Visiting a Grandma with Alzheimer’s Disease


Yesterday while my two youngest children were asleep I decided to take my oldest to visit her Grandmother.  I sadly have not been able to visit my mom twice in one week in quite some time and figured it was the perfect opportunity.
On the way I picked up some ice cream for the three of us to enjoy together.  One thing my mom has always LOVED is ice cream.  My daughter and I have also seemed to have inheretated that gene.  🙂
Before arriving at my mom’s facility I had a little talk with my daughter about Grandma.  It had been a while since it had just been the three of us and since I didn’t have her brother and sister with us, I knew we would be spending more time with just my mom.  Usually “the talk” involves me telling her about how Grandma is sick and may act different, but that we still love her very much.  I have no clue what to say and honestly never thought in a million years I would have to have this talk with my 3 year old child!
My daughter was initially all about Grandma.  Interacting with her, hugs, kisses and singing her songs. As the hour or so wore on Addy started to become afraid of Grandma.  Mom’s erratic behavior and her not making any sense was making her nervous.  At one point my daughter said, “Mommy Grandma talks like Evie!”  Evie is my two year old daughter.  For the last year or so my mom has also decided she hate shoes and takes them off every opportunity she can get.  Addy was not happy when I had to explain to her that it was ok for Grandma to have one shoe, but she had to leave hers on.
There was also an “incident” while we were there that really put the icing on the cake.  I had gotten napkins with our ice cream and had them on the table.  Here recently the facility has been struggling because my mom has been “pocketing” things/food/you name it.  The problem with that is the fear of aspiration.  Mom could easily choke on objects and it is a serious risk.  She also is having problems swallowing and eating, but that story is for another day.
I turned around for one minute and by time I realized it she had eaten almost an entire napkin!  My first reaction was to look to the left at my daughter.  The look on her face broke my heart.  My focus then turned back to my mom and the fact that I needed to get it out of her mouth!  I tried to open it and she refused.  I tricked her into saying “Ahhh” and tried to fish it out and CHOMP!  She bit me!  This really didn’t go over well with Adalynn.  She was then super concerned that her mommy was hurt.  My heart was torn in half.  Help my mom and this large ball that she was now chewing or comfort my young daughter who was now terrified that Grandma bit her mom.
I quickly jumped up and grabbed a few staff members and explained what happened.  Long story short it took FIVE of them to get mom restrained enough to get in her mouth open and get the large ball of napkin out.  All the while she was screaming and hollering “NO, NO, NO PLEASE DON’T!”  Addy was done.  Officially terrified.
We left soon after and my heart broke all over again for my mom.  Here she was at 66 years old, not able to enjoy her Granddaughter and at this moment in time scared her to death.  When we walked out the door my mom gave me a precious goodbye that left me and many of the workers in tears.  I am learning that seeing her more often and when I don’t have all 3 children help her to connect with me.  My precious daughter however did not want to say goodbye or even hug her Grandmother.
Today my daughter was still talking about Grandma and the napkin incident.  My prayer is that the Lord gives me the right words to speak to her and that the memories that the does have with her Grandmother are good ones because my mom deserves that.  My job is to make sure all of my children know what an incredibly strong and loving woman their Grandmother was and to do everything in my God given abilities to fight this horrid disease!

Breastfeeding Hell – The finale


My incredible lactation consultant, Laura Grueber with Breast Feeding House Calls here in San Antonio, Tx.

As I look at my son sleeping next to me in his bassinet my heart wants to explode with love.  Seriously how did I not believe moms when they told me that a love for a son is so different than a daughter?  I keep wanting to put it into words, but can’t.  Zander makes me feel complete.  Even though he has only been on this earth for 3 months, I can not imagine life without him.

Not so very long ago I was going through one of the hardest times that I had ever experienced as a mom.  A non- latcher.  He wouldn’t breastfeed.  I went through a gamete of emotions surrounding this and was closer to giving up than I ever had been at anything.  My son is my 3rd child in 3 years.  This breastfeeding thing was not new to me!

We had 3 in home lactation consultations, had a lip tie revision, chiropractor adjustments.  I tried everything.  Around 5 weeks something changed.  We were at the lake that weekend with family.  He successfully latched the first time the night before we left.  I remember that I decided not to push the breastfeeding agenda while we were there because it would just be too hard.  Walls are thin and with 10 adults and 9 kids it wasn’t worth them hearing our struggle for 4 days.  I tried a few times and he would latch, but wouldn’t stay for long.  My conclusion was that maybe the flow wasn’t fast enough for him since he had been used to the bottle for the last month.  My patience was wearing thin and no matter how bad I hated pumping I felt as if I was losing an uphill battle.
During this time I had some wonderful supporters.  Friends that would text or message me with encouragement, my precious midwives and a lactation consultant.  Thank you to those friends.. having a cheering session really did make the difference for me. Before we left for the lake one friend mentioned a SNS (Supplemental Nursing System.)  After some research I knew this had to be my last option.  The thought of a tube attached to my breasts with tape and have it feed into a contraption that hung on my neck was very daunting.  If you have no clue what this is.  Dr. Google it.  It really is genius.  I emailed my INCREDIBLE lactation consultant, Laura Grueber with Breastfeeding house calls.  I wanted to schedule my third visit and I wanted to try this thing. She told me that she would pick one up for me and bring it the next week.  Side Note: This woman is an angel and does so much for the breastfeeding community.  My wish is that every mom and especially the new ones, have a Laura in their life to really help them with their dream of breastfeeding.


On the day of Zander’s 6 week Birthday Laura came to my house.  We did our usual routine and hunkered down in my bedroom and got all of the necessary supplies.


The bottle with pumped breast milk, a pacifier, boppy, nipple shield, burp cloths & syringe.  She once again tried many different holds to get him to latch and nothing.  After using all of her “tricks” she decided our last option was to try to SMS.  She said she very rarely uses it or even offers it to her clients.  When she does offer it she insists she be there because it is quite the contraption.  She explained that if it did work that we needed to work hard to make sure it wasn’t for long because it isn’t meant for long term use.  Z had always been such a special case for her.  He had no medical reasons to do what he was doing and she was about out of ideas to help me be a breastfeeding mama.


We hooked up the SMS and in my head I remember thinking that it was insane.  Tubes everywhere.  Milk dripping out of the tube all over me.  It was TERRIBLE.  I prayed and hard.  Asking God to give me strength and to help me through this.  Once the SMS was attached we put him on my breast and he latched!  He stayed on for at least three seconds.  I was elated!  Laura and I were grinning ear to ear!  She then unhooked everything really quick, took off the nipple shield and latched him on.  He latched to my bare nipple immediately and started to nurse.  When I heard the “gulping” sound I started crying.  When I looked at Laura I would like to believe she was a bit misty eyed herself.


And that my friends was the end of my breastfeeding battle!  From his 6 week Birthday on we haven’t skipped a beat.  I packed away the breast pump the next day and he has been on the breast ever since! It took 6 weeks, but my son is nursing all day everyday.  Thank the Lord!


My encouragement for mamas that may be wanting to give up, don’t!  If you are really passionate about it then don’t throw in the towel until you have exhausted all of your options.  Know that when you have gone to bed that night that there was nothing else that you could have done to help make it happen.  It all sucks.  Believe me, I know.  But after all of that pain,  we are victorious!  We are no longer spending hours washing bottles and breast pump junk.  Now I can quickly and easily feed my precious son when he is hungry with the flip of a nursing bra strap. 🙂

Praying for all you mamas out there that may be fighting this battle!

In my first post about my breastfeeding hell I had a picture of my youngest daughter and the breast pump.  She would always try to imitate me because all she saw me do is pump and feed her brother a bottle.  This picture of my oldest “breastfeeding” her baby doll, Jenna shows how far we have come!  My girls now nurse their dolls instead of try to use the breast pump!

Late night call

Tonight my phone rang at 10pm and it said unknown.  These last few months an unknown call means it is my mom’s facility.  It was late so my heart sank.  Is mom ok?  For the first time in at least 3 years my mother was on the other end of the phone.  As I held my newborn son in my arms, I listened to her as she jabbered on for at least 5 minutes.  I say “jabber” because my mom has makes absolutely no sense when she talks.  She has recently started to make up words and she has her own language.  Almost immediately when I heard her voice, I began to cry.

I have to be completely transparent.  I have not seen my mom for three weeks.  Three whole weeks. (Almost four) That is the longest I have EVER gone without seeing my mother since she moved to Texas in 2009.  About three weeks ago I was able to sneak away and see my mom alone without any of my three children.  I could not handle it.  Call it post pardom hormones, but after about 5 minutes of being with my mom I had a breakdown in her room.  Looking around at all of the pictures we have of us, pictures of my brother and I as kids, pictures of our families now… it was too much.  After I collected myself I followed her out to the main dining area to be with the rest of the community.  My mom never stays still, she is ALWAYS walking.  I saw some of her favorite nurses who asked about my precious newborn son and I lost it again.  Ugly cry.  Then I felt terrible because these women and men who work in these facilities have a hard enough job as it is.  The last thing they need is for a crying family member to further solidify to them that this disease sucks.  As I gave my mom a hug I realized how much I really needed her at this moment in my life. My life was harder than it had ever been.  A 3 nager who was testing my patience daily, a 19 month old that was becoming Evil Knievel and a 3 week old son.  Not to mention that my newborn was giving me the ride of my life with breastfeeding.  I needed her advice.  I needed the one person in my life who knows me better than anyone else ever will.. tell me it would be ok.

After a few minutes I put my cell phone on speaker so my husband could hear her.  He isn’t able to visit her as often as I am and even though I tell him stories he doesn’t understand how bad she really is.  And to be honest I think it breaks his heart also.  I told her how much I loved her and missed her, but she did not repeat it.  Usually she will say, “I love you too, honey.”  She then started saying something else I couldn’t understand and then one of her sweet nurses got on the phone.  She told me that my mom has been carrying around my picture all day.   When the workers would ask about me she would say, I love her.. I love her…I love her.  Her nurse said that she making them all cry with how she was acting.  They were crying because she knew what she wanted.  She wanted me.  They asked if she wanted to call me and she said yes.  And then my mom, who doesn’t ever stay in one place waited there for me to answer the phone.

She knows.  Somewhere in her foggy brain she knows i haven’t seen her in three weeks.  She misses me.  My mom is still in there. 

For some of you that may not know, my mom has late stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.  She has had it 5 years and is now in her 3rd facility in 3 years.  (That will be an entirely different blog post.)   Losing a mom is so very hard.  I know that anyone who has lost a mother at any age can relate to the feelings of loss of such an important person in their life.
What I want to convey in this post is why I am so PISSED!  Families of people who have Alzheimer’s Disease have to face a double blow if you will.  Not only do we all have that feeling of loss, but we actually to watch it happen slowly.  Imagine your loved one being right in front of you… You can see that their hands are still the same to hold, their eyes still have that loving sparkle, yet they have no clue in the world that they even know you.  Traumatizing.

This horrid disease makes people die a slow and painful death.  It is hard on the patient, but even harder on the family.  As a young mom of three small children there is no reason why I should have to be facing this.  My mom is 66 years old.

For the past three years I have raised money for our local Alzheimer’s walk in September.  Every year I have beat my fundraising goals and this year is no different.  I can’t physically do anything for my mother anymore, but I can put a name and a face to this disease.  Share my stories and my struggles so you know that this is a very real threat.  It could happen to anyone.  

This year I am starting earlier with fundraising and building my team.
Has Alzheimer’s Disease affected you in some way or are you afraid it might in the future?
Did you know that every 66 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease?  It also kills more people than breast and prostate cancer combined!  This disease is serious and is only getting worse!  Join me in my fight.  All proceeds go to funding and research.

Will you join my team and help find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.  Or will you donate to our team, Melanie’s Memories Matter to help us reach our goal?  Thank you in advance to all that can help.  <3


Breastfeeding Hell

pumpingToday my son is 3 weeks old.  It also marks the fact that 3 weeks have passed and I have yet to breastfeed him.  Now to some of you it may not seem like that is a big deal.  To me, it is one of the most heart breaking things that I have encountered in motherhood.  Yes, I am one of those women.  The one who loves to breastfeed.  There is just something about looking down at your sweet baby and knowing that this little person is being nourished completely by your body.  God really is amazing.   The breastfeeding bond is unbreakable and was one of my favorite parts of being a mom to my girls.  And then the Lord gave me this perfect little boy and my whole world has been turned upside down of what I have ever known about breastfeeding.

Now this picture of my middle child with the breast pump may seem silly, but to me it is a sad reminder of my new reality.  When my eldest was this age and I was nursing her sister (my kids are all 18mo apart), she would put her baby doll to her chest and sign “milk.”  Now that baby is a big sibling and using the pump because that is how she see’s me feeding her brother.  🙁

First, I need to apologize.  I judged some mothers wrongly in the past.  Whenever I heard a new mom (or any mom) say, “I tried to breastfeed, he/she wouldn’t latch” etc. etc I rolled my eyes.  Yeah.. right.  Usually this “trying” only lasted a week or so.  This made me believe that said mother didn’t work hard enough to make it happen.  It always happens if you give it a little time and effort.  Right…..

Turn back the clock to three weeks ago.  My labor was long and I barely had any sleep from the night before when my water broke.  (Birth story coming soon!)  I only pushed 18 minutes, but being 5’1” and birthing a 9# 9oz baby with no drugs on very little sleep was pretty exhausting.  I remember a few minutes after he was born my midwife put him on my breast to eat.  Little dude was happy, yet didn’t latch.  Not then or not even when we got home from the birth center a few hours later.
My milk came in on day 3 and I thought for sure that when that happened he would jump on the milk train and we would be good to go!  Nada.  After a day or so of frustration my husband said we should just try a bottle because we were both at a loss.  And tired.  Chasing a 3 year old and 18 month old is hard enough.  Add a newborn and we were officially entering crazy town around here!  Did I mention we were tired? I would try at the beginning of each feeding to get him latched and we would always end up resorting to the bottle.  He would scream and cry every time I would put him to the breast.  He would get so angry he would turn purple and pull his hair out.  We now call him Mr. Intensity.
Every time I saw him drink a bottle I would secretly go to my room and cry.  I would never touch the bottle.   To me I felt as if something was my fault.  I am his mother and I can’t feed my child.  I know how to do this.  I have done this for over a year with both of my girls.  Guilt set in and tears flowed, frequently.  My poor husband didn’t (and doesn’t) know what to do.  It is never something I can really explain to him either.

Through these last three weeks I have had a friend of my midwife who is a NICU nurse come over to help with positions, a lactation consultant has come over twice and we had a lip tie revision done last week thinking that was the cause of my son’s inability to latch. Today we saw his pediatrician to have him checked.  He saw nothing alarming that would cause him not to latch.  The consensus is that he has some muscle soreness from birth and it is making his upper body tight.  This in turn may be causing him not to be able to relax his body and fully extend his tongue.  Crazy really.  I had no idea this was a thing.  Breastfeeding really is hard and each child is different.  I am now realizing that I was extremely lucky with my girls.

The message I want to convey with this post is how sorry I am.  I should never have assumed that any mom who said they have tried to breastfeeding.. either a day or many months, was any less of a mom because they couldn’t nurse their babies.  This stuff is hard and there should be absolutely NO mommy guilt for how you feed your child.  Formula, boob, pumping.  Feed the baby, give it love, end of story.

Side note: Moms who pump are ROCK STARS!  I barely pumped with the girls and hated it whenever I did it.  Now being an exclusive pumper for three weeks, it has given me an even bigger understanding of how amazing these moms are.  And why aren’t they praised more for all that they do?  Nursing a baby is easy.  Baby is hungry, put on boob and done.  When you are a pumping mama you have to get the necessary pump paraphernalia ready, pump, freeze or put milk in fridge or bottle, feed the baby and then wash all of the junk to do it once again two hours later. All of that ends up being almost an hour, so you end up only having an hour before you are getting ready for the next feeding.  IT SUCKS!  So moms that pump, you deserve a gold star and a high five.  I don’t know how much longer I can do it.

My story doesn’t end here with breastfeeding.  I don’t have an “end date” yet for when I will stop trying.  I still want to try a few more chiropractor appointments and go to an occupational therapist to see if some exercises can help him.  Call me crazy, but I want to make sure I have exhausted all of my tools before I throw in the towel.  Otherwise I know I will regret it.

One of my favorite things in our master bedroom is these precious blocks that an amazing photographer, Kay Harmon did for us.  They are my nursing blocks.  I actually look at them often as they take me back to those special moments I spent nursing my girls.  The baby snuggles, the hair twirling, the kissing of little fingers, unforgettable moments.  To think I won’t have those moments with my son breaks my heart, but you better believe I am going to give it 110% to make it happen!



So much can happen in 3 short years….


Hard to believe that on this day three years ago my midwife transferred me to the hospital because of high blood pressure.  I remember the anxiety I had that morning.  Not only because my birth plan was officially shot and I would no longer be giving birth at the Birth Center, but the anticipation of being a first time parent.  What would this journey hold for us?  Could we do it?  Our little angel didn’t end up being born for two more days. I was two days shy of being 42 weeks pregnant!  No joke this kids personality shows her stubbornness.  She is extremely bright, but try to tell her something that she does not want to do and watch out!

Here we are three years later and I am weeks away from having my THIRD child!  Seriously insane.  I still can’t even believe it.  I say that it is insane because for over 4 years I was labeled an “infertile.”  No amount of fertility drugs or treatments helped us and we were left in a state of despair at not being able to have children.  It was such a dark time for us both.  We relied on God and knew that the promise in our heart would come to fruition someday.  We just had no idea it would happen so quickly!

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end- it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’
Habakkuk 2:3

Fast forward to now our third sweet little miracle (A BOY!) and I am grateful, yet terrified.  How did this happen?  Ok… Ok… I know what you are thinking.  I know HOW it happened… 😉  After all that we had gone though with having our first child, when I was nursing Addy I honestly didn’t even think it was possible for me to get pregnant so quickly with our second.

When our first daughter was 9 months old, I found out I was pregnant with our second beautiful daughter.  We were both shocked and grateful for God’s Blessings upon us.  He knew the desires of our heart and even though it was a little sooner than we would have liked, we were given another miracle.  I was overwhelmed with two kids under two, but honestly felt that all of those years of waiting, praying and hoping for children helped get me though the first few months of craziness with the girls.  Then it happened.  Again.  Evie was 9 months old, I was nursing her one day and said oh no…. sure enough, pregnant!

This time I am sad to admit that tears were my first reaction.  This was absolutely NOT my plan.  We had been careful.  This third pregnancy has been accompanied with a roller coaster of emotions.  First of all how will we ever survive THREE children 3 and under??  My days now are spent as more of a referee as the 2 and 1 year old constantly fight over things.  This afternoon both of them wanted to have snuggles from mom.. at the same time.  Which is challenging when I am also carrying a large basketball in my belly.  There is some relief knowing that once I am not pregnant anymore the physical part of having small children will get easier for me.  Even though I am still working out, I still find these stages with the girls hard being in my third trimester with our son.
Today I was talking to one of my dear friends about how I have massive fear about our third child.  With the second I had the thoughts of  “Will I ever love this little girl like the first?”, “How will our marriage change with two children?” “Will I ever sleep, etc. etc.”  With my son my thoughts have been of disbelief, fear and honestly I catch myself being ungrateful for this sweet Blessing because I am just so overwhelmed already.  This motherhood thing is hard and no joke.  Especially being a stay at home mom.
She reminded me that fear is not something given by God.  And gave me this scripture that I plan on writing out and posting.
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self- control”
2 Timothy 1:7

Ahhhh… the word is so refreshing.  That was exactly what I needed.  I have such an amazing group of women in my tribe and am so grateful for each of them.  <3


This is my current view.  I am so Blessed.  The Lord knows what we can handle and I know that even on the tough days, which I am sure will be plenty, He will equip me.  I have an absolutely incredible husband and two beautiful daughters.  Somehow this little man of ours will fit in to our family and make it complete.  I encourage anyone that may be waiting for something… a baby, a husband, a job, anything.. to hold the faith.  God always has perfect timing and as my life is a testimony, he can work miracles!!