Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Birth Mom

Our birth mom got married last week and we were so happy and excited for her.  Her husband is a great guy and truly cares about her.  Gabriella got asked to be a flower girl, and while her flower girl debut didn't go as one would have liked, we were just so glad that we could be there to support her birth mom.

Our birth mom does have a name and it's a beautiful name, but for privacy we have agreed to just simply call her "birth mom." Yes it's an open adoption, but we all felt that it would be in the best interest of all parties involved that her name remain special to us.  

As we celebrate Gabriella's first birthday, our minds and hearts turn to our birth mom.  She is an incredible woman-full of strength, courage and a great love for Gabriella.  We will never understand the thoughts and feelings she had while deciding an adoption plan for our sweet baby girl, but we know her decision was made out of love.  Love for a beautiful baby girl that would change the lives of so many people.  Without our birth mom, Nic and I would not be able to experience the joys of parenthood.  Without our birth mom, Nic and I would not have been able to start the new chapters in our lives.  Thank you for giving us the greatest gift we could have ever received-one year ago.  

We love our birth mom and we are so glad that she gets to be a part of Gabriella's life (and ours) through the years.  

We love, love, LOVE you birth mom.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

IVF Update

Well, the appointment has been set.  We were really hoping to get in to see Dr. Slater this month but due to scheduling problems on our end and Dr. Slater being super busy, we are scheduled to see her June 12th (!!).  I was a little disappointed when they told me the date, but then they told me that they had just opened up that week so we're really lucky that we called when we did (again, reaffirms that the Lord is in control of this whole thing).

I still can't believe that this is happening. When I'm playing with Gabriella, I ask her: "Gabby, is it a brother or a sister that's waiting to come be a part of our family?  Is it both?"  I always wait for an answer, but of course she doesn't give me one-just a smile :). A couple of weeks ago I went to a friends graduation party/baptism celebration (for her daughter) and was able to visit with a lot of friends from our old ward (who I miss terribly) and was sharing our recent excitement with a friend who hadn't heard the good news.  I told her our tentative plans as to when we would like to do everything.  She looked at Gabriella and asked when her birthday was.  I told her it was July and then she began to do the math.  "Wow! They are going to be pretty close in age. (She looks at Gabriella) Did you make a deal with someone up there? Did you tell them that you would come first and that they could come after?"  I laughed, but after thinking about what she said it gave me chills and made me a little teary-eyed.

Gabriella was (and still is) such a easy baby.  She was sleeping through the night (which is considered at least 5 hours-she slept 6-8) by the time she was six days old, she's never had any earaches or high fever, she's never been colicky, and a list of a whole bunch of other things.  I always tell people "I think the Lord knew I needed to be eased into Motherhood.  As much as I wanted to be a mom, He knew I was still really nervous. With Gabriella being such an easy baby, it was His way of saying 'Look, you can do this.' "  Maybe Gabriella did in fact come first in order to prepare me for what was to come.  And truth be told, I can really see Gabriella taking charge in Heaven and saying "Look guys, I'm going to go first and ease her into it and then you can come."  I don't know how things really work in Heaven, but thinking things may have worked just like this makes me smile and have warm feelings :)

In other "update" news, I found out something pretty exciting, that if it works out, is going to be AMAZINGLY AWESOME!!!  I was talking with my friend Taylor (he and his wife were the ones that clapped in excitement when we won the grand prize and his wife was the one that told me about the open house) and he was telling me that he and his wife, Erin, when they were going through IVF they qualified for 25% savings because they made under 'x' amount and it's something we should look into.  I asked him "even though we have the 50% off?  You think we would still qualify?"

"Why not?  You still have to come up with the other half (roughly $6,000). Just talk to them when you go in." I so appreciate Taylor and his optimistic attitude :)

When he told me about the possibility of an extra 25% savings I got a little excited.  If we had not made the decision for Nic to leave his previous place of employment and start his own business, we wouldn't have qualified for this extra (possible) savings because we made over 'x' amount of money.  Another instance where the Lord is directing our course?  I think so.  How things are falling into place, really feels like it did over two years ago when I quit my job to return to school and be a stay at home wife, and we moved to another city to put ourselves (financially) in a better position.  Except at that time we didn't know what the end result was going to be (being matched with our beautiful birth mom), we just knew and felt we needed to do certain things.  I've said this before (if you follow me on FB) and I'll say it again: it's amazing how life unfolds and blessing are bestowed upon you when you get out of the Lord's way and let him direct your path.

In order to help put money towards our (current) goal of $6,000 I having been sewing like a mad woman to sale some items: baby burp cloths (cotton), flannel burp cloths, Baby Leg Warmers, and bath towels for baby (way bigger than the small ones you get-they can grown into them). I'll also be making hair bows.  I'm hoping to have a blog up in the next week to list these items and have a place where you can make purchase or donations.

Everything is coming together.  Me and my little family are so blessed.  Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement.  It really has meant a lot to our family :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ending Nation Infertility Awareness Week

The blog you guys have all been waiting for :) But before I can give you the story, there is some important background info you need.

BACK STORY: Near the end of last year, Nic and I were discussing our plans for the new year.  We wanted to get out of debt, I wanted to grow my massage therapy business, and a couple of other things.  But the most important thing we wanted for the new year was to grow our family.  We wanted to pinch our pennies and save for an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment.  We were very excited about the new year!  Then 2012 arrived in all of it's glory and we soon realized that we the things we wanted for the new year were no longer in our reach.  Nic got a HUGE pay cut at the beginning of the year and after much prayer (and FAITH) we felt it was best for him to quit his job (he had worked for this company for 8 1/2 years) and start his own lab.  I struggled with this decision.  I knew that if Nic quit his job it would make it more difficult for us to get out of debt and to put money away for IVF.  But this is where I made the decision to change the way I prayed.

I prayed telling Heavenly Father that I KNEW He would provide us with the way to grow our family.  That I KNEW He would allow us to have the desire of our hearts and bring a brother or sister (or both!) into this world for our sweet Gabriella.  I told Him that I KNEW He would take care of our family and would not abandon us in our hour of need.  A lot of this prayer was filled with tears, but in my heart I KNEW the words to be true.  I KNEW that through my faith that Heavenly Father would bless our family.

For awhile I had stopped using this language in my prayers and put aside the thoughts of growing our family; though my heart ached for more children I became content with the thought that Gabriella would be our only child.   It was hard.  I wanted her to have a brother or sister.  I wanted to hear them giggling and sharing secrets with each other.  I wanted to see them running and playing in the yard.  I wanted her to have all those wonderful memories that I have of doing things with my brothers.  I decided to pray for more children.

On Sunday, April 22nd (the beginning of NIAW) I, again, prayed to Heavenly Father telling Him that I KNEW He would bless our lives with children and that through our faith He would provide us with a way to bring more sweet spirits into our home.  Through my tears I felt peace.  Later on that afternoon one of my friends posted this as her FB status: ****It's National Infertility Awareness Week. If you are local, and going through this trial, head over to the Idaho Center for Reproductive Medicine (next to the Ronald McDonald House) Thursday at the 6 pm for their open house/seminar. Drawings for 50% off IVF, Free consults and more******* When I saw this posting, my heart about jumped out of my chest. I immediately told her thank you for posting this.  She told me that she felt she needed to post this for all of her friends out there. True, I had hoped we would win, but I more so took this information as a sign that we needed to continue with our desire to grow our family.  I told Nic about it (the grand prize giveaway) and without hesitation he said: "Awesome!  Let's make sure we're there."

Well, fast-forward to Wednesday.  I get a call from the spa that I work at asking me if I would be okay working a late shift (until 7:30), without even thinking I say yes.  I don't realize my mistake until Nic comes home later that evening.  I tell him that I won't be able to go and since I don't want Gabriella with a sitter for an extended period of time (there was a 2 hour block where our schedules over-lapped and Gabriella had to be with a sitter) he either has to take her with him or not go at all.  Out of frustration I tell him to just not go at all.

Thursday morning on my drive to work I call Nic and tell him to go to the meeting and to take Gabriella with him and I would call him when I'm done with my appointments.  I go to the spa and wait for my client. As I'm there I'm telling the girls that Nic and I are wanting to grow our family and we're taking the first step by going to ICRM for NIAW.  It was nice to discuss infertility with them.  I tell them about the "grand prize" and they tell me that they hope Nic wins (love those girls).  At 5:40 pm my clients were a no show.  I call Nic to see where is he at (down the street from ICRM) and have him come pick me up.  We show up late to the meeting but are greeted by the friendly staff.  They tell us before we enter the room we need to enter the drawing and only one entry per family.  I was nervous as I was filling out the entry form, though I'm not sure why.  I mean, I really didn't think I would win. I guess I was just nervous about the the IF.  We sat through the presentation and relearned some things.  I also became frustrated because with my previous OB-GYN because it took her THREE years to refer us to ICRM, she should have done it after a year if not sooner (Infertility is defined as 1 year trying to conceive without any success, but since we already knew Nic's "factory" wasn't working properly we should have gotten a referral sooner.  All is well).  At the end of the informational meeting it was time for the drawing.  They were raffling a new client consultation, 2 ultrasounds (two separate ultrasounds), 2 cookie boutiques and the grand prize-50% off and IVF treatment.

"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.  Swimming, swimming, swimming!"

Every time Dr. Slater pulled her hand out of the jar I sat waiting to hear my name.  I kept telling myself  "I'd be okay with a new client consultation or with the ultra sounds" the cookie boutiques not so much. . .haha.  And then the moment.  The grand prize.  Nic and I, along with everyone else in the room, held our breath. "And the grand prize goes to. . . Elaine Ward." I sat there.  Perfectly still.  In shock.  I couldn't believe it.  I could tell they were looking for their "excited" winner so I slowly raised my hand, much like a kid in school fessing up to something they did wrong.  They congratulated me and I just sat there.  There was some more info shared and as I sat there processing everything that just happened, I began to cry.  Heavenly Father had heard my prayers.

After the meeting the office manager came up to me and asked if we were returning patients (since we had Gabriella with us) and we told her that we had met with Dr. Foulk four years ago, but we were blessed by adoption with our beautiful girl. I told her how our friends (who, when my name was called exclaimed "yes!" and clapped their hands-though, I didn't hear them) who felt they needed to share the info and here we are. The office manager told us it was meant to be.  When I shared the news with the girls at the spa the next day they said the same thing too.

We are hoping to meet with Dr. Slater in a couple of weeks and that meeting will give us a better outline as to how much more money we need and when we can do the procedure.  I've made a guesstimate as to the amount that we will need ($6,000-yikes!).  Our tentative plan is to do the procedure in October.  

We know we still have a few thousand dollars to go before we are able to begin the procedure, but we know that the Lord will continue to guide us.  We will be holding garage sales, making and selling items, Nic is looking for another job (in addition to running his own lab), I will be taking on more clients, and we will be taking donations. . .haha. I'm serious though.  Send us your money ;)

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Just 10 short days after Gabriella entered this world and became part of our family we were able to finalize our adoption. A lot of people couldn't believe that we were able to finalize that quickly and the only thing I could tell them was that the Lord truly was in control of everything.

When we met with our Birth Mom and the attorney to go over initial paper work, our Birth Mom expressed her desire for us to finalize the adoption as soon as possible. The attorney told her that we probably wouldn't be able to get in and finalize for at least a month or after Gabriella was born, but we decided to call down to the court house to see what could be done. The attorney called down to the court house and the clerk confirmed that we indeed would not be able to finalize our adoption until approximately a month after Gabby's birth. When we heard this, I could see the color leave our Birth Mom's face. But then the clerk went on to explain that since we would be represented by an attorney that we could petition the court early to get a date scheduled before Gabby was even born. This was music to our ears! So we all decided that Nic and I (and our attorney, Nic's dad) would petition the court the first part of June.

As June approached Nic's dad told me that I may have put all my eggs in the basket by telling my family (and friends) when we were going to be having the blessing and sealing since so many things can go wrong in family court. The fact that he was doubtful made me nervous. So, we spoke with our Bishop (who is also an attorney) and put me in touch with his paralegal that handles family law. I told her that we were getting ready to petition the court to get a date to finalize our adoption. She asked how old the baby was and I told her that she hadn't been born yet.

"Well, you can't do that."
"What do you mean we can't do that?"
"You can't even schedule a hearing until the baby is born."
"Well, a couple of months ago we called down to the court and the clerk said that we could petition the court early for a date. Our Birth Mom wants us to finalize the adoption as soon as we can, so that's why we're trying to schedule a court date now"
(very rudely-she was actually rude during the whole conversation) "Well, I don't know who you spoke to, but they are wrong. I have never seen a case where you could schedule a court date before the baby is even born. And it's not up to your Birth Mom to decide when you should finalize. Once there is court termination of her rights, she has no say as to what you decide to do."

I told her thank you and promptly hung up. I was near tears because she was so rude and because maybe Nic's dad was right: I had put all my eggs in one basket. I called Nic (in tears) and he told me the one lesson that i have learned over and over: "We just need to trust the Lord."

We made the decision to continue forward in our attempts to schedule a hearing date BEFORE Gabriella was born. I met Nic's dad and we went to the court house and submitted our papers. I was holding my breath for the clerk to say something about Gabby's DOB (that it hadn't even happened yet), but nothing. Nic's dad asked if we could schedule it now and the clerk said "What day would you like?" What?! Was this really happening? "Um, July 21st." "Okay."

Wow! I couldn't believe it. Well, I could because I knew the Lord was in control. But for a second, I did doubt.

The only one hang up was an additional home study that the court wanted-at the end of August :/. I started to get nervous again, but with the combination of our attorney and our Birth Mom's attorney we were able to get the additional home study waived. Everything was a go.

When we showed up for court I was a nervous wreck. I just kept thinking that the judge could change his mind for any reason at any time. The judge came into the court room and began. He said that he had reviewed our paperwork and found us suitable to become Gabriella's legal guardians. I began to cry. Who knew court proceedings could be so emotional.

After all the legal stuff was done, we were able to take some pictures and enjoy our time as a family before my parents arrived to meet their beautiful new grand-daughter.

The Greatest Gift

This is a picture of Gabriella and her birth mom.

On Wednesday, July 13th we said good-bye to our birth mom. It was an extremely hard thing to do.

That morning as we drove to the hospital, I felt that we would be saying good-bye to her, so in the car we were sure to say a prayer for her. We prayed that she would not only feel the love we have for her, but also feel the love that our Heavenly Father has for her as well. We prayed that she would be strengthened by that love. And most importantly we prayed that she would know that Gabriella will also know who she is and that we all will always be eternally grateful to her.

Our birth mom came to the NICU and we gave her a few things. First, I told our sweet birth mom that Nic and I will never begin to understand everything she is feeling right now, or how she will feel in the future, but I let her know that we love her. That we sincerely love her and
that Gabriella is just not our daughter, but she is ours. That she belongs to all three of us. I told her that we were truly grateful for her allowing us to start this next chapter in our lives and that she will always be our angel.

Birth mom told us having an adoption plan for Gabriella was what was for the best. To me, that truly showed how much love she had for Gabriella. Adoption truly is about love.

Next, Nic and I presented her with some special items that we had for her. The first one is a bracelet. Gabriella has the same one and she wore it during her newborn photo-shoot.

The next item was a Willow Tree Figurine, it's called Keepsake: Kept forever in the heart. I first came across this figurine when I learned we were first matched. A friend had suggested looking at Willow Tree Figurines to give as a gift to our birth mom when we first met her. I couldn't find anything, but when I saw "Keepsake" I began to cry and I knew that his is something I would want to give her when it came time for placement.

Both my eyes and the eyes of our birth mom were filled with tears (I asked Nic if he cried at all and he said no-typical guy. haha).

I told our birth mom that no matter where we are in our lives and no matter where Gabriella is, and no matter where she is that we have a piece of each other with us.

After a few more tears we got up to really say good-bye. Hugs were given and more tears were shed. Nic said good-bye to our birth mom first and then it was my turn. I tried not to cry, but I just couldn't help it. Neither of us could. I just kept telling her thank you and how much we loved her. She said she loves us too. Which, was so wonderful to hear her say.

Her final words to me: "It's going to be amazing!"


Today at approximately 1:16 pm our sweet baby girl, Gabriella Neveyah, joined the world. It was such an amazing experience.

The morning was off to a slow start. The C-Section was was supposed to be at 10 am, but it was pushed back until 12 pm. Our poor birth mom was uncomfortable and ready for the baby to be out. It was nice however to spend that extra time waiting with her.

Once our birth mom got called back, we got to sit in the pre-op room with her. We got to listen to Gabriella's heart beat one more time before she joined the world. It was exciting to hear her heart just pumping away. I think she knew that she was getting ready to make her grand entrance :). Sitting there with our birth mom, I was filled with an even greater sense of love for her. Getting changed into the scrubs made my heart race. Was this really getting ready to
happen? I couldn't believe that in just a few minutes our lives would be changed FOREVER! I took Nic's camera into the OR, but I really didn't take a whole lot of pictures. I didn't want to cause a stir of any kind. I just really wanted it to be about our birth mom. The anesthesiologist encouraged me to take pictures and to take a peek over the curtain if I wanted. I did and then I decided that I do not want to ever have a c-section. Oh my goodness. I'm so grateful for our
birth mom enduring that procedure. Seeing them pull Gabriella out was incredible. This sweet
baby girl that we had waited for was finally here. Right after they pulled her out, I was whisked away to the nursery to be with her. Nic was already in there. As I was getting cleaned up, the tears started to come. I tried holding them back, but two of the nurses told me: "it's okay to cry. And you know what? We'll cry with you." I tried to breath my way through it, but as soon as I
rounded the corner and saw them cleaning her up, the tears just came. Like, big bawling,
blubbery tears. It was incredible.

I was wanting to hold her when they were done, but they discovered that she had spontaneous pneumathorax and she had to be immediately taken to the NICU. Gabriella was connected to four different monitors: 1) to monitor her heart rate, 2) to monitor her breathing rate, 3) to
monitor her oxygen levels, and 4) to monitor her body temperature. She also had what they called "the box." It was an enclosed helmet that just pumped oxygen into her lungs. The on-call pediatrician told us that the point of "the box" was to help the pneumathorax to heal itself. If it
didn't then they would use a needle to uncollapse the lung. If that didn't work then they would have to do a tubal. Obviously, Nic and I were hoping for the box to work. Gabriella also had to have multiple x-rays done to make sure the pneumathorax was healing. She did not like that. Especially because they had to stretch her our to get them. Since the womb she has always let you know what she didn't like and she definitely let the nursing staff know that she did NOT like that. . .haha.

The hardest part with her being in the box was that we couldn't hold her. It was killing us! We could just give her foot or hand a little squeeze. And poor baby girl couldn't eat anything either. She was stuck with an IV and sugar water to help her keep the pacifier in her mouth. That first night we decided to stay in the hospital. Even though our friend that we were staying with lived 2 mins away from the hospital, we thought it best to stay right there just in case something happened. That night, we also had our cousin and her fiance come up from Rexburg to help Nic
give Gabriella a blessing of health. Though I could barely hear what he was saying (due to the beeping of monitors), you could definitely feel the presence of the Lord. It's true what they say
about the NICU-there are definitely angels there. Not only was our new little family and our birth mom strengthened by the prayers of our friends, I truly felt the presence of my grand-parents, Nic's grandparents and our birth mom's father. They were all there to make sure this sweet baby girl pulled through.

After 26 grueling hours and one final x-ray (I think she may have had a total of 10-5 times with
2 views) she was given the clear-YAY!! Though the pneumathorax had healed she still had to be monitored to make sure she was getting the right level of oxygen and her breathing rate was able to keep stabilized on it's own. Every time her monitor would go off because her levels had dropped, I would quickly go and grab her hand and tell her: "It's okay baby girl. You can do it. Mommy knows that you can be strong. It's okay. You can do it."

After removing "the box" we were able to feed her and baby girl was STARVING! She downed two ounces like it was nobody's business. After eating she was given a bath. She hated it. Though, she really did enjoy her hair being washed (who doesn't like a scalp massage???). After she was all clean and fresh we were able to hold her, and love on her and give her way too many kisses :)

We were hoping to get discharged that night, but the doctor wanted to keep her at least another day because her white blood cell count was low and the antibiotics were fighting the infection that she had. So, another night it was. And more prayers were given.

Wednesday morning we awoke bright and early so we could head to the hospital to feed her and to see what the good doctor was going to tell us. I also felt, as we were driving to the hospital, that this would be the day that we would be saying good-bye (though not forever) to our birth mom. On the way there, we were sure to say a prayer her and for us and for the good-bye that was getting ready to happen.

A few hours after saying good-bye to our birth mom, we were told to bring in the car seat so we could load Gabriella in it and do a stress test. Our nurses were very excited for us to bring in the car seat, because they knew what that meant-that we could go home! Gabriella was strapped in and she passed-YAY!!! When we were talking to the good ol' doc about discharge he said he wanted to send us home, but he would feel better if were to stay here (Idaho Falls) until Friday. He said with the altitude changes, it could possibly trigger something with Gabriella's pneumathorax (even though she was healed). We said we would. And we received the seal of approval to be discharged.

We took her home to our friends house and it was amazing to be a family. Our friend and her family were out of town, so it was just us. It was so nice. That night I stayed up with Gabriella. She just wanted to be held for almost two hours. When we woke up the next day, I told Nic that it just felt right being up with her. Like she had been ours forever. :)

Thursday morning we drove home. Yes we told the doctor we would stay, but who wouldn't tell them what they wanted to hear so we could get out?! Nic and I figured this: she had recovered 100% and we had faith in the Lord that he would give her the continued strength to stay strong (or at least to make it home if something were to happen). And He did. We made it back home safe and sound to begin our new life as a family.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Night Before

Well, the time has finally arrived. Tomorrow is the BIG day. I can hardly believe it.

All day people have been asking me if I'm excited, but honestly I'm not quite sure how I feel. Initially when we were matched I was excited. Getting everything ready made me excited, but in the final home stretch I've begun to feel. . . I don't know. I think I really am feeling so many different things I'm just not quite sure how to feel, or how I should feel. I have been thinking a lot about our birth mom and trying to grasp what she could possibly be feeling, but I know that there is no way I could possibly understand or know exactly how she is feeling. I'll NEVER understand, but I do know one thing. I know that she is our angel. I know that she has answered many prayers offered by my husband and I.

I have always believed that we as beings on this earth are here to help each other through life and to answer prayers offered by our brothers and sisters. We are here on this earth to help each other become something greater. Our birth mom has done this for us. She has given/is giving Nic and I so much. I can only hope that we have given her something in return.

I still can't believe that in 12 hours Nic and I will be parents. When we leave Eastern Idaho there will be a real-life baby in our back seat. We will be leaving with our daughter. Our daughter. Our sweet baby girl. Our pride and joy. This sweet baby who already has her daddy wrapped around her little finger :) Tomorrow, we will be a family.