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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Baby Topic

     Tonight, Paul, Thomas, and I went to Dr. Rowe's house for a get-together. Paul attends a weekly Bible Study at his house, and tonight families were invited for food, fellowship, and a movie. Thomas had a blast playing in his pool and with the other kids. So many of the people there have lost babies, struggled to have babies, or had really difficult pregnancies, and he is still ministering to us. I enjoyed the video and talking with another woman there, who I have always found very easy to talk to.  She is one of those people that you immediately know she is genuinely kind and she really cares. She recently had a miscarriage and I just wanted to scoop her up and hug her.  We talked about adoption and stuff like that and then we eased right into talk about how hard it is to be around women that can get pregnant so easily and have simple, perfect pregnancies. It is not that we are mad or jealous, it just makes you start comparing yourself to them and you start becoming insecure. You start wondering what is different about them, why does God want me to go down this road? It always turns into soul-searching for me.
     This brings us to the elephant in the room that I have been avoiding. YES, I desperately want another baby. Two of the greatest people I know are my brother and sister. I want Thomas to experience having a sibling and the bond that is created. I want him to have someone to play with all the time, I want him to have a little sibling to protect. I want more.
    In the back of my head and probably in your thoughts right now, I know I am lucky to have Thomas and if God only wants us to have one, then I will have to accept it soon. I remember when Kelly Higgins brought my family dinner after my transplant, I asked her if she was going to have any more babies? She told me she couldn't have any more, but would love to. I remember thinking to myself that she had such a peace about it and seemed to trust God's plan. Not even a few months later, I saw on Facebook that she was pregnant. My heart filled with joy for her. I want to have that peace inside my soul too, but I am honestly not there yet.
     Can I have a baby? Technically, Yes. I am currently being winged off my CellCept because this medication would kill my baby, but my doctor STRESSED that having another baby is super high risk, I could go into rejection, get really sick, lose the baby, have something wrong with the baby, or die. The last one got me. I have done everything in my power not to die. Sometimes, I feel like I have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other taunting me. I wonder if I am supposed to just trust God and if I happen to get pregnant, it was His will, or am I supposed to take the information given to me and go the super safe route. Then I hear the little devil, "You could die tomorrow in a car accident, don't worry about it." You see, throughout all the things we have been thru, I have developed A LOT of faith, hope, trust, and strength. I think I am strong enough to do it, but when I look at Thomas, I can't imagine leaving him here without me.
    What are our options? Adoption, maybe, we are both open to it. I am a little nervous about "open" adoptions and how they work, my only real comparison would come from the great reality show Teen Mom and how that adoption works. I think I would love to foster babies with the intent to adopt, but there are a lot of rules that come into play when you deal with the government, for instance, you can't spank your own biological child if you foster. I totally understand the reasoning behind not spanking the foster children, but I don't like that rule.  It is not like Thomas gets very many spankings, but he has earned a few. He is pretty tender-hearted and just a raised voice usually works for him. We are lucky he is very obedient.
     On to my favorite option..........surrogacy. One of my cousin's is a possible surrogate-to-be for us. I like this idea for a couple of reasons. This would give us a chance to possibly have multiples (twins) and I would love to have more than one more child. I used to dream of having 5 or 6 kids. Both of these options are extremely expensive, so having two babies in one shot saves money too! I have a long-time friend that recently went through this process and she is a real encouragement to me. She has helped guide me thru the process. I have spoken with a fertility doctor that does surrogacy and started pricing things.  
     As many of you know, my husband has started a lawn business. He is steadily mowing yards and saving that money for our future baby. I am so proud of him and all the hard work he is doing to try to make our dream of expanding our family come true. I would love if you would join me in prayer about this decision and prepare our hearts for whatever the future holds.
     The whole reason I brought up Dr. Rowe was because at the end of the get-together, Dr. Rowe asked us to gather around a few people that were about to go on a mission trip so we could pray for them. After praying for them, he walked up to me and placed his hands on my shoulders. He prayed for me, he prayed about this very topic. He knew my heart was heavy for a baby. I never spoke a word about this and I haven't told too many people. I tell some people just because I hate when people ask me about having more babies. I truly long to carry another baby in my womb. When will the longing go away? I love that man, he truly is in tune with Christ. There is something amazing that happens when people pray for you and lay their hands on you, I could feel that he loved me.  I kept thinking in my head, if I don't get pregnant, and we end up using surrogacy, Dr. Rowe will have to be the doctor! I finally got all of that off my chest. There is a struggle in my mind post-transplant because I am so grateful and I feel so blessed, so I hate to feel like I am ever griping or not super happy, but I have to be honest and this issue is so difficult for me. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Karina Is All Grown Up!

     Karina just left for prom, we took pictures of her in front of the huge tree at my mom's house, just like my sister had taken, I had taken, and my brother had taken. After she left, I cried the whole way home. I love her so much, I feel like I was able to help raise her a little, and she is utterly amazing, given all that she has overcome.     
      I remember Karina being born at the end of my Junior year of high school. She was such a blessing to our family and I learned so much about the world thru her life. Karina is obviously bi-racial. I used to think Oprah Winfrey was crazy when she talked about people being racist or discriminated against. I guess I lived a pretty protected life and was not exposed to a lot of this. My mom and dad taught us to love others the way Jesus loves us. I mean He made all of us, every race, disability, imperfection, shape, language, etc. He didn't make us all look the same. I have never understood why any race would be so proud of the color of their skin. The color of my skin is something I have absolutely no control over. I did not choose to be white. I wish people were proud of their accomplishments in life. I would love if I never had to check what race I am when I feel out any kind of paperwork, it shouldn't matter, period. I believe that because we keep making it matter, this breeds racism. Why do I need to know how the Hispanics scored on the TAKS test versus the Asian group? Why can't we just say, "All the seventh graders at such and such school scored in the 90%"?
     I am on my soap box because when Karina was born, suddenly I had an accelerated education in racism and it hurt, deeply hurt me. I would be out with Karina and people would say, "It is so nice to see people adopting children from THAT race." Huh, are you kidding me? First of all, what if she was adopted, but we had not told her yet, you moron? Secondly, is it really any of your business in the first place?  We heard other mothers say, "Get away from the n#$@%r kid!" I have never been so angry before. How could you say that, teach your child that, or be so ignorant? My mother handled this lady before my sister or I had a chance. I just remember being heart-broken. I mean, even if you disagree with inter-racial dating, IT IS NEVER THE CHILD'S FAULT!  My heart hurt for the lady's child because she was being raised to be the same way.  On a funny note, Karina went thru a stage where every time she saw a black man in public, she would say, "Daddy, Daddy!"  It was hilarious to see these guys reaction!
      We struggled with how to handle certain things like: doing her hair, what to call her (black/white), intermingling with her other side of the family, etc.. Well, it took a lot of mistakes, but we, I mean Karina finally figured it out. She told us that she is brown. She was so matter of fact about it. She said, "Look at me, my skin is brown." Her father's side of the family is very nice and it has never been awkward, but I wish we saw them more often.  If you don't already know, Karina is completely deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other, but she is awesome at reading lips and handles this with such grace. She is strong, strong like her mother.  You see, I could never have done what my sister has done. She is the best single mom I know! She has been kicked out of a rental house because the owners did not agree with a biracial relationship. She has had horrible things said to her from family and close family friends. But, little did they know, Karina is worth so much more than any of those relationships. I, honestly, have never once been ashamed of my niece or my sister. I feel nothing but unconditional love for them both. There is one other statement I have heard more than ten times and it irritates me to no end. "It is okay to be their (other races) friends, but you can't love them." Again, I want to scream. I was taught to love all people, not races of people. And, by the way, I love my friends, so I don't know how to not love my friends. I could not have stood up to all the haters, like my sister has. I could not have raised a kid by myself, it is hard with two parents.
     All of this soap box to share pics with you of my beautiful, kind, loving niece, Karina.

Karina and her boyfriend Daniel
Karina and Thomas
Karina with MeeMee and Pawpaw

Karina and my sister

Karina and silly Daniel
Please live your life loving people for who they are on the inside, and remember that no one gets to choose their race!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sometimes It Just Hits Me

     Sometimes, when I least expect it, it hits me, it takes my breath away.  I stop and think, "I have someone else's liver inside of me!"  It still seems surreal some days that this is even possible. Who were the brave people who tried this for the first time? I want to thank them so much.  I have yet to hear from my donor's family, but I have not lost hope. I keep praying that they will want to meet me and I can personally thank them. I think about him all the time and I know that his family must miss him so much.
      I was blessed to spend this past weekend with two of my college roommates for Becca's Bachelorette weekend. It was so refreshing to spend time with them and two new friends I made. Becca's matron of honor and I really hit it off and I totally relate to her in almost every way, we are both even nurses. Her sis-in-law was very inspiring and so genuine that I felt like I hung on her every word. I also just ordered a book she recommended and I can't wait to start reading it. It was a time of reflection and thinking about my college years. I kept thinking about the question of, "am I living the life I thought I would be living?"  This leads to me thinking about my life story.  Of course, I never in  a million years dreamed I would ever bury babies, be diagnosed with cancer, have a transplant, or even be blessed enough to be called, Mom! This weekend was great to be around other wives that LOVE their husbands, are honest about their quirks and annoying habits, and  all of our talk centered around our faith in Christ.
     My friend Katy, aka Pollyanna, has had 3 babies in 3.5 years! Yes, she still has a six pack and her baby is only 3 months old, but I almost forgot why I love her so much. She is such a strong Christian, yet never judgemental or condescending, she is able to relate to everyone.  I was able to spend the night with her parents on Friday night and I felt giddy like a little kid the night before Christmas. I was able to pick fresh fruit from their garden and eat it, I learned broccoli cooking tricks from Mrs. Jan, I had in depth conversations with Mrs. Jan too, and I felt at home. This family is such a fine example of what I desire my family to be like. I honestly think that if I had my car break down in the middle of the night anywhere remotely close to Baton Rouge, this family would pick me up, take me home, feed me, and help me get my car fixed. They are just good people. Not to mention that Mr. Bobby fixed me a "K" and a teddy bear pancake Saturday morning.  I love the fact that all of their children are into health, exercising, and Jesus.
     I found out that I was the only one out of all five girls that doesn't get car sick! I rode in the back of my van for the first time. I know what you are thinking, we looked so cool pulling up in a minivan on our big bachelorette weekend! I am finally to the point that I can talk about my babies without crying or making people feel uncomfortable. I still kept thinking about little things and why I cared about certain things that none of my other friends seem to think about, they all seem a little more laid back.  I used to be so carefree and spontaneous.  I am so serious about my time with Thomas, I never really give myself a break, but I guess being worried that you might actually die changes how you view things and for sure your priorities. I just want to make sure that these are good changes. Once you have a bad MRI, all MRIs after that are super stressful. I honestly used to go in with the attitude that everything would be okay, but now, I stress out until I hear the results. I am constantly thinking about the environments I am in, what I will be exposed to, what type of food will be available, etc.. I hate being high-maintenance, but it is so much better than the alternative. I know I am bouncing all around here, but it has been so long that I have blogged, I have a lot to say.
     I am super excited about Becca's Wedding this summer! I will get to spend more time with the bridal party and after the wedding, I get to go see the Tan's! I have missed my bud Cherie so much. She even has a new baby boy that I get to meet for the first time. They live in Florida, close to where the wedding is, so we are staying a couple of nights with them!  When I was face-booking her about our plans, I read the previous message she had sent me in January of 2012, just one month before my transplant. It was so nice and comforting. The last sentence said," You will see Thomas graduate high school and college, see him get married, and see your grandchildren grow!" Those words mean so much to me, I still get teary reading them. I am such a blessed person when it comes to friendships!
     Something that I think about that other people probably don't is when Thomas gets hurt and cries out for me saying "I want my momma," it makes my heart swell with joy, but I always think about my donor and how he once cried for his mother the same way. I bet she longs to speak to him or for him to call her for help or advice.I find myself thinking about her often and how hard losing her son must be. I just keep praying that I will be able to meet her someday.
     I am going to say it again, I really hope to do a better job blogging more often! Thanks for reading.