Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thankful

Thank you for your concerns. We are safe and were fortunate enough to watch the storms pass over us. My heart breaks for the families who lost everything in the tornados. I can't imagine waiting to pick up my child from school and waiting all night. The thought alone is paralyzing. Like you, we huddled around the tv and hugged our girls a little tighter as we watched the devastation.
Prayers are needed. Okies are strong, resilient and God fearing. I couldn't be more proud to call it Home.
Text "Red Cross" to 90999

Monday, May 13, 2013

Here we are!

I missed this here ol' blog! Life has been speeding by and I am ready to sit back down at my computer and freeze time for just a bit while looking through my camera.
We have been adjusting to the new life of a family of four. Life has been amazing, but good Lord I'm tired! Berkley is doing great and Isabelle is a perfect big sister, which has made this whole transition easier. Berkley is slowly coming off her medicine, which can make for a rough couple of days, but other than that she is such a happy, sweet baby!

I had such a great day celebrating Mother's Day and I was given the precious gift of sleep!! (Thank you again, Mr. T and Berkley. You guys are awesome.) As soon as I woke up, I was greeted by a naked toddler wearing a tiara and sparkly shoes....Motherhood is awesome.

We did go visit Berkley's birth mom, M, which was great. Mother's day is such a day of celebration around here, but after visiting M, I realized how painful of a day it can be for a lot of women. For M, it is a day of regrets, brokenness, and pain. The look on her face when she saw Berkley broke me. She knows that she made a great decision by giving Berkley a home that she couldn't provide, but it still hurts. She has done the most selfless, self sacrificing thing that I have ever witnessed and it breaks my heart. She loves Berkley in a different way than I could ever imagine and I am so glad she does.  She will always be Berkley's first mom and we are so happy that she didn't take the easy way out. We will always love her for making that tough decision.
Me and my gals

Oh man, my heart just explodes for these two. 

I left her alone for ONE minute and the princess fairy placed a crown on her head. That's what big sisters are for, right? 



My little baby has become the best big sister that I could ever imagine. She makes me forget what it was like when it just three of us. She instantly fell in love and included her baby siter in EVERYTHING. 

Our first family hike.
 
Stay a little more up to date with our family adventures and follow me on Instagram: anotherstepmel

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Parental Rights

We have had quite the adjustment with a family of four. Berkley is doing a ton better (thank you for all your sweet words!) and we are loving the adjustment, but change is always a little tough for me. Do you know what makes a newborn adjustment awesome? A baby that only wakes up ONCE during the night. It's awesome. I think we are finally getting payback for her (literally) screaming for 2 weeks straight. She is now eating a ton during the day and sleeping it off at night. She is still tiny, but she is growing strong. We went for a 3 week checkup to go over her medicine routine and she weighed a whopping 6lbs 2oz. She's tiny but mighty.
 Through all of this, we have been trying to keep Isabelle's schedule normal. She does swimming lessons on Saturday and that has become her second favorite thing to do.
 Her first favorite thing to do....hold her sister.
 Thank God for grandparents. Mr. T's parents came in town so we could enjoy a night out with country music (Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley) beer and a little alone time with my hot date. Perfect.



Tomorrow at 10:30 Berkley's birth mom will stand in front of a judge and sign away any rights she has for Berkley. I am terrified. Not that she won't sign them, but I am scared for the emotions she is going to have during that time. I can't imagine doing a more selfless thing in my life. Her strength amazes me. She has been seeking professional help for her addictions and she is doing awesome, but she is also tons of support. We hope to be that support for her and we hope that she lets us.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

So What!

So What Wednesday
 
This week I am saying So What!:
 
-That I haven't slept in a little over 2 weeks. My eyes are officially blood shot, but we get to take our little lady home from the hospital TODAY so that makes it all worth it.
 
-I need to buy Visine for my bloodshot eyes, but I have a weird thing with visine and I think that only pot heads buy it and I don't want to be judged when I go get it. I am no pot head, although my eyes would tell you something different.
 
-Mr. T and I have tickets to see Miranda Lambert on Saturday and we are so excited about it! Hopefully a night away is just what the doctor ordered.
 
-I am still trying to get on the whole "Downton Abbey" bandwagon. I am getting better with it, but still not seeing the hype. However, I do want an english accent and a giant castle. With electricity please.
 
-That I am all out of SO what's! My brain is working at about 50%, but hopefully I will be back in full force soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 6

Sunday started out perfectly! Mr T. And I left the hospital after a night with Berkley and went to pick up Isabelle at my moms house for some church. It's a really weird feeling being at church with one of your daughters while the other daughter is stuck in a hospital bed. We needed to keep our lives sort of normal for Isabelle and Sunday means donuts and church to her, so we tried to focus on the positive and do our Sunday thing.
Church always feels like such a "safe place" and this Sunday was no different. After a great service, we headed out for a nice run. Throughout this entire stressful process running has become my meditation and peaceful time. I will definitely blog about that all later, but I will say that I have had some awesome experiences on my runs lately.

Anyway....after a great Sunday afternoon we headed back up to the hospital to check on our gal. We were immediately brought back to reality when the nurse said that Berkley didn't have a great morning and her score was a 12. (They score her a few times a day for withdrawal signs. The lower the score the better. We walked into the hospital at a 12-14, but lately we had been at 2's and 4's. So to get a 12 again, after 5 days, was devastating.)

They decided to put her back on a medication that might make her sleepy, but then she wouldn't be uncomfortable. Thankfully, that has worked! Last night her highest score was a 6 and today she has been around 1! She is more alert and eating great and slowly gaining weight. She is a fighter and has reached EVERY goal that the doctor has set for her.

The doctor said that he wants to watch her a few more nights, but that we should be able to go home by Wednesday! Such great news!
We are not out of the clear quite yet, and once she comes home she will continue a detox plan until she is completely off of all medication, but we are just ready to have her home again!
Thank you for your prayers and support! I cannot thank you enough!! 
 
We have been doing a lot of this lately. Holding/ipad-ing. Mr. T is watching every Shark Tank that's ever been made and I just started Season 1 of Downton Abbey. (I have only watched 2 episodes and I'm not hooked yet. Don't you worry though... I will give it a little more time!)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 4

We are still in the hospital. She is not doing so hot when the methadone wears off and so they are giving her some medication to help her sleep so she's not awake and in pain. They will wean her off the sleep medication before she can go home.
Mr. T and I took a break last night and went home to sleep while my mom stayed with Berkley at the hospital. It was a nice break, but we were ready to get back with her!

Isabelle keeps asking when Berkley is coming home because she can't come visit her while she is in the NICU and I have a feeling Berkley is ready to be home as well! We are praying for a speedy recovery, but we definitely don't want to leave the hospital if she's not ready. Thank you all for your sweet words and support! For more pics, follow me on Instagram at: anotherstepmel



Friday, April 5, 2013

We're a family of 4!

Berkley Nichole
Born March 23, 2013.
She is beautiful and perfect.
 






I'm so sorry if you follow me on Instagram and you got a glimpse of our newest member and then heard nothing more. Life with Berkley has been a whole new adventure and much more than we could have planned for. We are so excited that we were chosen to be her parents and our hearts have grown twice in size since we met her. She is such a blessing to our lives!

Let me start out by saying that Berkley's birth mother is an amazing, strong, courageous young woman. She has had a tough life and is fighting some addictions, but we know that she is strong enough to win. That being said, Berkley was born addicted to Methadone. We were aware that her Birth mom was taking Methadone to fight her long addiction to pain killers. Because she was pregnant, she could not quit her addictions cold turkey without the possibility of a miscarriage. Doctors told her that methadone was the best alternative. It would not cause any serious side effects, but they did warn that the baby would withdrawal when she was born and that it wouldn't be pretty. Methadone is not the same as Methanthetamine. I can't tell you all of the specifics about it, but google can. It is taken daily which makes the withdrawals that much tougher. We were warned that Methadone is the "best" drug to be on for babies if you are choosing, but that the withdrawals are the worst to watch because it was taken regularly.
We prepared ourselves.
We knew that 90% of babies born to mothers on methadone go through some sort of withdrawal, but we prayed to be in the 10%.
Then we prayed. And we prayed hard.
I didn't talk about the entire adoption process on here, because it was too hard and I didn't know what to expect. I also didn't want to hear judgement about Berkley's birth mom because we have gotten really close with her and we love her like a sister now.
 I regret that I didn't write about it now, because I know that this blog is a great source of therapy for me and can help others, but at that time I just couldn't bring myself to accept the fact that my daughter would be born addicted to drugs.

When she was born, everything was perfect. We spent three days in the hospital waiting for signs of withdrawal, but we saw none. She was doing great. We thought we had made it out of the "zone" and we were now safe. That our baby had beat the odds.
We were wrong.
The night we brought her home, she didn't sleep at all. We told ourselves that this is just what newborns do, but I think Mr. T and I both knew that something wasn't right. She was crying and she wasn't consolable. Her cry was different then other cries (high pitched) and she seemed really uncomfortable. Then morning would come and she would seem okay. She would sleep most of the day and so we just thought maybe she had her days and nights messed up.
We were in denial.
This went on for a few days and then things took a turn for the worse. The crying became an almost all day thing and we were exhausted and felt helpless. Our doctor prescribed medication that might help her, but it didn't. She was getting no relief and was clearly in pain.
So on Wednesday night, We checked back into the hospital.
We are here now and the doctors have her back on Methadone and will wean her slowly off. She is doing much better, but every day is a new struggle. We are fully relying on the Lord at this point and know that He loves her more than we can imagine and we are resting in His peace.
It's hard.
There are a lot of tears.
I want my family of four to be able to just do life together.
Isabelle misses her sister.
I miss my baby not looking "sick" in a hospital bed.
We're exhausted.
But we are filled with Joy.
We know that this is the war that the Lord has us fighting and we know that this is exactly where we are supposed to be. We are glad to know that we can be here for her during this time, but our hearts are broken for the MILLIONS of other kids that are fighting battles, like Berkleys, alone. We know that she will be fine, we just pray that it will be soon.
Please, rejoice with us in this awesome new blessing that we have been given and please pray with us that she is healed quickly and comfortably.
I promise to update you now daily.
She needs your prayers. Please.

Philippians 4:6- "Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done."