Tuesday, May 31, 2011


So, tomorrow's the big day. The day we finally - at least in the eyes of the law - become a family for forever and always. I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm sad about the people who can not join us. I'm disappointed and frustrated by the people who have chosen not to join us. I'm relieved. I'm grateful. I'm happy.

And, mostly, I'm just ready. Ready for this chapter, which has been full of so many ups and downs, to be closed.  Ready for a new one to begin. Ready to not have to make that qualifier of "we're in the process of adopting him". Ready to instead just say "he's our son". I'm ready.

Today's lesson - while in my heart it doesn't matter what some court says, in the eyes of the law, and all those other institutions that rely on the law, this is the last step in making baby E part of our family. It's going to be a good day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

33 Things

So, in honor of my 33rd birthday (which is today, btw), I decided to come up with a list of the things I'm grateful for, and since I am 33 today and all, that seemed like a good number. So, here goes (in completely random order)...

  1. My momma, because let's face it, I just wouldn't be here (or who I am) without her.
  2. The sun (thank you for the breaks in the rain - finally!!)
  3. My kiddo. And really, I could come up with a list at least 33 things I'm specifically grateful for about him. I'll probably include a few below, just because.
  4. Baby E - his cuteness, his intensity, how happy he is, the little fat rolls he's started getting, so, so many things
  5. But a big one is - Baby E sleeping better the last 2 nights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. The kid's humor, his compassion, his empathy.
  7. Hubby - he takes care of me, makes me popcorn with minimal whining on my part, out up a clothesline in the backyard for me, and puts up with me in general. He's kinda awesome.
  8. My Highlander. Really, my vehicle has been fantastic - not a problem out of it in 8 years.
  9. Chocolate. 'Nuf said.
  10. Flip flops. Love them.
  11. Camping - we're going on our first trip of the season this weekend. It'll be the first one ever with baby E. Hopefully I'll still be grateful for camping once we get back... However, I so appreciate the time we get to spend together as a family.
  12. Twilight, all 4 of 'em (Don't judge!)
  13. HM4HB and all the mommas who help to feed baby E.
  14. Ms. M, our AMAZING sitter, and my sweet friend.
  15. Pedicures. Bliss.
  16. My Moby - I wouldn't have made it through the 1st several months with Baby E without it.
  17. Scrapbooks and scrapbooking, and the occasional time to pursue them
  18. My friend JE, particularly the decadent cake she made for me this past weekend (head on over to her blog to see the cake - it was yummy!)
  19. L and D, the kid's birth parents, and R and D, baby E's birthparents and A, R's mother/baby E's birth grandmother.
  20. Our backyard garden
  21. Wednesday, June 1st, 11am! And all the people who are coming to share it with us.
  22. The kid knowing that he shouldn't have red dye and (almost) always avoiding it
  23. Having this blog as an outlet
  24. The patience I seem to be slowly growing.
  25. Laurie Berkner. Her music gives me some "quiet" in the mornings (from the 2 little chatterboxes in the backseat). If you have kids, and want some music that won't make you want to tear your hair out, check her out. We have several CD's and I really like them all (so do the boys, of course).
  26. Peonies - my current fav flower
  27. Ice Cream
  28. Cloth diapers - I feel like a crunchy momma using them and they have been such a good financial decision for us. Also, they're so easy and I love the way they look hanging on my clothesline in the backyard :)
  29. Open adoption
  30. Starbucks. Yes, I'm now addicted.
  31. The Farmers' Market
  32. The SNS. Though I really wish I didn't need it, I am grateful it exists as it has allowed me to nurse my babies.
  33. Being a Momma. And, most days, a pretty good one.
Today's lesson - I am loved. Birthdays are a good reminder of that for all of us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Court Date (for real this time!)

So we actually have a court date - YAY!!!!! The lawyer's office called this afternoon and it's set for Wednesday 6/1 @11am. It's kind of an inconvenient time (being at the end of the school year, and right in the middle of the day), but we're so happy that it's scheduled and that our family and friends are going to join us. It's a special and momentous day and wouldn't feel right without them there to support baby E and us. They've been right there with us through the crazy rollercoaster ups and downs of this journey and it's right for them to share the end of this part of the ride as well. We're looking forward to sharing a celebratory lunch with everyone afterwards as well. What a beautiful, joyous day it will be!

Today's lesson - sometimes we have friends who know us well, yet aren't what we'd consider close. I think relationships with those people can be uncomfortable. It's hard to decide what is safe to say, and what you should stay away from. Just because you know a lot and have a long history, doesn't give you the right to say something such as "oh your baby doesn't sleep through the night probably because who knows that his birth mom did while she was pregnant with him". Some things are better left unsaid, even if they're in your head. Especially if you don't have a particularly close relationship with the person to whom you're saying it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our breastfeeding journey to date

I've recently had a couple of questions about breastfeeding and inducing, as in how I did it. So, I thought I'd give the specifics, in addition to an update about how we're doing now.

As far as preparing, I did the Newman-Goldfarb protocol (this website or  this blog post gives more info on that). In short, it involved birth control pills and the medicine domperidone (not widely available in the US) for more than a year. When we knew we'd been chosen by R, I stopped the bcp and started pumping. A few days later, I started taking fenugreek and blessed thistle (which is part of the Newman protocol) with each meal. I found if I took as much as was recommended of the blessed thistle, it upset my stomach, so I cut back on that, and increased the fenugreek (it was supposed to be 3 of each, but now I do 4 and 1, respectively). I continue to take the domperidone 30mg, 3x/day.

When I started pumping, I did it 4-5x/day, but not at night. I kind of wish I had as I wonder if it might have been more successful. Of course there's no way to know for sure. When baby E was born, I was only getting drops when I pumped (it had been less than 2wks of pumping at that time). It wasn't enough to even consider saving. After he was born, I nursed exclusively until he was about 6 weeks old (here's the post about his first bottle).  Since then, he's had bottles only at the sitter's, and sometimes 1 at night.

(This was when he was about a week old. You can see the SNS. And, oh my - he was so tiny!)

As far as being successful overall with producing milk, I've been really disappointed. At first I think I was producing .5-1oz/feeding. Of course there's no way to know for sure, but that seems about right. Once I went back to work and started pumping, I was getting only ml/pumping session (like 2-3ml total). That's now up to generally 3-5ml, though the last couple days have been back down to 2-3ml (I think because I've quit drinking Mothers' Milk tea and eating oatmeal, not intentionally, just kinda happened). I like to think baby E gets more than that when he actually nurses, but who knows. I tend to combine what I pump for a couple of days, until there's a half ounce or so, and then put it all in 1 feeding.

I read another blog where the mom induced (with not much notice so I don't think she even did the whole protocol) and though the baby's only about 3wks old, she's only having to supplement about 4oz per day! I am amazed, and - honestly- totally and completely jealous of her. Here's her blog, if you're interested in checking it out.

If I had it to do over again (and I really hope I do - pretty please, hubby, we need a 3rd baby!), here's what I'd do differently: pump at night before baby comes. That's it. I really feel like I've done everything I possibly could have to make it successful. I consulted with a lactation consultant several times, took the meds much longer than recommended, nursed exclusively longer than many mommas, and pumped 2x/day at work even though it seems pointless. I really don't think there's anything else I could have done - though if you can think of something, please let me know!

And even knowing that, I am disappointed. I so wanted to get at least a substantial supply. I wanted to be able to feed my baby at least occasionally without the SNS. I get mad, really, when I see/hear about moms like the one in that blog up there, who are able to do it without supplementing. I mean, sure, I'm happy for them, but really, I feel angry and jealous that I can't do that, too. Infertility strikes again. My body couldn't even do all this right. It's disheartening and frustrating.

Time to let go of this pity party and move on. Mostly because I have to go find baby E who's crawled off somewhere to get into something. Do you know that baby just started creeping along the couch??!!!??! Crap y'all!!!!! This is totally new! Last week he couldn't pull himself to stand and today he's going along furniture and climbing over things! I am so in for it...

Today's lesson - Superman has a rainbow cape. And long curly eyelashes. And heat-o-vision eyes. And he, too, still wears a pull-up at night, too. True story. So says the 5 year old at least...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Or not.

So apparently we overestimated the confidence of the woman from our attorney's office when she said we'd have court next week. Baby E's adoption finalization hearing will not be happening next Friday. Suck. She called me back Thursday and said that the judge wants to meet with our attorney, the guardian ad litem, and the agency's attorney on Friday and they will then set the court date. I'm not sure why, especially since the agency's attorney has nothing to do with it. They didn't attend the kid's finalization and I confirmed with our worker yesterday that their attorney isn't involved in any way. So, I'm kinda confused and a little concerned. I am hoping that our attorney's office is just confused about the agency atty needing to attend,. Our worker said maybe she was thinking about with private adoptions, as things are different with those. Idk, but I am just a little nervous at this point. I was starting to think something  would be easy-ish. But apparently not.

Someone reminded me that it will happen when it's supposed to. And logically I know and agree with that. However, the pit of my stomach is on a different wavelength and hasn't gotten the message. I realize now how much better I'll feel when it's just DONE.

Today's lesson - sometimes Blogger sucks. It was down earlier this week for quite a while. It says it was only a day. Well, uh, my blog was down for longer than that. AND it deleted one (long) post and several comments. So, J, please don't think I deleted your comment, because I really liked it and am sad it's gone. So, yeah, boo on Blogger.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Court date!!!!!!!!

Just got off the phone with our attorney's office. It looks like we (hopefully) finally have a court date for next Friday to finalize baby E's adoption!!!! I'm a bit surprised (because I really have been way laid back about this whole thing), but I'm kinda tearful. I'll just blame it on the not feeling well thing. Yeah, that's what it is. Or not, but whatever. Actually, it seems like this is a valid thing to feel a bit emotional about. I mean, it's kinda big. Yeah, it's awesome.

After all this waiting, it just seems overwhelming and surprising that it's finally ending. And, by "ending", I mean I guess I've still be kind of on edge - without really realizing it, so this will hopefully lesson the anxiety I have just realized I was carrying. After waiting so long for him to be born, it didn't feel real that he was really here, until we got home. And then the whole R maybe changing her mind. I guess part of me was still waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. I kept thinking that the finalization wasn't a big deal because he was already ours (and R and D's rights were already terminated). I think I was afraid of the 'what ifs'. But, by God, this is a big deal. And we are gonna celebrate that little guy. We are gonna celebrate our whole family.

Today's lesson - I consider myself to be pretty introspective. I'm constantly analyzing what's going on inside myself, trying to tease out why I feel or react a particular way. That said, I totally missed the bus on this one. So, the lesson? Hell, I don't know. I'm sure it's in there somewhere. Excuse me while I go blow my nose. It's allergies. (And maybe I am crying a little. Whatever.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another finalization update

So this week we had our visit with baby E's Guardian Ad Litim (aka the attorney appointed to assure that it is in baby E's best interest to be adopted by us). It was brief (maybe 20 minutes) and he asked minimal questions. He was kind and apologized for "asking all these really personal questions when I know you've already been approved by 'the Cabinet'" (aka social services, which really I guess we were since the paperwork our agency did got sent to them for final approval - I think). I kinda laughed, because, really, the questions he asked us ("tell me a little about  yourself" and "is it in his best interest for the adoption to be finalized?") were nothing compared to a lot of the questions you get asked when you're going through the process. But, again, he was kind and brief, both things I appreciated.

This week we also got the bill for the final half of the adoption fee. ((sigh...)) That part stings a little, or a lot. I mean, damn adoption's expensive. I keep trying to tell myself that we'll get most all of it back next year with the adoption tax credit, but it's gonna be a long year. (And I keep trying to convince hubby that we need to just put that money aside for baby #3, but that's not going so well yet. He keeps coming up with other ways to spend it, like furniture for our sparsely furnished basement. Practical crap like that. We'll see...)

Good news is the guardian said that hopefully we'll be able to get a court date next week. Not that THE court date itself will be next week, just that our attorney will be able to go to court to request a date, which hopefully will be soon. It's a process.

Today's lesson - some day my baby will sleep through the night. This may be more of a desperate affirmation, or plea, than a lesson.

Friday, May 6, 2011

To all the Mommies in our Village

As I was driving the other day, I started thinking about all the moms in my life.

There is, of course, my awesome mom. I could go on and on about her, but then I would start crying (and I totally get that from her - thanks a lot mom). Overall, I am the mother, and person I am in large part because of her.

There is my grandmother. The original social worker in my life. Always poised, ladylike. So knowledgeable. So good at gently reminding me of the basics of parenting (i.e. no, your 2 year old can't be expected to follow 3 and 4-step directions, Becky!).

There are my aunts, so different, all have taught me things about about motherhood. Attachment parenting, acknowledgement that children are people deserving of the same respect and attention we afford adults, that breastfeeding is the normal way to feed babies, that family is family even when you don't see them frequently- these are lessons I learned watching my aunts parent.

There is my MIL. She raised the man I love and is another social worker role model. She even calls to check on me when I'm driving through potential tornadoes.

There is baby E's sitter, also one of my dearest friends. I don't know where we'd be without her. Because of her, I know baby E is loved all day. She is such a beautiful example of faith, a reminder for me to be more trusting and faithful.

There are the kid's teachers. They have taught me that "stop" is more effective than "no". They are patient with the kid all day long, something I aspire to.

There are my mommy friends. The one who first taught me the pain and love of a birth mother. The one who showed me how patience looks when you have 5 kids. The one who is discerning whether she wants to be a mommy (for the record, I totally think you should go for it, it would be a shame for kids to miss out on you and even that husband of yours). There are the ones who also became moms through adoption and commiserate with me on the insensitive things people say to us about adoption. And those who did it the traditional way, who can commiserate about breastfeeding woes. There are the mommies in waiting, yearning for their babies. I remember how challenging Mothers' Day will be for them and I yearn with them for their children to be in their arms.

There are all of baby E's milk mommies - more than 10 of them at this point! They have helped to nourish my child in a way I couldn't fathom was possible. They have done for him what I couldn't. They have taken his eczema and cradle cap away and, I'm convinced, helped to make him the super happy creature he is.

There are L and R, the women who made me a mother, the boys' first mothers. I don't have words to describe how important these two women are in my life, to my life. They have taught me different things about selflessness and love, about pain and grief. Simply put, I love them and will eternally be grateful for their choices of life and adoption.

To all these women, thank you for your love and support, for being who you are. Thank you for being the mothers in our village. My family wouldn't be the same without you. Even more, you are essential in our village.

Today's lesson - Sometimes, when the baby disappears, you just have to follow the drool path on the kitchen floor and it will lead you right to him. Babies apparently are sometimes like snails.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Serving Others

One of my most read posts is this one (Another Amazing Milk Mommy ). I recently got a comment on it from a man who knows the family. He thanked me for allowing the family to serve us. I was so touched by that. And I realized how true it is. It made me think about how humbled I feel that they shared the milk with us.

It is so hard to allow others to serve us. It is so hard for me to allow others to serve me. As a social worker, it is my job to serve people. And I feel blessed when they allow me to do it. But, oh it is such a challenge to reverse things and accept it. Perhaps that was part of why I struggled so much with my feelings about this family, about using this milk. I felt like I was taking something from them, but this gentleman reframed it for me, helping me to realize that we indeed were able to give them something in the midst of their suffering (at least I hope so).

For some reason, I still haven't used all of that sweet baby's milk. I see it every time I open the freezer to get milk out for baby E. It reminds me of the family, of the baby, and I say a little prayer for them. I think I have been hesitant to use it all because I don't want to forget them. I don't want to forget their loss. I don't want to forget their great gift.

But also, complete honesty, I haven't wanted to use the last of it because it would feel to me like letting go. And how silly because it's not like he was my baby, and I never even met him. But I feel connected to him, and to his family, and I think I've been feeling like that milk is the connection. And, while it is the reason we met, I don't need to have a physical connection. The milk was what brought them into our lives, for a beautiful, brief moment. But, it will be their selflessness, grace, strength, beauty and love that will remain, even once the last of the milk has been used. And, the more that I think about it, the more I know that using the milk is what the family would want. That momma spent so much time pumping the milk for her sweet baby, and I know she wants my sweet boy to use it and thrive on it.

Today's lesson - even though daily I am faced with others' pain, and I am able to not lose myself in it (by the grace of God), sometimes, there is pain that you can't help but be affected by. Sometimes there is pain that you should be affected by. Sometimes that pain, even though it isn't yours, is there to teach you something.