A few years ago I wrote here about my love for adoption. Our family has been waiting to adopt for a very long time. We haven’t been waiting to be chosen, we have been waiting until the time felt right. I am so excited to announce that we are now beginning our adoption journey! If you are interested in our story, please visit our fundraising site. We would love any help you can give us, and prayers and sending love are the best thing you could offer. If you feel inspired, please share our fundraiser with others. I will be sharing more details about our journey and about “Lilly” as events transpire.
Tying up the posting of my previous births… I’ve been searching for Coen’s birth story for weeks and can’t find it, my heart is breaking! This was my favorite birth thus far and my memories seem to have gone missing. I’ll just have to give a brief retelling here, and sadly, no one even took pictures of the beautiful labor that I had, so all I’ve got captured is the after moments.
The Birth of Coen Syaoran
9 lbs even
21 inches long
13.75 head circumference
5 hours 45 mins of labor (longer than my first 2 combined!)
Just like with Behn I woke up first thing in the morning with an undeniable *real* labor contraction. I’d had a somewhat restless night’s sleep after a horrible evening of feeling like absolute poo. We actually went to get adjusted at Kolby’s school the evening before and ran into some friends who were concerned about me because I looked so terrible. So, I woke up to a crampy contraction and went to the bathroom. Behn came out of the bedroom and I changed his diaper in the hallway, had another contraction, went into the bedroom and leaned/sat on the edge of the bed and had another. They were mild, but different from my usual prelabor contractions. I took a dose of the Cramp Bark/False Unicorn tincture my midwife had had me on for several months just in case it wasn’t really time yet. I was 38-weeks exactly.
I know that I laid down at this point and stayed there but I don’t remember anything except waiting for my doula, who is a friend of mine and lived behind us at the time, to come over. I remember her getting there and feeling relieved. I knew I was very much in labor by that time (about 30 mins after I woke up). For the next few hours I lay on my side and my doula held me through every contraction. I listened to my hypnobabies CD and did my best to keep calm and relaxed. For a while at first my legs were trembling out of control from nerves, but that eventually stopped. At some point the midwife got there and asked what made me think this was real labor and I responded shortly that it just was and she went away (later I was told the 2 midwives, who had recently left another birth, went downstairs to take a nap). I was thinking the contractions were like 15 minutes apart. It seemed like forever before another one would come and I was bored in between, I kept having to tell myself that it was okay that it wasn’t progressing as quickly as my others, that this was the answer to my many prayers, this was my gentle birth, and that this baby was coming in exactly the way he needed to. I heard my doula say to the midwife that the contractions were 3 mins apart and that was a big surprise to me! The contractions were not painful, although I was very aware that I could have perceived them that way had I chosen to, and that I would have perceived them that way in the past. With each contraction I labeled, in my mind, the sensations, “stretching, tightening, pressure”. I welcomed each one and told myself, “This is God bringing you your baby.” I remember being told I need to try and eat a banana but I only got in a few bites and couldn’t do any more, I was concentrating too hard. At some point after several hours of this the energy of the contractions started to pick up. I began needing to vocalize though them. Someone had gotten the birth tub ready right next to the bed and I wanted to get in it before things got too incredibly intense. This is when I lost the ability to relax and use hypnosis during contractions and they became very strong, this is when I began to feel pain. I’d had pressure in my low back the whole time, which I’d not had with my other babies, and my doula would rub my back during contractions. I was on my knees leaning forward into the wall of the birth pool and she was in front of me on the outside with her arms around me. Kolby was nearby giving me sips of water between contractions. Every now and then I would see my little 2 year old, Behn, sneak around us and steal a drink from my big labor cup… so cute! It was reassuring to see him so relaxed and up to mischief, as usual. I don’t remember seeing my daughter at all, I have very little visual memory from any of my labors as my eyes are closed most of the time because I’m so inwardly focused. I only remember knowing she was present toward then end as the kids were getting ready to help daddy catch the baby. All I really remember from this time was just holding on and doing whatever I had to do to make it through the contractions, which unfortunately for my doula involved some biting and scratching. I also yelled at my husband that if I had to go through this, I got to name the baby, as we’d been back and forth about a name. I don’t remember when I started pushing or much about that time, I vaguely remember that my water broke as I was pushing, like it did with Behn. I remember that I’d thought, for some reason, it would only take a few pushes to get this baby out and it was taking what seemed like forever. I just kept pushing and pushing and pushing and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Eventually his head came out, and then his shoulders, but his body didn’t slip out like the others, I had to actually push it out. I know my husband caught him, but I don’t know if the other kids helped or if they even got in the tub until after he was out. I’ve made a point not to watch my own birth videos until I’m sure I’m done having kids, so I guess I’ll get to see how it all went down in time!
I felt a little disoriented and overheated after he was born. He looked exactly like I knew he would. We hung out in the tub with him a bit and then Kolby got out with him and the kids got cleaned up, possibly by the doula. I was still having back labor and very strong contractions and trying to deliver the placenta. The midwives wanted me to get out and deliver it on the birth stool but I couldn’t bear the thought of having a contraction standing and no one was there to help me, so I kept pushing and pushing in the tub. They gave me some herbs to help expel the placenta and had me pull on the cord to get it out. Still no go. After an hour I was finally able to brave getting to the birth stool. It was surprisingly comfy there. I had a contraction right away and asked my midwife if I could hold on to her (for whatever reason I cannot push without someone to hold on to) and out it came right away! Wish someone would have helped me out of the tub sooner! I got in bed and nursed my perfect little guy. He was the only one of our babies who looked Chinese. It turned out to be a trick though, about 2 weeks later he totally looked like a Caucasian baby, but he’s adorable either way!
Most people can’t get enough of love romanticized, but few people are ever interested in what love really is. Probably to those select who really know true love, it would seem a foolish thing to analyze. Maybe love is best let be. But see, I’ve been on this quest to discover why it is that I fear love, why it is that I can neither express it fully, nor feel it from others; why I have always felt unloved. Essentially, I want more than anything to love better, and I quickly realized that not only do I not know how to do that, but that really I’m not sure I even know what love is. And so began my journey to love, marked by study, prayer, pondering, and experimentation. Recently I’ve begun to feel like what I’m learning is so fundamental and so neglected and long forgotten, that it would be criminal to keep it to myself. So I decided to share it here, with all of you. There’s no telling how long these essays will go on, as there’s no telling how long my journey will be. As it stands I’m not sure a single person can really have all the right answers on this subject, but I will present my opinions here in hope that they will be thought provoking, and I hope you’ll share yours too.
Are we ready to change our hearts, and change the world? Here we go…
Tonight as I’m sitting in bed with my husband (watching The Voice, because that’s how he rolls), tapping on acupressure points in attempt to aleiviate morning sickness I say to him, “In case I ever get this crazy Idea again, please remind me I really, really, REALLY do not want to be pregnant EVER again.”
“Well, if its Heavenly Father’s plan… think of all the things that happened to get this baby here.” He said.
“Like what things?”
“Like the vasectomy.”
Ahhh… yes. The vasectomy. How could I have forgotten? The first of many things that made us realize we weren’t done with birth children. See, we’ve always wanted to adopt. But every time we move toward that plan we’re halted in our tracks.
We had decided we were done having birth children after the birth of our 3rd. My husband went to see a doctor about getting a vasectomy. All that happened during that appointment was that they had him sit in a room and at random intervals three different interns came in a said to him, “You understand this is permanent, right?” No physical check up. No instructions about whether or not he could eat before the surgery, or how long it would take, or if he’d be able to drive himself home. Nothing. Just reminders about the permanency of the procedure. On the morning to the surgery he called the hospital, since he hadn’t heard from them to confirm his appointment. What happened was the doctor never faxed the forms to the hospital that they would need to do the vasectomy. They weren’t even expecting him. He was irritated with the doctor but had no choice. That was the only doctor covered by our medical. If he wanted it done he’d have to go back to the same guy who didn’t even prepare him for the procedure and who couldn’t even get anyone in his office to fax a few papers. So we dropped it. Several weeks later Kolby learned in school about the increase of testicular cancer rates in men who have had vasectomies. About a year later an updated handbook was put out by our church stating that a couple should not have surgery to avoid pregnancy unless medically necessary and only after counseling with their Bishop. We take this as God looking out for us.
I get frustrated not able to understand why God won’t let us adopt. Isn’t that a good, pure desire? Kolby points out that there are specific spirits meant to come to our family. I know this is true. We very much believe that our family members chose each other before any of us came to this earth. I guess I don’t understand why my body has to be the vessel for each of them to arrive here. But then I think if I were looking down at Earth and I had the choice to come through a health conscious mother who will create a Space of Love for me, who will birth me and care for me in that space, surrounded by my family, who will hold me and nurse me anytime I feel the need, who understands the integration that comes along with being new in a body and in this world, who is passionate about family bonds and will keep me close and never send me away to be educated or raised by someone else, I’d jump down that chute without hesitation too. And I love my babies. I love them too deep for words, deeper than I often allow myself to be aware of. Its scary, that kind of love. I can’t hear the mention of a child passing away without breaking down in tears. I can’t bear the thought of it. The more children I have, the greater the risk that I will have to let one go. And I don’t think I could do that. I think I would die inside. I have the greatest respect and admiration for anyone who has lost a child. The more we love the more we stand to lose. I’ve always been afraid of love, never quite able to open myself up all the way to let it in or to express it. But its in me. The only person I’ve ever met who seems to love in the way that I do is my daughter. It isn’t easy to be her. Her heart is broken constantly by the smallest things, but I can very much relate to her. I’m not the best mom in the world, far from it. I often wonder why these little beings want me as their guide in the first place. My intentions are good, but rarely surface. What my kids see is a tense, overwhelmed woman who is distant and nearly always disconnected. Its a shield, really. An attempt to not be hurt by love anymore. And also often the result of my physical condition, which has been not good from my own birth and often causes me to be inwardly focused.
But, onward and upward is the only way to go. I very much look forward to my journey with this new member of our family. I’ve been preparing for him for over a year. I know him and I love him as much as a mother can love her child. I know that all too soon all these discomforts of pregnancy will be a distant and blurred memory and I’ll be gazing down at a pure and brilliant creation at my breast. A creation who came here with a mission and who I will support in accomplishing that mission, because he is not mine, but God’s, and I am honored to be his earthly, and eternal, mother.
Last night we stopped by the Arthritis Walk at the university my husband attends (Logan Chiropractic College). They had the most amazing balloon artist I have ever seen! You can see some of his brilliant creations on his website. He wasn’t the speediest guy in town but the hour and 45-minutes we spent in line afforded us the opportunity to witness all the fascinating creations that left his booth. There were kids with hats taller than I am, aliens that hung off of heads, butterfly wings you can wear, smurfs, monkeys in trees, well known cartoon characters… even a pregnant poodle. This guy does free events at restaurants around the area, check out his website for details. Coen got dressed up as a pirate, Behn got Daffy Duck, and Juels got a puppy (not with-child, but special nonetheless). The kids were so amused they actually stood in line willingly all that time and were well behaved at that. It took so long all we had time to do after that was a quick run through the petting zoo, but it was still a great time being together in the cool, open evening air, and the fact that my husband was able to raise some money for a good cause and earn extra credit toward one of his more challenging classes didn’t hurt!
Excuse the grainy photos, all we had on us what the ipod : )
Yesterday we attended an event called “Bat”urday, held by the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, MO. We all love pretty much anything outdoors, and if there are animals involved, all the better, so it was sure to please! Personally, I LOVE bats. I always have. As a child the bats were my favorite animals to visit at the zoo. I remember when we’d go fishing and the bats would come out in the evening and swarm above us, hitting the end of our fishing poles, I was always so happy to see them. I’ve never been afraid of them or thought they were anything less than beautiful… I was probably more excited than the kids to visit the bats and learn about them… and they were pretty excited! Coen kept asking if Freddy the Fruit Bat would be there (Freddy is a character from the Go, Diego, Go! cartoons, and the bats we were visiting were fruit bats). Juelie was excited to see them because she’s a long time fan of Stellaluna, and Behn, well, he’s pretty excited about any opportunity to get out of the house and run wild. I don’t think he cared much about the bats.
When we arrived we were excited to see that it was hosted by Whole Foods Market and they were giving away Raw Revolution bar samples (a raw vegan brownie bar). Score! I was so excited someone was handing my kids a treat I don’t feel the need to confiscate! We headed inside and saw the fruit bats, pet a bunny, saw many beautiful owls (one of my other most favorite animals), and we saw a huge albino anaconda… which Behn was terrified of. Oh, there was also an armadillo. I really like armadillos, too. We saw a lot of really neat animals inside, watched the show on bats at the amphitheater, and checked out all the outdoor animals. It was a really nice day. A wee bit chilly for me, but sunny and beautiful and everyone was fairly content just walking around and enjoying the place. Afterward we drove across the street and wandered through Lone Elk Park which is a drive trough animal sanctuary. We didn’t see a whole lot of wildlife, a few deer, a few geese, and some buffalo, but it was a nice drive.
Coen’s photography of Kolby
Coen’s photography of a barn owl
Coen’s self photography
Aren’t they gorgeous?!!
This bird took Behn’s donation from his had and gave him a magnet in return
Turkeys are another of my favorite animals. They’re SO amazingly beautiful, I can’t imagine having a desire to eat one… I just want to look at it!
We came across several silk worms
A buffalo at Lone Elk Park