24 May 2012

A blog first

I have to say that my last post was the first time I have received a negative comment on my blog, and it's taken me some time to figure out how I wanted to respond. For those of you who don't read the comments – here it is, so that you know what I'm talking about:

Day care? Day care? DAY CARE for a 6 week old infant?!???
That is cruel! A baby deserves time to bond with its parents! Not to be banished to institutional care at the ripe old age of 40 days!!

I sure hope the first parents know you're doing this!! I cannot imagine any first mom would let an amom planning to dump a teeny-tiny baby in daycare!!!

I have a lot of things that I wish to say to this. Yes, I am going back to work after six weeks, which I don't think that anyone believes to be ideal, but in my household I am the primary breadwinner, and I don't have paid maternity leave. When I go back to work, my husband is staying home for two weeks, and then my mother-in-law will be here for the two days that I have to work the week of the fourth of July. This wasn't an easy decision for us, and there are many factors that come into play, like the fact that because of Jakobe's diabetes and the cost of health insurance, we can't afford for him to become a stay-at-home dad. Me being a stay-at-home mom was never an option, no matter how much I would like it to be. We are doing the best that we can.

As far as characterizing our daycare as “institutional care” I find it to be a gross mischaracterization of our plan, made by someone who has more politics than knowledge of our situation. The first parents know exactly what we are doing, as Niko will be attending the same in-home care as her first siblings.

Be outraged if you want. I am. I'm outraged that someone would come here, bringing the “mommy wars” with them, to tell me what a terrible mother I am before I've had even three weeks with my daughter. We all have to make choices and compromises.

Be outraged, I am. I am outraged that I live in one of the most advanced countries in the world, but I have no paid maternity leave. I am using every drop of my vacation and sick leave to stay at home as long as I can – and that's not right. Every other first world country has paid parental leave because they recognize the importance of family, and bonding, and how that makes for a stronger society, and most likely a more productive workforce whose mind is on their work while they are there, and not at home (or wherever their child is being cared for) with a child that the parents aren't ready to leave. So if I sound defensive, it's because I am. I want to stay at home longer, I want to be there with her, and I don't get to be. I can't imagine yet how hard it is going to be to go back to work. But, I don't really have a choice. Two rounds of IVF, and an adoption that fell in our lap from the gods have drained our savings, the money I had planned to use to cover the unpaid time off I wanted to take when I had a child. The short term disability policy that I've been paying for for years doesn't apply. Why? Because I'm not “recovering from childbirth.” The best laid plans, right?

So I guess what I am saying to StaN is: know what you're talking about before you make judgments. And if all else fails follow the golden rule. Or – just keep your damn mouth shut – you don't have the right to judge me.

To the rest of you: thanks for putting up with my rant, and maybe someday we can make a change to the family policies and politics of this country. Politicians like to say that family is central to our lived. Maybe it's time for them to put their votes where their mouth is.

17 May 2012

Induced Lactation - The results

I make milk.  not a lot, not enough, but I do make milk.

The lactation consultant calls it a miracle - mostly because I have never ever been even a little bit pregnant.

At last check Niko was getting about 1/4 to 1/2 and ounce from me when breastfeeding - so we're supplementing with a lot of first mom's pumped breast milk.  Our current goal is to introduce no formula until  she's at least a month old.  She's also getting almost all of her nutrition at the breast, with the help of a Lact-Aid.  While I may not make anywhere near enough milk for her, there are so many other benefits that I'm not giving up.  Nothing calms he down when she's upset faster that being put to the breast, and the little sleepy satiated smiles that she gives when she's full but still suckling are among the best ever.  We'll keep this up as long as we can.

It's been so worth it.

15 May 2012

On the Fist Week of Motherhood

Before I can say anything else, I just have to say, in a tone of utmost wonder I am a mother.

This week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. And as a capstone, My baby girl, the most beautiful baby you have ever seen, finished her very first bath... by pooping in her hoodie towel. Okay, maybe not finished, because she had to get back into the bath.

Sleep is a luxury, one that I treasure and don't get anywhere near enough of, but at the same time, there are small joys in the lack of sleep, like a head totally picked up so that a very small face can peer at you in the dark, that are unmatched in my dreams.

Niko was born last Friday, at 10:44 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 2oz, was 20.5 inches long, and had a head circumference of 13.5. for tho9se who care about other details, her apgar scores were 8 and 9 – both knocked down for color. The cord wasn't wrapped around her neck, just over her shoulder and around the rest of her like a boa constrictor. He first mother was a champion. She was induced first thing in the morning, but things didn't move very quickly until they broke her bag of waters at about 6 pm – after her epidural. When it came to pushing, it was all over in one contraction. So – Our daughter was born with a beautiful round head, instead of the common cone-head.

We stayed in the Hospital until late Sunday morning, long enough to avoid worst of the Bloomsday madness downtown. Once we got home, we all got settled in. First Mom was staying with us until we got her milk supply established, because she's pumping and providing breast milk to make up for my very limited production, so we had a room for her, and for her youngest son, so that she could cuddle her baby while she was here. She stayed until Thursday afternoon. In most ways it was great, but I wasn't prepared for the bustle of a bored thr4ee-year-old in my house, and sleeping during the day was just not possible.

Other things we did this week:
  • On Monday, we went to court with first Mom while she relinquished their rights to Niko. When she came out of the courtroom I could tell that it was hard for her, but all she did was give me a great big hug, and tell me “She's yours now.”

  • On Tuesday, we saw the pediatrician, and the lactation consultant for the first time. Both appointments went well, but We learned that I am not all that great at getting Niko to latch correctly, and it was affecting my minimal supply in a negative manner. (I was an excellent student at the brain based stuff – but sports and coordination we not really my forte, and correct latching should be an Olympic sport.) Also – My sister and brother in law came over to visit.
  • Wednesday, We didn't do much. My Mom came to visit on her way home from work. Just a lot of practicing and trying to make breastfeeding work better. Plus we were on an every 2 Hour schedule. (from start to start. Wake, feed, supplement, pump, sleep in whatever time was left) The while first family came over for dinner.
  • Thursday, First mom went home in the early afternoon. I lent her one of my hospital grade rental pumps to use, instead of a manual pump. Hopefully it works better for her, and helps her out when she goes back to work. Thursday Night the whole family came back – So the dads could talk about one of their hobbies. Honestly – I just wanted to sleep.
  • Friday, back to the lactation consultant. I'm still only makking about ½ an ounce of milk per feeding, but – I no longer have to pump in the middle of the night, and I have learned how to use the lact-aid, so w can breastfeed and supplement at the same time, and it should help my supply more than the breast pump did. My best friend and her finacee came over for our normal friday get-together, and he made us dinner. I love them!
    (...pause to feed the baby, and maybe run errands)

Note – that pause lasted 4 days. So, I figured that I had better post this while I have a moment.

05 May 2012

Introducing Niko

Born 5/4/12 - on Star Wars Day, just for her daddy.

10:44 pm
8 lbs 2 oz
20.5 Inches long
Head circumference 13.5 inches

26 March 2012

Bit by bit

I don't have a whole lot to contribute to the ALI world right now.  We're waiting.  And waiting.  I would guess that this is probably pretty close to the way it feels when you're pregnant and waiting for the baby to put in her appearance, it's also completely unreal, because I'm not pregnant, so the tangible part has to be taken on faith.

We're still working our way through money issues, because we are far from rich.  I've been calling daycares, and $650 a month is sounding like it's a good deal, the one I talked to yesterday was $50 a day, or more than $1000 a month.  Yikes.  Almost makes me want to consider making a Jakobe a stay-at-home dad.  But not quite, we need his health insurance - for him.  So, more searching, and I don't even have a clue about how you're supposed to look for one. 

I've washed lots and lots of baby clothes, and we still need to put together her dresser, but since we're not finishing her room until the egress window goes in (this week hopefully) It seems a little ahead of myself to set up the dresser - but where in the heck am I supposed to put her clothes in the meanwhile?  Dilemmas.

The bane-of-my-existance-carseat is in my car, and Jakobe's teddy bear from his childhood has been driving around with me for a week.  Thankfully, he's rear-facing, so H can't tell any tales of what an adventure it is to ride in the car with me.  While I'm on leave, Jakobe and I will mostly be switching cars, it doesn't make sense for me to have the Prius sitting in our driveway while Jakobe drives the Jetta to work, wasting massive amounts of gas the whole 5 miles.  I *so* want his commute.

We should pick up an infant carseat for the other car, but I'm now seriously considering buying a cheapish one and putting up with some of the inconvenient features becayse we probably will use it for less than a year.  I've been offered hand me down's but since thi original user is now more than 6 years old, it makes me nervous, and I think I'll be buying new.

No real progress on the breastfeeding front.  I bought the tubing an accessories for the hospital grade pump, and they also convert into a double manual pump.  I can actually get something using the pump now, but hand expression is still better, if almost nil.  End of this week I'll order the domperidone, and the rental pump, and then it's off to the moo-cow races.

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14 March 2012

Caught in the Middle...

...between expectations and desires
...between my hisband and reality
...between fuck if I know

It's been a while since I updated all of you out here in the blogosphere about what's going on with us.  and that's mostly becasue a lot has been going on, and I've bbeen going crazy with trying to figure out how to put everything together and make this work.

The biggest hurdles right now are financial.  Why?  Becasue the expenses of this Adoption have ballooned to be almost twice what we were led to believe at the outset, and that's becasue they are our friends and are being nice, it could have ballooned even more.  This is some expensive shit.  Honestly though, it's not like I didn't know that were were going to be going into some major debt for this.  We didn't have any time to save, and we blew all of our savings on IVF last year.  So, as much as we're not really poor, we are very definately broke.  And - it sucks.

A bigger problem is communication, and getting blindsided with expenses at unexpected times. So after we talked about medical expenses earlier, and I thought we might have the start of a plan, we got a call from our lawyer today saying that he needed a check from us for $900.  Today. Aargh.  Anyway, it's done - taken care of.  And, although I had to use my grediut card, I got a pretty good deal on the interest rate - for now. 

In other news.  I now have a bunch of hand me down clothes and diapers and diaper covers that are currently being washed and then will be folded and put away.  and - I have some adorable new stuff that came in the mail as a present for *BLOG NAME NOT YET DETERMINED* - Thank you Foxy!

So, we're a lot closer.  We still need an infant carseat and a crib.  I was initially thinking about a co-sleeper, but I think we'll side car the crib instead.  But - We're not going to have a cold nekkid baby.  And we got this awesome room divider thing to use as a dresser.  We can set it on end right now so that it's easy for us to use, but then we can later put it on it's side so that all the drawers are easy for her to reach.  I love this idea!

I'm waiting for the accessory kit for the breastpump to get to me, and wondering why it take so long (and $10) to ship something 4 miles.  I'm also getting ready to order the domperidone, cause we're getting closer tio me starting to take that.  On the breastfeeding/milkmaking front I'm mostly where I was before.  IU've3 got some dribbles, but that's about it.  We'll see what happens when the dom and the breast pump make it into the mix.

We've also pretty much finalized out leave plans.  I'm going to take 6 weeks.  It'll use up all of my vacation and sick leave, but I can basically swing it.  Then Jakobe will take 2 weeks, and then, then it's daycare.  Any good tips on finding one?

So, I guess to tie it all up, we're broke, going for broker, and I'm sitting here winding down at the end of my day with a large glass of port.

02 March 2012

on Sleep

I know I should be working on making sure that I am as well rested as I can be,  after all - I have the luxury (if you want to call it that) if not having to fight my pregnant body to be able to sleep.  And I feel like in some ways, I'm doing pretty well.  I'm certainly waking up better in the morning, even before I drink one of my two now-ritual daily cups of coffee.  But sleep is an elusive beast, never fully tamed, escaping the bars of it's cage and running far away.  Which is to say that I feel like I am having pregnancy dreams.  Or at least dreams that are trying to work out all of those things that are stressing me out.  Our unfinished bedroom/nursery, the phone call I need to make again to the daycare, figuring out how our finances will really work, and realizing that I can really only take 6 weeks off of work, because I can only eat about 2 weeks of unpaid time, and even that is going to be very hard, and finally - our lack of baby stuff.

We have:

  • A convertible Carseat
  • A hand-me-down pack in play (I like hand-me-downs)
  • Two Onesies
  • One Bib
  • One bag of swag from the midwife (3 bottles of liquid formula)
  • a Secretary desk I think I can use as a dresser/changing table
We are:  63 days from her expected due date, and I'm starting to feel very unprepared.  

But nothing compares to the dreams, the ones that highlight my every anxiety.  A couple of times now they've been about breastfeeding, and I wasn't making milk, and Jakobe kept feeding her fruit and not waking me up to feed her.  And - She was very irritated about the whole thing and told me all about it, whilst rearing up and trying to attach to my nipple like a cobra about to strike!  Yeah, fun.

Anyway, I assume that all of this is a good thing, and am happy to say that we have a wall put up in the soon to be Master & Nursery.  This weekend we need to texture, and try and move the guest furniture up to the "man cave" so that it can be stored there while the window goes in.  That and I want to have a date with my husband.  It'll all fit somehow.

Look at our new Wall:

23 February 2012


My bubble of waiting
is thin-skinned
easily burst
The slightest breeze of envy
causes it to ripple
and shift around me

Without balance
it shudders
leaving me to wonder
if I can stay on solid ground
and fly away

Seeing the world through
its rainbow hues
seems less than real
and more
I step carefully
shifting only slightly

Waiting for the
to be crushed by reality
or to float away
carried in the wind
of a new dream

I wrote the poem yesterday, and on Saturday we have the home visit for our Home-study.  Or family and friends have been amazingly helpful and supportive, and we've gotten a lot done, but I still can't help but feel totally and completely nervous.  What if something goes wrong?

I'm also feeling a bit sad to go along with all of the excitement.  Sad about ht parts of this experience that I don't get to have.  I'm working my way through it, but I didn't exactly think that all of the feelings about my infertility were going to go away just because we're adopting.  I still have to deal with them.  It's easier, and harder.  Easier, because I don't fear that we'll never get to be parents.  Harder because I feel a little bit guilty for my sadness in a way that I didn't before.

I'm sorry that I've been pretty quiet over here.  I've been focused on doing things here instead of writing about doing things, and When I get involved with my life and have less angst, I seem to write less.  We'll see how things go from here on out.

I *did* make my very first quilt for her.  and I'll share a picture of it with you.


I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about our adoption. It just makes me happy inside. I am enjoying spending time figuring out nursery colors and furniture and a registry. I’m getting ready to make a set of three matching/coordinating flannel crib quilts (and no, I don’t really have a crib yet…  at least not one that we want to use). 

I have spent the last week running around trying to get all of the details put together. I picked up our Birth Certificates from the safety deposit box last night, and Jakobe is supposed to be continuing to work on the questionnaire so that we can get the rest of the Home Study paperwork turned in. We did get the most time sensitive piece done – Our background Check/Fingerprint cards have been mailed to the FBI. Let’s hope for speedy processing!!!

On the Induced lactation front – I was making good progress with stimulation, but now either my impending period, or the fact that I started the Yaz is making my dribbles dry up.  If it’s the Yaz, then it should mean that I’m proliferating more milk making cells instead of making milk.  We’ll see.  I will stick to the plan.

--Sharing this late, because somehow I forgot to hit the publish button....

14 January 2012

Making Milk

So - yesterday was my appointment with the Lactation Consultant, and it went pretty darn well, she was pleased that we had a lot of time to work with - and careful to warn me that it's a lot of effort if the adoption doesn't go through.  She has her own modified version of the Newman-Goldfarb protocol, which is the protocol I'll be following.  I thought I'd share it here.  A - because it's important info to have out there, and B - so I don't forget it either.

I will be using domperidone (she prefers not to use Reglan, and it's contraindicated for me anyway) because I'm okay with ordering it online, and not freaked out by the slightly behind the government's back way of doing things.  She does say that the dom should be actually approved sometime next year.

So - Here's the plan:

  1. When we are about 12-13 weeks out from the due date, I start taking Yaz continuously.
  2. At 2-3 weeks before the due date, I start adding the dom.  
    1. Starting dosage for the dom is 2 tablets three times a day - continue at that dose for 5-7 days
    2. Continuing dosage of the dom is 3 tablets 3 times a day (can go slightly higher - max is 4 tabs 3 times a day)
  3. When we go to the higher dose of dom, we stop the Yaz, and start pumping and hand expression 8 times a day (and one of those will be in the middle of the night, if not 2).
I apparently respond much better to hand expression than I do to the pump.  With hand expression I can get drips right now, but the pump did nothing for me.  I know that the drips aren't usual for most people, but I've been a bit of a drip for like 8 years, so I guess I'm used to it.  I can hand express as I feel like it between now and when pumping begins.

The reason  that it's not a firm timeline is that some of it will depend on if it looks like she'd going to be here a bit early.  The lactation consultant also said that I should be prepared for the consultants at the other hospital - where she will be born - to be less than helpful.  She would like the birthmom to express colostrum to be spoonfed for the first couple of feedings - and for me to suckle as well.  I know that after that she plans to pump for a little while to give us some breast milk.

Finally - she very much says that I need to rent a hospital grade pump, so I'm going to have to figure out which one that needs to be.  The Symphony one from the Hospital is $80 a month, and insurance won't help out until after the baby is here, there's another one I was looking at that is $45 for the first month, and then $25 a month after that, but she wanted to make sure that it was one she felt would work well.  I'll probably hear from her next week sometime.

In a bit of awesome news - my authorization letter for the Lactation consultant arrived in the mail last night - I'm approved for 15 visits in the next year, so we shouldn't have a problem on that end.  I'll likely be able to go right away after she comes home.

That's the plan. 

11 January 2012

Enter the whirlwind

Sometimes life just goes crazy on you, and the whirlwind comes and picks you up and takes you off to Oz.  That's about how I'm feeling right now.  The possible adoption that I mentioned before our IVF in the fall - they approached us again - We thought it had been taken off the table, and they thought we had decided not to.  Turns out we were both wrong.  So now I'm inhabiting the crazy world of trying to get the lawyer/home-study and everything else done.  Right now.  Why? because I'm a little bit paranoid about forgetting things, and because we're now expecting a little girl in May.

Is this the appropriate moment to say "Holy Sh*t!"?

In any case.  We all have an appointment with the Lawyer next Thursday, and I have an appointment with the Lactation Consultant this Friday.  We got most of our home-study packet last night, and I, at least, have started working on it.  To be fair, Jakobe was busy after it got here last night, and then he was at work today, so I can't expect him to have done all that much :)

I'm excited, and nervous, and scared.  I made my best friend go looking at BRU last night to burn off nervous energy.  No.  I did not buy anything.  I keep thinking off all the million things that we have to do, and worrying that we're not going to be good enough for the social worker, and we won't have a clean enough house (I'm thinking about enlisting M-I-L to that end.)

As a side note, it was amazing how un-monumental our appointment with the RE on Monday felt.  Basically, he didn't tell us anything we didn't expect to hear.  We're a little bit screwed on that front.  Oh well.  He still couldn't burst my bubble.

Anyway - anyone with experience with adoptive breastfeeding.  Let me know how your experience went.  I'm curious, and that's my plan.

Also - the expectant parents are wonderful and generous beyond words, and I can't express how much what they are doing means to us, and how sad I am for them at the same time.  I can't imagine.
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