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-judgmental.  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. 

...to be continued! 

Saturday 25 October 2014


Whoops. I didn't mean to be away that long, from reading about your lives and telling you about mine. 

As most new parents, I've spent most of the past two weeks awake, and baby spent those two weeks sleeping, yet free time has been very elusive.  

Sorry to have left you all hanging. 

Friends, he is so amazing. He is a healthy, happy little boy. The adoption experience has been so tremendously positive. The birth family are genuinely some of the most amazing people I have ever met.  We are so, so lucky. 

A friend asked me what's been the most surprising thing about being a new mom. I told her it would be something adoption related. After thinking about the question more, I've realized it was something else. 

I never in my wildest dreams imagined that the pain of 7 years of infertility and loss would melt away in the way it has.  Don't get me wrong- it is still there. I have not forgotten the pain of my journey, nor the pain of yours.  I never will.  It's just that my love for Carla, birth dad, their families and this precious, amazing baby boy is so shockingly abundant, so powerful, and so surprisingly healing. I could have never imagined anything this wonderful for us.   Life feels pinch-me good, for the first time in a long time.  I'm savouring every moment. 

I will write a full account of his birthday and the time we spent with his birth family. I want to remember and cherish every detail, so I promise not to wait too long to do so before the memories fade anymore. 

With love, 

Friday 10 October 2014

He's here!

We are so in love. With Carla, birthdad, their entire amazing, supportive family. And of course with this lil' guy. 

Born yesterday 7lbs 8oz.  He's doing well. Hoping to go home tomorrow. 

My heart is exploding with love. 

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Just a quicky

To say that Carla is being induced tomorrow afternoon! :)))) 

If you are the praying type, please say a prayer for her. 

Will update you all again when there is news. 


Sunday 5 October 2014

What a weekend.

My heart is full.

We had a surprise hour long phone call with Carla. She's so genuinely lovely. So sincere. So great. I love her. She's feeling much better and we are happy for her.

Then, shopping and buying things for the baby and setting up the nursery. Every package I opened, i had a tinge of "maybe I shouldn't in case this has to go back", but I took the plunge and did it anyways. When I see the baby stuff in our house, I can't believe it's real.  I love looking at it all.

My BF and MIL planned a surprise shower for us today.  It was just our closest friends and and family. It was perfect.  No games, just good company, yummy food and lovely gifts.

We also spent time with Lainey, Paul and their infant daughter. We ate an apple tart that I made and enjoyed hearing about their parenting & adoption experiences and snuggling with their daughter (and their cuddly cats too!).

I'm savouring this moment. I am so grateful to Carla. Because of her, and her choices and sacrifices the world is a sweeter place.

Thursday 2 October 2014

To you

Scrolling through the blogs I read I was really struck (once again) today. 

Because, you know what? You are all awesome.

The things you have fought to get through. The battles are fighting today. The healing that you have Worked to achieve, the support that you have offered to your partners and to your friends.  I feel lucky to have a glimspe into your lives, and for you to be a part of mine. 

I am impressed with your strength. I and I am equally impressed with your ability to be real, and be vulnerable. 

I'm glad you are a part of my life. 


Tuesday 30 September 2014

Update from the adoption agency.

After a period of silence from the adoption agency, we got two updates yesterday.

Carla is doing better.  She's still in the hospital, but has been given day passes.  She seems less manic.   Yesterday, she walked down to the agency to speak to the birth mother counsellor.  She wanted to ask her to pass along this message to us.

It's a boy.


Oh, my goodness!  It's a boy! A son.  Our son.  Wow.  

I'm feeling so much more comfortable with the fact that this is going to happen.  That our hearts aren't going to get smashed.

A couple of days ago, I went shopping for baby clothes.  I bought a ton of stuff.  Half way though shopping, I was feeling mildly disappointed with the gender neutral offerings.  I decided what the heck! I am going to buy boy things and girl things!  I thought, I could quickly wash what we need and return everything we don't need once the baby arrives.  

I've had it all displayed on our couch for days.  I just love looking at it.  It makes my heart sing.  I like showing my family it.  It makes it all feel more real.   So what if we can't sit on the majority of our sectional couch.  ;)

This morning, after I heard the news (via email), I put away the girl clothes.  I hid a note amongst all that remained, that says "I'm a boy!" and "My name is S (boy name) not C (girl name)" I'm waiting for D to get off his morning call so I can show him.   I wonder if he'll even notice, hehe.

All is well in my world today.  I am so thankful.  Things could be so different if it wasn't for Carla.  We are lucky.

Saturday 20 September 2014

Carla and looking back to two years ago

There hasn't been much word on Carla.  The agency hasn't had a lot of communication with her, because only family is allowed in the hospital.   The hospital social worker has been communicating with the agency and she says she is doing better and may get to go home soon.

I'm doing a digital clean up this weekend of my computer.  Mostly my pictures, but I'm getting my documents in a little better order too.  I came across this poem I wrote two years ago, just after my 33rd birthday and after my 8th treatment had failed.

While the two years in between writing this were a lot of the same, I'm grateful to be in a different place now.  The pain that existed in so many moments for me is fading.  There were times that I didn't think that it would.

I guess I should read the writing,
It’s on the wall
I don’t want to
I don’t want to

It’s so painful to never know why
Despite so many tries

So many needles, so much medicine
I thought it was just a matter of time
Or another dime
Before it was our turn
Used to think it was for a lesson to learn

Why couldn’t it have worked?
Not in the cards, not in the plan
That is simply just something I can’t understand

So much invested
So much taken away
So heartbroken
Wishing the babies just stayed.

A current beneath the flesh
That will always run deep
We won’t forget you
Even though sometimes we might try
Endurance can get ugly

It’s only to forget the pain of
Living our life without you
Just isn’t the same

Families are growing
But loneliness is around us
Even God seems further way

Am I supposed to move on now?
I don’t see how
I don’t see how
How do you travel beyond

We will never get over this
It’s too painful to erase
Too many scars, sitting in just this one place

Each passing birthday
Just reminds
The part of ourselves
That we just can’t find…

Trying to fill the void in any other way
Just doesn’t work

But I’ll try anyway?

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Carla's in the hospital

Thank you very much for all of your kind words on my last post.  Reading them warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.  I read them again and again. :) It was kind of you to reach out and share in this chapter of our lives.

There have been lots of things happening with Carla in a few short days.

According to the social workers, after our meeting, Carla's condition deteriorated further.  Her behaviour was increasingly agitated and erratic.  They said she was experiencing mania.    She is now in the hospital (at the same one where she plans to deliver), and they plan on keeping her until possibly until the baby is born (she's due October 15th)!

This was surprising news for us to hear.  She was noticeably emotional and agitated during the meeting with us, but we didn't think that was all that strange given the situation.  Having an unplanned pregnancy and anticipating a birth, making an adoption plan, breaking up with the birth father, and meeting us after she wasn't that keen on doing so was A LOT.  Add into the mix, tension and conflict with her relationship with her divorced parents.  We felt like, "who wouldn't be a mess?" under those conditions.  She is experiencing some of the most major things that anyone could possibly experience, and all at once.

I am glad she is in the hospital, because I know she is safe, and the baby is safe.

However, I am also scared for her health now, and after the baby is born.  I am also scared for the stress the baby is under.  I am worried about if they decide that she needs medication, because I know the side effects to the baby can be worrisome.  I feel like this poor little child has already been through so much - smoking, marijuana and stress.   I am glad that she will be less likely to be able to find a way to smoke anything while in the hospital, which is a relief.

I am thankful to live in a country where she can get medical care, even though she does not work.  I am thankful that the people working at the adoption agency took her condition seriously and followed up with her and encouraged her to seek care.  I am thankful that the people at the hospital recognized the need for her to be admitted and are carefully weighing the risks of medicating her.  It is good that her care is happening this major hospital, where she plans to give birth.

I was speaking with my friend Lainey the other day.  She said to me, "people think adoption is all roses.  But there is a lot of pain and loss".  I'm getting deeper understanding of that today.

The social worker also says that in her current state, she is would not be able to sign consents for the adoption.  She said asking Carla to bank the cord blood would be too much at this time, that we should just forget about that.  She left those little bombs on my voicemail.

I'm disappointed about the cord blood.  I know it's a luxury to even think about being able to do such a thing,  but I selfishly feel like how hard could that be after going through a delivery? It doesn't hurt her, but has so many potential benefits for the child.  I get the desire not to add any more stress to her situation, but, uh. :/

I'm not surprised about the consents, but will call the social worker today when D's done his meetings to get more information.   It probably just means a longer wait period before the baby she is able to revoke her parental rights, and uh, more counselling fees for the agency.

One good thing is that I haven't heard that she's been having second thoughts about the adoption plan she's made.  Those will be my comforts for the day.  1.  She's confident in her plan.  2.  She and the baby are in a safe and caring place.

I'm tightening my seatbelt and preparing for what's ahead.

Friday 5 September 2014

Meeting with Birth Mom and Grandmother

Woah.  What a stressful day, but a good day.

The adoption agency stuffed us into a tiny office.  D and I, the birth mom (I'll call Carla), and her mother (I'll call Lynn), and two social workers.   It was hot outside, and we were in an older building where the air-conditioning was next to nil.  The room was sticky and warm.  The temperature didn't do any of us any favours, especially Carla being 8 1/2 months pregnant.

The workers prepped us before the meeting to say that Carla was having a rough time the past couple of days.  That she just broke up with the birth father, and she seemed to be on a "bit of an up swing".

A previous note in her file, said that she described herself as bipolar, but we all did not think that that diagnosis was made after a proper evaluation.  We all agreed that it seemed to be a label that someone had given her, perhaps a little too easily, and she had hung on to it.  The only information relating to this in her file, was that she reported one episode of depression and hospitalization after a long term relationship break up two years ago.

In her current state, her mother, and the counsellors wondered if she was experiencing a mania. Especially due to some of her recent behaviour, which they didn't elaborate much on.   (Side note: We had already researched that risk, and felt that it was something we could accept, especially since it is something that has been in our families. )

Lynn wondered if the meeting should be cancelled because of Carla's state?  The social workers said no, they encouraged us to meet, even if it was for a short time.   They felt that she may find some relief in meeting us.

We met with everyone in what seemed like 15 minute intervals.  First we met all together, then just with Lynn while Carla was taking a break.  Then we met with with Carla and the birth parent counsellor, and then alone with Carla.  It wasn't planned to be like this, but there was a lot going on.  D and I stat patiently, glued (actually literally) to our leather chairs.

When Carla and Lynn first entered the room, there were smiles, and Lynn had what seemed like happy tears in her eyes to meet us.  I'm sure the moment of meeting us was bittersweet for her, she had been involved in helping to select our profile, and later she shared that she had two miscarriages and became a mother around my age too.  Carla and Lynn both gave us hugs.  I felt an extra squeeze, and a lingering in Lynn's hug.

Carla nervously munched on a veggie/pita/fruit snack while we met.  Giant tears flooded out of her eyes and landing on her teal cotton dress, leaving dark marks.  She was fidgety and her hands were shaky.  Ours were too. She flipped her thick beautiful wavy blonde hair back and forth, trying to get cool.  She kept apologizing to us, and we kept asking her not to.

They asked Carla to talk about why she chose us.  They said, "what did you like about them?" With tears, she said "everything".  We couldn't have dreamed of hearing anything better.  We remember saying something similar to our worker sitting around our kitchen table, while drafting up a matching report.   Carla told us that she read through our profile again last night, and asked us for another copy of it.

The entire meeting was tremendously emotional.  All in the same moment, my heart wanted to shatter into a thousand pieces thinking about what they must be going through, while swelling with love and empathy for Carla.  Our hearts overflowed with joy and excitement thinking about that precious baby she was caring.

So many words that came to mind after meeting Carla.  They are: strong, courageous, stylish, genuine, beautiful (wow, they told us she was, but really!), vulnerable, scared, caring, and emotional.

She told us privately about her dreams to pursue a health diploma at college next year.  She said that her mother viewed her as a child.  That she wouldn't let her drive her vehicle.  That she was more mature than anyone thought.

At 20 years old, I could tell that she was right about this.  She made one of the hardest decisions that anyone could, and was following through on it.  She told us she wants to have the things we have one day, and it melted my heart.  If I could have given her those things, or something to ease her discomfort right then and there I would have.

While alone with Lynn, she kindly told us about how Carla's view of adoption was "old fashioned".  That she always said she may not want to have children.  She said that at first, she just wanted to give the baby to us, and not have any contact.  The agency was coaching her to have some contact with us, and with the child in the future.   We communicated to the agency that we didn't want to push her.  We told Lynn that ultimately, we just wanted what was comfortable and best for Carla.

We told her that we started a password protected blog where they could login to get updates on the baby and us.  We liked the idea, because we thought that a text, phone call or email may not be received at a good time.  That she (or others) could save up the posts and read them all at once, or keep up with them regularly.  We liked the idea that she, the birth father, and other family members could comment on the blog.  We imagined that it might be a great keepsake for our child (OMG - our child!) one day.   We told Lynn that this was just one idea on how we could update them.  (Oh, and a nice bonus, was that I also liked that I could see who was reading the blog on the stats page!)

Lynn said she might like more updates than Carla.  We told her we would do that.  She was interested in reading the blog, but isn't internet savvy.  The worker offered to show her how to use the site.

Lynn said that she viewed this baby as our baby.  That she felt almost like a surrogate.

When asking about what she might like to name the baby, she was interested to hear what we had chosen.  She said that we should name the baby, that it is our baby.  We nervously told her some of the names on our list, scared that she might hate them and it could derail everything.  One boy name that was the name of her Mom's cat ... that was kind of a weird moment! If it was a girl, told her we thought it might be nice to name her combination of her name, and mine.   She seemed to like that idea.

D and I had talked about that girl's name and agreed we both liked it.  Somehow though, he thought that I had on the spot come up with the the fact that it was a combo of our names.   He told me later that he was super impressed, and I sheepishly admitted that this what I had in mind with this name the whole time, I just must not have communicated it well.   I should have maybe just let him think that I was that smart under pressure!

She told us that they couldn't tell the sex of the baby at her last ultrasound.  That she had another doctor's appointment tomorrow.  She asked us if we would like to know.  D responded by saying, do you want to know? And she said it was up to us.  I said that we would like to know if it's possible.

The birth parent counsellor asked her to tell us about what she'd like to happen the day of the birth.   She was having hiccups, her eyes were still flooded, and the baby was moving a lot-  we could see her whole abdomen moving.  There was a lot going on, she was upset and so the counsellor asked if it would be okay if she shared what they had discussed with us?

She agreed.  She said that she wanted us to be notified of her labour right away.  That she wanted us to come to the hospital but not in the delivery room.  We heard about how her mother would be there with her.  About how her mother wanted to hold the baby, but how she didn't want to see her doing so.  The counsellor shared that she wanted us to immediately begin to care for the baby.  That she would go home as soon as possible and we were to stay there with the baby.

She said, again "this is your baby" to us.

We've been petrified of her changing our mind since we heard the news.  Hearing that was the best thing we could have heard that day.  It was almost like getting the news all over again that we had been chosen.   But this time it seemed a lot more real.

D and I had plans to shop in the city after the meeting.  However we were so drained, I don't think either one of us could even think about navigating there, or actually shopping.  Instead, we walked across the street to a nearby pub.  Over a glass of sparkling cider and a beer, we talked about the afternoon, and even had a little toast.  We are going to be parents!

Later on in the evening, we texted Carla.

"It was so nice meeting you and your Mom today.  We wanted to thank you again for this precious gift, you are truly changing our lives.  Let us know if we can help you in any way.  With love..."

She wrote back a few hours later:

":) thanks for the kind words, you both will be amazing parents, i feel really good about the both of you! I know ur the missing puzzle piece.  This baby needs you both, good night! Exhausted!"

Tears are flowing.  I am so thankful to her.