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.