Eli’s First Days

Well hello there! Yes it has been 5 months since I have written anything and it has been way to long. I would blame the busyness of being a new mom but really It’s just the more time goes by the more there is to share and I don’t even know where to start! But for the sake of going in order I’m going to share a little bit of our beginning days with Eli. The last entry was a few days before his due date so I’ll start there.

We found out our birth mom Lacy,  was going to be induced on february 18th so we got all of our things packed and headed up to San Bernadino that night.  We went to visit her late that night to show our support but knew we wouldn’t see any progress till the next day.  We barely slept that night (and by we I mean me).  Steven has the supernatural ability to sleep in and during all scenarios. We got a call later that next day saying that they weren’t seeing enough progress and they were going to do a C-section right away.  I was about 20 min from the hospital and they were prepping her.  We rushed to get there and I got there just in time to make it in the room with her so I could see him be born.

This moment was too big for me to process. I got my silly gown, hair cap, and shoes on and waited to be called in.  I wasn’t sure I was the right person to be there with her. Of course I wanted to see my son born, and will be forever grateful for that opportunity, but I wasn’t sure I would know how to comfort her the way she needed and meet my son all at the same time. I’m still not sure I comforted Lacy right in that moment but she was so brave and showed her true strength in such an emotional time.  I saw them pull out Eli and there are no words to describe what I felt.  He was right there, he was real, and I loved him.  The nurses brought him over to Lacy and she kissed him and I kissed him, and there was no doubt how much this baby was loved. The nurses weren’t sure how to deal with our special situation so we had grace for them while they looked for us to lead them in what to do.   I walked with them as they took him to be looked over and was frantically looking for steven in the hall to introduce him to his son, and right as we were turning the corner the elevator opens and theres Steven, hamburger in hand, looking confused that it all happened so fast 🙂 We stood there with our faces pressed to the glass as they did there routine checkup.

Was he really ours?? Was he going home with us?? I was excited and very scared.  That night was rough as steven and I took shifts with him in the room, both of us looking to the other for what to do 🙂 We got to share a room with Lacy during this time, which some people said might be awkward, but It felt so right to us to all be together.  The next day we found out he wasn’t eating right and they were going to take him to do tube feeding in the NICU. While he was there they also discovered he was jaundice and had a bit of a low resting heart rate that they wanted to monitor.  He ended up being in there for about a week and we were not prepared for that. We only had clothes for a few days and weren’t planning on staying in a hotel for a week but we didn’t want to leave him.  It was so nice to have Lacy there at the hospital while she was healing because it gave us peace when we couldn’t be there with him,  knowing she was there. While we would never wish for him to be in the NICU, looking back I think God knew we all needed that time.  Steven and I needed time to fall in to these fast roles of mom and dad and we got to fall in love with him every day we were there and got to learn how to care for him and learn his ways.  And I know Lacy will tell you she is grateful for the one on one time she got to spend with him in there, talking with him and showing her love for him.

The day came for Lacy to sign the papers and I thought I would be more nervous but Lacy always made us feel very comfortable and secure in what was happening.  After that it was time for Lacy to be released from the hospital and my heart was heavy and it ached for her.  She knew it wasn’t goodbye but I can’t imagine the feeling of leaving a hospital after giving birth without the baby I gave birth too and had carried and loved for all that time.  We knew she would be strong because she is one of the strongest people we know, but we also knew the pain would be strong.  We watched her drive away and we stood outside the hospital feeling so weird that we were the only ones there now to be there for him and care for him.  I think some adoptive parents would be relieved the day their birth mother left the hospital but we felt different.  While we were relieved it had all gone smoothly, when she left we missed her because through this whole thing we grew to love her so deeply and always will.

We had to go home a few days before he got released because of work and it was so horrible to walk through our front door without him but we rushed back as soon as we could and luckily he was doing great and was finally ready to come home.  We brought our empty car seat with us and we kept looking in the back seat thinking how weird it was that soon that seat would be filled.  I can’t tell you how many times during our infertility and waiting for a baby that I would look in my backseat and dream about the day I could look back and see my baby there.  And the day was here. We put him in the car and I sat with him for the 2 hour drive home checking to make sure he was breathing about 500 times.  He was smiling so much on the way home and I like to think that he was just so excited to be out of that hospital and with these two crazy people who kept putting their face in his and smiling like fools in love, and boy were we in love.

Those first days were just crazy.  The lack of sleep was so bad It was almost funny. You start to question all sanity for desiring this for so long but then you get up from bed, find your way over to his bassinet, and see this little face so happy to see you. Some of my favorite times with him were in those first few months in the wee hours of the morning.  All seemed quite and it was just us two, and it felt so magical 🙂

I hopefully will keep more up to date because I do want to share all this with you and I also want to have something for Eli to look at when he’s older 🙂 Until next time! Here are a bunch of pictures from the hospital and our first days with him including us exhausted waiting at the laundromat and Eli’s car ride home 😉

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Showered!

Let me start by saying thank you all for you warm wishes and kind comments.  We have been so pleasantly shocked at how many people have reached out to us and have felt comfortable sharing there own stories in response to what we have shared. We are 3 days away from our son’s due date and as we wait in great anticipation I have been finding ways to pass the time 🙂 I have decorated and redecorated the nursery wall a handful of times in the last few months and I’m hoping this last one will stick because it took me half a day to make 100 pinwheels and pin them above his crib! We have also gone on more then one cleaning frenzy, which even included cleaning out the closet where you put everything you don’t know what to do with when you clean! It got pretty crazy. Anyway, I wanted to take some time to share how well we have been loved this last month.

My friends are amazing and went above and beyond to throw me a ridiculously beautiful shower.  I had always imagined what that day would be like. It looked very much like what I imagined except I always pictured myself at my shower with a big pregnant belly, and it was not there. I was wrestling with the attention being on me because this was far from being just about me. I felt silly because up to this point, aside from paperwork, emails, phone calls, check writing, and support I haven’t had much of a role in the life of this baby.  But I will. And that is what I had to keep reminding myself all that day.

Adoption is unique, and it doesn’t always look like the “picture perfect” situation.  However sometimes because of the unique qualities of adoption you are able to capture really beautiful moments that will surprise you.  I was so happy to have our birthmother at the shower to celebrate with us and it wouldn’t have been nearly as special without her there. 🙂 It felt right, and it felt complete.  Because of our extra unique circumstances, where our birthmother is also a family member, We were lucky enough to have her stay with us for a month and got to be a part of some doctors visits, multiple 4d ultrasounds (we couldn’t get a good shot!), and was able to sit with her on the couch and talk to him and feel when he was kicking and hiccuping. It was very special. And through that time she was with us, we grew to love and appreciate her even more.

Here are some pictures from the shower and  some of his nursery, though I cant promise it wont change soon 🙂 We love you guys, are next post should be a really exciting one! I imagine I will write it at 3am with spit up in my hair, but hey, thats what I signed up for and I cant wait!

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How do we do this adoption thing?

Hi everyone! and happy new year! We have been so busy these last couple weeks that I couldn’t imagine getting my thoughts together enough to form another blog entry (can I just say that I hate the word blog…I really do).  However,  I am happy to continue the story and share what happens next.  So in the last post I talked about how we finally said “YES!” to adoption.  It was such a huge moment for us and just when I wanted to sit back and relax in that wonderful decision, we knew there were steps that needed to be taken in order for that dream to be a reality.

We took some advice from friends and met with couples we knew that had gone through adoption themselves.  It was so nice to have   people around us who had gone through adoption, it made and continues to make us feel supported and there is a wonderful peace knowing we can ask them questions whenever we want.  If I hadn’t seen adoption in my every day life through the lives of these people I honeslty don’t know if I would have been as open to adoption as I was. And this is just another wonderful example of what adoption can do for our communites. But I will get more passionate about that later.

Our next step was going to informational meetings and different adoption agencies.  Our first one was 9 hours long, and although I learned every little detail about adoption and the process, we left feeling deflated and insanely overwhelmed.  I don’t think we said much on the way home from that meeting.  I just remember deep breathing and sighing a lot 🙂  The main thoughts going through my head were:

“HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET ALL THAT PAPERWORK DONE?”

“HOW LONG IS THIS WHOLE THING GOING TO TAKE, I WANT A BABY NOW!”

“IN WHAT DREAM WORLD AM I EVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO ACCUMULATE THAT MUCH MONEY TO PAY FOR THIS.”

“IM NOT GROWN UP ENOUGH FOR ALL OF THIS!”

That last one pretty much somes them all up.  Before I entered the adoption world, I thought adoption was mainly for middle aged, wealthy people who had everything together, and we can check none of those boxes.  We knew though that if we waited till we “had everything together”, we would be waiting a lifetime. And so, we took blind steps of faith and started this crazy process.

I was so excited the day we got our homestudy packet. A Homestudy for those who don’t know is a huge pile of paperwork that needs to be completed, along with visits with a social worker to evaluate your ability to parent, and also your living space. I went straight to office max and got all of the folders and labeling products to successfully become as neurotic as possible.  I think this was me trying to gain some physical control over this, and it did make me feel better 🙂  I was hoping the color coded tabs would impress our social worker, I didn’t stop to think that my OCD could be noted at as a personality flaw 🙂 Anwyay, we pushed throught all of the reading, book reports, 13 page autobiographies, fingerprinting, blood work, emergency exit plans, classes, DMV records, CPR and first aid class, and so much more.  Every step closer was awesome.

I think for us the most nerve wrecking part was the one on ones, couple meeting, and the home inspection with our social worker. After all, she was the one who was going to essentially say yes or no to make this thing happen.  I now know how silly it was to be so nervous but we went into those meetings feeling as if every word would be noted and analyzed.  I was especially cautious because I tend to be sarcastic and quippy when I get nervous.  I think I forgot that she was a flawed human just like me, and I was allowed to be imperfect.  While I complained about how much work it was, we did learn a lot from the process, especially all the books we read.

We now had to find a baby to be matched with.  We chose to only use our agency to complete our homestudy and were going to use another organization, referred to us by friends, to help us match with a birth mother.  They had a much quicker matching rate then the agencies do, and we were ready to make this thing happen.

I was in the middle of filling out the packet for that specific organization when we got the call that would turn it all around.  We were on a mini vacation with some of our closest friends when we the call came in. We were presented with the oppurtunity to adopt the baby of a  family member.  She was only a few weeks pregnant and called us the day she found out.  To say I was taken aback would be an understatement.  I felt excited and nauseus at the same time.  Why nauseus you ask? This was not in the plan, we were doing this other thing, I had already put a bunch of work into it, and this was not how I visualized our adoption story happening.  For those who have followed our story up to this point, I think we can all laugh that I thought I was still somewhat in control of how this was going to go down.  And so we changed gears.  We hired a lawyer and started an independent adoption.

We knew we would adopt, and God knew we would adopt.  The difference is that we didn’t know what child that would be, but He did.  From the beginning of time.  Did he say this would be easy? perfect? No. But I believe that it will be worth it.  And because it’s His plan and not ours, we trust it.  I trust this process more than anything because I had little to nothing to do with it. He provided the way for this, even down to finances.   So as we wait for the birth of our son, which is now less then a month away, we sit in anticipation and awe at how this unfolded.  We have a good God, a very very good God.

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A prayer and a Decision

I thought I might not have time before Christmas to write another entry but here I am sitting on the floor of the Austin Airport, waiting for a delayed flight with nothing but time! Funny how that happens. I talked In my last couple posts of our struggle to come to terms with the “I” Word (infertility) and the pain that comes with that both mentally, physically, and spiritually. I am now relieved to write about what that looked like moving forward.

Before I do move forward though, I need to go back for one more thing. When I was young, probably around 13, I had a fear/thought that I wouldn’t be able to biologically have children. Everyone said I was crazy and it was just a fear brought on by my incredible love for children and the desire to have a big family. I don’t know if many woman have had that thought in their youth, but I was reminded of it while going through our ordeal. I remember calming myself down back when I had that initial thought by thinking that if for some reason that was true, I could always adopt. I remember talking to God about that, and promised Him that if I couldn’t carry a baby,(though I pleaded for that not to be true) I would adopt. After that prayer, came immediate fear. What if He would take me up on that?! I have found that there is always a little uneasiness when you release something like that to God. When Steven and I were dating and even into our marriage we talked about adoption and I asked him what his thoughts were. He was in a place where I think the majority of people are. His view was that while he loved the idea of adoption, and fully supported those who did it, he wasn’t sure it was for him. It just seemed too hard.

About 2 years into our “struggle”, we went on a missions trip to South Africa with our church. We were to spend some time in an Orphanage there, and were going to be doing many different things with and for the Children during our stay. The flight was brutal and gave me a lot of time to think and journal. I have a prayer journal where I write down my prayers to God, and in one entry I prayed that if God wanted us to adopt, and if that’s was in the plan, then He had some work to do on Steven. I asked that this trip would change his heart and that he would come out with a new perspective. I would then take that as a green light to pursue adoption. Now, while I do not usually recommend the “If you, then I” method when talking with God, this was something that needed to happen at this time and in our situation.

About 2 days in to our stay at the orphanage he was hooked. He came to me and said that he had a strong feeling that we were supposed to adopt our first baby. I then told him what I prayed, and it was one of those “hallelujah chorus” moments 🙂 A monster was created because he left wanting to take home a baby AND a teenager. Heheh. I felt the same way. It’s hard not to feel the weight of it when you are face to face with a little girl who asks you flat out if someday you adopted, if you would maybe consider adopting her.
It’s really not a hard choice at that point. She didn’t want a perfect family, or a rich family, all she wanted was a family to call her own And at that moment the choice of adoption doesn’t seem very hard at all.

We came home and some time passed. It’s so funny how easy it is to come home and fall right back into a selfish way of thinking. I put up pictures of some of the kids so that I wouldn’t let myself forget. Before I went forward with adoption I wanted some kind of closure to our infertility, I decided to see a specialist and he was able to come to a pretty good reason for our problem with just a few more blood tests. Steven and I came in to discuss our results and I honestly expected another “we have no idea why your not getting pregnant” response. I’ll never forget the moment because it felt so final. He told us that I was born with a lesser amount of eggs then most woman and so I was left with the fertility of an older woman. Saying that it wasn’t impossible but we would need help.  Right after that blow he scooted us to financial room where she explained the IVF procedure and all the costs. He said that was probably my only shot. We left, paperwork in hand, feeling numb. On the car ride home I lost it. I cried, and I apologized. Steven will tell you that my apologies made him crazy. He was so supportive and loving, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from him.

After 2 weeks when the dust had settled, we went to dinner to make some decisions.  We sat at a local hamburger place and we both agreed after a long discussion and some tears spilled on my ahi salad that we would not pursue medical help and that we would decide to whole heartedly move forward with adoption.  What a feeling we felt.  It felt soooo good to finally have a plan. And not just any plan, it was a plan that felt right and I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a long time. It took awhile to get there,  but we knew this was where God wanted us, at just this time.

Thanks for letting me share, here are a few pictures from our time in Africa- until next time!

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Poked and Prodded

The title of this next entry reflects how we felt both physically and mentally when it came to the medicinal side to our infertility. About 6 months into our “trying” I felt anxious to know what was going on, and didn’t want to wait a year to see a doctor, which is the recommended amount of time they say to wait before coming in. (My impatience is one of my less admirable qualities and I can barely go to disneyland due to the maddening length of lines).  I took a deep breath as the doctor scooted me out of the office and said to give it 6 more months. She said she was sure everything was fine and that we were a healthy young people who shouldn’t have any problems getting pregnant.

Well 6 months went by and I was given referrals to see specialists but for some reason I was procrastinating on it.  It took us about 2 years to complete all of our procedures. As I look back on it now, I think a part of me was trying to listen to all the people in my life who said “Just relax and it will happen”.  I also felt a tug on my heart to let God’s timing rule out, and was wrestling with that and the choice to pursue the quick fixes the world was offering.

In my “I’m over this” moments during these years I would go to the Dr. for the next step in testing.  I had every blood test you could imagine, some of which cost a small fortune.  I had some incredibly invasive procedures done that included a small tube making it’s way into my uterus to fill it up with a dye that caused me incredible pain and cramping. This procedure is called an HSG, and it is one that many infertile woman have done in order to see whether or not their fallopian tubes are open and able to empty in to their uterus (my apologies to the guys for saying uterus so many times, hehe).  When the procedure was complete they sat me up and told me that the incredible cramping was due to the fact that my left tube was blocked and they weren’t able to move the dye through.  The unexpected feeling I then felt was relief, finally some kind of answer.

I took this information to my doctor who said you only need one working tube to get pregnant, it just might take longer. So he put me on a drug called clomid to stimulate ovulation.  I was ovulating fine it seemed, but this was the next step.  This drug made me feel like my ovary was the size of a basketball. I tried this for 3 months and nada. They say trying it longer than that can actually cause your uterus lining to thin, making carrying a baby harder. So wait, the thing I’m doing to get pregnant, can potentially make it harder??? WHAT THE?? Anyway, after that we stopped for awhile again, and just let be.  And when I say “let it be” I mean as it appeared to the outside world. My head and heart never stopped.  I was putting so much pressure on myself every month to do the right thing to get the right result, and man was it exhausting.

I have to say that my husband was pretty great during all this.  For all those guys out there in his situation, I feel for you.  I know that it is a helpless place to be in and you aren’t quite sure what to say all the time. Sometimes I would look at Steven looking at me during one of my “bad days” and I could see that he wasn’t sure if saying something would send my head spinning into a fit of tears or if it would help.  I’m laughing as i’m writing this because, I am thinking how I can never see my “crazy” more perfectly than when I see it in his face.  Man I’m lucky to have him 🙂

I would have never thought I could endure this kind of thing whilst keeping my sanity, but I have to say there was peace that saved me in the darkest of times.  A peace that came from knowing I have a God who is sovereign over my life, and ordains every day of my life.  I can praise him in the hardest of times, because I know the big picture. He doesn’t promise this life will be free of pain and trials, but he does promise me joy and peace knowing that His plan is perfect. Even when it looks nothing like my own. Through this trial my walk with the Lord has grown and deepened, and that is something to rejoice over.

I can’t wait to share what happens next! Till then 🙂

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith-of greater value than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

“The Plan”

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I am going to start our story with “The Plan”.  That’s how it works right? You make a plan and then it happens just like you thought? For some this might be true, but for us, it is laughably untrue.  Steven and I married when I was 19 and he was 26.  We were young yes, but so deeply in love.  When we were dating we dreamed of our future life together, like many young couples.  In these dreams it always included babies, lots of babies!  We talked of names, age separation, gender and what traits we hoped they got from each of us, all the best of course. We knew we should probably wait to start a family because of our ages(mainly mine) and thought it couldn’t hurt to save a bit before a baby came.  The plan was to start to try when I was 24. That would give us 5 years to just be together, and we thought that was perfect.  So when that 24th year came, we were excited! It also just so happened that one of my closest friends was going to try at the same time. Yay! We planned on our babies being best friends and were excited to go through pregnancy together.  Well, they were blessed with a pregnancy just a few months later, and although I was genuinely overjoyed for them, the pressure was on.  It was then that our “lets start trying” attitude turned into “what’s taking so long?!?”.  I laugh now that those few months felt like such a long wait to me, but to tell you the truth, the wait was never easy, even then.

I think it’s safe to say I became a tad obsessed.  Those who know me, know I tend to be a bit high strung, with anxious qualities.  For a person like me, the wait and the lack of control was maddening! Oh, don’t get me wrong, I tried to gain control, in every way.  There was a schedule,  a temperature chart, and other things that would probably make you uncomfortable, so I will spare you for now.

At this time I also became an expert on pregnancy symptoms.  How you ask? Well there is this thing called Google, aka: the place where people like me go to search and obsess over every little twinge or pain that could possibly be a pregnancy symptom. The mind is a very powerful thing, because Im not lying when I tell you that I had every pregnancy symptom in the book, almost every month. Social media is another great way to torture couples going through infertility with the baby announcements and ultrasound photos. My heart would actually skip a beat whenever another one was posted. Usually to couples who got married years after us and were a lot younger.  It was hard not to feel the injustice in this. My head knew that this wasn’t about me, and that we had a different story, but my heart grew heavier each time.

This craziness continued for over 3 years, it was sad, it was hard, and I do not wish it on any couple. We lived these years in confusion.  What do we do next? When do we do it? How far are we willing to go?  However, With the support from our friends and family we made it through.  We truly are so thankful for those times they listened to us, and prayed for us and cried with us. There was even a season when we stopped talking about it, because I was embarrassed to continually bring it up and ask for help.  But they didn’t let me, they took our burden as their own.  It was in these moments we saw what it meant to live in community.  We needed them, and they were there.  We love and appreciate all of you, and you know who you are 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Looking forward to sharing more!

It’s about Time…

Hello Friends! This Blog is a long time coming, but with the help and gentle shove of my husband, I have decided it’s time to write about our journey over the last 4 years. We have decided to share our story with you, because well, it’s nice to share 🙂 But also in the hopes that it will be therapeutic to release it.   This blog will be about our struggle with infertility, the decision to pursue adoption, and what comes after 🙂

Ok, since I have promised to make this an honest blog, I have to tell you that as I proof read that last paragraph, I teared up a little…I think because I am both scared and excited to share our story, but mainly I think,  because of the anticipation of that last line, “what comes after”.  What does come after?!?! I have not the slightest clue, but what I do know is that it’s going to be great! For we know that the Lord makes everything beautiful in it’s time(Ecclesiastes 3:11), and we find a peace in knowing we are being used in a greater story. I hope you take the time to read these posts, not only to know how to better support and pray for us, but I am certain through our story, you will see God at work and hopefully get to know Him and His desires all the more. All our love until next time!