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.

 

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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View More: http://taragphotography.pass.us/shana

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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View More: http://taragphotography.pass.us/shana

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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child of God

It was important to us that Adam’s Dad, Michael, be the one to do Lainey’s dedication so a trip to Mississippi was planned! She did awesome on her first trip, of course. She even continued to sleep through the night there which was great (she has slept through the night (7-10 hours) since she was 5 weeks old!).

tired mama...tired baby

tired mama…tired baby

Her dedication was done the last Sunday in March at their church and was wonderful.

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Brother Carter (Pawpaw) challenged us and all of the parents there that day to raise our children for our Lord. I will admit that when I look back at this photo I think of Simba in the Lion King and the song The Circle of Life is in my head!!! (you know you are singing the same song in your head right this minute!!) bahaha

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The gown Lainey wore is a family gown from my side of the family that my Mother and all eight of her siblings were baptized in. Almost 70 years old, a Feltman Brothers gown, it has been repaired by hand in several places in the back. Lainey spit up a small amount on it while wearing it. While I hand-washed it once we were home, I imagined my Nana doing the very same thing nine times before me years ago. Wow!

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Our Lainey girl met so many more family members, including her great grandfathers! This is precious to me as I never met any of my great grandparents.

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Great Grandaddy checks her out!

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Meeting Great Pawpaw Carter

This little gal is so loved by her family! We hope to make a trip to Florida this fall for her to meet the rest of my family next!

“So we have dedicated her to the LORD; as long as she lives she is dedicated to the LORD.” 1 Samuel 1:28

blessings abound

I’ve mentioned before that I do not know how any of you do it. How DO you get anything done?! Especially if you have more than one? My goodness. I stand up and apologize right here and right now to EVERY mama I have ever cared for as a patient or ever taught in Lamaze. I have always said you should sleep when baby sleeps…the books all say that, too. Quite frankly, this is a load of bull. When else are we to get basic life stuff done? I’ve also always said don’t let people come to visit when your baby is a newborn unless they are coming bearing gifts or food as you will be tired, etc. Both of these pieces of advice are not realistic…maybe in some alternate universe….but not here! The fact of the matter is that I have OCD and all of this laundry is FREAKING me out so there is smoke coming from my laundry room (and the dishwasher, too!)….and as for company? Are you kidding me? Of course it’d be nice to streak around the house in my underwear but it was even nicer to have Grandma and Nana here to take those 5 am feedings for almost three weeks!! Not to mention how awesome it was that baby brother aka boy, his wife Linden and my nephew Colt surprised us for a ten day visit. AWESOMESAUCE! I’ve mentioned in the past I have always dreamed of my brother and I raising children at the same time…these cousins are going to grow together and get in trouble together! My older brother’s wife, Michelle and my niece, Katia drove 11 hours (ONE WAY, mind you) to meet Miss Lainey, too! We have been so, so loved on! So, yeah….I definitely take back the rules. The rules that they taught me to teach all the mama’s and daddy’s out there about sleep and visitors and such. I’m not sure what the best way is other than somehow just do your best….and take lots of pictures!!

Speaking of being loved on. Just a few of some of the beautiful things that have happened since Lainey’s birth….

Starting when we got home, things continued to arrive to help us! People came to the house with baby clothes and other hand-me-downs, so that we could care for Lainey! The very first evening Adam went out to get something from the car and came across a box of baby girl stuff on the porch….still not sure where that came from! Our neighborhood did a “porch shower” the weekend after she was born. We had never heard of this but it was so amazing. It was on a Sunday (in a blizzard!!) and gifts just appeared on our porch at random times throughout the day. It was great as we got things we needed and we didn’t need to go anywhere! My sister/sisters-in-law held a “mail” shower right away and gifts started arriving right away that we needed! I have already shared about our milk buddies….all I am going to say is that not only have they been a huge blessing nutritionally for Lainey but this is a huge financial blessing for us. Thank you, thank you. $4 per ounce was very painful. My nurses are throwing us a shower next Saturday-we can’t wait to show Lainey off some more! People have brought food which has been wonderful….especially during the times when our house and all the beds (and then some!) were full!

I’ll leave you with some pictures:

Lainey meeting Auntie Kim

Lainey meeting Auntie Kim

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Lainey meeting Auntie Kim

Lainey  meeting Grandma via Skype

Lainey meeting Grandma via Skype

Lainey meeting cousin Colt via Skype

Lainey meeting cousin Colt via Skype

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First bath!

First bath!

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First Superbowl

First Superbowl

Her bow is actually adhered with "girlie glue" which we joked we technically could lick off at the end of the day as all it contains is agave nectar, corn syrup and  sugar!

Her bow is actually adhered with “girlie glue” which we joked we technically could lick off at the end of the day as all it contains is agave nectar, corn syrup and sugar!