Saturday, January 29, 2011

Total Exhaustion

I am ready for any and all advice on sleep training. Bring it on. At this point, I am 9 months pregnant, sick with a cold and sleep deprived. So, I'm at my breaking point. Jackson needs to be swaddled and rocked to sleep for every nap and every night for bed. And I will do that if he needs it. I know the Babywise method says he should go to sleep on his own, but he has never been able to do that, so I gave up on that. BUT, what I am done with is the constant waking up for naps AND at night now. He needs nothing, he is extremely exhausted, but he won't sleep. And I am not holding him for hours at a time to keep him napping or sleeping.

At this point, he needs 3 naps a day. What that looks like is swaddling him, rocking him, putting him down, then having to go in constantly to pick him up, re-bounce him to sleep, and repeat. He does NOT just cry himself to sleep. At least not in the 20 minutes I'll let him lie there on his own. He just gets more and more worked up. At night, he goes to sleep around 10:30pm and then is up within an hour or two needing to be picked up and bounced back to sleep, then again in another couple of hours. Then he will sleep from 3-6ish, then up again. He doesn't need anything. He doesn't need a bottle. We just re-swaddle him and bounce him back to sleep and he sleeps until 8:30-9:30am, at which point he wakes up happy and I know he is ready to get up. So, my question is, how do I get him to stay asleep when he is clearly tired and needing to sleep? Because I am now refusing to hold him through his naps, he is now not napping well, which has led to a constantly tired baby, sleep issues at night, and just overall miserable days. I just don't understand. He needs nothing. Nothing. He just won't stay asleep on his own. And I just can't do it anymore.

I have never been a huge fan of crying it out, especially when they are really young. But he is almost 6 months old, and it seems to me that he should be able to take an hour or two nap without waking up every 15 minutes screaming. And if he doesn't need to eat at night, shouldn't he be able to sleep through? What am I missing here? Again, any advice is welcome...but please be really specific. If something worked for you, let me know when you started it, how long it took, exactly how you did it, etc. I'm really picky with my advice, huh:)? Thanks in advance!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Full Term and Total Cuteness

Well, we made it to 37 weeks. I can honestly say I still do not believe it, and I still cannot imagine myself giving birth and bringing home a baby girl any time soon. And yet, she is coming. I don't think it will be real for me until it actually happens. It's just too much to even imagine and wrap my head around. We saw the doctor this week and got an ultrasound, which is always amazing. She is all scrunched up in there (and yep, still a girl:)!!). The doctor estimated her size right now at about 6lbs 9oz. She may be a bigger baby than I thought! They also hooked me up to the monitors because I have experienced slower movement patterns on and off lately. Everything was perfect, which was a great relief to me.

I am starting to be very tired, and also not sleeping well at times. Since Jax has come home, I pretty much pass out when my head hits the pillow for as long as he'll let me sleep. But, the past week has not been as easy. To top it off, I have been sick and that makes it hard to sleep. In the last 3 weeks, I have gotten a nasty stomach bug and now some type of cold/infection. It could be worse, but being sick, sleep deprived and pregnant makes for exhausting days. Add a very needy little guy into the mix, and you have one tired momma. BUT, guess what? I am a momma! I still look at Jax and this pregnant belly of mine and have to tell myself it is all real. While I would give almost anything for a full day to myself to just rest and sleep, I would never trade being a momma for that day...

Here is what baby girl and I look like at 37 weeks...full term!!

And I honestly couldn't end this post without a couple of adorable pictures of our sweet Jackson. As he gets bigger, he gets cuter, I swear!

I like to practice holding my own bottle! This generally leads to Jackson pulling out the bottle because he can't control those hands quite yet, but he loves to help:).

And I love to sit up with some help! And how adorable is that outfit? That was given to him when he was born by his Uncle Adam and Aunt Katie - how quickly he grew into it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

5 months old!

Our sweet Jackson turned 5 months old today! He is such a bright and joyful baby (for the most part) and we continue to feel incredibly blessed to have him as our son. His milestones this month include eating solids, which has been fun for all of us. Along with his rice and oatmeal cereals, he has also had squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and peas. He seems to like them all, with squash easily being his favorite and carrots his not-so favorite. We are looking forward to the fruit introductions, knowing he will probably love that! He actually eats 3 solid meals a day, which his GI specialist told us to do in order to help with his constant spitting up. Yet another milestone we think he has really embraced is playing with toys. He is finally taking interest in toys and playing with them. It is so adorable to see him trying to control his little hands. They don't always do what he wants them to, which can be frustrating for him! Jackson also rolled over for the first time this month, but he's only done it once or twice. He seems to still not have any desire to be mobile. Oh well! He'll do it when he's ready!

Jackson is a big boy for sure! He saw the pediatrician last week and weighed 16lbs 8oz, which is in the 60th percentile for his age. He was 26 1/4in long, which is in the 75th percentile! He is healthy as can be, except for his reflux. I venture to say we have his reflux under control...for now. But, as with all babies, things are subject to change at any given moment:). As I write this, Jackson is talking away, bringing his hands to his mouth, and sucking on those fingers as he talks. He loves, loves, loves to hear his own voice. He has a high pitched squeal that pierces ears, but shows how happy he can be with life in general!

Jackson is now wearing 3-6 month or 6 month clothes. In one or two brands, he can wear 6-9 months! While he has so much adorable clothing, I have to admit, he spends many days in his sleepers (and mommy in her pj's). I figure if we aren't going out, why put on clothes when we can be so much more comfy in our pj's?

Jackson continues to sleep like a champ in his crib (at night, still not so much for naps). He has rough nights here and there, but I think he qualifies as sleeping through the night most nights. Currently (and, again, this changes week by week), he is having his last bottle and going to bed between 10 and 11pm, and then sleeping until around 6am, then has his bottle and sleeps again until anywhere between 8:30 and 9:30am. He wakes up happy, somehow escapes his miracle blanket (yep, still requires swaddling to sleep, which is crazy to me!), and chats with himself until we get in there to get him. If he wakes up crying, I know without a doubt he needs to sleep a little more. If he is well rested, we find the cutest little smiling and cooing baby, chewing on his fingers, when he go to greet him in the morning. He watches through the crib slats to see us come through the door and then does his full body smile and squeal when he sees us. It makes getting up in the morning with him such a joy.

Each month holds amazing growth and milestones for Jackson. It is such an honor and a blessing to watch as he grows and develops. I swear he gets cuter every month. His smiles and laughs get brighter and more frequent, and our hearts continue to swell. Happy 5 months, baby boy! We love you!

(On a side note, this is my 101st post!! Wow, over 100 posts in a year, and what a year it has been! Thank you to all of you who have followed me and supported me through this year!)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

35 Weeks

It is absolutely unbelievable to me, but I am 35 weeks pregnant. That means that our baby girl should be here in about a month. Wow. I have been asked if I am ready MANY times, and the answer is always "nope." After having Jax, we are well aware that you can never be ready for the way a baby rocks your world. No matter how much baby experience you have, no matter how prepared you are as far as clothes, diapers, etc, there is just something un-preparable (yep, my new word:)) about babies.

At 35 weeks, I feel so blessed. I have had such an easy pregnancy, which is so ironic to me after 2 traumatic pregnancies. I have not had the excruciating pain, sickening nausea, constant sleep disturbances, etc that so many mommies talk about experiencing in the third trimester. I have some minor back and muscle pain, I am definitely tired (although I think Jax has more to do with that than baby #2:)), and I do have moments where I have trouble breathing and my heart races. I am starting to feel "full" all the time. Sitting a certain way makes me feel like my insides are being squished. Eating too much, or not enough, can lead to stomach issues. I get pretty painful leg cramps in the middle of the night. But, other than that, everything is going smoothly. I feel our baby girl move every day, and watch my belly do some pretty creepy things! To see your body moving without any movement or control from you is quite the experience.

I have tried so hard to soakup every moment of this pregnancy, to enjoy each kick, roll and hiccup. I have to try hard because Jackson is just such a precious boy, and it is tempting to just put all my attention on him! But, baby girl deserves our attention, too. I also feel the need to remember every little thing because we anticipate this being our last pregnancy. This is it for me. So, I am enjoying it and just appreciating every little twinge that reminds me she is healthy and growing in there:).

Here is what we look like with about a month to go:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our Open Adoption

I've been promising to write about this for awhile, but honestly, I have struggled with the words. I haven't written a great deal about our adoption, but most of you have probably figured out by now that we have an open relationship with Jackson's birthparents. For us, openness means that we have shared all identifying information. We know their last names, they know ours. Same with addresses, phone numbers, family history, etc. There aren't secrets, we don't withhold information. This works for us, and we do it because we hope it is what is best for Jackson.

That said, the idea of a fully open adoption was very scary to Jason at first, and to Jackson's birthfather, A. Both of them say they didn't want this kind of relationship when they first considered adoption. However, when A and T (bmom) read our profile, and when Jason learned more about A and T, both of them became much more comfortable and open to the idea. We all felt connected to each other. And I think we still do. It started with letters between me and T, and then a phone call between us and A (when we told him we were pregnant), and then a meeting with all four of us and our social worker. After that, Jackson was born, and we have brought him to visit them twice since then. Honestly, we would probably have brought him more often if the situation didn't mean we had to travel 4 hours one way and visit in a prison environment.

The meetings hold a lot of emotions for all of us. Being this open is by no means easy. We see the pain on T's face as we walk away and she ducks into the bathroom to no doubt cry alone, and we feel the pain A is experiencing when he can't even show up for a visit. I read in T's letters about her last moments with Jackson and my heart literally breaks...but not just for her. For Jackson, too.

And that is why we continue to navigate this unique relationship...Jackson. He lost something huge the day our social worker picked him up from the hospital. He experienced an incredible loss much earlier in his life than any of us deserves. I can't change that. I will never be able to fill that hole completely for him. What I can do is give him the opportunity to know his first mom and his first dad, to hear from their mouths how much they love him. I can tell him all day long, but he needs to hear it from them. He needs to hear that he is, and always has been, perfect in their eyes. That he did nothing wrong for them to choose adoption for him. He needs to see how his cheeks come from A and his eyes from T. While we love him more than life itself, he will never be able to see himself in our faces. And while we know how much his birthparents love him, it will mean so much more to him to hear it from them. One day, he will choose what kind of relationship he wants with them. Until then, all we can do is give him opportunity. All four of us have talked about this, and we all agree he will have all the control when he is old enough. Our gift to him now is to keep that door open, so he can walk through it, or not, when he is ready.

There have been hard moments. I have watched T hold and cuddle Jackson, and I have felt jealousy over the natural bond they will always have. I have stood by while T's "friend" called T Jackson's mom right in front of me. My heart skipped a beat. I wanted to grab him from T and run the other way. As the weeks have passed since then, I have been reminded that I am not and never will be Jackson's only mom. He has a birthmom. I am his mom now. And what an honor that is. But I am denying him a huge part of who he is if I don't also acknowledge that I wasn't his first mom. He had an intense and biological connection to T for those 9 months she carried him so lovingly in her womb, and as his mom now, I feel it is my job to honor that connection. I know this is a hard concept for some. It's hard for me. But, I believe it is my son's reality. And because it is his reality, it has to be our family's reality, no matter how hard it may be for all of us.

Now that this is written, I feel like the words aren't enough. This whole situation is so difficult to put into words. How do you describe the intense love you have for your child and his birthparents? The pain you feel in your heart knowing you will never fill the entire mom role for your child? The grief that takes over your entire body when you imagine the last moments your son had with his first mom, his first goodbye at only 2 days old? The joy you feel in knowing you were chosen to be this child's mom by such special people? Like I said, there are no words.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goodbye 2010

When I look back on 2010, I will remember 2 events in my life (and not necessarily in this order:)):

First, we lost our sweet, majestic, boisterous and cuddly boy, King. He is so missed.

Second, and by far the BIGGEST and GRANDEST and most AMAZING thing that has ever happened to us, our son Jackson came into our lives:

The moment I first held my son

The first time I fed my sweet boy

The moment Jason became a daddy and first held his son

Life will always hold immense joy, as well as sometimes unexplainable loss. Years 2008 and 2009 were years of incredible loss for our family. 2010 will always be the year in which our family was healed by one sweet little boy...and by his birthparents, who love this special little boy so much and who ultimately trusted us to be his mom and dad. What a powerful year! I have no doubt that 2011 holds another miracle for us. While I am sadly saying goodbye to a year that can never and will never be forgotten in our home, I am happily saying hello to the year that will bring us our daughter! While it won't be easy, I am very sure it will be miraculous in every way. Happy New Year to all of you...wherever you may be on your particular journey. May 2011 be a year full of miracles for you and your family.