Sunday, July 18, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday:Family Ties

A few weeks ago we (Mister, the kids and I) went out to his parents' house for the weekend. They live out in the country about an hour and a half away, and we enjoy visiting. Handsome Man loves to run around in their big back yard, and we all enjoy taking dips in the pool. My in-laws are the type of people that are just very easy to be around. I never feel like I have to be "on my best behavior" or perfect in any way. There are rarely any scheduled events on these lazy weekends; we're free to just do what feels right: take a dip in the pool, a nap, a snack, read a book, go for an outing to one of the many nearby wineries, farms, or drive into town for a movie or shopping. Mostly we just all like being in one another's company. Not many people can say this about their in laws. I know I am lucky.

On our latest visit, I was sitting in the kitchen with my mother in law. She was holding her newest grandchild, Grace, and just marveling at her beauty--(who wouldn't?)--and beaming with love and pride. She was taking in all her features: her gorgeous, long eyelashes (must have gotten those from Mister) her auburn-tinged hair (where did that come from? Maybe from my father?) when my MIL said off-handedly, "well, I just hope for her sake she doesn't get my nose!" I smiled and looked at her for a moment as she continued gazing at Grace--then she looked up at me and met my eyes. Suddenly we both burst into laughter. Of course, Grace won't have her grandmother's nose. Because Mister was adopted.

But that's the thing: the bonds of love within this family run deeper than DNA. They love their adopted child and their biological children completely and with no preference. The legacy of their love for their child (Mister) will live on through our children, both adopted and and biological. It is not a legacy of chromosomes and genetic traits, it's the legacy of love that matters most.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Breastfeeding Woes, and More Updates

Well, I think I'm about ready to give up. On breastfeeding, that is. Thank you, those of you who sent me the supportive comments. But I think I need to pick my battles, here. When Grace was a tiny newborn, and only required about 2 oz per feeding, when I was only producing about 1 oz, it didn't seem like such a crazy thing to breast feed first, then supplement. She enjoyed being on the breast, and I enjoyed the closeness and experience of breast feeding her (as soon as my nipples stopped hurting so bad) so I really wanted to keep trying. Then, before long, her required intake shot up to 4 oz at a feeding, and now, she can easily hammer back a 6 oz bottle at many of her feedings. Despite my best efforts, I still only produce 1, to maybe 2 oz (max!) at a pumping session. I am trying to pump at least 3 times a day. And, honestly, every time I pump for 30, sometimes 45 minutes, and only come up with 2 0z (on a good day!) it really does nothing more than depress me further. If I pumped 3 times a day (when I can find the time--good gawd!) and got a lucky 2 oz each time, that would only amount to ONE bottle's worth for Grace! However, up until now, she still really enjoyed being on the breast--at certain times of the day, like when she was ready to settle down for a nap. She'd fuss, and pull away from the bottle sometimes, and seek out the breast, and then stop fussing and fall asleep. I was like a human pacifier, with the added perk of having a little bit of milk. But now, when I offer her the breast, she sucks away for a minute and then just gets frustrated. And then I feel horrible. So, at this point, I think I'm trying to keep it up for myself more than for her. I love the feeling of breastfeeding but it is feeling more and more pointless as time goes on. I have a tendency to get mad at my body--you know, like this is just another way my body is revolting against me and failing me. But, I have to pull back at those moments when I get down on myself and remind myself that my body has, actually, done quite a lot for me lately: my body figured out how to conceive this child all on its own (well, my husband was there, but you know what I mean--no injections, no doctors in the room, etc.), and my body carried and nourished this baby for 38 weeks. My baby was born healthy and I enjoyed a fairly uncomplicated and easy pregnancy. And, despite having a c-section, my body bounced back pretty quickly. (And don't hate me but I look pretty good. No one would guess I had a baby 3 months ago. I don't even have any stretch marks!) So, I guess I'll have to cut my body some slack here. I wish I could successfully breast feed. I so felt I missed out on that experience with Handsome Man, too--but here we are. I also woke up this morning with the distinct feeling that I am about to get my period. Ick. One of the many perks I enjoyed with pregnancy was NOT having a period for all those many months. And, I looked forward to delaying its return even longer with breast feeding. It has been a year now since I have suffered through a menstrual cycle. I am not looking forward to seeing that monthly red visitor again. I've also read that for many women, the return of menses reduces their milk supply--so--do I really want to fight this battle with my body any harder? I think it may be time to raise the white flag of surrender here.

All I can say is, thank goodness for formula. Don't report me to Le Leche League. They might string me up for saying that. Grace is thriving and getting chubby and hitting all her milestones, and that's what really matters. (And I keep thinking, what did people in my situation DO before formula? Good grief!)

And, yes, Grace is a healthy, happy little girl. She really is such a GOOD baby. (Not that there are 'bad' babies, but you know what I mean). She has settled into a bit of a routine. Things are not so hectic around here any more. She is sleeping through the night most of the time, and I am getting more (not enough, but more!) sleep. So things are good. Handsome Man still has his moments of jealousy, but for the most part he seems to be feeling more grounded and secure. Those first few weeks were really, really hard. I am not kidding. There were times when I wished I could find a reason to be re-admitted to the hospital with Grace just to get away from him. And to go back to that blissful time of just being with her in our own little cocoon, where I could connect with her, and get my much needed rest. (And 3 good meals a day). (I honestly think that the stress I experienced after coming home from the hospital had an effect on my milk supply, and everything I have read states that stress effects milk supply, but what could I do?) However, now, with lots of love, sometimes "tough love" (there was one point when we had to literally take everything out of his room other than his bed and a dresser until he could get control over throwing his toys and books, etc.--for about 3 weeks!) and attention and work, Handsome Man is back to his (active) adorable, good-natured self. He is more independent now too, and will play in his room with his trains or play outside in the back yard for stretches without "needing" me to be right there with him. So, I am a little more relaxed (relatively) than before. Grace also naps at a long stretch in the afternoon, so that gives me some time to do a few things around the house, or if I'm lucky, relax a bit now and then.

I am still struggling with juggling my responsibilities of working and being a full-time mom. This coming weekend I have two weddings (one is big) and then nothing for the rest of July. Then I have 2 in August, and 2 in October. Then, I'm done for good. (*sigh*). It's hard, but for now I feel it is definitely the right thing for our family. There really is no question. On the weeks when I have weddings to produce, it really throws a wrench into our little family routine, and I am just so exhausted. It's hard. I need to be at home for the next couple of years at least, and that's all there is to that. So I am looking forward to finishing my last wedding and hanging up my clippers, at least for a while.

Now the baby is crying, I must go. Have so much to do today it's not even funny.... the list that never quite gets finished is growing and growing!! xoxo