Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Trip to Australia


Adoption and infertility tend to take unique paths - different for everyone, but eventually lead you to the same place. Adoption.com provides us with the following analogy:

Deciding to have a baby is like planning a trip to Australia. You've heard it's a wonderful place. You've read many guidebooks and feel certain you're ready to go. Everyone you know has traveled there by plane. They say it can be a turbulent flight with occasional rough landings, but you can look forward to being pampered on the trip.

So you go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for a ticket to Australia. All around you, excited people are boarding planes for Australia. It seems there is no seat for you: You'll have to wait for the next flight. Impatient, but anticipating a wonderful trip, you wait - and wait - and wait.

Flights to Australia continue to come and go. People say silly things like, "Relax, you'll get on a flight soon." Other people actually get on a plane and then cancel their trip, to which you cry, "It's not fair!"

After a long time the ticket agent tells you, "I'm sorry, we're not going to be able to get you on a plane to Australia. Perhaps you should think about going by boat."

"By boat!" you say, "going by boat will take a very long time and it costs a great deal of money, I really had my heart set on going by plane." So you go home and think about not going to Australia at all. You wonder if Australia will be as beautiful if you approach it by sea rather than air. But you have long dreamed of this wonderful place, and finally you decide to travel by boat.

It's a long trip, many months over many rough seas. No one pampers you. You wonder if you will ever see Australia. Meanwhile, your friends have flown back and forth to Australia two or three more times, marveling about each trip.

Then one glorious day, the boat docks in Australia. It is more exquisite than you ever imagined, and the beauty is magnified by your long days at sea. You have made many friends during your voyage, and you find yourself comparing stories with others who also traveled by sea rather than air.

People continue to fly to Australia as often as they like, but you are able to travel only once, perhaps twice. Some say things like, "Oh, be glad you didn't fly. My flight was horrible: traveling by sea is so easy."

You will always wonder what it would have been like to fly to Australia. Still, you know God blessed you with a special appreciation of Australia, and the beauty of Australia is not in the way you got there, but in the place itself.

My 'trip to Australia' has led me to see the beauty in the good as well as the bad; to be thankful for sweet baby sounds as well as dirty diapers, to relish in all the smiles as well as the sleepless nights.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NIAW

Today we are mid-way through National Infertility Awareness Week. What? You didn't know that it was National Infertility Awareness week? It's sad to say, I'm not surprised. Although 1 out of every 6 couples will need some sort of medical intervention to concieve, talking about infertility is some sort of social indecorum.

Before I had to ever think of infertility, I can admit I was one of those people who just didn't understand how people couldn't get pregnant. I mean it seemed pretty easy to me; you have sex and get pregnant, what was too that. And I would have never thought that infertility would be part of my life; I had a plan. I would get meet Mr. Right, get married, have a baby and live my own little happily-ever-after.
But God had other plans.... I did meet Mr. Right and get married but the 'plan' stalled out there. To avoid sharing too much information, we'll just say God had other, and for us, better plans for us and our family. Plans that were better than I could have ever imagined.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11 became sort of a mantra for me; I'd repeat it daily, hourly and sometimes more often than that to get through the discouraging moments. And while Matt and I were not completely sure of God's plan and only knew it were to include adoption and not fertility treatments. Thus the choice of adoption precludes us from being a success story in the infertility world but how could I ever look at this face



or see my two favorite guys being silly




or hold a miraculous wonder next to an otter


and not think that this is success... a miracle just like any other way of bringing a baby into a family.
But infertility is a funny thing; it's certainly not talked about among mixed company. And I'm not talking about different genders or races; I'm talking about everyone. Until you hear of someone going through what you're going through or have been through... you're not sure if it's okay to talk about. But I think we need to change that! If approximately 17% of people in America our dealing with some sort of fertility problems, inevitably it's someone you know. For me; it's one of my dearest friends, girls I go to church with, friends from high school and college and strangers I've met through the bloggy world. And we're in this together - whether you just keep trying the natural way (insert smile here!), opt for medical intervention or choose adoption - infertility is there. It's a journey, not a destination (cliche I know) but as Paul McCartney and his buddes the Beatles say we "get by with a little help from my friends" and a whole lot of faith in God.
Entering the world of infertility was not done at will, but by God's will. Leaving infertility behind and embracing the world of adoption and my sweet baby Gabe was only by God's grace. 3 years ago I never would have thought that I'd be thankful for infertility but when I look at the baby sleeping in my lap, reflect on the way my faith has grown or think of all the relationships developed, strengthened or both it is hard to be anything but thankful.
This song and video (especially the dedication) by John Waller also provided me so much comfort while we were waiting. And tonight I watched it again, with Gabe in my arms and cried so grateful for God's faithfulness and for those still waiting...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oops!

Oh my! How dare I post about Gabe and not include a picture of our sweet little miracle. I'll try not to do that ever again! He,he :)
Taking a nap.. not in his crib of course but in his Daddy's chair!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Has your doctor ever....

asked if a lot of people were praying for your baby? (but, wow there could be some really funny 'has your doctor ever' guesses out there)

Because Dr. R asked me that on Tuesday and I was able to respond with a "oh yeah, lots."

Why did he ask that, you may wonder. He asked because Gabe's eye was perfect; Gabe's right eye is completely centered and healed wonderfully! Dr. R. actually said he had chills from seeing how good Gabe's eye look!

Gabe's eye surgery, since his problem stemmed from his 3rd cranial nerve and is not the common 'lazy eye' problem Dr. R fixes routinely, he was a little nervous about how it would turn out. Nervousness was obviously not needed as Gabe's eye looks great!!!!!

The only 'bad' thing about his eye surgery is that correcting the eye did not have the result of correcting his eye lid that we were hoping for. So, another surgery to lift his eye lid will probably be on the calander after his appointment in 2 months, but we'll deal with that when we come to it.

Speaking of the calender; the 2 months we have away from the eye doctor is the LONGEST amount of time Gabe has ever had between eye doctor appointments! Starting at the opthomalogist at 15 days old and then going every 4 - 6 weeks, 2 months is going to be great!!

God Bless!

And please don't forget to keep praying for Chrissie and all of the Patterson's.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

8 Months



Gabriel,

Did you know I only call you "Gabriel" when I want you to stop crying and let me go potty/brush my teeth/have 35 seconds to myself. The rest of the time I call you Gabe. I'm not entirely sure why, but as you've grown and developed your personality, you just really seem like a Gabe to me! But regardless of what I call you, Gabriel, Gabe, Gaby baby, my little moosh-moosh (daddy hates that!) I love you bunches!

I can hardly believe that you're 8 months old already, two-thirds of a year old! It's crazy how quickly the time goes by - it seems like it was just yesterday that we were swaddling you in a blanket. I can only imagine the stink you'd give if we tried to swaddle you now. Because now, you are a mover and a shaker. You're not yet crawling or rolling regularly but you love to move: to bounce, stand, dance and move those arms and legs! And while you're not crawling yet you have begun to use your hands to push yourself around. Distance isn't your forte yet, but I'm just waiting for the day I turn my back on your for a minute and come back and you've disappeared!

While I find it hard to believe you're 8 months old already I am so thrilled about how you are growing and thriving. When I think back to the fact that some doctors didn't think you're life would be worth living; I shudder in fear but rejoice in the fact that Miss B chose life and marvel at how wonderful you're doing!

You're hitting your developmental milestones perfectly: some early, some on time and some a little late. However, milestones, while important are not what life's all about. It's about the love, laughter and learning you will do and bring others. And Gabe, boy have you brought your Daddy and I more than are fair share of those. We couldn't love you more and your silly faces, mischievous antics and Thomas-LaGorga like tendencies crack us up. Babies, especially you Gabe, are great educators of life's important lessons. You've taught me (and your daddy) so much in these past 8 months it's unreal. You've taught us about unconditional love, patience, perseverance and what the important things in life. Sleep-deprived productivity, removing bm (poop) stains from diapers and dancing to anything that makes music are others things we've had the privilege to learn from you! Thanks Gabe, you're a great teacher!

Along with teaching you're a great learner too. You've learned how to fake cough, eat Mum-mum's, hold a sippy cup the right way, roll from front to back, bang everything and anything to make loud noises and fake laugh all in the past month!

Along with learning you've tried lots of new foods; tons of veggies, yo'baby yogurt, happy baby puff s (which you don't like), fruits and even diced banana's. While your sippy cup is your least favorite way to drink and your bottle is your most favorite you've recently decided you like to drink from a cup. Whenever Daddy and I have a cup in our hands, you open your mouth and lap your tongue like a puppy, telling us you want a drink too.

My favorite new thing of the month is kisses! You love to give kisses - big, wet, open mouth kisses! They're the best kisses ever! At first we weren't sure that you were doing it on purpose, but now you'll even spit your binky out if you want a kiss! It's the cutest thing ever!
Gabe these past 8 months have been the best ones yet. Filled with more love, smiles and sheer exhaustion I could ever imagine. But every sleepless night is more than worth it when I get to see your smile in the morning. You may actually just be laughing at my exhausted state of mind, but it's a smile nonetheless!

Happy 8 months Gaby baby... can't wait to see what you learn by month 9!
Gabe's silly face:

And his excited face....

Reaching for the paper...

And eating the paper....

Playing tug-of-war with your 8 month sign with Daddy:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Swing Time Fun

Did you guess right? Gabe went to the park and rode in the bucket swings... for the first time! If his smile doesn't tell you how much he loved the swings, I will.... He loved them! Gabe giggled, laughed and smiled the whole time! I'm thinking that there will be many more trips to the playground down the street in our future.






















































The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.
~Bern Williams

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Eye Surgery (#1?)

Friday started when the alarm went off at 4:15 signalling time to shower and get ready for Gabe's surgery. Gabe snuggled in bed with Matt while I got ready and then he had a bottle... and not a bottle of formula like he was hoping, but of an apple juice - water combination. But Gabe was a trooper and drank it down.

Out the door at 5:15 brought us to the hospital shortly before check-in time at 6:00 am. They handed us our pager, I filled out a few papers and we were off to our room. Gabe was quickly changed into a hospital gown and nurses, anesthesiologists and Dr. R came in and out a few times getting us ready.
Rocking and singing a few songs helped keep the hunger away for Gabe and the tears at bay for his Mama. One of the doctors came in and drew a smiley face above Gabe's right eye... so that there was no confusion which eye they'd be operating on! He's showing off doing his silly face while Daddy takes a picture of his smiley face. All dressed up and no where to go, hehe! I'm in my doctor attire so that I can accompany Gabe to the OR. My mom (Gabe's Nonnie) accompanied us to the hospital to provide moral support, distract us and of course, provide the Starbucks! Unlike with his MRI, Gabe fought going to sleep, did not think the mask was fun and looked scared. After falling asleep and a quick kiss on his forehead I was escorted out of the room. Me, Matt and my mom made our way to the waiting room where they went to look for something to drink and I began the waiting game.
An hour and a half later, Dr. R came out and found us. Dr. R said surgery went well and Gabe was a champ. I love how he always calls Gabe a champ. Because he is! Any child that has to go through anything like this is certainly a champ. We had to wait for our pager to go off and then we walked back to Recovery.
This is what we saw when we walked in the recovery room.... poor baby Gabe sleeping on his side. They didn't want us to touch or hold him; I think that was part of his demise when he woke up in a strange place and couldn't see his Mama or Daddy. And unlike his MRI where he woke up quickly and happily, this time Gaby baby was unhappy and in pain. Hearing him cry like he's never cried before broke our hearts.
The nurses were great, quickly brought us juice that he did not want. Until he was allowed to have a formula bottle (about an hour later) Gabe switched between sobbing loudly and whimpering quietly in my arms. Again, more heartbreak for this mama who could do nothing but hold him, rock him and sing his favorite songs.
After eating some of a regular bottle, Gabe perked up enough for them to release us. And then the best thing happened... once Gabe was in his car seat he gave us one of his smiles. It was like he knew he was going home and that was good for him.
For the rest of Friday Gabe stayed snuggled in some one's arms and slept most of the day. Between doses of Motrin and Tylenol he seemed comfortable and just plain old happy to be home! Saturday he had a final dose of Motrin, headed out to breakfast at First Watch (where he ate banana's for the first time - a post to come on that!) and just spent a quiet day at home.
Gabe really was a trooper through all of this and albeit a still slightly swollen and red eye he's doing great! We are so proud of how brave and strong he was (and is) because I'm pretty sure I'd still be miserable if I had someone moving around the muscles in my eye.
And hopefully this surgery will be completely successful and Gabe won't have to have this surgery ever (or at least not for a very long time) again! But the post is entitled "Eye Surgery (#1?)" because it may (probably) be the first in a series of surgeries. Would you join us in praying for Gabe: that his eye continues to heal, that this surgery worked and that it even helps raise his eye lid some?
It'd be great if this surgery corrected all of the problems, but realistically Gabe will have another surgery in the not-so-distant future. And just like this time, your prayers and the loving hand of our Father will carry us through again.
Love & Blessings!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Elephants, Easter and Eyes

Last Thursday and Friday Gabe and I ventured down to Columbus with his Nonnie (my Mom), Uncle Bucko (my brother Michael) and Gabe's 4 cousins: Caleb, Ethan, Jacob and Sam. Gabe did terrific in the car rides there and back and had so much fun playing with his cousins. He loves to watch all of the different things to they're able to do and they spend a lot of time loving on our little man. Thursday we went to Magic Mountain were the older boys (and Mike:) were able to race go-carts, play laser tag and video games. The best thing for the little ones (Sam & Jake) was the climbing zone. Best $5.00 my mom probably ever spent! The boys had a blast and Gabe had fun watching it all; soaking it all in and probably contemplating what he's going to do when he's big enough to run amok.
Thursday night we stayed in this fancy-dancy hotel that we got really inexpensive. Hotwire is the way to book hotels! The hotel had a heated pool and I was so excited for Gabe to go swimming for the first time. However, the 'heated' pool was super cold so after dappling his feet in the water, we were done! After heading back up stairs we enjoyed watching cable TV (he, he) and Gabe's 4 cousins running around the rooms.

On Friday we went to the Columbus Zoo... and it was packed! Gabe loves the zoo and now that he sits in the stroller without the carrier he has even more fun! We saw penguins and a manatee, a buffalo and bears, a whole menagerie of animals! But the best thing we saw.... the Cleveland elephants!!! You see, Gabe has been to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 4 or 5 times but has never seen the elephants because they're visiting their buddies in Columbus while their home is being renovated. So he (okay, really it was all me) was just super excited to visit the elephants while they were on holiday somewhere else. But we can't wait for the elephants to come home next summer!



Gabe and I got home to enjoy the tail end of our Good Friday ice cream social with our life group and then spent the weekend getting ready for Easter.
While Easter always causes me to feel grateful, awed and unworthy, this year it was different. I felt more... well more of everything this year, but that's for another post entirely. Gabe looked super styling in his Easter outfit - hat and all. Daddy didn't like the hat too much and while I was running an errand (love you Sarah!) Gabe 'spit-up' on his outfit and was changed before I came home. Little did Matt know that Gabe's back-up outfit matched the hat too!


After church, we headed to my brothers house for Easter lunch. And while the food was delicious, the best part was spending time with all of our family. Gabe met his great aunt Diane and uncle Mark for the first time - and actually let aunt Dianne hold him, which is a tremendous feat if you know Gabe and how attached he is too his Momma and Daddy.



Lunch was short however because Matt and I (along with our life group family) had to meet at 3:30 to get ready to serve dinner at the Salvation Army. And can I just tell you that that was the best part of my Easter. Serving others as Jesus served while He was here on Earth seemed the best way to spend the day we glorify Him. I can not wait to have the opportunity to serve at the Salvation Army again!

Easter wrapped up and then this week has been busy. The weather has been beautiful so we've spent lots of time outside going for walks and enjoying the sunshine. Unfortunately we've also been busy with doctors appointments preparing for Gabe's eye surgery this coming Friday.


Everything is ready for his surgery, except probably me and Matt. While I know the surgery is routine, and Dr. R does these surgeries every week - it's still my baby having surgery and surgery is not routine for us (thank God!). Gabe is such a fighter, I know he'll do great. We just pray that the anesthesia isn't too hard on Gabe, the surgery is successful and Gabe doesn't have any adverse side effects. And while I know that when we have to let go of Gabe for the surgery, God will still be holding onto him. That alone brings us all the peace we need, but still walking away

So, with Gabe's surgery coming up you know what I'm going to ask for, don't you? Would you join us praying for Gabe on Friday; for his sweet spirit to not be effected by the surgery, for the surgery itself, for Dr. R to cut, tighten and loosen the right eye muscles, for the nurses and anesthesiologists assisting Dr. R and for everyone Gabe meets to see in him the miracle of our mighty God?
We know God is in control and that He is already at the hospital waiting for us to get there.....