Breastfeeding, Inducing Lactation and Adoption (Part2)

If you have missed part one  you can find it here and get caught up on the process up to this point;

I’m starting Part 2 of Breastfeeding, Inducing Lactation and Adoption on Day two of my new relationship with my breast pump (Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Pump).  I have stopped taking the birth control and am now pumping 6-8 times per day.  Here is my break down of production thus far (I will update as the time passes);

Day One May 14th 2016- 6 Pumping Sessions – 1 oz Total – I was confident I would get about this much as through the last 9 months I would pump once a month just to try to draw my one (partially) inverted nipple out as per my doctors recommendation and during those pumping sessions I would get about half an ounce or so.  So my official first pumping day result wasn’t too surprising for me.

Day Two May 15th 2016 – 6 Pumping Sessions – 3 oz Total – Amazing, It has been a long time since I have been able to say that I’m so proud of my body.  Without ever giving birth my body is creating nourishment that could sustain life!  What was drops of milk accumulating yesterday, starts as a stream today, clear increase in production is so promising.

Week Two May 23rd 2016 – Averaging 5 to 6 pumping sessions a day, averaging 2 to 3 ounces a session – totaling 10 to a max of 14 oz per day!!!! I am building up a freezer stash a lot faster than I ever anticipated. Truly an incredible feeling. Work has been so great with allowing me space and time to pump, and my husband has been his usual incredible self with his full support and comic relief. I’m still just completely amazed.

Week Three May 30th 2016 – Still Averaging 5-6 Pumping sessions per day, and still averaging the same ounces per day (10 to 16 now per day).  I think I may actually even be experiencing “let down”, which is seemingly very uncommon for the induced lactation mother, so that’s very exciting too!  It’s a pins and needles feeling that happens around the time I should be pumping at, and if I happen to be pumping one side at a time, then I also experience leaking which has proven to be quite annoying (and I’m not going to lie I don’t want to waste a drop of this hard earned liquid gold!).  I’m quickly running out of freezer space!

Week Five June 19th 2016 – 5 to 6 pumping sessions a day, averaging around 20 ounces a day. I’m out of freezer space, and awaiting a true trunk style deep freeze. I never imagined I would even get close to what is considered a fully supply and have now connected with a mother who is having supply issues and will be donating my milk to her from here on out until I have a match. I might not be able to make a baby myself, but I’m thrilled to know I can feed one.

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Week 6 – June 30th 2016 – total ounces donated to date 446 🙂 I’m so honored to be able to provide milk for another mom who can not create it herself.  It’s an amazing feeling to hear how well these babes are doing on the liquid gold I have spent so much time pumping.

Week 7 – July 9th 2016 – Total ounces donated now 675.5 – Still keeping up with 4-6 pumps per day averaging 5 ounces per session.  If I wanted to increase my totals I could throw in a night pump, but without a match at this time it doesn’t make any real sense to do so.  So I shall continue the schedule I have been on and continue to give my milk to those who may need it.

 

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Breastfeeding, Inducing Lactation and Adoption (Part1)

~This post is intended for those interested in induced lactation and breastfeeding~

Breastfeeding has always been a normal, comfortable and interesting topic for me.  My mom always told us about her breastfeeding relationships with her three children and how disappointing it was when we all weaned ourselves and became wildly independent individuals.

There was no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed my future children, and the closer I got to starting my family, the more I wanted to learn about it, and the more I learnt about it the longer I wanted my breastfeeding relationships to last with my future babies.

So here are some facts about breast-milk.  Human breast-milk is an amazing thing as it has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates.  Leukocytes are living cells that are only found in breast milk.  They help fight infection.  It is the antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that make breast milk ideal. These cannot be added to formula. Milk produced from women who have induced lactation is the same quality as milk produced from women who have lactated naturally after pregnancy and giving birth to their child.  The only real difference is that women who have induced lactation don’t produce colostrum, which is generally linked to having a placenta calling the shots.

Though some women ultimately are not able to breastfeed, many who think and or are led to believe that they cannot actually are able to breastfeed. Lactation consultants are able to provide support to women learning to breastfeed and for those hoping to induce lactation for adoption.  For those who are not able to breastfeed, milk banks or donor milk may be an alternative (1).

I was heart broken initially when we gave up on fertility treatments thinking that my dream of breastfeeding my children was now something I would have to give up on as well. Luckily I saw adoptive breastfeeding come up a few times in an adoption support group that I’m a part of on Facebook, and was encouraged to read the book Breastfeeding Without Birthing by Alyssa Schnell, which if you’re interested in purchasing you can find it here, and I can assure you that it is an incredible resource.  I also spent a lot of time on the Ask Lenore Website gathering information and deciding which protocol would be best for me.  There are plenty of breastfeeding groups (Adoptive Breastfeeding) and pages (such as The Milk Meg) on Facebook too which are valuable resources and the support from other members is absolutely incredible.

For the last 8 months I have been following the Newman Goldfarb Protocol which involves a long preparation period of Birth-control and Domperidone and also would give me the most time between starting the protocol and actually pumping.  I knew that some would think its strange to get started on inducing lactation without having a match yet, but my goal is to create a good freezer stash so that if we do get a match and I’m not producing a full supply at the very least I can use an at breast supplementing system with my own breast milk.  This plan isn’t for everyone but it certainly feels like the right plan for me and will hopefully make me feel productive through what may be an excruciating wait to be a mom.

For the last 8 months I have been taking Demulen 1/35 (1 mg norethindrone + 0.035 mg ethinyl estradiol) to prepare my breast tissue to lactate and will be beginning the pumping part of the protocol in the next two weeks.  I’m getting nervous the closer I get to my pumping days, I will keep you all in the know on how things are progressing – Stay Tuned!

If you have any questions on the protocol I’ve been following or on adoptive breastfeeding, donor milk, wet nursing, or breastfeeding in general feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to get an answer for you!

Part Two Starts HERE!!

Source 1  http://americanpregnancy.org/first-year-of-life/whats-in-breastmilk/

 

Keyboard Warriors

Recently (last night and then again later today) I had some negative feedback to one of my blog posts.  People who were offended with my positive attitude towards our adoption journey, because we chose to approach this path in a positive light and with enthusiasm.  These people also had some very common ideas;

I’m Ignorant, Selfish, Diluted, Misguided, that i’m inflicting pain on a mother and child, taking poison to poison a baby (Domperidone is what this person is referring to, i’ll do a post on it another time, but basically it is used for women with low milk production or to induce lactation in a surrogate or adoption scenario) , Greedy, Needy, Self Entitled, Arrogant, Stating that if I cant bear my own child to keep my hands to myself,  that only women who give birth can use the title of Mother,  and that in most cases women do not chose adoption for their child…. so on and so forth.

So, what can I say to that?  Well, maybe your right.

So I’ll just remind myself of the following (since really that’s why I began blogging my journey in the first place, was to give myself an outlet, so this is for me);

I’m fortunate enough to be living in a country that has laws, rules and regulations protecting pregnant women from feeling pressured to let someone else parent their child. I’m fortunate enough to live in a country where it is really really hard to adopt because there is so much support for women to parent if that’s really what they want to do.         I’m fortunate enough to have a moral compass to research adoption history and to have the empathy and compassion to understand why there are the people who are rude, aggressive, and downright MEAN to women in my position, but mostly I save those characteristics and qualities to know respect, admiration, and compassion for the Birth Mothers who selflessly choose their child’s well being and happiness over their own.  I’m Fortunate to have enough of a handle on my life, my history, and my journey to not have to seek out articles I KNOW I won’t agree with and comment on in a personal and hateful level.  I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing support group of people who read the same article that brought out the above negativity about me and told me it made them feel normal and that the words I typed almost seemed to come out of their own mind.  I’m fortunate enough to know that those negative comments are a reflection of the individuals who wrote them, and not a reflection of myself, and I’m fortunate enough to know that those people have probably very unfortunate experiences to pull those feelings from (and maybe having and outlet on my post to vent those feelings left them feeling better).

I don’t know what they have been through, and it’s appears that they took no time to learn anything about me, or my opinions and thoughts beyond that article, but I hope they find peace in their history so that they can move forward in the future and work on empowering other people and not tearing them down.  It’s easy to spew hate from behind the protection of a keyboard and a computer screen.  Good day folks, and thank you to all the beams of positive light drowning out the few negative shadows 😉

Merry Christmas To All, and To All a Good Night

As Christmas of 2015 wraps up my maternal clock ticks away.  There is so much of Christmas that is the joy of seeing a child experience and believe in the magic of it all.  But there is more;

Family – Whether it is just my husband and I, my husband’s family close by, or my family across Canada; there are a lot of them and they are all there when we need them.  Some are there to discuss our plans for our future, others may be there to distract from the chaos of it all, some are in the fore ground and involved however they can be, while others may be quietly standing behind us showing their support in silent strength.  My husband is my rock, and often keeps me grounded in preparation to my future motherly role and constantly inspires me to want this family together to grow.

Humanity – While it can often be hard to spot in your day to day life, it’s always much more prevalent around the holidays.  During this time of year it is easy to pop online and watch video after video of people helping other people.  People with nothing giving all they have to someone who may for that moment need some help.  I get to see humanity in my life through our amazing trail through adoption, complete strangers stepping in to help, good friends sharing our story to increase awareness, the participation in the fundraising, the well wishes and positive thoughts pouring in from all around the world.  We are the lucky ones, and it will one day be paid forward, however I can.

Spirit – Take this one however you’d like.  For me however, it’s the tiny voice in your mind that keeps you motivated to move towards a goal, no matter how big or small it is.  I very much enjoy taking care of people, nurturing however I can, whether it’s cooking a favorite meal, baking an old favorite, getting chores out off the way so the other can simply relax or as easy as making sure the favorite beverage is in stock and at the perfect temperature.  Taking care of other people, feeds my soul and nourishes my spirit, and makes me feel human.

So right now, there may not be a baby, and that’s okay because we have plans for this future and the preparation will take some time, so for now we will continue to see him or her in our dreams, and remember, there is always next year.

Merry Christmas Baby Gallaway, we will meet whenever you are ready and not a moment sooner.

 

I’m Not Pregnant, But I’m Still Expecting

No, I didn’t get to plan a super cute way to break the news to my husband, our friends, or our family.

No, I didn’t wait in anticipation for the second line to appear, or the plus sign, or anything of that nature.

No, I don’t have an adorable baby bump to watch grow.

No, I don’t have an app or ticker telling me how big you are in my tummy right now, or what fruit you compare to in size.

No, I don’t get to feel butterflies floating around in my tummy, or feel him or her stretching and growing safely under my heart.

There’s a lot of things that I won’t get to experience while I wait for my family to start, and you know what….. That’s okay, as long as I get a start, and as long as I plan on getting that start, and do everything I can do to prepare, then I too am an Expectant Mom.

I will get to comfort, to love, and to help develop the mind of an individual and watch this amazing feat of nature grow into it’s own independent marvel.

It’s a term generally reserved for a pregnant woman, but I think the definition of Expectant Mom needs to be opened up a little bit.  I don’t think my inability to carry my own child should take away from the fact that I’m expecting a child,  I’m doing whatever I can to prepare to bring a child into my home, men can’t get pregnant, but there are expectant fathers out there.  My husband and I are both ‘Expecting’ to have an infant child in this house, under our care sometime after completing our home-study and PRIDE training (could be days, years or even never, which is a reality we are aware of).

While a pregnant woman’s body prepares breast tissue in order to get the milk ducts nice and plump to create food for the baby, Expectant Adoptive Moms also could be preparing their bodies to induce lactation, it’s a lot of dedicated work, but there are many women who don’t think twice about having the ability to offer such an important food to their new addition to the family.

I get to plan a Nursery

I will hopefully get to change dirty diapers

I will hopefully get to wake up in all hours of the night

I will hopefully get to kiss boo boo’s better

With the amount of dedication require to go through the gauntlet of adoption, I don’t think people should get wrapped up on terminology, or labels.  I feel like an expectant mom, so that’s what I’m going to call myself and I hope I don’t offend anyone in the process, but this may be the only expectant period of time I get so I’m going to enjoy it.

So all Expectant (adoptive) mom’s out there, Nest away, and enjoy it momma bear, and never forget how much you longed for this family to be.

**To those who ARE offended, and feel as though I’m a “baby snatcher” or someone who should “keep my selfish hands to myself since I can’t make my own baby” or who believe I’m “diluted and ignorant” or somehow read this article and get the feeling that I and women like me are “entitled”, I’m perfectly aware of the tragedy tied to adoption, try to not assume one post covers all of the thoughts and feelings associated with a topic maybe work on being more understanding people, I’ve spent A LOT of time researching the write ups, stories, books and other related literature to the dark side of adoption,  there are also positive stories if you’re willing to read them and actually believe them to be true… Perhaps this blog isn’t for you, it’s for me and the women who can relate. No abusive posts will be approved for posting they get deleted immediately, don’t go out on the Internet looking to hurt others, you can educate without being abusive**

Christmas, and Holidays of the Like

Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year, I have amazing childhood memories of Calgary for Christmas, driving to a Christmas party singing Grandma got ran over by a reindeer with my brothers and cousins, passing food the long way around the table, having clues on gifts and being amazed with how smart my cousins were for both their clues and their correct answers, the barbie dream house that my dad nearly lost his mind over while building it but never gave up on it for me, planning on catching Santa with my brother Zenon and oldest brother Ivan being such a good big brother by letting us continue to believe in him. Dressing in our beautiful Ukrainian blouses and staring out the front window looking for the first star so we can start our meal, learning Ukrainian carols with mom, the old fashioned lights that had the liquid in them that bubbles once the light bulb got hot enough, making salt dough ornaments, making (and eating) the gingerbread house, being allowed to set up my step mom’s Christmas village, waking up to stockings at our feet.

Then into teen years of Ivan and I insisting that a tree in the house was real and spending hours driving around together looking for our perfect tree, helping mom make Ukrainian Christmas dinner, going caroling with my step sister and coming home with tins of cookies and oranges.

Then as an adult, you review all of these amazing memories and picture yourself carrying on traditions with your own kids, maybe creating new ones, imprinting your heritage into their hearts and into their memories. The longer one goes only picturing the moments you desire the more you remember, and the cycle continues.

One day my children will know the joy the holidays brought to me.  I love the holidays, and all of the memories they stir up, but they get harder every year being without this child I dream and wish for.  Maybe Christmas 2016 will include a baby in our home, until then my dreams and memories will have to be enough.

Nesting and Waiting

While our lives continue on, through the home study, through the PRIDE training, and then into the dreaded wait, the most common solution at this time is ‘Nesting’

I didn’t nest at all during the fertility treatments, I was worried that I would put a jinx on our chances of getting pregnant.  When you are desperate enough you’ll try and believe in anything to give you better odds for whatever you may be dreaming of, I pleaded with God(s), I never said out loud that I knew I was pregnant before I tested, and I never ever told anyone at the time, that I knew our baby let go of me before the tests ever confirmed it.  Nesting during fertility treatments for me was bad luck, when really there was nothing that could have changed our outcome.

Now nesting just sounds fun, but you have to pace yourself and be aware and prepared that the adoption selection process can take a long long time.  It can also happen so quickly that your head will spin.

So what is Nesting?  Most of you probably already know, but for you that do not it is simple.  Nesting is basically preparing your home for baby.  De-cluttering, cleaning, and eventually making a space for a nursery.  Not only does it serve the purpose to tidy up and make space, it also serves another very important service – To distract you from time.

I can see my nesting will most defiantly involve emptying out the spare room that will be the ‘Nursery’, maybe new carpet, neutral paint, shelves perhaps?  Small things, nothing gender specific, maybe a bassinet and a car seat in case we get that call with no time to prepare.  But only things that can be safely stowed away.  Perhaps it’s time to start searching for the nursery rocker that we may one day read bedtime stories in, or have our midnight feedings in.  I was designed for Nesting 🙂

Nesting will also give us time to get our dogs better trained in general….. if you’ve been to our house, you know how the pack can be at times, so we are looking for volunteers interested in popping by here and there so we can work on how long it can take them to settle down.  They don’t have the greatest learning curve.

During this time we will also probably find a hundred other things to work on, re-do, re-finish, re-organize, and re-vamp.  The point it to stay busy, and stay busy we shall.

Did you nest? During your pregnancy? Your adoption wait? Share your story and your best tips!!