Where do you take refuge?

It has been a long time since I posted a blog. This one will be short. Mykah is napping and I have committed to spending morning nap time in the Word (dishes and laundry must wait). A clean house is worth nothing to my family if mommy has a tired, frustrated, hopeless heart!

Psalm 18:30

As for God, his way is perfect, the Word of Adonai has been tested by fire; he shields all who take refuge in him.

This morning I was struck with this verse! Do I truly take refuge in him? For months, no years, I have been asking God why don’t you help me, why don’t you heal me, why don’t you calm this emotional storm? Where are you? Why aren’t you doing anything?

Refuge – chacah – to flee for protection, to put trust in God, hope in God!!!!

Hmmm. The questions I have been asking show me I am NOT fleeing to Him, not putting my trust in him. I am questioning his goodness, his presence, his love, his plans.

The Lord has given me many verses this am concerning His good and perfect will, His unwavering love. His word begs us to believe that He is who He says He is.

It is time for me to take refuge in him!

How about you? Where do you doubt Gods goodness? His love? His plans? What verses is God showing you? Will you believe with me that he is who he says he is? Will you take refuge in him???

Mykah’s New Milk Mommies

Meet Mykah’s new Milk Mommies!!!  For those who have been following the story I just wanted to send a quick update.  We have not been able to get more dairy free breastmilk at this point so a few weeks ago we decided to start Mykah on homemade goat’s milk formula.  The recipe is from The Westin A Price Foundation.  I will likely blog more about the details of using goat’s milk for babies later at www.KellyCouch.com  For now I want to let you all know that Mykah is doing MUCH MUCH better!!!  Her stools are a nice yellow.  She has much less gas and colic.  She does still spit up often but it is much less than before and does not seem to bother her as much.  YAY and Praise Jesus!

 

I am still breastfeeding her and I suspect she gets 1/4-1/2 of her milk from me.  And the rest she gets from her new milk mommies.  These are the goat’s at Swede Farm Dairy in Waller, Tx at milking time!  Lee-Ann and her husband Tim have been a huge blessing to us.  Lee Ann is a retired midwife and has 12 children and had with low-milk supply herself and thus she tells me that my story really hits close to home for her.  Turns out it is really hard to find goat’s milk this time of year due to the pregnancy cycles of goats.  And when we first called Swede Farm she told me they did not have any milk for us, that it was all spoken for until spring.  Then she called back and said that they were going to find a way to help us, even if it meant bumping some regular customers for a while, to be able to help us feed Mykah!  Again, Praise Jesus!  You can meet Tim at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market on Saturdays off Richmond at the Swede Farm Dairy booth.  Grab some yummy goat cheese while you are there!!!

So many people have been a huge blessing to us in this time.  I know many of you are praying.  Several woman have donated milk to us and it is so hard to be dealing with both low milk supply and now this dairy allergy in Mykah.  I wish that we could use the milk that others have so generously given to us and are willing to keep giving.  We even have one friend who is willing to try and go dairy free for us so that she can continue to help feel Mykah, Ashley thank you so much, just your willingness to even try is such a blessing.  Of course my goal is to give Mykah as much breast milk as possible for as long as possible (click here to learn why.)

Now that Mykah’s stools and other symptoms seem to be so much better I am going to go forward with the elimination diet and add a few things into my diet to see how she reacts.  First gluten (yuk), I have not had gluten in years but I think I am gonna go all out and have a Blue Moon and some really yummy Italian Bread, haha.  Then soy.  And finally dairy to confirm that is in fact the trigger.  Please continue to pray with us.  We are asking for a definitive answer as to what Mykah is allergic to.  And then we are asking for donor breast milk that is free from that food.

 

Growing up as parents!

I was talking to a good friend today about some of the decisions we have to make as parents!!! Below is our conversation. It was good for me. Thought it might be good for you too!!!

Yea Drew and I are researching and praying about the same things w Mykah! U MUST have peace from Him, not in your knowledge or research!

Kelly, I don’t have peace in Him anything, feels like all I’m doing is guessing what He wants?

I understand, me too. Sent u my last blog. But it presses me to seek Him more. Super hard journey, this parent thing! God uses it to grow US up more than our kids!!! To grow us up in Him.

I know, I read it. I know I don’t sit long enough to hear him either, My daughter takes most of my time. Oh I’m growing alright…OLD. :-)

Pray w your wife at dinner or before bed, ask Him for wisdom and unity, one flesh w ur wife. Then both spend a few min listning. Share what u hear or feel, any little thing. Looking for unity. Sometimes u hear nothing. Usually u hear something but not sure it’s Him. That’s why u share. Keep doing it. Trust the truth of the Word, it’s hard, but believe who HE says HE Is.. He is faithful, will never leave not forsake us, loves u and ur family more than the Lillys of the field, that u are NOT alone, He is with you!

Thanks Kel, good advice and reminder.

Yep I needed it to, thanks

Quick update, lots of tears!

I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of not being able to feed your baby. If u have never felt that, please refrain from offering a lot of advice here. It is a paralyzing feeling to deep for words.

For those who have been following our story you know I have low milk supply an have been blessed to have women donate breastmilk to us to feed Mykah!
However, Mykah seems to be reacting to something in all the milk we have been given. Reluctantly we switched to a hypoallergenic formula last week. The goal was to eliminate the donor milk variable and allow me to do an elimination diet to determine what Mykah is reacting to. Our experience with formula was awful. She spit up several times a feeding. Choked on the formula. Pooped and woke crying 3 x in the night. And after 1 day on this stuff she started to refuse to drink it. Smart baby really, that stuff is not food. 45% corn syrup, that’s as much sugar as a can of soda.

Well, now what??? Being on formula her stools did go to the typical tan chalky consistency. Still a little mucus, but less and not green. So we assume its not something in my diet, it seems to be something in donor milk.

We did try a week of gluten free milk as well as a week of dairy free. Mild improvement on both but unfortunately not enough time to really evaluate and our supply of those milks ran out and we have not been able to find other gluten or dairy free donors.

As I sat here in tears the other night feeling hopeless and wondering what to feed this sweet baby, Drew and I decided to try homemade formula. I called a local dairy and we headed out for some goats milk!!!

I had hope, they said they had all the ingredients but we for there and they actually had their own formula recipe based on half cow and half goat milk… Not helpful since we think Mykah may be reacting to dairy. There is some question as to whether raw dairy would be less allergenic, that the pasteurization process damages casein (milk protein). So we decided to try it. We ran to Whole Foods, got as many ingredients as we could find and went home and mixed it all up. She sucked it down and slept AMAZING!! New hope!!!

Right up until she pooped, huge blow out, thick clumps (remaining formula I assume) and lots mucus. We waited it out. Next poop, green slime was back!
Ok, we’ll looks like dairy is the issue!!! Good to know right. But now what???

We could just try Goats milk right. Well, turns out this time of year most goats are pregnant and this dried up and good goat milk is hard to find!!! We were able to get a gallon of raw milk from the diary we got the raw cow milk from (long story on how we got that, but we got it). New hope…

Until next poop. HUGE blow out again, dark brown. I tested it for blood, negative. That’s good. But yikes, is this normal??? I have no freaking idea. We are leaving the molasses out today and giving straight goats milk a few days to see what happens (the advice of the midwife in the next part of this story.. Keep reading)

I was desperate. Through a chain of events I got on the phone with a retired midwife who has a bunch of kids and feeds them all goats milk, she also had low milk supply. So here is a woman who has done it. All healthy kids. Yay!!! Right? Maybe… She said she does NOT give her babies raw milk, she low heat pasteurized it. Argh. That goes against everything I had read. Now what? I asked a trusted friend, he agreed. And despite her telling me she did not have milk for us at first, she called back and she and her husband want to help feed babies and they are working it out to help us!!! She said give Mykah straight goats milk a few days. Sound like a plan. But Mykah seems hungry, and her little tummy can’t eat much more at a time, she spits it all back up.

We ordered about $150 worth of ingredients to make the Westin Price formula, should arrive today! I am desperate for a solution here!

We also found out Mykah has low muscle tone effecting her nursing and I have to take her to therapy every other week. Seriously, she is 4 months old. And she has a posterior tongue tie that needs to be clipped, another MD appointment next week!

All that said, this morning I just cried and cried. I have never felt so helpless. So lost. I have never cared so much about anything, or anyone. In that there is a blessing, my heart is being penetrated, opened, softened. Today I was flooded with images of orphans, hungry children, mothers desperate to feed them. Truly desperate, no money for food, any food. Babies that are ill, malnourished, abused. My heart broke. I am asking The Lord what to do with it all.

I am still desperate for an answer for Mykah. I sense the hand of The Lord, though I can’t hear His voice. And I need Him. A friend told me that she can look back and say that there is irony as she rejoices in trials cause anything that pushes us closer to Jesus is true blessing!!! I am trying to cling to that today.

Mykah’s 4th Trimester

Milk Mommies…

I just have to take a minute to post this story… I meant to do it weeks ago.  Haha, that has become my mantra!!!

As most of you know I am using donor milk to help feed Mykah.  The entire journey of motherhood and low milk supply has been… well a journey :)  This is one story that has Gods finger prints all over it!

At the start of this journey I sent out a mass email asking friends to be on the look out for donor milk moms, that was a Saturday. On Sunday Drew and I went to church with Ryan and Gena, Ryan got baptized!!!!  It was Mykah’s first time to church, and of course we sat on the very front row.  Half way through the service as she began to whimper I got up, from the front, and headed to the back…. passing lots of smiling moms along the way.  At church Gena had asked permission to share my email with her pastor’s wife and their mom’s group.  Of course!!!!

That evening I checked email and a woman named Sahara sent an email and said basically, “hey .  I have a freezer full of milk and we were praying about what to do with it. I SAW YOU AT CHURCH TODAY and I have never seen you there before. I got an email about you from Katie when I got home the you needed milk so my husband and I felt like this was the Lord.  So we have milk for you and Mykah.”

AWESOME, I texted Gena to thank her for passing the word along to her pastor’s wife, who I assumed was named Katie!  NOPE.  Gena had no idea what I was talking about, and the pastor’s wife is not named Katie.  Hmmmmm.  Well, then how did Sahara recognize me at church.  I emailed her to ask, turns out we were in the same Breast Feeding class.  But how did she know I needed milk?

I checked the rest of my email and the story unfolded.

SO my doula, Chelsea, got my email.  She passed it on to her friend Katie.  Who sent it to her Bradley class.  Katie was also in my Breastfeeding class.  Sahara was in her Bradley class and got that email.  I had posted a link to my blog and I guess she saw my picture there and realized I was in her Breast Feeding class as well.  And she HAPPENS to go to my brother’s church and he HAPPENED to get baptized that day and she saw me walking down the aisle with Mykah in the middle of service.  She goes home and gets Katies email that we needed milk!!!

I can’t make this stuff up!

The best part, I asked Sahara how she recognized me, that class was months ago.  She laughed and said, “actually I recognized your husbands sun glasses.”  HAHA.  If you know my husband at all you know how funny that is.  We bought those in LA for him and he totally thinks they are the coolest things ever!!!  Now he has proof :)

Although this journey has been hard.  I have met some AMAZING women and many have become great friends!  I count that as a blessing for sure!!!  To all my milk mommies, thank you so much for feeding Mykah with me!  Any other words I could try and use to thank you will be cliche and not enough!  So, please receive a simple THANK YOU that is filled with much love, appreciation, and friendship!!!

Spilled Milk…

Spilled milk… And other motherhood adventures with a high needs baby and chronic low milk supply :)

Honestly, it’s all getting easier! And I’m learning to laugh between the tears. Like today when I pumped for several minutes before I noticed milk spilling all into my lap and realized I had forgotten to attach bottles! Yes, really! It was a long night last night. Mykah was sleeping great for weeks and lately has been waking frequently. But I’m learning to just press into these things, connect with my child and do my best to figure out what she needs and meet that need as best I can. I am also much more at peace when I can’t figure it out, I’m praying over her more and just holding her tight through her crying spells and sometimes still joining in her tears. But, more and more we r working as a team and I feel so much more able to comfort her and respond to her needs.

She loves to laugh… She has several periods of ‘play time’ a day where she will just laugh and ‘talk’ to us!!!

She definitely knows her mommy now. Drew gave her a bottle and she saw me walking away and turned get little head towards me, spit out the bottle and stuck her bottom lip out… Oh my gosh so cute and broke my heart all at once! I totally gave in and breastfeed her instead.

She also knows daddy’s voice and looks for him when he talks. They love play time together… He sings all kinda of silly songs to her. Oh gosh they will be a pair when she learns to talk, and sing!

I am still using donor milk but getting more comfortable w the whole process and actually getting out of the house. We use Lact aid at home and a bottle w breast milk when we r out. Today I had a long errand to run and just stopped and fed her in the carseat while I pumped gas! And tonight we r gonna brave our first dinner out!!! Both baby and mommy are growing up!

And that’s really what I finally see. This is such sanctification for me. I so look forward to getting to know Mykah as she grows up… And I wonder who I will become as well!

2 months old

Friends – this is just a quick update. Quick, cause I have no idea how long sleeping beauty will actually be asleep!!!

It has been a long two months. WAY harder than we thought. I had so many expectations and “plans” HAHA. I am now using a pacifier way more than I thought I would (though we “plan” to wean her at 5 months). This may be the only kid on the planet that really does not like car rides. I am about in tears when I have to think of leaving the house for more than 30 minutes, although we braved the grocery store with daddy for the first time this weekend and she slept the whole time. I even went to get a pedicure with grandma Couch this week. YAY!!! Maybe mommy just needs to be a little braver!!! As most of you have heard us say by now, Mykah is very high-needs. There have been many tears shed around here. My “plans” to just carry Mykah around in a sling all day were crushed in the first few weeks of Mykah’s life when we thought she truly hated the sling. Turns out she just hated the typical newborn position where her legs were crossed and tucked into the sling. Now that she is a bit older and has a little more head control we leave her feet and hands out and she is much happier. She has her moments where she likes to just sit alone and kick her little legs.But mostly she loves to be carried – all the time!!! After experimenting with every baby sling we owned, and a few new ones… we are finally getting the hang of baby wearing. More on the different slings later. We really like the K’Tan for the newborn stage and when I know she needs to sleep. And the ring sling for the active hang out with mom around the house times.

Her favorite place to be is really to sleep in mommy’s arms.

It looks like my low milk supply is here to stay. I have tried everything. More Milk Plus, Domperidone, lactogentic foods, and pumping. I am going to give pumping one last try this weekend for 3 days. After that, I honestly think I am done trying. Maybe that is when God will step in with another miracle. Maybe not. maybe the miracle will be seen as I learn to lean on him more during the many heartaches of this journey. I don’t really know. We are still using donor milk, and very blessed by the many milk mommies that have helped us feed Mykah. And I am using a new nursing system called a Lact Aid. I like it much better than the SNS I was using before.

;

Mykah is starting to really show her personality. She is very happy (when she is full and rested or course). She loves to laugh. She is starting to mimic our facial expressions and voices. She and Andrew are so cute, she loves her daddy and he has just really bonded with her beautifully. In fact, she has started to cry real tears now and that brought dad to tears the other day. He is so sweet and tender towards her. I am so thankful to the Lord that he gave me such a gift in Andrew and how we have a little girl who will grow up truly knowing The Fathers love.

The first few times we gave her a bath she screamed and cried the whole time… I guess our little girl is growing up. Or mom and dad are getting the hang of things. Cause this week she had her first “happy bath time” yay!!!

ANd sleeping beauty is waking up now!!! Gotta go. Thanks for being on the journey with us. Your prayers and encouragement really do help me so much!!! Love, Kelly & Drew & Mykah

Prayer requests!

Hey friends… This is a quick post to ask for prayer!

We r still supplementing Mykah with donor milk. Please pray for my milk supply. Drew and I may do a 3 day fast as well (I won’t fast food of course)! Please also pray for wisdom for us as we use donor milk etc.

Mykah has thrush. Pray for quick healing and protection for her little body from any and all illnesses!

I have a plugged duct and early Mastitis. Argh! Please pray for me as led! Midwife says I must rest all week. Use warm compresses, massage, and taking some herbals. So I am supposed to use warm compress before each feeding (about every hour and a half), then hook up nursing contraption to give donor milk, nurse Mykah while massaging sore beast to get milk flow, then swab Mykah’s mouth w monkey blood for thrush. Take med for Mastitis every 2 hours. And rest!!! Hmmmmm?

Jayne is coming to help out the rest of the week. Gena is coming to hang out one day as well. And my mom did a grocery run for us. And Kelly B came over today to just encourage and support me and totally cleaned our kitchen!!!! There are others that have blessed us in many ways as well. Thanks so much to you all!!!

In all these trials I will say I feel love, acceptance, nurturing, and a sense of family from the Body of Christ in a new and precious way. And that is a precious gift!!!

20120814-181747.jpg

Mykah’s Birth Story

I have hesitated to write THE STORY for a month now.  Mainly because I have not had time.  And also because I was not sure how to write it.  When I was pregnant I was so surprised at how many women thought it necessary to tell me their birth horror stories.  Not helpful.  My intention with this story is to bless, encourage and glorify God.

Our due date of June 23rd by sono as well as June 26th by last menstrual period had passed.  The average gestation for a first time mom is actually 41 weeks and 1 day.  So based on our latest due date of June 26th, that would be July 4th!  Well, we woke up the morning of July 4th and no baby… yet.  It was time to get a bit more aggressive with some natural induction techniques.  We went for a long walk that am and again that afternoon.  And my husband’s favorite technique – more sex!!!  (note to self for next baby, try these techniques early in the am, not at 3 pm in the afternoon :)…  During our walk I started to have contractions – I was not positive this was the “real thing” but they for sure stopped me in my tracks and were about 5 minutes apart.  Sure enough they progressed and with fire works in the background we called Connie, our midwife.  Chelsea our doula came over around 6pm I think.  By this time I was sure this was the real thing, I was also vomiting and already saying… “I don’t want to do this!”  Haha, so much for thinking I was pretty tough.  Oh did I mention we were having a natural home birth, big birth pool and all!!!

Our midwife arrived around 11pm and I was only 2cm I think.  I was a mess saying over and over again, “Connie this hurst too much, I can’t do this.”  I felt like such a whimp… only later did I find out that EVERY woman at some point goes through this.  Connie boldly told me, “Kelly, every woman at some point has to surrender to the process, you are doing this, this is the path you have chosen and that God has led you on, we are here and we will help you.  But you must chose, you must surrender to the process, and better now than later.”  It still took me several hours to surrender to be honest.  Note to self.. surrender faster next time!!!

 I progressed quickly to 6 cm and then to 8cm!!!  I was excited about that for sure.  My husband was incredible.  He was in and out of the birth pool with me.  He practically never left my side.  I hear stories of women yelling at their husbands, “dont touch me, or you did this to me”… haha.  But I never had those feelings with Andrew during this birth.  In fact, this birth really brought us closer, I felt so much love, and comfort and protection from my husband.  

A few hours later, still at 8cm.  And contractions had spaced out a lot as well.  Hmmm.  We sent out prayer requests for longer, harder contractions (oh goodie :)  We tried different positions, relaxation techniques, breast pumping, etc etc.  We finally got to 10 cm at about 11am the next morning.  And it was time to push!!!  Well, first we had to push past a cervical lip… that was fun (if you had that you know what I mean).  Pushing felt good, for a while.  And then it did not.  I was still vomiting.  Connie had started an IV to keep me hydrated. I could not hold anything down, unable to eat I was really getting weak, and tired.

We tried every position possible.  I would push and the baby would move down, a little, but would not stay down.  My contractions continued to space farther apart.  So I was pushing and pushing but making no progress.  After about 5 hours Natalie (another midwife came to help).  She thought that maybe my pelvis was too narrow and the baby was stuck.  We tried more crazy positions.  Seriously, at one point I was kneeling on the ottoman in the living room, but in the air, forearms on the floor trying to get this baby to move!!!  (Any insecurity or modesty I may have still had before this experience… gone!  I was naked in crazy positions, and just to be clear, it was not at all attractive, I peed and puked and pooped all over the midwives, more than once!)  After almost 5 hours of pushing, I was exhausted and physically unable to push effectively.  The midwives were suggesting that we transfer to the hospital for a possible forceps delivery and maybe c-section.  Honestly, at this point a c-section sounded great to me.

But my husband was broken.  He could not believe that after so many hours of hard labor we were going to have to go to the hospital.  He said he just could not make that decision. (This entire time mom and babies vital signs were completely normal and there was never any impending danger to us.)  Drew said that ultimately he had to surrender as well.  Surrender to the process, to God’s faithfulness and to His will.  Through many tears he cried out simple prayer, “God we need a miracle!”

(this picture is actually dad’s face when he saw our baby girl for the first time!)

Connie told me to rest in Drews lap through the next few contractions as they got things ready to leave for the hospital.  The next contraction came fast, and hard, unlike any I had felt before! (This whole time I never had an uncontrollable urge to push, until now.)  I screamed, “what do I do, I cant rest, I can’t stop it.” And Connie said ok push… and I did.  And everything changed!  The next contraction came hard and fast like the first!!!  Connie checked me and with joy in her voice said “Kelly, this baby is coming, when u feel the urge push with everything you have, this is it!”  A few more contractions and my baby girl was on my chest, just 53 minutes after my husband asked for a miracle.

We were undecided on her name going into labor.  As soon as Andrew saw her on my chest, through tears he said, “babe, her name is Mykah, it has to be, cause Who is like our God, her name is Mykah babe, God did this for us, she is a miracle!”

So many lessons learned and so much has been done in our hearts throughout this journey.  Mykah is a month old now!!!  God is faithful, to the end!  And despite my total confidence during labor that I would never go through that again… I am looking forward to a second child already.. and a second home birth!!!   Love that postpartum amnesia!!!

All said and done, I am thrilled we were able to have a home birth.  I loved having NO separation from Mykah immediately after birth.  All evaluations and procedures were done w Mykah on my chest after birth.  Dad was there with her when she was weighted etc.  She was skin to skin on either mom or dad for the first few days of her life.  Right after delivery baby and I sat in a nice warm herb bath and just relaxed and dad and I got to just sit and stare at her for a while!  My amazing midwives cleaned up the room and I got to come back to a nice warm (totally clean) bed and just settle in with my daughter and husband!  Thanking God again for our little miracle!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

<<photography by Lindsay Schott @ http://www.LSchottArtistry.com>>;

Previous Older Entries

Archives

Categories

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other followers

Support us by shopping our Amazon Store!

(Check Out Our Favorite Things on Amazon.com!)
If you like any book or product I recommend, please purchase from our Amazon store. It helps us keep the lights on here!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.