Sunday, September 30, 2012

Not much to tell...

The baby is doing well.  B is going for her first appt to the new delivering OB in AR this week.  And N and I are down to the final two names to choose from.  More news as it comes in.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A whole lotta catchin' up to do...

A good bit has happened since I last I'll just jump into it.

I'll start with the sad news first.  I decided to stop trying to induce lactation.  It was making me crazy.  I just couldn't pump enough per day while working to produce more than barely a few drops per day.  I honestly don't know how anyone with a job can do it, but I'm sure it's possible.  Also, not being on my HRT was tough.  I hadn't had any estrogen in months and I was not feeling normal.  I had zero energy.  I was cranky.  For anyone who knows anything about HRT (and going off of it), you'll understand the other physical side effects too.  What put me over the edge was that I read an article online written by a woman talking about how struggling to breastfeed was causing her to not focus on her baby, but on herself and her failure.  It rang true with me, and made me realize that I wanted to enjoy these last few months with just me and my husband.  And then when the baby comes, I want it to just be about enjoying being with her.  For anyone else out there trying to induce lactation, I give you all serious props...and major respect!  When the baby comes, I think I'll look into a milkshare.  If anyone knows anything or has experience with that, leave me a note in the comments section.

Now for all the good news!  I feel GREAT being back on estrogen.  I feel like my NORMAL self again.  My energy level is returning back to normal.  I'm not on the verge of crying at work.  And it's only been less than a week back.  Yay!

As for the baby, we're now in the THIRD TRIMESTER!!!  I can't believe we've made it!!  As of today, we've got 79 days to go!  Woohoo!!

B sent us a baby bump pic on Monday to show us how big she is!!  So exciting that lil baby girl is in there hanging out just waiting to meet us!!!  B is doing great herself and doesn't have any issues right now.

Last bit of good news.  N got a new full-time job starting mid-October!!  We're super excited and will be feeling slightly less stressed about how expensive it is to raise a baby in NYC.  Now if only we could find a daycare...  The one we liked now doesn't have any openings until Sept 2013.  Only in New York.  :-\

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inducing Lactation Chronicles: Some things aren't in the instructions!

So it's day 14 of trying to induce lactation, and things are still VERY slow going.  This morning was the first morning I got drops that actually fell off into the breastpump (as opposed to clinging onto my nipple for dear life and then drying up).  Roughly I got 3 drops.  It's felt like blood, sweat and tears getting here though.  But for this morning, I feel victorious!

Earlier in the week I'd emailed back and forth with Lenore about what was possibly wrong and why I wasn't producing any milk.  She informed me that a) I was probably drinking too much water and to only drink when I was thirsty.  b) I was probably pumping too hard and not to put the breast pump higher than medium.  c) I was probably not pumping enough times per day.  The last one I knew b/c I've only managed 5-6 times per day vs. the required 8 in the protocol.  (I seriously don't know how women with full time jobs manage to do this.) But the other two, were never mentioned in the protocol she sent me originally.  In fact, it clearly states to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.  (Sometimes I wasn't even getting that!)  And as for the pumping, well...I assumed harder was better.  Give a girl some info on how to use that thing!  Lastly she suggested that I see a lactation consultant.

Later, this week N and I were excited to visit a pediatrician for a prenatal visit to check out whether or not we'd want to use her as our PCP.  One of the big reasons we were excited was because she was also a lactation consultant(!), and I was hoping for some big revelation.  Well, the revelation didn't come although the meeting was interesting in other ways that I'll get into later in the post.  The doc had no history with a woman trying to induce lactation, so she referred me to THE lactation counselor of Brooklyn.  I've had no less than four different people refer me to her, and so I decided it was time to give Freda a call.

We spoke yesterday and she gave me a couple of additional tidbits of info that Lenore did not.  First and foremost, she was a bit dubious that this was going to work well in my case.  The main reason being she said was that she doubted my milk ducts were developed enough b/c I'd never actually been pregnant (even with a miscarriage).  She confirmed that re-lactating is much easier, but trying to get milk from someone who's never been pregnant is truly hard.  (Yeah, I know!!!  But it was just nice hearing her confirm it.)  However, she still thought it was worth continuing on, and hopefully it would get better and more milk would come. Especially since I have almost 3 months before the baby comes.  She also confirmed to start with the pump on the lowest setting, and slowly turn the intensity of the pump up.  Medium she said was a good level, and if it ever started to hurt then it was too high.  (Now I know!!?!*$&#)  She agreed that the protocol and everything else I was doing was good, and said she wouldn't change anything.  She suggested I check back in in another month.

With all that info, I have a bit more peace.  I'm not failing.  It's just HARD!  And my body doesn't turn on it's milk ducts like a light switch.  So part of me still wants to stop, but the other part wants to continue on.  Especially with this morning's victory of three drops!

So in summary here's what was NOT in my instructions for women who've never been pregnant before:

  • Drink water when you're thirsty
  • Start the pump low, and then slowly turn it up to medium.
  • If the breast pumping hurts, it means you're doing it on too high of a setting.
  • Definitely pump 8 times per day.  Very important.  (Still the most difficult one though.)
  • Don't be so hard on yourself.  
Now for a quick recap of the visit to the pediatrician's office.  

Apparently it's normal for families to meet in groups for a new pediatrician consult, so I was surprised that the doctor let us have a solo (and free) consultation with her.  The first thing she asked obviously was when we were due and did I have any medical issues.  So I told her yes, I had AIS and therefore couldn't carry a child of my own.  We went over some normal baby-related questions and things about her practice, but it seemed that the majority of the visit consisted of her asking me about AIS. This was the first time that N had ever been with me when I was getting grilled by a medical professional about my diagnosis, so it was interesting for him to watch me "educate" someone on my medical condition.  

That's basically what it's like whenever I go to a new doctor.  She said she wanted to go home that night and read up on it b/c she'd *maybe* met one other woman like me in her career.  (Don't I feel special?)  

She asked about "the mother" two different times and whether or not she had the option to keep the baby.  Which I informed her that in gestational surrogacy she is not related to the baby, and reminded her that we were using an egg donor.  She also suggested that I should look for new parent groups so that I wouldn't feel isolated.  But then said, well, you might feel more isolated b/c the other moms would be weird with you since you're not actually pregnant.  (You never know just how isolated you feel until someone reminds you of how isolated you must feel.)  

In the end, I don't think this was the right doctor for us.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting the joy back!

My aunt texted me today with the sage advice to stop stressing about inducing lactation, and make sure to ENJOY this time.  I realized that I've definitely NOT been enjoying my time lately when it comes to the baby because I've been so focused on failing.  I didn't realize that I already felt like I was failing as a mom altogether, and I'm not even a mom yet!  So I took a deep breath today, and allowed myself to fail.  I will not be a perfect mom, but I want to be the type of mom that enjoys life and her child...and takes each day as it comes.  (Now that's not to say that I haven't stopped trying to induce lactation, but I'm not putting as much pressure on myself if it doesn't work out.)

So with that in mind, I did some things today to try and help bring back the joyful anticipation of our baby!  The first was that we bought a used Kenmore portable washing machine for the apartment from a family in our neighborhood.  I'm happy to say it works great!!  And we were able to do our first load of laundry in the apartment today!!  (What does this have to do with babies you ask?  Well, babies produce a lot of laundry.  And therefore we felt this would make our lives easier!)  Here's a pic of our new machine and how it fits nicely into the kitchen.

The little black thing at the bottom is a doorstop with a mouse on it to keep the washer from rolling.  Our floor is slightly uneven in that spot.  Ha!

That's the machine back in the corner.  See it fits in pretty easily!!
After our laundry experience, we were pretty lazy...but this evening I did some more work on a quilt for the baby.  I'd started it a few weeks back, but didn't make much more progress b/c of traveling, etc.  Well, tonight I cut out more pieces from the vintage napkins we used at our wedding.  Here's a pic of some of the squares.  I'm excited to start getting this further along.
These will be mixed with white for the background fabric.  I think it's going to be really cute once it's finished!

Anyways, I needed a kick in the pants today to get my mood on straight.  Thanks to my Aunt for making me realize that this time is precious and I need to be enjoying every minute of it instead of stressing!!    

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Breast Pumping: Day 8

It's been 8 days since I started breast pumping in my goal to induce lactation.  I'm sad to say that so far I've had very poor results.  I get MAYBE a drop out of righty if I'm lucky.  Lefty is being very uncooperative and producing nothing.  Sometimes I get nothing out of both.  I've upped my domperidone dosage to 100 mg per day.  30 mg twice per day and 20 mg twice per day.  This is up from 80 mg per day.  I'm pumping about 5-6 times per day which seems to be all that I can manage at this point.  (The suggested time is 8 times per day, but I honestly don't know how anyone with a job can manage that.)

I'm trying not to let these results get me down.

On a completely unrelated and much happier note, N and I went to Milford, PA this weekend to enjoy a little mini-babymoon in honor of Labor Day weekend.  We went tubing down the Delaware River, hiking with our dogs, ate lots of delicious food and generally had a great time.  (I know it doesn't sound like an exotic place to go for a babymoon, but relaxing down the Delaware was definitely a treat.  And I am not taking days off prior to the baby coming so that I can use all those PTO days for my maternity leave.  The goal is staying out of work for 4 months!)

Anyways, here'a  pic of our relaxing weekend.