Baby Carter


Five years ago today we lost our first baby. Little did we know that we would go on to lose three more. DNA testing wasnt done in the first two and therefore we do not know their gender. Our last two babies were girls that we named Noellle and Lainey. Noelle had trisomy 17 but Lainey was healthy. Endometriosis sucks.

At the time, these losses were horrifying but now we understand more of what Gods plan was all along. And, I’ll be honest….I would go through all the heartache again just to get my Lainey.

 

Today is Birth Mother’s Day

Mamamama, she says in one long babble while also signing Mama and patting me on the back. That is what I came home to last night after a long week of work. We walked around the neighborhood chasing the neighbors cats, smelling flowers, picking up rocks, kissing the neighbors dog statue and we played on her swing.

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We read books. Her favorites right now are the ones that you can touch and feel, Pete the Cat books, Llama llama books and 100 first words that she absolutely loves to point to and try to either say what each thing is or sign if she can’t say it yet. She is learning new signs quite often now! She also loves animal books and when Mama and Daddy make the animal noises and movements. She can bark, act like a monkey and a giraffe (of course!!!!!).

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About a week ago she started signing sleep when she is ready for bed while reading so we open up our Jesus loves me book and we sing. We hug and kiss and we go to bed. She rarely cries. She is a good baby.

She is my rainbow baby. She filled me with life after several years of a pain-filled, dark storm. She is a gift. A great gift from her birth Mother. I pray that as I receive wet Mother’s Day kisses tomorrow from my Lainey that her birth mother knows how so very loved this child is. That she can continue to have peace in her heart that the selfless decision she made to not only allow Lainey life, but to allow Lainey life with her Daddy and I was a good one. I cannot imagine the ache her heart must feel wondering what Lainey must look like or what her sweet little voice must sound like. Just tonight, her Grandma said how she loves how it is so quiet and scratchy sounding!

I am just now beginning to see some of the real meanings of what being a mama truly is. Perhaps the most important thing is that she is first. Always. She will always be before me. I think you are an amazing birth mother and knew Lainey should be first all along. You put her first before you, too. That’s why you chose me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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and then there were three

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It was a beautiful fall day and we met the photographer at a local winery for our first official family pictures. The plan was to take our pictures before we went to the court house with with her also accompanying us there.

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We would be meeting our attorney at the courthouse  before our hearing time, a woman we have only corresponded with over the phone and online. In the past ten months we have worked closely with two attorneys, both amazing women. She was just as I imagined.

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While sitting in the court room she shared two things she learned through her journey of parenthood. First, rather than saying “no” when a child misbehaves she said she learned to tell her children, “we don’t do that“. When a child learns the word “no” they will quickly begin telling us “no“, which honestly becomes old very quickly! “We don’t do that” is a sentence and therefore is something they cannot repeat for quite some time. And, let me tell you, she is very correct. Even Adam and I don’t swim in the dog’s water dish, so we feel really good about saying “we don’t do that!“.

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Next, she said when she got older she wished that she did not react as loudly when her children misbehaved…especially in public. We all know this to be beneficial. We know that if we speak quietly they will, themselves, be more likely (but certainly not guaranteed!) to quiet down to listen. The question is if I’ll have that self-control!

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I have only ever gone to court for medical cases, for situations that I was not emotionally entangled with. To say that our emotions weren’t high would be false. We were excited for days before!

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The five of us (our attorney, Lainey, Adam, myself and our photographer) went in to the courtroom shortly before our hearing time. We all stood when the judge came in. It was then that he asked for another case to be moved before us due to a translator being available at that moment for that person. It was surreal. This brief picture of this judge’s day reminded me of how family practice in medicine is on most days; it is so variable. The first case was a non-English speaking person with a large bill to a company that she did not pay and therefore was turned to collections. Her story was that she didn’t have enough money and had other bills to pay. You can imagine his verdict. Next on the docket: a nice young family adopting a child. #whocouldthathavebeen? And, then following us was a criminal case involving a sudanese gentleman. NOBOREDOMALLOWED.

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The judge asked everyone to leave the court room except for us for our hearing. After being sworn in, all of the little details surrounding Lainey’s birth were discussed between our attorney and the judge. Lainey’s adoption is open….but kind of not (in a way) as there are details that are private and we want them that way for both her and her birth parents. I was so very thankful at that moment that he asked all of those people to leave that room. He asked us each what we see when we look at Lainey. He asked us each what we see when we look at each other. I saw my daughter. She is beautiful. I saw an amazing man. A wonderful father that is in love with this little girl that I was holding on my lap.

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It felt much like our wedding day, some 19 years ago. We vowed to care for her physically, emotionally and financially. He came down off of the stand and congratulated us. He shook our hands. And, met the star of the show…

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We literally had our two copies of the adoption decree within 15 minutes.

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And within two weeks her birth certificate arrived, something we hadn’t seen yet! Adam took a picture and sent it to me at work as soon as the mail came.

364 nights ago I cried myself to sleep. Our alarm was set for 3:45 am so we could be sure to leave the house in time to be at the hospital in Kearney early enough for the D&C as our fourth child had passed, a daughter we later named Lainey Lynne’. We knew that was the last pregnancy I would ever have. We were at the lowest point of our life.

Tonight, my daughter is sleeping soundly in her room. She’s been sick this past week so I can hear a faint cough occasionally but quite honestly? It’s a beautiful sound. She’s freaking amazing. Everything about  her is crazy amazing! She’s for real. It’s real. This is all real. It is December 1, 2015 everyone and Lainey Noelle is still here. At our home. She never left. No one ever came to take her away. It wasn’t a joke. She’s ours. We are her’s.

All of this, this whole journey that started on January 21st? It is forever.

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…looking back…

Look back with me, would you, to June…

I’d love to write that she is a Daddy’s girl but she isn’t. She’s both a Mama’s and Daddy’s girl. She’s already figured us out and seems to know what she’ll get from each of us. There is something special, though in seeing the love of my life holding our child. It’s easy to fall in love with him all over again. 

He sends silly pics of he and Lainey to me at work often!

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Father’s Day was low-key but special just the same because Adam is a Daddy now! Again, the year of dreams coming true has continued! He loves his days with her. He says he is the happiest now that he ever remembers being in his life. I always taught in Lamaze that Father’s should try to come up with something special that is for just between them and their babe and Adam knew this. He took off with sign language from the very beginning with Lainey. Research has well proven the benefits of signing with infants and toddlers so I think this is amazing but he is doing it for entirely different reasons! During Lainey’s feedings he wears an ear piece and watches videos to learn how to sign. His goal is for the two of them to actually use sign as a second language. I was told (very early on) that if I want to know (someday) what they are talking about in a restaurant I better follow along! It’s hard! I can only handle about one word a day but I’ve got to keep going so I know when they are talking about me when Lainey gets older!

I’ve said it before and I’ll never stop saying it. Lainey and I are the luckiest girls on earth. Adam will never stop loving us, never stop doing, giving, caring…I love being on this journey called parenthood with him.

Lainey received an incredible gift shortly before Father’s Day. From her birth father. When she was born we did not know who he was and therefore had no information regarding her paternal side. He came forward, however wanting Lainey to be able to someday know where she came from if she so desires to know. How wonderful to have this final piece of information for her! We all want to know where we came from. We all want to know our story. We will forever be thankful to her birth parents for her amazing gift of life. There are simply no words. None. We still pinch ourselves most days to be sure this life we are living is real!

Oh! And, if you follow Adam on Instagram…this isn’t “spiderman”-it’s the sign for I love you and he has decided to capture shots like this throughout Lainey’s life to someday give her a book!

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dreams come true

Exactly one year ago I received a Mother’s Day card. This exact card, actually:

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I wept when Adam gave me this card. I wept for what I thought I would never have. The truth is that I’ve actually been a Mama for several years now, in my heart that is. I never dreamed I would get to be one in the flesh. Not even four months ago, a woman that was likely frightened and unsure came here….to our town and gave me the greatest gift I have and will ever receive.

I received another card today. It had Mama written on the outside. I wept when I read this one, too….for an entirely different reason. The beautiful woman that came here on January 21st helped make my dreams come true….just like the song says:

I know it is unlikely we will ever see this woman again…unlikely we will ever even speak, which we are at peace with. But I do know that there are birth mothers out there that may somehow have found my blog and I want these amazing, strong, selfless and beautiful women to know a few things.

My prayer for you today is that somehow, somewhere you are being loved on and cherished by someone the way that you should be. I pray that you know that we love you…in a way we never imagined we could. Everyone told us that the feelings we would have for a birth mother would feel different if we ever adopted. And, they were right. It isn’t the same kind of love that we have for Lainey or for our families. It is different. But, it is love and it will be there forever.

I pray that you know that we will only ever speak of you in a loving way. We will speak of your strength, your inner beauty, your courage and the tenderness you had when you explored every inch of Lainey before you gently placed her in our arms and gave her that one last kiss. You didn’t give Lainey up. You chose us! You did the right thing, and for that we thank you. I promise she is thriving and that we are loving on her every minute of every day. Our whole family cherishes her beyond what we could have ever imagined. I promise we will give her the world.

Please don’t hurt today from the decision you made on January 21st, for you made me a Mother! You made my dreams come true! Birth mother’s…all of you remember this….you made dreams come true!

And, so we can end with a smile…

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