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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cluster feeding, stirrups and a sad 2 year anniversary

I had my 6 week post-partum checkup with Amy, my midwife.  Everything checked out ok and as a bonus, I weighed in at 7 lbs LESS than I did BEFORE I got pregnant!  Yay--breastfeeding is your friend.

Speaking of breastfeeding (and multi-tasking for that matter), I was due for a pap smear so the nurse gets everything all set up for that and guess who wakes up, demanding food?

As as aside, let me fill you in on cluster feeding.

Anyway, Kate is cluster feeding, mostly in the evenings but sometimes in the afternoons, and on this occasion, in the late morning.  Really, there is no set time, it's pretty much whenever it is most inconvenient for me.  So, here's the scenario:

Lisa, reclining on paper-lined exam table, feet in stirrups, baby latched on, midwife down under.  It tops the list as one of my bizarre doctor visits.  You will be relieved to know there are no photos of this particular event.  I did however, get a photo of Kate with Amy, the midwife who delivered her.  This was before I fed her which is why her tongue is sticking out!

Earlier in the week, my friend Kelly came for a visit and brought lunch (god love her!).  It was nice to have some adult conversation and another person to hold Kate while I scarfed down the yummy Italian sandwich she brought.

Two years ago today, we sent in our money and paperwork to adopt from Nepal.  And if we didn't have Kate here now, this post would be a litany of wretchedness over the failed adoption system that Nepal is trying to implement.  I haven't posted much about what is going on there now even though I am keeping up with it since I have made so many friends who are still invested in the process.

Here's the rundown (and I'm sure I will leave out some details as my brain doesn't seem to retain as much as it used to).  The referrals that were made in September have had no further action taken with them, meaning that the families who have a picture and information on a child have not received approval to travel and actually adopt the child.  There simply has been no communication since September for those families.  The rumored 20, 30, etc. matches with more families that were said to have been made in June have not been sent either so basically nothing has happened in about 6 months.  Unicef has been publishing reports asking that the program be shut down completely which has sparked fear, anger, and a growing movement of PAP's writing letters to anyone in power who will listen to give the new process a chance before dooming legitimate orphans to life in an institution.  It's a hot mess no matter how you look at it.

As far as China is concerned, they are still trying to get matches to those families with LIDs of April 2006.  So, nothing for us on that front.  We are still hoping Kate's sister will come from China but only time will tell.

Meantime, I am enjoying and being grateful for every day that I have with her.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

6 weeks!

Kate did quite well at her 6 week doctor visit this morning.  Here are her latest stats:

7 lbs 3 oz
20 1/4" long
34 1/2 cm head diameter

To compare to the visit on February 10:
6 lbs 2 1/2 oz
19 3/4" long
33 cm head diameter

She's starting to get more personality now--lots of gurgling and cooing, definite opinions on how fast or slow I am moving getting "lunch" prepared, how hot or cold she might be, etc.  Geez, you think she gets that from me?  :-)

She's also very interested in the window:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Clean hair and emollients

The weekend was glorious for those two reasons.  I hung out in the steam shower for a good long while and followed it up with a good scrubbing in a hot shower.  Oh, clean hair feels SO NICE.  I even had time to slather on the emollients afterwards.  It really does take a minimum of 2 people to care for a baby AND meet your own personal hygiene goals.

We did get some other things done this weekend, the biggest of which was picking up a baby scale from Peggy, our lactation consultant.  Kate is still needing formula supplementation in the late afternoons/evening so Peggy recommended we rent the scale for a week to see just how much Kate is getting from me.  It's really quite interesting.  According to the scale on Sunday, she got 8oz. from breastfeeding!  Additionally, she got 2.3oz of pumped milk that we bottle-fed her and 6.2oz of formula putting her at about 16 1/2oz total for the day.  The good thing is that it lets me know that she is getting more than half of her food from me and with continued pumping to help produce more milk, we may eventually get her off the formula.

This is what Kate looks like after eating...milk coma.
 
 
Len strapped her into the Moby on Saturday and worked on our taxes (which he finished--yay!).
 
It was an exhausting weekend for all concerned...but did I mention that my hair is clean and my skin is less dry?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dancing Queen

Well, my first full week alone with Kate is at an end and can I say that we have both survived!  Yes, there was crying (on both our parts) but we did manage to go for a daily walk and coffee shop break in the Moby, get a few naps in and had dinner (all three of us) every night (not take-out!). 
Contrary to what you see above, Kate is napping much less than she used to.  (Special thanks to Aunt Jay for the personalized blanket). She likes to just hang out and look at stuff.  She's not very interested in any of the toys and is instead mesmerized by the front windows.  She and her Nana have that in common--it's a great place to people-watch as they go to/from the train.
Kate is growing quite a bit...something I realized at 3am today when I went to pick her up and she suddenly felt MUCH heavier.  Either that or I am just ridiculously tired from all the early morning feedings.  Our next doctor visit isn't until Wednesday so we will wait until then to find out just how much she has gained.

The good thing about being the one who stays home is that I can exert undo influence on her budding musical tastes.  Len and I have a lot in common but we don't happen to agree on music.  We both tend to like most musical styles but Len has a rather strong aversion to dance music (Lady Gaga, my most recent object of obsession, is a case in point).  However, as I said, the one who stays home has the power to corrupt and so it has begun...(click here if you cannot see the video below)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meant to be

I have often thought, when people tell me that this daughter, our little Kate, was "meant to be", well, what about the other four we lost?  Does that mean god had a hand in killing them so that Kate could be THE ONE WHO MADE IT--the one who was meant to be?

This blogger sums up what I would like to say so instead of saying it myself, I will post this link so you can read it for yourself. It addresses the same question, just in terms of adoption.

I have yet to hear a good answer, though, to the question.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Videos?

A few of you have written to say that you cannot see the videos I've posted.  Is this everybody or just a select few?  Please leave a note in the comment section or email me if you cannot click on the video to start it.  In the meantime, here is the link to the vimeo webpage where all of the videos I've posted are located.

click on this to go to the videos

In the meantime, here is another video--I hope you can view it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

First full week alone...well, except for Kate that is

Much to our delight, my mom ended up being here an extra day as her flight through Atlanta was cancelled because of the bad weather.  Kate got to spend more cuddle time with her Nana who seemed to have the magic touch when it came to diaper changes.  Kate really does not like diaper changes AT ALL and will display her displeasure with lots of leg thrashing, howling and general discontent.  However, all of that seems to stop when Nana takes the wipes in hand and expertly manuevers around the flailing arms/legs, all the while cooing sweet nothings....it's magic.  My only magic trick is to stick my boob in her mouth which works every time (although that is quite a difficult feat while she's still on the changing table...).


Today will be my first full day alone with Kate.  It's 9am and she's due to wake up soon for another feeding.  Normally after that feeding, she is awake until the next feeding, which typically runs every 3 hours.  If the weather is nice, I think I will try to get in a walk just to get us some fresh air and a change of scenery.  Her most restless time of discontent seems to be after the late afternoon feeding right before supper which is not great since that is when I would normally fix dinner and Len is not yet home.  This is the time when she isn't real keen on tummy time, laying on her back looking at things or sitting in her bouncy seat. The only thing that will do is being cuddled.  I may end up strapping her to me with the Moby so my hands can be free to cook! 

All in all though, she is a delight and has been quite easygoing.  See?  Hard to believe that today was her original due date!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Letter--Month One

Dear Kate,

Today you are officially one month old. And you were totally worth every single minute of that excruciating pregnancy.

There. I said it. Are you happy now, you smug Internet people?? I know, I know. You all said it would be so. And I, in my own smuggy smugness, insisted I would never succumb to that confession.

But I can’t help myself.

You are just so totally smooshable. There is much smooshiness to be had every day with you. And that downy-chick hair on your head and your sleepy chubby cheeks are just begging to be slurped up and eaten. I wish they made sleepy baby face bread tins so that I could bake a loaf of pound cake in the shape of your sleeping profile, and then instead of trying to eat your chubby cheeks I could just eat the pound cake. That would probably be better for both of us.

This month you have learned so many things…and you still aren’t even due for another three days. After many angst-filled tries at feeding, you have finally mastered both latching onto me and navigating the giant nipple on the bottle your father feeds you with. We have fed you every 2- 4 hours for the past 4 weeks and I have to ask you: aren’t you full yet?

Your eyelashes and eyebrows have finally started to fill in which is a relief since batting your eyelashes and raising an ironic brow can take you much farther in life than you can imagine right now. Your entire body still has a fine coating of hair that makes you feel remarkably like the warm peaches your father and I used to pick in Virginia every summer. We can’t seem to stop petting you and sometimes I am afraid you will start to purr and I will mistakenly call you by our cat’s name, Charis.

Ok, another confession. I have called you Charis. On more than one occasion. And Miss Thing, which is a nickname we had for Charis.

Speaking of nicknames, you have been called many things. Your father calls you Peanut, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Eater, Pumpkin Head, Pretty girl, Fussy Fussbottom, Punky Brewster, Puppy, My Sweet Girl, and Bunny. My nicknames for you include Pillbug, Fuzzy Peach Head, Bunny Love, Bunny Head and KATE, FOR GOD’S SAKE YOU WOKE ME AT 3AM AND NOW YOU’RE SLEEPING WITH MY BOOB IN YOUR MOUTH............
WAKE UP!!!

Your Nana, who visited you for 10 days and kept your mama sane in that first week that your father had to go back to work, calls you Katie, Katey-Did and Bright Eyes.

I’m sure this is all confusing to you and we should probably narrow that list down so you don’t end up with multiple personality disorder or at the very least, an identity crisis.

You seem to be headed for great feats of athleticism. For example, you have managed to lift your head up and turn it to the other side when you are on your tummy. No matter the amount of swaddling or how straight and in the middle of the crib we put you, we inevitably find you sideways, hat off, swaddle blanket torn asunder, arms akimbo. You outgrew being swaddled by your 23rd day of life which forced us to go shopping again for a sleep blanket that would not swallow your tiny body.


Just a week after buying that preemie sleep blanket, you grew almost 2" and your feet would no longer fit unless they were at a 90 degree angle to your legs.

Your father and I love you more than you could possibly know, and you won't understand just how much until you have a child of your own. Just please don't have that child when you're still a teenager. Which reminds me: You're not allowed to date until you are 25. Oops, let me amend that: your father says 40 years old.

Love,
Mama

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

4 week checkup

Kate had her 4 week checkup with the ped. today. Since her last weigh-in a week ago, she has gained 7 1/2 oz which puts her at 6 lbs 2 1/2 oz. She also grew 1 3/4" inches which I had wondered about since she is now fitting into a few of the smaller newborn clothes that we have for her. Her head circumference went from 31cm on Jan. 22 to 33cm today.

Here we are waiting for the doctor to come in.


She made a rather large mess while being weighed so Dr. Ettner rinsed her off in the sink which she quite enjoyed!



After coming home and having some lunch, we did a bit of practicing for the races on the living room floor. She's scooting quite a bit as you can see below!


We also did a bit of rolling around on our back/side. This video will show you how much she's grown--her feet actually go to the bottom of her pjs now.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More leisure time with Nana


We had a luxurious 3 weeks with Len home from work but it is now back to cold, hard reality. Len eased into work by starting on Friday and then having the weekend again. Part of that weekend was spent giving Kate a manicure so she could stop shredding my chest by kneading it during every feeding. Apparently she finds spa treatments as relaxing as I do since she's yawning while Len is filing her nails...



Kate spends a lot of time resting on Nana--it's turning out to be a favorite afternoon napping location.


The weather has been relatively mild (in the 30s) so we wrap her up in the Moby and try to go for a walk everyday. I just pop a hat on her, wrap both of us up in my down parka and we're off. Here we are after our neighborhood walk.


We are due for about a foot of snow starting tonight and into Wednesday. Good thing we live in a place that can handle that amount of snow (unlike DC) because our next pediatrician appointment is Wednesday. Glad mom is here to help me as I have not had to load her into the car seat, load the car seat into the car without forgetting the diaper bag and then schlep all of that into the doctor's office by myself!

Does every new mom dread that first trip by themselves??

Friday, February 5, 2010

Nana's here!

Mom arrived on Wednesday much to Kate's (and our) delight. We've managed a few forays out of the house for lunch in Andersonville yesterday and to the grocery store this afternoon. Kate loves to be wrapped in the Moby for these walks and while I do some chores around the house. Enjoy some new photos...


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hungry Monkey

Good news from the pediatrician yesterday morning. Kate weighed 5 lbs, 11 oz! That's a 7 oz gain since Friday and finally puts her above her birth weight of 5 lbs, 6 oz.

He also clipped her frenulum which she slept through and I sweated through...in the waiting room. Len stayed with her and it turns out it really did hurt me more than it hurt her.

Her tongue was not extending far enough to make breast feeding either easy for her or comfortable for me...

can you say blanched nipples?

My lactation consultant, Peggy Healy, came over Saturday to weigh her after I fed her and she was only getting about 1/2 oz total from me even though I was pumping quite a bit more. Since the frenulum was clipped today she has eaten a lot better with much less consternation. And we haven't needed to use any formula!

So now that I've shared more about my nipples than you probably wanted to know, what say we move on to cuter, more adorable things, like new pictures of Kate!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

She is growing!

Just since last week we can see a difference in her cheeks and body. Her back doesn't look so much like a Shar pei anymore. We try to do some photo opportunities after she finishes eating since that seems to be when she is most alert. She is 3 weeks old today...time flies.




Monday, February 1, 2010

Out of Nepal...

Well, with almost 2 years in the queue for a Nepal adoption, it is time for us to call it quits. With our newest addition to our family, the amount of time, money and more waiting we would have to do is an insurmountable obstacle. We have too many things going against us to continue. For one, Nepal has several rules for adoption that we cannot/don't meet anymore including:

1. You can only adopt a child of the opposite sex of the child you currently have. Since we requested a girl, we would need to change all of our paperwork to request a boy.

2. They also have a birth order rule that says the Nepali child cannot be older than the child already in your home.

of course, by the time they finally got around to actually sending out referrals again, that last rule might be a moot point as Kate would probably be in high school...sorry, I'm a bit bitter and jaded about this adoption-less journey

In addition to that, half of our paperwork has started to expire and the rest will expire by June. Even without Kate, this was our self-imposed deadline for getting out if we had not received a referral by the time our paperwork was due to be renewed. We just couldn't justify spending more money when we already had 2 years of waiting with nothing to show for it.

I have mixed emotions about how this journey has ended. On the one hand, I am unbelievably grateful that Kate is here, alive, breathing and eating and pooping and sleeping. I am also relieved to be off the Nepali roller-coaster of any day now, maybe next month, for sure in 4-6 weeks, after the festival season, etc. I will not miss that at all. On the other hand, I mourn for the child I held in my heart and in my dreams. She will be greatly missed.

And for those of you still waiting, especially the women I have been fortunate enough to share meals, stories, emails, and time with, I am hoping that Nepal will find its bearings and, more importantly, homes for the children who need them. I will still be following your journeys and will report the good news of your referrals when they happen.

So what about China you ask? The good news about China is that we don't have to do anything to stay in the queue until we are fairly close to getting a referral. At that point, we will re-evaluate our situation and decide whether we want to continue. Since we don't know if that will happen next year or another 3 years from now, we cannot say for sure what our decision will be.

For now, we are reveling in the tiny surprise that is Kate...and not forgetting for a moment how truly wonderful finally being a parent is.

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