Josh. Cali. McKallister. Oakland. Quincy. Camden. Murphy.

Let our LOVE have no bounds

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

I feel as though I have a unique perspective because of the challenges I have faced during my child bearing years. I am not here to change the way you think or what you believe in, I simply want to share my experiences and maybe offer some perspective. Those I have both lived through and some I have witnessed second hand.

My husband and I lost our first son due to an umbilical cord accident at 40 weeks gestation. I never looked into his eyes or heard him cry...and yet I have moments during my pregnancy and those hours we spent with his little body after his birth, that will always enforce my belief that he was very much alive and a part of my world before he passed away. He was his own person. I know him. On a level that every Mom knows their kid. Those hours in the hospital room were sacred, leaving everyone who visited with a special spirit or light that would not have made sense if he was merely a fetus. 

During the pregnancy of our third child and because of complications during my second pregnancy and losing our first son, I had dozens of ultrasounds, fetal heartbeat monitoring and appointments. Again, I knew this little boy just as well as the 3 year old daughter I was raising. His quirks, when he would be awake and moving like crazy. The positions he liked to sit in. At 21 weeks gestation I suffered an Amniotic Fluid Embolism. In short, this occurs when the amniotic fluid enters the mother's bloodstream. Once it reaches the heart, infection takes effect and you go into cardiac arrest. Survival rates are minimal and I am lucky to have gotten past this first symptom. I emphasize this for the results that happened next. Because this opening or break had already occurred, amniotic fluid would continue to be pumped throughout my circulatory system leaving me little to no chance of surviving it reaching my heart yet a second time at any moment. This meant our baby had 0% chance of surviving and my changes were dwindling fast. There was NO chance to save him. So to rescue me, I had a D&E. 

Dilation and Evacuation is a method of abortion. In my case it WAS a life saving measure. Would I have chosen that method if there was a 0.5% chance of saving my son? No. Would I have sacrificed myself if there was even the smallest hope it would save him? Yes. Does this fact haunt me daily? Very much yes. I live with constant wonder, hurt and pain. There are days that are debilitating. Times where I am kind of messed up thinking about those moments. And it has been almost 7 years. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice the idea of abortion should fracture your soul. These babies are just that- babies. And if we continue to become a culture that desensitizing the tragedy of losing a baby, I fear what we will become. 

Now I know, I expected this baby. Yearned for him and wanted every ounce of him. Some are placed in situations where the pregnancy was unplanned, not expected or even very frightening. Many are saying "it's the woman's body, she should have the right to choose". But I beg you to obtain every fact, follow every feeling, and gain as much perspective as you can before choosing a path that could end this child's life. We will never know what another woman is going through and I will never judge a decision that is made in extenuating circumstances. However, abortions are not made up of extenuating circumstances. Some stats show that 19% of U.S. pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion. And within that, and based off of studies from 2004 from 9 different abortion clinics across the country, <0.5% were due to rape while 23% was because they could not afford the baby and 25% were not ready for a child. These stats may be as simple as frightful ignorance. 

Since the loss of my two sons and birth of my Daughter, we have adopted 2 boys. Both Birth Moms fell into the above mentioned 48%. Right now only 1% of unplanned pregnancies are opting to place for adoption. And for every 36 couples waiting, one child is adopted. I love going to high schools for the Utah Adoption Counsel to teach teens about adoption. It's fascinating and heartbreaking how little they know about this option.

During this day we are all about supporting other women and standing up for the every girl. So let's stand together when someone we know faces an unplanned pregnancy. Let's help them through the trails of a teen pregnancy. Band together when one of us is not prepared to be a Mom. And help create another family in the process.

I won't tell you the road through grief, placing a child for adoption, pregnancy, pregnancy with complications or a young pregnancy will be easy. Those that I have experienced have been an exhausting journey- both physically and emotionally. But I can tell you that you will come out stronger. Better. Both of my Son's Birth Moms are the most courageous women I have ever met. These two are hero's in our home. Without their bravery to choose life, I would not have these two boys I love dearly. These ladies showed a deeper tenderness towards my family than I have ever experienced. I have met Birth Moms who were 14 when they placed. One who was raped while at a party. Some are 36 and others are heavily addicted to drugs. But they all have one thing in common...their hearts know no bounds.

You weren't a choice. You were a fact.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I told Natalie (and anyone who would listen) that this was all too good to be true. C was THE perfect Birth Mom. Letting me be involved with Dr. appointments. Including my kids. Making sure I was comfortable with everything she was doing/deciding. Wanting us to be a part of the birth plan. I was amazed and shocked every time I talked to her. Natalie said, "I thought that too when we were trying to make it happen, I wanted it, but something just didn't feel right, and I figured it was like you said 'when the time is right, you will know' but almost immediately after talking to you about it, even before we decided we could do it, somethin told me it wasn't just because of money or my gut I felt like this wasn't my chance at was yours."

You weren't a choice. You were a fact. -Jack Pearson

I believe with all of my heart that people are put in your life for a reason. This adoption was put in motion 26 years ago when Natalie was named after my Mom, and how amazing that she listened to whatever it was that pushed her our direction. I will forever be in her debt.

The week before Murphy was delivered, Josh and I made the game plan that I'd get Oakland off to school and then he would let Camden go to preschool and then the two boys would head out. C had invited both Josh and I to be in the room during the delivery (Josh was so hesitant to go in the room but C promised if it was weird she'd tell him and he would leave. I wanted him in there mostly to take pictures! Just kidding, but if you know me and my picture obsession, you know I may not be kidding) She was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 7am the morning of the 16th, they got her all hooked up to the monitors, settled and then broke her water at 8:55.

When I got there at 9:15 she was in good spirits but I could tell the contractions were really starting to bother her. D was in the room with us at that point and we joked that he should go find Pokémon cause it may be a long day, especially because we knew she was in pain. But when C replied to the nurse that her pain level was around an 8, she told her we might as well do the epidural.

They started the epidural and put in the catheter from 10:09-10:21 and then told her they would check her. She looked sooo uncomfortable and it was hard for me to be on that end, knowing the pain she was going through for ME. After the epidural, they were trying to get the contraction and heart beat monitors situated back on her stomach, but they weren't picking up anything. My heart immediately stopped. I texted Josh and was trying to hide my feelings, but I could not contain how many memories bubbled to the surface as I thought of losing Mac and Quincy. It was just a moment but I felt like my world had stopped, again.

The nurse checked her at 10:32 and said "Yup, that's it"... we all looked at her and said "that's it, as in...?" "She's completely dilated and effaced- ready to push!" What?! She had gone from a 4 to a 10 in an hour!!!! No wonder those contractions hurt, dude.

I texted Josh immediately and told him he better start driving as they were transitioning the room for delivery, getting nurses ready and the Dr. came in. He told her to do a test push, which she did, then one more and there was his head!!! I have never seen a delivery so fast! I didn't even have time to have emotions! He was coming! One last push and he was here.

Friday at 10:54 am.

I sent Josh these picture at 10:56 and all he could say back was "No way!!!!" It just happened so fast! I think we were both thinking about my deliveries which were...long!

6 pounds 9 ounces 19 inches long
I am so grateful that D snapped this picture since Josh wasn't there to get any

I hope Murphy will cherish this picture as much as I do. C knew the advantages of breastfeeding and skin to skin so was not afraid to give him that opportunity in the first few days after delivery. She was seriously a dream.

After Josh arrived at the hospital, C let us each hold him for the first time. My heart exploded. He fit. He fit so perfectly in my life. I wanted him and I never wanted to let go. He definitely wasn't a choice. He was a fact. It is a fact that he was meant for me and I was meant for him. C was this perfect vessel to get him here, when my body no longer could. She was selfless down to her core, never once thinking of herself but loving Murphy and I in this unconditional way.

When they were ready to transition C to the room she would be staying in, Josh and I went to lunch to give them some space and pick up the kids. That way nurses could talk to them, make sure they had the adoption plan correct according to what C wanted, which was to wait the 48 hours that they would be in the hospital before she signed the papers for his adoption.

The hospital was amazing! They asked Josh and I if we would like our own room, which I thought was kind but didn't see the benefits until after those two days! C was great about our family coming to the hospital, but having that second room relieved so much of my stress for bothering C. I realized that we would have been continually bringing people into her room, her space, etc. but instead, we were able to let the kids lay all over our bed and visitors could come and go as they pleased. We took the kids into her room though so she could see them and they could meet Murphy.

*side note, we had a few names picked out and had been going back and forth. I always knew he was Murphy because of a really special experience I had about his middle name being "Mac", after his big brother... but both Josh and Oakland said "He looks like a Murphy!" after seeing his picture. Everyone kept asking which name we had decided on but I was terrified of saying it out loud. If I said it, I was attached (and who am I kidding, I was attached!). And back to what I was saying earlier, adoptions are not final until those papers are signed. During this whole beautiful, magical, emotional time, I was still just so guarded and terrified that something would happen.

Anyways, back to the kids meeting him... be still my heart!!!!

We then took him back to our room so some of our family could come visit him...While they were in there, C would come in and out. We would laugh because the nurses would always peek in my room and we'd be in C's and then they'd go to C's and we'd all be in our room. We gave them a run for their money but it was so nice to have the two rooms to bounce between. My family was also able to meet her and I can not tell you how much they all immediately loved her! She is just so easy to be fond of.

Murphy had a hard time keeping his temperature up, so late into that night and early morning we spent some time under the lamp in the nursery together. It was the perfect time for me to reflect and gather my emotions, but also for me to think up every possible situation on how the next day could play out. One moment while I was just staring at him, one of the nurses asked about my other kids and what led us to adoption.... I told her about Mac being stillborn at 40 weeks gestation, how we then were lucky to have Oakland, about my AFE with Quincy and having a hysterectomy. I told her about Camden's adoption and how I was praying this one would pan out. I didn't realize how hard I was crying until she came over and gave me a hug. She said something to someone behind me and I realized there were about a dozen other nurses all listening! Some had actually read my blog, a few had heard about my AFE through other nurses, and one was friends with my airmed nurse! Small world. It was comforting to know they were all rooting for us and were just another shoulder I could cry on if I needed.

On Saturday, he had stabilized his temperature, so they said we could give him his first bath. C and I went into the nursery and when I asked if she wanted to bathe him, she graciously said that I could and she would even take pictures! Don't mind my awkward face, but this is seriously one of my favorite times after a baby is born!!!

The kids had slept in so Josh brought them up early afternoon and Oakland could not get enough of Murphy...She loved being able to sit on the bed and watch TV with him and kept saying that "this is what she was going to do every day from then on out". Camden was a little jealous (only when Oak held him!) and kept asking if I was Murphy's teacher. (he started pre-school this fall! lol) 

Of course we had more visitors Saturday and Josh and the kids stayed most of the day... Camden found the bed and empty cupboards VERY entertaining. Josh liked the free snacks. And Oak and I just ooh'd and awe'd over Murph.

We took the kids out late afternoon to buy C some items- a basket of sunshine is what we decided so we just let them roam the store and pick out anything yellow. It was a really fun time for them to think of her and I was surprised how excited they were to give this to her. They loved her and understood what was going on far more than I realized.

My favorite moment, and memories I will cherish forever, was Saturday night dinner. The hospital does a "fancy" dinner, meant for the husband and wife, the night before you go home. The nurse joked that it's your last supper of peace. But for us it was SO much more. We invited C into our room and all 3 of the kids were there. After months of knowing C, and spending the last 2 days straight with her, it was in this moment when the depth of what she was doing hit me. How could I ever explain to her what she meant to our family? I know the love I feel and have gained for Camden's birth Mom and I wanted to express all of those years of feelings to C!  I will never be able to repay either of them.

Josh's brother and his wife then brought the kiddos a treat bag, full of goodies. They had stickers and tattoos, candies, and those balloons tied to strings that you bounce off  your hands. These two are seriously good at making everyone feel special and it riled the kids up just enough for Josh to take them home and they zonked for the night.

My parents, brother and grandma came late that night, as I was deciding whether to spend the night at the hospital again. Friday night C and I had stayed up late talking and then with spending the night in the nursery with Murphy, I had only gotten 1-2 hours of interrupted sleep (you know hospitals!).

He was wide awake for a few hours Saturday night

This picture is a huge milestone... if anyone knows Alex (my little brother who has Down Syndrome), he does NOT share his guys with anyone. He accepted Murphy very early on as his favorite. Sorry other kids!

After my Dad left that night, C and I decided I would go sleep at my parents house and she could spend some time with Murphy. As I was leaving, one of the nurses asked me how things were going and I broke down. I was so emotionally drained. I was so tired and had been on this high from spending the best two days with Murphy. She came around the counter and hugged me, told me that they were all rooting for things to go well tomorrow and told me to get some sleep.

When I got to my parents neighborhood, my Sister was just leaving and my Brother and his wife were outside. As soon as I saw them, I started crying uncontrollably. The only way I could explain how I felt was "terrified". C loved Murphy so much! I could see it in the way she cared for herself during pregnancy. I was witnessing it as she did skin to skin and fed him. I saw it in the way she looked at him and wanted to spend quality time with him. She loved him so much, as much as me... how was she ever going to sign those papers?

I was making myself sick so my Dad and brother gave me a priesthood blessing, my Mom gave me an Ambien (don't tell the feds! lol) and I crawled in bed. I hadn't slept great in the last 72 hours and needed that to be able to calm down. Right before I had left the hospital, C had handed me a letter that was for Murphy as he got older. I opened it up but was talking to my Brother and Sister in law. As soon as I started reading, the meds kicked in and I fell asleep. My brother put it back in the envelope but we all have said now, reading that letter should have been the first thing I did!

I want to share some parts of the letter because after the papers were signed, and Josh and I had read it, we shared it with our family. Those that have adopted cried, most laughed at how crazy I was for ever wondering, and we all fell in love with C all over again. And I have to say, C never did anything to make me doubt her. In fact, she was literally too good to be true. Babies and pregnancy and adoption are all just very emotional topics for me. I've seen the good, bad and ugly in every situation and I'm heartbroken to say that those memories took over.    

You are probably wondering why I decided to place you for adoption. There are many reasons, firstly I don't have the financial stability to raise a child. I am a waitress. I did not graduate high school. And both me and my husband pay a very large amount of money every month in child support. Secondly, I don't have what it takes to be a mother.... Thirdly, I know deep in my heart that you were meant to be with your family, rather than me.

....After we had talked over text message for a few days I instantly fell in love with her and knew with her is where you belonged. I wanted to make sure she knew I was serious about giving you to her. Having gone through 2 other adoptions, I know how stressful the adoption process is for the family receiving the baby. So many birth moms change their mind after the baby is born and it is devastating for them. They literally have no control of this happening either. It's really sad. So with me absolutely having my mind made up, wanted to give them the confidence in knowing you were really going to be theirs. That way they can just relax and be happy.

You will have to get the story of your birth fro your Mom and Dad. I have invited them to be there for your birth so that the 1st faces you will ever see will be theirs. It's really important to me that you never think that anyone other than them are your parents. Yes, I grew you in my belly and gave birth to you. You have my DNA but that's about it. They are the ones who will raise you and make you who you are as a person. you might have my features but your parents are your parents in every other respect. I love you very much and always will but you are their baby. I firmly believe that when a soul is intended to be with a family, they will find a way to be with them no matter how impossible it may seem. And I know you belong with them.

I will just let you soak in how great and wonderful and heart wrenchingly good those portions of the letter are.

 The next morning, Josh got the kids to the hospital (dressed and hair almost done too! Good job babe!) The caseworker, Amber, showed up at 10 am (side note, the caseworker is actually the one WE used when adopting Camden. It was super special to have her there again because she literally got me through the last process and we adore her). Amber, C and D went into their room and we waited in ours...
Amber came back to our room maybe a half hour later and that. was. it! It happened so fast and so easy. Those last 3 perfectly, imperfect emotional days were summed up in 1/2 hour. C did love him. She loved him just as much as I did, maybe more, because she was willing to give him everything she knew she was unable to. And she was willing to give me everything I was unable to give my family. Birth Moms are amazingly selfless, loving, caring, and probably my favorite women out there.

C and D came back in to give Murphy one last giant hug, take some pictures for us and say goodbye.

Leaving them was hard. We have a semi-open adoption, meaning we keep in touch via text and IM but there was no definite "we will see you on this date" like we did with Camden's birth mom. I hope we see them, I hope they will always know how much we love them and respect them and adore everything they did for our family. Of course, after we left the hospital we went straight to see Mac and Quincy. It was a beautiful day and left me beyond grateful for those 5 kids of mine....

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