the blessings of older child adoption ... instant motherhood ... and living to blog about it.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Teaching trust, teaching family


We all take it for granted. When you're born someone lovingly scoops you up and addresses your basic needs. Food, clothing, safety, cleanliness... it just happens as far as you're concerned.

Not every child is treated that way.

The result is broken trust.

Creating trust with K was our top priority because we knew that was the entrance to her heart. Trust was going to be the way to build a loving relationship with her. Trust was going to be how to teach her the true meaning of "family".

Of all the things we will teach K in her life with us — how to ride a bike, braid hair, drive a car (heaven help us!) — the thing I think I'm most proud of is teaching her how to trust.

In what is truly a short period of time it's amazing to see K as a loving, compassionate, trusting member of our family.

And now I get the ultimate joy of watching K teach trust to her little sister.

The way she cuddles her, makes her laugh, covers her up when she's cold, pushes the stroller so it can be her face little D sees as we go about day-to-day activities... she doesn't even realize but K is teaching D the foundation of the trust that she herself had to learn.

 K is teaching D how to be family.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Her birth story - Part V

"What time was she born?"
The broken clock didn't bother me until that moment. Every mother wants to memorize those details. Every child will eventually ask.
2:20 p.m.
The golden hour could begin.
I didn't have any real birth plan, knowing full well she would come when and how she wanted. But I most definitely had a plan for that first hour of her life.
I wanted her to sense my calm. I wanted her to feel our love for her. I wanted to start building those bonds that only exist between mother and child.
I wanted our family, who had supported us through the pregnancy, and who had been waiting anxiously to come and meet her. I couldn't wait to see her with her big sister. I loved watching her dad take a million photos of her.


That hour went by fast. It was perfect. I'll never forget the calm that surrounded us.

I could have stared at this new sweet life for hours more. In a way, we were strangers.

But, just as God intended, we knew each other on such a level that is hard to capture in words.

She had so much dark hair. Long fingers. Her dad's toes.

The days to come would be a blur of feedings, worrying, and getting acquainted. A few visitors came. Tons of Facebook comments were posted after each photo was uploaded.
The addition of a child to a family is a miracle each time it happens, in whatever method. Just as I will never forget the day we walked into court to finalize the adoption of K, I'll never forget the placement of D onto my chest — very different experiences, same overwhelming sense of love.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Her birth story - Part IV

I've always been one to follow instructions. When it comes to assembling furniture, installing new software, or even switching to a new facial cleanser... I like to follow instructions.

In the birthing suites I was listening to each person's guidance. Afterall, the doctor and nurses do this every day, so surely they know how it should be done.

I stayed silent as I focused on what they were telling me to do. I stayed silent even through the worst of my contractions, really.

This birth was not going to be like a made-for-TV type of production.

That's not my style.

The clock on the wall still said 10:30 as I started pushing.

Less than ten painless, intentional pushes and she was here. She was here?

She ...



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Her birth story - Part III

The clock on the wall in our birthing suite read 10:30.

I had checked into the hospital around 9:30, I think? The last thing on my mind all day was the clock.

As we got situated in our room more strangers came in, stuck me with needles, got me hooked up to who-knows-what kinds of machines, and tried to make me "comfortable."

Nothing about labor is comfortable.

They asked about pain management medications, and I had no desire to be a hero. Anesthesia was called.

The clock on the wall read 10:30...

Of all the Scripture I've memorized over the years the one that brought me the most peace was Pslam 23 that day specifically... as contractions were coming closer together and getting stronger all I kept repeating was "The Lord is my Shepherd..."

Anesthesia arrived - and the most difficult part of my labor experience up to that point was breathing through contractions coming less than 1 minute apart as the epidural was being administered... my husband was a rock, helping to hold me still. I'm pretty sure the imprint of my fingernails can still be seen in his hands.

I was already 8-9 cm. This was really happening today.

The clock on the wall still read 10:30?

The nurse who came in after my "happy juice" kicked in said we likely had another hour or two before I'd be complete enough to actually deliver. By this point K and her grandparents had arrived to join in the waiting game.

K has a mothering nature - she sweetly kissed my forehead, knowing I was no longer in pain. After checking on me, she happily joined family in the waiting room — she has no desire to see the birth. Can't say I blame her.

About 10 minutes later my doctor arrives. There were three OBs in the practice (two males and a female) and had my induction happened as scheduled I had selected one of the male doctors because he said my husband could "catch the football" and play more of an active role in delivering our daughter.

This day the on-call doc was the female... no immaculate receptions would be made that day by my husband.

The clearly broken clock on the wall read 10:30.

A quick check proved the nurse to be wrong — this baby wasn't waiting the hour or two... she was coming very soon. I was complete and ready to practice pushing. A few practices and my doctor hollered for more people. Even with no sense of my lower body's response to the signals I was sending, it was clear my efforts were working and she was ready to make her entrance.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Her birth story - Part II

I should be timing, counting, writing this down? Isn't there an app for this?

By six o'clock I knew I was experiencing real, actual contractions. They were strong. They were steady.

I started to time them.

This was getting very real, very fast.

By seven o'clock K was awake and going about her morning routine. School was still in session before the Christmas Break — she had exams to complete and only a half day to endure. She knew she would be absent from school the following day because I was scheduled to have an induction on Wednesday, December 19th.

This baby apparently didn't like being "scheduled."

I managed to pack K a lunch while contracting every five minutes. I also was wise enough to ask my mother-in-law to take K to school. I didn't let K know just what was going on — didn't want to risk her flunking her History exam.

So funny the things that matter to a laboring mother.

I texted my husband shortly after K left for school — "Might want to head back to the house." My simple message was received loud and clear. I don't want to know how fast my husband drove, but let's just say he walked through the door in less than an hour.

I had time to shower, though it must have been a short one considering my contractions were still five minutes apart.

My bags were previously packed because of the induction I was supposed to have the next day. I wanted them into the car along with other random things... the Boppy pillow for nursing, the inflatable exercise ball for the hours of labor I expected, my new bathrobe to wear walking the halls waiting to dilate.

By nine o'clock I was seated in the car, while my husband questioned if we should call the doctor and make sure we should go to the hospital. Even if a doctor said no, I was going...

Five minutes apart, lasting a minute for more than five hours... I was going to the hospital!

The drive took 30 minutes, or so I'm guessing. The contractions were still strong and getting stronger. I've always said I have a high tolerance for pain, to which my husband always lets out a chuckle. He thinks I am weaker than I let on.

After that day, he has a new respect for my tolerance for pain.

As we pull into the valet circle I experience the strongest contraction to date. The valet opens my door, and I ask him kindly (I think?) for a moment while the contraction passes. After a minute I'm able to exit the car and take the elevator alone to the 4th Floor while my sweet, fast-driving husband parks the car.

It's humorous all the registration information required of a woman who is clearly in labor and clearly not in her right mind. As we finally make it back to the triage area I'm in more pain and running low on patience. I'm praying for good news from the doctor who examines me first.

Of course, before I can be examined I have to get the hospital gown on... how many snaps are on this thing? Where are the arm holes?

The nurse takes vitals, I breathe through more painful contractions, and finally a doctor - a complete stranger - comes to see if I'm in "real labor"...

Five minutes later we were on our way to a birthing suite... I was 4-5cm.

My thoughts: This is really going to happen. Today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Her birth story ... Part I

The last thing I wanted to be at four o'clock in the morning was awake.

The last weeks of my pregnancy seemed to bring all the stereotypical attributes, and waking in the night was definitely one of them.

But this morning was different.

My husband was up, getting ready for a very early start to his workday. He had to be somewhere that morning requiring a 90-minute drive. In retrospect, I should have shared how I was feeling, I should have told him about the sensations that woke me from my sleep, but of course I didn't want to bother him with something that could be nothing.

So I remained quiet and let him leave, blisffuly unaware of what I slowly started to realize was going to be our Labor Day...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blogging only happens at naptime

Eleven weeks ago I said hello to the sweet life I nurtured inside me for nine months - eleven weeks ago I said goodbye to any semblance of a life I knew, and I happily gave up my free time to love, cuddle, feed, bathe, and comfort the sweetest baby I'll ever know.

This blog has suffered. But this mom has benefited.

Her birth story will be written and posted before this week is over. While I know I said this blog was not ever going to be a baby blog, that it will remain as it was intended, I do plan to indulge baby D by having a written account of her special delivery day.

And I too need to record the details, as they are already fuzzy eleven weeks after the fact.

This blog is my testimony, of God's grace and His miracles. And right now, I'm lucky to post at naptime...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My first is my second

Something about carrying around a sweet baby makes people automatically ask, "Is this your first?"

Yes. But, really, no.

Telling our story of having K first, and now adding to our family with the birth of sweet baby girl D means I've been given another avenue to share the amazing testimony of what only God can do in a life surrendered to Him.

Baby Girl "D" - born December 18th at 2:20 p.m.
7 lbs, 2 oz. - 19.5 inches long

On our way home from the hospital in time for Christmas

Time for her first bath

Sisters waiting for the doctor

Monday, December 10, 2012

The day before you

As we get ready for this new life to join our family, take over the house for a while, and add blessings we can't even imagine, I'm reminded this isn't the first time I've felt like this...

Yes, it's the first time this wait came with physical discomfort and the overwhelming fatigue only a pregnant woman can understand — but the prayers, hope and desire to have a child in my arms is something I know all too well.

I know it seven-long-years too well.

As we prepared for K to finally be allowed to move in, I can remember having a real physical heart ache, wondering if the permission would ever be granted, wondering how long it would take for a judge to see we were ready and right for her. I cried as each day passed, knowing her foster mother and therapist were doing all they could to delay her coming home with us.

I would go into the room we prepared for her — with her — and cry. Prior to being matched with her that had been a guest bedroom, and the place I did my prayer time. Monday evenings were especially precious as I would spend an hour praying for people I knew and for more than a year I had prayed for the one thing I wanted more than anything — to be a mother.

Being so close to seeing that dream become reality was bittersweet.

The day she came home to live with us was a random day of the week — we got the call to "come pick up your baby" and that was it... she came home to stay, and the next day we got up for work and school like life hadn't just changed 180 degrees.

And we never have to go back to the day before she was ours.

That's the anticipation I feel now as we try and prepare for this new life to enter the world. I can't believe the method by which she will arrive — I never thought my body would ever carry a child, not to the ultimate goal of seeing her born.

Preparing for K's arrival was more stressful. Preparing for this baby's arrival is more suspenseful.

Experiencing K's arrival was a once-in-a-lifetime-joy. Sharing this baby's arrival with K, and watching her joy will be once in a lifetime too.

Never having to go back to the day before either of them were my daughter — that will make my heart ache in the best kind of way.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I owe you this much

I've spent zero time blogging in months. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Honestly, I've spent that same amount of time even thinking about blogging since this summer when I dropped the bomb on you that we're expecting a baby.

You don't even know if we're having a boy or girl...

I owe you an update.

(I owe you more than an update if you even come back to read this update, but I'll do my best.)

Pregnancy is amazing. I've been blessed with a safe, albeit somewhat eventful, first pregnancy. It's everything I should have expected, and still it's served as a reminder that I'm not the typical "first timer"...

When people ask, as they always do, "Is this your first?" it's hard to answer that question. Much like the rest of our life, there are no simple answers, only simple questions.

First baby - yes? First child - no? First-time mom - not really?

I've resorted to "Second child, first pregnancy."

{Insert very confused looks from well-meaning stranger.}

I've had a moderate amount of guilt when it comes to this pregnancy. My over-analytic self thinks this is the real reason I've not blogged during my pregnancy.

I know in my head I shouldn't have any guilt, but I do.

I know I shouldn't fear discussing this blessing will upset those who can't or won't ever be lucky enough to experience this, but I do.

I know I should feel open to journal about anything and everything in this forum, my motherhood forum... but in some ways, I don't.

The last thing I want to do is create an online shrine to my pregnancy with this blog.

I don't want to somehow give off the illusion that being pregnant now has somehow erased the memories of years trying, hoping, praying, wishing, envying, and desiring to have a biological child.

I don't want to show pictures of the little one growing inside and give the false image that this somehow makes me more of a mother than I was before.

This blog has, and will be, first and foremost an adoption blog, because I am first and foremost an adoptive mother. Adoption is what made me a mother, and even now as I prepare to add "biological mother" to the list of adjectives used to describe me, I struggle to see myself any other way than the type of mother I was first...

The type of mother who chose to love a child that did not share DNA in common with my husband or me. The type of mother that invested countless hours, and numerous sleepless nights, trying to unlock a mystery child who she eventually grew to love as much as she could expect to love a biological one.

I see no difference between our first and now second daughter. And, as long as I am their mother, I refuse to see differences.

My first daughter is beautiful, loving, kind, caring, wild, adventurous, sometimes antagonistic, always humorous, occasionally defiant, always tender.

My oldest and firstborn daughter is so much like us in her mannerisms.

My teenager made me a mom.

My soon-to-be second daughter will be greatly blessed if she's anything like her older sister.
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