8/24/2020

10+ Months!

 Thought I’d share her 10-month update I posted on FB...not finding much blogging time right now. When Ellie’s awake, I need to be watching and retrieving her regularly! πŸ˜„ 

“Our beautiful Ellie Grace turned 10-months-old on August 10th! Less than two months until her 1st birthday! 🎈She’s super active and loves getting into everything off limits - a little explorer who wants to experience everything and figure out how it works. 

She has five teeth, and if you look closely at one of the pictures below, you can see her two cute top teefers. She likes brushing her new teeth with Mommy every morning before our walk. 

Breakfast is her favorite meal, and she’s a fruit lover, as well as loving oatmeal, peanut butter toast, and waffles. But she wants to taste whatever Mom and Dad are having. 

We took our first trip to Bend as a family, and other firsts included playing in her kiddie pool and taking a bath in the big bathtub. 

She loved playing with her cousins this month and, when we go out, sitting up like a big girl in high chairs and facing forward in her stroller. 

She waves bye bye and gives the best kisses and cuddles. We love you so much, Ellianna! πŸ₯°“


7/28/2020

On the Move

Well, life is become very interesting over here at our household. Ellie is now crawling, sometimes at an alarmingly rapid pace, as well as standing up and beginning to cruise edges of furniture, including her pack and play.

It’s pretty funny to wake up in the morning and see her little face poking over the edge of the pack and play right next to our bed! She’s on the move all the time now, and there is no stopping her. It becomes kind of a game of how to keep her safe, contained, and  entertained. We recently bought one of those playyards, so we can use that as another, more expansive option if we can’t constantly be on her tail.

Our decision to move forward as a three person, triangle family has definitely been a journey, but I feel clear now, as does RC. Letting the embryos go will still be very sad, but mediated by the excitement of our local recipient family moving forward with their transfer at the end of August.

I think I’ll need to devote a an entire post to this later, but I’ll just say that I strongly disagree and I am sad and frustrated with our clinics policies around their donors. There are many, many half siblings out there, and we just can’t even fathom nor deal directly with that right now. She is our unique, little daughter, who I developed and grew inside of me. It helps me to say this affirmation: I am yours, you are mine, together till the end of Time. Anyway, it’s enough to have dealt with donating our embryos right now.

Having embraced our triangle family status, I am reflecting on the next “big goal” or goals I/we want to set in my/our life/lives. Did any of you go through this after having a child? Ttc was so much of my purpose and life meaning off and on over the last decade plus and, as much as Ellie gives my life meaning and fills it with love, I still need to be working towards something. Travel, further training, thinking about a mom/daughter tattoo. I’m not sure yet.

Summer here is hot!! No AC and lots of fans, and it’s hard to sleep. Other areas have it much worse, I know. What is your summer (and ongoing pandemic) focus?

6/24/2020

Summer 2020 Transitions

I’m squatting against the wall in our carport as Ellie sleeps in her stroller, trying to give her the longest nap possible! Still loving these walks in our beautifully landscaped neighborhood.

It’s been a while since I have posted...the days slip by quickly, and free time is a hot commodity. Ellie goes to bed around 8:30, so that gives us an hour and a half or so to talk and/or watch our TV show and just chill. I have two clients now (yay!), so I’ve also had some work to do prepping for career sessions or typing follow up emails, including resources we’ve discussed. It feels great, though, to be using that part of my brain again.



Ellie is doing amazing! I can’t believe how big she’s gotten! And she is super active right now, never sitting still; backwards crawling, rolling, and scooting all over the floor. No leaving her unattended now. We’ve started the baby proofing of edges and outlets, but there are still precarious positions and places she can maneuver in to. Crawling seems just around the corner - yikes! She’s not saying lots of words yet, but babbling lots of sounds and vocalizations and screeches. πŸ™‚ She has said Dada, however, and gah and gi, nee nee, a few times bah, but we’re still waiting on Mama. Trying not to take that personally. lol

We’re still exclusively breast feeding but are, just now, running out of the donor milk we’ve used to supplant our end of day feedings. I’d love to make it exclusively to 9 months before introducing formula, and I intend to keep breast feeding until one year. 🀞🏼 We feed her fruit, and sometimes cereal, in the morning, and veggies in the late afternoon or early evening. I’d like to introduce meat and some real food at nine months - we’ve let her try baguette type bread, but that’s about it. When did you all introduce more complex foods, if you’ve raised a little one through this time period? She does love taking drinks of our fizzy water, which is so cute. She pretty much wants to do anything we’re doing, and she’s very much a little techie, going for our phones, iPads, or remote controls whenever possible.

The biggest and most challenging transition I am going through right now (and to a lesser extent, RC) is completing the process of transferring our donor embryos to the local recipient couple we’ve with whom we’ve connected. She’s going down to the clinic we used for the transfer, and this whole thing came up about us allowing the clinic to release the donor information. I want to give the recipients the information, but I wanted to be one to do it. The feelings that came up led to some helpful continued processing with the therapist RC and I are seeing to work through decisions around how we handle our remaining embryos. She validated my feelings, and reflected how loooong I’ve been on a journey to have a child and all the hoops I and we have gone through to get here. If or when I definitively close the door on having any more children, it’s a huge step in my life. Regarding the clinic situation, they ended up sending all the information to me (some of it I had but two pictures I didn’t 😠) and, after sitting with it for a few days, I plan to share it all with the recipients later today. That feels okay to me. I do want the best for them and absolutely wish them success.

Little one is waking up, so I’ll post this now. Sending love to everyone in this strange time.

4/19/2020

Observations and Personal Developments in the Time of Pandemic

Helloooo from out here in social isolation! I have clearly not been posting much lately, but felt inspired to write at least a little something today. Baby is swinging nearby, babbling and squealing and grunting away so we’ll see how far I get. I wanted to share two things today, one observational and one more personal. The first one is that I’m seeing that this pandemic is hitting different groups and individuals in our society differently. Because I’m in online communities with folks from all over the country in different walks of life - granted most of them mothers - I hear a variety of these perspectives.

Obviously, basic survival needs are forefront in how people are affected at this time… If you suddenly can’t work or can work considerably less, and you depend on that paycheck month to month, the impact can get scary very quickly. If you have children suddenly home and demanding attention and that you put on a teaching hat, that can be intense and exhausting. On the other side of the spectrum, some people are reading, doing projects, or getting outside more. Spending more time with family.

Through it all, we are bombarded with media stories about sickness and death, sometimes even hit with personal tragedy and loss, related to this pandemic. It’s scary and sad and our frontline health workers are heroes through it all. If you’re in business or refinancing to find needed cash flow, bankers and finance folks can be heroes, too. My sister in law works in banking, and she has never worked so hard or been so exhausted as in these last few weeks of administering the PPP business loan program. My brother and sister are fighting to keep the family business afloat, which includes an athletic club. Anyway, I’m seeing impacts and new realities all across the spectrum, to a lesser and greater extent.

Us, personally? We are okay at the moment. Experiencing more stress and some financial hardship for sure, but doing okay. RC has his “essential” job at the airport. His schedule changes every day, which is a pain in the you know what, but we’re grateful he still has a job. I have some days where anxiety and exhaustion overwhelms me due to, well, lack of sleep, as well as change-related stress. So much changing and so many people to worry about! Ellie keeps me coming back to her sweet little face and all the ways she’s growing and changing - from sitting up, to eating new foods, to trying to figure out how everything works, and her love of books. I love waking up to her every day❤️ and breastfeeding and baby cuddles can be very soothing and nurturing. RC and I are working well as a team, and I’m so grateful for my little tribe at this time.

I have something else going on that is serving as a meaningful distraction...seeking a recipient family for our remaining embryos. We think we’ve found the perfect couple here in Eugene! We connected with them through the Mir@cles W@iting site. She is a social worker and he’s a chemist, 35 and 39 respectively, and she’s been through a lot of heartbreaking unsuccessful infertility treatments, including two failed IVFs. Our emails so far have been warm, open, and hopeful, and we look forward to an in-person video call with them on Tuesday. I’ll share more as the situation develops. We really want Ellie to have a sibling relationship and, since we aren’t planning to have another child, this could give her that gift, while it gives the gift of a child to this couple. Hoping for good things.

That’s it for now. Sending care and hope that your situation is tenable or improving. This is definitely a crazy and surreal time.

3/18/2020

Surreal

Thought I’d write a quick post to check in in these surreal and anxiety-provoking times. Hope you and your loved ones are safe. We are doing okay, though I do feel nervous about RC working at the airport and being in Chicago right now at a training. Really? Right now?

I’m starting to feel more like “hunkering down,” so I’m glad he gets home tonight and doesn’t have to work tomorrow. I have a couple of career counseling clients right now, but not too much on my plate outside of caring for Ellie.

I walked to the pharmacy and grocery store yesterday, and it was eerie how few people and cars were there compared to normal. More than I expected at TJs, actually, but I guess people are still in “stocking up” mode. There was definitely tension in the air.

Then, I made the mistake of reading an article about the statistics that apparently caused Trump and others to get on the same, more extreme, shut-down page. Without extreme measures, the consequences become much more extreme. Yikes.

Anyway, personally, we are doing okay at the moment, though definitely worried about business folks and elders in the family, as well as folks trying to navigate kids being out of school. How about you?

2/12/2020

The Joys of Breastfeeding

There really is tremendous joy in breastfeeding. I couldn't imagine doing it very well before Ellie was born, but now that she's here, I'm proud and happy that I can feed her and share that physically connected time with her. I've learned that some women are not able to breastfeed, even when they really want to and try their hardest, so I don't take it for granted. Additionally, I know that formula nourishes a baby well, also.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but Ellie can really be the most adorable goofball, and this trait can show up during breastfeeding. Early on, she would do this little routine where she would be interacting with the breast as though it was it's own entity, and she was being sort of dramatic and pushing it around - like, you're my breast and I can do what I want kind of thing. lol She will now grab my shirt and pull back and forth roughly, like a 30's gangster or something, when she's frustrated with milk flow. She will also start grunting to express her frustration, which is my favorite sound she makes (no).

When she's hungry and super pleased with her breast and how it's flowing, she coos and makes happy sounds - I love it! Having her warm little body lying against me and little sucking feeling as she feeds is very sweet. I will breastfeed while watching TV in the afternoon for an extended session, while she does "non-nutritive," as labeled by the lactation consultant, sucking.

Along the way, I've also discovered the downsides to breast feeding, which include milk supply. As an older mother, I guess this is more commonly an issue. It took a while for my supply to come in at the beginning, and we supplemented with donor milk, but then the supply came in and looked good for a while, then recently has not quite met the need again. It's super frustrating. I never thought I would sit there squeezing the life out of my boobs and not have a care for how it feels to me, just praying they produce a little more milk.

This usually happens later in the day, and the lactation consultant told us it's fine to supplement a little with formula in the evening. I'd rather not until six months, so, as we are getting down to the last couple bottles of donor milk we bought initially, I'm considering buying more. If we incorporate formula, I hope to mix it with pumped milk in the evening.

The other downside that has kicked my butt off and on is clogged milk ducts. They are the worst. A big lump develops in your breast, like a rock, and you're supposed to massage it hard. Ouch! I've managed to work them out every time with hot showers, massage, and gravity feeds, but this last one required a needle.

WTF! you say. Let me explain... A couple of "blebs," as they call these little milk blisters, had formed on my right breast, and I developed a clogged duct. For the first time, I started feeling flu-like symptoms indicative of an inflammatory process. After reading about it on Google, of course, I called the lactation consultant who determined I did not have mastitis. She told me I had to sterilize a needle and puncture the blebs so milk could get through. Yeah, that's as fun as it sounds, though a little less painful than I'd feared. After trying a couple times, it worked, thank God. Such a relief.

I will say that I think it's all worth it for me, and I'm going to try and continue for at least another several months. Ellianna turned four months on February 10th! I will write about her four-month doctor's appointment coming up this Friday, as well as our Parenting Now group, in my next post.

1/08/2020

Happy New Year!

Thank you sooo much to those of you that commented when I was feeling sad and vulnerable. I really appreciate it, and it very much helped!

I rarely have much time to post now because of Little Miss, but I wanted to share a few memorable happenings from the holidays:

RC's oldest son from Texas came to visit with his wife and four (!) kids, ages 4-years up to 12-years AND, at the last minute, his youngest son came down from Portland and stayed two nights on our floor. The family stayed in an airbnb but hung out at our quite small townhouse for a good portion of the time. That was interesting, especially considering the 4-year-old is very energetic! But we loved seeing his sons and grandkids (my grandkids, too? eek!) meet and interact with Ellie. I am so happy these relatives are in her/our lives. I feel she is a little more secure in life with more folks who love her. :)

We went to my Dad's and fiance's house for Christmas eve and had a delicious prime rib and crab dinner. I breastfed her at the table again and am getting comfortable with doing that whenever needed - with family, at restaurants, in the car. lol

Christmas morning, after an impromptu visit from RC's family (we had plans to spend time with them in the afternoon), we went to my sister's house. I was so proud of Ellie and how she was able to hang out in her car seat for a good amount of time. I fed her once (my family takes a long time to open gifts!) and was still able to participate and watch my nieces and nephew and the rest of the family open their gifts, which I'd been a little worried about. It was a great morning, and my family liked their gifts and gave some special gifts to Ellie, too, which was fun. Christmas afternoon and evening we spent with RC's family and made a delicious standing rib roast for dinner.

I will say it was challenging to be in the role of both hosting out-of-town guests and participating in local family gatherings. It would have been great to combine both, but we couldn’t host that huge group here, and it would have been a big stretch for my sister to do it, also. In any case, she didn’t offer, and I didn’t think I should ask. I did feel it out indirectly, and it was clear that would be a no go. So we tried to both spend as much time with his family as possible AND participate in local family activities, which was hectic at times. We did it though, and overall, Ellianna’s first Christmas was wonderful.

New Year’s was nothing special in and of itself, but we are doing some reflecting and goal setting that I think will be meaningful. I, and I think RC, are doing the 101 goals in 1001 days that Risa posted about recently on her blog. One goal is to find a fairly close part time job in Eugene, hopefully within the next few months. On reflection, working from home with the baby is just totally unrealistic for me, unless we were able to afford in-home care. In the meanwhile, and likely concurrently, I will continue to attend my business networking group and be open to new career counseling clients.

On New Year's Eve, we reflected back to when we became engaged last year. Then, we spent New Year's Day at a beautiful light house and beach location on the Oregon coast and have some wonderful memories. I can’t believe so much has happened in a year!

Lastly, I’ll share that embryo donation has been at the forefront of my mind lately. I have struggled with wanting to try again with our remaining embryos, but we don’t feel it’s  realistic for us right now, unless something changed. So, we are now considering embryo donation, as well. It’s interesting to look at profiles now from a totally different angle, after looking at various profiles from an infertility lens.

 I’ll leave you with a couple pictures of Ellie and family taken over the holidays. Happy New Year!