May 25, 2012

Find A Family Friday - Ollie

So in case you didn't fridays tend to be busy. I did a Find A family Friday post about 3 weeks ago, and have yet to do one since. Joey has every other friday off, so we try to get as much adoption stuff done as possible.

But you'll be glad to know since then, BOTH children in that post have had families commit to them!!

Keegan's Family's Blog can be found HERE

Juliette's Family's Blog can be found HERE

Let's see if we can keep the momentum going...

I'd like you to meet ...


Sweet little Ollie captured my heart when I found my Jaxon. 
I went back and forth between the two boys, and eventually felt God calling us to adopt Jaxon. But this little sweetie has not left my heart. He needs a family too! His profile on Reece's Rainbow has recently been updated with some more information, and it shows that Ollie has a heart condition, and will probably need surgery when home. 

He also has an updated picture...

Sweet Boy... 
He is growing up wihtout a family...
He shares my Ava's birth month, and it pains me to think of him going without a family all this time...
Our sweet Ava just oozes love, and brings joy to everyone she meets...Ollie too can share that joy, enrich other's lives...he needs a family to thrive in, to allow him to flourish! 

Please consider donating to Ollie, sharing his page on fb, etc. Let's find this sweet guy a family!!! 

You'll find his Profile on Reece's Rainbow HERE!

Please spread the word. These children need our help!  

James 1:27
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Keep Looking Up!

May 14, 2012

Ava's Birth Story

October 24th, 2010
Jojo became quite ill. She was up half the night with a fever, and coughing, and just plain acting miserable. I was still experiencing contractions almost constantly. So I wasn't getting much sleep at all.

October 25th, 2010
According to the notes I wrote down in a journal, in an effort to remember every detail, today was a lazy day. haha I was dealing with contractions all day as well as JoJo being sick. I was up nearly all night again with contractions and caring for Jojo as her cough got twice as bad at night. Kyah was a big helper during the day...

October 26th, 2010
Day 3 of JoJo being sick...I was worn out, tried to keep girls occupied with PBS cartoons. I recall using the excersize ball a lot trying to ease contractions. I just wanted some relief. Having your stomach contract and harden all day for months is exhausting. Then I was up with Jojo throughout the night again. Up to go to the bathroom etc. Ava was being a ninja and keeping me up also...
Joey slept on the couch to allow Jojo room to sleep and hopefully help me have more room too. Plus He had to be up early for work. I remember thinking I really hope I don't go into labor because I have had NO sleep for the past few days!!

I went to Ladies Bible Study that afternoon, and we ended up having a conversation about how many things can go wrong in a pregnancy, and how blessed we are when we make it through without complications. I told of a friend that had a baby just a few weeks before and had witnessed test results change right before his eyes in regards to his baby. The Lord had heard our prayers! The Ladies and I had a big discussion about how every step of pregnancy is a miracle and how God watches over each step of the way. In hindsight I think it's quite awesome that we had this conversation when we did.

That evening I was laying in bed, as had become my evening ritual, trying to rest my body and ease contractions. I decided to check out Babycenter, since I hadn't been on there in a while.  I came across a post with the Title: My Friend Just had a baby with Down Syndrome, What do I do?

I almost skipped it, but something made me click it.

The post was pretty much saying her friend had just given birth, and was surprised to learn that her son had DS. She didn't know how to react, she was asking if she should address it, and let her know that she's there for her, or ignore it and just act like all was normal. I personally was thinking, well, definitely don't ignore it. But I also had never been in that situation so I felt like I shouldn't respond with my "limited knowledge" I read through the comments and saw tons of people linking to a birth story. Everyone kept saying send her here, show her this. It's a birth story about a mom who was also surprised at birth when her daughter had DS.

I clicked the link. Saw that the story was long, and thought, I don't really need to read that it doesn't apply to me. So I exited the blog. But it really intrigued me, and I had a lot of time on my hands to read a long story. So I went back to the link.

I was directed to Kelle Hampton's Blog. I read Nella's Birth story.  I cried, I was touched. I thought of what a perfect place to send the mommy who had just had her world so shaken. And then I had a thought that scares me. I thought, But that won't happen to me. It still stings to remember it now... I immediately chided my thoughts. It COULD happen to could happen to anyone. Don't think yourself to be exempt from these things. I distinctly remember wondering what I would do if that did happen to me, and ended up brushing the thought of with the mindset that if anything ever did happen I would deal with it at the time, and not spend time stressing about it now.

October 27th, 2010
Oh, I doubt I will ever forget this day...
I spent most of the day trying to rest again, as I was still having contractions, and spending my nights up with Jojo. I really felt off all day. I remember thinking of how many birth stories I had read of people feeling "off" and going into labor, and just brushing it off. After all, I had been having contractions since 31 weeks, and been to the hospital many times over...I was convinced I'd never go into real labor. PLUS...I still had over two weeks til my due date, of Nov 12th.

I stayed home from church that night because I was not feeling well at all, plus Jojo was still just getting better. Her voice was so raspy and almost gone. I took her into our bedroom, and was pacing the room. I honestly kept wondering if I'd have to call Joey to take me to the hospital. But didn't want to be sent home like all the other I got out my excersize ball. I put some youtube videos on my phone for jojo, little singing clips, like bible songs, backyardigans etc. She was having fun singing, when I suddenly had a HUGE contraction, it gripped my body so much my knees buckled and I had to grab the dresser to keep from falling. I reached for the ball which was nearby and sat on it for a second. I then had the thought that this could be the start of REAL labor, so I checked the time. 7:30pm...little did I know, just how significant it would be that I checked the time when I did.

About 10 mins after the first I had another Killer contraction. Ten minutes after that...another! I was beginning to think this might be the real thing, yet at the same time didn't want to believe it after going to the hospital and being sent home before. BUT...they did tell me, it would change, and I was pretty sure these contractions were way more intense than the ones I'd been having for months. When Joey got home I explained to him what was going on, and he said we'd wait and time them and see what happened. Normally I'd have consistent contractions that would be about the same time frame apart, but they didn't get closer. So we were waiting to see if they'd get closer.

Before I knew it I was the only one up....12pm...1am...2am...the contractions went from about 10 min apart, to 8 min, to 5...I decided to take a shower knowing that was one of the things people said can help to relax you and calm down contractions if you are not in labor. I didn't know it then, but this shower would be the last I took in that bathroom for the next 6 months!!

When I got out contractions were about 3 min apart, and I was madly rocking back n forth on the ball. I decided to wake up Joey and get the kids ready to go to the hospital. I called my Mum and let her know that we would be leaving, she decided to meet us at the hospital instead of us going to her house first.

Off we went. 

We arrived at the hospital and Mum found us, we loaded the kids into her car, made arrangements for her to bring my sister, Alyce, later if they admitted me, and made our way into the hospital.

We did the regular routine of checking in, I went back and forth from hunching over the counter during contractions, to trying to look somewhat normal while standing in L&D signing papers. haha

The nurse came and got me and we were taken to the first room on the left. I was hooked up to all the monitors, and the established right away that I was having contractions. I was watching the lines go "through the roof" on the monitor and thinking, no wonder it hurts so much!

It was about 5 - 6 am by now, the Dr came in and said, "well, you're going to have a baby today!" I felt such relief, excitement, and shock all at once. they checked me and I was at 2 !/2 cm. At my last appointment i had been 0. So I was glad to finally see progress. ...But then they told me they were going to let me labor at home "where it will be more comfortable" haha like it was possible for me to be comfortable! The ladies at the front desk gave me sympathetic looks and told me, "we'll see you again soon, Don't worry."

We drove home, me still contracting wishing something would happen to make us have to turn around and go back...They had said to come back if something changes, when my contractions got more painful basically. Because they were already every 3-4 minutes. So, I kept praying for them to become more painful. Strange isn't it, how I wanted to be in more pain... I shouldn't have been in any rush. But after months of contractions, and finally getting somewhere with them I just wanted to be in the hospital already, and meet my little girl!

We stopped and got something to eat on the way home, and Joey went to lay on the couch. I was pacing around, anxious and he told me I should try to rest. After all it was now about 7am and I had been awake since the morning before. I laid on the couch for about half an hour trying to sleep, but it was hard with all the contractions. I eventually got up, and went to the bathroom, contemplated taking another shower, but decided against it.

I asked Joey to take a walk with me, and he told me he would in half an hour, so I paced the room, the house, the front yard, rocked on my birthing ball, bounced, walked, paced some more. Finally it had been half an hour, so I woke him up. I know I'm so mean right. The poor guy only got half a night's I am running on no sleep all night and very little the rest of the week, and all I want to do is run around the neighborhood. He wanted me to wait longer so I decided I'd just go. I hoofed it out the front door, walking at a brisk pace, around the block, there was a chill in the air, but it felt good. I watched the school kids getting on the bus by the park, and tried not to stop too long and draw any attention. Yes, I'm in labor, and I'm just taking a stroll around the neighborhood...I'm fine....

When I got back Joey met me at the door and was ready to go, so we walked around again, this time we walked around the park too. It was a lot nicer having someone to talk to and distract me. I stopped every now and then to breath through a contraction, but we walked on...

Little did I know how significant this walk would become...this would be the last time I walk to the park, walk around the park, or walk at the park for another 8-9 months!

We decided to go hang out at Mum and Dad's house so that we could be with the kids, and also we would be closer to the hospital when I was ready to go. I was really hoping we'd have to go to the hospital instead, or we'd arrive and have to tell Mum we were heading straight back to the hospital. such luck.

I laid on the pull out sofa in the living room for most of the day, being told to "try and get some rest" by everyone. I just wanted to be in the hospital, having my baby...I kept thinking that the contractions were going away, I'd get this taunting memory "well, you're going to have a baby today" and I'd think, you lied, I'm not having a baby today, why did you say that? Nothing is changing, the contractions are going away and I'm going to end up going home... I was pretty upset considering all the work my body was doing, I was exhausted, and it seems like nothing was happening. Every time I thought the contractions were done, I'd have another. It would give me hope, and then I would doubt again...and then another...and so it went...ALL...DAY...LONG...

I played with the kids some, tried to rest, took a walk around Mum's neighborhood with Joey. I was able to fall asleep in mum's bed for about half an hour, and then I was up again off for a walk with my sis. We walked, and walked, and walked...

I tried to rest some more, and decided I was going to go take a shower. The warm water felt so nice. When I got out of the shower and dried off I saw blood "down there" it wasn't a lot, but it was enough of a change in my opinion. So we packed up and headed to the hospital. The whole way I feared my contractions going away, I was sure we'd get there, and things would have stopped, I'd look ridiculous and be sent home AGAIN. That 10 minute ride was a long one.

Right as we pulled in, I got a HUGE contraction. Surprisingly it made me feel a lot better, now I had blood, AND more pain under my belt. SO in we went. By now it's 7pm. This time they took me all the way to the end of the hall and over to the other side. A room I hadn't been in before. A tough feet. They got me all hooked up and asked all the right questions..then I waited and waited for the Dr, finally someone came in and mentioned that the dr had some emergency or a delivery or something and he'd be there soon. So we waited some more, all the while my contractions had amped it up and I was feeling more pain. Then a massive contraction hit me, it was horrible and brought me to tears, during this time the dr opened the door and began to introduce himself, mid-sentence he got a sympatheticc look on his face and just waited. I will never forget that man! He asked me about the blood the contractions etc, I went through another killer contraction through clenched teeth and tears. He told me to let him know when I wasn't contracting and he'd check my progress then. I was at 3 !/2 cm he said, "I'm admitting you!"

And the sky parted, and birds sang...

I mean, I thanked him profusely, and felt a huge relief at hearing those words. Dr Gambetta... I am forever grateful for his decision to admit me...

I walked over to the Delivery Room, and on the way passed a nurse who I'd seen at one of my "false labor" visits. She remembered me and congratulated me. I was surprised she remembered me as it was about month since I'd seen her.

Everything felt surreal...walking down that hall. I'm finally being admitted, I'm having my baby girl, pretty soon I'll meet her, hold her, see what she looks like, nurse her....

I was introduce to my nurse as I got settled in the bed. Liberty. I also met Lynette the midwife, sine I had chosen to have the midwife help me deliver. They were both awesome!! Liberty asked me if I wanted an epidural. I let her know that I would want one eventually, but I didn't need one yet. I was handling the contractions pretty well, able to focus and breathe through them, and in my mind the epidural was for the time that it became unbearable. So I kept on. My sister arrived, and Stacy arrived, now we had the whole "labor crew" assembled.


 It was suggested that I take a shower to try and help me relax, I was never able to do this in labor before, and always wished for a water birth, so I figured being in the shower for part of my labor was as close as I was going to get. Stacy was going to help me in there, but I'm weird. Though she had seen my top half naked, helping with breastfeeding etc, and she'd seen the bottom half at both my other births, I wanted a gown. haha I laughed at myself, but whatever, it helped me feel better. So I put my arms into the gown and draped it down my middle. Much better. :) I stayed in there for a while, just letting the water run down my back, over my head...enjoying the warmth. But pretty soon I needed to just lay down. So I hopped back into bed. Without realizing that would be the last time I'd "hop into" bed...for a long time.

I tried to rest but was unable so they suggested giving me benadryl to help me sleep. I took that, and everyone else laid down. I have NO idea what time it was but it must have been late. around 10-11pm. I'd lay my head down, and toss and turn, then I'd start talking to Stacy, she'd eventually say, "ok, now go to sleep" we did this over and over until I laid there silent for a one time, while Stacy noticed that I was extremely restless. We brought Liberty back in and asked about the benadryl, and foud out that sometimes it can have an opposite effect, it can cause hyperactivity. Ya think! No wonder I couldn't sleep!

At this point we decided I should get the epidural, since it might help me sleep and get some rest for the upcoming birth of my daughter. :)

In case you didn't know I have a fear of epidurals. Yes, I've had them with all my girls. But my first two births were at South Sac, and by the same "Epidural Guy" He was amazing! This time I was so scared, because it was someone different, and I still have all those stories in the back of my mind about people being paralyzed after getting epidurals. So the guy comes in and gets everything ready. I decided to have Stacy stay with me because she's excellent a helping with the awkward sitting-up-through-a-contraction-while-getting-stuck-in-the-back-thing.

As soon as he stuck me I jumped, it felt like a nerve got pinched or something, it totally freaked me out! It hurt, as he was putting it in and doing everything, and I was having visions of being paralyzed. He did all the testing, can you feel that contraction stuff, and it went well. Then all of a sudden my back started burning, like crazy, branching out from where I had the epidural and taking over my back. it felt like my back was on fire, I wanted to literally rip off my back. :(

The nurse put some numbing stuff on it and the burning went away. Praise The Lord. Then, my head gets dizzy, I start to feel faint & sick. I hear beeping in the distance as my head drops back into the pillow... I get a shot of something, and I start to feel better. Turns out my blood pressure plummeted.

Everything is stabilized and everyone goes back to trying to rest. At some point during this time I think I changed nurses? I REALLY didn't want to see Liberty go...but then came along Shonnie. I grew just as attached to her...

Twice the "RED button" got pushed by accident. It was in a position so that if someone went near the top of my bed, it would easily get bumped. The first time, everyone rushed in and we stared at each other for a second, explained to them we must have accidentally pushed the button. I was introduced to the Dr that was on. Dr Vanderveen, and also Dr Tiglao ( a student dr?) The second time it was all apologies. Nothing's wrong, sorry again.

My chest began to feel heavy, and I felt like I was struggling to breath. My oxygen was fine. They did a bunch of numb tests to see how far up the epidural had gotten and if that was why my chest felt heavy but I could feel things too high up, it wasn't the epidural. We decided to put an oxygen mask on me, just because it hoped me feel less like I was gasping for air.

Hours passed, I remember checking Facebook on my phone and finding messages from so many friends from far away, wondering If I had the baby yet, sending me encouragement, I tried updating when I could...but there wasn't a lot to tell...still in labor was pretty much how the updates went.

I ate up every word of encouragement sent to me. I was feeling low, exhausted, just wanting to have her already, be done with labor, it really felt like I would be in labor forever.

Throughout the labor I had little bouts of my blood pressure dropping, the machine would beep and someone would fix it. Every time it scared me. But I was thankful that everything was ok for the baby, even if I was having all kinds of trouble.

Shonnie had been done with her shift and decided to stay for an extra two hours with me. I was SO blessed by this because I really didn't want her to leave. Just like with the previous nurse. She thought that I should have the baby by then, so she would stay. Well...her two extra hours came and went, still no baby. Then I met Nurse Deterding. Apparently Stacy knew her sister from school or something of the sort... By now it was morning.

Time continues to pass by with me just continuing on through labor...Joey and my sis went somewhere, to get food or something. Stacy decided to go to the bathroom real quick and I was alone.

I laid my head back and finally started to drift off to sleep. Suddenly My nurse was shaking my arm, asking me if I could breathe ok. I gave her a groggy looking head wobbling answer, "uh huh" Then I realized, I wasn't breathing ok, I was gasping for air, straining to drag in any air I could, my eyes got big in panic. Stacy walked back in and rushed over asking why was wrong. The red button was pushed, this time for real and I was given oxygen again, and sat up. My Nurse explained to Stacy how she had come in and heard me gasping for air. Stacy said she wouldn't leave the room again. Half joking, half serious.

Th Dr checked everything out at this point, and noticed I had gone from 4cm when I got the Epi to only 5 cm. Remember I got the epidural sometime between 10-12pm. It was now probably closer to lunch time the next day...

Things kept going on like this, i was checked multiple times, blood pressure dropped every now and then, I'd be dizzy on and off.

Th Dr found that my legs couldn't move at all, they were way too heavy and stiff, so we turned down the epidural. Also I was given pictocin to try and help my contractions pick up as they had apparently startd spacing apart more. I was also stuck at 5cm, every time someone checked. Over the next few hours.

During this whole process from the very beginning we had been told they couldn't break my water, because it was considered "early intervention" I was technically still 37 weeks pregnant when I was admitted. By now...the 29th I was 38wks. But it was too risky to break my water, because of the risk of cord prolapse. For those that don't know, that is when your water breaks but the cord comes down before the baby's head. This can be VERY dangerous, fatal. So we didn't want to risk that.

At some point I had to change nurses AGAIN. But Nurse Deterding promised to come by and see Ava after she was born. I was introduced to Jenn M. I will never, EVER forget her! You'll soon find out why.

Pretty soon Dr Vanderveen found that the baby had dropped, finally, so it was ok to break my water. With Savannah I had my water broken too. I remember the warm gush and then the contractions getting 10 times worse. Well this time I had an epidural already so I figured I'd just feel the gush. He broke my water... there was no gush. Apparently her head had dropped so much that it was now blocking any water from coming out. ha

So Nothing much changed after that. I updated my Facebook status about getting my water broken and that would end up being the last update. We were about to face a life threatening situation, a couple actually.

Some time passes and The Dr and Midwife both come and check on me. They don't like the way the outside monitor is keeping track of the baby. They keep losing the heartbeat. They want to try an internal monitor.

So at this point, we have the epidural turned way down, (cos of my heavy legs and chest) pictocin cranked up to get things moving, oxygen nearby, just in case, and I've been stalled at 5cm for hours...

The Midwife tries to get the internal monitor attached and suddenly they see baby doesn't like it. She tries a couple times and decides, "No, baby doesn't like it, never mind" But wait, now baby has moved in such a way that the monitor is now stuck inside, not attached or in use, but lodged in there. So the Dr tries to remove it carefully with no success and before I know it numerous people are being called, each one checking me, and trying to get the monitor, Ava's going into distress, and I do too... everyone rushes in again and I am flipped on my side.

All I could see from my view point was the monitor flat lining... I didn't know they had unplugged it, it took everything in me to keep breathing. I shut my eyes, and kept thinking "My AVA, I want My Ava...where's My Ava...I want her OUT NOW! Is my baby ok...oh Ava, I want Ava!!" I Prayed "Please god let her be ok! Please let her be ok!"

Right about the point where I started to lose it, tears falling, panic setting in...I saw a mans feet walk up next to me and heard some of the most soothing, strengthening words...I will never forget that moment. I heard, "Be Strong for your baby Karly, you can do it" Immediately I was filled with a new strength, I could do it...I NEEDED to be strong for My Ava! I found out later the man was Dr Tiglao! I could have sworn he was an angel!

I was flipped back over, and things were becoming more stable, but I was feeling MAJOR contractions. I guess now i really know what contractions feel like during transition, without much help from an epidural.   It was bad!  The Dr and midwife chatted and kept checking things. I was having huge contractions. Stacy and the nurse were watching the monitor and I would start to get a contraction start breathing, and I couldn't speak to let them know it was starting, it seemed like the monitor didn't pick it up til a few seconds later, so I'd be halfway through breathing through a contraction and then my support would be like ok here comes one. lol I was finally able to tell them in between what was happening, and they were able to watch my facial clues and if i was able I'd say it's coming, and sure enough it would show up right after...

The Dr brought in paperwork for me to sign to have a C-section if anything were to go wrong again. Explained about letting him know if i felt that "pressure" down there.

It wasn't more than 5-10 minutes and I felt it. I called the Dr back in, and sure enough I was dilated to 10 CM. FINALLY. I believe at this point I burst into tears...ya know the whole sobbing mess kind. I think Stacy asked if they were happy tears, and I confirmed that they were. I thought, "I'm almost done" I was so relieved that soon enough I would be holding my little girl in my arms, and I could rest and enjoy her...after SO long in labor!

The Midwife said they'd come back in a few minutes after letting her come down some more before pushing, but immediately came back and said, "let's just do a practice push and see how you do"

So I did, and she kind of reacted like "wow, that was really good, don't push anymore" calling out to everyone to get everything ready.

Then it was time to push. I pushed so hard, I breathed well, and I could tell I was doing really good. It hurt, and was so hard, but I had nurse jenn on my left and star on my right, I think Joey was next to jenn? Things became a little complicated and I was asked to push my legs back farther, I would never have thought it was possible...I practically had my knees up to my ears (sorry TMI, but its important to know considering what happened next) I Pushed long hard pushes, and her head came out. Relief.... the midwife was trying to convince my sister to come see, and how it was such a miracle, star and i also said she should see. So she came over to look. My poor sister, doesn't like hospitals, blood and icky stuff. And what happened next probably scarred her for life.

Turns out Ava's cord was twisted and clotted and wrapped around her neck. It was too dangerous for the midwife to try and pull it up over her head, so she had to gradually pull it down over her body, where it was also wrapped around her arm and criss crossed around her body. Poor Baby.

She had me do short quick pushes, as she maneuvered the cord down around her body and at the same time pulled her out. At this point I didn't know that anything was wrong, the midwife was completely calm, but I knew something was up because I could feel her pulling and tugging ava hurt and felt so weird, it wasn't the typical "pushing out" of a baby, so I knew something was up. She finally came out, my poor sister had gone out to the hallway to call my mum in tears. She was horrified by what she saw, and thought the midwife was in her words "going to rip the baby's head off" It must have been pretty hard to watch.

I asked Joey what he remembers about it and he showed me how she had to pull and tug at Ava and get her cord off her once she came out, he said it was pretty weird to watch.

At this point I think I just laid my head back in relief. She's here...I'm SO exhausted! The midwife showed  me the cord and how it was all twisted and weird looking. Ava had been laid right on the bed when she came out because instead of stirrups this time my legs were just propped up on the bed, it was kind of nice to have her come out and laid right there. I got up on my elbows and peeked around my leg to see her.

My first thought was, "she looks like Uncle Dave" (one of my best friends in high school, he's Philipino by the way) I then realized she didn't look dark skinned...she was BLUE...and she didn't look asian... she has Down Syndrome...

I knew...from the very first moment I saw her it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I remember shutting my eyes and opening them again to see if it was real...

I'd peek at her again, maybe it's just me...i can't see her very good from this angle, yeah it can't be...she must just look funny from the labor... but all the while it was nagging at me... she has down syndrome...she has down syndrome...can somebody just please tell me she has down syndrome...

Ava was whisked over to the baby bed where I couldn't see her anymore for all the nurses and daddy surrounding her, and the midwife asked me to push out the placenta. She had to pull it a little and help it out, and when she did, she thought it was beautiful. The midwife and nurse then went back and forth over whether or not it was beautiful or gross. haha I just kind of smiled, and wondered why i felt so warm down there...

I recalled horror stories of moms bleeding uncontrollably after birth and felt panicky because i could feel blood gushing and gushing out of me, I wondered why nobody else was panicking. The midwife stayed calm, but I could tell she was concerned. I didn't know it at the time, but Stacy had disappeared from my sight, turns out she had dropped to her knees in prayer, after seeing my bleeding, and sent txts to everyone to pray hard. As soon as she stood the bleeding was controlled. Praise the Lord for that!


I was extremely thankful for the nurses who were calling out what they were doing with Ava, i felt like i should be sitting up, asking questions, finding out if everything was ok, but I had NO strength, my head fell back and i closed my eyes, listening to what they were doing with ava. "we're just helping her breath now, giving her some oxygen, we're just trying to pink her up " etc...

A lot at this point is a blur, I remember it as if I had tunnel vision. I don't know who came or went, were certain people were if i was not looking at them. Then they brought her to me. I stared at her... I knew...

She kept making these sucking faces, where she would suck her lips in...Joey, the proud Daddy, kept snapping pictures. I kept trying to tell him not to take pictures of her doing that, she looked funny. I was terrified that he was going to upload them to fb, and everyone would automatically know...before we knew it everyone would know, before we even told them anything...

I pleaded with him not to upload pictures...yet. He kept asking me why?  All I could manage to say was, "because she looks funny doing that" He could care less if she looked funny. He updated everyone that she was born, and I guess he uploaded the pictures. :)


I really felt like this wasn't happening, hadn't i JUST read a story like this, it didn't feel real, it was too weird,  I just read this I kept thinking...  I tried to rack my brain of what happened in the story of Nella's birth, what i wanted to do differently, I didn't want to seem upset, I wanted her to know I loved her...I felt like she could see through to my soul, and she'd find out that there was a part of me that was surprised, shocked, and didn't know what to do.

I stared at her, stroked her face, thinking do you know i love you, I do...I really do...please know I love you! I didn't expect this...but I love you so much! 

My sister came over and hugged me, I asked her, "does she look like she has down syndrome?" her response was something like, " no, i think her face is just squished from being stuck for so long" and this was how it went for a while, I desperately wanted someone to just tell me she had down syndrome.

I asked Stacy, "why does her face look squished? Do you think she has down syndrome" she answered, with the same thing as everyone else "her face will probably look different in an hour or two, she was probably just squished in there" why won't anybody tell i going sure she has down syndrome. 

My dad came and picked up my sister, Stacy left, and Joey sent a message out to everyone that we didn't want any visitors until tomorrow, because I was so exhausted. Ava was born at 5:14pm October 29th.  7lb 7oz just like Kyah, and 20 in.

Tammy, Joey's mom brought us some yummy chinese food and got to hold Ava, so I could eat. Then a new dr came in..looking apprehensive. this is it... I thought. now they're gonna tell us...

I don't remember where my husband was, where his mom was...anything...I had complete tunnel vision.

At this time she asked for the baby from Tammy, and said that she was just going to give her a little look over. Joey at this point had no idea what was going on, and as far as I know he just thought they were checking her over because of what happened during the birth. He says he was over by the baby bed with the dr.

I also found out later from him that he did think she looked different, but his thought was, "so she looks kinda funny, that's ok, she doesn't have to be cute, I'll still love her" Little did he wasn't about looking funny or being cute or not, she looked different because she had Down Syndrome.

The Dr then came over to us and handed Ava to me. She then went on to explain that they suspected that she had Down Syndrome...

there it is...finally...someone said it... 

 I almost felt relieved, just knowing that what I was thinking wasn't crazy, that she really did most likely have Down Syndrome.

She explained a few of the features and things that led them to believe she had Down syndrome, and then she asked if we had any questions. Honsetly, I couldn't think of ANYTHING to ask. It kind of felt like, well now we know, and we can move forward. I had already been through a plummeting low and was coming up again, feeling like, ok we can do this, she's still our daughter, and we still love her!

I think Joey was just in shock, because I don't remember him having any questions either. The Dr let us know that if we had any to let them know, and she could come see us or talk with us.

What happened next is kind of a blur as I said, I was completely exhausted from such a long hard labor, and after eating I was really feeling like I just wanted to lay my head back and rest. I didn't really want to hold Ava because I thought I might drop her, my arms were just so tired.

The nurse convinced me to try and nurse her at least for a little bit, so I did, I felt so numb. Nothing felt much had transpired, it felt so surreal. I was purely exhausted and been just handed some shocking news, even though I handled it pretty well, and convinced myself to "suck it up" and get on with it...everything just felt like it was happening in a fog.

This picture...pretty much sums it all up for me!

Ava nursed a little, but I was too tired to hold her very long, and jenn (the nurse) asked if she could hold her. "just for fun" I will never forget that moment. As much as it feels like so much of that time was a blur, there are a few moments that are seared into my memory, this was one of them. She took our sweet brand new baby girl, and cradled her legs up against her chest, cupped her hands around her little head and sang her Happy Birthday. I'm in tears now...just writing it. She had no idea, what big thing that was. She was the first person to wish our girl a "Happy BIRTH Day" she rocked her, she stroked her face, she just loved her. I wish we had a picture of it, because the picture I have saved in my memory is beautiful. I wish you all could see...

At some point Joey took Ava, and according to him he remembers "checking her" he checked all the different things that the dr pointed out, and could explain away all of them..."her face really could be squished because of the birth, it's already starting to look more normal, her hands don't have that line, See?...her ears don't look that tiny or really low to you do they?

Oh but that was a dead giveaway...she had the longest tongue! (Which is typically a trait that comes with having Down Syndrome) I recall everyone saying how she had such a long tongue at some point before we were "officially" told that they suspected Down Syndrome, I didn't know then that it was a common trait, I just though she had a crazy long tongue!

So, normally after labor they turn off the epidural, and as it starts to wear off you can feel your legs more, and they eventually have you stand and try to walk to the bathroom, after you've done that you can transfer to the recovery room for the rest of your stay.

I thought the dpi was wearing off pretty well, since it had been turned almost off late in the labor. I even thought, maybe I'll be able to get up and walk sooner than with the other girls, I can already feel my legs really well...

Little did I know...

Jenn came and asked me if I'd like any pain medication, if I was starting to have any pain anywhere. With both my older girls I alternated vicodin and motrin, and had a lot of pain, especially with Kyah. But one Vicodin was enough to practically knock me out, and I wasn't really hurting too bad. So I told her, "I think I'll just have a motrin, I'm starting to feel a bit or the usual crampiness, but nothing too bad" I even thought ...maybe i won't need that much pain medicine this time... HA!

Before she could even get back with the Motrin, I started to feel this Horrible pain in my pubic area. I started kind of writhing in the bed a little and moaning, " hurts...oh it hurts so bad..." Joey grew concerned and came over asking what hurt, normal cramping? I told him I didn't know what hurt, and that it felt like burning or something ripped.

By the time the nurse came back in she asked me right away what was wrong. I told her through gritted teeth that it hurt really bad, really really bad. She asked where and I pointed and said RIGHT THERE... She said she was going to get the midwife, I dropped my head back against the pillow in tears...  this hurts so bad, what's wrong with me, I'm so scared...why does it hurt...

The midwife came in and the nurse explained to her what I had told her, she asked me where it hurt I showed her, she looked concerned. She asked me, "what does it hurt like" I didn't need time to think the words came tumbling right out...I knew exactly what it felt like...  I told her, "It feels like somebody SNAPPED my pubic bone in half!!" Her eyes grew big as did the nurses. They looked at each other.  I knew this wasn't going to be good. The nurse said something like, "it sounds like you may have separated your pubic bone, but we can't tell for sure until we can get you an x-ray"

Meanwhile the Nurse had rushed to get me TWO vicodin, when she got the midwife, I looked at her like really TWO? One normally knocked me out. I hurt SO bad, so I took them both...after a while the pain started to feel a little less intense. My thoughts went a little something like this... ok, thats starting to feel a bit better, it should feel better soon... a few minutes pass... it's starting to get bad way, I took TWO vicodin, why does it still hurt...oh this hurts SO bad...Lord help me, this is so hurts it hurts it hurts...

It had become quite obvious when just trying to move my left leg that it caused excruciating I started to wonder how I was going to switch rooms. Normally you stand up and sit in the wheelchair...not this time. They organized to have a gurney come and get me, Joey loaded up our things onto one of their push carts, and two people propped cushions all around me, Held on and they swooshed me over to the gurney. OH that hurt SO bad...I was trying to hold back tears, it hurt to be moving, to be laying completely flat on such a hard surface, every little bump sent searing pain through my body...that was a LONG 5 minute trip. Joey and I both don't remember who brought Ava up. She came with us, but I couldn't carry her like the normal routine would have me do. I really can't remember if the nurse brought her... ?? The guy that was pushing the gurney talked to me the whole way, I'm pretty sure he knew I was in a ton of pain, and was trying to help me keep my mind off it, the lady helping push me also asked questions about my labor and they both mentioned how sorry they were that I was in so much pain, and that they hoped I'd be feeling better soon, and congratulated us on our new daughter.

When we arrived in the room, I met my new nurse. At the time I just remember her having to check my vitals, checking Ava's, helping to get me comfortable after talking with Jenn about what happened and why I was hurting etc. I was all propped up in a half sitting half reclined position, with a bend in the knee pillows all over... I couldn't lay flat and i couldn't sit up...I had one reclining/sitting half up position, with a couple pillows behind my head, my/under my arms, and under my knees, we eventually got me to where I could rest.

My nurses name was Bonnie, she would eventually play a huge part in my stay and recovery. But I wouldn't even remember that she was my first nurse til months after Ava's birth...

Joey and I were finally able to talk to each other. We talked a bit about Ava having Down Syndrome, I felt like, I knew she had it, he felt like nothing was proven until the blood test was done. We talked a bit about the different features, and realized Ava didn't look like the lines on her hand were any different. That was enough to convince him, that she might not have Down Syndrome. We talked about how no matter what we would love her, and that we would do whatever we needed to do for her.

I tried feeding her, but she wouldn't latch well, and when she did, she just fell asleep, I tried changing sides and the normal "keeping the baby awake to eat" tricks, but to no avail. I decided she was probably worn out from everything, and I knew I was so I would try and get some rest, Bonnie also said she would wake up when she was hungry, and to try and get some rest. So I tried to get some didn't go so well. I couldn't get to sleep knowing Ava hadn't eaten, so about every half hour I would try and feed her again, eventually Bonnie helped me to undress her and lay her on my chest.

We tucked her into my gown, pulled up the blankets, and I snuggled her there for a long time...

And so began our First night with Ava...Daddy was off to the side in his fold out bed, Ava all tucked into mommy's gown, so soft and warm. Little peach fuzzy, squishy girl...

and for a while...we thought we'd be ok. We'll get through this....tomorrow is a new day...we'll start fresh, and move forward. The big girls can come and meet their sister... the are going to show us how to sweet girls are going to teach me so much... 

With silent tears I prayed...

Thankyou Lord for keeping her safe, thank you for saving her life, thank you for preserving me, when we both could have died so easily. THANKYOU Lord, for getting us through this, please help us, help me deal with this pain, and help us to know what to do from us glorify you in everything...Amen

There you have it, THE BIRTH STORY...stay tuned for the rest of our story, and pray for me as I continue to write and process all of the memories, good and bad.

Keep Looking Up!

May 12, 2012

Mother's Day and A 1st Birthday!

This weekend is going to be a little bittersweet.  Sunday we will celebrate Mother's Day, I am blessed to be the mom/mum to 3 beautiful little girls. They are each unique in their own ways, and I treasure each one of them. My sweet big girl Kyah, who is sensitive and caring and keeps telling me how she can't wait til we go and get her baby brother. MyCrazy JoJo, who keeps me on my toes, she is wild and crazy, but has a huge heart! She is so snuggly and sweet, and she too is excited for baby Jaxon to share her room. And our sweet Ava...our little ray of sunshine. She is getting spunky, and turning into a toddler! She keeps us all smiling and laughing, she is quite the comedian.

We also celebrate our mothers. My mum who taught me how to be the mother that I am. I am so thankful for a mum that showed me love, taught me how to be responsible, and to care for others. I love you Mum!!

And thankyou Tammy For raising a son who has turned out to be a pretty great husband. We love you and are so thankful for you!!

As for Birthdays...

My 3 girls all have end of year birthdays...our family finishes out the year with a bang.

Kyah in September, Ava in October, Joey in November, then Savannah and I in December.

So who's birthday is in May?
Well my beautiful niece just turned 2...she has her very own holiday, Cinco de MAYA. ;) haha (at least we like to call it that) Maya is a little miracle!


Hopefully soon Maya will share her birthday month with her precious boy cousin...

Jaxon is turning ONE!

So this weekend/week (I can't be specific with dates on here) we will celebrate Mother's day, and Jaxon's 1st Birthday. We will make cupcakes, and share them with others, we will celebrate his precious life, knowing that for him it may just be another day without a mommy, or a daddy...or siblings...or cousins to share your birthday month with.

When Kyah turned one we had a celebration with family and friends...when savannah turned one, we had a Winter ONEderland celebration with family and friends, when Ava turned one we had a whole lot to celebrate!! Her Birth, and also My recovery...we celebrate these milestones, and make memories for a lifetime.

This first birthday for Jaxon sadly will be spent apart...

But Lord-willing, with the Lord's help and all of your help and support...we can celebrate together next year.

It's tough to think about him being so far away and us not being able to celebrate with him, show him love, and that he is celebrated, it just breaks my mommy heart to pieces!

I have calculated our immediate financial need to get our dossier submitted, by hopefully the first week of June (if the Home study is complete)  and in order to do this we will need about $5,000.

It will cost about $600- $800 to have all the documents apostilled.
Sending in our USCIS forms will cost about $890
FBI fingerprinting fees are $18 each, plus the cost of then posting them in the mail to get apostilled, apostille fees, and shipping back.
Sipping fees for our Dossier are going to be up there too.
Our Agency Fee to be sent when we submit our dossier will be $3500.

So as you can see, we're it's crunch time.

Our FSP stands at $150, and our Chip In is currently at $35 RED, and $194, for our puzzle fundraiser BLUE.  Our personal savings are depleting fast with all the up front costs.

Please pray with us, and consider donating $20 for Jaxon's Birthday. If all our friends just donated this small amount it would add up fast! The best birthday gift he could receive this year is coming home to his family!

I can't offer any material prizes, or incentives right now...other than the joy of knowing you helped an orphan gain a family...

Thank you all for your support, be it prayer, financial, or moral support. We appreciate it all! God has got us this far, without having to use any raised we need your help.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you wonderful mothers out there.

We will spend the day with our church family, at the park, the girls can't wait to make birthday cupcakes for Jaxon to share with our church family!

Keep Looking Up!

May 8, 2012

The Process

A lot of people ask the same questions when it comes to our adoption, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to give kind of an overview of what we will be doing, and our needs.

To adopt from the Country and region that we are adopting from the cost is roughly $40,000. You will see the total being raised on the side bar is only 35,000, that is due to us paying up front costs with savings etc. So we are trying to raise the rest. (and will still be adding to it as we go)

It also requires THREE trips. International travel is pretty expensive right now, so that contributes quite a bit to the costs.

Right now we are working on our home study, we are getting all the paperwork completed for that by this friday, we will then have our individual interviews, and the social worker will write up the home study.

We will then be preparing a ton of other paperwork for our Dossier. We have to have 4 sets total. The first and second set have a lot of the same things, the 3rd set is only a few papers, and the fourth set is one document.

We will be compiling our first set, which consists of medicals, marriage license, a whole bunch of forms signed with different agreements to have post placement visits, agree to what kind of child, etc. There are lost of forms, also a set of family pictures, fingerprints, the list goes on. This set will be completed, notarized, and then apostilled by the secretary of state. Which costs about $20 per page. (yikes!!) There are about 45 pages in the first set.

Once we have that set sent off to the country it will be translated, (another fee) and go through the channels there that will eventually get us a travel date. Our first trip is expected to be about a week long, and this is where we meet the child, begin visits, and sign the papers saying we want to adopt said child.

We then come home and send off our second set, (or if we can we will get it done with the first, since a lot of the documents are the same) we then wait for a court date. This is usually 2-3 months after the first trip, but we are hopefully if we can get the second set of papers done closely to the first that it will not be too long for a court date. The second trip is also expected to be about a week long (flight costs again, in country stay, driver fees, food etc) This is when we go to court before the judge and "plead our case" the judge decides whether or not we get to adopt the child, if it's a yes, the child is officially ours, name changes etc take place.

After the court trip there is a mandatory 30 day waiting period, after the 30 days we can go back, and get our boy. We have considered staying for the 30 days, but it would be too hard to leave the girls for that long. Also one parent may travel alone for the 3rd trip. Joey would prefer he go, instead of me by myself. I would love to go since I want to be there to bring him home. But we will see how the Lord provides. My staying would save money, and that is crucial!

SO there you have it...a big long crazy process, with a lot of bumps in the road. It will be so worth it, once we can get him home. Please pray with us, for the Lord to provide the funds we need, and for the process to go quickly and smoothly.

Keep Looking Up!