I received a call from an old friend one day last week because her daughter is now experiencing infertility issues on top of experiencing a recent loss. She was wondering if I would mind if her daughter called to talk with me about how she feels. I told her that would be fine.
The fact that she contacted me now is ironic for a couple of reasons. I had been thinking of her lately, because I had come across the remembrance card from her mother’s funeral earlier this month, and thought I should call her and see how she was doing. The other ironic fact it that her daughter is adopted because in the late 60’s early 70’s, adoption seemed to be the best option if you were having trouble getting pregnant on your own. It is amazing to me how many options are available to couples today.
I spoke with my friend for a while until I had to get Chad off to school. Afterwards I was thinking about how funny it is that people come in and out of your lives, and how sometimes the events that happen in our lives can change the meaning of these casual relationships. The longer I live, the more I believe that everything, whether good or bad, that happens to us happens for a reason. How can we learn to appreciate the good if we don’t have the bad?
Jeremy will tell you he’s very good at regimenting animals and as a result the babies generally take a long afternoon nap. On Tuesday of this week, I was exhausted after a very long night with Grant. I think between a cold and working on cutting a tooth (which still hasn’t appeared) he was a miserable little man, which makes for a miserable night for everyone else. I told Jeremy I was going to try to come home a little early, to which he replied that they would be fine and the kids don’t sleep when I’m home (which means Jeremy doesn’t get his nap either). I was mildly offended and said that since I bother everyone, I’ll leave at my normal time. He proceeded to tell me that “bother” is not the right word…more like “excite.” “People say dogs are like kids. Think about Max (my brother’s dog). Is he going to be ‘bothered’ when he sees Nick and Mere and Jake? He won’t be napping, that’s for sure.”
Well, when he put the babies’ lack of sleep and me being home in that analogy, maybe I get it. He proceeded to text “If they had tails they would wag them furiously when you come home. We’d definitely have other issues to deal with and their celebrity would probably be for reasons other than the ones now … but they would wag them furiously.” It does make me feel good that they get excited when I’m home. Actually, everyone in the house can be asleep and within five minutes of me walking through the door, someone (usually Grant) starts to stir. They must smell the milk truck and can’t wait for a turn at the tap. I’m glad that I’m not a bother and that they get so excited when I’m home. I guess when I start to miss them I can just imagine their little tails wagging when I come through the door. Won’t be long and they’ll be walking to greet me.
The weather in Knoxville has been very cold, but the only good thing about this is that we got a little snow. The twins got to play in it for a little bit on Monday. Julian liked to slide in the baby pool down the hill and Natalie joined him a few times. They also enjoyed taking cookies to the neighbors who we figured would be bundled up inside their homes and we were right.
It is such a delight to see the twins loving each other the ways they do and interacting together. The other night I went into Julian’s new Mickey Mouse room to find him lying on top of Natalie. It was just so sweet I had to take a picture! Even though they have separate rooms, they still want to be in the Mickey Mouse room together, or at nap time they often still sleep in their moon toddler bed together. When all you have known is each other all your lives I guess it is hard to separate. I was hoping to do this early so it would not be so hard later on, but it is not working out like I had thought it would. Maybe when I add more Princesses to Natalie’s room she will want to sleep in it. I will just have to wait and see.
I have to say that as I prepare for Christmas, I tend to reflect on what has happened over the past year. This one has been a trying one for many I know, and although we had some downs, we fared it pretty well. I can think of many Christmases past that were difficult, because we were either struggling with infertility or a recent loss. The Christmas season wasn’t very joyous then, it tended to be something to be endured. When you are experiencing infertility, sometimes it is hard to put it aside and live in the present moment. I felt it consumed my thoughts at times, as well as my life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Baileys over the course of the past week as we have talked a few times to make plans for our upcoming trip together. I was lucky enough to have called when Natalie and Julian had decided they weren’t napping that afternoon, and could talk to them. I use the term “talk” loosely, because I usually do most of the talking. But they both answered questions this time and responded when I spoke to them. I think the part I like best when I talk with them is when they sing a song. Natalie sang “Twinkle, twinkle” and Julian sang “Happy Birthday Jesus.” They both were very cute.
Recently some things have happened at work that remind me how fortunate those who succeed with their infertility issues are. I hope they never loss sight of that fact, and remember those that are less fortunate. Sometimes the gift that is most sought after is the hardest to obtain.
Christmas has been a hard time of year for me since my journey with infertility began. The week before Christmas I had surgery to open up one of my fallopian tubes, but they both came out. So instead of the surgery being a beginning to conceiving a child, it was the end to my dream of ever having a child the “normal” way. On top of that, my bowel was nicked so I became very ill. I could have died, but thanks be to God he healed me and I did not have to have another surgery; however, I was still very ill when my Doctor released me from the hospital Christmas Eve.
The longing for children was deepened for me during the Christmas season. It reminded me of what I did not have, a baby. I still remember crying one Christmas service that was titled “DO YOU WANT TO HOLD THE BABY?” I should have been focusing on Christ and not myself then I may not have hurt so badly, but I didn’t always do that. For many years Christmas was a great joy, but trying for me as well. In so many ways, it will always be since now I have the loss of my mother.
However, this past Sunday, God redeemed my many years of pain and sadness and filled me with great joy when I got to watch Julian play the role of Jesus in our Christmas play at church. We are so blessed to attend church with my family and have cousins in the play as well. The play had over 65 children involved in some way. That does not include the toddlers who were sheep such as Natalie. It was such a blessing for me not only to see my own children in the play, as well as my brother’s, but also the children I teach on Wednesday nights. God has brought such joy where there was once such pain. I am so thankful that God gave me the strength to persevere through my infertility journey and that He led me to embryo adoption in which He gave me one of my greatest loves Natalie & Julian.
The name Natalie means the birth of Christ. Even though I did not give birth to her on Christmas day or even in the winter season, to me she is still the Christmas gift I had prayed for. God has been so good to me and my family, I know it must warm His heart too when He hears Julian singing “Happy Birthday Jesus” as he goes to sleep at night. I am so thankful for these beautiful toddlers God has given me that I want to show Him how much I am thankful. We have been doing the advent calendar with the children each day and yesterday they told me they wanted their books about Jesus. So the first thing I thought of was their Bibles. When I went to look for them, they let me know that was not it and then I realized it was the advent. I was so happy to see that they understand that this season is really about Jesus. It is about singing as loud as you can “Happy Birthday Jesus!” They are here to remind me of what this day is really about; not babies, or lack of them, but the man himself, JESUS.
I endured 10 ½ weeks of twice daily shots in my rear and months on end of being incredibly hormonal (aka nuts). We sacrificed financially during the adoption process and are making even bigger financial sacrifices now to have Jeremy at home with Grant and Maria. We haven’t had a full night of sleep since April 13. We get bathed in baby biological matter on a regular basis and date nights almost always include a trip to Target. It’s not a glamorous life, but it’s moments like this that remind me why I am thankful that we took this journey.
You might recall the “lowing cattle” that had taken up residence in our bedroom several months ago. The noises emanating from the co-sleeper could not have been from two babies, but rather a couple of cows or goats. They have gotten too big to both be in the co-sleeper, so they have graduated to the nursery. This was more of a weaning process for me than anything. It started with having them in our room the first part of the night and in their room after their middle of the night meal. I did this to prevent them from waking when I got up for work. Eventually, it became necessary to have them separated because they were disturbing one another and over a couple of weeks, they were sleeping in separate cribs all night long. Well, I should rephrase that. They are in separate cribs all night long … the sleep part seems to be optional. We suspect the sleep issues are related to teething, but could also be related to a metamorphosis from cattle to humpback whales. Thankfully, it is not a metamorphosis from a human to a cockroach like in Franz Kafka’s short story “The Metamorphosis,” which happens to be a favorite of mine … I digress.
Anyway, now in our bedroom is a baby monitor instead of two babies. This provides its own level of entertainment because now you can only hear what is going on and have to imagine what it looks like. I know the sound of the zipper on Maria’s swaddle blanket kicking against the crib rails as she works to spin herself around. And I know the sound of Grant successfully plugging himself with his pacifier. The other night at about 3:30 am, I put them back down and they apparently weren’t ready to fall right back to sleep. Instead, they began carrying on the most interesting conversation between one another. The light on the monitor jumped and danced to the sounds coming from both cribs and Jeremy and I started to laugh. Our nursery had transformed into the vast ocean because only from humpback whales had we ever heard such noises. They never cease to amaze me!
We’ve had lowing cattle, and now songs of the humpback whale. Any guesses on what they’ll turn into next?