Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Expecting–22 Weeks

 

DSC_3966 copyBaby size: Just under a pound, about 10 inches long.

How far along: 22 weeks!

Total weight gain: 10 pounds total. I’d like to think that’s a good place to be, but I have to be realistic… the big gain is still to come. Eek!

Sleep: Not too shabby. I’m loving my body pillow now that I’ve learned to sleep with it without getting smothered. Achy hips and odd dreams are my sleep companions these days… in addition to my hubs, I should clarify.

Maternity Clothes: I love my skinny jeans and tunic tops that hug under what little bump I have. Truthfully though, I only try to look cute when I go out and spend the rest of my time in big sweatshirts and cozy pants.

Food cravings : Fresh fruit, salad, soup, bread, and CITRUS, always CITRUS! This week I’ve indulged in a couple peppermint soy mochas from Starbucks and wow! they hit the spot.

Food aversions: I could do without ever smelling fried eggs or fish again. Oddly enough, though, scrambled eggs have tasted really good. When I figure out this pregnancy thing I’ll let you know.

Symptoms: The last couple weeks I’ve been dealing with more of this odd, low pain. A couple days of actually having a hard time walking! Christmas Eve was pretty bad, but Christmas morning I felt much better. I’m going to blame it on gas, the infamous ‘round ligament’ pain, indigestion… Other than that, no swelling or heartburn yet and that’s a good thing!

Exercise: Well, you see, its Christmas… And before that, I was too busy… And before that, I was too sick… Perhaps I will add walking to my routine next week.

Movement: Little fellow likes to swim and punch rock and roll…and then he sleeps for just long enough to make me nervous. Then – POW! He starts doing jumping jacks or kickboxing. I’ve been trying to have my hubs catch a kick for a couple weeks but the stubborn little baby would go perfectly still as soon as J would lay his hand on my belly. Finally, on Christmas night he gave a really big kick and J looked at me with a shocked happy expression and said, “Wow, I felt that one!”

Belly Button: Still an innie…. but looking a little stretched.

Gender: BOY!

What I’m looking forward to: I’m looking forward to sharing baby’s motion with Sarah and Caleb. It will be so much fun to see their eyes light up Smile

What I miss: Having energy. Really, I have nothing to complain about!

What BabyCenter has to say:

At 11 inches and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment.

If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

The five of us on Christmas morning…

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Expectations

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One thing that every adoption story has in common: the WAIT. Waiting is not a particular talent of mine, in spite of the unending lessons that the Lord brings me on the topic. Some kinds of waiting are harder than others, however. Once we had finished our home study and were legally clear to adopt, I felt a sense of anticipation settle over our home, a pregnant pause, a waiting fraught with expectation. It was not a hard wait. In a way, it was enjoyable! We finished remodeling our baby’s room, I sewed a crib bumper, skirt and quilt, we went on dates with an awareness that at anytime we could be three instead of two. I washed and folded tiny little onesies and sleepers, bought a stroller and car seat, stashed diapers and creams and all manner of tiny things and rejoiced that at last the Lord had given me the “okay” to indulge my maternal instincts. At times I wondered as I lay in bed at night if my baby was already being formed and I would pray for the sweet little one the Lord was preparing for us and for the birth parents who were walking an unimaginable road. Sometimes sleep wouldn’t come and I would just keep praying.
One beautiful, sunny April day, my best friend and I were bumming around Pikes Place Market, smelling the market-fresh flowers and eating those greasy little doughnuts that taste so good but leave you with an upset tum, when I got a call from my sweet husband. He had just received a call from our agency saying that a young birth mom wanted to interview us. We had no idea what that meant or what to expect, but just the same, I experienced that strange heart-pounding, body-jittering, cold-hot feeling, and though it sounds cliché, the crowd really did seem to fade away! This could be IT.
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One week later, we were walking up to The Olive Garden, gripping each other’s hand and praying under our breath for God to go before us. We were going to have dinner with a young pregnant girl, her father, and our adoption counselor… this was our ‘interview’! How do you prepare for such a thing? I’ll tell you. PRAY. And pray some more. The little information that we had went like this: C was 15 years old, 8 months pregnant, lived with her father who worked nights and had been motherless since she was a toddler. That’s it. What she knew about us went like this: Everything! She had a copy of our profile, a picture album/scrapbook that I put together to give an accurate presentation of us, an attempt to show our heart. It was a daunting experience to walk into! We stepped into the restaurant, C and her dad spied us and looked nervous, we saw them and nervously walked over, introduced ourselves and shook hands, our counselor stepped in, we were seated, and then we preceded to have a most awkward dinner.
The conversation was mostly carried by me asking lots of questions and getting shy, quiet responses. I learned that C was very reserved, loved to color, worked the Summer on a berry farm, liked music, could eat masses of mashed potatoes and yellow cake and didn’t really have any intention of ‘interviewing’ us! After a while there was a lull in the attempted conversation and everyone’s stilted appetites had completely waned. In that moment, C said, “I have something for you guys…” and she pulled out from behind her back a beautiful, fluffy pink baby book and handed it to me. On the front the book said “It’s a Girl!” My throat swelled, I felt Jon squeezing my shoulder, and through tears I looked up and asked, “What does this mean?” And with tears rolling down her face, C answered, “I choose you guys.” We cried. Everyone at the table cried. There was no other response to such a statement. Even now, I can’t type about it without tears.
The rest of the meeting is a blur in my memory. At some point she said that the minute she’d looked at our profile for the first time she knew we were ‘the ones’ she’d been looking for. In spite of being very quiet, she showed us a very determined spirit. When I think of how easy it would have been for her to have quietly had an abortion and moved on with her life… By choosing adoption, she was choosing self-sacrifice on long term and short term levels. I am so thankful that the Lord put in her an incredible love for the life he’d put inside her, a love that gave her the strength to choose adoption. She gave us big, tear-y hugs as we said goodbye and said she’d see us at the hospital soon.
We sat in the car for I don’t know how long. We were in shock. There were lots of tears as we tried to come to grips with what we’d just heard. How do you internalize something like that? Her due date was less than a month away. As it turns out, we had even less time. C was induced on May 6th and on May 7th our miracle baby was born. Exactly two weeks after our Olive Garden ‘interview’. And exactly nine months from our previous failed adoption.
That time of expectation was a sweet time of resting on the Lord and trusting his hand. We knew he held our future and the future of the baby that he was knitting together and we knew that he would do all things well. Fear was always knocking at our door, but God was gracious to fill our hearts with the knowledge of his gentle cradling.
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“Thou hast done for me all things well. All Thy work for me is perfect.”     Valley of Vision

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Expecting ~ 5 Weeks

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What you see is true. Me! I’M Pregnant! Not a friend of mine or 10, but me. I can’t tell you how completely shocked, awed, humbled, thrilled, scared, thankful, thoughtful, perplexed, old, young, amazed, and blessed I feel.

The Raw Stats:

Age: 32

Weight: 118 lbs.

Children: Two beautiful babies that my heart adores. Sarah, adopted at birth, 4 1/2, and Caleb, adopted at birth, almost 2.

Planned or Surprised: Could not be more surprised. And yet, not. My hubs and I have been praying about whether God wanted to expand our family… I guess we have our answer! The surprise is not in the addition, but in the method.

First Symptoms: Without going into too much detail…  Initially, I thought it was all just really, really bad PMS. We were on a Labor Day camping trip and aside from catching a few pictures of my adorable kids, all I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn’t stop crying about every little thing. Certain anatomical parts felt as if a wrecking ball had taking a few swings. Headache. Nausea. And why would my body not just get in gear and start its monthly thing??

How we found out: We got home from our camping trip. I was about a week late starting and feeling a little irritated and even slightly scared that something was wrong with me (I’m never late. Ever.) I decided to sneak to the store and buy a couple tests, NOT because I thought I was pregnant but because it would rule out a remotely possible reason for my body not following its own rule book. Tuesday morning, Jon got up early for work and I slipped out of bed to pee on a stick. I will admit to being a little clammy and nervous since I know what disappointment feels like; I’ve seen my share of negative tests over 12 years of marriage. I wanted clarity, so I got the test that would either say pregnant or not pregnant. After following the steps, I closed my eyes, counted to sixty, opened my eyes: Pregnant. I think my body went into an instant state of shock. I have little memory of what happened next other than feeling as though I’d been hit by a million shells of hard emotion, none of which felt good or happy. It could not be true and my only thought was “Why would God make me go through this again when I’ve been doing so well at trusting Him?” It would not last. I would be devastated. I may not recover.

How I told my husband: Not as I’d planned, were I ever given the opportunity! When we were first married I had a list of fun ways that I wanted to tell him, creative ways that would give him the chance to respond with joy and proper affection. Instead, at 6 AM that Tuesday morning I stumbled down the stairs shaking, crying, waving a stick at him. Poor man! He had no idea what that stick was at first and he had no idea why his wife, cranky thought she had been of late, was emotionally unseamed and wildly out of reason. Instead of giving him the chance to rejoice with me, I gave him all my raw anguish to try to harness. After finally ascertaining the gist of my wailing report, he gripped my shoulders and said, “Kari, you need to stop this. This is not the most important thing in the world.” Oddly, this calmed me down instantly and reminded me of the two Most Important Blessings of my life sleeping soundly upstairs. Regardless of whether this was ‘true’ or not, that fact remained that God had already given me the desire of my heart. Motherhood was mine whether I was pregnant or not. I think that my instant calm actually scared him, made him think I was angry with him. I stopped talking, stopped crying, started making tea. I hugged him and asked him to pray and told him to have a good day at work. How laughable! Poor, dear man. How much I put him through over and over!

Next: Of course, I did what any modern, connected woman would do at that point and spent a few hours researching what the internet had to say about false positive results (does not happen except in extremely rare scenarios) and took another test. Still pregnant. By the time my dear man came home I was all tearful smiles and ready to share the joy of our news with him. He was still worried about me which held him back from being able to truly share in the rejoicing, but then God gave me a little pearl that set us both free to truly rejoice. We had been given a gift: LIFE! Life is something to celebrate no matter how long it lasts. Whether God had given us this life for a few days, or a few weeks, or 40 weeks or 40 years, this life was a gift from our loving Father and there was no other proper response but to give praise. After 12 years of marriage, we had seen God’s blessing in so many miraculous ways, but especially through the birth and adoption of our two family-making children and now in this blessing of our seed. Lift up your hands and sing praise!

Who we told first: Of course, our families were the first to know. It was a little easier after a couple weeks of processing to share the news without completely loosing control, but not much. My story went like this: We have something we want to share with you. We’ve been praying a lot about adding to our family and have asked God for some clear direction and he has been faithful to give us some… {insert dramatic pause} … We are expecting! The wheels would turn: first conclusion would be that I meant we were adopting, had been chosen, that a birth mother was expecting, then a few clicks later, probably cued by my teary eyes, realization would dawn and my emotion would be met tenfold. It was fun to get to share the news!

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5 weeks down, 34 to go!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Beginning...


At the very beginning, we were married, we were young, we were full of expectations of how our life would go. The plan went something like this: July 15, 2000 we would say vows and meant them; By July 2001 we would have Watson Baby #1 in the oven; All consequent babies would be spaced two years apart until we reached a max of 6; Life would be a beautiful picture of 'better' and 'health' and not too much 'worse' and 'sickness'. Funny how my best laid plans seldom match up to my Lord's best laid plans.

For years, I fought with the Lord, wept, begged, bargained, raged, acquiesced, then started the process again. I shutter to think of the multitudes of journal entries trying to convince God to do it my way. Through the years though, the Lord did not let me go or leave me in my hopeless state. He did not answer my prayers for children the way I thought he would or should, but instead he gave me more and more of himself. I learned more of his heart, his ways. I did not always like what I learned. For instance, what 21 year old likes to hear that their way is inferior and no matter how you beg you are not going to get what you want? Finally, after many years, I began to learn the most important thing of all: GOD IS GOOD. He is trustworthy, faithful, and always, always good. This is something I began to grasp in the darkness, as God graciously took from me my fondest dream and without giving me a hope of an answer to my prayer, filled my heart with an understanding of his goodness. I love that time of giving over my hopes to him and asking him to fill me with desire for him.


In 2006, God prompted us into action. He finally gave us a "go" signal in our hearts, so we pursued fertility treatments. This was another dark time of knowing that we'd been directed to try, but not seeing any results. In 2007 we stopped all treatments and walked away from the experience with not a single answer. There was no explicable reason why we could not conceive. I'm so glad that God had already convinced my heart of his goodness or I may have left with bitterness knowing that he was intentionally closing my womb.

One thing remained through all this time: We believed that God wanted us to have children one day. So in 2007 we began to discuss adoption. We had all the fears, misconceptions, and misgivings that are common about adoption, but as we looked into it and asked God for direction about it, every door swung wide open and we cautiously walked through. Until this point, we had not ever seriously considered adoption. We landed at an agency that we loved for their vision of placing babies in homes where they would be discipled in the Lord and we began taking the classes they offered educating us about all the in's and out's of adoption.

We were taking it all pretty slow until one day I got a call from a friend in another state telling me about a girl that I used to know who was pregnant and in a less than desirable situation and wanted us to adopt her baby! After taking it to the Lord, we leaped into action! We zipped around tying up loose ends, got home studies done, worked at our agencies requirements.... only to have the whole situation crash down around us. This was our first failed adoption and it was very, very hard. But through the pain, we came to realize that we had whole heartedly embraced adoption and were not only taking the steps because we believed God wanted us to, but because we believed that adoption was God's first best for us, the plan he had for our family from before the foundation of the world. We no longer held any fear or misgivings, we just wanted to meet our future baby and rejoice at last that God had opened his hand. Little did we know, our first baby was already conceived and he was working in our lives through the failed adoption that we'd just experienced and in the lives of our baby's birth family! Had we not been spurred into action by the failed adoption we would not have been legally or emotionally ready for the birth of our beautiful baby a few short months later.

 
Isn't God good? He gives and takes away - Blessed be the name of the Lord! I will tell the next part of our story in my next post. But let me leave you with this: I do not regret for a moment the years of dry mourning for a dream that did not come. The fact that I did not conceive as I had planned was God's goodness to our family and I would not ever give back a shred of what God gave me of himself through that time. I also would not choose a different road than adoption for us. As much as I have always longed to be pregnant and have the blessing of carrying my baby within me, I firmly believe that God has given me his BEST gift (aside from Christ) through the adoption of my beautiful children. They are exactly the children that I longed for, exactly the children that our family needed.

Adoption is loved by God and adoption is loved by us!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall-ish Ramblings

Along with the crisp mornings, hoodies and sweatpants, dewy walks, and yummy smells, Autumn brings back to me a desire to log the hours that rush by too fast. It is the introspective season, the soul-dredging season. I find that after so long an absence, my fingers and thoughts are slow to share their ideas with each other! But one does as Autumn beckons. I will not deny my favorite season. Besides I have a story to tell of God's grace, miracles, timing that I would not choose, pain that brings blessing, and joy in the journey that God set me on as part of his eternal plan.

My intent is to write out our adoption stories at long last for the sake of my memories and so that my children can also share my memories of their beginnings. And dear friend, for the sake of you! There is much misunderstanding about adoption and education is key to having a proper perspective on adoptive families and adopted kids. I hope that over a series of posts I can help to win your heart to understand at least this adoptive families feelings, experience, and thoughts on this sensitive subject. My intent is not to condescend in any way, but simply to lay out a godly view of adoption and honor the Lord's work in our family. So stay tuned for the upcoming series ... and the twist at the end!

With that, I am excited to be back to blogging, I'm excited that this season that I love is finally here, and I'm excited to share life with you, my friends! Join me in an apple cider and a pumpkin muffin. We're casual around here, so feel free to don your baggiest sweats. Thanks for stopping by!