The Pain of Labor

Before you read this entry, I need to share my heart here.   What I’m writing here was absolutely the most difficult moments of this journey, and possibly of my life. While I didn’t experience physical labor, I consider this part of our journey to be my own “labor.” This is our part of this story.  Keep in mind there is a whole other part to this story that I’ll never be able to share, because it’s not mine to share.  While my end was painful, I know that the other part was equally (if not more) painful.  Dax’s birth mom is a beautiful, strong, selfless woman. As a family,  we speak of her with kindness and love in all circumstances- including this one. 

Ryan and I made it to our room and figured Dax would be over with us shortly.   We were both exhausted and hadn’t slept in over 24 hours at this point.  Ryan very uncomfortably stretched out on the sofa in our room and I sat up in the bed.  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t WAIT to see Dax again.  I sat there sending pictures and texts to our closest friends and family. 


Time passed, Ryan was sleeping and I was getting restless.  My mind started to race.  Had “S” changed her mind?  How would I ever recover if she changed her mind? Was something wrong? Did “S” experience complications?  Did Dax experience complications?  Was I over-reacting?  I was so tired.  Kandi had gone with “S”  and Dax, and I told myself that if something happened she would have let me know.  I waited awhile longer.  Ryan was still sleeping.  I was still texting my friends and family. 

Panic set in.   My mind was overwhelmed. I couldn’t chase away my fears so I decided to text Kandi just to check in.  I played it cool.  

“Just checking in to see how things are going! 🙂  Hope all is well!”

… nothing.

more waiting.

At this point 2-3 hours had passed. 

I finally heard back from Kandi and she told me that things were “ok” and to get some sleep.  I wasn’t buying it. My head was telling me that “S” had changed her mind and that we would be leaving the hospital without Dax.  I mean,  how could I blame her?  I couldn’t.   She carried this precious boy for 9 months.  She went to doctor appointments,  heard his heartbeat,  felt him moving inside of her.  She saw his beautiful face and experienced the pain of childbirth.  She held him and kissed him.  The simple fact that she chose to carry him instead of aborting him proved to me that she loved him.  I couldn’t blame her if she changed her mind.  I didn’t blame her.  I understood. I just knew that considering this as a possibility was breaking me. 

Ryan was still sleeping.  Thankfully I had been texting my sisters and 2 close friends about what was going on.  I think the four of them sensed my distress and kept me talking.  It was at that point that the tears just started to flow.  I couldn’t stop crying.  It was the ugly cry.  I literally felt my heart shattering inside of my chest.  I sat in the bed praying and crying and begging God for me to be able to be Dax’s mom because in my heart, he was already my son. 

  I’m  intentionally leaving out some details here out of respect for “S” and her privacy as well as our privacy as a family.  The next few hours brought a lot more tears, some conversations,  lots of prayer and after nearly 7 hours of waiting and wondering Dax was back in my arms.  I missed him more than I thought possible.  Having him back in my arms gave me such a peace.  We spent some time together and then “S” was released to go home.  When she left, my heart broke all over again. 

As a family we immediately decided to take some time and pray for “S” as she left.  We circled up and began to pray for her.   I looked down, and saw this:


My heart melted because Dax had independently laced his tiny fingers together and looked as though he was praying right along with us for “S”.  

I felt selfish that I was so sad that I had missed out on those 7 precious hours.   I hadn’t really taken the time to truly consider her feelings and her experience at that moment.  My heart grieved for her and the sacrifice she was making by leaving Dax with Ryan and I.  I had missed out on 7 hours, but she only spent 7 hours with him.  Honestly, I have no idea what that time between her and Dax looked like.  I don’t know if I want to know what it looked like because I know it would crush me. 

With adoption, most people consider the joy of the adoptive family.   Let me tell you, there has been JOY in my heart.  But,  there is also a huge element of loss.  While I am celebrating the greatest moments of my life,  Dax’s birth mom is grieving a loss that I could never imagine. Our joy is a direct result of her pain.  I am so thankful for “S” and the gift she gave to us.  I’m so thankful that she chose the gift of life for Dax.  In hindsight, I am SO thankful that she was able to take that time and spend it with Dax.  I’m sure she had things she wanted to tell him and kisses she needed to give. That separation was painful for me, but the separation for her has to be a million times more painful. 

We still pray for her every day and will continue to do so. 


Dax was with us and we still would be at the hospital for another night so we settled in to our room and took turns changing diapers and snuggling our boy.   I finally got a little bit of sleep and the next day it was time to be released.   

We knew we’d be spending the next week or two in Arkansas and would be driving a few hours for our stay.   There was also a 5 day window in which “S” could change her mind that was a constant voice in the back of our heads. 

To be continued….

On The Night You Were Born.

images-1Ryan and I were holding hands as we walked into the hospital room. We stopped briefly outside the door to pray. Then, we went in.   It was the scariest, most exciting, most amazing few steps we had ever taken.  This was real.  Our son was coming.  When we walked into the room, we saw “S” in the bed smiling.  Sitting beside her was her mother.  We hadn’t met her mother yet and knew that it could potentially be a tense situation.  However, it was wonderful.  We met her mom “M”,  said our hello’s, and asked for updates on how “S” was doing.  “M” left for awhile and so we sat with “S” and talked.

“S” was a trooper.  When we arrived she had her epidural so she was feeling GOOD.  We watched tv,  made some general chit-chat and waited.  A few hours later “M” came back.  She had gotten gifts for Dax and we opened it.  There were some adorable little outfits,  a butterfly ornament/pendant that had a lot of meaning behind it and the sweetest little baby book I have ever seen.  We talked about how we were feeling and watched tv here and there and waited.

A little while later “S” and “M” met my mom and Andy.  We all sat in the room together for awhile laughing and talking.  We took pictures together and talked and hoped for the future.  Around 9pm Kandi arrived and we continued to talk and laugh.  Honestly,  I could not have imagined a more perfect way to welcome Dax into the world. Certainly there was some anxiety and sadness dancing around the room, but the most overwhelming emotion was love.  The love for Dax was evident in every person there that night.   It still makes me tear up thinking about it.

Early in the morning of September 30th  we knew the time was coming soon.   Around 2am it was time. Everyone left the room except for me, Kandi and “M”.   At 2:50am I witnessed my son enter the world.  He cried immediately and I cried right along with him.  Undoubtedly this was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.  I had the privilege of cutting the umbilical cord.  My haimg_0892nds trembled so fiercely that I was terrified I would hurt him, but the doctor was so kind and reassured me.  “S” held Dax and we all watched him in wonder.   Soon, the time came for me to be able to have some skin to skin time with Dax.  This was it. I was holding my son for the first time.
I can’t even describe to you the feeling. The tears fell again.  My heart.  I swear my heart had to grow just to hold all of the love and emotion I was feeling.  There was such peace in those early morning moments.  Such pure, simple, overwhelming joy.  I remember holding him and just praising God for this perfect gift.  I couldn’t wait to introduce him to Ryan.  Dax had no idea at that moment that he had the best daddy in the whole world sitting out in the waiting room just waiting to meet him.

I was finally able to have Ryan come in.  I was holding Dax.  He walked through the door and I put Dax in his arms.  His face was priceless!  He had this grin that just melted my heart and his eyes were wide  and he had this smile that I think literally lit up the room.  Last night I realized that I had never asked him what was going through his mind when I handed Dax to him.  When I asked him he told me that he was terrified.  He knew he was absolutely in love with him, but was trying to not let himself get too attached in case things didn’t work out.

img_0908It was time for the first bath.  This kid had a head full of hair.  I didn’t realize how much hair he had until they washed it and combed it.  It was so long and beautiful!  He was NOT a fan of his bath.  As I watched the nurse bathe him,  she was such a pro!  I realized that I was going to have to do it next time and I was scared!  But my fear was soon forgotten by his little eyes peeking out!  I swear,  he was the most beautiful baby I have ever laid my  eyes on!

We visited awhile longer.  We took turns holding him.  My mom and step-dad came in to meet him.  It was so beautiful! I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion and exhaustion.  At this point,  it was around 6am? I think?  The hospital staff let us know that our rooms were ready.   “S” had a room to recover in and Ryan and I got a room as well. It was as if I had given birth.  It was such a neat/weird experience.  “S” decided that she would take Dax with her for a bit to spend some time with him.  So we said our goodbye’s and we went to our separate rooms and we waited.

To be continued……

The trip

Today, our sweet baby boy is 1 month old.  I can’t believe that it has already been a month since he was born. Oh, how our lives have changed in such a short amount of time! I apologize for the lack of updates here but Ryan and I are running on fumes.   We are both blissfully sleep deprived!  This afternoon we were able to take a family nap together which was GLORIOUS!  Dax is now sleeping again and while I should be doing the dishes or catching up on laundry I wanted to write.  I don’t want to forget the details of this journey.

Let’s back up to the middle of September, shall we?  Ryan and I had gone back and forth for nearly 2 weeks about when we should leave.  We had been in regular communication with Dax’s birth mother as well as our adoption agency and we knew he would be coming soon, but we just didn’t know when.  All I knew is that I didn’t want to miss it.  Dax’s birth mom, “S” had told me that I could be in the room when he was born and it was a privilege I didn’t want to miss.  We knew the drive would take about 13 hours and it was likely that if we wanted for her to go into labor we’d miss it.

After consulting with friends and family ( who all had a different opinion! LOL!)  we bit the bullet and decided to leave the morning of Sunday September 25th.  His due date was in the coming week and there was an OB appointment the next day.  We felt like it was a safe bet.  We decided to only tell a hand full of people that we were leaving.  We knew not everyone agreed with our decision to leave when we did,  and we wanted to enjoy a little bit of peace together before the excitement of becoming parents hit us like a full speed train!

That first day we drove to Memphis.  The trip was pretty surreal.  Our car was packed full of clothes and baby supplies.   In the back seat was his car seat, which was the very real reminder that our son would be here soon.  We talked and laughed and dreamed and feared for what was to come.   Then, the coughing came. Ryan was sick. Fear set in and we wondered what would happen if Ryan was still sick when Dax was born.  Would he be able to see him? Hold him?  We started filling him full of vitamins, weird natural concoctions and Mucinex.  I started taking immune support and washing my hands like a mad woman.  I refused to get sick!


The second day we woke up and decided to drive around Memphis a bit before making the final leg of our journey.   Ryan wanted to drive by the famous sun studios and was not disappointed!  We considered the tour, but decided a drive-by would suffice.  It was important to us to be extremely wise with our money since we didn’t know how long we would be gone and we wanted every cent to go towards Dax.  We got into town that afternoon, found a hotel close to the hospital and checked in.  Then, we waited.

My mom and step-dad left Monday morning. They (MOM) couldn’t wait either. They got into town Monday evening.  We decided to share a hotel room to save on money and so our “roomie” adventure began!  Tuesday came and went and then Wednesday. That evening I started to feel a little silly for leaving so early.   I started to worry that we’d wasted precious time and money by just waiting.  Thursday morning came and we slept in.  I had talked with “S” (Dax’s birth mom)  a few times through the week.  There had been a few changes, but nothing truly significant. By early Thursday afternoon mom and I had decided getting ready.  We weren’t sure what we were getting ready for, but we knew we couldn’t spend another beautiful day sitting inside of a hotel room.  Around 2pm the phone rang.  “S” had been admitted to the hospital and was in labor.


FREAK OUT!!!!!!!

Kandi,  the wonderful woman who has worked with us through Abba Adoption let us know that she was about 3 hours away.  We could go ahead and go to the hospital if we wanted, or we could wait for her.  I knew I couldn’t wait three hours.  We finished getting ready,  grabbed and early dinner and headed to the hospital.


The drive to the hospital was surreal. Did I mention that I had caught Ryan’s cold earlier that week?  I had mostly recovered except for a GIGANTIC fever blister covering 2/3 of my top lip.  I had been (unsuccessfully) treating it,  so we made a run to a pharmacy near the hospital.  We parked.  Carried in our bags and made our way up to the maternity floor.



I grabbed Ryan’s hand.

We walked into the room….



A “Family Chat” with those who love us

As we get closer to meeting our son, there are some things that I wanted to share with those of you who have followed our story.  I supposed we will call this a bit of a “family chat” for lack of a better term.   In our house growing up, family meetings usually meant someone was in trouble or mom wasn’t happy because chores weren’t being completed, etc.   This is NOT that kind of family meeting.   It’s the best way we can think to share information with the people who love us and/or have followed our adoption story.   Take a deep breath, relax… it shouldn’t hurt too bad! 😉

Once we return home from Arkansas Ryanprayed, Dax and I will probably be hermits for an undetermined amount of time.  Unlike a typical child, Dax hasn’t had the 9 months of bonding with Ryan and I from the womb.  We will largely be strangers to him.  We will be selfish with him and provide endless hours of cuddles and bonding.  We want him to know without a shadow of doubt that we are mom and dad and we love him fiercely.  This means for a while, we will not be passing him around for others to love and snuggle.  We need time to bond with him first.  I don’t know how long this will last- it will depend on Dax’s needs.

 This doesn’t mean that we won’t be allowing anybody to hold him in the beginning.  We will be greatly limiting his time with others though. It means we probably won’t be bringing him to public places or church for a while because we know everyone is excited to see him and telling people “no” is hard!  We have been prepping our families for this for quite a while.  Grandparents are probably having the hardest time with it, but they understand and we hope you do too!  If you’d like to stop by our house and meet Dax, that would be great! We will let you know when we are home and just ask that you call or text before you stop by.   We know that everyone is excited to meet him and we love how much he is loved!  We hope that you understand why we are choosing to do this and know that we appreciate your love and concern so much!

The next order of business is social media.  This will probably be the hardest for his momma to get used to!  Ryan and I have agreed that we will be greatly limiting pictures of Dax on social media.  We will share a photo as soon as we are able to (and we aren’t sure when that will be…) but in order to protect his privacy and our family’s privacy, other pictures will be few and far between.  Those of you who know me know that I love social media.  I love seeing pictures of our friends and family and their kiddo’s every day.  However, the circumstances surrounding our little family are a bit different. We want to be respectful of Dax, his precious birth family and our new family.  On the occasion that we do share a picture of Dax on social media we ask that you not “share” it unless you ask us first.  We will definitely be texting pictures and updates to our friends and family- but social media photo posts will be rare.

You may not know it if you’ve only known us a short while, but Ryan and I are extremely private people.  We have chosen to step way outside of our comfort zone throughout our adoption journey and share openly with our friends, family and community our struggles with infertility and each step of this adoption journey.  It’s been hard for us to open up like this, but we both really felt led to be transparent and let the Lord use our story as He sees fit.  Now that Dax will be home soon, we plan to step back from the public eye a bit.  Not that we rank celebrity status or anything ( I just felt like a huge tool for saying “public eye”… ) but we have had complete strangers approach us and talk to us on multiple occasions about our story.  We plan to continue being open about adoption.  We hope that if others have questions about adoption that they will come to us and we will continue to be transparent and offer any advice we can.  We just won’t be so transparent about our personal lives or Dax’s life on such a public platform.

Over the next few weeks I foresee this blog becoming WAY more active.  I plan to write as much as I can once we get “THE CALL” to head to Arkansas to meet our son!  I want to write down my thoughts and feelings and continue sharing our ADOPTION journey through the end.We’ll blog about our trip to Arkansas, our court hearing, our first days as parents, living his first few weeks away from home and seeing our son for the first time.

We hope that you understand the purpose of this “Family chat” and know that it comes from a loving place. We have carefully considered and prayed about what’s best for Dax,  his birth family and for Ryan and I.  Thank you for following our story! Thank you for loving us and helping us along the way.  We will forever be indebted to those who have supported us and cheered for us along the way.


If you’d like to donate towards the cost of our 2 week trip to Arkansas and our last birth mom expense payment,  the link to our GoFundMe can be found below.


My heart as we move closer to meeting Mr. Dax

I try not to look at my countdown app every day. It just makes me spaz, so I try to space it out. I was caught off guard tonight when I logged in and saw that we have reached the 40’s as Dax’s due date is 49 days from today!!  Part of me panicked…we only have 49 days until we meet our son!  The other part of me felt like 49 days still seems so far away!

I have had the absolute pleasure of being able to check in with Dax’s birth mom on a regular basis. We chat some online every few days. It has been such a joy to get to know her some and share in some of the things she has experienced through her pregnancy. 

As I sit here and think about how excited I am I find myself wondering how she must be feeling.  Physically, I imagine she must be exhausted. I can’t imagine growing and carrying a baby is easy!  Emotionally, I can’t imagine how she must be feeling. I’m sure she has so many emotions racing through her mind and her heart.

When we entered into this journey I wondered if I would get along with our child’s birth mother. I wondered if we would get to know each other or if things would be less than ideal. Now that we are working with “S” I can’t imagine anyone more perfect to carry this baby and walk this journey together. 

Things can be awkward, because I’m awkward. Phone conversations are hard for me even with people I have known my whole life. But She is honestly great. She is funny and sweet and she has done such an incredibly selfless thing by choosing life and caring for this baby in such a big way.

While I am so incredibly excited to meet Dax and love on him, my heart is also aching for “S”. She has been on my mind and in my prayers a lot lately. It would mean a lot if you guys would also be praying for her over the next few weeks and months. 

OH EM GEE! We made our final payment!

Today has been emotional and amazing.  To be honest, sometimes I worried that this day would never happen. I mean,  I have faith in God.  I have seen some pretty incredible things happen. I just wondered if they would happen to me.   Today,  we mailed in our final payment to our adoption agency.

I cried.

I mean,  it wasn’t an ugly cry until I got in the car and fully realized what had just happened.  God has provided what we thought was impossible at times.  (Lord, I am so sorry for every doubting you!)  We made our final payment 25 days before it was due.  I mean, how amazing is that?!   The sense of relief I felt was pretty instantaneous.  We have come such a long way and the end is in sight.

Tonight, we celebrated with ramen for dinner.  (LOL)  It seemed fitting!

So where does this leave us?  We have about $500 left in our Adoption account.   We are estimating that we will need about $4000 for travel and we may potentially owe another $1515 for additional expenses for our birth mom.  18 months ago those numbers would have felt impossible to me.   Now? It seems like pennies in a bucket!  Between the fundraisers we have left this month, we are hoping to have enough to cross both of these expenses off of our list.   That will hopefully leave us a few weeks to breathe before we get the call to head to Arkansas for his arrival!

Today, I ordered a few things for Dax’s nursery and Ryan started to pack away his man cave.   I asked him if he was sad about it, but he said he was excited.  I mean, let’s be honest- it will still be a man cave!  What man wouldn’t love a decked out Star Wars room with a super comfortable recliner?!   When I got home from work,  Ryan and Zoey surprised me and had the crib put together. (Zoey… is amazing!  We’d like to claim her as our first child.  She may be a teenager, but she has invaded a pretty large portion of our hearts!)   Guys, we have an actual, fully functional CRIB in our NURSERY waiting for our BABY!


Thank you for all of your love and support over the last 18 months.   We have been so blessed by those who have chosen to come alongside us on this journey.  We can’t wait to share the next few chapters of this journey with you!

Dax is due in 55 days!

Number Crunch- Fundraising Updates

Things have been crazy (in a good way) the last week or so.  We have been fundraising fools!  First we had our Gatti’s fundraiser.  This is one of our favorites because we get to meet so many people.  We always hear some amazing adoption stories that usually make this momma to be tear up.  This event was no different!   We were able to raise over $1500 at Gatti’s!   Thank you to everyone who donated baked goods, donated their time to come and help bus tables and to those who came to eat! We had a blast, I got in about 12,000 steps that day- it was a definite success!

This past Saturday we were extremely busy as well!  Ryan and I decided to host a yard sale at our house in order to clear out and make room for Dax and earn some extra money to put in the account.   We earned nearly $150 that morning and got rid of a TON of stuff.  It was a total win-win!  That evening we were invited to sell split the pot tickets at a local football game for the Portsmouth Warriors.  Ryan and I enjoy going to local games and we were thrilled to have this opportunity!  We were able to raise about $120 between split the pot and donations from the owner.   We are so incredibly thankful for their generosity! They have a big playoff game this weekend,  if you get a chance you should check it out!

We are starting to work in the nursery this week.  I’m so excited!    As I’m sure many of you have seen,  we are going with a Star Wars theme.   Had Dax been a girl, I wanted to do a Rosie the Riveter theme, but daddy won and I’m just excited to have Dax in my arms! I’ve found a ton of cute Star Wars things and we have some crafty friends and family who are helping us by making some really cool things for his room.  We’ll post pictures as it comes along, trust me!

We’ve had lots of questions regarding what we still owe by our September 5th deadline, and the truth of the matter is, we aren’t sure of the exact dollar amount at this point.  We have sworn to be completely transparent through this entire process. We would never want someone to question our integrity or wonder where their donation has gone.  So,  I thought it would be easier to explain and lay out where we are and why we aren’t exactly sure of what we still owe.


Agency and legal fees:                  $24,500
Home Study and legal fees:        $3,000
Home Study transfer fees:          $800
Various document charges:        $500
Birth Mom fees to date:               $6,060
Potential Additional birth
mom fees:                                          $1515
Travel expenses (estimate):       $4500
Estimated Grand Total:                 $40,875

I haven’t kept a running list of every fundraiser and total we have done to date, but I’m sure if we go back and look, we could certainly add it up.  I can’t even begin to tell you of the friends, family and complete strangers who have made personal financial sacrifices and given to us in order to help bring Dax home.  Honestly, it makes me cry and overwhelms me.  Ryan and I have scrimped and saved as much as we have been able to and put aside every last penny that we could. With all of that said,  I can tell you where we are right now.  Thanks to a loan from a family member we will be able to finish paying off the Agency and legal fees this week which is a H-U-G-E relief.    The total on that loan is $5,000.  It is interest free, and we hope to have it paid back very quickly.  Having it gives us such peace of mind because it crosses off one of our last big hurdles.   Home study and legal fees are covered.  The birth mom fees to date are covered.  Essentially, that leaves us with covering the potential Additional birth mom fees- we won’t know for sure until Dax is born what portion of that we will owe, or if it will be more than the estimate.   That is a bit of a waiting game.

That also leaves us with covering travel expenses which we have estimated to be around $4500.  When Dax is born we will need to stay in Arkansas for approximately 2-3 weeks until the adoption is final.  We have been looking for the best possible bargain for a place to stay, and we’ve reached out to a few local churches in the area to see if they had suggestions or leads on a place to stay.  So far, we’ve come up empty handed. Furnished apartments for such a short span are near impossible to find.  Basically, that leaves us in a hotel room for 3 weeks or a vacation rental.  Those are approximately the same price in a safe, clean area. It will cost about $1200 a week to rent a place to stay.  We plan to purchase groceries and live as normally as possible to develop a routine with Dax early on, so we will save money by not eating out constantly.   (Plus, I’m not brave enough to take a newborn out in public so quickly… #firsttimemom) It seems like a pretty large sum, but we’ve chipped it down as much as possible.

Ryan and I are doing what we can to save and contribute, but we are also trying to put some money back for when I am home with Dax the first 8 weeks.  Unfortunately I haven’t been working for my current employer long enough to have paid time available.  So, we are personally budgeting for that too. This is NOT in any way included in our donation total or estimate.  It’s our responsibility and we knew this was likely when we made the decision for me to switch jobs back in January.  It was a sacrifice that we decided would be worth it in the end.

Basically, this leaves us at around $6,000 that we still need to raise to be sure we have enough to cover even the unexpected expenses or potential expenses that may arise.  What happens if we miraculously raise more than this?  Well, we’ll pay off our loan and any additional monies will go towards another family that we know who are in the process of adding to their family through adoption.  It would be silly of us to not pay it forward when others have been so generous to us.

It’s REALLY weird being so open and candid about money.  Nobody likes to talk about it.  I certainly don’t like to share our financial shortfalls. But as I said before, we have promised to be transparent from the beginning, even if it meant things got uncomfortable for us.

Be watching our facebook page for fundraiser updates!   We are planning several over the next few weeks and we’re hoping to meet our goal by September 5th so we can use the last few weeks before his arrival to breathe a little, pack our bags and maybe catch up on a little sleep before we never sleep again!


But he’s worth it.  He’s worth every tear, every fear, every freak out and every uncomfortable moment.  We love him more than he will ever know.  He is our precious baby boy. ❤13600226_10154451556763949_2465139192215531215_n