Love And Hope
Love and Hope….
This phrase means a lot to different people, and to us it has a deeper meaning. Just like most families, we have had our own ups and downs, our good times and bad times. When the times are good…they are good and we are on cloud nine, but when the times were bad, we are at the lowest of lows. When Kate and I were married, the one thing we wanted more than anything was to have a big family. We always had the dream of the kitchen table being surrounded by kids of different ages, teasing, laughing, squealing, squirming, and filling the house with joy and laughter. We were blessed not long after our marriage with the birth of her son. I remember this time vividly. Kate woke me up at 4:00 in the morning excited, and scared, telling me that her water broke and that we were about to have a baby. I can't tell you the flood of emotions that went through my head. What I can tell you, was that time stopped and I kept repeating to myself “We're going to have a baby!” I remember throwing her bags into the back of the car then helping her into the car and flying down the highway to get to the hospital. We were both excited, nervous, and overwhelmed.
Her labor started off as you would expect, contractions increasing every so often. It wasn’t long before she began to plateau with her progression. The nurse started some medication hoping that her contractions would progress. That was a long night for both of us. In the end she was more than 24 hours into her contractions and she was showing no more signs of progression. A little more than 24hrs after we arrived in the hospital, Kate began to spike a small fever. It was then that the doctor came in and said that it was time to do a C-section.
They prepped and wheeled her into the OR. I quickly changed into my scrubs and was ushered in to be by her side. From the moment the surgery it was over. I remember hearing the cry from behind the curtain and a voice saying, “You have a baby boy!”
We were both so excited…we were in tears. Tears of joy, relief, and the unknown adventures of being first-time parents. The nurses quickly cleaned him off and put him in my arms. His face was small and gentle, contorting in every which way with an occasional squeak. I brought him over to Kate so their cheeks can touch. I was exhausted and full of emotion and that was probably only a fraction of how she felt.
That's when things changed directions. The doctor leaned over the curtain and told me that they were having a hard time stopping the bleeding. My heart sank. As I hand the baby back to the nurse to be taken to the nursery, I got a lump in my throat. I took my seat next to Kate’s head as I heard the attending doctor and the residents mumble on the other side of the curtain. I felt a roller coaster of emotions. Incredible highs and in an instant your heart sinking to the deepest pit of your stomach, emotional oscillations capable of making the most iron clad stomach churn.
It seemed like hours since the initial “punch to gut” news. Finally, one of the doctors looked over the curtain, “the great divide” to let us know that they had to use a device to help stop the bleeding in her uterus. Then…another punch…"if the bleeding doesn't stop then she's going to come back to the OR for more surgery." They ushered me out of the OR, and I found myself sitting, waiting in our hospital room with my little guy, brand new to the world, staring back at me. both of us scared, but for different reasons. Some more time passed before I got to see my pale, beautiful wife, rolled into the room with two bags of blood hanging on either side of her head.
This was not the way I envisioned the birth of our first child, nor the range of emotions that I had just experienced…ugh.
The next day we were told that everything started to move in the right direction, and I think we were both of so grateful and soaked with relief. We were now able to focus on “our family.” Our little guy was great! He was feisty, energetic, healthy and knew how to push our buttons and at the right time. Somehow he knew just when to look at us those big blue eyes to melt our hearts.
A few years went by, and we start talking about the possibility of having another baby. We recalled the rocky road that we road on as we weighed the pros and cons. We went and spoke to the doctor, and they seem to be relatively confident the things would move in a better direction, especially now that we would have a planned C-section. It wasn't too long after that we found out that Kate was pregnant again. We were thrilled, just like before, but nervous given the previous adventure with our first baby's birth. I went to as many follow up appointments as I could, hanging on every word that the doctor would tell us. The pregnancy looked like it was moving along the way it should.
As the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months, we were getting ready for a second flood of emotions to hit us. As you can imagine, we were excited, anxious, and overwhelmed. One day, I received a phone call that Kate went to the ER because her blood pressure was too high. When I got there her blood pressure was still elevated and doctor came in stating that considering we were so close to the due date and her blood pressure was not coming down, it would be better to move forward with the C-section that day.
The preparation for the C-section seemed very anti-climactic. We had both gone down this road before and we were both appreciated the lack of excitement, given our previous experience. Just as before C-section went fast and suddenly, I see the doctor's eyes peered over the curtain as though he was a prairie dog and I see another head and a set of eyes pop up next to him and he was holding our baby girl. She was squirming and crying and lively as our first…it was great! We were flooded with a tremendous amount of emotion, joy, happiness, and relief.
But that joy was short lived as the doctor had quickly appeared above the curtain as earlier, except this time his eyes had another story to tell. In a much different tone, he tells us that she's bleeding…and bleeding a lot. Immediately, I rushed back to the previous birth of our son. The same emotions began to well up inside me and I started rubbing her head. This time everything seemed longer than before. It seemed like each second was a long minute and each hour was an eternity. I felt my heart racing anxiously. I began to think to myself why this was taking so long. The doctor comes walking around the curtain and tips his head to the side, motioning to me to come over to him to the corner of the room. My heart sank as he started to speak. He was giving me a play-by play account of what was happening and what they were doing. Kate was bleeding again, and that everything that they did to stop the bleed was not working. He began to reiterate everything again. His words turned to muffled sounds as my mind retreated and I felt my heart sink. Suddenly he gathers my attention, looks me in the eye and says, “she's bleeding out, we need to do something.” He says that she will need to have a hysterectomy or else she won't make it. In a flash I felt my head explode! The dreams that we have shared about having a table surrounded with laughing children was gone. What I do remember from that moment was a quick sobering feeling that we need to do what we could because I couldn't lose her.
The surgery lasted almost 4 hours. It felt like an eternity. She had a much harder recovery this time and it seemed like she lost a lot more than just her uterus in the surgery. It was as if a portion of her energy was gone. As the years moved on, we happily raised our kids, but we still felt a large void. Our kids are great, they are the love of our lives. They are healthy and are growing quickly with personalities as big as the largest mountains. They were both a blessing of such proportions that I would have never imagined. But again, that void in my heart…our heart…was still there. For Kate it wasn't just a void it was a hole, an emptiness, that she needed to fill to feel whole again.
It didn't take much in terms of our discussion as to what we needed to do next. We are both happy with our decision to adopt. Kate has always felt very strongly about adopting, about the ability to give a child who has an unimaginable set of circumstances an opportunity to grow with our family, to develop, and to bring new love and life to our family as we will bring to them. We sat down with our biological kids to discuss the possibility of adopting and they were overjoyed. Our oldest understood more of the concept than our youngest. We are thrilled that they are on board. I guess that is it...the decision has been made. Let the new adventure begin!
We then embarked on our journey of adoption.