Tuesday, September 9, 2014

...as long as the baby is healthy.

anyone who has ever been pregnant has had this conversation:
'do you know what you are having?'
'not yet?'
'do you want a boy or a girl?'
'it doesn't matter to me.'
'as long as it's healthy....'

the last line actually makes me cringe.  now, of course I don't want there to be something that causes my child to be unhealthy.  but, when I hear 'as long as it's healthy' it feels a little bit like I would accept either gender, but not if they had any sort of disorder, or birth defect, or whatever any of the other millions of things are that can go wrong in pregnancy.
in our house, we will be thankful that we have the opportunity to parent another child.  if it's a boy, well hooray for a whole new adventure.  if it's a girl, *sigh of relief* I already feel equipped to navigate this boat (plus I have lots of clothes).  if the baby is anything less than 100% healthy, we will be just as thankful for his or her life.
I know that when people say this, they mean well.  they are not being rude.  I'm not angry at them.  but, honestly, it still makes me feel like my other two girls are seen as less desirable.  too many of my friends have buried their children.  some of them gave birth to children who were born sleeping.  some of them only got to spend minutes or hours with their children.   and, if you ask them, most of them would tell you that they wouldn't have been upset about dealing with a disorder.  they just want their child.  not a boy.  not a girl.  not a healthy baby.  just their child.
as we near the time period when we would be able to find out what gender our baby will be, we do it knowing full well that we have not been given any sort of guarantees about this child, and the health of it.  neither of our daughter's genetic disorders were 'caused' by anything more than a sperm or egg that had a chromosome on it that was a little wonky. it was nothing that either of their parents did.  and, as a result, we have just as much of a chance of wonky chromosomes as their parents did. 
so, what do we want?  we want to get to parent this child.  but, we make no big plans about who he or she will be.  we will wait, and rejoice in the child we end up with.  boy.  girl.  typical.  just as weird as the rest of us.  we will love our third child.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

and then there were three.

mostly, I've felt like I just can't do it.  i'm already tired.  i'm already stretched.  how could I ever add another kid to this mix?  will I ever sleep?  will my other kids end up getting the short end of the stick for a while?  I just can't imagine adding more to what already feels like chaos.

and, then, I look up and the sunlight and shadows take turns dancing across her beads and face.  she concentrates on getting the next Lincoln log in just the right spot.  she adds chairs and beds, a fireplace, and a table.  she shares the details of the little world she has made. it seems impossible that she hasn't always been this age.  she was once a very little, little.  i soak up the moment and look forward to sharing these things with another child.

all the while, little is snuggled under a blanket, in the crook of my right elbow, sleeping.  she just couldn't make it until nap time, and i have not the heart to wake her.  i sit quietly feeling each breath she takes in and lets back out. i think of how much closer she is to walking, and how she will no longer feel like a baby to me when that happens.  i brush the hairs out of her face, and become thankful that soon, i'll have another little to sleep in my arms.

and, i remember how with each child, God has given me a verse.  and, they have fit perfectly into what His plans are for our lives, for our children's lives, and for our family.  so i try hard to focus on the verses He gave me for this little instead of the exhaustion and sickness i am experiencing.  i remember that while i will likely deal with the same struggles with tiny, of learning boundaries, and respect, and kindness, that it won't be in the first day, or week, or even month of life.  i'll have time to settle into the role of mother of three.
and, so to celebrate, and look forward to the joy that looms ahead, i buy a onesie.  a teeny tiny one that seems like it could never fit a real live person.  and i lay it out, and look at it, reminding me of days to come filled with toothless smiles, first times for all sorts of new things, and a sleeping baby on my chest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

clearing a few things up.

as I suspected, I have already heard quite a few cringe worthy things about being pregnant, and how it relates to our two other girls being adopted.  i'm barely showing folks.  I can't help but fear for what lies ahead, and what my two amazing girls are going to hear.  so i'm going to start by clearing the air a little bit, here.

first, and foremost, the sentence:  if you had only waited.....
you may follow that sentiment with, I wouldn't have my two daughters.  no regrets.  nothing but thankfulness for the children we have.  and had we known we were going to get pregnant ten years later, we still would have adopted first.  there's not a whole lot I can think of that would be sadder than not having my two daughters.


second, I didn't get it easier the first two times.  yes, carrying a child is much different than adoption.  and my first trimester has been fairly miserable in all honesty.  but so was the three year wait for Abigail.  and so was being stuck in another state with my daughter waiting on the powers that be to send paperwork from point a to point b so I could cross state lines.  so yes, pregnancy is hard. and I know there are some harder things to come.  but, adoption has it's pains as well. 

and last, my pregnancy is NOT a reward.  it's not what I get for adopting 'those kids.'  the gift I got for adopting these two, is getting to be their mother, and them getting to be my daughters.  make no mistake that the child growing inside of me is NOT more of a blessing than the first two who listened to someone else's heart beat for the first nine months.  my love for this child is NOT  more than my two daughters. 

God has given me three babies.  three children.  three gifts.  none of them are a reward for what I have done, lest I would never have been a mother.  they are, all three, my children.  in the end, it turns out that the person who's uterus the child grew in has no affect for the love I feel for them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

here's the story.

to catch all of you up to speed who are not on my facebook, you should watch this video and this video.  i'll wait until you get back to fill you in on the rest of the details.  if you choose not to watch them, you'll still likely be able to follow the story, but they're pretty great.

all right so here's the story.  Jason and I are just a few days away from our tenth wedding anniversary.  for the first yearish of marriage we tried a few different things to prevent pregnancy, but none of them worked well, and eventually decided to just be done with it. 
we have done nothing to prevent pregnancy for nine years.  we never sought any sort of diagnoses or help because we had wanted to adopt, and were perfectly content with this being the way our family was formed.
for quite some time I had been having some weird symptoms (heart palpitations, dizziness, along with other things).  I had gone to the doctor, and everything had tested okay thus far.  I had an appointment scheduled with the neurologist at the end of June, and was hoping for more information then.
towards the end of May, I had a dream that I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive.  I've taken numerous test over the years, more than I can count, but have never been pregnant.  I couldn't shake the dream so a couple days later, I found one we had in the bathroom, and took it.  i'm not even sure if I can begin to describe the shock that washed over me when it came back positive.
at this point, I was about 4-1/2 weeks pregnant.  I had no symptoms.  I hadn't even missed a cycle.  so I called my doctor's office because I had no idea what you do after a positive pregnancy test.
they did blood work, and then an ultrasound, thinking I might have been further along than what I thought.  I was not.
they did another ultrasound at eight weeks, and we decided then that as long as there was a heartbeat, we would tell Abigail, and then everyone else.  so the video of Abigail finding out is above, as well as us sharing it with our church.  we told our families and a few close friends early on.
once the pregnancy symptoms kicked in, my other symptoms went away.  so while we may not ever be able to confirm this completely, my guess is that something in my changed hormonally, and that is the reason we got pregnant after so long of not getting pregnant.

so, at this point we are nine weeks, and due January 26th.  i'm sick, exhausted, and having lots of back and sciatic nerve pain.  and while we are thrilled, this is definitely a trying season as we are in the middle of a tube wean for shilo, my husband is running the business he works for while his boss is out of the country, and working a lot, and i'm not 100%.  so it's a hard season right now, and i'm trying to balance joy, and overwhelmed.  but mostly, we look forward to the arrival of our third little in the future.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

the weaning of the tube.

as you may have noticed, I am few and far between in my writing right now.  it's for good reason.  one I will share in more detail sometime in the future.  I have a few posts started for an adoption series I plan to do.  but, to be honest, afternoon napping is winning most days over blogging.  judge all you want to, this mama is tired.

anyway, wanted to update you all on just one of the fun things we are embarking on right now.  about six weeks ago, shilo took off in the eating department.  before this, she as great at putting things in her mouth, but they mostly got chewed and spit back out.  something started to click though, and more and more food was getting chewed and swallowed.  we were ecstatic.  we had been working towards doing a tube wean, and have officially started it.
a tube wean is when you stop feeding your child by g-tube in hopes of getting them to eat by mouth.  some people do it much differently than we are, but we are offering shilo foods throughout the day, and meals at meal time.  she feeds herself (she will not tolerate someone trying to feed her), and chooses what goes in her mouth.  here's the lay out of our wean, and how it's going so far.

day 1: 1/2 breakfast, rest of the day normal.
day2:  no breakfast, rest of the day normal.
day 3: no breakfast, 1/2 lunch, rest of the day normal.
day 4: no breakfast or lunch, normal dinner.
day 5:  no breakfast or lunch, 1/2 dinner.
day 6: no meals during the day via tube.

with this wean, we still have to give meds in the morning and at noon through the tube.  we are doing some water with this to help prevent dehydration, but not the normal amount, in hopes of helping her learn to drink by mouth as well.  to be quite honest though, I think we will be using the tube for fluids for a while after this, because she's just not good at swallowing drinks yet.  she also will continue to get whole milk after she's asleep at night, and once all food is gone, it's possible we will do some other things (blends or something of the sort) to help get some calories in her.  the goal is for her to not know we are using her tube though-which is why it would be when she is asleep.

we are on day five.  she's not eating tons.  she is eating.  and thus far we haven't seen any major changes in her demeanor.  today, for example, she ate about 1/2 cup of dry cereal at breakfast, a few puffs at the library (along with an eraser, two stickers, and part of a pine cone.  we count that as food in this situation), about 1/3 of a peanut butter sandwich, and some broccoli (a lot of this still gets chewed and spit back out, but some is starting to be swallowed).  she's had some water through her tube, and attempted drinks by mouth at each meal.  I remind myself that she is likely eating similar to what most toddlers do, and i'm not used to it because we can get a great balance in by tube. 

in all honesty, this sucks.  I hate not knowing if she's full enough at the end of a meal.  I hate feeling like i'm depriving my kid, even if it is under the supervision of a dietician and doctor.  but, in the end, I really hope, and pray, and believe, that this is the only way we will ever get her to take in nutrition by mouth. 

so to balance out the heavy, here's this hard thing we're doing right now, you should go watch this video of shilo doing awesome things!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

come on in.

daily, my newsfeed is filled with links titled '10 things special need parents wish you knew' and 'how to help your friend who's child is autistic' and so on and so forth. (I will admit to writing a 10 things list here , although not for how to be my friend.)  I often click them just to see how I relate.  most of the time, I don't.  and, I get annoyed at how much they seem to separate parenting from special needs parenting.
I HATE, with a passion, when people refer to me as 'adoptive mom.'  I correct them.  i'm mom.  adoption was something that took place a few years ago, but doesn't define me as a parent.  i'm certain that parenting my children is the same as parenting most children who are 5 and 2.
and, similarly, I get annoyed at being a 'special needs mom.'  it's a little different because my kids do add things into the mix that some others don't deal with.  but, my actual parenting is just parenting.  when I go to story time, I just want to hang out and be one of the moms instead of the 'special mom.'
  today, we went to the local children's museum to escape the rainy grouchiness that was encompassing our house.  outside of the building a road is closed because they are preparing to build a new hotel that will employ people with special needs. (the irony was not lost on me) I parked in a spot for people with disabilities so that I could take shilo's gait trainer in for her.  I got out, put her in the stroller, and pushed it while I pulled the trainer behind me until we got inside.  did I mention it was raining?  pretty hard at this point?  turns out the sidewalk and road are closed.  I can't get to the ramps for anything.  I end up having to walk with my children and gear in the road, trying to stay far enough over to avoid cars.  I hit Abigail with the gait trainer multiple times by accident.  she was pretty frustrated.  I was ready to cuss, and we were all soaked by the time I finally found a ramp to use.
it didn't get much better after that-the door openers didn't work, and when I got inside, I realized that while the building met ada standards, that was about as far as it went.  shilo couldn't even play in the water table (nor could a child in a wheelchair) unless I stood and held her up to it.  it's her favorite thing to do at places like this, and she was frustrated.  I was frustrated beyond belief that trying to do something fun with my kids, and allow shilo freedom, was so much more work for me, and in the end, shilo could do very little.
suddenly, all those readings that had frustrated me went through my head, and I realized that I do have things as a parent that my friends of typical kids can't understand.  they don't think twice about parking, and accessibility.  they have no idea what it's like to need both a stroller and a gait trainer because it's guaranteed that your child will get too tired to continue to walk at some point.  their kids run freely and play with things while I have to take mine in and out, in and out to reach things, and navigate steps.
however, I have some amazing friends.  and while they might not understand those things, if I told them this story, they would be aware.  they would agree with how much that sucks, and they would likely even be willing to help me advocate to change some of those things.  the thing about parenting is that we all have some sort of battles.  there's no use arguing over harder or easier.  it's a journey we're all on together.  find people who will walk it with you, love you, and not judge you, even if their journey is much different.  help them understand the differences, and allow them to walk through the hard things with you.  most of the time, that's what they want to do if you'll just tell them how.  not in list form.  not for the whole world, because my needs, are much different than other parents that have children with special needs.  no, just tell them.  talk to them.  let them in.

Friday, May 9, 2014

first mommies.

on a Thursday morning, I stood next to her in the nicu, looking at her daughter.  our daughter.  I hugged her and thanked her.  but there were no words adequate for what had just happened.

on a Tuesday night, I sat across the table from her, and answered question after question about us, and our family.  I can still see the pain in her eyes as she tried to interview a family to raise her daughter.

birth mothers are often misunderstood.  most of the adoption questions I get asked stem around them.  how old they were.  what sort of 'problems' they had.  how much better off their child is with me.  the comments go on and on.
it's easy to see these women, and villainize them.  we want to be certain to distance ourselves from someone who could 'do something so awful' 'be so selfish' 'give up her kid.'  we want to make certain that we find all their flaws that put them in a place where they were able to 'walk away from their kid.'

and, in all honesty, you are partly right.  you could never do what they did.  but, it's not because you are better than them.  it's because they just made the most selfless choice any woman can ever make.  it's the choice to place their child in another families arms, simply because they want what's best for him.  this is not to say that placing a child is always what's best.  but, for my two daughters, I have no doubt that their mothers love them, and were trying to give them the best that they could.  it spurs me on, on days that parenting drags me down, and I want to give up.

the Saturday before mother's day is birth mother's day.  I want to say happy birth mother's day to my children's first mommies, and to the women everywhere who loved their child enough to carry him for nine months, give him a kiss goodbye, and step back so that he can be with the family you chose. 

your choice is the only reason that I get to celebrate on sunday morning.  thank you.


from the bottom of my very thankful mama's heart, happy birth mother's day!