Milk from Heaven

To some, breastfeeding is not the most comfortable topic of choice, and for others it is one of miraculous wonder; “Liquid Gold.”  Either way, you can imagine the reactions I’ve received when I use the word…Re-Lactation!?!

Say Whaaaat?!

I get it, I scrunched my nose at it when I first heard of the idea. Women who had weaned their last years prior were able to relactate; even women whom have never breastfed before were able to relactate!  I have to admit, when I first looked into relactation I did so more out of shear curiosity, but the more research I did, I realized that this was not a new concept.  In fact, in some cultures, the Grandmother of the baby to be would relactate during the expectant mother’s pregnancy so there would be milk for the babe if the mom was unable to produce for whatever reason.  Many of you probably have heard of the title, “wet nurse.” Many of these ladies weren’t currently nursing a babe of their own, but had induced lactation or relactated for that specific purpose! WILD!!

A couple of years ago we were matched  and I decided that I wanted to see if I could possibly re-lactate for this match.  I pumped and took herbs but wasn’t convinced that I would produce much of anything.  I joked that I was so dried up, that if I actually produced, it  may be powdered milk! lol I don’t remember how many weeks it was, but I’ll never forget looking down in the pump flange and seeing One. Solitary drop of colostrum.  I froze!

I…I actually produced something!  The body that I had felt was so broken and worthless as a woman since my emergency complete hysterectomy was… was actually producing something that could be life giving!

I will forever  be grateful for that moment. For, although that match never came to fruition and I didn’t try past that point of the relactaion process at the time, I knew deep in my soul that God was telling me,

“See, you aren’t worthless, you still have so much to give.  Trust in my Divine Providence for I know the plans I have for you. “

Fast forward a handful of trips around the sun, the amazing journey of God bringing us to China to our precious son, Malakai, his precious heart begging to be a big brother and God answering that prayer only 4 months after updating our home study and starting the domestic process once more!

I had been praying in discernment as I had a deep fear that I would fully invest my heart and body only to feel the staggering pain of loss and having to allow my milk dry up once more as I felt with my 6 miscarriages and multiple failed matches.  Then God spoke to my heart clearly…

“When were you ever open to life where your heart and body weren’t completely invested? Do you regret saying yes to that life when my plan was not understood by you? Every experience, sensation, memory and moment is a gift.  Some day you will fully understand; until then, Trust in my Love.  I will not abandon you nor forsake you. Trust in my Divine Providence.”

I decided then and there that I was to be open to everything lifegiving that I could possibly give to my future child.  I was no longer able to carry or birth my child, but God may be giving me the gift of breastfeeding; one of my most blessed, precious and priceless times with my babies through bonding and nourishment.

We recieved “The Call” a little after 3pm on April 14th 2017; Good Friday!  It was so fitting, we had laid these desires and prayer intentions at the cross of Jesus since 2008 and now, on Good Friday, our prayers were being answered!  I began the relactation process soon after we were matched with herbal supplements: Gaia Lactation capsules, Morniga, Shatavari, Goat’s Rue, Mother’s Milk tea, and Boobie bars! It felt so good to be doing something productive when the rest of the process was so deep in the wait category.

Soon after, on April 28th, I felt inspired to try and start pumping after visiting my dear friend’s new little son.  I was nervous to start as I knew this was when the commitment portion would kick in and I had to kick out my fears of “failure.”  That afternoon, I pumped for the first time with the shocking result of a decent amount of colostrum!  I was not expecting that much and was enlivened by the thought of maybe, just maybe, my years of breastfeeding weren’t over!! I was elated!

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I continued the herbs and pumping but found it difficult to keep up with the protocol with the kids still in school and other events, activities and stresses and soon my supply had diminished to nearly dry.  During this time we also were told that our baby may have Downs and so the hunt for information and answers ensued; taking most my time and energy.

I was almost ready to throw in the towel until I read a blog of a women who had also relactated. Her words spoke straight to my heart:

“Breastfeeding is more than the milk.  The bonding that skin to skin provides and the prolactin that is released helps you and your baby bond on a special level.”

And with that, I knew I had to give my all as I would anything else I have committed to in my life.  #NoRegrets

The Journey: Just put one pump in front of the the other  

Started herbs April 18th
Pumped every 3 hours for 15-30 min.
April 28 – first colostrum
May 9 – had a few droplets but not enough to trickle down the flange.
May 17th – Started (30mg,3x/day) DOM & increased herbs.
May 28th – upped DOM to (40mg,3x/day) with herbs.
June 8th – First droplets of milk that would trickle into the bottle and pool!
Continued Herbs and DOM along with pumping with hand pump first and using the massage while pumping techniques for 5-7 min. Both sides and then electrical pump. Or if electrical wasn’t available, massaging and pumping with manual until all ducts felt soft and empty. * I found putting coconut oil on the girls helped express much more milk out with the massage and hold and the line strokes downward worked great!!

And Lots of water!!

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 Journal entry if my Journey :

 BCP (Birth Control Pill) wasn’t an option for me so I took goats rue and shatavari, morninga,fenugreek and blessed thistle. I used the lactation support for Gaia and Supplements of blessed thistle and fenugreek along with drinking the “Milk flow” supplemental drink for those two as well(very tasty btw.)
On May 17th, 2017 I dropped the goats rue when I started Dom. I continued with the fenugreek, blessed thistle and moringa. At first my max dose of Dom was 120 and I got pretty good results. I am now at 140 mg. I haven’t had any side effects except for weight gain.
After a bit I was finding my milk supply was struggling. I was guided to try and drop my fenugreek as it tends to react poorly with DOM for some reason.
I found that using a hand pump with breast massage (using coconut oil for massage oil) worked better at first rather an electric. I used the Lansonish manual pump. When I started in with an electric pump I used the Medela PISA.
After my milk supply started coming in more, I reintroduced Fenugreek but only in the form of combo meal supplements.
I.E ~ Boobie Bars and “Milk Flow” drink mix.  I drink A LOT of water 💦 and try to limit my caffeine intake.
I baby-sat and held young babies when I could. Also, people have said that watching you tube videos of babies talking or playing helps.
It has been a lot of hard work and dedication but it has been such an amazing journey so far!

As of today, July 31st, I am now producing at my current max, 10.38 oz of milk a day; which I have been told is phenomenal, “Pre-suckling,” aka, before baby starts nursing.  🙂
We will be given Ezekiel between 1 and 3 days old.  I wanted to make sure that I was making enough to feed him on demand for any of those ages.
I am currently making (as seen on my running chart below) on average, 39.5 mls per pump.  Which means, At this point, I am producing enough to sustain Ezekiel for that 1 – 3 day old  goal of having enough(and then some) for Ezekiel!  After that, he will be feeding on demand and his suckling will put in the food order from then on! 🙂

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I am so thankful that God has in-trusted me with this precious gift of Milk from Heaven.

I am also thankful that I have been able to share that gift with our son, Malakai! He has been receiving this life giving milk through his G-tube since I started making enough to freeze and give to him!

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I don’t know how long I will be able to nurse Ezekiel and supply milk for Kai, via Gtube, and at that point, there are formulas or donor  milk that I will go to.

All I know is that God is amazing and he has bestowed on me, a gift that I am undeserving of and I will spend every day thanking God;  I am have been able to breast feed all my babies on earth in one form or another!

I feel like Elizabeth, I thought my body was no longer a vessel of life and God showed me his might and unfailing love by bringing forth new life from barren ground.

 

Exodous 3:17 ~ I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey

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Children’s Hospital Colorado Presents Craniofacial Night at the Rockies!

JUNE 20th, 2017

      It was such a special night at the Rockies June 20th!
Some of the children from the Craniofacial clinic at Children’s Hospital were chosen as
“The faces of Auggie” (In celebration of the movie, “Wonder” coming out; Auggie is the main character from the amazing book, “Wonder.”) 

     As a gift, they gave each child’s family tickets to the Rockies game! What a fun night!19748516_10211807842544851_6228541400404542289_n.jpg

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A Day with the Children’s Complex Cranial/Facial Team!

Malakai has been such a trooper today. We arrived here at Children’s Hospital (Main campus) just before 10 AM.   We are here at children’s being seen all day by the complex cranial/facial team.

Today Malakai’s Schedule of specialist visits are as follows:

Outreach coordinator(Jamie Idelberg) ~ With the “WONDER” book and now the movie coming up, they have started a new outreach and they want Malakai to be a part of their “I am Auggie” outreach program to help those with Cranial/Facial differences to feel as special as they are!  They are planning on trying to do a Red Carpet night where all the kiddos in their complex cranial clinic will be able to dress up and walk the Red Carpet for an “Auggie Galla!” Children’s is amazing.

Psychologist

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Speech Pathologist

Research Photography update (Kai is part of building a database of different rare syndromes that Drs. may not have ever seen to help diagnose in the future. )

Audiologist

Otolaryngologist (Dr. Allen*)

NeuroSurgeon (Dr  Wilkinson*)

Plastic Surgeon

Pediatric Dental specialist

Plastic Surgeon (Dr. French*)

ENT – Wasn’t able to make it as he was stuck in the OR; we were rescheduled for next Monday to see Dr  Prager for Kai’s post Op ENT apt.  We pray for those in the OR who are in need of the ENT today and we look foeforward are to seeing Dr  Prager on Monday.

* Named Specialists are Drs who have seen Malakai in the past.

Malakai had a blast with the 3D imagining enjoyed a feed and a nap during the specialists lunch time. 😍

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I can’t help to take and share so many pictures; I am just so in Love this sleepy guy! 😇💤😴

Malakai was diagnosed with Congenital CytoMegalovirus so Malakai’s Ophthalmologist, Dr. Braverman, and  Auditory wanted to make sure his sight and hearing wasn’t diminishing(which is sometimes the case with CCMV kiddos.)

* Insert from CDC.GOV*

“Women can pass CMV to their baby during pregnancy. The virus in the woman’s blood can cross through the placenta and infect the baby. This can happen when a pregnant woman experiences a first-time infection, a reinfection with a different CMV strain (variety), or a reactivation of a previous infection during pregnancy.

When a baby is born with cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, it is called Congenital Cytomegalovirus infection. Some babies may have health problems that are apparent at birth or may develop later during infancy or childhood. Although not fully understood, it is possible for CMV to cause the death of a baby during pregnancy (pregnancy loss).” ~ CDC.GOV

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Malakai showed to be in normal hearing range! Yay! We will be checking in for another evaluation in 6 months to make sure his hearing hasn’t decreased due to the Congenital CMV.  I have faith that all will be well. 😇

Malakai’s eye apt showed that the surgery has been a success and has diminished the Amblyopia to 15% in both eyes we will still need more surgery in the future but we are happy that his brain is learning allow the two eyes to track together rather than cause double vision. We are also happy to say that Malakai will be able to be patch free for at least the next month.IMG_6984These CAT scan pics are so precious to my heart.  We obviously do not have ultrasound pictures for Malakai and these pictures of this sweet little profile and the picture below of his mouth and cute little nose fills that void in a way  what a precious gift.

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IMG_6987Kai’s skull! Isn’t this wild!! You can’t see the softened areas but you can See the open hole on top of his skull! Wow!IMG_6988IMG_7010IMG_7016

After 6 hours of apts. Malakai got to enjoy some well deserved fun in the hospital play area and enjoyed a scone that was almost the size of his head! 🙂

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lol I asked Malakai to try and pull the sword out of the stone. 😉 

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Kai wanted to take a picture of me. 😉

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The Noricks are growing by 2 feet !

     Many times during the adoption process, the image below of Jesus asking Peter to step out of the boat surrounded the abyss of water beneath him and to Trust God came to mind.  The moment I took my eyes off Christ and his purpose for us, I felt myself sinking deep into anxiousness, fear and despair.

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Malakai has been praying to be a big brother for a long time now and we feel God is saying that now is the time!!     16118037_10210276927832940_1076983717_n.jpg

     We had been in the domestic process on and off since 2008, 7 years prior to being called to China for our precious Malakai.  During that time, we had failed pregnancies and adoptions, we added to our family biologically and adopted a bunny named Paas, and fostered and adopted two fur-baby pups named, Foster and Penny-Ling.

     From early on in our courting relationship, Tim and I shared the same calling to adoption as one of ways we were going to bring children to our future families when we wed.  That desire never faded, but grew stronger as life unfolded.  When Kara had an emergency hystorectomy in 2012, we had already been in the adoption process and never saw adoption as a plan B for us, it was just a clear direction of the path of finding the precious souls who were meant to be in our family from then on.

     We found that as our family grew, so did the fear of never being matched as the wait time was growing longer and the feedback that we found most of the time was,

     “They look like a really nice family, but they already have 4 and I’m afraid there won’t be enough…love, attention, money, space, toys, clothes, etc.”

     This broke our hearts as that is so far from the truth. Love isn’t something that can depleted or used up by having other children, love does just the opposite; love makes more love! When you have siblings for a child, that child is born into a home filled with Forever friends and more love than could ever be measured.

     On Good Friday (April 14th, 2017) We were told that we were to be shown to a expectant mother at 12 noon.  From 12 – 3 on Good Friday we remember the immense suffering and sacrifice that Christ endured for us in silence and prayer.  Prayer that places us at Christ’s feet all those years ago to be with him in his suffering, to help him not feel so alone.  Therefore, we don’t pray for our own intentions during this time.  This was soooo hard as I caught myself on multiple occasions trying to pray for this particular situation during this time as we felt it could really be a good fit.  I dropped to my knees in total surrender praying, “Dear Heavenly Father, you know the desires of our hearts, you know what is best for us.  You also know who our child is and whether this baby is our baby.  I lay this intention at your feet dear Lord; I bring this intention to the cross as I have for so many years.  Jesus I trust in you.  I am here with you now, spanning time and space, you sacrificed so much for me; I am here for you.  In your holy name, Amen.”
Right after 3’o’clock PM I saw a missed call from our match coordinator…it was “THE CALL!”

     When I heard the words, “This is the call that you have been waiting for…” I nearly dropped! I could hardly believe my ears!  Praise be to GOD!!!

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Easter was such a time of thanksgiving and abundant blessings!  We shared the blessed news with our family during this weekend.  We were able to feel the true and measurable joy of fulfilled promises and new life ; 2 new lives as my sister, Hannah is also expecting!

We officially signed the match papers the following Friday and began telling others!
WE HAVE BEEN MATCHED!

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     We were told that we were expecting a GIRL and decided to name her, Evalyn Mae Jayleen after my Grandmother, Tim and my Mother’s and Jayleen is the name that our birth mother wanted passed on to our daughter.photo (3)photo (1)

April 27th came a phone call that we weren’t expecting and caught us completely off guard:

Caseworker: “Is Tim around?”

Kara: “No, he is at work till around 6, can I help you with something?”

Caseworker: “Well, I just would prefer for both of you to be here to hear this…”

Kara: “Oh, No, is something wrong?”

Caseworker: “We just received a letter from your expectant mother and she has informed us that a Quadscreen has been done and it came back Positive for Downs Syndrome… Legally you aren’t bound to this match as it wasn’t presented to you in the beginning, but we do need an answer soon as to whether you would like to proceed or if we should work on re-matching your expectant mother.  I am so sorry we didn’t have this information upfront for you.”

I was in complete shock!  Did I really just hear what I thought I heared?!  What were we going to do?  We already have a son with medical needs and this may be another situation of high medical needs… shock turned to anxiousness and that is when I hit my knees in prayer…  I was overcome with a peace that I couldn’t describe, in my heart I knew… This is our baby and I knew that however it ended up, it would be ok.  I just knew that if we didn’t get actual medical forms that could give us accurate information on what to expect, that my head wouldn’t be able to feel the same confidence.

     The next week was the longest week… we felt the need to process but didn’t know what we were trying to process!  We didn’t have any medical forms as the county where our EM is makes it very difficult to get any medical information.  Finally, May 3 came with a glimmer of hope… We received word that a fax of medical information was going to be sent to our Dr. so we could finally have some medical counsel.  If we were going to have a baby with Downs, we felt as though we needed to have more info.  we needed to know what we were discerning.

     That night came a voicemail from the PA at our Drs. office letting us know that the Quadscreen stated that in 1 in 1000 (1:1000) is that average chance of a child having downs.  The Quadscreen stated that the levels of the screen put our pregnancy at a 1:53.  We knew it was not a definite and we knew that God was guiding us and it was going to be ok.  We decided to proceed and felt a newfound peace.

     We received a call yesterday, May 9th, 2017, from our caseworker.  Turns out that on May 3rd, the same day that we received the results of the medical files, that our EM was given a Secondary ultrasound that would help give a more clear diagnosis.

     They said that they didn’t see any sign of Down Syndrome but that there was a chromosomal difference… our baby doesn’t have an XX as we thought… our baby has an XY and is a BOY!!!

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Praying to Adopt in 2017!

16114398_10210273567148925_4742324794088614549_n     After much prayer and discernment, we would like to share with you the next exciting faith journey for us!

     We are praying to Adopt Domestically in 2017!  

We are blessed to have the help of Hope’s Promise during this Domestic Adoption Journey and “Paper Pregnancy.”


Hope’s Promise
309 Jerry Street Suite
202 Castle Rock, CO 80104
(#: 303-660-0277)

 

     Malakai has been praying to be a big brother for a long time now and we feel God is saying that now is the time!!

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We are so excited but we also realize that the best opportunity we will have to be united with our God-intended Birth-parent(s) is through a delegated match; a match made between us and the birth-parent(s) prior to our agency finding them as an agencies reach is a bit more restricted than the love and reach of others and through word of mouth!

     For this, we need your help! If you or someone you know is looking for adoptive parents, please consider our family; you would be blessing us beyond words and if you or someone you know is desiring an open adoption, we also would love to have you as part of our family through the blessed connection of life!

You can also help by spreading the word, sharing our story Start Here: Our Journey/ Our Story, and praying along with us to find the perfect match!

     We were in the domestic process prior to being called to China for our precious Malakai and found that the feedback that we found most of the time was,

     “They look like a really nice family, but they already have 4 and I’m afraid there won’t be enough…love, attention, money, space, toys, clothes, etc.”

     This broke our hearts as that is so far from the truth. Love isn’t something that can depleted or used up by having other children, love does just the opposite; love makes more love! When you have siblings for a child, that child is born into a home filled with Forever friends and more love than could ever be measured.

     Thank you so much for reading this and PLEASE, help us spread the word and spread the love; our arms and hearts are open and ready.

❤️Peace💛&💚blessings💙to💜all!   

   

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WE MADE IT! A year! 12 months! I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!

     12 Months, a year… A time-frame that seemed like an eternity when we first arrived home.  We were jet-lagged, exhausted and…well, transitioning.  It wasn’t all roses; often times the thorns were numerous but I wouldn’t trade anything.  I would do it all again to be where we are now, with our precious Malakai.  God was intricately weaving the tapestry of our family with each answer; whether it was what we wanted to hear or otherwise. with each successful surgery, with each moment of bonding and with each moment of complete surrender.  As I look over this past year, it is amazing how sometimes all you need is time and space to see the beauty in even the hard times.  Malakai says it best, “I am happy because you found me and you are my family; I love you guys!”

JANUARY 1st, 2017: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
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  We finally were able to drink the Champagne that Tim bought to drink at the perfect moment.  We planned on when we got engaged(in 2004), then married(Jan. 15th, 2005), then when we had our first child (who is now turning 11) and so on and so forth, but it never ended up happening until tonight. New Years 2017! I can not think of a more enjoyed toast with my Love.  We have lived so much life in the last 12  years and we are so blessed to be more deep in love than we were when we were married.  What a wild, crazy, beautiful ride it has been and I wouldn’t change a thing.   

008We were blessed to ring in the 2017 New Year surround with Love and priceless, precious family!007009160159161

JANUARY 6th, 2017

One yeat ago today we were on an airplane and then arriving to China to start the journey of bringing Kai home.  Today h e colored me a Christmas Tree with a Star on the top.  Malakai said he chose red instead of green because green looks like a booger… lol
Yep, he is definitely a boy!

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11th month home & Kai’s 1st Christmas!

December 1st

Today came with a Checkup and visit to Children’s for blood draws. Poor little guy is the hardest stick around; he was such a trooper.  After 5 hours, the ordeal was finally done.

On a positive note, In 7 months Kai has grown 2 inches taller and has gained 3.5 pounds!! Praise the Lord; the miraculous healer!

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Malakai thoroughly enjoyed his well deserved donut treat!

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December 5th
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December 15th

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Malakai was mommy’s snuggle buddy after knee surgery.
Kai is such an empathetic little guy. He knows all too well what comes with
surgery and recovery; he hated that his mommy had an, “ouwee.”
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Kai loved watching Becki, Isaiah & Nevaeh dance at their recital!  exclaimed,
“Mommy, tan (can) I do dat (that)? I will (would) yike (like) to do dat (that)!”

December 18th

Malakai and Daddy got to spend some special one on one bonding time when Daddy took Kai to, “PAW PATROL LIVE!” And the BELLCO theatre as an early Christmas present!

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December 21
Malakai loved hanging up his stocking with Daddy for the first time!

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December 24th: Christmas Eve!

We were blessed this year to have Malakai’s Great Grandparents, G.G. Ev and Papa Jim, to share his first Christmas as well as the special gift of having his Godmother, Auntie Elaina, home from mission work in Ireland for Christmas!  We are so blessed. I can never put a price on the bonds and memories that comes with presence being your present. 

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~ Best captured family photo ~

 

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The other 100 shots lol (beautiful reality)

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Kai made Santa’s “Gingerbread Boy” cookie this year in school;        complete with…um…bow tie… lol

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Christmas Eve Pajamas!

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December 25th: Christmas Morning!!

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Reading Santa’s Thank You letter

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Kai found a PAW PATROL DVD in the fireplace…                                                   He said, “MOMMY! I YUV (love) SANTA!”

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Christmas Night at Grandma and Papas: Kai loved the time spent, the wonderful food, and then drifted to sleep on his new PAW PATROL body pillow while we watched the Bronco game! 🙂 

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December 27th
Christmas Continues at Grandma Patricia/Mapu’s house with more blessed time with family and more wonderful food! 😉 
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Kai looks up to his big siblings and tries hard to follow in their shoes…  Here he took it quite literally when he tried on Becki’s new boots. 😉 lol

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December 31st

Happy New years Eve everyone!  Malakai was able to ring in the New Year with family and friends…He made it to midnight!  What an exciting night for him!

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003005Uncle Ray & Daddy had fun doing poppers with the kids to help celebrate the New Year (New York Timezone; 10 PM) while Mommy enjoyed taking pictures and watching from the quieter inside. 😉  001002006004

 

 

 

May your 2017 be blessed!  Thank you for following along our journey throughout 2016! What a crazy beautiful ride it was!

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