Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Journey in Adoptive Breastfeeding: Part 2

So surprise, yes, I plan to and hope to breastfeed our third child one day. The funny thing with adoption is that you could get a child right away or wait a very long time (years even). So with that in mind, I began the induced lactation protocol. I started the birth control right when we got on the waiting list and continued it for about 5 month (about 20 weeks) not taking the reminder pills. I didn't have my period for that whole time. Then I stopped the pill and began to pump. To my shear delight, I was pumping what looks just like colostrum! I couldn't believe it! It took many days (up to about 7-8 days) for my colostrum to change to mature milk, but eventually it did. I usually pump about every two hours during the day. I decided not to make myself crazy, so I have not been pumping at night. I believe that this is one reason the I don't have a full milk supply. I am able to pump about 10 ounces per day.

My husband bought be a great big deep freezer to store the breastmilk in for 6-12 months. The idea is that I will probably not ever have a full milk supply, so I will have extra to supplement with. I have probably about 500 ounces of milk stored. Exciting!

My hope is that I will be able to successfully breastfeed, even partially. But only time and a new baby will tell. More to come...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Journey in Adoptive Breastfeeding: Part I

Sometimes in my field of work it is hard for me to talk about my personal struggles with miscarriage and infertility. I am able to be a part of so many women's birth stories and am truly honored to do so. But every once in a while I feel like my body has let me down--that what I was meant to do as a woman I can't. So although, I am unable to carry a child, my body is still capable of breastfeeding. So breastfeeding has become very important to me.

Both of my sons are adopted, so I thought breastfeeding was out of the question for me. As I began down the path of adoption, I realized that this was still an option. I read books like, Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby and Relactation and Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby and studied Jack Newman's Protocol for Induced Lactation for hours before my first son was born. I was truly determined. I started the protocol a couple of months before my son was born (although we didn't know that we would be chosen so quickly). My goal was to build up a supply of breastmilk in the freezer and breastfeed as much as I could, depending on my supply. Mason was born and we were selected much faster than I had anticipated, so I wasn't able to complete the protocol, and it showed in my milk supply (or lack there of), but I still tried. Although, I had no mass of breastmilk stored in the freezer, I began to pump. I also bought a special supplemental nursing system called a "Lact Aid" to supplement my milk supply--boy was this thing frustrating to use!

Despite my (I wouldn't say "best") efforts, I was unsuccessful at breastfeeding, but I did pump and bottle feed for four months. My particular breastfeeding experience with Mason was very disheartening and I thought once again that my body had let me down. Time passed and then we adopted our second son, Miles, who I immediately decided I wasn't going to even try to breastfeed him, so that I could avoid the feeling of failing. I guess I thought, "if I don't try, I can't fail." To this day, I wish I had given it a fighting chance with Miles.

So here we are on the waiting list for our third child--a girl! Will I breastfeed or won't I?...more about my addoptive breastfeeding journey to come in Part 2.

My two crazy boys!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Full Circle

My doula career started with a friend. For many years I struggled through miscarriages and infertility, and although very challenging for my spirit, I learned A LOT in the process about pregnancy and birth. Although I had never physically had a child, many of my friends turned to me when they had questions about labor. One particular friend is the one who sparked my doula career and encouraged me to follow my dreams. She went out on a limb and asked me to be her doula. I was very nervous, but I got trained and attended her marathon birth in July of 2012. She had a beautiful little boy, who now, calls me Aunt Annie (and sometimes even momma by mistake). I love that little guy!

So, when she got pregnant again, I was thrilled that she asked me to attend her birth again. This time it was much quicker and she gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl.

My friend was my first repeat client. I felt like my journey was coming full circle. If it wasn't for her asking me to be her doula, I probably never would have been. I am so grateful! On a funny note, at her first birth one of my other clients went into labor at the same time. I, unfortunately, couldn't attend since my friend's birth lasted SO long. During her second labor, another client was being induced the same day. This time I was able to attend both births in one day. Pretty awesome!