As parents, I believe we owe two things to our children: health and opportunity. Our baby's health begins the moment we ovulate/conceive. You want to eat healthy, take vitamins, limit heavy-lifting, remain active (without pushing yourself), avoid alcohol/tobacco, etc. We strive to treat our bodies better than we ever have before to protect what is inside. I have given Lydia three amazing 'gifts' so far that should hopefully help her to be strong and healthy: breastmilk, health insurance, and cord blood banking.
Two of my friends had babies over the last 10 days or so. Knowing how supportive I have become of breastfeeding, they both shared their first experiences with me in some way. One mommy gave birth to her baby about 2 months early. She is in the NICU, but she has been pumping and giving her only breastmilk. Over the weekend, her baby latched on for the first time to do some non-nutritive sucking. So amazing! What's even more amazing, is how excited and proud she was to share this with me. I feel quite honored.
The other friend had her baby boy yesterday. I went to the hospital to see her after work, and she looked amazing. Her little guy was so cute! While I was there, the nurse showed her how to feed him, and she fed him his first whole 'meal' with me there. Such a cool thing to experience with her! She's been watching me feed Lydia for months now, so I was super-excited to see how she would do with her little one. He did so great - latched right on like a pro. I hope both of my new mommy friends enjoy this experience as much as I do :-)
I was trying to explain to my sister recently what breastfeeding is like (she has two stepdaughters, but no children of her own yet). I told her that being pregnant and having a baby allowed my body to do its job. It feels like this awesome machine that works so mysteriously and skillfully. I also told her that when people choose to formula feed, it seems like giving away free diamonds to pay for cubic zirconia.
On to the two other health issues... we pay out of pocket for Lydia's health insurance. It's expensive, and it sucks that we have to pay it ourselves, but that's life, and I could not imagine allowing her to go without it. However, I will say that I am not impressed with the doctor who I initially chose, so I am looking into a more holistic doctor. Lydia is due for her 9-month check-up soon, so I would like to switch by then. I think I found someone...just need to make some phone calls and keep my fingers crossed!
Cord blood banking... this is something we considered for a while, but ultimately decided it would be best for our family. I found a less expensive place, and I think of it as another form of health insurance. The one thing the (idiot) doctor who delivered Lydia said was: you don't ever want to sit in a doctor's office, find out something is wrong, and wish you had banked. I have known several families whose children's lives were improved because of cord blood. I had to give that extra bit of potential security to my little one.
Okay, so the second thing you owe your child is opportunity. To fulfill this, I began a college fund for Lydia. We pay about $100 a month for her to go to a 4-year state university in Florida. If she ever wants to go somewhere else, we can just withdraw the money. It's pretty much like having a savings account, only it grows exponentially over 18 years. I am truly proud to give this opportunity to my daughter.
I also hope to offer her the opportunity to meet new people, try new things, and just experience life. That's what it's all about!