Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Birthday Weekend

I know I promised to have this post up Monday, but I've been so tired and busy I haven't felt like writing anything!

Any way, this weekend was stressful, but good. We ended up having a decent time at Robbie’s birthday party Saturday, especially after most people had left. We ate pizza, cupcakes, cake, and ice cream.

The cake looked fantastic! Even though I’m not much of a cake eater, I did try some, and it was pretty darn good!

See? She has mad skills.

(BTW: Robbie is like me and does NOT like cake, and refused to dig into his like most 1 year olds enjoy doing. This is all the damage that he did)

J opened most of Robbie’s gifts for him, as he wasn’t too interested in doing it himself. He loved all of his toys, and at one point was sitting on the floor surrounded by his different gifts, trying to decide which one to play with. I think one of his favorite toys was this plastic golf club and golf ball set he got. R is actually a talented golfer, so he had a good time showing Robbie how to hold and swing the club.

M had J and Robbie open our gift last. We both knew that as soon as it was opened, all the other toys would be forgotten about. M pulled the ATV out of the box, and everyone ooohed and ahhhed. J immediately tried to get on it and take it for himself (Poor kid hasn’t adjusted well to not being the only child), but M made it clear that it was Robbie’s toy and he got to ride it first. We put him on it and watched him ride around the room. It was so very cute. He can’t quite make it work all on his own yet, but he is a very fast learner, so I’m sure he’ll have it down in no time! As soon as he got off, the other boys were fighting for a turn to ride it. Well, at least it will get a lot of use!

After most people had left, we went outside to play in the back yard. He loves being outside, running around, sliding down the slide, etc. I got some great pictures of him trying to climb up the slide. Their neighbor has a dog named Duke, and every time he barked, Robbie would smile and point to him and say, “Du!” It was cool to hear him say a new word! We also got to see him climb up the stairs, drink from a straw, dance, and throw a ball (with surprising accuracy! He does NOT get that from me haha).

Sunday morning was a bit crazy. I was all out of sorts! I couldn’t find my camera, and I searched all over only to find it in my purse. Then I couldn’t find my keys. I looked all over, only to find they were in my pocket the whole time (lol!). I had to send out my sister and my mom’s boyfriend to the store to get chocolate icing and hot dog buns last minute, and my brother and his wife ended up not being able to make it.

In the end though, everything worked out. I finished the cupcakes, and they ended up turning out pretty well!

(As my sister said, they were pretty ballin’! Yes, horrible pun, I know.)

After M and Robbie showed up, we headed to the park. We ate chili dogs, potato chips (BBQ of course, mine and Robbie’s favorite kind!), potato salad, juice and soda. We let Robbie play for a bit before opening presents and eating cupcakes.

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He of course wanted nothing to do with the cupcake, but everyone else enjoyed them! Then we let him open up his presents. My mom got him this little set of a whole bunch of plush dinosaurs that come in this soft carrying case shaped like a rock. He pulled out all of the little dinosaurs and started kissing them! It was the most adorable thing ever.

After a while, it was time to say goodbye. We packed everything up and exchanged hugs and kisses. About six minutes after we parted, M texted me to tell me Robbie had already fallen asleep! We all took his lead and settled down for a nap. It had been a long, exhausting weekend. Fun, for the most part, but also physically and emotionally exhausting.

But hey, I made it through!

The loss is real

So I’m almost a month late to the discussion, but lately everyone has been talking about what and when to tell adoptees. There have been several good posts, like this, this and this. It was all apparently started by this post. I read this post, and then I read some of the comments. A few of the commenter’s said things like this

“"I stand firm on the belief that if your child is crying at night for her birth family, you are doing something wrong."”

“I cringe a little bit when I read about preschoolers crying at night for a birth mother they only met briefly and couldn't possibly remember ……... It's just not talked about much because, well, there's nothing to talk about (because our kids aren't mourning).”

Because our kids aren’t mourning.

That line really struck a cord with me. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but M and S have not yet told the boys they are adopted. While they know their birth parents and know what adoption is and they talk about it, they do not yet know they are adopted (this is something I COMPLETELY disagree with, but I’ll save that for another post).

Robbie’s older brother, J, will be 4 very soon. The other year, his birth parents gave him a little ride on motorcycle for his birthday. He LOVES it. Well, M was talking to me a few months ago about how they saw a guy on a motorcycle while they were out running errands. So of course when they got home he wanted to ride his. As he was doing so, he began to cry. M asked him what was wrong and somehow ended up asking if he missed P and K (his birthparents).

"Yessssssss!" He wailed.

He was crying because he missed them. He misses them and feels a loss for them, even though he DOESN’T know he is adopted, and DOESN’T know he came from K’s tummy and DOESN’T know that P and K are his biological parents. All he knows is that they are two people who come around every now and then to visit and they love him very much.

This kid hasn’t had any “propaganda” about birth parents and loss “planted” into his head. And he STILL feels that LOSS. He is STILL MOURNING this loss.

Think about that folks.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know the original post was about international adoption more so than domestic. But I believe this just goes to show that there is a real loss that adoptees suffer. The loss isn’t a “created” loss that has to be planted into their heads. The loss is already there, and it’s real.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bittersweet Memories

May 20th. Has it really been a year since I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy in the world? Because I have a heart condition, my doctor and I decided it would be safer for me to have a c-section. So I scheduled for a c-section May 20th, at twelve thirty pm. We got to the hospital around eleven, and found out that I had actually been scheduled for 2:30. Fantastic, I thought. I already haven’t eaten in twelve hours, and this kid is hungry!! We killed time by playing cards until they called me in to do paper work and get prepped for the surgery. Because of my heart condition, they had to do extra things like an EKG (oh and they decided it would be a great time to train about five other people how to perform one! It took FOREVER). Luckily I was allowed to have visitors during all of this, so my family took turns coming back to see me, which really helped to pass the time.
Finally, around 4:00pm, they had R dress in scrubs, and they wheeled me back to the OR. They had R wait outside while they finished prepping me for surgery, which I found to be pretty pointless because they left the door open the entire time. I was given spinal anesthesia. This means they stuck a 5 inch needle into my spine. I am allergic to lidocain, so instead of using an alternative medicine, they decided to stick the 5 inch needle into my back with out any numbing medication. 5 inch needle. In my spine. No numbing medication. OUCH. I tried so hard not to cry, but I couldn’t help but let out a few pathetic sobs into my nurses shoulder as she held me during this.
After that, they allowed R to come back in and they got to work. I remember them having my arms strapped down, and feeling them work on me. I could feel him reach inside me, and I remember my body rocking from the force of him pulling out my son. It was then we heard his first cries. I will never forget the sound. He was so loud! And angry sounding! As if he was saying, “What the heck are you guys doing to me?! I was comfortable in there!”
Robbie Born May 20th, 2009 at 4:53PM 8 pounds, 2 ounces 20 1/2 inches long

They immediately started cleaning him and weighing him, etc. That’s when my anxiety set in. I kept thinking, where is my baby? Why can’t I see him? I need to see him! I need to see my baby!
The next thing I remember, I was waking up in a different room. I was so tired, thirsty, and sore. I didn’t know where I was, what had happened, or where my baby was. R was there as I woke up, and he began feeding me ice chips. He explained that I’d had a bad reaction to the anesthesia, and I had begun to “freak out”. Apparently, I had started screaming, “WHERE”S MY BABY! GIVE ME MY BABY!” I had broken loose from the arm restraints, and I was flailing around, trying to find my baby. The nurses brought him over to try and calm me down, “Look, here he is. Here! It’s ok!” But I still wasn’t ok. It took them several tries, but they finally sedated me. I have no memory of any of this.
They kept me in the recover room for quite a while. I wasn’t allowed to see Robbie while in there. R went back and forth between staying with me, and going to see Robbie. He was so sweet; he wouldn’t let anyone else hold him until I got a chance to. After what seemed like ages, they finally moved me into my room. It was almost 9 Pm when they finally brought in my son. It was my first time seeing him. They placed him in my arms,Photobucket
and I remember him opening up his eyes and squinting up at me.
He was the most beautiful person I had ever seen, and my heart overflowed with love for him. There aren’t enough words in all of the languages of the world to convey my feelings of love for him.
I was and still am completely and utterly amazed by him. I am in awe of everything he does.
We were in the hospital from Wednesday to Saturday, and we spent every moment we could with him. Feeding him, changing his diapers, holding him, taking pictures, and just loving and getting to know him. We never sent him to the nursery. The only time he was away from us was when they took him to do things like get him circumcised.
We only had M and S there one time, for maybe an hour. They came Thursday evening and they gave me a necklace and R a watch. They each held Robbie, and S fed him. (I believe this is how it should always be done. This way, you have time with your baby without the potential adoptive parents hovering over you, influencing your decision to place.)
We signed the TPR papers on Friday. They had circumcised Robbie not long before, so he was in a lot of pain. He cried most of the time, which made it that much harder to go through with it.
Saturday came, and it was time to say goodbye. I spent the morning alone with him. I held him the entire time, and while I held his little body close to mine, I cried. I didn’t want to let him go. I was just getting to know him, and it was already time to give him to people I had only met twice. I carried him down to the nursery, even after a nurse told me that we weren’t allowed to carry the babies in the hall. I didn’t care. This was my baby, and I was going to hold him until the last possible second.

When I got to the nursery where my pregnancy counselor was waiting, I hugged him close, kissed him, and told him how much I loved him. Then I gently placed him in the bassinet, and walked away. He began crying loudly as I left, like he knew what was happening. It was as though he shared my pain. It took everything in me to keep walking, to not run back and hold him and sooth his cries.
I left the hospital a childless mother. It was cloudy and grey outside as we left. I felt so hollow, so empty. My first journal entry says this:

Today is my first full day away from Robbie. I’m wondering if I’ve made the right decision. M and S are wonderful people, and they are everything we wanted in the adoptive parents, but I feel so unnatural without him….. My arms ache to hold him, my chest and stomach feel so empty…. I tear up every 5 minutes, he is all I can think about. Does he miss us like we miss him? Does he cry for us? Does he realize he isn’t with us?
I’m not sure if I can do this. I need him…

I still feel like this at times. I still have that hollow, empty feeling; my arms still ache to hold him close to me. I wish with every part of me that I could have kept him and raised him, but I know it wasn't possible. I know I made the best decision for him. He is happy, he is loved, and he has everything he could ever want.

Happy 1st birthday Robbie, I love you with all of my heart. I always have, and I always will.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Birthdays and Baby Showers

Tomorrow is Robbie’s first birthday. Saturday was my sister in laws baby shower. Mothers day was almost two weeks ago. I should be going crazy with emotions right now…. I’m not. I’m as calm as can be. I can laugh at silly things, smile a REAL smile, and sincerely wish my brother and his darling wife congratulations and good luck.

Am I crazy? Well, maybe. I really can’t figure out why I am doing so well. This last year has been filled with so many different emotions. From May to September, I was in blissful denial. Once October hit, I was filled with anger and resentment. It was in January that I was slammed with depression. I’ve been struggling with depression since some time early last year, but this? This depression was so much heavier. It crushed me. My work performance suffered, my relationships and social life suffered, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Everything was hopeless. Every little task felt overwhelming. I cried all the time. I was diagnosed with major depression and slight post traumatic stress disorder.
So why am I so OK now? Perhaps this is all a fluke, and in a few weeks I’ll have a major emotional meltdown. For now though, I think I will take advantage of this emotional calm, and enjoy life for once.

Speaking of enjoying life, I attended my sister in law D’s baby shower Saturday, and I had a great time! I took tons of pictures (over a hundred!), oohed and ahhed over her fabulous gifts, participated in the games, and devoured the delicious food. There were a few times I felt a bit sad, but it never lasted long. Over all, I had a fantastic time.

M and I have been talking more lately. It’s pretty much back to how it used to be. There were a few months where our contact kind of dropped off a bit, but I am glad to see it getting back to normal (which is talking at least once a week). We talked again this morning, and discussed Robbie’s birthday and birthday party. I am so excited! She has decided to do a caterpillar cake, complete with pudding and crushed Oreos for dirt, and green iced cupcakes for grass. Let me tell you folks, when it comes to cooking/baking, this lady has skills. CRAZY skills. So I know for a fact this cake is not only going to look awesome, it’s going to taste awesome. I don’t even really like cake, but I know I’ll be eating this one!
I am just so tickled that he is going to have a caterpillar cake, because one of his gifts from me is a Very Hungry Caterpillar outfit I found maybe two months after he was born, and I’ve been saving it until he could fit it. One of the other presents R and I are giving him, is this awesome ATV 4 wheeler for kids.
It only goes 1 MPH, but I’m sure he is going to love it. I’m also sure that big brother J will try to take it for himself! Good thing he still fits the weight limit! I can’t wait to see them play with it.

On Sunday, M is bringing Robbie down to have a little party with my family and friends. This will be the first time most of them will meet him, so it’s pretty exciting! We are going to go to a local park, and have cupcakes and chips and such. I’m thinking I will make the cupcakes sports themed, since Robbie loves to play with any kind of ball. I’m planning to make soccer balls, basketballs, and baseballs. I’m sure it will be a lot of work, but it’s definitely going to be worth it!

I promise to have another post with pictures of it all by Monday night!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Childless Mothers Day

Ever since about this time last year, I have been DREADING mothers day weekend. I thought it would be the worst weekend ever. I figured I would spend the whole weekend crying my eyes out. A few months ago, just the thought of mothers day made me cry and let out a string of not-so-christian words. It's been on my mind non stop for weeks. What's going to happen? How am I going to handle it? Will anyone say anything to me about it? Will they wish me a happy birth/mothers day? Or will everyone pretend I was never a mother?

Well, Mothers day weekend came and went, and I was actually very calm all weekend. No crying, no hysterics, no super pissy mood swings. I have no idea why I was so... relaxed. I wasn't exactly Mrs. Sunshine, there was a twinge of sadness here and there, but not much. Perhaps it's because Mothers Day has been hard for me for three years now, ever since I had my miscarriage in 2007. Maybe I am just getting used to it? I know Mothers Day of '08 was very hard for me. I cried and stayed to myself all weekend. Not only was it supposed to be my first Mothers Day, the miscarriage was still fresh in my mind, and everyone in my family pretended like it had never happened (they still do.) My grandmother went as far as to say, "Oh well, it's for the best." I promise you, if she had been anyone but my grandmother, I would have socked her in the face for that comment. I mean, how is it "for the best" when a child dies?

Months ago, probably in October, M and I had a conversation via email about what to expect from each other and for visits and holidays. I asked about the dreaded Mothers/Fathers Day, and she replied that they liked to keep those days for themselves. So I brought up birth Mothers/Fathers Day, which she had never even heard of. I told her it was one of the Saturdays before the Mothers/Fathers day holiday, and I would get back to her when I found out which one. Well, I never got back to her on that subject, so I figured she wouldn't remember it, or maybe just choose not to celebrate it at all. (I know that makes her sound really mean, but trust me, she isn't! It's just hard for me to not have a pessimistic view when it comes to Aparents. It's kinda like "if you expect the worst, you wont be let down" kinda thing. And it's not with just Aparents and adoption. I'm that way with almost everything.) Any way, I got all caught up thinking she wouldn't recognize me at all, and it made me really mad and I decided I wasn't going to do anything for her for Mothers Day unless she acknowledged me on Birth Mothers day (yeah, I know. Real mature, right? Trust me, it's hard for me to admit this to you all). Originally, I was going to do a whole little video/slide show for her of all of our visits from the past year, set to this awesome song I found called "From Gods arms, to my arms, to yours." It's set from a birth moms side and it's to the Adoptive mom. It's very sweet. Well, once I had it made up in my mind that she wasn't going to recognize me, I decided I wasn't going to do it. I mean, I didn't just trash the whole idea all together. I just figured that maybe I would do it for her birthday or something instead (and I probably will-I really like the idea).

Well Saturday I was cleaning up the house and my phone started ringing. It was M! I answered it right away,thinking maybe she was calling to finalize birthday plans for later this month. You want to know what I heard instead? "I just wanted to call and wish you a happy birth mothers day and let you know that you are appreciated....(and so on)" I couldn't believe it! One, I had temporarily forgotten it was birth mothers day, two, she had remembered! She even knew the right day and everything! We had a nice conversation, and she filled me in a little about what all has happened since our last talk (Unfortunately, both the boys seem to be coming down with something). The conversation left me feeling elated, and it coasted me through the rest of the day.

On Sunday I told my family I was working, even though I really wasn't. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the whole Mothers Day thing, so I decided I would take some of the day to do whatever I wanted and use work as an excuse to not be with my family all day. That might sound horribly selfish, but what if I hadn't taken things so well? I wouldn't want to sit around with my family and let them watch me have an emotional break down. Especially because not all of them know about Robbie yet. So R and I went down to the Tanger outlets and did a little shopping, and then stopped by Taco Bell so I could get some of my beloved chicken chalupas. I spent the evening with my family, eating hot wings and Chinese (Yes, I know it's a random combination). Over all, it was a good weekend.

Of course, no one in my entire family wished me a happy Mothers Day or Birth Mothers Day. But that's where friends come in! I had four people wish me a happy Bmom day (M, and a few of my dear friends Heather, Jade, and Marilee), and five wished me a happy Mothers Day (my moms boyfriend, and then Heather, LauraAnn, Raymond, and R). Heather is an adoptive mom in an open adoption, and she sent me an email to wish me a happy birth mothers day. After doing so, she went on to explain that she and her husband don't celebrate their sons Bmom on Birth Mothers day, but instead they celebrate her on Mothers Day. I am going to copy down part of what she said, and I do hope she doesn't mind that I quoted her.

"After all, she is still his mother...just not his mom. Her love for him is no different than mine...no less than mine...and no less important than mine. So, for us, we celebrate her on Mother's Day as she deserves."

I couldn't have said it better myself. These are my exact feelings on how things should be. I honestly don't like Birth Mothers day. I feel as though it, in a way, cheapens things on our side. It makes us even less of a mother then we already are. It reinforces that feeling of being baby ovens and incubators. At least, it does with me. However, I realize that Birth Mothers day makes it possible for both mothers to be celebrated without any ones toes being stepped on, and no one has to share the spotlight. As I told Heather, I would rather be celebrated on Birth Mothers day then not at all :)

How do you feel about Mothers Day and Birth Mothers day? If you are a member of the adoption triad (or if you are a foster parent), how do you celebrate the weekend?

This is the song I plan to have as the background for the video/slide show. I wanted the video with Marie Osmond, but apparently it has been deleted so you will just have to settle for this. Enjoy :)


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