Monday, February 28, 2011

Breastfeeding and a really important lesson of the day

It's been awhile since I posted about breastfeeding. Some of you may disagree with that, lol, so, if so, feel free to stop reading because that's what this is going to be about. I have positives and challenges to discuss.

Because I am the consummate optimist (what?! Don't laugh!), I'll start with the positives. First, baby E and I have now surpassed how long the kid and I made it in our nursing relationship. I had thought I'd nursed the kid for 6 months, but as I looked back in scrapbooks, etc..., I realized he was really more like 4.5 months old. We went on a 4 day camping trip and I forgot part of the SNS, meaning I couldn't nurse him that weekend (well, couldn't feed him via nursing and he was never a comfort nurser, so it didn't happen at all that weekend). And, by the time we got back, I was just kind of over it. He had never been a die hard nursing fan, and that, plus us not doing it that long weekend, and the biting he'd been doing, I just didn't ever go back. At the time, I was fine with it. Later, though, I was really sad about it and regretting giving up. So, the fact that baby E and I are now into our 5th month, is big! My goal is to make it 15 months minimum with him - we're a third of the way there :)

We've started doing sign language some with baby E (have been for the last 2ish months) and I think he knows the sign for "milk" now. He has the same reaction when I sign it as he does when I assume "the position" to nurse. I love it that he gets so excited for me to nurse him!!

Challenges...The first one is baby E doesn't seem to like to nurse from the right side. He'll do it, but he repeatedly pops off. He sucks, sucks, sucks, pops off, babbles, babbles, then repeat. It's kind of hurting, to be honest. And he doesn't do it on the left side. So, idk what's going on with that... Anybody have any ideas/suggestions??

Second, and biggest, I'm really struggling with the inducing part of breastfeeding. I've been on this medication for 2 years. That's a long time and a lot of money (@ about $40/month for the domperidone, plus about another $20/month for the herbs). And it seems like what I'm making just isn't making it worth it. When I pump, I'm lucky to get 5ml at a time - total out of both breasts. The end of last week, it was more like 2-3ml. This morning it was about 1ml. It's SO frustrating!!!!!! At one point I felt like I was probably making about an ounce/feeding when I was actually nursing him (based on how much he'd take from the bottle, how long he'd go between feedings, etc...). I have a hard time believing that's still the case. I never get that physical sensation that says I *need* to feed him anymore. I feel like I could probably go all day without pumping or nursing and I'd never know any different. Also, he has increased what he wants from the SNS, but hasn't really increased what he takes from the bottle. It's just so disheartening. I so wanted my body to do just this one thing right. Sigh...

I know that if a momma came to me with all that, I would tell her that it's okay to stop, if that's what she needs to do. I would assure her that stopping the meds doesn't mean she has to stop nursing. I would assure her her baby would still love her. I would remind her that thanks to 6 other mommas (and counting!), baby E will still get breastmilk. I would assure her that she wasn't giving up. I would assure her she wasn't a failure... I just can't believe those things about myself right now. I may soon be ready to stop, but I'm not yet. I just needed to vent my frustrations a little. So, thank you for "listening". Also, any suggestions, encouragement, advice, etc... would be greatly welcomed!

Today's lesson - it's possible to give yourself a hickey with your baby's pacifier. On your face. I'm pretty sure it only happens when you're severely sleep deprived. And it's hard to cover the hickey up with make-up.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Superman was adopted, too

2008, the kid's 2nd birthday

I wish I could find the pictures of the kid as a newborn. He's wrapped up in this Superman cape. Now, those of you who know hubby IRL (in real life), know how much he is obsessed with (uh, I mean, loves) Superman. It's apparently an obsession that started when he was a little guy himself, when, according to my MIL, he would insist on having a towel pinned to his shirt and jumping, errr flying, off all manner of furniture. It's a "love" that has persisted - movies, comic books, Smallville; he loves them all. I think after we decided to adopt, hubby decided he was even more devoted to Superman, because, don'tcha know, he was adopted, too.

2009, the kid's 3rd birthday

So, when hubby's family had a baby shower for us after we told them we were adopting, it was natural that we would receive from his aunts a Superman cape. It's the one thing hubby insisted on packing in the diaper bag we took to the hospital. And, we just had to have pics of the kid wraped up in it. Since then we've taken pics of the kid with the cape every year near his birthday.

Baby E, day 2
So, of course when we were on our way to the hospital to meet baby E, the cape had to be in the diaper bag. And, the 2nd day of his life, he had his pic taken in it, too. We'll take pictures of him in it every year, too. I love that we will have these pictures of our boys.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Our First visit with Birthdad

We just got home from our visit with birthdad. It was a rollercoaster, but overall really good. One of the first things he asked was where the kid was, that he'd really wanted to meet him. I explained that the small office we were in at the agency was much too cramped a space for the kid to be in for an hour, much less with 5 adults (it was tight squeeze, y'all); it would have been impossible for us to talk. Also, he was getting to have some special time with his beloved Gram. He said that made sense, but that he is looking forward to meeting him. We took this as a good sign  :)

Overall, it was a good visit. We learned a lot about him. He's super personable and friendly. And very open and frank. All of those are certainly qualities I appreciate. We got several pictures, which I know we'll treasure. D grinned from ear to ear every time he looked at baby E. It was so cute. And it was really cool to see that baby E sure got his nose from D. And his hair, too, I think.

Were there some difficult parts to the visit? Sure. He repeatedly referred to himself as daddy, and to R as momma. We knew to expect that, and it was mostly okay, just a, I don't know how to articulate that feeling. He's had a hard life. Some of that was related to things that have happened to him, others to choices he has made. Regardless, it made me feel sad for all that he's had to deal with.

However, as I sit and watch this beautiful, healthy, happy baby chew on the toy on his exersaucer, I am overwhelmed with love for him. And with gratefulness to D. He could have kept this from ever happening. He wanted to at first. There are no words to express how I feel about him when I look at our son. How grateful I am, will always be. How he holds a very special place in my heart.

I don't know what the future will hold in regards to our relationship with D, hopefully there will be one. I don't know what it will look like. I know it will be different than any kind of relationship I've ever had before. I know it will look different than any kind of relationship I've ever seen. We have models for other relationships all around us - whether those models are good, bad, or ugly, they're there. Unfortunately, this relationship isn't one we see. It's hard to even know where to start, because the opening dynamic is so fraught with conflicting emotions - our joy, his grief. The dichotomy between those two is hard to overcome.

Today's lesson - The relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents isn't something that we often see in society. There is no neat little box to put it into. We rarely have any frame of reference for it. That, I think, is probably part of why it can be so challenging. Then there's that whole somebody else callin' himself "daddy" part. It's different. It's challenging. It will be good, for all of us. But in order to make it easier, we need to talk about it. It needs to be seen (other than just Oprah and her sister), discussed, made normal.

Infertility = A loss of control

I've been trying, over the last couple of days, to figure out why the whole baby E's last name isn't ours thing is bothering me so much. I think I've figured it out. It has to do with infertility.

When you are faced with infertility, you lose a lot of control over what happens in your life, and you are faced with a lot of losses. In a lot of ways you lose control over having a baby, or least in doing it in the manner in which you'd assumed you would, the manner in which everyone else does. You lose control over your own body and grieve it not doing what it's "supposed to do". You lose being able to experience that positive pregnancy test, feeling the baby move inside you, labor and delivery, etc...

You lose being able to discuss all those things with other new parents. You lose being able to talk about the challenges of breastfeeding (in my case) without having to go into a huge discussion about how it's even possible. Or what that thing around your neck is.

And apparently you lose some of the most basic rights of parenthood, such as knowing your child's information (i.e. name and SS#). A biological parent would never be denied this information. It would be ludicrous to even imagine that possibility, right? (Cases of domestic violence, abuse/neglect notwithstanding)

So that's why this has me so upset. It feels like another loss. Yet another thing telling me that I am less than a whole parent, less than other parents. And, in short, it just sucks.

Today's lesson - Many people assume that once they are parents, the hurts of infertility are healed. The truth of the matter is that those hurts and losses are something that can unexpectedly show up at any time and bite you in the ass. And it sometimes hits you right about the time you sit down and write a blog post.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Now I remember why I don't wear earrings

I was giving baby E one final kiss while dropping him of at the sitter's house, before heading to work this morning. I leaned in and he grabbed a big ole handful of my hair. I started to back up and quickly realized that he not only had hair, he had an earring. That slight tugging caused a bit of panicking on my part. "Why did I wear these? I know he likes to grab! What if it rips out???!!!" All of these thoughts flew threw my brain just before I untangled his tiny fingers from my hair and earring. No damage done. Just a slight panic attack. No biggie. I went off to work, all of me intact.

So, as I was just sitting here thinking about this, I realized how profoundly my life has changed in the last 5 years. I mean, before you're a parent, you know things will be different AK (after kids), but there are so many things you aren't really prepared for. They're often not big changes, they're just unexpected ones.

Take the earrings for example. Now, I was never a big wearer of jewelry, but I did have a couple favorite pairs of earrings. After the kid started grabbing at them (at about 5 mon, just like baby E), I quit wearing them pretty much ever. They re-emerged about a year ago, when I remembered that I had them and liked them, and realized that he was no longer going to (unintentionally of course) rip them out . Now, though, they're probably going to go back to the drawer where they'd been living, except for special occasions.

Another example is the morning routine. Pre-kids, I slept til 715-30 and still made it to work by 8, often a few minutes early. Now, AK, I'm up at 545 and am rarely here before 830. I hate being late, y'all - just like my momma - and I often find myself late for everything these days. Not egregiously late, just running a few minutes behind. But this change I do find irritating.

One more example, the poor dog. He used to be our baby. Was, in fact, for 6 years. Now the poor creature is lucky if we remember to feed him before 8pm. He used to be the reason we took walks (to wear him out), and last night we took a walk without him because it just seemed easier than trying to find his leash. He was our baby. Now I fuss at him for trying to play with our baby's toys. Poor dog.

Today's lesson - Change is an inevitable part of life. It's even more likely to occur in the midst of huge life events. You know, like becoming a parent. You have 2 choices. You can choose to freak out about it which will lead to more stress. Or you can choose to accept the changes. Maybe they're permanent (I'm pretty sure I'll never get to sleep til 730 on a work day again). Maybe they're not (the dog does get more attention now that the kid can play with him and the earrings will eventually make their way out of the drawer again). Regardless, they are what they are at the moment. Freak out, or go with the flow...your choice. Personally, which of those I'll go with completely depends on the day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's in a name...?

We received the adoption finalization petition from our attorney on Friday for us to sign and get back to him. That's good, because it means progress is being made. However, there was an error on it, and something else... The error was it lists my old old job (as in the one before the one I left a month ago). So that probably needs to be fixed. The other thing is, well, I don't know what to call it, or how to feel about it. Well, I'm irritated about some of it, but anyway.

Okay, here's what it is - baby E's last name isn't ours, it's R's. This may not seem like a big deal, but the thing is, it feels like it. We just assumed that his name was ours on the original birth certificate (educational moment, in case you don't know - you can give your baby any last name you want, yours, dad's, the president's, anyone's), and the documentation we received from the agency stated that it is. So, we've been going along all this time assuming he has our last name. We've given it to the pediatrician and the health department (where we've had to go for his shots). Heck, I even gave it to the IRS because we had to apply for a pseudo ID # for him so we can fill out our taxes (note: another adoption "thing" - though baby E has a SS# right now, we aren't allowed to have it. He'll be issued a new one once the adoption is finalized, along with a new birth certificate, listing us as his parents, which is another rant for another day. Anyway, it's a bunch-o-crap-pain-in-the-ass). But apparently, I've unknowingly been giving out fraudulent information.

With the kid, his last name was our last name, from the beginning; it was the birth mom's choice to do that. So, there was no changing his name when the adoption was finalized. I, we, just assumed baby E would be the same. And we had every reason to believe it was. But, apparently we were wrong. Apparently, because of some ridiculous overextension of confidentiality, we aren't even allowed to know our own son's last name. That's right. I mean, I realize the adoption isn't finalized, so he legally isn't "our son", but, for the love of all things holy, come on!!!! I'm a social worker, a therapist, I get the importance of confidentiality, but this is ridiculous. I can hardly imagine the uproar (social services) foster parents would get into if this were extended to them, so why us?!!

I don't like the idea of changing his name, even though it's just his last name, and even though it happens all the time with kids/adoptions. To me, and this is just my opinion, I feel like it's another loss, the change of a name. He's already lost so much (his birth parents, his original culture because try as we may we can't replicate that, living with and being raised by people who look like him, just to start), I hate to take 1 more thing from him. Obviously, we will change it, because he is part of our family, but that doesn't mean I can't feel conflicted (and icky and irritated about it).

So, anyhoo, that's where we are with that. As far as being sickly, baby E only seems to be snotty right now. And by snotty, I mean super snotty, so snotty the poor baby is havin' a hard time breathing especially at night. That, of course, means we're not sleeping well, but that, sadly, is nothing new. He otherwise seems to be back to his happy, sweet self. I sure adore that little guy. And that kid, geez, he's a riot. I am one lucky momma.

Today's lesson - the sun is awesome. Even when you're not sleeping much or well, or are irritated because of stupid, archaic rules, it helps you get through the day. Temps in the 60's are pretty helpful, too. Bring on Spring!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hodgepodge of stuff and funny things the kid's been saying lately

(NOTE: This was written last night, I'll let ya know when we move on to today)
Idk what was going on with baby E, but he seems mostly fine now. He's rather snotty, but is otherwise back to his smiley, babbling, sweet little self. And he slept 7 hours last night, with me only having to insert the paci 1x. That's pure awesomeness right there, people.

Here's are some funny things my kid has said recently, just for your laughing pleasure.
  • We were on a walk, well he was riding his bike and hubby and I were walking. He was going really slow. I kept asking him to catch up. He said, "Here I come. I'm faster than the average slowpoke, peeps. I sure am. Watch out already. The zoom is comin' though".
  • He's been walking around, pointing out all the things he can do now that he's 5 "don'tcha know". Then he decided to point out that "five year olds don't actually have to do some things. You know, because I'm five. That means I'm even cooler than before".
  • "Hey momma-woman. How you doin'?" (a la Joey from Friends) - where'd he pick that up?
  • Yesterday the kid went to a birthday party at the local children's museum. Upon return, I asked him how it was. He grinned real big and said, "there were super pretty teenager girls there, momma. And a horse. And I got candy. Yeah, it was greatness".
(Here's today)
Last night, baby E was up again every 2 hours. What the heck, baby. Sigh...he's a sleeping tease, that one is. Also, I took him to get his 4mon shots (well, the ones we've decided to get) this morning. He was a bit pitiful, but it was better than last time. I hated leaving him at the sitter's but I just don't have any leave time at my new job yet, and the whole "this is a super flexible job" thing doesn't seem to have kicked in yet (suck). Hopefully he'll be okay...??? Good thing we have the best sitter ever.

Today's lesson - Did you know that 4+1 = 5? Apparently this is something only 5 year olds know. I've been told you are only capable of this kind of complicated addition when you're 5, before or after that it's "too much for your brain to comprehend". A 5 year old told me that, and since they know "like everything", it must be true. 5 year olds are funny little beings.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Follow-Up re: Sick baby

So here's something funny. Baby E not only doesn't have an ear infection (thus, all that worry about antibiotics and whatnot for absolutely no reason - ha!), the pediatrician could find nothing wrong with him. No fever, ears looked "beautifully perfect", lungs were completely clear, etc... - healthy little dude. Sure, that should be good news, buuuuuttt, wellllll, he's still not himself so I am still worried (just not about the antibiotics, lol). He's still not sleeping for crap, just isn't his happy giggly self (though that has improved tonight), is rather snotty, and is still having a hard time nursing.

For now, I'm going to just keep close watch on baby E. Hopefully it's just a little cold that will be gone soon enough. And, for the love of pete, hopefully he'll start to sleep better soon!!!!!!!!!

Today's lesson - sometimes we can all be the overprotective/overly cautious parent. Also, all of the time, you should listen to your momma gut. If it tells you something wrong, listen to it.

Poor little guy

So, I think baby E is sick. His first sick - boo :(  Not sure what's wrong, but he just isn't acting like himself. There's the lack of sleeping (which has been getting progressively worse since Sunday night), lots of fussiness (which is so not like him at all - we haven't even seen a single smile in 24hrs), not wanting to be put down at all (now, those of you who know him may say this is normal for him, however, he'd gotten good about playing in the exersaucer or on his belly on the floor for a good 10-15min stretch; right now he won't tolerate it even 10-15seconds), eating weird (he's not missing a meal thus far, but he'll nurse for a few seconds, pull off, fuss, then repeat), and he's a little congested. He's also spitting up more than usual (he rarely spits up at all), though I think this may be related to us being out of breastmilk, so he's back on formula (til tomorrow when we pick up a new batch!).

All that said, I'm afraid he may have an ear infection. Poor little guy. I hated to leave him at the sitter's this morning, though I really had to come into work for a little while. I've made him an appointment with the pediatrician for noon. Hopefully we'll figure out what's going on and help the little guy feel better.

But, if it is an ear infection, that brings about a whole different set of issues. I can't remember if I've written about this before, but the kid had a couple of ear infections his first few years. With all (there were 3 or 4, I think), we were already at the doctor for something (usually a well child visit) when she noticed that he had it. He had exhibited no signs/symptoms of the infection  at all.  The first time, though my gut told me otherwise, I went ahead and let her convince me to give him the antibiotics. Yes, it was cleared up in 10 days. However, after that, I did a lot of research about ear infections and antibiotic use in general.

What I found was this (and no, I wish I had the citations to give you, but I don't right now) - antibiotic use in the first year of life increases risk of allergies and asthma in particular (I've mentioned the kid has asthma, and to the best of our knowledge, no one else in his birth family does); frequent antibiotic use is related to the development of "superbugs" which necessitate even stronger antibiotics that kill off all the bacteria in our bodies, even the good kinds; and, most surprisingly to me, nearly all ear infections (80+%) will resolve regardless of antibiotic use (i.e. the antibiotics aren't what cure most ear infections, they heal on their own).

So, we refused the antibiotics on the rest of the kid's ear infections, and they all cleared up beautifully without them and in the same amount of time (and he never developed any symptoms of discomfort at all). But, baby E is different. Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know. Well, what is different is that he is obviously feeling awful! And I want to do whatever we need to to make the pitiful little thing feel better. But, that still doesn't mean that antibiotics would necessarily make him feel any better any faster. And, what's kind of funny about this, is that I don't know that he even has an ear infection so I'm going though all this worry and anxiety about whether or not to give him an antibiotic that hasn't even been prescribed.

Today's lesson - seems like I ought to remind myself of one I posted only a few days ago. There's no point in worrying about everything. You waste time and energy that you'll never get back. Yeah. That's what I'll keep reminding myself at least. I am finding, however, that this is easier said than done when it comes to your kids.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I know I've posted for before about I miss much I enjoy well I'm coping with not getting it. Honestly, though, I'm not coping so well right now. Baby E is actually sleeping less (or at least in shorter stints) than he was as a newborn. Then, he'd consistently sleep 3 hours at a time, and usually would go at least 1 longer period of 4-5 hours. And at least then I could nap during the day, since I was still home with him.

Let's take last night as an example of what's been going on the last week or so - nursed him at 10p, put him to sleep and then laid him down at 10:45p. 12:30a - he fussed, so I stuck the paci back in his mouth and patted him for several minutes. 2a - he fussed, I waited several minutes to see if he'd settle himself back to sleep, no go, he was starting -to really wake up and actually cry, so I stuck paci back in his mouth and patted him for several minutes, this wasn't working so hubby got up and rocked him (or something, I don't know, I fell back asleep). 3a - hubby put him in bed with me, took several minutes for him to settle back down. 415a - started squirming, stuck paci back in mouth and patted again. 545a - alarm went off, up I get for the day. So, if you do the math, the longest stretch I got was about 1hr 45min. I figure I probably got about 5.5hrs of sleep total. And, really, last night was better than the previous several nights. Yeah.

Someone was talking about dreams the other day and I was trying to remember the last one I had. No idea. I don't think I get to sleep long enough to even get into REM stage sleep. Now, I am not a napping kind of girl. And I am envious of those of you who can sleep in any situation, because the circumstances have to be just right for me to be able to fall asleep (quiet, non-busy location, no one else around, etc...). So the fact that I took a nap in my car with the windows down in the parking lot at lunch yesterday is rather significant. It told me what I had already started to notice, that I am utterly and completely exhausted.

A couple of mornings ago, I was driving the kid to school (baby E was also with us). I was going along and realized we were almost there and I had absolutely no recollection of our drive. I know that happens sometimes, you get used to going the same route and autopilot kicks in. But this was different. I couldn't recall whether the kid had been talking, or baby E was quiet or fussing, or anything. It dawned on me that I really shouldn't be driving, it probably wasn't safe for anyone, especially my kids.

Also, though I certainly get cranky with hubby - and even sometimes the kid - when I'm tired, I've never gotten frustrated with baby E. Until the night before last. It wasn't anything major (I just slightly raised my voice and said "Oh, come on, just go to sleep already"), but still. It was the first time I've felt frustrated with him. And he puckered his little face up and looked like, well, like someone who he adores had just yelled at him. So, I cried, and still feel guilty. (I know, it happens to the best of us, I'm just going to feel bad about it.)

So, what am I going to do about it? Yeah, I have no flippin' idea. Cry-it-out isn't an option for us. We already swaddle him (and have also tried not swaddling him - that was even worse).  He sleeps in our room for a variety of reasons (it's best practice regarding lowering the risk of SIDS, he's up so many times that it's easier than running back and forth to his room all night, etc...). He has a consistent bedtime routine, it doesn't always include a bath/shower, but whether or not it does doesn't seem to affect how well he sleeps. Also, he isn't eating at night, and doesn't seem hungry. But, even when we do feed him, that also doesn't seem to affect how well/long he sleeps. It is possible that he's teething right now, which may account for all of this, but we've tried teething rings (cold and room temperature) and even Tylenol, neither of which have helped.

Today's lesson - I'm much too tired to come up with one. BUT, I would really like for you all to give me one. Please, please, pretty pretty please give me some ideas about what we can do to get this crazy baby to start sleeping better.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Guessing Games

Last night as I was trying to fall asleep, I kept thinking about how different my boys are. I mean, there are the obvious differences (i.e. the kid is always jonesin' to be the center of attention, whereas baby E is happy as long as he has the rapt attention of 1 person). But, as I really thought about them, what I realized is the main difference between the two is this - I know what to expect from the kid. I can pretty much predict what he will do, or how he will react in any given situation. I can pretty much determine from any look he gives me what kind of mood he's in, or if he's done something he knows he shouldn't have. From the tone of his voice, I know whether he's hungry, tired, both, or just bored. I know him.

Baby E, though, well he's a whole different story. Now, I realize he is isn't yet 5 months old, and the kid is 5 years old. Big difference right there. But, I remember that the kid was really good, even as a baby, at making me feel like a competent parent. Because he was so easy for me to read and was so consistent about eating, sleeping, playing, etc..., it was easy to know what he needed. He schedulized himself, and practically printed off a copy for us. 

Baby E is the opposite of consistent. He has nothing even akin to a schedule. Or, if he does, he sure hasn't clued us into it. He eats, sleeps, plays, well, whenever the heck he wants. Some mornings he wakes up at 7, cranky and still tired. Others he up at 5:45, happy as a clam. Sometimes during the day he can go 4-5hours between feedings, and only eat because I'm worried and offer, others, after an hour and a half he acts like he's starving. My friend M (also baby E's awesomely awesome babysitter) will be like "oh, that sounds like a tired cry, isn't it?" and I'm all like "uh, sure. Let's try that". It all seems like a guessing game with baby E, and a fumbling one at that.

It's interesting (to me at least), that I bonded with baby E hard and fast, whereas it was kind of a long process with the kid. So, you'd think, or at least I would think, that I would have a better handle on baby E's cues and needs than I did the kid's. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps I do actually know what he needs, but we're so in tune that I just do it, without really thinking about it.  With the kid, however, because he was on a schedule (that, really, he self-imposed around 2 months of age), I relied on the clock more than my instincts, but instincts seem to be all I have to go on with baby E. I do feel like baby E cries less than the kid used to. But again, who knows whether that has to do with my superduper momma skills (ha!), or just his temperament. No idea. Again, that baby's just a guessing game.

Today's lesson - every child is different. The manner in which you parent every child has to be different. Never think you have it all figured out, because your child is there to prove to you that you don't. Don't think of that as a bad thing. Think of it as being a lifelong learner. That seems like a gentler way to say "Yup, sometimes I have no idea what's going on".

Oh yeah, and Happy Valentine's Day. I hope yours is full of love!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

I love my friends :)

Today I want to talk about my friends. I have such a variety of friends, from ones I see regularly (M, who is also baby E's babysitter - I see her every morning when I drop him off and we usually have a quick chat, which is a great way to start my morning!), to those who have never met and only "talk" to via FB every once in a while. I have friends whom I've known since I was in elementary school, to those whom I've met within the last year. Friends who live in my neighborhood, friends who live in different countries. Probably you have friends who fit under all of these categories, too, and are wondering why I'm stating the obvious (I have friends, yay me!). 

Here's why...I think I have awesome friends and I so appreciate them. And so I just wanted to thank them.  Here are a few of the awesome things our friends have done for us lately - JE baked, decorated, and brought us beautiful cookies knowing we would probably need a little pick-me-up when we were supposed to have a a visit with birthdad and she also is making an awesome tractor cake for the kid's birthday party Sunday; M wasn't looking for any more kiddos to babysit, but offered to keep baby E for us because she could tell I was freaking out not being able to find anyone who was right; so many of you sending birthday wishes to the kid and letting us know that you, too, love him; Silly Bob remembering (without us mentioning it first) why the Superbowl is so meaningful to us; and K, whom I have never met in person, asking  for prayers for us from everyone she knows when R was considering changing her mind about us parenting baby E.

Each of you has played a significant role in our lives. I just want you to know we see the love to shower upon us and we are sending it back to you, even if it isn't obvious.

Today's lesson - we all sometimes fail those we care about. Sometimes all we can think about is how others' have failed us. Sometimes all we can think about when we're offered love and friendship is what will now be required of us. I would suggest that by focusing on those failings of others' and what we in turn may "owe" them, we are really failing ourselves. We are preventing ourselves from being able to experience the love others are offering to share with us. We are preventing others from loving us. So, accept the cookies without guilt. Accept the kind words of support when offered from the friend whom you haven't heard from in 10 years. Allow the friend to decide what she can handle, what is in her own best interest when she offers to care for your child.  Send prayers of thanksgiving for the friend who offered up prayers for you. Be open to love in all it's forms. Each of those moments and expressions is a gift. Accept it with grace.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Kid is 5!

Today is my baby's birthday. Today at 9:12am.

Today I remember a phone call that abruptly woke me at about 4am...A social worker's voice saying L was in labor and wanted us to be there...A hurried shower because I wasn't going to meet my baby with bedhead...The longest drive ever that involved THREE (!!!!!!!!!) stops at different gas stations because hubby just HAD to have some freaking Mt Dew (my bad, Diet Mt Dew) and the first two places didn't have any...The nervous giddiness that this was really happening...Getting lost in the hospital because we parked in the wrong lot...Thinking that L looked really laid back (she'd just gotten her epidural when we arrived)...Hubby's terrified face when L said we could both be in the delivery room and the social worker told him that if she had to go in, so did he...Hubby cowering in the corner, hiding half his face...The humor of seeing pee arc up into the air and hit the doctor nearly in his face...The momentary sinking feeling I experienced when I realized that girls just didn't do that; we had a son, not the daughter I'd wanted...the joy I experienced when I held that tiny boy in my arms and realized that child was meant to be mine...the tears of happiness that I was FINALLY a mother. 

That baby, my kid, gave me a most precious gift; he made me a mother, the thing I'd wanted so desparately for years. And, for the lat 5 years, he's taught me what that means, the challenges, the awesomeness, the hard parts, the hilarity, the exhaustion, the joy. That kid is simply the best and I am amazed at the ferocity of my love for him.

Today I appreciate who he is - his sense of humor...his compassion for others...his perpetual energy (yes, even this)...his intellect...his empathy...his love for his brother, and our whole family...his gentleness...his leadership abilities...his love of music and all things loud...his concern for others...his dancin' skills...his love of all things outdoors, especially sticks, rocks, camping, and hiking...his lack of fear of the water...his sparkling eyes...his joy...his enormous capacity for/to love...him. 

Happy Birthday, kid. There are so many people who love you. I am but one of them. Thank you for being you.

Today's lesson - today is also the day of the year I send constant love to a couple who we love for giving us this amazing creature. Thank you, L and D, where ever you are. We're thinking of you always, but most especially today.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why today is special

Today is the anniversary of the day we first met the kid's birth parents. We had known they wanted to meet us for just 4-5 days. I was in planning mode. Hubby was in panic-shutdown mode. Those are just our roles when something big's about to happen. A visit was scheduled for Superbowl Sunday. We drove to their house in silence. Our social workers were meeting us there. I felt very nervous and tend to talk even more when in that state, some might consider it babbling. That's exactly what I did. But so did birthdad. He's also a talker. Hubby was very quiet, nearly comatose. Birthmom was also very quiet. I learned soon enough that she is just a really quiet kind of person. Our visit lasted longer than I'd expected, longer, I think, than our social worker's had expected.

We were thinking this whole time that it was a "let's meet them and see if we like them" kind of deal. But, after being there for most of the visit, I realized that they had already made their decision, before we ever arrived. Upon getting ready to leave, they asked us if we had names picked out yet. Birthdad reiterated, "this is your baby. I hope you're ready for him or her". They hadn't yet had any prenatal care so didn't know baby's gender. (Actually, we didn't know at all til the kid peed all over the doctor after delivery - dude, girls just don't do that.)

As we walked out of the house, this glazed look came over hubby's face. Frankly it stayed there til, well, probably til the kid was about a month old. After leaving, we went over to my mom's house, where I gushed about our meeting, and hubby sat there stone-faced. Then we went to a Superbowl party with camping friends. And there we first shared our news. For the first time, I got to say we were going to be parents, we were going to have a baby. It was surreal. It was amazing. It was 5 years ago today. I can hardly even begin to articulate how our lives have changed.

So today, on Superbowl Sunday, I celebrate for a different reason. I could care less about some football game. Honestly, I have no idea who's even playing. I don't even care that much about the commercials. I do enjoy the food though. Today I chose to remember the way my life changed in the biggest way. And the people who made that possible. L and D, where ever you are, today I thank you and send you extra gratitude, love and prayers.

Today's lesson - some things are worth celebrating. The day you learned you were going to be a parent is one of them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today's visit with birthdad

All that worry and angst for nothin'. Birthdad canceled visit today. He said he had to go out of town,out of the state actually, for some mysterious reason. He wanted to reschedule for next week, but I'm starting my new job next week, so that won't work. I have a feeling that this whole relationship with him is just going to be unpredictable and...strange...Okay, so it is what it is. And now hubby and I get to have a dinner out, just us, well and baby E. The kid is still going to have his Gram date. All is good.

Today's lesson - there really is little point in worrying incessantly about something. It could all change and you will have wasted that energy for nothing, and it'll be time you'll never get back.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


So I haven't written much about birthdad - D. Until today. Today I'm going to talk about him. Because we're meeting him tomorrow. For the first time. And I'm nervous about it. To be honest, I'm all kinds of freaking out about it.

When baby E was born, and until recently, D was unavailable and not substantially in the picture. Well, he's back, or should I say, here. And he wants to see baby E. Why, you ask, are you freaking out about this? Well, yes, we do want an open adoption with all of baby E's birth family, including D. It's just that the contact we've had with him thus far has been...ummmm... awkward...uncomfortable...something. First, the adoption was not his plan. Also, he wasn't particularly pleased about it, especially at first. He did agree to terminate his rights because he agreed that neither he nor R were in a position to parent baby E, but he less than happy about it.

We received a letter from him, which was...odd. He is, to say the least, less than thrilled about my nursing baby E, which he made clear in his letter. I mean, I completely understand why it's probably weird for him (not knowing it was even possible, seeing someone else have that intimate of a connection with "his" child, etc...), but it just makes things more uncomfortable for me. It means that I will have to excuse us from the room if baby E decides he needs to eat tomorrow while we're there. I normally nurse where ever, whenever, but this just seems like a time to be respectful of D, and keep things as opposite of weird as possible for all of us. Hopefully baby E just doesn't need to eat then and it's a non-issue.

So, then there's the whole part where I feel pretty certain that he's going to refer to baby E as his son. And while I feel like I will be less affected by this than I would have been pre-TPR, I know it will be uncomfortable and probably set off my momma-bear instincts. I have a feeling that that will be really difficult for hubby too, to have someone else referring to himself as our child's father.

We were going to take the kid with us (didn't think that through very well at first). Fortunately, my mom has generously agreed to have a "gram date" with him so we won't have to do that.

So, here's hoping things go well tomorrow. Or just don't go badly. I don't really know what "well" looks like anyway.

Today's lesson - my house is infinitely quieter during the day. And I am infinitely more productive. Even when holding a baby all day.