When Fire Consumes Your Soul

Sometimes God calls you to do amazing things. Sometimes you hear it loud and clear. THIS IS YOUR CALLING!! So you run into the fire with God as your shield standing behind you saying THIS IS THE WAY!

Today, the fire consumed me.

We have been pursuing embryo adoption since 2014. The summer of 2015 we tried two transfers, both ending with a momentary pregnancy. We spent the next year searching for more embryos. We went through two failed matches so we decided to start the long adoption process again. Three months into starting that adoption process we got a call that we were matched. It took 2 months to approve that embryo match and another 6 months to receive the embryos at our clinic. The same time we were working on our adoption home study. It was taking FOREVER. We were at 6 months into the home study and I was calling the agency daily to get them to move along. I started medications for the embryo transfer and one week later we got a call from our adoption agency that they had a child for us. Now it was all happening at once. All of the babies at one time. I could see the miracles happening before us. I was truly living inside a miracle.

Our sweet girl came home and our lives were perfect. We delayed the transfer by a year. God gave us this child and these embryos for a reason. Then for some icing on the cake HE encouraged me to try breastfeeding and I did. I successfully breastfed my daughter for six months. Just enough time to get started on the next round of fertility treatments.

And here I am today, waiting for the nurse to call me to tell me the embryos are perfect. As I’m driving to drop the kids off at daycare a song comes on the radio.

Let me preface this a bit by explaining that I just started listening to Christian music on the radio. I’m pushing myself deeper into my spirituality so my challenge to myself (and from my friend) was to start listening to Christian music.

So a song comes on the radio.

I’d never heard it before, but I’ve only been listening to Christian radio for about a month so no shocker. But I listened intently to her words. Thy Will Be Done. In my prayers every night I’ve been adding, May Gods Will be my will. But ultimately may Gods Will Be Done. My spiritual counselor said this to me many times last week as well. Thy Will be done.

So what’s the story?

My nurse called after I dropped the kids off to say that the first two embryos didn’t survive the thaw. I held it together, because I had two left.  She recommended I stay relaxed and take a valium… I’m not gonna argue. So I took my valium and downloaded the song and listened to it again. What is God trying to tell me? This doesn’t sound like an uplifting song.

My nurse called me at 11am… she was sobbing. The remaining embryos didn’t survive. My heart sank.

She said the embryologist and fertility doctor were devastated. They were honestly trying to figure out if they had any embryos designated for donation that they could give me today.

The first time I walked into this fertility clinic was 7 years ago. I’ve been working with them on and off for 7 years in-between adoptions. They are truly friends.

Now what?

The words God gave me in my prayers last night were this:

For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Deuteronomy 16:15

The truth is, my Joy is complete. I am no longer chasing “more”. More will come if it is His Will. More in all ways. More love will come in children, in my marriage, in my soul.  God tells us to expect miracles, so maybe in some way this was a miracle to bring me more joy. I just can’t see that through the smoke right now. I do know its out there.

I pray this adds to my story. I’m wearing my wonder woman shirt today, because I’ve got this. I can cry today and mourn the loss of these children that will never be. Tonight I will hug my complete family tight knowing that they are my dreams come true. They are my people brought out of miraculous circumstances.  My husband, my son, and my daughter. Miracles from God.

Today I walked into the fire with God by my side. I feel Jesus in my heart, the Holy Spirit in my head and the true love of God engulfing me like a fire blanket.

Infertility has rocked me to my core. It has made me hateful, angry, depressed, anxious,… and then something changed… it has made me loving, compassionate, complete. Infertility pulled me away from God and then brought me back in grand fashion.

No matter your fire, you are never alone and there is a bigger story to be told.

Discover the stillness of the cyclone.

Sheila K Chester

 

Thy Will by Hillary Scott

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you’re good But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

What Adoption Biological Contact Looks Like… For our Family

I am not an expert in adoption. I’ve only been “in it” for 4 years. I am a loving mother hoping and praying I’m doing the right thing for my kids by telling them and showing them the truth.

Last week we met with both of my childrens’ biological mothers.  Many of my non-adoption friends were weirded out by this. I understand. It’s a weird situation, but here is what it looks like for us.

Our sons biological mother met us with her boyfriend and his son at a local park, though I have been to her house and she has been to mine.  When we saw her last week, she was the happiest I’ve seen here in the last 4 years we have known her and that made my heart very happy. Her life isn’t perfect just as ours isn’t perfect, but to us she is an angel. She is the one who made us parents. Our son deserves to know his and our angel. He is only four and doesn’t quite understand our relationship with her. We tell him that he grew in her belly and she (and him) picked us to be his parents.

“I bet you kicked her belly really hard when she looked at our profile book.”

We all call her by her first name. He doesn’t have deep conversations with her about how he came to be (yet) but they just enjoy each others company. Really he just runs around like a crazy four year old and she watches him and laughs. We have no preset RULES on how and when we see her, we just text or fb message each other and say “hey, lets get together.”

Yeah, it’s different, but it is what it is.  It in no way makes me feel like less of a mom. My child comes home with me and has his temper tantrums when I’m at the grocery store, gives me wet kisses, and pees all over my floors. It’s magical. This also in no way makes her less of a mom. She gave him life. We are not better or worse than one another. We are both his mother. He may never call her ‘mom’…. or maybe he will someday… but she is not my competition. She is my angel.

We met with our daughters biological mother at her home this past week as well. We met more of her extended family and the kids played and played. We celebrated our daughters first birthday together. It was honestly a good time. Our daughter has a biological half sister as well. We plan on encouraging a sister like relationship for them. I’m not sure how, but I’m designing a book for them both now.

The main difference between me parenting my children and you parenting your biological children is the conversations we occasionally have about adoption. When we visit their biological families we say that we are vising OUR family. Because they are OUR family. We don’t talk about adoption everyday, but if we see a form of adoption on tv or in nature we briefly compare adoption stories. “She is adopted just like you.” We have created their baby books with their adoption story in it so they can pick it up anytime and ask questions or ignore it completely. Mostly the adoption conversation is child-led. I’m just there to answer questions. I’m certain adoption will get more complex as they get older, but this is where we are today with two small children.

Not all adoptive families have contact with their childrens biological family. I consider myself lucky to have the relationships I do with my childrens families.  I consider myself lucky to even know these women! My children get their beautiful looks from them and parts of their personality from them. They get a lot of their personalities from my husband and I as well. It’s funny to see them grow into the tiny humans they are. I want to know as much about their biological families as possible – especially things that might help me better parent our children.

I can say with 100% certainty that I deeply love my childrens biological mothers. Not only for their decision to place their children with us, but also for their decision to maintain contact with us. It cannot be easy for them to see us raising these little people that look like them. They gave up a LOT when they placed their children with us and I KNOW that they know that.  I hope they know that I know that.

What about their biological fathers you ask? We would love a relationship with them as well, but thus far neither has had much interest. I’ll keep track of them and continually invite them to speak with us, but I also don’t want to push them away. It’s a fine line. My children may want to look for them and meet them someday and I want to help them as much as I can. 

I want our children to know and understand the truth – whether we continue to have contact with their biological family or not. I understand anything can happen and tomorrow we could lose touch with either or both of these amazing women (which would devastate me). But for today, this is what we are doing.

There are no two adoption stories that are the same. There is no one perfect way to parent. Just be real with your kids.

This is our “plan”. We are wing’in it.

Deflated but Elated

The boob saga has come to a close.

What an amazing run it has been. Six months of breastfeeding!! But alas, it is time for our next phase.

My goal was to hit six months of breastfeeding with my sweet little girl and we hit that! I got so much joy from nursing her – comforting her and feeding her with my own milk.  I’ll never forget those moments we had in the middle of the night where I could just get up and go to her without having to fuss with making a bottle. The entire process was a total miracle in every sense of the word.

A month ago I stopped taking my essential oils (fennel/basil) and medication to help with milk supply (Domperidone), and finally I have stopped getting drops of milk. My milk makers have deflated; I loved them dearly. Yes, my boobs. It was one of the many highlights of this experience.

Baby girl had no problem transitioning back to the bottle, and though I do miss our intimate time together, I am glad to be done. I still cannot get over what a miracle that really was. Not everyone produces as much milk as I was able to get. Many women get huge hormonal imbalances as well, I didn’t observe many changes in that aspect. One change I did notice was some weight gain, but I can live with that.

Being able to nurse my child has built such an incredible bond between her and I. I’m not saying I don’t have that same bond with my son, but I wish I could have added that extra layer of attachment when he was an infant. Being able to nurse made me feel more feminine, something I’d been searching for. Infertility has made a direct attack on my feminine heart. I feel like being able to nurse was very healing for me in that aspect. I feel like I’m becoming a whole person rather than an adoptive mom who couldn’t have her “own” children. No one said this to me, I projected it onto myself.

My hope is that the next time I breastfeed, the milk will come in naturally after birth.  No pills or feverishly pumping, massaging, and coaxing my milk to come in.

Next time?

You see, we are trying for #3 or #3 and #4 — however that works out. Although my husband might lose his shit if a #5 sneaks in there.

A month after our sweet girl was brought home, we were notified that we had received embryos from our embryo adoption agency. It wasn’t a total surprise. We had signed up with them and accepted this set of embryos, but we were over six months into the match and things were moving so slowly. I was feeling as if nothing would work, so we jumped the gun and got on an adoption list as well. Ultimately we decided we were willing to continue with the embryos even if we received a child through adoption. So here we sit; potentially a family of five or six.  We could also remain a family of four, and that’s ok too. I’m starting to FINALLY come to terms with the unknown of our future.

In 2015, we adopted embryos as well. We transferred twice that summer, and both transfers “almost” took. As in, I was confirmed pregnant for nano-seconds (aka a few days). It was exciting to know I could potentially get pregnant, but there was so much more that needed to happen to produce a living child.

The statistics for embryos taking is about 40 percent per embryo.  So there is a 40 percent chance (x4) that we could have more children. We have four little “snowflakes” (the name termed for frozen embryos) waiting for us at our fertility clinic here in Colorado. We will likely transfer 1-2 at a time, but there is always a chance that those embryos won’t even survive the thaw. I think the statistic is 65 percent survive the thaw. All I know for sure is that, statistically speaking, if we don’t attempt to transfer the embryos, we will have no more children. So many numbers and statistics I could drown in. Thank goodness for an amazing fertility nurse and clinic that keeps all that information so I don’t have to.

At this point, it is up to God. I’m ready and willing to accept whatever path we are given…as long as it ends in a minivan. Because seriously, this mama deserves a minivan after nine years of intense family planning. 

Our embryo transfer will happen sometime this year if all goes as planned… which it never does.

SheilaKChester

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

This is Us

This is us.

The show that has everyone experiencing a straight up emotional back hand. Thank you television for making me feel my emotions. Something I’ve tried to avoid for my entire 35 years.

Not only does this show evoke emotion in me, but it evokes emotion in my husband. I have never seen him react in any manner after a show or movie other than… that was good. But there is something about this show that digs deep into his soul. It’s not just the adoption party that catches us, its the relationships. Life is a series of relationships and this show captures those relationships with vigor.

For one, watching Randall connect to both his biological father and his adoptive father has my husband on his knees. I get why Randalls mother didn’t want him to know his biological father. It’s fear. Fear that our children can’t love two people with similar titles at once. Yet as parents, we can love more than one child. Why wouldn’t we expect our children to do the same?

The last episode where Jack and Rebecca got into a huge fight before she kicked Jack out of the house…. We were both stunned. We had that fight. We had that fight several times. Before finally deciding to build our family through adoption, we were at each others throats. We were on the verge several times of just giving up on our marriage. I wanted to leave. I was tired. And it seemed there was no end in site. We were stagnant in life and blamed each other for our lack of movement. It’s because I wouldn’t do IVF. It’s because Justin didn’t want to adopt until we tried all medical options. It was because we were tired and blamed ourselves for this infertility. I’m sure we had other selfish issues on top of the infertility that played a role in our bickering.

It probably doesn’t help that the same day we watched this last episode, was the day of our monthly marriage counseling. I was expressing some insecurities I had and didn’t feel like I was being understood. I left that session feeling tired and confused.

That night, after the show, Justin turned the tv off stood up and looked at me. He stared for a moment and then said, “I think you are the most beautiful woman in the world. You are gorgeous. The way you look is beautiful. Your heart is beautiful. The way you are a mother is beautiful. You are a beautiful, gorgeous woman and wife. I’m sorry I don’t say that enough.”

Cue Tears. And silence.

I didn’t know what to say. I’d been so hard on myself the past several months (probably years) for not being enough. I’ve been steadily gaining weight for the past 5 years and I’ve finally hit a tipping point. I feel unattractive, undesirable, and unlovable. He was telling me those thoughts in my head weren’t true.

I am attractive, I am desirable, I am lovable.

I hugged him for a long time then we were off to bed. I feel like my response to his outpouring of love was sub-par. I don’t know how to take compliments like these? Automatically my mind said, he is lying. He is just trying to make you feel better. But he wasn’t lying. He was sincere. My husband opened his heart to me to try to explain to me how much he loved me.

How do I turn of that internal voice that is so mean to me? Those thoughts?

Forgiveness.

I forgive myself for gaining the weight. I forgive myself for being so angry all those years. I forgive myself for having those hateful thoughts about myself.

That’s all I can do.

To love someone else is easy. To love yourself, well that’s another story.

Time to build that relationship with myself. I wonder, if I had as much love for me as my husband does… how would my life be different. Well, hopefully I will find out soon enough.

– Sheila Chester

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Breastfeeding my adopted baby: That was unexpected!

I am currently at 15 weeks starting this breastfeeding journey and a lot has happened. Baby girl is 25 weeks this week.

Major Happenings:

 

  1. Baby girl gets a majority of her diet (75%) from me directly.

  2. My boobs have grown more lopsided than ever. (C’MON right side!! Pick up some slack!)

  3. I haven’t gained “too much” weight from the medication. (common side effect)

  4. I’m getting much better about nursing in public.

  5. I thought I was pregnant for a fleeting moment!

 

Did you know that the hormones involved with breastfeeding could stop your period? Well I seemed to have forgotten that simple fact and blew through a pack of pregnancy tests in a weekend. I couldn’t decide if I was excited or terrified that I FINALLY got pregnant. But alas, the universe is an asshole that likes to play dirty tricks on people.

BONUS: NO PERIOD UNTIL I DECIDE TO HAVE ONE!!! AKA, better than that birth control that stops your period forever but turns you into the HULK.

Seriously though, my left boob is twice the size of my right boob! Is this normal!?!?! Dear Righty McHooters, pull it together, this is a freakin’ team effort. I’m gonna need one of those chicken cutlet boobinators to level the playing field. My baby even looks at limpy right side like … are you seriously going to make me attempt to get milk out of this side even though WE ALL KNOW it produces jack? (I’m paraphrasing)

In all reality, I’m making progress. Quite a bit in fact. The only thing stopping me from hitting 100% is my sheer hatred for taking pills and my lack of following a schedule.

I’ve basically hit a full supply, but I absolutely have to be taking my Domperidone 4x a day. I upped my dose to 120mg per day. So I take three 10mg pills 4x a day. Sometimes I forget a dose and only hit 90mg for the day. One day two weeks ago I only remembered to take the Dom once for the day and my supply ran out by her bedtime so I had to hook up to my long lost supplementer that I didn’t miss. It’s worth it to remember to take the pills.

Last week I did really well, I took my 4 doses a day each day and didn’t even need to pump. When I do pump, I can get 4-5 ounces in a sitting (total with double pumping). She still got a bottle from grandma once a day because grandmas love to feed their grandbabies … so I let it slide.

Speaking of pumping, we had my cousin and his wife and son move in with us for a month so my lazy pumping came to a halt. No more pumping during morning cartoons or the Ellen show. But that is ok, I love having them here and helps me plan a little better. TAKE YOUR MEDICATION ALL READY! Really, I only pump at night now or if I become super uncomfortable and baby won’t eat … which rarely happens. The girl loves to eat! And for that, I am grateful.

On average I am feeding baby at 3 a.m., 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. Generally, the 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. feeding is a bottle, but the rest are from the breast without supplementation. Plus now she is getting solid foods twice a day. I know I could feed her from me every feeding, but I would absolutely have to be regimented on my medications. I would have never made a very good military soldier. I don’t think they do “ish” very well in the military. “ISH” is what I live on. I’ll be there around 10-ish. Or I take my vitamins everyday (ish). Does oh-five-hundred mean 5 a.m. or p.m. (ish)? It would not have gone well at all.

My goal currently is to continue this process (ish) for the next 3 months. I’ve fed her with my milk for 3 months now and would like to do it another 3. I wish I could be one of those moms that just loves it so much that I want to feed her till she is in kindergarten, but I don’t really want to be taking this medicine for that long. Plus we have some big plans this summer that would force me to stop the medication anyway.

THE PLOT THICKENS!

 

SC

Thanks for following along, if this is the first article of my series you have seen, here are the links for the others: 

Part 1: When God Shouts… I listen

When God Shouts

Part 4: Week 2


Part 2: The Hospital


Part 5: The Protocol

Part 5

Part 3: One More Time


Part 6: Holy Boobs Batman!


New Family Traditions

I remember when my husband and I had to decide who was going to skip their family Christmas for the first time to attend the others. That was an especially difficult Christmas. It hasn’t really gotten easier. Letting go of childhood traditions to create your own has been an interesting journey to say the least. We try to fit into each others childhood traditions and it never really feels right.

What is family? Mother, Father, Children

What happens when those children grow up and get married? When Mother and Father become grandmother and grandfather? What happens when you try to combine in-laws with all of that? Now your brother and sister are married with kids and there are more in-laws than you can count. Mass Confusion.

It sucks growing up. Adulting is hard. Having to navigate the needs of everyone around you, including your own. It’s difficult.

The bottom line is, we aren’t children anymore and it will never be the same. We have to hold on to our memories because we can never replicate those childhood moments as adults as hard as some of us may try. What we can do is give our children memories to take with them the rest of their lives. Those memories hopefully will shape the new memories they make with their families.

After spending years building our little family unit (Me, Justin and our kids) and growing apart and coming together as a couple(repeat x1000), we have opted to start our own family tradition.

We attempted this last year, but as expected, had some push back.

“Holidays are for family.”

It brought us immense guilt to want to celebrate without them. But it also reinforced that YES! HOLIDAYS ARE FOR FAMILY!

You see, we are going on a little FAMILY vacation to the Rocky Mountains. A place that Justin and I dearly love and enjoy for it’s beauty and solitude… and it’s black diamonds.  Just me, my husband, and my kids. We are going out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner (GASP!). We are going to spend much needed time just having fun with each other. Not worrying about laundry or dishes. We are creating a new family tradition.

When our son was born, I felt strongly that we could NOW start his childhood traditions by staying home for Christmas. Not just staying in Colorado, but staying HOME. Waking up Christmas morning to presents under the tree (in my own home)… hot coffee (cocoa) and jammies. Not worrying about putting a bra on. Not worrying about drinking the last cup of coffee because we don’t know how to work the coffee maker or how to make the perfect pot of coffee each family prefers (watered down or turkish black). Not scheduling a shower around other visitors or asking permission to take a shower because we aren’t really sure when breakfast or presents or other traditions are happening. Not worrying about who has to make breakfast or when the kids will be fed.

Waking up in our own home with our own coffee… and no bras. This is my dream.

The excitement of figuring out what MY family tradition will be has been a ton of fun. This is the part of adulting I can embrace. I can bring in a little of Justin’s memories and a little of my memories and make them brand new for us and for our children.

As I think of us changing it up like this, I think of what Justin’s parents and my parents might be feeling. That’s the hard part. Are we hurting feelings by doing our own thing? Probably. I very much dislike causing hurt feelings. I think of when my kids are older and our little family tradition is no more. I can see how that will be hard for me as a mom to watch my children grow into adults and build their own family traditions with their kids. I do see it. Hopefully I can embrace their choices. Though in this moment in time, I can never imagine them not NEEDING me for every single possible thing. You mean I won’t have to wipe runny noses and poopy butts the rest of my life? This makes me sad. Seriously.

Because I want to cherish each of these moments, we MUST start our family tradition now. I want to experience it as long as possible.

essentiallyhome-1

In this statement alone, my guilt is gone. I love our extended families, but this day we choose to celebrate our Thanksgiving together for the first time as a family of four. It may not be your perfect idea of a Thanksgiving tradition, but it is ours.

 

Now get out there and ADULT THE SHIT out of this holiday season.

Be Kind.

SC

 

Holy Boobs Batman! (Part 6)

breastfeedingmy-adoptedbaby-girl

I am 7 weeks from starting the thought process and 5 weeks from starting the medication. So I thought I would update you on my progress.

About ten days ago we went on a family vacation to California. I was fully prepared and brought my fancy pump and my supplementer. I was prepared to nurse on the takeoff and landing and had back up bottles as well. This would be my first public nursing experience, which I’ve had some anxiety over. This is also baby girls first flight. Our son has flown several times and does very well.

I brought my super fancy and trendy cover up to put myself at ease. Ultimately I knew baby girl could care less but this was all on my nerves. I know, why does it matter, women are fighting to normalize breastfeeding. It feels like I’m still getting past the legitimacy of deserving to breastfeed. As if everyone on the airplane will know that 1. I’m nursing and 2. that my child is adopted. And who cares if they did.

I realize have some things to work through here. Thank God for my incredible therapist who is filled with a fiery desire for me to reach my full potential and is also filled with enough grace to catch me when I fall. In combination with my amazing friends and husband I should be wonder woman by now. But then again, I am breastfeeding my adopted child with actual milk from my actual boobs … so maybe I’m getting close in at least one field.

Now, the flight. She did really well! I nursed her taking off with the supplementer and she slept the whole flight (2 hours) and was ready to nurse on landing but she didn’t wake up to bother with it. It was the same situation on the flight home. Totally fine.

As for keeping up with my nursing and pumping schedule while on vacation… well thats another story. I pumped twice a day and nursed twice a day. So that’s half as much that is recommended to keep your supply up. I was still pumping about 2 ounces total per session.

When we got home from vacation I remained at 2 oz per session. This week however, I am increasing to 3 oz in the mornings and 2 oz at each pumping session per day.

At this point I would say she is getting about
1/3 of her calories from breastmilk which is pretty incredible. My goals are adjusting as we continue on this journey. I’m comfortable if we stop here, but man… if I could create enough milk to not have to worry about packing formula everywhere… that would be AMAZING. Until then, I’ll keep plugging away and trying my best to stick to my nursing/pumping/nursing schedule.3-oz

Nursing has been so enjoyable for me. I love the connection that I get with my daughter.  She is showing a lot of preference for the breast vs the bottle so that keeps me pushing to increase my milk supply. Its a team effort between the two of us and so far we are kicking ass.

SIDE EFFECTS:

I’ve had a few changes at home since starting this process. My son (3) has lost a little bit of his mommy through this process which I feel very guilty about. He has latched onto dad pretty hard (not a bad thing) because I seem to always be feeding baby girl when he wants to play or he only wants to play when I’m feeding or pumping.  He is requiring daddy give him hugs and kisses prior to leaving for work (5:30am) which is kind of difficult because if daddy does this he is up for the day. Little man usually wakes up around 7am. So we are navigating that. The other morning he woke up in a panic because he thought dad had left without kissing him. Luckily it was a Saturday and he got to him immediately.  I really try to do one on one things with him, but it is challenging. Generally speaking he is still a super fun loving little guy that acts out by coloring on my bed sheets with sharpie. Typical three year old with a touch of awesome.

I’ve also had some physical side effects like feeling jittery throughout the day. I believe that is coming from a lack of hydration in combination with the domperidone I’m taking. I’m still around 80mg a day – which is the minimum dose my LC suggested. As I build my supply I’d like to wean off of it if I can. Many blogs I’ve read state they have to stay on the drug to maintain supply, so we shall see.

Next side effect:

HOLY BOOBS, BATMAN! I’ve probably increase by 2 sizes, so have had to do some wardrobe configuring. My husband is pretty much terrified of them. Either they are going to spontaneously squirt milk at him (this has never happened) or he feels like he is cheating on me with fake boobs. I’m sure he will come around. It doesn’t help that I chase him around with them and make him touch them when they are super hard in the morning. Poor guy. Total entertainment!!

holy-boobs-batman

up-arrow This 100% deserved its own quote box. You should probably pin this as “awesome”. You’re welcome.

That is where we are as of today! I’ll check back in a month to update those interested in hearing about my hoots. Thanks for keeping up! I really do get the gravity of how amazing this is… all joking aside.

SC

She Was Not Ours After-All

October 31st, 2012 2pm

I answer a call from our agency,

“Your daughter was born at 2am this morning, would you like to meet her?”

ken-baugh

Rewind 4 years. November 30th 2008

I call my OB, “I think I just had a miscarriage”

That was the start of our journey to parenthood. We hadn’t even started “trying” yet but everything within me said it was time. I wasn’t ready and I was ready… The feelings I had at this moment confirmed that. It was time. We needed to start a family.

Those years of struggling with infertility were some of the most challenging years of my life as a woman and our lives within our marriage. Every part of my being was challenged. All I could do was ask WHY? WHY? WHY?

I wanted answers. Still in my twenties, I thought I was too young to have fertility issues. No one could explain it. No one had answers for us.

I did so many invasive tests just to know why. I went to therapist after therapist. Even seeing a chiropractor who claimed he could potentially cure my fertility issues. I looked everywhere I could for an answer. When no answer came, I dove into fitness training. Completing a half Ironman in 2010. In the process of that training I became extremely ill and exhausted. My body was revolting. My spirit telling me the answer wasn’t there.

What are you running from?

I put everything into a new career. I put everything into new beliefs. I walked away from God. As far as I could go. I cursed Him. Often.

What did I do to deserve this?

We finally decided to adopt. It was a contentious decision. We knew nothing about adoption. We didn’t know anyone who had adopted. This was new territory. So I put everything into adoption. I studied and read up on it. We picked an agency, got on a list and waited.

Just 2 months into our wait we got the call.

October 31st, 2012 2pm. I answer a call from our agency,

“Your daughter was born at 2am this morning, would you like to meet her?”

We rushed to the hospital calling family and friends saying, “THE DAY IS FINALLY HERE!!”

Tears streaming down our faces, the weight FINALLY being lifted.

Then there she was, our baby girl. She was six weeks early and in bad shape. I refused to leave her side but the hospital had no place for us to stay so we left as late as possible and came back in as early as possible.

At 9am the agency called us, “Her biological mother is having second thoughts.”

We spent as much time with her as we could that day. Our hearts were sinking. At 2pm on Nov 1st 2012 the decision was made. The biological mother signed over custody to a relative. We needed to go home.

She was not ours after-all.

I will never forget that moment. The impact that 24 hours had on me was HUGE. But something happened in that moment that brought my husband and I together in a way that we naturally could not have made happen. We were equally crushed. Equally devastated. Equally Numb.

We grew close at that time. Our arguments stopped. We were in this TOGETHER. From this point forward we were a team, holding each other up as it should be. As it should have been since we committed ourselves to each other. But marriage is like that. Ups and downs. Twists and turns.

We spent days explaining what happened to friends and family. Reliving that moment over and over again. How could there possibly be a silver lining to this?

Ye of little faith…

That moment brought upon the birth of an online support group that now has over 350 local members. It brought me some of the closest friends in adoption I could EVER ask for. The people I met because of this moment will be lifelong friends of mine and their children lifelong friends of my children.

That moment has helped numerous adoptive families build lifelong connections. Within the group people have connected in ways that brought their children home. Connections that might have not otherwise happened.

So did I fulfill my purpose in that moment of suffering? I think I am fulfilling it. Here I am with my two incredible miracle children looking back on a moment that is still defining me as a wife, a friend, a woman, and a mother.

And for that, I am forever grateful.

-SC

darkness

 

Breastfeeding my Adopted Baby (part 5): The Protocol

breastfeedingmy-adoptedbaby-girlMy motivation to begin the lactation process was at an all-time high. My body was on board and now, finally, my mind was on board. I can do this.

I meditate and journal a few times a week and before vising the LC I asked God to give me a heads up on how this whole breastfeeding situation is going to go. Should I go to the lactation consultant? Should I breastfeed? Is this going to be difficult?

Here is what He lead me to:

For seven days celebrate the feast of the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. Deuteronomy 16:15

Speechless.

I need to enjoy myself and cherish the moments I get with this precious baby and this incredible gift of nursing I have been given. Stop questioning, start trusting.

Expect Miracles.

I met with one of the best Lactation Consultants in the Denver Metro area on Wednesday. It was very expensive. I debated canceling the appointment several times. What on earth is this woman going to tell me that Google can’t? Why am I doing this again? Oh right, Jesus. Here we go.

This was another first for me, I was pretty nervous. As soon as I met her, she instantly put me at ease. We chatted about my goals for a bit:

1. Good latch
2. To build a greater attachment with my daughter
3. If we can induce lactation at the same time… win/win. (I wasn’t going to allow myself to get excited about this.)

“Now, lets see the girls”

Of course… she wants to see my boobs… here we go.

Well she inspected the girls and gave me some compliments then, tips and tricks to get baby girl to latch well. Of course while we were there baby girl wasn’t into it at all. We spent about 90 minutes together as she helped me and encouraged me. Money well spent.

The LC educated me on the Newman-Goldfarb Protocols which I had researched a little prior to this meeting. There was so much wording in the sites I had looked up that I quickly got overwhelmed and assumed it was too difficult to even try. The LC was super helpful, she made me a simple HOW TO:

  1. Get a hospital grade breast pump – Pump or Nurse 8-10x a day.
  2. Increase prolactin level by taking Domperidone 20mg 4x a day
  3. Look into and prepare for Insufficient Grandular Tissue (IGT) – Higher likelihood with infertile women.
  4. Potential Tongue Tie – Review with Pediatrician.

She said she expected me to have this all figured out within 6 weeks and then we can start the process. So, I got started right away remembering God was guiding this entire process.

Within 48 hours I had everything I needed.

  1. I was able to rent a hospital grade breast-pump from a local company immediatly.
  2. A friend had a sealed package of domperidone she let me use. (This has to be ordered from a non-USA location as it is not yet approved for sale here, so it takes several weeks to arrive. I ordered more to replace hers and set me up for the next round.)
  3. Wait and see on IGT.
  4. Pediatrician was able to get me in immediately and confirmed she did NOT have tongue tie. He even wrote me a prescription and letter of need for the breast pump so I could TRY to get it covered under insurance. Might as well right… I hear Jesus has connections in the insurance industry.

Here are the INCREDIBLE results my friends:

 

protocol

Sweet baby JESUS!!!!

I am at day 14 post protocol and am producing an ounce per session, sometimes more. I’m pumping between 10-15 min at a time. I save all that milk and feed it to her at the last feeding. I assume she is more efficient at getting my milk than the pump is – so she is likely getting around 8oz of my milk a day. She is taking in about 25oz of fluids a day so I have a ways to go, but at this pace I should get there soon.

I know some of you are likely wondering why I even decided to go on the drug Domperidone. The truth is, I wasn’t too keen on the idea but my friend had a spare set so I figured this was a sign I needed to do it. After all, God knows if it was going to be difficult I wouldn’t have done it.

I am up to date with my story as of now, but will continue to post my experiences and results.

This has been an unbelievably amazing journey. I don’t feel like I’m being strong as some of you have stated, I feel like I’m being led. I’m just along for the ride.

Thank you so much for reading my story. I hope it has helped you understand that

God is real.

He performs miracles.

There is ALWAYS hope.

Anything is possible.

Expect miracles every single day. Start looking for them. Ask God to show you those miracles if you are dense like me.

I love you all.

Pictured Below: Sheilas Actual boob, Sheilas Actual baby

nursing

SC

Breastfeeding my Adopted Baby (part 4): Week 2

breastfeedingmy-adoptedbaby-girlWell, I dove head first into breastfeeding of all things. How did I get here? I guess that’s why I’ve felt so compelled to write this. I’ve had this website for two years and never had the drive to write and share like I am now. I guess ‘GODs timing’ is really a thing.

I’m coming into my spirituality slowly and need to be hit over the head with a 2×4 to really get a clear picture. Five years of infertility really jacked me and my relationship with God. I should probably write a post about that.

Now where was I? Ah yes.. Jesus and week 2.

I continued feeding her 2-3 times a day. As often as I could do it comfortably. Unfortunately we had a ‘boob down’ situation, literally my left nipple was bleeding. A small blister had formed. Oddly enough I didn’t care. I was enjoying this SO MUCH that I didn’t care that my nipple was bleeding. My husband on the other hand was like… uhh… get that shit taken care of.  So I gave the left side some oils and a week off.

I started doing breast massage to try to wake up the milk ducts. I was trying to avoid getting a breast pump and my LC told me this was the next best thing and in some cases the better thing to do. So I massaged.

Often.

In the car… at home.. in Target…. the usual spots.

Lots of massaging.

Tuesday night I’m massaging and just for kicks I try to squeeze into the nipple to see what would happen. Expecting fireworks of milk, obviously.

You Guys.

The slightest drop of white came out.

It came out of MY BARREN BREASTS!!!

Even Limpy Left side!!

I immediately screamed for my husband to come upstairs and look. He was mildly impressed and slightly freaked out that something came out of my breasts. Mostly I think he was expecting some action… to then find me milking myself… sorry dude.

I was FULLY committed. Jesus was there telling me DON’T QUIT – I’m proving to you that I am here. I will do it for you if you just DON’T QUIT!

**I realize that my segway from ‘milking myself’ to Jesus may have been a little intense for some of you. That’s how I roll. Hang on or move out.**

The next day I added in the lactation herbs. More Milk Plus and FenuGreek

On one of my fb groups someone suggested I take a look at Adoptive Breastfeeding Choices (Under Construction). Turns out this website was created by a local woman who had breastfed her adopted child. I reached out to her of course!

She called me back and told me her incredible story of breastfeeding her son. Her story was similar to mine – was on birth control for several months prior to adopting for reasons not related to inducing lactation. She was not planning on breastfeeding but alas, her son had other plans. In the process of her journey she was not only able to exclusively breastfeed her son within 12 weeks of starting the protocol, but she was also able to donate 3000 ounces of breast milk to another adoptive family. See her full story HERE.

MASSIVELY INSPIRING!

She recommended a local lactation consultant that had successfully helped 23 adoptive mothers breastfeed their adopted children. I made an appointment immediately.

Even though everything was pointing me to the direction of inducing lactation – I was still hesitant to believe this was a possibility. I was still focusing on the attachment part of this experience. I was guarding and not trusting.

NO MATTER WHAT, if all we get is that extra attachment during supplemental nursing, that is enough.

That Friday I went to my first breastfeeding group. It was difficult and I had asked my girlfriends to pray for me during this experience. I don’t ask people to pray for me. I’m still learning how to do this.

Being an adoptive mom often makes me feel like a fraud.

I feel like I don’t deserve these types of mom connections. I definitely feel like I don’t ‘deserve’ to be in with a group of women who have biological children. What could we possibly have in common?

I literally expected to walk in to the room to find a bunch of topless hippies openly breastfeeding their 5yr olds. Truth. I was terrified.

In reality they were normal looking moms with babies and toddlers that acted just like mine. Who would have thought!?!?! It’s very possible that my sense of self is a little off.  Ok, its way off. This is why I have a therapist.

We discussed sleep issues, behavior issues, and then breastfeeding issues. It was so interesting and helpful. They wanted to hear my story and encouraged me to continue my journey. I needed that. More encouragement. My self doubt is so strong.

My shame from not being able to create a child – that my deepest sense of womanliness is broken. My shame was being challenged in a big way. Eight years of infertility. Eight years of fighting to become a mother in any way possible.

Eight years of fighting with my body and my mind. Eight years of fighting God.

I’m beginning to see why this is my path.

 

SC

darkness