Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Baby Brother!

It's a boy! He is beautiful and healthy and we are so grateful to have another baby. Everything has happened so fast that I think I am still a bit in shock. We had 17 days from when we found out we had been chosen by a birth mother to when our son was born. Elijah Daniel Leland entered the world on July 19th and it seems our world has changed yet again.

Mark and I traveled down to Huntington, West Virginia on Sunday evening, the 18th, as we had been told that Eli's birth mother would be induced Monday morning. We left Gabriel in the capable hands of our friends, Cortney and Greg. It was really hard being away from him for four days, and we couldn't have done it without them and the many family members who have helped in caring for him or driving back and forth to see us. On Monday we sat in the waiting room for many hours without almost any information. Because of some of the details of our birth mother's situation, the hospital staff were VERY uneasy about sharing any information even when they had signed releases. We finally were told around 3pm by the hospital Social Worker, who was amazing, that it was still going to be a while before the baby was born. She advised that we take a break from sitting in the waiting room, go back to our hotel, and do something to relax. We went back to the hotel and took a nap, which was just what we both needed as we hadn't gotten much sleep the night before.

A little after 5pm our case worker, Spencer, came to our hotel to let us know what was going on. While we were napping he had arrived at the hospital and had talked to our birth mom. That morning she had asked the hospital Social Worker what her rights were for keeping the baby. This is a totally normal reaction for a birth mom. Who wouldn't hesitate to give their baby to someone else to raise? Spencer, who is fabulous at working with birth moms without pressuring them to place, came to the hospital to talk to her, see how she was feeling, and help her to understand her options. Once she had the chance to talk with him she was able to better understand her options and come back to the conclusion that she was making the right choice for this baby to give him to us. She still wasn't sure if she wanted to meet us, and whether or not she wanted to share her last name with us. This would determine whether or not we would be able to spend any time with the baby before the relinquishment papers were signed. So, Monday was a very stressful day for all involved. Still, we knew that Heavenly Father would help Eli's birth mom to know what she needed to do and if we were meant to be the parents of this baby, he would help that to happen.

Some how we were able to sleep on Monday night. We got up the next morning, got ready to go, and sat and waited for some word as to what was going on. Finally, at about 10:15am, Spencer texted Mark and said that we should come to the hospital and that we would be able to see the baby. We quickly grabbed our wallets, phones, camera, and a few other things and drove the 5 minutes to the hospital. I think that was the moment I realized how grateful I was that Mark had insisted we spend more money to stay closer to the hospital in a nicer hotel. After extensive identity checking, we were put in an empty patient room while a nurse went to get the baby. It was only about a half hour from the time we got the text to when we finally got to meet Elijah, but it felt like forever. He was worth the wait. He was so tiny, but long. He has a ton of soft black hair and beautiful dark brown, almost black, eyes. He is beautiful. Unlike his brother, who was born C-section, Eli was a little beat up from delivery. He has a stork bite on his face, which was very bright, and he was very puffy. Still, we thought he was amazing. We were able to be with him for many hours that day in the privacy of that patient room. It was perfect.

Spencer also told us that Elijah's birth mom had decided that she did want to meet us. I met with her by myself first, then later that day, Mark also met her. Over the next few days I spent several hours with her, getting to know her and talking about Eli. She felt that it was very important that we, as mothers, get to know each other and bond. One of the many ways we knew that this baby is meant to be a part of our family was how he was named. As many of you know, Gabriel has two middle names. One was given to him from his birth mom and one from us. Eli's birth mom asked if we would be willing to give him the middle name of Leland, but she didn't think it went well with Elijah, so she suggested that we could give him another middle name as well. It was perfect. This solution went perfectly with what we had already done with Gabriel. I think it is a wonderful tradition that our birth moms have been able to give our sons a middle name and it just shows how Heavenly Father helps us see how right certain situations are. The second and third day we spent with Elijah in the hospital they stuck us in the overflow nursery area. It was far from ideal or comfortable, but we were with Eli and it was a little amusing.

I will forever be grateful for the experience of spending time with Eli's birth mom. She told me toward the end of our time there that she was very grateful that she chose to meet us and that this is what finally helped her to know that she was doing the right thing. She told us that she came to understand that because she loves Eli, that giving him to us is the most selfless and loving thing she could do for him. We are so thankful for her. She is amazing, as is Gabriel's birth mom. We have great respect for them. While being able to take our babies home from the hospital is one of the most exciting and happy times of our lives, knowing that their birth moms are feeling so sad is very sad for us. It is truely a bitter sweet experience.

We were reunited with Gabriel that night, thanks to Mark's wonderful sister, Sarah, and it was so fun to see Gabriel meet his baby brother for the first time. He was excited and gentle and it was great! Sarah also brought my nephew, Collin, who stayed with me for several days after Mark and Sarah had to go back to Ohio. All together, I was in West Virginia for 18 days. By the end I was going a little crazy, but it was definately worth it. We now have our beautiful Elijah.

He is so completely different from Gabriel, except in his very fast growth. He was 6 pounds 13 ounces, and 20 inches (really 21, but he wouldn't cooperate) when he was born. At his 3 week check up he was already 9 pounds. He loves to cuddle especially with his mommy. He is definately a momma's boy. Gabriel was and is still very social. Even as a new born baby, he wanted to be able to see what was going on, so we had to hold him facing out. Gabriel was standing a lot of the time, by about 3 weeks old. He was a big daddy's boy. He loved his momma, but he still adores his daddy. They are best buds. Eli on the other hand is all about momma. He has attached to me so quickly and completely that it has surprised me a bit. I love being the person who can sooth him at all times. He is content to stare into someones eyes for a long time, and he is more interested in cuddling then in seeing what there is to see. We love both of our boys so much! They have each brought such unique and amazing things into our lives.

Elijah's statistics:
born July 19th at 7:43pm
6lbs, 13oz
20 inches


Debbie said...

I have been waiting and waiting for this!!! :) He is beautiful. Can we talk soon??? Call sometime when you are not insanely busy or ridiculously tired. Hmmm . . . I guess that means I will hear from you sometime next year. :)

Holly said...

Thanks for taking the time to write this. What a beautifully written story. We are so happy for you both! Congratulations!

Amanda said...

congratulations!!! I LOVE his hair. He is so beautiful!

Cortney said...

We love your family so much! Thank you for sharing your story... it makes my heart swell each time. We are so grateful for the miracle of Elijah and can't wait to see how the next little miracle comes! <3 Cortney

Amanda B. said...

What an amazing story!!! He is beautiful and I can feel the happiness radiating off of all of you in the pictures. I am so happy for you all!!! Congratulations!!!

Stacey Kirchner said...

Oh WOW! Congrats! I have taken the summer off blogging, but what a surprise to come back to. I am so happy for you guys.

Brenda said...

What a wonderful story! I agree that it is a bitter-sweet experience. You have a beautiful family. We are so happy for you!

The Gocha Family said...

Loved reading your story.

I have to tell you. As I have your page up Ethan came by and I told him it was his 'baby cousin Eli'. And he was able to repeat his name several times.

Porters said...

Oh you guys, Paul & I are so excited for you. So now you have two handsome little men, we wish you guys all the happiness!

Holly Wilcox said...

Awwwww! What a super cute growing famiy!! Congratulations you guys!