Fertility, Adoption and Welcoming Home Naia Rose!

Bringing babies into this world has not come easy for me, and I know far too many whom that is the case for as well. I’ve read that 1 in 5 couples has trouble conceiving these days. That’s just crazy. And heartbreaking. But when you look at the significant decrease in (or lack of?) nutrient density in our food supply, the significant increase in environmental toxins and the dramatic rise in use of information technology gadgets, it’s not really a surprise to me.

But why does it always seem to be the couples that want a family SO badly that struggle? Or at least that’s the way that it often feels to those of us on this treacherous journey.

Early on, my husband and I agreed we wanted 4 kids. We delighted in how many of our friends were getting pregnant their first month trying, and knew we would as well. After all, we were both healthy and fit, so why wouldn’t we?

But we didn’t.

And didn’t.

And didn’t some more.

And so began the journey that only those who’ve been there can comprehend. Spontaneous and fun quickly becomes calculated and measured. Months (that turn to years) on end of high hopes and crashing devastation, brutal fertility drugs and treatments and draining bank accounts when you’re supposed to be in the height of happiness in your marriage feel excruciatingly painful and unfair.

We are among the lucky who did succeed in our fertility journey, and have 2 beautiful, healthy, amazing boys. For that, I’m eternally grateful. But I’m not going to lie, it took perseverance and patience beyond what I often felt I had, and my heart aches for all the couples (especially the women) who have to endure this. It’s a big part of the reason I rally so hard for REAL food and seasonal detoxification….we have to make some big changes or this trend is only going to become more prevalent.

Anyhow, after our struggles, which included hypermesis gravardium (severe morning sickness) with both boys until months 8 and 7, our vision of 4 kids wasn’t looking less and less enticing! At least I was able to get through 2 natural childbirths and have healthy babies, but sheesh! The journey to meeting them was no cake walk.

In the back of my mind, the idea of adoption was always floating around. I brought it up to my husband and he didn’t hesitate to agree that it was the path to complete our family (3 kids sounded perfect at this point!). We knew we needed to dish out a lot of money to have a baby anyway, and this way we could avoid the misery of fertility treatments and pregnancy, and be helping a child have a better life than they might have otherwise had. And while we knew it meant a longer wait, we could wait for a girl and bring home a daughter to complete our family!

And so began another journey that is not for the faint of heart. Luckily, we had our boys and their busy and beautiful lives kept our minds from thinking about it every second. Also, since my body wasn’t enduring all of the physical aspects of the fertility journey, that constant reminder wasn’t there as well. That being said, we thought about it A LOT. It was hard for our boys, especially the oldest, to understand why my friends were getting pregnant and I could tell him when their baby was arriving, but I couldn’t tell him when our baby was coming home.

Two years into our adoption journey, the dizzying emotional rollercoaster had taken it’s toll and I was ready to throw in the towel. On the morning of Saturday January 24th, I literally burst into tears, telling my husband that if we didn’t have so much money already invested, I’d call it quits. There were just too many reasons that it felt like I was at the end of my rope.

4 HOURS LATER….we got a phone call from our agency. I saw the number, and in my negative head space, almost didn’t answer because I was convinced that it was going to be some horrible news like they were going out of business and we were out all that money (I TOLD you I was in a bad frame of mind!) ;). Also we were heading out the door to our 2 nephews birthday party, but I decided I better answer.

Well it turned out to be the very best phone call I’ve ever received! She asked me to get Kevin on the phone, and let us know that a birth mom had chosen us and the baby would be born on Monday! That was just 2 days away!!! There was a slight hiccup, in that the birth mom said she had a sonogram and it was a girl, but didn’t have proof of that. She said she was so sure that we were the parents for her baby, that she was fine if we didn’t come until we had confirmation via a sonogram early Monday morning or right when she was born if that couldn’t happen.

We prayed that our decision to wait for confirmation wouldn’t sway her from thinking we were the right family for her baby, but knew that we’d waited this long for a girl and had to be sure before we could head there.

The hustle and bustle of getting prepared to bring a baby home that quickly, and arranging care for our boys with their Nana and Papa kept us busy, but wow did the following 36 hours take FOREVER.

I don’t think I slept more than 2 hours Sunday night as I stared at my phone waiting for it to ring with word from the sonogram. It didn’t ring at 5:45 like we’d hoped it would. Finally at 6:30, I texted the director of our agency, only to find out that the sonogram was canceled ~ the c-section got moved earlier because the birth mom went into labor in the middle of the night! So now we just had to wait for the news at birth!

We were just dropping the kids off at school when we got the news….get on the road, IT’S A GIRL!!! 🙂 I think I’d been holding my breath for hours, or more like days (or had it been years?!)….and it felt so good to breathe again! Finally some happy tears!

And so we were off. It was a 6 hour drive to the hospital in west Texas. 6 hours that felt like 6 years! Stomachs churning, lumps in throats, hearts racing. We kept getting texts from our adoption coordinator wanting to know how much longer….that the birth mom was anxious to meet us. That just made us more anxious, hoping that the long drive wasn’t giving her time to second guess her decision!

But when we walked in, and her eyes lit up when she saw us, our hearts settled a bit. She said that the second she held our photo book she knew we were the family for her baby. With adoptions in Texas, there is a 48 hour window after the birth before the legal papers can be signed in which the birth mother can change her mind. And we’ve heard, and witnessed through our agency, how common (and unimaginably heartbreaking) that is. While we got a strong sense that our birth mom was not wavering at all in her decision, the 48 hours were the most intense hours of our lives. So many family members and so many strong emotions.

We are blessed beyond words to have this birth mom in our lives. Our long wait made perfect sense now, as this birth mom was meant to be in our lives, and this baby was meant to be our daughter. We had always told the agency our level of openness depended on the birth mom. If we felt even for a second that the relationship wouldn’t be healthy for the baby, our other children or us, we would stick to semi-open and send pictures and letters.

But this situation blew our hearts wide open. It feels so good to know that times have changed from what I remember of adoption when I was little, where it was often shrouded in secrecy. We hope that by knowing her birth mom, that our daughter will have a sense of peace and understanding that this decision was made from great love.

We spent those 48 hours connecting with the birth mom, and eventually the birth grandmother as well. The birth mom asked if we had a name picked, and when she heard Naia she just loved it. We asked if she wanted to help with the middle name, and she said yes. She didn’t have any ideas, so after we gave her a day to think about it, she asked if we had any. We said that our 7 year old loved the middle name Rose. Without even knowing it, we had chosen the grandmother’s name! It was a beautiful moment where I think everyone felt, aaaah, this is meant to be.

Meeting sweet Naia was magical. After our 9lb. boys, she was certainly the tiniest little one we’d ever held at just 5lbs. 8oz.! Tiny, strong, beautiful….complete perfection. After birthing babies, you don’t know how it will feel to hold your adopted baby at first. Well let me tell you, minus the hormones and physical exhaustion of labor, it felt EXACTLY the same. Turns out she didn’t come from our bodies, but our hearts. There was no question that she was ours, and we were her mommy and daddy.

And it was the Most. Amazing. Feeling. Ever.

Possibly exacerbated by the powerful emotions that came with the knowledge that we were receiving the most precious gift of all. Knowing that we had been chosen to be the parents of this beautiful baby is something we do not take lightly. It is our greatest honor and we are blessed beyond words. We will be eternally grateful for the strength of this birth mom to make such a mature and courageous decision for her baby.

Signing the papers was LONG and emotional. Saying our good-byes (for now) was excruciating. Letting out the longest exhale of our lives….the drive home seemed to fly by as we brought our daughter, miss Naia Rose, home.

It’s been almost 6 weeks now, and we are settling in to life as a family of 5 just beautifully. Naia is eating well, sleeping great, and even as we work out her digestive distress, I must say the 3rd child just feels easy peasy. We’ve had a super easy baby and a super challenging baby, and what can I say, we’ve got this. 🙂

Kyan, our 7 year old, is enamored. He wants to hold her, feed her, kiss her and sing to her constantly. I didn’t necessarily expect the depths of his attention and love, and it is the sweetest thing ever.

While we were gone, my parents talked with the boys about how they now had the important job of protecting their sister. So when we got home, Asher, our 3 year old, said, “if she gets eaten by a giant shark, I will help her. Because I’m going to protect her forever and ever.” The sentiment is there, right?! 😉 After a couple weeks of typical regression, likely because he realized he’s no longer the baby of the house, we’re back on track. He’s slightly indifferent, but loves quick snuggles and telling her fun stories.

We are blessed indeed!

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I share this for all of those mamas out there waiting….filled with uncertainty and a myriad of swirling and often unbearable emotions….it might not look how you imagined it, but with a hefty dose of patience, perseverance, flexibility and faith, IT WILL HAPPEN. In the meantime, hold your partner extra tight, and find ways to keep the romance alive. Keep finding things that fill your heart, because you definitely need extra reserves for this journey.

I truly believe that the depths of the challenges we endure allow us to grow and evolve beyond where we could without the adversity. It is BECAUSE we struggle that we find out just how high we can soar. And I know that’s not easy to hear in the eye of the storm, but it always seems to make sense in the calm that follows.

If you feel compelled to share any part of your story in the comments below, I would love to listen, to support, to honor, to grieve or celebrate your journey…I know how lonely and isolating it be, and I see you, I feel you, I honor you.

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