Wednesday, March 21, 2012

9 Month Stats

Today we went in for Ticky-boo's 9 month appointment.  We saw a new pediatrician today and I really liked her.  I tend to be picky when it comes to medical professionals, but I know what I want and I make no apologies for wanting the best when it comes to a pediatrician.

*Weight:  15 pounds 15 ounces!!!!!!  Hooray!!!!
*Height: 27.5 inches

The doctor was extremely pleased with her development and her growth.  She said she is not AT ALL concerned with her weight!  That was a huge relief.  Her biological family are all really small people, so I knew to expect her to be tiny, but I was still concerned since her growth chart dropped so drastically (from 50%-10%).  The doc said that she is just long and lean and that she'd much rather her have that body type than any other one... cant say that I disagree with that statement at all!  I would much rather Ticky-boo grow up with a smaller frame and a great metabolism than to struggle with her weight the rest of her life.

We got the go ahead to stop baby food and go straight to table foods, which is awesome.  I have made all of Ticky's food since she was 4 months old with very few exceptions, so to be able to just give her what I eat is pretty exciting... also a pretty good wake up call that I have to actually get up off my ass and cook something healthy for myself every day.

The doctor was surprised that she shows such a preference for her left hand... she said that it was really early to be showing favoritism to one side.  But she checked her muscle tone and strength and said that everything was perfectly even and that she was curious to see if the left-handedness continues.

On to the sleep thing... I talked to her about my concerns with her waking up all the time and not sleeping well and she told me to Ferberize her.  For those of you not familiar with "Ferberizing" or Modern Family, Ferberizing is Dr. Ferber's method of letting the child cry it out.  Ticky-boo's pediatrician said that it would only take 3 days and that it would work.  I tried to tell her that we've done it, but she insisted that I try it again and be consistent.  She said that there was a chance that the first night we would get NO sleep at all, but to keep at it and I'd probably get a few hours the next night and that she'd be great the 3rd night.  I'm still trying to decide how I feel about that and what to do.

So there you have it.  9 months and doing fantastic!!!  We go back in 3 months for her 1 year well baby...its hard to believe that in 3 short months I'll have a one year old!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Rent is due...

I got a phone call from my dad the other day saying that we'd received mail from someone in Cambridge, England.  We used my parents' house as our forwarding address when we left England, and I knew what it was... the rent is due on the 2 embryo's we have on ice at the Bourn Clinic.

We've talked about, and I remain adamant, about the fact that we dont want any more children; that I especially do NOT ever want to go through IVF again and that when the time came, we would have our embryo's thawed out and we would donate them to medical research in the hopes that something good would come out of those stem cells and that maybe our blood, sweat, tears, eggs, and sperm could cure AIDS or something.  That was the plan.  Well, I guess its still the plan, but as with most things in life, its harder to actually make the decision when its staring you in the face and no longer a hypothetical situation.

To be clear, I'm not wavering... I still dont want to put us through IVF again, but now, as I'm faced with signing my name on the dotted line and thawing out our last remaining embryo's, I'm left with a feeling of... I dont know; betrayal to the dynamic duo?  Relief?  Guilt at said relief?  Anxiousness at making the wrong decision?  Wondering if this goes against my life begins at conception beliefs?  Feeling sorry for what could have been?  I'm filled with a jumble of emotions and it sucks on a whole other level because The Husband isn't here to hold my hand and be my rock and steady that storm of emotions raging through me.  He's the only one that could look me in the face, tell me to relax, and help make the final call and make me feel good about it.  And he's out to sea, floating around the ocean with a storm of emotions all his own, I'm sure.

In faced with signing my name on the dotted line, I am also faced with the fact that I think its time to get some help.  I kind of touched on my fucked-uppedness  before, but I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and I think its time to get some counseling and really heal from everything we went through.  I think I spent so long telling everyone I was okay, that I never really got the chance to be okay.  What we went through left some deep emotional scars that need to be dealt with and I think its time.

I looked into counseling in the Virginia area and I cant really find anyone who seems like they'd fit my needs.  I dont need counseling for abuse or PTSD or relationships... I need someone who understands the infertility world and miscarriages and all that.  Someone who gets what my body went through as well as my mind.  I think what I'm going to do is call around to some fertility clinics in the area and ask if they can recommend someone.  I figure, if anyone is going to be able to point me in the right direction, it ought to be them, right?

Basically the moral of the story is that, even if you have a happy ending, infertility will always suck balls.  Big ones.


Life these days is... um, stressful, to say the least.

Ticky-boo is still not sleeping.  She will occasionally trick me and sleep halfway decent one or two nights and then inevitably she reverts back to her old tricks the next 20 nights.  I'm pretty much at a loss at this point.  I've done it all.  I've read books and blogs and parenting websites, I've researched Dr. Sears' website and Dr. Laura Markham's website, I've talked to Mom's and Dad's and grandparents and solicited advice (as well as heard my fair share of unsolicited advice), I've let her cry it out, I've held her all night, she's slept in her swing, pack and play, crib, my bed, and my arms, we've done routine and no routine, music, no music, fan, no fan... and nothing... I repeat... nothing has worked.  She remains restless.  Even when she sleeps with me, she's restless through the night.  Most everyone's advice consists of some form of making her cry it out.

People, let me go ahead and clear the air right now and say that my daughter is a resilient and dedicated screamer.  She doesn't just cry.  She screams.  And I'm not being dramatic.  I have witnesses.  She screams at the top of her lungs and doesn't let up... at all.  She can go for hours.  Yes, hours.  I think her maximum screaming time is about 4.5 hours and by the end of probably an hour, I was crying too.  Oh, and that's WITH ME HOLDING her.  Granted, once I switched her to the hypo-allergenic milk, the screaming has gotten some better, but not much.  Her night time patterns are also not very consistent.  There are nights that she wakes once or twice and nights she wakes 5 or 6 times.  There are nights she screams and nights she just wakes up.  There are nights she wants to get up and play and nights that she just wants to go back to sleep.  I've tried feeding her, even though they say they dont need to eat in the middle of the night anymore, and she doesn't even want a bottle.  She just wakes up.  So, to say that I'm exhausted doesn't even cover it.

On top of being tired... we're moving.  I was a little...over zealous in choosing the house that we're currently renting and our rent amount teeters a little too closely to our housing allowance amount and our  monthly utilities are exorbitant.  So, we're moving.  And I use we to imply myself and Ticky-boo... granted, The Husband will be moving as well, but he's out floating in the middle of the ocean as I type this, so its me, Ticky-Boo, and whatever friend and family members I can coerce into helping me.  I am packing up our worldly belongings and hoping to fit them in the 10x10 storage unit I've rented.  From there, I'm moving in with some friends, saving up some money, and starting the great house search all over again.  Oh, and did I mention that I have to find a temporary home for the high maintenance four-legged son of mine since our friends' landlords dont allow dogs?  Joy.

To say things are stressful is like saying the sky is blue or Ticky-boo doesn't sleep.  And even then, I dont think stressful even begins to cover it.  I know the packing thing will happen.  I'm actually a whiz at packing... this most definitely is not my first rodeo, so I can get that done in time.  The sleep thing and the other day to day stressors in my life?  I dont know about those... finding a house is priority number 1 and its more difficult than I imagined.  It was seriously easier to find a place in England than it is to find one here!  And I swear, I'm not being that picky.  My top must-have in a rental is that we HAVE to be in a safe neighborhood.  I have to stay on my own so much that I need to be and feel safe and secure.  So, I'm attempting to find the perfect house to rent and make our home.

Side note... Ticky-boo's 9 month well-baby is tomorrow... I am anxious to see what her stats are.  I'm a little nervous... I want her to have gained weight and be back on track as far as her weight growth chart fingers crossed for a good visit!

Our Breastfeeding journey

I've applied to have this blog put on a new blog roll of parenting after infertility (PAIL), so for those of you who have been hanging on for a while, you're about to re-read some info.... for that, I apologize... I'll try to make it

The monthly theme post for PAIL this month is breastfeeding.  Being an adoptive mom, I wanted to be sure and get my perspective and opinion out there for other adoptive moms.  Making the decision to nurse is a huge decision, whether you're a biological or adoptive mom.  It was a decision that I knew I wanted to make... after almost 5 years of infertility, there were a few things I knew I wanted to do if/when we ever had a baby of our own and breast feeding was at the top of that list.  It was something that I honestly never thought I'd get the chance to do... until a miracle happened.

On May 19th of last year, we were asked to adopt a baby girl who was due to be born in July.  In addition to all the paper work and preparations, I decided that I wanted to at least try to breast feed.  With our years of infertility under my belt, I'd had plenty of time on the internet researching everything and had come across information about adoptive nursing.  I made an appointment with a very supportive nurse practitioner who gave me loads of information and a prescription for Domperidone.

I went to the health foods store and stocked up on Fenugreek and Blessed thistle, bought a breast pump and started pumping away.  I struggled for five weeks to try and get even the tiniest drop of milk.  Finally, on June 21st, I managed to squeeze out a drop from each breast.  I was ecstatic!  

On June 22nd, my husband and I stood in the delivery room and welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world.  She was placed in my arms within minutes of delivering and I took a deep breath and together, we nursed for the first time.  She latched like a champ and I sat there in a rocking chair, nursing my daughter.  It was a surreal moment.  

While in the hospital, we used a Supplemental Nursing System to make sure she was getting something and went home excited and and positive and ready to continue our breastfeeding journey.  And then we went to the pediatrician for the first time.  She was not supportive, at all, of an adoptive mother breast feeding.  She actually said to me, "There is no way you will ever be able to produce enough milk to feed her.  You have to put her on formula today." So, not knowing what would happen (in reference to all the adoption goings-on), we felt like we had no choice but to put her on formula.  I still nursed her, but she was on formula about half the time.  

I know I had milk.  She would pull herself off my breast and grin at me and milk would pour out of her mouth.  I never had much success in pumping; I think the most I ever got was about an ounce all total.  But after a round of jaundice, her pediatrician continued to pressure us to use formula.  And we obliged.  

Eventually, her latch changed.  It became extremely painful to nurse and I decided to try and use a nipple shield.  I figured it would be easier on her with going back and forth between bottle and breast.  I didn't realize, however, that using the shield would affect my supply and be our demise.

I ran out of Domperidone when she was almost a month old.  I figured (and hoped) that since we'd been nursing for a month that I would be okay.  I was wrong.  My milk completely dried up in a matter of days.  It was at that point that I had to make a decision.  I had been taking 22 pills a day for over two months and pumping multiple times a day to establish my supply and it wasn't enough.  I was exhausted.  I loved nursing, but didn't know how much longer I could keep it up.  I also had to decide whether or not I thought it was worth it for the baby to have breastmilk laced with medication.  So, I quit.  A decision I regret every day and she's almost nine months old.  

I know that I could have exclusively nursed her if I'd had the support of her pediatrician and if I'd never used the nipple shield.  If I had been my own advocate through it all and fought for me and my boobs... but I didn't.  My husband and I were so afraid that if we rocked the boat at all with her doctor, that it would be seen as our not following medical advice and they'd take her away from us.  So we didn't fight.  And I wish we had. 

Nursing my daughter was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I felt like it really solidified the bond between us and I think that it helped her really bond with me as her mother.  I think for the rest of my life I will feel a little cheated out of the full experience of nursing her... I will always feel that I didn't fight hard enough or try long enough to make it work exclusively.  But I will also always feel incredibly blessed that I even had the opportunity to nurse her at all. 

The Adoption Details

For those of you new to the party, here's a break down of our whole adoption process.  It was definitely not your average adoption.

Almost 7 years ago, I started working at a jewelry store.  I never really wanted to work there... it just sort of happened.  During my time there, I got married, my husband deployed for the first time, and I stayed home, working for the months he was gone.  In that time, I became friends with one of the girls who I worked with.  We were never super close friends, especially once I moved away, but we stayed in contact, though it was never really consistent.  When all of our fertility issues started, I started a blog and updated it regularly, chronicling our struggles and our journey... being open and honest about how badly we wanted to be parents.

On April 7th, The Husband and I sat down and talked about giving up trying to conceive.  We were coming up on the five year mark of our trying to get pregnant and I just couldn't make it to five years.  I just couldn't do it.  And neither could he.  So, we threw in the towel, I got on birth control, and we made a new life plan that involved no children.  And we moved on.

That May, we went back home for my little brother's wedding.  The day before, the rehearsal dinner, I was at the church helping my future sister in law decorate for the wedding.... there was a lull in decorating and I called the friend from the jewelry store.  We had been playing phone tag for a few months and it was finally a good time for the both of us to talk.  I walked around outside the church and after she sort of hemmed and hawed for a good ten minutes telling me she had something important to say but she didn't know how to say it... she finally said it...she told me that she was pregnant and that she wanted The Husband and I to adopt her baby.  All the pacing I'd been doing stopped.  I stood there in front of the church, speechless.  I dont even remember breathing.

I was absolutely shocked!  I told her that I would have to talk to The Husband and that I would get back to her as soon as I could.  She asked me if I had any questions and I asked her due date... July 5th; a short 7 weeks away.  I also took a deep breath and asked if she knew the sex of the baby... it was a girl.  We hung up the phone, I attempted to compose myself and I walked back into the church.  I called my mom into the narthex and away from everyone else and told her what was going on.  We somehow managed to keep it together and not tell anyone and finished up the church.  We headed back home and I did some more pacing until The Husband got home from hiking in the mountains with our dad's and brothers.

I met the car outside and he knew something was up. We ended up taking a walk down the street and I told him what was going on. His reaction? "Okay". Just like that. When I told him that she was due in about 7 weeks, there was a bit of a pause before he said, "Okay, lets do this. Why did you even ask? You know I've wanted to adopt forever!"

I called the birth mom back and told her our answer was a definite "Yes!" I could almost feel her anxiety and stress and worry lifting over the phone. She had been thinking about this for months and months and finally she had her answer and that weight could be lifted. She told me that the reason she'd waited until this late was because she wanted to make sure she was 100% sure before she even said anything to me; that she didn't want to ask us and then change her mind and break our hearts again. Which, I most definitely appreciate.

So, we set about to telling our parents and our little brothers and their respective partners and a handful of other people and that was it. Everyone was a little shell shocked (as we both were too), and its needless to say, more than excited! We didn't tell any other family members because we wanted to wait until after my brother's wedding so the focus would be on them.  Once the wedding was over, we started making the big announcement and preparing for the arrival of our daughter. 

First thing we did was contact a lawyer and get the legal things started.  We spent weeks filling out paper work, meeting with our lawyer, taking the birth mom to the doctor, having meetings with the social worker, running around like crazy trying to get background checks done, and not to mention shoving 9 months worth of preparation into only a few weeks.  

On June 22nd, we picked up the birth mom to take her to he 37 week check up.  She met us at the car with pillow and bag in hand and breathlessly told us that she thought it was time.  We called her midwife and met her at the hospital.  We walked into the ER at 4:30 pm and at 7:27 pm, our beautiful and amazing daughter came into this world.  The Husband and I were both in the room and I actually helped deliver her.  It was an incredible and defining moment in my life and I was instantly in love with our little miracle.  

The logistics... 

The paperwork was filed with the court system in July.  Our adoption was finalized in October, exactly 90 days after it was filed.

We got her birth certificate from the State Vital records office in January and we are still awaiting her Social Security card... though its been applied for.  Once we get that, we are totally and completely finished with paperwork!  All in all, (if I ever get her SS card), the whole process from phone call to completely and utterly finished should be a little less than a year.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Ticky-boo has her own iPod.  It's actually the very first iPod I ever had that she has inherited since I've moved on up in the world of Apple products and now sport a handy dandy iPhone 4s.  The Husband and I have picked out loads of music and put it on her iPod in the hopes of teaching her about good music and also soothing her to sleep.  Tonight as I rocked her to sleep, Josh Groban's "Lullaby" came across the speakers.  Now, during our time trying to conceive, there were a couple of songs that I couldn't listen to without crying.  That was one of them.

Its been on her playlist since forever, but I've managed to miss it when rocking her to sleep.  Until tonight.  It came on just as she closed her eyes and fell asleep in my arms.  I sang every word to her in a quiet voice and tears poured out of my eyes.  It was a moment that I had unknowingly been waiting for... to sing her that sweet lullaby.

There have been moments in the past 10 months since we found out about Ticky-boo that have really made this entire journey worth it... things that I either never expected I'd be able to do, or things that I never thought would be that big of a deal or things that I knew would be a big deal and they were.  But those quiet moments for just me and her have been some of the best.  Tonight was one of those nights... rocking her and singing to her made me just melt.  That moment took me back to all those nights when my arms ached from feeling empty and my heart hurt from so much pain... I was reminded of what all we went through and why we fought so hard.  And she is so worth it...She's even worth not

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Things no one tells you about being a mom.

I know that I just recently got my Mom card, so I realize that I still have A LOT to learn.  But I have learned a few things in my 8 months...

1.  At some point, you WILL get poop on you.  People joke about this occasionally, but all jokes aside, it happens.  And it is GROSS.  I've gotten poop under my fingernails like twice now.  That is twice too many times if you ask me!  There are times (like this morning's lovely diaper) when you get to wake up to a diaper filled with squishy, nasty, interesting colored (she had blueberries last night) poop.  And it will be everywhere.  Sometimes, a diaper cant even contain the mess.  And you'll inevitably get poop on you.  Dont fight it.  It is going to happen.

2.  While we're on the subject of poop, you will most definitely sniff your child's butt to check for poop... way more than you ever thought you would.  And yes, it is gross.  And no, you cant stop yourself.  It becomes habit.  A nasty, disgusting, habit.  Gag.

3.  You will do things you swore you'd never do.  Its no secret that Ticky-boo is a terrible sleeper.  She used to sleep.  I swear it... although, its coming to the point, that I am questioning that memory... its been so long since she actually slept, were those couple of weeks of blissful sleep all a dream?  Anyway... Ticky-boo is 8 months old and while I expected to not sleep very much the first few months, I kind of expected to be at least getting sleep that somewhat resembled a full night.  However, between the hours of 8 pm-8am our house is a battlefield.  Ticky wages war against sleep and there are many, many nights, when her camp wins out.  Last night was one of those nights.  She slept on her own (after screaming for an hour) in her pack and play until 1:30am.  Then she woke up crying.  I laid her back down and got her back to sleep.  I laid down and closed my eyes and she got back up, crying.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Until I finally gave up and pulled her in bed with me.  Again.  For like the 30th night in a row.  I never wanted to co-sleep.  Never.  I never minded the thought of sleeping with a baby in the same room, but the same bed?  No.  Until my baby refused to sleep unless she's attached to me.  I gave in and did the thing I swore I'd never do.  We are a co-sleeping duo as of now.  And I hate to break it to the tiny human that loves to snuggle with me, but it is a habit that Mommy WILL break.  And it will be broken well before Daddy comes home.

4.  There will be times when you feel like an awful parent.  In accordance with revelation #3, I didn't get any sleep last night.  Even when Ticky-boo was in bed next to me, she was restless.  All. Night.  Long.  So when she decided to get up at 6:45, I was beyond exhausted.  I think I was cross eyed and I stumbled down the stairs and made her a bottle.  She sucked it down and then I put her in her pack and play with some toys and I turned the TV on and went back to sleep.  Yep.  I feel like an awful parent.  I know she was safe and she was right next to me, so if she had cried or needed me, I was right there, but still.... I feel like an awful parent.

5.  Sometimes you have to do things for yourself.  Tying in with #4, regardless of my feeling like a shitty parent for letting Ticky-boo play in her pack and play while I got an extra half hour of sleep, I had to do it.  Even though I didn't really sleep or sleep that long, it was extra rest and time to wake up and I felt sooo much better once I got up.  Its obviously not something I plan to do on a regular basis, but I know now that I have to make time for myself... I have to do things for myself to be a better parent.  My new goal is to try and get the baby to bed on her own earlier at night so I can have a couple of hours to myself to read or watch trashy tv shows or to take a bath or a shower or do whatever it is that I feel like I need to do for myself.  Because, I know in the long run, it will help me to be more patient and therefore, making me a better mom to Ticky-boo.

I know I'm not done with my list.  There are so many things people dont tell you about being a parent.  But I think its because you have to learn those things on your own.  No book or blog or doctor or wise grandmother can really and truly prepare you for parenthood.  Its different for everyone and even though we might all have the same experiences, they're going to be different to us.  Things that are significant to me might be unimportant to my best friend and vice versa.  But that's part of the journey... and it is filled with experiences and lessons to be learned and its a wild ride.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Just the two of us...

The Husband has now been gone for a little over a month.  Mom was here when he left and then I headed home with her to celebrate my birthday and just hang out with friends and family for a bit.  I ended up down in NC for about 3 weeks.  I just got back up here a couple of days ago.  I walked in the house and it really hit me that this was it... The Husband was gone for x amount of months and its just me and Ticky-boo.... just the two of us.

It was an odd sort of feeling.  I knew it was inevitable.  Every military spouse who has gone through a deployment knows that before long, it hits you that they're gone and that you're on your own.  I walked through the house and kind of just felt slightly overwhelmed at everything.  When Mom and I left, we kind of just left everything in a state!  Not to mention that while I was gone, the things that we had in storage from San Diego got delivered... so not only did I have a messy house, I had a house packed with random stuff that I have no idea where to put it all!

As I settle back into our home, I am nervous and excited about the next however many months.  I'm nervous because I'm on my own.  I'm totally and completely on my own!  But, Ticky Boo is eight months old, so these next few months are going to be filled with excitement and new developments and I'm so stoked to see everything she's going to do and learn!  She's turning into a little person and she amazes me every day.

I'm also excited because, as it warms up, I know we'll spend loads more time outside taking walks, going to the park, going swimming, and so I know with all that, our time will go by so fast and before I know it, we'll be standing on the pier welcoming him home!

I wish The Husband was here to experience it all.  I try my best to involve him in every way that I can.  He gets pictures every day and I send videos at least a couple of times a week.  Not to mention, when he pulls in port we get to talk on the phone and some times even Skype, so he and the baby can see and hear each other.  But I know its not the same... for any of us.  I'm ready for the day when he can come home and be home longer than a couple of months before he's off again.