Thursday, January 2, 2014

MY AMAZING JOURNEY TO BECOMING A MOM


WHEN YOUR ICE CREAM GETS TAKEN FROM YOU, YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES ... 

(WARNING: SENSITIVE TOPIC)

You know that glorious moment when you put your tongue out for that first lick of your favorite ice cream? You've waited in line patiently ... OK, kind of patiently, your mouth watering at the thought of the decadence you are about to splurge on! And then BAM!!! It's gone! Disappeared! Who would take your ice cream? That's just madness! Right????

Well, that's how I felt for a good eight years, like someone just snatched away the one thing I had wanted my whole life.  Not just once, but 4 times! On top of that, I felt that the 'ice cream' I just purchased was shoved in my face, metaphorically speaking. At least that's how it seemed to me at the time. Let me explain.

THIS IS MYJOURNEY
From 2003 to 2009, I experienced 4 miscarriages in a row. I was obviously devastated by each of them. After the second miscarriage my husband and I decided to try adoption.  It was something we had talked about even before trying to have children, since my husband is also adopted. We went through a local well-known adoption agency, attended all the classes required and paid the fees. I was finally feeling hope after such a daunting time. In the process of adoption classes I found out I was pregnant for the third time. I was excited and scared at the same time. I couldn't stand to lose yet another child or impede our adoption process due to pregnancy. Either way, it was hard to be excited. At eight weeks I had my first scan. I was terrified and numb. Much to my surprise, there was a beautiful baby with a heartbeat bouncing around inside me. I was overjoyed and finally allowed myself to be happy. In fact, I decided not to tell anyone about the pregnancy because I was afraid I would have to un-tell everyone a few weeks later (been there, done that ... sigh!) But seeing that little flicker on the screen made me forget all that. I thought, "Screw it, I'm telling everyone. This one's gonna make it!" Well, it didn't.

Literally a week after that scan, my baby's heartbeat stopped. I was beyond crushed. I've never cried so much in all my life, and having been through miscarriages twice before, I knew what was coming and I wasn't looking forward to it. However, this time it was different. This time it was worse! A month after the terrible news, my miscarriage began. It was not like the others. This time I went through full labor and contractions. The pain was unbearable and after suffering through it for seven hours on my own (I didn't want to wake my hubby who had to work a 12 hour shift in the ER the next day), I finally woke him and told him I needed to go to the ER. Within minutes, (and after going through six more sets of contractions while going down the stairs, entering the car and racing to the ER) the pain was over. With Morphine pumping in I was able to relax enough to realize what just happened. With my Mom by my bedside and my own husband attending me as a patient, I gave birth to a perfectly formed sack, not much bigger than a large plum. Inside it was my precious baby. I wished I could have seen it, but it wasn't a see-through sack. My husband and I decided that we should send it off for genetic testing in case there was something causing my children to die prematurely. I went home that day and cried till I just couldn't cry any more. For those who have gone to a hospital only to leave without being a mommy, you know what it's like.

The very next day I had another adoption class to go to, and ironically, it was about loss and the reason why so many parents turn to adoption. It was surreal. Now, some of you may be wondering why I would go to an adoption class the day after I had a miserable miscarriage ending in hospitalization. Well, the agency we were going through only did the classes twice a year. And if we didn't go we would have had to wait another year to start again. Not gonna happen!

I came to find out, through the genetic testing results, that there was nothing wrong with me and that our dear baby was a little girl with Down Syndrome. I thought, "WOW! I had a little girl!!!" Oh, it was so nice to know the sex of our child. How I wished I could have held her and suddenly felt sad all over again.

Within three months, I found out I was pregnant again. I know...what was I thinking? Let's just say it wasn't planned. I thought, "Oh, no! Here we go again!" After going through three miscarriages already, I lost all joy and decided I'd wait until nine weeks before I would have my first scan as all the others had died around eight weeks. I couldn't stand to see another heartbeat and get my hopes up again. Sure enough, at my nine week scan, there was a little baby with no heartbeat resting inside.

KICKED TO THE CURB
Up until that point, I honestly hadn't been angry at God. I considered all of this loss to be part of life and that I was no exception, but I felt anger rising within me. We held off proceeding with the adoption process to give ourselves time to heal. It was all too much at the time. And then, like a cruel twist of fate, one awful thing after the other happened to us. I lost a record deal, a publishing deal, a computer hard-drive with every client's work on it, a car, and many more things. It was like we were being kicked while we were down. Instead of leaning more on God in such a time of devastation, I went completely the other direction. I mean, what was I going to ask Him? He'd already taken away everything I cared about. I felt like Job. But I failed miserably at the test of faith. On top of that, my husband took it really hard, too. We needed each other, but felt too devastated to be able to help each other. It was the loneliest time I've ever experienced. How was I going to get through this?

HOPE AT LAST
Several months later, November 2009 to be exact, Mom sent me an email about an adoption agency that was local to our area and thought I might be interested in checking it out. I thought getting information on this agency was weird because we had been going through a different agency, and had stopped the process because we weren't mentally or spiritually up to following it through at the time. Out of pure curiosity, I checked out the link to Heaven Sent Children, Inc. It was a small website with not a lot of information on it at the time. They processed local and international adoptions and I thought, if anything, it was worth checking out.

Now, I didn't mention this earlier, but my husband was born in South Korea and adopted by an American family. Strangely, that is the country we had really wanted to adopt from. However, we were told by our first agency that my husband, aged 43 at the time, was too old and that we might as well give up that dream. The cut-off age was 43. He was going to turn 44 before we could start the process. (For this reason we had reluctantly decided to try for a local adoption). I made an appointment with the new agency HSC and took my Mom with me for moral support. My husband knew nothing about our visit and was working that day anyway. It was really just an inquiry about the agency and what they could offer us. Well, I've never been so encouraged and relieved in a long time. After meeting with a case-worker named Stephanie, she stated, "Of course you can adopt from Korea", and, "No, it won't be a long process." My head started spinning. I think Stephanie must have thought my Mom and I were 'bonkers' [crazy], because we were so excited (Aside note: We ARE bonkers!). It was the best news ever! Now, how to break it to my hubby whom I didn't know was ready to even talk about it. But after briefly mentioning it in passing with a sense of guilt that I had gone without telling him, he actually showed some interest.

STARTING AGAIN
Needless to say, we started the new adoption process. Every step of the way we encountered mountains of paperwork with appointments, home visits and parting with lots and lots of money. But, in September of 2010 we received the best news EVER!!! We had gotten a 'referral' and needed to come by the office to see if it was something we wanted to move forward with. What a referral means, for those who are not familiar with adoption, is that we were shown a photo and medical file of a sweet little baby boy and asked if we thought he was suitable for our family. In a matter of seconds, I said YES!!!! Stephanie said, "Before we can move forward, you have to take the medical file to a noted adoption-savvy physician and make sure you are comfortable with any medical conditions this baby may have." Of course we said, "Absolutely!" Here is the photo we were shown at this meeting so you can see why we instantly said, YES!!!

I knew instantly, that he was our son. My heart just connected with him. Aside from the fact that he is absolutely adorable, there were some medical concerns and other unmentionable concerns about him that made me hesitate a little. But, I really felt that he was meant to be our son. So, after taking the file to the physician and getting the 'all clear', we accepted the referral and settled in for a long wait till we could go and get him. After months of waiting, we finally got word that we could go and get him in January, 2011. We were so excited! This was it! We were going to be a family! My ice cream had been given back to me. I could finally enjoy the moment.

Well, little did I know, I was about to get two ice creams to make up for the four that were taken from me. A week after getting home from a nauseating trip to Korea to pick up our son, I found out I was pregnant again!!!! WHAT??? Was this some kind of cosmic joke God was pulling? We literally just got home with a baby that had been taken away from everything and everyone he knew and didn't understand English, to having to potentially go through another miscarriage all at the same time! I just wasn't ready for that. I was throwing up every day and I was too scared to go for a scan. So, I waited an ungodly amount of time to get a first scan. I didn't want to risk being disappointed again. But look what they found.

Now, this particular photo is much further along than my first scan, but you get the idea. There it was. A perfect little baby...boy! Oh my goodness! I was going to have two babies in 8 months! WHAT??? It's like Irish twins. Boy, does God have a sense of humor! I shouldn't be surprised though. He did the same for Job and returned to him everything he lost and more. It was more than I could take in. Now, don't get things twisted. It wasn't all roses and chocolate with me and God. I didn't suddenly run back to His loving arms and say, "Thanks, Dad." There was such a divide between us, that it was going to take a long time for me to realize what He just did. During and after my pregnancies people would often say to me, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be," or, "Maybe there was something wrong with it and God spared you," and stuff like that.

Let me just say, as a parent of multiple miscarriages, those comments are completely offensive and inappropriate and I'm not a super-sensitive person. Essentially, what those statements mean is, "God gave you the one thing that you always wanted, but then decided to take it away from you because He changed His mind," or, "The baby you were carrying was less worthy of love, affection and life because there was some abnormality assigned to it." My blood is boiling just thinking about it! Words meant for encouragement often end up offending the person, so, it is best to just be there for the person and help them through whatever they need support-wise. Just listen. Sit with them and eat a big tub of ice cream and hug and cry with them. That's what they need. I'm sorry, I went on an important tangent, now back to the story.


Let's just cut to September, 2011. After months of throwing up, two hospitalizations for potential kidney stones, bronchitis, a placenta previa scare and the normal discomforts of pregnancy, it was time to welcome our new son into the world. He came quickly! Water broke at 12:45 a.m., epidural in at 1:30 a.m., started pushing at 10:00 a.m. and he was here at 10:22 a.m. after three pushes. He was 7lb 3oz, 21.5" long and showed off some fine lungs. It was after he was first laid on my chest that I realized we had given him the perfect name. After eight months of adding and crossing names off lists, we finally settled on Jagger a few weeks before he was born. Boy was he made for that name! With a mouth that took up a large portion of his lower face, he was destined for rock and roll comparisons. He was perfect. God had blessed me with two beautiful boys.



FEELING OVERWHELMED
Now reality set in. As I was being puked on 7 times a day, woken 6-8 times a night and dealing with a very jealous older brother, I found myself being caught up in anger again. I felt like I couldn't enjoy these little miracles because I was drowning and overwhelmed having two babies with very different, but real needs. One had colic and reflux and the other was feeling like the mother he just got to know was now being taken from him by a very needy baby brother. It was a very difficult year indeed. I just wanted to enjoy the moment and I couldn't.

I HAD TWO CHOICES
After everything started to settle down, I realized that I had two choices. I could either wallow in self pity and feel like the odds were always going to be stacked against me, or, I could choose to see the miracle God performed for me despite my attitude toward Him. I realized that our adopted son Niko was meant to be in our family and, had I not gone through the multiple miscarriages, we may never have adopted him. If I had had two biological kids, I would have likely decided I was done and never followed through with the adoption idea.

I know that I will see my miscarried babies one day in Heaven and that gives me comfort. God then gave me a baby at the same time to show me that I just needed to trust Him first and then He would give me my ice cream (Niko) - with a cherry on top (Jagger). I'm so glad I made the latter choice because my kids are my world. It's a crazy and hectic world, but a great world and I am so grateful.

GOD WAS THERE ALL THE TIME
If you have been through rough times and you walked away from God like I did, rather than toward Him, please be encouraged that God is still with you, despite what you think of Him. You may not see it now, but you will soon. Your time is just around the corner. Mine was eight years around the corner, but hang in there! Joy is coming. I promise!

Written by Kristee Mays


3 comments:

  1. Beautiful Kristee, thanks for sharing your amazing journey with us. That is exactly how I felt when I miscarried but also knowing that others have been tested more than you have helps you to stay strong if they can survive the test. I remember breaking down in hospital hearing a nurse congratulate another lady for the successful birth of her beautiful baby girl. It was the first time without my husband by my side just before I was about to go into theatre for my miscarriage. I too went through the contractions and pain and had lost a lot of blood and felt so weak and helpless. But to go through that 4 times is testiment to how strong you are and Im sure with the love and support youve had from your husband it has made you both more appreciative of what you have and for each other. I too am more thankful that we were lucky second time round and looking forward to our baby girl entering our lives. It is hard to keep the faith but it is true the saying what doesnt break you only makes you stronger. All the best to you and your family and keep the beautiful pics coming! xxx

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    1. Thanks Kato Family! And congrats on your little girl.

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