We Are Not Complete

We Are Not Complete

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.

http://lifeunexpected-adoptionjourney.blogspot.com/

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  • Dana, I am so very sorry for your loss. I can honestly say I understand what you went through - your story with Connor is almost identical to the scenario that played out in our lives. We lost our little boy at 21 weeks of pregnancy on June 27, 2002. Our boy looked perfect too, and to this day we don't know what went wrong, what caused his heart beat to abruptly cease. Those days and months were so very bleak. We had bought a house and planned a nursery for this boy, our very first child, and I remember looking aimlessly around our empty home, watching my husband vacuum and unpack and put away things, feeling utterly motionless and lifeless for days, months.....Reading your story brought me back to that painful time, the loss of our first little boy whose name figures in some way, shape or form in all our online passwords, the son we will never forget.

    And now, years later, after many lessons learned about unexpected turns on the path to having a child, our lives are filled with the joy and laughter of his little brother, our 3 and a half year old son Lenny, whom we adopted two years ago. Just two weeks ago, after all these years, I found I was finally able to talk about my first son without crying. Lenny asked, out-of-the-blue: "Mommy, why did no babies come out of your tummy?" And I told him about Joey, his big brother, who is now an angel.

    I know Addison and Connor's little brother or sister is waiting, just around the corner, for you to come get him and add to your joy. An open adoption can be enriching on so many levels. From the bottom of my heart, I wish this for you.

  • In reply to jiyer:

    jiyer - Your post made me cry. Thank you for sharing your story with me. To know that I am not alone and that others have walked this same path and have made it through, helps me immensely. Your strength, your hope and your support mean the world to me. Thank you for posting this comment and reaching out to me.

  • In reply to jiyer:

    jiyer - with tears in my eyes, I just want to say, you are my hero now.

  • Dana and Chris,
    When I first read your story, I felt a heaviness in my heart, a shared burden of your pain. We, too lost a baby boy- our first baby, Matthew, and I remember the dark suffocating days after the loss. My husband packed up the baby things while I laid in bed, trying to block out the world. And, like jiyer, we had no other children to soften the screaming emptiness of the house. It was beyond bleak. But, Dana and Chris, I can now write to you from the other side. I've seen your pain and lived through the agonizing wait to adopt, and I can promise you that it WILL happen. I remember when we were granted custody of Katie, and the yearned-for title of Mother was once again mine, and the empty space began to refill. Tonight is actually the 9th anniversary of losing Matthew, and that is why I wanted to run your story today, because I see hope in your future, hope that you will look back years from now, happily parenting a second child, and you will be able to extend the arm of hope and faith to a waiting adoptive parent.

  • In reply to Carrie Goldman:

    Thank you so much Carrie...for running my story, for sharing yours and for giving me endless hope. Thank you for having faith in me and my family and for writing the words, "I see hope in your future". I am beyond honored that you chose to share my post on the anniversary of loosing your Matthew. I know how very precious and difficult those anniversaries are and hope your reflections are more on the peaceful side today. Thank you for sharing yourself and your journey with us all. I only hope to continue paying such hope and strength forward as we continue on our own journey.

  • Dana, Saralep, Carrie, all courageous women whom I am privileged to know - thanks to the wonderful online world that traverses the miles between us.

    Carrie, I did think of you when I read Dana's story. What is it about that fateful date: 27th? I am so sorry for the memories this day brought with it for you - and, of course, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Dana, your story comforted me at least as much, if not more, than mine brought you hope. The details of your story, down to the technician shutting off the ultrasound and leaving us in the darkness (literally and figuratively) while she went to talk to the doctor - before he broke the news to us - made me feel a little less alone as I thought back to that horrible time when my husband and I clutched each other and waited for undoubtedly bad news. So, thank you. Looking back on the horror, I am now enough at peace to say that things happen when they are meant to and as they are meant to. As Carrie says, your good news is around the corner and I hope you will let us know so we can share in your joy.

    Saralep, you are so kind. As an adult who was emotionally scarred when you were a vulnerable child, you had to overcome much more than most of us - and you have, remarkably well, with such a positive approach. It is much easier to handle what life deals you when you have received much support and love all your life, but especially as a child - and that was me.

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