Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome Madison Jo

I have waited so long and dreamed time and time again about the day that I would get to write this post announcing our daughter to the world! I still cannot believe that I'm finally posting this story...

My last post described the craziness that we experienced in the weeks leading up to our daughter's birth. After arriving back home to Illinois from our second 'dry run' trip to Florida on July 10, Jarrod and I went back to work and prayed for a few days at home to settle down. On Monday night I received a call that our birth parents had checked themselves out of the hospital that they had been in for over 2 weeks and were headed down to a more recognized hospital in the area. Within an hour of being admitted to the new hospital the doctor was speaking of breaking our birth mama's water to get the baby out. I went to bed that night anxious for news in the morning. At 7:18 a.m. EST on July 15, 2014, our daughter, Madison Jo, was born, precious as can be weighing 5 lbs. 8 oz. and 18.5 inches long. Jarrod and I chose her first name, Madison, because of its meaning, which is "Gift of God" because she truly is the precious gift that, through many details, could only have come from the Lord (& fittingly, we are also Wisconsin Badgers fans: On Wisconsin! She'll be rocking that red and white very soon!). Her birth parents chose her middle name, Jo, which means "God is gracious," and is also her birth mom's middle name.

After hearing that our daughter had officially arrived, we booked a flight to leave that night and the next morning we met our daughter for the first time. She was beautiful and as tiny as can be! We spent all day loving on her, cuddling with her and continuing to bond with her birth parents (& I think I cried about 100 times). It truly was a beautiful 24 hours to have all of our little girl's moms and dads loving on her together.

On Thursday, July 17, her birth parents signed the papers and we signed ours, making Madison irrevocably ours. Hallelujah! It was the most surreal moment of this experience. While we sat in a waiting room rejoicing over the fact that this tiny little miracle was ours forever, her birth parents were experiencing some of the most pain that they will ever experience. Adoption is such a beautiful thing, yet it's so bitter sweet... As soon as Madison was placed in my arms after the papers were signed, with no chance of the adoption collapsing, I couldn't contain the tears. This gorgeous little lady was ours...I was her mommy! Jarrod was her daddy! The roller coaster was over and we had finally reached the most important milestone in our adoption journey! Never again would this family be separated!

For the past six days we've hung out with our little pumpkin in the pediatric unit of the hospital while the medical staff monitored a few things. Miraculously, Madison has done extremely well and we are scheduled to be discharged tomorrow morning!! Then we will settle back down with her again at a condo while we wait for the states of Florida and Illinois to clear us to travel across state lines with her. (This usually takes about 5-10 business days.)

We are amazed at the tiny blessing that fills our arms each day now and are amazed at what God has brought us through and taught us in this journey to the child that was destined to be ours. It still seems strange to know that we are now a mommy and a daddy - something we waited so very long for!

Thank you for praying with us and celebrating with us as we welcome Madison into our family! We cannot wait to get home and introduce our little beauty to you! In the meantime, we will continue to post updates during nap times! Praise God...He has blessed us so greatly and we cannot thank Him enough for His faithfulness to us and little Madison!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The 'Shower' Before 'the Storms'

To say it's been a insane couple of weeks might be an understatement... Let me explain.

I had amazing weekend two weeks ago. It all started off celebrating the soon-to-be birth of our sweet baby girl with two baby showers with dear friends!

I cannot possibly say how blessed we have felt throughout this adoption process, especially at this shower. We have felt an abundance of support and love as we have prepared to bringing home our little girl. To those who planned the showers and/or attended, it warmed my heart to see you all share in our excitement for our daughter. It seems so much more real now that she is definitely coming and we are, now, fully prepared with everything that we need to 'fly her home'.

When I got home on Sunday evening, I started unpacking all of the gifts for our baby girl. I couldn't stop dreaming about what it would be like when our little girl was finally home to use all the beautiful gifts that she had been given.

Little did I know that the weekend of 'showers' would quickly turn into two weeks of some crazy 'storms.'

At 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, we received a phone call that our birth mama was in labor. Our agency and all nursing staff told us to come down right away because baby was definitely on her way very quickly. So we called our families to help us pack, hopped a flight five hours later and landed in Florida with absolutely no sleep. We were so excited to get to the hospital knowing that our little girl was only hours away. 

When we arrived in the labor and delivery room, we found out that, since baby was about 5 weeks early, the hospital was not giving any medication to slow labor but had our birth mama on bed rest in the labor and delivery room. They wanted to keep this baby in as long as they could. Although there was some small progress while we were there, we ended up just hanging out for a couple of days with our birth parents before we decided that we needed to get back home. Since we already had the rental car, on Wednesday, July 1, we started the long drive home to Illinois. We arrived home on Thursday evening knowing that it was incredibly possible that we could leave again at any moment. Needless to say we are exhausted by the time we got home. We unpacked, did some laundry and tried to rest up. 

On Saturday, July 5, at 6:30 a.m. I got a call that our birth mama had progressed to 7 cm and was having active contractions. The doctors and nursing staff seemed certain that all signs point to a baby that evening. We wanted to wait as long as we could to leave so that we could get as much done for our jobs as possible. However, Jarrod and I both felt very strongly that the Lord was leading us to head back down. So on Sunday afternoon, we hopped yet another flight and landed in Florida at at midnight, drove the two hours to our hotel, and went to the hospital the next day. When we got to the hospital room, contractions had completely stopped once again. After four days of still no forward progress, we hopped on yet another flight and flew back home. We arrived home yesterday.

We are worn out. The last few weeks have been incredibly tiring, confusing and eye-opening. During our time in Florida, we were able to learn a little more about how life would look after our daughter is born. We learned that she will need a minimum two week NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) stay to monitor a few things. This likely means me living in Florida for about a month while we wait for the baby to be discharged - that's hard for me, a home body, to hear. This means our daughter having to fight some medical issues immediately upon her arrival into this world - that's hard to grasp and accept and we know that it will be painful to watch her endure that. 

There is so much more that happened in these two weeks that I just cannot share for confidentiality reasons. But I will say that it would be an understatement to say that it has been hard.

We trust, in all of this chaos, that God has a plan. However, if I'm totally honest, we've greatly struggled over the past two weeks. God is sovereign but my heart is breaking for what's to come. 

With all of that being said, would you join us in prayer? Pray for us as we trust that God will provides all the means we need to get through this. These past two weeks have exhausted every cent of our disposable income and travel budget. We honestly aren't sure how we will afford a month long stay with food and hotels, etc. We are trusting that God will provide this as this is clearly what he called us to. Pray for the safety and health of our beautiful daughter and the birth family as we prepare for a birth sooner rather than later. Birth mama has now been in the hospital for 13 days and we know that she is getting restless and ready to be done with this process. Also pray for our hearts as we anxiously await news that our baby girl has arrived and as we pray that she is doing okay. Pray for us as we process what lies ahead with our daughter, that miraculously she will come out with nothing to monitor and will be able to be released very quickly. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement during this time. Although we cannot share all the details, I can assure you that we need the extra support right now and we appreciate all who have offered it to us!

I have been reminded by several people in this circumstance that God knows her birth date and God is still in control here no matter what lies ahead for her. We have to trust, right now, that He has a reason for this happening the way it is and that He will reveal that plan to us in his time.

These 'storms' have shaken us. 

But as the song below says, "The waves and wind still know His name."