Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hunkering Down



Well, tomorrow is May 15, my due date. Things are getting kind of... how shall I put it?... intense... around here. We are bracing for what is about to come. We are so ready for this baby.

The photo above was taken in early September when we were at Assateague Island (see posts from September 4). It was an incredibly great weekend for our family. Just incredibly, incredibly great. By the end of the weekend we were all rejuvenated and exhausted at the same time. I remember sleeping in the car for over three hours straight on the drive home -- the boys were sleeping too -- but Braydon and I thought it was so odd (very, very rare) for me to be so sound asleep for so long in the car. Little did we know then that I was pregnant. What a surprise when we found out the following weekend -- on Saturday night, September 8 -- from a store-bought pregnancy test, that we were going to have a baby. I had been dragging and queasy and feeling funky all week. Braydon bought the test on a whim thinking, 'could she be pregnant????' But neither of us really thought it could be. But it was. Talk about shocking! We were totally and completely utterly shocked. And now, nine months later, here we are. Hunkering down, trying to hold strong together, just waiting for her arrival.

The picture of K & O above portrays perfectly to me what it feels like they're doing right now. When I think about what they're going through, I think about this photo in my mind. They are so anxious and so excited and so nervous and so full of anticipation about this huge life event that is about to unfold. In the face of it they pull together, sit tight, and face the wave head-on. The past few days they've been on edge-- Kyle, especially, has been melting down left and right. They are just little bundles of raw nerves and emotions, so ready for this waiting-for-Baby-Sister phase to be done. So ready for her to, as they put it, "come out." In the past 24 hours we've been talking about it a lot with them. They verbalize many, many things about their feelings. They're frustrated that she's not born yet; they're worried she won't be born; they're worried she won't be able to "really be theirs" when she's born; they're worried Mommy and Papi won't be their Mommy and Papi anymore after she's born; they're nervous about the baby breast feeding; they're nervous about Papi feeding the baby a bottle; they're anxious about Mommy having to be in the hospital; they're frustrated that they don't know how much longer it will be; they're excited about the baby coming soon; they're "super excited" about bringing the baby home; they're jealous that their friend at school now has his baby sister and they don't have theirs yet; they feel like they "can't wait any more" and they feel like "it is taking too long." Talking about it really seems to help. The more we talk about it, the calmer and more even-keeled our emotionally charged boys are. So we talk about it. A lot. Mostly, though, I just see and sense their inner selves hunkering down. None of us know -- really -- what this new chapter will bring. It is so unknown for all of us. But for K & O especially, it is so very unknown. They are so incredibly excited and wanting this, but so incredibly bracing for whatever it may be too. Not really knowing. It is just like that photo above. They so love the splash and salt and rush and strength and full-sensation of that big wave crashing over them. They anticipate face-forward and eyes wide open the power of it, the adventure, the excitement, the drama, the life-force of it. They pull tight together in anticipation -- their natural instinctive and learned reaction to all such things. And yet there they sit, two tiny little guys, amidst the hugeness of it all, the gravity of it, everything swirling around them, two little souls, trying to hold steady on shifting ground, just hoping that Mommy and Papi are right there behind them. But not turning back. They are so strong and so fragile all at once. They are so individual and so united all at once. They are so full of all that is good, hard, blissful, and scary in life... all at once. And the wave crashes on them. And they scream with thrill and squint their eyes and spit out the salt and run back to hunker down for the next wave.

It does feel now that Baby Sister will come at any moment. The physical signs are all there (according to me and my doctor). The emotion of it is in full swing, clearly. And Braydon and I are hunkering down too. It feels imminent. It feels scary. It feels content. It feels intense. It feels certain and uncertain. I remember when we looked at that pregnancy test in September and it was -- shockingly -- positive. We were in our bedroom and the boys were asleep in their beds. My first reaction was to realize that tears were springing from my eyes. I was surprised at myself because they were tears of sheer happiness. My very first conscious thought was, "Yes, this is exactly right, now our family will be complete." The thought surprised me. I can't explain why I would have that feeling. But I still do. This feels like the completing of our family. No matter how unplanned or how illogical... or how unusual our family will be... this will -- at least for as far as our minds' eyes can see -- complete our family. This big wave is about to hit. We hunker down and wait. So much uncertainty swirls around us. Only two things are for certain: life for us four is about to get even more rich, and this little baby is going to have quite an interesting life.

21 comments:

JYS said...

It's sounds like you're getting very close! What an amazing time for all of you! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Heather,

You might be surprised to know how many of us there are waiting eagerly to hear of Baby Sister's arrival. Personally, I think about it almost once an hour and am cheering for you, all of you. You must be so excited!

Gail

Ani said...

Once again your way with words have touched my heart. I hope Baby Sister's arrival is easy and fast and you can (finally!) introduce her to those amazing big brothers.
My thoughts are with you. All the best.

Anonymous said...

we are counting down with you guys! this is a very exciting!!!!!

xoxo
lori

Mom to 3 said...

I love that picture!!!

Heather, you look gorgeous being so close to your due date. I know how uncomfortable you must be, but you look amazing.

I am checking your blog a few times every day just hoping to see the big announcement.

I can totally relate to your post. Our twins were a total surprise pregnancy. I thought I was dragging and feeling off because we had just moved across the country. Lo and behold, I was pregnant with the twins! What a shocker.

We were a wonderfully happy family before their arrival, but as you said, now we are complete.

All my best to you. I can't wait to see the pictures of the boys with baby sister!!

Mark and Sarah said...

I am inspired by your patience and willingness to talk all of your boys' emotions through...what amazing parents you are. We eagerly await news of Baby Sister's arrival. Thank you for allowing us a bird's eye view as we follow along with your adventurous life!

Anonymous said...

Dear Heather and Braydon,

When I was about to go into labor I was very scared and I thought, oh my gosh this baby is coming out, one way or another. I had NO control over the situation.

My very wise, practical, down-to- earth Mom said to me with a smile, "Hey do you think if it was so bad there would be all these people in the world?"

Made alot of sense to me.

As Gail says...all of us (your extended family) are thinking about you.

Carol

Story of our Life said...

Your description of K and O is sooo much like what my Aunt J has expressed the last few weeks (month) of her twins. Specifically, one of the girls has been much more 'needier' than usual. As the due date came and went so did the raw emotion and nerves - of everyone involved.

When I spoke to J this morning she said "Emma has grown up overnight. I can't believe the difference."

Congrats!! I'm soooo happy and excited for you.

Nina said...

Would you have adopted if you had a biological child(ren) first? Because the 'complete' comment sounds like you don't really think kyle and owen were enough. You could have said that you were estatic/happy about the new arrival but you choose to use the word 'complete' meaning adopted kids don't feel like a real family.

As an adopted child I don't know if I'm projecting my own fears but it just made me sad.

Please don't take offense -- I don't expect this to be published just sharing my thoughts.

Candis said...

Really enjoyed what you shared in this post--it will probably be the last long one for awhile--hehheh.
My sis-in-law is due in July, and we are the designated hitters for our three-year old nephew when she heads for the hospital. We were just thinking we might not make it to PA for the Haitian reunion if she "blows" that weekend. I hope not because the Peanut would love to meet Ky n' Ow-anne.
Best wishes for a safe and (relatively) painless delivery. May all your hopes and effort bear fruit.

C-

Holli said...

Beautiful.

Not only am I waiting for your announcement that she is here and her name but I am waiting for the updated picture of the boys at 4 sitting by the tree.:)

Amanda said...

Happy Due Date! May today be the day!

Amanda said...

Happy Due Date! May today be the day!

Heather said...

I need to respond to Nina's comment ---

Dear Nina,
You have misunderstood my words about our family feeling "complete" with the addition of a third child. I want to explain, because I can see this has caused you some angst. As an adopted child yourself I can imagine some of the thoughts/fears/sadness/confusion that you must feel. There is a lot of background to this. I will try to give you a glimpse here. I have written a small bit about it on this blog in the past. For example, see the post here:

http://johnson-mccormickfamily.blogspot.com/2007/08/open-book-answers-part-4-by-heather.html

Braydon and I never tried to get pregnant before adopting Kyle and Owen. In fact, I was on 'the pill' the entire time we were deciding to adopt, adopting, and all through the past many years (including when I got pregnant!! - it was *very* unplanned!). Braydon and I were committed to adopting regardless of whether or not we ever had biological children some day. Adoption was our first choice. We adopted before ever even trying to get pregnant. Kyle and Owen have been the purest joys and hugest miracles of our lives. Adopting them was the absolute best thing we have ever done with our lives. They have made us the happiest and most contented parents on the planet. But long before we were ever even married Braydon and I knew that we wanted three kids someday. We both come from two-kid families, and we both KNEW without any doubt that we wanted to have THREE (not one, not two) children -- for lots and lots of reasons on many levels. While adopting Kyle and Owen we knew that we'd have a third someday. That was our plan. However, since we adopted Kyle and Owen we have deeply questioned our desires to have three kids -- simply because Kyle and Owen have seemed like the PERFECT children for us and we have often thought we should just stay with two since it has been so PERFECT. (Plus, it is a ton of work! And we were questioning whether we could handle three!!!) But there has always been a nagging little sense that we're supposed to have three. We can't explain it. It makes no rational 'sense', but it is a FEELING that we've had all along. We have always felt that three children would complete our family. Because of our incredible experience with adoption, and because of our moral and spiritual and philosophical beliefs/values, we have very seriously considered adopting a third. In the summer of 2006 we seriously explored domestic adoption, contacting many agencies, etc. And over the past couple of years we have also very seriously considered trying to get pregnant too. We have spent countless hours discussing the options and trying to figure out what we wanted to do. In the end, we never actually made the official decision, because this pregnancy 'just happened' without our planning. In a huge way, this has been a blessing to us -- because we were so conflicted about it that we really might never have been able to make a concrete decision ourselves. It does feel to us that adding a third child "completes" our family -- it completes our dreams of what our family would be. It has absolutely nothing to do with adopted vs. biological children. I am 100% positive that if we were in the process of adopting a third right now that we'd feel the same sense of "completeness" about it. I hope this explains to you where we stand.

I do have to tell you that I am offended by you saying that it seems that "Kyle and Owen were not enough." I know you don't mean to offend, and I know you have your own personal issues going on here, but I am a MAMA BEAR and I don't like anyone saying such things about my baby boys!!! They are my precious pride and joys -- my dreams come true -- my heart and soul and mind -- and they are more than enough (more than anything I've ever deserved or dreamed of) plus a whole lot more! Our reasoning for having a third has nothing to do with them not being enough! My boys are the whole world to me and then some. :) I am sure that your folks feel the same way about you.

I thank you for your comment. I know we have lots of adopted kids who read this blog. And by your comment you allowed me to be sure to explain exactly where we -- as adoptive parents -- stand on this. Thank you Nina!!

Email me anytime at hbj 2 @ lehigh . edu (no spaces).

Love to you and all the other adopted kids who are reading,
Heather

Nina said...

^Thank you for the response and not being offended. I never meant anything personally just trying to understand because I would never ask those questions to my parents...it felt safter asking an anonymouse stranger :)

My mom was considered 'infertile' when she adopted me and I was told that both my parents always wanted to adopt a lot of kids. Four years after I came home my mother became pregnant with my sister and after that had 2 other children. They never adopted again. It just makes me feel a little insecure (not that I EVER FOR A MINUTE doubted my parent's love). I would never hurt them by asking them that question but sometimes like a bad thought it comes stays for a while.

Thank you for your response. I love your blog and you two seem like fabulous parents. I wish you five all the very best in life.

I really appreciate the time you took to answer me.

Nina said...

P.S. I am really sorry!!!

Cindy said...

This is really exciting, Heather! Wow! I understand what you meant by "complete". It's another baby, another family member, of course she completes you all. Just like she would have if she were arriving through adoption. No need to make her feel like an outsider just because she's ariving via your womb and not by plane.

I do feel, however, that too many adopters (I'm not referring to you!) poo-poo DNA for fear of insulting their own families and adopted children. DNA IS important, just like the DNA that came from their bio family and fills your sweet baby boys is important, the DNA from you an B running through baby girl is also important; just not MORE important. Just thougt I'd pawn my philosphy off on you, not that you needed it.

You obvioulsy can't love these boys anymore than is humanly possible and there's no hint whatsoever that baby girl completes you *more*; just completes. Every child should feel that luxury within their families. Yet it's ok to feel peeved, Nina, you have a right to feel anything you want. :)

--Cindy (triplet mama)

Heather said...

Hi again Nina! I'm so glad that you felt you could ask us (especially since you feel like you can't talk about it with your parents). I *totally* get it why you don't feel you can talk openly w/ your folks about these things. I am so glad that you felt you could post your comment here -- and I'm so glad you did! Thanks so much for reading. I know there are a bunch of adopted kids/teens/twenty-somethings reading our blog, so I'm sure your thoughts represent that of more than just you. And as an adoptive mom, it is *really* eye-opening and special for me to be able to get to hear your perspective(s). It helps me to think through some of what K & O might go through when they are old enough to start to question all of these things.
Lots of love,
Heather

Chapter Two Manmi said...

Heather & Braydon,
I'm so excited for you and feel just a teeny-tiny bit of the expectation you must as I rush to your blog for news every day. I'm praying over your labor & delivery, for K&O, for baby sister...and look forward to reading she has arrived at long last. Oh, I really look forward to your posts about K&O's first reactions to meeting their baby sis too.
p.s. I remembered her name the other day after seriously racking my brain; I think I was particularly lucky to hear it when we visited with the Waters a few months ago. I won't tell.
Many blessings!

Malia'sMama said...

Waiting for the big moment, and wishing you true happiness in all that is to come! Bondye beni bèl fanmi ou!

Candis said...

Is it soup yet????? I tell 'ya I can't take much more of this stress. The waiting for a phone call from K & O is killing me ;-)

Candis