Monday, December 5, 2011

We're having a baby!

In the surprise of all surprises, we are expecting a baby!!

I am due on June 8th and we could not be more thrilled. Of course, the news came as a total shock to everyone, including us. Not because we don't know how babies are made or we're under some sort of delusion that we "didn't even try" (this is not baby Jesus and I am not the virgin Mary), but after 6 years of negative results and a plan for a family full of adopted babies, the sight of a positive pregnancy test did not register in our brains right away. It actually took several weeks to sink in.

It turns out, I have endometriosis. I had surgery in August to remove it, and by September, we were pregnant. The endometriosis was everywhere. My doctor said, "no wonder you were in so much pain". There's no test to know if you have endometriosis, so I truly don't blame any of my doctors for not finding it earlier. They couldn't have known because I wasn't exhibiting any of the typical symptoms. Plus, the surgery would have been 100% out of pocket because insurance won't pay for anything fertility related.  If you take the risk and you have it, they remove it. If not, you just paid $10,000 for a cool belly button scar.

The decision to go ahead with the surgery came after an annual exam where I simply asked, "how much pain is a normal amount of pain?" and I started to describe what I'd been dulling for months with ibuprofen. My doctor looked through my chart and said, "you actually have quite a bit of recorded history to support a laparoscopy." My doctor did some preliminary ultrasounds and found a tiny cyst in the lining of my uterus, so it was no longer a fertility issue (endometriosis does not show up on an ultrasound). Insurance would now pay for it, and that changed everything. I had several tiny cysts, endometriosis, and an adhesion left over from my appendectomy (another cool belly button scar) that was stretched tight across my abdomen and pulling one of my ovaries down. As bad as all of that sounds, I can't tell you the amount of relief I felt when I woke up from surgery and heard " had a lot of bad stuff in there". Finally, we had some answers. The surgery was all worth it. And I was on my way to feeling normal again.

Of course, now that we're pregnant, everyone wants to tell us about their friend or their neighbor or their cousin who adopted a baby and then MAGICALLY got pregnant. While that might happen to some people, in our case the adoption truly, honestly, 100% had nothing to do with it.

For one thing, adopted babies are not elves. They are not imbued with magical powers. They do not get you pregnant. If I'd decided not to have the surgery, we would have adopted another baby and I still would not be pregnant. (So for the sake of adopted babies everywhere, please stop telling people that adoption is a great way to get pregnant. It makes adopted kids sound like stepping stones to what you "really" want, which is a biological child. And what a horrible message to send to kids who will already struggle with varying levels of abandonment and attachment issues surrounding their adoption.)

Also, the idea of adopting a child in order to get pregnant is just a bargaining stage of grief. It's the game we play with ourselves when we're sad or depressed about something - "If I do this, then maybe this will happen" or "I promise never to (fill in the blank) if the universe could just give me (fill in the blank)". We test fate to see how much karma we've built up. But of course, one thing has absolutely nothing to do with the other. I can't sit in a certain chair in my living room to make the Jayhawks win another National Championship, and I can't adopt a baby in order to become pregnant. That's not why we adopted Luke. We were never holding out hope that by adding him to our lives we would magically become pregnant. In fact, the opposite was true.

I was truly scared when we found out I was pregnant. The only other time we'd ever taken a positive pregnancy test, I lost the baby. So with every single pinch and cramp, I snapped right back to the day when we endured the loss of that little life. I could hardly admit to myself (or anyone else) that I was pregnant because our joy was met with sorrow so quickly last time. I didn't want to get my hopes up. But with every milestone, we breathed a little sigh of relief and told one more person about the baby.

After the initial trepidation, my primary concern was "what is this going to do to Luke?" We'd already imagined our lives with a family of adopted kids. We would openly talk about each "gotcha day" and celebrate the stories that brought each child in to our forever family. Even if they had nothing else in common, they would all be adopted and that would bond them together as siblings. Throwing a biological child in to the mix was not part of the plan. I was scared. I didn't want to take anything away from Luke or risk some resentment because of comments people would make (and shockingly, already have) about how excited we must be to "finally have one of our own." Again...what a horrible message to send to your child. That any one of them is more special or more important or more "ours" than another??

While Ryan and I hoped and prayed and wished for this baby and this experience, now that it's finally here we feel incredibly naive and unprepared for what's ahead. I've been a mommy but I've never delivered a baby. I've waited 9 months for a child but I've never carried one. I've purchased formula and nipples and bottles but I don't know the first thing about breast feeding. We learned so much from Luke's adoption, we were ready to go through it all again - a little wiser this time. Instead of lawyer fees, home studies, and birthmother support, we are now navigating the world of sonograms, birth plans and hormones. It's amazing and I am not taking a single second of it for granted.

I could do without the barfy parts, I guess. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

I couldn't have said it better myself

 Such an excellent article!  (originally posted on

Infertility Etiquette

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.
Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn't coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.
A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:
  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.
Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don't know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don't Tell Them to Relax
Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she "relaxed." Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of "relaxing" are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as "infertile" until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren't infertile but just need to "relax." Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as "just relax" or "try going on a cruise" create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.
These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, "If you just relaxed on a cruise . . ." Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.

People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents
One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, "Maybe God doesn't intend for you to be a mother." How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don't you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn't he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren't religious, the "maybe it's not meant to be" comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man's sperm in a petri dish. This is the method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, "Why don't you just try IVF?" in the same casual tone they would use to ask, "Why don't you try shopping at another store?"

Don't Be Crude
It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don't make crude jokes about your friend's vulnerable position. Crude comments like "I'll donate the sperm" or "Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination" are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy
This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don't put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, "I'd gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby." When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, "I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes."

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends' new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend's emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can't bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn't rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don't follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn't ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.
Let's face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to "dream" about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition
Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband's sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend's privacy, and don't share any information that your friend hasn't authorized.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet)
Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a "stranger's baby," they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy's eyes and Mommy's nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, "Why do you want to adopt a baby?" Instead, the question was, "Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?" Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn't her "own," then adoption isn't the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, "Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.") However, "pushing" the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say "I am giving you this baby," there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn't your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lesson the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care
The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren't going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother's Day
With all of the activity on Mother's Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother's Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother's Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother's Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven't "forgotten" them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments
No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy's nose and daddy's eyes.
Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don't encourage them to try again, and don't discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don't try to open that chapter again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good job, MTV!!

I just watched an episode of Teen Mom on MTV, followed by An Adoption Special, hosted by Dr. Drew. And while there are millions of people in the world who think the show is REALLY stupid and it totally glorifies teen pregnancy, I feel compelled to show my support for the segments they've produced on adoption. I fully admit there was not a single thing about 16 and Pregnant that interested me...especially during the 5 years we spent trying (and failing) to become pregnant. There was no effing way I was going to watch a show where teenagers complained about their "unfortunate situations" while I was enduring painful shots, tests, treatments and therapy to experience just one second of their success.  But a staff member at Adoption Network Law Center alerted me to a very special couple on that show who were placing their child for adoption and telling a beautiful, compelling, and positive adoption story. Caitlin and Tyler continue to be inspiring examples of how adoption changes lives for good.

So many moms on that show (and elsewhere in the world) express, "I could never do that. I could never give my child up for adoption." The special actually took a second to focus on positive adoption language and the impact it can have on a child. We all understand the statement, but the language is critical. I don't want Luke to ever feel like somebody "gave him up" or "gave him away". He wasn't a stinky pair of shoes that somebody donated to Goodwill. He was a perfect, long-awaited, cherished gift who deserved more than our birth mom could provide. So she made a plan. She made a choice. And she gave him a chance.

And I thank God every day that she did.

Every adoption story is different and I am grateful to Teen Mom for showing that adoption is not "giving up". It's actually one of the most loving, wonderful, maternal things a woman can do for her baby. While our birth mom was challenging and our adoption story was nothing short of a circus, she did an amazing thing for us. And I will continue to be an advocate for adoption and emphatically show my support for the women who make this incredible choice.

Hooray to Teen Mom. Hooray to MTV. And hooray to birth moms everywhere.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

stuff you're doing

Okay have been a very busy boy! You are now 10 months old, and instead of blogging about you, I have been taking pictures of you and posting them on facebook like the idiot I swore I'd never be. But you are SO STINKIN' CUTE! I can hardly stand it. Just in the last week, you have begun:

• making a "puh" sound with your mouth - you are possibly trying to say "pa-pa" or (more likely "ba-ba" for bottle.)
• jumping like a mad fool in your bouncer.
• standing for 10-11 seconds at a time (actually locking your knees, rather than folding in half like a theater seat).
• waving hello and good-bye. 
• crying when we leave the room (this makes me happy and breaks my heart at the same time).
• forming canine tooth buds (the scary, vampire ones).
• sitting up and catching yourself before you fall over.
• showing some interest in the food that mommy and daddy are eating (except avocados. You are not a fan.)
• reaching for us to pick you up.
• crossing your fingers. (not even sure what this is about, but are obsessed with your fingers and the amazing stuff they can do!)

You still:
• clap, clap, clap when mommy sings to you.
• blow raspberries when you're frustrated.
• only like veggies, not fruit.
• don't want to lay on your tummy.
• don't want to crawl.
• don't want to roll over.
• don't want to babble or sign yet.

You will always:  
• melt our hearts and make us so proud.

For 4th of July, we drove to Houston for our annual visit to Nana Bev and Grandpa Westhoff's house. They have a boat (and if you asked, they'd probably buy you one too.) They drove you all over town to show you off. They are so proud of you and could hardly wait to introduce you to their friends. They had a crib, a high chair, and a bin of toys waiting for you, and they cried and cried when you had to leave. It makes mommy cry too - seeing how much they love you. This year, the lake was too low to go out on the boat, but next year buddy.  We will make some FUN memories!!
We also went to IKEA while we were in Houston, and I was excited to shop for you and show you around my favorite store. It brought back memories from last year when we'd just received the phonecall from our adoption agency that we were matched up. A woman named "Kelly" in Georgia picked us to be your parents and you were due in 3 months!!  At the time, we didn't know if you would be a boy or a girl, so we walked around IKEA trying to imagine you  and what you might need. We picked out a white changing table, a night-light, and some organizers for your closet. This year, we let YOU pick out what you wanted. Daddy held out lots of little doggies and you tapped the heads of the ones you liked. Then we picked out a tiny table and chairs for your birthday, a tunnel (for when you're ready to crawl), tons of bowls and plates, stripey bedding, and a bookshelf with baskets to hold all of your new toys!
The ride home took two days (and the car was super packed after our successful shopping trip), so you got to stay in your first hotel! You were so excited to be out of the car that you kicked and giggled and stretched your legs until it was time to go to sleep. Seeing you on that giant bed, wearing your jammies and smiling from ear to ear continues to be one of my favorite memories from our trip. 

When we got home, we put your bookshelf together and filled it with all of your toys. Our living room now looks like a good combination of grown-up stuff and baby stuff, rather than a crazy pile of things we all carried in to the house and dropped at the door. 

Daddy also put your table and chairs together, but we're saving that for your 1st birthday party.  And speaking of your 1st have no idea what you're in for. It's not until September, but I've been planning it for months!!  It's going to be SO MUCH FUN!!!!   We're going to have a bouncy house in the back yard and all of your cousins will be there!  I'm going to make you a birthday cake and you will get to try FROSTING for the first time!!!  Michele is going to make you a fun little hat and a matching bib. Nana Bev and Grandpa Westhoff are going to be in town, and your uncle Chad is going to (no doubt) buy you something awesome with Star Wars, Superman, Batman or Spiderman on it. Mommy and Daddy have all kinds of surprises waiting for you!!  It doesn't matter that you won't remember any of it. We have been dreaming about throwing you a birthday party since before you were born. It was always our dream to have a big family and right now, you are our dream come true.

Here you are at the park with your cousin, Delaney. She loves you and you love her. She gives you kisses on the cheek and you smile and pat her arms. She tells you she loves you and you clap your little hands. She gives you hugs and you reach out for more. She's like a big sister and a mommy all at the same time. 

Everyone loves you, Luke. How could they not? You are so sweet and fun to be around. You smile, you clap, and you warm our hearts. You are what was missing from our family and we can't imagine a single day without you. 

Happy 10 month birthday!
Mommy & Daddy 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

month six

Dear Luke,

Last night, I watched you sleep. Your tiny little mouth, curled in to a kiss. Your tiny little nose, pink and perfect. Your chubby little cheeks, so squishy and kissable. I actually started to cry, the sight of you made me so happy. I love that I get to love you for a whole lifetime. I love that you are ours to spoil. Forever.

In 6 (*Gregorian) months, you have learned how to eat cereal from a spoon, grab toys with your hands, kick the shit out of your toy gym, turn your aquarium on all by yourself, stick your tongue out, suck on your hands, grab your feet, blow raspberries, squeal, babble, scream, and use Sophie Giraffe as a wrecking ball to anything in her path.

*Your daddy likes to talk about the Gregorian calendar (because he's a huge nerd) and how annoyingly unscientific it is. It is important to note that while some months have 30 days and some have 31 (and then there's this one month that has anywhere from 28-29 days based on something called "leap year"), we choose to celebrate your milestones on the 3rd day of each month because (frankly) it's easier. And while daddy certainly has an opinion (and a very well-crafted argument) for why your age would be more accurate if we had 13 months with an equal number of days in each, I felt very strongly that we should just stop counting how many weeks old you were after you turned 1 month (and I'm sorry, but those people who keep counting months after 1 year are just obnoxious. Nobody wants to do math when you tell them how old your kid is. Just say "he's 1" and be done with it.) So this little side-note is just to prepare you for the fact that your parents are huge nerds with really strong opinions about seemingly random topics. Just wait until daddy shows you the financial spreadsheets and mommy shows you how to diagram a sentence! You are in for some good times, kiddo.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I was getting up to feed you every 2 hours and cheering you on as you nursed a 2 oz bottle...frequently falling asleep before you could finish. Now you are a big boy and you waste no time with that 5 oz bottle and immediately cry when it's all gone. (note to self: try feeding him 6 oz at night, genius)

I still love our night-time feedings, but I'm proud to say that they are becoming less frequent. You have decided you just need one feeding per night (at exactly 4am on the button) and we have it down to a science. You cry for your bottle, I stumble in to your room, I shake your pre-measured formula in to your pre-measured bottle and I attempt to place your burp-rag somewhere under your chin as you wiggle and scream in agony at the FOREVER you have been waiting for this bottle. It takes a good 7 minutes before you're sucking air and when I tip you up, you burp like a college freshman in a beer-guzzling contest. You look at me in the dark with your giant, black eyeballs and you give me a wry smile that absolutely melts my heart. I lay you back down with a kiss on the cheek and you look over at your aquarium for your late night show. I am back in bed exactly 15 minutes from when I first got up, and I lay quietly in the dark - listening to you squeal with delight at your jumping dolphin and smiling polar bear - thinking about how cute you are and how lucky I am to be your mama.

Speaking of "mama", I try every day to make you say it. You concentrate so hard on the sound as I repeat it to you over and over, but all that comes out of your mouth is a long, loud squeal that sounds remarkably the same every time, but nothing like "mama". It makes you smile to hear me say "mama" and I think my heart will literally explode when you actually repeat it. My hope is that you won't say it to the babysitter before you say it to me.

Your babysitter's name is Emily and she's pretty fantastic. She was sick a few weeks ago and your friend Evelyn had pneumonia, so you had to stay with a series of friends/family members until Evelyn was all better. You stayed with Nana Beth on the first day, and that's when we heard rumors of you rolling over. Nobody actually saw you do it, but Nana said it happened twice. She walked out of the room for a second, and when she came back in, you were on your tummy - screaming bloody murder. Daddy and I have yet to see this new trick of yours, but we hope every night that "this is it!  he's gonna do it!" On Tuesday, you hung out with Shannon and the girls at our house. Shannon took pictures of you (and your amazing blue eyes) while the girls sang songs that made you smile. On Wednesday, you went to Kelly, Evie and Allie's house. Apparently you made Allie miss her bottles (which she donated to you) and it was a bit of a rough day for her (but Kelly said you were perfect, of course). On Thursday, your Uncle Chad spent the day with you and he now has a very funny story about changing your diaper and "drying you off" that he'll have to share with you some day - probably during a speech at your wedding. And on Friday, you got to spend the WHOLE DAY with your Nana Bev and Papa Wayne. They flew all the way from Houston just to see you (and hold you and kiss you and feed you and change you and play with you and spoil you...) I can say for certain that nobody in the world was ever quite so excited to become grandparents as your nana and papa. They love you SO much. We all do, buddy. You've changed us all.

As of now, your most impressive trick is spinning yourself in a circle while laying on your back. You do this under your toy gym and you do this in your crib. Very often, daddy and I find you perpendicular to your mattress, kicking the crap out of your aquarium
to make your dolphin jump. You LOVE that aquarium! I don't know how you figured it out (other than "kicking makes the music play") but you can turn it on all by yourself! The buttons aren't even that big, but they all play music and they glow a soft blue light that calms you down instantly - which is awesome because the thing that USED to work like a charm was your binky. You loved that binky!  You just made a really valid point one day as you took two little sucks and spit it clear across the room. Clearly it did not provide food, so what was the point? Rather than long for the days when it used to comfort and calm you, we simply stopped offering it to you (but not before I pondered the idea of a semi-humane device that could permanently strap it to your face). I just had way too many close-calls trying to fish it out of your car seat while driving down the highway with one hand, swearing that you intentionally spit it over your left shoulder, and buried it under your blanket. Besides, nothing could come close to the deliciousness of your two fascinating hands your SUPER AMAZING FEET!!!!

Oh, my goodness!  Your feet!  Even if your enthusiasm sometimes gets in the way of an efficient diaper change, I just love to watch you grab your little legs and stare at those long, wiggly toes. You inspect them thoroughly and then slam them down to kick the bejeezus out of your changing pad with a delightful little squeal. Fortunately, you're not sticking those feet in your mouth yet (which makes me gag just reading that sentence) but I know the day will come. And I'll have to get over it. (p.s. mommy has a bit of a foot phobia.) Sometimes we catch you staring at your hand like you've never seen it before. You hold it up in the air and you turn your little wrist around like it's part of an acid-induced hallucination, then suddenly something snaps and you snatch that hand with the other one and shove it straight in to your mouth. It's fun to watch you discover your little baby hand at a time. 

You've begun to drool a little bit, which immediately signaled my brain to construct freaky nightmares of a dragon baby who sprouted 47 razor sharp teeth overnight. I always thought that drool meant baby teeth were on their way, so I caused some unnecessary panic in the house one night when you started (inexplicably) screaming. I just assumed you were in horrible (tooth-related) pain so I quickly gathered up all of the teethers I could find (ripping open packages and shoving them in the freezer) while your dad read all of the parenting books we had about teething and how you're not supposed to freeze the teethers or give babies medication because it doesn't actually help dull the pain. Turns out, you weren't sprouting any dragon teeth that night. You were just mad. Or bored. Or poopy. Or tired. Or you just wanted to see what would happen if you made that sound. 

But one thing is for certain, Luke. If you ever scream like that again - we promise to frantically run around the house and try our best to fix it. Even if we can't.

You love to kick your legs and you are SO FREAKING STRONG!  I'm surprised you don't have little bruises on the backs of your heels, the way you smack them down on the floor, the tub, the car seat, and your parents. You love to kick, but you especially love to kick in the bath tub! Water splashes you right in the face and you don't even flinch. You squeal and kick and throw your little fists in the water in quick little bursts of energy - then you stop and smile to see if we noticed. Yeah. We noticed.

One good thing about your baths - other than the fact that they keep you awake for an extra hour in the evening (which we seriously need to discuss, by the way. Luke...6pm is when OLD people go to sleep. Any chance you could aim for a more reasonable 7pm? 7:30? You sleep so much longer in the morning when you don't go down before the sun) but your baths are really fun now because you actually have a little bit of hair!  It's really blonde and you can only see it from certain angles, but it's there! So instead of just putting some soap on a washcloth and polishing your bald little noggin, we're actually washing your hair! It's adorable.

Tomorrow, we are leaving you for the very first time. Overnight. Your daddy and I are going on a ski trip with some friends to celebrate my birthday. I have no idea how to be away from you for one night, let alone 5 days. What am I going to do without your chubby little cheeks to chew on every day? Sometimes I pick you up and I swear you've gained a whole pound overnight. After 5 days, you're going to look like a completely different baby. 

Sometimes your daddy and I just stare at you and smile. We want you to stay little forever, but we can't wait to find out who you're going to become. You make us so proud. You're our little bug and we love you so much.

Happy 6 months, baby! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Every time I try to post photos, I get an error message that I am out of memory. Anybody know what's going on here? 

Blogger has offered to let me PURCHASE more memory, but that seems to conflict with their whole "anyone can have a blog for free" campaign.

Without being able to post photos, this blog is pretty much useless. I don't have any more crazy birthmom stories to share, so all I've got is a cute kid. That's not fun to read about, is it?  He's not talking yet so I can't tell you any "kids say the darndest things" stories. And there's no way I could describe in detail the amount of cuteness that oozes out of my perfectly bald baby.

I need advice!  Or an advertiser who would like to pay for my suspiciously necessary "memory".