The Ceremony of Leaving the Hospital

get-attachment-4.aspxIt’s been a blissful few days since we left the hospital with Harris, and the day we left will always have a very strong place in my heart. There is a whole ceremony to it with an adoption.We packed up our room, filled out our discharge papers, and then the ritual began. The nurse had to carry the baby downstairs to the front door, and put him the arms of a representative from the adoption agency. The agency representative then placed the baby in my arms. This ceremony resonated deeply in my soul as he was placed in my loving arms. He was ours now. Our prayers have been answered. The crying began and none of us could contain it. In the very public lobby of the hospital, the lack of privacy could not make us hold back this sublime moment. We were leaving with him. He is our son. We are his parents. I thanked God for hearing my prayers.

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P and I were inspired by P’s dear mother. As we struggled to have a child she said she believed that the baby’s soul was on a cloud in heaven trying to get to us. When the right opportunity came, his soul would find us.  That brought me great comfort in a way that little else did. It gave me courage to move ahead and to not give up.The beauty is that Harris did indeed find us. In the moment he was handed to me in the hospital lobby, I thanked him choosing us and for coming down from his cloud in his perfect time. I said a prayer and thanked Em for nurturing his body and bringing him into this world, for without her, his soul could not have found us.

 

 

get-attachment-5.aspxThen, all of the sudden, we were like any other new parents, struggling with figuring out how to put him in his car seat, making sure he had enough food, and trying to keep him from melting down on the long first car ride. I sat in the backseat with Harris as P drove us out of the parking lot. I didn’t look back. I only had eyes for Harris. It would be a busy day, as we had two important stops before we reached our temporary home.

 Stop one included a visit to a very kind and generous mom whom I met online during my IVF journey. She and her beautiful son greeted me, P and Harris into her home. She was kind enough to lend us a travel crib and a baby bouncer for Harris’ exetnded stay in Florida, as we wait for the interstate clearnaces to come through. I am humbled to meet any woman who has walked the path of infertility. In my eyes, she, like so many struggling women out there, are warriors.

get-attachment-6.aspxStop two was to the home of a remarkable and dynamic lady I met on a community milk sharing board. She offered 300 ounces of her hard won breast milk for our son’s first 2 weeks of life. She had been saving it since her son was a newborn, and when she answered my post, was kind enough to offer as much milk as we needed for our stay. We enjoyed a great visit, which I wish could have lasted much longer. We had so much fun! Here she is snuggling little Harris and wishing him well for his life. Her donation started our son’s life out on the right foot. About one and a half feedings a day come from me, and the rest from dear Lindsay. If you are reading this, we all thank you!

 

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Finally we ended up in Sarasota with dear friends. We are so grateful to be surrounded by such love right now. Friends J & S are loving up on Harris and supporting us as P and I navigate becoming parents. After such a stressful time, we really needed the laughter and warmth their home offers to us. We all sit around the table and stare at Harris in awe, trying to wrap our heads around the fact that he was not breathing air less than a week ago. He has blessed us all, helping us to see the light in our respective lives and helping to move us forward with hope for the future.

Leaving the hospital was a huge step for us, but I am not sure this will all feel like more than a dream until we are home, inviting this gorgeous little being into our home. Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Ours forever!

14-IMG_6431The papers are signed! We are now his Harris’ legal guardians. We will be declared his parents by law at finalization in a few months, but he is really our son, and we are elated!

Today we had an unexpected day. Em was feeling well after he C section and wanted to much to rest at home with her family. We found out today that Florida law stipulates the need for 48 hours after birth OR Em’s discharge from the hospital, whichever came first.

We have been so thankful for the time we got to spend with Em and Ed in the hospital. Everyone celebrated the love we all feel for Harris. We all ooh-ed and ahh-ed over his sweetness, and took turns snuggling him. There is never too much love that a baby can receive. We look forward to a long relationship with Harris’ birth family, and look forward to seeing them again in the future.

There are no words for the gift that Em has given us. We can neither qualify or quantify it. It is simply miraculous. Harris is miraculous to all of us. Em made us a family, and we are forever changed through her love.

We will continue to update the shenanigans of lovely baby Harris here on the blog. Because of Em’s choice to bring him into this world, he will have a lifetime to remind us how lucky we are to have him, and we plan to savor every single second.

Happy Birthday, Harris!

get-attachment-1.aspxWe are proud to announce that Harris Emerson was born today, September 24, 2013 at 11:54pm. He weighs 6 lbs, 9 oz and is 19 1/2 inches long. He is an absolute miracle, and we are so in love!

Em is doing great, and having this experience with her has been one of my life’s greatest gifts. I was able to be there for his  birth. I was the first to hold him. I got to cut his cord. P and I changed his first diaper and gave him his first bath. We are drunk with joy.

We will flood the blog with 1,000 photos of him, up close and personal,  once his adoption consents have been signed. That will take place on Thursday, by Florida law, 48 hours after birth. Once the papers are signed, we will be legally his parents. Needless to say, we will be holding our breath until then, because it’s not complete until then. Em is very confident in her choice, and she has been so supportive of our bonding with little Harris. He’s rooming in with us tonight. Our great experience to this point has been all thanks to her love and dedication to this baby boy. He is so loved by all of us.

Harris is an angel with a full head of dark brown hair. He is enjoying lots of snuggles with us, and has latched and fed beautifully at breast. We will be thankful to the loving and constant Em and Ed for all of our days for this gift of all gifts.

We are two proud and in-love parents, and we cannot stop staring at him and his deliciousness. More to come in 2 days when we are legally family!

Hello Florida!

get-attachment-2.aspxWell, we made it! After an early morning with a lot of luggage and high expectations, we made our way to the airport. Many thanks to a lovely new friend for waking up before sunrise to get us there. 
 We made our way to the airport hotel in Florida for one night. On the way, we received a message that Em’s waters were starting to leak, so we should sleep with the ringer on on our phone. Oh boy! Things are getting exciting already! P and I made our way to Target to buy some toiletries and snacks to survive our stay, and then made our way to our last date. Baby’s Baltimore grandmas treated us to an amazing meal from afar, and we had no idea how special this meal would be to us. We sat for hours, talking about how excited we are for this little boy-things we couldn’t wait to do with him in his first 48 hours on earth. Songs we wanted to sing to him. Stories we wanted to tell him. It was such a joyous few hours that we had together that we will both always treasure. It was magnificent to just recount all of the little miracles of timing that led us to this little boy that we cannot wait to meet.
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We made our way back to our hotel to repack our bags and get an early bed. In spite of the jet lag and the craziness of the event, we were surprisingly able to sleep a few hours. Now at 6 am, the day begins. Today we meet Em, Ed and their 16 month old kiddo. Em has her pre-op meeting, and then we are taking them out for lunch so we can spend some time together before the excitement begins tomorrow. Then P and I will say goodbye to them, change hotels, and bite our fingernails until tomorrow morning! 
 The time is come, and we just cannot believe it. Please pray for us and for Em and Ed. We could all use the extra energy is this amazing but scary time. 

Wonder Pup seeks little brother

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Dear future little brother,

My parents have been waiting for you a very long time, and, honestly, so have I.  Since the day Mom and Dad said, “Wonder Pup, do you want a 2-legged little brother?” I’ve not been able to think of anything else. Well, occasionally, I think about the lizard in the backyard or the piece of cheese that is sitting on the counter, but those things pass. Most of the day, I am just waiting for a friend for life. I’m waiting for you.

I’ve watched as Mom and Dad dreamt about you-who you might be and what you might look like.  Then came more difficult questions like where you might come from. The hardest of all for us as I grew more impatient was when you would come. I wished and wished as Mom and Dad searched and searched.

Now you are coming. I can’t tell when, because I can’t tell time. I’m only a dog. What I do know is that your room is ready and now, the suitcases are packed. Normally when the bags are packed I get upset, but now I think it’s because you are about to come home little brother-finally!

get-attachment-2.aspxMY PROMISES TO YOU:

1. Your chew toys are NOT my chew toys, even if my chew toys accidentally become your chew toys.

2. As soon as I am allowed, I will sleep in your room every night.

3. I will try my best to never knock you over when you learn to walk on 2 paws instead of 4.

4. If I accidentally do knock you down, I will cover you in licks until you feel better.

5. I promise to resist stealing crackers out of your hand when you are not paying attention.

6. I promise never to eat your homework, but if you forget to do it, you can blame it on me. I will take the fall.

7. Finally, I promise to be your best friend for my whole life. I’ve been waiting a long time for you, little brother, and I cannot wait to grow old with you.

Now, please hurry home so I can kiss you and welcome you to our family at last! I will show you the ropes. That’s what big brothers are for, and I can’t wait to show you how great of a brother I will be! Oh, and don’t worry if we don’t look alike. I have enough hair for the both of us.

Love,

Wonder Pup

Not-so-calm before the Storm

get-attachment.aspxWith 13 days to go until baby is set to join this world and 11 days until our scheduled travel, we are in “hurry up and wait” mode. Em is 37 weeks and 1 day.  I stare at the clock, willing it to move a little faster. I fall asleep, knowing that I will soon not be given the convenience of swift restfulness. I go to dinner with P, recognizing that these are the final days that we are a sweet, loving party of two. Bring on the endless days of frustration! Come on sleepless nights!  We are ready, dinners with spilled applesauce and dropped sippy cups!  This little man will change our lives forever, and his soul will brighten our lives in ways we can’t yet even imagine. Miraculous. Beautiful.  Sometimes it’s just hard to believe that it’s really and truly happening. Last week, however, it got really real, really fast.

Exactly a week ago, as I was trying to follow some great advice and stock up on my sleep, the phone rang. I fumbled for the phone on my bedside table, and, before I noticed who was calling, I first noticed that it was 7am. Ouch. Not good for my sleep banking. Then I saw that it was the adoption agency. I tried to disguise my sleepy voice as best I could, and the social worker on the other line said, “ I forgot you are 3 hours ahead. I am so sorry, but it’s time to wake up. Em might be in labor, and she is in a taxi on the way to the hospital. Do you think you could get on a plane today if you had to?”

Em was 36 weeks and 1 day, and although a little early, baby should be healthy when born. She was having contractions and was certain she was having the baby. I was nervous, and I thanked the social worker. I told her I would call P, begin packing immediately, check on flights, and I asked her to call me as soon as she knew something.

P and I tried to scramble and organize our lives. I found a flight, threw things in suitcases, all the while talking to my sister, who was squeaking with glee while trying to help keep me focused. Thanks, Sis!

 The word came in that upon checking Em at the hospital, the doctor decided that she was not going to give birth that day. It was a false alarm. Lots of checking on the baby followed and they found that he is doing great. He’s practicing breathing and getting big and strong. Baby is thriving, and for that, we are so grateful.  All of us were a little sad to not get a chance to meet him that day, but relieved and thankful that he would have time to cook in Em’s belly a little bit longer. It took 24 hours for my blood pressure to return to normal from this crazy morning, but it was enough to wake us up to the reality that this baby is really coming and soon!  Now we are impatiently awaiting his arrival on this earth, and our bags are packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. This is our (not-so) calm before the beautiful, exciting, life-changing, miraculous storm.  18ed1f23fd38c3cf00670074d5972809

Little Baby Superman

Image“We travel in 3 weeks.” P and I repeat that sentence over and over, and yet it continues to seem too good to be true! As I type this, we have 23 days, 12 hours, and 53 minutes until little man is born. It’s so hard to believe that after 3 long years of trying to be parents, the time is almost here. We cannot wait to meet him and to show him the world. We cannot wait for him to teach us all the things that we don’t yet know about life. We walk ahead naively, not knowing what is ahead, but our hearts are so full of joy and hope that they are almost exploding!

 Little Baby Superman, the superhero of our hearts. P and I went to a wonderful get-together with a group of fabulous adoptive families here in the Phoenix area. For all of the preparation that one takes in order to responsibly raise an adopted child, it was just great for us to see that these families were just normal, loving families, full of dance classes, soccer games, homework, temper tantrums, sleepy deliciousness, and fun. It did our hearts good to play with the kids and to get to know their parents.  We enjoyed hearing the stories that made these beautiful families. Seeing them brought our situation into better focus. Our family is about to begin….in 23 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes…

 One of the amazing moms at this dinner gave our future son the awesome sleeper pictured above. “ SUPERMAN WAS ADOPTED TOO!” Seriously, how great is that!Image

 I got to speak to Em two days ago. She is getting big, and is excited for our arrival in Florida. There is so much to think about when it comes to the time in the hospital, and so we had a heart to heart about how she wants it to go. There are a lot of delicate decisions to be made, and P and I have to be very flexible, as we are not his parents until the papers are signed. They cannot be signed, by Florida law, until 48 hours after baby is born; therefore, she has to say clearly what she wants and needs from us. Does she want to see the baby, hold the baby, room in with the baby? Will he stay in the newborn nursery with us? There is so much to know. We will likely have to stay in a hotel, as they don’t usually have a room for the adoptive parents at the hospital. We have to wing it and be flexible. There is a lot to juggle, and because Em has been so generous with us, we want to return that generosity in any way we can. She wants the baby with us as much as possible, and would love to see us together as a family. I am so in awe of her. She is the woman responsible for changing my life forever.

 We have started making our packing lists to travel, as once the baby is discharged from the hospital, we will have to stay in Florida for another 7-10 business days for Interstate Clearance. This is where Florida must shake hands with Arizona so we can leave the state with the baby. While we wait it out in the state of Florida, we will stay with a friend, who lives only 1.5 hours from where baby will be born. I will be so grateful for the community as we navigate this time in geographical limbo with our son. I have a feeling I have a lot of laughter coming my way in the house of J.C., whom I love like a brother.Image

 For those of you wondering about how adoptive breastfeeding protocol is going, it’s great! I am actually making some milk, and hope to have a good bit more by the time baby joins the world….in 23 days, 12 hours, and 32 minutes…

SO MUCH TO LEARN, AND LESS THAN 5 WEEKS TO GO!

get-attachment-5.aspxThere has been a real flurry of activity in our family as of late. There have been doctor’s appointments, baby wearing classes, breastfeeding classes, and even a newborn care class! We are checking off the final must-haves off of baby’s shopping list, and the nursery is really coming together. A place for everything and everything in it’s place…until the baby gets here, that is! I understand that then I should expect chaos! I say BRING IT ON!

Baby wearing, also known as Kangaroo Care, is super interesting and definitely something we will do with our little one. We have 2 carriers for him, and the awesome thing about the baby-wearing meeting is that you can try out and even borrow carriers to practice. The baby has the final word on the carrier after all, and if he ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Kangaroo care is considered very important for adopted babies, as it really does help with the bonding process. It’s also supposed to help with milk supply for feeding, and we will need all the help we can get! We want him to feel calm, cozy and safe when he enters the world!

The La Leche League is a breastfeeding support group that brings mothers together and helps to answer their questions about feeding their babies. I had a beautiful experience at my first meeting, and I will definitely go back. I met such special people there! One lady in particular was so lovely that she not only invited me over for a visit at her home, she donated her freezer stash of breast milk to our baby! How incredibly generous! She was so kind, and we chatted for hours. It just goes to show that one really can make friends in the darnedest places!

get-attachment-3.aspx Upon suggestion from a friend of mine, P and I went to Babies R Us to sign up for a Baby Registry. No, there is nothing on it yet. Not sure if we will do it at all…but the point of the story is that the young women who did our paperwork with us handed us a $10 gift card. She said, “Good luck! I will be walking your path in a few years once I am ready to start my family. I cannot have biological children, but I cannot imagine not being a parent!” I just wanted to hug her. Love and support comes from the most surprising places, and often, it takes my breath away.

The newborn care class was super fun. I am so glad we did it. It really made us feel like expectant parents. We often miss that feeling because we don’t look like expectant parents. Lack of pregnancy will do that to you! We were the only adoptive parents in the class. I thought I would feel very weird being surrounded by so many very-pregnant women… get-attachment-4.aspxand I DID! I quickly got over myself, and P and I just jumped right in. We had a blast! I promise that if there would have been a competition for fastest diaper changer in the class, P would have won! Of course, I called him Teacher’s Pet, especially after he had our practice doll in a full-on swaddle long before the rest of us got to the second fold.  I was super proud of  P, the Daddy-to-Be!

Our plane tickets are booked, and we are getting so excited for our little special delivery! I cannot thank you all enough for supporting our family in this epic adventure. We definitely feel surrounded by love, and for that we are incredibly grateful.

We have a DATE! 50 days to go….

LIGHTandGLASS-Annual-Assembly-iCal-Calendar-September-25Em had a doctor’s appointment today, and  both she and baby are doing great. The very exciting news is that we have gotten a date for Em’s planned C-Section. Our little boy will be delivered on September 25, 2013…unless he has other plans.

We will travel to Florida 7 weeks from today. We are so excited, and we cannot wait to see Em and Ed again. Mostly, we are counting the days until we meet our son. 50 days from today….

 

get-attachment.aspxP and I are still busily preparing for our little bundle of joy. There are parenting books absolutely everywhere, reminiscent of when we had German-English dictionaries everywhere when we were dating. We are almost finished with baby’s nursery. We will give you a peek when its all ready. Also my incredibly talented sister just made the world’s most adorable turtle outfit for baby’s newborn photos. That girl can make anything. Seriously amazing!

I made another new friend today, and it seems her nickname is Swirly Girl. How cool is that! She’s a fiery redhead who is filled with joy and laughter. She had me at “Hello.” I had the pleasure of meeting her and her little 7 week old heartbreaker of a son today for lunch. I cannot wait to have another date with them. I feel so lucky to meet such amazing women on my journey to motherhood. It’s not often we have the privilege to make  new friends as an adult.

On the topic of friends, I spend much time today thinking of my friends back in Switzerland. I wish I could beam them all here for a few hours for great food and conversation that we always enjoyed together. The great thing about friends is that they are always with us, The memories and the adventures that we shared are as alive for me today as they were when they occurred, and my love and respect for them is  ever-present. That being said, nothing would make me happier then to spend a few hours with them right now.

P is working late tonight, and I am spending my free evening staring at all of the beautiful baby clothes so kindly given to me for our son. I am enjoying, washing, folding and separating them into their correct drawers. It’s so hard to believe that in 50 days, there will be a baby wearing these clothes. Our baby. In 50 short days.

 

 

The Power of Girl power

UnknownIt’s been a busy week, and I am overwhelmed by the people I have met in the course of it. I’ve always been a big fan of female bonding, and now more than ever, I am reminded of how many truly strong, amazing women that there are in the world. Well, more specific to my situation right now, in the Phoenix Metro area. A fortuitous serious of events led me to meeting the amazing Mrs. M, rock star breastfeeding mamma of two and an all around generous, fun, and gorgeous lady.  Mrs. M is my new friend, and I am so thankful both TO her and FOR her.

 I met Mrs. M though her hubby Mr. M. He owns the management company from whom we rent our house.  He came to do the 6-month inspection on our residence, and we just wound up chatting for about an hour.  He was so kind and easy to talk to. P and I just adored him. When Mr. M heard we were adopting, he kindly offered to put me in touch with the amazing Mrs. M. Then he hesitated for a moment and said, “you’re adopting so your probably can’t breastfeed, right?” It was a bold question from a man to a woman he had just met, but not from a supportive man whose wife is so serious about breastfeeding. Then I told him I fully intended to try my best, to which he said, “Then you MUST talk to my wife!” Mrs. M called me just a few days later.

 Mrs. M and I chatted for a while, and in this very information packed phone call, she had signed me up for a local breast-feeding mammas group (with a few adoptive moms in that mix), invited me to her home, and offered to pump milk for our son. Um… superwoman.  I spoke to Mrs. M for 20 minutes, and she just decided that she would do this until my supply comes in or for as long as she can.

A day after we spoke, I received a text message with a photo of her first bottle of milk for our baby. P and I stared at the photo in awe. This generous woman whom I had not yet met sat at a pump and made food for our son. One cannot put donor breast milk on a baby registry. It can only be given by certain women at certain times in their lives, and it is truly a gift. Every single ounce is a gift.   My eyes were far from dry.

A few days later, I went to meet Mrs. M and her two adorable kiddos at there home in North Phoenix. Girl power at its finest, she just sat and answered questions about parenting that I didn’t even know I had while we played with her kids surrounded by stickers and glitter glue. It’s not easy to make friends as an adult, but I definitely have found one in Mrs. M.  If you read this, lady- you’ve changed my life in a huge way.

Other news for this week-I will go to my first La Leche League meeting. Yes, I am totally nervous. Again, I will be in a room with breastfeeding moms or very pregnant ladies. I will stick out like a sore thumb and I won’t know a soul, but I’m doing it anyway! If I am going to really do this, I have to jump in with both feet. Scared or not, here I go.

I’ve met some really amazing women in the last seven days, and I have talked to others on the phone for hours. These women have opened their hearts and their schedules to help, advise and befriend little ol’ me in this time of craziness, and I am overflowing with gratitude. In my freezer right now, I have 500 ounces of donated milk for our baby from 3 different women who took the time to give this gift to our family, one of whom will be a long term donor. I’m amazed.

I could not imagine my life without the strong female relationships that I hold so dear. Long live girl power.