Taizi has had a tough week. He seems to really struggle after hospital days. He doesn't eat well, doesn't connect much at all...and just seems off. That's hard because we have so many hospital days. This month we have been to Seattle 2x last week and we have 4 more booked in the next 2-3 weeks. I've had several voicemails about needing to book more.
We went to close friends on Sunday afternoon for the Super Bowl. Taizi seemed very focused there and to our surprise...manifested some attachment issues. We let him be held by a friend's daughter in law. It was all good until later he scooted over to her to be held again. This was a shock for us...and sad. Showing us again how important it is that we be so careful. Up until that moment I don't believe anyone but my good friend had ever held him since gotcha day (and he reacted negatively to her holding him that time).
Last week, I had my big level 2 ultrasound. I went alone and, not finding out the gender, it was almost boring ;) I didn't want to see a hint of anything and therefore refused to look at the screen unless she was basically looking at the face or brain. Because we have a biological child with a severe cleft lip and palate...a lot of time is spent looking at the face :) The ultrasound was 2d...so I couldn't see much at all. We did see a complete lip and palate. That's amazing. And yet...there's always this twinge deep inside of me knowing we will not see that precious face again.
I brought 2 envelopes and 2 small pieces of paper inside each one. She wrote down the gender and tucked it safely into each envelope and sealed them. I, without a hint of temptation, took the envelopes and a few ultrasound photos and went on my way.
I came home and put them on my desk. We talked briefly about how the baby looked healthy and was measuring right on target.
Our week moved on. School. Life. Family.
Thursday afternoon, Dean texted me mid - day asking if I could find a babysitter for a date. For Thursday? I was surprised...it was random. I did find that our sitter was available so we booked her. We left and I...still having no clue what the impromptu date was all about...was rather shocked. When we sat down at the restaurant Dean said "one of the reasons I called for a sudden date...is I have a question for you. Finding out the gender of the baby...rate it from 1-10...how important it is to you".
I had made a promise to Dean that this time...he could experience not finding out. I have never asked. Never hinted. Never pleaded. Never grumbled about the fact that that's what we were doing. We had talked and he had asked about my excitement which I was making an effort and trying to muster up.
When he asked this question...I started to cry.
I'm an emotional person ... but not a cry-er. I seem to be able to hold that back most of the time.
He spoke up and said "I think you just answered me..."
He then went on to say that he realized he didn't just want this for him...but he wanted it for me. He wanted me to experience something...that I didn't want to experience. He talked about how pregnancies are hard for me. This one ... was the hardest. I get extremely sick. Throwing up around the clock..meds and all. And...well...I'm running a business and homeschooling and have 9 children. So it wasn't easy. Add the complete shock factor of the pregnancy itself...and it was a lot. But he said he always sees a difference half way through the pregnancy when we find out the gender. Fresh excitement. Planning. Shopping. (bargain shopping ;). Connecting. Talking to the baby...now by name. He said that just didn't come this time. In fact...he saw the opposite.
He looked at me and said "this is nothing you said, did, implied, asked for ... this is my gift to you. I want to find out the gender. I also promise I will never bring it up in the future as something you couldn't have done. This wasn't about you caving...this was about me giving a gift to you. I realized how important it was and I was keeping something so deep and meaningful from you.".
I'm sure I cried again. I wasn't saying much during this entire conversation.
He finished with ... "let's plan another date for tomorrow and think of a fun way to find out".
I felt like someone just breathed a big breath of sunshine into my soul.
Yes. That strong.
I know so many love the surprise in the delivery room.
I also know we have 9 children...girls and boys and everyone thinks we have everything.
I gave all of Izrael's clothing away.
And everyone else's is long gone.
I love to plan. Prepare. Shop. But most importantly...connect. I've definitely felt an inability to connect with the baby this time.
When we walked in the door the kids were all sitting quietly watching a movie and Taizi was on the floor holding a block. I came up behind him...a few feet back. He turned, saw me..and crawled over towards me...fast. He pulled himself up and leaned in for a 'hug'. It was such a sweet moment ... after such a long week...and such a great night.
So we called our sitter again on Friday and she came back :)
We got the envelope and put it in my purse along with a few Gap coupons.
We went to the mall. This idea came from a few different things. I know many people do fun things for gender reveal now...but for us ... one of the purposes of the gender in the envelope was to send to my lady who makes all of our personalized baby blankets (please ... if you are looking for one...let me know. She's the very best!) and that way she could send us a personalized blanket to be ready for his/her arrival.
I immediately thought of how fun that would be as a gender reveal! However...it takes a few weeks and there's no way ... :)
A few nights before I was in Gap with a friend and saw 2 precious outfits. One baby boy and one baby girl. I loved both. So with that fresh in my mind and coupons in hand we walked into Baby Gap. Dean also loved the outfits. We picked one of each. 0-3 months. So tiny. So precious. We handed the envelope, the outfits, my coupons and my credit card to the cashier. She was giggling she was so excited to be a part of it! We told her to hide the receipt for me to sign in a few minutes so I wouldn't see what was purchased and asked her to wrap the appropriate outfit in the gift box.
I was 90% sure it was a boy.
Maybe even more.
Biologically we have girl (was on medication for throwing up for 30weeks). Boy (on meds for 16 wks), Boy (on meds for 11 wks), girl (on meds for 28 weeks) girl (on meds for 28wks). So this seems to be significant.
I was throwing up 2-4 times a day ON medication this pregnancy until 14 weeks sharp. It ended suddenly and abruptly.
I KNEW it was a boy because of that.
Heart rate? I don't even remember what our other babies were!
This one has been on the high 150 side.
In the ultrasound it was 134 then 158 at the end. :)
We went to a nice restaurant and talked about it. We were totally building it up. The people beside us were just loving spying on the moment. The cashiers at Gap were oogling at the idea and us. And we knew that every one of them was thinking this was baby #1. ... and no. We didn't tell them it was #10 :)
Dean got out his camera and I started untying the box.
My heart was pounding. I know it's a boy!! To say I was a tad excited...would be an understatement...
I quickly flip up the tissue paper and see the tiniest most adorable...0-3month size....little dress! I was SHOCKED! Completely...no way! I think we both were! I was so so so so so sure it was a boy!
It was such a great moment. The waitress had witnessed it too and came over and said "ohhh you will love a little girl...they are SO fun...until they get to be about 2 or 3 years...then..." and she smiled and ... we smiled. :)
I love my husband.
I love him based on the fact that I said I would.
I made a promise.
I committed to it.
No matter what.
Yes there are many things he does that makes it easy to love him for. But my love is not based on those things. It's unconditional.
And in the moment of Dean offering this gift...love went deeper. A connection. It felt like he just reached out and held the hand of my soul. He saw me. Knew me. Loved me. And gave me a gift...I will never forget.
Today I was thinking...again... about how shocked I am that it's a girl. We have 6 little boys...2 biological. It's been a long time since we have had a baby boy! Since Azlan Honor. And then I had this thought. He was our second biological boy. Our boy born with so many challenges. The child...that changed my heart. And he changed our future. He changed the future of our family.
It was Azlan's journey that opened our hearts to adoption. We dreamed of adopting a child with a cleft. It was the most amazing experience...for us and him. And we wanted to give that to another child. As you know...God used Azlan to open our eyes but He called us specifically to 2 little boys in the heart of Africa. Not cleft affected. :)
Then fast forward to now. Here we are. 4 adopted sons. 2 healthy boys from Africa. 2 little boys with cleft lip and palate from China.
What a gift that little boy was. And is.
Someday our children will see the entire picture. The whole journey. And see how God used the gift of one little boy with special needs...to bring 4 more boys home to their family.
6 boys. 4 girls.
This little girl...being in God's plan...and not ours. Can't wait to see her journey unfold.