A blog about infertility, adoption,and adoption loss which has finally led to a beautiful miracle who was worth smiling for."Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future."Proverbs 31:25
Yesterday (the 30th) BabyZ turned 1. I couldn't help but think of her. I pray for her all the time. That she would be well taken care of and that the Lord would be with her through out her life. I've also been thinking about how quickly life can change. A year ago we were hulled up in a hospital room feeling very confused and defeated. When we returned home without BabyZ I did not want to continue with adoption. The process had been lost on me. A few days later we decided that we would continue, but to be honest I didn't think we would make it much longer. We had seen one of the many dark sides of adoption. If someone had told me that almost exactly two months later I would be bringing home a different little girl, MY little girl - I wouldn't have believed it possible. I think I felt like adoption was against me. That I would never reach the other side. Little more than a month after BabyZ was born - we rushed to another hospital to meet yet another little girl. A very sick little girl. Again we understood that adoption is not as beautiful as they say. The miracle that she is, Isabella Grayce is still fighting for her life but also filling the hearts of her adoptive family. Her adoptive mommy is gracious enough to let me stay updated on her via facebook. When we had to leave her in that hospital NICU I doubted that she would make it through the night. Her doctors have said that she won't make it to her first birthday. But, the Lord continues to breath life into her and she continues to bless the hearts of many. I pray for her all the time as well, even though I don't feel worthy to do so. Our brief experiences with those two girls were, in a way, preparation for Olive. When we first brought her home I thanked God daily for her health and I still know that I will never take it for granted. Not knowing Olive's birthmom has been difficult but I think I'm starting to accept that the way it happened was best and that I can make sure Olive knows about her even if I don't have contact with her. A year later, I look back on all of it and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know our three years of waiting was something that we needed to go through. We had to wait for Olive to be born. As we approach her first birthday in October I can barely remember what life was like without her. What a difference a year can make. You never know what a year might bring.
Well, if I didn't set myself up for some major judgment passing with the previous two posts - I am now. But, I have promised myself that I would blog about it in hopes that I could help someone else.
Olive and I had trouble bonding. I have only ever shared that with one other person, a fellow adoptive mom. I'm sure that my hubby picked up on it, but we didn't have a talk about it or anything. Within the first day of caring for Olive I knew that she was the child that God had in mind for us. I recognized her as mine. I also had a very real sense of Olive not knowing who I was. In the hospital, whenever I would first come into her view and pick her up I would say, "Yeah, it's me again". She had so many different people caring for her. The nurses and doctors, plus my hubby and mom. She would have this look in her eyes like, "Ok, who are you again?". I felt like she surly must have been searching the parade of faces for that mommy who she saw in her first minutes of life. I couldn't be her. I didn't have the voice that Olive had grown to associate with love and warmth during her 9 months inside MamaT's womb. I didn't smell like her. The beating of my heart didn't follow the same rythm as hers. I could not calm my baby. I figured that was a pretty basic ability in motherhood, but I reminded myself constantly that Olive did not know that I was her mother now. Now, your probably thinking at this point that all of that stuff was in my head. That Olive being a baby just needed me to feed her, burp her, etc. and she had no real attachment issues on her end. I suppose that could be true. But, I don't believe it is. I believe that even as an infant she had to work on bonding with me as much as I did with her. I'm sure my feelings made it difficult for both of us. For one thing, I had no idea what I was doing. I had cared for many a baby before, but there is something seriously terrifying about having your own. I have never had such a feeling of being so out of my element. Another issue was feeling alone with her. Hubby and I were having a difficult time adjusting and therefore adding more stress to the mix. Also, I was feeling guilt over taking someone's baby from them. I worried about MamaT's loss and pain. Then there was money. Coming up with the finalization costs. And having our agency as sort of a third parent. "N" was in our home every single month until finalization. I had to clear everything I did with Olive with them first. They had to know about every single detail of our caring for her and I had to make sure they were satisfied. There were so many reasons why just getting to know my daughter was made difficult. I was exhausted, sad, and smelly (you really do forget to shower). I didn't see a professional, but I imagine I had a little bit of those post adoption blues (yes, there is such a thing - in fact 1 in 8 adoptive moms experiance this to some degree). Being a new mom is such a huge adjustment that you can't prepare for. You can read books, go to classes, etc. but there is nothing like it. Since everyone expects you to be nothing but overjoyed (and you are in part) that adds to the conflict inside. Adoptive moms don't have people knocking down their doors to help. Didn't give birth so theres no physical impairments. A new mom is a new mom. She needs help no matter how she got that way.
Olive was probably between two and three months when one evening I came into the room and she smiled at me. It was the first time that she had smiled as a reaction to seeing me. That one small momment reassured me that we would be ok. She recognized me as someone who she loved.
For a long time I was very particular about the kind of house I kept. Obsessive is probably the right word. I just didn't feel comfortable in my home unless it was clean, organized, and just so. With the introduction of the medication I lovingly call "my happy pills" the obsessive cleaning slacked off a bit but I still considered my home acceptable by most standards. I was satisfied. 8 months ago it all stopped. All cleaning, organizing, and just soing stopped. Died really. Vanished as if it never existed. It's amazing how quickly a previously decent home turns into a pile of crap. The combination of sudden huge amounts of baby paraphernalia, coupled with sleep deprivation and a giant change in priorities contributed to her demise. Now, dishes are only done when there isn't a clean dish or fork in the house. Enter: the toxic wave of dishes that constantly reside in and near what used to be the kitchen sink. The floor is only recently being swept semi regularly due to the mobilization of Olive (who is now crawling). The child will, and does, but anything into her mouth. My bathroom is deplorable. I long since gave up on laundry. The hubby attempts to tackle it every weekend, but with only hal-a** results. All of this (and much more) lead me to confession #2 - My house is messy and I'm not going to clean it.
There finally I said. It's nice to be real with myself. When people come over, and they do way more often now that they know there is a cute baby inside, I apologize profusely. "I'm so sorry for the mess", "Please excuse the house", "Yes, you may use the bathroom but only at your own risk" etc. But, the truth is the mess isn't going anywhere. Until Olive no longer needs as much of my attention.... it is what it is.
It's been an eventful 7 months. As are all "first year" experiences. I've delayed blogging about most of my parenting adventures due to fear that it might somehow impact our adoption finalization. But, now that it's all legal and everything I think it's time that I get back to writing about the things that are actually going on in my daily life. I knew exactly where I wanted to start.
I am a co-sleeping mom. Now, I'm proud to say it.... but a few months ago I thought it was the same as admitting to being a failure. Before I go any further I should say that I am not at this moment practicing co-sleeping for reasons that I will get to in a minute.
Before Olive came I thought that co-sleeping was borderline endangerment. At the very least I thought that it was a relationship killer, at the most I thought it was a baby killer. I should mention here that if not done safely, co-sleeping is potentially dangerous. I'll link to safe co-sleeping practices at the end. Anyway, I was never going to be a co-sleeping mom. Those things that I resolved never to do, are hilarious to me now. Let me set the scene. We bring Olive home. I've been dying to hold my baby for so long. She is cute and I can't put her down. Literally. At first it is a joy to hold her, even all night. But, eventually the lack of sleep becomes unbearable. After weeks of holding Olive all night (with short sleeping breaks thanks to the hubby or my mother) I decided that it was time for her to sleep on her own. [insert hysterical laughing with more than a hint of lunacy] Of course she wasn't going to do this. I had thus far trained her to sleep only when being held. By this time Olive was a month old and had never spent one second in her crib. If she was put down, it was in her swing, bouncy seat, or onto her boppy. But at night she was held. We started the colic dance for a child without colic. Both my hubby and mother could sleep sitting up holding her. I could not. My fear of dropping her was too much for relaxation. My patients for this, and my mental state, were declining. So, one night after desperate attempts at getting Olive to sleep somewhere on her own so that I could lay down ending in failure - I layed her on her boppy in my bed and layed down next to her. "I'll just rest a few minutes and try to sleep sitting up again" And thats when our co-sleeping began. I fell asleep, and so did Olive, and slept until morning. Which meant about 4 hours uninterrupted sleep. Something I hadn't had for weeks. At least, not on my own. As annoying as it was to me, I realized that I would do whatever it took to get some sleep. Olive needed a rested mommy, not a right one. When you're in the thick of it you really need to do whatever you need to do. Forget about the experts. Forget about what others might think. This situation didn't last long because she soon outgrew her boppy. In the middle of her second and third month is when we started using the co-sleeper nest. It left me wishing I had started with it. It was like a miracle. Olive was right there next to me, but perfectly safe for her young age, and I could sleep. The nest lasted until the middle of her fourth month, when she outgrew it as well. She's a long little girl. So, there was nothing for it but full on co-sleeping. The first week of having her right next to me, no barriers, was different. She and I woke each other up a lot. But, soon I got used it and then eventually realized that I was enjoying it. I knew she was. She would roll onto her side and snuggle up to me and smile in her sleep. I'll blog about bonding in a few days, but I will say that this was by far the best move I made to deepen our bonding experience. It gave me such peace, knowing that I could feel her breathing next to me and I could be at rest all at the same time. I loved waking up to her smiling face every morning. I realized that I didn't sleep so sound that I forgot that she was there, but was sleeping well enough to feel rested. My hubby enjoyed it on the weekends too. He in fact still does it. In her fifth month, Olive started rolling. Mostly during the day, but a little at night too. I wasn't concerned with her rolling onto her stomach at night. Her head was plenty strong enough that she could lift it and turn her face from side to side. However, by her sixth month I did begin to worry about her rolling out of bed. For awhile it was enough to put a pillow on the other side of her to keep her in. But, entering her seventh month that was no longer safe enough. We have a very tall bed and hard floors. Olive is so active at night, that not even bumping her crib up next to ours (with on side removed) was the solution. Her crib is in our room just inches away from the bed. So, I decided for her safety it was time to get some use out of her crib. She has surprisingly done pretty well. I am close enough to just reach over and touch her through the bars. I can still turn on her musical sea horse without totally waking up. In fact I would say it was harder on myself than her to begin with. I got used to co-sleeping. If my hubby continues to be gone during the week for his job, I have every intention of bringing back into bed with me once she learns about gravity and can get in and out of the bed on her own. Honestly, the thought of her being in a whole other room at night when it is just the two of us really scares me. It just makes more sense to me that we should be close. Anyway, the reason my hubby can still get away with it is that her body still fits within his arm. So he can keep her reigned in. Some things that we did to make co-sleeping safe were:
- no sheets or heavy blankets
- she doesn't sleep on a pillow
- we never co-sleep all three of us in a bed
- we didn't co-sleep while we were taking cold medicine
Hi! Welcome! Stay a while & look around a bit. You'll find musings about infertility, adoption, marriage, salvation by Grace through faith, homemaking & other domestic glories, parenthood, and many other random topics. I wish I could say that it is always warm and fuzzy conversation, but I can promise that you'll leave thinking.