Wednesday, 28 January 2015


I know I am not unique in my love-hate relationship with Facebook. 

For all of the posts that irk me - and my, oh my,  does that local mommy fb group that I'm a part of make me want to FREQUENTLY reach through my screen and give some people a hard finger flick right in between the eyes - sometimes, there's a little hidden gem in there.  I think those little gems are what keep me (and most of us?) coming back for more. 

I thought this was a great article about how postpartum depression isn't what a lot of people think it is. And how it isn't called just PPD anymore, it's called PPD/perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

It really made me reflect on my mood in a different way.  And see my irritability and mood swings more clearly.   Obviously, I'm not postpartum, but I think I'm something.  For years, I've known that something has been wrong with my moods.

It is something I went to see my doctor about a few years ago.  He had me fill out a couple surveys.  When I returned them to him, he told me that I had scored very high on the anxiety questionnaire.  At the time, it was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me, because I had thought that it was depression that was affecting my life the most, although I know they often go hand in hand.  My depression score wasn't much better.

He asked me to seek counselling before prescribing any medications to me.  I went to two sessions, felt a little better and then didn't go back basically because I was too cheap, and I always felt like my feelings were situational, and that meant that they could just *poof!* get better.   I was always focused on fixing what I thought was the root of my problem - infertility.

I was also anxious thinking about taking anything that could affect a healthy pregnancy, and my doctor's teeny comment about the small risks to a fetus was enough to make me think that taking a pill would not be a good idea, especially when we seemed to be facing such a steep uphill battle already in that department.

I was doing things that were thought to only have a little chance of increasing my chance of getting and staying pregnant.  I felt like I didn't want to add anything to the mountain.  I'm not saying this was a rational decision, but it's the one I made.

I told myself that things weren't that bad, and that if things got worse, then I would do something about it.  The problem was, that when things did get worse,  I wasn't able to ask for help.

For the most part, I could function, but certainly not thrive, with my anxiety, irritability and depression.  A few times every year, when something horrible happened in our reproductive lives, things would to grind to a halt for a few weeks.   I viewed this as situational depression, and that once I grieved, that I would be okay.

I didn't notice though, that slowly I stopped doing many of the things I loved.

Photography was one of those things.  A few years ago, I was taking classes, shooting regularly, and going out with groups of friends to take pictures.  I was taking pictures of my friends' young families and learning new ways of post processing.  

Now when I look back, I can see that when I hit a snag or a roadblock with my photography (and in other areas of my life), that it would stop me.  It didn't have to be a huge problem, just something that would frustrate me, and need a little persistence to get through, but I'd give up.  When I'd finally get around to shooting (or doing XYZ), all I could see were the many unresolved problems that I "couldn't" figure out.  It led me to be comfortable with being stagnant.  I'm embarrassed about that, and much of the other stuff I'm writing about here today.

I told myself, and I told D that that it was the hormonal roller coaster that made me this way.

Injecting maximum does of follistim one month, followed by a lupron shot the next.  I thought my symptoms were hormone based, and I think hubby told himself they were too.  He basically gave me a free pass, with a lot of empathy for several years.  God. I am lucky to have this man, and I feel badly that he has had to endure cohabiting with me at times.

I told myself that if we ever made it through to the other side, that these problems would melt away.  I think we both clinged to that hope.

To a certain degree, I was right!

Babykins coming into our lives has lifted such a weight off our shoulders.  He brings so much joy and we are so grateful for him every single day.  I still can't believe how lucky we are to call him our son.

And, without all of the hormonal manipulation, I definitely feel MUCH better.

The problem is, is that I still don't feel great how I think I should.  I'm realizing that there is still something wrong with my moods.

I try to pin point what it is caused by exactly, and I think it's a compound problem.  It's hard for me to sort out.  I believe that the major contributing factors are:

  • Sleep deprivation. 
  • Hormonal.  I still have premature ovarian failure, and my cycles are messed up.  When my period is approaching, I definitely feel more rage.   Hubby thinks my moods are only related to the 5 or so days before my period.  What he doesn't know is that I internalize many of my grumpy feelings before that time, and by the time I get to a few days before my period, that lots of times my emotions related to certain triggers are already at a boiling point. 
  • Learned behaviour and thought patterns.   I need to be more mindful of the negative thoughts that constantly swirl in my head. 
  • Caffeine. It is my comfort in a glass when my energy is low.  I notice I feel edgier when I drink it too often, and maybe at all. 
  • Vitamin deficiency.  I've been told again and again that my vitamin D, and sometimes my iron levels are low.  Confession: I haven't taken any vitamins since my last fertility cycle because I have a bit of a pill aversion.  It's time to tighten up my bootstraps on this one.  
  • Water intake - is not consistent.  Some days I barely drink any water. 
  • Refined carbs - are also my crutch and my comfort.  It's how I solve my problem when I'm feeling hangry. 
  • It's winter and we're cooped up!

I love my husband, and he doesn't deserve an irritable wife.  My son doesn't deserve that either.

So from today on, I'm going to be monitoring my moods via a mood tracker.  I'm just started my period, so I think it's a great time to start doing so.  I'm going to keep track of the things I mentioned above to see if I can pin point anything in particular.  Going back to my doctor is an option too.

The Hubbs, D-Man.

He's spent a lot of years propping me up, and getting me through infertility and loss.  I could not have made it through these past seven years with out him.  He has been my empathetic ear and my rock.   He functioned on many days that I didn't.  He kept a level head on many days that I didn't.  He worked hard through out it all to pay for our lifestyle and for the gagging amount we have spent on infertility treatments.

Now, that the baby is here, his anxiety has reached very high levels.  He worries immensely, especially about Babykins.

He thinks about things like one of us accidentally tripping down the stairs while holding the baby, and about SIDS a lot.  He thinks about the worst case scenario all.of.the.time.  He checks things that I do and it drives me crazy.  "Is he too hot?" "Is he too cold?", "Should he be sleeping with his face like that?", "The weather isn't great should you be driving with him?", "Let's not go anywhere, so people don't touch him and give him germs".  I feel like I worry about Babykins a fair bit, and that D's worries are over the top.

He has reminded me of his friend who died in high school.  He was an only child and D says that his parents never recovered.   He tells me that if something happened to Babykins that we wouldn't recover either.

He tells me that the worst case scenario has always happened to us (in the baby department) and so he's scared it's going to happen again.  The respiratory problems and hospitalization that Babykins has been though has only made these feelings so much more heightened.

D's anxiety and my irritability is a shitty combination to say the least.  I'm sure you can imagine.

He works from home, which is awesome in that he's able to be a very involved parent and spouse, but it also doesn't give us much time apart from each other either.    With the winter, and almost two months with a sick infant, (and with me fighting three colds since December), it's been a lot to handle.

We recently spent time with one of D's childhood friends who lives far away from us.  We only see him about once a year.   (Random side note: He's a chiropractor and did an adjustment on Babykins.  I never thought that would be something I would do, but it was honestly very harmless - the most aggressive thing that he did was hang the baby from his feet upside down to let the weight of his head adjust his spine.  He explained everything he was going to do very thoroughly before he did anything, and got our consent.   I'm not sure if it did much but it was very neat to watch the adjustment!).  Anyways, D said various things though out our visit with him that led him to say, "Holy cow! When did you start worrying so much? Where did D go?!?"  I told him I couldn't have agreed more.

D doesn't see his anxiety the same way I do.

My point is, I suppose that we are both still suffering a bit.   And I feel guilty about that.  We've been given everything we ever asked for now.  But, I also think we have allowed ourselves to suffer for much too long too.   We need to do something about it.  I'm going to start with myself.  I'm writing this here to hold myself accountable.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

My sister

My sister is pregnant, and expecting her little one in June. I am happy for her, especially because I worried that the same saddness spewing infertility that touched our lives may have affected hers too.  

Luckily, it didn't, and it "only" took them 8 months to conceive.  She said the month that she found out she was pregnant was the month she began to think that she might have infertility.  That was the month that we brought Babykins home. 

I had no idea they were trying.  Or "not preventing" as she puts it.  To an infertile, I feel like those are the practically the same thing. 

Last night we found out the baby's gender.  Babykins will have a boy cousin less than 8 months younger than him (he? I am confused about my grammar and I am much too lazy to look it up). 

I am excited that Babykins will have a cousin the same age as him.   I am excited to have the opportunity to share in our parenting experiences together. That is truly a dream come true, especially because our friends' kids were born 8.6 million years ago. 

Here's the problem though. My sister is becoming one of *those* preggos to me, and it's getting harder for me to ignore.  For example, she sends me weekly updates via text message about what size of fruit or veg she is now carrying.  I'm running out of responses. 

Her boyfriend created an oh-so-adorable video on facebook of a collaboration of family and friends' elated responses to their news. It was very touching and I cried happy tears when I watched it. And then, I swiftly had a little pang of something ugly and jealous in my heart. 

To be clear, I'm not jealous of her pregnancy.  I'm actually quite pleased that I didn't have to squish Babykins out of my vagina.  I'm jealous of her naivety.  Of her pure bare-faced happiness and confidence in her growing little navel orange, and perhaps in this world. 

Digging deep, I realize that I'm the most peeved that she maybe doesn't treat me as an infertile anymore. Yes, I am a mother.  But I also earned my nasty little infertile badge too. One does not replace the other. 

I want to be rid of these feelings. I have ignored them for a while, but they keep announcing their presence, louder each time.  So, I'm acknowledging them here, in the hope that they now can calm the freak down. 

I hear you, infertile feelings. I get it. I know why you are here. I am still very inferile.  I won't forget you. I will always remember my wounds and scars. I promised myself that I wouldn't forget and I won't.  But this is my sister, and my nephew.  Won't you please now get lost? 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Another little bug

The little one seems to have a respiratory sensitivity, and as the doctor says, possibly asthma. 

He's been to the hospital and doctor a couple of times in the past couple of days due to his cold symptoms, wheezing, vomiting, and 105 degree fever!  An Xray showed no signsof pneumonia   (phew!). However, has bronchiolitis and probally RSV again. The doctor said there isn't immunity that's built if he's the virus already.  

He sure is
Initiating his newby parents! 

Luckily, he seems to be on the mend today. The fever has broken with the help of some meds. 

Now, I think I will keep him locked up in a little bubble now until June. Just joking. I think. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Update on the past month and life with a 3 month old

He sleeps more predictably now, which makes a world of difference. My crank-o meter has been dialed way back to levels where I may even be suitable to cohabit with other people.

I am learning that predictable sleep, even if it's spread out is nice.

Babykins starts getting sleepy around dinner time. He feeds around 6pm, 9pm, 1am, 4am, and then wakes for the day around 5am.  

D and I have been doing shifts where he goes to bed super early (like 7, 8 or 9pm), and relieves me at 4am. He comes and gets me at 7:30am when he has to go to work. This has worked well because it gives him a solid chunk of sleep, and I am able to get some too. During 9pm- 4am Babykins (now) sleeps pretty soundly, with the exception of waking for his feedings. He has virtually outgrown his sleeping baby goat noises, which means that sleeping with him nearby or with the baby monitor on is actually possible. During my 4am to 7:30am chunk of sleep, I honestly feel like I blink and it's over.  In the morning I feel human now and I don't even need to drink coffee (which I am learning affects my moods too). 

To complicate the sleeping situation over the past month, Babykins has had his fair share of illnesses. 

Like when he was hospitalized in December for 3 days (!) at ten weeks old for a severe respiratory virus. Now that was scary.  He was choking on his phlem and was working so hard to breathe. We even had to call 911 one night because of the choking.  Needless to say, we will be taking a first aid class hopefully this winter or spring. 

Then after all of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, on the day we arrived home after being gone for a week we realized that Babykins was sick again.  It turned out that he had laryngitis. 

Watching a baby cry but not make a sound is such a weird thing. It might seem great, but it was a little tricky. Thankfully, Babykins isn't a huge crier anyways (he can really whine when he wants to but we can usually stop it from escalating). The laryngitis meant that he couldn't communicate with us, especially at night.  So we had to keep him very close so we would notice if he needed something. 

Daddy was able to dodge all of these little viruses, but I didn't escape them. 

Babykins has reflux too, which means that he is quite the little puker. He'll puke up what sometimes seems like half of his bottle hours after eating it. I do a lot of laundry and am very thankful that our couches are charcoal grey- eek.   

He doesn't seem to be in any pain from it, and he's gaining weight (he's almost 15lbs now!) so we have opted to not medicate him.  The side effects from the meds might be worse than the spitting up.  Thickened formula is an option that our paediatrician offered, but B has been on 4 different formulas (formulae? haha) already and we're reluctant to switch brands again, especially because the only thickened one we can find is a brand that didn't agree with him. 

All of this has given us quite the little initiation to parenthood. It's certainly doesn't even compare to some of the more severe and complex problems that many other parents have to cope with, but for us, it's still been something. 

Due to B's reflux and congestion, he's been sleeping mostly in a baby chair beside the couch, where we can watch him and he can be upright. He also loves to have a good ol' sleep on Mama's chest, and will sleep for about twice as long there as he usually does, if he's given the opportunity.  

Last night, we had our beat night ever- he slept from 9:30pm until 3:30am, woke for a feed and then slept more until 6:30! And it was in his crib and playpen. It was glorious!  We are hoping for him to be regularly   sleeping in his crib soon. 

At the end of our Christmas holidays, we met up with Carla and some of Carla and Mark's family. We had planned to see them sooner, but our visit got canceled because if Babykin's first illness. 

It was the first time that Carla would see Babykins since the hospital, and the first time that many of Babykins extended family would meet him.  Mark didn't come, apparently because he was upset with Carla's dad. 

It was a really great meeting for us.  We met at a restaurant in a hotel. We were the only ones there and they set up a big table for us. It was private and nice.  There were about 20 people there. Some gave us gifts, and everyone loved meeting the baby and I think us too. 

Afterwards, we set up a private page on Facebook to share pictures and notes with everyone. It's been a great way to update everyone all at once, and keep everything  somewhat private.  We will continue to text Carla extra pictures. 

At the meeting, we gave Carla a photo book of the days at the hospital.  Carla cried a few times throughout the 3 hour meeting. In hindsight, we should have met with her first, on a different day, so that she could just had some quiet time with Babykins in her own, and not have so many people around. She said she had no idea there were going to be so many people there, it was her Dad and Mark's Mom that did all of the inviting. 

Later in the afternoon, I met up with her in the bathroom when I went to change the baby's bum. We were the only ones there and I was so glad to finally have a few minutes alone with her. 
I asked her how she was doing. She said "it's hard" and tears streamed down her face.  My heart had been hurting for her all afternoon (and in many days leading up to this meeting).  Her beautiful blonde hair hadn't been washed.  She looked uncomfortable with her postpartum body. We hugged and I listened, but I wished that there was so much more that I could do to ease her burden. She has given so much to us, she has lifted the heavy blanket of grief, anger, isolation and sadness in our lives. I want to do the same for her...but I don't know how. 

Later, her father told D that she was having a rough time, but that she was still happy with the decision she made. It was a relief for us to hear that. I can only imagine how much harder things would be for her if she felt like she had made the wrong decision. 

We talked again about her coming to visit us in our home. She has said to us a few times that when she gets a car the first trip she wanted to take was to our house to visit Babykins.  We asked her if she liked the train. She said yes, and the next week we mailed her a gift card for two round trips to see us. We hope that she might take us up on the offer to visit and bring her sister, a friend, or whomever she wanted. It didn't sound like Mark would be coming (or driving them) any day soon.  We're not sure what his story is. 

On a different note, yesterday, I got an unexpected email. It was from an address that at first I didn't recognize, with a subject line of "hello". I thought it was spam, and I disregarded it, but then something made me reconsider and I opened it. 

It was an email from the very first couple who donated two embryos to us. She said she was sorry for not reaching out sooner. 

The last contact I had with them was an email telling them the transfer didn't work, and thanking them for what they had given us.  She said that she somehow felt that experience had linked us. She asked me what the last several years have been like for us. 

I responded to her, telling her in a couple paragraphs, just what the last five or so years were like, in the fertility department and otherwise. I told her about how things had changed. I sent her pictures of our beautiful son.  I thought about it and cried thinking about how if she had emailed me a six months sooner, how different my message would have been to her without our happy ending. 

We are so grateful for Carla and this little boy. 

Ps) Thank you for the suggestion of Bloglovin'. It took me a while to add all of my blogs but I am enjoying it!  This update was typed on my phone, please forgive the poor editing! 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What I didn't expect about becoming a Mom

Just wanting to keep it real over here in my neck of the woods in bloggy land.

I wanted to write out some of my thoughts of what my first two months of motherhood has been like, and the things I have learned:

  • The first two months have been a haze.  Babykins is 10 weeks old and I'm finally feeling like we stepping out of it  just a little bit.  We are getting to know him and his patterns, and have found a bit of a groove with him.  (Update: at the time of publishing this he is 12 weeks- and oh! What a difference it makes in the sleep department!)
  • Feeling tired in the first couple of months is an understatement.  As a age 20, I was never one to pull all nighters in university because I don't function well on little sleep.  If I was trying to write a paper, it would turn out as a bunch of gobbly-gook if I tried to write anything past 3 am.   As it turns out, at age 35, my brain does not function any better now on even less sleep, and for weeks on end.   
  • I am impressively grumpy on little sleep.  Cue guilty feelings about even thinking of complaining and not enjoying every possible second of parenthood,  or feeling guilt because you want to kill your hubby even though he's trying his hardest, is just as tired as you and has really done nothing wrong except breathe a little too loudly around the baby. 
  • Everything becomes harder on little sleep.   Hmm.  My first four points have been about sleep, lol!  I suppose that sounds really obvious, but I honestly didn't appreciate just how hard things would be.  And, I didn't have a sore vagina, uterus or boobies to contend with, as most mamas do, or multiple babies (how do you women do it?!?!) - just an adorable little baby who happened to think that day was night and night was day.  When you are deadly tired as we call it, tying your shoe feels like it takes brain power that you don't have.  Figuring out baby gear etc. is harder and more frustrating when all you want to do with your 5 minutes of freedom is lay your head on your pillow and fall into a deep sleep coma.  
  • The company - oh wow! We wanted to show off our precious boy.  It was one of the most fun things for us about having a baby.  After you have struggled with infertility and loss for so long, and people know about it, they are so over the top happy for you.   People you don't expect to give you gifts; my hairdresser, and D's Mom's friends who I hardly know, to name a few.   It's so nice!  We've had a huge amount of company several times a week for almost six weeks.  And then, people wanted to come back because they want to see how he's grown! Oh my! We didn't have a plan on how we would handle this.  I think that the general denial that we lived in surrounding Babykin's arrival led to us not thinking about a lot of things that would have been helpful to us, such as this.  People often said they would stop by for a short visit, but when someone gets a newborn baby in their arms, it is hard to get rid of them! As much as people would offer for us to go have a nap while they looked after the baby, it was hard to do so.  Feeling like our house  should be tidied before they came was a bit of a stress too.   Seeing a lot of people in one day at someone else's house would have been the best idea for us in hindsight. 
  • Thank you cards for all of the gifts you will get is a big job.  I felt it was easiest to keep a stack of cards on my kitchen counter, and stamps and write them as people gave us things.   This something I think we did really well. 
  • Speaking of gifts, one of the best gifts we received was a homemade scrap book calendar.  We fill in the pictures of Babykins month by month, and on the days of the calendar we can write in what he did that day, and little facts about his growth etc.  It's a very manageable way to record many of his firsts.  I like that it is in real time too.   I found many baby books weren't appropriate for an adopted child.  They have pages about the pregnancy etc, and of many other things that weren't easy for us to answer.  We didn't want him to have a book of half empty pages.   
  • If you have the means, hire a housekeeper for the first few months of baby at least.  We didn't, but I wish we had.  Keep in mind that D works from home, and can take some time off in the middle of the day - so we have it admittedly better than many other people, but it is still a lot to keep up with.   And having a dirty, disorganized house makes me stressed and grumpy.  Especially when there are lots of people stopping by. 
  • Babies produce massive amounts of laundry.  Babykins is a spitter-upper so we might have to do more than a normal family with a newborn, but we were doing at least two loads of laundry a day - of just his clothes/receiving blankets/sheets/and washcloths.  
  • Sex. What is that? Haha
  • Circumcision - Oh my.  This was traumatic for us.  We were on the fence about whether we wanted him to have this procedure.  Ultimately, we decided to do it because D is and so is the rest of our family.  We didn't want our boy, the only adopted one, to also have the only uncut penis.  Maybe a silly reason to do it, but it was our choice to make.   We were not prepared for how bloody and swollen his poor little penis was after the procedure.   It was terrible.  I am now glad that it was done, and he has healed up nicely, but it was a challenge to say the least.  
  • Getting support - take advantage of anyone who wants to help and you feel comfortable with helping you.  We were shy to accept help, but every time we did it was so amazing.  A meal, someone to clean up, someone to hold the baby while you nap or shower.  Babykins even spent the night at my trusted aunt's house at one month old.  It's all good.  Sleep feels absolutely magical after you've been missing it for a month, and makes all your other daily challenges seem that much more manageable. 
  • The best two pieces of advice we got: 1)  never try to make a happy baby happier.  2) Start out the way you want to end up.  If you want baby to sleep on his back, don't get him used to sleeping only on your chest! (a big problem around here)
  • What we didn't expect, is that we would have our own ideas of how we would parent, but this baby would have his own personality, likes and dislikes.  Many of the things we thought we would do, or looked critically at other parents for doing, became things that we did.   The desire for sleep will make you do many things you didn't think you would do.  
  • You will get almost nothing done.  We were under the impression that at least one of us would be able to get stuff done with the newborn.  Yes, while one person is technically free, when not working, we underestimated what sleep deprivation would do to this equation.  One person cares for baby, and the other slept or tried to keep the house from falling apart or keep us from starving.  For two months.  
  • That dressing my baby would remind me of childhood.  Especially dressing a two month old.  I'm pretty sure that Babykins is the size of most of my dolls growing up.  It's like being a kid again in a way.  I love dressing my baby.  And shhh.. don't tell but I don't like putting him in a lot of the outfits that people gave him... I put him in them when he is going to see those people but I don't want my boy in *that* onesie over and over again in his pictures.  It's okay not to use every little thing you are given. 
  • Sleepers with zippers are the best. Don't buy much newborn stuff, they will outgrow it in five seconds.  All sizes are not created equal at different stores.  Wash everything so you can see what size it shrinks too.   One store (Carter's), shrinks almost a full size. 
  • That I would feel like adopting a baby was better than having it myself.  Yes, you heard it right.  From the woman who chased a positive pregnancy test, and hoped for to give birth to a baby for seven long years.   I feel like this baby is more perfect than any baby I could have ever made or hoped for.  I am so deeply in love with him.  I love that I don't have to lose the 50 pounds of pregnancy weight that I'm sure I would have gained.  That I can drink wine and eat unpasturized cheese when I feel like it.  I wanted to breast feed, but formula feeding is actually kind of great too - Daddy or other people can feed the baby and I can sleep sometimes.  There are definite advantages to adoption (and surrogacy I suppose is similar!). 
  • I thought I would feel like keeping up with the birth family was a job. Finding the time to write the emails is tricky, but I do like writing them and updating them.   Yes, it is only 2 months in, but I love sharing his progress with them.  I'm going to keep all of the emails that I send to them, and their responses in a binder for him to read when he's older.   
  • Feeling surprised by some jealousy still of other preggos.  I've written about my sister in the past.  The one who was with her partner for a number of years.  She's turning 30 this year, and I have tried to nudge her into thinking about a family if it was something she wanted, because there was a 1 in 3 chance that she would have problems like me.   I wanted her to have a baby.  And guess what friends... she recently announced she is expecting!  I am truly joyful about this.    I couldn't sleep the night she told me because I was so excited (and you know from my whining about sleep on here that it is not something I am fond of giving up!).  I am excited that I will get to be a first time parent around the same time as my sister, and an auntie again.  But if I'm being totally honest, I was surprised though to feel a tinge of jealousy shortly after this announcement.  Not a big stab in my heart like it would have been if I did not have Babykins in my life - but it was something.  
  • That babies are all emotions amplified.   Happiness.  Joy.  Empathy.  When you feel sad for them, it's deeper than a lot of regular sadness.  Frustration (trying to fix a problem for a baby that only communicates by crying - which you think you should have some intuition as to what type of problem it is, and to be able to solve it for them. - is very frustrating.  And oh, the love.  It's like your heart is going to explode.   
  • The feeling that somehow the past 7 years of grief were worth it.  I thought I would harbour more bad feelings, but instead, it's like I've entered a new world.  One where I realize how much people actually were protecting us from all things children, baby and pregnancy.  I could feel sad about this, but instead I'm choosing to see it as an act of love for us.  We are grateful. 
I hope it's not another month before I write again.  Sending much love you you all.  

PS) I've been trying to keep up reading your blogs on my cell phone while feeding baby on the couch. I haven't found a good way to do it that doesn't require me to log in every time I want to write a comment.  It's annoying.  Do any of you have a suggestion on how I could easily access your blogs on my phone?  Thank you. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Part 2: Our Adoption Story

Babykins was born at 3:13am.  The next day was a busy and important one.  It was our first day as parents!  We were running on zero sleep from the day before.  We wanted to savour every moment with our precious newborn, with Carla, and her family.

We didn't know how much contact they would all want in the future, so we felt like we should absorb as much as we possibly could, to pass along to Babykins when the time was right.

We weren't sure if it was appropriate if our family visited at the hospital, especially because I have a large family.  We wanted to allow time for Carla and her family to spend time with Babykins on their own, without a crowd.  We talked with the hospital social worker about it and she encouraged us to invite a few people to come, and so that Carla and her family could also see the support network that we had, and the excitement for our family that surrounds him becoming a part of our family.

My Dad, his fiancé, and D's parents and his 90 year old Grandma came to visit.  It was the day we had waited for for seven years.   We beamed with pride.  I swear our pride could have burned holes through the concrete hospital walls.  Everyone was in awe of how sweet every little part of him was.   "He is just perfect", everyone said, and we couldn't have agreed more.  We couldn't believe that such an amazing little boy was in our arms.

We invited Carla to meet our family.  We told her there was no pressure to do so.  That we would completely understand if she wasn't feeling up to it.   And my goodness did we mean that - walking into a room of strangers only a few hours after you have given birth, and have placed a child for adoption is a huge thing.  We didn't have any expectations of her to come, but hoped she would.

She bravely accepted the invitation, and joined us.  She walked into our room and said hello to everyone.  She was smiley and laughed and joked with everyone.  She is so personable.   Everyone told her how amazing Babykins was, and she beamed with pride.   I love that our families got to meet this amazing woman, the one who has changed our lives forever.   It is hard to describe just how awesome she is.  We loved that they could all meet her for themselves.  It was such a special time and an amazing privilege.

During the meeting of our families, D's mother said some really beautiful words to Carla.   I didn't know she was planning to do this, but I am so glad she did.  She quietly told her about how D was their only child, and that this boy is their only grandchild.  She told her that they would treasure him so much.  She told him that she was not only changing our lives, but theirs too.  It was beautiful to hear, and I am so grateful that someone was able to verbalize our family's feelings to her.   She spot on with every thing she said.  We love this baby AND Carla so much.

We also spent part of the day visiting with Carla and Mark's family.  We met with Mark's sister and her friend.  His sister brought a nice gift of clothing and a stuffy.  We took some pictures.  Carla's Mom also came with her husband.  Her husband shared how he thought this adoption was a beautiful thing, and that he was so happy for us.   Carla and her mother gave us a gift of clothing for the baby and the book Love You Forever by Robert Munch.  Carla's Mom said that she read this book to her girls all the time when they were growing up.

Have you read this book?  OMG.  It is a tear-jerker.  If you haven't read it, it's a story about a Mom who tells her baby "I'll love you for always, I like you forever, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be".  As he grows, she sneaks into his room when he's a toddler, a young boy, and a teenager to whisper the same thing.  Later, when he's an adult, she drives over to his house in the middle of the night to cuddle him like she did when he was a baby - he was a sound sleeper! At the end of the story, she calls to tell him that she's very ill, and he goes to be by her side.  She starts to say the same words to him that she always did, but she cannot finish.  He instead finishes for her, and tells her that "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my Mommy you'll be".  She passes, and he goes home to his new baby and says the same words to her, that his Mom always said to him.  *Tears*

It's such a beautiful story.  Oh my goodness though, I don't know if I'll be able to read often it to our Babykins because every time I do, tears pour down my face just thinking of the message of this story, who gave it to him, what it meant for her to do so, and how much my heart explodes for this precious little boy who I will love for always and like forever, until my last day.

Later that day, Carla's Dad came back to meet the baby.  He gave a beautiful card (the one I wrote about here) and a gift card for the baby.  He just loved looking at the baby, as we all did.   He talked about how happy he was for us.  Hearing that was so amazing.

Carla popped in to visit and snuggle the baby throughout the day.  It was so nice to see her with the baby, but also very difficult as well.  It was difficult because we had strong feelings of guilt, and sadness for her loss.   D felt like she had her life together maybe better than she gave herself credit for.   No, she hadn't gone to college, didn't have a job or a car or a lot of material things... but she had what we felt was most important for being a parent -  she put her son's needs above her own.  She proved that by making one of the hardest decisions that anyone could make.  She showed so much grit, and selflessness.  She cared for his wellbeing and future as a good mother would.

And you know what - as I write this now,  I've had an lightbulb moment.  I realize that it's not that she isn't his mother anymore - she will always be his mother.  His B. Mama as we think we will call her,  IS his mother.  And I'm his Mama too.  This lucky boy has two women who love him so much, that they would do anything for his health, happiness and well being.

When we tried to thank her for the gift of being chosen to be his parents.  We struggled to find the words to adequately express our feelings.  How do you thank someone for such a huge sacrifice? How do you thank someone for a human life being entrusted to you?  Even though our thank-yous seemed inadequate to us, she beamed and was genuinely happy to hear about how she was changing our lives so much.  She also thanked us for being his parents.  She said she was getting a second chance at her life.  She said she was going to enrol in school, and we learned that the very next day, she did.

We texted about her starting college in January.  We told her that we were so proud of her.  And we knew Babykins would be so proud of her too.  She wrote back that that is all she ever wanted, was for him to be proud of her.  It melted our hearts.

After a day of visiting, Carla was ready to be discharged and to go home.  After all of the hospital time leading up to the birth, she was especially ready to go home.  She had recovered very well from the birth.  Mark came to get her.  He came into visit with the baby. He was still very shy, and it was hard to get a read on how he was feeling about everything.

The social workers told us they wanted to do an entrustment ceremony before Carla went home.

So, in our little crowed hospital room, the social workers set up ceremonial candles (that we didn't light for obvious reasons).  They read through some poems and said some words about open adoption, about Carla and Mark and D and I.   The ceremony was to represent the unofficial entrustment of Babykins care to us, from Carla and Mark.   Carla's Dad was there too.  There wasn't a dry eye during the ceremony.   There was so much sacrifice, pain, beauty, hope and, so much love in the room.  All for this precious little boy.

After the ceremony, Carla and Mark went home, and D and I were left alone with our Babykins.  We were running on fumes after 40 of the most emotional hours of our lives.   We marvelled at the baby, and felt a honestly little bit intimidated about being responsible for his care.  We tried to get some sleep, but babykins had other plans.

As it turns out, he's a noisy little baby.  While he doesn't cry often, He loves to make goat noises as we affectionately call them, even in his sleep.  As new parents do, we were constantly checking him in his isolette making sure he was comfortable, and yes, a thousand times to see if he was still breathing. :)

Carla and Babykins  <3

Less than 24 hours old

First afternoon at home 

My best friend's kids made us this to welcome us home - how cute is that!?!?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Part 1: Our Adoption Story

For me, there were frequent little showers of tears in the weeks and days before he was born.  Could this really be happening? Is it going to work out? As some of the denial and anxiety lifted, the thought "Am I really going to be a Mama?" slowly moved into thoughts of "I am going to be a Mama!"

There was a lot to do to prepare for his arrival, so his birthday approached quickly.  Wrap up our renovations.  Close the cottage.  Re-establish ourselves at home.  Buy all of the things we need for a nursery. Wrap our heads around how our bad luck in the baby department could finally be changing after seven long years.  Think about parenting and infant development.

The day of his birth, we finished packing a small suitcase of things that he may need at the hospital.  It was strange and exciting looking at the various sized sleepers and onesies, and other items intended for a boy that would become our son.

We then drove a few hours to get to the hospital where he was going to be born.  It felt like D was driving so slow (even though he wasn't).  I was so anxious to get there. 

On our journey, we hoped and prayed that he would make it into this world safely, and that the delivery would be okay for Carla.  We had not heard if she had opted for a vaginal delivery or a c-section.  She had been seriously considering an optional c-section the last we had heard.  

We arrived at the hospital just after Carla had started her medications to begin inducement.

We had been texting Carla a little bit all day, which started out with a message from her saying  "today's the day you're gonna be parents!"  Reading this was so incredible.  She was so happy for us.  We were so happy.

When we arrived at the hosptial, we weren't sure what to expect.  Would she and their families want us nearby or to give them space? There was talk that we may be given a room, but we weren't sure  how that was going to work.  After the birth? Before the birth? Maybe not at all?  We were prepared to camp out in a random waiting room somewhere in the hospital. 

We introduced ourselves and met the hospital social worker and the doctor that was going to be delivering the baby.  The social worker showed us to our room on the maternity floor.  It was a  private room with a twin bed. We were so grateful to have a place to put a few things and to have our own washroom. 

We texted Carla to say that we were at the hospital and she invited us up to her room.  She was there with the birthfather, Mark, and his Mom.  We were also joined by Carla's mother and father.  She introduced us all and we talked.  

It was completely nerve wracking being on display to all of these important people who we had never met, despite the fact that they were all very kind and welcoming.  We were so excited for ourselves and yet sad for them.  We worried that the emotions surrounding the birth may change the adoption plan.  We were wondering if Carla's and her family's feelings were as the social workers had assessed and portrayed to us.   Were there going to be any surprises? 

Carla's labour progressed as the doctors expected, albeit slower than she would have liked.  She was so strong and positive.  We learned that she is very funny, even under pressure. Throughout the night and into the early morning,  she laboured with the help of an epidural, and Mark.  We spent the time visiting with their families. 

We spent time with them in a group, and then later, as people went to get coffee or snacks, etc., it worked out that we got to have one-on-one time with each one of them. 

It was a magical night. I am crying right now just thinking of the beautiful time we spent with them, getting to know them.  They are all sacrificing so much for us too.  They told us about themselves, and gave us a further glimpse into Carla and Mark from a parent's perspective.  It helped to ease some of fears. 

I always thought (secretly) that the open part of the adoption plan was something that we would just need to tolerate.  But these were very likeable people!  Friendly, nice, intelligent, thoughtful.   I told my family later that they were the kind of people that I could imagine having relaxed summer drink on a patio with. 

Each one of them, in their own way, during our visits told us something important. 

However, the conversations that night that stood out the most was with Carla's Dad.   

He told us the story about Carla's pregnancy.  Carla was living with him when she found out she was expecting.  He told us that she was originally trying to be excited about being pregnant about being a parent.  He told us about how her morning sickness was unrelenting in the first few months.  He told us about how as her pregnancy progressed that she did a lot of soul searching and came to tell him that she didn't think she could or wanted to parent.  She told him that she was wanted to place the baby for adoption.  You could feel his sincerity when he told us about how proud he was of her for making that decision. 

His support and pride in his daughter was beautiful.  It is an example that we will aspire to in our parenting.  It was so pure, supportive and non-judgemental.  It am so glad we got to bear witness to it.   Experiencing that changed me. 

He told us about how different each one of his daughters are and how parenting is such an amazing journey.  He told us that he looked at our profile book. That he was happy that we believed in God and he told us that he was so glad that he met us, because he felt so much more comfortable about where this baby would be going after meeting us.  He was encouraging and supportive of us.   He told us he felt joy for us. 

What a strong man, that in the midst of everything that was going on for him and his daughter, that he could feel and express such beautiful sentiments to us. 

He had to leave for work before the baby was going to be born.  We asked if he was coming the next day to meet the baby, and he said he didn't think so.  To our surprise, he did return and he gave us a card with a gift for the baby and a card.  This was the message in card:

"You were meant to be a family.
Nothing could have stopped you- you've chosen this journey, 
with all of its joys and challenges
because it was your destiny 
to become a family.

Words can't begin to describe the happiness of seeing you with your child
and fulfilling your dream of becoming parents. 

I'm not sure just how many times I am going to cry writing this out, but there I ago again, lol.  See what I mean? Simply amazing. 

We shared the small waiting room with another family waiting for a birth.  There was a lot of conflict with them.  For example - one person was very mad and embarrassed because her friend outed her for smoking her bong every night.  That guy then proceeded to sprawl out onto a couch and mumble grumpy things to everything that popped on the TV for the next hour or so.  There was a lot of Jerry Springer style commotion, fighting and stress on their side of the waiting room.  They were equal parts annoying and entertaining as we waited into the wee hours of the morning.

We would have been grateful for any family that allowed us into their lives through adoption.  We knew that we could have just as easily been sitting there with that family.  But we weren't.  It made the heartfelt moments we were having with the birth family feel that much sweeter.

At around 2:30 am, Mark came quickly into the waiting room.  He told us the doctor's said it was time!  As planned, Carla's Mom, Mark's Mom, D and I went into the room next door to where Carla was starting to push. 

We could hear her labouring. "Ow!, Ow!, Ow!" And, "I can't!"  I didn't expect to hear anything, or for  her to be in so much pain after having an epidural.  We all felt so helpless.  We winced when we could hear Carla suffering, especially the Mothers.  Mark's Mom had to leave the room because she couldn't bear to listen to her pain.

We listened to stories about their labours.   We learned that the doctor delivering our boy was the same one that delivered Carla!  

Then, 45 minutes later, the room next door went quiet. We wondered if that meant that he had arrived? We intensely listened for any sounds of a baby crying or someone saying something.

After a few long minutes, the nurse came in and told us the baby was here and doing fine. 

Mark entered the room.  He looked at his Mom, and fell into her outstretched arms.  They embraced powerfully.  He said, "Mom, I think I'm going to cry".   

I don't imagine that he has cried in his Mama's arms for many, many years. It was difficult to witness, yet I am so glad I did.  This experience was life changing and difficult in so many ways for him too.  

He returned back to Carla's side.  A short time later, the nurse came in and told me to get ready for skin-to-skin.  I unbuttoned my shirt and undid my front clasp bra. 

Then, the nurses brought in our son. They laid him on my chest and covered him with a blanket. His face buried into my neck, in a similar way as how he does when he's tired now.  We could only see a mass of blonde locks because his face was squished into my chest. 

In that moment, I think I was in shock. I wanted to bawl happy, ugly tears to release the emotion I was feeling and to show Carla and Mark's Mother's just how life changing this moment was for us.  But all I could do was smile and hug my little boy tightly.    

I could have cuddled with him for days.  But I know how excited the Grandmothers and Daddy were to hold him too.  So after about 20 minutes on my chest, both Grandmas got to hold him.  They both cried.  We felt so sad for their loss.  We know even if they are a part of his life, it won't be in the same way as if he was being parented by Carla and Mark. 

We were invited next door to see Carla. When I saw her I gave her a big hug.  She told me that I always give her strong hugs.  Here's a picture of that moment.  I have never felt so grateful or so in awe of another person.  She was so brave.  So strong.  I love her so much.

Carla held the baby again.  We told her how beautiful he was and she looked so tremendously proud of her son.   

Mark was sitting in the chair and we asked him if he wanted to hold him.  He said yes, and we placed him in his arms. 

We all were so mesmerized by him.  He was so perfect. So beautiful! And oh! That head of full blonde hair was certainly the talk of everyone, including the nurses.  When we passed him around he had a nervous sounding little whimper that sounded to us like "hahahahaha  hahahahha" it all made us  giggle.  He came out laughing.

D waited patiently for his turn to hold his son.  Mark's Mom initiated putting him in his arms.  He fed him his first bottle.

It was time to give Carla some space, so we all moved back to the room next door.   The nurses quickly ushered us up to the maternity floor with the other recovering moms. 

We did more skin-to-skin, and soaked up the his amazingness. We were PARENTS.  And to THIS boy.  We felt like (and still feel like) the luckiest people in the world. be continued!