Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
I think we may have actually hit the beginning of understanding object permanence just within the last few days, as Micah has now started to complain when left alone for too long, only to turn off the tears as soon as we turn our attention back to him.
Also just in the last two days, his hands have found each other. For some reason, this absolutely slays me when I see his little fingers interlaced together as if he's solving Fermat's last theorem. I have to get a photo of those little hands. Speaking of hands, we're starting baby sign language now, so if you see the two idiots loudly talking about MILK while making cow-milking motions, that will be us. Hopefully my commitment to baby signing will last longer than my commitment to cloth diapers did! And speaking of milk, we're seeing a lot of it go in and quite a lot of it drool, dribble, and project itself forcefully out. I knew when you had a baby that you do lots of laundry, but I never really realized that it was the adult clothing that needed so much washing! Now I see why!
Everything is now getting put in the mouth, with an special fondness for mommy's hands during bathtime. Of course, as soon as the hands started going in the mouth, he picked up a little cold, and has been coughing quite a lot and sleeping a bit more than usual. We won't complain about the latter! Micah remains a good sleeper, calming down as soon as we've finished swaddling him and going to sleep without a complaint. He continues to sleep from about 7:30 pm to 4:30 or 5 am, and can sometimes be pursuaded to go back to sleep until 6. He wakes up alert and interested in seeing what's going to happen, but is ready for a nap from 8-10 and then again around 12. He is still taking a late afternoon nap as well, around 4:30 or so, although sometimes that gets interrupted by day care pick-up. His naps at day care get a little more interrupted by the other kids, but overall he's doing great there.
At his last check-up, Micah was over 14 pounds, and is in the 55th percentile for length, the 35th percentile for weight, and the 1st percentile for head circumference! The doctor says that as long as his head is growing and his development is normal that it isn't something we should worry aobut -- someone has to be in the 1st percentile.... Micah is already working very hard at standing up. He enjoyes being held up so that he can practice putting weight on his legs, and I'd almost guess that he'll stand before he crawls. He's got great neck strength and just started to get the hang of his bouncy swing.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
First night of chanukkah....
Cousin Olivia modeling her rock-star look.
Adam starts a new holiday tradition and demonstrates a bad habit for cousin Ben -- the whipped cream squirt
Micah models his new chanukah yamulke, made on the spot by Great aunt Jackie.
Helping mommy open up a present.
Friday, December 4, 2009
In case I wasn't feeling guilty enough about leaving, I went to a play with friends the other night and it turned out that it was kind of a contemporary Alice-in-Wonderland story about a mother running away from her family of two little boys for 20 years. I was definitely a little uncomfortable through the whole play, and kept hoping she was going to wake up and find that the whole surreal adventure she had was a dream. But no, in the last scene she had become a psychiatrist practicing in Alaska under a new name and her (now adult) son came for an appointment to get some sleeping pills because it was the time of year when his mother disappeared!
Yes, Micah, I'll be back on Sunday, I promise.
Seriously, as much as I've enjoyed the uninterrupted sleep (and yes, I really have enjoyed it!) this trip was important for me to remember a bit more of who I am in Boston so I can try to bring a bit of that person back to Denver with me. I like who I am here so much more than Denver -- a city girl who is out and about on the town, independent, experimental, with a huge network of old friends, a congregation I fit into perfectly, and a town and state that I love to my very bones. I just don't know how to bring her to Denver, where I have a house in the borning suburbs, no connection to the landscape, and a job that doesn't even require me to get out of my pajamas in the morning.
Of course most of my conversations here have been showing off pictures of my beautiful baby. I feel very lucky I'm somehow managed to have it all -- to live in both Boston and Denver, to have new friends but keep the old; to be a city girl and a suburban mom at the same time. So it goes, and so I'll happily go back to being Denver Stephanie on Sunday.
But I sure will enjoy two more nights of sleep first!!!!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Maybe its from hanging out with the older babies at daycare, but you've changed so much this month! Of most importance to mommy and daddy is the fact that you're now on a nice, 4-hour schedule during the day, and sleeping 11 or 12 hours at night. For a while, you were going to sleep at 6 pm and waking up at 3 am for a feeding, but after a week or so Mommy caught on to you and now you have a nap from 5-6 and then she wakes you up for one last feeding at 7 so you sleep until 6 am, sometimes without waking up at all. Daddy likes this arrangement better, too, because for a while, he wasn't getting home until 6:30 pm, so he wasn't getting to see you in the evenings. You still like to be swaddled very tightly at night, and get upset if the covers get loose.
During the day, you've become, in the words of your daycare supervisor, "a charmer," smiling and ready to engage everyone you see. You're very observant, and seem to take your job of soaking new things in very seriously. At home, you like to sit on our laps and watch our mouths move, trying to figure out how to get yours to do the same, having long conversations with us that consist of nothing but vowel sounds. When we stick out our tongue at you, you do it back. Recently you discovered that you got a laugh out of mommy by splashing her with the bath water, and you started to try to laugh. You're also starting to get the hang of holding things in your hand, although really, you don't understand the point since everything you want is brought to you. You love stretching when you wake up, but still get mighty mad when we make you do tummy time.
In the looks department, you're starting to get rolly polly thighs and chubby feet. In the last month, you've lost most of the full head of hair that you had at birth, except for your long bangs and a lock of hair over your ears; the rest of your head is mostly fuzz, giving you the look of a balding Chasid. You have a big bald patch in back, of course, which daddy worries is going to be permanent. While I'm pretty certain it will grow in, our non-invasive ear correction seems to have been for naught.
You had your first major boo-boo this month when another baby in daycare crawled underneath a small table and tiped it over on your forehead. Luckily this only caused a goose egg on your forehead that didn't seem to phase you too much. We're looking forward to your 4-month check-up next week to learn how well you're growing.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
When we chose a donor, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I would be able to locate any other children that our donor contributed to. We saw photos of two children who were born through our ED; however, they are Indian and apparently their parents intend to keep the facts of their birth a secret. Since we're leaning toward only having one baby, it would be really nice to have a connection with a half-sibling or two or three. However, as our pregnancy went on, I realized that these siblings would be located around the globe, so it might not be very useful for our child to know that he had half-siblings in Australia. But given how fast and easy global communications are, and since my blog seems to have a global reach, I'll just put this out there: if you used an ED from Mumbai named Neha, could you drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org? Maybe we'll just decide to put the information in our back pockets and not do anything about it for 5 years, but I owe it to Micah to at least ask the question.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
There's a lot of online discussion in other blogs about different surrogacy programs, but there's been less discussion of the issues of using donor material. This is a very real issue for many starting the surrogacy process. On the Chai Baby blog (http://havingababyinindia.blogspot.com/) Charliecat posted an excellent discussion about the dramatic fall-off in fertility for women in their late 30's and early 40's, and about her decision to use an ED. I started to write a reply to her post, but realized that I have more-than-post-it-sized feelings about having had to use an ED. I hope my thoughts are useful to any couple facing the decision of using donor material.
A fertility doctor at one of the World's Greatest Hospitals quickly dashed my hopes of being able to bear or provide the genes for a baby. It was like pulling a band-aid off a wound, painful but quick. In retrospect, I'm glad he saved our energy, emotions, and wallet from going through a lot of procedures that had little chance for success, though at the time I certainly had to go through a process of mourning for not being able to bear a child myself. But at the time (about 4 or 5 years ago), I didn't know about the option for surrogacy overseas, and knowing that would certainly have helped some, but not all, of the pain.
My desire to have a baby was way stronger than my desire to carry on my genes, anyway. We considered using a family member as an ED, but she was nearing 40 as we started the process, and the agency we were in discussions with at the time discouraged us from using her. Frankly, this was a little bit of a relief, since I felt like I'd be putting her through a lot of discomfort and inconvenience by making her give herself shots and leave her family for a week or so to go to India.
The biggest part of using an Indian ED was uncomfortable for us was the lack of any medical or personality information being made available to us. We could only assume that some screening had been done by the agency (although we had little details of that.) Given the lack of information, we made our decision solely on the basis of the donor's looks and a gut feeling. She looked very energetic, warm, upbeat, and very pretty. There was something about her face that reminded me of my grandmother's family, and that helped my decision.
At the time, we didn't realize that there were other agencies in India that could provide more detailed information about their donors. Although so far our child is perfectly healthy, I regret accepting the agency's offerings without trying to find one that could provide more information on their donors. I recently filled out some medical forms at the pediatrician's office, and felt terrible when I had to enter "unknown" next to every line of maternal history. I know Micah faces a lifetime of answering these types of questions, and hope that it doesn't cause him too much pain.
I also wish that there was better language for his situation; something to differentiate between "his mother's (my) side of the family" and "his maternal genetics." If anyone has any linguistic suggestions for how to talk about that, I'd love to hear them; saying "your egg donor" sounds so sci-fi. I wonder if Micah will one day want to go find his "real" mother and be disappointed that he can't.
The option of using a Caucasian ED was introduced a bit too late for us to consider, although it did play a role in our last-minute hesitations about going forward with our Plan A. Would we have done it if we had known about it in time? We might have considered because it would have provided peace of mind in having more medical information and more information about our child's potential personality traits and intellect, and because my husband had a picture in his mind of having a blue-eyed redheaded baby like his mother's side of the family. But there are no guarantees when you're playing with genetics -- even a PhD could produce an incurious child, and even the most physicially beautiful woman could produce a baby that looks like her ugly uncle. When it comes down to it, though, cost was a factor. I feel really lucky that one thing we didn't have to worry about was our child being more or less accepted by family or our communities based on looks.
What we learned when we met Micah for the first time is that genes are really random. We ended up with a baby who shares many characteristics with his dad. And the traits he inherited from the donor -- his thick head of dark brown hair, olive skin, and face shape -- make him look he could come from my side of the family. I didn't think I would care about having a baby that doesn't look like me, and I'm proud of Micah's unique story, but I admit that I feel some relief that we'll have the opportunity to share it when we choose to, and not because we're forced to by curious questions from strangers.
Do I feel any different raising a child that's not genetically related to me? I don't think so. Certainly it doesn't matter one bit in the middle of the night when I wake up to feed him, or when I hold him in my arms and marvel at how much I love him. I do feel a bit of a pang when his father points out traits that they share, but I already can see that Micah is temperamentally different from his father. I intend to make sure that Micah learns ethics, ways of thinking about the world, and and interests from me. I know we'll share an emotional connection. And unlike his father, who has some expectation of having commonalities with Micah and may be disappointed when they aren't the same, I have no such illusions and that may be very healthy.
Now that we've found the answer to the question that we'd wondered about for over a year -- what will our baby look like -- the most interesting question to me is "what kind of personality does our baby have?" And in this regard, we're very much like every other new parent. As it was so well put by a character in my favorite TV series, Mad Men, in speaking about a brand new baby, "We don't know who he is yet or what he's going to be -- and that's a wonderful thing."
Sunday, November 8, 2009
That's us. But I'm not complaining.
Micah's a great sleeper. As soon as he starts acting cranky, we know it is time for a nap, and as soon as we put him down, he goes to sleep with very little fuss. Except for the recent bouts of projectile vomit (brought on because his baby blues are bigger than his tiny tummy) he's about as easy a guy as you could want. At night, he's going down to sleep between 6 and 7, and usually only wakes once at 2:30 or 3 for a feeding. In return, I think we're giving him what he needs most, the continuity and safety of sleep in his own bed, with quiet and darkness. But, it is making us a little cranky as we are people who are used to being on the go!
When I'm awake at 2:30 at night to feed him, I try to remember through my grogginess that this time is so fleeting, and that he'll be a big boy on the go himself so very soon. I look at my gorgous, cuddly boy (already he looks like a little boy, not a baby!) and can't get over how lucky we got. We took a big roll of the dice and, as Adam wrote me on a card on our wedding day, "I think we are winning."
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Although we're not going to the fanciest day care on the block, I've been pretty pleased with them so far. The staff spend plenty of time holding Micah and really seem to enjoy being with him. His daily report card on Thursday noted "I like to see him smile. He smiles with his whole body." I did get my first experience with The Call that every parent dreads; a mid-day "please pick up your child, he's sick" call. Turns out that he had spit up several times in the first 3 hours of the day. He wasn't really that sick, so it wasn't a big rush to get him, but Adam had left me without a car that morning, so it was stressful trying to figure out how to get him home (Grandma saved the day! Adam, time to install the car seat base in your car so I can keep my car at home!)
Another sad event last week was that my sister and her family, who had been here visiting for 9 days, left on Monday. We soooooo enjoyed having them here, and it was wonderful to see how "grown up" my 5 year old nephew Logan and his 3 year old sister Natasha were. They loooooved "Baby Micah" and were happy to help feed him his bottle. Baby Micah got out on the town a lot more often during their visit, making trips to the zoo, to Grandma's house, and to a great playground.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Every day we ask each other whether Micah's eyes are still blue. We expect they will change, but they are still incredibly blue at 10 weeks. Adam's are green with brown around the edges, and there was a lot of blue on his mother's side. From what I've read, eye color genetics is a lot more complicated than those simple diagrams we learned in elementary school led us to believe. I've never been one who was impressed by blue eyes -- never dated anyone with them, never imagined having children with them -- but I have to say that they are pretty striking on my lil' guy!
Not quite big enough for this toy, but daddy improvised a little, and Micah seemed to enjoy it. Mommy will breathe easier when he can hold his neck up just a big better.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I'm not a huge believer in or lover of the idea of angels, but certainly looking at this squirming, cooing, crying bunch, but looking at this group -- like looking at People magazine's assortment of stars having babies in their 40's -- makes you realize the amazing variety of medical miracles we have available to us today. Working in the health care industry, I know they aren't just for babies, either -- so many technologies keep us alive that just were pipe dreams 10 years ago.
At this point in Micah's life, as we get absorbed in the daily routine of diapers, projectile vomit, and mid-night feedings, it is easy to forget what it took to get him; what we sacrificed and what we achieved, so I thought it was an appropriate moment to reflect in thanksgiving.
And on the Micah achievement front, he's gotten a good report at his 2-month (actually, 9 week) check-up! He looks huge to us, but is still small relative to his peers (although the measurements don't take into account that he was 3 weeks early gestationally, so we don't think much of them.) The important thing is that he's on an upward swing, and thriving like crazy! Next stop: more sleep please!!!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
And it is a basket of fun!!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
You're developing great strength in your neck and back, and even though you don't like "tummy time" very much, it seems like you'll probably be crawling and getting into trouble really soon. Just the other day you managed to turn yourself over from tummy to back several times while I was watching, but no one else has seen you do this yet. You've started to really enjoy your bath time, and you seem to already dislike having a dirty diaper. We've seen a few little crooked smiles, but can't wait to watch your face fill with joy and wonder at the world.
More importantly, Micah, in your brief two months, you're managing to change us. I didn't get to give birth to you the regular way, but even so, it is becoming true that, as Ghandi said, "the child gives birth to the mother." Learning to sacrifice for you (oh, sleep, I do miss you!!!) , to take care of you before taking care of my self, and to worry more about your future than my own are just a few of the lessons I've been learning. You're daddy and I haven't left the house as often as we used to, but we're getting enjoyment from holding you and wondering what you're going to be like when you're bigger; where you'll go and what you'll do.
We're trying so hard to be good parents to you, Micah -- to set a good foundation for you to sleep well, be healthy, use your body, and have fun. I promise to try not to compare you to anyone else and to be proud of you in everything you do. I am fully prepared to have all of my theories of how to raise you go out the window faster than the cloth diapers I was so excited about did (3 days), and to continue to learn from you how to be the best mother I can be.
With all my love,
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"Let's go away for the weekend!" she proposed.
"OK, where do you want to go -- someplace close?" he asked cautiously.
"Nah," she said, "Let's go to Pagosa Springs! There's a hot air balloon festival."
"Uhm, that's about 4 hours away," he cautioned.
"But I really really want to see hot air balloons. And there's lots to do there."
"Uhm, OK, but I think its a pretty far drive. And I can't leave town until after 4 pm" he gamely replied. "But its your birthday, so whatever you want."
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friend: So is motherhood everything you expected it to be?
Me: It is surprising how much you can love a little blob who is basically doing nothing but sleeping, eating, and pooping; and amazing at how you don't mind all those sacrifices. We spend lots of time just talking about what a great kid he is, how lucky we got....
Friend: I always think about how much I love my cat with such an irrational force I can't even imagine having a baby and what that would be like!
Yeah, it's actually a lot like that, except babies need more help wiping their @ss! It will be really cool once he starts reacting more to the outside world and us...
haha I bet
My current cats aren't nearly as loving as my last cat was, so Micah is a lot more satisfying than my cats right now. When I'm feeding him and he's locking eyes with me, it is amazing....no one has ever looked at me like that!
Not even Adam??
He's never depended on me for his next meal!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
- My impending return to work next week (actually, I'm looking forward to some intellectual stimulation)
- The need to change Colorado's liquor laws to allow groceries to sell wine and full-strength beer, paving the way for Trader Joes to open shop in Colorado
- Micah's post-circumcision mood or color of any related parts of his anatomy.
In the meantime, two funny incidents from this week:
1. I was driving Micah for a follow-up appointment to check on his healing. The doctor's office was about 20 minutes away. I was happily listening to NPR in the car (something I haven't done much of since we've been back) and had practically forgotten that I was now someone responsible for a baby when I got 2 blocks away from the doctor's office and I realized -- it is very quiet back there! Did I forget the baby at home? I haven't figured out how to fasten the baby-view mirror to my leather upholstery, so I wasn't able to glance backward and see him. I distinctly remembered wrestling his car seat into the car. Did something happen to him and I've been merrily driving along without realizing it? How am I going to explain that? I would have pulled into a parking lot to set my mind at ease, but we were only 2 blocks away. I was very relieved to open up the back seat and see Micah completely dozed-out in his "bucket."
2) My aunt was telling my mother a piece of Jewish lore she heard that when a person converts to Judiasm, they get a new Jewish soul. She then asked my mother how Micah was doing after the bris, to which my mother replied "He's complaining a little more." "Of course he's complaining more, he's Jewish now!" was the conclusion they reached.
Finally, an interesting observation. I ran into a neighbor who I haven't seen since before we left for India, and I was telling her a little about our experiences there. I realized that, like they say about childbirth, the details of all our travails to bring Micah home have become a little less painful. I haven't forgotten all of the hassle and frustration, but it certainly doesn't rankle as much. So, if you are waiting for your baby in India, take cheer in the fact that the baby pick-up pain doesn't last forever, even though it felt like it would at the time.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male
throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money
of any foreigner, that is not of your seed. He that is born in your house,
and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised, and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Although I thing the original text was referring to slaves, not the children of surrogates, in mentioning he that is bought with money from a foreigner, it was pretty freaky to see our situation addressed here.
We had a wonderful, very special day. The house was filled with family and friends, good food, laughter, and adoring attention for Micah. As part of the ceremony, we spoke some words to Micah about his name, which I've included below for those of you who couldn't join us:
Dear Micah, before we tell you about your name, we want to tell you about the miraculous way you came to be here today.
You see, your daddy and I wanted to have a little boy so much that we flew across the world and enlisted the support of two amazing women. The first was a very beautiful Muslim woman named Neha, who gave us a tiny bit of herself to help us create you. The second was a small, determined Hindu woman named Rajeshree who carried you in her womb for us. We don’t know a lot about these women, but we admire their strength and we hope that we have helped improve the lives of their
families while they helped us create you.
Stephanie, also played a powerful role in your creation. Some women create a baby with their bodies, others use their brain to find a way to have a baby. Your mother’s persistence and her strong drive to have you kept us moving forward in the process of creating you. Some day, when you get bigger and ask me how babies are made, I am going to tell you that babies are made by e-mail, because you started out as a lot of e-mails flying back and forth between your mother’s computer and India.
We fell in love with you when you were just a tiny handful of cells, far away across the world. The fact that you are here today, growing like crazy and looking just like your daddy, is absolutely amazing. We take such joy in watching you grow and change each day
Now we want to tell you a little about your name. Your first name honors your grandma Myra, my mother. She was fiercely devoted to her family and loved her children unconditionally and without judgement. We hope that you grew up to view the world and its people with an open mind and open heart.
The M in your name also reminds us of your great-aunt Margie, who was Grandma Judy’s sister. We hope you are inspired by Margie’s creativity that you see around our house, and share her traits of empathy and warmth.
Your middle name, Gabriel, honors two women named Goldie. The first was my grandmother, your great-grandmother. She was a great lady endowed with an uncompromising sense of pride, a gentle spirit, and a resiliency for tough times. We hope that you walk with your head up high even when confronted with the biggest of obstacles On a side note… my grandmother made the best chopped liver in the world and I will be happily passing that recipe to you as well.
The second Goldie was my great-aunt Goldie. She was a vivacious and outgoing woman who was full of life. We hope your life is filled with the same spirit of joy that Goldie had.
And lastly, you will carry on my last name, Sacks. It is my father’s name and it carries the history of people that immigrated from Russia in 1905 They came to this country with big dreams and hopes of a better future. It is my final wish that you live your life – which could touch the 22nd century -- with even bigger dreams and even better future.
After we read this, I also read a poem I had written when Micah was just a few days old. Although this is a poem for Micah, I wrote it thinking that everyone needs to be reminded of how precious they were to their parents and families:
A poem for Micah
That there was a time when someone
Held your entire hiccuping body
In one hand, willing it to end
Anticipated your tiny darting tongue's
Search for milk and watched,
Ravenous with love
As you drained each drop
And studied how your whole face yawned
And never forget that your cheek was touched
-- oh so gently--with awe
And wonder at it softness
That no one had ever seen eyes
So achingly bowed
Like rare seed pearls
And nevery forget that,
Bundled in flannel,
Your five pounds eleven ounces
Held boy, teenager, and man
Grandfather father son father grandfather
The last century and the next.
Micah was a trouper through the ceremony, crying only when he had to be naked, and enjoying the drops of Manashevtz wine he got to suck on afterwards. The baby Tylonal that he's one has him sleeping very comfortably, so I think he isn't in too much pain. Mommy and daddy are beat, though!