of thrift. Many a time I heard him say, "A penny saved is a penny earned". He practiced what he preached in this, for he was always careful in little things, such as cutting off unnecessary lights, and keeping track of every penny spent. I recall during one period of his life that he and Miss Maude made every effort to get to the early show at the theater (by 6 p.m.) in order not to have to pay the higher price charged for the night shows, although he could easily have afforded to do so. He was generous in supporting all church and welfare causes and helping those in need, but he hated to see money wasted and he did not believe in indulging every whim of his children. I can recall when I was young that it was a treat to get the privilege
of paying the grocery bill each month, because of the little bag of candy the grocer always gave.

Dad's system of teaching us thrift was unique. Although he probably never realized it, he must have been the originator of the "Christmas Club" savings plan, for he saved "our allowances" for us from one Christmas to the next. While every Saturday we received "an allowance", it was not ours to spend on ourselves. He put each allowance in a job pay-envelope, and placed this on each plate before dinner, the noon meal. The amount each received was based on age and the work he did. I believe the most I ever got was fifty or sixty cents a week, even while I was in high school.*

*WWJA note: $.50 in 1920 (when Minnie would have been 14) is equivalent to $6.34 in 2017 inflation calculator. My Mom and Dad gave me a $5/week allowance until I was 18! So that must be a Jones family trend. However, we were able to use it as we wanted.

As soon as Dad finished dinner, he took up all the envelopes, usually unopened, and locked them up in his closet "for us". Except for birthdays, and for very special reasons, we knew better than to request any of "our allowances" to spend. Dad followed this system strictly while I was living at home, but I noticed as the younger children began to grow up that he became more lenient in permitting them some money to spend for things they wanted.

While we rarely had any "spending money" of our own to buy things for ourselves, we did have the pleasure of giving to each other on birthdays and at Christmas. These were all great occasions in our home and ones we all cherish. I suspect the traditions we learned to love then are being carried on in most of our homes today. But I also believe we have given our children too much. We never received any toys, books, games, or gifts of any kind except on these occasions, at graduations, or when very ill. I can recall that oranges, which we take for granted today, were a special treat then, as we had them only at Christmas time.

Besides thrift, I would say we also learned many other things by Dad's system, such as the pleasure of giving to others, the value of special celebrations of birthdays, Easter, and Christmas in the family, and also the knowledge of what our money would and would not buy.