Saturday, July 27, 2013

Adoption vs. Pregnancy

So I have been thinking a lot about adoption vs. pregnancy.  I feel so blessed to have experienced both and can't help but compare the two.  They are very different but have the same end result.

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:

Physical Changes:
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 Hunter was born.  Look how happy and normal I look

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!

Monday, June 3, 2013

It's been a long time

Yes, it has been a looooooong time since my last post. Believe it or not, every day over the past 7 months I have thought about updating this blog.  I guess I have been a little busy.

To give a quick update..

I know have my dream job as stay at home mommy!  The Lord blessed Noel with a new job last summer and I was able to leave my job in Child Care Licensing in December.  This was perfect timing because my belly was getting bigger and bigger with our son.  Yes, we know have two boys under 2 years old!  And yes, I do have a few more gray hairs since last year.

I will write about adoption vs. pregnancy but not today.  It is getting close to the end of Hurricane Hunter's nap so I just don't have time for it...but keep checking because maybe I will get this one done before Logan is one!  Ha ha ha.

So we received the miracle blessing of our second son Logan Joseph Burns on April 3, 2013.  He was born at 7:20 PM after 12 hours of labor.  He was 7 lbs 5 oz and 20 1/4 inches long.  Hunter had a hard time adjusting to life where he had to share his Mommy and Daddy, but is doing much  better now.  I think the terrible two's arrived a little early.  Note the nick name "Hurricane Hunter" I mentioned above.   Hunter is still my sweet baby but he has his moments :)  I think this is just payback for me being the "two year old from hell" as my mom jokingly says.

So that is the super fast update of the last few months.  I do hope to give more details soon, but in the meantime here are a few pics to help fill in the blanks:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hunter is ONE!!!

Yes, my sweet baby Hunter is one!  Actually as of today, he is a little over 13 months, but he turned one on September 1st.  Since this whole blog tells you the story of his first year, I will not do that here.  Instead, I will tell you about his awesome parties!

Hunter turned one on Labor Day weekend.  We were in Dobbin visiting my parents, so we decided to have a family party there.   We all had a great time, but Hunter had a blast!  He got to play with his cousins and new friends.  Hunter had been taking steps for about 2-3 weeks before he turned one, but it wasn't until his actual birthday until he decided to get up and just start walking.  It was awesome!  Just out of nowhere, he got up and just started cruising like he had been doing that all along.  He must have known in was his special day.  We had successfully waited the whole year to give him any kind of super sugary dessert.  So on his birthday he had the most sugar-filled, bright blue icing cupcake we could find.  Just a warning to those parents whose children are yet to turn one-- be ware of the color icing they eat.  Let's just say, the next day you will find a nice brightly colored surprise in their diaper :)

Thanks Mimi and Papa for a wonderful party!  Hunter loves you!!!

Here are some highlights from his Dobbin party:

Good morning Birthday Boy!

A birthday kiss from Charlie

Hunter and Nattie

Cousins playing beautiful music together

Here he goes!

Proud of our boy!


Hunter opening presents with his guests

Daddy got Hunter a ukulele.  It's his FAVORITE toy!

A week later, we had a party in San Antonio for all his local friends.  This was a blast.  We had his party at a local park and 16 of his little buddies came.  Daddy grilled hot dogs, the kids played and had cake, and Mr. Todd did face painting.  Hunter had such a great time and said he can't wait for his birthday next year.  Thanks GranDana and Grandpa Larry for helping us make this a success!

I can't really say that I am sad about Hunter already being one.  I do miss those sweet moments of snuggling him when he was so tiny, but that little boy is just so much fun.  He gets more and more fun every day.  I can't be sad about that.  I love my little Hunter and he will always be my very special baby boy.

Months 10 and 11

So since I am waaaaaayyyy  behind, I will do my best to catch you up on Hunter's 10th and 11th month.  Hmmmm..... let's see..... that was in July an August.  Hunter started crawling really well at 9 months, but did not start walking until 12 months, so that must mean he was a super crawler between 10 and 11 months.  Sometime in there, he started saying "mama," "dada," and "bye bye."  We are calling it a three way tie for his first word because they all seemed to come at about the same time.  He got really good at waving bye to EVERYONE and everything.  The summer was very fun for Hunter.  He spent some good times in his pool with his buddies and had several play dates.  Since pictures can tell a story much better than I can, here are the highlights from those two months:

Hunter was supporting our Olympic Team!

Hunter loves to watch Daddy mow the lawn

Family Photo- Hunter 10 months

Hey there Handsome!

What are you looking at?

Hey!  What's up?

And here are a few from August:  
Splashing it up with MacKenzie

The Herzog Clan in Dobbin

Cousins!!  I can't believe three more are on their way :)

Hunter and his second cousin sweet Cambry

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The surprise of my life :)

I cannot believe it has been three months since my last post!  I guess you could say I have been a little busy.  Hunter is now one years old- which I still have a hard time figuring out where the year has gone by.  I will give some highlights of the last three months if I can remember them :)  I will also tell you all about his first birthday in another post.  But right now, I want to tell you about the BIGGEST surprise of my life...

A picture is worth a thousand words right, so here you go...

Yes, that is exactly what you think it is.  I took that test on August 16 and finally passed this time.  I have heard at least a million times that "You will get pregnant after you adopt."  I got so tired of hearing it and just wanted to punch someone in the face (not really, I don't usually punch people :)) Noel and I started trying to start our family in 2007.  In the later part of 2008, I started seeing a fertility specialist.  Lots of hormones and one surgery later, still no baby.  The doctors wanted to proceed with more fertility treatments, but after a year of that, we said no more.  So in August of 2009, we decided to follow our hearts and God's leading and start the adoption process.  I am pretty sure you all know how that turned out :)  Fast forward to this August.  One day, I casually told Noel that I thought I was a couple of days late so I would probably take a pregnancy test that week sometime.  He said okay and we didn't give it much more thought.  I honestly couldn't remember when I should have started because I stopped keeping track of that so long ago.  Also I have been soooooooo...busy with Hunter, work, and my photography that a lot slips my mind these days.  The next morning I got up to get ready for work.  I remembered that we might have some pregnancy tests in the cabinet from several years ago.  So I dug through the cabinet and dusted off the box.  I checked the expiration date and found they were still good for four more months.  I am sure you know what comes next...I saw that two blue lines appeared very quickly and then I though to myself "oh, it's negative, no big deal" and threw it away.  I have seen so many negative tests that I didn't even really think one could ever be positive.  I started getting ready for work when I realized that I didn't know what those two little blue lines meant.  I guess I thought one was supposed to make a plus sign or something.  So I pulled the test out of the trash and got the box.  I took one look and literally said "Holy Cow!" I started at it in disbelief for a minute and then just chuckled and said "well, okay God."  I started getting ready for work because I didn't know what else to do and then realized that I should probably tell Noel.  He was still asleep so I woke him up and asked him to come look at something in the bathroom.  He staggered half awake and I pointed to the counter.  He looked at it and said "well, okay...congratulations."  It was so funny because he was so calm and had the cutest sleepy smile on his face.  So we looked at each other and hugged.  I obviously had a blank stare on my face and he said, "ummmm....shouldn't you call your doctor?'  Yes! That is a good idea.  I was so totally in shock I couldn't even think of what to do next.  So we both called into work, got dressed, and took Hunter to daycare.  Hunter's teachers looked at us so funny because we were obviously not dressed for work and we never drop him off together.  I know I looked like a deer in the headlights. I can only imagine what they thought.

To make a long and frustrating story short,  I called my doctor's office who said that I didn't need to come in because all they would have me do was take a urine test.  I tried to explain my unique situation and that I was told if I ever conceived that I would need supplemental hormones right away.  The blood work they ordered would have taken almost a week to get the results and I knew I couldn't wait that long.  So I called the fertility clinic that I had been to three years ago.  God bless the Fertility Center of San Antonio.  I spoke to a nurse right away who told me to come in and I didn't even need an appointment.  They did blood work to confirm the pregnancy and check my hormone levels.  They also gave me the prescription I needed and called with the results that afternoon.  I am so thankful for them!  I am going to see this doctor through my first trimester and then transfer over to my regular OB/GYN.  I will get an appointment and sonogram every two weeks at first and then we will work on weaning off the hormones.

My due date so far is April 15, 2013 which is three days after my birthday.  How fun is that?!?!  I am currently 9 weeks and 1 day.  I do have a baby bump and have been feeling pretty good.  The fatigue and nausea is just now hitting me, but so far it isn't bad. I can mostly just deal with it.  The fun part is that I get hungry every three hours and get to have lots of snacks.  I can already tell I am going to be a pregnant woman who has cravings.  So far,  Noel has only had to go to Whataburger at 11 PM once.  I won't make that a habit and am trying to eat healthy, but what fun is being pregnant unless you can have a little fun with it, right?

So we feel soooo blessed.  I am still in shock a little bit daily and I look at my growing belly and realize I have to slow down and rest more.  As soon as I realized I was pregnant, I did some quick math and found that Hunter and his little brother or sister will only be 19 months apart.  That is less of a gap than we were planning on, but I don't mind. I will take what God gives me and be happy--maybe VERY tired, but happy.

Here is our little peanut at about 7 1/2 weeks.  I will have another sonogram on Monday.

It was so cool to see the baby, my baby, and see the little flicker that is the heart  beat.  Noel and I decided that at this stage, the baby looks like a gummy bear.

One of the most fun parts of being pregnant so far, was telling people.  Long, long, long ago I imagined what that would be like and how I would share the news.  Now since absolutely NO ONE was expecting this, it made it really fun. Here are some of my favorite reactions:

My Mom:
I called her and asked her if she was ready for her sixth grandchild.  There was a long pause and she finally said "are you pregnant?"  "ya" I replied.  This was followed by another long pause.  Now repeat her question and my reply about three more times.  Then she finally said "Oh my God!" and just started laughing in amazement.

My brother Steven:
I told him that we decided not to have there be too much of an age gap between their twins (which are due 11/3/12) and the next kid in the family so we were gonna have a baby in April.  He was super excited and we talked for a little while.  He finally told me that I inspired him so much that he was going to take a nap, but decided to mow the lawn instead.

My brother Ryan:
I asked him if he thought Natalie and Brody would want another baby cousin.  He asked "from where?"  to which I replied "from me!"  He was happy and congratulated me and then said that he thought I was calling because we were in town.  Telling him I was pregnant was the last thing he thought I would say.

Noel's Mom, Dad, and Sister Jennifer:
Noel's mom loves to get new pictures of Hunter, so we decided to print a picture of the pregnancy test and put it in with a stack of Hunter's pictures.  We were going to see them that weekend anyways so we waited two days to tell them.  As soon as we arrived, Noel told his mom and sister to sit down at the table so they could look at the new pictures of Hunter.  I had the pregnancy test picture as the fourth one in the stack.  I didn't take into account that they would look at each picture SUPER slow and talk about how cute Hunter was.  I thought they would never get to the surprise (maybe it was just my anticipation).  So finally they pulled out the test picture and Jennifer immediately got it and said "No!" in disbelief.  She looked at me and I said "yep!"  Then my mother in law got it too and they were already both up on their feet, jumping up and down, clapping their hands in excitement and crying.  It was so cute.  Noel's Dad was sitting by me and had no idea what was going on until they finally said the word "pregnant" and then he got a huge smile on his face.

Our friends Todd and Candes:
We told Todd, Candes and their two boys that we wanted to take them out to dinner since we felt like we hadn't seem them in a while (it had been like a week).  We sat down at the restaurant I told them that we lied and there was a reason we took them to dinner.  I then told them that we were going to have a baby.  Well, Candes smacked me on the arm and said "shut up!"  "Are you serious??"  And of course I replied "yes."  Now repeat this about 10 times.  Meanwhile Todd just stared at me like a deer in the headlights.  It was priceless and so hilarious!  I think this was my favorite reaction.  

My Co-workers:
So I decided I needed to do something fun to announce it to my co-workers.  I thought long and hard about it and decided to post this picture up outside my office with the following caption below:

The price of adopting our first child ........ $$$$
The going rate for a bale of hay.........$250
A new family photo..........$0
The look on your face when you read this and realize there are four of us in this picture........priceless!

Baby Burns due to arrive April 15th

So, I just posted this on a large piece of paper outside my door so it would be noticeable and just sat back to watch the show.  It was so funny!  Some were confused and thought it meant we were adopting again, but most people got it.  A lot of the ladies cried, which was sweet.

So, this brings me to the end of my tale about the biggest surprise of my life.  We never thought we could conceive, but I am so glad that I have a Lord who is bigger than anything and is still in the business of preforming miracles.  Thank you sweet Jesus!