Mar 28

Three Years Ago Today

Three years ago today I delivered, at about 2 am, a 1 lb 13 oz perfect little baby girl who didn’t get a chance to take a breath.

Today is very sad.  But yesterday has always been harder.  The 27th was the day I woke up at 5:00am to have my water burst.  At that point, when I had been leaking fluid for a week and was just over 21 weeks pregnant, I knew it would be over.

But the events of the day were still tragic.  The unhelpful emergency room attendant at our local hospital.  The nurses who made some mistakes and then couldn’t find a heartbeat.  The long ambulance ride to another hospital.

The sono that showed virtually no fluid left.  The specialist telling me both of us were getting infections and it was time to start labor before permanent damage was made to my body.  Hearing him tell me that she was not going to make it.

The long labor that went well into the night with only hints of sleep.  And finally, the delivery.  We had hoped she would have survived labor, just so we could hold her while she was living even if only for a minute or two.  But, she didn’t.  Jake couldn’t stop crying.  I was in shock.

And then, after being pumped with antibiotics and little to no sleep for over 36 hours, we were sent home to face a funeral and many more dark days.

And now, three years from then I sent on my couch, eating a frozen dinner in my paint clothes (getting ready to probably break  my house with mere 2 gallons of orange paint) typing a blog post that I want to type yet don’t really need to.

Because, like they say and I think I’ve even said before “time does heal”.  You don’t forget, you still cry, you still feel uncomfortable in certain situations, but you do heal.  Amen for that.

Mar 14

Avoiding Depression

Depression is a road that I am not interested in traveling.   I haven’t actually  been on that road.  But I was close.  If depression is a highway then I definitely was on the on entrance ramp.  Or maybe took the frontage road?

Okay, so that was not the smoothest of analogies and I do have to preface this post with saying that I know nothing about depression.  Really, I don’t.  Not from experience and certainly not from a clinical point of view.  But at least twice in the past week or two a friend has brought up the topic and shared a little bit with me about how they avoided depression.

I really like the idea of avoiding the depression, it sounds  less serious than the term “battling depression”.  But, in many cases I think that it could be as serious.  Battling depression sounds like a fight you are in the middle of where you are fighting  it off before it overtakes you for the win.  But,  avoiding  it is just like that creepy guy you are trying to not accidentally run into for fear you might get bogged down by an uncomfortable conversation about Atari.

I sometimes think of the weeks and months and even the whole year following the loss and death of our unborn daughter as “dark days”.  My husband says that they are so hazy he has trouble remembering them.  “Hard days” are certainly a little more accurate.  “Dark” insinuates that I didn’t get out of bed- my blinds were closed and I didn’t leave the house.  No,  I did get up and I did leave the house although I didn’t want to.  And that is how I “avoided” depression.

That’s it.  I got out of bed everyday, drove my son to pre-school and made sure there was dinner on the table every night.  Eventually, slowly, I left the house more and more.

I was blessed to have so many people on my side looking for signs of depression.  I had just been through a major trauma where a run in with depression was expected.   I am so thankful that I had friends and professionals who were helping me avoid a full fledged battle.

My friends I talked to recently said they prayed a lot.  One says she trys to smile and count herblessings.  One said she has to get outside- biking and walking, even when its cold.  She bikes and walks to the grocery store, library and to nearby restaurants.   The journey to those places is often what encourages her to get out of the house.

I think those are good ideas too.


Mar 09

Adoption Tax Reimbursement

If you have had an adoption finalized in the last 5 years then I know you were like me and looked forward to doing your taxes this year!  I even did something I have never done before- paid someone to do my taxes.

I actually enjoy doing my taxes.  I’ve even considered taking an accounting class.  But, I decided that since this is new this year, the publication was slow in coming out, the reimbursement required that you file on paper and it was just too much money to “mess up”, I would bite the bullet and let someone else have the fun!

It appears that the Tax Reimbursement Publication is out (my CPA was able to pull it up without any problems) and our taxes our done and sent in.  I think if I had to do it again I would save my $75 and just use free Tax Act online (as I usually do) but instead of e-filing, print it and send it in.  But, it is done and now I just have to wait 6-8 weeks for the “biggest return that my CPA had filed so far”, an unexpected blessing upon blessing!

*UPDATE*

Today I noticed that our federal tax refund had been deposited into our bank account, however, it was missing a digit!  I just looked it up on the irs website and it stated that we “might have received part of our refund but additional information is required and a request for that information has been sent in the mail”.  Ahhhhh…I thought by paying a CPA I would be avoiding this mess.  Hopefully, I can easily meet the request (whatever it is) and get the rest of our return swiftly!

Mar 06

Flipping the Calendar

Have I mentioned that I hate March?  I think I have.

Its too bad too, because there are so many good things that happen in March- my son’s birthday, the beginning of Spring, Kroger has this great March Madness Sale….

But, its also the dumb month where the most tragic thing that has ever happened to me took place:  losing our baby, Norah.

That March started so promising- I was just beginning to show and starting to believe that this was real.  We took a trip to Arkansas and celebrated a friend’s wedding.  Jonah turned 5.

And then I knew.  I knew something was wrong.  And it was more than just expecting something to go wrong , I knew in my heart that it was over.  I knew I was leaking fluid, even while the nurse prac was telling me everything was okay, before I ever saw the-stick-will-turn-blue-if-its-amniotic-fluid stick.  And of course, it turned blue.  Before the horrible feeling of my water bursting all the way, losing what was the left of the life giving fluid and before that long, tragic ambulance ride, I knew.

And even though I didn’t want to believe it, even though I wanted the specialist to tell me that she was going to be okay- she would hang on for a few more weeks, I knew it was over, before he even spoke the words, I knew.

And that was three years ago this month.  Sometimes it seems like so long ago.  But then on other days, like seeing those big black letters of MARCH on the calendar, it seems like not very long ago at all.

But, as I have learned so well, time does heal.  So today I run out and buy groceries and make plans for Jonah’s Birthday Party.  I can pull out that box of clothes to see if there is anything that will fit Micah this Spring.  And, despite what month it is, I can do so will joy and contentment.

And then I will count the days until April.

Feb 27

15 Months

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Here a just a few pictures of my 15 Month-almost 16 Month Old!

She also has 16 teeth, weighs 23 lbs, and walks on her knees, not her feet!

She says Mommy, Dada, cheese, beep, no, Gaga (Jonah), Ninny (my mom), Papa (my dad), please, apple-gee (applesauce) and a few other words I know I’m forgetting.

She has opinions about everything:  what she eats, reads and who holds her.

She takes a 2.5 hour nap every day and sleeps 11 hours every night.

She will give you a hug and a kiss and “five” but she will also try and bite you if you do not do as she pleases (ugh).


Feb 13

The Big 3-5

Tomorrow I turn 35.  That’s old.  But I’m okay with it.

I, however, turned 30 crying and sulking.  I have one picture from my 30th birthday and I decided not to post it because its so depressing.  A picture of me, looking less than happy; Jonah, Jake, and this sad looking banana cream pie.

We had just spent over a year trying to get pregnant again (following a miscarriage)and were contemplating a move back to Illinois.   I was not happy I was turning 30 and made Jake promise he wouldn’t announce it.  So we quietly celebrated at home, just the three of us, and our banana cream pie.

I had trouble swallowing that my plan was not working out.  I was suppose to have kid #2 by then and possibly pregnant with #3, not starting to wonder if there ever was going to be a #2.  I didn’t particularly care for the fact that things were not going my way.  And was starting to wonder if they ever would.

A lot has happened in the five years since I turned 30.  We did move back to Illinois.  We did get pregnant again.  But I delivered her too early, stillborn.  We had a funeral for our baby, which is the saddest thing I think I have ever had to do.  We were told my child bearing years were over.

Then we began the adoption process and were picked my a birthmom only 6 months after turning in our paperwork.  And then brought home a tiny little 3 day old baby girl who is now a cute, loud 15 month old.

I told Jake I wanted to do something I had never done for my 35 birthday.  Something celebratory.  So what, my life  hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would.  I didn’t think I would still be changing diapers at 35.  But I’ll take it.

He gave me a vacation day for my birthday, which I took yesterday.  I took a one day break from changing diapers to get my haircut and read a book while enjoying a cup of coffee and some breakfast at IHOP.  I think I’m getting to take a Zumba class too, something I definitely haven’t done before.

Take that 35, bet you didn’t think we were going to work-out to the latest aerobic craze this year!

Jan 20

Adoption Tax Reimbursement

January here and finally there is material out there on the adoption tax reimbursement.  For anyone who has adopted since 2005 this is good news!

In prior years adoptive parents have just gotten to reduce their taxes up to the amount they owe in taxes.  For example, if you only owe $1000 in taxes then you get to subtract $1000 from your taxes.   Subtracting anything from your taxes is a great thing but if  you’ve paid $10,000 or three times that or anywhere in between it doesn’t seem like much.  But then, you get to keep claiming that every year up to five years or until you’ve been credited all of your adoption expenses or hit the limit (its $13,170 this year).

Through 2011 the adoption credit now becomes refundable, we can now be reimbursed all expenses up to $13,170.  What a blessing!  There are some details here, which aren’t in the easiest-to-read form but do answer some questions concerns what can be claimed and the criteria for a foreign adoption to be considered final.

For the first time ever, I am going to pay someone to do my taxes.  I have always done our taxes but this year, I would feel better if someone signed off on them.  If you are planning to do them yourself, don’t forget two important changes this year:

1.  If claiming the adoption tax credit you must file on paper- telephone or internet filing is not allowed.

2.  If claiming the adoption tax credit you must include official documentation that your adoption is final.

We scrimped to be able to pay for our adoption in full without any loans and were so excited to be able to succeed at that.  But, we feel very blessed to be able to rebuild our emergency fund and maybe even do something we have been trying to do for years- start saving for retirement!

Dec 24

Merry Christmas- 2010

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Last year Micah was sleepy and floppy when it came to taking pictures.  This year she is just a red blur!  I am thankful for this one picture of her sitting next to Jonah before she had to take off!

img_0080Here is the sweater vest that my mother made sometime during the 70’s.   I had fun sporting it today at my family’s get-together.  If only my mom could remember who she made it for or when she made it (but now its mine!!!)!

I hope everyone has a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Nov 06

Bringing Her Home: One Year Ago

This week I received a nice e-mail from my mother-in-law where she wished me a Happy Birthday and explained how moms have a reason to celebrate, even more so than the baby, after making it through so much both before and during the last year.

I was thinking about how November 5 is even more of a celebration to me that November 2.  November 2 is when she was born, but November 5 was when she came home with us.   Many mothers feel a since of relief when their baby is delivered safe and healthy and we felt that too, but real relief was felt when the papers were finally signed.  Parents love to hear “congratulations” from their doctor but we couldn’t wait to hear it from our social worker.

We had been through a lot leading up to her birth and this year has been full of adjusting to having two children, but the real trial was waiting those 72 hours between the birth and the papers being signed.

Happy Homecoming to us!

Nov 02

A Whole Year

jeanjacketsmallA year ago from today I was watching a lot of Golden Girls with a lady that I didn’t know very well.  And wondering if she was going to let me take her baby home.

I made it through a dozen or so episodes, the solidarity of staying in a hospital room and not being a patient, and the 72 hour waiting period to finally bring a sweet little baby home.

And now that baby  is a year old.  Part of me can’t believe that its been that long.  But the other part of me, that emotional-worry-about-everything part feels like it has.  I worried what people would think,  her hair, the cost of the adoption, how the birthmother was doing and if she regretted her decision.

And in the midst of my worry  I had to figure out bottle feeding and keep her healthy through a terrible flu laden winter.

And then I tried to feed her sweet potatoes with her mouth closed while two little fists darted back and forth, an image that I relate to a video game where you have to figure out how to open the cave door but first make it past the two guarding dragons.  And then gave her breathing treatments and took her to six appointments to battle the bronchitis  the doctor was convinced was  really pneumonia.  And now chase her down the hall while I do her hair, put on her socks, clean her face…

Its those kind of things that make the worry dissipate and the year go by quickly.  Its those kind of things that make me realize that she really is mine.

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