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!

 

Finally a family, the story of Lainey Noelle, part 5

If you are new here, we recommend you take a minute to read our story from the beginning. I would start back at the beginning of this journey and work your way forward! Click next in the upper right-hand corner to advance after reading each post.

I start this post with this picture. This “selfie” was taken approximately one hour before Lainey was born, unbeknownst to us! This used to be a typical evening for us…we would work together in Adam’s office on sign stuff and for some reason Wednesday night, the 21st Adam said, “smile!” and took this shot….little did these two people know what lie in store for them just across town…

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January 22nd, 7 pm:

The attorney arrived. Again, another crazy amazing part of our story-that she was able to drop everything and come to Cozad, America in the middle of the work week! She was wonderful. She actually met with the birth mother before she was discharged which was really good. She felt the same way we (and all of the hospital staff) did and that is that the birth mother was very much at peace with her decision. That she had made her decision months ago and was emotionally prepared (as much as she could be) for this. She shared with us that situations like this are very rare…she referred to it as a “drive-by adoption”. She had only experienced one other similar situation and was confident that the birth mother was not going to change her mind. This had been one of our big concerns with adoptions…approximately 20% fail (ie: the birth mother decides to parent their child-which is actually a wonderful thing but still is scary). Not to mention our concerns regarding drug, alcohol or tobacco use….which the birth mother did NONE of! Praise the Lord!

The attorney had already arranged to meet with the birth mother in 36 hours to sign the final paperwork and had already contacted the other certified adoption attorney to represent us so things were well taken care of!

Shortly after this some of my peers from the hospital started trickling in with little blessings. One brought a basinete, another pushed in a wheelchair full of diapers, formula and blankies. Gift bags began appearing throughout the night with onesies and other necessetties! We barely slept a wink, I only 30 minutes and Adam about an hour and a half. Adam kept saying, “this is the best night of my life!” over and over again! At about 4am we began watching our mandatory videos…you know, the ones about SIDS, don’t shake your baby, etc. There was one about postpartum issues and at one point it mentioned smelly discharge. It said, if this happens, be sure to contact your doctor…to which Adam, said, “you aren’t kidding me! We’ll be contacting someone if that happens!”. Other videos mentioned things you should do before your baby is born….uhhhh, I guess we missed the boat on those things!

We also got online and ordered a car seat/stroller combo and ordered some organic formula to be over-nighted. I hate to sound like a freak….but, I remember years ago this memorandum coming across my desk from the FDA stating that similac or enfamil (I cannot recall which it was) had “exceeded” the allowable amount of beetle parts and therefore was being recalled. Why were any beetle parts allowed? Now, I realize we can’t put Lainey in a bubble and protect her from everything and heck, there may even be beetle parts in the organic formula but it has just always freaked me out so I couldn’t wait to get that formula. I also knew I wanted to give her some breast milk if possible due to it being influenza/cough/cold season.

I knew there were milk banks (where breast milk is pasteurized and tested, etc) in a few places in the United States but didn’t know quite how to go about getting milk from them. I started with calling Milk Works in Lincoln which is a baby boutique with awesome gift items used to fund their breast feeding education. They stock breast milk that women can buy until their milk comes in, etc. Our neighbor happened to be in Lincoln so was able to pick it up for us! They sold us all that they had…32 oz….for $160!!! Yeppers, $5 per ounce! Liquid gold. They gave us the contact info for the University of Iowa and the milk bank in Denver where we bought coolers of milk to be over-nighted on dry ice. Theirs was a steal at only $4 per ounce. We were just thankful that they sold it to us at all as apparently there is a shortage of breast milk in the United States and it is usually just reserved for premature or sick infants but adopted infants are automatically included so we just needed a prescription from her doctor and we were good to go! Now, this is jumping ahead but I want to share with you another blessing….a HUGE, GINORMOUS blessing! Several women in our amazing community heard we were buying breast milk and contacted us. These women are very healthy and are breast feeding their own infants and have provided us with frozen milk. Again, God is so good and Lainey lurves her milk buddies!!!

Okay, enough of being off on that tangent….we had to learn how to give her a bath the next morning and get her dressed…again very thankful for the clothes people were bringing! Thankfully one of the nurse’s has an infant and LITERALLY loaned us her car seat so we could bring Lainey home! After we got home Adam drove the car seat back to the hospital to her! Miss Lainey was very quickly becoming Cozad’s sweetheart! I leave you now with pictures and a video of the end of our hospital stay. I wear my emotions on my sleeve so as I have struggled the last couple of years, these people….these peers of mine have witnessed this. So, not only were we celebrating bringing Lainey home….so, too were they. They were celebrating the gift we finally received! The love we felt was palpable! This is not the end of Lainey Noelle’s story….just the end of her hospital stay. It is really just the beginning of her story and I have much more to write! God’s blessings are so very amazing. Remember, that just two months before sweet Lainey’s birth I was pregnant so adoption may not have even been on our radar and a few weeks before I had yet to be cleared through the FBI, state, etc! God is so good! We know now that everything was all part of His carefully orchestrated plan. His steadfast love is never ending and I cannot wait to continue to share our story with you!

(turn your volume up and enjoy!)

 

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she gave life, we’ll give the world, the story of Lainey Noelle part 4

If you are new here, we recommend you take a minute to read our story from the beginning. I would start back at the beginning of this journey and work your way forward! Click next in the upper right-hand corner to advance after reading each post.

January 22nd, 3pm:

We sat in our room by ourselves with this tiny human in shock! We were giddy like school kids with a new toy! We immediately took the below (blurry) photo and sent out this text to our family (some of which had no idea of what had transpired!): Our daughter, Lainey Noelle was born last night at 8:13 pm. She weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 21″ long.

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We knew she had been loved on by the nurse’s but not by a Mama or Daddy so we immediately ripped our shirts off and began skin-to-skin time! She lay like that on us for the next six hours (and most of the time through the night)….leaving our chests only once.

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We are pretty old school folks and prior to Lainey only had flip phones….yes, I know…flip phones, can you believe it?! I am sure we were embarrassing for the nieces and nephews to be seen with in public! Oh the horrors! We always said that whenever we have a baby we will upgrade to smart phones so we can take better photos. I mean for pete’s sake, my phone was so old that it couldn’t even receive pictures any more and when I did want to send a picture to someone I could only send it to a single person at a time. One. Person. At. A. Time. Imagine, will you, what that was like announcing Lainey to our family. We both had our early turn of the century flip phones trying to announce the best thing EVER to the world! To be fair, Adam did have his work phone with him which was a smart phone so we pretty much had smoke coming out of all three phones that evening! The shock and awe factor was high in our family to say the least…as you can imagine. Well, as it has been for most of you as well!

Welcome to the 21st century!!!

Welcome to the 21st century!!!

As a side note, upgrading to smart phones was one of the first things we did upon discharge….this little gal is going to make us young (and probably old)!

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At around 5:45 pm (just shy of a mere 22 hours after her birth), Lainey’s birth mother came into our room and said she was being discharged and wanted to say her final goodbyes. She was teary and held her briefly, kissed her also. Lainey has several “stork bites”-one on the back of her head, one in the center of her forehead and one on each eyelid. Her birth mother handed her back to me and said, “Oh look, she already has two angel kisses from her two sisters” (she was referring to Noelle and Lainey) and she pointed to the birth marks on her eye lids. All I could do was cry. She was so very appreciative of Adam and I. She wouldn’t stop thanking us. Like we were doing her a favor, when the truth was she was giving us the biggest gift someone can give….life. This amazing, strong, beautiful selfless woman chose us. She gave us this gift. I weep even now for her. Thank you Lord for this woman. Lord, be with her always.

My Mother-in-law and I were talking today about a book she is reading about how some people ask why if a woman loves someone, are they able to give them up for adoption? My answer to someone like that is the birth mother has so very much love for their child that they are not “giving them up”, they are giving them a life. This courageous woman gave my daughter life (praise God) and we are going to do everything in our power to give her the world while showing her God’s love!

Shortly after Lainey’s birth mother left the hospital, staff informed us that technically if we got all of the mandatory videos watched we could go home that very night. Say whaaaa? We had nothin’. I mean nothin’. We didn’t even have a laundry basket to put her in as all of our laundry baskets are the tall wicker types. If you remember, earlier in my blog I mentioned all of the baby stuff we had been gifted in the past from friends and family for our future child(ren). Well, after we lost Noelle in 2013 we couldn’t handle it anymore. Having a “baby’s” room full of “baby” stuff was too painful. Even if we kept the door shut we still knew it was there and it hurt. We donated some of it but the majority of it we shipped in wardrobe boxes to my brother and his wife for their little one. I remember boxing it up and feeling angry but that feeling turned to relief when all of the stuff was gone. So, when I say we had nothing….I mean, we had nothing. I had one crocheted blanket from a patient back in Tecumseh that I kept all of these years, but that is it! So, when they mentioned going home, we were like, “ummmm….please don’t make us leave”. Needless, to say…we stayed.

*stay tuned for more!

 

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A Miracle! the story of Lainey Noelle, part 3

If you are new here, we recommend  you take a minute to read our story from the beginning. I would start back at the beginning of this journey and work your way forward! Click next in the upper right-hand corner to advance after reading each post.

Thursday afternoon 12:45 pm (January 22nd): It felt like a foreign place…like I had never been there when in reality I had hundreds of times before. We walked to her room and the Social Worker looked at Adam and I and asked us if we were ready? How could we be ready? What would we say? What do you say to a woman that has a child that you want?! I was trembling. The three of us entered her room and she was sitting on her bed. We said hello and I walked to her bedside. I think my instincts of greeting a patient as I had done many times before upon first entering their room kicked in. As I neared her though I began to cry, making me stop in my tracks. I said “I guess I’m not sure how to do this”, to which she replied “me, either-how can anyone know how?”. I responded with saying “why don’t we get to know one another by just visiting then?”. We pulled two chairs up next to her bed while she sat on the edge of her bed. The Social Worker stayed with us the entire time. I started by telling her about us, how we met, got married, what we do, how we live-basically our story. I told her about our babies, including our last two little girls, Noelle in 2013 and Lainey in 2014. She told us about herself, about how she grew up, what she does now and she shared her dreams for her future. This was an unplanned pregnancy, the father unknown. She had soul-searched since the very beginning of the pregnancy and knew she could not provide for this child the way she would want to. She stated, “I have so many friends that should have made this exact decision for their child and they didn’t….and I don’t want to be like that”. She knew what she wanted. While this was clearly the most painful decision she had ever made, she was at peace with it.

At about 2 pm someone came in to visit with her about the birth certificate. They told her they needed to get it completed as soon as possible and that she could put whatever name she would like on it and that it would later be changed once the adoption was completed. It is at this time that our miracle was truly, truly shown to us. The birth mother’s response to this staff member? “Well, they are her parents…so, they are the ones that should choose her name and her last name should definitely be Carter on her birth certificate.”. Adam and I both looked at each other with tears going down our face. AH.MAZ.ING. There are no words for how we felt at that time. No words. Absolutely none.

The woman looked at Adam and I and asked us what we wanted to name her and we responded by saying, “well, umm….hmmm, err….we, uhh….didn’t know we would need a baby name, today…ummm…..can we have a minute?”. After she left we asked her birth mother what her middle name was and if she would like us to use it in the baby’s name or if she had any ideas, thoughts or recommendations, to which she responded by saying “I really think you should come up with a way to combine Lainey and Noelle together, you know, your other daughter’s names.”. I was floored. This woman was giving us this gift, her child….and actually picked up on that small detail from our story when we were talking! I asked her if she thought it would be weird if we actually just named her Lainey Noelle and she said “absolutely not…I think that is what you should do!”.

She had yet to meet Lainey Noelle at this time. We asked her if she would like to and she was still hesitant. We shared two things with her from our (very brief) education we had received so far from our home study. First, we were taught that a mother had to say hello before she can ever say good-bye. The Social Worker that is doing our home study also shared a story with us of a mother that placed a baby for adoption years ago that was not allowed to see her baby at birth. For decades this poor mother has dreamed of a “faceless” baby every night. Lainey’s birth mother decided to meet her. It was beautiful. She unwrapped her and counted her toes, kissed her, held her and loved her like only a mother can do.

After about an hour of Lainey, her birth mother and Adam and I being together it was time for Adam, Lainey and I to go to our room (yes, OUR room!). We told the birth mother to please come to our room to visit whenever she would like, to which she responded “no, I need to grieve”. As we were taken to our new room by our nurse (at about 3 pm), the other nurses and staff that were just then becoming aware of the miracle that was happening before them began to cry. Ours is a small hospital…only 21 beds but we were taken to a different hallway. It was incredible to think that in our hallway it was the best day of our lives but in the other hallway, someone was having the worst day of theirs.

*more to come

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