Thursday, December 27, 2012

Got Breastmilk?

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! Ryan and I celebrated our anniversary, we have been able to catch up with old friends, and of course spend time with our families. It's been a wonderful week. :) Anyway, on to adoption things! 

The short answer to that short question is "no"! ;) I strongly considered breastfeeding when I found out that it is possible to stimulate lactation even if a woman is not pregnant. I started researching on my own, so that I would be somewhat educated on the subject before I spoke to a lactation consultant (Are you surprised? lol). Without getting into too much detail, the methods involve a combination of pumping,  physical stimulation from the baby once they're born, and hormones. I was ok with pumping and physical stimulation, but neither of those seemed to be productive without taking hormones to help things along. That was a red flag for me. I was on hormones for more than a year, and I'm simply not going to take them any more. So breastfeeding was bound to be more of a challenge as a result of that stance. Then I had the meltdown a couple weeks ago about adoption being hard. That sealed the deal the for me. :) I am going to have a lot of adoption-related things on my mind and heart when Elliana is born, on top of the natural whirlwind that comes with being a first time mom. Breastfeeding for someone who has been pregnant is difficult as it is (so I hear), and I don't even have milk ready to give! I would be setting myself up for a lot of stress, and it is not the road we want to go down. I am so happy with that decision and glad that I have one less thing to think about now. whew! :)

A positive aspect of not breastfeeding is that Ryan gets the experience of feeding her too. We're both looking forward to this, for one-on-one bonding purposes and also the sheer practicality of it. During his two weeks off, we will be able to split the night shifts and get more sleep as a result. No complaints here! ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hospital Planning

Last Thursday I did the hospital tour with Q, which was really nice. She tends to leave the talking to others in group settings, so it was great to get some solid one-on-one time with her. And getting a tour of the hospital allowed me to visualize the setting and meet some of the staff that will be taking care of us when Ellie comes. They seem to be very helpful, and adoption friendly. :) The only somewhat odd thing is that there isn't a nursery at the hospital. Which means that baby is with mom during the entire hospital stay. That set up works fine for typical births, but it makes things a little complicated for adoptions. Our social worker, Anita, said that it is not uncommon for the hospital to give the adopting family a room of their own. This provides privacy for both the couple and the birthmom, while still allowing them to be close to each other and the baby. Assuming that the hospital is making an effort to accommodate the adoption as much as possible, it will still depend on room availability. This is something that you can be praying for as we approach the due date. Q has asked that I take care of Elliana during her 1-2 night stay at the hospital. The ideal scenario is that Ryan and I would be able to have a room, so that Elliana could be with us during that time. We want to be able to share that first night together, learning how to feed her and change her diaper, and just start the bonding process. However, if we are not given a room, the alternative is that I stay overnight in Q's room and care for Ellie there. That would make my first overnight "mommy experience" with Q, and without Ryan. Obviously, we will be going with the flow and doing whatever we need to do at that point. But as you can imagine, the latter scenario is not nearly as appealing as the first, for all parties involved. :/

In other news, although Q hasn't worked on an official birth plan quite yet, she said that she wants Ryan and I to be in the room with her during delivery. We're going to be taking Lamaze classes together in February and I will get to be her labor coach! :) woohoo!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nursery Progress

Let's move on to happier things, shall we? :) I'm adding to Elliana's room little by little, and I'm really getting excited about the progress. Even though I have known for a while what I was going for with the theme and  colors, I was having a hard time finding a central piece of the room to pull it all together. I came across a photo on etsy that I felt did the job. But instead of just purchasing a print, I thought maybe we could do something extra special and personal. Tracy Watson is not only a dear, tried and true friend, but (luckily for me!) a wonderful artist as well. :) We commissioned her to turn the photo into a large canvas painting and could not be happier with the how it turned out! The picture doesn't do it justice. (I love it Trac, thank you so much! <3)

You may have already seen the little elephant on Facebook, but I'll put a picture of that as well. :)

I have had my eye out for an elephant that was more like a modern, cartoon style than an actual gray elephant. I happened to stumble across this little guy at Target, and it was just perfect! :) I also found an adorable canopy for her crib at Ikea. I love that it gives the room a nice feminine, circusy feel. :) 

The simple latch hook rug I started turned into the DIY project that wouldn't end. lol. But I only have about three more inches to go, so I want to finally finish that this week. Then I will move on to making the crib bumpers. You may have noticed that they are kind of bunchy in the picture above. ;) I just propped the fabric up so you can see what it will look like. *teehee* I ordered fabric for the crib skirt and closet valance, which I should receive tomorrow. So, yes, there will be more things to work on in the coming weeks. :) This room has been so much for to work on! I can't wait to see how it all turns out! :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dear Baby

Dear Baby, 

Today was going to be our due date. A lot has changed since we lost you. Your daddy and I decided to stop seeing Dr. Q, and to try to find a baby who is growing in someone else's tummy. Looks like we found her! Her name is Elliana and she is supposed to make her arrival in a few months. We are so excited! But don't worry, we have not forgotten you. You are still the only one to have ever occupied my ute and that makes you very special. :) I've been thinking about what things would have been like if God would have allowed you to come home with us. I had a good cry last night because I remembered how heartbroken we were when you left. But you know what? Our heavenly Father has such a big plan for all of us! You were part of it, and this new baby is part of it too. You were, and she is, just what we need at just the right time. Isn't it wonderful that we have such a loving God to trust when things get confusing?

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you today. I will never stop loving you sweetheart. 

Cuddles and kisses, 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm emotional. Bleh.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks for me. On the surface, there is not much going on. We've been matched, we are trying to develop a relationship with Q, we've got some new items on the to-do list, and we're just waiting for the due date to roll around. Under the surface is a different story. It's kind of confusing to tell you the truth, and I'm not sure if it will make sense, but I'm going to take a stab at it anyway. 

When we got pregnant, my due date was on December 8, just a couple days from now. I've been a little emotional as I think about what life would have been like if that baby would have made it. As I attempt to prepare for all of the unique challenges that we will experience as transracial adoptive parents, I admit that I envy the lack of complexity that comes with a biological family. Wouldn't it be easier to be pregnant myself than to be a third wheel alongside Q's pregnancy? Wouldn't it be easier if I could bring our baby home and not have to think about the birthmom's grief? Wouldn't it be easier if our baby had hair like mine? Wouldn't it be easier if I could just breastfeed and not have to figure out how to stimulate my body to produce milk or spend money on formula? Wouldn't it be easier if I didn't have to think about the potential obstacles in being a multi racial family? Wouldn't it be easier if I could actually let myself fall in love with this baby, than to feel the need to protect my heart in the event that this adoption doesn't actually happen? Perhaps I over-glamorize the ease of getting pregnant and having a biological child. But at this point in time...I just feel like adoption is hard. I feel like I've lossed a sense of normalcy. Please understand that I don't regret adoption at all! I'm happy to be where we are at, with this specific birthmom and baby. I love adoption, and I'm very glad that we decided to do this instead of more treatment. But at the same time, I'm sad that so far, none of this journey has been easy for us, and the future is intimidating as well. 
;) I know that God will continue to supply grace to get through whatever challenges arise. I'm thankful that I have time to work through all of these thoughts and feelings before the baby comes. It's a season of processing and preparing, and even if that makes me emotional from time to time, it's a good thing. :)