Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Newborn Photo Shoot

It sure is handy to have a photographer in the family. :) My mom, Vonnie Perez, did Elias' newborn photo shoot and we could not be happier with the results. If you're local and looking for someone to do your family photos, hit her up on Facebook. :)

More photos are on our Facebook album if you want to check it out! :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Thoughts About Mother's Day

I have very mixed emotions about Mother's Day this year. It's always been hard for me. I think it has made me extra emotional in the past because it is right around the time we started trying to get pregnant. So not only was it a reminder that I was not a mom, but it was a reminder immediately following another "anniversary" of a failed year. C'est la vie. But the timing of things is not exactly a consequence that you think through when you start trying to get pregnant. ;)

Prior to this adoption, I had plans to ditch church on Mother's Day this year. People have the best intentions at heart, and I appreciated the thought behind wanting to make me feel included...but in truth most just don't know what to say to someone who has experienced infertility and/or loss. In all fairness, I'm not sure what I've wanted or needed to hear, I just know it hasn't been said. lol. Last year after rushing to the car to cry after church, I decided that I don't need to put myself in that position anymore. I planned to stay home this Sunday. But in God's perfect timing, I am writing this post on my bed, next to the cutest pair of little legs I've ever seen. Elias has his arms thrown up over his head and is snoring, cause he's a loud sleeper like that. :) After almost exactly four years of trying to add to our family, in every which way, he's here. I'm a mom. Just in time for Mother's Day.

Much to my surprise, sheer happiness is not the only emotion that I have when I think about Sunday. I am thinking about how I felt last year. I'm thinking about how just a few short months ago, we miscarried and felt such defeat and anguish over the constant string of losses we've experienced. I'm thinking about the women who are going to spend Sunday in tears because infertility, pregnancy loss, or the death of a child has left their arms empty. My heart aches for them whether I know them personally or not. I'm thinking about Elias' birthmom, and wondering how she and all the other birthmoms in the world might be feeling. I'm thinking and feeling all these sad things. But mostly I'm feeling overwhelmed with gratefulness. I can't even put into words how thankful I am that God faithfully led us through a long, dark season, and it's suddenly over. He gave us the most incredible blessing in this baby boy and my cup runneth over. <3

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Welcome Home Elias!

The day after Elias was born was a flurry of tests, check ups, and adoption paperwork and formalities. Early in the afternoon Ryan and I went to birthmom's room to visit with her before she got discharged. She was healing up fine, and told us that she was very much at peace with her decision to place her baby with us.  So good for us to hear that from her! Emotionally she is not quite ready to see or have a relationship with Elias, but we will always keep that open and available to her whenever she decides that she is ready. Right now the plan is to keep in touch via letters and pictures with her mom and sister. We all shed a few tears, embraced, and said goodbye. For now. :)

As I mentioned in his birth story, we had a phenomenal medical staff. The few that took care of us through our stay had various connections to adoption and they made it clear that they felt happy and privileged to play a role in ours. Dr. Rachel Long, the birthmom's OB, came to visit before we left. 

And we had to take pictures of our wonderful nurses, Kathy and Carolyn, as well. Kathy (pictured on the right below) was the nurse who was responsible for Elias' care right after he was born, and she took care of us during the first day. She came back to visit us before discharge even though she had new patients to tend to. :)
What an added blessing to leave the maternity ward with more hugs and well wishes from the staff. For many adoptions, the events at the hospital can be so anxiety filled. Emotions for all parties are at their peaks, the birthmom could start to question her decision, her family might not be supportive, the hospital could be unaccommodating to the adoptive parents, the nursing staff could be uneducated about adoption and respond negatively to it, there are so many factors that could be make everything difficult. But we really feel like the Lord not only handed us this precious gift right out of the blue, but He wrapped it up all nice and pretty and put a bow on it at the hospital. Nothing went wrong. Everything and everyone was more wonderful than we could have asked or hoped for.

We had arranged for our siblings (and close friends who might as well be siblings) to meet us at home when we arrived. Since only Elias' grandparents were able to go to the hospital, it was really nice to have our family there to welcome him home.
Those are just a few snapshots of our evening. I'm working on uploading a lot more in an album on our Facebook page if you'd like to see them. :) Our baby boy is so loved.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Birth Story - Elias Ryan

I know, I know - multiple posts are way overdue. lol. I hope that you've been following my Facebook and/or Instagram to get updates, because picture posts are all I have had time for up to this point. :) I'm just going to go ahead and tell the birth story for now. I think that catching you up from there will be easier once I get this larger post out of the way. I have good stuff coming so keep an eye out! Homecoming pictures, the newborn photo shoot, pictures of our life at home so far, and also filling you in on how God orchestrated this whole story leading up to the birth. Bear with me folks, I had two and a half weeks to prepare for this adoption and now I've got a newborn. haha.


At 3:21am on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, I was woken up by a phone call from our facilitator. Birthmom was in labor and on her way to Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia, California. Ryan and I quickly got ready, threw our bags and carseat in the car and arrived at the hospital at 5:49am. 
When we got to the waiting area right outside the labor and delivery ward, we were greeted by our translator (the birthmom and her family are all Spanish speakers). Shortly after taking our seats and catching up on how birthmom was doing, a nurse came out to introduce herself and give us a rundown on the plan. We had already discussed the birth plan with our facilitators, but it was really nice to arrive at the hospital and see that the plan was in place and that all parties involved, including the doctor and nursing staff, were on the same page. Birthmom was only dilated to 2cm, but in consideration of her situation, her OB had admitted her, given her an epidural and started her on pitocin. They wanted her to experience the least amount of pain and get through labor as quickly as possible. We were all so grateful that they did not want her to have a long drawn out delivery. 

The birth family graciously permitted our parents to be at the hospital with us. They showed up bright and early to wait for the arrival of their grandson!
It was such a blessing to have them with us. We had company during the wait, people to get pictures of this special day, and it allowed them to just be a part of something extraordinary. One day they'll be able to tell him what it was like on the day he was born and that just means so much to Ryan and I. 

The OB and nursing staff all came out in a group to introduce themselves to us. They told us what part each of them would be playing and also reinforced the plan once again. I cannot say enough good things about this staff. The doctor kept coming out into the hall periodically to give us updates on birthmom's progress. Seriously, when does that ever happen? Each person was over the top kind. We felt so supported and included. It was more than we could have asked for. 
We got word that birthmom was going to start pushing. Oh the anticipation! lol. We waited, we paced, we listened, we watched the door just hoping someone would come out and give us the good news. 

And after what seemed like forever, we heard a baby cry. :) And a few minutes later a nurse came out to give the stats. 
Our Easter blessing, Elias Ryan Miller, was born at 12:12pm. He was 6 pounds 13 ounces, 19 inches long, with strong lungs and a plenty of dark brown hair. :) The birth family (Elias' grandmother and aunt) requested just a few minutes to see him and say their goodbyes, which was perfectly fine with us. We were taken back to the nursery about 20 minutes later to get the first look at our boy.
We were taken to a post partum room and spent our first night together at the hospital, sleeping and cuddling. Beyond excited to finally a family of three. <3