Monday, February 28, 2011
So many of you already know this beautiful little face....
Olga turned five last month. She has spent the last five years in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, without the love of a mommy and daddy- simply because she arrived in life exactly as God designed her. One chromosome too many, and her fate was sealed from birth.
Sealed, because in Eastern Europe, babies who are born with Down syndrome are deemed unacceptable at birth. They are discarded as cast-offs of society, and when they turn five they leave the only home they've ever known...
And I wish I could say that for most of these children, leaving that home means going to a place of safety, a place of happiness, a place where they would finally know the love of a family...know what it means to be cuddled or sung to or read to, tucked in at night, prayed for, loved.
Instead, they are taken to a place that most people wouldn't leave their family pet.
A place of living hell, where they will never know the tenderness of a parent, never know the security of being raised in a family, and there they will stay, one ugly, pain-filled day at a time...until they die.
I read a post last December that stayed with me to this day. It was called from baby dolls to bedstraps.
The blog author wrote about Elizabeth, an orphan on Reece's Rainbow who had been transferred to a mental institution, waiting for a family to step forward for her. Her words still haunt me.
I wonder where she thought she was going as they led her out of the orphanage that day. Did she think that maybe it was finally her turn? That they were taking her to her forever Mommy and Daddy?
And when they instead took her inside that dreadful place, when they shaved her head and tied her to a too-small metal crib
when they turned their backs and
when they left her confused, terrified,
in a room where the wails of schizophrenic adults echo through the cold air
what was going through her young mind?
Did she wonder if she was being punished?
How long did she hold out hope that this was only temporary?
That any minute, they would come and take her back to the baby house
to her baby dolls and teddy bear,
to her best friend, Angelina?
Did she long to free her arms from the restraints
to cover her head with her hands to drown out
the scary noises
the scary sights
the scary smells?
That could be my Lily….
It could be your child.
And what if it were?
What if you woke up one morning
and by some hellish, twilight-zone twist of fate
your child wasn’t still tucked into that warm bed down the hall,
what if your child was trapped
across the dark sea
in that nightmare that is
Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11
Elizabeth is being rescued today, thanks to the efforts of that blogging mama, and others like her.
Olga is being rescued today, thanks to so many of you...you gave so much and created such a large grant that a family was able to step forward and start the process of adoption.
The Abells have done so much already, towards rescuing Olga. I can't even imagine all the paperwork and prayer and emotion and finances that goes into an international adoption. They have done numerous fundraisers, and will continue to do so until they can bring Olga home.
Through the help of so many, a grant of over $13,000 has been raised for Olga's adoption. That grant is set aside for the final travel costs and fees that it will take to bring Olga home. It will take every penny of that and then some.
Right now the Abells are in need of raising the $7,000 that is needed to submit their dossier for Olga. Without that dossier we don't even know if Olga has been transferred yet. Here in America you just pick up the phone and ask these questions. But here in America we don't tie five year old girls to cribs to keep them from climbing out.
The Abells need to submit that dossier as soon as possible- at the very least to find out if she has been transferred already- because I know an army of prayer warriors who is going to want to know that piece of information as well. And at the very most, it could be able to hold Olga at the baby house until the Abells can rescue her. I wish I could say with certainty that she won't be transferred- truthfully we just don't know that.
Olga has been so heavy on my heart for months- friends, I want you to know that I DO trust that God has a plan here.
I prayed like crazy for a way to help the Abells. I truly believe that there is a network of people who love Olga here in blogland...a net that is woven by God and is stretching out across this blessed country we live in, and even beyond to generous hearts in other nations. I really cannot express enough how thankful I am to be a small part of what God has already done for Olga, Peter and Kareen. But I don't think our job is done.
Olga needs us.
I don't want her to spend one more forsaken day in that place than she has to.
We're not doing a giveaway here today. I don't even think we need to do one- I know so many just have a heart to help and to give, and prizes were never the real reason we all gave anyway.
So I'm just asking- for one day- for you to do whatever you could to help Olga. Whether that's $10 or $20 or even a hundred...if you are able to help raise this money for the dossier, please do so HERE... This is the Abell's chip-in.
This is the link for the Family Sponsorship Page on Reece's Rainbow...every single dollar goes to the Abell's adoption fund, and every single dollar will help.
We're calling this A Day to Save Olga, because there are about 17 of us blogging mamas and one blogging grandpa who have set aside this day to blog, post on Facebook, pray, give and spread the word to SAVE OLGA.
Will you help us?
I know you will:)
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I clicked on 'get it now' and thought I'd just try it...
Notice the tabs on the top, one is for Walmart (my mom would then approve!)
Now, I just login with one click and resize on the right and voila, done!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I nursed my first two children and figured I would with the third. Then I found out, prenatally, that Calvin has Ds and I was warned by many he might have difficulty nursing. I recall a NICU doctor who was about 65 and male, telling me how it would be likely he would have trouble. I told him I have nursed for 27 months and with some difficulty, so I was not coming in to this without experience. I felt myself getting defensive and wanted to ask him: "...and how many months or children have you nursed?" But, I know he saw more than I did, so I just sucked it up and decided that even if Calvin struggled at first and didn't start until he was 4 months old, I could live with that. Little did I know, that is exactly what would happen.
Now I know (from time in the NICU) that bilirubin levels usually peak by day 5. Also, fluids help a lot and there is a breast-milk theory (it has been a theory for a very long time - without any proof) out there so some doctors encourage use of a little formula to get over the 'hump'. I did that for about a day with Nolan. I would nurse him, syringe feed him what I pumped (like with Ev) and then give an ounce of formula. It is evident in the very early days postpartum, that nursing is not easy for everyone, and wasn't for me with any of the kids.
Nolan nursed all the time, day and night, for months. He was not big in to solids and I weaned him at 14 months. It was during these late months with both boys that I realized how special nursing was. I encourage anyone willing to try (or just open to the suggestion) to nurse. From personal experience I can tell you the bond is different. I feel as though my child is a part of me when I am nursing. Please do not feel as though my message is that formula is bad and you should feel guilty if that is what your child ate/eats. It's just that nursing is a experience that is more than just nutrition (though it is the ideal nutrition, and scientifically proven to be so). It is a way of being with your child that extends to things beyond food. It is also easier in many, but not all, aspects.
These are all reasons why I am so grateful to God that Calvin nurses. I'll tell you how we got there - though it was definitely not in my control.
Calvin was born 3 weeks and 1 day early. He was placed in my arms for roughly 1 minute before being whisked away to the NICU (very sad for me still). Calvin was diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome and a Complete AV Canal defect. His cardiologist expected Calvin to do well after birth but did suggest going to St Paul to deliver him as I would be closer to him for his NICU stay. He was born at 11pm and I did not see him until 1am. I did not try nursing him until about 6am. That went against my every fiber.
I did pump right away and barely got a drop. Those drops are hard to come by and do not at all indicate how successful nursing will be (supply wise). I spent a lot of time at the pump and I plan to give pumping tips in the end.
After Cal was born Joe went to the NICU and came back telling me they placed an NG tube to give him formula as his blood sugar levels were a bit low. Again, I am still frustrated by much of his NICU stay. But, I won't get into that here as I already did back when he was born and nothing can change that. However, if you are pregnant and reading this, I would advise you to do a lot of research and advocate for your nursing relationship if that is what you want. I had to demand to hold Calvin in the first couple of days. One nurse in particular gave me a hard time about taking him out of the warm issolette. And, unfortunately, I sensed too much prejudice against Calvin and his abilities, as he is not considered normal (one nurses' view, but one that dampened the first couple of days, which are crucial for not only nursing, but just the mother/child bond formation).
Making up for that nurse was an excellent staff of lactation consultants, speech therapists, and the occasional encouraging nurse (God staffed some sweet women on most of our days). The consultants were always positive and encouraged me to keep trying and also helped make my *pumping a success.
Calvin did not eat well in the NICU. He did have a swallow study and was diagnosed with aspirating, or breathing in his food. I did try nursing every day, a few times, and it rarely went well. He was sleepy as most babies with Ds are. And with his heart condition and aspiration, well, we didn't have a good hand for betting on a nursing baby. We left the NICU thickening bottles of formula with rice cereal. I was angry and felt sick mixing up such bottles. However, he aspirated breast-milk thickened with Simply Thick, so that was not considered safe at the time. We left the NICU on August 9th, when he was 2 weeks, 3 days old.
At Calvin's one month cardiology appointment I told Dr. Sutton that I wanted Cal on breast milk. He encouraged me to go for it. The pediatrition we had just seen was not helpful, so I found a nutriotionist to help me. Karen R. Hurd. Her site is listed on the right. She started us out on 1/4 tsp of psyllium husk powder but this was very vague so I had to experiment. The psyllium also clogged the third largest nipple hole. Also, we knew Cal needed more calories. The rice cereal was adding some with the formula but since we changed that, we needed to find another source. So, I added Light Olive Oil. Here is what we did for month 2:
As I mention, the lactation consultants helped me make pumping a success. I honestly went in the first few days feeling like I knew what I was doing (I had nursed 2 others and did my fair share of pumping). However, I took their advice and watch a video on exclusively pumping and learned the following:
handsfree: bras are expensive, you can use a sports bra or a belly band from the hospital and cut holes for the shields (free and washable and last a long time).
hand express: pump through first let-down, then stop and hand express (takes practice but is easy), then rest a couple of minutes and pump through another let-down ( or a total of about 20 minutes when doing both sides at once). Make sure to hand express when finished (this is all in the video I watched).
Prolactin levels: can be affected by your over all health (exercise/diet). Some say exercise negatively impacts production levels but I did not find that to be the case with my 2 ounces per hour (pumping every 3 hours for the first month and then cutting out a session in the middle of the night after that). The key to production is prolactin levels and those are dependent on how well your doing with nursing or pumping.