Q&A {Part 2}

Have you and your husband considered embryo adoption? My friend’s 3 year old is from embryo adoption, and I think it’s one of the greatest testimonies that life begin at conception. http://www.bethany.org/main/embryo-services

When we began discussing a second child, we looked at all our options, and we did briefly discuss embryo adoption.

I agree with you that embryo adoption is a beautiful testimony that life truly begins at conception! I know several of my readers have children via embryo adoption. One reader’s daughter was born a whole decade after she was conceived.

At the same time, (and this is just my opinion) I also feel like some RE’s are too eager to “make babies” that end up frozen forever. This is why a lot of people set a limit to the number of eggs they will give the chance to be fertilized – because they do not want to end up with frozen embryos. If you plan to give all those embryos a chance at life, then that is great. But having frozen embryos and not desiring to have anymore children is a dilemma I never wanted to find myself in!

For Dave and me, we just felt that God was calling us to adopt a baby who is already going to for sure be born and whose mother is in a crisis situation and needs a couple to step up and parent their child, taking their baby on as their own flesh and blood.

This does not mean I do not agree with embryo adoption. I can think of two readers who have children via embryo adoption and both of their stories are just beautiful. You cannot put God in a box. If you hear their stories, it is very clear that God lead them to embryo adoption, which brought them their precious children.

 

Did you use pacifiers with either of your girls? Why or why not? If you did, when and how did you get them to stop taking them (or, if they are still using them, what’s your plan for getting them to stop)?

Both of my girls used a pacifier. Some newborns have a strong need to suck and methadone babies typically have a very strong sucking reflex!

My strategy for pacifier use was to use it strategically. Just to calm a frantic baby down, or just to help a baby be soothed to sleep, or to help with screaming in the car seat, or to hold off an early morning feeding. I never wanted to give my babies a pacifier just because. I never wanted my babies to suck on a paci for no reason other than to just suck on something!

This worked beautifully for my babies and me! I never had a baby hooked on a paci to the point we had to cut off the tip or do something drastic to get them off it once they started talking.

I used the hospital brand paci with both girls and my pedi told me those are the best kind because they are made for the newborn mouth and harder to suck and keep in the mouth without them falling out, making them harder to suck the older baby gets.

Little Bug would sometimes use her paci when going to sleep at night, but once it fell out she never cried for it to be put back in her mouth (or else we would have nipped that in the bud eventually)! I can remember a phase of giving her the paci for car rides. It was the only way to have some peace as we drove! I would also use it a lot to keep her quiet in church before I started putting her in the nursery. Around 6-7 months, Little Bug lost interest in the paci, she was a happy car rider and she didn’t need the paci to go to sleep at night anymore and because the reasons I had used the paci with her were no longer needed, she no longer “needed” her paci.

Sweet Pea did have to have her paci to fall asleep basically from birth to about eight months. Then I guess you could say I lucked out on her because she basically gave up the paci on her own and started sucking her thumb instead. When we stopped swaddling her at 8 months, she started sucking her thumb to get to sleep and that was the end of the paci for her.

Best advice I have on paci use is to use it for specific reasons. If your baby is happily playing on the floor with a toy, don’t pop a paci in their mouth just because babies use pacifiers! You are setting up your baby to get hooked on it. There are specific uses for a pacifier (I listed some above). Stick to those uses and a baby is less likely to get hooked on the paci.

 

I see that you are going to homeschool your girls. I wonder what your opinion on homeschooling only children is? Also, do you have any recommendations for year 1 curriculum or can you recommend any blogs/websites that can give advice in this area?

Yes, I am going to homeschool my girls!! It is something I have looked forward to for years and I can hardly believe Little Bug is nearly at school-age!

I firmly believe that homeschool is a very positive education option for any child, whether they are one of many children or an only-child. Socialization is always a huge concern when homeschool is brought up and I assume that is why you asked about my opinion about the only child being homeschooled.

I am not worried one bit about my girls being “socialized”. School is not the only place a child learns social skills! They can learn them wherever they go with me throughout the day: the store, the park, Daddy’s office, Grandparent’s houses, play dates, the library, etc. In fact, I find it humorous that people think kids need to go to school to be socialized! Where else in society do we throw a bunch of people the exact same age for 7 hours of day? We don’t! When my girls get their first job, they will deal with people who are their same age all the way to decades older than them! School is the only place we group people by age.

There are so many homeschool groups that you can join these days. These groups are made of other homeschool families and they get together for field trips, play dates and schooling. You all know my Little Bug is a Social Butterfly and I am not even worried about her feeling “secluded” because I know we will join a group and have plenty of opportunities for her to make friends and be social as she loves to be.

I could (and one day probably will) write an entire post on homeschool. My reasons for choosing homeschool as the way our girls will be educated are numerous but the two basic reasons right now are: 1) Our personal convictions about parenting and how we believe God desires for us (as in Dave and me) to raise our children and 2) because the public schools here are (for the most part, I know there are some good schools and teachers out there around here – some of my best friends are those teachers Smile) horrible. There are many more layers as to why we desire to homeschool our children. I will get into those on the homeschool post.

I have asked Rebecca to write a guest post on my blog to answer your question about curriculum and good homeschool websites/blogs. She is a year ahead of me in homeschooling as she started homeschooling her son, Micah, this year! (He is technically in PK4, but they are already working on some Kindergarten and 1st grade curriculum.) Rebecca spent a lot of time this past summer researching curriculum and homeschooling!

I will post her guest post in the future. (Probably after Thanksgiving)

Q&A {Part 1}

I know from your story that you did have problems and treatments for infertility, which can be, as I know, very expensive. Did you have insurance coverage for this? Also, then you went right into adoption, twice, which also is quite expensive. Were you financially prepared for this after spending money on infertility (if you didn’t have insurance). Had you saved or were you able to borrow money?

No, we did not have insurance coverage for our infertility treatments. We did not do any treatment without first seeking the Lord and it was amazing to see Him provide the funds as we went through each cycle (4 IUIs, one of which was cancelled and one IVF cycle, which was also cancelled and converted to an IUI). We also were given a grant for our IVF cycle which we ended up not using since the cycle was cancelled prior to retrieval.

I’m not going to get into specifics concerning how our adoptions were funded but I will just say simply that we were able to pay for our adoptions through our own savings and through some generous gifts we received.

I think the most valuable information I can give from this question is that if God is opening your heart to adoption do not let money stand in your way.

God will provide in ways that will blow your mind. I think every one who has adopted has a story to tell about how God provided financially for the adoption, because if God has called you to adoption, He is going to open all doors necessary to bring the child He has for you home!

 

  With adoption I think one of my biggest concerns would be the lack of family medical history information. Do birth mothers give that information at adoption, or is it just an unknown? I have two daughters with medical issues that have genetic links, so we knew what to watch for. I would think that would be a difficult part of parenting to not have that information. Is it something that you worry about, or do you find peace that God will provide the information if necessary?

Lack of medical history is unsettling at times. We do have some brief medical history on both girls but there are things I do wonder about. It’s just one of those things I can’t worry about though. It is what it is and the information we have is the information we have.

I guess it is comforting to know if anything serious comes up and I needed to speak to either birth mother about something, I do believe I could make contact with either one of them one via our adoption agency.

It seems Little Bug suffers with allergies somewhat and I would love to know if there is a history of allergies in her blood line!

 

Were you ever concerned about SP not hitting milestones right on time like rolling over/ crawling? I have a 8 month old who isn’t crawling yet. I know all babies develop differently so I try not to get concerned but I still am not crazy about him being a little slower to get it started.

I think the natural tendency is for us mothers to worry if our baby isn’t rolling over by 3-4 months, sitting by 6 months, crawling by 8 months and walking by their first birthday because this is when it happens for the average baby!

Little Bug fell into that category, hitting all those milestones at about the average time for most babies. Sweet Pea hit these milestones waaaaay later than “average” and I did not worry because all babies do develop at their own pace.

Sweet Pea’s doctor did say at her 9 month well-check up that if she didn’t roll and “get herself on the move” by her 12 month check up that could be cause for concern, but around 11 months Sweet Pea became mobile with her little “frog crawl” that she did for about two weeks before she officially was crawling.

Like Beth said (on my post when I first opened up the Q&As), I don’t even think crawling is a real milestone – it is more about baby being able to move themselves from point A to point B!

Sweet Pea is nearly 15 months old now and I wouldn’t consider her a walker yet! And again, I am not concerned. She is getting there – in her own time!

Q&A Time!

It’s been about a year since my first Q&A on the blog and I figured it’s about time for another one!

So…if you’ve been wanting to ask me something, now’s your chance!

I am pretty much an open book when it comes to infertility, adoption & parenting, so don’t hesitate to ask me just about anything (within reason, of course).

If you haven’t “liked” God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility click on the facebook icon to the right and join!

Many of my readers have come out of hiding and made themselves known via this facebook page and it’s been fun getting to see a name behind all the hits this blog gets.

If you are still hiding out there, don’t be shy! Go like GFTI!

I will take questions here or on Facebook through Friday of this week.

Ask away and be looking for my answers later this month!

Q&A: attachment, miracle blanket, adoption emotions, bouncy seat

January 2012 my husband and I will start being a Place of Safety for abandoned babies. We will take care of 1 or 2 babies at a time. They will be with us until they are adopted or placed in a foster family. The period each baby will be staying with us is around 6 months.

I am wondering about attachment. Since it is only a 6 month period the children will be with us, should we do everything to help the baby attach to us, or should we stay a bit more ‘distant’? In other words, is the ability to attach something a baby learns and once he knows how to do it he will attach more easily to his forever parents, or should he only learn to really attach to his forever parents and not to us?

A fact that makes it even more difficult, is that we hope to be able to adopt one or more of the babies who will come to our Place of Safety. But when the baby arrives at our house, we will have no idea if this child will go to foster care or be adopted or go back to his parents. So how serious do we have to take attachment? Are there other things you can think of we should do or not do during the months the babies will be with us, not knowing if it is forever or not?

Since I do not have any experience with foster care, I asked the adoption forum I am a part of to answer this question for me! Here are their responses:

* They should absolutely do everything they can to promote attachment. A healthy attachment with the foster parents will give the child a better chance at attaching to the next parents, foster or adoptive or biological. They should love the child like their own and treat that child like their own. That’s what makes a good foster parent.
If they want some good foster blogs I’ve found a few and I’d be happy to share some links.

* She’s going to get attached the minute she sees them. It’s a natural thing for someone who loves kids. Absolutely she needs to attach and let them attach. If there’s no attachment in infancy it can set the child up for major issues down the road.

* The absolute worse thing they can do is NOT attach to that baby. Attachment issues come from NOT attaching as infants/toddlers. A baby who has learned to attach and trust will be able to make new attachments easier. Now, this doesn’t mean that an attached child who is then moved 6-10 times during his/her young life will not end up totally messed up, but really, a child who never formed an attachment at birth, well, their chances of healing are very low. S had attachment "issues" because her bio family liked girls. J, who came from the same family, had RAD because they "didn’t attach to boys". You really can’t bring them into your home and care for them daily without attaching to them!

* Yes, they must attach! It is in the best interest of the babies! The baby will have learned to bond & attach to the next parent. My son attached to me much easier having a loving foster home first. Yes there will be a new adjustment period with other parents, but the babies will know a loving touch & bond that much easier to the next living situation.

 

I bought a few Miracle Blankets, just because you spoke so positively about them. However, since summers in South Africa can be really hot, I’m wondering if the blanket would not be too hot in summer.

I live in a very hot part of the world, too. Little Bug was born at the end of May and Sweet Pea at the beginning of August, so both of them were in their “swaddle phase” during the hottest part of the year for us.

While being hot was a concern for me, leaving the babies in just a diaper was the perfect solution for them to not get hot while swaddled in the Miracle Blanket. The Miracle Blanket is also made so you can put the baby’s feet in the swaddle or you can choose to leave baby’s legs and feet exposed.

Worked like a charm and is the reason I really have no need for newborn sized clothes! My babies literally live in a diaper and their Miracle Blankets. I only dress them if we are leaving the house. We have started to have some cooler days, and on days when it is cooler I just put Sweet Pea in a onesie with the Miracle Blanket.

 

I know God has a plan. I know He knows how and when our family will grow. I have zero doubt.

I don’t have any desire to be pregnant.

Yet… I am struggling with living in the “in between.” Again…total faith. But we will have to jump through hoops, have another home study (aka extreme personal invasion) and come up with a large sum of money. Each time we want another child.

How do you (did you) deal with the overwhelming sadness that is the reality of family building through adoption? It is so hard and invasive and expensive. And again…no doubting of God, here, just sad it has to be so hard. Did it ever get to you? I found myself crying at babies r us on Sunday because it won’t be “easy” for us to have another baby. What did you tell yourself in those moments?

I guess instead of being overcome with overwhelming sadness, I see it as an opportunity for God to do miracles!

That being said, I have had moments when I wish I didn’t have to deal with the things I have to deal with when going through the adoption process. It is not easy, but in a way only God can do, He has orchestrated the events that brought me both my daughters by performing miracle after miracle. That is exciting!!

When we started the process for a second adoption I can remember thinking, “Ok, God, here we go. This is yours.” This time around I really felt like I was a spectator and that all I needed to do was sit back and watch what God was about to do. That really took off a lot of the stress I experienced with Little Bug’s adoption.

I think choosing to accept that these are the things we have to go through when we adopt helps tremendously. While I dislike the fact a social worker has to come to my home and approve us to be parents and I don’t like the fact that my babies grew in a hostile environment and I would love to skip the whole not-knowing-if-this-baby-is-really-mine-until-48-hours-after-birth, these are all things I have just learned to accept.

Acceptance that this is just the way it is goes a long way.

 

I would like to know the brand name of the bouncy seat you are using in this post. I love the turtles and haven’t seen any like that before.

It is a Fisher Price Hoppy Days bouncer! Click here to find it on ebay.

Q&A: withdrawals, sling, friends, birth story

Sweet Pea is looking much happier in the photos lately – is she showing a lot of reduced signs of withdrawal/pain?

We have certainly learned how to manage her pain. When her tummy pain is at its worst, she likes to be swaddled and held upright on my chest. I pat her back and give her the paci, if she wants it. I hold her very tight against my body and that position helps eventually bring her relief, except on horrible days. On horrible days she just continues to squirm and be restless all day long.

I realized something pretty amazing the other day. Sweet Pea rarely cries. Even on her really bad days, she rarely cries. She would certainly cry if I left her just siting on her own somewhere, but obviously, I don’t do that because holding her tight against me brings her comfort. She wriggles and squirms in discomfort, but it is amazing to me that she rarely cries, even when her pain is at its worst. I attribute this to having her on a schedule. Sweet Pea has order and stability in her life, even through all the craziness of her tummy troubles, and I am confident that has made a world of difference for her when her tummy is hurting her.

And yes, she does look so much better than she did after coming home from the hospital. She does not have the furrowed brow anymore and she smiles every day. However, she still does deal with tummy troubles on a daily basis and will, most likely, for a while still until her body has had time to grow, mature and heal from the drug exposure.

We have an appointment with the GI specialist this week. My pedi didn’t feel like it was essential that I take Sweet Pea but I can’t not go. I don’t know if there is anything groundbreaking that he will be able to do for Sweet Pea, but I have the opportunity to take her to the specialist and I am not going to pass it up. Maybe there is something he knows that my pedi just isn’t aware of because she isn’t a GI specialist. He is a specialist for a reason! Once again, I have to know I’ve done everything in my power to help bring Sweet Pea comfort through all this.

I love that sling! How easy is it to put on and use? How did you get the sling to work? Have you tried other baby carriers?

The ring sling is fairly easy to put on and use. Once you do it a few times, you just get the hang of it.

I put the sling on over my head first. Then I make sure the rings are at my shoulders. Then I make a little “cocoon pocket” for Sweet Pea to slip into by making sure some fabric is against my stomach (on the inside).

DSCN1765

Then I pick Sweet Pea up, lay her on my chest in the position I want her to be in while in the sling. Then I slip her into the sling.

Once she is in, I pull on the fabric coming out of the ring to tighten her against my body.

I really do love this sling. It is perfect for holding Sweet Pea in her “comfort position” when I need to be hands-free to take care of Little Bug.

Since I have never tried to put a baby in a ring sling with their feet/legs hanging out, I really can’t answer that question!

I have one other sling that I used with Little Bug once she was a little older and had more head control. It is an Infantino carrier.

DSCN1818

I really did not use a sling much with Little Bug because she just wasn’t a sling baby. I do remember using this carrier several times at the sink when I was trying to clean the kitchen/wash bottles and Little Bug was wanting to be held. She enjoyed watching me wash dishes from her view in the carrier.

Those are the only slings/carriers I have experience with.

 

How do you meet other mom friends? I am a SAHM and it’s so hard to find other moms to meet up with!

I have lived in this city since I was under 2 years old, so I have many local friends, even from elementary school! God has blessed me with an abundance of close friends that I have known since elementary/high school. Friends that are forever friends and aren’t going anywhere even if they were to move cross-country. We will always be friends.

Church! We are a part of a small group at church, made of several couples in our same age group who are in the same stage of life as we are.

If you are a church-goer and your church offers small groups where you can connect with other members of the church, I strongly urge you to find a group you can connect with and start going to a small group! It took a while for us to find a group that we connected with, but it was worth every bit of effort it took to finally find this group of people who are now like family to us.

Neighborhood! Don’t be afraid to talk to your neighbors! This day and age is so strange when it comes to neighbors! For 3 years, I lived right next door to a woman I consider a good friend now. When we lived next door to each other, we did the usual neighborly “Hi, how are you?” and that was basically it. They moved and we became friends on Facebook and talked more through Facebook than we ever did in person when we lived right next door to each other! She is expecting now and oh how I wish we still were neighbors and could go on walks together with our babies in their Britax B-Ready strollers! (She is the one who told me about the stroller!)

So my point is…if you see a SAHM always out in the neighborhood, go up and make friends! The neighbor to our left is a SAHM with her two young children. Little Bug LOVES the little girl who lives there. If she is out playing, Little Bug wants to go play with her. We often let our kids play together while we talk and enjoy some adult interaction!

 

What exactly is her birth story?

I was not present for Sweet Pea’s birth because of certain circumstances I can’t go into now.

The way I understand it, Sweet Pea was born at 7:55am via c-section and her birth mother saw her for about five minutes. Because of the rH factor, Sweet Pea was whisked away soon after her birth so the aggressive treatment for this condition could begin immediately.

Sweet Pea was born at one hospital and then was transferred to another hospital about four hours after her birth.

Once at the second hospital she was treated for the rH factor with triple phototherapy lights and a blood transfusion a few days after her birth.

We met Sweet Pea on August 4th – two days after her birth. She was about 1.5 hours away from our home town. When the lawyer text me saying the TPR had been signed, we jumped in the car to go meet our baby girl.

While I was not there for Sweet Pea’s birth, I was given an equally amazing gift: The very first time I ever laid eyes on Sweet Pea, she was completely mine.

It’s a moment I will never forget – just like those precious moments after Little Bug’s birth as I stood right there in the delivery room as she made her grade entrance into this world.

Q&A: Independent Playtime, uninterrupted sleep

My question for you is about independent at time. My almost 2.5 yr old and almost 1 yr old seem incapable of playing independently. How do you start it? What were your techniques? What rules did you instill? How should I go about doing for a 1 yr old and. 2.5 year old? How should I do it different for each of them?

At just over a year old, Little Bug was incapable of playing independently, too and this was when I knew I needed to help her learn this valuable skill.

I started Independent Playtime with Little Bug at the age of 14 months. I put her in her room with several toys laid out on the floor for her to play with, put the gate up on her bedroom door, set the timer for only 5 minutes and told her, “Have fun playing in your room with your toys!! Mommy will be back when the timer goes off!”

She cried the entire 5 minutes the first time. You just have to stick with it and be consistent.

Here are my top 5 tips for successful Independent Playtime.

1. The timer is KEY! Set the timer and say you will be back when the timer goes off and then come back as soon as that timer beeps! Eventually she will learn that it is not her crying that brings Mama back, it is the timer going off.

2. Each day I would increase the timer by 2 minutes. We slowly but surely worked our way up to 30 minutes. Then, once she did 30 minutes well we extended to 45 minutes and then 60 minutes. (Here is a link for the appropriate IP times by age.)

3. Rotate the toys that the baby/child plays with to keep things interesting. I rotate toys about every other month.

4. Stick with it and be consistent. It is hard work to get your baby/child doing IP when you start implementing it during the toddler years. But, if you stick with it, your children will learn that it is a fun time!

5. Pick a time of day to do IP that you know you will be home. This was it can be a consistent part of your baby/child’s routine. We do IP right after breakfast for one hour.

Your 2.5 year old can do IP in his/her bedroom. Your one year old, depending on maturity level, might would benefit doing IP in the playpen (pac n play) for a few months until he/she is older. If you feel he/she is ready for IP in the bedroom, then start there. I think Babywise recommends using the playpen for IP until somewhere between 18-24 months when you transition them to Independent Playtime in their bedroom.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without IP, especially since Sweet Pea’s birth! IP allows our mornings to just run smoother in every way possible. While Little Bug is doing IP, I have one hour to: get dressed, spend time with the Lord, get Sweet Pea to sleep for a nap and, on certain days, I use half that time to do some household chores around the house (although since Sweet Pea’s birth I haven’t actually been able to get back to doing chores during IP). IP just helps us start our mornings right! It is amazing what I can get done in just one hour’s time when my little one is doing her Independent Playtime.

Babywise Mom wrote about the developmental benefits of having your baby/child do Independent Playtime here.

To see an index of all her “Independent Playtime” blog posts, click here.

 

When following Babywise, what do you do if the baby wakes up before the normal 2.5 to 3 hour feeding time in the middle of the night. When my little guy was a newborn, and all the way up to about 16 weeks, he would wake up every 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. I finally just let him cry and that worked but I was wondering what BW would say? Go in? Rock? Feed?

Babywise would suggest sleep training for a situation like this once you are 100% sure that baby is not waking from hunger, dirty diaper, cold, hot, pain, etc. If you are 100% confident that baby is waking out of habit and just needs to learn to put himself to sleep and stay asleep, sleep training is the answer! (Again, not for everyone. You have to be comfortable with letting baby cry.)

I reached this point with Little Bug. She was 15 weeks old and she would wake after 40ish minutes of napping. She needed to learn to fall asleep and stay asleep. A baby’s transitions from deep to light sleep every 30-45ish minutes and many babies will wake at this point of sleep instead of transitioning themselves to deep sleep. Because of everything I read about how important uninterrupted sleep is to a baby, I desired to give my child that gift.

One day, at 3 months old, I laid Little Bug down for a nap and sure enough, like clockwork she was awake (but not ready to be awake) at the 45 minute mark. I let her cry it out. For an hour. The longest hour of my parenting career! Smile But, you know what? Each nap from then on out the crying decreased dramatically. Within a week (yes, just one week), she was taking uninterrupted naps of 1.5 to 2 hours in length. That week of crying was so worth my daughter learning the skill of putting herself to sleep and staying asleep. I have created healthy sleeping habits in my daughter that she will carry with her as she continues to grow and develop.

And think about it this way. Do you feel your best when you go to bed only to be woken up by the dog puking 3 hours after you have fallen asleep and then the baby needing to eat about 2 hours after you’ve cleaned up the puke? (Yes, that night recently happened for me. I was a tad groggy the next morning and dysfunctional.) Clearly, I am in a phase of life right now where I am getting very interrupted sleep and I don’t feel like I felt before Sweet Pea’s birth when sleep was uninterrupted! We all need sleep and when we are well rested we tend to cope with what life brings much better. This is simply my opinion, but I feel many parents underestimate the importance of sleep for their baby/children.

To you, I say “way to go” in giving your son the gift of sleep when he just needed his Mommy to teach him the skill of uninterrupted sleep!

Q&A: infertility treatments, bottles, schedules

I was wondering if it was a hard decision to go ahead with IUIs and IVF (a long time ago now). We are currently trying to figure out the best option for us, and I don’t really know how I would feel about things not being successful if we go for either route. It seems like a big money investment with no guarantee of success. But if it works, it would be worth it!

If you go back and read the posts surrounding our IUI cycles and our IVF cycle, you will read that with every cycle we allowed God to direct our path. I have been asked before if, looking back, I wish we had never even tried the IUIs and IVF.

My answer is always, That was just a chapter of the story God wanted to write. There was purpose in those cycles.

For some, the purpose of IUI and IVF cycles is pregnancy.

For me, it was not.

God used those cycles to teach me so many truths about Himself. He taught me that He had a plan and even when things were not going my way (negative cycle after negative cycle), He still had a plan AND it was better than anything I could imagine. I begged and pleaded with God to put a baby in my womb as we cycled.

His answer was always no.

God taught me that even though His answer was no, I still needed to trust HIM completely and SURRENDER my desires for His will.

God used those cycles to do a tremendous work in my life concerning my desire for a pregnancy.

After our IVF cycle that was a complete failure, God made it very clear to me that we were done with infertility treatments. It is hard to explain exactly how I knew but suffice it to say that in my heart I knew God was leading us to adoption, instead of giving IVF another try.

To me, there was always peace where God was leading – even if it was NOT where I wanted to go.

I certainly didn’t want to give up and not try IVF again, but there was not peace in my heart to give IVF another try. There was tremendous peace in filling out our adoption paperwork and gathering pictures and information for our family profile that potential birth mothers would look at. Sure there was a certain amount of fear and uncertainty wrapped around that peace, but there was peace that we were following God’s lead and it required a measure of faith to choose God’s path instead of our own.

I always tell anyone contemplating infertility treatments (or just in general anyone who is wondering what is next) to get still before the Lord and pray and ask Him to guide you. If you truly seek Him and surrender your own desires for His plan, He will make your path straight and you will know the way to go.

It very well may not be where YOU want to go, and that is where it gets tricky.

Had I gone my own way, I wouldn’t have Little Bug as my daughter and that is a scary thought to me now.

I would not want any chapter of my story to change – at all.

God is faithful and He will bring you through infertility as you seek Him and trust Him. Trust that He has a plan beyond your wildest dreams. When He makes it clear what you are to do, or not do, act upon that.

And then stand in amazement at what God does. It might not be right away that He starts making things happen. God had so many things He desired to teach me as I waited to become a mother. I wouldn’t want any of those days to be deleted from my journey.

Together each day, each week, each month and each year, brought me to where I am today.

The blessed mother of two precious little girls, Little Bug and Sweet Pea.

 

What type of bottles do you use? Did they both like the first type you tried? I bought the born free bottles and we are expecting our baby to come home October 14th through the miracle of adoption! We are nervous that maybe we should have other “brands” available. What is your experience?

I had registered for and received the Avent bottles for Little Bug. We brought her home and pulled the Avent bottles out and she would not feed from the Avent bottle! Since she had been in the NICU for a week and the NICU feeds with latex nipples, she would not take the silicone Avent bottle nipples.

Fortunately, someone else had given me the Playtex drop in bottles, which were up in Little Bug’s closet. I pulled those out and put the latex nipple on for her and she took right to them.

I had saved all the Playtex bottles for a second baby. I had all the Playtex bottles ready for Sweet Pea and we did use those at first but, because of her tummy issues, we have switched her to Dr. Brown’s bottles and all the Playtex bottles have been packed away.

I do recommend having more than one brand of bottle on hand, just from my own experiences. It won’t hurt to have another bottle on hand just incase the baby does not take to the Born Free bottles. And as a side note…the Born Free sippy cup is an excellent sippy to transition baby away from bottles after turning a year old! Little Bug took to them right away when I weaned her from the bottle at 14 months of age.

How exciting that you are awaiting the birth of this baby! I know that these last few week are also very nerve-wracking as you wait for that call that baby is here. May God’s peace carry you through the weeks ahead!

 

If you have any thoughts on getting an 11 week old on a loose schedule, I’d love to know! My son is breastfed so his eating patterns will probably look different from a formula-fed baby. The one thing I want to avoid is crying it out (no judgment — it’s just not for us.) I am trying to figure out how to gently encourage a loose routine.

I would start with establishing the eat/wake/sleep cycle. Have your son eat, then have some playtime and then, it is time for a nap. That cycle repeats itself all day long and is how a baby learns to distinguish from day and night.

I have NO experience breastfeeding, so I can only tell you what I know from the Babywise Mom’s blog. She has a 6 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old. All of her children are Babywise babies and all of them were breastfed until one year of age. Her pet peeve with those anti-Babywise that claim that Babywise creates babies who are eventually labeled “failure-to-thrive” is that the Babywise book clearly tells parents to feed baby when hungry no matter what. This means, if baby is hungry and it is not the scheduled feeding time yet, feed baby anyway! A hungry baby gets fed, plain and simple. So, in regards to you breastfeeding, according to Babywise Mom it is still possible to have a breastfed baby on a predicable feeding schedule where he/she will thrive and grow appropriately! Now, there are always exceptions to any rule and that is for you as Mommy to decide!

But here is the normal feeding schedule progression for a Babywise baby:

A baby typically begins eating every 2.5-3 hours. Then after week 5, some babies are ready to move to a 2.5-3.5 hour eating schedule. Babies gradually extend their feeding schedules to a combination 3 to 4 hour feeding schedule. Then, babies reach the 4-hour schedule, which is heavenly, by the way.

Each baby is different and progresses at different rates. Little Bug did not reach the 4-hour schedule until she was nearly 12 months old! One of my friends has a baby who is 5 months old and he has been on the 4-hour schedule since around 3-4 months old.

That is the beauty of Babywise (and a schedule/routine). You can follow the Babywise guidelines at the pace of your own baby, knowing eventually, your baby will meet the milestones if you stick with it and allow each day to be a work in progress toward your ultimate goal of uninterrupted nighttime sleep (10-12 hours) for both you and your baby, with predictable naptimes during the day (1-3 naps depending on baby’s age and sleep needs). I know that because of Sweet Pea’s tummy troubles she will most likely hit the sleeping through the night milestone late, and that is perfectly okay. (Although I will be one tired Mama when she does finally get there, but that is okay, too!)

So, in summary, work on establishing the eat/wake/sleep cycle in your son if that is not already in place. Decide what eating schedule would suit him the most and meet his nutritional needs. And then, decide on when you want his first feeding of the day to be. That way, naps and feeding times will be at around the same time everyday and become somewhat more predictable.

Starting his day at the same time is KEY to being able to establish a daily routine. This was a mistake I made with Little Bug. I wanted to develop a routine to where I would know what time she would eat and nap each day, but since she was waking anywhere from 6 to 8am, our days were all over the map and nothing was really consistent until I established a 7:30am wake time.

My guess would be a 3 to 3.5 hour feeding schedule would suit him well since he is 11 weeks old (I am just basing this on your son’s age) and that would mean he would eat, be awake for about an hour and a half (includes eating time) and then nap for approximately 1.5 hours. Look for sleepy cues to help you determine when he is ready for a nap.

There is a book out there called the No Cry Sleep Solution that might help you out with some sleep training methods that do not involve letting baby cry-it-out.

Another book you might enjoy is The Baby Whisperer.

Just start somewhere and know that it takes time to establish a routine. It won’t happen overnight and the routine you establish will constantly need to be adjusted as your son’s eating and sleeping habits change as he gets older!

Q&A: Stroller

I am very interested to know the details on how you worked out such a great price on your Britax B-ready stroller. I’ve been interested in that stroller also, but I didn’t want to pay so much for it. Please also keep us posted on how you like it once you start using it. I have a 20 month old and a 12 month old, so I’m curious to know how it works out.

Unfortunately, the deal we took advantage of is no longer active but here is how it worked:

Dave found a deal where you apply for the Chase/Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card and you get 50k points (which equates to $500 in Amazon Gift Cards) for that promotion.

Then, Amazon was running a deal on the Britax B-Ready strollers where you buy the stroller and get the second seat for FREE (there were actually several stroller accessories you could chose from). The second seat is about $115 on Amazon. Amazon had the cheapest price for the stroller. Amazon’s price is $398, whereas retail price for the stroller is $499.

All that combined, and we only paid $100 for the stroller, car seat adapter and the second seat.

These deals come up on www.slickdeals.net at least once a month. The 50k and even 75k deals are bound to come up again. Dave checks that site once a day because they also alert you to great deals on diapers and wipes whenever they come up. It also helps you gauge what you should really be paying for things.

This site is offering the Britax B-Ready stroller plus the second seat for FREE for $398.99 (regular price is $649.98)!! The silver and red strollers are still in stock as I am writing this. Act fast because it is showing some strollers out of stock already! (This is why I am posting this today instead of waiting until Monday!) There are also deals there where you buy the stroller and then get the car seat or bassinet for free.

.The Britax B-Ready stroller is a perfect fit for us!!

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We took the stroller to the Town Center on Sunday. I used it again when I took Little Bug to Tumbling Class this week.

Little Bug LOVES that seat. It is like she thinks that seat is special or something. First time she got in the stroller she did NOT want to get out!

I was a little afraid the view from down there would be blocked and she wouldn’t be able to see much, but she can see just fine.

The stroller is easy to open and the car seat adapter and second seat are very easy to attach to the stroller. (I have to take both off. It is too heavy to lift otherwise. They literally pop off and on, so it is not a big deal at all.)

I could fit the diaper bag and Little Bug’s backpack in the storage area and Little Bug still had plenty of room for her feet.

The diaper bag was easy to access when it was feeding time.

It was SO easy to push the stroller and the ride is so smooth.

I think I will use the set up you see in the picture above until Sweet Pea is ready to move out of the car seat while in the stroller. When that time comes I think Little Bug will get the top seat and Sweet Pea the lower seat (unless Big Sister doesn’t mind ridding down there still).

Great find!

Ask Me Anything

There have been lots of questions on the blog lately so I thought I would open this post up for you to Ask Me Anything.

I went back several posts and gathered some recent questions that have been asked…

How is Sweet Pea doing now?

How easy is it to use and put on the ring sling?

How exactly did you get that deal on the Britax B-ready stroller?

I will start with these. If you asked me something beyond a few posts ago, just ask again in this post and I will be sure to answer!

Don’t be shy…Ask Me Anything!!!

Answering Questions, Ask More if you wish

I’ve been asked several questions lately and thought I’d answer them in a post.

If you have a question you are just dying to ask me, feel free to ask. I really don’t mind answering any questions that I can.

Question 1: You were saying all you had to verify Tracy’s pregnancy was a document. What, if anything, did Tracy have to show/provide re: the pregnancy in order to have that document made?

The “pregnancy confirmation” is one of the first documents the agency receives from birth mothers to verify a pregnancy. The second document would be medical records, such as a prenatal doctor appointment and ultrasound that shows a viable pregnancy.

This “pregnancy confirmation” basically states that Tracy was given a pregnancy test and it was positive.

Thanks to my father’s wisdom, he insisted that we should not commit financially to this adoption until we had an ultrasound to prove a viable pregnancy.

This is why we pushed to get an ultrasound at the crisis center (instead of waiting for Tracy’s Medicaid to come through) and why we were able to learn the truth so much faster than we would have had we just waited for Tracy’s Medicaid coverage to be approved in order to have an ultrasound.

Question 2: How could Tracy get a pregnancy confirmation document if she wasn’t pregnant? Did the agency just give her one based on what she said?

There are two possible scenarios: 1) Tracy was actually pregnant at a time, but then miscarried. or 2) Tracy was never pregnant to begin with.

Truth is, we will probably never know.

My gut instinct is that she was pregnant to begin with, but miscarried. Maybe that is just me not wanting to believe that she scammed us from the start.

But the reality is that there is a possibility that maybe she wasn’t ever pregnant and somehow was able to fake a “pregnancy confirmation”. Dave told me there are ways she could have done this.

Again, who knows? We probably won’t ever know and I am totally fine with that. It is what it is.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that right now, Tracy is not pregnant. 

The “pregnancy confirmation” is not done by the agency.

Question 3: I have to wonder if she was trying to play this game even when y’all were getting together with Little Bug. 

My gut instinct on this is that if Tracy was pregnant and miscarried, I do believe she had already lost the baby before we went to the zoo.

And again, I am totally fine with that. She is the one that has to live with the fact that she deceived us.

I am forever grateful for that time we had together at the zoo. I never got a picture of Little Bug with her birth mother after her birth. I always regretted that. I am so thankful I have a picture of Little Bug with her birth mother now. I feel it is very important to have this for Little Bug when she starts asking questions about her adoption in the future.

Question 4: I don’t understand why they wouldn’t give her an ultrasound for those reasons? Wouldn’t they want to do one to check on things if she was supposedly having bleeding?

The Crisis Pregnancy Center’s policy is to not give an ultrasound to any woman who has had ectopic pregnancies in the past or who has had bleeding with the current pregnancy. The reason for this is because the center gives ultrasounds free of charge and they cannot have women coming in to get a free “check-up” on their baby to make sure things are okay if they have experienced bleeding.

The purpose of the Crisis Pregnancy Center is to help women make a good choice for their baby when they find themselves in a crisis situation.

When we learned that Tracy wouldn’t have an ultrasound by a medical provider for as long as a month and a half from now, we asked our lawyer if the Crisis Pregnancy Center would see Tracy so that she could have an ultrasound to verify that there was a heartbeat in there!

I thank God that the Crisis Pregnancy Center was willing to work with us so we could discover the truth long before we would have had we waited for Tracy’s Medicaid coverage to come through.

Tracy knew what she had to say to be denied an ultrasound with the crisis center and last Monday morning she expected to tell me they wouldn’t scan her and we’d leave with no ultrasound and she could keep playing her game until the Medicaid came through.

Little did she know, God had a plan of His own to help me get to the bottom of her deception that very day.

I praise God for His Protective Hand in all this.