Yearly Archives

2014

Mission

Your Favorite Posts Of 2014

December 29, 2014

I can hardly believe it but 2015 is just around the corner.

It’s been a huge year for us at True Good and Beautiful and our blog traffic reflects that reality.

This little blog has seen 88,812 views this year, which is quite the jump from previous years. Thank you for joining us in our corner of the interwebs and for sharing life with us. It’s been a privilege and an honor.

Without further ado, let’s peek at what YOUR favorite posts were in 2014:

An Open Letter To A Mother Who Chose Abortion

The Adoption Puzzle Is Here

Houston, We Have a Baby!

My First Stitch Fix!

My Favorite Catholic Infertility Blogs

Why This Woman Said No To Abortion

The Best Secret We’ve Ever Had

Why NFP Awareness Week Gets Under My Skin

How To Come With Us and Meet #BabyTex

Help Us Find a Birth Mother!

Adoption, Parenting

Nursing Josie: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

December 22, 2014

After my last post on How and Why I Induced Lactation, I got a lot of questions as to how it’s going. So, for those who asked (and anyone else who’s interested) here’s the rest of the story.

Before I get into the details, I have to commend ALL breastfeeding moms out there. Breastfeeding is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s hands down been the most difficult and emotional thing I have ever done.

We’ve had some major challenges and victories along the way. It’s been a journey of highs and lows and I want to be very real about that with our readers, especially those considering lactation induction. There have been days I have doubted why I ever induced lactation and if I made the wrong decision because of how hard this is. There are other days when I am confident this was a good decision and we reach a new milestone or have a breakthrough.

And round and round the merry-go-round we’ve gone.

Here’s we go:

Josephine was born November 10th, 2014. Her birth mother (Tiffany) and I planned to tandem nurse her in the hospital for two reasons –

1. I could continue maintaining supply and get nursing practice

2. Josie could fill up on colostrum with Tiffany, getting all those awesome health benefits

Before Josephine was born, my max production in any given day was between 7-8 ounces of pumped milk. I knew this would be enough for her the first couple days of life when her tummy was oh so tiny but I was nervous about what my supply would do after she was born.

I had many women telling me things like:

“That baby will bring your milk in with a vengeance.”

“The baby will be far more efficient than the pump.”

“Your supply will just grow with what the baby needs.”

Granted none of those women had induced lactation. They’d given birth and had 9 months to prepare their breast tissue for this “surge of milk supply” that they thought was coming my way upon the baby’s arrival.

God bless their naive little hearts.

While supply worries were on the back burner in the hospital, my anxiety quickly shifted to the nipple blisters I was getting from Josie. A nurse came and gave me some instructions on how to “sandwich” my breast to help Josie get a deeper latch. Once I figured out how to hold her with one hand and sandwich my boob with the other, the pinching sensation and blistering went away. Whew!

We left the hospital and things were going pretty well until day 5 hit.

That night Josie woke up to nurse every hour…and it would take her 30 minutes to eat. That meant that by the time we laid her back down and fell back asleep ourselves, she would be up crying and wanting to nurse again 15 minutes later. It was the longest night of our lives.

The next morning I was going crazy with sleep deprivation. I just wanted her to stop crying and my gut said that she was hungry despite all this nursing. I busted my pump out and hooked it up…to find nothing on tap at the milk bar. I was empty and this wasn’t news to Josie. She was angry and frustrated. Even placing her in the nursing position caused her to arch her back, fighting to get away from my breasts.

In our frustration, we bottled up some pumped breast milk from previous days and gave her a couple ounces. She sucked it down like a starving child and slept peacefully for 3 hours.

Enter Satan and his lies creeping in:

“She hates nursing since you aren’t her “real” mom.”

“Why did you even induce lactation? You won’t be able to do this.”

“You can’t have babies and you can’t even nurse babies. Your body is broken and unable to function.”

Every negative emotion you can think of was swarming my mind. Guilt. Envy. Fear. Anxiety.

I was a hot mess and Jonathan was at the receiving end of my wrath. I was like a caged animal who was unpredictable and looked ready to snap at any given moment in time. Of course all this anxiety was leading me into depression and my supply started to tank. Since Josie was on a nursing strike and refusing to latch, I had to start bottle feeding her formula since I couldn’t pump enough for her needs.

I turned to my Adoptive Breastfeeding Facebook group for support and decided to try using the LactAid supplemental nursing system to begin supplementing instead of using the bottle. Sometimes she would accept it at the breast and sometimes we would have to tape the tube to our pinky finger to feed her that way. I also learned that it’s incredibly RARE to get a full supply if you didn’t give birth before and if I am to get a full supply, it will take time. Like months. Not the days I was promised by other nursing moms.

Around this time is when I started cussing again. I haven’t really cussed consistently in about a decade…until I started hitting nursing issues. Every swear word has made it’s way back into my vocabulary. I am not happy to admit it but when you combine zero sleep, a screaming baby, and my cave woman’s desire to feed my baby and inability to do so…sometimes cussing ensues.

Even with the LactAid, Josie was not having it at the breast. She panicked when we even put her on the Boppy pillow to feed.

I called a Lactation Consultant and set up an appointment immediately. She came to the house we were staying at in Sacramento and in the 90 minute visit, she had Josie latch twice using the laid back nursing position. It was her way to “trick” her back on the boob. We also had the LactAid set up so Josie was actually getting a flow of milk when she sucked.

We slowly began to build confidence again.

Until day 13 hit. Nursing strike number two.

All of a sudden Josie refused to latch again. The same old back aching and screaming meant something wasn’t right but I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was panicking again and wrote to some moms in FOCUS to help. Someone referred me to a local Lactation Consultant here in Denver and she came over the next day.

We discovered that Miss Josie was severely congested. Once we got her unplugged, she was latched and going strong at nursing yet again with the help of the LactAid. We also discovered that she has a stage 3 upper lip tie, which compromises her latch. This has been leaving me with vasospasms and slower supply build. This has left Josie with poor ability to latch, a weak suck, and increased gas.

Two weeks ago, I wanted to know how much milk Josie was getting from me and how much we actually needed to supplement her. We rented a scale and have been weighing her before, when we switch breasts, and after. It’s been tedious but pretty neat to see the actual results. The first week I was making about 10 ounces a day. Just yesterday I was up to 11.667 ounces for the day. So my supply is building but I do still have to supplement her with 1-1.5 ounces of donor breast milk every time we feed.

I have high hopes that we will keep building my supply and someday I can fully ditch the LactAid device with it’s stupid little tube and tape. We have an appointment in a few weeks for her upper lip tie to be evaluated and possibly lasered at a pediatric dentist office in town known for doing this procedure. I think that will be freeing for all of us – she will be able to nurse better, my nipples will be less sore, and she will drain my breasts more efficiently which will build my supply.

It’s been a tedious labor of love to persevere with breastfeeding. I have almost thrown in the towel on n.u.m.e.r.o.u.s. occasions. Friends and family have been so encouraging and supportive, especially Jonathan. I love that man more now than ever!

We still have quite the journey ahead of us, with the lip tie procedure and hopeful building of my supply. I will keep documenting our journey here to serve as a beacon of hope for those going through similar nursing issues.

Please pray to Our Lady of La Leche for my milk supply to increase if you remember today! 🙂

Adoption, Parenting

How and Why I Induced Lactation

December 17, 2014

I’ve lost all our male readers already.

It’s just me and you, ladies….so let’s talk lactation.

First things first. Did you know that women who have NOT given birth can still breastfeed their babies?

Amazing, right?

Well once you understand the physiology of breastfeeding and that it’s triggered by prolactin levels (controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain) it makes sense that a non-pregnant woman can lactate granted she elevates her prolactin.

You may be thinking…but don’t high prolactin levels decrease fertility?

Why yes, indeed it does….so why would this old infertile gal decrease her fertility even further?

That’s something we had to think through. I don’t really have great fertility to start with but to shut my cycle off completely? That was a scary thought at first as I couldn’t imagine not actively trying to get pregnant.

But then I realized I needed a break from my fertility treatment rigmarole.

BIGTIME!

This summer was brutal on my body, mind, and soul. I was finally ovulating but not conceiving. It was rough to see my body ovulate month after month on ultrasound only to yet again not get pregnant. This is due to the fact that my ovaries and insides are likely caked in scar tissue and adhesions. So even though I can “ovulate” it’s not really a good chance I would conceive anyhow.

Knowing this and that it will require physical therapy and/or surgery to remove the adhesions, Jonathan and I decided it was just time for a break. We’ve had spent well over 2.5 years doing crazy intense protocols month after month trying to conceive and it was all panning out fruitless. Suddenly shutting my cycle off so I couldn’t think about conceiving was a welcome idea.

A sanity vacation if you will.

That’s when the research began.

I’ve always known that breast milk is best for babies but I wasn’t afraid of formula per say. I mostly pursued adoptive breastfeeding for the bonding and emotional benefits. I wanted all that skin to skin contact. I wanted to build a nursing relationship with our daughter that no one else would be able to provide her. But the fact that she would be healthier and filled with antibodies via breast milk was a huge additional bonus.

So I got on Facebook and joined an adoptive breastfeeding group. They’ve been and continue to be a HUGE place of support and content for me. It’s where I received guidance and wisdom on how to begin lactation induction. Which brings me to the point of this entire post! 🙂

Below is how I induced lactation:

The above methods were an accelerated and modified version of the Newman-Goldfarb Method for induction. Some women do more, some women do less but the above protocol had me making 8 ounces of milk per day by the end of 7 weeks of pumping and taking the medications/herbs.

All women are different but I was told by my adoptive breastfeeding group that the amount I made was ahead of the usual…which was really exciting to hear!

Many women making that amount of milk at least took some form of birth control pill to prepare their breast tissue for lactation. I didn’t do any of that. I had two months to prepare but I wanted a shot at exclusively breastfeeding Josephine.  By the time she was born, I knew I had quite a ways to go since she would soon need at least double what I was making.

But that is another post 🙂

Stay tuned for next time when I talk about how nursing Josie has been going.

Milk bottles photo in title image by cinderellasg. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Money, Parenting

3 Reasons We Cloth Diaper

December 12, 2014

I just want to get it out on the table from the get go:

Diapering is NOT a moral issue. I am not participating in any mommy wars and if you are a reader who has chosen disposables, I am still your friend and ally 🙂

Now that the white elephant if out of the room, let’s dive into the world of cloth diapering…

When we found out we would be adopting a baby this summer, that is when the research began. I started reading blogs and articles about cloth diapers. I asked friends about them. I joined Facebook chat groups about cloth diapering and stalked the posts for all the good, bad, and ugly. I even went to a few stores to try play with some in real life.

At the end of the day, I decided that cloth diapering was worth a try for our family. Below are the 3 reasons we pursued the cloth route:

1. Show Me the Money!

money pic

Let’s be honest – this was my number one reason by FAR for choosing to cloth diaper. I didn’t want to budget for diapers and wipes on a monthly basis. I wanted an up front cost for a product that would pay for itself over and over again.

You can Google “cost savings of cloth diapering” and find dozens and dozens of bloggers who have broken down and analyzed cloth vs disposable diapers. The savings are very real and very significant.

Like thousands of dollars.

Especially if you buy your cloth diaper stash gently used (like I did), don’t have to pay water laundry bills (because our HOA pays for water), and even make your own cloth wipes and diaper liners (that cost less than $5 at Joanne Fabrics).

Lots of savings bundled into these little fluffy dipes.

2. That Cute Factor Tho…

Josie66

Cloth diapers are just DANG CUTE!

I admit they are somewhat addicting because they are so cute. I love seeing Josie’s little fluffy bum with it’s adorable prints that change throughout the day. I am genuinely excited for the next diaper change (sort of, lol) due to how jazzed I am to use the next cloth diaper color or pattern.

3. Keeping Things Natural & Sustainable

sustainability

I am growing in my desire and to be a good steward of the earth and it’s natural resources. I recycle about half the things I should…which is not great but way better than it used to be.

I see cloth diapers as a way for our family to make an effort to keep trash and waste down and to take care of our earth in a small way. We literally have no cloth diaper trash. I wash everything. It’s 100% recyclable and I really enjoy that.

I also like how my daughter is not exposed to chemicals in her cloth diapers. Sure, I have put disposables on her in the early days and I am not opposed to them. But long term I like that we don’t have to worry about chemical burns from disposable diapers.

And those are my main reasons for choosing cloth. Once we settled on that decision, it was on to research which kind of cloth diaper system we would choose, which is an entirely different post. I will share those details later! 🙂

Thus far we are really happy with our cloth diapers and the potential drawbacks like laundry and poop honestly haven’t been bad. The laundry is manageable and I only have to wash dipes every 48-72 hours. And the poop? I touch as much of it as I would if she was in disposables so to me there is no difference.

As we continue the cloth diapering journey, I am sure I will hit different phases but for now we are really content with our choice. If anyone has questions, hit me up in the comments below!

Adoption

Josephine’s Official Birth Announcement

December 10, 2014

Hi there!

We thought about printing and sending out birth announcements…and then we realized we have True Good and Beautiful. This blog reaches more people than we could have sent postcards to, so that is why we are posting Josephine’s official birth announcement here.

Oh and we are really cheap frugal. 🙂

Enjoy.

announcement.jpg

Adoption

Why This Woman Said No To Abortion

December 8, 2014

I have a treat for all you readers out there.

It’s a letter from Tiffany (Josephine’s birth mom) about why she chose adoption instead of abortion.

Tiff and I were talking a couple months ago when she said she ran into a woman who was pregnant and considering abortion. She looked at the woman and said, “Give me ten minutes of your time.” In that short conversation she was able to share why she chose adoption instead of abortion, in hopes of encouraging this young woman to also go down an unknown but very amazing path herself. Now, we don’t know whatever came of this young woman’s decision but I know Tiffany’s message touched her regardless.

Her story is what I want to share here today. I want to inspire those of you who have never heard about adoption from the perspective of the birth family. I also want to hold their example out as one of hope to anyone out there considering abortion. Life is truly beautiful and I hope you can see in this story just how worth any sacrifice for life is.

Without further ado, here’s her story:

Hi my name is Tiffany Jones and I would like to share my amazing journey that impacted many lives. Back in April when my husband and I discovered we were pregnant again with our 2nd child we were overwhelmed with all of these emotions our main emotion we felt was fear because we knew there was no way we could afford another baby right now.

So we started laying out our options and of course abortion was the first thing to pop into my mind because I had heard it was the quickest and easiest way to resolve it. Once I brought it up to my husband he literally gave it 2 seconds of thought and said absolutely not that is not an option for us nor will it ever be. We don’t know if this beautiful baby will change many lives or find a cure to something or be the president one day and we would never know if we didn’t give this baby even a chance at life.

So of course we put our thinking caps back on and finally came to the conclusion of adoption which of course was an extremely scary thought but we knew it was for the best. Once we got the ball rolling on looking for a family for our beautiful baby it lifted some stress and weight off of our shoulders but of course added other questions and thoughts.

Once we found the amazing couple we chose to be our baby girls parents I couldn’t help but finding myself to be really happy for them and with our decision. We knew they were going to make amazing parents and deserved this gift from God.

Like I told Amanda, this baby was never meant to be ours she was always theirs. That God just blessed me with the amazing opportunity to create and carry this beautiful gift for them who couldn’t. Now the reason I want to share this is because for all the mothers to be younger or older no matter your age and you feel stuck or scared and dont know what to do and have abortion on your mind just think what if your baby your carrying was never meant to be yours what if he/she was brought here for another family that cannot conceive themselves. What if God just blessed you with the amazing chance to not only give life but change someones as well.

So all I ask of all you gorgeous soon to be mommy’s out there is really take a moment to think before you act. Only because you cant change your mind once you get an abortion. But with adoption yes its scary and hard but a gift not only to others but to yourselves for choosing to give your child life and a great one and you will always know that he/she is out there possibly changing many lives like you would do if you chose adoption.

This is from one woman to another. Placing our child up for adoption was the hardest but most amazing thing we feel we could ever do. I hope this helps to encourage all women out there that feel confused on what they should do. Don’t make any rash decisions you cant take back. Choose life ladies you will be so much happier with yourself.

I hope this story is an encouragement and a blessing to you. This perspective is unique in a culture that is afraid of adoption and embraces abortion. Please give this unique voice greater influence by sharing this post on social media. Please keep Tiffany, Matt, and their family in their prayers, that God may bless them immensely for their heroic love and sacrifice.