Thank you so much for your prayers! As you can see from this photo, we are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy! Baby M was born on August 3rd weighing 9lbs and 7oz!!! I can't even begin to express what a whirlwind these last 10 days have been for us! We have seen God's provision, mercy, and grace poured out on us in amazing ways. I'll try to recap a bit of our journey here:
On August 1st, we flew out to Utah by way of Las Vegas. Our flight didn't leave Kentucky until later in the afternoon and both Kurt and I weren't feeling very great from some sinus stuff. It was also pretty hard for me to leave our girls, though I really tried to contain it for their sakes! They were excited to go with my parents, so that helped. Once we reached Vegas, we were supposed to have an hour layover before flying another hour to SLC. Our one our layover turned into a four hour layover! By the time we got to SLC, rented a car, and checked into a hotel, it was closing in on 5:00 AM Eastern Time. We were so tired!! Needless to say we tried to sleep in the next day and occupy ourselves while we waited to see if our birthmom or her mother wanted to meet.
While we were waiting, we decided to drive out to Park City, a place we had visited on our honeymoon. We had to take a new photo from the same overlook near the Olympic ski jumps. The photo on the top was taken on our honeymoon in January 2006 and the bottom one was August 2nd 2015. Later that afternoon, we found out that our birthmom's mother's flight had gotten in late and that we wouldn't be meeting.
Aftter sleeping about 12 hours straight, I awoke on August 3rd already feeling anxiety about what the day would bring. We got a message around 9AM that our birthmother was already in the hospital with her induction underway. We weren't sure how long it would take, if she would want to see us, or what would happen. We dropped flowers off at the hospital for her and headed out to Hooper, Utah to stay with a local adoptive family there. We heard updates throughout the day about how birthmom was progressing. It's pretty surreal to find yourself waiting for your son to be born and to not be in labor! Around 3 PM, we heard that she was at 9cm. We also got a call from my best friend at that moment that started with the words, "Don't worry, but were at the ER with M!" Our four year old had had an acident and split open her top lip. She was going to need stitches, though the smaller ER where my parents had initially taken her didn't have a plastic surgeon. She'd be going to a hosptial closer to our home to be sedated and have stitches. I cannot even begin to describe how crazy I felt. My daughter needed me and I was so very far away and my son was being born, but I couldn't even be there. It was literally one of those times I feel like God hammered home the point that He is in control and I am not! We really started to get anxious about the baby when we hadn't heard anything by 6PM. I was pacing the floors and praying for both my children! Around 7PM, we finally got a message that said our son had arrived! Our precious birthmom had ended up having a c-section because our sweet boy weighed 9lbs 7oz and had gottten stuck! We knew that he was being taken to the NICU because he had some fluid on his lungs and needed O2, but otherwise we didn't really know anything. A few mintues later, our social worker sent us these two photos:
We spent the rest of the evening waiting for updates from both our baby boy and on M. M finally got an IV around 3AM (EST) and was finished with stitches by 6AM (EST). We were up most of the night waiting on a call that she was home and fine. Exhausted in every way possible, I finally collasped to sleep.
August 4th, was another intense day. We weren't sure if we were going to get to see our birthmom or baby boy. In order to see baby without birthmom, she had to sign a "see and hold" form, so we basically weren't allowed in until that happened. Finally, we got a message to come to the hospital around 3:00PM. We met our social worker there and later met our Birthmom's mother. She was such a sweet and special lady and we were thrilled to meet her. Our birthmom was in a lot of pain from surgery so she didn't want to meet us that day. We totally understood. However, she did sign the "see and hold" so we were able to go back to the NICU to meet our son! It's hard to describe how I felt scrubbing up and then walking down those halls. The NICU has huge glass doors on each room and when we finally turned a corner, we could see our precious boy snuggled up in his bed.
I had always imagined that I would bawl when I saw him, and, while I did cry, I couldn't get this crazy happy grin off my face. Not only did we get to see him, but we were able to hold him and feed him. It was such a gift. We spent 4.5 hours with him and each moment was a celebration and a miracle.
Because our birthmom had a c-section, we knew that would delay her signing paperwork for an additional day. She was having a hard time with the pain and her grief, so Wednesday was a particularly hard day. At one point, she invited us up to meet her and then changed her mind. Her mom was visibly upset, which made things harder for us. We also couldn't visit baby because it just wouldn't have been the best decision for birthmom at that point. We left the hospital weighted down with worry and anxiety. She had been going to sign at noon, pushed it back till 5PM and then told us she wanted to wait and sign Thursday. Each time I got a text or call, my heart sank. To distract ourselves a bit and to get some "air" literally and figuratively, we drove out to the Great Salt Lake. Now, the lake gets a bad reputation for stinking, but it was a windy day and we didn't notice it too much. It was beautifully overcast with just a hint of rain and we hiked out to the water and just stood there looking at God's creation. I felt like things were so out of control, but God reminded me there that I had never left His hands. He knew all of these things were going to happen and they were not a surprise to Him. I just stood out on a little sand bar, pouring my heart out to him and basking in His glory. Kurt captured this amazing image.
After we left the Salt Lake, we went to dinner. I was typing an email update and asking for prayer, when my phone rang. It was our social worker. My heart started beating about a thousand miles a minute. However, her news was not bad. Our birthmom had gone ahead and signed the papers that evening. We were offically parents of this sweet baby boy!! Our sorrows and worries turned to joy and dancing. We were in awe of the miracle of adoption and so thankful for our own adoption in to God's family.
Thursday was a busy day. We were finally able to meet our sweet birthmom. It felt so good to hug her and see her face. We couldn't thank her enough or tell her how much we already loved this boy--and her! Afterwards, we got to see baby M for a short time before going to sign our own paperwork. Once that was all done, we were free to be with our boy, and that's where we've been most days since.
Baby M spent 4 days under the lights in his shades for Jaundice.
Snuggled up and ready to sleep!
Second try off of O2 and hoping he doesn't have to go back. Apparently, the altitude makes it harder for babies here!
I've had many people ask us why he is in the NICU and while he does have problems feeding, these probably stem from the fact that his birthmom was taking a medication (under the care of her doctor) that can cause NAS (neonatal abstenince syndrome). Baby M has been having various signs and symptoms of this and it is being managed with two different medications. One medication he can come home on, the other he needs to be off of before we are released. We knew this before he was born and tried to prepare ourselves as best we could. Being in the NICU is hard but we have received such encouragement from others that have walked this road and we are truly grateful that he is healthy otherwise! Today, Baby M is feeling better and is eating better! He needs to eat 80mL on his own and he did 58mL this morning--much better than just 5mL a few days ago! We also think he has some reflux and he started a med for that. How long will he have to stay? We just don't know at this point. He needs to meet a few milestones in how he is feeling/eating and in medication before we can leave. We are also waiting to meet with a judge for finalization and we need our ICPC to be completed so we can travel out of state. While we are hopeful that he is on an upward trend and will be home soon, we are also preparing for being here longer than expected. K has plans to come home next week to stay with our girls and will then return depending on what's going on with Baby M. It's very hard for me to be away from my girls and I can't even begin to express how much I want all my babies in the same place.
Please pray that Baby M will continue to improve daily and that he will be discharged soon. Pray for Kurt as he travels, our girls, and for me here alone--for safety and stamina. If you haven't donated to our adoption and would like to, you can still do so through our Adopttogether account here: https://www.adopttogether.org/kurtandpriscillajohnson
We are so thankful we had savings and loans to pay for our adoption, but we will still be doing some fundrasing to pay off those loans and the additional cost of travel, hotel stay, and our birthmom's c-section.
Thank you for traveling this journey with us!