Wednesday, December 10, 2014

how to deal, how to heal, and how to help

Once upon a time, I thought I would document this entire journey on the blog.  Then, as things progressed, they felt too personal to tell the world, and I felt the need to keep them safe in my heart.  Now, I feel the need to tell you, not for documentation, but because so many people love us and want to help us.  After a lot of prayer and at the advice of some wise people in my life, I'm going to share our story.  This is a letter to our baby that I wrote.  It tells the first part.

Part One:
Dear Baby,
You're here!  You're on Earth!  Holy cow. This has been the most whirlwind year of my life!  Even more than 2006 when me and Daddy got married!  Daddy and I were approved on July 16th after a lot of work.  We waited and checked our e-mail multiple times a day, and then, one day, it came. 
On September 15, I was talking to Daddy on his way home from work and I got a notification on my phone.  I thought it was probably spam, so I opened my e-mail and saw it was from a real girl.  That's when the garage door opened and Daddy got home just in time.  I said, "Hurry in, we got an e-mail!!!!!!!"  It was S.  This is what it said:

Hello, my name is S and I ran into your profile and I would love to meet you two and get to know you better. I am seventeen and about 2 months along. I want for this baby what i cant give them and you two seem perfect for it. Chelsi, I too love ballet and would love for (if its a girl) this baby to be in dance classes. That would be my dream is to give this baby the life that i could never have. I am not in a position right now to raise a child even though I wish I could, so I would love to get to know you guys better and through you two give this baby everything they deserve. Thank you so very much for having such a warm heart enough to adopt. I am so very excited to get to know you better. Thank you again, your hopeful birthmother, S.
I couldn't breathe.  We had smiles so big it hurt.  We did some detective work to make sure S was legit, and then we wrote her back.  The journey started.  We wrote each other back and forth for about three weeks.  (I am planning on putting the emails in a book for you.)  Finally, on October 4th, we met S and her boyfriend in person at iHop.  I was so nervous, but Daddy was FREAKING out.  Who would've thought I'd be the calmer one?  We fell in love instantly.  She was a lot more reserved than I expected, but we felt a strong connection. 

Then, on October 16th we went to S's house for dinner.  She wore a cute green dress and red lipstick and curled her hair. She looked so beautiful.  She made dinner herself and we had popovers and chips and salsa. We'd been there for forever and still hadn't talked about you.  I was going crazy, and so was Daddy.  He finally asked, "How are you feeling about us?"  "Fantastic!" she said.  I couldn't resist.  I said, "Can I ask an awkward question?  Are you still looking at other couples?"  She teared up a little and said, "I don't think I need to."  "Really?"  I squeaked out.  I don't remember what she said.  Maybe she didn't say anything.  We stood in her little kitchen in front of her mom and your daddy and just hugged and cried for like 10 minutes.  It was one of the best moments of my life, with you right in-between us, where you belong. 

I love you so much, baby.  I love S so much.  We talk almost every day and we are going shopping with Grandma.  Sometimes I still can't believe you're inside of her little tummy.  I am preparing for you, as I finally can.  I'm reading articles about sleep training and newborns and nurseries and baby registries and I even have a secret one that I can finally add to without feeling like a crazy person.  Because you'll be here!!  In 6 months, you will be in this room.  Finally.  I can't wait to see you.  I love you.

After she told us, she gave us an ultrasound pic.  She was planning on telling us on Halloween with the picture and a card that said, "Congrats, your little devil is on the way!"  We left the house and in her driveway, Spencer picked me up and we spun in circles and cried.  We decided that we were too turned up to go home, (we listened to that turn down for what song) ;) and so we decided to go to Applebee's for a late dessert, cause it was like eleven at night! Our waiter came and we showed him the ultrasound and told him we were having a baby.  We went to Target and bought the baby a lovie to celebrate.  We called our moms and then went home and made love.

We waited two weeks to tell everyone, but I couldn't resist and I told my best friends.  I was on cloud nine.  I had resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't have play dates and mom friends and my kids wouldn't have cousins their ages.  All of my friends and sisters are done having kids.  But my niece was born in June, and my other sister just announced she was pregnant!  I'd always felt so left out; not to any fault of theirs.  But now, we'd all have babies the same age.  To make matters even better, two of my best friends had babies and one announced she was pregnant too.  I was in dismay that all of my dreams were coming true.  We told our families on Halloween. We went to an adoption Halloween party for our area and everyone was so excited for us.  I met my long-time Internet friend in person at the party and she gave me exciting tips and advice and gift ideas.  I had a blanket made for S.  It was the best month of my life.

S broke up with her boyfriend a few weeks later.  He wanted to join the marines and wanted her to go with him and go to college online, but she wanted to have a real college experience and stay in Utah to pursue her dreams.  I was so proud of her for taking control of her own life.  We went shopping on the 15th and bought a bunch of maternity clothes and a dress for her to wear to the Nutcracker and in our Christmas card picture, where we planned to announce our adoption.   We had so much fun shopping and trying on clothes and talking.  My mom loved her as much as I do and I had to really reign her in afterward from buying her a million and one presents like every, single, day.

Part Two:

On the 19th we got a call from our caseworker asking us to come in.  My mom was freaked out and I kept telling her to calm down-- We probably just had to sign some papers.  I had YW in Excellence that night so I told my caseworker we'd drop by before.  When we saw our caseworker, her face was...devastated.  I asked if everything was okay and she said she wasn't sure and went to go get the office manager.  Immediately, we asked if S was okay, and she said, "She's fine...she's just...having some thoughts."  I immediately started sobbing.  For the next hour or two, we found out that S was thinking about parenting the baby and had told her caseworker.  The very moment we were in that meeting, S was touring college campuses in Southern Utah.  I was/am so confused.  We were in denial, sure that her caseworker had gotten something wrong.  They recommended that we wait a day or so for her to tell us.  Needless to say, I didn't go to YWs.  We went home and cried and cried.  The next day I texted S and asked her.  She said that things were getting very real and she just needed time to come to terms with everything.

I cried every single day for two weeks, sometimes so hard I'd throw up.  Getting out of bed was an enormous task.  I had horrible nightmares every night, that is, when I actually slept.  Everything felt so overwhelming.  I shut my office door (the nursery) and couldn't bear to even look at it.  I couldn't do anything but lay on the couch and watch TV, and barely. One day an episode of Sex and the City came on where the same thing happens to Charlotte and Harry and I threw my laundry basket at the TV and screamed so loud I thought I'd rip my vocal chords.  My mom would come and get me and take me with her to run errands to distract me.  I don't know how Spencer went to work.  Sometimes he'd come home and we'd both freak out and need to leave.  It was hard to be here.  Everything was hard.  Breathing was hard.  I knew I needed to put Christmas decorations up, that it would make me feel better, but it felt so overwhelming.  My sweet mom came over and helped me do it.  My friends in Yws brought me a picture of Christ and my visiting teacher brought me flowers.  I held on to everything I could wrap my mind around and fought not to give up.

Last Thursday, on a night we freaked out and couldn't stand to be in the house, we were shopping at Farmington Station when S cancelled going to the Nutcracker and told us she needed some space.  I found a deserted bench and bawled my eyes out.

I'm not sure how to put my feelings into words.  I am not just grieving the loss of a baby, but the loss of someone I love dearly.  I love her so much.  I miss her so, so much.  It's hard not to text her or send her pins that remind me of her.  It's like a really bad break up.  I have to fight the urge to call her and pour my heart out to her.  Breakup songs make sense again.  I had so many plans for us.  She had so many plans for herself.  I know she felt the confirmation of our Heavenly Father.  I KNOW it...and that she is denying it breaks my heart.  I worry about her.  About her heartache, about how she's feeling, about her life if she parents this baby.

And the baby...I can only describe my feelings about that loss as a kind of disbelief.  It's almost like my arms feel like I'm holding a ghost.  Something that was there and now if gone.  Sometimes I feel numb, which is preferable.  Sometimes I feel a panic that I can't describe.  Sometimes I feel such despair it's like my body is screaming because my heart has been ripped from my chest and it physically hurts.  I understand how people die from a broken heart.

Part Three:
I have a confession.  We didn't watch all of conference.  We still have one sesh in our DVR.  One Sunday I skipped church because, well, church is hard when you want to be a parent.  Our church is centered on the family, and when you feel like yours has poofed into thin air, it's hard not to race to the bathroom and hyperventilate during Sunday School.  So, that Sunday I decided to watch that last session of conference.  Elder Scott gave a talk about how to use the Atonement to navigate trials.  I had been praying to my Father in Heaven to help me understand how to give my trials to Christ.  I've never understood how to do that.  I know He knows exactly how I am feeling and He loves me and has a plan for me, but I've never understood how He can take my pain away beyond repentance.  How does it work when you haven't sinned?  I know everything will be okay in the end, but how do I survive in the meantime?  It was like Elder Scott was like, "Okay Chels, this is what you do:"  I listened to it three times and took notes.  Here is Elder Scott's four-step plan:

1) Choose to converse with our Heavenly Father often.
           Share with him everything.  From the important to the most mundane. Share with him your full range of feelings and experiences. When you speak with him and include him in every aspect of your daily life your heart will be able to find peace, buoyant peace. That peace with focus and eternal light on those struggles it will help you to manage those challenges from and eternal perspective.  (Those two sentences are my favorite part!) Have family prayer. 

2) Study the word of god in the Scriptures
         We talk in prayer, He talks through his written word.  Study and ponder them.  Scripture study is an integral part of your daily life.  Choose to take time to study them.  Feasting on the word of God is more important than SLEEP etc.  Reorganize your priorities. DO IT!  As you dedicate time personally with your family to study God's word, peace WILL come into your life, not from the outside, but from within through the spirit. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all will be made right according to God's timing. 

3) Weekly family home evening. 
        Decide on Monday night your family will be at home.  Do not let anything else become more important.  Make it meaningful.  Bare testimony, develop family traditions, to talk to each other, and to have fun with each other. These practices take away stress, give direction to our lives and add protection to our homes. 

4) Go to the Temple.
          Schedule a regular time to being in the temple.  Don't let anyone or anything prevent you from being there.  There are no more peaceful places on the face of this Earth. While your in the temple, listen to the words of the ordinances and ponder and pray about them to understand their meanings.  There we will come to understand the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Seek him there.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to overcome your challenges. 

It's so simple, right?  I thought back to High School and how I made it through that difficult time.  I didn't really have anyone, so I didn't just lean on my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, but I immersed myself in the gospel.  I never went a day without pouring my heart out to my Father, or really studying the scriptures.  Seminary was the most engaging and looked-forward to part of my day.  I fulfilled my callings as Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel class presidency and Seminary Counsel.  I served others as president of a service club.  Every day I filled my life with the spirit of my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  That's how I made it.  Between all of that, plus work and AP and CP classes, I have never had a busier time in my life and I still did it.  There is time now. There is a need now.  That is how I will make it through this.  I know how, I just didn't realize it.

We are going to make it through this, and we know Heavenly Father will make us parents, whether that is through our beloved S in April, or through another birthmother, but we are having to do a hard reset.  This year has been one of the hardest of my life, between my grandmother dying so unexpectedly, to racing to be approved only to be unchosen.  We are researching different agencies and funding options since LDSFS is closing.  Our hearts are heavy and our minds are burdened.  Please pray for us.  Please pray for S. Please spread the word of our adoption and help us find our baby.  Please check up on us.   Please don't give up on us.


mommy princess said...

Thank you for sharing this personal part of your story. I'm so far away and I never quite feel in the loop. I'm so sorry for your pain. I'm also very proud of you for not giving up. Never forget, you are loved! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

Oh Chelsi. I am so sorry. I feel like things like losing loved ones (in all its many ways) are especially tragic because we manufacture an entire universe where we see our lives with these people, in a thousand different ways. It is real. We just have to wait for the turn of the earth to meet up with the imaginary lives we have already built in our minds and are anticipating living. But when the real world changes, suddenly, that entire universe that you created is gone. Not just a loved one is gone and things are different, but that whole world that you laid in bed thinking about, or believed when you shopped for items to make those dreams real, is gone. I am so sorry for your pain and loss, and all that means. You will find your baby. I believe that.

Kari said...

All I have in response are sounds. No words, just sounds. Sad, sad sounds. And a cyber hug. I'll be praying for you and S. I'm so sorry you've lost them both. Hopefully it's just temporary.