I wrote those first sentences on 6/18/13 and it is now 7/27/13...where does the time go? So let me continue before I let another month go by...
The way I see it is that there are a few main categorical difference between adopting and pregnancy: physical, emotional, and the birth/ afterwards. Before I tell you about the differences I experienced, let me tell you a little bit about my pregnancy. After all, I spent two years blogging about adoption, so pregnancy deserves at least one entry right?
So as you may have read last year, I found out I was pregnant on August 16, 2012. This is a day I will never forget because I got the biggest shock of my life. My prayer to God was always to only allow me to conceive if it would be safe for me and the baby. As some of you may know, I have had some major health issues in my life- I am a two time cancer survivor. One of those time was when I was a child which left me with only one kidney. So naturally this was my main concern. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I knew everything would be okay with me and my baby. I had a great pregnancy, especially considering my medical past. I had a good amount of energy, not too much swelling or discomfort. I was a little continuously nauseous for the first trimester but never got sick. I really loved being pregnant. I was able to feel Logan move for the first time when I was 14 weeks along. That was completely awesome and weird all at the same time. I felt him move from the outside on Thanksgiving day. I guess it was his response to the awesome meal :) This boy was so active while he was inside me. I was not sure if he ever slept or would ever sleep once we was born. (I'd like to report that he is an awesome sleeper!) I was able to quit my job in the middle of December to stay at home. This was especially nice since the third trimester is undoubtedly the hardest. When I was about 36 1/2 weeks along, I went in for my weekly check up. My doctor noticed that my blood pressure was a little high. She did not like that at all and took more aggressive measures and admitted me to the hospital for a 24 hour urine test. At first, the thought of going on mandatory bed rest for that 24 hours seemed awesome, but that quickly changed when I got so bored and started missing Hunter so bad. I had never been away from him over night. The test showed that my "levels" were just above the threshold for pre-eclampsia. I begged my doctor to let me go home and be on best rest there instead of remain in the hospital. She agreed as long as someone was there to help me and take care of Hunter. So my parents came to town and helped out. The next week, I returned to the doctor and my blood pressure was a little higher than before. So, she admitted me back to the hospital to re-run some tests. At this point I was already having contractions and begged her to just induce me the next day. So my wish was granted and I was induced the following morning. Either way, I am sure Logan was going to have been born on April 3rd, the induction just helped him a long. So I did have a wonderful pregnancy except for that last week. The thought of bed rest sounded wonderful at first, but it was so terrible because I wasn't allowed to hardly do anything for myself and Hunter did not understand why I couldn't play with him. Oh well, things ended up great and Logan and I are both doing well.
So now that you know a little about my pregnancy, here are some of the main differences between adoption and pregnancy that I experienced:
This is obvious I know, but it is a huge difference. During our adoption, I did not gain any weight, nor did my waistline grow :) During pregnancy, I gained 24 pounds and gained about a foot on my waist line. Noel got a big kick out of the fact that our waists were the same measurement. I was actually able to feel my baby move inside of me, which did start the bonding process earlier. I loved Logan as soon as I knew he existed. I was more guarded to fall in love with Hunter while he was still en utero because I knew the birthmom could change her mind. I slept great while we adopted, but not so much while I was pregnant. No aches and pains while adopting, but oh boy, I sure did have some aches while carrying Logan. I carried Logan very low, so my hips and tailbone would hurt pretty bad sometimes. Also, during pregnancy, my hair got so thick and long. Now it's just shedding like crazy. Everyone is so nice to pregnant ladies! I hardly ever had to open a door myself when going into a store. People let me go in line before them. Maybe they just felt sorry for me since I was hugely pregnant and had a toddler! People (especially women and grandma's) loved to ask questions about when I was due, if I was having a boy or girl, ect. I found that people are generally happy to see a pregnant woman. I have to admit, I did enjoy the positive attention and special treatment. When we were in the adoption process, no one knew I was "expecting" unless I told them. My heart was growing but no one could see that.
Here we are as we started the adoption process- note the absence of a baby bump
And here we are while I was 8 months pregnant...note the increased belly size
Adoption brought us so much hope. This was much needed hope after years of infertility. Adoption was also full of ups and downs. I like to describe the adoption process as a roller coaster of emotions. You life hangs upon the decision of these very special birth parents. We hung on every word from our birthmom. I'd jump every time my cell phone rang or I got a text message from her. My heart would skip a beat when I'd see our adoption agency's name on our caller ID. These were emotions full of hope, yet some anxiety. I would always say that adopting is being pregnant without knowing your due date. At times, it felt like a never ending process.
Pregnancy brought another type of roller coaster :) I was actually pretty emotionally even throughout my pregnancy, except for the three anger meltdowns I had. To be honest, I don't even remember what they were about which is really funny to me. I know it was the hormones talking. I did tend to cry at more things, especially as my due date got closer. While I was in the hospital the first time, I saw a Pampers commercial and cried so hard! It was so embarrassing! At this point, I was really missing Hunter so anything to do with babies and little boys got to me. The day I delivered I also just cried and cried for no reason- also embarrassing. I wasn't really in pain, I wasn't worried or anxious...just hormonal. Oh the fun of hormones! This continued the next few days after Logan was born. I might still tear up a little when I see a Pampers commercial now, but I no longer cry like a baby :) As adoption had this indefinite time line, pregnancy did not thank the Lord! Oh my, I cannot imagine being pregnant for two years. Nine months was plenty!
Childbirth and after:
Don't worry, I am not going to be gross here. I just want to illustrate the mega difference between giving birth and having someone else do that for you. I know women who talk about the miracle of birth and how wonderful it is. I personally think they are crazy. No offense, but maybe they just had better meds than me. The whole birthing process was so gross to me. There was a reason I kept my eyes closed the whole time! I knew that once I "saw" I could never "unsee" all that.
Hunter's birth mom is my hero when it comes to child birth. She renewed my confidence in the hope of giving birth someday. She was induced, but like me, was already dilated and having contractions. She got her epidural and then slept off and on for about three hours. She woke up, felt pressure, and called the nurse. The nurse hurried around the room to get it ready and called the doctor. The doctor came in, sat down and said "push!" After a quick pause and a second push, Hunter was born! It was amazing and looked so easy. Like I said, she is my hero!
I knew Logan's birth wouldn't quite be that easy, but I was still hopeful. To spare you the gory details, I was in labor for 10 1/2 hours and had to push for 1 1/2 hours. My epidural did not make me completely numb so I could still feel some contractions. I also had the WORST acid reflux that I have ever experienced. It was truly brutal. I even had to stop pushing at one point to vomit (sorry TMI I know). It was the most exhausting experiences of my life. After doing a little math, I estimate that I pushed approximately 135-150 times. That is about 130 more than I would have liked.
This photo was taken about 30 minutes after Logan was born. I see a slight difference...a little tired and puffy maybe??
After giving birth, there are obvious body parts that hurt. What I was not prepared for was that EVERYTHING hurt from head to toe on me. I mean literally, I had a huge headache and even my feet hurt! It took a few weeks for all the aches and pains to go away and for my body to heal. Again another huge difference between adoption and child birth. When we got home with Hunter, I was able to take care of him and go on about my life without skipping beat. On the other hand, it took me 6 weeks to feel like a human being again after Logan.
Like I said before, having a child through adoption and through pregnancy are so different but have the same ending result. People ask me which one is better. I can't really answer that because they were both awesome and such a blessing. (I will say I preferred someone else going through childbirth though- ha ha ha, but seriously...). When we adopted, we met the most wonderful young girl who gave us the biggest gift of our lives. When we were pregnant, we got to watch first hand the miracle of life and see this special baby growing inside me. Both were incredible and I when people ask, I say I have two miracle babies that were a gifts from the Lord.
Although Hunter's adoption has been finalized for almost 18 months now, our adoption journey will never be over because we will always love Hunter's birth parents. Adoption will always be part of our lives. Our plan is to always have Hunter understand where he came from. As he gets older, he will have more questions as he comprehends more and more. Maybe one day he will want to search for his birth mom "S" and his birth father "R." If so, we can't and won't take is personally. We will support him and help him. People have asked me if we want more kids and if so, if we will adopt or try to conceive. The answer I have is- "are you crazy? My kids are only 19 months apart! Give me a break and ask in another year or so!" But seriously, I don't know. I think we will take the blessings the Lord gives us as they come and be happy with that.
So I think this brings me to the end of this adoption blog. I don't know, maybe I will update it periodically. But since it takes me 5 weeks to write one post, the chances are slim that I will continue. (I am, however, considering starting a blog for my photography business so stay tuned for that). If you have stumbled upon this blog by searching for "adoption," "Adoption Angels," or even "liver pudding" I hope you have enjoyed reading. If you are considering adoption, I would love to talk to you. As you can see it is not an easy road, but it is a blessed road. God bless!