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Never once did I have troubles breastfeeding Mr. E – for 21 months.

So far I’ve had one hell of a time with W. We had bad latch leading to the most horrific pain, a nursing strike at eleven weeks old, and now thrush. It is so awfully painful and I am just fed up with it all.

My doula has suggested I:

  1. apply probiotics to my nipples and to W’s gums
  2. sun my breasts
  3. cut/reduce my sugar intake (sugar feeds yeast)
  4. switch to disposable breast pads (boo!)

All of which I am doing, but I’d love to hear from the internets, what have you done to successfully kick it?

For several weeks now I have been donating breast milk to a friend who’s baby is a month younger than W. The mama and baby live over an hour away but due to some extenuating circumstances they’ve been around here a bit more than usual in the last week.

I kept this on the down low from family members because they really just wouldn’t get why I, or the mama would go out of our way to provide breast milk rather than use formula. (Not meant to start a feeding war- I have excess milk and this mama who wants her baby to have breast milk has supply issues.) Earlier in the week we were both attending the memorial service of our mutual friend’s sister and the mama asked if I’d nurse her baby. She had frozen milk, but it was much easier for me to nurse her. And so I did. This was the second time I’ve nursed a baby other than my own (the first time being last summer when I nursed my best friend’s baby at her request). I am perfectly comfortable doing so, but I must admit nursing another woman’s baby in public can draw some unusual stares when they know it’s not your baby.

Today we attended a benefit for the young children of the recently deceased sister of our friend. I nursed the baby for the second time while making plans for the mama to pick up my frozen milk. Long time readers will remember we live with my parents. Today being Sunday, we were all home when they stopped by to pick up my milk, and we were minutes from sitting down to dinner. The conversation went something like this:

My dad (D): There’s someone here.

Me: Yes they are friends…

D: stopping by for a visit now.

Me: No they are just picking up milk.

D: I just bought milk today!

[Does he really think I’m giving away his cows milk?]

My Mom (M): I think she means breast milk. Is that even safe?

[safe?!]

Me: there are somethings we try to spare you from knowing…

Meanwhile I open the freezer and grab all my frozen milk.

M- to my father: Times are different now.

My friend came in with her four week old baby girl, three and a half year old son and husband. The baby needed to nurse, so she sat down to nurse her (she produces some milk but not nearly enough to fully feed her daughter). We all chatted as my father walked in and out tending to the dinner on the grill.

Now, my parents are, well, my parents-  they know to expect the unexpected. As I sat there with our friend nursing her baby I thought, please don’t ask me to nurse her. Thinking that may be just a little too much for my parents as they are just learning about the donating. She noted we were getting ready to eat dinner and said something about getting going. I asked her if her baby was all set. I am not sure what I meant, but she looked at me with that look in her eyes, and I knew she wanted me to nurse her. She raised her slightly and said “can you?” And so I moved next to her on the couch, took her baby from her arms, and latched her on. In front of my family.

It was fine. No one dropped their jaw to the floor and the baby had a full belly. Later on my mother told me she thinks it’s wonderful, what I am doing, and that she’s heard of people doing this. In some ways, I think the way it came into the open  was the best way it could. It’s less abstract when you’re seeing the baby who needs the milk and the parents who so appreciate it.

My estimated due date was May 30th. The pregnancy was hard but as the end approached I experienced a reprieve, began feeling great- almost not even pregnant and was moving about with an ease last felt in the first trimester. I focused on enjoying the last days of E as an only child and soaking up our time together.

The early evening of May 24th we thought things were starting. I was having contractions but they were not painful. We ate dinner and carried on our nightly routine with E. We took a walk outside and chatted with some neighbors, put E to bed and continued to wait for the contractions to kick up; they were about eight minutes apart. Eventually we went to bed knowing things were far from starting. I had a rough night’s sleep and woke exhausted. A stayed home from work, as we believed things were happening. But the contractions fizzled out and I was officially experiencing prodromal labor.

Two nights later the contractions returned. This time they felt more intense and regular- coming three minutes apart. With the increased intensity, I was certain this was it. I called our doula, R to let her know. After about five hours of contractions, I also called our midwife, L. I had learned from the previous night of false labor that it would be best to rest instead of waiting for labor to kick up. So I went to bed, and when I lay down they stopped! I was so frustrated!

The next day, May 28th A, E, and I headed to the beach and spent the afternoon playing in the sand and soaking up the sun. I felt off that day, my body ached everywhere – I guess I was finally feeling like I should at full term! Earlier in the day I noticed I was starting to lose my mucus plug.

A & I were really tired and went to bed early that night. I woke at midnight feeling achy and hot. I moved to the couch to try to get some sleep; I spent the next several hours trying to sleep and when I couldn’t I’d play around on the computer. Somewhere in there I went to the bathroom and noticed I was losing more of my mucus plug and now there was also a bit of blood. The progress excited me, but I also knew this could go on for weeks. I decided to go back to our bed and try to sleep. A asked me what was going on and I told her I was achy and crampy and she rubbed my back for several minutes. Within ten minutes of crawling back into bed my water broke! It was about 3:30am.

With the gush of water I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom, leaving a trail of water behind. It’s hard to describe the this is it feeling. There’s no questioning the start when the amniotic fluid ruptures. I took a shower to clean myself up and then got comfortable to call L. A was scurrying around, showering, changing the sheets, and preparing to leave. Around 4:30 E woke up (as he often does in the night). When he saw A all dressed he asked “why are you all ready, Mama?” She assured him the clothes she was wearing were her pajamas and got him back to sleep. I ended the call told her “L said we should get some rest”, to which she laughed.

Contractions had started but they were mild to say the least. Around 5:30 I decided I needed some rest so I lay down in bed. But my waters kept gushing so it was hard to get comfortable and sleep was impossible. I lay there and rested for a little while. Before too long I got back up and bounced on the birth ball for a while. Again, my leaking fluids prevented me from being too mobile, which was frustrating.

As the morning waned on, A went about our daily routine, feeding and dressing E, playing with him. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I watched them play in the back yard from my window. I was still very much excited and happy my contractions were starting.

There seemed to have been a misunderstanding about my parent’s role when I went into labor and they thought they were not needed until we left for the hospital.  I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible; in my mind this meant they would take E as soon as I went into labor so that A was with me.  There came a point where I needed A to be with me and she was just not able to do that while watching E, so even though I was not in serious labor we decided to head to the hospital so that we could labor together in peace. We left around Noon.

The drive to the hospital was challenging. It took 50 minutes and my contraction kicked up. I decided to call our doula and request she also head to the hospital. Upon arrival I was checked in and had the initial battery of questions and paperwork to complete. L checked me and I was two centimeters. Not too bad, given that I never dilated on my own with E. But we knew there was still a long way to go. A and I decided to take a walk outside; it was a beautiful day and we spent some time walking through the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown.

In the back of my head I could hear the clock ticking. The “you have to get the baby out within 24 hours of rupture” clock. I did my best to ignore it. We ate dinner, chatted with R, and I tried to rest. Sometime around 6:00pm R said she was going to prepare a hot bath with lavender so that when I was ready for it, I could just get in. Minutes later L came in and suggested I get in the tub and use the water for nipple stimulation to try to ramp up my contractions. A and I spent at least a half hour doing this, to no avail. L returned to check on us. She checked me again. Still two centimeters.  Frustration set in.

I knew the clock-talk was coming and it did. L told me the pediatricians like to start antibiotics 18 hours post rupture but she’d hold it off till 24 hours. She talked about my options, which in addition to medications, included doing nothing and waiting it out. I knew one thing, I did not want an IV. Antibiotics are given intravenously. I also knew from E’s birth that my body isn’t all that handy at dilating. Cervadil was my option; a vaginal suppository that softens the cervix. It was the lowest level of intervention available to me in a hospital setting. The down side was that once inserted I would have to have fetal heart monitoring for two hours, which meant I had to lay in bed for two hours. And already laying on my back was the least comfortable position with my mild contractions.

The Cervadil was inserted at 7:21pm. A, R, & I chit chatted while music played in the background. I did my best to submit to each contraction, to remain focused and lose, and to breathe. By 8:45pm the contraction were full on, intense, and this is when I consider labor starting. Having to remain hooked up to monitors and in bed was brutal. I asked R, what if I have to use the bathroom? And this became my focus. My way out.

It was clear to all of us that I was in hard labor, and all had been fine with the baby, so I wanted to be unhooked and to labor as I wished. I called for a nurse and expressed my need to use the bathroom. She said she had to talk to L. She returned about 9pm and said she couldn’t talk to L, but it would probably be okay to take me off the monitors 20 minutes early, and she did.

I used the toilet and had one contraction and then I got back into the tub. Instead of the relief I’d felt in the water just a few hours early, it now felt horribly constricting. I tried laying back and it hurt. I think I stayed that way for three or so contractions. Then I got into a frog position. One contraction like that and I knew I had to get out of the water. When it was over I maneuvered my body out and had one more contraction on the toilet. While there I felt a little nauseous. Meanwhile, R and L were preparing the bed in a raised position for me to lean on to. I tried it, and that didn’t work for me either. But while I was there I felt the urge to vomit. Someone brought me a bucket and I emptied my stomach; I was still standing up leaning on the raised bed and the force of my vomiting pushed the Cervadil out of me, and I was so thankful that it remained out. I remember thinking, I am in transition? I am in transition?! FUCK! How can I already be in transition? It was probably 9:45pm.

R suggested I may like to get on my hands and knees. I did this on the floor while they lowered the bed. Once lowered, I kneeled on the bed and held on to the headboard.  My contractions were seriously intense at this point. I was in full on labor. L checked me. “Five” she announced, “no, moving to six.” Holy crap.

A and R were to my right, L was on my left and there were two nurses. Mark Erelli was playing on the iPod.. L began rubbing my back as I rode each contraction like a wave. I did my best to keep my vocalizations low. L attended to our birthplan and lowered the lights. I remember hearing A ask R to change the music, and suggested something a little mellower, Norah Jones, Come Away With Me.

“You sound like you’re feeling the urge to push” L said; I confirmed that I was. She checked me and I was nine.  L suggested I lay on my left side, crunch up my knees, and hold my right knee open to push. She gently massaged me with some sort of liquid as I began to push. The baby’s head was coming out and I heard someone say she had a lot of hair. I was out of control, the pain was overcoming me, I was pushing with no method, I just wanted the baby out and I finally understood what women mean when they say they felt like they were splitting in two. I was sure I’d be broken when it was over. I yelled out “this is way more intense than last time.”

I knew that this was going to happen really fast, that I would not push for two hours like I had with E. I centered myself, and got in the moment. I wanted her entry to be something I remembered. I could feel she was close and that she’d be here soon. I’d been pushing with contractions, and then L instructed me that I could push in their absences and I did. Not ten minutes passed before sweet Willow entered the world at 10:29pm on May 29, 2010.

As soon as she was born she was placed on my lower abdomen while we waited for her cord to stop pulsing. I held onto her in amazement. It didn’t take long for me to feel the urge to push her placenta. R later told me that the cord stopped pulsing and I immediately said I needed to push. The placenta came out easily, the cord was cut, and W was moved to my breasts, where she immediately latched on and began sucking. R said she’d never seen anything like it. She was still covered in a good amount of vernix and I loved feeling it- so think and protective. I’d incurred a very slight tear and had one stitch.

W remained on my breasts for a while. My vitals were taken, and A and I shared a PB&J sandwich that I’d ordered earlier and saved. R and L said their goodbyes, and we were left with the nurse to have W weighed, measured, and cleaned up. She weighed six pounds 14 ounces and was 19 ½ inches long. She was born with a massive amount of wavy blond hair and blue eyes.

W turned eight weeks this past weekend and it’s hard to remember a time she wasn’t with us. The transition to family of four has gone ever so smoothly; E loves her and has been amazing with her. He’s shown a little jealousy, mostly when A has W, but over all he’s stepped into his role of big brother with grace. We feel ever so blessed with our family of four. It’s been quite a journey to this place. And not a day goes by that I don’t reflect and recognize just how blessed we are.

Love at first sight

First day at home

I love her and I think we'll keep her!

I supposed it didn’t just happen.  There were signs leading up to the end.  A gradual break.

A few weeks ago A and I were talking to Mr. E about how when the baby comes it will have milk from Mommy. In a very sad voice he said “I do too.”  Fast forward to this week and my boy seems to have self weaned. He’s a little more than 21 and half months and he has gone more than 48 hours without asking for milk.

Long ago I stopped offering, but continued to give as asked. Looking back, it was when I night weaned him that my supply tanked and since he was nursing more over night than during the day, it makes sense that he’d start to lose interest all together.

I am completely at peace with what seems to be Mr. E’s end of nursing.  My plan was always to let him self wean, even though there were times I doubted he’d ever do it.  Even still I am in a bit of shock that he seems to be doing it, and think any day now he’ll ask for milk.

As he weaned he started asking to snuggle a lot.  Through out the day he comes to me, lovey in hand, and says “snuggle.”  He’s been very directive with me as to just how we will snuggle. He places lovey on my left shoulder and he lays his head on it.  He often asks to snuggle “in the green chair” which is where he used to ask to nurse.  Witnessing this transition, and seeing him decide he is done, and yet carrying over some comfort has been remarkable for me.

I have been ready to end our nursing relationship for some time, but believed in letting him lead the way.  I was committed to nursing through pregnancy if that’s what he wanted.  My only regret is that I will not be nursing him through the flu season but if I am being honest, I am SO thankful to have my breasts back for a while before this next baby lays claim.  However, experiencing his transformation was more than worth my previous desire to be done.

My son is 16.5 months; he breastfeeds on demand 24 hours a day. I’ve read over and over on the on-line boards where the child is “still breastfeeding” but it’s only first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.  And I wonder, how does this happen? E tells me when he wants milk by signing, and there is no pattern. If I do not oblige him he begins to point to my breasts and says “that,” and if I still don’t comply he attempts to lift my shirt.

Let me make one thing clear, I have no desire to wean him and no plans for when I will wean him. If I’m being honest, I’d say I hope he self-weans. I do not feel it is up to me to take it away, but I also don’t really want to be nursing a four year old (and knowing him, he’d nurse forever if I let him). And I guess I am just not used to breast feeding on demand being so, well, demanding. I don’t understand how you have a breastfeeding schedule, and I guess, I am finding it hard to nurse a toddler in public. He’s on and off a zillion times and as much as I hate to admit it, I feel weird. Not because I am nursing my son but because I know (many) people think it’s freakish to nurse this long.

Extended breastfeeding has been a really wonderful thing for us. It has provided comfort when E has been very sick, it has provided pain relief as he cut his molars, and it continues to provide the best nourishment possible. I know he’s crossed over to nursing almost exclusively for comfort, as he will no longer accept milk in a cup (which kills me as I have a freezer full of milk for the first time, and it is starting to “expire”). But he’s also still growing and developing which means nursing continues to play a crucial role in his life. And so we will continue, and I will hold out the hope that he knows when the time is right to stop and I will be able to accept it. Because after all, I am just as attached to our nursing relationship.

Photo 158

We are in molar hell. Due to the onset of the 12 month molars, my poor sweet baby boy has had is just-starting-to-regulate-his-sleep-pattern turned up side down.

Night weaning was huge success. That was about six weeks ago. I’ve spent the last three nights up from 1:30-3:30 trying to comfort him (And multiple night waking began about 2 weeks ago). I’ve done everything I could thing of to help him get back to sleep. After hours without results, I caved on two of the three nights and nursed him. He immediately entered the land of nod.

Last night after losing the two hour struggle, I offered him my breast, while I began to cry. I felt defeated. I worried how nursing would impact the next night and the next night and… I am so desperate for sleep.

A very graciously got up with him at 6AM. Apparently I was unresponsive the first time she tried to wake me so she could get ready for work. In all she gave me an hour of sleep. It was blissful. I had planned to attend a social group today but it was canceled due to illness so I decided to go to a breast feeding support group. [And I was surprised to arrive and learn today is actually Wednesday and the BF support group is on Tuesdays…see I am so tired I can’t tell what day it is.]

I had a chance to talk to a Lactation Consultant. I explain our entire situation- and she very calmly listened and echoed what I already knew: E is teething. Molars are really effing painful. But what I didn’t know is that breast milk actually has a pain relieving effect, so this is likely why all he wants when his teeth hurt is to nurse. It also explains why he recently started nursing up to 10 times a day. He is constantly signing for milk, he is not always nursing long enough to bring a let down, but he is comforted just by sucking.

So I am some what reluctantly returning to night nursing. If this is the one thing that will help relieve his pain, then how can I deny it? I just really hope we don’t end up back on the nursing every-hour-over-night-schedule. That was awful for all of us.

This morning my mother asked: “So you don’t nurse him at all over night anymore?”

I replied: “Nope.”

She replied: “Oh then it will be easy to cut out the day too.”

Me: Grumble, grumble. Why don’t I have a mom who can see what I am doing is really freaking awesome for my son? I remember around 7 or 8 months when I was adamant that I’d nurse him for a year and asked her to get rid of the formula in the house (she insisted I needed it on hand ‘just in case’) she said, “oh come on give it up.”

Should be interesting, since I have no plans to wean…

We are entering night seven of night weaning.

Two out of the seven have been really really really hard, but I suppose that means five of the seven were good, so we’re pretty lucky.

The first three nights went so smoothly. I employed a  “gradual release” where I was sill nursing but would break his latch before he fell asleep and soothe him to sleep in other ways- cuddling, patting his back, talking to him, etc.  [We still full on co-sleep.] The first non-nursing night was kind of rough. He did great until about 3 am and then was up every 20 minutes or so and needing lots of cuddles. By 5am he was down right ANGRY and pulling at my shirt. I couldn’t nurse him till 6am. A was pretty much begging me to nurse.

The next night was totally different, he slept so well and never really even looked for milk. He woke at 6am, I asked if he wanted milk, he smiled and dove in for it. We snuggled in bed and then got up. It was a lovely way to start a Saturday morning.

Last night was a whole.different.story. To be fair he had an off day – sleep and eating wise. He would not go to bed on his own so I rocked him to sleep and then let him sleep on my lap until we went to bed. Once in bed he was restless but mostly slept. Until he didn’t. 2:30 hit and he was pissed. He cried and cried. I reached for him and pulled him into me and tried to snuggle. He wanted one thing, and it was not snuggles.

After all my best efforts I asked A to get up and rock him, which she did for a bit. Then we switched. I rocked him and the walked him until he fell asleep. Every now and then he’d wake, cry, and nod back off to sleep. After about an hour he was in a deep sleep and he and I crawled back into bed and snuggled up. Two and a half hours later he woke up “for the day.” [In quotes because we all know babies get naps, but moms don’t.]

Night weaning is so easy and it’s so hard- depending on the night. I am 110% committed to the process, and having made it this far, I am not going back. My son is stubborn, but he got it from me and I have 30 years of stubbornness on him, so in the middle of the night, I win.

I am surprisingly feeling really great about my rather abrupt decision to night wean. You see I have loved nursing. There was a time when I really felt so sad about the fact that some day I would not provide my son’s nutrition. And shortly after hitting one year, and when he started eating a little, and then a lot, the majority of his nursing sessions were in the middle of the night. He’d nurse anywhere from 1-3 times during the day, depending on the day. He seemed to enjoy the night nursing a lot. Perhaps too much, and it pushed me over the edge. [No 13 month old needs to nurse SIX times from 10pm-6am, want to, yes – need to, no.]

I am trying to remain open and zen about how night weaning will impact our nursing relationship. E is solidly nursing first thing in the morning. And usually once more sometime during the day. He also gets on and quickly gets off all through out the day. I absolutely love that he can sign for milk so I know when he really wants it, and I can provide for him. One part of me wants to keep nursing until at least 18 months because deep down I think that is the minimum I want to offer my son, but I can see going to two years, maybe longer. I also wonder how things will further change once we start TTC in a few months, and how clomid will impact how E experiences breast feeding (I’ll be dry for five days). And finally part of me thinks I’ll let him decide when we stop. I’ll only do this if it remains mutually agreeable. Had I not night weaned, I would not have been able to even entertain this idea.

I am lucky to have several friends close by who are also so-called “extended nursing” – without their support I am not sure I’d make it. My day-to-day life is touched with weaning hints and other suggestions that “you can not nurse and be pregnant.” Which of course, simply is not true. [Though it may not be fun.]

I suppose there is one more thought about weaning, and that is, I never wanted to wean so that I could start trying again. Though I’ve tried to shed my TTC baggage, I’ve still got some, and I know that if I am not able to get pregnant again, and look back to see that I weaned in order to try, I would never forgive myself for cutting this relationship short, for my own needs.

And since I have been a slacker about pictures here are some of my adorbale son:

dscn0977E heading out for his first ever bike ride.

dscn0957E crawling into his cabinet.

dscn0959E shutting himself in.

dscn0963E walking!

dscn0967E riding his cousin’s trike and loving it!

Recently it seems as though we are finally reaching some semblance of balance in our not-so-new-anymore role as mothers. E is almost 14 months and somewhere around 13 months A and I started coming out of the cocoon we’d built. The first year is becoming a blur, and when I recall the memories, I don’t know how we got through it. But I we did.

E is becoming such a little kid. He is so opinionated and at times can have a hard time sharing his toys- especially with his cousins. He’s started walking and he using many signs to communicate his wants and needs. He JUST started eating real food last week. He’d been hot and cold with food since we introduced it at 6 months. But he is serious about it now. It’s as if a switch flipped and there is no turning back. He eats everything we eat, and he does it with great enthusiasm. He is also still very serious about breastfeeding…

Our nights are very hard. E is still co-sleeping and nursing all night long. The other night he woke and nursed six times (between 10pm-6am). The very next day I decided it’s time to night wean. Tonight was supposed to be the first night, but by some miracle he only woke to nurse once last night and did not nurse to sleep (but woke a few other times to cuddle). It’s as if he knew, and was following the method I am going to employ. We’ll see how the next week or so goes. It’s time – I am beyond exhausted and now that he’s eating food, he does not need to nurse overnight. I will gladly continue to nurse during the day.

A and I have begun to remember what it’s like to be adults – independent of our child. We’ve gone out with friends, we even stayed out dancing till midnight recently (and I am pretty sure I forgot I had a son at home…it was amazing to feel like “just us” the way it used to be – even if only for a few hours). We’re making summer plans that include a four day camping folk festival adventure. In short: we’re out of the ball and chain baby stage. We’re so excited to spend the summer in the outdoors with E, at the beach, riding bikes on the bike trail (he in the baby bike seat), walks in the state park…the warm weather can not arrive soon enough!

Some days I think we’re nuts for starting the TTC process all over again- right now- but it makes sense in our grand scheme. Midwife appointment is less than two weeks away! I’ve already started acupuncture and am quasi charting this cycle. Next cycle—full on charting. We’ll know more after meeting with the new midwife when we’ll actually start. I’m guessing late spring/early summer. And so it beings…

There seems to be so much going on and so little time to document…

Cling: we are back in clingy baby hell. E is just attached to us and it’s very taxing. There are times when I have to put him down and he refuses to sit so I have to lay him down – and he protests. I think I am an incredibly accommodating parent, and I just about do back flips to give him what he wants, but sometimes, I have to do something that does not jive with his plans (i.e. use the bathroom). I knew I’d be using the Ergo for a long time but I never thought I still be using all three of our carriers at this point— and yet I can’t make it through a day with out them.

Sleep: Same old broken record. We’re up a lot. I nurse him to back to sleep. We repeat an hour or two later. We’ve talked about night weaning but it really just seems like too much work at this point. Our co-sleeping arrangement makes the night wakings manageable most nights.

Going to sleep: E has always been pretty good at going to sleep on his own. This is something I worked on from the start –never nursing or rocking him to sleep (except in the middle of the night). We always put him down awake and he’d nod off to sleep. Recently- with the cling and the co-sleeping – he seemed to be fighting going to sleep at night (he starts the night in his crib around 7:30). One night he wanted to take a book to bed, so I let him, and I left the light on. Ten minutes later I checked on him and he was sound asleep. There was no drama. From then on – for naps and bed – we put him in sitting up with books. We return ten minutes later to cover up our sleeping boy. I am amazed.

Walking: He’s →this← close. I predict it will happen in two weeks. He is cruising like crazy and standing on his own. He’s taken a few steps when he can grab onto something. He needs just a little more confidence. This is exactly how crawling went down. He really has to work it out for himself, really understand it and one day soon I know he’ll put one foot in front of the other and take off.

Signing: After nearly six months he’s finally developing his “sign clusters.”  He’s learning at least one new sign a week and his communication is amazing. When he woke at 6:30 this morning and had gas, I asked if he needed to use the potty, he signed potty back to me, and sure enough he needed to go!

Childcare: I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. I’ve wanted to do this for months. I’ve been ready to get back to running but I could not leave him. Well I finally sucked it up, joined the gym, feel great, and begun using the childcare. E is less than thrilled. The first time he did OK. The second time he cried when SIL picked up his cousins before he was getting picked up, the third time I got called in after 35 minutes because he was so upset. We’re working on it. I think it goes back to #1 above: cling. As hard as it is, I feel really great and have pretty much gotten back to where I left off 22 months ago!

Life before E: A and I went out last night. We left E with my mom and really went out. Met friends for drinks, then went to a ball (LGBT church fundraiser with 200+ attendees). We partied and danced ’till midnight, closing the dance floor. For the first time in about two years we went out and just had fun. We didn’t spend dinner talking about how amazing our son is, we left him and all thoughts of him at home, we stayed out for a long time and just had fun! Of course getting home at 12am, getting up with E all night and then getting up at 6:30am was not fun, but it was well worth it in order to gain a sense of normalcy– of life as we used to know it.

Life after E: There have been times lately that have been hard. It’s no secret that this economy sucks. We left our well paying stable jobs before the economic nosedive. We knew it would take a while to get on our feet but we didn’t know the economic situation ahead and how it would present greater challenges. While A is employed, she is still seeking the full time benefited job. Lots of teachers who were set to retire have changed their plans due to the economic situation. Other teachers are being laid off. And thus we feel the tightening of the job market, while remaining thankful for the jobs she does have.

We have an amazing community here – we did before we moved here, but it’s even more so now. We have real meaningful friends. People who are not transitional – are not going to move away. People we have lots of things in common with, people we really like hanging out with. This was hard in Western MA. After five years we left feeling like we never really established the community we needed. It feels really good.

We’re really torn because on the one hand, we want to stay here. We want to raise E with family and among this strong community we’re weaving. And on the other hand, it is really expensive here and we desperately need A to get the full time job. So the current plan is to stick it out at least until the time E would start school. And if we’re still not on our feet at that time, we’d need to move onto plan B – relocate to a place holding a job for A. Ugh…

Joy: We’re so happy for the addition of little J to our family. We’re so happy for his mamas, and all of his family. I’m comforted knowing that within our family we have two donor babies – only one year apart – who will surely lean on each other as they navigate the nuances of our unique family compositions.

Sadness: For friends in pain.

Hope: For jumping back on the baby train really soon.

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