One Week Old

Today my baby girl is one week old! It’s been a wild week, full of emotions–by and large an overwhelming feeling of joy, extreme gratitude, and relief.

She’s eating like a champ. This kid has a latch like a snapping turtle and I admire her tenacity and proficiency at suckling. I coach her “Open wide…wider…there you go!” And cheer her on “What a big girl–look at you sucking, swallowing, and breathing like a boss–Mama is SO PROUD of you!” We make a great team. I’ve been pumping too, and Mr. MLACS really appreciates the opportunity to feed her too–especially when she gets fussy when I’m indisposed and he needs to comfort and soothe her.

I have to give MAJOR props to Mr. MLACS…

BEST. DADDY. EVER.

He is very hands-on and takes great care and pride in diapering, feeding, bathing, clothing, and meeting any and all other needs of his child. He is “team captain” in this household and he has been doing all the support work–cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, taking care of the pets, helping me breastfeed and pump, making sure I get some rest and keep up with postpartum self-care…he tells me I’m doing a great job and he holds me and reassures me when I cry (fyi, you do a lot of crying postpartum). Plus he’s taking great care of himself, following a low-sodium diet, tracking his vitals (he just got the fitbit “surge”) and trying to get 10,000 steps per day, and using his cpap machine. He is a ROCKSTAR! I’m so proud of him, and grateful to have him.

Our pets have been very well behaved–both puppy and kitty are curious but respectful. They stay near me & the baby but not *on top of me* like they usually would be. They are great big bothers and I’m proud of them, too.

Breastfeeding is going well. We got our “golden hour” post-birth during which she was wide-eyed, alert, and ready to latch. I think this made a big difference and I understand why it’s so important. Baby girl was quite content in the hospital and suckled and slept and was happy to be swaddled and held while she looked around. After we got home things got kind of hairy–she started “cluster feeding” to encourage my milk to come in. My left nipple cracked and both nipples were sore and everybody said “use coconut oil” so I did but it didn’t penetrate the skin or soften it much, if at all. So f*ck coconut oil. Wanna know what *works*? Lanolin. I wish I’d used it in the first place. I’ve continued to feed on-demand (and that’s ALL the time) and pump when I can, but sometimes I grind my teeth when she latches because it hurts. As of Friday she had lost almost 10% of her bodyweight and I was concerned, but we went in Monday for a weight check and she had gained 2oz back and my milk started coming in, so we were told to come back in a week. Monday was rough because I became engorged and I felt flu-like symptoms–I used hot packs and a heating pad to relieve the pain/tension in my upper body. I’ve seen a lactation consultant (yesterday) and she said we’re doing great–she watched me feed and weighed baby girl before & after, and she gained almost 2oz, which is on-target! I was relieved to know she is getting what she needs from me. Breastfeeding is hard but I love it–I love cuddling her and staring at her. And I’m relieved my boobs are performing, since I have PCOS and I’ve had breast augmentation, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’ve been taking Fenugreek capsules and eating “lactation cookies”.

My Mom said that the only time she ever had a flat stomach was while breastfeeding. At one week postpartum, my tummy has diminished from a giant mountain to a mediocre hill…and *ironically* I’m not happy about it. A week ago I had enough belly to create a sort of ‘shelf’ to support my baby while she nursed. I miss my shelf. I miss having her inside me. I wish I was a marsupial–like a kangaroo–with a pouch so that my baby could exist both inside and outside of me. I’ve never cared less about how I look.

But I did get “dolled up” for our newborn photoshoot yesterday. It went well except that our photog does not have much experience taking pics of infants and she was trying to pose her perfectly and my kid was getting really REALLY upset and I was getting upset so finally I snapped at her to auit fussing about and take the damn picture. I hope we got some good ones but if not, at least I tried.

And speaking of pics, I want to share with my good blogger friends but *privately* and I’m not sure the best way to do that. I’m very protective of my girl. If you are someone I know (we’ve exchanged several comments at least) please email me: mylifeasacasestudy@hotmail.com

I can’t believe she’s a week old already! I’m begging her not to grow up too fast. At the same time I’m watching “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC and silently praying that I get to dance at her wedding. I want every moment to last a lifetime, while simultaneously wishing for a lifetime of precious moments with her. I love her more than words…

I do intend to share my birth story but it’s going to take me a minute to compose in proper detail. It was a hard labor but a beautiful birth. I was very happy that we had our doula with us–I was skeptical about how she would integrate into our labor/birth, but she really helped, so if you’re considering hiring a doula I’d say *do it*.

XOXO,

MLACS

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The Best Moment of My Life

Was 1:57pm CST on March 18, 2015.

The moment Dr. Angel placed my daughter on my chest as she was born.

I’ve had maybe 6 hours of sleep in the last 72hrs, but I’m still unbelievably content. When the nurses tell me to “get my rest”, I smile and nod. But I can’t help but stare at her–every inch of her is perfection…just…WOW…she is a miracle unlike any other.

And after I’ve waited 35 years and crossed oceans of pain (spiritually and physically) in my quest to find my baby…I don’t want to spend a single moment away from her–I’ve felt frustration every time they’ve taken her from our room to do “assessments”.

We’re finally being released to go home. Can you believe it?!

I GET TO KEEP HER!!!

Goddammit that makes me bawl–I have a “take home baby”.

I weep with joy for her being. I weep with sadness for my angels.

And I weep for all my mother friends who are still waiting to meet their children. YOU ARE MOTHERS. We are all mothers, no matter where we are at in our journeys. To you I say (as so many of our IF/RPL sisters have said before me)…

DON’T GIVE UP.

It’s so worth it–Every ounce of grief and disappointment. Every sad goodbye. Every needle stick. Every pee stick. Every tear shed in a public restroom/car ride/office/etc. Every fertile “friend” lost. Every procedure. Every page of adoption paperwork. Every home study. Every egg/sperm/embryo donor search. Every failed FET. Every stupid comment/pregnancy announcement/bump photo/etc. endured IRL and on social media. Every fight and/or breakdown you’ve had with your husband/partner….

IT’S ALL WORTH IT.

I have more to share with you, but right now I have to tend to my daughter.

XOXO,

MLACS

41 Weeks

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So…I can’t think of *one* other IF/RPL blogger that has gone to 41 weeks. Everybody delivers early for one reason or another (Pre-E, PPROM, Cholestasis, Placenta Previa, IUGR, Multiples, etc. etc.)

And since I’m a *Chronically ill, IF/RPL, and AMA* person, I thought “Surely, I will deliver early for one reason or another”. And I was actually quite afraid.

So I find it highly ironic that I am 41 weeks today.

Being honest, I’m very glad to have had such a healthy pregnancy–I didn’t think that was possible for me. I’m ecstatic to have a healthy full-term baby.

But folks, I am tired of waiting. I’m ready to meet her! Bring on the contractions…

XOXO,

MLACS

40 Weeks

Yep, still pregnant–today is my EDD. And I still feel really, REALLY lucky to be pregnant.

The baby did well on her NST today and I’m not showing any signs of distress (BP, urine, etc. are fine) so I guess we’ll see if our appointment with Dr. Angel reveals anything tomorrow (dilation, effacement, etc.).

I met my doula at a cafe on Sunday and we chatted (just her and me) over coffee and scones. Turns out, she’s *more* of a “case study” than I am! She has actually had more medical issues–rare ones, including one we share–than me. Obviously, we were meant for each other 🙂 She is really excited for the birth, and that made me feel a little excited (I am still nervous).

It’s been nice to have the full 40 weeks to prepare. The nursery is organized, there’s a few frozen meals in the freezer, I’ve gotten everything I think I might need, our cars both got detailed today (the dudes removed like 5lbs of fur from our vehicles–seat covers will be our next purchase), and Mr. MLACS is ready to install the car seat. We’ve had *two* great “last hurrah weekends” in a row. I think the only things I’d like to accomplish are getting the house cleaned and getting a pedicure, and if neither of those things happened that’d be ok.

We haven’t resolved any of our family issues but we haven’t had any more drama, either. We are going to have to tell Mr. MLACS’s family about the baby’s middle name being changed to my Mom’s name, but that conversation has not happened organically and we’re not forcing it.

I’m currently swaying in the glider rocking chair in the nursery–it’s my favorite place–with the window open to the breeze and the sound of kids playing a couple yards away. I can sit here peacefully for hours, and every so often Mr. MLACS will poke his head in and ask if I’m ok.

And I’ll reply “I’m fine babe!”

But really I’m not fine.

I’m damn near perfect.

Like this may be as close as I ever get to Heaven, or Nirvana, or Moksha…

I’m letting happy tears roll down my cheeks ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

I Have a Troll!

I HATE TROLLS. They always pop up when you *appear* to be vulnerable (like in my last post). I am constantly daring trolls who bother my blogger friends to f*ck with me instead–like I “fish” for trolls…

And I FINALLY CAUGHT ONE!

Nielson_lisa@hotmail.com, can you please stand up? You are being recognized as the absolute *first* troll who has tried to step to me. You tried to *disguise* yourself as a person, but your cowardly ass is lacking:

1. A blog of your own

2. Your (above) email address is fake

3. You mentioned the last blogger I went toe-to-toe with (completely out of context) so obviously you have *beef* with me. In fact, that witch is BSC (batsh*t crazy) so maybe you are, in fact, one and the same?! Hmmmmm….

So I’d like to thank you for entertaining me–I got a good laugh from your comments. And also thank you for prompting me to change my privacy settings, so you will have to come legit if you want to *attempt* to comment again! I really needed a distraction, and your passive-aggressive bullsh*t was just what the doctor ordered.

XOXO,

MLACS

39 Weeks (Family Drama)

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I’m 39 weeks today. And where do I begin…?
I feel strange. I ‘zone out’ a lot. I am easily upset. I obsess over things that upset me. Only 4 things bring me comfort: my husband, my house, my dog, and my cat (the cat annoys me though). I want to quit facebook because it just agitates me, but then I couldn’t keep up with my long-distance friends. Can you tell I’m irritable? I’m anxious. I’m tired. I can’t separate my thoughts from my emotions. And I’m bored–I have way too much time to ‘brood’.

People (like my MIL and SIL) are crossing boundaries that *I didn’t even know I had*. My own sister is antagonizing me. We’re estranged from both would-be grandfathers. I miss my dear-departed beloved Mother… I’m bewildered and overwhelmed by the family dynamics (which I had previously been handling well in therapy) and I just want everybody to f*ck off.

Which brings us to….

*Weird Family Issue #1*

I haven’t spoken to my father in a solid year, and he has not acknowledged my pregnancy or his granddaughter. I wrote him to say that I can’t have a relationship with him anymore, *but* that he can send things and even see my baby. He has done nothing. And then the other day he befriended my SIL on facebook–he’s such a weirdo I’m sure he sees nothing wrong with befriending my SIL, even though they’ve never met and he is estranged from me. So Mr. MLACS noticed this and asked her to ‘unfriend’ my father, which she did. However, *why* did she accept his request in the first place? That was weird of her, because she knows I’m in therapy dealing with my issues with him. And she is estranged from her father. Common sense would say “Hey, befriending MLACS’s estranged father is creepy and inappropriate”. I didn’t make a stink though. We asked her what was up with that, she apologized and unfriended him, and I thanked her for understanding & said no hard feelings.

But it got me thinking…if my father is not going to acknowledge his grandchild, then why should he get to stalk me through my MIL (he is still “friends with my MIL) and my (bio) sister’s fb posts? He shouldn’t.

And what’s more, how much of a presence am I comfortable allowing my child on the internet? Am I ok posting a pic publicly to the blog? Or do I want to password protect those posts? I decided I don’t want to share her full name on facebook–just announce with her first name and after that refer to her by first initial only. And I will only post occasional pictures. And I am thinking I’ll make a password protected wordpress blog to share with family/close friends and make it so no one can download pics, because our kid’s pics are our property unless someone asks permission. I want to protect MY child’s privacy and I don’t want people–not even family–watching her every move. Because WHY? I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, before the internet–I want my kid to have her privacy and *furthermore* I don’t like people (even family) feeling *entitled* to be involved (even via internet and photos) in every intimate moment my family shares. NO. So this issue with my father/facebook started a discussion with Mr. MLACS where we decided our boundaries.

Also, I don’t want people (even family) *fishing* for updates before/during/after labor, so I composed an email and added that stipulation/boundary. I think it should be common sense to be patient and wait for news–when someone else is going through something (giving birth, surgery, divorce, job interview, etc.) I’ll let people know I’m thinking of them but I won’t expect a response until it is convenient for them. I’m not pushy or nosy like that.

So here’s the email we composed and sent to my sister, MIL, BIL, and SIL:

“Hello Friends and Family!
As we prepare to meet baby girl, we have a few things to share with you. As new parents we’ve had to consider how much we are comfortable sharing about baby girl on the internet. The truth is, we aren’t truly comfortable sharing (i.e. facebook) and we want to be cautious. We will not be sharing her middle name–she will be announced as *baby girl* and after the initial birth announcement we won’t use her name much, if at all. We will not allow *anyone* to post online pictures of baby girl without our expressed consent. We also do not want information posted about baby girl without our consent–any pictures or information that is ok to be shared, should be shared by her parents.
Also, pertaining to labor, birth, and postpartum. We feel this is a private experience and will not be giving frequent updates or “play-by-plays”. Please do not press us for updates and photos–we are happy to share but in our own time. We appreciate you understanding that a new family needs time and space to bond and figure things out. We appreciate your support of the important decisions we must make for our child–this is only the beginning!
Love,
MLACS & MR. MLACS”

And yes, maybe it does sound a little “business” and not personal, but I’m *telling* these people, not asking them. It’s not up for debate.

And we were surprised when SIL called and *bitched out* Mr. MLACS, saying he should have called not texted. That she wants to be able to post pictures of *her niece* and talk about her on facebook. She acused Mr. MLACS of trying to “isolate himself from the family”. And furthermore–she said we’re only doing/saying this because “MLACS has daddy issues!”. Mr. MLACS was calm and tried to explain, but she kept huffing and puffing and finally he hung up the phone.

This bitch could not be *more* out of line. Like, WHOA. First, she is a chronic over-sharer on social media. I actually ‘unfollowed’ her because she is ridiculous. I didn’t want to see the ‘highlight reel’ of her life. Every sunrise. Every starbucks coffee. Every dinner with her boyfriend. Every time her dog is curled up on the couch. Sometimes a dozen posts a day, including *everywhere she goes*. Plus, she only does this sh*t because she’s hoping her (almost) ex-husband and his idiot friends will see how *awesome* she is. And when she was miserable and seeking revenge on her ex, I saw all her ugly, bitter, “poor me, screw him” posts. And her “I don’t need a man cuz I’m fierce” posts. Like, is she capable of having a thought/emotion/experience without putting on social media? She’s 31 years old.
As per her accusation that her brother is “isolating himself”–WTF? We told her *first* when he was hospitalized. I give her updates. We’ve been to visit her several times on our own dime (including her wedding) and she has never *once* visited us. Didn’t come to our wedding. Didn’t come to the baby shower (not surprised as she is pissed that her marriage failed after one year and she was robbed of the opportunity to have the first grandchild. I *wish* she had a kid because MIL is up in our business now instead of hers). Mr. MLACS has even offered to buy her airline tickets. But she *always* “has to work”. And then I see her taking vacations, buying new couches, and even trading in her new car for a *newer* car–because she posts EVERYTHING on f*ing *FAKEbook* (and instagram and pinterest…). I want to call her on her sh*t.
There’s more drama with her. But I’ll shelve that and just say how two-faced, hypocritical, mean and backstabbing her “MLACS has daddy issues” comment was. She *only* knows I’m in therapy because I shared that with her. And if *anybody* needs therapy for daddy issues, it’s SIL. But given that my Mother is dead and my father is awful to me, and my husband just almost died and I’m about to have a *very hard won* baby…how dare she???

How dare she treat her brother this way? And me? How dare she think that *We should base our parenting decisions on her social media habits*? So she can look like “aunt of the year” even though she has no plans of meeting our kid until *we* visit *her*.

Here’s where things get even more complicated. I like the name Grace. My Mom liked the name. And SIL’s middle name is Grace, after MIL’s mother. And even though I honor my Mother’s memory in so many ways, I didn’t intend to use her name, Janet, as a middle name. It just didn’t sound as good as Grace. So I had decided Grace would be baby girl’s middle name–in no small part to make SIL feel special, because my sister will be Godmother.

NOT anymore.

My first alarm was when MIL came to visit for the baby shower and brought gifts from her BFF, addressed to baby “Gracie”, because that was MIL’s mother’s name. I’m like, “That’s NOT her name, or even her nickname”. And MIL made a snotty comment “Well *at least* it’s a name you can find”, insinuating my baby’s name wasn’t good enough because you won’t find it on a keychain in a truck stop. Uh, no. What she *should* have said is something along the lines of “You’re right and we will only call her by her first name, don’t worry.” I never even met Mr. MLACS’s maternal grandma, so she was hardly my motivation. And yeah, Mr. MLACS’s Mom and her BFF meant no harm, but it’s still not ok. Also, MIL never once mentioned MY Mom while she was here. She dropped an avalanche of presents and settled smugly into her desired roll of “grandmother of the year”. That chapped my ass. Like, oh your Mom’s not here, MORE FOR ME! She was very kind and respectful about my Mother’s absence when it came to our wedding. So it’s weird that she has not mentioned her since I became pregnant.

I miss MY Mom. She is the most selfless woman I’ve ever known. She was not prideful and never tried to find a reason to make herself seem superior to other people (ahem, MIL and SIL). My Mother DESERVES to be part of my baby’s name–she loved on children in her home daycare for 27 years and never once put me or my sister second to anybody. So I’d like to thank my SIL for her temper tantrum, her offensive remarks, and for not bothering to apologize. I’d like to thank MIL’s friend for offending me by marginalizing the name *I chose* and putting my MIL on a pedestal (which MIL felt entitled to). I’d like to think that God was showing me:

1. I can’t trust my bratty SIL any more than I can trust my bratty biological sister. So what was I thinking honoring her in my baby’s name? I shouldn’t have tried to please Mr. MLACS’s family, because it obviously validated their feelings of superiority.
2. My Mother, Janet, should be honored. Who cares if Janet doesn’t sound as good as Grace? I’m embarrassed that my vanity clouded my judgement.

I will never again make a decision for my daughter based on appearances. Lesson learned.

So yeah…39 weeks pregnant and I’m wound like a 10-year-clock, full of emotion, a lot of it negative. I just want some peace. I just want to look forward to having my baby, instead of apprehensive. We are not talking to SIL until/unless she apologizes. I need to inform MIL that MY mother’s name will be honored as part of our daughter’s name (hopefully SIL will have a girl and name her Grace). I want my MIL to ‘unfriend’ my father because even though *she says* she doesn’t tell him anything about us, I think it’s weird and insensitive for her to put me in this position. But she has no friends and she spends a lot of time playing “words with friends” with my father, so I feel bad asking her to cut contact with him, even though I have officially and permanently cut him out of my life (there will be no reconciliation, this *was* his second chance, as I have cut him off before). I told my sister (who lives in our town) that she is not to come to the hospital until we call and invite her after baby is born (she has hardly spoken to me and is certainly no help, so whyyyyyy would I want her around when I’m in labor and then trying to bond with my baby??)

If you have bothered to read all this, what do you think? Go ahead, be honest.

XOXO,
MLACS