Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2 Years

Yesterday was Allie's 2nd birthday.  How in the world that happened is beyond me.  2 years since I held her in my arms. 2 years since we said hello and goodbye in the same moment. 2 years since we lost all our hope.

We decided to have a low key celebration this year.  Gary left work a little early and stopped to get some pink balloons and a little cake.  We wrote messages to Allie and then released the balloon into the crisp but sunny and bright day.  We bundled Miranda up and took her out on the deck with us.  My mom stopped by and was by our side.  It was emotional.  It was sweet.  It was everything a 2nd birthday party could be for a child that is not here with us.












A few days ago, I looked at Gary and said, "What a difference a year makes."  He replied back with, "What a difference a MONTH makes!"  And he was right.  Last month was waiting and hoping and crossing what we could - this month is diaper changes and bottle warmers and, if I am lucky, a shower!  We are supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps and yet we both find ourselves starting at her in utter disbelief that she is here and that she is ours.

Without Allie, there would be no Miranda.  Which means each and every day, we are thankful for both our girls.

Mother's Day is just around the corner.  In the past, this has been such a hard day for me.  I did not want to deny that I was/am Allie's mom, but without raising her, I felt that it was not fair to call myself her mom.  Fast forward to now and I can't wait to celebrate the day for both of my girls.  Allie made me a mom and I realize that more now that ever.  Miranda is letting me test the role out and see how it fits.  Each day is a new challenge and a new obstacle and it's so much better than I ever dreamed.  

The outpouring of love that we have received is nothing short of fantastic.  Our dining room is now known as the "present room" as each person that comes over refuses to do so empty handed!  I get texts and calls all day long wanting to know how Miranda is doing and if we need anything and when they can come back to see her or hold her again.  It's so amazing.

When I stop to think that I missed out on all of this with Allie, it hurts my heart.  I can't spend too much time wondering what it would have been like if this was 2011 and not 2013 but that's not fair to either child.  To deny those feelings is not fair, either.  Sigh.  Such is the life of parents who had to bury a child.

We have a video monitor installed in the nursery and the past few nights, when the baby is fed and changed and sleeping and it's my turn to sleep, I find myself starting at it looking to make sure she is moving or breathing or something.

I was so worried that now that we have it all, it will be short lived.  I do not want to take any moment for granted or assume that happiness lasts forever.  But I am going to have to have faith.  I have to believe that Miranda is our baby and she is not going anywhere.  She is safe and loved and she has made this house full of life again.  We are so in love.

And so on Allie's 2nd birthday, with a mouth full of cake, I said to Gary, "I am not sad right now.  I feel like I should be sad but I am not.  I am actually happy."  His reply?  "Good.  You should be.  That's what Allie would want."  I think he is right.  Thank you, Allie.  Thank you for sending your sister to us and for allowing us to at long last be happy.

Miranda, Our Rainbow

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bliss

I am a writer who has no words.  How can I possibly describe the love I feel for this child who has been in our lives for just a few short weeks?  She has changed everything. She has brought me back to life.

It's hard to write these days - mainly because I am knee deep in feedings or diaper changes or just holding our baby and staring at her until my eyes get blurry.  And that's ok.  We are having the most fun with her - trying to discover what she needs and when and trying to make sure she is a happy baby.  I am not sure how much we can really control that, but we are doing our part!

My main concern was that once we had our rainbow, everyone would forget that she is our second child.  Everyone would think that we are "cured" now.  That the last 2 years were nothing but a bad dream.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  From the first day we got matched with Miranda to the day we brought her home and every day since, people have respected that we have 2 girls in our hearts.  Everyone knows that Allie is the reason that Miranda is here.  Allie's spirit is all around and in the best possible way.

We did not have the nursery put back together until after we got home from Delaware.  We could not stand looking at that room without a baby in it again.  At first I thought I would want a complete makeover from the way we had it for Allie and then I realized that I loved the way it looked back then and I wanted it to look similar now. We had a bunch of family over to help us put the room back together and just like that, it was Miranda's room.  We still have a few things to hang and some finishing touches, but for the most part, it's ready.

She did not sleep in there right away, though, as we wanted her by our sides at all times.  I needed to see and hear every movement.  That lasted until exhaustion took over.  Eventually, daddy hooked up the video monitor and we decided to give it a go.
 
The first night, I jumped at every gurgle and every peep and ran to check on her.  I would sigh audibly when I could see that she was just fine.  Then came time for a feeding.  I heated up the bottle and sat in the glider and held my baby in my arms as I fed her.  And I felt Allie there with me in that room.  Helping me feed her sister.  Telling me I was doing a good job.  Allowing me to love this new baby with my whole heart.

The love and support we are getting is astounding.  I should not be surprised and yet I am for some reason.  Everyone wants to come over and meet her and love her and shower her with gifts and it's impossible to feel anything but joy when we are with her.  Miranda.  Our Miracle.

Monday will mark 2 years since I held Allie in my arms.  I am not sure what we are doing yet. What I do know is that it will be a celebration and not a memorial.  Allie is the daughter I carried and Miranda is the daughter I am raising.  While I will never truly understand why it had to be this way, I have come to accept it in the best way that I can.  

A friend from high school sent me this poem and I can't stop reading it. Since I am at a loss for words right now, I will use the words for another.  Miranda, this is for you:

Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
You didn't grow under my heart,
But in it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Miranda Hope

Introducing Miranda Hope
Hebrew Name: Shoshannah
Born 3/31/13
8 lbs, 3 oz
21 inches long

The last time I blogged was Good Friday.  It was a hard day for as as just 2 years before, that was the day we delivered Allie still.  It will always be a hard day for me.  It was the day I lost my baby, a piece of my heart and certainly all of my hope.

Fast forward 2 years and on the same day, we discovered that the birth mother who picked us to raise her child thought she was in labor.  Turns out she was wrong and was sent home, but I knew only good things were on the way.

On Easter morning, bright and early, our little rainbow came into this world.  We were not there.  We found out from our social worker.  At first it felt so awkward that she was here and that we had not met her yet, but we trusted the process and our agency as they advised us to do.  And so far, so good.

We spent the holiday with Gary's side of the family and it was the perfect thing for us.  Had we stayed home and stared at each other all day, we would have gone crazy!  Early the next morning as we prepared to head to Delaware where our baby was born, we got word that the birth mother wanted us to come over that evening.  We were going to meet our baby!

We checked into the hotel and made our way over to the hospital.  It's hard to describe the emotions of meeting your child for the first time.  Would we feel the same connection even though she did not come from us?  How much did we miss out on my not getting those 9 months to bond with her?  Was she really ours?

Turns out, much of that worrying was for nothing.  The minute we laid eyes on her, we knew she was ours.  And that was the end of it.  We have the rest of our lives to bond with her but sure as I sit here and type this, I know that she is ours.  She is the best kind of gift - given to us by a woman so strong and so courageous what she knew that choosing us to raise her baby was the best gift she could give this child.  She was sad and emotional and discharge that next day took hours and hours as she could not say goodbye.  But in the end, she was able to say "see you soon" as we promised monthly emails and letters and pictures and that our daughter would always know where she came from.  That she was loved so very much from before she was even born.  Miranda's Hebrew name is Shoshannah which is the Hebrew name for Lily.  Liliana was the name our baby's birth mother called her when she was in her womb and we wanted to honor that name.

Leaving the hospital with our baby was surreal.  They wheeled me out in a wheelchair even though I had not delivered her.  I was now her mom and that's was protocol.  I was smiling ear to ear.  From there we went to our hotel and just stared at her.  And cried.  And stared some more.

We were supposed to have to stay out of PA for 7-10 business days (some said longer) until the Interstate Compact was signed.  This is the document that needs to be completed with a child is adopted outside of the state in which they reside.  For some reason, ours was signed in 24 hours.  They said it was a record. We got to Delaware on Monday, got our baby on Tuesday and by Thursday, we were heading home.

The birth mother signed over her parental rights, but she has 14 days to change her mind.  After talking to her and spending time with her, we are not really that concerned.  She knows that we can provide for this baby in a way that she could not.  Still, we will feel better once we know she is "ours".

After that, it takes up to 6 months for "finalization".  There, we will sit with a judge and he will give us a new birth certificate with her name on it as well as ours.  Then it will be "official".

It's hard to be reasonable and rationale when to us, she is already ours.  Her sister made sure of that.  Allie pulled some kind of strings to ensure that we would be parenting by her 2nd birthday.  I just know it.

I am more tired than I have ever been in my whole life.  And I love it.  A few mornings ago, around 3am, I said to Gary, "Do you think our lives will ever be the same?  He replied, "I hope not".  Indeed that is so true.

I am taking 12 weeks FMLA plus 2 weeks vacation.  I want to be home with my rainbow as long as I can.  Gary is home with me this week and we aim to put the nursery back together again.  We had grandparents and uncles and aunts over on Saturday to help us start moving items from the basement to the nursery. Our house has been a revolving door of guests and while we are so exhausted, we can't deny our loved ones the chance to meet our miracle.  One close friend brought over some clothes last night and said there was no gift receipt...she had bought them for Allie and then saved them hoping and praying that one day she would be able to give them to her sister.  It melted our hearts.

The road ahead is bright but we still need to proceed with caution.  Until the adoption is finalized...until we learn how to deal with there finally being a baby in this house...until we really understand this chance that we have been given.

We have found our hope.  Miranda Hope.  Our miracle.   Our happiness.  Our joy.
 
 

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