The Toxic Womb

Both of my daughters grew and developed in “toxic wombs”.

It is a fact that I can’t allow myself to think too much about, because honestly, it angers me.

It is what it is, and the fact is my girls were exposed to methadone (and other narcotics) while in the womb and nothing in this world can ever change that fact.

Little Bug’s birth mother was on methadone for the last month or so of her pregnancy with Little Bug.

Sweet Pea’s birth mother was on methadone for six of the 9 months of her pregnancy with Sweet Pea.

Before Little Bug’s birth all we were told about methadone was that “it will not harm the baby”.

While this was true, it didn’t give a complete accurate picture of the effects methadone would have on Little Bug.

Tracy, Little Bug’s birth mother, told me during one of our hospital visits to see Little Bug right after her birth that, “Little Bug will need to stay in the hospital about a week.”

Thinking she didn’t know what she was talking about, I didn’t think much more about that.

Until we arrived at the hospital after TPR had been signed and learned our baby girl was no longer in the regular nursery.

Little Bug had been moved to the NICU because she “had to go through some withdrawals”.

Talk about freak out session.

We entered the NICU not knowing what in the world to expect. I was in tears because we had no clue what was the matter with our precious baby girl.

The NICU nurses were very good to finally explain to us what was going on. We were told that Little Bug was withdrawing from no longer having methadone in her system. She would be scored every so often on her “withdrawal symptoms” and as long as she was below a certain score (of which I cannot remember at this time! I think maybe it was a 6 or 7?) she would not have to be given morphine to help her with the withdrawals. We were told she would be in the NICU anywhere from 5 days to THREE months!

When I heard 3 months I was so angry! Why didn’t anyone prepare us for this??!

The NICU nurses told us sleeping was the best thing for Little Bug and if she had too much stimulation she would cry and cry and crying would only make her scoring higher. So we obeyed the NICU nurses and kept Little Bug in her isolate, only taking her out to feed, change and reswaddle her every 3-4 hours.

After only 5 days, Little Bug was able to come home, but her withdrawing was certainly not over. It was just clear that she was not going to need the NICU to go through the rest of her withdrawals.

Little Bug was very stiff. We had to do muscle exercises with her daily to loosen her stiff muscles. Her Daddy did those with her every morning before he went to work and every evening. Little Bug SCREAMED the entire time.

Little Bug was also VERY easily overstimulated. Methadone effects the nervous system so her senses were extra sensitive to any kind of stimulation. Her nervous system needed time to heal from the drug exposure and it needed time to grow and develop further so that she could handle processing the sensory information.

Around a month old, we decided that it was best for Little Bug to stay at home. At home we could better control her environment so that she would not become overstimulated. I remember feeling like a slave to my house. I also remember telling myself it was only for a season until Little Bug could handle the outside world.

We also had to limit visitors as Little Bug could not be passed around from person to person. It was hard to have family members over who we knew wanted to hold our long-awaited baby girl, but could not, because it was too over stimulating for her! Fortunately, our families were understanding of this.

Around 3 months, her overstimulation issues became a thing of the past and she was able to handle the outside world like any other baby.

When we found out Sweet Pea’s birth mother was on methadone, and had been since January (when she was approximately 3 months pregnant with Sweet Pea), we immediately got our family and friends praying that God would shield her little body from any effects of the methadone.

I guess common sense just told me that since Sweet Pea had been exposed to the methadone way longer than Little Bug had, I assumed Sweet Pea’s withdrawals were going to be way more severe. And I prepared myself for a longer NICU stay with Sweet Pea.

But then I read an article that the amount of time on the methadone is not what determines how affected the baby is to the methadone. It all has to do with the placenta and how much of the methadone the placenta allows to pass to the baby.

When Sweet Pea was born the rH factor trumped my focus on withdrawing from methadone. (It also takes a few days for the withdrawal symptoms to show up.) But I will never forget seeing Sweet Pea for the first time. A tiny baby laying on a bed, unswaddled, with blue lights shining on every inch of her body, except her diaper area. She had “sunglasses” on to protect her eyes so I couldn’t even see her eyes at first.

She was a sight, that is for sure.

Then our lawyer started filling us in on what is going on with her. (The lawyer is not given rights to medical knowledge of the baby until TPR is signed. So while we drove over to meet Sweet Pea for the first time our lawyer was already at Sweet Pea’s bed side getting all the information about her medical condition.) I remember words like, rH factor, blood transfusion and very jaundiced and all I wanted to know was, “Is she going to be okay? Is she going to be healthy?”.

We were quickly told by the lawyer and nurses standing nearby that yes, Sweet Pea was very sick right now and without medical intervention she would continue to be very sick, but because she had been treated aggressively right away, she would be just fine.

After Sweet Pea’s blood transfusion and her blood levels started increasing, I then started to think about her withdrawal symptoms.

The only thing so far that the nurses had noticed was that she seemed to have a very sensitive stomach. The nurses were trying to figure out what formula would agree with her stomach the most.

Then, just like Little Bug, at six days old, we thought we would get to bring Sweet Pea home. However, her doctor decided that she needed a few more days of monitoring because she seemed a little “irritable” at times. As much as we wanted our daughter home, we totally agreed with her doctor.

Sweet Pea came home at nine days old. It wasn’t long and her tummy troubles really started to show themselves. She writhed in pain after feeding. It was so pitiful. After lots of trial and error on formula, sleeping positions and other things that were suppose to help with stomach pain, we found a combination that worked well with Sweet Pea.

By 3ish months, her stomach issues were under control with Zantac, Gripe Water, mylecon and ready made Similac Allimentum formula. Besides her Zantac prescription needing to be tweaked every month or so and causing her some discomfort until the new dosage was found, there was no more writhing in pain after eating and that was such a relief!

This is just my experience with two babies who have been exposed to methadone. I have a friend whose baby was also exposed to methadone and her baby spent 6 weeks in the NICU (same NICU Little Bug was in, just 10 months later). When he came home, she told me he cried about 70% of the time from the pain of going through withdrawals. He also had a MAJOR spit up problem. He would throw up entire bottles of formula and they had to thicken his bottles to help him keep food down. I have another friend whose daughter’s situation was very similar to this one. Her daughter spent the first 9 weeks of her life in the NICU withdrawing from methadone.

My girls’ withdrawals are minor compared to my friends’ babies. Their babies would be consider very severe cases of methadone withdrawal.

Each baby’s withdrawal symptoms are different.

I wanted to put this out there for anyone who may have adopted a baby exposed to methadone or who may adopt a baby exposed to methadone in the future.

I know I’ve said it before but I absolutely hate the fact my daughters grew in a toxic womb. But then I think about the fact that it is because of these toxic wombs that God wrote the redemptive story of my daughters’ adoptions.

Drugs are a horribly wicked addiction. They come into a person’s life and literally take over. They control everything there is about that person. Everything that person does is for their next high.

Drugs steal, kill and destroy relationships and a woman’s ability to mother their children.

It is extremely tragic when you stop to think about it.

Both of my daughters’ birth mothers are held in bondage to the stronghold of drug abuse.

It breaks my heart to think that drugs have literally ruined their lives and made them both not be able to be a productive member of society.

If I could save them both, I would in a heartbeat. But I know all I can do is pray for them to know the One who can.

We live in a fallen world full of sin. But we also live in a world where God is still at work performing miracles and interceding in innocent little lives who were born to mothers addicted to drugs.

Through God’s divine intervention and a moment of clarity in the lives of two women addicted to drugs, two little girls were plucked from a life of growing up with mother’s addicted to drugs and were given a stable environment to thrive in.

It is a gift given to them by their Heavenly Father and their biological mothers.

I have been told many times that I saved two little girls lives. I simply do not see it that way at all.

All of this is because of God. It is His redemptive story. Adoption is simply a reflection of God’s redemption for His children.

We were all born unto sin, destine to die as that is the only just payment for sin. However, God desired to not see His children die so He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for all mankind’s sin.

Jesus entered this world as a baby boy, born in a stable in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph. He lived on this earth and then died on this earth. His blood paid for our sins, making it possible for us to be adopted into the family of God.

Adoption totally changed my daughters’ lives, just like adoption into the family of God has totally changed my life.

I don’t have to allow the anger I feel to consume me because I can see the big picture now. As much as it saddens my heart to see my daughters’ birth mothers living addicted to drugs, it saddens God even more. But in a way that only God could do, He has made good come from bad.

He has taken two precious girls out of a life consumed by drugs and given them a blessed, abundant life filled with opportunities that are endless.

I can only pray that God will free these women from the bondage of drug addiction.

8

I asked for 2

God has given 8

Eight people, praying together with me, for Tracy (and Melody, Ashley, Miranda & Jonathan)!!

Mustard Seed Faith

That is all God requires of us

To have faith even as small as a mustard seed

Do you realize how small that is??

seeds-lo

Those are mustard seeds (plural)

And God just requires us to have faith as small as a mustard seed

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

Tracy finding Jesus is going to take some HUGE mountains to move

I believe God can do this

I am praying that God will move mountains in Tracy’s life so that she can see HIM

And then know Him

And then believe in Him

And trust Him with her life

Thank you for joining with me in this

I want that for Tracy

Today during the church service a couple stood in front of the congregation and told their testimony.

Both of them are recovering drug addicts.

As they described everything about their pasts, the tears began to well up in my eyes because they were describing the lifestyle that Little Bug’s birth mother, Tracy, lives.

And yet, there that couple stood in front of a large group of people telling of how GOD had saved them from their stronghold to drugs and alcohol.

When the audience gave them a standing ovation after they were finished sharing their testimony, I could no longer hold back tears.

As we stood there clapping and as I tried with everything in me to NOT cry (because I hate crying in public!), Dave leaned down and whispered, “What’s wrong?”

I quickly scribbled on my church bulletin, I want that for Tracy.

In that moment my heart was so overtaken and burdened for Tracy.

It has been since I realized the life that Tracy lives but I have never felt so convicted to pray for her as I did during those moments when I witnessed with my own eyes a couple God has rescued from that lifestyle and who now proclaim the name of Jesus Christ and lean on Him to overcome their addictions.

You see, I admit to thinking, I wonder if there is any hope for Tracy? Can someone who has lived this lifestyle and been a slave to these addictions for decades really overcome this stuff??

God gave me the opportunity last summer to pour my heart out to Tracy over a telephone conversation. I was able to tell her that she could make decisions that would change the course of her life from this day forward. That God could help her find release from her current lifestyle.

But as we hung up I felt like my words fell on deaf ears.

I do pray for Tracy (and Melody) often but not as I really should.

As I looked at that couple standing before me today, I realized I am powerless to change Tracy.

The only thing I can do is pray for her – daily.

Pray for God to move in her life. Pray for God to help her see her need for a Savior. Pray for her drug abuse to disgust her. Pray for her heart to be softened to the Words of God.

Pray for God to release her from these addictions so that she can find new life in Him.

I so desperately want this for Tracy.

It is easy to forget about someone you never see. I haven’t seen Tracy in over a year and I have no idea if and when I will ever see her again.

At the same time, I love Tracy with a love that is hard to adequately describe because of the way our lives are forever intertwined together by one special little girl.

I wish I could snap my fingers and change her life forever.

That isn’t reality but reality is prayer.

Coming before the throne of God every day asking and pleading with Him to intervene in Tracy’s life.

If you are reading this, I ask that you pause for a minute right now and lift Tracy up to the Lord this very moment. Just ask God to intervene in Tracy’s life.

I am going to go further and ask if there are just TWO people who read my blog who will commit to pray with me for 30 DAYS for Tracy. (If more of you are willing to join in, by all means, come on!!) I am going to daily pray for Tracy from this day forward, but I am just asking you to commit to 30 days with me.

If you are one of these people, please leave a comment telling me you will pray with me for Tracy.

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Thank you.

Tomorrow is 37wks

There is no doubt in my mind that the complications that have happened are a part of God’s plan. I may never know the whys of all this, but that is okay.

I can only see a small piece of what is really going on but God sees it all – the complete picture.

From what I can see, it seems Sweet Pea being born now (instead of later) would be a really good thing for everyone involved.

Sweet Pea is full term tomorrow!

So, I am going to ask everyone to pray with me that Sweet Pea comes soon!

As Jesus prayed in the garden before His death that His Father’s Will be done above His own, that is my ultimate prayer, too.

I desire for Sweet Pea to be born on the day God has ordained for her life to begin, however, I’m still going to pray that God would just go ahead and let her be born soon.

Please join me in praying for this.

Update on Brooke

From Brooke’s fb:
PRAYERS NEEDED……our lawyer just contacted me stating that birth mom contacted her. Birth mom is having remorse. PLEASE PRAY her heart would continue to be softened and that she will give us Elise. PRAY HARD !!!!!!!

 

We don’t know what will come of this but we are asking everyone to please, please pray with us. God is a God of miracles. He has a mighty plan.

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’S PURPOSE that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

To the Family and Friends of Mike and Brooke

We made it to the mountains. I am glad to be here, however, my heart is heavy for Mike and Brooke and I feel this is a post that needs to be written now.

If you are reading this and are a friend of Mike and Brooke’s, you need to know that a failed adoption is equivalent to a death in the family.

To Mike and Brooke, their 3rd child, Elise, has died.

Their dreams of her becoming their child have died.

A common misunderstanding is that a failed adoption is “okay” because every mother has a right to allow motherly emotions to make her change her mind at the last minute. While this is absolutely true, in Mike and Brooke’s case, this is NOT what happened. Their case goes deeper and there are legal issues involved.

Friends and family of Mike and Brooke…THIS is the time to continue to stand by them, to love them, to pray that they will lean on the strength of the Lord in this time.

Brooke’s status on facebook recently was something to the effect that the world continues to live life while their world is standing still.

Those are the same emotions anyone would feel after the death of a loved one. After the funeral, friends and family go back to normal life and the widowed spouse or the motherless child must somehow figure out how to live life with this emptiness the size of the Grand Canyon in their life.

It is the same for Mike and Brooke.

Adoption is a crazy thing and yet a beautiful thing.

My husband and I were crammed in the tiny bathroom of the family cabin late last night, talking. (We couldn’t talk in our bedroom because Little Bug was asleep in there. Wesley was asleep in the living room. Like I said, tiny cabin, so the bathroom was it!)

Dave said something I will never forget. We were just talking about how we could not believe this had happened to Mike and Brooke.

Then Dave said, “The laws surrounding how adoption works aren’t risk-free for anyone involved—the adoptive parents or the birth mother. That shouldn’t be a surprise though. The need for adoption is born out of an original flaw that kept the birth mother from caring for the child adequately on her own. That goes against nature, so how can we expect adoption to be any smoother a process?”

Until you have walked the path of adoption, you just simply cannot understand the magnitude of emotions involved.

It is completely overwhelming.

And what Mike and Brooke are experiencing is every couple who is on this path’s worst nightmare.

It is like a death in the family.

Today was supposed to be the day little Elise was in their arms, forever their little girl.

Today hurts and the days and weeks ahead are going to hurt, too.

We need to allow Mike and Brooke to grieve. We need to take care of them like we would if one of their children had died because essentially, this is what has happened.

You are probably thinking, What in the world do I say or do to help them?

The fact is, you don’t have to tell them any elaborate speech. Nothing you say is going to take their pain away.

Just be there for them. Make yourself available. Acknowledge their heartache. Acknowledge their lose. Make a meal and drop it by. (As soon as I can get internet access to post this, I will also be putting up a “Take Them a Meal” site so you can sign up to take them a meal.) Drop a card in the mail. If you are one of my readers, leave a comment on this post for Mike and Brooke to read.

Anything just to let them know that you have stopped your life, for just a moment, to let them know you care and are praying for their broken hearts.

Pray for Selah, their 6 year old daughter, who is taking this very hard. She is old enough to understand what is going on. In my opinion, Mike and Brooke are doing a fabulous job of using these tragic events to teach their daughter truths about God. On top of their own broken hearts, I can only imagine it hurts even worse to know their precious daughter is hurting, too. Pray for sweet Selah to be able to process this in her mind and feel the love of God holding her through this time.

As the body of Christ, it is our responsibility to surround them with our love and support.

There is a long road ahead of them and knowing they are not walking it alone is what Mike and Brooke need to know today.

a little more than 24 hours

I find my mind is always thinking and praying for Brooke and her family as they are almost 24 hours away from induction.

So many emotions flood my heart as I think about what they are heading into. It is hard to really put it into words.

There is excitement as the day that you have been anticipating is finally almost here.

There is an ache in your arms because you just want to hold that baby and know they are officially yours.

There is pain as you think about the birthmother and the loss she will experience.

There is anxiety as you eagerly wait to know that the birth mother is going to follow through with the adoption plan.

Wrap all these emotions together and you have some pretty crazy days filled with highs and lows and everything in between.

Brooke and her family simply need prayer over the next several days.

Prayer gave me the strength to stand during our 81 hour wait to know if Tracy was going to sign or not.

Please join me in praying with them and for them.

We leave Saturday for our annual family vacation to the cabin in the mountains. I am taking the laptop, but I’m not promising posts beyond updates on Brooke’s adoption.

Tomorrow is a Special Day

Tomorrow is a special day for me.

Because of certain circumstances, the last time I saw Little Bug’s birth mother, I did not know it was the last time I would see her, so I really didn’t have the opportunity to tell her goodbye.

Tomorrow I will get to see the woman who carried my daughter for eight and a half months and gave birth to her. A woman I have not had any contact with since the day after Little Bug’s birth.

Forget the fact that we are meeting again to talk business about the growing baby in her womb–I am thrilled to have the opportunity to again see the woman who chose life for my daughter.

I know some reading this may not be able to understand my excitement in this.

Often times, birth mothers are viewed as someone who gives up their baby and then that is that. You never hear from them again. A new life with a new baby is begun. There is no contact between the birth families and the adoptive families.

In this day and age, open adoptions are becoming more the norm. I believe this can only be a good thing.

Every adoption situation is different. For some situations a semi-closed adoption (like ours) is the best. For other situations an open adoption is best. I know people in both kinds of adoptions and all are beautiful.

I’ve shared before I never want Little Bug’s adoption to be a secret. My goal is for her to never remember a time when she didn’t know she was adopted. In an age-appropriate manner, I hope to share with Little Bug as much, or as little, as she desires about the story that brought her to our family as our little girl.

It is my greatest desire that she will one day realize to the fullest extent the miraculous events that brought her to our family. I pray she will one day put all the pieces together to realize that her adoption story is one of grace and redemption. A story about a childless couple and a woman in crisis that God brought together to perform the beautiful miracle of Little Bug.

And so tomorrow I am thrilled for the opportunity to lay my eyes on this woman again. I have absolutely no idea what to expect tomorrow. I have no idea if she will want to know all about Little Bug or will want to just talk about the new baby or a mixture of both.

All I know is that God’s hand is at work again.

Tomorrow I begin a new relationship with Tracy. One that will only last again for a season.

I cannot go into details on this public blog, but I can ask you to please pray for Tracy over the next 6 months. I can ask you to pray that as we have contact with her once again for a season of time, that God would use us to minister to the heart of Tracy and to show her a God who loves her, despite it all.

The truth of it all is that all our lives are messy. Not one of us is without sin in our life. We all need Jesus.

It is my prayer that over the next 6 months, Tracy finds Him. Really finds Him and allows Him to change her course in life.

Because it is only at the feet of Jesus that she will find true peace, joy and hope in this life.

Pray with me, okay?

Baby Sunshine: December Update

I had someone ask for an update on Baby Sunshine and then I realized I had not given an update since the beginning of October.

Things are still moving in the direction of Jeremy and Laura adopting Baby Sunshine!!

They have signed the petition for a court date to be able to adopt Baby Sunshine.

Jeremy and Laura are hoping and praying for a court date before the end of the year, but they have been told they will most likely get a date in January.

Would you pray with me that Baby Sunshine’s adoption can happen before the end of the year?

The road has been anything but easy for Jeremy, Laura and Baby Sunshine but I am so incredibly happy and excited that very soon they will officially be a family of three!

Please pray for Sonja’s quads

Please pray for Sonja’s (blogger friend of mine) quadruplets!

Liam was diagnosed with RSV and is in the hospital.

The other three babies have the sniffles as well.

Sonja’s quads are 5 months old (2.5 months adjusted age).

RSV can be pretty serious for preemies, so please bathe these precious babies in prayer!

Click here to read Sonja’s blog.