Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Ruby is Born

I hardly slept. When counting sheep didn't work I tried other animals but eventually gave up and listened to the rain. I finally started to drift to sleep when Jason's alarm went off at 4:30 am. We looked at each other and smiled before jumping out of bed. He leaned over to kiss me and whispered, "here we go!" After getting dressed and gathering our things I snuck into Jade's room and said goodbye then got in the car. It was still raining and dark outside. We were both chatty on the way to the hospital and I appreciated Jason's humorous mood.

I had said the date October 11th so many times but it felt strange writing it as I filled out paperwork at the hospital. October 11th was in the future for so long and now it was here! After checking in we were sent to Labor and Delivery where we were greeted with, "Oh! You must be our c-section. Welcome!" That was nice to know that the hospital wasn't buzzing with a billion patients and the staff was aware of me. We were brought to a hospital room where I changed into a gown and climbed in the bed. Whoa, this was really happening. When they started an antibiotic through my IV I asked the nurse if it would make me sick and she promised I wouldn't feel a thing. I was throwing up thirty seconds later.

Before long I was in the bright, sterile room getting prepped for the spinal block. That was the part I feared more than anything and it really wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. But when they laid me down after the shot my body started to fall asleep and that was an uncomfortable feeling. I could no longer see what the staff were doing, only hear them chat with each other as they got things ready. The doctors came in, followed by Jason and I immediately felt comforted seeing his face appear on my side of the curtain. He held my hand and my nerves settled a bit. I couldn't feel a thing. I listened to the two doctors banter back and forth and take an occasional playful jab at the anesthesiologist or one of the nurses. They were all friends that seemed to work together often and the way they bickered about politics and the upcoming election, sports, and whatever else was on their mind made me think that they hadn't started yet. When I asked Jason if they had he responded, "oh yeah!" and a minute later they announced they were ready to pull her out. My head was fuzzy and I couldn't tell if it was the medication or the circumstance. The doctor asked the time and it was 7:59am. He said they would wait till 8am so she would be born on the dot and then almost in unison the room started chanting, "55, 56, 57, 58, 59..."

And then I heard her scream. My honest first thought was, "there really was a baby in there? She made it full-term? I grew a baby inside me??" You'd think I would have known! She didn't stop screaming and panic set in. My honest second thought, and please don't judge me (or you can but I'm just being honest) was, "put her back! I'm not ready to do this!"

A lot of people told me what I would feel when I saw my child for the first time. I was told that I would feel closer to heaven the moment I saw her than ever before, that it would be more spiritual and magical than anything I'd ever experienced. I am so happy for those that feel such things at first sight but having been prepped for that made me feel terribly guilty when I didn't. Trust me, I have had incredible experiences with my babies and felt more love than I had ever imagined possible since their birth but for me it didn't happen right away. Of course I immediately loved her, but the whole experience for me was strange and new. I felt nervous and a little uncomfortable and guilty that I was bawling my head off.

I could sort of see her from across the room as they wiped her down and weighed her. 7 lbs. 8.5 oz. Again, she really grew in me? And she's healthy? I still couldn't get my head around the fact that the little baby that I was looking at was the little moving thing we called Ruby in my belly. They wrapped her up and started taking her out when I asked if they would let me see her. They brought her over and held her close to my head. It was hard to see her and my mind was going a million miles a minute. She looked so unfamiliar. She was just a tiny little stranger that I was looking at yet I couldn't stop kissing her cheeks. She continued to scream and finally they took her out of the room. I laid there trying to process what just happened while they finished stitching me up.

When they brought me back to the room Ruby was already in there on a little heating table, still screaming. Jason and his mom were in the room near her but weren't allowed to pick her up. Nurses kept coming in asking each other if they had found it yet. Found what? And why was my baby just lying there screaming? Couldn't I just hold her now? Shouldn't I be trying to feed her? Finally a nurse came to tell me that they had lost my paperwork and they couldn't bathe her and give her shots without it. Her body temperature was also low and they needed to raise it, which is why she had to remain on the heating pad. TWO HOURS went by. My poor baby was starving and making sure we all knew it!  They never found my paperwork and eventually had me fill it out again. Then they took her temperature with a different thermometer and learned that her body temperature was fine the whole time but the batteries in the first thermometer were low. So my newborn baby was taken from her cozy little womb and left starving on a table for over two hours without being fed or held or snuggled for no better reason than their stupid thermometer was dying! I was so upset and sad for my little Ruby, who was finally bathed and brought over to me to really see for the first time. She latched on immediately and ate as I stared at her, trying to see at least one familiar feature on her face. To me, she looked nothing like either of us.

I believe the whole experienced traumatized her a bit and she had a hard time adjusting to the world for the first few weeks. She fought against me when I tried to feed her, fussed and cried incessantly, and hardly slept day and night. What was I doing wrong? Jade never cried, ate well, slept all the time and woke up happy so I had no idea what to do or how to help Ruby. Luckily I had help. Jason's mom came for the first week and a half and took great care of me while I healed and helped with Jade. My mom came for the second week and a half and took over and I am so thankful for moms!

Before I knew it my three weeks of help were up and it was time for me to do it on my own. All of a sudden the crazy story of adopting and then going to have another baby 3 1/2 months later became real. I had no idea how I was going to do it. I hadn't been left alone yet so my skills were still untested but ready or not, I was on my own. I said goodbye to my mom and Jason drove her to the airport and I was officially alone with my two girls. I laid Jade down for her last nap of the day and was getting ready to feed Ruby when madness erupted. I was alone with them not five minutes when my world flipped upside down. I could NOT believe what was happening!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Last Day

I painfully maneuvered myself out of bed for the fourth or fifth time this morning and shuffled to the bathroom. The clock had a 3, a 4, and a 9 on it but I can't remember the order. I rolled back in bed and felt shooting pains in about seven different areas of my body. One more night of this. That thought spun my head into a billion others and I lied there wide awake. It was dark out and the only sound was the soft buzz of our baby monitor. Ruby started to move and I relished in the feeling. Tomorrow I would no longer feel that and she will be in my arms. I can say that so easily but it is hard for me to wrap my head around. It is so strange to be having a baby when I already have a new baby in the next room, with whom I happened to be very much in love. How can I possibly love anything else as much as I love her? Does every mom feel this way before their second child comes? I know I will love her every bit as much, it's just difficult to comprehend until she arrives. Don't get my neurotic emotions wrong, I wouldn't change our situation for the anything.
I heard Jade take a deep breath through the monitor and let out a sweet sigh and I smiled thinking about her. The strangest emotion came over me and I had to hold her. I tried to fight the urge away knowing it was silly to risk waking her, but it grew stronger and stronger. This was my last day of just us and I wanted her in my arms in that moment more than anything in the world. I slid out of bed and clinched my teeth in response to the pain of being 9 months pregnant as I walked to her room. I scooped her up and waddled to the little, broken recliner occupying our loft where I watched her sleep for I don't know how long. She is perfect and she has changed me.

I held her until the sun came up and her eyes opened. She smiled at me so big until her toothless gums shined and I started to cry. I sobbed as I told her how much I love her and what a gift she is to us and I couldn't stop. I cried because of how much I fear I'll miss being so preoccupied with balancing two babies, because I'm scared and happy and excited and grateful. Wow, am I pregnant or what? Soon enough Jade was crying with me, but it wasn't as much an empathetic cry as it was a hungry cry. So I wiped my eyes and we started our day.

It's weird that this is our last day with just Jade. Tomorrow everything changes. This may be more for me than anyone else, but before I forget I wanted to record a few things about our first little miracle.

Jade came into this world with huge, inquisitive eyes that took in everything around her. That hasn't changed a bit. She is never in her own little world, she watches what everyone is doing and shows her curiosity through her eyebrows. People stop in restaurants and stores to comment on her expressive eyebrows and darling face. One person said it perfectly when she said that she looks like an emoticon because she is so expressive. She is the most easy going baby in the world and never gives us a hard time for no reason. She has responded super well to a schedule and started sleeping through the night at six weeks and has never woken up in the night since then. She held on to her smiles until she was sure of us then started handing them out openly around eight weeks. She laughed for the first time two weeks ago and I have never been so addicted to a sound. I will spend a half hour blowing on her tummy, making funny sounds, doing faces no one else should ever see, or dancing like a maniac just to get a two second giggle out of her. Waste of my time? Not a split second of it.

Now it's late Wednesday night and I am packed and ready for tomorrow. Whether I'm calm or I'm freaking out tomorrow is still going to happen so I've decided to choose calm. Pray that I sleep tonight. It's my last night being pregnant. Tomorrow Ruby is born.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gets Me Every Time!

Before Jade was born my wonderful friends Kristin and Heather threw me the most AMAZING baby shower. I had never seen anything like it and you can see the post on it here from Heather, the lovely face behind the famous creative blog Whipperberry. Anyway, Kristin, who introduced us to Bailey in the first place, wrote this poem and attached it to the back of each invitation. I cried when I read it and I had to share it with all of you. We all remember The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, right? So this poem goes to the theme song of Fresh Prince and is written from our daughters' perspective. Enjoy!

Now this is the story all about how
Lives get flipped, turned upside down
We'd like to take a minute, just sit right there
So we can share a story 'bout how we became a pair

A wedding, some schooling, a popular show--
All were fulfilling, but without US, you know?
Plenty of tries and doctors who cared
Couldn't get us earthbound, but we were prepared

We put our heads together, came up with a plan
We said, "We'll get to our folks however we can!"
With loving sacrifice from a special young lady
One could go first, we decided on Jadie

Everything was set for an earthly debut
Little did they know that they would get two!
As sisters and best friends we just couldn't bare
To be separated for more than our share

Here's the best part, a bit a surprise
Mom turned up pregnant--aren't we just wise?
Three months apart we agreed was okay
Then we'd be reunited--Oh happy day!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


How could we not be eligible? We submitted our background check information months ago and both of us are annoyingly, squeaky clean. How could there be a hold up? Bailey had to wait 72 hours after Jade's birth before she could sign the adoption papers and place Jade with an eligible couple. When that time came we were not an eligible couple so she couldn't sign the papers. I don't know how I fell in love with someone overnight but I did and the thought of us not having her tore me to pieces.

Luckily Bailey chose to have Jade still be with us instead of a foster-type half way house that she could have gone to until the papers were signed. We had no idea how long that would be and having our baby without papers signed is so unsettling. But when Bailey texted and asked if she could come see us and Jade because she was having a hard time and felt like it might help, we felt peaceful about the whole situation and invited her over for dinner. Sure, the papers weren't signed and the more she saw Jade the more she'd fall in love with her, but Bailey's strength and dedication to her decision from the beginning put us at ease and we were so happy to have her involved in Jade's life. Originally Bailey did not want any contact after Jade was born and we respected that but hoped she'd change her mind. She thought that it would hurt too much to see her and tried to guess and prepare for what she would feel, but what she felt when Jade was born was totally different than she had expected. She described it as a wonderful peace and knew that God was holding her through the entire experience. We weren't worried about Bailey coming to visit even though the papers weren't signed because we knew that Jade was our daughter and more importantly Bailey knew it.

Two weeks later our background checks came through and we met with our social worker, case worker, notary, witnesses and our dear Bailey and we signed the adoption papers. Jade's birth father had already relinquished his rights months ago so that was already taken care of. Some birth-moms view this day as one of the hardest but our experience with Bailey wasn't sad in the slightest. It was exciting to see each other again and we knew that this wasn't the last time.

Jade is still not legally ours. We have physical custody but the agency has legal custody for the first six months of her life. Our case worker comes and visits every month to see how things are going and to make sure we are not crazies. At the end of the six months (assuming they don't think we are crazies and we are seen fit) we will go through all the legal mumbo jumbo and she will legally become ours.
Today Jade is 11 weeks old. She will become a big sister in exactly one month from today and I am FREAKING out! We had to schedule a c-section because 5 years ago I broke my pelvis in four different places and I won't be able to deliver vaginally. At first I was bummed but I am okay with it now, just concerned about having a 3 1/2 month old, a newborn, and recovering from major abdominal surgery all at the same time. Luckily we've learned that we aren't given anything we can't handle and I know we'll find a way.

One thing I know for sure is these two girls are meant to be together. When I wrote about Jade being born in the last post I forgot to tell about an incredible thing that I got to experience as she came out. As soon as Bailey started to push and Jade's head was appearing, Ruby went NUTS inside of me. I had never before felt anything like that and it was amazing. She was doing flips inside my stomach like she was rejoicing as Jade entered the world. When I told my mom about this experience she reminded me of the story of Elisabeth in Luke 1:41 when she heard the greeting of Mary and her babe (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb. It was such a special experience because of my unique situation that I know not everyone gets to have, and I felt blessed to be able to physically feel the love and connection between my two daughters. I may have to remind them of that when they are older and pulling each other's hair out. The past 2 1/2 months has changed our life completely. One month from today it'll all change again. Am I ready??? Would you be?

My two girls!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


We have a tradition in my family to do breakfast in bed for birthdays. I carried that tradition with me into my marriage and I got up early to make Jason breakfast in bed. I set my alarm but there was certainly no need for that. I couldn't sleep. I watched the clock turn from 3 am to 4 am to 5 and so on until I finally just got myself out of bed around 6:30. As exciting as making a big breakfast may sound, that's not what was keeping me awake. I was supposed to become a mother today. A storm of emotions hit my insides the first time I got up to go to the bathroom a little before 3 am. This is what I had always dreamed of and of course I was beyond happy, but that was not my only emotion. I would feel a twist in my heart every time I thought of what Bailey would have to do today. Was the happiest day of our lives going to be her hardest? We have grown to love her more than I can express and it killed me to think about the emotions she was going to have to face. But she is stronger than I am and she saw the eternal picture better than any of us. I was talking to her on the phone a few nights before and she said something incredible. She was talking about how grateful she was for this whole experience and she said, "I love Jade so much for who she has helped me become. I mean, I am a whale with this giant belly, I have stretchmarks on my boobs and my butt, yet I have never felt more beautiful. She has helped me become someone that I want to be for the rest of my life." I was amazed as I listened to her perspective and the things she was taking from this experience. Bailey is 19 years old but her maturity and understanding blew me away. She is my hero.

Bailey was induced at 2pm on Sunday, June 24th. Since it was going to take awhile until she would actually be ready to deliver we were instructed to just wait at home and they would call when it was time for us to head over to the hospital. Just waiting at home is way harder than it sounds! What was Bailey feeling now that it was finally here? Was she having second thoughts? Were we really about to become parents? Every few hours we would receive a text from Bailey or her mom, Michelle, with an update. Not much was happening and we continued to wait. We watched White Collar on Netflix to kill the time but hit our last episode by 8:00pm. Still nothing. Neither of us had seen Meet Joe Black and we decided to watch it, though it was a three hour movie and we didn't think we'd finish it. We finished it and still nothing. At 11:15pm I got a text from Michelle saying that Bailey was dilated to a 6 and the nurse would be back to check her again in an hour. Thirty minutes later she texted again saying Bailey was now at an 8 and to hurry to the hospital. We made it to the room around 12:20am. Bailey's dad, two younger sisters and younger brother came in a few minutes after us. She was progressing super fast at this point and the nurse started prepping Bailey to deliver.

I felt so different standing there. Although we had gotten to know and love everyone there, in that moment I felt like a stranger watching this family come together to witness their daughter and sister give life to a perfect little girl. I felt unworthy to be involved in such a sacred experience, yet this perfect little girl was going to be our daughter. Bailey had included us since she first met us five months before and I was so touched and grateful that she had invited us to watch the birth of our daughter. She knew that Jade was ours, that she was the vessel that got to bring her to us, and she knew how important it was for us to be there. She made sure that I could see everything and when it came time for her to push she asked me to be at one of her legs and her mom at the other. That made me feel so happy.

It was probably 1:05 in the morning when Bailey's doctor came in, snapped on some gloves, sat down and told her to push. The next three minutes were the most pure, hallowed, and life-changing three minutes of my life. First her head, then her tiny little body came into this world and the room broke out in emotion. They placed her onto Bailey and Bailey sobbed. That was when I lost all control of my polite, quiet, little tears and I bawled. Bailey's little sisters were also bawling and Michelle buried her head in her husband's chest and cried. My heart broke. What were we doing to this family? How could we take this baby away from such incredible people who obviously love her? Then as everyone passed her around and cried as they looked into her big, wide eyes I made my way back over to Bailey. "I feel so much peace!" she told me after we hugged. "I didn't know how I would feel but I really just feel peaceful. I just know this is so right." I cried again, of course, seeing her strength and hearing her conviction. I realized that  I was misinterpreting the emotions in the room. We weren't taking a baby from anyone. Bailey was placing her baby into our care and giving us a daughter because she knew it was right for her baby and loved her enough to put her first. Her family loved her and stood behind her in her decision, also knowing it was the best thing for Jade. We were going to be the recipients of the most selfless, charitable, and Christ-like gift ever given. I held Jade in my arms for the first time and tried to understand the sensation. I wish there were words, or at least that I was better with them, to explain what I felt. She was beautiful, but she was a little stranger to me and I couldn't believe that I was going to be her mom.

Jason and I left the hospital a couple hours later and walked to our car in silence. We were both terrified to become parents and if I am being honest we both felt a little worried because we didn't feel like parents right away. I realized later that it's because we weren't parents right away. Jade was Bailey's baby and that time she spent with her in the hospital was important and special for both of them. She became ours when we took her home from the hospital the following day after a tearful goodbye to our sweet Bailey. I felt it settle in as I sat in the back with Jade and held her little hand with my finger the whole drive home. It was amazing what happened to me in those thirty minutes. It honestly felt like a transformation from a disney movie, like stars and sparkles should have swirled around me as I turned into a mother on the drive to our house.

I didn't sleep much that night. I got up to feed her every few hours and when I was able to fall asleep I dreamt about feeding her. I didn't mind one bit. I already loved being a mom!

The next day we got a call from our caseworker. There was a snag in the paperwork and our background checks hadn't come through. I asked what that meant and almost dropped the phone when I heard her response.

"That means that right now you are ineligible to adopt this baby."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Gems!

The idea of two girls was overwhelming me! All I could think of was the drama, the hormones, the fights over clothes, friends, and boys. How would we ever handle two girls? I felt guilty for feeling more overwhelmed than excited but I couldn't help but worry about how things would be. Then I got a text from my sweet BL sister Hannah after she found out that said, "Aaah!! Sisters!" and I realized that any drama that may come attached with having two girls so close in age will all be worth it because they'll be sisters! There are very few relationships more special and important in this life than that of sisters.  I have five sisters and they are my very best friends. Our girls will always have each other and I wouldn't change having two girls even if I could. I couldn't be more excited!

Time started disappearing and our first baby's due date was getting closer. Jason and I had decided we wanted to name her Jade shortly after we found out she was a girl. We have both loved that name independently of each other since before we got married, so it wasn't a hard choice. There were actually no other girl names in the running so when we found out that I am also carrying a girl we were stumped with no names in mind whatsoever. My friends and I met up with our husbands after the ultrasound when we found out I was having a girl, too, and we started talking about names. Since Jade is a gemstone we joked about naming her after a stone as well. It was amusing to us as we listed off stones and laughed at how funny they would be as names. One friend said, "you could name her Diamond! Haha, or Sapphire!" We all laughed and then another said, "or Amethyst. Hahaha! Or Ruby!"

Ruby...hmm... Ruby! I like it! I have a great aunt Ruby who I respect and love so much and would love to keep her name in the family. I stopped our game by saying, "Wait! I actually kind of like the name Ruby." Jason perked up and said, "I love it!" I was surprised at how animated and excited he was. He said he used to tutor a couple little girls and the younger of the two sisters was named Ruby, who was super cute, so it left a good taste in his mouth. Plus he agreed that she would be lucky to be named after such a saint like Aunt Ruby. So that's how we decided on the name Ruby. What started out as a joke to name them both after gemstones turned real, and even though Ruby isn't even here with us yet both of their names are so fitting. I'm not sure if anyone cared to know about their names but you got the story regardless.

I had waited a long time to even let myself think and get excited about a nursery, but it was finally time! For help I called on my dear friend Heather, who is not only one of my closest friends but also creative master and face behind Whipperberry, one of the greatest creative blogs out there. My style for a baby girls nursery is far from the traditional pinks, pastels, princesses, etc. so here's what we came up with. Well, you get to see one side of the room anyway. I have been lazy and haven't taken any pictures of the whole thing yet. I will.... some day I will.

I felt like if I got the nursery ready, clothes washed, diapers stocked and every baby thing I could think of readily available then I would feel prepared to have a baby join us. Who was I kidding? Everything was ready except for me. I had no idea what to do with a baby! Everyone says it just comes naturally when you become a mother but what if it didn't for me? I mean, was there something that came with giving birth to your child that allowed those natural instincts to kick in? I wasn't giving birth to my child   so was I going to miss out on that? I prayed that wouldn't be the case and tried to stay calm and relaxed but again, who was I kidding? I was freaking out.

Jason and I both went with Bailey to her last doctor's appointment and we were all surprised when they did an ultrasound! We were excited to get to see this cute little face and wondered if it's what she would really look like. For the record, she does this grimace all the time!  

The doctor scheduled Bailey to be induced that coming Sunday, June 24th. That was Jason's 30th birthday and it was three days away. THREE DAYS! I spent the next three days biting my nails down to little stubs. Each hour felt like a year and it was hard to believe that Sunday would ever come. But guess what? It came.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Deep Breath

I probably should have practiced what I might say to Bailey because I was all over the place, but somehow at the end of my ramblings I managed to get out, "and believe it or not I am pregnant!" I braced myself for a long, awkward pause that didn't happen.

"Ahhh!! Are you serious? Oh my gosh, I am so happy for you guys! That is so exciting! I couldn't be happier for you!"

My heart started beating again and melted at the same time. Who was this amazing girl that was so selfless and full of love? I assured her that we still wanted to adopt her baby more than anything and that I felt no different about the baby growing inside of me than I did about the baby growing inside of her. Both are our children, determined to come together, just getting here in different ways. I asked her if this changed anything for her and she said, "Are you kidding? Not at all. This means that she'll have a little brother or sister!" I love Bailey so much and it grew a billion times stronger in that moment.

So there I was three months pregnant and adopting a baby girl due three months later. It was hard to wrap my head around and I caught myself grinning every time I thought about it. I couldn't help but see the divine orchestration that was taking place and felt so undeservingly blessed. We had already told our family and closest friends but when I was 15 weeks along and felt a little more secure about my pregnancy I made the announcement on Facebook that we were adopting and pregnant . Announcing on Facebook makes it official, right? =) I was overwhelmed and touched by the response that I received and the incredible love I felt from so many people I had never even met. I was also surprised at the amount of messages and comments that I got saying "That's how it ALWAYS happens! As soon as you stop stressing about it you get pregnant. I know so and so who that happened to as well." Apparently it is believed to be a common story to find out you are pregnant right after you are chosen to adopt, but we found out that wasn't true. At a group meeting at the adoption agency one evening we learned that the statistic of someone getting pregnant after adopting is less than 3%. I was shocked that it was so low, especially because everyone seems to know someone that it happened to. Again I recognized the divine hand in our situation. There was no doubt in my mind that this was exactly how it was supposed to be FOR US.

When we were just going to be having one baby we planned on staying in St. George and I would continue to work for the resort part time. With two babies coming it changed our story. There was no way that I was going to have two babies 3 1/2 months apart and be able to work. Since there wasn't anything in St. George for us besides my wonderful job, Jason accepted a job offer in Las Vegas and we moved back in May. Luckily our renters got out of our house and we were able to move back into our own home.

At this point I was 16 weeks pregnant, which meant I was far enough along to be able to see what we were having! Jason and I both felt like it was going to be a boy but we were dying to find out for sure. I didn't have another appointment with a doctor for another month and we were super impatient, so I looked up the 3D/4D ultrasound places in Vegas just to see. I compared prices, referrals, reviews, etc. and found the best of the best is a place in town called Baby's First Image. I spoke with the owner, Maria, and she was so awesome that I ended up making an appt. for that same day! A few hours later I was sitting in her office, which is super cute and comfortable and not at all like a stale doctors office. Jason couldn't come so I brought my two friends Heather and Kristin with me. Before she told us the sex of the baby we got to watch it on the 4D imaging. It was moving around, although I couldn't feel anything, and I could not believe that it was inside me. It was still so hard to wrap my head around.

Finally she showed us where we could see the sex of the baby and let us try and figure it out. Heather videod the whole thing, which is long and I don't expect anyone to watch it because it's probably super boring to everyone else besides us, but you are welcome to watch the part when I found out what we were having. Click on the video and start it at about 6:30 minutes. It lasts about 30 seconds.


Needless to say I was shocked! I told Jason with a cute little gift and of course he was schocked as well. TWO girls!  How the heck are we going to raise two girls? We are so in for it and we couldn't be happier.

Friday, August 3, 2012

No Way

I had been away for a few days at an event for work and was happy to finally be back with Jason. It was the Friday morning after Valentines Day and neither one of us wanted to get out of bed. We weren't tired, we were just having a great time laying there talking and joking around. Then out of the blue Jason asked me if I had had my period while I was gone because he remembered that we should be testing again soon. I hadn't, but I told him that it had to be coming soon because I had been feeling all of the symptoms (crampy, tender, tired, etc.) for the past week or more. Then he laughed and said, "haha, what if you were pregnant?"

Funny thought and even funnier that I hadn't thought it. I had spent the last four years diagnosing any little feeling in my body as a pregnancy symptom. I am sure that many times I even created symptoms in hopes that they were real and I would be pregnant. Every single month for the past four years I charted, calculated, hoped, prayed, pleaded, tested, cried, committed to let it go and not think about it for a few months only to start the cycle over a few weeks later. But ever since the IVF didn't work either time I assumed something was truly broken and I let it go for real. Although I had said it eight hundred times before, for the first time I believe that I actually handed it over to God and wanted whatever He wanted for us. And when I did that, it happened. Bailey chose us to adopt her baby and we were going to become parents in four short months! That's all we had ever wanted and it was going to come true. So when Jason joked about me being pregnant, and that's all it was was a joke, I was shocked that my mind hadn't even gone there yet. Wow, I had actually let it go! What a relief! But of course now I was thinking about it! Thanks a lot, Jase!

It wasn't possible, I mean how could it be? Both tries of IVF failed so it's not like my body was just going to magically get pregnant on it's own with one tiny dose of clomid... right? I said to Jason, "Maybe I'll stop at the dollar store and get a pregnancy test on my way to work just to see since it is a little weird that I haven't started yet." He immediately responded, "uh-uh, Sare, no way. Don't do what you always do and start obsessing over this and go  buy a bunch of pregnancy tests just to get your heart broken. Wait one more week and if you still haven't started then you should go buy a test, but only then." Of course I agreed to wait a week, and of course I didn't. =) I stopped at the dollar store on my way to work a few hours later and bought two tests. I know, I'm so bad, but it was like a habit! I had done this so many times before it had become like mindless eating! I knew that I wasn't pregnant and it's not like my hopes were up, I just bought them to calm that tiny curious bug in my mind that Jason had set off. See, it's his fault, really. His comment drove me to go get a test, so could he really blame for buying a test right after he said not to? I don't think so either.

I got to work and focused on my responsibilities, which is totally against the norm for me when I have two pregnancy tests sitting in my purse. An hour or so later I even got half way to the bathroom before remembering that I had them and turned around to sneak one into my pocket. This test was a different brand than I normally buy at the dollar store and one I had never used before. I took the test, set it on the little, silver garbage can attached to the wall and threw away the wrapper. By the time I looked back at it (probably 10 seconds later) there was a magenta line where the test line usually is on the other tests I've taken from the dollar store. I was so confused and I grabbed the box out of the trash and read the back to assure myself that this test must be different than the other brand. Usually the second line appears and then I stare for ten minutes at the test hoping for even the faintest first line to show up, though it never does. I read the box. It showed that the first line would prove a pregnancy. I looked back at the test and there were two bright pink lines staring back at me. There was nothing faint about this. According to the test I was definitely pregnant! I freaked out, couldn't believe that the dollar store had sold me a faulty test because surely that's what was happening here, wrapped the test up in toilet paper, stuck it deep down into the garbage and locked myself in my office. There's no way. There's NO way! That's all I could think, there is just no way! Luckily I was able to squeeze out a little more 30 minutes later and I took the second test to prove that the first test was a fluke. Sure enough two bright lines popped up instantly. Holy crap, I was pregnant!

I couldn't believe it. This didn't mean that I was going to have a baby, it just meant that I was pregnant and that could be a scary thing. Because my last pregnancy was ectopic I was told that if I were to get pregnant again on my own it would first, be a miracle, and second, have a 75% chance of being ectopic again. So there was a 75% chance that I was going to be having surgery very soon and go back to not being pregnant. I had only lived in St. George a month and didn't know any doctors so I googled OBGYN St. George, UT. I called the first one that came up and told them my situation. The doctor said he could see me in 20 minutes and I left work right then. I called Jason on my drive and told him that I had done something that he told me not to do.

"You took a pregnancy test, didn't you?" I told him that I actually took two and they were both positive. He laughed out loud and said "No way!" and I could hear the smile on his face. I told him I was on my way to the doctor and to not expect anything until I got home. The doctor did an ultrasound and to my surprise and relief I saw the most beautiful little dot in my uterus. It was in the right place!! I was only 6 weeks along and he couldn't say that it would stick for sure, but it was in the right place. He asked me to come back in two weeks so we could check it out again, but he said as far as he could tell everything looked good and I was definitely pregnant.

I was pregnant! Imagine me trying to think of anything else! I rushed home and showed Jason the sonogram of our dot in the right place. He was so happy. We were going to have TWO babies!!! Wait a second, what was Bailey going to think? Finding out that I was pregnant never once made us question our decision to adopt. Bailey was carrying our daughter and we felt that super strongly from the beginning so not once did we wonder if it's still what we should do. But how was Bailey going to feel about it? I know it made her happy to know that she was able to give us something that we couldn't do ourselves and was this going to change things? What if she changed her mind? What if she chose to find another family who wasn't going to have a baby on their own? What if the agency wouldn't even allow us to adopt anymore since we had to prove infertility? These thoughts made me sick (well, everything made me sick day and night for the first 12 weeks but these thoughts made me especially sick.) How was I going to tell her? I decided to wait until after the next ultrasound so we'd know if it was still going well before telling her. When that came and went and all was well I still couldn't tell her. I decided to wait until 12 weeks when I felt a little more secure that I wasn't going to lose this pregnancy because of my crazy history. At 12 weeks I ran out of reasons to wait to tell her. I felt like I was lying by keeping this from her and if she was going to choose another family because of this it wasn't fair that she didn't already know.

I tried to prepare my heart for the worst but I wasn't exactly sure how to do that. Jason suggested that we call her together so I left work early and met him at home. We said a prayer together and called her on speaker phone. As it rang Jason put his arms around me and pointed out that I was shaking. I had never felt more nervous. I hoped that she wouldn't answer because I didn't know what I was going to say, but she answered. After some friendly chit chat, some pauses, a few nudges from Jason, and a huge deep breath I told her that the unthinkable happened. I told her that I was pregnant.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

His Heart Won

First of all, I apologize for my hiatus. We had a death in the family that took me away for awhile, followed by some traveling to visit my family, but I am back! Now on with the story.

When Bailey met us she wasn't planning on inviting us to the big 20 week ultrasound to find out what she was having, and she surprised herself when she blurted out the invitation before we said goodbye. As excited as I was to go to the ultrasound, I loved even more that she was willing to involve us. It made it feel more real and gave us a lot of hope.

On February 10th we drove down to Las Vegas and met Bailey at her work to take her over to her appointment. I couldn't believe the amount of love that I felt for someone that I had only met once before, and when I hugged her I didn't want to let go! She introduced us to one of her coworkers and said, "these are the adoptive parents." I'll never forget what that felt like to hear her say that.

We ended up waiting forever at the doctors office, which gave us more time to talk. Bailey and I were talking about what it felt like for her to be pregnant and she said, "I just don't know how anyone could ever go through this and not believe that there is a God." This baby was changing her life and her perspective, and it was beautiful to see.

Bailey, her parents, Jason and I finally went into the ultrasound room where we would see the baby. I have had countless ultrasounds before but never had I seen a baby come up on the screen. Mine have always been coupled with sad news and heartache and this was the first ultrasound that was the complete opposite. There it was! A perfect little growing baby showing of its profound features in a profile view. My heart swelled looking at this figure and tears fell out when I heard the heartbeat. I don't think there is a more comforting sound in the whole world. Then the big news came and it was exactly what we all felt it would be. Our first child was going to be a GIRL! I couldn't stop smiling.

Jason loves science and anatomy and was more interested in how things inside were working and growing. He kept asking the tech questions like, "so is that the blah blah blah that is connected right there to the blah blah and making the blah blah blah?" It seemed like he was more interested in that than the fact that this growing creature was going to be our daughter. I wondered what he was thinking and if he was feeling anything besides interest in her physiology. Then with one little movement it all turned around. She opened her mouth to swallow and I heard a little gasp come out of Jason. I looked over at his face and it was the most love-struck look I had ever seen. This is what he wrote that night in his journal: "It was cool to hear the ultrasound tech explain what she was seeing, but it all changed once I saw that beautiful little girl open her mouth to drink. It looked like she was yawning, which made it even cuter. In that instant, I felt a connection to that sweet angel and wanted to protect and love her. Life changed for me in that moment."

Jason has wanted to be a dad from the time we got married and it has been so hard on me that I couldn't give that to him, but Bailey can, and I have never felt more gratitude in all my life. She made a choice that could seem so wrong at first, but look at what it is doing to our lives! She is blessing us with a child, and in the meantime this little baby girl is helping her to grow and change into an even greater indivual.

Here's a tangent that will make this post even longer but I want to write it down. Through our IVF process we had 5 embryos that survived. With the genetic testing we learned that 4 of them were boys and 1 was a girl. We didn't want to choose the sex of our baby, we didn't care about that, so we just asked them to put in the two most likely to survive and they put in two boys. When that failed and we did it again they put in the next two boys, which also failed. We were left with one frozen embryo, a girl, and wonderful Dr. Littman was willing to try again with her but I just couldn't do it yet. That's around the time that Bailey got pregnant and I just can't help but feel like this strong, little spirit was waiting up there in heaven and said, "if you aren't going to put me in now then I am finding another way to get to you because I'm coming!" And she had to come through someone who was strong and selfless and loving enough to put her baby's needs before her own. That's why it had to be Bailey.

Although I decided to take a break from IVF, Dr. Littman was still eager to help in whatever way she could and suggested we test my uterine lining to see if there was something there causing the failed attempts. I was excited to do this test to see if we could solve the problem. The test had to be done exactly 7 days after I ovulated, which we know I don't do well on my own. So she perscribed a low dose of clomid to help me ovulate and I used a 7 day ovulation test so I knew exactly when it happened. Those tests are hard to read!! I couldn't tell if I actually ovulated or not and because the test on my lining was going to be expensive, which Dr. Littman was sensitive to, she suggested we go one more menstrual cycle and check for ovulation again to make sure we have the timing just right.

I was to call her on the first day of my period so she could order another dose of clomid and we could try again. I am usually irregular so for a long time to pass in between cycles is normal for me, but I was told that I would typically start within two weeks after taking clomid. Two weeks came and went, then three, then four. My period wasn't coming and I didn't know why. Wait..... no, there's no way.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

The First Hello

A beautiful, tall, slender woman answered the door and introduced herself as Michelle, Bailey's mother.   She couldn't say much else before we were malled be three big, loving dogs who could clearly smell our dog Charlie on us. Michelle was working on pulling them away, though we didn't mind them at all, when Bailey came in. I had looked at her pictures a billion times on Facebook but she was even more gorgeous in person. She had a tiny little baby bump that was so cute on her small frame. We all hugged, met her two little sisters and headed to the couch to get to know each other. Let's be honest, the situation itself is not an every day kind of situation and it could have very easily been an awkward one. Surprisingly it wasn't. I mean this was obviously uncharted territory on both our ends and it wasn't like any of us knew exactly what we were doing, but we hit it off really well and felt good  and comfortable throughout the night. Bailey's dad came home with her little brother shortly after and they joined us on the couches.

We sat chatting for a long time, telling them about ourselves and answering all of their questions they had. The main thing we wanted to ensure was that we were totally ourselves, not trying to impress or hide anything, so that Bailey could actually get to know us and make a decision based off of that. We felt the importance of finding a good, TRUE fit for both parties. Honestly, I was totally blown away by Bailey could see that Jason felt the same.

After a long time chatting we all went to dinner together, though we sat with Bailey and her parents at one table while the kids sat at a separate table nearby. Bailey drove with us to the restaurant and it was the only time that we had alone with her. During that short drive she told us about the birth father and how it only happened once and he was not in the picture. She told us that she loved this baby already so much and wanted it to have two parents, which is why she had chosen to place it for adoption.

At dinner we exchanged more questions and when we were all out of things to ask, we started to joke around and the kids joined us again. We went for frozen yogurt after and continued to laugh and share jokes and stories. As I watched Bailey's eight year old sister quote something funny she saw in a movie, I realized that I was starting to feel a deep love for Bailey and her family, which I knew put me in an emotional danger zone. What if she didn't choose us? What if we had this amazing night getting to know her and her family and she decided to go with someone else? Or worse, what if she did choose us and then down the road changed her mind?

It was getting late and we needed to go, though I could have stayed another five hours. Jason and I hugged each one of them, ending with Bailey, and I felt like we were saying goodnight to friends we had known for years. I wondered if that was just me. What did Bailey think of us? What did her family think? How would we know what comes next or if she was interested in us? I had to ask because I knew it was going to drive me mad if I didn't know. I took a deep breath and then nervously asked, "So, are you looking at any other families?" Her reply melted my heart and kept me smiling for days! She said, "No, not really, and now I really don't feel the need to look at anyone else." Her voice kept replaying those words in my mind the whole drive home. Was this really happening? Was she saying that she chose US??

That's exactly what she was saying! She chose us!! It's all I could think about. I was going to become a mom and Jason was finally going to get to become a daddy!!! But she wasn't due until June 28th, which was five months away. Five months is a long time for changes to occur, and I was so scared that this was going to be taken away from me. Changes definitely occurred!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Voicemail, a Facebook Message, a Meeting.

Kristin, along with her husband and children, moved into our neighborhood shortly after I came home from filming the show in the beginning of 2011. We met at church and connected right away. Our friendship quickly became one of those that can't be created but just is. I could stop by her house in sweats and no make-up on just to quickly drop something off and leave six hours later fully fed, cheeks tired from laughing and eyes red from tears. I just love this friend of mine and was sad to say goodbye when my husband and I moved away last December.

I was working for The Biggest Loser Resort in St. George, UT., which is about 2 hours north of Las Vegas and I was commuting there once a week. The commuting had to stop after I overcorrected and rolled my car four times before landing upside down on my way to work one afternoon. I walked away without injury and I know I was blessed that day, but it gave my work reason to say "no more" to the commuting. If I wanted to continue working at the resort, which I LOVED, then we'd have to move there, so we did.

Kristin and I kept in touch and it wasn't out of the ordinary to have a missed call from her. I came back to my office after lunch one day to voicemail from her that said nothing more than, "Hi Sarah, it's Kristin. Call me back as soon as you can because I have something I really need to talk to you about. Call me back. Bye." I listened to her voicemail and my stomach dropped. I had the strongest feeling that this had to do with a baby. I have NO idea why I thought that because, as you can see from her message, there was nothing indicating such a thing. But it was a powerful feeling that came out of nowhere.

I called her back and my feelings were confirmed. She had just come from gymnastics where her daughter goes every day. She and another mom, Michelle, who she had become good friends with over the years, were talking and Michelle told her that her 19 year old daughter, Bailey, was 15 weeks pregnant. She was planning on placing the baby for adoption and was in the process of finding a family. Kristin immediately felt like this was going to be mine and Jason's baby! She told Michelle about us and asked if she thought Bailey would be open to at least talking to us. She gave her our information and Michelle said she'd for sure have her call us. So here I am listening to Kristin tell me what just happened with so much excitement in her voice she might burst, but I didn't feel that same excitement. I guess I was a little emotionally beaten and I felt scared that another disappointment was on it's way. I was afraid I'd get my hopes up, but I thanked Kristin for giving her our info and said I hoped she'd call. She replied, "oh she'll call, I just know it! I know that this is your baby! I can feel it so strong!! Stay close to your phone." Her surety was so sweet but I couldn't feel the same, not after what had just happened. I wasn't lying though, I really did hope she'd call. And again as much as I tried not to, I thought about it non-stop. But she didn't call and after a week of waiting I knew I needed to let it go.

I texted Kristin to let her know that she never called. She was not as quick to let it go and called Michelle to follow up. She found out that Bailey had looked us up on Facebook, our great little stalking tool, and had wanted to call but she didn't know what to say. Well I can understand that, I wouldn't know what to say either! I decided that I had nothing to lose and sent Bailey a message on Facebook. We had been told about each other and I felt the best thing would be to make contact and cut out the middle man. I was my dorky self in my message and hoped that would ease the awkwardness of the situation, then I told her a little more about us and even was as bold to tell her that we'd be in Vegas that weekend and would love to meet her in person. I closed my eyes and pushed send.

I checked my Facebook every ten minutes for the remainder of the day. I felt like a teenage girl waiting for a boy that I liked to text me back. Throughout the day I re-thought my message over and over and interpreted how she might receive it a billion different ways. The later it got the worse my scenario became, but she finally wrote back late that night and said she was thrilled to hear from me! I was giddy reading her message and relieved to hear that she would love to meet us. We made plans to meet two days later.

It was Saturday, January 28th, 2012. I was SO nervous! Jason, on the other hand, was not nervous and laughed at me for texting my little sister pictures of different outfits I should wear as if that was going to make a difference in Bailey's decision. He comforted me the whole drive down to Vegas but when we walked up to her parents house and knocked on the door, Jason's  heart was pounding just as hard as mine. This could possibly change our lives forever and we were about to meet the girl who could make us a family. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

The First Call

I was down in Malibu, CA at The Biggest Loser Resort for work back in December when I received a call from a friend who I had recently met.

She warned me that what she wanted to ask me was out of the blue and kind of personal, and apologized for being so bold, then asked me if Jason and I had considered adoption. My heart started pounding and I told her we had just signed up for our first orientation. She told me that her cousin was 7 months pregnant and came to her house in tears telling her that she was considering placing her baby girl for adoption. This friend of mine, who I had honestly only met once but we connected well, thought of us and told her cousin that she'd call us to see how we felt about it.

It was strange how excited I got about the prospect. It seemed that the feelings that I initially felt toward adoption changed in the exact instant that it became a true possibility. My friend told me that her cousin would call in the next few days. I spent the next few days thinking of little else besides this baby. Didn't I want a break from trying to have a baby? Didn't my heart need time to heal? That went right out the window and I started doing what I always and can't help but do, and that was hope.

She never called. I prayed and prayed that she would but she never did. My friend was the messenger and would update us of her cousin's latest feelings on the situation. She was wishy washy but at one point she had firmly decided on placing her with us and was not going to go back on her decision. In the end she backed out and I found myself hurting and in tears again. I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up, but it turns out that I don't have much control in that area. But what I took from this experience was that I was elated at the idea of adopting a baby. The whole experience truly did change my heart and I knew that I would love a baby the same whether it came from me or from someone else.

I decided it really was time for an emotional break before getting back on the horse. I gave myself six months and then committed that I would go through IVF one more time with our one remaining frozen embryo.We would also go to our adoption orientation and get started down that path because I understood that the average time to actually get chosen to adopt is 2-3 years.

In the meantime I signed up for my first half marathon to give me something to train for and focus on. During this "break" I wanted to prepare my body and heart for a baby. But apparently if I really wanted to take a break I should have shut my phone off completely. Two weeks later, on January 19th, I got another phone call. My mind and heart had already changed. This call changed my life!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Just One Year

It's been over two years since I blogged. I think it's time I start again. I used to blog, and if you are a reader that is returning then I thank you. I'm sad I didn't start sooner, but how about at least a quick recap, eh? And for those just joining me for the first time, I'm glad you came. I apologize in advance for too many punctuations in all the wrong spots. 

Being a contestant on "The Biggest Loser" was quite life-changing. It was harder than I ever imagined and in ways that I had never imagined, but all in all I am so grateful for the experience. I lost 106 pounds and experienced so much self-discovery. It was no secret that my motivation to lose weight was to be healthy enough to have a baby, and Jason and I had continued our trying since I had come home from filming in January 2011 with no result. So in August I met with my first real fertility doctor, who I was not impressed with, but fell in love with the second one I met with, Dr. Eva Littman from Red Rock Fertility Center. She was amazing and gave me so much hope. Because my last pregnancy was ectopic and resulted in the removal of one of my fallopian tubes, I learned that if I were to get pregnant on my own, well it would be a miracle, but if I did then there is a 75% chance that it would be ectopic again. Not what I wanted. We laid out al of our options and with the help of this incredible doctor we decided to start our first cycle of in-vetro fertilization, or IVF.

I was so hopeful and excited! The process was long and invasive and at first I was scared of the shots, but those became cake the whole experience was not nearly as bad as I had heard. I spent a couple months injecting hormones, taking pills, getting blood drawn, scheduling, etc. I'll never forget the moment I heard that it didn't work. It felt like my heart stopped and I wanted to throw up. Dr. Littman was stumped as to why it didn't work but was ready to start again. We had 5 successful embryos and put in two, which meant that we still had three frozen. I didn't want to start again. It was so trying physically and more so emotionally but although I didn't want to go through it again, I knew I could. So we started over, first with birth control to regulate me, then pills, three shots a day, creams, blood work, the whole bit. This time my chances were way better because we didn't have to worry about the egg retrieval, which meant I could take an extra hormone that would make my lining more lush and inviting for these little embryos. My hope of having a child on my own significantly plummeted when I got the call that it didn't work again. There was no explanation why, it just didn't. We had one more frozen egg and Dr. Littman said we could put it in if I was ready. That was just it, it's not that I wasn't willing to try again but I wasn't ready right then. My body needed some time to recover and my heart needed to heal. I hadn't been able to exercise for four months and with that and the hormones and stress from IVF I had already put on 30 pounds since my finale. I knew that this time I really couldn't do it again and chose to take a break.

Jason and I started talking about adoption. To be totally honest I was upset that adoption was going to be our only option. I always wanted to adopt but I was sad that we would never get to see what we would create. We signed up for an adoption orientation and the next available was a few months away, which was fine because I wanted to give myself a break from the stress of trying to become a parent anyway. I never got that break. In December I got a phone call that changed my mind and my heart. More on that next time.