a change of plans
bina and i read the what's in there?: all about before you were born book regularly. we talk about how when bina was ready to be born, the doctor made a cut in mommy and pulled out bina poopy butt first. i tried for months and months to get her to say "uterus" instead of "tummy" when talking about the place inside the mommy's body where baby grows. every time i'd ask if she could say "uterus," she would respond with a matter-of-fact "no." she would, however, say that i had a baby in my tummy, that she had a baby in her tummy, and that daddy had a baby in his tummy. well. so much for that book. now we're just all sorts of confused.
eventually bina put the pieces together and came up with her own rendition of her birth story that goes something like this: "the doctor made a cut and then i was born! and mommy and daddy carry me around." however she would still say goofy things like "you have a baby in your tummy!" when i did not, and "i have a baby in my tummy!" when she did not. baby steps, ya'll. i think one of my proudest parenting moments so far was the day when i asked bina if she could say "uterus" and she didn't say "no," she said "you-russ." i did a double take. did she just say UTERUS?! YAY BINA! WOO! HIGH FIVE! "you-russ!" i'll take it.
we celebrated our 10th anniversary on may 24, 2018. and we decided: you know, what the hell. let's just give this another shot and see if we can make a 10th anniversary baby. just to shake things up a bit. on may 23 we received notification of a profile showing that would happen on may 24. i thought, WOW, would that be something if we got picked. baby had already been born. and if i were god (and clearly i am not), i thought allowing this all to come together on the day we were to celebrate our 10 year anniversary would be pretty sweet. also i started sweating a bit about our "what the hell, let's give it a try" 10th anniversary birth baby plan. we waited patiently (SARCASM) and i emailed our adoption specialist on the afternoon of the 24th for a status update on the profile showing that happened that morning. she informed me that we had not been picked. oof. then the next week we had another potential profile showing, but the birth mother decided not to attend the meeting scheduled to view the family profile photo books that were collected for her. later we learned she had decided to parent. which is great! but also just left me wondering once again -- will we ever get picked? and i questioned this path and thought again about foster care where there are children waiting for homes, rather than the path we're on now with 30 prospective adoptive parents waiting for babies (through our agency's madison heights location).
about two weeks before bina's third birthday she began tantruming like she never has before. i thought maybe we had escaped tantrums. like, maybe i'm just that good of a parent. HA. i'm loving bina at three, but holy tantrum. this is a new adventure in learning how to manage emotions and wait out the storm. on the way home from her three year checkup on june 7, she was passionately (loudly) insisting that i had a baby in my tummy. i was trying to decide whether to go straight home or to stop by the store to grab some more green grapes and maybe a special treat for surviving her appointment. i asked if she wanted to go home or to the store. "NO. YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR TUMMY!" yeah, ok, sweetheart. but what does that have to do with home vs store. "NO. YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR TUMMY!" sigh. i decided to risk the store and gave her a snack bar before getting out of the car. she found some "baby uffins" (muffins) and was pacified. snack bars (and "uffins") save lives.
two days later on june 9, saturday, i attended a mothers of preschooler's leadership training from 10am-1pm and bina had a nice day with daddy. they took a trip to the library and checked out a bunch of books. on the way home from the library bina insisted that i was in the hospital with "baby meena." she calls herself "meena" and we were looking at baby pictures of her around her birthday. she asks to see them from time to time and we talk about her birth story. but when she says "baby meena" in this context, in the scenario where i have a baby in my tummy, she is not talking about herself, but another baby. another tantrum ensues, with bina protesting returning home from the library and demanding to be taken to the "ha-suh-bull" (hospital) to see mommy and baby meena. because apparently pregnancies are only three days long. little sweet.
i keep track of my cycle on an app. i started doing this when we were trying to get pregnant with bina. i stopped after we got pregnant in september 2014 and then resumed using it when i got off birth control and we started trying to get pregnant again in july 2016. but my cycles were nuts, something i had never experienced before. my first cycle off the pill was 110 days. i took nine pregnancy tests in those 110 days, convinced i had to be pregnant. looking back on those nine marks of negative pregnancy tests makes me tear up. i was so confused. what was happening to my body?! when i got off the pill before we got pregnant with bina, my cycles remained pretty much like clockwork. i had a one day period (is that even possible?) on october 17, 2016 and then went another 40 days before having a three day period. i took three more pregnancy tests during that time, thinking maybe the one day of bleeding had been implantation bleeding. it wasn't. my next cycle was 37 days. then 33 days. then two cycles of 31 days. then a 58 day cycle. now that i look at it, i had three days of spotting after day 34 so that was probably a very light period that would break that cycle into 34 and 24 days. who knows. in july 2017 my cycle finally leveled out a bit. i had three 28 day cycles in a row. then two 29 day cycles. a 30 and a 31 day cycle. then back to a 27 day one. then a 31 day cycle. back to 27 in march 2018, a 29 day one in april, and a 27 day one in may.
on sunday, june 10 we volunteered in the nursery. usually when we do this we go home after and don't stay for service. but that day i wanted to try. so we brought bina into service with us after volunteering and kept her entertained with a bag of coloring books and stickers provided by the church for children who stay in service with their parents (EXCELLENT IDEA!). the sermon was about our worship and what struck me was the truth that no matter what -- no matter what happens or doesn't happen -- god is worthy of praise. i brought that home to myself thinking of all of our family planning. trying to get pregnant. trying to adopt. facing so many delays to my "perfect" plan. and in that moment i just had this renewed sense that god is good no matter what happens. i knew this to be true, but i had lost sight of it and needed to ground myself again. if my faith is circumstantial, it is no faith at all. whether bina is the one and only baby to join our family or the first of many, god is good. whether i ever carry another child in my womb or hold one in my arms, god is good. he is worthy of praise. my life is for his glory, not my plans. i left church feeling peaceful and reassured that god's got this, whatever "this" is.
based on my varied cycle history over the last two years, i was expecting a 27-31 day cycle from the start of my last period on may 14. june 11 was day 29 for me. i was going to just wait until the 31 day mark to be sure, but then on the morning of june 11 i woke and had to pee real bad. perfect opportunity, right? i snuck out of bina's bed and down the stairs to the half bath where i thought the first response tests we had bought a few weeks ago were hiding. couldn't find them. had to pee. grabbed a plastic cup from under the sink (because this was where i tested all those times before and kept my supplies to do so) and peed. then i scoured the house for those dumb first response tests and couldn't find them. i didn't want to ask david where they were because i didn't want him to know i was testing. i didn't want him to be with me when i was testing because i was worried it would be negative and i couldn't handle both my and his disappointment. i was sad about the two profile showings that didn't result in us getting picked in the weeks before. getting a negative test on top of that would be a bit crushing. i believe god is good either way, but that doesn't mean i don't have any emotions about it!
i ended up finding a box of old test strips i had ordered on amazon back in 2016 when i started using ovulation test strips. it expired in may 2018. i still had some pregnancy test strips and a whole lotta ovulation test strips. i grabbed one of the expired pregnancy test strips and headed upstairs to the master bathroom thinking those dumb first response tests have to be SOMEWHERE. i stuck the expired test strip in the pee cup for three seconds and pulled it out and set the cup on the counter and the test strip on the rim of the cup. i eyed it suspiciously as the liquid flowed up the strip. it came back negative. my heart sunk a little. but then i thought. these dumb tests are expired anyways. what do they know.
i looked under the vanity one more time for good measure and spied the pink box of first response tests. eureka! i opened one of the test sticks, pulled off the clear pink cap on the portion that dips into the pee, held it there for five seconds, pulled it back out, replaced the clear pink cap, and set the stick on the counter. and i waited. oh so NOT patiently. the liquid started to spread into the region of the stick that shows you whether you're pregnant or not. if that first pink line shows, you're pregnant. and if it doesn't, you're not. i watched it like a hawk, willing any hint of a line to appear. and then. it did. i saw it. the first faint pink line. PREGNANT. my reaction was the same as it was when i got the positive test from my pregnancy with bina. i gasped. i couldn't believe it! joy! excitement! and then -- oh my gosh david won't be home for 9 hours!
bina was still sleeping at this point. i had a "big sister" t-shirt in her closet that i got as a hand-me-down. i didn't allow myself to buy one. the possibility of purchasing one and never getting the chance to use it was too much for me. but the hand me down caused me no such pain. i skipped into her room and snatched the shirt out of the closet and jumped on her bed. bina! you were RIGHT! mommy DOES have a baby in her tummy! poor little bleary eyed babe not ready to wake for the day. but like. it was 8am, so. GET UP! GET UP! and put this silly shirt on! shockingly, she was not amused. i pulled off her peppa pj shirt and put on the big sister shirt.
i tried to cheer her up to no avail. i think i nursed her. that can be an instant pick me up. nope. i carried her back to the master bathroom where the pee stick with the two pink lines laid on the counter, whipped out marco polo on my phone, and began filming my SURPRISE video message to david. she was having none of it. so then i just showed the pee stick. WE'RE PREGNANT!
the next day i took another test, just to see the two pink lines appear again. and they did. i waited another two days and tested again. two pink lines! then i ran out of tests. guess that game is over. it was fun while it lasted!
i had scheduled an annual appointment for july 13 at a new obgyn practice that's closer to where we live than the one i had been going to since we moved here. if all goes well, that appointment will be my first prenatal appointment. something that i had cautiously hoped might be the case when i scheduled it originally.
it's hard to believe it's been two years since we got off birth control and started trying to get pregnant, then pressed pause and began pursuing domestic infant adoption. this whole process has completely blown all of my expectations. i thought it would be easy to get pregnant the second time around since it only took us four months to get pregnant with bina. boy was i wrong. i was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in june 2017, five months after we started our domestic infant adoption journey. i've met so many people and learned so many things talking to those with a myriad of experiences, listening to people and podcasts, reading books upon books about race, adoption, mental health, trauma, and parenting. i've come into this world of adoption and been educated on the proper terminology to use because words matter. my heart has been blown open by the stories and experiences of adoptees and birth mothers. i have a perspective i wouldn't have if we had not started down this path. and for that i am so, so thankful.
i don't know if this little life growing inside of me will stay. miscarriage is so common. it seems a miracle to me to have a life inside me once again, and i do not take it for granted. i love this one for as long as god entrusts them to me, to my body to grow them. i've been so sensitive to any sensation in my body since i saw those two pink lines. how beautiful is it that my body knows what to do, does it automatically even. i don't have to tell it how to prepare itself for this little life, or how to manage the growth and nourishment of it. my body just does it.
its interesting how when i took the attention off the desire to become pregnant again, shutting down that possibility for 15 months once starting the domestic infant adoption road, that time allowed my body and my cycle to regulate itself. i chose not to get back on the pill once we started pursuing domestic infant adoption because depression has become an on and off challenge for me, and can be a side effect of birth control. i didn't need any help on that front! so for the first time since david and i got married, i was off the pill and allowing my cycle to do its thing instead of forcing it with medication. having been so frustrated with and confused by my body for a seven month period after i got off the pill in july 2016, it was nice not to be phased by or care much about my varied cycle lengths. and i do believe that release of pressure i had put on my body to do what i wanted it to do made a difference, for me. this is not a commentary on what any other woman should or shouldn't do if she is struggling to get pregnant. these are only my thoughts on my personal experience, unique to me.
further, the longer the domestic infant adoption process took, the more familiar we became with circumstances and scenarios that used to scare us. the more we got used to the roller coaster of emotions that comes with potential and realized profile showings, and not getting picked. the more broken i became thinking of these birth mothers making this decision for themselves and their babes. the more my heart was drawn to foster care knowing there are children waiting for temporary homes as i wait for a baby. i don't know what this journey will continue to look like. it looks nothing like i expected. i will keep my heart surrendered to god and where david and i feel he is leading our family. and we will see where that takes us.
so i surrender to the process once again. i hold this life loosely, knowing that god holds it in his hands. and that whether this babe grows to full term and is born full of life or not, god is worthy of praise. my life is for his glory, not my plans. my plans have been blown to bits. god sees the future, he knows what it all holds. i trust in the one who sees, because my vision is so faulty all the time. each day that i have the privilege of carrying this life inside me, i will thank god for entrusting it to me, for as long as that may be.
i've felt him speaking over me to rest and surrender to the process. i thought that process was pursing domestic infant adoption, and then months back i started questioning if "surrender to the process" were on a higher level, not just pertaining to our family planning. surrender to the process of refining, of him shaping me more into his image, breaking my heart for the things that break his. it has been so hard, so heart breaking. and yet, so good. he truly is a good, good father.
on friday i will talk to our adoption specialist about next steps, as our agency doesn't allow pregnancy and infant adoption to occur simultaneously. i have in my head that a baby in the home must be at least 10 months of age before a family is allowed to adopt another babe. we will talk about placing our profile on hold and what that might entail. i don't know if we will be closing this door or just pausing this journey for the moment. a final decision won't be made unless i make it to 12 weeks, and i am just over four right now. our hearts have been stirred for foster care, something we were terrified of to begin with. it is possible we may purse that in the meantime, who knows? i don't, but i know who does. and to him this isn't a change of plans, but the way he knew it was always going to go.