Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Going back to school...

Going through this process of trying to get back into school got me thinking today. Well, I mean, thinking in a different direction. I do think on occasion... So yeah, can you believe that we are supposed to do all this at 17 or 18 years of age? My God, the amount of stuff you need is crazy. No wonder so many kids get sucked into making bad school choices, student loan decisions, credit cards, etc. I'm seriously pretty thankful that I got pregnant at 18 and am going back to school at 24. I would say I did it the opposite way or the wrong way but I don't think that is really true. So many woman have to make the choice, children or career. I don't think there is a wrong way to do it. Obviously you should have the financial stability but what is considered the "norm" has changed so much in child rearing. Gay parents, lesbian parents, unmarried parents, single moms, single dads, adoptive parents, birth-parents, step-parents, the list goes on.

I wouldn't have done this any other way despite the struggles. I KNOW that their is no way I could be as successful as an 18 year old going into college as I will be a 24 year old going into college. I wouldn't recommend to anyone that they should have a baby first or have a baby at 18, don't get me wrong. However, God put me on this path for a reason and I am starting to understand why. I love being a young mom and I love that my parents are young Grandparents! I think being a parent has matured me to the level I need to be at to truly appreciate this education I am about to receive. I got my GED in December of 2006 a year and two months after having Bailey. I was SO happy to be back in class and so ready to learn. That year and a half of real world had whooped my behind and handed it back to me.

I am also really happy at the thought that I will only be 36 years old when Bailey turns 18. Yep, that's right 36 baby. I will probably have at least on more child after him but my nest will more than likely be empty by the time I am 45! I love that, Rodney and I will still be in our prime, able to walk around the house naked as a Jay bird. That will also make us young Grandparents, although Bailey better be well and done with college before he ever thinks about bringing a child into this world or he will have me to contend with. Do as I say not as I do, you know how it is.

So yeah all in all I am very excited to go back to school. I am planning to go all the way and get my Ph.D. I would love to be a High School Lit teacher or a Reading Specialist. I thought about maybe teaching Art but with the way they keep cutting extracurricular funding I just don't see that being a good idea. Which is very sad, some of the best teachers I had besides my Lit teachers were my Art teachers. They had a real passion for what they were doing and who they were working with. I'm also looking forward to Bailey being able to see me work hard at school,  I hope that instills some good work ethic in him. Lord, please don't let him follow in my previous academic footsteps.

Lastly I want to thank you to every person who has supported me along the way, through thick and thin. You probably have no idea how much your words of encouragement have helped to pick me back up when I had fallen down. So thank you all so very, very much!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Do not ask why, instead ask why not?

I feel like I need to write about pumping, not how I pump, how often I pump or why pumping is good for me and for Liam. Instead about WHY I pump and again this isn't about why it is good for me and for Liam.

In 2005 the world according to Heather stopped revolving around Heather and began revolving around Bailey. My entire existence became about Bailey. I know those of you who aren't parents hate hearing this and you may disagree but I promise you something chemically happens inside of you and you cannot know what it is like until you are a parent. Not meaning you have to give birth to a child because then no dad on earth would know it but to have a child completely dependent upon you for everything it needs and to have your entire life revolve around them. Before I gave birth to Bailey I had never loved someone outside of my immediate family the way that I loved Rodney. I was totally dependent on him, not just financially but emotionally. He was the Yin to my Yang. I am not saying that he isn't still so today but once I had Bailey I knew that my love for Bailey surpassed anything else I had every experienced. Just the thought of him being hurt in anyway would literally hurt me, my throat would close up and my chest would ache. I just knew that I was in love in a way that only being a parent can bring about.

I was surprised to find when I got pregnant with Liam how much I despised him at first. I was so angry that I was pregnant, it was ruining everything. I hated that I was constantly throwing up. I was full of contempt for this baby and even contemplated having an abortion. My love for him did not happen over night, I tried to squash it, I tried to hide, I tried to ignore it. It wasn't until I began looking at potential adoptive parents that I realized how far gone I already was. I balled my eyes out and my heart ached, my lungs burned, my throat closed up. I was certain it was the hormones of being pregnant. I even reassured Rodney that it was just hormones, no biggie. I lied to myself and Rodney. I am one of those mothers who is fiercely protective of her kids. My love for Liam is equal to the love I have for Bailey. I never thought that would be possible because of my love for Rodney. I was certain that because I loved Rodney and hated Liam's birth father that Bailey would have the upper hand. That is not so. Never ask me to choose between my boys because I'd rather take my own life. There is nothing in this world I would not do for either of them.

I feel like people skirt around my pumping for Liam and/or the entire adoption process. It's like they are trying to pretend things are back to normal. Well I have a new normal now. My normal may not be the same as your normal and it certainly wasn't the normal that I had planned for but I wouldn't trade my new normal for anything in the world. I wouldn't go back and not get pregnant with Liam. I am so glad that I had him, I am so glad I was able to spend 10 months getting to know him and love him. I have built a maternal bond with him. So why do I pump? Because I am his birth mother. My love for him didn't stop when he went with is mommy and daddy, no it grew. It grew as he grew, it grew with my love for his mommy and daddy. I provide for him in a way that a mother should because it brings me peace, it allows me to provide something to him because there is so much I could not provide him. It makes placing him in a loving home easier for me because I know I am doing my part. That I didn't just pass the buck and walk away. I am able to DO something for my son and that means I am a good birth mother. So don't ask why as a birth mother I donate to Liam ask why not? I love him just as I love Bailey and just as I will love all the children I ever bring into this world. I enjoy looking at his pictures, they do not make me sad. They make me thankful, they make me feel better having proof that he is safe, that he is loved and that I did right by him.

So do not be afraid to ask. Do not be afraid to wonder, to discuss, to mention him to me. Do not be afraid to mention babies, pregnant women, etc. I am so thankful for Liam and nothing you say or ask or do is going to change that, ever. Knowledge is power so again, do not be afraid to ask for I will answer.

And the wheel, she keeps on a turning.

So I haven't updated in a while. Although, I think about things I would like to write through out the week, it just seems they don't get written.

I just finished pumping and was pretty upset at myself because I only pumped a half an ounce total. I have never pumped so little. I know why I only pumped that half an ounce. I let my weekends throw my pumping schedule all off. I allow social obligations to screw with my schedule. Not to say that I shouldn't have a social life but that I need to be more firm in my decision to pump every two hours for fifteen minutes. Pumping is very important to me and I feel like I have been allowing myself to push back the times that I pump so as not to inconvenience anyone else. Unfortunately I am just going to have to stand firm in my decision and the people that I hang out with will either understand or they won't.

I feel like I have been pretty irritable on and off this last week. I think the headaches that I have been having on and off daily for the past two weeks has something to do with it. Little things are bothering me and I don't want them to. It reminds me of when I drank and smoked. I want to remain calm. I think maybe I just need to get out of the house and hang out with someone besides just Bailey and Rodney. Not that I don't love them dearly but I need some me time. Even when I am in the house all day long I am focused on making sure the house is clean for them, cleaning up after them, preparing meals for them and doing their laundry. So by the time that they get home I have already given all my energy to them and they still want more because they don't realize how much I have already given. In a way I am looking forward to going back to work just so that I can get away from having to do all that all day long. I will be able to share the work load with Rodney.

Baby Lamb turned a month old on last Friday, my how time flies! I was able to view some updated photos of him that his mommy posted on Picasa. They were absolutely beautiful. His hair is turning more and more strawberry blond every time I see a new picture. I think it is so awesome because it looks so much like his mommy's hair! He still has those big bright blue eyes that I find so fascinating. Bailey's have always been that beautiful chocolate brown. His mommy told me he had a check up on his one month birthday and he weighed  9lbs 5oz. I like to think my donating the breast milk has helped with that, so I like to think anyway. :)

Money is tight as always and I just keep praying for a miracle. It feels like we are starting over from scratch which is disappointing. I won't begin to tell you our financial troubles, just suffice it to say they suck. Thank God, Bailey isn't old enough to realize how broke we really are. After speaking with my employer today about the possibility of me going back to school though I am feeling a bit more optimistic. She informed me that Chattahoochee Tech's courses are cheap enough to be covered by the Pell Grant and Hope Grant which I qualify for. I think I might have to just go back sooner and make it happen. I can't be on my way to 25 and still be living like this.

My walking daily has been thrown for a loop because the ghetto people who live in my neighborhood have taken the little magnet that you have to have to use the treadmill. Not having the right shoes for walking or running outside I have started walking inside to one of my tapes. It's not really the same though. I am thinking of just taking one of my refrigerator magnets down to the gym and seeing if that works. My not running might have something to do with my grouchiness too.

I think that is about it, other than those minor things we are doing well. Life goes on, the wheel keeps on turning and I keep handing these problems of mine to God who in turn sorts them out for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I have learned that sacrificing things for my loved ones is not a bad thing, in fact it feels pretty darn good. Yesterday Rodney and I had an argument, big deal, right? We usually resolve our arguments or disagreement pretty quickly. By the time Rodney get's home from work we are not mad anymore. Yesterday, however, we were both still pretty upset when he got home. Rodney's computer desk is in our closet because it is a HUGE walk-in closet that connects to the bedroom and the bathroom. The closet door that leads to the bedroom doesn't close though because Rodney has his pull up bar installed there to work-out. Well I guess he was mad enough that he wanted to close me out because he tried his damnedest to get that bar down, it would have been comical if we both had not been so angry still.

I decided I would go to the gym and work off my anger. It worked, I felt great when I got back home. Unfortunately my working out did not get rid of Rodney's anger. I took a shower, mostly because I had just sweat everywhere but also to give Rodney some more time to cool off. Nope, he was still angry. So I decided to go to the store, I asked Rodney if he wanted anything. He said, "No". Rodney is a man of few words to most people, I am not most people though and he can talk me to death. When he starts giving me one word answers things are bad. I went to the store and picked up a few things I needed for myself. However, the reason I was there was to pick up a peace offering to give to Rodney. The way to a man's heart is indeed through his stomach. I had already made his favorite dish, Shepherds Pie and his favorite drink, my sweet tea. It was time to break out the big guns. I bought him Slimjims, Chips Ahoy! Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Yuck! My least favorite.) and his ultimate favorite Gardetto's Roasted Garlic Rye Chips (which are hard to find but somehow my ghetto Ingles carries them).

I brought them all back to Rodney, I showed him the cookies and he grunted. I showed him the Gardetto's and he tried to hide his surprise and then I showed him the Slimjims and he cautiously took them from me and began eating them. Before long, we were laughing and joking. I don't feel like I was wrong in our argument yesterday, but I don't usually feel like I am wrong or I wouldn't argue my point. However, is it more important for me to win? No. Sometimes it's ok to say sorry even when you don't think you are wrong, just because it will help to smooth things over. It is ok to make a peace offering. Sometimes I am the one who does this and other times it is Rodney. I have learned with Rodney it is best to show him you care or that you are sorry than to tell him. Hence, the food. Rodney knows that if I go to the store and I bring him back something it means he was on my mind, the fact that I brought back three somethings means I couldn't stop thinking about him. If we hadn't cut off his soda drinking I would have brought him back that too. I love him with all my heart and I am ok with saying I am sorry even when I am not wrong. He is worth it to me. :D

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I woke up with a very surreal feeling this morning. I kind of feel like that is how I am describing most of my feelings lately, surreal. The past three nights I have had some weird adoption dreams. The first night I dreamed that I was having a baby and placing it for adoption but this was after I had already had Liam and he had been placed with his parents. In the dream I had already had the baby and there were two women there with kids around them. They were potential adopting mothers. One lady already had my baby in a baby carrier and was acting as though the baby was already hers. The other lady looked upset about this. I was distraught but couldn't seem to say anything. My biological mother was there suddenly and I kept saying, "This isn't how it was with Liam, I don't understand!" It was very disturbing. I don't really remember the second dream except that I woke with the same kind of feelings. Last night I dreamed Rodney and I were at my old high school, Chamblee, at a football game. We were way above the players though, it was like they were in a pit. I ran into my friend, Shelby, who was holding a brand new baby, except that I knew it was my baby. She kept walking away from me though and I kept following her trying to understand why she had my baby. Again very disturbing.

Yesterday Liam's mommy sent me some pictures of us and Liam, wow, I looked terrible in those. Liam looked angry but his mom looked so peaceful and happy. I keep trying to imagine how she feels about Liam, about me, about being a new mom, etc. To really feel it myself, imagining trying to get pregnant for so long with no success, going through the process of being eligible to adopt, speaking with birth mother, finally matching, finally signing all the paper work and being able to take her baby boy home. I can only begin to imagine how all of that must feel. It helps me to deal with my own feelings. She also sent me the video of Liam's birth. Again, it was so surreal. I wasn't sure how I would feel about watching it. It was a bit emotional hearing myself make those almost animal like moans. It was amazing to hear and watch it from a different perspective though. I don't remember hearing half of what was actually said on the video. It was amazingly quick too, I remember it being pretty fast during the process. So much quicker than Bailey was. I felt kind of needy yesterday and really just wanted Rodney to come home. His family came into town yesterday though so he and Bailey stayed late at work to see them. I was angry with Rodney still when he came home. I am learning to let the little things go though. I can't afford to spend time being angry over the little things.

Today is so yucky and rainy but I am determined to exercise. I have been eating more than I probably should so I cut back today. Calorie counting and exercising to get ready to run. It will be nice to run again, I haven't really ran since I played Volleyball back in high school. I used to love to run the feel of the wind in my hair, the burning in my legs and lungs as I pushed myself further. I am looking forward to becoming an athlete again. I would like to set an example of healthy living for Bailey. Not that he is anywhere near fat but he is an indoor, video game geek. It is past time that he got his behind outdoors, at his age I was always playing outside. So hopefully I can get myself a bike and Bailey and I can go bike some of the local trails together, who knows we may even get Rodney to go to. :D

Monday, March 14, 2011

I am a good person.

Liam went home with his mommy on Friday. Saying goodbye to them before they left was hard but I managed to hold it together. Poor Liam was fussy which thus far was out of character for him. He has been much like Bailey was as a baby, good and quite. Only crying when needing something and even then the cry only lasted a short while. I was so impressed at how quickly he was able to calm himself down. He seems able to reassure himself very quickly. I give credit to his mom and dad who have provided him with so much support and love from the moment he entered this world. It has to help him knowing that his loving parents are right there ready to help him with whatever he may need. I have also been so impressed at how alert he has been. The amount of time he spends with his eyes open, lifting his head to look around and cooing at his mommy already is so amazing.

Saturday was hard for me, I felt like I had lost not just Liam but his mommy and daddy too. They had become such a huge part of my life. I was almost at a loss as to what to do with myself. I kept pumping so I could feel like I was doing something productive with myself. Since having my son Bailey, I have been a mother. For the most part all that I do revolves around being a mother. I work to provide for my son, I clean for him, I cook for him, even the movies I pick out are usually for him. He is getting to the age where he is not interested in hanging out with mommy. I was able to handle that during my pregnancy because I was focused on the baby. I was eating for the baby, exercising for the baby, planning for the baby, etc. Now that Liam has gone home all I really wanted was to hold Bailey. He is a sweet boy and allowed me to a few times this weekend. The poor boy is probably sick of me, being five years old he has a lot he wants to do that does not involve a weepy mother.

I put pictures of Liam and his mommy and daddy on my cell phone to look at when I am pumping or when I am missing them most. Yesterday was a lethargic day for the most part. I almost felt like I was in a fog that I couldn't shake. We went to my mom's house yesterday and on the way home Rodney looked at me and said, "I love you baby." and I burst into tears. I really couldn't tell you why. I don't feel like I am sad or depressed really until I suddenly start crying for no reason. Poor Rodney keeps asking me what is wrong and I sit there crying, shaking my head, telling him, "I don't know" or "Nothing." I think when I tell him "Nothing" it aggravates him most but I don't know how to talk to him about how I am feeling. We had a really hard time a  few years ago when I got baby fever really bad. I would cry all the time especially when we were intimate with one another. He would ask me what was wrong and so I would tell him but at the time we had agreed that having a baby wasn't a good decision because we were not financially in a good place. Unfortunately my head had not gotten through to my heart that now was not the time to want a baby. It caused a huge rift between Rodney and I.

I am afraid that will happen again because I can't explain to Rodney how I am feeling just like I couldn't then. I wish I could fast forward to the part where Rodney and I are married and trying to conceive. I know that right now even though a baby is what I want, have wanted for the past nearly three years, it is not the answer. I need to get back to work, get in shape, get a car, and get a house. The problem I think I am having is that at least with being pregnant with Liam I could count down the months until my goal was reached. How do I work with an undetermined amount of time before I can have a baby with Rodney? I don't know that it would have been any easier to place Liam had I not already been planning to get pregnant with Rodney last year. Right now it feels pretty painful because we so desperately wanted to have a baby.

I have some marathons coming up that I really need to be training for so today I will allow myself to be weepy on and off. But tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. Liam is fine, he is safe and he is happy. I am a good birthmother. Bailey is fine, he too is safe and is happy. I am a good mother. Rodney is fine, he is safe and he is happy. I am a good wife-to-be. I pray daily and ask forgiveness, I am a good daughter. I, too, am safe and I am happy, I am very proud of myself, I am a good person.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"...So you will excuse me, if I do not say good bye..."

I will start this entry with a quote from Babylon 5 that seems appropriate:

"When I was first assigned to Babylon 5, I had to learn to speak several languages: Drazi, Brakiri, Centauri, and of course English - the human language of commerce. Some words have always come easier to me, than others. One of the most difficult words for me was good bye. There is no corresponding word for good bye in Minbari. All our partings contain, within them, the possibility of meeting again in other places, in other times, in other lives. So you will excuse me, if I do not say good bye. Our souls are a part of this place, our hopes, the foundation of our future. And we will pass this way again." 
- Delenn: "Objects at Rest"

So, I am a little sad that Liam and his parents are having to return home. Of course I am also so excited for them. I can only imagine how ready they are to get back home with their brand new baby boy! Liam's daddy had to leave today so we all met up for lunch yesterday. He came up to my apartment afterwards to grab the milk I had pumped for Liam. It was so weird saying goodbye, Liam's parents have been such an huge part of my life for the past two months. It is like I cannot remember what my life was like before they were apart of it. Liam's daddy said it wasn't goodbye but a see you later. He also told me thank you before he left and I said no problem. I felt like a big dummy because what I had really wanted to say was no thank you! So I did in a message on facebook. He replied with a lovely message back but this part in particular really impacted me:

"I am so proud and honored to be Liam's daddy - to be the daddy for this beautiful boy you've made. I love him so much - I loved him the second he was born and I will spend the rest of my life being the best father I can possibly be for him. I will do everything I can to make sure he has the best life possible and that he is surrounded by love and that he grows up to be the man you want him to be and he will always know you and how amazing your are. You have given *us* the best gift ever."

 Being a daddy's girl daddies are important to me. Not to play down how important mommies are but I think we forget how important a good male role model is. I honestly couldn't imagine a better one for Liam. His daddy is a good man and those are hard to find nowadays. His mommy and daddy have a good relationship, the way that the mesh is truly inspirational. It is very obvious that they are soul-mates. I will miss all three of them when they return home but know we will be in touch. Again I am so excited that they are going to be able to take their precious baby boy home soon. 

On a related note Bailey and I had a conversation about family today. When Rodney and I discussed my placing my baby up for adoption I think we were both under the impression that I wouldn't have any contact with the baby. That I'd know who his parents were and they would know how to contact me but that would be it. I never really thought about talking to Bailey about his half-brother. Since meeting Liam's parents things have changed. I explained to Bailey that Liam was my second baby. Liam is his half-brother even though he has a different mommy and daddy. It will be a while yet until he fully understands but I want to make sure I show him pictures of Liam and say, "Look at your brother Liam, he is getting so big!" Bailey calls him Baby "Lamb". I wrote out William for him and then took away the Wil part to show him that the baby's name is Liam but it still comes out Lamb. I think that is a good nic-name though. Bailey says it fits because he is a baby and a lamb is a baby sheep. As Bailey reminded me we are the sheep and our Lord is the shepherd, so he can go on calling him baby Lamb all he likes as far as I am concerned. 

So things are going well. Emotionally I have probably never been better. Although sometimes I am sad because I miss Liam or because I realize he and his parents are going home, I am ok with that. It is a new experience for me because I used to drown my sadness in alcohol. For the first time in a long time I am facing my feelings, thinking them through, allowing them to happen to me and then they pass. The sadness is so much less than when I used to get drunk because eventually you sober up and the sadness comes on stronger and becomes depression. So you drink again only more and it becomes a vicious cycle. During the day I talk to Rodney via Gchat and I will tell him I am sad or I am happy or I am anxious. It is good to have a man in my life who can handle all that emotional baggage. I really am blessed and I thank God every day for blessing me over and over again.

So although I am sad to see Liam and his parents go, that too shall pass. I will see them again sooner than I know. Time flies when you have children, I should know, it seems like only yesterday that Bailey was that age. Now I have a five year old running around measuring everything in our house with a tape measure. I love you baby Lamb and I love you baby Lamb's mommy and daddy. I will see you guys soon!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And a second son was born....

Most of you already know how Liam was conceived, for those of you who don't know I will give you the shortest version possible. I don't want to focus too much on the negative because Liam was a blessing not a curse. I am bipolar and began a new anti-psychotic medication in February of last year. In combination with the alcohol it led to me make some very bad decisions. I moved out of my home with my fiance and our son and into my biological mother's house with her husband and my little sister. One of those bad decisions was my going to a party. I don't really remember much of that night. I do remember taking myself to the hospital that morning and getting myself tested. One month later I found out I was pregnant. The night before I found out I had a glass of wine, it immediately came back up which was unusual for me because I have always been a big drinker and can usually keep down copious amounts of alcohol. My period was only maybe a day or two late but I just had that feeling that something was wrong. I drove myself over to The Pregnancy Resource Center in Douglasville early in the morning knowing that the best time to take a pregnancy test is in the morning. I drove all the way over there because I knew that they would give me a test for free and because I knew they had resources about abortion and adoption.

After my test came back positive all I wanted to do was go home, I wanted to curl up in my bed and go back to sleep. However I was badgered into staying, to being prayed over and to watch a video showing an abortion. Needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth. I am a pretty religious person but I am also a very open minded person. I am pro-choice. I called the birth father on my finally being able to leave, I told him we were not keeping the baby. Then I called my biological mother who apparently was busy so I ended up talking to her husband. He told me not to worry and that everything would be ok. I believed him. When I got back home my biological mother Kim and her husband Roy and even my little sister Katherine all sat around me looking at me like I was something to be pitied. No one reached out to hold me though. I sat on my couch holding my knees bawling my eyes out. Kim suggested I talk to my mom (my dad's second wife, they have been divorced for some years now but I still consider her my mom) about maybe adopting because of the problems she has had with conceiving. It was a terrific suggestion, I will give Kim the credit there.

My mom and I discussed it being a possibility. I quit drinking immediately and quit smoking that same week. I began trying to work things out with my ex-fiance and the father of my first born, Rodney. One day while visiting with Rodney and my son I get a text message from Kim's phone although the message is from my little sister Katherine. It told me that they had come to a unanimous decision and that I was not to come back there. They had kicked me out. I was three months pregnant with no car, no job and no real place to go, so they threw me out. Rodney wasn't sure if he was ready for me to come back yet, we had a lot to deal with but he allowed me to stay with him until I could find some place else to go. We went and picked up my belongings minus my furniture which Kim and Roy took as payment for a loan they had paid off for me. I lived with Rodney for close to a month and then moved to upstate New York with a good friend of mine. It was very hard for me being so far away from my son and his father. In the past five year I had never been away from them for so long and by such a distance. After about a month Rodney asked me to come back home.

We weren't to be "together" officially but we could start working on repairing our family. Rodney and I have come a long way since then. Our communication with one another has vastly improved. My mom and I came to an agreement that the baby would be better off being adopted by a different couple. She and I are just fine, no hard feeling either way. She has been nothing but supportive of me in every way possible. I was disappointed that the baby would have to go to a different family and it was hard to look at potential families on the internet.

I had looked at Liam's parents page on the internet and it had stuck out to me but it wasn't until my counselor from the adoption agency sent me a hard copy of their pamphlet that it really hit me. I had already sent out an email to two other families. One had already been matched with a birth mother, the other never answered me once I sent them an email explaining the bipolar and the alcoholism to them. That was a bit of a blow but I figured that if I was up front about those things then I would be able to weed out the ones who weren't interested in someone like me. Although it was daunting I sent Liam's parents an email to which they responded beautifully so I took another leap of faith and put out my whole story in another email to which they responded with acceptance. A few short days later after many emails being sent back and forth we three spoke on the phone for four amazing hours of laughter. I felt as though I had known them both my entire life, they completely put me at ease. I emailed my counselor the next day telling her I would like to "match" a sort of commitment (nothing written in blood or anything) that birth parents and adopting parents make to one another. Apparently they were thinking along the same lines and here we were being matched. They scheduled a visit for the following weekend, which for me could not get here fast enough.

We continued to write each other daily, set up a match meeting with our new Atlanta counselor, and even set up a 3D ultrasound appointment! I think I was more giddy than nervous to meet either of them when they came to pick me up that Saturday morning. We had our ultrasound appointment early that day so we all drove over to that side of town, had a lovely breakfast before meeting my mom at the ultrasound appointment. It was SO amazing to see baby Liam. Considering how far along I was at this point (36 weeks!) it was amazing they were able to see that he was a boy and we were all able to see his face (when he wasn't covering it with his hands) because he was face up. Remember that for later in the story because for those of you who don't know a baby should be face down and head down at this point in the pregnancy. We had an awesome lunch at the Cheesecake Factory before heading over to our match meeting. The meeting was supposed to help open communication between us and talk about a birth plan and what we expected out of the adoption. Since we three had already opened communication, were equally open with what we expected from the adoption and our birth plan, it was a very funny meeting. We already knew what the plan was it was almost like we were just filling in our counselor as to what our game plan was.

At 38 weeks I went to the hospital with contractions, painful and close together. Of course once I got there they slowed and became irregular. I was dilated at 3 cm. At my prenatal check-up the following week I was dilated 3 cm and effaced 50 % so my OB stripped my membranes. HOLY COW PAINFUL! This started my bloody show, um yuck! That weekend Liam's parents came back down considering his due date was that following Tuesday and we just knew he'd be early because Bailey was early and this was my second baby. We were wrong. We ate a Scalini's ( known for their Eggplant Parmesan that puts pregnant woman into labor. No such luck. We also went to Trader Joe's where I had a conversation with Liam's mommy about my wondering what it felt like when your water broke since mine didn't with Bailey. Remember this too because it too comes up here in just a few lines. We had a fabulous dinner at The Cracker Barrel, one of my favorite places to eat. I walked, I ate, I almost decided to start doing jumping jacks to get this baby out of there.

So after my mom suggested that I post a status update on facebook asking when people thought the baby would come, how much would he weigh, how long would he be, etc, I did just that. People guessed I replyed and then I got tired. So I laid down with a good book and coughed. When I coughed I felt myself get wet. I was pretty certain I had just peed on myself. Not uncommon for pregnant women, especially after having already had children before. So I carefully waddled my embarrassed self into the bathroom and changed my underwear while trying to make sure I had gotten all the pee out. However I seemed to have a slow leak because once I had walked back out of the bedroom and sat down at my computer again, I was beginning to soak through again. I began to research online about what it felt like to leak, what would it look like, what could it smell like, what should I do? I coughed again and the dam broke. The water came and it came and it came, so I called my OB's office they told me to go to the hospital. I called Liam's dad and said, I think my water just broke. I waddled around my house trying to gather last minute things while the water ran down my legs pooling in my flip flops. Uh yeah, yuck! I calmly explained to Bailey that I was going to the hospital to have the baby and I would see him in a couple of days. He asked me if he could have something to eat when I got back. I explained to him that he would starve to death waiting for me to get back so I would get it for him now.

Shortly Liam's parents arrived. I set a towel on their car seat so as not to leak all over their car. We all chatted calmly as we headed to the hospital. I think Liam's daddy was a little nervous as he missed the entrance to the hospital and a few other side entrances, so once we circled the hospital and got back around to the front entrance we parked by the door and went in. We got sent up to triage where Liam's mommy stayed with me. They sent his daddy back downstairs which was a little upsetting. They did get us moved to our birthing room pretty quickly though and he was able to join us there. My favorite line from that night came from my midwife who said, Well your water has broke so we are committed to having this baby. Liam's mommy and I agreed that we had been pretty committed to having him before the water broke but we weren't about to argue with her.

My mom arrived shortly after we got into our birthing room. It was slow going though so we all settled in and got comfy. I was asked it I'd like some pitocin to help speed up the process and I said sure, why not. Little did I know the pain that came along with that. I wanted to not have to have an epidural but knew that if the pain became too bad that I would take it. Once they doubled up the pitocin I knew I wanted that damn epidural. I had never felt pain like that before. Even with Bailey. They had been giving me some pain medications in my IV that was knocking the edge off but not enough. Once they gave me that epidural I could have died and gone to heaven. In fact apparently I passed out and had a good long nap. I don't remember drifting off, in fact I don't remember much after the epidural. Also the epidural was much more uncomfortable this time around as opposed to with Bailey. I never felt the epidural with Bailey.

Anyhow, when I came to it was because I was having the urge to push. I was laying on my side I opened my eyes to see my mom asleep in a chair and Liam's parents curled up in exhaustion on the floor. I felt so guilty for having just gotten all that sleep in a nice bed with blankets while everyone else was piled uncomfortably all over the room. Apparently my contractions where coming close enough together and were strong enough and I supposed I must have finally dilated all the way because we got the show on the road. They kept having me change positions because the baby didn't like it when I pushed. I guess he must have gotten over it. Lying on my back with my legs being held up I pushed. I knew what to do this time, I could feel the midwife's fingers pulling down and with each contractions I would push at least three times. Now remember up there in this story when I said he was face up in the ultrasound. Also remember when I said that Bailey was face up and they had to cut me and use a vacuum. Well Liam was face up too but I was more determined, much more patient and much stronger this time around.

Liam made his way into this world at 3:45 a.m. They set him on my stomach rubbed at him and then rushed him over to the little baby table. All this was very much like when I had Bailey. Until they pulled out the bag stuck a tube down his throat and began breathing for him. From the bed I could see his pale little chest rise and fall with each squeeze of the bag. He was so deathly pale. Was Bailey that pale? Was Liam supposed to be that pale because he was white? I had no idea. I saw Liam's mommy squeeze in and grab his little hand. They asked me if I wanted to hold him so I did and someone snapped a picture, the nurse said, Ok just one more picture, so someone else snapped a picture. They stuck him in a little plastic rectangle. He was rushed out of the room to be taken to the NICUand his parents left with him, his daddy throwing a look over his shoulders as though he didn't want to just leave me like that. I understood though and was so thankful someone could go with him. All I was told was that he was shocked. His system had been shocked so he hadn't been breathing on his own. I was told later that he was breathing on his own was doing just fine.

My mom stayed with me until I was moved into my room for the night. Would you believe after all that she went to work after going home for a quick shower? Yep, that's my mom! Liam's parents came down that day and updated me on how Liam was doing. They had that new parent, haven't slept in days look to them. They went back to their hotel to freshen up while the NICU was closed to visitors. I signed some paper work, watched t.v., ate delicious food and napped all that day. Rodney came by for a visit and promised to be back tomorrow to pick me up. My mom called and offered to come stay the night with me but I told her I would just be sleeping so she should just get some rest and come visit me the next day. My daddy sent me beautiful text messages telling me how proud he was of me. I got gorgeous roses from Liam's mommy's family with a beautiful card thanking me for my gift of Liam to them.

I was able to finally leave Saturday and went to lunch at Cici's pizza with Rodney, my mom and Bailey. I rested that whole day for the most part although I did do a little laundry and the dishes. The next day I went back to the hospital to sign the adoption papers and to sign a form allowing Liam to have a circumcision. I was asked by the case worker there if I'd like to see Liam by myself after his circumcision. I thought about it and felt like that would have been dishonest and it just felt wrong. I told her that I'd prefer to see him with his parents instead. I am very glad I made that decision. Liam was not mine to hold by myself in some room, he had two parents and you just don't hold someone's baby in secret like that. It was nice to hold him and look at him, to watch his mom and dad hold him and look at him. It was so natural for them both and I knew I had made the right choice.

The hardest part was looking at Liam's face and seeing his birth father. Liam shares a lot of his birth father's facial features. Although they look much better on Liam. Then I remembered that Bailey looked just like his own dad when he was born but as he got older he began to favor me more. That may or may not happen to Liam, either way he is beautiful. It was also surprising to see that Liam looked a lot like his mom, their hair color is almost identical.

I signed the adoption papers with no problem. I felt good signing them. I felt good leaving the hospital that day. I feel good today. There are times when I miss Liam so much but then I go and look at the pictures of his mommy or his daddy holding him and I feel so much better. The love they have for him radiates off their faces. He is so happy being snuggled close by his mommy and his daddy. He is such a happy, healthy baby.

 I know I did right by him and for that I am so proud. I love my boys, both of them. I never thought I'd say that. I refused to call Liam, my baby I always referred to him as "the" baby to distance myself from him. I thought that would make the break easier. Little did I know that he was my baby in my heart already and that I wouldn't have to "break" from him. I can love him and him not live with me. And he can love me while having a different mom and dad. Placing Liam for adoption (note I say placing not giving up, because I haven't given anything up) was both the hardest and easiest thing I have ever done. I love him today just as I loved him yesterday just as I will love him tomorrow and all the tomorrow's to come. He is my second son and no matter how many children I have after him he will always be my second and he will always be in my heart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Love, Your Birthmommy

Dearest Liam,

In the past nine or so months I have anguished over what to say to you. What should I write? How much to tell you? There is no manual on how to raise children and thus no manual on how to allow someone else to raise your children. I thought of telling you how you were conceived, how I came to the decision to place you for adoption, how to tell you all my complicated feelings. Today I realized that all I need to say is that I love you. Since this is an open adoption you already know who I am, where I came from and why I found you the two best parents any child could ever hope for. My feelings aren't complicated at all when I strip away all the thoughts of what I should be feeling. I suppose I expected to be sad or have feelings of loss. However, when I see you snuggled up in your mommy or daddy's arms I can't help but feeling elated. I miss you so very much and I probably will never stop missing you but knowing you are safe and happy makes that all better. In other words son, I don't ever want you to doubt that I love you and always will. You are so blessed to have a mommy and daddy who love you as much as they do. There is nothing they nor I would ever not do for you, nothing we wouldn't sacrifice willingly. I will always be here for you. But all that can be summed up into this:

Dear Liam,

I love you!

Your Birthmommy

My first pregnancy and the birth of my first child.

I got pregnant with my first son Bailey in January of 2005. Right out of jail. For what you say? Alcohol, my greatest downfalls have always been because of alcohol or should I say alcohol is my greatest downfall. But God blessed me with my pregnancy with my first son, little did I know that it was a blessing. I was already madly in love with his father Rodney, my knight in shinning armor literally. He gave me a place to live, took me in and took care of me. We had met each other at our job at Pizza Hut six months before that. Both making barely any money working part time at that lousy job. Rodney was a full time student at the Art Institute of Atlanta. He worked his butt off and went to school. I was a high school drop out and a criminal. A match made in heaven, no?

Needless to say when we found out we were pregnant it was a big shock. I was eighteen (just barely) and Rodney was turning twenty-one that April. We were still babies ourselves, only we didn't know it. We thought we knew it all, knew we were adults and had all the answers. Bailey fixed that assumption for us, he not so politely taught us that in fact we knew nothing at all. Once we decided we were keeping our baby, I began to pray. I prayed for a little boy. Not for a healthy child or something a little less vain. I wanted a little boy for Rodney so badly, I would pray while I was throwing up what I had managed to eat into the toilet. "Please God, let this be a boy!, Please, God, please!" I remember the tears streaming down my face as I'd continue to throw up my stomach acid. I was so frustrated that I couldn't eat and even more frustrated that I was so hungry.

Looking at me now it's hard to believe I used to be a size five. I was when I got pregnant with Bailey. I will probably never be a size five again, not because I can't lose the weight but because my body shape changed so much since having Bailey and now since having Liam as well. I am so OK with that now though, I used to long for my teenage body back. I wanted to look like I did before. Now, I look like a woman, like a mother. I have round hips and breasts that scream I was made to be a mother. I love it, I love my body now more since getting pregnant with Liam than I ever have. I am finally confident in it. Anyhow, I digress.

I was a skinny little thing when I was pregnant with Bailey, I was lucky enough to fit most of my clothes for most of my pregnancy. After getting past the first trimester of throwing up everything that went down I really enjoyed my pregnancy. Only towards the end did I swell in my feet and face, I also had heartburn but only occasionally and it wasn't too bad. I was skinny with a little round belly. I loved going to the pool with my bikini on and my round belly all out. I did manage to get myself a good sunburn doing that. I don't usually put sunscreen on, I know, I know, but no one told me that when you are pregnant your skin is even more sensitive to the sun. I burned up a nice tomato red.

 I didn't take any birthing classes, I read a lot of books but didn't really study breathing or pain management or anything. I made the usual false alarm trips to the hospital, which was a huge deal for us because we lived a good 30-40 minutes from our hospital. For those of you who have not been to Wellstar Cobb Hospital, it is totally worth the drive. I went in to labor on October 18th at 8 in the morning, a day before his due date. My water didn't break however, I was just having contractions (felt like menstrual cramping) every seven minutes. Rodney who was already at work got a frantic phone call not from me but from his brother. His younger brother sat with me begging me not to have the baby yet, while we waited for Rodney to get home. Rodney finally did, although not fast enough to satisfy his brother. We hoped in the car and left for the hospital.

We did a lot of waiting after that. I wasn't dilated far enough so they had me walk the halls. I finally got dilated to a seven and then sat at a seven for what seemed like forever. Then all of a sudden I was dilated to ten. I had an epidural with my first son, I knew that I wanted all the pain med's they could give me. Unfortunately that doesn't always work out for the best. With my mom, my biological mother, Rodney and his mother on the left side of me I began feeling the urge to push. They stuck a tiny little nurse at the end of my bed with a towel in her hand. I was supposed to pull on one end and she on the other. I damn near pulled that tiny little girl into the bed with me, so we nixed that idea. I did a lot of pushing for a very long time with Bailey. I was so numb from the epidural down that I couldn't feel where to push. He was also face-up which makes it really hard for their heads to fit through the birth canal. It was a very frustrating and exhausting process especially for a girl my age.

Bailey did finally makes his way out after the doctor threatened a C-section and then got the vacuum. With an episiotomy and the vacuum he managed to make his way out at 8:50 that night. He was 7 lbs 11 oz and 19 inches long. He had a cone head from the vacuum and looked a little pale to me. I expected my biracial son to come out a little darker than he did. It took a little while for him to get darker and he still isn't all that dark (except during the summer when he becomes a nice beautiful coconut brown.). He had soft straight black hair that felt like silk to the touch. That all fell out later and his nice medium brown nappy curls came in but that is further along in the story. This is just about my pregnancy and the birth of my first son.

I quit drinking when I was pregnant with Bailey, I never really quit smoking, just cut back. I hid a lot of that from Rodney. He spent a lot of his time trying to keep me in check while I spent a lot of my time trying to work around him. I wanted to be eighteen and was not interested in being pregnant and having my actions not only affect me but our child as well. I don't know what I ever did to deserve a good man like Rodney. He has never given up on me, never let me down, never walked away from me. Like I said previously I was headed down a very bad road and God gave me Rodney who gave me Bailey. Don't worry I will post my pregnancy and the birth of Liam soon too. But seeing as Bailey is the big brother and came first I felt his story needed to be told first.

Monday, March 7, 2011

In the beginning...

there was a girl. But if I started WAY back then, I'd be here for days. So instead I'll just give an overview. I became a mother at the ripe old age of 18 to the most amazing little boy, Bailey. I'll tell you all about that birth story another time. This is just an overview remember? If it were not for that most amazing little boy and his father, I'd be in prison or dead. I was very much headed down a bad road. The road I ended up taking instead was not necessarily the easy one and I met my fair share of problems but it made me the woman I am today. I have said this before and sometimes felt ashamed because I knew that I didn't really like the woman that I was. That has changed. And that change happened when I got pregnant with my second son, Liam.

He, too, has saved my life. The alcohol had taken over my existence leaving behind a very undesirable person when he was conceived. I placed my second son up for adoption, this was both the hardest and the easiest decision of my life. There is nothing I wouldn't do, nothing I wouldn't sacrifice for my children. Both of them. I love my sons more than I ever thought was humanly possible. In fact I love Bailey even more now having given birth to his half-brother than I did before . How is it possible that having another child can make room for even more love in your heart for not just that child but for the previous one as well? I cannot explain it. It should not be possible but it is like pouring water into a glass that continues to expand so that it may hold as much water as you can pour into it.

Two days ago I visited with my second son and his parents. I knew that I loved them like they were my own flesh and blood from the moment I spoke with them over the phone. A phone call that lasted four hours and somehow only felt like mere minutes in which we crammed a life time. Feeling their love and acceptance of me, I could not doubt that they would just as easily love and accept my baby too. It was so interesting and enlightening to meet with them and Liam. Having met them before I gave birth I knew them as they were, two adults, two very amazing adults but just two adults. Two days ago it was like I met them all over again but this time I met them as two parents, two very amazing parents. They had assumed their new identity wholly and it was like they had always been parents. Watching them both looking so lovingly down at the face of their son was one of the most beautiful things I have ever been lucky enough to witness. The love they have for Liam is more than any mother could hope for.

 In a lot of ways Liam is even more lucky than Bailey, he not only has me but he has his half-brother and both his parents and their entire family and mine! All that love surrounding him, supporting him and helping him to grow into the man he is destined to be. I have decided that when I am asked to describe myself I will no longer say I am a blank year old mother of an amazing blank year old little boy named Bailey but will instead add to that, and birth mother to an awesome blank year old little boy named Liam.

When going for a job interview recently I debated over whether or not to mention the recent adoption of my son. I decided that I have nothing to be ashamed of, I am not ashamed of Liam, I am not ashamed of my decision to place him for adoption, I am not ashamed that I am pumping to donate to him. No, I am proud! I am proud of Liam, I am proud of his parents, I am proud of Bailey for taking this in stride, I am proud that I was able to say, "I can't provide for Liam all that he needs so I will instead find someone who can.", I am proud that I did just that, I am proud that I am pumping and donating, and I am proud to be a birth mother. I owe my life to my children and willing would do anything for both of them. In this blog I plan to write what I feel. Not just about Liam but about Bailey, about being a mother and about being a birth mother. I will probably compare my pregnancy with Bailey to my pregnancy with Liam, as well as the birth and the resulting emotions.

So in the beginning of this blog there was a 24 year old mother to an amazing 5 year old little boy named Bailey and an awesome 10 day old little boy named Liam.