Saturday, July 27, 2013

1 Month Old

I can hardly fathom our new little guy is already one month old!  Plus a week in reality!  These past few weeks have flown by and we are starting to finally get in a groove, though I wouldn't say it's necessarily a smooth one quite yet:) 

Miles weighed in at 11 pounds and 4 ounces (80%) at his one month check up, and was 22 1/2 inches long (85%).  He's just started smiling and is so sweet.  He eats a lot and is a pretty good sleeper, going five hours at night.  Love this growing boy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Miles Joseph

So now that the crazies of the last two weeks have calmed, I figure it's time to share my birth story.  The twenty four hours afterwards it was so intense in my mind I feel like I should have written a letter to my future self, because today it seems like a distant memory.  One that has clear, beautifully painted pictures of the sweet moments and fuzzy, dim glimpses of the tough ones!  It is forget.  I was lucky to have my friends Bethany and Jenn there to help me remember later.  Bethany who is training to be a Doula and Jenn who captured the good and the bad with her forgiving camera lens and creative talent.  My Mom was also there to witness the birth in it's fullness and my Dad in the next room left to worry and fret until Miles arrived.  Had I a chance to do it over, I wouldn't change one thing.  It went as best as I could have hoped and still more different then I could have imagined.  So here it is...the PG-13 version.  Read at your own risk!

I had my forty week appointment on Wednesday morning at the birth center where the midwife checked to see my cervical progress.  After reporting that I was dilated to a three and my bag of waters was bulging, I agreed to let her sweep my membranes (the manual process of detaching the amniotic sac from your uterus thought to induce labor should you be "ready").  Not exactly a pleasant experience but tolerable.  She told me that she would be surprised if I wasn't in labor within the next four hours, so I left the birth center and reported to all those standing by (parents and birth team) to be on alert but not waiting by the door.  By six that night, I started having regular contractions that I timed around six minutes apart.  I decided to take a shower, move around, and keep busy, but a couple hours later I could tell they were getting closer together and much more strong.  We called the midwife around 9:30 when contractions were three minutes apart and headed to the birth center, a twenty minute drive.  Contractions in the car are no fun!  When we arrived I was dilated to a four and the midwife suggested I go home and labor a few more hours.  Ha!  No thanks!  I wasn't about to get back in the car!  I somehow talked her into letting me walk around the park next door for awhile and after once around, my parents arrived.

We spent about an hour and a half in the park, walking and me bouncing around on the birth ball between contractions until I was ready to go inside.  By then I was dilated to a seven and got the go ahead to get in the large bath tub.  It was wonderful!  It didn't take the pain of contractions away but it did help me relax a lot.  At this point, I pretty much lost track of everything going on around me.

I remember Bethany telling me to breath slowly and the nurse checking the baby's heart beat every so often but that was about it.  After an hour in the tub, I was dilated to a nine and fully effaced so I agreed to let the midwife break my water.  On the next contraction my body started pushing and things got real.  I would characterize the next forty three minutes as the most painful and intense of my life.  I was grateful for every break between!  Being at the birth center, they really encourage you to work with your body's natural process of labor, so for this phase I was doing some crazy looking stuff like holding onto the bedpost and squatting, sitting on the toilet to push, and hanging off a bar in the bathroom.

Jordan was determined that he was going to catch the baby so he and the midwife followed me around with a mirror and industrial flashlight!  Needless to say, all of this got me to a crowning baby and being hoisted into the over sized king bed.  If I was calm before (which I like to think that I was) I was erratic to say the least at this point and I would compare myself to a wild animal or someone being hauled off to the loony bin.  I was out of my mind.  Seriously.  At some point the nurse and Bethany shoved me over to my back because I was for some reason stuck on my hands and knees.  Everyone was telling me to do something but I only heard the nurse beside me.  "Don't waste your contractions.  Take advantage of pushing."  So even though it went against the lump of fear inside me, I pushed.  It wasn't too long before his head was out and Jordan was pulling him up and laying him on my chest.

I think I was in shock for a few minutes and I love that the pictures are quite evident of this!  If this whole pregnancy wasn't real to me before, that was the moment it hit me.  Immediately the pain was gone and in set the maternal high you hear about.  I should have been exhausted, but I was wide awake and in awe.  He stayed on my chest the rest of our stay except for a brief moment to suction.

He took to nursing like he'd been doing it forever and was content cuddled up with me.  Everyone else snoozed, except my Mom and I, then my parents brought us breakfast, I showered, and by nine we were walking out the door headed home.  My entire labor was 9 hours.  Much shorter then I had hoped for.  No medical induction, no pain relieving drugs.  Still, I left more humbled than empowered.  I feel like I understand why a woman would want an epidural, or an elective c-section, and I also have a deep respect for those who go the natural route.  My Mamaw was one hard core mama birthing eight children at home!  That is for real!  Recovery has been the biggest surprise for me as I really thought it would be much worse considering what transpired with my lady parts!  The body is truly an amazing creation and I can say two weeks later that I feel completely like my old self physically though my body still looks a little mushy.  Bizarro for sure.  Now I look at this little guy and I am beside myself to think that he was in my body just a few weeks ago.  He is perfect and I am definitely in love!

Oh this little boy is pure sweetness!  I forgot how much I love the newborn snuggles and I've been getting a lot of them.  My Mom was a huge blessing and stayed with us the week after he was born...completely pampering me.  I'm talking laundry, cooking, cleaning, waiting on me hand and foot, entertaining Rylin, and giving Jordan a mini vacation!  When we sent her home it was a sad day.  One that we regretted a few days later when Jordan came down with Strep throat!  So she was kind enough to meet me half way and pick up Rylin for some time at Mimi and Papa's house away from germs, a cranky sick Daddy, and a mother with a new nursing baby attached.  The house has been very different with Mr. D gone and poor Rylin had been bored out of his mind.  The kicker for me was when I noticed him trying to play hide and seek with Duke!  Poor guy.  He knows that his little brother is gone and where he's at, but I don't think his three year old mind fully grasps it.  He LOVES Miles though, and has been a sweet big brother to him.  He likes to sing to him and hold his hand in the car.  He has an endless stream of kisses and squeaky baby talk when he's around.  Melt my heart, these two!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hello and Goodbye

I've been trying to write this post for a while now but there is really no easy place to start.  It has been a crazy week and a half for sure!  First, the good news (which most of you already know)...Miles Joseph is here!  Yes, that's Miles, as in a little boy!  Even though everyone was convinced I was having a girl, God had other plans.  I went into labor Wednesday night around 6pm and he was born at 2:43am Thursday, June 20th.  Healthy and squealing, all 7lbs 10oz and 20inches.  He deserves his own post that I will send out soon.  I know lots of you want to know how my natural childbirth experience paned out and I promise to be honest!

Soon our overwhelming joy was met with overwhelming sadness when just a day later we found out that our little Mr.D was being placed with a relative the same day.  Amidst all my sobbing, I packed up his belongings and sent Jordan out the door with him seemingly for the last time I would ever see him.  Even though we knew that a placement was probable, I can't begin to explain what it feels like to actually let go of someone you loved for over a year as your own child.  A piece of my heart surely left with him.  Still, I found a lot of grace in God's timing as I spent the days following loving on my new precious gift.  I prayed a lot (and still do) for D's well being and transition and whenever I am feeling especially sad that I can't hug or kiss him and know that he is OK, I picture doing just that and ask that God pass it along to him in the place I can't be.

His birth mother had given me her phone number a couple of weeks ago in case I wanted to check in.  I wasn't sure how much contact she would have with him or if she would even respond, but after a week, I sent her a text to let her know we missed him and that I had a few more things for him that I had found around the house.  A couple hours later she called me back and left a message.  I was relieved to hear that he was doing good and that she was still getting weekly visits with him through CPS.  She agreed that we could come to the next visit to see him and get to know his new guardian.  In a twist of perspective, we find ourselves on the opposite side of  something comparable to open adoption.  I was immediately struck by how much better I felt just having a report of how he was doing and knowing that I would be able to see him again.  The same a birth mother must feel when she places her child with adoptive parents and waits hopefully for them to fulfill their end of the open adoption agreement.  She has no legal rights and a verbal word is what she clings to.  Heart wrenching anticipation.  Now I understand. 

This whole event makes me so grateful for open adoption and even more sold on it's benefits for everyone involved.  If there is no contact after a placement, it's easy to see how the imagination can take over.  In the week after D's removal I imagined all sorts of awful scenarios.  In reality, I was way off.  Contact gave me reassurance of his well being and the truth regarding his transition.  Even though he is young, I feel like if he sees us again (even just once or twice), it won't be so much like we abandoned him (which is the thought that weighs most heavy on my mind).  I already know as the adoptive parent that contact gives you a sense of permission to parent; seeing that the birth parent is depending on you to do so and acknowledging you in that role.  I hope that we can provide that kind of support to his now caregiver.

I miss our little man like crazy but I know that the big picture is much larger than I can understand and I'm thankful I have a God who I can trust with the details even when they are more than hard to swallow.  I have thought a lot about a verse in Job the last week, and it has encouraged me through some rough moments when I've caught myself turning inward in self pity and doubt. 

"The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21