Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pictures of Diana

Many of you may recall that Cora spent the first ten weeks of her life in the nursery at our adoption agency--The Cradle in Evanston, IL.  She was lovingly cared for by nurses and volunteer "cuddlers" who ensured the babies got plenty of individual attention.  The Cradle was also so kind as to take a few dozen pictures of Cora so we could see her develop during those first few months.  They put these photos in a small album and gave it to us on the day we brought Cora home.

Cora's birthmom named her Diana and we kept that as a middle name: she is Corinne Joy Diana.  Her name was Diana during her time at The Cradle and they wrote that name in stickers on the cover of the photo album.  We keep it with Cora's bedtime books and she likes to look at it sometimes at bedtime.

After reading two books tonight she asked for the "Diana Book."  She looked through the pages and I said: "do you know this is you--Baby Cora."  She stopped on a close-up picture of her being held by a woman with only the woman's arms visible.  Cora pointed and said "Mommy." I said: "No, that's Baby Cora." "No!" she insisted "Mommy's right there" as she pointed to the woman's arms holding her.

This really touched me.  It seems like in her mind, I have always been there (and, I know Bill, too). That's certainly the way it feels from my end--I feel like she's always been my daughter.

On another note relating to our unsuccessful adoption: one of my favorite television shows, Parenthood, has a storyline regarding adoption.  On this week's show it appears that the birthmom may have had a change of heart just after birth.  This was painful to watch as it hit so very close to home--especially watching as the prospective adoptive mom sobbed in a hospital room and remembering feeling that same way not so long ago.

However, at the same time, I was very glad they had chosen to take the storyline this way.  It was somewhat healing to view and I don't believe this "alternate" adoption outcome is depicted very much in the media.  I think it could help current prospective adoptive parents watching prepare a bit more for this possibility.  We knew it was a possibility but truly didn't think it would happen to us.  I felt the show was very well done and look forward to continuing to follow it (albeit, through a few tears) in future weeks.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"You would have been so loved"

It was the wee hours of the morn last Wednesday.  I was up late working on a quick-turnaround consulting project.  Checking e-mail on a break, I read an e-mail from a mom's website with a touching blog entry from a woman describing her miscarriage.  I so related to her feelings and read most of the entry through my tears.

Her words: "you would have been so loved" really struck a chord with me.  We had so much love to give this baby.  We had already loved her for months and we had loved her parents (the birthparents), too.  

We stayed at the hospital Tuesday night after the baby was born and spent much of Wednesday in the birthparents' hospital room with the baby.  At this point we still really believed that they were moving forward with their adoption plan.  They took the baby home on Wednesday night as planned and we returned to our home with Cora. After they had time with the baby, we were to meet up a few days later to sign the papers.

After putting Cora to bed, Bill and I relaxed in front of one of our favorite tv shows Parenthood.  Bill asked if I would be all right watching it as it has an adoption storyline this season.  I said, of course, as the storyline was completely different--the birthfather wanted the potential adoptive parents to "buy" the baby.  However, about halfway through the episode there was an emotional scene between the birthmother and the potential adoptive mom Julia.  Julia refuses to give them money for the baby and as the birthmother is leaving, Julia says: "I would have been such a good mother to your baby."  We had to stop to the pause the show for awhile while I sobbed in Bill's arms.

These "might-have-beens" are hard for me. Yes, our baby would have been so loved and, yes, I believe that I would have been a good mom/we would have been good parents to their baby.  Yet, I also believe that the birthparents will be such good parents to their baby.  They had so much love for the baby that they were willing to make really difficult decisions they weren't open to before the birth.  Such as telling the birthmom's mother about the baby (they'd kept the pregnancy and birth a complete secret from her) and having the humility to move in with her until the birthfather got a job and they could afford to live on their own.

I love how the author below clings to the words of a song she heard in church.  That was so helpful to me as well--a different song, but one that really spoke to me of our journey.  I shared it in one of my longer facebook posts at the time and will share it again in a future blog post.

I attended an infant loss/miscarriage support group last month as was recommended in some of the support materials around adoption change of heart.  I thought I might feel different or they might resent me being there as I didn't lose a baby in the same way they did.  But they were so very welcoming and one woman told me afterwards that I was so welcome there saying "we all went home with empty arms."

I think I'll bring this beautiful and touching blog post with me to share at the next meeting.  The text of it follows below as well as a link to the author's blog.
 Mamapedia Voices
Mamapedia City Voices highlights the inside scoop on your city by selected writers, from up-and-coming mom bloggers to well-known mom experts.

He Loves Us

February 1, 2012
The spotting turned red around 1AM. I had a mild cramp and passed two tiny clots. I went to bed, and tried to lie very still in the hopes that maybe I had just overdone it this weekend. Maybe if I just rested, the baby could hold on.

As I fell asleep, the chorus from David Crowder Band’s song, “He Loves Us” ran through my head. We sang it in church yesterday,
“Oh, how He loves us so.
Oh, how He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us.”

S came to our room around 6:30AM. I told her it was too early to get up, and she could snuggle with me or go back to her bed. She crawled under the covers, and we laid on our sides facing each other. She wrapped her tiny arm and leg around me, because she wanted to “snuggle with the baby.” She cooed at my belly and told it how much Big Sister loved it. It took all my strength to hold back the tears. “You would have been so loved,” I thought to myself.

I dropped the girls off at my parents’ house, and called the OB’s office on my way to work. After I told them what was going on, they told me to come right in.

As I sat in the exam room waiting for the doctor, I focused on those lyrics. I’d been hearing them every waking moment this morning. It was a great comfort.

The OB came in and started the sonogram. As soon as the image appeared, it verified what I already knew in my soul. My perfect bean-shaped baby was nestled in its little home. Motionless. There was no heartbeat.

Tears were already sliding down my temple into my ears when the doctor spoke the words. She let me know my options then gave me some time to call my husband and get dressed and cry.

I decided to let the miscarriage just happen on its own. In the meantime, I have to figure out how to tell S. It will break her heart.

Jennifer Barr is a working (for the moment) mom to two amazing girls who are 4 and 2, and a blessed baby in heaven. She and her incredible husband enjoy life in the ’burbs. She blogs at Midwest MomMents.