Sunday, December 25, 2011

All I ever asked for and so much more...

Merry Christmas!

My son wanted to tell you that first I made him dress in a little tuxedo onesie and then I made him wait in a long line to see some man we kept talking about and then I made him sit on this scary man's lap and then I expected him to smile? Puhleeze.

My daughter said "meh."

My good friend and fellow IFer Larisa used to tell me she couldn't wait for my heart to be full. Ah Larisa, wise woman, it is. So full, so full.

Even without my Dad being here, this has been the happiest Christmas on record. Our babies are sleeping through the night, they're growing so fast, they're delighting in everything, our daughter is taking her first steps, I've heard them say "Momma!" and the Mister and I are trying to soak it all in. Did I mention they're both now sleeping through the night? not to keep dwelling on it, but a full night's sleep is one of the best presents I could have ever received!

But you can't hold onto anything, so you just have to move with them, through it all, and let the happiness wash over you. I wish that for everyone, I honestly do. Full and happy hearts!

Happiest of holidays to everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One year ago...

One year ago today we were escape artists.

We were escaping the 'regular' holidays and going to NYC, a place that always did our hearts good and our hearts were in desperate need of some good. We were at a low point, expecting nothing after putting our entire world into our Ethiopian adoption. Referrals were slowing down, the program seemed in jeopardy, we had announced to our family that if this, too, did not work out, we were done. Plain and simple.

In NYC we felt we could hide amongst the masses, and maybe avoid some of the more painful holiday reminders of families, and the fact that we did not have one.

Of course you know the rest of the story. Within hours of arriving in NYC we stood in front of Macy's, and posed for a picture in front of their "Believe" sign. I whispered to the mister that we had to believe, but honestly I didn't.

Minutes later those precious emails came through, with those photos of our babies.

Our babies.

They were tiny, scared, undernourished and frankly kind of pitiful looking.

But it was love at first sight.

I must have stared at those pictures, cradling my iPhone, for hours during that trip. Other people take and have hundreds of photos of their newborns--I have only these of each of my children. They are precious to me.

Everything changed in those minutes after receiving those photos. Everything looked different. Everything felt different. Everything.

And now, a year later, here we are, with two healthy, hearty babies underfoot, getting into everything, challenging us in ways we never even imagined, and bringing us joy in the most amazing ways.

A whole year has passed--I can hardly believe it. This morning when I picked up our son and he nestled his curly head into my neck, the tears started rolling. How could that little photo of that tiny little baby have turned into this, my big loveable boy? How could I be so lucky?

When I picked up my daughter and she gave me her patented drooly kiss my heart felt like it would burst with happiness. Oh little girl--you have come so far.

My babies--December 21st will always, always be a day to celebrate from our perspective. For it is the day we learned of you in a real and concrete way, instead of only imagining you in our hearts.

Happy Referralversary H&H!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Unexpected tears

Why am I crying dropping DH off for his vasectomy?

That was the text I sent to my sister this morning before I backed out of the doctor's parking lot.

Yes, it's true, DH had a vasectomy this morning. It's done.

It's also true that we do not want any more children. That--if we're being truthful here--we are fairly overwhelmed with the two we do have. At their one year pediatrician visit yesterday I left feeling more like a failure than ever. Our daughter is eating too well, it seems, our son is too old to be not sleeping through the night, we are not disciplining properly, and the list goes on and on. Here I had been thinking I was doing the right thing with feeding them as much as they wanted, but it seems when babies are starved in their early days they do not learn self regulation. I knew this--intellectually--but honestly I don't want to think about my babies laying in their cribs with empty bellies when they were 0-3 months old but I know they did. So I just hoped/assumed/falsely reassured myself that my babies knew how to self-regulate and they wouldn't overfeed. Couple that with the idea that if I could just keep him full enough my son would sleep all night and I guess I really mucked things up. Sigh again. Put all that together with the continued sleep deprivation and yes, there were lots of tears this morning.

I have very strong feelings about our family being complete, about how I would never, ever want my babies to think they were not enough. This is why we knew when we completed their adoption we were done.

But watching my DH walk up to the urologist's office, alone, knowing I couldn't even be there with him to hold his hand it made me so sad. True, he's a grown man but damn, he looked so vulnerable going by himself.  I thought about all the times he held my hand, through my surgeries, and biopsies, and retrievals, and invasive tests and procedures. It is times like these I wish I had someone close by who could just watch the babies for an hour here or there.

But mostly, I just felt sad watching his genetics come to an end in such a final way. And I know you'll say, waaah? But you guys couldn't get pregnant anyway! And you always say genetics don't matter!

True, true, I have said that, and I do know that. Our odds were exceedingly low for any type of pregnancy and the whole reason he got the vasectomy was so I could confidently take some medications that I really need. Cholesterol meds. Yes, I'm vegetarian, I'm a runner, but my genetics are horrible.

But my DH? His genetics are gold. Not just from a disease standpoint (but they are) but he's a creative, talented, amazing soul. And I would have loved to have seen some of those gifts passed along but frankly, my body wasn't able to accomodate that, plain and simple.

So those tears came from a couple of places. I am overwhelmed. I am trying to encompass the fifty recommendations I received yesterday at the pediatrician's office into our routines.  I am sad for my sweet DH. I am guilty. I will always be sad for us in a place in my heart that knows that creating another human soul from two souls that love each other is an amazing and beautiful thing that we did not do. The rest of my heart is so overflowing with love for the two souls I have been entrusted to nurture and grow that I honestly do not think about the losses or sadness of infertility anymore. Until a day like today, when I came face to face with the finality of everything.

My family is complete. It was the day we received our referral photos. But tears, they come from unexpected places, and sometimes all you can do is let them fall.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What's been going on...

I have not been writing.
This much, I know.
Unless you count what I write in my head. I write in my head all the time but alas the words don't spill onto the page as easily.

I do have this complicated post I wrote the week the seventh billion baby was born. If I read it without knowing who wrote it I wouldn't guess it was from someone who pushed the limits of science in the quest for a biological baby. You all know my thoughts on zero population growth already and my thoughts on adoption are incredibly complex so the post is a doozy, to say the least. I could never quite hit publish, so it sits, marinating in its own juices in the drafts folder. Maybe one day.

I received an interesting writing assignment the other day from my mother.
She asked me to write my father's obituary now, while he's still living.

I nodded, understanding intellectually what she meant. An obituary. A tribute, a reflection on his life. My heart clenched, though, in that moment. My brain lurched ahead and started forming those words that you realistically know you will think/say/write at some point when you lose a parent but my heart stayed behind, and has remained there since. Those words are marinating, too, but I haven't yet put pen to paper. My heart isn't ready.

This was our first Thanksgiving without him present. It simply was not possible. During our Thanksgiving prayer tears rolled down my cheeks and dripped onto my empty plate. To be at once so grateful for the babies now physically present in my life and so sad for the missing presence of my father...dualing emotions at their finest.

Speaking of the babies, our daughter turns one year old today and that is an amazing celebration. When I think of those early photos, the early weight reports, the illness, the absolute lack of any control over her medical care (lack of) when she was ill and losing weight, the sleepless nights wondering who was holding her, or feeding her, the knowledge affirmed when we saw her first orphanage that there were many days she simply did not get enough...well, I can scarcely believe how far she has come. She is a glowing, vibrant child who babbles constantly, eats anything we put in front of her, is nearly walking, and currently has the most adorable one giant front tooth (to go with her two bottom ones). She loves to give kisses and hugs but is also quite indepenent. Watching her sing along with her father as he plays the ukele and sings to them during bathtime is a heart melting moment. Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

OK so I lied: she's not always vibrant. See holiday photo below, where she pouted pretty much the entire time :)