Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I have a plethora of family members, thanks to being a child of divorce as well as being adopted. Let’s see, I have seven parents (mom, dad, step-mom, step-dad, birth mom, birth dad, and birth step-mom (I guess that’s what you would call it!)). And I have five siblings that I know of (half-brother (guy I grew up with, not related by blood since I was adopted but dad’s son from his first marriage), step-brother and step-sister from my step-dad, step-brother from my step-mom, and half sister (blood relation) from my birth mother but I’ve never met her). I think there’s another half sister somewhere out there from my birth father, but he gave her up for adoption too. Anyone confused yet? But with all these siblings, I don’t have anyone with whom I’m close. I grew up with my brother (half-brother, dad’s kid with first wife), so that’s the only one with whom I’ve had a real relationship, but we don’t talk much. I haven’t seen him in probably seven or eight years. When I was 12, and he was 16, he ran away from our home to live with his mother in California. Once he got there, he got into drugs and such, and ended up in jail and then rehab. He has bounced around jobs, girlfriends, and rehab since. We now keep in contact via Facebook, but I just found out on Facebook that he visited his mother (dad’s first wife) in Houston, THE TOWN I LIVE IN, for a week – last week! And he didn’t contact me. And his mother, whom I’m also friends with on Facebook, didn’t contact me either! Both of these people know that I live here, and I’ve expressed interest in getting together with his mother, but no, they didn’t call me at all. I’m hurt, and so disappointed that I had the opportunity to see my brother again, but for some reason they didn’t think to contact me.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I guess I’m not. We haven’t had a relationship in a long time. Really since he ran away when he was 16. I used to look up to him, and because we lived in the mountains away from many people, we hung out together, more than the typical brother/sister four years apart. He was my true brother for eight years (age 4 when I was adopted through 12 when he ran away), and I miss him. It’s now 24 years later, but I miss having my brother in my life.

I’ve always been jealous of those with close sibling relationships. It’s good to have someone in your life that will always be there, and you can be more yourself with than your parents. Also when our parents leave our lives, which inevitably happens with time, our siblings will still be around. I technically have five (maybe six) siblings, and I’m not close with any of them. This makes me sad, and I wish for something different for my Alex. I hope she can have siblings in her life, and that she is close with them. I hope she develops relationships with them that will last a lifetime.

I needed this reminder this week. Once again, the hubs is not helping out at home. He was really good after his three weeks of Daddy Daycare, but somehow he forgot what he learned while home with Alex, that it takes a lot to run our household. And maybe I got too reliant on him helping out around home, because I asked for something unusual – sleeping in on a weekend morning. He has slept in almost every weekend morning since Alex has been born, but I haven’t done it once. I won’t go into all the details, but it did not go well – at all. And since then I’ve been back to my status of single mom with a husband, because he got pissed and he shows his anger by not doing anything. Which sucks. The first place that my mind goes to is I will not do this again – I won’t have another baby and have to take care of everything by myself. For a couple of days, I kept repeating in my head that I won’t have another baby – it’s too much work by myself. But then, I saw that Facebook update about my brother being here in Houston, and I realized that I want something better for my child. I want her to know the joy and companionship that a sibling can bring to her life. And that to deny her this because I don’t want the additional work that will come with another baby when I don’t have a husband who helps out much is selfish. And so I will continue with our plan: after Alex is a year old, at which time I will finally quit breastfeeding, I’ll go back to the RE and arrange an FET. We are so lucky to have five frozen embryos waiting for us, and I will do my best to turn those into a baby. (But what if I have twins or more? Can you imagine the work involved with multiples AND a toddler? Oh God, someone talk me off a ledge…)

Of course, this all assumes that I can have another baby, which we all know is a BIG assumption…

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I feel like such a cliché: here I am, trying to figure out how to get my 4 ½ month old child to sleep more. I think the problem is I know it’s possible – she has done it before. When Alex was about 10 weeks old, we started implementing routines of eat, awake, sleep, loosely based on Babywise (but no crying it out). And it worked. Within a couple weeks, Alex went from getting up around 4-5 times each night to once or twice, just in time for me to return to work. And for about 4 days there, she didn’t get up at all. We gave her a dream feed, but other than that, she would sleep all night long. But then, she didn’t. Starting about 3 ½ months, she started waking up early – about 3 or 4 in the morning. Being the sleepy head that I am at that time in the morning, I would run upstairs, grab her, and bring her into bed (why TX houses have the master room downstairs is just beyond me!). I’d give her a boob, and we would all sleep until the morning. I would wake up, and try to slip out of bed without anyone waking up. Which worked – sometimes. And then a couple weeks ago, she started waking up at 1 am, and at 4 in the morning! I would be happy with continuing to grab her and co-sleep, except to be honest, I wasn’t sleeping with her next to me. I love co-sleeping, I really do. If it were completely up to me, and if I didn’t work, I would probably do that forever, or at least until she got embarrassed in college about it… But when she’s next to me, and especially when she’s sleeping with my boob in her mouth (her preferred method), I don’t sleep. I may drift in and out, but I’m always very aware of where she is, whether covers are over her, if the hubs is moving, making sure he doesn’t crush her, etc. Also my position when she sleeps next to me is so uncomfortable that I get up every morning with an aching back.

When I started getting comments from the hubs about spoiling our baby, I knew that our co-sleeping was coming to an end. Plus I was starting to get very bleary eyed. And I firmly believe that good sleep is very good for children. I have so many friends whose kids get up every night and crawl into their parents beds, or won’t go to sleep at night. My friends spend hours putting them to bed each night, or have to hang out outside their doors to make sure their kids don’t come out after bedtime. This is not how I want to raise my kids! I also have a few friends who have raised their children to be good sleepers, and these are also the same kids who can go out to a restaurant and sit nicely at the table with their parents. These are the kind of kids I want to raise – those that are pleasurable to be around! The parents who with well-behaved kids tend to be the ones who have rules, and have done some sort of sleep training. Hubs and I have talked about this a lot, and we both agree that we should do this (and he helps – you should have seen the spreadsheets he developed during daddy daycare!). So a few days ago, when Alex cried in the middle of the night, I would go to her, nurse her and then put her back in her crib. And she was fine. We do this twice each night – once around 1, and once around 5 am. Then I wake her up at 7 to eat and get dressed, and we leave for daycare about 7:45. But how do I get her to drop the middle of the night feedings?

Two nights ago, I was feeling awful and exhausted. I’ve been fighting a cold all week, and I was just done. So I asked hubs to do the bedtime routine, including giving Alex a bath and a bottle right before bed. Thankfully he agreed, and so I went to bed. In 4.5 months, this was the first time that Alex was put to bed by someone other than me. Other people, including hubs, my MIL, daycare people, have put her down for naps just fine. But nobody else has done the bedtime thing. I figured it would be fine, but I wanted to test it out before a planned event in early April – we’re actually going to get a babysitter and go out! Well, it didn’t go well. We have a routine where if Alex cries after being put in her crib, we let her cry for 5 minutes, then console her, then 10 minutes, then console her, and keep going back every 10 minutes until she sleeps. She’s never cried after the 1st 10 minute consoling. Until Daddy put her to bed two nights ago… It did not go well. After listening to her cry and hubs trying to get her to calm down for a few sessions, I finally got out of bed and took over. And she went to sleep instantly without crying! He told me good job, but it’s a problem. I can’t be there every night to put her to bed!

I started thinking about our routines, and I think I’ve been feeding her to sleep at night. Either by nursing or with a bottle, I put her into her crib either asleep or super drowsy. And then in the middle of the night, when she cries, I immediately nurse her and she falls back asleep. Maybe I need to console her in the middle of the night without feeding her? And make sure she’s more awake when I put her in the crib at the beginning of the night?

Last night, I fed her right before bedtime, and she was super drowsy. But I pulled a book out, and read it to her with a lot more enthusiasm and excitement than I normally do at bedtime. She woke up a bit, and started to play with the pages (so cute!). Then I sang her a song, told her I loved her, and put her in her crib with her wide awake. I gave her a lovie (small silky blanket), turned on her mobile, and walked away. She fussed, not really crying, for about 2-3 minutes, and then fell asleep. And amazingly, I woke her up at 7 am!!! For the first time in over a month, she slept all night long!!! Now I’m smarter than I was before – I know this could be a fluke. But I have hope again – maybe this will work.

But I’d love to hear from others about sleep tips. Honestly, I can handle the middle of the night waking. It’s a special time that we have, and I kind of miss it when she sleeps all night. Because I’m a working mom, I cherish the time we have together, which is also part of the reason I loved sleeping with her! But the real problem is we need to make sure that other people can put her to bed. The babysitter that will be over in April needs to be able to put her to bed, and Daddy needs to be able to do it too! So we’re going to try to have him do it more. I have this dream of a glorious little sleeper that wakes up in the morning in a great mood – how do I get there?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Phew! And one year ago...

Seven weeks after returning to work, we finally finished our yearend deadline. Ah, the life of an accountant… So I’m hoping that I now will have some more time for blogging. Sorry for being so behind on catching up on blogs – I’m hoping I can catch up in the next week!

Things are going amazingly well at home and at work. I was very lucky to be able to arrange at-home care for little Alex for the first six weeks after returning to work. My MIL took care of her the 1st week, we hired a friend as a nanny for two weeks, and then the hubs did Daddy Daycare for 3 weeks. I was a little worried about how it would go, but it was amazing! I highly recommend this for every father out there, even if it’s for a week. He is very lucky to have paid paternity leave from his company, but even if they have to take vacation, it is definitely worth it for dads to be completely responsible for their babies when the moms go back to work for at least a week! I came home every day, and took over baby care from him, and we had nice evenings together. He made dinner almost every night, and took care of (almost) everything at home. He even got some painting and landscaping done during naps. Yes, the house was a little messy, but I’m working on relaxing my standards a bit, and just being ok with a little messiness. Because the only thing that’s important is taking care of Alex. We are grateful for our maid that comes in once a week, and I am now paying her a little more as we’re messier than we ever have been, and she’s doing a great job for us. I was worried about hubs returning back to work, and just going back to his old method of not doing anything, but we talked about this before he returned, and he has taken on complete responsibility of washing bottles and preparing them for daycare every evening. Just to have him take on this job makes everything better. I know that he is contributing to the care of Alex, and this is something that he can do even if he comes home late. And he admitted that before Daddy Daycare he was unsure of what needed to be done, and he didn’t realize how much had to be done, so he’s happy to help now. We haven’t fought in weeks – it’s awesome!

Alex started daycare on Tuesday. She has been doing great, and I’m proud to say that I didn’t cry at all this morning (unlike the first few days)… The first day was awful. I had a list of things I was going to tell them in the morning, and I just started crying hysterically so I had to run out of there. I didn’t want Alex to see me crying like that. I went back at lunch, and of course she was sleeping. But the daycare folks were nice, and very understanding of my tears – I’m sure they see it a lot. They seem to be really good to her, and tell me every day how happy she is at daycare. And I love the director, who seems very involved in everything. I wish I could spend more time with Alex, but if I have to send her to daycare, I’m very happy with my choice of places.

Breastfeeding is still going. I started taking domperidone about a month ago, and it helped a little. Just like herbs and other stuff, I had this dream of waking up one day with leaky breasts and a ton of milk, but that of course never happened. I’ve been fighting this milk supply issue for over four months, and it’s exhausting! I went to a La Leche League meeting a couple weeks ago, and they gave me some really good advice. After listening to all that I’ve been doing to increase my supply, and my pump and feeding schedule, and hearing how frantic I am about my supply, they told me to relax. I never had the ease of breastfeeding, considering I’ve been supplementing and nursing and pumping since day 3 of Alex’s life. So it is all difficult. They told me that I won’t be able to keep up this frenetic pace, and I show signs of breastfeeding burnout. They said it’s more important to keep nursing a little for longer than it is to have a certain amount of ounces now. So do whatever I can to make it easier on myself. And nurse more – let go of the pump some. I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night to pump, and they said to stop doing that. For the first time, I had people who are obviously very pro-breastfeeding telling me to stop trying so hard to increase my supply. And it was so nice to hear! Or maybe it’s the first time I received permission to relax, and I actually listened. What they said makes so much sense. So now I have no idea how much I’m making (I still think it’s around 20 ounces max) but I’m focusing more on the relationship and intimacy aspects of breastfeeding, which got lost in the milk supply issues. They even suggested stopping pumping at work if it will keep me nursing longer, but I haven’t done that. Amazingly, I can still get work done during pumping sessions (and now I’m going to use that time for blogging) so I don’t feel like I need to stop pumping at work. But I’m going to try to stop using my pump at home, except for a late night session right before I go to bed. Using this kind of schedule makes it so much easier on me, and I get to focus on that adorable little grin that she gives me when nursing, causing milk to spill out of her mouth. Love that!

We took our first flight together this past weekend. We went to Denver for a short trip for a friend’s baby shower and to see everyone, and Alex was great! I recently purchased an Ergo carrier, and I love it! The Bjorn was nice when she was little, and I used the Moby some when she was little too. But now that she’s bigger, I don’t really like either of those. But the Ergo is fantastic! At four months, Alex is too excited with the world to be able to sleep on the go. But I was able to put her in the Ergo, pull up the little hood thing to block off the world, and she was able to get some good naps in while I was at a happy hour with friends! What a fabulous invention! Plus it helped in the airport and on the plane. As we boarded, one guy a couple rows back made some comment, “Oh great!” when he saw us board. But I’m happy to say that little Alex didn’t cry or scream or anything! I just gave the guy a big smile at the end of the flight…

All in all, things are going really well for us. Alex is healthy (which I hope continues now that she has started daycare), the hubs and I are doing really well, and we’re all figuring out our new schedule which involves daycare and working. This is the life I dreamed of, and I’m so thankful that I get to live it!

One year ago today (wow, I just realized it is one year), I found out about this little one I now call my daughter. I peed on a stick, and my whole life changed. I was so scared that my pregnancy wouldn’t last, and so I spent much of my pregnancy waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I get to hold my baby girl and know that one year later, my dream has come true. I am a mother to the most amazing little girl I’ve ever seen. She made it all worth it – all the heartache, the months of trying with no success, the treatments, and even the pain of losing my babies. I wish I had those babies, but then I wouldn’t have my little Alex. And she’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. I would do it all over again, as long as I can have her in my life. This is a pic I took of her on her first day of daycare, and I look at it all day long. This smile keeps me going.