Secret journaling

Week 26

The secret’s out! That means the twins are here. As I write this months in advance, I bounce between ecstatic and terrified. Will she go through with it? What will the seven-day revocation window do to us? (I might end up sobbing the way I did when Tess’ paperwork was delayed. Dave’s prepared.)

One of our reservations was fear of a very premature delivery. I’m writing this in week 25, a week before Tess was born as a singleton. The next five weeks loom, terrifying in their potential. I phoned a friend with my worries before we took this match – walked through the medical profile with this fabulous NICU nurse in detail – and she answered instantly that the 30+ weekers have reliably good outcomes. So we’re trying to keep our panic to a minimum as we wait for the magical end of February, when the risk drops exponentially.

In the meantime, I’ve laid out our full plan of attack. Even if the boys make it to week 34 or 35, they’ll probably be in the NICU for a while. We want to care for them without turning Tess and Remy’s lives upside down in the process. So we’re making hard choices. Dave will be there for the first week, and will then come back to Milwaukee, his job and the kids. I’ll stay in North Carolina with the boys and start my leave, reliving my NICU days with Tess in a different state and with twice the worry/wonder.

I’ll skype with the kids at dinner time every night to give Dave a hand and see my loves. Dave will come visit on the weekends until we can come home. The weeks will be manageable if rough for all of us.

We have names and have addressed the logistics and feelings. We feel this is a crazy yet right choice for our family. The other reason we chose not to share in advance was our inability to reassure others. This is our family, our choice, and these are our kids. Making this decision wasn’t easy, and we didn’t decide because we’re

baby crazy

, which I’ve been accused of even before this became public knowledge. If other people see this as a difficult choice, they’re right. It is. Still, an adoptive mom told me once that if I ever got the chance to take siblings, I should. Her words rang in my ears when this came up, and I’m telling you already – we have no regrets.

Now, we wait.

Week 27

We’re days away from hitting week 28. I find myself doing feverish math in my head, attempting to calculate the ideal outcome. No equation will make them come now and at full term.

J sent me a series of notes today – notes that made me laugh. She’s so mature for her age, and seems to be comfortable with us as the future parents of these boys. She’s having an uneventful pregnancy, and said the boys are a lot less trouble than her kids!

I find myself craving a connection with her, to tie us together and ensure a successful adoption and as a base for the rest of the boys’ lives. She doesn’t need it, which makes me feel needy and exposed.

I brushed off the feelings of loss after our October match fell through, but I have a significant level of anguish that surfaces when I consider this match failing. And time stands still.

So I continue my logical projections, using the average twin gestational age of 35 weeks as our estimated delivery window. The numbers don’t change, but my compulsion to double check the calendar won’t go away. Only a few more weeks until we hit magical 30 weeks!

30 weeks!

So we hit 30 weeks for the package! After 30 weeks, bad outcomes become a LOT less likely. Hurray! We’d marked this as a date to celebrate. 

J isn’t super chatty, which we totally understand. Still, after October we are just jumpier. We really like her, which adds to our fervent hope that this plays out the way we want it to. So we celebrated, then I panicked. 

Tess and Remy get that the family is about to grow. They’re excited. In a few weeks, she turns three and he turns two – and we can’t wait for Remy to be a big brother. All of that adds to my sense of powerlessness. But we are powerless – always! – when it comes to bringing kids into the world and our families. It’s part of the miracle of building a family. I just find everything more miraculous when the addition has already arrived. 

So I got out my jitters, and we’re back to excited. Just a few more months to go!

Catastrophe

I’m crying as I write this. J stopped answering texts about a week ago, which is never a good sign. The lawyer headed out to her place for a check in this morning, and happened to see a guy who looked just like the missing birth father walk into her apartment. 

We’re waiting for the lawyer to get more information, but our chances of success just plummeted. I’m pretty sure we just used up all of our bravery on the failed adoption in October. I feel empty and crushed. What’s to say this cycle won’t continue? How are we supposed to stay positive as time passes and matches crush us with hope and loss?

We were in shock about twins, but that quickly became unbounded bliss. Which means we are losing two babies this time – not one. I suspected this morning’s call would be bad news, so I sat in the nursery for a few minutes this morning. In the quiet, I pictured us doing late night feedings in the rocking chair, or getting the kids up with Tess and Remy bombing around while we changed their brothers’ diapers. It feels empty again, achingly empty like when we got home from Florida. I can’t bear it. 

It will get better. We know that, and we have two great kids to distract us. I don’t think we’ll be bouncing back fast from this one though. 

31 weeks

I got the text message this morning: 31 weeks! I feel hollow. We don’t have any more information yet, so I don’t know whether to be delighted those babies are still in there or mourning the kids we’ll never see. Losing a pregnancy is hard, because you can sense a child growing in your body. Adoption is hard to begin with, as it’s hard to believe that aN intangible baby will be arriving. When you experience a disruption, it makes you feel like that likelihood never existed at all and never will again. 

Watching an adoption fail is hard because the ups and downs are so extreme. You digest the empty nursery that will stay empty, then hear something new that sounds mildly plausible and wind yourself up again. Up and down, up and down, until the irrefutable decision is made. Even then, you wonder if she’ll change her mind back a week later. 

I think the crying has stopped, for the most part. Putting ourselves out there again seems like a steep mountain to climb. Will it happen again? 

32 weeks and going

We can’t say going strong, but going stronger. I have so much respect for this mom. If we’re reading this right, J is an independent mom doing her best to get through a tough situation before making some changes she’s already planning. We are duly impressed. So our concerns may be baseless. She’s feeling good and stands firm in her decision. So we’re making plans – both practical and short term, and long term and dreamy. We are hoping very hard that “the package” will be in our arms soon, and forever. 

32.5 weeks

In a matter of days, I’ve gone from tentatively hopeful to feverish planning. I’m in the nursery again, checking out the few remaining repairs that need to happen. The baby bag is packed, the list of stuff to pick up there is ready, and we’re hoping for 34+ weeks and many, many sleepless nights. 

34 weeks!

We only dreamed of making it to 34 weeks. J is on bed rest and has had steroid shots. We’re on high alert and have been for some time. Twins are considered to term at 36 weeks, so we’re so close! The roller coaster continues, as we have no way of knowing if the adoption will happen. Still, how wonderful to know the NICU risk is now limited! While we want them to cook as much as possible, we also want the relief of knowing. Fingers crossed. 

The lawyer stopped by to see J today, who just wants her space. We are so worried, but what we need doesn’t matter right now. What she needs matters most. It’s easy to lose sight of that in such a momentous preamble, but this isn’t an adoption yet. It’s not even our story yet. We just really, really want it to be. My heart hurts writing this. I’m worried our worries will make J change her mind. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame her. The number one rule is,

A mother doesn’t become a birth mother until the day she chooses to place her child. 

We’ve been acting like she’s a birth mother, and we have no right. On a more positive note, she’s done nothing to indicate she has changed her mind in any way. 

Dave’s off on a nerdy guy adventure, so I got quality time with Tess and Remy tonight – just the three of us. The unending hugs and handholding were immensely comforting. 

35 weeks

To be honest, I’m stunned we got here. J gave birth to her son at 37 weeks, a singleton, less than a year ago. Our assumption that the boys would be early stemmed from basic twin logistics and the knowledge of her medical history. It’s wonderful to know they’re still cooking away, but if my stress level gets any higher I might explode. 60% of twins are born before week 36. Watch – these two will come past their due date. 

All I want to do is throw myself into work, but my backups’ plates are already full of my current projects. That means I’m on random chunks of longer-term projects, when all I want is a nice, tight deadline to make the time disappear. Dave’s getting his fair share of those. 

So we made it to the weekend: swim lessons, date night at the symphony, and Easter at Joy’s church and brunch downtown. It’ll be lovely. Right?

36 Weeks

The boys are officially full term. To all of those who found our preemie timeline anxiety inexplicable, perhaps it makes more sense in this context: 

How could we have preemie singletons and full-term twins? It’s not possible. 

 

That’s the theory we’ve been decision-making on. Well, statistical livelihoods aside, if this adoption happens, we’ll have our first fully-cooked kids. 🙂

Disruption

Twin boys were born in North Carolina on March 28. We found out on April 14. Needless to say, the adoption failed. Dave and I swallowed our grief and got through the work day. We just couldn’t bear to talk about it. We don’t know what to say now. We’re angry, devastated, and tired. The stress of waiting for a baby for eight months now – not for a match, but in matches – is draining in an indescribable way. It feels like time stopped; making any other decisions or plans seems impossible. Every part of our life is touched by this, and we don’t want to over commit elsewhere and disappoint anyone – including our kids! 

We just lost two babies, in addition to the October one. Two beautiful boys, who we’ve been so excited to introduce to all of you; boys with names and dreams. We lost them at the end of the pregnancy, when everything seemed as real as it can when a pregnant woman across the country who you’ve met once holds all of your dreams in her belly. You can’t see them or touch them; you can only hope. 

But here we are. In the game of Chutes and Ladders, we hit the biggest slide back to square one. How to start again? How do we hope, have confidence in yet another match? How do we trust, when our hearts are in pieces? Before this last effort, adoption has been nothing short of joyous. Now, we’re getting a heavy dose of the ugly, frustrating side of the experience. 

Dave and I are crushed. That’s going to fade slowly. We’re going to smother our kids in love and cry a fair amount. We’re going to alternate hibernating and socializing to lift our spirits. We’re going to wait with bated breath for another match. Then, with terror, we’re going to do this again. Wish us luck. 

4 thoughts on “Secret journaling

  1. My heart cries with yours. When you are ready to talk, call us. You have two adorable successes and will have more. Love you so much.

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