Monday, May 30, 2011

::Miles:: Part III: all the many miles

(Part I can be found HERE, part II can be found HERE)

We had planned to take turns on the drive so that we'd be able to drive straight through without stopping.  The plan was one of us would drive while the other slept...then we'd trade off.  We also decided to stop & fill up with gas when we reached 1/2 a tank so we'd break up the trip more...keeping us more awake and alert.  We had made long drives before so we weren't too worried except for the lack of sleep factor...we'd already been up since morning (Nathan since 5, me since 8) and our departure time was nearing bedtime.  When we finally hit the road at 10pm both of us were a little sleepy.  We said a prayer for safety, downed a couple 5 hour energy shots and headed off.  Nathan drove for the first hour, and then I took over.  Sometime around 11pm I got a text from Amy.  She had arrived at the hospital and had seen the baby.  He was born a healthy 6lbs 8oz and had lots of hair.  She sent me a couple pictures of him.  I did my best to look at them and drive (I know...SO not safe, but I couldn't help myself!)  and I woke Nathan up because I knew he would want to see them.  He looked at them for a few minutes and then fell back asleep.

 First look at our little guy.

I kept driving and made it to almost 7am, which is a miracle...that is a LONG time driving for me.  Every time we stopped to fill up with gas I would get the largest fountain cup they had and fill it with Diet Coke.  That coupled with 5 hour energy shots, phone calls from my mom & singing along with my ipod is what got me through that long, dark, boring night. 

We updated Facebook when we passed landmarks...the comments and messages helped make the drive pass faster, and also gave us hope that this was really going to happen. 

On Tuesday late afternoon we made a pit stop in Denver to pickup the stroller and carseat we mom had scoured the internet to see where we could find it between our home and St George.  We also made another attempt at finding a gift for the woman who was going to give us a baby.  We found the perfect thing and got back on the road.  By this time my poor body was sick of the car.  We'd been on the road for about 20 hours and we were still not even to Utah.  The last leg of the drive was DRAGGING.  It probably didn't help when I tried to get off the interstate to grab some dinner and ended up taking three wrong turns.  That move got me immediately booted out of the drivers seat.  Once Nathan got us back on the highway the sun started to set...and I started to worry.  We were entering Eastern Utah and there isn't much there.  The piece of I-70 just West of the Colorado border through to Salina, Utah is desolate.  I mean DESOLATE.  No cell service, no gas stations, no electricity, no houses, no farms, hardly any other traffic.  It was freaky.  I had much stress worrying about us breaking down and being stuck there for the rest of our lives...which would undoubtedly be shorter once the truck driver serial killer picked us up (yes, I obviously watch too much CSI).

The whole drive I was texting Amy and updating her on our progress.  She was with the birthmom - who I'm going to call T - who was still sure in her decision.  At some time during our conversations on Tuesday Amy asked us if we would be ok with meeting, YES!   She had decided she wanted to meet us and wanted to have a semi-open adoption...with letters & pictures being exchanged through the agency.  This was a huge relief to us, we had wanted an open relationship!  We felt like it would be so much better as Miles grew up if the channels of communication were open between he & his birthmother.

The plan was for us to come to the hospital when we arrived that evening and then we'd sign paperwork Wednesday morning.   But the longer we drove, the later our arrival time got.  I told Amy we wouldn't be getting in until 11:30ish and told her we totally understood if it was too late, we'd just go in the morning.  She told us that T wanted us to come, no matter how late it was...even if she was asleep.  She wanted us to "meet our son."

We pulled into St George at 11:45pm on Tuesday May 18th.  We had been on the road for 15 minutes shy of 27 hours....with nothing more than gas-ups to rest and stretch our legs.  We had bags under our eyes, our feet were swollen and our rear ends ached...but we didn't care. We parked at the hospital and found the right floor.  The nurses were all very sweet, which is something I had worried about, I have heard HORROR stories from adoptive couples that nurses were mean to them.  The nurses showed us to the waiting room and they went to get the baby.  They wheeled him in and it felt we were just visiting a friend who had a baby.  They told us we could take as much time as we wanted, just to go get them when we were done.

When I lifted him out of the bassinet and held him for the first time, I didn't have an overflowing of fact I don't recall that there were even any tears.  It just felt calm & right.  We snapped a few pictures, took turns snuggling him and then decided we had better go get checked into the hotel & get some rest...tomorrow was a big day.

Us and our sweet baby.  Wednesday May 18th, 12:06am.  
27 hours in the car...totally worth it. 

::Miles:: Part II: the unexpected news

(Part I can be found HERE)

Monday came and I had been talking with Amy about another situation that had popped up for the agency.  It was a baby girl, born early, paperwork already signed...but the fees were just way too high for us.  I know it may seem weird that I was looking for something else, but we didn't have a definite answer on the St George situation and we really felt like it was going to fall through so I was actively pursuing other things.  Amy said she'd keep me posted on both situations - to see if the agency would reduce the fees for the baby girl and also what happened at the doctor's appointment.

I called my mom (which I do usually about once a day) and we were chatting about the baby girl situation...mostly lamenting (read: complaining about) the high cost of adoption.  My other line beeped and I saw it was Amy.  I told my mom I had to go and I grabbed the other line.  Amy asked "did you get my text?"  My initial reaction was that she (the birthmom) decided she didn't want us.  I told Amy I had been on the phone so I hadn't seen a text yet.  Then Amy dropped the bomb "She wants you, and she is at the doctor, 6cm dilated, they are doing a C-section now."  She told me we might want to start looking at travel options, but not to book anything until we saw paperwork emailed from the agency.  I hung up the phone and saw the text she was talking about: 5/16/11 10:59am  "She just said that she wants you.  She is going to the dr in St George and thinks they will keep her"  I called Nathan at work (he was luckily doing a security watch and not a gig...otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get a hold of him)  I looked online at plane tickets and was astounded at the cost...$750 each for one way.  Surprisingly I didn't do much more, I actually made a sandwich, sat on the couch and watched TV for an hour or so.  I was convinced that I would be getting a call shortly that said "never mind!"  I did start a few batches of laundry, it needed to be done anyway...and I vacuumed and dusted.  It wasn't until I talked to Amy again that I realized I needed to get my butt in gear.  She had talked to the birthmom and told her she HAD to be sure...that we would be flying in from Illinois and before they told us to get on a plane she had to be 100% set in her decision.  She said she was sure, which Amy relayed to us and so I started packing.  We decided to make the trip via car instead of plane...which still seems so crazy to me.  Mapquest said it was a 23.5 hour drive.  I knew it would be longer once you factored in the pit stops, etc...and we planned on making it in one shot.  No overnight stops.  It was daunting...and my OCD brain started worrying about the car breaking down in the middle of Nebraska. 

While Nathan was squaring things away with his work, I dug through the boxes in the nursery closet and found the few little blue outfits we'd bought in preparation for the twins last summer.  I tore off the tags and washed them, still not allowing myself to believe they'd actually be used.  I hurried outside in the chilly weather to put in the rest of my flowers (I'd started the week before but had to stop because of a monsoon rainstorm), planting flowers in cold dirt is not that fun!  Nathan got home from work and we packed our bags.   We ran to a couple stores to see if we could find a nice gift to give to our birthmother (as an do you even possibly get a gift that says "thank you for making us a family?!).  We made the announcement on Facebook - which we seriously considered NOT doing...until we had a picture of us with a baby...but we decided if this went south we'd need the love and support of our friends & family.

We got the car packed & said our good-byes to Winston.  Our friends came over to get our key so they could watch over Winston (and so they could watch the Bulls playoff games on our big screen TV).  We passed along to them all the perishable food in our fridge and hit the road at 10pm...which incidentally was 2 hours earlier than Nathan thought I'd be ready to go.  I have a bit of a problem running he was pleasantly surprised that we were able to take off so quick.  I wasn't so surprised...afterall this was the second quick pack job we've had to do in the last 6 weeks...and I still had the packing list from the first one. 

Here we are, pulling out of our driveway, hoping that the next 24+ hours we'd spend in a car would lead us to something wonderful. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

::Miles:: Part I: the back story

After Georgia, our hearts were broken.  I wanted to keep pushing but I was scared out of my wits that we'd have a repeat of the heartbreak.  Nathan and I discussed it and decided that we wanted children...and getting children in our home would be worth the bumpy road.   Shortly after returning home we were back to our regular Friday night activity of working in the Temple.  It was tough to be back because I felt like I shouldn't be able to be there...that I should be at home with a baby.  But the people we work with were SO wonderful to us.  Love was poured upon us and it turned out to be the perfect place for us to grieve and mourn and heal over the next couple weeks.  
On Friday April 29th we got out of the Temple around 10:30pm and I had a voicemail from Amy (caseworker from the Ohio & Georgia situations).  It said "I have a situation I want to talk to you about.  It's not urgent...yet.  Call me as soon as you get this."  We called her back to find out about a birthmom from Vegas who would be delivering in St George and was due May 20th with a baby, gender unknown...were we interested?   We told her we'd be willing to pursue it, but we'd see how things went when she went to the doctor a few the following week.  We wanted to see if she actually showed up (sounds harsh...but it happens) and then go from there.

We didn't tell anyone right away...we didn't want to be the couple that "cried wolf" about adopting babies.  The following week she went to her appointment and discovered that she was having a boy and that her due date had been moved to June 8th.  She was still decidedly determined that the baby was coming sooner rather than later and told our caseworker to find a family.  At this point she wanted a closed adoption.  Which means that we would know very little, if anything at all about each other.  She wanted the agency to choose the family.  It's not what we had hoped for in an adoption relationship, but we were by no means going to turn away a baby for that reason.  Amy told us she had been "saving this one for us" and that she thought it felt like the perfect situation for Nathan and I.  With the good news from the doctor's appointment we told Amy we were definitely in, and we pressed forward cautiously optimistic, but severely guarded.

The following little bit (the days leading up to and after Mother's Day) was rough.  We hit some bumps in the road and it looked as though this adoption, like many others, might not happen...but we didn't know that for sure so we kept hoping.  She (the birthmother) decided that she wanted to see our profile and possible some others so we felt like it wasn't going well.  We still told almost no one.  Our parents and a SMALL handful of others (like bosses at work, etc) knew.  Unlike Ohio & Georgia, we didn't buy anything in preparation for this situation.  In fact, we both felt like it wasn't going to work out.

On Tuesday May 10th I got a text from Amy that said "She is at the hospital in Vegas having back to back contractions, I'll keep you posted".  I worried...of course.  I didn't even know what was going to happen with this situation and so I didn't know what to feel.  Relieved that maybe the baby would be born and we could move on when she didn't want us...because at least we'd have an answer.  Worried about a stay in Nevada for ICPC (I'll explain this more later).   Concerned for her, hoping she was ok.  As the day wore on with no news I assumed the worst (I think 4 failed adoptions makes you do that), but late that night I heard from our caseworker.  They got her labor stopped and sent her home with pills to take every six hours to keep the contractions at bay.  She had a doctor's appointment the following Monday and her doctor in St George could assess the situation then.  We still didn't know where we stood...should we be preparing for a baby or not? 

Friday May 13th I came home from the Temple feeling totally at peace.  I felt like this adoption wasn't going to happen but everything would be ok anyway.  I told Nathan my feelings and discovered he felt the same way.  Amy told us the agency had a lot of new women considering adoption and she was hopeful we would find a situation that would work for us.  We waited for Monday to see how the doctor's appointment went and hopefully we'd find out then a definitive answer so we could move on...either with this situation or another. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prayers are answered

Miles Elijah
born 5.16.11
adopted 5.18.11

The incredible story to come...but for now I need to just snuggle my new little guy.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

To the not-mothers

This post is for all those out there who are not mothers. 

The world will tell you that it's selfish to feel sad on Mother's Day.  They tell you that you should celebrate your own mother and not think of yourself.  I am here to tell you that it is ok to be sad on Mother's Day, especially if your empty arms ache for children yet to come, or for children that you no longer have.  The world will tell you that it's an insult to your mother to be sad this day.  I am here to tell you that my sadness for today has NOTHING to do with my love for my mother.   I {love} my mother.  I love my grandmothers, my aunts and my pseudo-mothers, my sister-in-laws and my friends who are mothers.  I will always treasure the wonderful example that the women in my life set for me.  I celebrate them and love them...but that love doesn't heal the painful longing I have to be counted among them. 

One year ago I quietly celebrated that I was an expectant mother...through adoption.  I rejoiced in the thought of never having to suffer through another not-a-Mother's Day.  So on this, my 7th Not-a-Mother's Day my earnest prayer and hope is that there won't be an 8th. 

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Birthmother's Day

Today is a day set-aside in the adoption community as a day to celebrate the women who gave incredible sacrifices...sacrifices that gave a family to a child.  Whether the adoption is open or closed, recent or far in the past...these women are brave and amazing.  They put the needs of their child above their own wants and desires.  Reading their stories is something I think everyone should get a true realization of the LOVE that goes into the decision. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

If you want to take a moment today and say a prayer for all the brave women out there who currently wear, and who will wear the title "Birthmother" that would be lovely.  Say an extra prayer for ours would you?  Whoever she is and wherever she may be. 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

It's interesting.  Last year on Cinco de Mayo I prepared an awesome, authentic Mexican meal.  I had been taught how to prepare it by a woman who was pregnant and planning on placing her twin babies with us.  She had come to Chicago to meet us and on her visit had imparted some of her traditional cooking knowledge on me.  Nathan and I celebrated that evening over carne asada & homemade horchata and looked forward to the two sweet little babies who would be joining our family only a couple months later.   Or so we thought.  If someone would have told me that night that a year later we would still be childless...having endured four failed adoptions I think I would have smacked them, called them rude and then cried for a week. 

Good thing we don't always know our future, eh?

If I wasn't feeling so crappy (bronchitis...oh goody) I'd whip up some carne asade right now and toast to not knowing your future!  

Monday, May 02, 2011


April 24-30 was National Infertility Awareness Week which is sponsored by RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association.

Over the last week I tried working up several different posts...but could never quite get one right.  I attempted a post to debunk myths and another post just to share my feelings...but no matter what I tried, it left me feeling empty and sad.  It's been a hard week...especially with what's happened the last month...especially with Mother's Day bearing down upon me.  This week I wasn't strong enough to fight infertility battles, so I let others do it. 

But I feel like I could pass on something that I know helps us.  Here it is, my one piece of advice if you have someone in your life struggling with infertility:

Love them.  

Don't try to fix their problems, don't offer advice, don't preach to them, don't abandon them for fear of hurting their feelings...just love them.

(If you want to read some pretty fantastic posts, click on the links above or click here)