Friday, October 30, 2009

Birth control

So today I went to the doctor for my follow-up appt. I really can't believe I am sharing this on the blog, but oh well. I've shared quite a bit already, haven't I?

The doctor was asking me various questions and wanted to know if I had thought about birth control.

Immediately I had a flashback: One year ago this month I sat in a room in the same clinic having a follow up appt after my D&C. We brought Samuel to that appt (should have seen the look on my doc's face when we told him that story!). He asked us if we wanted to discuss birth control since we now had an infant.

Well we didn't discuss it and three months later little Lauren was conceived.

I am sure discussing birth control is typical during these appts, but it caught me by surprise. Maybe because I don't think about birth control. For so many years, all I thought about was how to get pregnant not how to prevent pregnancy.

There is something inside me that has a really hard time thinking about birth control. Even that word bugs me - after all, the only One controlling birth is the creator of life....not me.

However, I do not want three children under three. Then I certainly would not have time to blog :) I will gladly accept whatever miracles the Lord brings to the May family, but for now I'd like to lather all my time, love and attention on my two little ones.

So clearly Ryan and I have a decision to make. If we take the route we took last fall (deciding not to decide) we could quite possibly have three under three. This is something I am going to need to pray about. I have worked so hard to get my body healthy to be able to conceive that I don't want to put anything into it that could lessen chances of a future pregnancy should we ever decide we want to go that route again.

On that note, I have told many people that adopting Samuel was much easier than 9 months of pregnancy followed by labor & delivery and weeks of recovery. But, of course, our adoption went very smooth.

I am so thankful that the Lord is the One who opens and closes my womb. Try as I might to get pregnant or avoid pregnancy, ultimately He is the giver and taker of life.

Wow. These are some jumbled thoughts today. But even after all this time it's hard to go from infertile to fertile...especially when that means I need to make decisions about birth control as my heart continues to ache for those of you who long for your own little miracle.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall pics

I posted our black and white family pics awhile back. Here are a few of the color photos. I am not sure I've loved any picture of Samuel more than these. The bright colors, the smile on his face, the joy radiating from his little body as he so proudly walks down the sidewalk in front of our house...

How is it possible to keep falling more and more in love with our little man? One year and he's captured our hearts for a lifetime!





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sur.vi.val

Survival: the act or process of surviving, esp. under adverse or unusual circumstances.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and she affirmed what I was already thinking: I am in survival mode.

Right now the goal for each day is just to survive. Health, happiness, rest, routine...it will all return someday, but today if we are alive at the end of the day my goal is accomplished. That is life with a newborn. That is life when you don't sleep through the night. That is life with two children 11 months apart. That is life when half the family is sick.

So it seems we're doing whatever is necessary just to survive.

Poor Samuel is just getting over a cold and his little body is worn out and tired.


I've hit the 6-week wall (is there such a thing?). Six weeks of little sleep and lots of activity has caught up with me - along with Samuel's germs - and I am battling a cold.

The question I've been pondering for the past 24 hours is: who takes care of 'mom' when mom is sick and dad is at work?

I haven't showered today. I haven't even brushed my teeth. I ate breakfast at 10 and lunch at 2:15. I slept for 15 minutes on the couch this morning and woke up drooling (how tired do you have to be to fall into a deep enough sleep to drool in 15 minutes?).

I'm not writing this to get sympathy. I'm just communicating the current status of the May household.

Someday soon we will be thriving again. But today, we're just surviving.

Monday, October 26, 2009

8 lbs

It's amazing how 8 lbs can change your life...

More smiles.

More laundry.

Less sleep.

More joy.

More love.

More tired.

Less time to blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My journey via voicemails

I'm definitely a saver. I'm a "what-if-I-need-this" kinda gal....so I hang onto papers and things and pile them around my home or shove them into drawers. I'm trying to get better, but it's a hard habit to break.

My saving habit includes voicemails. Recently my cell phone voicemail was full so I couldn't receive new messages. Today I went through them so I could delete a few in order to receive new messages.

However, I couldn't delete very many. I have been saving a number of them for a long time. Like, an entire year.

As I listened to my messages today, I heard my story through the voices of friends and family. Hopefully in the future we'll be able to create a link so you can listen to them yourself, but for now I'll try to describe what I heard:

I have 15 voicemails starting with September 11, 2008, and ending with September 13, 2009. The messages are from our siblings and a handful of dear friends.

The first couple messages are from the day we learned of our miscarriage on September 11.

The next few are from people who learned our news about "baby Samuel."

Then we have some messages after our first couple ultrasounds earlier this year when we saw a little baby who looked healthy and eventually heard a beautiful heart beat.

Then I have a recording of the heartbeat from one of our doctor's appts.

The last message is recorded on September 13 - the day Lauren was born.

I listened to message after message today trying to figure out which ones to delete.

But I couldn't delete them. Those messages are my story. They are my journey. They represent heartbreak, celebration, miracles, rejoicing. They are from our family and friends who have walked this road alongside us. There are messages filled with tears - tears when we lost our baby and tears when we were blessed with babies.

I cried as I listened to them and I smiled because I could hear the joy in the voices of my friends and family members.

"I am so sorry. My heart is breaking for you."

"I just heard the news about baby Samuel."

"I am praying Samuel gets to stay with our family forever."

"We are so happy that you got good news at the doctor's today. We are rejoicing with you."

"Happy first Mother's Day."

"Congratulations on the birth of Lauren - we can't wait to meet her."

Yes maybe I save too many things. Maybe I keep stuff that should be tossed or given away. But these voicemails are priceless. I wouldn't trade them for the world. And I certainly wouldn't delete them.

So if you call me and it says my message box is full and you can't leave me a voicemail, just send me a text instead...and say a prayer praising God for this incredible journey He has blessed me with.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remembering

In 1988 President Reagan declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. According to this website, the purpose of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is to "promote Support, Education and Awareness for grieving parents nationwide."

I wholeheartedly agree with the following statement: "Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. Our goal is to help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss."


Every time I hear the story of a loss, my heart hurts. Miscarriage, still born, ectopic, infant. Just in the last few weeks I know of two babies who were stillborn at full term. One of the babies was to be adopted and the adoptive parents are now grieving the loss along with their birth mom. the other was a young couple anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child.


Some people want to talk about their loss, while others quietly and silently grieve. If you know of someone who had a loss, please let them know you remember. They may choose not to share, but give them the opportunity to talk about their loss...because as a parent, you never forget.


This week in my Beth Moore Believing God study, Beth said that we frequently say "time heals." When the truth is that only God heals and God restores.

And God too, remembers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reflecting on what I am learning

So I may be slow or just down right stupid but as I was rocking my daughter back to sleep early this morning it occurred to me that I am dad to a baby girl. Holy crap! What do I know about raising a little girl?

Truthfully, I don't know the answer because I am not sure that I even know what I don't know yet. Sorry for my lack of clarity.

I guess I was just overcome by the responsibility of having two kids. Up to this point I have had very little interaction with Lauren, because I have been busy with my buddy Samuel. He requires some attention that Stacy isn't able to give him during the day, so when I come home I try and give him 100 percent of my night.

So here I am. Two kids 11-months apart. Wow! Right?

I remember last September yelling at God telling him that I deserve a child. Now, here I am with two and I feel totally inadequate and unworthy. I guess, maybe that is how I should feel. The truth is I am so happy with the gifts God has blessed me with that I am at a loss for how to handle it all.

In thinking about this I was reminded of the cartoon of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet talking about how they were going to live. Pooh said he was going to live until he was 100 years old. Piglet responds by saying, "I hope I live to be 100 years minus one, so that I never have to live a day without you. So sweet, simple and innocent. But true.

Moving forward, I hope God will continue to refine me, polish me and sharpen me. I want to be alert. I want to be on guard. And I want to love each and every blessing He sends my way everyday for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do you have kids?

Setting: Home Depot
Characters: Me and Mr. Home Depot guy
Conversation:
Me: Hello, do you have any recommendations for getting paint off hard wood floors?
Guy: How much paint?
Me: Oh you know, just spots and streaks that the drop cloth didn't catch.
Guy: Sure follow me.
Guy: Here are your two options: latex paint remover or Goof Off. The remover is just for paint. Goof Off is good for paint, crayons, markers, etc. Do you have kids?
Me: Dumbstruck. Just look at guy. In my head: Do I have kids? A year ago that question would have left me in tears. But today....today I have two miracle kids. Want to hear about them? They are only a year apart. We adopted our son and we are crazy in love with him. It's an amazing story. Our daughter is just four weeks old. We went through two miscarriages and three years of trying to conceive before we had her. Our story is incredible. We are so blessed.
Me: Yes. (I'll save my story for another time Mr. Home Depot guy.) I'll take the Goof Off.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dear Lauren

Sweet baby girl,
Today is your one month birthday. It's been 31 days since you entered my world (in a way that I could touch you, hold you and see you).

31 days of having a daughter.

31 days of cuddling and snuggling with you.

31 days of smelling your precious baby smell.

31 days of looking at your big blue eyes (which I am proud to say you got from your mama).

31 days of feeling your soft skin.

31 days of pink, pink and more pink.

31 days of burping you, feeding you, changing you, dressing you and loving you.

31 days of looking at you - a living, breathing example of God's promises come to life.

31 days have convinced me I would do it all over again.

31 days of praising God for your life.

31 down. Forever to go.

I love you baby girl.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Waiting

If you watch The Office, last night you heard Jim give a speech at his rehearsal dinner. He talked about waiting for Pam, his wife to be:

"Four years ago I was just a guy who had a crush on a girl who had a boyfriend. And I had to do the hardest thing that I've ever had to do which was just to wait..... For a really long time that's all I had. I just had little moments with a girl who saw me as a friend. And a lot of people told me I was crazy to wait this long for a date with a girl who I worked with. But I think even then I knew that I was waiting for my wife."

Here I am watching a mockumentary that makes me laugh and laugh, and in the midst of awkward, funny scenes, a nugget of truth was spoken so honestly that my heart stopped. "And I had to do the hardest thing that I've ever had to do which was just to wait....."

Jim waited for years for a date with a girl he liked. And looking back on his season of waiting he now recognizes that waiting was the hardest thing he's ever had to do. I love that the script writers of The Office gave us a peek at Jim's feelings about waiting.

And can't we all identify in some small way with those feelings?


If that speech was coming from me today, it would sound something like this:

"Four years ago I was just a girl who was waiting for a baby. And I had to do the hardest thing that I've ever had to do which was just to wait..... For a really long time that's all I did - wait. And a lot of people thought I was crazy to wait so long. But I think even then I knew that I was waiting for a miracle."

It's worth it. Every moment. Every month. Every year. Not knowing how the waiting will end...it's worth it. So very worth it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Early morning thoughts

This morning as I was feeding Lauren at 5 a.m. I started thinking -- not something I typically do during the early hours of the morning -- about parenthood, expectations and waiting.

I pondered whether or not motherhood is what I expected? After waiting for babies for so long, is this what I thought it would be?

I wondered whether or not people who wait for babies parent differently than those who grow their family very quickly?

I thought about the kind of mom I am and how my years of waiting and my losses might contribute to how I parent. Am I more patient? More kind? More appreciative and grateful? Wiser? Stronger? Over protective?

I considered my friends who have car loads of kids. They have different parenting styles and philosophies. For some chaos is a daily part of life and for others, calm and order are necessary.

And I considered those I know who long for car loads of kids (or even just one!). How do they view parenthood and will those views line up with reality when they do become parents? How will they parent their children?

I guess it all comes down to...how do our life experiences impact us? How do they prepare us? How do they shape our expectations?

I didn't come up with any answers at 5 a.m. Just a lot of questions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sweet chaos

Yesterday I read one author's description of his marriage: he called it sweet chaos.

I love that!

And I feel it appropriately describes this season of my life......

For example:


We went out for a birthday dinner on Saturday night. Ryan and I met my parents at a local pizza place (Davanni's - our favorite). It was NOT what I had imagined Samuel's birthday dinner to be.

Samuel woke up Saturday morning with a cold. So by dinner time he wasn't feeling real good, wasn't very hungry and wasn't interested in sitting at the table in a restaurant.

Lauren wasn't interested in sitting quietly either (I ended up feeding her in the car in the parking lot).

Two crying kids. A disaster of a dinner table. Cramming food in our mouths in between trying to care for the kids.

It was tiring. It was crazy. It was memorable.

It is our life - sweet sweet chaos.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dear Samuel

Dear Samuel,
I'm up late getting ready for your party tomorrow. It's not the smartest thing to be doing because I'll be up again shortly to feed your little sister, but I can't seem to go to bed. I've been watching the amazing slide shows of you that our friend Jen created throughout the past year:

Newborn photos

6 month photos

9 month photos

Look at you! Look at how you've grown my sweet sweet little man. Seeing pictures of you as a newborn makes me want to start bawling. My heart just fills to full as I remember all the emotions of getting the call, going to the hospital, seeing you for the first time, hugging your birthmom and birth grandma, feeding you, holding you and dreaming about a future with you.

I love these photos because they capture your facial expressions, your laughter, your personality, and who God has created you to be.

I am so proud to be your mama Samuel. I am still in awe that God gave you to us. I will spend the rest of my life thanking Him.

This past year has been better than I could have ever dreamed. You are my miracle man Samuel. Always and forever. Happy happy Birthday sweet boy. I love you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

365 days

Tomorrow Samuel turns one.

That means Sunday marks 365 days since his birth mom, Samantha, made the very difficult and emotional decision to allow us to adopt Samuel as our son. And her mom, Jill, supported her decision even though it meant she would not get to raise her grandson.

For 365 days we have been deeply grateful.

For 365 days we have loved our little man from the top of his head to the tips of his tiny toes.

For 365 days we have considered it an honor and privilege to raise him in our family.

For 365 days we have tried to remember what life was like before Samuel - and yet we can't. Because every day with him just feels....right.

Samantha and Jill: I can't imagine how difficult this past year has been for you both. Please know that we understand the great sacrifice you made by allowing us to adopt Samuel. Just today Samuel and I cuddled up with the blanket you made him Samantha and we read Baby Einstein's First Words. He loves that book. And I love looking at that blanket and knowing that you cared so much for him that you gave him to us. There are no words to truly express to you what it means to be his parents and to get to love and raise him. All we can say is thank you for the decision you made 365 days ago...you changed our lives and we will never be the same.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Overwhelmed and overjoyed

A friend dropped a meal off last night. She told me that someone asked her how I was doing. My friend responded: "She is overwhelmed and overjoyed."

That is an accurate description for how I'm feeling these days. Caring for two little ones is incredibly overwhelming. I am exhausted and everyday brings new challenges trying to figure out when and how to feed them both, play with them, comfort them and love them.

Ryan walked in the door on Tuesday and I was in tears (again!). He said, "Did I do something wrong or is this one of those times when you just need to cry?"

Being tired and overwhelmed is definitely cause for tears some days.

I apologized to Ryan on Tuesday because I felt that he would be stressed every time he walked in the door at night...a messy house, a tired wife and two kids that require a lot of time and energy. Ryan gently reminded me that this is suppose to be exhausting.

And this is exactly what we wanted.

Praise the Lord for exhausting and overwhelming days filled with absolute joy.