Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Say what?

This past Sunday was Hunter's first time at church with us.  I can't say this is his first time at church because his birthmom went to church weekly and what a blessing that was to Hunter.  He did very well and the service ended just before the "feed me now" meltdown.  This Sunday we had a church wide brunch between services to promote our community groups.  The community groups are bible study groups that meet weekly and study God's word and fellowship.  We help lead a community group that we have been part of for almost 7 years.  Our friends in our community group and other church friends are our second family.  So needless to say, this was a big day for Hunter because he got to meet many of the people who had been praying for him and us for so many years.  Something else important to note is that at these church wide brunches, there are many people that I've never  met or seen because we usually go to the early service on Sundays.  We were very excited to get back to church and show off Hunter.  Obviously all of our friends and people that we know at church, knew we were adopting.  They would stay current on all our adoption news and were thrilled to finally meet this answered prayer.  Many of the people at the brunch did not know we were adopting so I received some very interesting comments which I will share with you.

*The first thing out of everyone's mouth regardless if they knew us was "Wow! Look at all that hair!"

Now this is where it gets comical:

lady: "oh wow, how old is that baby?"
me: "2 1/2 weeks"
lady: "Do you have heartburn?"
me: "well, yes I do actually"
lady: "babies who are born with a lot of hair give their mother's heartburn and you look great by the way"
me: "thank you!  I think it must be sympathy heart burn because we adopted him."

another lady: "how cute!  That baby has a lot of hair!  How old is he?
me: "he is 2 1/2 weeks old"
lady:  "wow! You are here and looking beautiful.  What is that about?"
me: "well, we adopted him, so I did not give birth."

me: "what kind of kolachies are those?"
lady: "these are sausage and cheese and these have jalapenos.  You shouldn't have the jalapenos if you are breastfeeding."
me: "um, ok."

This one is my favorite:
man to Noel and I : "Congratulations? How old is your baby?  What is his name?"
Us: "Thank you!  He is 2 1/2 weeks old and his name is Hunter."
Man: "That's great!" 
Man to me: "The last time I saw you, you were out to here (gesturing to a large pregnant belly)"
Me: (awkward silent pause)...um...nooo...we adopted him so I wasn't pregnant.
Man: (nervous laugh) oh sorry! I guess it was someone else then.  Congrats again! (and he walks away).

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't expect everyone to know our story but I just get a kick out of hearing people's comments.  And believe me, I do fully intend on taking the compliment without explanation when people tell me how good I look since i just had a baby.  I just couldn't do it at church ;)

So after church, we came home and took a few pictures because that is just what I do...so enjoy!

This was actually a yawn, not screaming.  Hunter is very expressive and I thought this one was cute.

This is the necklace that Stephanie and I have to symbolize our adoption.  I am going to give these pictures to her.

Meet the cousins

This past Saturday Hunter met his cousins and aunt and uncle for the first time.  Natalie and Brody fell in love with him immediately.  When Hunter was asleep Natalie kept asking me "when is he gonna wake up?"  She wanted to play with him.  She has already made plans for a sleep over at their house.  She is just like a little mommy with Hunter.  She loved on him and gave me parenting advice like to use a bib when Hunter spits up.  Thank goodness for five year olds :)

Brody was so cute with Hunter too.  He saw Hunter's swing and we told him that it had belonged to him when he was a baby.  Then Brody went through the house and asked if other things were his when he was a baby- including the bathroom and bathtub.  My sister in law said that recently Brody asked if he came from her tummy.  She told him yes.  And then he asked if Hunter came from Auntie Annie's tummy.  Ilyana told him no, but he came from a very special place, so his next question was "but where?"

We had such a nice visit with my brother, sister in law, and the kids.  I can't wait to see them all grow up and play together.  Here are a few pictures from the day:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Say Cheese!

We have obviously had some fun with the camera and Hunter lately so here are some family photos:

Friday, September 9, 2011

The first few days

Thing have been busy in the Burns household since Hunter came home last Saturday.  My laundry and dirty dishes have increased while my sleep has decreased.  Most importantly, my love for my sweet baby boy grows more and more every time I look at him.  The first week has gone very well.  Noel and I alternate nights and take naps during the day.  Hunter has been great so far about sleeping at night.  He will do a three hour stretch and then a four hour stretch with one feeding between.  I say so far, because I know that could change at any time but it has really been nice. 

This week, we had our first outing with just Hunter and I.  Noel had to work and I had to take Hunter to "get his pencil sharpened" as the doctor said.  I am sure you catch my drift.  This was not a procedure the hospital doctor wanted to do so we had to wait a week to get it done.  Poor baby... he was so mad and screamed the whole time.  He even peed on the doctor which I thought was hilarious.  They said in the 20 years they've been doing circumcisions only 5 babies peed on the table.  So Hunter made number 6.  That's my boy!

Hunter also had his first photo session with mommy.  I got some really great shots of him so I must share.  There are so many good ones so you will have to check facebook for the rest.  Here are just a few.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My handsome boy!

Just had to share this one...

Hunter had his first doctor's appointment today.  Doctor said he is doing great and to come back in two weeks.  He is such a good eater and is just doing wonderful.  Hunter started to just about double his feeding amount today-  this kid is already eating us out of house and home :)  So double the intake also means double the output if you know what I mean.  Needless to say lots of diapers today.

The Birth Day. Vol 2

Part 5: Nursery Time

After Stephanie said good bye to Hunter, I followed him up to the nursery.  There they put him under a warmer and took his vitals.  The nursery staff were so wonderful.  They let me be in there and take some pictures and ask a million questions.  After Hunter was under the warmer for a few hours, I was able to go back to the nursery and be there for his first bath.  He screamed so loud and turned bright red.  After that, the nurse let me feed and burp him.  He spit up all over his clean self- better get use to this.  At this point, I was the only one allowed to be in the nursery, so Noel had to watch through the window.  A few more hours later after Hunter was warmed up enough, we were able to both go into the nursery and be with Hunter.  I could not wait to get him into his own clothes.  Over the next two days, Noel and I spent time in and out of the nursery.  There was not really space for us to be in there, but the nursing staff was so accommodating for our situation.  They gave us two rolling desk chairs and we set up camp in the least busy corner of the nursery. They were all so excited for us, especially since our adoption seemed like it would be going through.  They told us that they have seen plenty of adoptions not go through and it was just heart breaking for them.  While we were spending time in the nursery, we saw many babies come and go.  One baby boy in particular was having a hard time.  We think he was born addicted to drugs.  We kind of over heard that the birth mother was given a choice to have CPS take custody of him or place him for adoption.  She chose an adoptive family who arrived at the hospital the next day.  We met them and talked to them for a little bit.  It was comforting to know there was another couple going through the same situation we were.  The funniest thing was that the agency who was representing this family, was the one who we originally going to adopt through.  The caseworker kept looking at us and then finally said, " you look familiar...how do I know you?"  I then told her that we were considering their agency and she met with us two years ago.  I just couldn't help but think how the Lord has brought us full circle from where we started two years ago.

Part 6:  Two hearts connected forever

On Friday morning, we got to the hospital around 9:30 AM.  We peeked in on Hunter in the nursery and saw that he was sleeping sound so we decided to go see Stephanie before she left.  The doctor had already seen her that morning and would be discharging her soon.  We were so glad to be able to spend those last few minutes with her before she left.  She said that she was feeling better and not in much pain.  She was so glad to be able to go home and was ready to be out of the hospital.  We talked about the birth and laughed at how the doctor surprised me by having me cut the cord and how everything happened so fast.  We then started our good-byes.  I told her that we didn't really know what to say because thank you was just not enough.  We told her how much we really enjoyed getting to know her.  We made a promise that Hunter will always know about her and know who she is.  We told her that we admire her so much not just for what she is doing for us, but for who she is.  Stephanie got teary eyed and said that she knows she made a good decision even though it is hard.  She said the birth father wanted to come up to the hospital but was a little too sad to do so.  We then gave her a gift of a pendant that has two hearts connected as one.  I chose this pendant because of its symbolism.  I told Stephanie that if first symbolizes that she and Hunter will be connected forever and nothing can every change that.  He will always be a part of her.  Secondly, I explained that she and our family will also be connected.  I got the same pendant for me and told her that every time she wears her that I would be wearing mine.  Every time I wear mine, I will be thinking of her.  At this point, I was already crying and so was Stephanie.  She was so cute and said, "its hard for me to cry, and now I am crying."  It was such a touching and special moment that I will treasure forever.  We hugged and said good-bye and promised to keep in touch through letters and pictures for as long as she wants us to.

Part 7:  The last waiting game

So, at 12:19 PM on 9/1, the clock started ticking.  We had 48 hours to wait until Stephanie signed her relinquishment papers.  Going into Hunter's birth, we continued to feel really good about everything.  The Lord gave us so much peace about everything.  Every time throughout our adoption process I asked the Lord for confirmation,  He would always give it to me.  Even after years of reassurance and confirmations, I was so anxious as soon as I woke up Saturday morning.  Noel and I took our time getting to the hospital that day.  We arrived between 10:00 AM and 10:30.  Our caseworker was going to meet Stephanie at 11:45 AM so she could sign after 12:19.  I can honestly tell you that starting at 11:45, as we sat in the nursery with Hunter, Noel and I looked at the clock about every minute.  We were expecting to hear from our caseworker no later than 1:00.  At one point, I jokingly asked the nursery staff to take all the clocks down.  As we waited, the nurse started the discharge paperwork, we signed the documents, and we got ready to go.  We changed Hunter into his going home outfit and were all set.  Well, 12:20 came and went, then 12:30, then even 1:00 and we had heard nothing.  We were getting very antsy at this point.  As the clock hands kept ticking, we got more and more nervous.  Noel and I were even just silent because we didn't know what to do.  FINALLY at 2:00, our caseworker called.  She immediately said that Stephanie signed and apologized that it took so long.  After a HUGE sigh of relief, we arranged to meet her at the agency office in 20 minutes.   So we rushed over to the office and signed enough paperwork to "buy a house" (as Noel said).  After our i's were dotted and t's were crossed, it was official!  We then rushed back to the hospital to bring our son home!

Part 8:  Homecoming!

At 3:30, we finally were able to leave the hospital.  We thanked the nursery staff for their hospitality and the nurse walked us down.  Noel drove us home, and Hunter and I sat in the back seat and I admired him the whole time.  We finally got home around 4:00.  What a long and exhausting day--- but we were FINALLY home.  This was the day I have waited for for two years and I must say Hunter was well worth the wait.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Birth Day

Part 1: The arrival
Yesterday,  September 1st, we woke up at 3:00 am and were out the door at 3:45 am.  I was surprised to see how many cars and truck s were actually on the road at this time of day.  We picked Stephanie up at 4:20 on the dot and she was waiting outside already.  We arrived at the hospital shortly before 5 AM to find no one there.  It looked like a ghost town.  The only person we saw was a security guard.  Stephanie found an intercom into the nurses station and called them.  About 20 minutes later they send out a clerk to check her in.  Shortly after that, they called her back to the room to set things up.  There Noel and I waited for two hours.  We were both so tired.  The TV was turned to the Disney channel and we watched cartoons.  Finally about 7:15 AM we went back to Stephanie’s delivery room.  There we met her nurse Jennifer who was absolutely wonderful.  She was so sweet and kind to Stephanie and really put her at ease. 

Part 2: The labor
Stephanie came in to the hospital already dilated at 5 cm.  She had been having inconsistent contractions for a few days before.  Noel and I were in the delivery room for her labor, but Noel felt too uncomfortable so he decided to sit in the waiting room for the remainder of the labor and delivery.  At about 8:00 the doctor came in to break her water.  Shortly after that she got an epidural so I went into the waiting room.  A little while later I went back into the room to find Stephanie with an oxygen mask.  They said she had a reaction to the epidural that caused her blood pressure to plummet.  It got so low, she almost passed out and the baby’s heart rate decreased.  Fortunately, she snapped out of it and it went back up.  Her blood pressure remained a little low which made her sleepy.  She spent most of the labor pain free and in and out of sleep.  Every now and then the nurse would come in to check her progress.   Since Stephanie was totally numb, my job was to hold her leg up.  I told her that I was so glad that she could not feel anything because my hands were ice cold. 

Part 3: The delivery
This is where is gets exciting.  The nurse kept asking Stephanie if she felt pressure to let her know.  Stephanie took her oxygen mask off and told me, “I think I feel some pressure, but it doesn’t hurt.  Do you think I should call the nurse?”  I jumped up and told her I thought that would be a good idea.  The nurse came in and checked her to find that she was ready to have this baby.  She called the doctor and started buzzing around the room getting everything ready.  I could tell that she was trying to keep her cool, but could tell this was happening very fast.  I helped Stephanie “get into position” while the nurse frantically said, “where is that doctor??  I see the head!”  Just a few seconds later, the doctor and baby nurses came in and he suited up.   He told Stephanie to go ahead an push when she had her next contraction, which happened to be that exact moment.  The nurse instructed me to take her left leg and push it backwards to help her push.  I gave her some encouragement and with one strong push out came Hunter!  I was totally amazed that it happened so fast!  I saw him come out and it wasn’t nearly as gross as I thought it would be.  I was really surprised  to see all the goo and water.  I knew it would be messy, but that still surprised me.  The doctor quickly wiped him off and confirmed he was a boy.  Then all the sudden, the doctor said “who’s gonna cut this cord?” Then looked at me and said “are you gonna cut this cord?” To which I replied “uh, what…who…me?...uh…sure I can do that.”  Doctor then said “I don’t care who cuts this cord, but someone needs to cut this cord!”  So with a panicked look on my face, I looked at the nurse who gave me the scissors.  I went to cut the cord and the doctor said “No! Not there!  Cut it here?” So then I very gingerly snipped the edge of the cord, which was apparently was not acceptable to the doctor, because he then told me, “you need to open those scissors wide and cut down hard on this cord!”  Okay, I thought, here it goes…. That thing felt so weird and rubbery. I got a little cord goo on me.  As soon as I did this, Hunter was given to the baby nurses to told me to go grab my camera.  I got it, but had to be careful not to step in all the goo on the floor so I tiptoed around it.  What a whirlwind and awesome experience.  The nurses let me take lots of pictures and videos of Hunter screaming.  It was great! Right away, I called Noel and told him that someone wanted to say something and I held the phone up to crying Hunter.  He just love that sound.  Just a few minutes later Noel knocked on the door and he, I and Hunter stood behind the curtain in the room and held Hunter for about 10 minutes.  The nurses were so sweet and took lots of pictures, including our first family photo.  On the other side of the curtain, the doctor was finishing up with Stephanie. 

Part 4: A birthmom’s good-bye
A few minutes later, they finished up with Stephanie and the room cleared out.  This left me holding Hunter and her in the hospital bed.  She looked relieved and not in pain.  I asked her if she wanted to hold him and she said yes.  I gave him to her and looked him over.  She had a big smile on her face and said “hi baby”.  She really wanted to see his hands and feet, so we had to dig the three layers of blankets to find them.  She looked him over and checked him out.  She said that the birth father’s sister just had a baby boy who looks just like Hunter and had the same nose.  She held him for about 15 minutes and I asked her if she wanted some time alone, but she didn’t and let me stay in there.  I had a strange thought of watching some other woman holding my baby.  I knew that he was not “officially” ours yet, but he has been in my heart for a long time.  But as strange as that thought was, even stranger was the total peace I felt sitting in that room while Stephanie held Hunter.  I knew this was going to be the only time she ever held him and needed this.  He started crying and she got teary eyed and said “take him.”  She said she didn’t like seeing him cry, so I cuddled him and whispered in his ear and he calmed down right away.

I am going to pause for now because I am going to go visit Hunter in the nursery.  I will finish up the story of our special day soon.