English or Russian?

After last weeks T&A surgery, Nina came home and had reverted back to how she acted when I had her in Ukraine. The experience was very traumatic for her. yes, I know it is hard for many kids, but we are sensitive to the fact that Nina's past has taught her to fear certain environments or situations. being confined to a bed, attached to monitors is too close to being tied down to a bed, something that she knows. We were supposed to be safe, we were supposed to protect her, and yet we were not doing anything about it. On top of it all, she was in pain. I do wonder if she questioned if we had "punished" her.

Our emergency had me very concerned about what was going to happen with Nina, even if we only had to stay for one night.

Today, as I was getting ready to leave, I had to pack up our stuff and go get the stroller so I asked the nurse to stay with Nina. She was not able to do so, so she got a lady that works at the hospital to come and stay with her while I ran around the hospital getting ready to go.

This lady had an accent. I looked at her name tag. Her name was most definitely Russian.

Although she was not from Russia (and I cannot remember where she was form) she informed me, "Of course I speak Russian!"

I told her Nina was adopted from Ukraine. I did not have to say more, the lady began to speak to Nina in Russian. Nina was too worked up to listen, but eventually, it caught her attention. She looked at me, with big eyes. Slowly she turned to her, stared at her. Then she lifted her hand, pointed her little finger at her and said, "No. Stop."

She turned to me and said. "Mommy, I love you. Family. Mommy, daddy, Ellie, Nichole, Nina."

She tuned to the lady who said something else to her and she repeated, "No. Stop."

I am not sure what this lady said, but she did stop and said to me. "She doesn't like it. Something bad happened to her and she has bad memories. She needs to forget it, don't try to get her to remember. She needs to forget."

The lady spoke to Nina in English and Nina then decided she would paint with her while I was gone. Before I left the room, the lady pressed on. "Remember please, she needs to forget. When she is older, maybe you can teach her, but she does not like it."

I am not sure about this encounter, but I think God had a reason for us to meet this lady.

In the car, on the way home, I got my daughter back.

Somehow hearing this lady speak in her old language reminded her of the love she has now. Of the family that hugs and kisses her. Of the sisters that she enjoys spending time with. She knows she is loved, and it has made a difference.

So God gave Nina a little of His medicine, and reminded her of how loved she is. A God of miracles, and a God that cares deeply about our hurting hearts. He holds Nina close and gently reminds her of His love.

If you give a six year old a camera....

You may get some photos like this:

(The toy box in Cole and Georgie's room)

Some super sweet photos:

(That's me on the phone with my mother while Cole (what we thought) nursing and me resting my eyes with the baby. Not sleeping. Nope. And, no, I didn't know he had the camera. BUSTED!)

And then there's the naked truth of what my room looked like when I had time to wash and fold laundry but was too tired to put it away....

Then, because he's six, we have this photo:

Why, yes, I do believe that is his BUTT!

And a self portrait:

I realized something this morning...

as I was pumping and listening to the storm roll in...

*if lightening stikes the house while I am pumping, that could get painful...

* if the power goes out for an extended period of time, Cole and I are up the fecal tributary without a means of transportation. I have mastisis (and another sore spot in my breast, go figure!) and while my hand pump is good, it is dying. Slowly. I'm horrible at hand expressing, have no formula on hand and just enough milk for maybe a day.

Breasfeeding is easy. Formula feeding is easy. Pumping and feeding EBM is not easy.

We are coming home!

Thank you friends for all your prayers. We are coming home! Nina is doing well and happy. I have a couple of posts to share (one was lost because I lost internet connection) but will update as soon as I get a chance.

Thank you, thank you.

Please do keep Nina in your prayers so that she continues to heal and we do not have to come back!

Another Hospital Night

Nina had a few spots cauterized this morning. They said that there was a nerve or vein (not sure which) that was leaking underneath a scab. It was putting pressure on the scab and creating lots of blood clots.

She seems to be doing better than last week, after all, half her throat is healing, the other half has to start healing all over again. The OR doctor told Andy that in 10 years working there he had only seen 3 kids come back after the 7-10 day. He said it is usually the very next day.

She is tired as is expected and so are we, it has been a long day.

To clarify on my last post. My mom will come and stay with Nina only if we have to stay for an extra day. Ellie has a school event tomorrow night that I promised I would be there for. So hopefully we will all be home!

This morning as we went to the ER in our town, the doctor had taken a quick look and said that Nina was fine, to just go home and bring Nina to see the ENT later in the morning. I was not so sure. A nurse saw Nina still spitting up blood, and we could see a blood clot in her mouth. The nurse insisted we waited a little bit longer. Thank goodness! Once Nina took one sip of water the blood just started coming out.

I have never been more scared for any of my kids before. Nina was sputtering blood and it was coming out fast. They were sucking it as fast as they could and the doctor rushed to call mayo hospital. Then all of a sudden she threw up and the nurse caught a handful of blood clots and blood...and more blood was coming out. They were scared, I was crying, "Do something, please do something!"

They called for a helicopter to rush her to Mayo. I felt terrible, knowing that I could not go with her. However, they said Nina did great on the flight (she got to play with an i-pod touch, I am now a big fan of them.)

It was a long day, but tomorrow will come and they say rarely does a kid come back after a second time. Pray with us that she does start on the road of healing. And thank you all for your many prayers for Nina today.

In the OR

Nina was taken to the OR. She has been there for over an hour. I don't know if that is normal or if it is too long. We are just waiting. Please keep Nina in your prayers.

Also, Ellie is very sad. She told me this morning as I was leaving that she wishes we had not adopted Nina because I am gone with her all the time. It breaks my heart! Tomorrow Ellie has a final school event, and I promised her I would be there. I am so thankful for my mom willing to come and stay here with Nina so I can be with Ellie.

On the mean time, please pray. I am exhausted (emotionally) and feel like as I am down I am getting kicked.

I was listening to a song called "Stand in the Rain." I need to get the lyrics, because it sure feels like the world is crashing down.

Prayers needed for Nina

She woke up this morning bleeding. Went to the emergency room and it got pretty bad. She is now being air lifted to Mayo so they can do something!
Please keep her in your prayers!

The Long Story of Cole's (semi) Short Tounge

When Georgie was born and we were pumping, bottle feeding and nursing, I thought that no kid of mine could be more of a pain in the arse to feed.

God heard me. And, thus, God laughed. Long. And hard. Because when you say, "It can't be worse than THIS!" God takes that as a CHANLLENGE. God being God, His challenges are few and far between, so methinks He looks forward to them.

And God sent me Cole.

Now I am 99 per cent EP'ing (exclusivly pumping). Yup, you read that right- EXCLUSIVE. That means Cole does NOT nurse from the breast.

Oh, he tries. We both try. He latches on and sucks a bit and at night when he wants to suck and cluster feed, he will latch on and try. He suck is weak and not a proper suck for a breastfeeding baby. It feels like he is biting me, a classic sign of a tounge-tie. I'm employing alot of the tricks mothers use in the NICU to get babies used to the breast and to relize that it is a happy place to be, complete with FOOD: non-nutrive sucking, nursing but not expecting full feeds, skin to skin contact, kangroo care and so on.

And pumping.

How do I pump with four children, you ask? I try. I have at least one session a day cut short by someone crying or needing something NOW. I am constantly asking them to NOT play with the pump parts and tubing while I pump. Joseph thinks the milk coming out is just the most interesting thing EVER. I think I would like him to stop staring at me while I pump. I explain to him how "they" work but, seriously kid, I just want to zone out and forget that I am hooked up to the mechanical baby.

Am I exhausted? Yes. If you want to see Cole awake, come by between 9 pm and midnight. He likes to play, eat and be carried around. Adam and I want to sleep. I have f our loads of laundry to be folded. Georgie figured out how to get out of bed and destroyed the bathroom while I napped. That is, he got into the cupboard where we keep the toliet paper and now I have paper to clean up. Normal kid behavior is grating on my nerves.

I am thankful Adam is so supportive and keeps telling me that my number one job is to make milk for Cole and get him back to breast- in addition to caring for the children. I am glad I respond to the pump and can make enough milk to give him breastmilk 99 per cent of the time. I am thankful I have friends who brought us meals, help with the kids and school pick up.

My baby came home with me and he is healthy- that was my number one prority and goal. But I still want to breastfeed my child from my breast. Isn't that how it always is? We say we want something and then we go, "Well, hey, that was awesome and I got my wish but I still want MORE!" I am so, so thankful Cole is healthy, term and home with me, sleeping in the sling. I am glad we are marching at the March For Babies for only one child, not two. I am glad all my kids are healthy.

Something in me says to not stop pumping yet, even though my house is a mess, I am exhausted and all I want is a few solid hours of sleep. I really, really hope the ENT agrees with us that he has a Type 4 tounge tie and we can get it clipped ASAP.

And I hope my kid figures out his nights and days SOON!

The Broken

My friend Gillian posted this on her blog today, and I wanted to share.

"Christ is building his kingdom with the broken things of earth. People desire only the strong, successful, victorious, and unbroken things in life to build their kingdoms, but God is the God of the unsuccessful – the God of those who have failed. Heaven is being filled with earth’s broken lives, and there is no “bruised reed” (Isa. 42:3) that Christ cannot take and restore to a glorious place of blessing and beauty. He can take a life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it a harp whose music will be total praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory." J.R. Miller

Maybe you need this reminder today, just as I did.

The Physical Characteristics of Down Syndrome...

The physical characteristics of children with Down syndrome...

-Might make you rethink your definition of Real Beauty
-Might make you wonder if angels live among us
-Might take your breath away
-Might some days remind you of how scared you were when you first received the diagnosis for your child, and how much you thought about "the look" your child would have. Now, you see so much love in that child, that you cannot imagine your life without them.

These are some of the physical characteristics that are common in individuals with Down syndrome.

-The almond shaped eyes that slightly slant upwards
-The button nose due to the small bridge of the nose
-The little ears that sit slightly lower
-The tongue that sometimes likes to peek out to say hi
-The "thicker" neck

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I have noticed that most people find my blog based on searches for "Physical Characteristics of Down Syndrome." I previously wrote this post, on that subject.

If you do have a prenatal or new diagnosis of Down syndrome, you can read this post. This is where our journey began. Now I can say with full confidence that I would not trade it for anything! But at the time, I wanted it all to go away. And if you need someone to talk to, do not hesitate to contact me by asking a question, or by sending me an e-mail.

Looking forward to an IEP...yeah right!

Neither Nina nor Nichole have IEP's...yet. But I have yet to hear any parent say to me that they love IEP's. More often than not, this is what I get.
IEP. Individualized Education Plan. The joys of sending your not typical child to school.

My friend Renee (who was adopting at the same time we were!) has blogged quite a bit about IEP's lately, and I have enjoyed reading through those posts, trying to make mental notes as I know this will be us in 6 months for Nichole, and maybe even less for Nina. I do love some of the acronyms that she has shared that have been recently found around the blog world from some frustrated parents.

IEP - Incredibly Excruciating Pain!!!
IEP - I Exited Pissed-off!
IEP - Irritating Exclusion Program
IEP - Intellectuals Expelling Poop

My favorite one is "Informed and Educated Parent."

Last September I attended a conference called "Parents as Presenters." One of the presenters gave his talk intended to be shared at the beginning of an IEP meeting. I remember thinking what a powerful thing to do before everyone starts talking about your child and focusing on all they cannot do, all they will need help with, and what their limitations are.

A friend and I joked and said that anyone working with children with special needs (yes, anyone!) should first be required to parent a child with special needs for at least three months or so, preferably a year, so that they really get to know the child and fall in love. It makes a big difference. As a parent, you know who is doing their job, and who really gets it. We don't see it with IEP's, but we do see it when you get the "evaluations" for your child, or even the way someone talks about your child.

Anyway, this was meant to be more of a funny, light post, so I will leave you with this last cartoon.

Finding the Answer....

Last summer I was standing at my sliding glass

door looking out into my backyard when I spotted

a lemon yellow, very out of the ordinary bird

at the top of my plum tree.

I stood in awe gazing from inside my house at the

beautiful birds (there was actually a pair of them).

I was torn to run and get my camera yet did not

want to miss one second of seeing them with my


Do I run?

What if I run to get the camera and the birds

fly off?

Gazing at the birds sitting on branches in the

plum tree, primping...then moving to other

branches was amazing.

And I was alone with nobody to tell or say...

'Hey look at those YELLOW birds in the plum tree.

'Have you ever seen a bird like it?'

Ohhhh, I needed a picture.

So off I RAN to the other room to grab my camera

out of the drawer...............

running back to my perch at the sliding glass door.

Ahhh, there they were.

Two yellow birds complete with red heads and

black wings.


I had time to snap about three quick pictures

through the glass door (not daring to open the

door lest I scare the birds off).

Then like butterflies in flight...the pair of

lemon beauties floated off through the sky out

of my sight.

I wondered for days what kind of birds they were.

I was on a mission.

I searched the internet.

I talked about the birds and told my family all

about them.

Unfortunately, I could not figure out what kind

of birds they were.

Eventually I stopped trying and no longer thought

about it.

That was a year ago.

Last week my sister came over for a visit and she

gave me a surprise gift certificate to a favorite

store of ours.

I was really looking forward to using the gift

certificate and wondered what I could buy with it.

So later that night I went online and looked

up the store.

The store website came up but before I could

browse through more than a few clicks I saw a

picture of a yellow bird SO SIMILAR to the pair

of birds in my plum tree last year.

The excitement began!!

I just had to explore it more so I clicked on the

picture of the bird. Upon a closer view it looked

nearly the same but it didn't have a red head.

I kept clicking on the other pictures of yellow

birds.....because now that I had gotten so close

I was determined to find out what kind of bird

was in my backyard.

Then there it was!

I found it!!

The lucky lemon yellow beauty appeared before my

eyes and finally

(after one year)

I had an answer:

The bird was a Western Tanager:

Now you may wonder why I am posting this story on

the ACC blog but I assure you there is a message


After having finally found the name of the exquisite,

unusual yellow birds that I was privileged to see in

my own backyard, I realized how similar it is to

finding ways to teach my child, Matthew, who has ACC.

There are times when I have tried and tried to figure

out how to teach Matthew something but no matter

how much I try the answer doesn't come.

But after I put the goal on the backburner and

move on to other things, when I least expect it,

(often months or more later) and much to my surprise

I realize that he learned the very thing that I

had been trying to teach him earlier.

We had simply stumbled upon the teaching method

without even trying while doing other things.

It just appeared as easily as can be and flowed like

a river.

Of course we parents of kids who have Agenesis of

the Corpus Callosum realize that there is a big

variety of scenarios for how to teach our kids the

MANY things that they are working on learning.

I am convinced though that sometimes there are

those times when we simply put it on the backburner,

move on to the next thing and let the natural flow

of life and learning take place.

A Better Day

Yesterday was a hard day for Nina. She drank very little and did not eat anything at all really. Not until later at night did she have a little bit of soup. Still, she was going to need IV fluids for the night.
Nina asked for a bath last night, and she got one. She absolutely loves baths! however, her IV tape came loose regardless of the "covering." And because Nina plays so much in the water, it had started to come out.
Later at night, they called the IV docs to out in a new line, but they "fixed" it. Well, at least they thought they fixed it. We had trouble with the IV line all night, until finally at 3:00 am I asked the nurse to please just be done. We needed to sleep, and she had had IV fluids for 5 hours already. He agreed and said we could decided what to do in the morning.
At 5:30 am Nina woke up crying. The IV had come out completely and it was just hanging there attached to a little bit of tape. Yikes!
Then we were back to sleep until 10:15 am!
Nina woke up asking for water and milk. She then wanted breakfast. Her choice...soup!
We played with some play doh and she is now playing with Grandma Chachi who stayed with us last night.

So we should be okay going home today. She is talking more, although she is still so crabby! But that could also be because of the lack of sleep.
Can't wait to sleep in my own bed with no lights and nobody coming in at all hours of the night or machines beeping.

Not So Good: A Prayer Request

To say we are exhausted is an understatement. All 3 of us!

They took Nina of the IV to see if she will eat and drink on her own. So far we have failed, as she has had nothing to eat or drink, other than a few little sips of water.

Her oxygen numbers keep dropping when she is sleeping and they have an oxygen mist thing going for her as she sleeps. Unfortunately, she never had an actual test done to see if she had sleep apnea, which she very well might have, so we do not know if her numbers are "normal" or not. I am afraid with what we know, they will say "not."

Our one night stay at the hospital will most likely result into 2 days at the hospital. No fun! I need sleep, I am not happy, enjoyable, nor mothering or nurturing when I am sleep deprived.

So please pray for Nina.
-That she will start eating and drinking
-For her pain
-For her oxygen levels

Do Not Like Hospital Stays!

We have not had many experiences staying at hospitals overnight. Just 2 births and all girls now at some point in life. I do not like spending nights at hospitals!

It seems like things always look "worse." And maybe...is it possible...that night staff is hired to work at night for a reason? Like maybe...bedside manners are not as good?

So after a scare the doctors were having because Nina's oxygen levels were too low and they almost got her hooked on oxygen or considered ICU, the probe thing was found to not be on correctly. This has resulted in beautiful numbers so far as it is on right.

This after a doctor coming in and seeing Nina is asleep proceeding to speak loudly. Never mind we were whispering, he was not getting the hint. And I just decided I am crabby, so I should not post while crabby.

For now, please do pray for Nina, I have a feeling we are not going to go home tomorrow and Andy leaves on Monday for school for 2 weeks.

Surgeries Done. Now Recovery.

After three hours we finally were told that we could go see Nina. However, because we are spending the night, their recovery room only allows for one parent to come be with the child. Nina asked for daddy to come be with her and I waited for a long time to see them.
Nina is in and out of crying.
She is sure of one thing she does not want. Mommy. Sigh.
If I see her she cries, if I talk to her she cries, so this mommy is feeling pretty defeated. I know she is in pain, but it is still hard.
She got some pain meds and she is doing better now. I was actually able to play with her for a little bit and she seems more herself. She has had a couple of Popsicles and some sips of juice. However, she is still in pain. Her voice sounds a little different, which I knew sometimes happens.

She is playing with some toys and pushing on all the buttons on the bed, which means we have had some unexpected visits from nurses.

That is it for now, there is not much going on other than trying to keep her happy and comfortable. At some point she was so worked up that she threw up while Andy was holding her. Her diaper was also so wet that Andy's pants got wet. So today, Andy gets the best daddy award.

Nina's Surgeries Have Started

We woke up bright an early this morning and left home by 5:45 am. Our sweet little girl did not sleep any more in the care ride, she just looked outside the window and seemed pretty excited to be gong somewhere.
We waited for a while and we met with different doctors and nurses. Amazingly, Nina did not ask for milk or something to eat. She did notice Andy and I were chewing gum and she asked for a jelly bean!
Here we are waiting.
Nina got her new pajamas on and she was pretty excited. She was pretty happy to wear a hat too, although she insisted we were not putting it on right.
Then they said one of us could go back with her. Nina chose her daddy and so Andy got his blue pajamas on so he could go in with Nina :)
They offered a medicine (drug) that would make Nina ll loopy and basically will "erase" her memory from what will happen. We agreed to it as we are not sure how this could impact Nina after all she has had to go through in her life. She was so out of it! Basically she was "high."

Before Andy and Nina got to go in, they came and said Andy could no longer go in because of the many procedures they will do, the order required is not conducive to having parents be there. Whatever they are doing first does not require full sedation, I think that was the issue.

So we are waiting. The procedures started at 9:35 and they said this will take at least 3 hours. So we will be waiting and praying for our sweet girl.

Please pray with us too!

And continue to pray for Crissie and her family please.

Nina's Surgery Tomorrow

We finally have a time for surgery tomorrow. Yes, finally! For some reason this system is set up that you don't get an actual time until after 8:30 pm the night before.

Tomorrow we need to be in Mayo at 7:15 am and then we go from there. I know for sure we will be there until Friday to make sure that Nina is okay.

She is having 8 procedures done
-bronchoalveolar lavage
-ear cleaning
-adenoidectomy (just a possibility depending on what they see)

So please keep our sweet girl in your prayers. I know many of these things are routine but it is not routine for us! Thank you for your prayers!

Finally Answering Some Questions

How is Nina doing with her AFO's?

She i doing well. Still is not a big fan of them as they make her stretch in ways that are uncomfortable. And when she has been wearing them for a while, she still cries as we take them off. However, we now put them on while she is sitting on our laps, so there is no more fear or "flashback" to being tied down. She even tries to help and do it herself. We are still breaking them in, so we are not at the point of wearing them all day.

How is Nina doing with the walker?

We do not have a walker yet, so we hope to get it soon!

So how was Lent?

Well, it was hard! I do have a real addiction with the internet. Another thing I learned is that it is easy to replace one addiction with another, so I did a lot of reading, so I found myself not having as much time as I thought I would have.
What was wonderful was having no Television, and we will continue to do so. We only have 2 shows that we watch and other than that the TV is off.

Yes, we did. I just got a baby hawk and so far I really like it. Funny as it is, Ellie seems to be the one that likes it the best. In her own words, "You can give me a piggy back ride all day!"

Maybe playing "knock knock" jokes will help Nina learn turn taking when talking.

What a great idea!

A couple of other things to add.

-Nina's surgery is this Thursday, only 2 days! So tomorrow night after 8:30 I will have an actual time and will update here so people can be praying for our sweet girl.
-Nina is having a birthday party on her birthday. It will only be a cake, ice-cream, balloons, and happy birthday type of party. This will be exciting!

Ultimate Weight Loss Plan

In a random twist of irony, I have lost more weight in 12 days than I ever have before. You would think that with four kids under my belt (literally!) and the last two pregnancies close together, I'd have the pounds packed on.

Apparently not.

I was an 8 when I began the preg and still had several pounds to lose, including some stubborn belly fat. I gained my typical 40 pounds and fully expected to be a size 14 or more at a few weeks PP.

I tried on some capris yesterday and I am a size 12!

I'm a bit shocked. I still have a belly that looks and feels like bread dough but it is rapidly going away (and would probably go away faster if not for the cookie, 2 truffles and chocolate cake I had today....). I can see my feet. I am wearing maternity pants, yes, but a size small. My shirt is a nursing shirt but it is also a small. My face is thinner.

I'm not sure what I am doing or have done differently. Swimming 2 mornings a week helped, I am sure. My cravings for strawberries and grapes aren't hurting anything. The fact that I am nursing AND pumping could contribute but,then again, my body could also want to hold onto the weight to make sure the triplets my boobs currently think they are feeding won't starve.

I need to make sure I don't gain the weight. I am defaintly going to make walking to school with Joseph a prority and when I am more rested and healed, try to swim again. We still have a wedding to go to this summer and I want to be able to buy a pretty new dress!

Cole feeding update (x posted)


Cole is up to 6 pounds, 9 ounces as of yesterday. Yesterday, we were still finger feeding him if he did not latch on. If he did, we would snake the tube into his mouth and supplement him at the breast. He would get a taste of the milk, suck and then suck enough to get a let-down from me. I HIGHLY recommend this, as it boosted my pumping output within 24 hours. I have been drinking MMT and taken freenugeek (sp?) but not a full dose of the latter. I really think it was the supplementing at the breast that helped the most. As a bonus, he wouldn't take as much of the EBM (because he was getting more from me) so even though I didn't have as much pumped for him as I would like, it didn't matter as much.

I have a bunch of nipple shields leftover from Georgie. This past weekend, I tried them several times and it did nothing. Adam and Mom suggested them again but I couldn't find them and, anyway, they had been a no go.Yesterday was especially fustrating since he would NOT latch on. He would just let the nipple ooze from his mouth. I had to finger feed him, which is annoying, fustrating, time consuming and messy.

Today I took him to the chiro who adjusted him while he nursed and then I went and bought another nipple shield. I tried him again on it and he latched on perfectly and took BOTH sides with no problem! I was feeling super full since I hadn't pumped at all today and got four ounces per SIDE in 15 minutes.

Georgie has been able to get a splash of BM in his nighttime bottle, which is nice since he has been sick. I am hoping and praying feedings keep going well so I can wean off pumping but, honestly, I think I might keep going while my mom is here and I have the time, since then both little boys can have EBM.

I am so, so glad I have help this week. We have had to do weight checks and pumping just like with Georgie. That was stressful because I didn't have help; I can't imagine what it would be like with a needy toddler AND all this together

Prayers For Crissie!


The Patterson Family adopted Crissie last year from Serbia. Crissie was one of the little girls from Reeces Rainbow. Crissie has a severe heart condition and the Patterson's knew from the beginning, that this road would take them to hospitals and open heart surgeries.
Right now, Crissie is fighting for her life. Things did not go as expected and Crissie was gone for 20 minutes. But the Lord brought her back and she is now fighting, fighting, fighting! My heart breaks for this family. Please join us in prayers, visit their blog, and leave a comment or a prayer for them.

This is Crissie and her mom before she went in to have surgery.
This is Crissie now, fighting for her life!
Please pray for Crissie and her family! you can click on the button on the top of the page and it will take you to their family blog, or you can click on this link.

Some Discoveries from Today

Discovery 1:

My attempts at making authentic Mexican food need some help! Fortunately, I am the only one who actually knows what anything is supposed to taste like. Still, I think Andy must know something is off. My attempt at Chiles Rellenos ended up with Poblano Peppers that were just not cooked but still hard. I need to ask my mom how to make them the right way!

Discovery 2:

Never Ending Story is NOT an appropriate movie for 4 and almost 4 year olds! No matter how sweetly you call the Rock Eater "So cute!" He is not cute, he is scary! So that was that for watching the movie. It was my favorite movie growing up. I did watch it when I was 4 until I was maybe 10 or so. I could quite the entire movie. Today, I got to watch the first 5 minutes in English for the first time. And after years, I could still quote parts of the movie. But in case you are wondering, it is a very scary movie!

Discovery 3:

Nina told me today that sometimes Andy and I tie her too. What? So I asked her when we tie her, and she told us we tie her in the car seat. Light bulb! When we got home, Nina did okay at the airport, it was when we got her in the car seat that she lost it, kicking, screaming, and she seemed so scared. Within seconds she was asleep. Today I understood why! So for those of you adopting, this is something to think about and prepare the kids for! At least now I can talk to Nina and she knows that we are just getting buckled so we can be safe!

Weight gain update

Literally after I hit "post" Friday night, my dr called. He apologized for not being "on the ball" when he saw us that day. He said Cole had dropped 12 per cent and normally he would have admitted him for IV fluids at that point.

(Please be impressed I did not FREAK TOTALLY OUT at that point.)

Because I was getting ready to feed him, he said to call him back after I fed him and we would go from there.

Well, I was pretty convinced they would admit him no matter what, but I got out the tube and fed him from one side, snaking the tube into his mouth so he was supplmented at the breast. Then I tube fed him the rest and he was quiet and alert for the rest of the night.

So all that screaming at night? HE WAS HUNGRY. Am I not the world's crappiest mother?! My fourth kid and I couldn't figure out that he was starving!

Because the feeding went so well, they did NOT admit him and he gained 4 ounces in 36 hours.

My mother was able to come up only a day late and I've been tube feeding at the breast, finger feeding and bottle feeding since then. I'm pumping after nearly every feeding, since formula makes him vomit. I have herbs and a tea that I am using to increase my supply. I think the single biggest help has been him nursing at the breast with the tube. He sucks and I get some stimulation but he gets milk right away. He likes to latch on, or latch on lazily, and not suck. When we shoot the milk right in his mouth, he suck and gets a let down. I'm pumping 1-2 ounces per side, so I am finally ahead of him in the supplmentation department.

It turns out Georgie has a DOUBLE ear infection and strep! He's doing much better nnow and is a little jealous that the baby gets so much attention when I feed him. (It's a two person job.) Adam is back at work now and he is having daddy withdrawl.

The perk to all this? With nursing and pumping, I'm down at a size ten at 11 days post partum! Now, to stop eating junk....

Nina Thinks of Birthdays

As it is every day, Nina said before going to bed...

"It's my birthday today! yay!"

"No Nina, it is not your birthday today" I said

"Yes" she says with a whine, "Yes it is!"

"No sweetie" I continue, "Not today, but you will have a birthday in 2 weeks."

She makes a defeated face.

"You know, when it is finally your birthday, you will be four and we will have a party for you. Everyone will sing, "Happy birthday sweet Nina...""

"Oh yes! Yes! Sing happy birthday to Nina! Mommy! Good idea! Good idea!"

A good idea indeed. The first birthday celebration of her life!

"Grief is not a Speed Sport"

The last six months have been the hardest months of my life and I am only 29 years old. I take a deep breath and I can smell the reality of that statement, it fills my lungs and seems to settle in, clinging to my lungs, and trying to get comfortable. I cough.

Maybe when I am 40 years old I will have things figured out. I will read Ephesians 1:11 " In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, " Hopefully I will say, "Ha! I have a more clear understanding."

When Nichole was born, dealing with her diagnosis was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. As I look at Nichole now, my heart is full of love. She has brought much joy and love to our lives. She has changed us. What really matters in life comes so easy to her, and she teaches us how to live every day.

Nichole allowed us to know God's heart in places where we had never been before. As we explored, we discovered breathtaking sites and we fell in love more with our Lord. In this journey, He gave us love for the "unlovable and broken" of this world. After all, we were unlovable and broken in deeper ways. As we stepped out in faith to adopt, we were stepping into unknown territory, and this journey of faith has come with many tears, and we have known grief in new ways. At least I have.

The tears began before we step foot in Ukraine, and once we arrived, we were thrown into a spiritual ground of which I had never encountered before. There were days when discouragement sat on my shoulder, it rested on it heavily, and the physical strain of carrying it knocked me down. Loneliness danced around me, taunting me to join the sorrowful tunes and I would find myself swaying to the composition. Anger yelled at me, and even when I covered my ears its echo vibrated in my mind.

I saw the reality of the orphanages in Eastern Europe. Those noises, smells, and scenes will haunt me forever. My heart broke, and I wanted to scream because I was so powerless to do anything for them. I couldn't help them! I could only save one. My heart still does not understand all that I witnessed in that place, I saw much darkness, but I also saw care and love.

For two weeks the daughter I had fought so hard to save, cried and screamed for two to three hours each night. The sound, like a poisoned arrow pierced my mother's heart. I soared on hope each day of promises made, only to see hope abandon me in mid air. "Tomorrow for sure" was said, yet tomorrows held the same answer.

I felt like God had abandoned me...for the first time in my life. But God was there. He was there through Kim and Jerry, our missionary friends. He was there as our "angel" lady when we were stuck in the Ukrainian airport for two days as we attempted to get home. He was there as the Germans took care of us while we had to wait yet another night in an airport, and He was there was our family was reunited. He was there, I know it. I saw it. But I did not feel it.

Grief. I had never experienced emotional grief.

So I read the wise words from Uncle John Stumbo, who wrote on his blog, "I've said it before: grief is not a speed sport. Grief must be allowed to wander around the mysterious shafts and canyons of our heart. It's trek is usually best taken in the dark. But in time, the human heart is ready for light to shine again. Insights such as those provided by Moses begin to light a few candles, piercing the darkness and announcing that a new era of healing is coming."

In speaking of Moses, Exodus 17 tells the story of Moses needing Aaron and Hur to hold up His arms during battle in order for the Israelites to win. Moses could no longer do it on His own, he needed others to do it for Him. Oh how thankful I am for all the Aarons and Hurs in my life that were holding me up during our time in Ukraine. Those that continue to do so now.

Recently my family (my family of origin) has had some pretty tough things happen. I was already emotionally "frail" so this came as a blow. They say when it rains it pours.

Then I had the car accident.

But like John Stumbo also said. "God is in this, and GOD IS GOOD." Oh how comforting that thought is to me, oh how it brings me peace. Because God is in this, and God is good.

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

I am confident of this. My life belongs to Him, and what a comfort this is. So I allow for God to meet me as I grieve, and allow Him to comfort me and carry me. His arms are a safe place, a place of rest.

Oh how I need that!

News on the car...

Yes, it is totaled :(

And we were ONE payment away from having it all payed off! Oh well, the air bags did not go off, and they should have. I think maybe had we had a serous car accident, who knows what tragedy could have happened.

My sister and I are safe, we have great insurance that has really taken care of us, and that is all that matters.

Andy's Birthday Cake

This year Andy's birthday fell on a Wednesday. The busiest day of the week for him, so we knew that not much was going to happen except Ellie was really excited about making him a birthday cake. I have a birthday cake book, and Ellie and Nina like to look at the pictures. Ellie decided that since daddy likes football, she was going to make him a football cake.

And this is a picture of the cake Ellie made and the picture of what the "fancy" cake looks like in the book. So we did not it to look as nice, but Ellie made it! I think she did a pretty good job for a 4 year old. Yes, I helped her with the white lines, but over all, she did a pretty phenomenal job!
She knew that doing the little details would be too hard, so she did what she knew she could do, and in my opinion, this was the best football cake ever!

Must we do this again?

Go down the no weight gain path.

Adam says I am handling it well but I am pretty upset. Cole is down to 6 pounds, 2 ounces, nearly a full pound off this birthweight. I am trying to remember what is normal newborn sleepy and what isn't. He DOES NOT nurse off the left side at all. Heo nly wants the right and seems to nurse well from the right side. He does have wet and dirty diapers but not as wet as I would like. I put him in a cloth diaper at about 10 am today and he stayed in it until three. Normally, I would expect that thing to be soaking but it was barely damp. He did poo, though, and it looked normal but I think I am seeing some blood in his diaper again, which could mean he is dhydrated.

I haven't been sitting down to proper meals, snacking as I go. I think I am eating enough and I know I am eating pretty healthy. (I just had an entire small apple, three pieces of cheese and about a cup or two od strawberries for s snack.) I'm trying to inscrease my intake of water. We had a before and after weight check, which showed he took in about an ounce and change in one session. I'm giving him an ounce of milk after each nursing session and am going to try to tube feed him on the "bad" side. He's hard to wake but whether it is normal newborn stuff or not, I don't know.

I'm tired. I'm fustrated. I'm angry that my entire extended family is ill, putting off my mother's trip here. I am afraid Adam is going to go back to work Monday and I am going to be left with a sick toddler, two older kids with needs and demands and a newborn who takes over 30 minutes to feed, plus household chores. not cool.

All about me

I'm bored. I'm having a beer and putting off folding laundry. I'm going to have to poke the baby soon to get him to eat, so I'm dawdling.


Laura, Mom, Honey, Hon, Nurse a saurus


maternity shorts, a maternity tank and my glasses


The baby to eat well, gain weight and nursing to go smoothly


fell asleep pumping, walked Cole outside to calm him down, woke Adam up to come tobed

The LC, people to rent a pump from and Adam

Take the baby for another weight check, maybe get out of the house, make Joseph's birthday cake

iced tea, hot tea, water


Joseph, Cami, Georgie, Cole and Adam

Happy sixth birthday Joseph!

Joseph had a pretty decent day. I would have loved to have made it "more" but I had a fussy baby and sick toddler.

Adam stayed up late last night and made cookies for his class. He got his presents at lunch today- a Nerf gun and a two wheel scooter- so he could play this afternoon. He tried to "shoot" the home health nurse when she came in. Nice. Aim a toy gun at a mandated reporter!

Camille: What's that?
Joseph: a NERF GUN!
C: What's it for?

Adam brought him McDonald's for lunch. Apparently, the kid is onto us. He told me he wanted me to get the food since I buy the Happy Meals and Daddy doesn't. Lol. Daddy did buy the Happy Meal, which he was thrilled with.

Sadly, Georgie is pretty sick. We weasled him into the dr's today and not only is he teething, he has an ear infection and a fever. Poor guy only wanted to be held by Daddy. J and Adam were supposed to go to the meeting together but Adam stayed home to take care of Georgie so I could focus on Camille and Cole. Joe was pretty upset but handled it well. I think he's looking forward to his small family party this weekend... with cake!

(He did get a SpongeBob ice cream pop from Wal Mart for treat, so he wasn't totally deprived!)

Happy birthday to our sweet little boy who is still mostly sweet but not so little now!

The Car that Was

Andy came to get me and we went to get all our stuff from the car so we took a couple of pictures.

Andy said he was "underwhelmed." Maybe that is a good thing and the car will not be totaled, maybe it can be fixed. Who knows.

So here are the pics. What do you think, totaled or not?

Life Happens

I came to visit my family for a day. Yesterday as my sister and I were driving back to my mom's house we got in a car accident. It was one of those that happens in really slow motion and you are not quite sure of what is happening at the time.

We are both fine, the air bags did not even go out, but the front of our car is pretty messed up.

Crazy! I don't think I had ever been in an accident like this before. And it is no fun when your husband is not there! I am not the quickest when it comes to accidents, so I felt like in a daze. The officer was so gracious and I felt like in a way she was taking care of me. Well, it is the reality that God sends people to help us out and let us know things will be okay.

So now we are waiting on insurance and hopefully I can go home soon!

First day home

We all survived. Cole woke me around four am to eat, eat, eat and then play. He was quite happy to look around and be social around 6 am. The older kids came in and asked to hold him, which I said no too because he was eating again and going to sleep. In fact, we both passed out around 7 as Adam was showering and getting the kids out of the house.

We slept until 9:30 or ten when they got back from running errands. All of them held the baby, even Georgie! It was so cute! He would hold him, hug him and then hand him back. Even Adam melted.

I got a shower in and then watched Camille and Georgie and fed them lunch while Cole napped and Adam took Joseph to taekwondo. Adrienne came over and helped get G down for a nap as our home health nurse visited.

Although my milk is coming in and Cole is having LOTS of poopy diapers, they are still mec filled. (I used the term "watery chocolate pudding" and she laughed.) He's down another half an ounce, 6 pounds, 6 ounces. She could hear him swallowing accross the room. WHEN he eats, he eats well. He's just a giant pain to wake up and keep awake. I think he might be getting enough at one breast since when I give him a supplement of my milk, he spits it out. I know 10 per cent isn't bad at all, but none of us want to go down the same road we went with Georgie. Sooooo... we push the supplements. (It's all my milk; I can get about one ounce per side with the hand pump. I might rent one of he doesn't perk up soon.)

Speaking of pumping, I had a long visit with the LC at the hospital. I am now the proud owner to the horns and tubing for THREE double pumping kits. It's funny if you think about it. I feel like I should pump and donate just to use all the tubing!

The kids are doing well. Camille is having the hardest time, I think. She's just acting out a bit more and always wants to be in the baby's face, hugging and holding him. Georgie is a bit the same way. I know they could act out at any time so I'm taking the "over love" while it lasts!

We Couldn't Be There

We are not sure how much Nina understands the English language. Sometimes it seems like she has a great grasp, while other times we wonder if she understands what we are asking or saying to her.

We are still puzzled by her behaviors at times. What seems a normal situation, can send her into her own world, where she can easily be irritated or upset. These times are hard for all of us emotionally. It makes us wonder what exactly took place at the orphanage, and what her life was like.

I shared in a previous post, that the first time I walked into Nina's room, they were not expecting me and I was sure that a little girl was going to be tied down to the smaller wooden pen. I saw this same little girl being smacked across the face and her ear pulled as she was dragged to a chair because she was not fast enough. never mind that she too has Cerebral palsy and could not walk. The impatience and lack of love were heart breaking. Praise God Oksana has a family waiting to go get her!

I tried to teach a worker how to feed a little boy with Down syndrome by helping support his jaw. She said she had not time for that and shoved the food into his mouth. His eyes watering and gulping, gasping for air, maybe even aspirating with every spoonful going in his mouth. He too has a family ready to come get him.

I saw other children treated harshly and being punished. And I saw more. And what I saw will forever be in my heart, and it will remind me that these children live in dark and scary places, and that those with special needs are abused even more, because it is easier to hurt those that are weaker.

Nina's recent reaction to having her braces put on, along with other behaviors, made Andy wonder if Nina had been tied to her crib as punishment. We have found out that it is not the braces that make her cry, but rather having her lay down and getting them strapped on her, the noise of the Velcro, and having something that "restricts" her body. Once she is up and walking, this is not an issue.

A friend who is also adopting from Ukraine wrote on her blog, "We showed up unannounced one day at the orphanage. All the children were in the big wooden playpen. They were all tied to the slots of the playpen so they couldn't move. No wonder they didn't want us to come in the room."

So we asked Nina today about her life at the orphanage, not sure if she understands us, not sure if she knows how to communicate with us.

"Nina?" I asked, "Were you tied down on your crib? Did you have to lie down and they would tie you?" She looked at me, a sad expression, her little lip came out, and the tears started to come, she said softly, "yes." And she cried some more. I held her so close to me, wishing I could take that away from her, wishing that somehow she had not had to go through that. Andy asked her why they did that. "Nina naughty, Nina naughty." She responded.

We were not there to protect her for the first 3 years of her life. She has gone through so much in her short life, and there is nothing we can do about it. We will never be able to take that away. We can love, and we can pray, that is what we can do.

I think of how we almost allowed money to be an issue. I think of how I almost said Cerebral palsy was too much for me to handle. Those things are so insignificant now, so small.

My heart breaks for orphans around the world. My heart breaks for my daughter. And it aches, oh how it aches, that there were times where she was tied down to a crib, treated like an animal, starved of comfort or love. Never again, never again. Our loving arms will wrap her close, and whisper how much we care.

Today I was her mother, I felt it. I will protect my sweet girl as best I can.


You can find many waiting children with special needs on Reeces Rainbow. They all need a family, they all have suffered enough!

Nothing to Fear

I've always wanted to labor at home until I felt like it would be time to go to the hospital. Even with my fourth baby, I didn't want to be sent home early (the embaressment!) or face needless interventions because I arrived too soon and perhaps wasn't progressing like they thought I should.

With Joseph, I did just that. I labored at home until Adam told me we needed to go to the doctor's. With Camille, I made the call to go in after 3 contractions five minutes apart. In hindsight, I am glad we did since she had mec in her fluid. When my water broke, I was on the monitor and I had the extra reassurence she was okay.

However, a big part of my reasons for staying home this time were my kids. My mother was a childbirth educator and involved in La Leche League. I jokingly call her the orginal hippie and I am just a pale imitation. I always knew she had three unmedicated deliveries and I remember asking her why. She always said simply, "I think it's better for the baby."

As an adult, I now understand and appreciate that her deliveries must have been scary for her and my father but she gave me the gift of never fearing labor and delivery. I never feared the pain of labor. I never felt like it would be unmanagble pain. I grew up reading birthing books, some more mainstream and some definatly NOT (anyone want to give birth in a teepee while smoking pot?), so I certainly knew things could go wrong. I knew my options for pain relief, what might be normal and what wasn't. Adam and I took Bradley classes and became very well informed and I talked with alot of natural birthing mothers who helped me plan for anything- from a normal, fast birth to needing pain medication to a c/s.

I want my children to have that same gift. I want them not to fear labor and delivery, especially Camille who, God willing, will go through this. I want my sons to be loving and supportive of their wives choices.

With Georgie, there was alot of fear from Joseph. When I told him I was pregnant with Cole, we talked alot about how Georgie was sick when he was born and how most babies aren't sick. We discussed whether this baby would be sick and when and how he could visit the baby. It was hard to tell him that there is nothing to fear from birth when his only memory of that experience is filled with a depressed mother and a baby who stayed in the hospital for 9 days.

This time, my children were with me in early labor. They knew Mommy had made it much longer than I had with Georgie and that this baby would be healthy. Still, in the early hours of April 7th, things weren't normal. There was no TV in Mommy's room while I showered and Daddy gave them breakfast. It was dark and quiet and Grandma came over at 6 am. To a six, four and 16 month old, this was weird and possibly scary.

All three of the children checked in on me at least once. They know and like my doula but I'm sure it was funny to see her at our house and not her office. I spoke to each of them and told them it was okay, Mommy and Dr. A were working to get the baby out and they were welcome to be quiet in come in the room. Joseph refused but Camille helped rub my back and Georgie labored with me outside.

When I left for the hospital, I was still in enough control that I hugged them, kissed them and told them that I loved them. They never saw me complaining that labor hurt and that I didn't really want to push. They saw me in control, working hard but not in "themostgodawfulpainofmylife" and "iwanttodiiiie."

There will be a time, yes, when they learn labor can be very painful. There will be a time when they learn horrible things do happen to mothers and babies. They will learn about the real need for forceps, vacuums, fetal monitoring and inducuctions. They will learn not every mother recovers as easily as Mommy does and that there can be very real pain involved in bringing a child into the world.

But not now. Not when they are six and four and still learning. When they asked if it hurts to have a baby, I told them it's like having a big poop but you get a baby instead. I won't tell him that it's like someone set fire to my bottom. I can't do it. I won't give them fear- not now. Not at six and four.

I wonder what they will remember. I wonder if Camille will remember helping me labor. I wonder if she will remember the very normal day suddenly filled with anticipation, with Dr. A sitting at the kitchen table while Mommy ate a snack and leaned over with each contraction. I wonder if Joseph will remember the joy at climbing into the big hospital bed to hold his new brother. I want them to remember joy and anticipation and the nervousness that surrounds bringing a new life into this world.

Because really, normally there is nothing to fear.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord- Cole's birth story

Short story and Stats:
38 weeks, 4 days- second longest pregnancy
total labor time: about 12 hours- longest labor
total active labor: 3 hours and 49 minutes. (about 11 am to 2:49 pm)
Cole Robert
7 pounds, 1 ounces
19.5 inches
2:49 pm

Cole's pregnancy was emotionally rough. I'll spare you the details but Adam and I spent alot of time talking about what I would want and need in labor, delivery and the post partum period. I spent alot of time exaiming what went "wrong" and "right" in the days, weeks and months after Georgie was born and how to fix that for Cole.

With alot of help from different people, I began to exercise (swimming) at 27 weeks, took two different medications and went to group and individual therapy. I "brought back" (aka groveled!) my doula from Georgie's birth, who was and is a BIG physical and emotional support for me. I picked a dr I knew, trusted and one who wouldn't "leave me" (be put out of business) two weeks after my baby was born. He knows me, knows my kids and promised to be proactive in preventing a premature delivery.

My meditation this entire pregnancy had been a musical version of the "Magnificant." In it, two lines stood out: My sould proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exhaults in God my saviour. In the NICU, when the clouds cleared, I thought often of Mary and how she watched her child suffer on the Cross. Mary is a mother just like any other mother and Jesus always was her baby. It must have killed her to see her little boy suffer and die; you know all she wanted was to run up to the Cross, grab Him off it and take him home to "make it better." But she couldn't. She knew that God's will was being done and that she would have to endure her child's suffering to see the greater good for humanity.

I watched George breathe with a machine and all I wanted to do was grab him off that table, take him home and "make it better." I knew God's will was being done.

When things got bad during Cole's pregnancy and I worried that he too would be born early, I heard "My sould proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exhaults in God my savior" over and over again. I was reminded that the Lord is great and no matter WHAT happened, we would proclaim the greatness of the Lord and my son's life was in his hands.

We made to 24 weeks- viability
We made it 28 weeks- the third trimester
We made it to 30 weeks- when the long term risks of prematurity lessen.
We made it past 33 weeks, one day- two weeks, gestationally, before we had Georgie.
We made it to 35 weeks... then 36... then 37... still not term but when Joseph was born and he was a "take home" baby.

On Easter Sunday, I spent alot of time in a Bad Mood and Not in the Mood for Anything. I really wanted a quiet place to beeee. I spent some time in my in-laws living room doing some deep breathing, squats and leaning over the arm of the chair. Once again, I completely understood why animals make a nest for themselves somewhere in nice, dark, enclosed spot and then have their babies. I thought about chilling in the closet of the master bedroom but decided against it, since Adam would REALLY think I was crazy!

Tuesday, I had to get THINGS done NOW. I dropped my oldest at school and went to Wal Mart. I bought all Joseph's birthday presents, a pressie for a birthday party Sunday and some odds and ends. They were remodeling our WM so I walked ALOT before picking up Joe. I ran into a couple mothers who asked how I was doing. I was honest and I was feeling physically awesome but getting ready to meet my baby.

After dropping Camille off at preschool, I had an interview about my breastfeeding experiences. It was fun and I enjoyed meeting the wife of one of Adam's co-workers. I jokingly said that now I could have my baby since I didn't want to miss the interview!

Later that night, we went for a walk to the playground and met some neighbors. They were surprised that I was so cheerful about being 38 weeks and asked how long my dr would let me go. I told them I would be STOKED if I was induced for being post-dates!

After the kids were in bed, my stomach began bothering me and I chalked it up to the crap pizza I made for dinner. I wanted to listen to my Zune and Hypnobabies but we couldn't find it; I had left it on the nightstand and Georgie had taken it. I crabbed about this and went to bed.

Around 3 am, I woke up to use the bathroom. After I got cuddled back into bed, I began having mild contractions. I got out my pregnancy book and read the difference between the real deal and the fake-o ones. Because I was not having any bloody show or mucus and they seemed to be in an odd place, I chalked it up to more fake-o contractions. I cuddled down in bed and tried to go back to sleep... until they suddenly got stronger and I had to moan through a few.

Around 4 or 4:30 I poked Adam and told him he wasn't going into work that day. He asked if I was in labor and I said I didn't know. When I moaned through one he said, "Those are preggasaur noises. You're in labor."

I said, "I bet they will stop and space out when the kids wake up. Why don't you shower just in case?" He agreed and asked if I wanted to call his mother and the doula, A, so we could go right in. I said no.

By the time Adam finished his shower, the contractions were stronger. He called his mother and A and told them both to meet us at the house. When the kids woke up, they all went downstairs and I hit the shower. It felt really good and I felt like if I stayed in it, the baby would come sooner. I hopped out and went back to the bed, where I cuddled with my body pillow and relaxed.

A and my MIL got there at the same time and A joined me in my room. The contractions had spaced out and were lighter; due, in part, to the kid noise downstairs. Georgie was fussy and I was worried about him, so it was hard to focus on labor. I remembered wondering how mothers with many kids homebirthed because mine were distracting me!

Between about 6 and 8 am, I layed in bed and used the bathroom. A is also a chiropracter, so she is an adjustment on me to help my sinus' drain. Blowing my nose on the toliet really helped the baby move down! He was really high and we could both see and feel him move down.

It was nice to lay in the dark room with the sun slowly rising and just chat. Adam kept asking me if we wanted to go to the hospital to start the IV but my gut told me no. It was too soon and we had time. A and I both felt that this was going to be a putzy labor but when he chose to come, he would COME.

Once the kids left for school, I left my room/cave and walked the stairs. I showed A the baby's room and we talked some more. Once my MIL and the younger ones got back, we went for a walk with Georgie, who was still out of sorts. (Three teeth, mom in labor... who could blame him!) We went to a short walking path half a block from my house. We walked back and forth for two hours with me carrying Georgie the whole time. Every time I had a contraction, I would close my eyes, bury my face in his neck, sway/squat and hum or moan. A told me he would smile every time.

It was so, so peaceful to walk along the creek, holding my sweet soon-to-not-be sleeping baby and have the warm spring breeze blow on me. He was my little toddler doula, helping to peacefully bring his baby brother into the world in the way I wanted for him too. At some point, he fell asleep but I kept carrying him because he weight and smell was soothing.

We talked alot- I got out alot of fears which I know helped me progress. After two hours, Adam called looking for us and we went home. I had sent him for McDonald's iced tea and a bagel to keep him busy (he was fussying and worrying) so we went home for a snack. He had EATEN my bagel so I had some cheese and a zucchinni pancake and a whole lotta tea. I contracted some more and used the bathroom. A large chunk of my plug had gone. When I meantioned this, my MIL said, "Well, you don't need to worry if this is for real! If that's gone, this is it!"

Around 10:30 or so, I knelt next to Adam, who was in the recliner, and we made plans for MIL to take the kids out to lunch. I said that around 11:30 or 12 we would decide to head to the hospital or have an acupressurist come over to speed things up.

I went back upstairs to use the restroom and sit on the birthing ball. A few moments later, A followed me and Adam actually found the Zune, so I used a hypnobabies track to drown out the kid noise and relax. The contractions began to get closer and more intense but not longer.

MIL left to get Joseph around 11. A told me I was acting like "Laura in labor" and I said things were really beginning to bite. Adam finished up loading up the car and got my Zune and some pillows. I was worried that since the contractions were so short, they would space out in the car again or they would pit me at the hospital- A said she was sure neither would happen.

I contracted alot in the car but still smiled when I saw the infant seat in the back. I told Adam I was happy I was finally going to give him a healthy baby.

Adam called the hospital and, for some reason, was transferred to the dr's office. I learned my dr was out of town for an emergancy which was a disapointment but not a big deal. When we told him the contractions were short but 2-3 minutes apart and getting intense, they fussed at him because I needed the IV, yadda, yadda. Mentally, I groused. I knew that, I wanted the IV and I would get it, no problems- just SHUT UP!

I probably contracted 5 or 6 times between the car and the L and D unit. In the elevator, I told Adam I thought a sced c/s was the most brillant idea ever and this SUCKED.

We checked in and I was hooked up to the monitors. I had one of the nurses I had requested and she was awesome. When they tried to get the IV started, though, she blew a vien. I was holding onto Adam and whimpering while trying to will my body to NOT contract while a needle was being placed. Adam was AWESOME and told the nurse that in Nov they blew four veins and an ICU nurse couldn't get a line. Her eyes got wide and they looked in the other arm- no vein. I ended up "refusing" the IV (on paper) and recieving an oral abx later.

They checked me and I was five, -2 station and about 60 per cent effaced. Everyone cheered- but me, because I was just getting annoyed that the hard, painful part was coming.

After I was off the monitors, they began filling the tub and A's co-doula arrived. They both did some accurpressure on me and told me that things would get more intense. At this point my mood was, "Oh, let's not." I either wanted in the tub or to go home; being pregnant for 50 years or so was sounding pretty darned good!

(At one point, I told Adam was I mad they couldn't find a vein because now I didn't even have the option for the stupid epidural!)

Since they wouldn't let me go home, I got in the tub and sat between two jets, one on my back and one on my belly. They contractions weren't closer but still intense. I leaned forward and J rubbed my head.

I was just beginning to get comfortable and relax and I felt something SLAM against my cervix and a giant POP! Adam told me later I said, "OW!" and clear fluid poured out of me. I told A later that I would have flooded the floor if I had been out of the tub. I freaked out and they helped me out of the tub and onto the toliet. I had a little more water and it was really clear. Adam ran for the nurse and they held the monitor to my belly to check his HR. It was perfect.

(I threw on a gown to go out but put it on "backwards" like a robe. Adam remarked, "Modesty gone!")

I honestly don't remember contracting alot after this. I remember thinking that it was good my water broke on its own and I felt like it "flushed" the GBS right out. I was scared because there was no.turning.back and the "ring of fire" was about to come. (I don't like pushing!) I know the nurse had been trying to find out treatment protocol for babies of GBS moms who don't get the abx and she asked me when my PTSD started. I just pointed at my belly and walked into the bathroom; Adam and A filled her in. (Again- awesomeness. When I wasn't in the mood to answer for myself or couldn't, they stepped up. A also took down alot of information for me so I wouldn't have to worry, deal with or process it while I was in labor.)

In the (clean and refilled) tub I stood with the handheld shower on my belly. People kept asking me what I wanted and I shrugged or said I didn't know. I had a contraction and then another where I pushed. I stared at my doulas and said, "I'm pushing! He's coming NOW!" Adam literally RAN to get the nurse and they said, "You have to get out of the tub!" I was frozen and said, "I can't!" so they helped me lift my legs out, get a towel and get to the bed. They wanted to check me and I said "NO!" I just, um, wasn't in the mood.

I pushed a couple times in a really weird position. I think my answer to every question was, "I don't know" or "I don't care" or "THIS SUCKS AND I DON'T LIKE IT!" Apparently, I was pretty funny because people kept laughing.

Finally, they just broke the bed down and put up the squatting bar. In spite of me saying, "I don't want to do this and it's going to hurt!" They had me stand to push. The dr blew in and said, "Hi! I'm Dr. R and I'm taking Dr. H's place," and I ground out, "I don't care!"

As everyone laughed and Dr. R said, "I get that alot!" I pushed. I saw the nurse's eyes get wide and she slapped on a glove and knelt before me. I felt him come down and the buuuurn. Dr. R raced in and said, "I can't catch like this. Can you scoot on the bed?" Since I was a whimpering, sniveling mess, I said, "Noooo and it huuurts." I know A said something but in a second she and Adam helped me lean back, put me feet "up" and I pushed.

I felt and saw his head come out, then his shoulders and then he was HERE, being held between my legs and CRYING. A REAL cry. He really was cheesy; totally covered in vernix but crying! Not grunting, not retracting, not sneezing and coughing but CRYING!

The dr went to cut the cord but A stopped him asking, "Laura, do you want to wait?" This time I cheerfully said, "I don't care I just want my baby!" He quickly clamped and cut the cord and handed him to me as several other nurses threw towels on us. I rubbed him and said over and over, "He's here! It's over! He's mine and he's healthy!"

At some point during my pregnancy, I had a dream/vision of me holding a newborn skin to skin. He had chubby cheeks, was covered in vernix and had curly hair. I thought I was nuts because our babies are bald.

Cole has chubby cheeks, was covered in vernix and has curly hair. When I saw him I said, "He looks just like I pictured!"

No one suggested taking him away until I tried to nurse him and couldn't get comfortable. I hadn't delivered the placenta yet so I made the call to hand him off to be weighted, get a diaper and checked out. Dr. R had been waiting patiently for the placenta, checking to make sure it detached but never pressuring me to push or pulling on it. When Cole was safely out of my arms, We delivered it (and got pictures!) and put the bed back together.

A few weeks ago, when they began the whole "big baby" chat I had said my guess was 7-1 at 37 weeks. Cole was 7 pounds, 1 ounces at 38 weeks; our biggest baby by 2 ounces.

(And, yes, when they called out his weight, I laughed, and said, "I totally called it!")

I felt GREAT after. I kept saying, "I feel too good to have pushed out seven pounds!" Adam asked if all women felt this good and the nurse was like, um, no. Your wife is weird! Aside from passing a massive clot, I did really well and actually over did it by walking down to the nursery and around the room.

Everything went more perfect that I ever could have imagined. I got to labor at home, like I always wanted. He was born safe and happy and I had hours to bond with him and nurse before we ALL went to the nursery for his blood work.

The only snafu was when my dr called from the road and requested that someone "be awake" with the baby all night in case he had a late on set of GBS symptoms. The baby nurse was the mother of five and one of them was a NICU graduate. She explained that all the cute little "kitten" noises we had been hearing might actually be grunting and with a baby who's mom was GBS+, no abx, etc they wanted to be careful. Adam fielded alot of the questions and the questions he knew I would have. He couldn't stay with me; I knew he had to get home. They promised he didn't have to stay in the nursery; if I was awake to keep an eye on his breathing, I could have him. They would bring me him whenever he needed to nurse and if there were ANY problems, they would get me.

He joined me at 11 and 4 and then 6 and has had no problems breathing. I slept well that night and remembered my medication, so my anxiety was kept at bay. The kids came to see him today and they all love him! Georgie even got mad because we would let him hold his baby brother on his lap!

Cole is here and I am having the hospital babymoon I never had. I was sick with PIH after Joseph was born, Camille inhaled mec and went to the NICU for a short time and Georgie was premature. I have never had a healthy mom AND baby and this awesome!

Cole is here. Cole is healthy. May his life always proclaim the greatness of the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord...

Cole Robert
7 pounds, 1.4 ounces
19 1/2 inches long
2:47 am
dark hair and lots of it!

Easter Weekend and Crown College

After our church service on Sunday, we drove up to my mom's house to spend Easter with my family. My sister gave each girl a wrist band of a different color, and the girls had to go and find eggs that matched the color of their wristband. So Ellie had purple, Nina yellow, and Nichole green. It was a lot of fun for the girls. Ellie also wanted to get some more plastic Easter eggs and put candy in them. I told her to put 5 jelly beans in each. To our surprise (okay, we were not that surprised) only a few had 5 jelly beans, most of them were missing one...or two...or three!

On Monday, Andy and I got to go to Crown College (where we met!) and share with the student body about our adoption journey. It was a great opportunity and Andy did a great job talking about God's adoption of us, while I cried a little when I shared. Really, I don't know that I will ever be able to share anything that is close to my heart without chocking a little.