Down syndrome awareness month!!!

First week of work has been hard but not as hard as when I had Eli. I’m physically tired, miss my kids but I cherish the time I do get and I love my job. My co workers have been so supportive and loving- makes it easy to come back. 🙂

Eli has struggled- refusing to eat and throwing tantrums. Not sure if some of it is teething, attention and me being gone but he’s being a toot. He’s been suddenly more gentle with Ruby and with his hair pulling. He wants more snuggles and this mama is loving it.

Ruby is happy as a clam. I just packed up her newborn clothing…yup. Little lady is packing on the lbs! She’s growing and doing awesome.

Our home study report came back and it looked good. It’s all very factual. Nothing to do with whether the home study investigator thought our home was fit or inappropriate. Which to me was interesting. It was basically just a list of references and a report on how our home looked and was kept.
Now I think we just wait for our lawyer to contact us.

Friends and family have been worried about all the stress and changed but I want everyone to know we are doing really well. Please continue to pray for us as we transition, for Barry’s job search and for the kiddos in this new season. Update over. Promise.

Now to get to the awesomest part of this post!!!!! It’s Down syndrome awareness month!!
I hope to post more later but I just wanted to take a moment to reflect:
Two years ago I didn’t even know October was anything special or would hold any significance in my life. I like Halloween and my aunt is a breast cancer survivor, but Down syndrome was not on my radar.
Down syndrome was something that scared me. Something that I never thought would be part of our family.
Eli has changed our whole perspective. He has changed our hearts and our family; for the better.
Down syndrome is nothing to fear. My son is a boy first- a very busy one at that. And the way he looks at and tackles this world pushes me to look for more hope and love than I ever thought my heart could hold before.
He’s amazing; his knowing and soulful smile, his almond shaped eyes with diamond flecks that grab you and hold your gaze showing you there is more behind those eyes than you can begin to define, his tiny body that can melts heavily into yours as you embrace. He’s perfect and this month we celebrate that. We celebrate differences. We embrace acceptance, love and possibilities.
Oh the places Eli will go!

Breathe. Relax. Love.

I’ve written a lot of posts since Ruby arrived but none of them do justice to how I am feeling right now. Or they make me sound crazy. Being a mom is tough stuff!
But lets be honest- having two small children only 15 months apart and under the age of two is crazy.

I’m over the moon in love. Ruby is a doll. She’s everything we expected and more. She teaches us something daily- patients, new parenting techniques, a deeper love than we though possible. But it’s not easy either. Balancing the needs of both children…both crying and needing me at the same time…feeling guilty because I can’t devote myself completely to one child. A new baby is a game changer.

The first few days were the hardest. I think that because she came to us through adoption, the bonding is so different than if I had birthed myself. Yes I feel a connection, yes we were very involved with the pregnancy, but she is still a person we have to learn all about. At 2 am sleep deprived blood curdling screaming crying feedings, I began to doubt myself and my abilities as a mom.
Ruby is so different than Eli. It’s not a DS thing. It’s just she’s a different person and I am trying to learn who she is. On hard days I found myself looking down at her and wondering if we had misinterpreted God’s purpose. Were we really supposed to take on this new adventure? Were we equipped to be her parents? Were we giving her what she needed? Did I intuitively know what Eli needed when he was a newborn? (Not at all in case you were wondering…) but doubt began to poison my experience with her.

Friends would swoon over her, “Don’t you just love the newborn stage?!” And I would smile and say I was tired. Really tired. Which makes me look like a nut for not totally gushing with them about how much I love it and how easy it is.
But inside, I was scared I was failing, more tired than I can ever remember being, and feeling a mom-guilt so strong I was sinking.

Crazy, huh?
I mean, seriously, we are beyond blessed with the two amazing healthy children we have. God made me a mama in two different and wonderful ways- both of our children are precious and heaven sent. It seems insane to me that I would even be complaining about our situation after all we have been through to have children. And really, it is.

So what snapped me out of my selfish-I’m-a-bad-mom-pity-party? Well for starters we began to settle into a routine, we started to learn who Ruby is (a baby with colic…cause that’s how we roll in this house) and instead of talking to my friends and family about how hard the early days are, I prayed about it.
At first just for strength to get through the next crying wake up call. But then for clarity and love. Quickly I began to realize how much I am like a helpless screaming newborn myself. Pouting, crying and stomping my feet because I’m entitled to something. I was saying, “I love my newborn, but I don’t like this”…wow…I’m so glad God doesn’t feel the same way about us. His love is unconditional even though I am so unworthy. It’s by His grace alone that I can be called His. It’s through His love that I am redeemed and made whole. It seems so simple, but He plainly and clearly told me that I needed to breathe, relax and love. I let my own selfishness get in the way of the joy that my family is.

It’s been 13 days since our family changed for the better. It’s been wild but it’s only 13 days! I’m giving myself some credit and stopping to enjoy this special and fleeting time. Clarity- it’s a wonderful thing 🙂

EDIT:
Some other points of stress have resolved themselves. Eli’s feeding had greatly improved. We significantly reduced the amount of liquids he is drinking which instantly improved his reflux (making all that testing unnecessary at this point). He is now eating some table foods and only refusing an occasional meal- mostly due to teething we suspect.
Meal time is now much happier and anxiety free.
Barry’s potential job offer in OKC fell through, so we won’t be moving as of right now.
We are optimistically looking ahead for what else God has in store for our family.

The Good with the Bad

Feeling a bit discouraged today. I finished reading Gifts and while I really enjoyed it, I have been left with a sense of sadness. Most of the stories highlight my fears and thoughts, which was a comfort. But they do not put out the fire. Instead, families reflect on their infant or toddlers….not so much into the future. (Though I must say, the stories are inspirational and positive! Some of these families…just wow! Really amazing).
I need a looking glass so I can see what the future holds. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

And I guess that’s what I’m still dealing with. I think all parents idealize motherhood. And now that my initial dreams of parenting have changed, I’ve made adjustments to what I believe life will be like.
Days of therapy, doctors and reaching milestones at Eli’s pace. I’m excited to watch him grow and develop.
But my idea is still idealized. We don’t know what he will need when he gets here. What health issues he will face. The only thing telling us that he is “different” is an amnio. Everything else is perfect.

And then BAM! Someone poops on my hopes! More stories about health problems…stories with a negative slant…pity…”I know so-and-so who is in an assisted living community…”, “They just have so many health problems.”…or so many whatever…difficulties, challenges, you name it.

To combat that, I stay in my little bubble. Barry and I went to Baby Gap to giggle over clothes and dream.  I drank some orange juice so I could rub Eli when he squirmed and kicked (my favorite!!) And I looked at noahsdad.com to get a glimpse of life with an infant.
And really I guess that is all I can do right now.

Lord, I am not skilled to understand You will. Give me grace and strength as I face the ignorance of others and attempt to shield my son and my heart from the harshness of this world.

Positive Thoughts!!!!!!!!!

In other news not related to my fears (which I don’t think will go away for a long time) I have another sinus infection. I think its mostly pregnancy congestion but its to the point where I can’t breathe. Its so thick!! When sitting or laying down, I’m a mouth-breather! And I can’t taste anything at all 😦 It recently turned infected and tried to move into my chest. So I’m on more antibiotics….again.

What else?…..we have gotten a TON of compliments on Eli’s name! We are certainly excited about it and we know everyone will like the name regardless. But it truly has everyone buzzing with excitement and us puffed up proudly. Hehe
Picking a name is hard work- big responsibility!

OH!!! The biggest and best thing that happened this week- our super duper awesome Home Group surprised us with a baby shower for Eli!! It was so sweet! 🙂 Normally everyone kind of trickles in around 7, but no one had shown up yet. Then the doorbell rings and Barry is greeted with a huge HELLO!!! from all our friends! It was so unexpected and we feel very loved. The ladies in our group are super crafty so I knew the stuff waiting for Eli was going to be awesome. Hand-made burp cloths, decorations and tasty treats! I am very spoiled and have the best friends. 🙂

So much to be thankful for! 🙂 With friends and family like this, I know we can do anything.