Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's about time I got around to update

Sammy is already two months old! Where has time gone?

I freaking love being a mom. And not just any mom, but SAMMY'S mom. She is just incredible. I never knew I could love someone like this. I can say without a doubt that all of the heartache and pain to get to this point made the moments now that much sweeter. Who knows if I would have appreciated motherhood this much if it hadn't been so hard to achieve? Even the moments where she's screaming bloody murder in my ear are appreciated and my heart is so full. I wouldn't trade any of our journey to get here because if any of it were different, these moments may not be exactly what they are right now.

Breastfeeding is still going well....well, well-ish. I think there will always be ups and downs, as with anything else in life. She has reflux which has made for a lot of spit up and struggling while trying to nurse. So she's gaining weight not as quickly as I'd like. I'm seeing some reflux improvement in the past few days so I'm hoping her weight gain will pick up a little bit, but otherwise everything is great. I've already stored about 20oz of milk in the freezer. Sometimes I'll open the freezer door just to look at it. It's been a hard road and I'm weird but like seeing the stash as one of the many tangible payoffs to the effort put into it.

We have a new pediatrician that we will be meeting with for the first time today and I'm strangely excited. Maybe it's because it's an excuse to get out of the house. Or maybe it's because I have so many questions I'm eager for her to answer. Maybe it's because shes not only a pedi, but also a certified lactation consultant. Or maybe it's because she's just up the street from us. Fingers crossed she works out because it almost seems too good to be true on paper! Anyway, we're going to the pedi today at 2pm and she will be getting her first big round of two month vaccines. I'm a little nervous watching her get poked like that but I know it's for the best. There's a tiny bit of mommy anxiety going on over here, I can't wait until it's over so I can snuggle her and comfort her and make it all better.

Overall, things are going great. We're are following into a fairly successful routine. And ironically enough, going through the VLCAD feeding schedule her first month of life kind of set us up for that anyway. So I've found the silver lining in that hellish ordeal. She slept almost seven hours straight the other night!

One thing that surprises me is that I've really gotten into babywearing. Aside from the joy it brings me to have her right on my body, it's so dang convenient to have her on me out and about while my hands are free. Also, people tend to want to touch her less while we are in public as opposed to if she were in her carrier. I have a Sakura Bloom Ring sling, a baby k-tan (which is too big and I need to figure out how to exchange it for a size smaller) and I just ordered a Lillebaby All Seasons which should come this week or next.

Look how happy she is snuggled up in the ring sling. Well, that makes two of us!

She's cooing, smiling, and positively responding to me and Kevin when she's approached and in a happy mood. It's so heart melting. I have also started reading to her. We sit and read newborn black and white baby books pretty much every day. Who knows how much she actually cares about it this early on? But so what? She is engaged, happy, and I feel like I'm setting the foundation for her to enjoy all of the reading that she and I will be doing together as she grows. It's been one of the things I've looked forward to most as I dreamed of being a mother. That, and making soapy mohawks on her head in the bathtub. And lucky for us, she has enough hair for me to do that already!

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to get some family photos of the three of us with my own camera and remote control. Unfortunately, total fail. Each time either Sammy wasn't happy or the remote control wasn't working right. So I finally gave up and hired another photographer/friend and she took these beautiful photos that I'll share here!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I have been so, so busy.

I am finally settling into "normal" life as a mom with a new baby. It's incredible being a mom and now that I finally have this VLCAD thing not looming overhead, I'm able to really savor it! I still can't believe how horrifying that first month of her life was for me. It really was one of the hardest things I've been through, facing a life threatening illness of someone I loved so much and had prayed so hard for. I can barely even think about it because it hurt so much!

I'm so glad she's okay and I'm happy to be busy with her even though it means my blog posts will likely suffer a little bit!

What am I up to other than the obvious things related to caring for a sweet little baby?

Well, I've been working recently on trying to find a nanny for when I go back to work near the end of October. I barely want to even type that because it makes it feel real and I still am sad thinking about leaving her at home. I hope we find someone we feel great about because it's really hard to trust someone with something so precious to us.

I've also been busy trying to get my photography business up and running which involves filing for all of the proper licenses, paying fees, building websites, etc. I usually try to do this during Sammy naps and surprisingly have made some good headway here!

I'm also dealing with some genetic issues myself. I swear, genetic testing has been so prevalent in our lives lately and it's back again, only this time for me. For those of you who know my story, my mom died of colon cancer at a young age and all of her three adult children, including myself, have had colon polyps at young ages. Doctors agree that there's likely something hereditary going on and I've been going through testing with an oncologist and genetic counselor to try to figure it out. I was tested for a single genetic disorder in 2012 that came back as negative. But this time, they did an incredibly extensive panel that will test for all kinds of uterine, breast, ovarian, and colon cancer disorders. It will be scary if/when I learn that I have a disorder that leads to a much higher risk of cancer. But at the same time, knowledge is power so hopefully I can do something to avoid it. I'll get the results on November 21 and am trying to put it out of my mind a little bit until then.

Okay - happy news! Breastfeeding is going so well. Finally! It was so hard in the beginning. Both Sammy and I had a terrible case of thrush that we believe I got from the antibiotics given to me after the c-section in the hospital. Breastfeeding started out painful and got worse and worse until it was nearly unbearable. I'd cry. I eventually had to exclusively pump. I had no reference point and figured breastfeeding was that painful for everyone. Little did I know, it isn't. Once we found out what was going on, my OB, pediatrician, and I declared war on it and after a couple of weeks of multiple therapies it went away. All the while I also was worried about VLCAD and under a lot of stress which I'm sure impacted my supply too. In fact, if she had turned out to have VLCAD, I would have been told to stop breastfeeding anyway. So there were many times I considered giving up. But I didn't and I'm glad. Once all of those crazy hurdles were behind me, operation exclusive-breastfeeding was 100% underway. I've been nursing and pumping like crazy and I am excited to report that the past three days/nights that Sammy has been 100% breastfed with no more formula supplementation. And I am even getting enough to start build a stash. I could not be more happy about this achievement considering everything I had going against me! I can't help but pat myself on the back for what I feel like is a huge accomplishment.

And I'm not sure if it's related or not, but she started sleeping through the night (5 hours) the first night she was exclusively breastfed and did it a second time last night. Yippee! I'm well rested!

Sammy just started smiling and cooing in response to our silly antics this week and it makes my heart melt. I'll leave you with a picture of her toothless grin.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sammy's genetic origins

We found out a few weeks ago through elective DNA testing that Sammy came from Libby's embryo batch. Sammy is beautiful and an uncanny reflection of her genetic family. I am saddened about the tragedy they've endured with the loss of their beautiful daughter and I'll never understand why such horrific things happen to the most amazing people. They have been heros to us and we wouldn't have our little girl if it wasn't for their selflessness. We hope that as Sammy grows she will have a wonderful balance of "nature vs nurture" and will demonstrate some of the incredible traits of her genetic parents. I am having a hard time putting into words how I feel about our gratitude to them because words truly cannot express it properly. Not even in a fraction of a sense.

Of course, getting the genetic news about Sammy's genetic origins was bittersweet because we know that she could only come from one batch and the not the other. And in this case, it meant she is not from Vicky's embryo batch. That also means that all of Vicky's embryos are gone forever. But despite this, we've made a wonderful friend of Vicky over the past couple of years and she will always be family to us. If there's one thing that embryo adoption teaches us it is that genetics don't make a family, love does. Friends are the family we choose. And remember  - we have angel babies in heaven that are genetically related to her little boy.

I wanted to post this update because it's an important piece of our story. We love both of our donor families and now move forward with the mystery solved of Sammy's genetic origins.

We are so grateful for embryo adoption and love our little snowflake more than anything else in this world.