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Friday, March 29, 2013

One Month

It is hard to believe, but Isaiah is already a month old.

Stats from his newborn appointment (6 days old):

Weight: 7lb 6.75oz - 50%
Height: 19.75in - 50%
Head: 13.75in - 75%

He got this look from me.

Stats from his one month appointment (28 days old):
Weight: 9lb 2.75oz - 50%
Height: 20.25in - 25%
 Head: 14.75in - 75%

Eating: Isaiah loves to eat. He is doing great on the breast milk, and decent on formula. We use the formula most when we're running low on breast milk, but once we're stocked back up we lean a little more heavily on that. He spits up less, and seems more comfortable on it. At first I wasn't completely sold on the idea of thawing and bottling breast milk that wasn't mine. Not to mention having it spit up on me, but we're past that. I got over it quickly. Isaiah is a perfectly healthy boy, and I'm certain his eating habits have a lot to do with it.

Sleeping: Isaiah is a sleeping champ. I shouldn't say this, and you can hate me if you want, but he sleeps forever. I actually asked the doctor if he was sleeping too long and he said it might be a good idea to wake him to feed more often. However, he said he is very healthy and gaining weight as he should, so I'm not really sure why I would wake him. Umbilical Hernia: Isaiah has the biggest belly button I've ever seen. The doctor told us it is completely normal and should go away on its own by the time Isaiah is one. In the hospital they told us it was because the cord was so thick. I've never seen anything like it. As long as we can push down on it, he is fine. I test it to make sure he's alright, but it's pretty gross to push down on it. I'm not good with things like that (so I became a mom. Brilliant.)

Newborn Screen: I was particularly interested in the newborn screen the hospital did before we left. They test for 45 inherited disorders. Every baby born in Indiana is tested, but I would assume that other states do similar tests. The test is completed at 48hr or within the first five days. They pricked his heel and filled five circles on their special paper. This test made me feel much more at ease with Isaiah. The only medical history I have for him is what his birth mom told me, so this test is incredibly valuable to me.

His family has a history of Sickle Cell Anemia. Another disorder that is particularly important to me is Medium Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency. Did you get all of that? With it, the baby is unable to use fat as an energy source when sugars are unavailable. When my sister was born in 1991, this was not something that was tested for, and rarely heard of. My parents had no idea she had this until it was far too late. I had no reason to believe that Isaiah had it, but it's just one of those things that I feel better knowing they're testing for.

At his one month appointment his doctor told me that everything on his newborn screen was negative, and our son is healthy as can be.

As Parents: During the past month I've struggled to adjust to being a mom and not going to work every day. The shock from it all was much harder and more delayed than I expected. Week two was probably my hardest. It doesn't help that winter plans to last until June for us this year. I am feeling much more confident as a mom and better about all I'm doing for him. I know that we don't have anything to do with his genetic background, but I feel that we have a hand in the fact that he's so happy and content.

We've been blessed with one amazing child.    

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Don't Want to Be His Adoptive Mom

I was looking through some of my various social media profiles and they all include "adoptive mama".

This was a title I was thrilled about for the past six months. I wanted everyone to know we were adopting a baby and we were going to be parents. It was so exciting.

Now that I am a mom, I find that I want to drop the "adoptive" part. I just want to be Isaiah's mom. This surprises me. I think a part of me thought we would always be different than other moms and sons, but now that we're here, it doesn't feel like we're different.

A friend suggested that I should be willing to tell people that Isaiah is adopted so that our story can benefit others. While I don't entirely disagree with this, I also don't want to make Isaiah feel any less of our son. I won't tell people: "This is my adopted son, Isaiah".

I don't have any problem telling our story, and I intend to be open with Isaiah about his adoption, but I don't feel like I need to tell everyone who asks about him. I have things to give him from his birth mom, so I definitely don't intend to act like she doesn't exist.

When others who don't know that my brothers are adopted comment on our age difference my family usually responds with something like "yeah, it's a pretty big gap", or something equally vague. Is this wrong? You might think so.

As Isaiah gets older it will be obvious by looking at us that he is adopted. Or people will assume that (read this next part like we're on Maury) Mr. Polish is not the father.

He is my son, and I am his mom. I know absolutely everything there is to know about him. I don't know what the biological connection feels like, but I can tell you that I don't know how much more connected or bonded I could be with him. I've never known another person like I know him. To me, adoption isn't even a thing. He is as much my son as any child could ever be. I shouldn't speak for Mr. Polish, but I will anyway. He feels the same way.

In doing this, we're actually also respecting his birth mom's wishes. From the first time we met her, she told us over and over that she doesn't want us to call him our adopted son, just our son.

How much do you share?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Un-Book Worm

I was told that this post is a tad judgy. I'm sorry if you feel that way, no judgment is intended for parents who read parenting books.

That title is incredibly inaccurate. I love to read. Before Isaiah was someone we knew about, I read all the time. I find reading extremely relaxing.

I saw Mrs. Magic Wand's post about how she read all kinds of baby/pregnancy/parenting books, and it got me thinking.

I ordered two books before Isaiah was born. I knew I didn't need one that had anything to do with pregnancy, so I went straight for Your Baby's First Year and What to Expect the First Year.

In theory, they're great books. I'm sure lots of moms have learned priceless information from these books. What I learned was that I handle situations easier if I don't know what is coming.

When we first started TTC I got What to Expect Before You're Expecting. I read all about how I should chart my temperature, and all of those other lovely things that are recommended with TTC.

I found out very quickly that I couldn't handle all of that. Testing and charting made me anxious and life was much easier without that added stress.

Same thing with the baby books. I got to the part about preemies in both books and panicked and couldn't read any more. I was aware that it was a real possibility, but I'd rather deal with it if it happened, not worry about it all the way until he wouldn't have been a preemie anymore.

The whole time I was trying to read these books, Josh kept telling me that it was dumb to read because "a caveman can do it".

So I finally gave up. I put down the books. I actually gave them all to our doula and asked her to pass them on to any clients that might want them.

And here we are. Taking things as they come. Using our pediatrician's advice as our expert, and if necessary, Google.

Where do you stand? Fancy book learnin' or wing it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Baby Blues or Post Adoption Despression?

I wrote a few weeks ago about my massive just-home-from-the-hospital breakdown. Things were pretty stable after that, but looking back, I've noticed things had slowly gotten a little worse.

I don't consistently feel sad, but I feel afraid of the unknown. I don't feel the need to do my hair, I don't do my makeup, and I'm wearing the same clothes that used to be specified gym wear. I didn't leave the house for two solid days and I really thought I was going to die. Then, when I did leave, it was so much worse. I felt panicky, lonely, and worst of all, worthless. No matter how much I tell myself that I'm doing things right, Isaiah is well taken care of, and we're doing the best we know how, I can't seem to convince myself.

We're all familiar with postpartum depression (PPD), but something I've only recently learned of is Post Adoption Depression. Seriously, the acronym is PAD, like you're sad because you're on your period, go put on a PAD. I'm not saying that to you if you happen to suffer from PAD, that is what I was saying to myself in my head. I've never been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, but I do occasionally feel like maybe I should be. I also occasionally feel like I have a medical degree, and I love to play "Which of These Disorders Do I Have Today?". So I'm not officially diagnosing myself with this, but I do think it's something important that often goes unsaid.

I did a Google search of "Post Adoption Depression" and immediately I had tons of resources right in front of me. I found the Child Welfare page of the US Department of Health & Human Services website to be the most helpful.They say, if you're struggling with three or more of the following that you should seek professional help:

  • Loss of interest in being around others or engaging with your new baby or toddler.
  • On the verge of tears many times in a day.
  • General fatigue, along with irritability.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Significant weight gain or loss.
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, powerlessness, or hopelessness.
I feel like I fit more into the "Baby Blues" category, but I have a hard time accepting that because I haven't gone through the hormonal ups and downs of pregnancy. So I'm turning to you. Is this just a phase?

Alright Mama, tell me your symptoms again.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Your Life Is Changing: Part 2

I wrote back in February about how we kept hearing all of these huge changes were coming to our lives. This is the after post where I revisit my statements, and eat them if necessary.

  • Your life is over.
My life has just begun. Seriously. In order for my life to have been over, I would have needed one to begin with. I'm an incredibly boring person, and I enjoy it. Now, I have things to do. I have a person to take care of (an additional person. I'm pretty good at taking care of Josh). No, I don't have the free time I once had. I don't sit and read entire books in a day, but I also don't want to. I want to hold my son, and I want to spend time with him and my husband. My life is far from over.

  • Are you sure you want kids?
Of course I'm sure, and of course I do. My feelings on this matter haven't changed at all. As much of an adjustment it has been bringing Isaiah home, I'm already thinking about our next child. Of course it wouldn't be easy if we had another newborn right this second, but if it happened, we would do it.

  • You'll never see your friends again.
Does this start after they've all visited? I've seen more of my friends in the past week than I did in three years. Seriously. We have things in common again. They have kids, and we joined that club. We have things to talk about again. I know we're just starting in this, but I don't anticipate this being true.

  • Your marriage will never be the same.
Preach the truth. My marriage will never be the same, because once you add depth like this, it won't go away. We both agree that since Isaiah was born our marriage has gotten much stronger. We are working together as a team. We love each other. We rock this.

  • Your XBox time is over.
Whoever managed to make this happen, please let me know.  I'm seeing no such evidence.

  • I will become Josh's manager.
Not in the slightest. I have thought about this statement a lot though, and I think it has to do with the personalities of the husband and wife. We went into this consciously avoiding the manager/managed situation. We both still do what we want. We talk more about things before they happen, but I'm not his boss, and I don't want to be.

I will admit that the one thing I didn't understand before Isaiah was born was the amount of overwhelming and all consuming love that I feel for him. Never in my life has my heart melted at the sight of a sleepy smile or yawn. I've never instantly loved anyone, but I can't say that anymore. If I ever tell an expectant parent that they don't understand, it will be the love that I speak of.

I mean really. Look at that face.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


It's no secret - I would make an excellent stay at home wife. I tried for years to make it work out for me. I always offered to stay home and take care of the house, but it never quite worked out. The chances of me finding work as a stay at home wife in these parts is highly unlikely. The one time I thought it might finally work out for me, I was offered my current job the next day and it really wasn't something I could refuse.

Joshua and I have always talked about me being at stay at home mom, and I've always been super in to it. This may be the first time you're hearing of it. I don't often share this because as a whole, my family is fairly disapproving of this career choice. I do have a bachelors degree, and someday Isaiah will know as much about history as I do. I would love to be at home raising our children, teaching them things, going places with them, enjoying my days with them. That is the bright rosy part of it that is so appealing.

What I didn't get until recently, is that it isn't all butterflies and daisies.

I have a great job, but it's just that - a job. I wouldn't miss the work, but I would greatly miss the people. I have been getting regular updates on how boring the office is without me. The one I got today from my boss told me that one coworker picked his nose and almost bled out, another thinks they have a brain tumor, someone else has a lot of gas, nothing funny happens without me there, and everyone talks to him and he just wants them to shut up. I actually miss that and I honestly didn't expect to.

One of our good friends was in town the other day. We don't see him often, and when we do, he and Josh spend basically the whole time together. There is nothing wrong with that, but it gave me my first dose of stay at home motherhood.

I'm not sure how you all do it. I had gotten so used to the help I was getting from Josh that the instant he was away and I wasn't able to ask for his help, the difference was extremely apparent. And it was hard. And it made me wonder if I was really cut out to be a SAHM. (By the way, my SAHM status is still pending. We're not 100% sure it will happen). I mean, it's an unending job. The only thing I keep reminding myself is that I have been able to succeed at everything else I've put my mind to (except for being a cashier. I wasn't so great at that). So maybe if I decide it's going to work, it will.

Did anyone else question their decision to be a SAHM?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Finding A Photographer

Finding a photographer can be hard. From the moment I knew about Isaiah I knew I wanted newborn photos taken. To be honest, it was way before I knew of him. I think I even had a Pinterest board with ideas on it.

Michele Snyder Photography is a business that my good friend owns. I have always loved Michele's photos, and when she advertised a Christmas special, I knew it was time to buy. I have a hard time letting go of control, so I made a board on Pinterest specifically so Michele could see the photos I already loved. She did such an amazing job of capturing Isaiah how I asked her to.
 Picking a photographer can be difficult though if you don't already know someone you'll use. Keri Meyers Photography has a great guide on what you should look for in a photographer.
 First, check out your photographer's portfolio. I think this is the single most important part of choosing a photographer. Obviously you wouldn't choose someone who didn't have work that appealed to you. Right? Right. If you're looking for newborn photos or any photos at all, look to make sure they photograph that specific category. Some photographers are specifically family/newborn and some are wedding only. The mom of a girl I know from college only photographs cats, so there is that. Make sure you're picking the right one for you. The portfolio is the best indication you're going to find. Second, check references and reviews. Happy customers will spread the word about their photographer (I told everyone how much I love ours). Check to see what previous customers think. It won't hurt anything, and you'll get a better idea of the feel of the photographer. The more you know, the better.
Third, check experience. Honestly, I think their portfolio will be the best example of their experience, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Everyone has to start somewhere, and a naturally talented photographer may not have a ton of experience.
And lastly, cost. I would have used Michele even if I hadn't gotten the special, but cost is important. I would love to say that price doesn't matter, but it does. However, I would have paid more for newborn photos than I probably would for anything for myself. It is one of those things, you know. They're only newborn once.
Our session was split in two. We went to Michele's home for the newborn shots of just Isaiah and the next day she came to our house for the lifestyle shots that we were in with Isaiah. I'm fairly hesitant to be in professional photos, but this is one of those times where you just suck it up and do it.

I love the pictures from his nursery. What am I saying? I love them all.

And that's us. One little happy family.        

All photos by - Michele Snyder Photography


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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Open Adoption v. Closed Adoption

I've had lots of questions about the type of adoption we entered into with Isaiah.

We entered into this as a completely closed adoption.

When we first met our birth mom, she didn't want any contact. She didn't want to see Isaiah in the hospital, and she didn't want any contact with us.

After that I started going to her doctor's visits with her, and we talked regularly. Neither of us expected it, but we formed a bond. I don't know for certain, but I think it is safe to say that I'm one of the more consistent and most dependable relationships she has had in her life.

A few months in, she told me she would like to have pictures sent to her from time to time. I told her I didn't have a problem with that, and I don't.

A week before Isaiah was born, she told me she wants to be able to send him gifts at Christmas and birthdays. We agreed that she could do this if she went through a third party, but that she wouldn't contact us directly. We decided who the third party was, and everything was set.

Right before we left the hospital, our birth mom and birth father came into the room to say goodbye to Isaiah. Our birth father has not been part of the adoption at all. We met him late last year to see if he would feel comfortable allowing us to adopt his child. He and our birth mom are not and were not married during her pregnancy, so his parental rights were terminated last year. The last I had heard, he didn't want to see Isaiah. We were surprised then when he walked into our room to say goodbye. He hugged Josh and asked him to send pictures from time to time. He held Isaiah and told us that he looked like his family, and then told us that he was happy for us.

Our birth mom had a tearful goodbye, and to add to it, she didn't only say goodbye to Isaiah, she was also saying goodbye to me. I'm not putting myself higher than I belong, but as a consistent part of her life, she is losing that too. As much as I was able, I tried to take care of her, and be a good support to her. I didn't expect to feel sadness toward someone who also caused me such pain in the weeks leading up to Isaiah's birth.

Just after Isaiah said goodbye to his birth parents.

I know that open adoptions are what is said to be best, but it isn't something we're entirely comfortable with. We didn't put any limitations on the adoption that our birth mom didn't agree with.

I've read about open adoptions on Hellobee and other community websites, and I don't know how those families manage. Perhaps the distance they are from the original adoption date helps to calm the anxiousness, but the way I feel right now, I couldn't do it. Emotions are still too high.

Saturday after we left the hospital, the person we chose to use as a third party ran into our birth mom and asked if she had heard from us. The third party told her that she hadn't, and I felt like that was unfair.

Later that day our birth mom text me, and even though we agreed not to directly contact, I felt like it was a good thing. She wanted to see if everything came back well on Isaiah's newborn screen. I told her that he is as healthy as can be, and that I hope she is doing well. She never text back, so I can see that she is honoring her word.

There was no way I could not respond to her question about Isaiah's well being. I've felt intensely sensitive and compassionate toward her since we left the hospital, because when I try to think of how she might be feeling right now, it breaks my heart. I feel physically ill if I cannot see Isaiah, and thinking about what she's going through absolutely hurts.

If you have, or know someone who has an open adoption, how does it work?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

I tell you, Theodore Roosevelt knew what he was talking about when he said that.

As a new mom, I'm lacking the confidence that I typically have in every other situation I'm involved in. Nearly all of our friends already have children, and some are on their second, so I'm the late entrant into the Mommy Game.

While we were still in the hospital and in contact with Isaiah's birth mom, I felt so upset because he knew her and not me. Being completely illogical, because he had just met me, but had been with her for nine months, I felt like I was doing something wrong by adopting him because he clearly loves her. Once I settled down a little, I realized that just as we have to get to know him, he has to get to know us. I'm amazed and delighted to see how quickly this has happened.

We have had lots of visitors since we came home from the hospital, and one of our friends with a new baby came over to visit. When she went to change her son's diaper I noticed that she had a onesie underneath the outfit he had on, and immediately I started to think I was a bad parent. I only dress Isaiah in his outfit, and almost always have a receiving blanket with him. If we're going outside he has his fluffy green blanket that goes in the car seat with him.

So when they left I started telling Josh how I feel so bad because I under-dress our son and I must be a bad mom.

He looked at me and gave me his exasperated look that I've come to know so well, and reminded me that just that morning we had been at the pediatrician's office and Isaiah's temperature was nearly perfect.

It is hard, but I have to remind myself to take a step back and realize that I'm not other moms, and Isaiah is not other children. He is my son and I am his mom. Ultimately I know that I'm doing what is right for him, I just need to remind myself from time to time. Or Josh will.

An additional note, I've had a lot of people curious about how our relationship with each other is. I can honestly tell you, as Josh told me this afternoon, our marriage already feels stronger because of Isaiah. This is not to say that all marriages should, or will. If you try to compare yourself to us, you'll most like start to feel like I did about the onesie situation. Every relationship is different, as is every child and situation.

I told my infertility friends this too, but it can be said for everyone: it doesn't matter what someone else is going through. Your situation is unique to you, and no matter what anyone says or thinks, you know what is best for you. 

Now I'm off to read about how to practice what I preach.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Twitter Archives

Natalie posted the other day that you can now download your Twitter Archives, so of course I was insanely interested to see what some of my first tweets were back in 2010.

Here are a few:

1-11-2010 "A squeaky rail gets it done". Advice from my mother.
1-12-2010 Correction: My mother's advice was "A squeaky wheel gets it done...you know because they want you to shut up."

Proof that you do become your mother. Before I saw that my mom said it, I thought for sure it was from my grandma.

1-12-2010 Wisdom from Nanny: "It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, but she was on the right track".

I guess it's something we grow into?

1-20-2010 My favorite thing I've heard this week: "I know your mom Pam...she's married to your dad."

No idea who said that, but it's still pretty funny.

1-21-2010 The song "We Laughed Until We Cried" makes me cry every time I hear it.

Still true.

2-12-2010 Me: "Do you need anything from the store?" Josh: "Not unless you want to pick up a birthday card for yourself."

Oh babe.

2-17-2010 I love how my neighbor Nanny doesn't need a cup of sugar...she needs a can of kidney beans.

Also, we went to Florida once and she packed beef stew meat in her carry on. True story.

2-25-2010 Nanny's lesson on fighting: "Make sure you get the three course meal, and if you can't, at least make sure you get a sandwich."

I'm this close to starting a "Sh!t My Nanny Says" Twitter account.

4-2-2010 "If we could buy her for what she's worth, and sell her for what she thinks she's worth, we'd be rich". Another Nannyism

This must be around the time that me and my cousin Nick started appropriately calling them Nannyisms.

4-6-2010 Just took my first polygraph test. I guess I'll find out once and for all if I am the mother.

This just made me laugh out loud.

4-16-2010 My boss just told me that 80% of child molesters and rapists are left handed :/

That was my third day of work. Seriously, my first day was 4/13.

6-13-2010 Only my Nanny would consider beef as something she'd need to take in her luggage for vacation.


I have to stop myself or I'll be at this computer all day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

My New Role

For so long I've been the person who longingly looks on at glowing mothers and their beautiful babies. I have always wanted to be the one pushing the cart that had the baby staring out of its carseat at their mama. I've wanted to be the one who talked to the baby in the backseat of the car. I've wanted to be the one carrying the baby in the wrap papoose thing.

And now I am.

I truly have everything I've ever wanted, and it is just as wonderful as I always imagined it being (I'm only a few weeks in, so give me some time).

But as I've said before, I haven't forgotten about infertility.

In the short time since Isaiah has been born, infertility has been on my mind more than ever it seems. I feel infinitely more sensitive to other infertile women, because now, I have the appearance of a fertile woman. I look like someone who won.

And to be honest, I did win. It's a mixed emotional feeling I've been having. I will never be anything but happy about Isaiah, but I don't want infertile women to look at me and feel the way I did looking at other women with children. While I want to be sensitive to that, I will not shout from rooftops that Isaiah is adopted. I talk about it here, but in public I don't. Isaiah isn't my adopted son, he is my son.

Josh asked me a few days ago if I had ever considered doing anything with our experiences. I have lots of ideas in my head of what I might do down the road, but Josh got me thinking about what I can do now. Most infertility support comes from the internet, and it isn't always positive. I'm tossing around the idea of a peer-led support group. I've tried to find one in the Fort Wayne area and can't come up with anything.

So I'm asking you for ideas. What can you come up with as a way for me to reach out to other women facing infertility, in a positive and encouraging way?

Also, if you're interested (or know someone who is) and you're not in the Fort Wayne area, we can use Google Hangouts to video meet (we use it in the book club that I'm loosely a member of these days). 

I want to thank you in advance for anything you offer, and thank you all so much for being so supportive to me and my small family. We appreciate all of it.

Big yawn.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wonder Woman Cries, Too.

I better start out by saying that I'm not actually Wonder Woman.

That was hard to admit.

When we were in the hospital, the only time I cried was for a very short time when Isaiah was born. After that, I think I went into shock survival mode where I was just trying to get through to the time we could leave.

The relief that the adoption was over, the relief that Isaiah was born, the nervousness of taking care of a newborn, and the uncomfortableness that was not being in our own home caught up with me as soon as we got home.

We walked in the door and tried to introduce Isaiah to our dog. Amico is the best dog I've ever known, but he's extremely enthusiastic in everything he does. When he's interested in you, he needs to be on top of you. When he plays, he plays hard. When he wants the couch, he will push you off of it. We've had him for 7 years and he is a member of our family. He lived outside for a few years, but when we bought our house he came inside to live with us.
He loves everyone.

Amico has never seen a newborn, and was extremely excited to meet Isaiah. He was too excited and it was very upsetting to me. I burst into tears because I jumped to the worst case scenario and decided we had to get rid of the dog.

I was a blubbering mess. Wailing on and on about how it wasn't fair of us to bring the baby home and get rid of Amico "Because I loooooove him! This is his home too!". Josh was a little unsure what to do.

He put me in our bedroom and said "I'm going to close the door, and you do what you need to do. I've got everything under control out here.".

So then I started crying about how Josh is a better parent than me because he wasn't crying. I was crying because I was crying.

Then I started to think about our birth mom. I cried for her because she left the hospital hours before, knowing that she wouldn't see Isaiah again for a very long time, if ever. I hadn't seen him in ten minutes and couldn't handle it.

And then I cried about the color of the curtains in the bedroom. Ha. Just kidding.

The three of us fell asleep and when I woke up I felt so much better, and we laughed about how crazy I am.

I'm happy to report that I've been fairly stable since that night, and now we have a great story to tell Isaiah about the night he came home.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Adopted and Breastfed?

I have to tell you, the first time I ever heard of an adoptive mother taking the required hormones to induce lactation, I was so grossed out. I have no problem with breast feeding, and honestly, I feel a little guilty that I'm not able to.

I am able to, if I take the hormones. After three years of fertility treatments, I don't want to take one more hormone for the rest of my life. It may be selfish of me, but I need a break from all the medicine. Mentally and physically.

Also, I've seen Mrs. Jacks on Hellobee say many times, that often birth mothers are uncomfortable with the adoptive mom breast feeding. I can see her point in this, and it helped strengthen my argument to not do it (but my own personal feeling was really a strong enough argument).

I had coffee with my friend Amber who is a doula a few months ago, and she suggested looking into donated breast milk for Isaiah. My first reaction was similar to my induced lactation response. But then I started to think about it, and I don't really know why, but this didn't bother me. It may have something to do with the milk being in a bottle, and not coming directly from the breast. This is the best conclusion I can come up with. So I brought it up to Josh, and he was less than enthused. He was leery of it, and I finally dropped it.

I decided to strictly formula feed, because lots of babies (me and Josh included) are exclusively formula fed, and we've turned out fine. There is nothing wrong with formula, but it is expensive.

I really never said anything else about it because I had moved on. But our friend’s wife had an enormous supply and their last child is almost done with breastfeeding. We know this couple well, and we trust them. She is an excellent mother and we actually say often that we hope that we parent like they do. They were more than willing to help us out, and Josh arranged everything on his own! Two days before Isaiah was born, they stocked us up. I even had to get rid of the turkey we had in the freezer. Serious stuff, because food does not go to waste in this house (it still didn’t. I gave it to my Nanny who will use every bit of that turkey, including the bits you didn’t know it had).

The two bags on the top rack are full of milk.
 They brought it in this gigantic bag.
 And it filled our sink.
To be honest, I don't know how long a supply like this lasts. I've read lots about how much and often newborns eat, but I've never actually experienced it, and I don't really know how much is here. We're still going to use formula, but this will provide Isaiah with the added boost we really wanted him to have. This makes us feel so much better about his nutrition, and the quality of nourishment we're providing.

While we're discussing donated milk, I want to address what I've heard about it. This is a controversial thing. People are weirded out by it. Heck, I was. What bothers me the most though, is that you are able to buy and sell breast milk on Craigslist. This I absolutely do not recommend. I don't even like to buy furniture on Craigslist, let alone the nourishment for my newborn child. We feel confident giving Isaiah the breast milk because we know the source and we trust her. If you are planning to use donated milk, please take the necessary precautions to protect your child. Because honestly, nothing is more important.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Birth Story

I've read birth stories all over the internet. But I've only read one that I really felt like I could relate to -- Mrs. Jack's post on Hellobee.com about Jack Jack's birth helped me to prepare a little for what was about to happen to us.

Our birth mom chose to deliver in a hospital that has been around for ages. Joshua and I were both born there, along with my brothers, and I'll say just about everyone we know. We live in an area where two brand new hospital campuses were built less than a mile from each other, with gleaming birth centers to make the family experience as beautiful as can be. But when our birth mom told me she was going to deliver at the old hospital, I was disappointed. Most people in our area have a poor view of that hospital, and a lot of people even think it shut down when the new ones opened.

Our birth mom was scheduled to go in to be induced at 11:00pm last Monday. Joshua and I were so excited that Monday was honestly the longest day of my life. We were also very much on edge. I was focusing very hard on not snapping at him (I won't cover for myself, I'm a snapper) and we made it through without a fight.

I asked our attorney at least three different ways if he could tell me what would happen at the hospital, and every time he told me that our birth mom would dictate how everything would go. We drove our birth mom to the hospital on Monday night, and dropped her off at the doors to the birthing center so we could go park. Since it was so late, by the time we got to the doors, they were locked and she was gone. We had to go in the hospital through a different entrance, and long story short, we were lost. After lots of walking around finding dead ends, we found the right third floor (seriously, there is more than one third floor). When we got off of the elevator, they immediately ushered us into our room and our birth mom into her room.

Nothing else to do, let's take a photo.

And there we sat. We were too anxious to do anything (at least I was, Josh was able to use the laptop), and no one came into our room (duh, no patients in there). The doula arrived at the same time we did, and she came in often to give us updates. Our  birth mom started on pitocin at 2:00 am and we all rested until around 9:00 am. At that point our birth mom's contractions started to get really hard (Please forgive me if I start to use the wrong terms. I've never been through child birth and I truly do not know how she was feeling. I'm only able to tell my side of the story, and I'll try to do my best without sounding like a complete idiot.).

The doula we used is actually a very good friend of mine who was in our wedding. We went to high school together and got along really well in cheerleading because neither one of us really fit in with the rest of the squad (because we were so much more awesome). When I first told Amber about our potential adoption, she was thrilled for us, and immediately offered her services. I love Amber to death, but never understood the necessity of a doula. I almost felt like it would make too many hands in the pot, so to speak. Also, I just figured Joshua was the only support person I'd need.

At 9:00 am the entire welcoming committee was assembled. My parents, my Nanny (grandmother, not my personal caretaker), Josh's mom, and my BFF were all crowded into our small room. Josh and I had agreed that we wanted our families there, but we wanted to take at least an hour immediately following birth to bond with our baby. We wanted to be able to get to know him without the pressure of a crowd (we both hate crowds). I was starting to get a little panicky because there were so many people in our small room, I didn't know if I would be able to be present in delivery, and, well I just didn't know anything.

Amber came to our room to check on us and said that she had talked to our birth mom and she was open to allowing both of us in the delivery room. This was a direct contradiction to what she told me a week ago, but at this point hearing that was some of the most amazing news thus far. Neither of us wanted to see his actual birth; being in the room and seeing him immediately following was enough for us. As soon as Amber told us this news we went down to our birth mom's room to confirm it with her. Our birth mom's personal space is very important to her, which is originally why she said no one in the room with her, and I knew this, so I definitely wanted to hear it from her and to tell her how much we appreciated her change of heart.

Our birth mom's reasoning for wanting to use a doula was because she wanted to have a natural birth. Amber was able to help her get through her contractions using many different techniques such as counter pressure (this is where my mind has gone blank because I can only remember one). We didn't spend much time in our birth mom's room as she was laboring to respect her privacy and give her some space. Amber had everything under control anyway.

At 11:30 am Tuesday, our birth mom requested an epidural. She was dilated 7 cm, and couldn't handle the pain anymore. I do not fault her at all for this. I respect her for making it that far. We could hear her struggling, and during one of her contractions I thought to myself that I could never go through that much pain and still place the child with someone else.

Once her epidural was kicking in, she decided to rest for a short time, and sure enough within an hour, she was 10 cm and ready to push.

Joshua and I were sitting in the family lobby (someone had the idea to move there so they would be out of our room, and I think it was a fantastic idea) talking with our family when the nurse came in looking for us. She said she wanted us to stand outside the delivery room until they were ready for us to come in. While we were standing there our birth mom's OB came in. I've met him a few times at her check ups, and had a good feeling about him. He's experienced and knowledgeable. At one point I thought that if he weren't her doctor, I may have switched to him.

While we were standing in the hallway, excited beyond belief, shaking with nerves, her doctor walked up to us and introduced himself to my husband. Then he looked at both of us and said "I really hope you get to take this baby home. I do not trust this lady, and I haven't through this entire process. It is crazy and extremely hard to give up your fifth child, so I hope this works out for you."

The nurse standing with him was as shocked as we were and when he walked away she came up to us to try to reassure us. I don't know if he was attempting to protect us, or what in the world it was, but I wasn't nervous at all until that point. The doctor and all of the other medical staff went into the room and the last nurse told us to stand outside the door. We were on deck.

When Joshua and I go to parks with roller coasters, he always makes us sit in the very first car. He made the comment while we were there that it felt like we were waiting in line for a roller coaster, and that is the best explanation for it. My stomach was so nervous and I just stood there and prayed. I asked God to please get us through the next few moments and that our baby please be healthy and whole. Once everyone was in position, the door opened and we were invited in and directed to stand near the window, close to our birth mom's head.

She gave three good pushes and within minutes our child was born.

Joshua cut the cord and we cried.

This event that we've thought was so gross for so long was suddenly the most beautiful thing that we'd ever seen. Our baby was covered in goop and we just wanted to touch him. The immediate and overwhelming love I felt for our son still stuns me.

Shortly after, we were whisked over to the crib where they were checking out our baby. He weighed 7lb 11oz (much smaller than the doctor predicted) and was 20 inches long.

I'm still amazed at the compassion we were showed by the entire hospital staff. Nearly everyone there told us that they hadn't had an adoption before, or if they had it was a long time ago, and was just once. They did an excellent job of including us in the birth and making us feel like parents. We were so shocked though that we were walking around like zombies.

It only entered my mind once or twice that maybe I shouldn't fall so hard in love with our son because his birth mom still had the opportunity to change her mind. All of our wrist bands and even his name on his crib was "Boy (Her-last-name)." I couldn't stop myself though. I was completely head over heels for this child.

My friend Kelly and I discussed adoption quite a bit over the past few months. Kelly is my age and was adopted by her parents at birth. Kelly told me that her mom said to her "My life didn't start until the moment I held you in my arms."

And that is exactly how I feel.  Tuesday afternoon, 12:45 pm to be exact, my life began. Everything we've been though, all of the pain of infertility, all of the years of longing to be a family, were suddenly worth it. We went through all of it so that we could have this child and be his parents.

After he was deemed healthy and all of his tests were done, we were allowed to take him to our room. The hospital has security measures in place to ensure mothers are always matched to the correct babies. My hospital band had our birth mother's name on it and our son had an identical bracelet that he wore. Every time a nurse would take him from our room she would match us before she left and when she brought him back. We were also given Hugs & Kisses bracelets. An alarm would sound if the baby or I were to leave the floor, or if either of our bracelets were cut off. When I would get close to the baby after not being near him for any amount of time, my bracelet would play music. To be honest, this helped me bond with him. It was a physical way of knowing that we belong together.

I had a fair amount of guilt while we were in the hospital. I had a hard time feeding the baby the first day or so. He wasn't interested in eating, and when he did it wasn't much. He also spit up a lot the first day, so the pediatrician switched him to soy formula. We had quite a bit more contact with the birth mom while we were in the hospital than we anticipated. When she would come to our room to see him, or when we would go to her room to see her, he would clearly want to feed. The fact that he recognized her, and wanted to eat, made me feel awful. I know that it's biology and nothing that anyone can help, but it did upset me.

She asked if she could feed him a bottle, and it seemed to bring her quite a bit of comfort. She held him a lot, and my heart would constrict. Knowing that she could still change her mind made me physically ill.

We had different opinions about medical treatment for the baby. Josh and I had made certain decisions that our birth mom did not agree with. Since she was the only one with parental rights to his care, I told her how we felt, but that we understood her position, and that if she wanted to make those decisions we respected that.

Early in the morning of the day she was to sign the consent to adoption, our son went to the nursery so the pediatrician could perform his first newborn check. Our nurse came into our room during the time our son was there, to tell me that our birth mom was in the nursery holding our son. This made me feel incredibly panicky and I rushed down to them. I sat and talked to her while she held him, and shortly after she went back to her room to rest. I'm not proud of the way I felt toward to her, but I also won't apologize for it. I've considered him my child since the day I learned of him.

We got back to our room and sat and held him in our arms for the six hours we waited for the attorney. I have never stared at one person so much. Looking at his beautiful face makes time fly.

At 3:00 pm the social worker came into our room and told us that our attorney was in our birth mom's room and she wanted all of us in the same room for the signing. Suddenly, we felt the exact same nerves that we did standing outside the delivery room. This was another moment that would change our lives forever. We took the baby to her room and our attorney began reading the consent paperwork to our birth mom. I was so nervous that I was shaking, and as suddenly as he came into this world, our birth mom signed the papers and he was ours.

The relief I felt was immediate, but the stress I had been holding onto didn't immediately go away. Joshua and I had our portion of the paperwork to sign, and we did so in the hallway. Since we were in our birth mom's room, our son was eager to eat, so I gave her a bottle and let her hold him in her room alone while we signed our papers. I felt that it was the least I could do. She enjoyed feeding him so much, and I wanted to bring her some comfort in the light of the huge act she had just agreed to.

We said goodbye to our attorney and I spent the next hour sitting with our birth mom and our son. Joshua went back to our room to tell our families that the papers were signed and he was officially our son. The next few hours we spent in shocked delight that we had rights to the decisions made for our child, and the fact that he was ours.

I had a very rough night that night. Our son didn't want to sleep, and I didn't know what to do. Josh was sleeping so amazingly well that he heard nothing. It crossed my mind several times to kick him. To wake him up, of course. I spoke with the nurse, figured out what was going wrong, and thankfully we made it through.
We were to be discharged following his 48hr newborn check, and the birth mom was to be discharged at the same time.

When the ladies from the lab came to our room to perform the 48 hr check, Josh and I were sitting with our son. They were both very friendly and congratulatory to the three of us. They commented on how beautiful he was, and got to work. One of them was going over the orders, looked at both of us, and looked at her orders again. She said "you'll have to forgive me, but this paperwork says the baby is black."

We both laughed and then explained our situation to her. She laughed and then congratulated us some more. She also commented on how well I've bounced back from child birth.

I said earlier that I wasn't convinced of the necessity of a doula, and now I'm extremely grateful that Amber was there for us. She was able to facilitate communication between our room and the birth mom, and she helped bring much comfort to the birth mom. Without a doubt, Amber helped make this the easiest process for all of us as possible. I don't even want to think of how it would have gone without her. Our birth mom said the same thing.

The comment I made at the beginning of this about the hospital not being the one I prefer deserves to be revisited. When we first got to the hospital, we were the only people in the birthing center. This being the case is what made it possible for us to have our own room for three days. The birthing center manager came into our room to talk with us about their policies. She told us that it is their policy that the adoptive parents only stay one night in the hospital, but since they had the room, they were going to allow us to stay as long as our son did. From what I've read about adoptions, this is extremely generous and uncommon.

The nurses we had were very quick to reassure us that our birth mom was doing well, and her state of mind was well. They were concerned for us, and kept their ears open to any indications that things were not going to go well for us. I was relieved when our nurses came back the next day, because it was so nice to have familiar faces around. They came in just to see how we were, and were always offering to get us anything we needed. I understand the baby was their patient, but we were not.

The hospital manager came into our room shortly before we left to ask us about our experience. I told her exactly what I told you. I told her I didn't want to come to her hospital, but that we were so pleasantly surprised, and so grateful of their care, that if I get pregnant we will take the extra time to make sure that I deliver at her hospital. I mean that too. It is ten minutes farther from our home than the newer hospitals, but I will, without a doubt. I trust them completely. When we finished talking, the manager asked if she could hug me, and hurried out of our room because she was tearing up.

When our nurses walked us out to our car they wished us so much luck, and asked us to bring the baby by to see them. They hugged us, and they also teared up. It was a very emotional hospital stay, and I still can't believe the quality of care we received during our stay.

And then we were on our way. Our little family of three, our on our own. I'm told, now the fun begins.

Isaiah's Birthday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Open Letter From An Infertile

Dear My Fertile Friends,

First of all, I want you to know that this is not going to be an offensive, fertile bashing post. I simply want to let you in on something that your infertile friends might not be telling you.

Women with infertility often find it difficult to speak to women about their issues if said women are not also infertility sufferers. It isn't that we don't like you, but it's hard. Kind of like if you have a question about your child, you probably won't ask a friend that doesn't have children. You know how annoying it is when people without children offer you parenting advice? Your friends with infertility feel this same way when suggestions are made that maybe if they tried this, or tried that, they could get pregnant. If you suggest that they relax, you should be prepared for a gut punch. Your friend that is up to her ears in IVF pamphlets and RE paperwork has tried to relax. She knows.

Also, don't suggest to her that she adopt. Adoption isn't for everyone, and it isn't a second place choice for infertile couples. Don't tell her that she will get pregnant as soon as she starts the adoption process. This does happen for some people, but for some people it doesn't.

The best thing I can say to explain it to you, is that your friend is mourning. As we know from Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In my own personal experience, these stages don't just apply to death, but also the loss of an idea. Your friend is struggling with the loss of the idea of how her life was supposed to be. She was supposed to get pregnant right when she wanted to, just like other women. She wanted to have children before she reached a certain age. I can promise you that no one wants to go through fertility treatments. No one wants to wait when they're ready, and no one wants to intentionally take medicine to make them a crazy person.

We love you, and we appreciate your concern, but please don't take our problems upon yourself and try to fix them. We will work through this, and we will come out on the other side one way or another. Some day we will move into the acceptance stage of grief, it just might not be today.

Sincerely yours,


When things got particularly rough last week with our birth mom I started writing like crazy. It is amazingly therapeutic for me so I wrote a little something every day of the week to get me through. The posts may be a little jumbled, but here they are in all of their unedited glory. You get these posts this week while I'm snuggling my brand new baby boy. 

We're here. We have our own room. Our birth mom has changed her mind and is allowing me to be in delivery. I'm going to see the birth of our son.
I'm about to be a mom.
It's 4am and I'm completely unable to sleep. Birth mom has been on pitocin since 2am. The Dr comes at 8.
It's noon and I still can't sleep. Birth mom just requested an epidural and also said it is ok for Josh to be in the room.

Monday, March 4, 2013

One Day

When things got particularly rough last week with our birth mom I started writing like crazy. It is amazingly therapeutic for me so I wrote a little something every day of the week to get me through. The posts may be a little jumbled, but here they are in all of their unedited glory. You get these posts this week while I'm snuggling my brand new baby boy. 

We go to the hospital tonight, and we meet Isaiah tomorrow.

I don't know what else there is so say besides that. Tomorrow we'll be parents. Parents. Not only husband and wife, but mom and dad.

I just sat down to write and drink my coffee, but I took one sip of my coffee and knew I couldn't do it. My stomach is already so nervous that coffee would totally push me over the edge.

We have a wine cabinet/humidor in our spare room and I always forget about it. I was lucky enough to find a lone bottle of wine in it last night. It was a desperate situation, really. But I decided I needed to get caught up on my thank you notes before the baby came, and for some reason decided I should do it and drink wine at the same time. I truly hope you're the recipient of one of those. I should probably open them all back up and check them.
I'm off to finish all of the last minute things that are left before we leave for the hospital. I can't wait to post Isaiah's picture. Our new life begins in hours. Hours.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Two Days

When things got particularly rough last week with our birth mom I started writing like crazy. It is amazingly therapeutic for me so I wrote a little something every day of the week to get me through. The posts may be a little jumbled, but here they are in all of their unedited glory. You get these posts this week while I'm snuggling my brand new baby boy.

We have two days until we meet our little guy. We go in tomorrow night to get induction started and he will be here Tuesday.

We sat at the kitchen table trying to figure out the carseat for a long time this afternoon, and when we finally got it installed we were all "Wow. There is a carseat in there".

It feels really crazy that in two days we'll be parents. Two days.

I don't think I've mentioned this, but he will be born nearly three years to the date that we started trying to have a baby. There have been so many ups and downs, and I know this will be such an incredible time for us.

Last night, Ingrid and I celebrated with Thai food and Target. Today I'm celebrating by finishing up Isaiah's laundry and keeping the house clean. I will probably tune in to the Oscars tonight after I track down a bottle of wine. I'm going to start with our parent's houses first, and if I'm not successful I may have to go to Ohio. That's kind of a joke, but kind of not.

I was thinking this morning about how real this adoption felt back in October, and even at Christmas, and somehow, it feels even more real now. This is really happening. We're really going to be parents.

With all the highs and lows, it still feels too good to be true. What we've always dreamed of is finally happening.

He is going to be so small in this.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Three Days

When things got particularly rough last week with our birth mom I started writing like crazy. It is amazingly therapeutic for me so I wrote a little something every day of the week to get me through. The posts may be a little jumbled, but here they are in all of their unedited glory. You get these posts this week while I'm snuggling my brand new baby boy.

I never thought I'd ever be three days away from meeting our son. Three days.

This is the last Saturday I'll ever wake up and not be a mom. That blows my mind.

I'm planning to work in Isaiah's room today. I need to hang the shelf for his monitor and put laundry away. I cannot wait to see him in his crib. 

Sanitizing bottles

My coworkers make fun of me because people frequently ask if I speak Spanish, and I do not. It was only appropriate to go out in style.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Four Days

When things got particularly rough last week with our birth mom I started writing like crazy. It is amazingly therapeutic for me so I wrote a little something every day of the week to get me through. The posts may be a little jumbled, but here they are in all of their unedited glory. You get these posts this week while I'm snuggling my brand new baby boy.

Today was the last doctors appointment Isaiah will have with his birth mom. 

She apologized to me for the way she acted earlier in the week. 

She's still acting like she is going through with it, but for some reason I don't feel secure in this. 

I'm just still scared.

I'll admit though, after leaving work for the last time for a long time, I felt much better than I have in a long time. It felt like I had one less thing to worry about. I have a ridiculously low stress job where I basically do whatever I want as long as I get my work done. I get my work done because I have my job well organized. I just know that when I come back it is going to be a whole different ballgame. In the past two weeks, that has added to my stress level. I was trying to train my boss (you read that right) and I was getting so frustrated because I'm tired and anxious and it would have just been easier to do myself. 

I decided I wanted to make freezer meals before the baby came so we wouldn't have to worry about meal planning or big grocery shopping for a little while after coming home. I love the meals I made tonight, but it makes me want to do the whole month at once and that will most certainly require an upright freezer.
As I was making the food tonight my mind kept wandering to Isaiah. I wonder what kinds of food he will like, and I wonder if he'll like my cooking as much as his dad does.

I love his dad so much. I decided that Joshua needed a little something for being so amazing to me. The other night I came home and he had dinner going in the crock pot AND he came home with my favorite wine. He's amazing. Anyway, I went to the cigar store near work and bought him a cigar that I think he'll like to celebrate the birth of our son.


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