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Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear Jackson,

Dear Jackson,

Twenty one days ago my life was altered in ways that have deeply penetrated the core of my existence. Daddy and I didn't just welcome home a happy, healthy baby boy... it wasn't neither that simple, nor as amazing as being blessed with my hearts desires. My dear son, it was so much more than that. It was beyond wanting you for 5 years, it much more than the medical tests and treatments, it was so profound it changed me from the inside out. Wanting you, longing for you, praying for you, it all changed me on so many levels. And when we finally, finally brought you home, when that day finally arrived, it was greater than anything that has or will ever happen to me again in my life.  Marrying your father, he was the first best thing. Bringing you home, that was the second best thing. You two together, you complete me.

I don't know if I will ever be able to put into words how my heart feels. Some things can only be felt. But I will always do my best to share with you how I feel, to communicate all the emotions that fill my heart and the words that occupy my mind.

I was really worried that by loving you, I would be taking away some of my love for daddy.....silly me. Little did I know my heart would swell, double it's size, to accommodate the love I have for both of you, I didn't have to take away from him to give to you...or vice versa.....I just allowed the love to flow and there is so much space for both of you, with extra to spare! There are no limitations on love, it is endless, it is boundless. You will one day know what I mean by this.

Since I have met you, my life is so different. You have become the center of our everything - our life as a family is so wonderful. We eat, sleep and breath differently because of you. Imagine our home filled with love by your daddy and me and the puppies, and then imagine taking that same 
beautiful home and adding more love to it. We smile bigger and brighter because of you. We gawk over you, we are smitten with you and we are so very proud of you. You truly are our pride and joy.

There are so many people who love you, your family, our friends, your birth mom and her family, you are surrounded by love. You fairy godmother comes to visit often, she was at the hospital when you were born and she will always be a part of your life. You are often wrapped in her baby blanky that her dear grandma Jiggs knitted for her. You are always surrounded by and wrapped in love.

Everyone warned me how fast the time would go, and I couldn't imagine it going by so fast with so little sleep and long endless days.....but it's true, the minutes and days fly by, and before I knew it, it has been three weeks. And soon it will be a month....I'm trying hard to stay in the moment because 
they escape me way to fast as it is, without jumping ahead on my own. The moment is where it is. It's where I get lost in your being, your smell, your cute little noises you make, you cooing while eating, squeezing my finger...our skin to skin time, bonding, every single moment your awake I just want to spend it loving on you.

You are such a great eater and sleeper. You eat every 3 hrs during the day and every 3-4 hrs at night. You pretty much sleep, eat and play for short amounts of time. Initially I was lucky to keep you up 2-5 minutes. Now you are alert for 30 minutes to an hour sometimes. You love to fall asleep on daddy's chest, he falls asleep too. Mommy likes to snap photos when this happens. I wish I could capture every single minute of your life on film, but that goes against me being in the moment, if I am always behind the camera, I am not always being in the moment. So while there are lots of pictures, I sometimes forget to take them, because I am enjoying just being with you.

We spent our first Christmas together as a family! Your grandma & grandpa Corica came to visit. 

Unfortunately you, daddy and I were all sick. We caught bad colds and gave them to each other, I was so heart broken and scared when you got sick.....but you healed really fast. That nosefrida and essential oils were life savers! Mommy is still recovering, I hope to be back to 100% soon so I can give nothing but my very best to caring for you. Regardless, you made this the best Christmas I have ever had.  You are living proof that what matters most is not what's under the Christmas tree.


Jackson, you have rocked our worlds. I look forward to every minute of every day. When I wake up and see you, it makes my heart smile. When I hold your small fragile body and realize you depend on me for so many of your basic needs, I feel so honored to be the person you chose to care for you. I love you ....and your daddy, well he loves you too. Together we share yet one other thing in common, our unconditional love for you.

In one breath I wish I could freeze time and keep you this little forever, yet in the next breath, I look forward to watching you grow, to sharing many more special moments with you. Little man, you didn't just fill a void in my heart or an empty room in the house...you showed me that dreams do 
come true, that with faith and prayer, anything is possible. To never lose sight or hope - that God will always fill our hearts desires...He has given me a testimony that I will share and cherish forever, the testimony and gift of you, my son.

I love you always Jax, 

Mommy




The gift of a son.....


God answered our prayers and sent Haile our way
To carry our child and take our heartache away
It was just when we had truly surrendered
That such an amazing gift was rendered...

Honored is just one of a million ways to describe how we feel
For receiving a blessing that still seems surreal
Our child is growing inside of her tummy
But one day soon he will call me mommy

Thanks be to God and all of you who prayed
Sometimes there's a reason the answers to our prayers are delayed.
He knew all along how our story would unfold...
And now that it has, I love hearing it told...


"Not flesh of my flesh"

Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart,
But in it.

 Author: Fleur Conkling Heyliger



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Friday, December 13, 2013

And Then There Was Three

 I have always dreamt of having a family. When that reality became less likely, I had to grieve the idea of ever having children… of having our very own family. I embraced living life as two, with my wonderful husband. The mere fact that he was my knight, made it easier to accept. We were living a good life. We had found true love and while it was a tough pill to swallow that we weren’t going to get to share that love with children of our own, it was ok. I have always trusted that God had a plan for us, I just had to learn to surrender to that plan. So after many years of trying to control the outcome, I finally folded. I embraced what was, and stopped trying to control what would be. I learned to love what we already had instead of trying to ask for more.

So as I sit here looking at our beautiful son Jackson, I just smile and often times cry tears of joy. I think I cry more often now out of happiness than I ever did out of sorrow. It doesn’t take much…a thought, a look, an idea…and I lose it. My heart was already full, now it spills over. That’s where the tears come from, I cannot contain the joy. There is still some sadness in my heart. I do acknowledge that our new found joy is another families loss. Not loss in the sense of ever knowing him, but loss in the sense of grieving what could have been if she was able to parent him. I sense and feel what that must be like for them... I know it cannot be easy and so my heart aches for them.
________

On Monday December 9th,  Halie was checked into the hospital to begin the induction process. Our son was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday December 10th. For those of you who know me, I am a numbers girl. The numbers 1201 have repeated themselves my entire life. While this is not an exact sequence match, I was thrilled to see he was being born on that day, 12.10.

Halie was zero percent dilated at her Dr appointment earlier that day, so she was admitted the evening  around 8:00 pm before induction to begin the dilation process. It took her until 4:00 am to become 3 centimeters. We figured it was going to be a while. Except when the nurse checked her at 7:00am, she was already 10 cm! Frank had spent the night at home with the pups, and planned on coming up to the hospital that morning of induction. I spent the night along with Halie and her mom and the biological father. The hospital staff was amazing, they were kind enough to provide Frank and I with our own room, which allowed for privacy on both ends. I wanted Halie to be able to rest before and after birth. I wanted to breastfeed and needed privacy for that (I can write another blog on this, but short story is I successfully induced lactation in the months leading up to his birth and am currently breast feeding him). Halie was in support of it and encouraged me to do so, so she understood that meant that I would have to keep him with me most of the time after his birth in order to feed every 2 hours. Thankfully we had the privacy to do so, and the support needed. The lactation and nursery nurses all helped tremendously. They treated me as the mother although I didn’t physically have the baby. Halie was also treated wonderfully, the staff attended to her needs equally as well.

Around 7:00 am I had to let Frank know he needed to step it into gear after I went to the delivery room and Halie’s Ob/Gyn asked how far away Frank was, as calmly as she could…. me knowing exactly what that meant, she was going to be having the baby very soon. Libby, our little fairy godmother,  had swung by that morning on her way to work,  just to say hello when she got caught up in the excitement and ended up staying until after he arrived. How fitting it was to have her there, when she was the one who informed me of this possible adoption to begin with. God used her as one of his angels and he continued to put her in the perfect place at the perfect time. She was meant to be part of this fairy tale happy ending story from day one.

I was in the delivery room for the birth, along with Halie’s mother. We coached her through the hard labor and I witnessed the miraculous birth of our son. I felt so honored that Halie allowed me to be there through this entire process from beginning to very end. It was one of my wishes and she made it come true. To think that I was able to go to every single Dr appointment and sonogram with her, what a blessing.  And the blessings just kept pouring down on us. Halie and I made a birth plan together and part of it included me cutting the umbilical cord and holding him first after he was delivered. Frank was not in the delivery room but came in as soon as she was cleaned up, he just made t there on time! He held him next. Then Halie and her mom both held him. That little boy was loved by so many already! Libby came to the room when Frank did and was allowed to hold him as well. This was the part of the story where all past disappointments and hurts were quickly erased by this little gift sitting before our eyes. It didn’t matter all the sudden that we had to wait 5 years to meet him.

Much of what happened from there forward felt like this crazy whirlwind. I lost all concept of time, my new reality was beginning yet my mind couldn’t even keep up with how quickly our lives had changed, one quick minute, @ 9:15 am and all the sudden, there was three . I sat there and cried in sheer joy, on so many occasions. As I was doing the push count for Halie, and I would look to see his head crowning, I would choke up and could barely count.  As I stared at him lying in his hospital bassinet, I cried. But when it really hit me, was when I drove home from the hospital with him in the backseat, realizing that he was really coming home, that this precious little boy was really going to be ours in a few short hours.

Halie’s ob/gyn and Jacksons pediatrician both agreed to release them after 24 hrs of birth, but the adoption paperwork couldn’t legally be signed until 48hrs after birth based on state laws, so while he was released to go home with us, we still had to wait another 16 hrs for it to be official.

Halie stuck to the birth plan 100%, I never really doubted her, but I also had to protect myself and remind myself that it was a possibility. So I was prepared to mentally face whatever the end result was going to be. And either way, our lives were going to drastically change, so you can truly never be prepared for what was about to happen.  You will always hear me brag about what a beautiful soul she has. She was so mature and consistent, not once changing her mind or steering away from the original plan. I am not sure I have ever met or will ever meet anyone quite like her.

At 9:30 am Thursday morning, I received a text from Halie’s mom, letting me know that the paperwork had been signed and the attorneys office was on their way to our house to have us finish signing. It was real, it was done, he was ours.

We had looked into adoption during our Infertility journey and had come to a decision point where we chose fertility treatments over adoption due to the high cost of both and only being able to choose one or the other. We took a gamble and while at the time, it appeared we had rolled the wrong dice, that simply wasn’t the case. I believe in my heart that the reason we didn’t get pregnant all this time was because Jackson was meant to be our son.




He is beautiful, he is perfect, he completes us, in every way. We were a lovely little family of two,  and after many years of yearning,  struggling, grieving and hurting, we are now a perfect family of three. 




Friday, November 22, 2013

Until Proven Otherwise

Last year at this time I was PUPO - it's an acronym in the infertility world for Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise. We had returned home from our two week IVF vacation to Barbados. We were eagerly waiting to take our pregnancy test and find out what the future had in store for us.

If you would have told me that the test would be negative, yet we would be only a couple weeks away from meeting our son, I would have never believed you. I wouldn't have seen how it was possible that we could have adopted so soon after a failed cycle when we had pretty much decided to live child free if the cycle indeed failed. We were tapped out, physically, emotionally and financially - but looking back, never spiritually. For some reason I knew in my heart, even in the midst of the disappointment and hurt that God had plans for us and that He wanted something even more amazing for us then we could even imagine in our own minds. And while knowing that and trusting in it are two completely different things, I was willing to take the gamble. Trusting in that brought me peace and comfort, where doubt and lack of faith only brought about fear, anxiety, heartache and sadness. So I put my heart in His hands. 

*******
It's unusual being in a situation where you have been connected  with the birth mom since her news of finding out she was pregnant. It's like "we" are pregnant via her. I would imagine it feels to me what it feels like for dads when their wife or significant other is carrying their child. It's the next best thing to being physically pregnant..... lucky...... grateful.....some women only dream of being able to have this experience. I will be able to tell him I knew him and watched him grow in her belly. Does it really change anything in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. But it feels like a gift and privilege to be here today. To have been to every single appointment. To go to the hospital and anxiously await his arrival. To meet him for the very first time.

The time has flown by for us. Not for Halie, she is beyond ready. Her body aches, mostly her back and hips. She can't sleep anymore. She is just ready. I understand that. Halie is on the waiting list to be induced the week of December 9th. Our lives are getting ready to change drastically and I finally feel ready (as ready as I am going to be). Sleep will certainly be a thing of the past, so will many of our child-free lifestyle luxuries. However there will be no more wanting or wishing or wondering what life would have been like as a family, with a child. The past 5 years will have been worth every ounce of heartache and pain. There is no amount of sleep that could be better than holding your child, smelling his baby scent, and loving on him for the rest of his life.

Perhaps we were never pregnant, we were proven otherwise. But perhaps we were proven otherwise what being pregnant actually looked like. 






Thursday, October 31, 2013

An Unobstructed View

Halie and I completed our four week birthing classes last Thursday night. The classes were fun and I really enjoyed my time with her, although there were a few occasions that I felt bad for her. The class is couple centric and so there were some situations where we role played  the labor and all the hubby's were sway dancing with their pregnant wives and there stood Halie and I. I still did it for her, but it was definitely awkward. 

Halie has never once complained and has remained consistent through out this entire pregnancy. She has handled herself with grace and poise, I am really impressed with her maturity considering it all. I'm not sure how to feel about the fact that she has not changed her mind once throughout the entire process, I am inclined to feel thankful. Remember the lawyers office warned us upfront 70% of first time moms change their minds. By the grace of God, I still don't worry about this possibility. As I have said time and time again, if nothing more happened than we saved lamb chops life and got Halie through this pregnancy, then so be it, we have done what He has asked us to do.

On our last night of birthing class, our instructor Linda, who we hope is our nurse, stayed behind to help us go over the birth plan. She provided some guidance as neither Halie or I know what takes place in labor & delivery. We finished the birth plan and just need to meet with the L&D Director to wrap up some of the final details. 

Halie has a Dr appointment this Thursday and every week hereafter until lambchop arrives. She is due December 9th, but is going to ask to be induced sooner, I am not sure what the Dr's policy is on this, but from what I understand, they allow it up to a week early, without medical reason. If it gets approved, then he could be here by December 2nd. In all honesty, I hope they don't - but I understand why Halie wants a bit of more controlled situation, so I don't blame her for wanting to be induced. I have read the risks of doing so and there are risks for both mom and the baby, so it makes me a bit apprehensive. 

My nesting instincts (or panic) have kicked in. Less than five weeks is enough to make any expecting mom & dad squirm a little. I feel so unprepared, yet we have made much progress with our home study, setting up my registry and began arranging for a replacement at work while I am out. We also began cleaning out the nursery and I'm trying to finish reading some baby books that were loaned to me.

Right now, our top priorities are to finish some more paperwork before our homestudy next week. To purchase our pack & play and car seat to bring lambchop home in and have a place for him to sleep, and to purchase and pack our hospital (diaper) bag. I'm glad that I typed that out, because in my head it seems like so much more, but in reality we can get that all done next weekend. 

We have chosen his name, we just have to come up with a middle name. Hopefully
that is easier and less time than his first name took. As of now, we are not sharing his name. I like the surprise element! 

I was driving to work the other morning, looking across the field at the sunrise, it was unobstructed view. It reminded me of this adoption journey and how it appears to be so similar as the extended view across the fields....we have been privileged to the same unobstructed view of lamb chops journey into this world. Halie has allowed me to take her to every single Dr appointment, go through birthing classes together and spend time with her regularly, I cannot begin to express the thankfulness and gratitude in my heart as we begin the final month of waiting for our little one, as he grows inside his momma's belly and prepares to make his arrival into this world and our lives. 


Sent from my iPad
Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fifty-Six


It's pretty surreal to sit here on the patio watching the sunset on this beautiful early October evening and imagine that in fifty six days we could be meeting and bringing our son home, who, by the way, remains nameless right now.

Fifty six days!!!

I am growing more and more anxious as the days quickly pass by and the baby becomes the center of our daily lives and future plans. Appointments, researching car seats and feeding options, it's all I live and breathe these days. I feel like I should have it all figured out by now, yet I don't. I feel like we are taking so many steps to prepare, yet we are so unprepared. I feel like we have been waiting a lifetime to meet our son, yet we just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in August.

Halie and I began birthing classes last night and today we went to her thirty week appointment. Saturday we will get to see the little one on a screen in 4D imaging, a gift from Halies mom to us.  We are so excited to see him again, it's been some time since our last sonogram.

Halie has experienced a great pregnancy. No issues, no morning sickness....she does have back discomfort but for the most part that's it. I am happy for her that she didn't have to suffer through the pregnancy although I think she's ready for it to be over soon. She is very afraid of labor and the pains, I would be to, honestly. I wish she didn't have to go through that, but she will. And while I can't take away any of her physical and emotional pain she will experience...I will do my best to ease her mind and heart in any way I can before, during and after the adoption. I believe the best gift we can give her is the absolute certainty that she made the right decision when she chose us. I want her to feel confident in her heart and mind that her baby boy will be deeply loved and cared for.

We have a few things to wrap up in the upcoming weeks. We need to finalize our birthing plans and also discuss what the open adoption will look like. "Open adoption" is a loose term, it could mean sending pictures and updates, or it could mean actual visits in addition to the updates. Halie and I will try to figure out what ours will look like. She and her family will absolutely be seeing the baby....now that I have met and bonded with them, I simply cannot see my life without them, baby or not. I love Halie and her mom. I love lambchop. I love that she has chosen us to parent her son. I love how God has beautifully orchestrated every detail of this story. I love my husband for having the courage and love to walk this path with me.

Adoption is not for the faint at heart. I have never felt more vulnerable in my life, we take risks every day with our hearts, but for some reason this feels like the biggest leap of faith I have ever taken....I have never felt more vested, aside from marriage. Yet it's also the biggest test of faith there is, knowing that your heart can be crushed in ways it never has before, but also knowing that God will be there by your side no matter what. I visualize us standing on the edge of a cliff, God in the center, holding both our hands, and jumping with us. He has been with us every step of the way and will continue to be for the rest of our days.



“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”  ― Corrie ten Boom

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Keep Calm and Carry On


Life has gotten busy which leaves little time to realize how quickly the days are actually passing. Even though I see Halie regularly and visually see her belly growing, it's still somewhat surreal that we are having a baby in a few short months. I suppose if it were me carrying, I might feel the same....I am not sure how much the real life experience synchronizes you with time. I haven't experienced any nesting instincts yet, but I also know that my sensible mind will prevent me from buying baby goods and decorating a nursery. I am signed up for all kinds of mailing lists for children's clothing and goods, but don't have it in me to participate and make any purchases yet. Yes, I could easily resell the things if I needed too, but it's just not a thought I want to entertain either way.

Halie came over for dinner and a movie last weekend. We made her favorite dishes. Fettuccini Alfredo and Chicken Caesar Salad. Actually Frank did the cooking, it was delish! Halie got to meet Roxie, our oldest dog, as well as the other two, Remy and Gizmo. But she felt drawn to our oldest Roxie. Halie loves older folks and one day wants to care for them and be a nurse. She has a compassionate heart for all, but a definite soft spot for the seniors. Sadly, two days after they met for the first time, Roxie passed away. It's been tough, less than a year ago we lost Bogey. For a girl who hasn't suffered any losses (aside from infertility) in many many years, this past year has certainly been difficult. Having our babies leave us, knowing they maybe the only children we ever have, well it seems so final. I did feel a sense of peace knowing that Roxie unofficially got to meet lamb chop. I feel like that was the closure she needed to leave this world. If anyone knows us better than anything or anyone, it's our pets. I have no doubts that Roxie is happy that mommy and daddy will be growing our family soon, and she doesn't have to be woken by the cries of an infant now! Not that she would have complained, but you know.....


I recently signed up for a 12 week fitness program at work, trying to rebuild my strength after a year
of no exercise and lots of weight loss. It's a bitter sweet feeling being able to get fit and lose weight while we are expecting. I should be growing and expanding. My clothes should be getting smaller, instead they are getting bigger. I should be taking it easy, not doing burpees at 5:00am boot camps. And I see how others might think how lucky I am, what a great silver lining. I realize there are aspects of pregnancy I should be thankful I don't  have to experience. But I assure you there is not one physical or emotional negative aspect of pregnancy that measures up to the pain of infertility. I would trade it in, in a heartbeat. Without a second thought. 

That's ok though, if I must sacrifice pregnancy to meet our little one, then so be it, I would do anything for our child including not being able to experience carrying him inside me, breast feeding, to give physical birth and bring him into the world, giving him life. In the end, none of that matters as much as carrying for the life of our son. Loving him, nurturing him, teaching him traditions and watching him grow. 

It's 6:00am on a Saturday. I lay in bed typing this as my husband is sound asleep snoring, along with Remy. Gizmo is snuggled against me and my world is perfect. Our son will soon be part of this beautiful equation. He will soon have a spot in this picture. I am excited and scared. I wonder how I will survive, how good of a mother I will be. If the sleep deprivation will turn me into the wicked witch from the west....but I don't care. Moms and families do it everyday, and I am going to make it through it just like everyone else. 

Last week I received a beautiful house warming gift from a long time blog friend. Hannah has been such a wonderful source of inspiration and example of faith to me throughout the infertility journey. Although we have never met, it doesn't diminish the bond of sisterhood we share. The gift, a decorative pillow that reads "Keep Calm and Carry on". The perfect reminder of how to live our lives through it all, the peaks and valleys alike.





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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Obedience

I  never liked the word obey,  especially not in wedding vows!!  My free spirit feels threatened by any variation of the word. I do not like rules, I feel confined by them,  I don't like being told what to do and I am certainly not obeying somebody else's commands. I am a non conformist, a person who does whatever she wishes, when she wishes. Don't threaten to take that away from me. Obedience was not even a word in my vocabulary, not until this past week.

Libby and I were having one of many discussions about the impending adoption, and she used the word obey to describe my actions, and then I realized, I am obedient, to God. 

God has asked me to proceed with this adoption. He presented it to me and I accepted. It's easy to get ahead of ourselves and presume because He asked me to do this, that we know the outcome. We don't. We don't know why, we don't know how it's going to end just yet. We will very soon. I realized two very important things this past week. How presumptuous I was being assuming the outcome and that really all I was called to do was obey.

And so I quickly discovered, that I am ok with both. I am at peace with however this unfolds, and I am also happy to obey our heavenly father. For the first time in my life, I have felt His calling. I am certain He has called on me many times before, however it is with certainty that I am doing His work, and I am not attached to the outcome. I am committed, but I am not attached. When you trust and have faith that He is your everything, then you are certain that He would never do anything to harm you. Sometimes we get so attached to a particular outcome that we aren't in the moment experiencing the joy of the here and now. Our eye is on the prize, the end result. As I told Halie's mom the other day, baby or no baby, I feel blessed. I have experienced a pregnancy through Halie. I have bonded and fallen in love with her beautiful spirit. If that was all that came out of this, then I have already received an amazing gift. It's truly an honor to serve and obey Him. 


“I find the doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.” ~ George Macdonald




Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bated Breath

When I first found out about Halie and the adoption, I immediately got a referral for an adoption attorney. I spoke with him on several occasions to try and determine what the process looks like, cost and risks. He made it very clear that when a teenage girl becomes pregnant with her first child, and decides to place the child for adoption, that she will change her mind at least once during the process, if not several times. To me that was very understandable, it's an emotional time, and not just that, who wouldn't second guess placing their first born child for adoption? I think any one of us would.

 That part of the discussion wasn't quite as alarming as the statistics provided. I think it's easy to forget that the odds are not stacked in your favor when you get wrapped up in the adoption process. For so many years, you dream of having a child, and finally a perfect situation falls into your lap. Every detail about it is perfect...down to the birth mother resembling you. The ability to do open adoption and experience the pregnancyvicariously through her. It all seems so perfect. But the reality of the matter is easy to forget. The truth is, 70% of first time teenage moms who place their children for adoption, change their minds at some point during the process, up to and including after birth. The lawyer made it very clear to me, that it's a volatile situation and very high risk. It's hard putting yourself out there when you know the odds are against you, but faith, hope and desire prevail, and the cold hard facts fall to the way side.

 While I am certainly a gambling women who attempted a few fertility treatments to no avail, I am also a woman of faith. I'm not perfect, there are times when I need to be reminded who's calling the shots here. Regardless of how much faith I have, it can still be frightening. So while I remain cautiously optimistic and faith filled, a good ole reality check for all of us is necessary from time to time. He may call the shots here, but it seems in our case, it's only 30% of the time that He chooses to place the child. When the odds aren't stacked in your favor, it's best to choose Faith over Fear.
However as one wise friend said, there is a difference in fear and discernment. Sometimes you just have to use good judgement and be fully aware of the possibilities.

 As we get closer to the due date, I definitely find myself feeling more vulnerable. We are all more vested and just like with anything new that we really want, the risk of getting hurt creeps in. For those of us who believe, we surge forward regardless of the possibility of getting hurt. But it's not always easy..."why don't you just adopt" seems logical, but I can assure you, only those who are fully aware of the odds and believe that God will protect your hurt are willing to take the gamble. So here we are, over half way there and waiting with bated breath.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Six Degrees of Separation



Recently I scheduled a brunch with all of the ladies who had a hand in connecting Haile with me and hubs. I cannot wait for all of us to come together and share our stories about this journey. I want each of them to know what angels they are and how by simply spreading the word, they have turned what could have been a terrible situation into a multitude of blessings.

It turns out there are six of us. Haile of course, her mother, her mother’s best friend who told her friend from church who happens to work with me, who happened to tell one of my wonderful friends who also works with us and has been personally vested in my infertility journey, who told me. There must be some truth to that six degrees of separation theory. Many of the great things that have happened in our lives, are a result of someone knowing someone. Jobs, spouses, relationships, …much of those stem from introductions, referrals or simply answered prayers. God has so many angels on earth, He works through us, he uses us as messengers. There are no mistakes or coincidences. Next time you have a little voice in your head, telling you to speak to someone, or to do something, act on it. If one of the 6 people didn’t trust that, I wouldn’t have known about lamb chop.

Haile is 21 weeks along, we went for the 20 week scan last Friday and have confirmed it’s a boy! Haile will be gifting us a son, my heart is so full. We got a CD copy of the ultrasound with pictures and video of lamb chop moving around. He was sucking his thumb during the ultrasound, and this video clip melts my heart. He is laying on his side, hands in prayer in front of his face, then he takes them and moves them to the side of his head like fetal pose. Be still my heart.
video
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why Don't You Just Adopt ?

So many times over the course of our journey people would ask if we had considered adoption or straight out tell us we should adopt. Well Infertility 101 covers why it's probably not the best thing to say to anyone going through infertility. Yet I understand why from an outside perspective that might seem like a logical move. Keyword logical. That removes all emotions..yet there is no way to go through infertility without experiencing a wide range of emotions. Yes, treatments become very mechanical and mundane from time to time, but we must remember the driving factor. Our desires to be parents..our love for children ...our hope to experience pregnancy - feel our babies kicking and growing inside us. It's a paradigm shift which includes grieving when you discover your baby isn't going to be created the way it is for 85-90% of the population. You don't just go "oh well, let's adopt". If only it were that easy. Actually if I knew then what I know now, maybe I would have let go of part of the struggle, but it was the exact same struggle that has taught me how great God is when we relinquish control. However, I had to know what both sides of that spectrum felt like, to come to that realization. For the record, One felt like crap, the other truly amazing! Can you guess which was which? ;)

So back to adoption- I would like to speak about how equally challenging it can be to fertility treatments. Most blatantly is the financial aspect. Adoption itself cost more than any single infertility treatment. When you have to consider finances in the tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes treatments seem like the wiser investment. Not to mention that desire to have a child that is genetically yours, it's a tough dream to let go of. Today, it doesn't matter as much as it did 4 years ago. But the truth is - it matters, and it matters to many (read most) of us. And until you are faced with the possibility of that not happening, you can never truly know how difficult it is to accept. Yes there seems to be lots of judgement in this area by those who have children that are genetically theirs. Also with treatments, you have the opportunity of getting more than one chance with minimal additional costs. If they are able to harvest and fertilize enough eggs then they can often be stored (frozen) for another try in the future. So you can literally double your chances with a good cycle.

Adoption is not only crazy expensive, it's also not guaranteed just like fertility treatments. Once selected, the birth mom can change her mind along the way or even after the baby the is born, and in some states, even after the baby is handed over and sent home with the adoptive parents. It takes a major leap of faith and a great amount of risk when pursuing adoption. And just for clarification, legally you are not buying the baby, that is against the law. The expenses incurred are lawyer fees, medical expenses for the birth mother and some living expenses related to the pregnancy. All of that is paid for by the adoptive parents. There's also some other fees such as a home study and court costs, background checks. All covered again by the adoptive parents. Fortunately for us, we have the best possible set of circumstances. The adoption is private, meaning we are not using and adoption agency, which is cutting the cost tremendously. So much so, we wouldn't be able to afford this otherwise. In addition, Haile has medical insurance coverage for her parents. That means her medical expenses will be standard co-pays and deductions. She lives at home still, which basically eliminates any cost of living expenses. We truly have an ideal situation on our hands, and I feel so very blessed for this divinely orchestrated scenario. I'm not sure that it would be happening any other way.

Adoption is not always as simple as it sounds. There's many risks, and hurdles to overcome, some financial, some emotional. Just know that if you ever wonder why some people don’t “just adopt”…it’s just not that simple. I am an open book, that is willing to share it all, but not everyone is. Not everyone feels comfortable saying they prefer or want a child that is genetically theirs. Not everyone likes discussing finances and how expensive it is, because it seems so minuscule, the money, in the grand scheme of things…but the truth is, it's stressful sourcing the funds, there’s tons of sacrifices made and quite honestly it's money that would be much better spent on the child’s education, not just trying to attain a child. When this is all said and done, we will have spent more than 50k trying to have a baby. That stings, it hurts the pockets for a couple that just got married and is starting a life together. Especially knowing the cost for others is what?! a nice dinner and a glass of wine (if your lucky)?! Trying to pay the bills can be hard enough for couple juggling regular expenses, plus medical expenses from treatments. We don’t all have celebrity size incomes where we have unlimited access to resources. And for the record, International adoption is not a cheaper route either. That requires international lawyers and travel expenses that surmount local adoptions. So please know that this is not the simple road, it’s not an easy fix. It’s actually very complex. I am just thankful that anything is possible through Him.
Sunday, July 14, 2013

Feeling Physically Attacked

About a week ago I had my annual physical. I don't use allopathic medicine for much, but I do see where it has a time and place in my life. Surgery, blood labs, medical procedures, there are simply things naturopathy cannot replace.

 Each year I get my base blood labs redone. I was particularly interested in this years because I have lost so much weight over the past year (90 lbs) that I was hoping to see a few numbers drop, primarily my thyroid levels and CRP (C-reactive-protein). Over the years the thyroid levels have been controlled by the same dosage of thyroid medication, and I am very pleased to report that my current prescription dosage is being cut-down by 1/3. Yay me! Also my CRP levels, which were once in the teens (which is levels seen in cancer patients and those fighting disease) is now below 1. The number should be zero, so it's not perfect, but it's astoundingly better.

 I have cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and liver panel levels that match my healthy life style, very proud of my diet and the work I have done to create those results. I have always tried to control the things I can, heck, I have tried to control the things I can't, but I think I try even harder to fix what I can knowing there a health issues I have that nothing I do changes. It's frustrating sometimes which makes good test results even more meaningful.

 Unfortunately, my labs were not entirely perfect. My naturopath suggested I have them rerun a test that was actually taken by mistake late last year prior to my IVF cycle. There were required tests I had to take, so they could treat me properly should there be certain conditions. Autoimmune disease is a whole different ball game when it comes to IVF, and therefore they follow different protocols. During that time leading up to our IVF cycle , I had tests run by my primary physician because we did our IVF cycle abroad, in Barbados. Some how the doctor or lab made a mistake and tested me for something called AMA (M2) It's a Anti mitochondrial antibody. Here is a quick explanation of this antibody/test:

 Clinical Information Antimitochondrial antibodies (AMAs) are detectable by indirect immunofluorescence in >90% of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), but this method also detects AMAs of differing specificities in other diseases. The mitochondrial antigens recognized by AMAs in patients' sera have been classified numerically as M1 through M9, with the M2 antigen complex recognized by AMAs in sera from patients with PBC. M2 antigen is comprised of enzyme proteins of the 2-oxoacid dehydrogenase complex that are located on inner mitochondrial membranes. Included in this group of autoantigens are the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, and 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase complex.

 Reference Values (My Results were 5.20) Negative: <0.1 Units Borderline: 0.1-0.3 Units Weakly positive: 0.4-0.9 Units Positive: > or =1.0 Units Reference values apply to all ages.
 Interpretation Positive results for antimitochondrial antibody (AMA) of M2 specificity are highly specific for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), and false-negative results are rare.

When I first had the test taken in error, we had them retest me just to be sure they were my actual results, because they were positive and I needed to follow up if it was indeed my test results. The second test came back positive again.

 My doctor then sent me for an ultrasound and referred me out to a GI after the ultrasound didn't reveal any abnormalities aside from small changes to my gallbladder (which should have been expected after a considerable amount of weight loss). My spleen and liver both looked healthy. The GI ran some more liver panel tests which revealed a completely healthy liver. So we had an anomaly to some extent, because I was basically testing positive for PBC, yet my liver tests all showed normal. The GI recommended I get a liver biopsy to either diagnose or rule out PBC however that wasn't completely reliable because if it was early stages of PBC and they biopsied a healthy "part" of the liver it could be a false negative, so it actually wouldn't rule out PBC completely. I opted out of the biopsy, it seemed to invasive for me, plus we had our IVF vacation booked and scheduled and I didn't want to jeopardize that timeline for the procedure.

 Fast forward to today, 10 months later. A third positive AMA test. Now I feel like I can no longer ignore the test. If a person has PBC and catches it early on, it can prevent the need for a liver transplant and extend their life expectancy. However if it goes untreated, the prognosis isn't nearly as good. I may need a liver transplant down the line and/or it can ultimately kill me. As a soon to be mother, I find myself taking this a bit more seriously. Not that I wasn't before just that if we have a child on the way, I need to be thinking of them and doing everything in my power to live as long as I can. That desire already existed, it just becomes increasingly more profound.

 So I have spend many hours this weekend researching other options for less invasive tests that are equally reliable. One test that I have found is called a Fibroscan. It has been used in many other countries for many years now, however it was just approved in the US a few months ago. I am currently on the hunt for specialists who use this technology and will be moving forward with the testing ASAP.

 I believe my first signs of health issues surfaced in my teens. I was hypoglycemic and I would suffer from low sugar episodes and pass out. Later on in life, I found I was hypothyroid. I have been treating that for years, however over the years, I learned the hypothyroidism was actually a symptom of something else, not an actual diagnosis. Through homeopathy I learned that I have Hashimotos hyperthyroidism which is a result of autoimmune disease. I also learned that this same said autoimmune disease was not only attacking my thyroid, but also my internal female parts, thus my somewhat recent diagnosis of endometriosis. I discovered the endo during an exploratory laparoscopy in search of infertility diagnosis. In addition to that I also have psoriasis and gluten intolerance which are also forms of autoimmune disease and reactions in my body.



 Now that my body has also decide to attack my liver, well I can't help but to feel physically attacked. It's very strange when your own body attacks it's own healthy cells and while there are things you can do to minimize it, there's nothing you can do to stop it entirely. Everything I have been diagnosed with, there is no cure for, so it's considered chronic illness.

 Some days I wish I could turn back the hands of time....to a time and place where my body cooperated wit me. It worked for me, rather than against me. I realize much of what I have encountered has led me to great things, I live a healthier lifestyle than I ever have. We have a little one on the way via adoption. It's not entirely a bad thing. In a strange way, some of these illnesses could have saved my life. I get that, I know that. However, I am not going to feel bad for feeling defeated some days. Like all of my efforts are useless and my body is just going to keep "winning" with all of these attacks. Some days, on an emotional level, I feel attacked, but I can overcome that. The truth is everyday, I am being physically attacked. I just wish I could make it stop.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Letter for our Little Lamb-Chop

Dear Lambchop,

It hasn’t even been two full months since we learned about your existence, yet it seems like a lifetime ago! As the days grow closer to your arrival into the world, I find myself eagerly anticipating meeting you. I don’t get to spend much time with you right now, I wish you were growing in my belly for the mere fact that I would get to be with you every moment of everyday…..but I accept that’s not how our story was written and you are exactly where you need to be right now, in your momma’s belly.

Your momma and I spend time together whenever we can. I take her to all of her doctor appointments and we sometimes get together just to hang out. This friday we are going to spend the afternoon together. I adore your momma, Haile. She is such a sweet girl, with such a beautiful soul. She is so pleasant to be around, I love talking with her and laughing with her. She is a tiny little thing, and just the other day, at 18 weeks pregnant, she just started showing. She sent me a picture of her belly and I can finally see you are growing in there! We will confirm your gender in just a few more weeks, on July 26th! We cannot wait, so we can pick a name and nursery colors!

 We are quickly approaching the middle of the
summer months, we have been spending time settling into our new home, working on small projects. We just moved in two months ago and still haven’t completely unpacked. Your daddy had settled into the “office” on the first floor when we discovered that we were going to need that space as your nursery! One of my dreams of becoming a mommy was decorating a beautiful nursery for our baby. It’s so hard to believe that after 4 years, our dreams are coming true! I had almost given up hope at some points, but I just kept leaning on Gods promises to us in the scriptures, and I kept my faith. I knew that somehow, someway, He would make our hearts content. Sometimes it’s really hard trusting, we grow impatient, disappointed, sometimes sad….but if you just keep believing, your dreams will come true!

You are expected to make a grand entrance on December 9th. Your original due date was December 25th, but after seeing a scan at another doctors office, they officially made Dec 9th your due date. It’s hard to believe that this Christmas we will celebrate with you in our lives. I feel like we waited so long for the news of you, yet in hindsight, it won’t matter how long we had to wait. Just knowing that you are growing everyday and preparing to come into our lives has me smiling all day long lately.
Only 4 more months til we will meet our sweet little baby! Keep on growing strong. Enjoy your time in your mommas belly….soon you will be taking your first breaths in this insanely big world we live in and your journey will begin, as our continues to unfold. I can tell you this little one, life is filled with so many blessings and surprises. There’s been so many friends and family who have been praying for you to come into all of our lives and cannot wait to meet you; me, the most of all ! ;)

Love,
Mommy
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Silver Lining

I was thinking the other day about how concerned I was for our child should Frank and I conceive. I have crappy genes….autoimmune disease. Everyone wants a healthy baby, that goes without saying. Unfortunately, we don’t all get them…some of that has to do with disease, illnesses and the rest...good ole genetics.
 

Autoimmune disease poses many risks, it can lie dormant for many years and all it takes is one bad move and then the flood gates open. For me it was a couple things. It was the MMR vaccination and having my mercury fillings removed both within months of each other…mercury poisoning….which triggered my auto-immune system response…..and then it was a 8 year battle with my health. In hindsight it’s ironic that me preparing for conception was what ultimately prevented me from conceiving. I was at a pre-pregnancy check-up when the doctors ran tests and said I was not vaccinated against rubella and needed to be. This was long before I took control of my own health and stopped listening to everything I was told to do….so like a good patient, I went and got vaccinated, no questions asked. MMR is measles, mumps and rubella, the combo injection contains mercury. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, right?  What many of my naturopath doctors believe is that the mercury exposure is what set-off the autoimmune response in my body. My father’s side of the family has a history of both autoimmune and cardiovascular disease, which is likely where it was passed down from.

So I was concerned, that if we conceived, if I would be able to vaccinate our child. For reasons that are obvious, I didn’t want to create a response in our child similar to mine, where they would be dealing with health issues for years to follow. And I didn’t want to deal with school systems, governments, or people who think one size fits all when it comes to medicine, or who felt I was a bad a parent for choosing not to vaccinate my child. I do not have problems with vaccinations necessarily, I have problems with the mindset that they are ok for everyone, following the same protocol in every single child with no regard to medical history. Malarkey!

So it might not seem like a big deal, but I am somewhat relieved that with our adoption,  we no longer have to worry about my crappy genetics!  Yes, we will get a medical history of the birth mom and dad, and it certainly doesn’t mean they do not have the same or similar crappy genes as me, but for a moment, when I realized I wouldn’t have to be concerned about my genetics being passed down, well I felt a small sigh of relief and realized there was a silver lining.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It Feels Like Surrogacy



Gestational Surrogacy is when a couple uses a third party to physically carry their child. The baby is from the couples genetics,  the surrogate, is basically the vessel that allows the child to camp out for 9 months. Traditional surrogacy, the women is the genetic mother but she is inseminated with sperm. For some couples these choices are their only option….as the female is unable to either use her own eggs and/or carry to full term for different medical reasons.  Obviously, adoption is when you adopt someone else’s child, that is genetically theirs.

As we go through the adoption process,  almost since the beginning, it feels as though Haile is our surrogate. Now technically she is not, it is her and the baby’s father genetic child, not ours. However I feel like it’s our child in her tummy. And not in creepy, "hand that rocks the cradle", kind of way. More like a way that I feel like this child was created specifically for us, and it's already ours, she just happens to be carrying it. Now for the record,  I realize it’s not legally our baby, I realize it’s Haile’s baby right now….but I suppose because of the way this situation manifested, (which was brilliantly, I might add) it just feels like Haile was handpicked to carry our child. By God ?! By the baby? Perhaps! But I will tell you, prior to me ever even sharing these thoughts I have had several friends tell me this feels more like a surrogacy arrangement versus an adoption.

I really do believe that being involved in the pregnancy from within a week of when she initially found out she was pregnant, makes it feel more like a surrogacy situation as well.  Being at all of the appointments has been such an incredible blessing. Aside from the physical aspects of pregnancy, there’s really not much I am missing out on. Haile and her mom are giving me all the decision making powers. From choosing doctors, tests, hospital, gender reveal, baby name, you name it - the ball is my court. It’s as though I am experiencing the pregnancy myself, albeit vicariously through her.

There have been so many details about this adoption that have been perfect from day one. I could probably write for days about how flawlessly this situation was hand crafted for us.  At one point in my journey, pre Haile days,  I felt very sorry for myself…that everyone was getting to have a pregnancy but me….I was so sad and disappointed that I would never get to experience  everything that goes along with it. But today, my perspective has changed. Yes, I still do mourn that a little bit, but to be able to witness Haile’s pregnancy first hand….it feels incredible, I feel so very privileged  and blessed beyond words. She is the vessel God chose to make our dreams of having a family come true.
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Effortless

One of the best parts of witnessing our story unfold was sharing the fabulous testimony. I will never get tired of telling our story. It was so perfectly written, and as the details continue to unfold, I become even more amazed and faith filled. I have been smiling for 5 weeks straight now!

One of my good friends made the comment about how effortless it has been for us. And a light immediately went off, YES, that’s it, EFFORTLESS! If I could describe in one word how this process has gone so far, it would have to be effortless. And that means so much to me, coming from a girl who has been struggling with many aspects of her life for years now. Infertility, weight loss, health issues. All of it was a struggle, emotionally, financially, physically, I felt tormented some days. But almost magically, since day one of when we learned about this adoption, it has all been effortless. The initial news, the correspondence, the meet-up, getting resources such as referrals for our attorney, it was all handed to me. Even down to the details of finances. Of course there’s still legal fee’s and medical fee’s and other expenses involved, but this is really the best case scenario for us even in regards to the  financial aspect of the adoption.

I believe when we are in the divine flow of life, that’s when things begin to happen, with ease. We must be open and receptive to the ideas, people and opportunities surrounding us or presenting themselves. When we are receptive, then these beautiful experiences can flow through us. It’s always available, but sometimes we have to let go of the struggle, of the reigns, and need to control. I believe it is only then that we might discover all the endless opportunities that present themselves, and may have been presenting themselves all along.

I really thought I had all the answers to my problems. I thought I could “fix” all of my various issues doing what I felt was best. Infertility treatments, regular diet & exercise programs, allopathic medicine. What worked for everyone else, I couldn’t quite figure out why it wasn’t working for me. But in hindsight, much of what I did, never really resonated with me…..and that’s when I began to  make changes. I began to pray and I opened my mind to and explored different options. Yes maybe calories in/calories and gym worked for everyone else, I was told it should work for me too, but it didn’t. Yes, fertility treatments allow many couples and single woman to grow their families, but it didn’t work for us.  Treating my health using traditional doctors, well that didn’t necessarily work for me either. I had to keep my mind and heart open to other possibilities. It turns out naturopathy works best for me. My health is better now than it has been in many, many years. And the weight loss, well it took many years of many people and even my naturopath doctor recommending the HCG protocol before I was able to successfully lose weight, (which by the way was the easiest protocol I had ever followed). As far as growing our family, well it seems that adoption was how that was supposed to happen.

We cannot dictate to others what they should do or how they should live their lives. What works for one of us may not for another, or they just might not be there yet in their journey, there are valuable lessons along the way. It’s the experiences we have that gets us to our destination, not someone telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. But I do believe when we finally do get into the divine flow of life, that it gets easier. It’s almost as though God is handing you everything saying “here you go, my beautiful child”. That’s what this part of my life feels like..... graceful, easy, natural……..effortless.  
Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Whole New Meaning to Fathers Day


When you're feeling defeated by infertility, the holidays tend to be difficult. While there's plenty of reason to celebrate, there's always those constant nagging thoughts of what it would be like to experience the occasion with a child. Children change everything, especially days like Father's Day, Mother's Day and Christmas. It's not as though we haven't been able to experience joy and laughter in the past, we have plenty of fun and cause for celebration,  but there's not a holiday that goes by that doesn't make you stop and wonder what it would be like if you were expecting a child or had one already.

Today was the first holiday where I was able to experience what it feels like to have a child on the way- maybe not physically, but intellectually and emotionally. Somehow knowing that next year he or she will be here, well it made this Fathers Day a bit more enjoyable. The anticipation fills you with excitement and I won't lie, even a little nervousness at times. But overall, it's a good feeling. It's a fine time to feel grateful...we are finally, finally, finally in our season of harvest, we are reaping what we planted, seeds of faith - after many long seasons of waiting. It's kind of surreal. I imagine it will be for a long time. But when I look at the calendar and count down the days until our little pork-chop arrives (5 months 3 weeks and 2 days), it all starts feeling very real. In this very moment, our dreams are becoming reality.


Today is also Haile's birthday. It's difficult to know what to gift someone who is giving you your hearts desires. Nothing will ever come remotely close. I believe the only way to ever repay her for this gift, is to be the best parents we can be, to give the child a wonderful life filled with everything he or she needs, and having her be part of that, witnessing our parenting and knowing deep down in her heart that she made the right choice when she chose us.

On Friday I will be spending time with Haile. I thought a gift card for maternity clothes and getting massages would be a very nice way to spend time together and pamper her. I want to pamper her...I want her to feel comfortable, physically, emotionally and spiritually with each and every step of this journey. It's the very least we can do for her, the young lady who is giving a whole new meaning to Fathers Day.






Saturday, June 8, 2013

Everyone Knows


It's official, everyone knows we are "expecting". It's pretty exciting, I get so much thrill telling everyone, even strangers. I realize some people might find it risky to share with so much time ahead of us yet and the possibility of Halie changing her mind....but I have been waiting 4 years for this day to come, and I am going to experience the joy that comes along with it. Even if it is temporary, I don't care. As it stands today, we are going to have a baby in December and everybody knows! (And if we missed anyone, they certainly will know soon too)

Halie's mom and I continue to bond daily. She is the kind of person I would want to be friends with even if we didn't come together for this baby. I really envision them being extended family. I couldn't have asked for a better situation. It's like God custom designed and hand crafted this situation just for us. 

Thinking back to our failed IVF in late November, this never would have happened, we wouldn't be here today if it had worked. I would be very pregnant and highly doubt I would have considered adoption. It's a good thing that He is our author and knew what He was doing, because I might have screwed up this beautiful NY Times best seller story, with a mediocre story that never made it to print.

I went back and viewed our IVF journey video....it still brings tears to my eyes....but it's easier to watch for some reason. At the end, I stated that I knew God had bigger plans for us, that Faith is believing in what you can't yet see. I had Faith. It's not always easy, it can be challenging, but without Faith I would have been overcome with sadness, anger, hopelessness and fear. That just never felt or
sounded appealing to me. We really do have a choice in how we live our lives. It can be filled with
Faith, or Fear...but they cannot coexist. I didn't always choose faith, I allowed infertility to consume
me for many years. It was exhausting. It was painful. It was lonely.

Today I have a full heart. An amazing husband who has been such a rock through this journey. He has watched me struggle, and I cannot imagine how hard that was. As a wife, I know that seeing my husband hurt or grieve, if even for a minute, breaks my heart. Thinking back to all that he endured, his own feelings and then still being there for me, what incredible strength that must have taken. Every day I realize more and more what an amazing man he is. I keep learning new things about him even after all these years, and as we peel back the layers, it just keeps getting juicier and juicier! There's some pretty impressive qualities at the core of his being. I realize what an inspiration he has been, he has never lost faith. He has always accepted and embraced whatever unfolded in our lives. He never feared what could've been, or what might never be. At times that was misconstrued as him not caring, how could something so big mean so little?! That was never the case...he just never sweat the small stuff. He never let the day to day details suck him in. He knew in his heart that everything was going to be ok. And, guess what?! It is. 

In 5 short months our baby will be coming home to us. There's lots to prepare for, yet it's frightening to get to far ahead of yourselves. I don't think I want to hold back anymore, I did for too many years. I can't make decisions based on fear. I believe if God has lead us this far, then He will continue to guide us and protect us. So we surge ahead.

A few weeks ago I was bursting at the seams with joy, wanting to spread it with everyone who has been prayerful for us. I think it's only fair that you get to experience the joyful news after all of your prayers! And today, finally everybody knows! I am a proud momma to be. 


Sent from my iPad
Saturday, June 1, 2013

Halie's Gift


I decided to create a Facebook Page for close friends and family members. My intent is to keep you updated throughout our adoption process. The blog will host posts with more thorough content and the Facebook page will allow me to spew random or miscellaneous thoughts, photos and quick updates. As you can see, the name of the page is Halie's Gift. So simple, yet so profound. I don't think it's possible to receive any gift greater than that of child. Infertility or not, a child is a blessing. Being given the gift of raising someone else's child is probably the greatest honor of all. There's lots of trust, belief, and love involved. Imagine what it takes to trust someone else with your baby or child for a few hours. Now imagine a lifetime.

Haile and I have been spending time together. I want her to be confident that she has made the right decision by choosing Frank and I to be her baby's parents. Bonding is an essential part of the open adoption process, at least as far as Halie's family and I are concerned. When you adopt through an agency, they usually match the birth mom and adoptive parents around 7 months into her pregnancy. I just couldn't imagine missing all of this precious time with Haile during her pregnancy. Not just to get to know her, but to get to experience the pregnancy with her first hand.

One of the things I had to grieve with infertility, was the ability to experience a pregnancy for myself. To know what it felt like to have another life growing inside you. To feel the physical changes, the baby kicking, the body changing. While I might not get to experience that aspect of the pregnancy, there's so much more I will enjoy during this open adoption process. I took Haile to her first doctor appointment and will bring her to the rest of them. I got to see the baby moving around inside her belly and hear the heartbeat. She is currently 12 weeks and 4 days and her official due date is now December 9th. We will soon pick the hospital she will deliver in. We will also choose what tests she will take, if and when we do a gender scan. Haile's mom has given me full permissions to make all of the decisions and "own" the pregnancy with Haile. It's thrilling, really. Some of it is a little nerve wrecking, I am faced with decisions that I never thought I would be, or at very least for myself, not for another person! Having another woman carrying your soon to be child adds a whole other dimension to the decision making process. I am not only considering what is best for Frank and I as parents, and the baby of course, but what is also in Haile's best interest. That's a lot of people to consider coming from different sides of the continuum.

Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
Some days I am still in shock that this is actually happening. It just seems so surreal. I find myself smiling often and pondering all of the fun experiences I will get to experience now, ones that I thought were just buried dreams. Nursery room, child care, family vacations!, oh my!

I think the part I love most about this journey is how effortless it has been. Everything just fell into our laps. No paperwork, no profiles, no long drawn out processes. Everything has been so simple. I didn't even have to search for a lawyer, that was handed to me as well. And not only has it been easy, but God constantly reminds and assures us we are on the right path. As each and every detail unfolds, there is clear evidence of Gods hands in all of this. For example, when I pulled up to Halie's appointment and discovered her doctor was in the same medical building as our a infertility doctor. I always felt good energy when I went there and it made me believe I was going to bring home a baby. When that didn't happen, I was more than disappointed. But maybe I wasn't so wrong, maybe my intuition and good vibes weren't so far off! God knew all along I was going to bring home a baby from there....I just never imagined this would be how it would happen.

When I entered into the infertility trenches, I was surrounded by many women of faith who inspired me. I always felt as though they handled their journeys with Grace, and that's what I aspired to be, a woman of faith who knew that if she just let go of the reigns and trusted in God, He would not disappoint. And it was then that the struggle ended. I embraced the path we were on and knew no matter what, our lives were good and we would be happy and fulfilled regardless of how that looked.  It was only then, that our world would get turned upside down, yet again.

If you are in a season of waiting, no matter what it is you a waiting for...know that your time will come. It may not be in the way you planned, or even how you envisioned it, it might not be on your timeline, but it will be. Just surround yourself with believers. Stay in close company with those who speak blessings over you and are prayerful for you. Keep the dream alive in your heart. Be committed but not attached. And then sit back and watch something very miraculous unfold.