Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whew

Well, the buddy gained 11 oz in just 13 days. Whew! We are up to 16lbs 9oz. Wahoo!

Here is what I've learned in the past 2 weeks.

1. Find a really good pediatrician that you agree with from the get-go. Even if you're adopting and you think you have forever to find one because you don't think you'll get matched soon, do it anyway. It will be invaluable. Try to do your research and find someone you agree with on things like vaccines, infant and child nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices, breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding, etc. 


2. Trust your mom instinct for what is best for your child. No expert or doctor knows your child as well as you do. Don't dismiss advice or ignore the words of wise people, but do your own research as well and do what's best for your child and your family.

3. Enjoy your child. The worst part of the past 2 weeks was feeling like our little guy was a "project" that needed to be fed the most calories possible. It pretty much sucked the fun out of the last 2 weeks for everyone. Well, the teething didn't help, but our focus wasn't where it should have been. :(

4. Good health insurance is really important and medical care is way, way too expensive. Any one have ideas on how to fix this?

After checking out at the clinic today, we discovered that due to a miscommunication and administrative messiness, we are paying out of pocket for the buddy's 4-month vaccines. Do you know what ONE ROUND of vaccines costs for a baby? $600!! Yep. Pretty ridiculous for something that is pretty much forced on everyone, insured and uninsured alike.

I won't get into a rant now about how the medical industry is out.of.control in their cahoots with our government. But, I WILL say that this was the definite final straw for us at this clinic. It's a messy situation and I don't want to take advantage of a non-profit who overall does a great job of providing necessary medical care to the poor. But, their support and help for those that are unable to get decent affordable insurance through their PT employers, but who still work their patooties off is upsetting. I will consider it a donation to their work to the needier community and move on. Thank goodness the buddy gained weight, otherwise I would have had a meltdown followed by a heart attack. At this this way it was just a heart attack (AND still a some tears at the check-out desk). Sheesh. :/

Thanks for all the prayers, support and encouragement! Although the buddy has another tooth (yay!) he's still not into taking much breastmilk/formula which we know he really needs, so we're still trying to find the right balance of getting him the right nutrients from both solids and his bottles. It's a challenge for a little baby with a little appetite, but we'll just keep introducing new, healthy foods to him and hopefully the pressure will be off for a bit now. :-) 

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Post for Lifesong India

Faith. Family. Home.In caring for orphans, our hope is to instil faith, family and a sense of home deep into the hearts of every child we are blessed to serve. Please enjoy this month's Mission Moment highlighting the fruit of God's work through us.

Baptized in the Name of the ONE True God...

In a country where the worship of many gods is commonplace, lives of children are being changed and transformed by the working of Jesus Christ, the ONE true God. Lifesong India provides homes for almost 600 children who are all being exposed to the gospel of our loving, merciful and kind Father God.
Baptism has always been a powerful symbol of Christianity. This symbol is especially notable in this culture because through this outward testimony of faith, children are publicly turning away from false gods to rely only on Jesus! Witness the baptism of the girls from one of our homes below. Learn more about Lifesong India >>
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38 

Building Children's Home in Guatemala

It's exciting to see the progress of our new orphan care initiative in Guatemala. Construction has started on the family homes that will one day invite orphans with special needs into their doors to give faith, family and a future to children in need. Thanks to many of you for your support in this exciting new project!

GUAT Progress
Please continue to pray for safety and wisdom as construction continues. Learn more about Lifesong Guatemala: Village of Hope >>

Read more about Faith, Family & Home...

Orphans in Ukraine Find Forever Families -- Through Adoption with Borders, like-minded families and churches in the USA connect with Christian families in Ukraine who are seeking to adopt.  Read Full Story

Planting Spiritual Seeds in Liberia -- Our aim is to help children develop a personal relationship with the Lord and to keep that relationship growing.  Read Full Story

Mehesh, A Life Changed -- "I don't want to think about what my life would be like if I didn't have the opportunity to live at that home (Chitty Memorial Home in Lifesong India)..." Read full story

Sunday, February 24, 2013

9 Months

The buddy turned 9 months old last Thursday, February 13th. I truly still can't believe I am a mom, let alone the mom of a 9 month old! Whew! We've had some big milestones recently that already seem so normal, like eating finger foods and pulling himself up on EVERYTHING!

I'm finally writing about all the GOOD things about the buddy's 9th month! The past week has been VERY stressful with him teething and not wanting to eat/drink much at all, and us feeling like he needs to gain weight for the Doctor's visit next week (it has been rescheduled for the 5th). I go between being totally freaked out about his weight and worried that something is wrong, to feeling confident about him ability to tell us when he's full and that it's fine that he's on the 3rd percentile of the WHO chart. Today I'm feeling a bit better, but he's been taking his bottle slightly better than at the end of the week. Whew!

Anyway, here's the good stuff. :-)


Weight & Length:
HA! Well, right at 9 months he weighed 15 lbs, 13 oz, but I hope that when we get his weight checked again it will be over 16 lbs. But, the poor guy hasn't been wanting to eat or drink much with his gums so swollen. :(

He is 27" long! I can't believe that's almost a foot longer than when we brought him home!


Sleeping:He's still sleeping through the night, but still waking up at 6am or so. :) He's definitely down to 2 naps a day and thankfully his sleep hasn't been disrupted (much) by teething. 

Eating: Well, we've added more high-calorie foods to his diet since he turned 9 months old. But, during his 9th month he was taking 4 bottles a day and 3 solid food meals a day. He had 4-6 oz at each feeding, with a total of 20-25 oz. of milk and 6 oz of baby food a day. I think the total formula/breastmilk went down so much because he started eating more solids, but in retrospect he should have been eating more! :/

Diapers:
Still in cloth diapers and disposable size 3.

Clothing:
He wears all kinds of sizes, from 6-9 months, 9 months, 6-12 months and even some 12 months clothes, although those are still a little big on him. :) We just roll up the sleeves a bit and they're just fine.

Personality:
He's SOO happy overall! He's constantly smiling and laughing and talking. He's also pretty stubborn. We're trying to teach him "no" in terms of not getting into things, but he's definitely testing the limits. :-) He is quite a babbler, talking away and imitating our sounds so well! It's so fun to see him get excited about things and kick and squeal.


Milestones & Firsts:
- Makes the "m" sound clearly and says "mama"
- He LOVES yogurt!
-He pulls himself up ALL the time, on the couch, chairs, the wall, etc.
-He started drinking from the sippy cup.
-He stands by himself often, for up to 30 seconds at at time!
-He not only started pulling himself to standing in his crib, but also learned how to get back down on his own. (We only had a FEW nights of him puling up and screaming for us to get him back down.)
- He's speeding around in his walkers now!
-He started feeding himself finger foods (puffs, ground beef, cheese)
-He LOVES giving big, open mouth kisses to us and his stuffed animals. SO cute! :)
-He LOVES getting tossed around. He squeals and squeals.
-His hair got curly! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

If only I could give the Buddy MY recent weight gain :/

I was feeling pretty optimistic over the weekend about N's weight. I had a plan and I was sticking to it! I was kind of nervous, but I thought that by being more intentional about higher calorie foods we could help him gain enough weight that the pediatrician wouldn't be so concerned.

However, starting on Sunday night, this kid has started refusing almost all food. Every meal and snack is a battle. His upper gums are swollen so much, it looks like there are two little balloons up there. :( When his two bottom teeth came in we had the HARDEST time getting him to take a bottle. And this time he's not only refusing the bottle, but also his solids. :/ It makes the days so very stressful and upsetting for everyone.

If we weren't having this weight check a week from tomorrow we wouldn't be stressing as much about it, but we know that he really, REALLY needs to put on weight in order for the doctor to not be concerned, so we are doing what we can. Which means we are giving him Tylenol, putting natural gum gel on this little top gums and putting his nipple in the freezer before each feeding and feeding him in front of the tv. :/ This is NOT what we want to make a habit, but we discovered he will eat when distracted (and is the only method of doing so when only one of us is with him.

We've gotten close to his normal number of liquid ounces, but like I said, each time it's a fight. He will take a couple of ounces at the beginning without a fuss, but after that he cries and squirms and we have to get him settled and distracted again. I feel so horrible for him, but we don't know what else to do. Once he's distracted (if we're both home instead of the tv, it involves Dave dancing around with stuffed animals. I think I'm the more entertained one there... haha) he will eat a little more, but sometimes not much at all.

You know how when you're sick or when you have a cold you just don't feel like eating? I'm sure he also has that feeling with the pain in his mouth so we feel so bad for him. I even tried freezing bite-sized blobs of his favorite baby food and feeding them to him in small, cold bites, but he doesn't seem to like it. :/ The odd thing is that when I put his coconut oil on his face to help with the dry skin (after his bath) he always opens his mouth for bites. How can I say no to high calorie, healthy saturated fat!? I can't, so I don't!

My mother-in-law is a speech therapist at a clinic where she works with lots of professionals, including physical therapists and feeding therapists, etc. She told me that with their clients, those whose children have feeding difficulties, of all kinds. She said it's because with babies and small children you're feeding them all throughout the day, so every feeding time can become stressful, especially when they're needing to gain weight.


That's reassuring to me that I guess that makes me normal. And that all the tears are normal. That the feeling of being powerless is normal. Knowing that when it comes down to it that the situation is out of your control is normal (and upsettingly reminiscent of infertility). 

Just a week ago I felt like we were in such a good place with his eating. He took his bottles without a problem and other than his lunch bottle they were all over 5 oz, which was great! And he ate his solids REALLY well and had just started to eat entire jars of food. And now I feel like since our Dr. visit last week, the pressure I now feel, the buddy's sore mouth and disinterest in food (he used to get all excited when he saw his bottle, but not anymore), that we are moving in the wrong direction. I'm so discouraged tonight. Please pray that those top teeth will pop in soon and that our sweet boy will get relief from his pain and will start eating well again.

I'm trying to trust God. I know in my head I'm supposed to let Him carry this burden, but as a new mom, I think I just feel it so heavily on my shoulders right now. And I just really, really want to see our sweet boy happy and healthy and growing as he should. And right now that seems like an incredibly lofty wish.

Thanks for the prayers!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Growth Charts

Thank you all so much for your encouraging comments! Actually, RIGHT after I posted on Friday night, I started doing more online research into the difference in growth between breastfed and formula-fed babies. And I wish I had done it sooner! The buddy is not exclusively breastmilk fed anymore (like he was for pretty much the first 6 months of his life, wahoo!), but up until the past few weeks he had AT LEAST 3/4 breastmilk and 1/4 formula. And the past few weeks it has been more like 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 formula, which is still pretty miraculous considering the fact that I have never produced a single ounce! :-)

ANYWAY, when you look at babies in the US, fewer than 50% of babies are breastfed AT ALL (in 2008) after 6 months, and by 9 months that number is around 30%! And only 18% of babies are breastfed exclusively up until 6 months! Even at 1 week, the number of exclusively breastfed babies is just SLIGHTLY above 1%! So, the buddy has been getting WAY more breastmilk than the average American baby! (All of this fascinating information came from this article on Kellymom.com. Check it out! There are TONS of charts and graphs and it's SO interesting!!)

Anyway, this got me interested in seeing if I could find a growth chart that was based more on babies fed breastmilk and so I looked at the WHO (World Health Organization) growth chart information. Apparently most babies around the world are breastfed, so this chart is supposed to be used for breasfeeding babies in the US up until 2 years of age. I had to convert all of the buddy's weights from lbs. to kgs., but I'm pretty confident that our pediatrician used the CDC chart (based on ALL American babies) instead of WHO because this is what it looked like when I plotted the buddy's weight along the WHO chart.


That's pretty much RIGHT along the 3rd percentile curve, especially once he hit the 1-month mark. Sure, he's still little, but I am beyond annoyed that our pediatrician, who knows that he's given 1/2-3/4 breastmilk would use a chart where the vast majority of babies are given all formula by his age! Formula has more calories, so of course other babies having formula would not only weigh more than he does, but also grow faster!

I'm going to continue with my plan to give him good fats and boost his calorie intake, but I refuse to stress out about it and try to force our sweet, happy baby to eat. And you better believe that when I take him in for his weight check I will not only be bringing in this growth chart, but all the other research I found below and the information about how many babies breastfeed. The question here is: Why did I have to find this information myself? Why isn't our pediatrician using the WHO chart, which has been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2010!? Ack! I seriously don't think she's stupid, but I think that SO MANY babies are formula-fed (especially among the population she sees, sadly) that she rarely (if ever) has had this issue among her patients and is just so used to the CDC chart. There's part of me that's afraid that I've somehow calculated this all wrong, so I'm going to do some double-checking before I show this to her. I WILL also say that I've tried so many times to plug his numbers into those "calculators" online, but I can't find one for the WHO chart, only the CDC!

Anyway, we'll take him to his weight check to the same doctor, but we will definitely be going somewhere else for his 12 month check-up, regardless of how this visit goes. I just really, really, really hope we get into the practice that everyone raves about! The buddy deserves fantastic care!

WHO Growth Charts
More on difference in growth between breastmilk-fed and formula-fed babies

Thanks again for all the support! Also, turns out the buddy LOVES cheese! And tonight I'm going to make him liver and avocados! Think our method of feeding our baby is crazy? So would I before I did some research. Here's a snippet of good information and I'll include more later, JUST in case you're dying for lots of reading on feeding babies. And mostly to prove to you that I'm not crazy... hehe. :-)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Blech.. Not really a 9 month update

I don't feel like writing an official 9 month update. Thursday was the buddy's 9-month check-up and the Doctor freaked me out. He's always been a little guy, but his weight was below his regular growth curve and not only was I very disappointed in his slow growth, but the Doctor seemed more concerned than I ever would have anticipated. :/

She mentioned "failure to thrive" and said they recently admitted a baby to the hospital that was too far below his growth curve and they didn't want to do that with the buddy.. Also, she asked me A BUNCH of questions that implied that I wasn't doing what's best for him. Questions asked with a twinge of judgement. (I'm sure you know what I mean.) My response = WHAT?! I hang out with this baby every day and if there's ONE thing he's doing, it's thriving. However, when a doctor says that to you it pretty much sounds like this-

"You're failing him. What are you doing wrong?"

So, I've spent a lot of time crying the past 36 hours. I know it sounds over-dramatic. But, the doctor didn't say things like, "well, he's hitting all his developmental benchmarks and he looks healthy and strong, but let's try to get more calories into him." It was more like, "I think you need to add cereal to his nighttime bottle because he needs calories of any kind" and "what are you feeding him and when?" and "oh my goodness! you've offered him water! You need to put cereal in all his meals!"

Ick. I don't know if I've shared much about our views on nutrition, but I'm definitely not interested in putting cereal in the buddy's nighttime bottle. We've actually been avoiding grains during this first year as we believe that fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy are more nutrient dense and we don't want to feed the buddy empty calories. I'm pretty sure I mentioned that we're trying to follow the Weston A Price model. http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/nourishing-a-growing-baby

Sadly though, the buddy vomits when having eggs, which is pretty much their staple first food. :/ So, he's been missing out on those protein and fat-filled calories for the better part of 4 months. And I DO feel very, very guilty about not replacing those calories with other high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods, like avocado, pasteurized butter, broths and varied meats (including liver- a HUGE Weston A Price staple). I was in the process of adding these things in slowly to his diet, but hadn't been moving fast enough. A big part of this problem is the fact that I'm a working mom and also I haven't had the motivation to make much baby food for him yet. :/

But, I'm sure motivated now! We tried to add oatmeal into his fruit this morning, but he wouldn't take it AT ALL. This led to a crying mommy AND baby at the high chair. Not such a good start to adding calories. :/ And he usually eats his breakfast fruits and yogurt very, very well. :-( This led me to ask others in my life and even calling the pediatrician back for more specific advice. Sadly to say most of the advice just sounded wrong in my "mommy gut." Not that I'm always right, but when you do a lot of research on something and feel it's the best for your baby shouldn't you stick to it? It's that what our "mommy gut" is for?

Anyway, we've been seriously motivated to find a new family doctor & pediatrician. Someone who is more natural that the one we're currently seeing and who has a different perspective on health that what the FDA proposes (I've felt icky about the FDA since my health minor in college). And who recommends natural supplementation (like Cod Liver Oil) over prescriptions, especially for babies. And who will explain vaccines to us better and will listen to our concerns about giving the buddy the full vaccine panel. Can't I please have a pediatrician like that!?

Unfortunately, we currently have the worst health insurance ever (seriously, the worst) and so we've been taking the buddy to the sliding scale doctor's office in town, but we've decided we just can't do that anymore. Even if we have to pay out of pocket for doctor's visits, his vaccines, etc. we want to go somewhere we are heard and respected and not belittled. I seriously do A LOT of research on what we believe is best for our son and I want to be listened to and to be giving suggestions that I feel comfortable with and not treated like an idiot (even if I'm wrong, I'd like to think I'm not dumb).

Unfortunately, we found the perfectly, highly-rated and highly-recommended family practice and they aren't accepting new patients. :-/ So, I will call them every month until they ARE taking new clients or at least until they are tired of me calling. :-) Someone told me she got in by begging, but I'm not so good at that. I wonder if I could get in by crying? ;-)

We go back for another weight check in 2 weeks. Until then we DO have a plan. One that I feel good about. If it doesn't work and he doesn't gain weight, then I will (maybe) give in and do what the Dr. tells me to do. I just can't reconcile my mind to give my baby empty calories instead of nutrient-dense ones. So, for 2 weeks the buddy will be getting lots of butter, cheese, avocados (if he will take them, he hasn't loved them yet), coconut oil, baby food with the highest calories, liver, and we'll keep trying with the cereal at mealtime to see if he will take it.

You may agree or disagree with me. It's ok. You can let me know in the comments too. With Dave and my own food I pay close attention to the ingredients, and NOT the calories. We also judge our health by how comfortable and confident we feel, NOT by the scale. So, I really, really want to instill that in the buddy as well. I don't want meal time to be stressful for him (or us) and I don't want him to feel pressure that he HAS to eat. I want him to enjoy food and eating. So, I really want that to be the main goal, not getting him onto a particular curve with other babies that are given mostly formula. :/ Can that be the goal? Can I find a Doctor for whom that's the goal? Sigh...

I read this on a blog about pretty much the same thing yesterday, so I will quote her. "If you need us, [the buddy] and I will be drowning our anxieties in yogurt and cheese."

Inspiring Blog Award

I'm a bit behind to report that Jenn over at "That's a Jenn Story" nominated me for the "Very Inspiring Blogger" award! I'm super honored! Especially since she's a serious blogger and writer. I told Dave that she must have felt bad for me, but he told me that my blog IS inspiring! Aww... what a sweet guy.  Anyway, if you don't follow Jenn's blog, you should! Her blog is not only inspiring, but thought provoking and even often funny. :-)

In order to accept my award I have to post this image, tell you 7 random things about myself and nominate 15 other people! Now, I read a LOT of inspiring blogs (mostly about adoption, which I imagine doesn't surprise you), but as far as I know most of these bloggers don't follow me back, SO if you secretly (ie: you never comment) follow this blog and don't get the award, it's likely because I thought you'd never realize you got the award in the first place.

Here are my 7 random things.

1. I brew my own Kombucha. This is a recent hobby and it's so fun! I should share my recipe and show some pictures in the near future.

2. I still enjoy taking ballet class, but I don't go nearly as often as before the buddy came along.

3. I ran a half-marathon about 4 years ago. When I recently went out for a 1.5 mile run I was unbelievably winded and exhausted. :-( It's a goal of this year to get back into shape and running (at least somewhat) regularly.

4. I use parenthetical phrases WAY too much while writing on my blog. (But, you probably already knew that because you read this blog... hehe... notice how I did it again.)

5.  Dave and I are pretty obsessed with watching tv series all the way through on Netflix. We just started The West Wing and just a handful of episodes in and we're addicted!

6. We are members of our Episcopal Church. I was baptized Catholic as an infant, attended a Lutheran church until 2nd grade, then went to a Baptist church from 3rd Grade-high school. AND I went to a pretty charismatic church for one year in high school. So, I think I am familiar with quite a few denominations of Christianity. :-)

7. In the spring of my high school year I found out I was a finalist for the Presidential Scholarship at one of my top colleges. During the interview that weekend the final question they asked me was, "Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you?". I answered with, "I like to think I'm funny." I'm pretty sure that answer is what got me the scholarship. :-)

And now for the 15 bloggers I nominate for the "Inspiring Blogger Award!" Although some of these ladies are going through tough, tough stuff, I am still inspired by their strength and courage. So, in whatever capacity, you ladies and your writing inspires me! :-) (And I won't be offended if you don't post anything to your blog that I nominated you for an award. I promise.) :-)

1. Jill at "Adding a Burden: Our Journey to Adoption (& Parenting) Joy"

2. Hannah at "Everything Sunny Always"

3. Kimmie at "Fresh Entity."

4. Suzy at "I Am Simply Suzy."

5. Ducky at "I'm Just Ducky, Thanks!"

6. Becky at "Lessons from an Infertile Social Worker"

7. April at "Ours to Love"

8. C.N. at "Team Harries Beats Infertility" - I just found this blog!

9. Jessa at "The Anderson Way of Life"

10. Leslie at "The Journey Through Life" 

11. Jennifer at "The Wayman Family Nest"

12. BabyBlueSunday at "Trisomy 18 Loss"

13. Rachel & Aaron at "Kellys in Guatemala"

14. Wynne at "Elder Adventures"

15. Laurie at "Adoption Creates Families"

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

So, today is Valentine's Day. I actually don't care much about this holiday. As a teen I don't think I ever had a "boy-friend" on this day, so I guess I got bitter about it pretty young. ;-)But really, Dave and I just consider it a Hallmark Holiday, so we don't put a lot of stock into it. ALTHOUGH, the first year we were married Dave surprised me with an amazingly delicious salmon dish for dinner, so I will always remember that day AND that salmon. :-)

Dave works tonight and we trade off childcare duties at the Doctor today (his 9-month visit) right after school, so there's not time for anything "lovey-dovey" like a fancy dinner or anything. We have tickets to the ballet on Saturday (wahoo!), so I guess you could consider that our Valentine's Day date. :-)

To prove how little I thought about Valentine's Day, I totally forgot that I could have worn jeans to work today if I wore a red or pink shirt! Aack! How could I have missed the opportunity to wear jeans!? I am wearing blue pants, a brown sweater and a yellow scarf. How totally unromantic. :/ I feel like Scrooge or something! Ha!

And mostly, today I want to acknowledge all of you that are missing someone on this Valentine's Day. Whether you have lost a loved one, or are waiting for the day you have a spouse or a child, my thoughts and prayers are with you today. Even though you are likely surrounded by love from others, days like today are always a fresh reminder or loss. And even though tv or culture doesn't mention that, I will! You are loved and special even if something or someone is missing for you and I hope that that void will be filled very soon.

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day (I guess). Instead of spending gobs of money on flowers or chocolate today I hope you consider donating to a wonderful charity. In my opinion that would be a better use of money. :-)

9-month Update on the Buddy coming soon! I can hardly believe it! :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Get out the Kleenax!

Whoops! Sorry this didn't work earlier! Note to self- check scheduled posts for accuracy when posted. :) What a beautiful video and organization! Check out their website at http://www.theagapeproject.net/.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We love Saturdays!!

I guess most people love Saturdays, but they are more of a newly discovered love for us. Actually, up until about 2 years ago Dave always worked on Saturdays. :/ So, they weren't "together days." And then, more recently Dave has had band practice, I have had ballet or something else has been on the calendar.

But, this weekend we had a Saturday TOGETHER (the three of us) without anything on to do! Woo! This is SUCH a rarity we had a wonderful, fun day.
It started miraculously, with the buddy sleeping until 7:15 and there being a beautiful snowfall! Having a lazy day is glorious. :-)



The day started with some piano playing.

Then we checked out the snow (from inside).

Story Time! Daddy does such funny animal voices!




The buddy also wanted to help daddy with his studying. :)