Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The story Continues...

The first moment I saw Julia.
 A special prompting from my girl friend to finish Julia's story on the blog...so where did we end up? Oh yes, I had a phone call that changed our life. A daughter had been born. A baby girl. Did I mention that Clara prayed. She prayed. Every.Single.Day.For.A.Sister.  I still cry when I think about God's great mercy and lavish love on us in this small detail. Agh! A sister for my daughter. A gift I could not guarantee! But God in His great love designed this for Clara. (and for us).  Back to the story. I ran around the house screaming "It's a girl!!" I may have scared the kids. I also tried to get things ready, packed and organized but I had no order in my brain. I tried to make plans.
I tried to organize babysitting for the kids. I found myself starting one thing, like packing my bag, only to stop half way through to pack the kids bags.

Making "plans" in adoption is not recommended. Whatever you plan is going to change. And change quickly.  We went from slowly making our way to the hospital by the evening (giving Owen time to get home from work and getting the kids off to sitters) to us needing to be at the hospital immediately. Owen had moved onto mowing lawns (a side job--have I mentioned that my husband is the energizer bunny?) I called him about 12 times to no avail--but did manage to get myself a babysitter (thank you Jessica) and out the door to the hospital. I cried the minute I saw the case worker. Although I was trying to be strong and not become attached to a child that was not yet mine, my heart was already wrapped up with this baby.

I walked into the L&D ward and signed paper work where all the nurses were giving me "that look" that means they know who I am and what I am doing. More tears. I walked into the nursery and there were several babies--which one was mine? That was the weirdest feeling. ever. I walked to a corner to a very agitated baby. And they told me this was her. "Where can I wash my hands so I can hold her?" You can't hold her yet...she is being observed. Talk about ripping my heart out. I stood there with that ache. You know that ache to comfort. To rock. To shush. To hold. To love. It was awkward. I tried to win the nurses over just so I could hold her. To tell her that I was her mommy. That I would love her all my days. They did not budge. Baby girl needed to be moved to the NICU step down unit for observation. Gather my things and go to the main lobby--Owen finally figured out I was at the hospital so he high tailed it there too.

This waiting period for us to be able to hold her was also God's mercy. I was crazy thinking I would meet our child before Owen.  When in fact God already designed for us to have our first really intimate moments with her together. When Owen got to the hospital we went to the NICU. When we walked into that room the nurses and doctors treated us like we were already Julia's parents...we chose not to call her the name we had picked in the hospital--not until papers were signed!

The doctors and nurses gave us a prognosis and expectation to be in the hospital for at least six weeks.  Although I understood what they were saying, I know the God we serve and I chose to cling to the hope he had put in my heart. I told every doctor and nurse that we had 100's of people praying for this sweet little baby and that we would not be here that long...
Owen holding Julia for the first time...he looks so long--kinda like a first time daddy--but not. See the finger holding the paci in the mouth? That's an old trick of the trade!
 Regardless of time frames, I saw our time in the NICU as a honeymoon of sorts. It was not going to be just me and Julia when we got home! I soaked up every moment I could with just the two of us. We are so grateful for the friends and family who watched our kids during our stay.
Although the plan was for me to just stay for the evening, I could not stand the thought of leaving her...so I stayed. I left periodically to allow for our birth mom to come and visit on her own time by herself. We texted regularly in the hospital.
First bottle from mommy. Little did I know how much this babe liked to eat!
 Our first morning together was so sweet. I was able to meet the staff and then they set up a massage for Julia. Learning the things that would bring great comfort to her was my mission. We had some scary moments in the hospital--our birth family understandably had some doubts about letting go of this precious gift. Details are not important--and really they are private just for our families--but God had a perfect plan for peace for both  of our families.
 On Saturday morning, we had a fantastic nurse named Debbi. I will never forget her even if I never see her again. On Saturday despite some uncertainty, we decided to have Clara, Judah and Wesley come in and meet their new baby sister. The second that nurse met the other kids, she said she was going to advocate for us to get home ASAP. I could have jumped on her like a sack of potatoes and cried and hugged her! She did her job for sure. On Monday, when Debbie happed to be on shift again, the doctor walked in and said we were being discharged later that afternoon. God of wonders! Prayers were answered. God used a nurse. God used Julia to declare his Great Name!
we are outta here!
Our birth family came back to the hospital after their release and had their time of goodbye for Julia. We were blessed enough to be able to share in some of that time with them and we were able to take pictures too. I cherish those, but wont be sharing those publically.
Our physician came in and encouraged me to put this time behind me...to forget that Julia ever needed a time in the NICU...I heed that warning in some ways, but I also disregard it in others...there is no mother who forgets the details of the first days. Each time I woke in the night to feed her, comfort her, the first time she pooped, the first cry I heard, the first time I was able to comfort her as her mommy, her first bath...no I'm not going to forget that. The last time her birthparents gave her back to us...no I will NEVER forget that.

We hopped in the car and went to pick up the boys at our friends home not far from the hospital. Then we went home to meet up with Clara and introduce Julia to all the cousins. Such joy and disbelief. It's hard to put it all into words.
Julia has over come so much already in her short life. Knowing her story--the details that may never be shared--make me know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was created before the dawn of time to be a part of our family. She was created to be a Maurer. She has a purpose. She is a gift. She is treasured. She is a sister. She is a daughter. She is loved.
There is more to come from this tiny girl. Cant wait to share it here...
Meanwhile outside of our welcoming baby mode, we have had a fantastic wedding, a funeral (that was the most beautiful funeral ever) and a broken leg. There's never a dull moment at the Maurer house!