Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Size 1

Nope, not talking about my jean size in that title...I probably never fit in a size 1--I'm a real life woman, not an airbrushed one. No, size 1 is not my jean size...I'm talking about the size of diaper the director asked us to bring down for our little sweet Nora.

Size 1.

For those of you not in the world of diapers yet or have been long gone from them, let me remind you that a size 1 diaper basically fits over your hand. Seriously.

For some reason as my mama-heart read that email this morning, it skipped a beat. I have seen these gorgeous photos of my little girl these last few weeks and have cherished them so much, but a picture doesn't truly help you grasp just how tiny she really is. We haven't heard how much she weighs or how long she is or anything a normal new parent knows when they have their own baby. We just know she is almost 2 months old, she's beautiful, she's in a size 1 diaper, and she's ours. Reality of hearing she needs diapers that small brought me to tears this morning. My precious little girl is so tiny still.

It's hard for me to put into words what it feels like to know God has purposed and planned for me to have a child that I did not birth myself. I could give you a play-by-play account of each of our children's births. I could tell you exactly what I was feeling when they came into the world...

With Lily I was feeling SUPER exhausted, hot, and relieved that labor was finally over (2 weeks late, 2 inductions with labor over the course of 2 days, and 3 hours of pushing--can you say stubborn!) I think back to those first moments as a mom and I laugh because I truly didn't have a complete mother's heart then. They put her up on my chest for that wonderful bonding moment and I left her there for just a short time before I told them she was SO heavy and hot and I wanted her off please. : ) I was still very focused on myself--and I was literally shaking with exhaustion. It wasn't a great labor experience but I still walked away feeling so blessed to have birthed her with no pain meds and to have a beautiful 8 lb. 5 oz. baby girl.

With Toby, I was happy. He came late too, but not as late as Lily and with no induction--which is a HUGE difference if you don't know that already. His total labor was 3 hours--the same amount of time of simply pushing for Lily. Crazy! It was a more chaotic scene for Toby...I remember my hands beginning to tingle and having to blow into my hands so I would calm down a bit. I remember them asking me to not push again yet because they had to suck his mouth out...What!?! He's half way out and you DON'T want me to push!?! I also will never forget the first time I laid eyes on him--he was NOT what we were expecting. We expected a dark-haired, dark-eyed, darker complected, 8-9 lb boy (because they always say each kid goes up in pounds from your first). Nope. Not even close. Our bleach-blonde-haired (what little of it he had), blue-eyed, as pale as they come, 7 lb. 15 oz. baby boy was beautiful. The first boy on both sides of our family since Micah. A special, special moment.

And then there is Quinn. He, like his brother, was also slightly late, but came naturally as well. His labor--one of peace. Three hours long and obviously labor so it was WORK, but it was nothing like the other two...his was actually enjoyable and calm and so incredibly wonderful. If I could skip the 9 months of pregnancy and just have births like Quinn's then I probably would have had more! : ) Although Quinn's labor was the "easiest" he was the biggest--9 lbs. 2 oz. His chubby little self was about popping the snaps of his take-home outfit and he barely was in size 1 diapers at all.

I guess it's out of those memories, I find myself in awe that I have another child, but don't know what her labor story is. I will never be able to tell her what I felt when she entered the world, breathed her first breath, or how big she was. My heart hurts a little today because I can't know those details in my head and heart for her. It's just different and sometimes different is hard to take at first.

But, fortunately, what I can tell her is the day she was being born, her Daddy and I were traveling to a volleyball game with friends of ours who have adopted (and are again adopting) and we talked extensively about it all. We shared our dreams for these children, tips on fundraising, what it will be like to have our children grow up in the same church together being a different skin color than their parents, and how much we wish the time could go by faster to get them home. Even though I wasn't birthing her that day, and I didn't have a clue it was the day she was being born, my heart and conversations were still with her in mind that day. I can tell her the moment we heard there was a chance she was coming to the orphanage, her Daddy and I sat on the couch with tears in our eyes just holding each other, excitedly re-reading the message over and over, praying prayers of "Pleeeeaaaasssseeee God, let this be our Nora", and basking in the glory of the meaning of her Haitian name (Josephine-"Jehovah increases"). I can tell her the moment I got the email from Rachel with pictures attached and an offer for us to be her parents I just lost it! With arms in the air, a massive smile on my face, and tears streaming everywhere, I said over and over, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!! Thank you God, thank you God! Oh, she's soooo beautiful!" (Toby and Quinn can someday attest to that scene--they were just laughing at me). I can tell her that even though I did not carry her in my belly for 9 months or birthed her with labor pains, I HAVE carried her in my heart for a long time now and I have gone through labor pains in this adoption process. I can tell her that from even before I knew who she was, and even before she was actually born, I loved her as only a mama can.

At the beginning of this process Micah and I said we were sort of glad these newborn stages were not necessarily going to be with us. It's HARD work to care for a newborn...we've done it 3 times now and felt like we were ready to be done with that "stage". Sleepless nights, feedings all day long, diaper changes galore, spit-up smell a regular cologne on you, lullaby music a constant noise, fussiness no one can explain, etc. etc. etc. Those are not the best memories for us to be honest. There are moments when I still have those thoughts, but I must say that with every photo I receive of Nora, with every day that passes between me and the day I get to hold her for the first time, with every news I get like...she's in size 1 diapers, I re-think my original thought a little bit. If a miracle could happen and I could get her today, I'd do it in a heartbeat because now that those 3 other little miracles I birthed are long out of size 1 diapers, I find myself missing that "stage" more than I thought I would.

In a few more short weeks, you can be sure I will cherish our 4 days with Nora. Instead of 4 months of watching her grow and develop and live as an infant, I have 4 days. That's all I've got. 4 days to see my little girl in size 1 diapers. Instead of dwelling on how hard that is and will be, instead of dwelling on the frustrations of the lengthy process that keeps her in Haiti, instead of dwelling on how much I will miss out on in her early year of life, I will choose to cherish these upcoming 4 days with her. I will hold her little, size 1 diapered self in my arms and remember it for the rest of my life. I will remember so when she is a little older, I can sit her on my lap again and tell her everything I was thinking and feeling holding her in my arms for the very first time....and it will be worth every minute of this process.

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