Becoming Mommy

I celebrated my first Mother’s day in 2007, 20 months(ish) pregnant and incredibly nervous. I sat carefully, I walked carefully and I did life carefully. I was afraid.

Calvin and I got married in June of 2006. Six months later I wasn’t feeling well and decided it was one of two things. The flu or (gasp) pregnancy. I discovered the later and informed Calvin of this news during our 6 month anniversary night away. Before you have kids you get to do things like stay in a hotel on made up anniversaries.

I went to my doctor and he confirmed that I was indeed with child, about 8 weeks along. We were nervous, excited and a little bit in shock. None of our friends had children yet. We would be the first and that was pretty fun. And weird.

A week later I began to feel like things were not right. I feared the worst and a doctor’s appointment confirmed that I was indeed losing our precious baby at 9 weeks. We had already heard the heartbeat, but now there was none. I grieved incredibly hard. I prayed and journaled to pass the seemingly endless hours of sadness. I felt so empty. It didn’t help that it was Christmas time, and we had planned a big Christmas reveal. I began to find hope as I looked forward to having the opportunity to be pregnant again. Although we weren’t exactly prepared the first time I found myself very ready after our loss.

One month later. I’m not feeling good. Like NOT GOOD AT ALL. Could it be? A visit to the doctor confirmed that there was another miracle going on. Not one, but two miracles. We were stunned. Maybe even freaked out a little. But in a good way. Fast forward to that first Mother’s Day I mentioned at the beginning. Why was I being so careful? I went to the doctor at 19 weeks for an ultra sound. When you are pregnant with twins you go to the doctor a bit more. I was prepared for a routine peek at my cuties. Calvin wasn’t with me. The doctor was very quiet as he began the U/S. He eventually looked at me and said softly “there is no heartbeat for one of your babies.” I can’t tell you what else he said. I only remember ending up back in the parking garage walking around trying to find my car. Totally in shock. It took me 45 minutes to find my car. I didn’t even cry at that moment. I didn’t know how to.

God was gracious in my healing. He gave me peace and I was incredibly thankful for the baby boy still growing strong in my belly. I can’t take credit for how I handled this loss, there was a divine peace that permeated me and helped me look to the future.

Elliott was born in September. He was perfect. Absolute Joy, I am one of those moms who didn’t skip a beat. I was made to mother. That’s a gift that I do not take for granted.

DSC00169When Elliott turned one I found myself on the bathroom floor, violently ill. Yup, you guessed it. Preggo again. I went to the doctor for my first visit. During the ultra sound my doctor was oddly quiet. She had that look. I waited, wondering why she hadn’t said anything yet. Finally she put her hand on my arm and told me matter of factly that my pregnancy was not viable. She said there was no heartbeat. With finality. She told me to go home and wait for things to happen naturally. I would need to come back in a week if things did not progress on their own and have a D&C.

This time I didn’t walk out stunned. I walked out not totally believing her. It wasn’t denial. It was something else. I called my friend Candace to tell her the news. She apparently had the same feeling I did because she arranged a group to come over to our apartment that night. They came to pray. My dear friends literally laid their hands on my belly and prayed that this life would not be lost. It was one of the most intimate spiritual moments in my life.

I went back to the doctor a week later. Charlotte had a heartbeat. Charlotte WAS a viable pregnancy. God still works miracles today friends.

Charlotte was born in June 2009. She was very sick. We found out that I have a blood incompatibility issue. My children both carried Calvin’s blood type, one that my blood type didn’t jive with. Even though I received the Ro-gam shot my blood (or whatever) still went after Charlotte. She was severely jaundiced with levels of 20-26 that would not come down. This is brain damage level. After a lengthy stay at Vanderbilt we were able to come home with our own glowing light and Charlotte had to go to the pediatrician daily to have blood drawn. But she was our miracle and we were completely smitten.

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-Charlotte and her glow blanket. We had to keep her plugged in to keep her levels down.

-Charlotte and her glow blanket. We had to keep her plugged in to keep her levels down.

naturally we bought her a glo worm

naturally we bought her a glo worm

When Charlotte was 6 months old we said yes to adoption. We were both called to adoption, it had been my dream since childhood. We could think of a thousand reasons why this was not the right time. Just bought our first house, just had a baby, one income family. But those excuses had no hold on us. We said yes and began the process to adopt from Ethiopia. The process ended up being much longer than we were initially told. But through tears, long waits and lots of prayer we endured. After 20 months of waiting we saw our son’s face for the first time. Alula Kiebetsahay. He was named after the first orphanage he lived in. He was 3 and 1/2 months old and life had already been very difficult. A few weeks after referral we flew to Ethiopia to meet him for the first time. We spent a week adoring him and soaking in Ethiopian culture. Then we had to leave him for an unknown amount of time while the process was completed. It was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Hands down. So many tears were shed. 8 weeks later my mom and I returned to Ethiopia to bring Liam home. He was very sick and the flight home was scary but fast forward to today and he is doing amazing.

Liam came home forever in March of 2012.

Court day in Ethiopia

Court day in Ethiopia

Our "Gotcha" moment. I was back to bring him home!

Our “Gotcha” moment. I was back to bring him home!

Four months after bringing Liam home we knew it was time to start the process again. We began a 6-month long paperwork journey to submit our dossier. There was a daughter waiting in China for us. In January of this year we saw our daughter’s face on an advocacy site and within days we sent in our letter of intent and were approved to proceed with her adoption. It wasn’t until several weeks later that I realized that Lola and Elliott were only 3 months apart. They are essentially twins. Stunned silence from me. The baby I carried with Elliott was a girl. I was expecting to have twins, a girl and a boy. Five years later I am expecting twins. God restores.

Lola is coming home in June of 2013.

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Lola, 5 years old, coming home in June!

Lola, 5 years old, coming home in June!

It’s been an interesting path to motherhood. One that I wouldn’t trade. The hardships in life bring growth. We see how the Lord has carried us. I have been given an amazing life and an amazing job as Mommy. I look forward to watching these precious people grow. I won’t take a second for granted.

About the author

Erica

Erica is an advocate for simplicity, family time, making a cozy home and loving others well. She is the community coordinator for One Orphan, the orphan care ministry of America World Adoption Association. Erica and Calvin have four young children; Elliott, Charlotte, Lola and Liam. They currently reside in Nashville, TN.

14 Comments

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  • I’m so blessed by your heart—thank you for sharing your family’s story. Praise to God for the way He works. And wow, I’m thankful for the (crazy) obedience you both respond to God’s moving with. Hugs to you!

  • Beautiful story – can’t wait to meet Lola! And you know – not only did God make you and Calvin parents, with a heart for adoption – he gave you the gifts of life..Elliott & Charlotte.. with that same heart… a heart for loving unconditionally their brother(s) and sister(s). Thanks for sharing your life!

  • Love you and Praise God for you and your beautiful “Conspicuous Family” (a little adoption training humor for ya!) I had forgotten Elliott was a twin. Thankfully, God didn’t forget 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story of mommyhood.  So; much I can relate to; so many emotions.  Good, difficult , and then revelation!  Love you so so much!  Muah-Cassie

  • Erica, tears of amazement, sadness…and so much joy! What a blessing you and Calvin are 🙂 and what blessings you have!!

  • Thank you for sharing your story! Chad and I have also had 1 healthy baby, lost 2, and are praying for the blessing of more. Not opposed to adoption, but still hoping/praying we will be able to have another of our own. Your story is very encouraging! And it is awesome to see how God is blessing your family! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I so thankful you found some encouragement in this post Robin. Isn’t it amazing, our sweet babies are being held by their creator. Loss is so difficult, but we can find peace in that.

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