PagesThe Hospital: Trying to save our babies, moment by moment --via Caring Bridge

Monday, July 25, 2016


Ever since giving birth to G, I have had a noticeable tightness in my right leg, sometimes even a pain that runs the length of the inside of my leg. When I was first walking again I could not slip shoes on or off without using my hands to do so, the pain on that side of my vagina was too intense.  Perhaps it is just a coincidence but this is also the side of my body that the epidural did not work on.  I sometimes think of it as one of the small things I have left of them, my sweet babies.

We are moving across the country in less than a month. R has a new job and it is very exciting I'll (hopefully) get a few months off with C and then also find work. We are frantic with logistics including getting our house on the market by this Sunday and with C who chose this weekend to have an amazing developmental leap and sleep significantly less in the day. The job is great, the area is near where I attended undergrad and we are excited to be there.

And yet, as I pack I find myself sometimes covered in a blanket of grief. The door that I stood beside when I called R to tell her I was pregnant, the space on the sofa where I sat for a full day when we felt confident enough in our babies safety to order cribs and register, the bed I lay in when my water broke to soon, the place where I laid after losing S when I came home for two days still carrying G - where I felt him move like a gymnast, where R and my sister and I laid in a jumble and passed out the day after my month in the hospital was over and our babies were really and forever gone. These places will soon be gone too. And that will be one less thing, one less sharing between me and my missing babies.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Age Appropriate Language (and content)

We had thought through how we might talk to our theoretical adopted child about their hypothetical life story, however, real life with an actual child and an existing life story is a bit more complicated.  In our semi-open adoption, there are things we know and lots of things we don't know.  I had imagined creating the story with a birth family/mom and that just isn't in the cards for us, at least at this point.  There are some solid facts that are easy to tell in age appropriate pieces and then some solid facts that seem like they might hurt his sweet sweet feelings AND lots of things that are unknown.  I know that life is full of hurts and that love and healing balance things out (I am so hoping that is true); I am grateful that we have some time to think this through before he can understand what we are saying.

And so - a request. One of the biggest questions I have is how do we talk about his first mom's children who are at home with her?  Does anyone else have a similar situation with a domestic infant adoption?  So far, we have had one visit with her, however, we are in really different mental places, we are building a future with our son while she is grieving so I feel like the future of our relationship is completely unknown; I don't know if he will get to talk about this with her or meet his siblings. If you do have a similar situation, how have you talked about this with your child?


Monday, April 18, 2016

so sweet it actually hurts

Sleep is not easy to come by in our house right now. Little C currently has 5 approved sleeping locations and yet is currently sleeping in my arms while I blog one handed.  Last night he would only sleep if he was holding my hand in his co-sleeper.  When I tried to let go, whimpering ensued.  Arm twisting was required but it was totally worth it.


Monday, April 4, 2016

It's been a while...

We are a family of five, although to outsiders, we look like a family of three.  Our beautiful boy was born at the end of February, three days after his firstmom chose us for her adoption plan.  We held his firstmom's hand while he was delivered, I cut the cord and we spent two days together in the hospital before a very emotional goodbye.  One thing that was clear every second was the abundance of love for little C; it's a miracle the hospital could contain it all.  We have some pictures of C being held by his firstmom, all of us together and some of just us and him.  To say our lives have changed is an understatement.  Overwhelming love is the pervasive emotion, however, there is a mix of loss and sorrow even as joy fills our home.  We wish S & G were toddling around; I wish C's birth mom peace and love; I hope C will always feel loved as he comes to understand his history.

We have a semi-open adoption.  Through the process we had come to anticipate an open adoption so this is a little bit of a shift for us.  Our semi-open adoption includes weekly photos and/or videos sent to FM via one of the agency social workers, we committed to three visits a year at the agency, and photos every month (the monthly photos were agreed upon before we started texting so I am not sure what FM would like).  We have our first visit this week and it feels monumentous.  FM went through her legal process two weeks ago and she gave the agency permission to give us updates so we have heard that she is doing well within this context and we know she wore the birthstone necklace we gave her to the court hearing.  I have so much love for her and we have shared one of the most intimate and vulnerable human experiences with each other and yet we do not know each other very well.  During our time in the hospital we were all very kind, respectful and loving with each other and I hope that can evolve into a friendship or an ongoing familial relationship, even if our visits are just a few times a year (we are open to more openness and FM is clear about that, we are also respectful of her decision to maintain her boundaries).

I don't even know how to write about C, there aren't words to express how perfect and remarkable he is.  He started life as a pretty little guy but since his first week of breathing air has been gaining a pound a week!  He has changed so much, big smiles in response to neck kisses, really looking at his favorite toy (having a favorite toy!), grasping my shirt and hair.  I cannot get enough of him.  With an average of three to four hours of sleep a night I still wake up and can't wait to see him.

We had not made a nursery, after loosing S&G the idea of having a nursery set up for years in advance or possibly to never have a tiny resident felt like too much for us.  However, I have thought many times of Jess and Bryce's preparations with some envy.  Our family and friends rallied around us and Amazon prime was in heavy use, however we did not register so while almost everything ended up being what we needed some of it will be used in the future.  The agency says repeatedly the only thing you really need is a car seat, I would revise that and say some swaddles (halos!), bottles, pacifiers, changing table, co-sleeper or bassinet and/or pack-n-play, some cloths, a white noise machine and a cool-mist humidifier would really help out.  I mean, basically, I'm saying the nursery.  Because the glider and the boppy pillow were also blissful additions.  And since he has had a cold for the last 10 days a sterile saline mister and a nose frida have been helpful too.

I am working 6 hours a week mostly from home and R is working 50% for our FMLA period.  I am seriously considering a job change with a pause for right now to take care of him.  That is both terrifying (what if I don't find something else, what if I feel lost without the part of my identity that is a skilled worker, what if something happens and I've depleted all of our savings) and exhilarating (we wouldn't have to leave him with strangers during this incredibly vulnerable time).  Big decisions are particularly challenging with this level of emotion and sleep deprivation, really so are little decisions.

Perhaps it's obvious from this rambling post, I am so in love, exhausted, filled with wonder, worried about being the best parent I can be, and keeping him safe that I feel like a jumble.

A fortunate jumble.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Behind the waterfall

Have you ever stepped behind a waterfall?  There is the moment of bracing for the water--the feeling of anticipation, nervousness (especially if the water is cold) and excitement, anticipating and then feeling the force of the spray, the overwhelming feeling of water crashing down with a deafening roar followed by the feeling of otherworldliness.  The muffled sound of the rushing, crashing cascade fills the space behind, the space unseen from the outside.  Everything outside is muted.

On Tuesday we received a birth parent profile, on Wednesday we said please show our book, on Thursday we got a call to schedule an interview, on Friday we "interviewed" and the birth parent told us she had already chosen us.  On Friday night we bought a car seat, on Saturday we got some partially made food in the freezer, cleaned the house, washed the dog and did laundry.  On Sunday we finished our hospital bags, got snacks, made muffins and painted swatches for our nursery.

The birth mom is due today.

We know from experience anything can happen; we are standing in front of the waterfall hoping to find ourselves in an otherworldly space embracing all the complexities, sorrows and joys that come with this possible, miraculous new addition to our family.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Everything happens for a reason.

Everyone reading this blog has probably heard that phrase and felt upset or angry or understands why that would be, you know, maybe not the worst thing you could say to a grieving parent, but definitely in the top five.  The other concepts that I have issues with are that positive thinking can change an outcome as well as that previous awful things had to happen to make whatever hoped for outcome occur now.

A close friend's parent was just diagnosed with a particularly awful cancer on Saturday and they are in the deep end--overwhelmed, scared with no plan in place.  We were driving out of town to go to the mountains to try to find some peace and be still with each other when we got the SOS.  We turned around.  I would never make these moments be about me or us but it was a real challenge. I do not believe things happen for a reason.  I believe things happen and we try to figure out how to go on.  I do not want to shake any of the very tentative supports the family is trying to hold onto.  It was a hard day.  

Not as hard as it was for the family.  I know that.