September 24, 2009

2 Shades of Pink Story: The Conclusion


Well, I can tell you I went through quite the 9 month bloom as I fondly call it. I got BIG! Gained 55 pounds in fact. I justify this ridiculous venture to a 5 year culmination of the intense desire to be pregnant and my chronic cravings for sandwiches. Which I satisfied each day with a grand finale of 2 nightly ice cream sandwiches...because they were sandwiches. So watch that belly grow...

Those are my size 6 jeans that were falling off me...due to being bestowed with absolutely no derriere. FYI...thought I looked huge in this picture. Oh, to be insecure like I was then...

Look at Cati's short little body and hair. And look at the tummy that was not there and I was ashamed to even take this picture that day.

What am I seeing here? I mean, there is a little hump sticking out but come on!!!!

Woo HOOOOOOOOOOOO...a belly. I totally forgot Cati was always in the mirror pics. That is her pretending a calculator is a phone while checking her tonsils out. Or her tongue. What is she doing?

Wow. This camera is awful! I need suggestions on a good camera! Belly is definitely making appearances.

WHOA! Hello preggo! No need for the baby with downward pointing arrow to indicate pregnancy. Never had one BTW. My big, fat mouth told everyone standing within 2 feet.

Awwwww. Was so depressed I bought my first SIZE LARGE maternity shirt. I seriously think I would not fit in it now.

Hello BULLET BELLY! It literally came to point. Yikes. And I had bigger worries than my first large shirt. Sheesh...knock off the ice cream sandwiches girl and eat some sugar free jello.

OK, how was I still standing? I think this is 39 weeks. How funny is Cati cracking herself up holding her back and imitating me?

So that was my bloom. I would show you the ultrasound pics but we have all seen them and know what they look like. The 6 week one I cried because I had so many ultrasounds with no black oval with something in it. Seeing that little baby with the bigger than life heartbeat took my breath away and I cried and cried and cried. When I saw her at 12 weeks I was just so happy seeing her do a karate kid impression to the side of my uterus. I was pregnant. So happy.

Meanwhile, the adoption process officially began in about April of that year. We had to fill out all the same paperwork that we did when we became foster parents. Or so we thought. We actually did not have to. But we did it. And it draaaaaaaagged on. We were just so ready to have Cati officially be our daughter.
That summer, Ella was born.
This is the exact look she gave me when she checked out of Jessica's Womb. She lost all that dark hair. I was so sad. And she was predicted to be 8 or 8.5 lbs. Here is proof that doctors can be wrong. Was I ever grateful.
Minutes after giving birth...I look like I just gave birth. Hey, what if that was the way people told you that you are not looking so good..."Oh, honey you look like you just gave birth."

Another one of God's way of illustrating His intimate mindfulness of details...look at 2 Shades of Pink Story: Part 4. Find the picture of Cati in the first minutes she came home. The look on my face is almost identical. I can only assume it is the smile reserved only for the first moments I hold my little girls.

My hubby is the strong silent type but when he saw his daughter during her evacuation, I think the man was 2 moments shy of cardiac arrest when he saw her cone head...he had no clue this was normal. Bless his heart.

Not one person saw her take home outfit (aside from my hubby and me) actually on her person so I included this...and you still can't see it.

Ella now!

After 23 hours of labor I was pretty sure that was my first and last time I was experiencing that particular rite of passage. Um, babies sorta hurt coming out. A lot. I guess when your epidural initially numbs the left side of your body to the point your eyelid droops, it makes doctors a bit wary to give me more than a loading dose. Due to this, I had a pretty numb labor until I got to the end. You know, the time where it hurts the most with no meds. So when Ella starting her journey through a canal that has to be as long as the Mississippi River for how long it took, I would say I was a tad uncomfortable.

She popped out and never went to sleep again. For like 3 months. I endured a baby who enjoyed 10 hours of awake time, who gave a cold shoulder to my breasts for food, who cried all the time, and all during a time that I was unknowingly going through post partum depression. Had no idea until one day I had a panic attack and I mistook it for some kind of heart attack. I had been dealing with ridiculous anxiety where I was scared to leave the house and I don't think I ventured outside for more than 5 minutes for about 7 weeks. I was so scared and felt impending doom was going to descend upon me at any moment. What a frightening experience. Had no idea this was PPD. No desire to hurt Ella or me. I just felt like I was losing my mind every second of the day. I really believed I could not hack it with 2 kids. This was not the case but I was clueless. Post partum happened to other people. Not me. Not after so many years of wanting to be a mom and be pregnant.

I never factored in how I idealized this experience to the point of fantasy. I never considered that most people are pregnant for the first time with their first child...not their second. I never knew epidurals sometimes don't work and the ring of fire is putting it nicely. I never thought breast feeding was that hard. Even when everyone said it was. I thought taking a class was all I needed to do. I thought babies slept 18 hours a day like Cati did. I thought 2 kids was what everyone endeavored to have and maybe even more. I wanted 4! Do you see the past tense there? Though God is just hilarious in how he determines how that will play out. In all honestly, we don't feel done but the prospect of getting pregnant now is frightening. I really had no idea what was in store. None. And to my currently preggo peeps with your second gets sooooooo much easier and you will do beautifully. I am just a basket case.

So the initial months were hard. Really, really hard. I had no idea how to bond to this screaming infant and I honestly felt like a failure as a mother. I felt so connected and bonded to Cati yet this screaming little bundle was a quandary to me. Oh I loved her. But that connection, that invisible cord that enables mothers to take one glance and get instantly hooked on love for their baby was not there. What was wrong with me? Did I not appreciate this enough? Was I so self possessed? Nope. Just suffering from PPD, an affliction people don't talk about enough, give enough merit to, and do not deal with. My doctor's answer was Xanax which tranquilized me instead of make me feel normal. Twice I tried and both times I had scary complications. Finally, I fell on my face and said "GOD! I cry out to you and have to believe you for healing!" And praise be the miracles kept coming. He set me free. I kid you not, from that moment on the PPD dissipated without any meds. It was gradual but I was relying on the strength of God and it was my lifeline. I never took meds again.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. Psalm 115:1

In November, our family became complete. On the 9th, the Adoptions case manager came over and we signed the official papers to make Cati our legal daughter. We changed her name to match my middle name which was so meaningful to give her a family name.

Our first ever family picture (who all share the same last name)

On November 14, we adopted Cati on National Adoption Day. What a sweet, wonderful, incredible, long awaited moment to make her our daughter.
This pic is us walking out of the courthouse. This balloon has a whole other story behind it but we will save that for another day. But this was a sweet picture of a day we prayed and longed for.

I wish I had this amazing conclusion for you. This earthquake like proclamation of the goodness of the Lord. I wanted to go out with a bang and a boom but I realized something. God does that on His own and He did it with this testimony. Our testimony. Our little family saw a very BIG God do VERY BIG things. And I am so glad you came along for this ride with me to share in the miracles of my girls. I hope it encouraged you. I hope you can add it to your list when you find yourself in a storm and He requires of you to forget not all of His benefits. To remember that our God is one who deserves reverence, full and complete surrender, obedience, love and devotion, our CHILDREN, our everything. Because He is to be our all in all.

I will leave you with Psalm 113 which completes this whole testimony and why I tell it...

Praise the Lord.
Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor man from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap...
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.

~The End~


  1. I'm so glad you included those pictures. You really were beautiful pregnant. Though you may not have always felt it - these pictures tell another story. You are lovely. :-) Thank you for the scripture... and the memories. Love you! Kelly

  2. How fun this post was to read. The rest... the beginning of the story, I didn't know you yet. And when I read the part where Ella was born late that summer, I thought, "Yes! I know this part of the story!!! This is when we knew you, yey!!!" God is so good! And thanks for the disclaimer to all your friends pregnant with their second child...!!!

  3. Oh good grief... I was doing so well up until your Scripture reference at the very end! Can't type through the tears now.

    Honest to goodness, girl, your Ella and mine must be clones. I'd waited so long for a baby, and the one that came out (after 21 hours of drug-free labor, thank you very much - yikes!) didn't stop crying for the first 6 months, totally shunned my comfort, and has managed to be the biggest challenge I face as a mom EVERY DAY. Gotta love those Ellas' :)

    Thank you, thank you for telling your story. I've enjoyed reading every detail of your journey towards these 2 shades of pink. God has blessed you!

    PS - Nothing wrong w/ an additional shade of pink and perhaps a little bit of blue, if you wanna try for 4. :)

  4. Oh Jess what a beautiful love story. I am in awe of Him and what He has done in your life. Amen sister.

  5. WOW,
    Your story is amazing. Your story could be my story, only mine is stuck. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for sharing your testimony with us, with me. Your story reminds me how much God really does care for us and will see us through. I need that. (I meant to write needed, but I think need fits better.)

    (I found you through Shabby Blogs very nice write up.)

    Still Waiting...


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