In honor of November being National Adoption Month, Portrait of an Adoption is running a special series called 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days. Designed to give a voice to the many different perspectives of adoption, this series will feature guest posts by adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, waiting adoptive parents, and foster parents-turned-adoptive parents. Painful and beautiful, these stories will bring you a deeper understanding of what adoption looks like, allowing you to appreciate the many brushstrokes that comprise a family portrait.
We Are Not Complete
By Dana at Life Unexpected
Two years ago today the most unexpected event of our lives happened. I miscarried a baby. I miscarried our baby. Even though the statistics are out there and you hear stories of other women miscarrying, you never, ever, EVER think that it will happen to you.
Well, it happened to me and to us and that is when the grand plans we created, the life that had lived up to our expectations thus far, our dreams, our hopes, our future became blurred and life as we knew it became … unexpected.
For me, having a miscarriage in my twelfth week of pregnancy was crushing. It threw off my center of gravity and made me question everything that I once thought was true. I blamed myself, I blamed my body, I blamed the doctors, I blamed the whole medical community.
I spent hours and days researching causes of miscarriage and tried so hard to find the answer to “Why?” our baby did not survive. Of course, the answer was never found. We gave our hearts some time to heal, well… it really never heals, but time to adjust and mend, and then we decided that we would try again.
Six months later I was pregnant again. Pregnancy was rough on my body. All three of my pregnancies were difficult in the first trimester. Sick as a dog does not even begin to describe it. This time I was sick as a dog and scared to death. We were told over and over again how “statistically” unlikely it would be for me to miscarry again.
Once it happens to you, and you become a statistic, you don’t really care what the “statistics” say. Our doctor’s appointments were going well, I was growing, and gaining, and feeling better. The most reassuring sign was the sound of that tiny heart beat…we heard our baby’s heart beat on two different doctor visits.
We were cruising into our second trimester and we’re told that in our situation there was only a 1% chance of losing our baby in the second trimester. My fears started to lift. Chris became more fearful.
We walked into the ultrasound room on December 16, 2009 painfully aware of everything that could possibly be wrong, but realistic in that everything was probably “just fine”. Our emotions were all over the place. This was going to be a really big day…we had no idea.
It is every parent’s joy to take a peek at the little soul growing inside. Oh were we excited and scared…mostly just wanting it to be over, to know that our little one was just fine, to go home and show Addison a picture of the sibling she would meet in just a few short months.
The ultrasound was quick…way too quick. The technician turned off the machine and left us in the room by ourselves. Chris knew before I did. When the technician came back and told us that our doctor needed to meet with us upstairs, we knew.
It is not possible to explain to another person what it is like to learn that your baby is dead. Unless you have been through it, you have no idea.
After two days of doctors and medicine trying to force my body to go into labor, I delivered our baby boy, Connor, on December 18th, 2009. I delivered him naturally, with no pain medication. I wanted to feel every second that I had left with him. We had only hours to spend with our Connor after his birth.
As any new parent does, we examined him from head to toe. On the outside he was perfect. Ten perfect fingers. Ten perfect toes. He was born with his bottom lip sucked in…exactly the same way Addison was born sucking in her bottom lip.
We later learned that on the inside Connor was suffering from a severe heart defect. No one knows if the heart defect was the cause of his death and no one knows why the heart defect occurred in the first place. Science was not our friend.
The days, weeks and months after losing our little boy were the darkest of our lives. I did not know how I would go on and was only thankful that I had Addison to keep me moving and keep me a part of life. I moved forward because I had to, for her and for Chris.
So there we sat, two babies lost, our souls crushed and the outlook for our future anything but what we had expected. There was nothing, nothing Chris and I had wanted more than to fill our house with children.
When we were in the hospital after Connor was born, we agreed that getting pregnant again was not an option. We were not sure we could survive another loss. We went to many doctors, specialists and did much reading and research. Our agreement was secured. No more pregnancies.
Adoption had always been an option for us as a way to grow our family. We agreed that what was once a thought for the future, could now become a much sooner reality. We once again did our research and learned as much as we could about adoption and realized how strongly we felt specifically about open adoption.
I want to make it very clear that adoption is not our “second” choice. Adoption is our next chapter. The child or children that come to us through adoption are not replacements for the babies we lost. The scars we bear and the babies we lost will forever live in our hearts.
Our hearts however, the amazing vessels that they are, have room for much more love and much more life. The timing of us pursuing adoption was merely unexpected, and the path in which our children will enter our hearts and our home is merely an unexpected route.
We sit here tonight, stronger and better, waiting anxiously for a little one to enter our lives and join our family, we wait for a woman considering an adoption plan to choose us to parent her child. Although scary at times, to think about what else life might throw unexpectedly at us, we can honestly say we have never been more excited to see what life has in store for us next.