Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just One Year Ago

June was a big month for us last year. On June 10th, we got the positive pregnancy test that changed our life. On June 24th, we got the call we had so anxiously been waiting for, which also changed our life. I remember our social worker (L) calling like it was yesterday. I was at a presentation for work and therefore had my phone turned down. I actually was waiting for a call from my RE with my HCG blood test results. I was so sure we were going to lose that pregnancy because my HCG did not double at first. So I checked my phone and had a message from L. I wasn't immediately excited because she had called for different things before, but the minute I heard her message..."Hi Faith, I have a situation I want to discuss with you..." my heart started racing. Within an hour I had talked with her and learned that we had been chosen to parent a baby girl, but the parents were not yet positive they were going to place. Their daughter (or so we thought!) was due August 24. And I had also gotten a voicemail from my doctor - my HCG looked great, all was well.

And so the whirlwind began. Thinking back, I remember how certain we were that we would lose at least one of these babies. I remember the intense fear I had that we could lose both. It so easily could have happened. And after all we had been through, I honestly couldn't believe 2 babies were in our future. I was just praying we would have one. One baby to hold, love and call our own.

I remember making the decision to tell the birthparents we were pregnant, and how difficult that was. I don't think I have ever been so terrified in my entire life. I was only 10 weeks along, so still felt the pregnancy was very vulnerable. And I also knew these birthparents could back out at any time, and with this news, that chance was greater. If there was ever going to be a time to lose both of these precious babies, this was it.

Well, the short story is, we were beyond blessed. We were meant to have these 2 babies, each of them joining our family in their own unique way. Now I have my sweet Jackson who sucks his thumb while cuddling his monkey lovey when he goes to sleep and my precious Addison who I love to feel playing with my shirt while she nurses in the middle of the night. I have never been so exhausted and overwhelmed. I have never felt so underprepared and incompetent. And yet I have never been so happy. The kind of happy that is full and deep and peaceful. I am at peace. One year ago, an unexpected positive test and a long-awaited-for phone call literally rocked our world. And we haven't stopped thanking God since.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jackson is 10 Months Old!!

Wow, Jackson is so quickly approaching one year old, and he acts like it for sure! Jackson continues to be a happy, sweet and lovable little boy. He is the center of attention with anyone who visits and anywhere we go. He is now very quick with his crawling and can get anywhere he wants to go - and fast. And he's also very competent at pulling up to stand and cruising along furniture, so we are constantly chasing him around and moving things out of his reach! Jackson's fine motor skills are improving and he can now feed himself puffs with much better accuracy. He is still working on drinking water from a cup, but it's coming along. He also turns the pages of a book when we read his books at night, which we love to let him do! It makes the bedtime stories so much more interactive. My favorite part of his personality lately is his sense of humor. He now knows when something is funny, such as sneezing out food or making funny noises or the funny faces we make at him, and he looks right at us and laughs! He has the MOST adorable belly laugh and he and I can get going for quite awhile just laughing at each other and all the silliness life holds! He also thinks it is quite hilarious when he gets into trouble - we say "no" with our very best angry face, and he just laughs. Oh, wow, his teachers are in for it!

Jackson now has FIVE teeth, 2 on bottom and 3 up top. He really is a strong little boy and doesn't fall apart too much when he is teething. He has some meltdowns, but if it gets too bad for him, we just give him some Tylenol and he is back to his happy self. He still has many crying episodes a day, but usually that just means he is very tired and needs to go to bed. Speaking of bed, Jackson is still an amazing sleeper. He sleeps 12-14 hours a night and then takes 2 wonderful naps a day (usually). Jackson loves to be out and about in the world, so we are working on getting the babies out to do something at least 3-4 times a week. It may not seem like a lot, but that's a lot when you have 2 babies to haul around! Jackson is babbling a lot now, making the sounds "mamamama" and "babababa" a lot. He just loves to talk! Today at breakfast, he also mimicked my "yum yum" sounds, which was really fun! Jackson's favorite pass time by far is eating, which means we have to be careful to not overfeed him because he will eat all day long if we let him! Jackson very much loves his mom and dad and wants us close to him at all times. He will tolerate other people holding him, but prefers it if we stay in sight and he sometimes cries if we aren't close. He still has a huge pen to play in but wants us right there with him. His strong attachment to us is adorable - and can also be a little difficult:).

Jackson is one busy little boy. Keeping him happy and entertained is a full time job! He gets bored VERY quickly, so we are constantly looking for fun things to do with him. Today we are trying out our new kiddie pool! Seeing him happy is the best thing ever!

This little boy is just sunshine in our lives. I shudder to think where our lives would be had we not chosen this path. I can't even imagine the emptiness our home would have without our sweet Jackson Levi in it. Happy 10 Months, sweet pea!

(P.S. Check out my previous post today as I also posted about Addison - I was really behind!)

Addison is 4 Months Old!!

Our baby girl has moved from the newborn stage to the infant stage...in the blink of an eye. And, wow, she has really turned into such a sweetheart. She gets so excited when we come into her view, kicking her legs and squealing. She has big smiles (although we can never catch them on camera because the flash before the pictures takes seems to really concern her). She has an adorable raspy laugh that kind of sounds like she smokes a pack or two a day! She is ticklish under her little arms and just laughs so loud when we tickle her there.

(such a diva!)

Addison can now roll over to her belly and does it every time we put her on her back. The frustrating part for her, and for us, is that she can't get back over to her back. So she gets very mad very quickly. Which means leaving her to play on her own for longer than one minute ends up in lots of screaming and tears because she inevitably gets stuck on her belly. Addison also now grabs, holds on to, and manipulates toys. Her favorite is a little valentine eeyore beanie and she will play with that for quite a long time. She is very active and is constantly moving and kicking. In fact, she wouldn't stop moving when the pediatrician examined her and the doctor literally asked us, "Is she always like this?" Yep, she is. Addison loves to mimic your mouth and so she sticks out her tongue when we do and makes raspberry sounds at us when we do. She loves to babble and squeal and has adorable little conversations with us that way. She also makes an adorable lip smacking sound when she sucks her top lip and lets go - it's so cute you could just eat her up!

Addison is now sleeping in her crib as of two nights ago, which I am ambivalent about as you probably already know if you read my last post. She also cannot be swaddled anymore because she can break out and it is not safe to have that loose blanket. So, she went to her crib unswaddled all at once and she is taking it like a champ. The main challenge we have is that she immediately flips over to her belly and then gets mad. And we can't just flip her back to her back for her to sleep because she just flips back over. So she falls asleep on her belly now and sleeps that way. I had to buy an Angelcare Movement Monitor because that scares me to death! It should be here Tuesday. Addison gets up once at night, usually between 3 and 4am to eat, and I now nurse her in the glider in her room (instead of in bed with me) and put her back in her crib. She then gets up around 6 or 7am to eat again and I take her to bed with me and we doze until around 8 or 8:30am. Love that time with my baby love!

Addison now weighs 14lbs 6.5oz which is in the 70th percentile and she is 25.5 inches long which is in the (drum roll please...) 91st percentile!! She is definitely her mommy and daddy's little girl with that length! Holy cow! Her head size is very small, only 39cm, which is in the 6th percentile. We are not too worried, as her daddy has always had a very small head. We will monitor it closely though.

We love, love, love our little girl. She is so precious we can hardly stand it. Happy 4 months, our sweet princess!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Goodbye, Bassinet

I sold our bassinet today on craigslist. Not a huge deal one might think. But it was momentous for me. I have been lugging around that bassinet for at least 6 or 7 years, I can't even remember exactly when I got it. My mom bought it from a family member for me years and years ago (she was itching for me to have a baby, too!). And I put it in the room I thought would be the nursery, back when we lived in Michigan. Then I moved it to Arizona, then to another house in Arizona. And then finally my first miracle slept in it, and it was no longer just a piece of baby paraphernalia that I carried with me as a reminder of what I was missing. And then, my second miracle slept in it. Albeit not long, as she has decided the swing is the only place she wants to sleep. That modest little bassinet cradled my two babies, my blessings. I carried it around for years and in the course of (less than) a year, it was used, and then done being useful.

Part of this sadness is the knowledge that we will probably not have any more children - for many reasons, but we are pretty set on our decision. I literally want to stop time. They are growing so fast. Especially with Addison, as she is my last baby, I feel like it is just flying by. I feel like she's barely a baby anymore, she is getting so big. And now her bassinet is sold. No more babies of mine will be sleeping in it, nestled there next to my bed so I can hear their sweet breathing.

I know the first few months with a baby are hard - really, really hard. I honestly don't know if I could handle another newborn stage. Well, yes I could. But it'd be hard. And I certainly don't want another baby anytime soon. But as I am beginning to get rid of the baby stuff they have outgrown, I am feeling like they were barely little babies at all! When I was in the midst of "newborn hell," I honestly wondered if I could live through it and if it would ever end. Now I look back at little things - their first pacifiers, coming home outfits, the papasan, and that ever-present bassinet - and my heart hurts. Those days are over, and they literally flew by.

Addison will be leaving my room next week, moving to her crib. My stomach churns and my eyes moisten as I write that. No need for a bassinet anymore. So, I said goodbye to our bassinet today, and all that it represents:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Does It Get Any Cuter?

How did this happen? One minute I am praying for just one baby of my very own, the next I am praying for just one glorious night to myself to sleep without attending to a baby at all! That means I am for sure a real mommy now! Check out my new header for some other cute photos of each of them. I can't believe I now have professional pictures of my TWO babies. Unbelievable. So, I ask again, does it get any cuter?!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Update on Jackson's visitor

We had a great time with A, Jackson's birthdad. He is a great guy, laid back, and just really nice. I could tell he enjoyed Jackson, but he kept his distance. He often referred to us as mom and dad. He also often compared Jackson to him - "Oh yeah, I used to do that all the time!" He would ask things about Jackson, wondering if Jackson took after him in certain ways. I got the impression he really wanted Jackson to be similar to him. We were happy to hear his stories - to hear about the things we might be in for! Turns out A was quite the wild child, lol! Jackson has the EXACT same mouth, cheeks and chin as A. It is uncanny. And it is beautiful. I love to see him with someone he looks like, I love to know he'll always have that connection. It makes my heart happy for him.

Jackson turned on his most charming smiles for A - it was almost like he knew what a special person A was. He would look at A and you literally could see him dial up the cuteness! We all found it quite amusing. We talked about A's family, and how they were processing the adoption. A was adopted himself, so there are interesting dynamics. A's parents are sad about the adoption of their grandchild, but are beginning to consider visiting Jackson. We have offered visits to them from the beginning, knowing that A's mom has taken the situation especially hard. They follow Jackson on Jason's facebook page, so we know they see how healthy, happy and beautiful Jackson is. A believes that he may be ready to take them with him next time he comes to visit. We are so excited for the possibility. We absolutely believe that Jackson cannot have too many people to love him - as long as they are healthy people for him, we want him to know how much they love him.

I have had many other moms say they are not sure they could do what we are doing, that they just couldn't "share" their child. I am not sharing Jackson any more than you ever share your baby with your family. A and his parents are Jackson's family. That does not make me any less his mom. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that knowing his birth family is the best thing for him. So, even when I do have insecurities, I am able to move past them. Because it is what is best for Jackson. And any mom would do what they know is best for her child, no matter the pain (or insecurity) it caused her. So, while I know it must be hard for others to understand in the abstract, when you are in this situation, it is pretty natural. Doing what is best for your child, what will help him to grow up happy and secure, is just what moms and dads do. So, that is what we are doing!

Friday, June 3, 2011

We Survived

Well, we are officially in our new home! The move was excruciatingly difficult with 2 babies to take care of. I would not wish our past week on my worst enemy! I honestly don't have words for our experience. But, it is over! Well, the worst part is anyway. Now, we just have to find time to unpack everything and get settled. That's what nap times are for, right?

Quick updates on the babies: Jax is teething like crazy again, and therefore very clingy and fussy. He has become quite a momma's boy and prefers me over anyone...I have to admit, I think it's pretty sweet:). Addison has begun her bedtime routine in my desperate attempt to get her to sleep easier at night. She has a bath, then a book and then she nurses...then to the swing. She does have to cry some nights, others she just goes to sleep. Her crib should be up in the next week or so, and when she turns 4 months (in a couple of weeks), it will be time to get her sleep trained, in her crib. We intended on having her swing in her very own room in the new house to get her transitioned over, but that lasted exactly an hour the first night and I had her swing back in my room:). I wasn't ready for her to be so far away quite yet. Her separation from me will come soon enough, no need to rush things, right?

In other news, Jackson's birthdad is coming to see him and hang out with us this weekend. We are very excited, as he has not seen Jackson since he was a month old! What a gift for Jackson to be able to know his birthdad - he looks just like him and he will grow up seeing where he came from. We feel blessed that we can have this relationship for him.

And that is the news for now!