Since adopting Ticky-boo, I've had multiple people ask me (especially in recent months): "Well, is motherhood everything you wanted it to be?" And I can quite honestly say no. Its not. At all.
Its more rewarding than I ever thought possible... and that, my friends, is coming from a woman with an almost-8 month old baby who refuses to sleep. Even though I can honestly say that I am officially sleep deprived and exhausted... I love it! I absolutely love it. Sure, there are moments when I'm elbow deep in poop... or more like, elbow deep in trying to help the poor constipated baby actually poop, that I just kind of thing to myself, "Oh dear Lord, what have I gotten myself into?" And I'm sure there are going to be many moments like that. But, for the most part, I can safely say that finally becoming a mother is incredible. Ticky makes everything totally and completely worth it. All the shit we went through to end up here was worth it.
I realize that its easy for me to say that now. I'm on the other side. I can look back and see all along why things happened the way they did and it all makes total sense to me now. But, like I said, I'm on the other side. When I was there, in the thick of it, crying my eyes out and losing myself, I couldn't say that it would be worth it. The pain was too much to even see past it. But, somehow, we made it and we're on the other side. And it was worth it. I would go through it all again... I would walk through Hell again, to get Ticky. To see her smile at me. Or reach for ME, her mama, to pick her up. To hear her say "Mama" in that sing song-y sweet voice of hers. I would go through all that hell again for her. And I hope to spend the rest of my life showing her that.
I think she is amazing! Her big, gummy smile is probably my favorite thing on Earth. Or maybe its her now giving kisses when you ask... that's pretty awesome too! The Husband and I have pretty much decided that we're screwed. We both are just suckers for her and while we both know that she is going to have to be told no... we both know that that girl has a smile that would melt an iceberg.
One thing I have really learned in the past almost 8 months is to listen to your gut. I was able to breastfeed Ticky-boo for the first month of her life... not exclusively (because I was told by her pediatrician that as an adoptive mom there was no way I would ever be able to breast feed her exclusively), but it was the main, or at the very least, half of what she took in, before my milk dried up. Very soon after she switched completely to formula she had quite a few problems crop up. She became chronically constipated to the point where she almost always had to have help going to the bathroom (enter a thermometer and a big ol' tub of vaseline) despite the doctor giving her stool softeners. I finally started her on juice and that seemed to help a little bit, but she was still constipated. She also developed acid reflux. She was put on medication to help it and it did help, but she still suffered from really bad bouts of reflux that even the medicine wouldn't touch.
The entire time I kept asking the doctor if she thought it might be her milk. That ever since I had switched her to exclusively formula, she had had these problems. The doctor informed me on multiple occasions that a milk allergy is rare in infants and that it was all unrelated. I listened. I mean, after all, she was the pediatrician, not me. Right?
Three different types of formula, about six different brands of bottles, and a LOT of fighting and trying to just coax her to eat, and she was still constipated and still dealing with reflux.
She also stopped sleeping. And I mean stopped sleeping. She would wake up 5-6 times a night screaming and crying. And she used to sleep! When she was tiny, she'd wake up to eat twice a night and then when she was about 10 weeks old, she slept through the night. That stopped when she hit 4 months old and its only gotten worse.
She also had another problem develop where her little cheeks would turn red during the day. We'd wake up in the morning and they'd be perfectly fine, but by the end of the day, they would be bright red and scratchy like sand paper and they'd be really hot to the touch. We went to see another pediatrician after we moved to VA and she told us it was dermatitis, again dismissing my thought that it was her milk, and prescribing her even more medicine (hydrocortisone cream) for her face. Three weeks on the face cream and the rash still kept coming back the way it always had. I finally said enough is enough and bought her the uber expensive, hypoallergenic lactose-free and soy-free formula. I figured, if it didn't work, I'd only be out $30 and I could at least tell her new pediatrician what we'd tried.
Twenty four hours on the new formula and her face hadn't turned even a little pink! She slept better that first night than she had in months! We're now going on 4 days of the new formula and I can tell a huge difference. She is eating more (she's always been difficult to feed and she's very rarely gone over the absolute minimum amount of ounces she should be having per day) and she's pooping normally! Its too early to call a victory, but I think we're pretty close to calling this one. I realize now that I should have gone with my gut from the beginning and pushed the issue.
I realize now that I also should have pushed the breast feeding issue and stood up for me and my boobs. I have always wanted to nurse a baby and I did a lot of research into adoptive nursing and had the support and drive to do it. When her pediatrician told us that we had no choice but to feed her formula or she wouldn't gain weight (after being completely shocked at even the idea of my breastfeeding her), it scared us into giving her formula. I think that that was the reason my milk dried up. I never had a chance to really get a good supply established... not a good enough one to be able to keep up and get off the medication and herbs I was taking (Domperidone, Fenugreek, and Blessed Thistle). I really feel like if we'd had her pediatrician's support, I could have done it. I've even toyed with the idea of trying to relactate, but with Ticky-boo's possible allergy to milk, now that she's finally doing better, I dont know if I want to risk more problems in the name of breastfeeding.
So yeah, that's my little rant/motivational what-have-you for the day... I think that medical professionals are there for a reason, obviously, but I also feel like I know my child and myself better than a doctor who sees her once every 2-3 months and I realize now that its my job to be her advocate with doctors and nurses and fight for what I know is best for her.