Category Archives: Family

Three months of Rosemary.

Its official.  We have kept a small human alive for an entire quarter.  We feel quite accomplished.  This little girl has captured our hearts completely.  And if fat cheeks and thighs are signs of thriving, this girl is living large.

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Rosemary discovered her hands and eats them with great urgency.  She learned to smile and that melts us. She has quite a lot to say in a language primarily consisting of “oohs” and some growling.  She plays on the floor and grabs hold of loops and shiny things from her activity gym.

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Her best trick is sleeping.  She pretty much sleeps from 7 to 7.  Its like she knew that she could win us over by valuing sleep as much as we do.  She is very advanced…

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And going back to work has actually been okay!  I love work and the time passes so quickly I hardly have time to be sad.  The anticipation of returning was definitely worse than actually doing so.  I felt the prayers of all of you who have prayed for me.  I stare at my phone waiting for a picture to come through while in meetings and I beeline to Rosemary after work, but so far, so good.  Its not easy, but its good.

P.S. Rosemary came home from the hospital in the same outfit she is wearing in these pictures (the monogram came later).  Think she has grown much?

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On returning to work.

I did not look forward to Christmas.  Our first Christmas with sweet Rosemary and I was dreading it.  After Christmas, I would go back to work.  Really it is after the new year but in my head, Christmas was the beginning of the end.

I want to work.  I love my job and feel drawn to do what I do.  I look forward to returning to what I know, to the different type of productively, and even to be able to write my grocery list on my lunch break. But as I rock Rosemary to sleep, I smother her in kisses and cry, thinking of what I will miss while being at work.  It is just hard wanting to be in two places at once.  I anticipate being at work, wanting to be with her and then being with Rosemary and feeling like I need to be working.

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In many ways, I think staying home is the harder road.  I know that it is right for me to return to work.  I firmly believe that each mother’s path to work outside the home or not is personal and good.  There is no wrong answer.  What is good for one is not for another.  I read a blog post about women saying about each other, “good for her, not for me.”  I like the flexibility of the statement.  Being a mom is hard enough without the condemnation of each other.  There are many different paths.

But for me, the transition back to the working world is hard and sad.  I have spent the last week purchasing things like mad—a refrigerator for my office, duplicate pumping supplies, a few bras that let you nurse and pump (a bra name like “Dairy Fairy” sure makes you feel beautiful), button down shirts, clothes that fit (that hopefully will be too big soon).   Its like the only thing I can control is purchases.

I have so many questions, the answers of which I cannot control.  Will Rosie still want to nurse with so much bottle-feeding?  Will my supply stay adequate?  Will the Capitol finally designate a mother’s room so that I can pump somewhere other than in a bathroom stall?  Will I have time to pump during the day (I must make time but will that be annoying to others)?  When will I exercise?  How will I get out the door on time in the morning?  Will it be okay if I leave the office earlier than I did before?  Will I still be good at my job?  Will Rosemary be okay if we have to wake her in the morning to take her to Lee Lee’s, Grandma’s or Megan’s?  What will the day look like?  Will I still be the expert on Rosemary?  How can Scott help?  (He is so willing.)  When will a routine immerge?  CAN I EVEN DO THIS?

I have had so little compassion toward moms returning to work until now.  What is the big deal and why are you crying?  Now I totally get it.  It is just hard.

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One thing I do know is that Rosemary will be in the best hands.  She will spend time with my mom (Lee Lee), Scott’s mom (Grandma), and my sister (Aunt Sis—yes, she has an aunt name).  She will be smothered in kisses and spoiled rotten.  I am not worried about Rosemary!

It seems right that I would go back at the new year.  It is a good time for transitions, fresh starts, and new beginnings.  And with this new year I will set a resolution to just keep things simple and to be kind to myself.  I know I will get back in shape but it will take time.  Its okay.  I know I will be productive at work, but it will take time.  Its okay.  I know I can have an organized home, but it will take time.  Its okay.    I will get into a rhythm one thing at a time.  This first week of working I will simply see how it goes and try to get a quiet time in before I leave.  When that seems sort of mastered I will try to also exercise a day or two a week.  When I have that sort of mastered I will go back to my small group.  Scott and I will work hard to have a date night and lean into each other.  We will likely say “yes” to very little until we figure out our new rhythm of life.  I know it will come in time.

Isaiah 40:11 says, “He tends to his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who have young.”  I am so grateful for a father that gently leads me.

One month with Rosemary.

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Rosemary Drake Buchholtz made her world debut on October 17, 2016, a month ago today.  She was nine days late, but just a little thing, weighing 6 pounds and 2 ounces.  We went to the hospital on Sunday night, October 16, at 5:00 pm, loaded with movies to watch and a take-out pizza.  We were to spend the night in the hospital for an early morning induction.  I received a medication to prepare my body for delivery at 7 pm and my water broke at 9 pm.  No induction necessary!  Needless to say, we did not watch movies that night.  Thank goodness I did eat pizza before all the excitement started.

By 11 pm I was dilated to a 5 but crawling the walls in pain.  Part of me was hoping I could deliver without medications but I quickly decided against that.  I received an epidural at about 11 pm and another in the middle of the night.  Two for the price of one.  Scott and I both slept some and by about 8 am I was ready to push.  at 10:02 am, Rosemary Drake was born.

Scott counted to 10 approximately 1000 times in those two hours of pushing.  He was brave, peaceful and constant.  The nurses were encouraging and made me feel strong.  My doctor gave me a huge hug after delivery and was such a wonderful cheerleader.  The experience was one I will never forget.

It felt like eternity between the time she was born and when my doctor said, “its a girl!”  I burst into tears, turned to Scott and told him what a good daddy he was going to be to a little girl.  And he is.  They cleaned us both up, took our first family-of-three-pictures and our larger family came in–my dad, mom, sister, and Scott’s sister.  We cried and marveled at her perfection.  I have never seen God’s faithfulness exhibited so clearly as when I held that baby girl in my arms.  And introducing her to those who had prayed so diligently for her was a distinct pleasure.  Holy moments.

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We named her Rosemary mainly because we both agreed on it pretty easily.  Rosemary is used in wedding flowers as a symbol of fidelity and faithfulness.  I come from a family of gardeners and naming her for something that generations of my family has harvested just felt right.  We call her Rosemary and Rosie.  Drake comes from my dad, who was a DJ and newscaster before he went to law school.  Because Gary Thornton was a bit nasal, Dad went by Gary Drake on the radio and television.  Those who knew my dad in college call him Drake.

Because I opted for an epidural, I expected labor to be a fairly passive process. I don’t know what I was thinking, but even with the epidural, turns out, pushing a child out of your body takes a ton of work.  My body hurt from the effort for days.  My voice, my arms, everything.  I have a friend who told me labor (without meds) was similar to a spin class for her. A spin class is much shorter than what I experienced, but the pushing part did feel a little like that. I took it one contraction at a time (hill, song, or effort from a spin class) without looking ahead to the next. It was more manageable that way and helped me feel strong.

I had a fever when Rosemary was born, which meant that both Rosemary and I had to receive antibiotics, which meant time in the NICU for Rosemary–26 hours.  She had an IV in her head.  I went there to nurse her around the clock until she finished her antibiotics and could join me in my room.  Those 26 hours were long.  I got lost in the hospital each and every time I went to the NICU.  They need arrows on the floor for bleery-eyed, directionally challenged people like me.

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We went home on Wednesday and home has never felt so good.  Megan (Aunt Sis) made the best meal of my life: Holiday Spaghetti, Caesar salad and red wine. Heaven.

Rosemary is very kind to us.  By the second day home, she would sleep for a few hours at a time, sometimes longer.  She eats well and as of today, has gained 3 pounds, mainly in her cheeks.  She has her fussy moments, and life is not all happy moments, but it is so, so sweet.

I think what everyone says is true.  The days are long but the years, or in this case, the month, is short.  It doesn’t seem like it has been a whole month.  Scott stayed home from work for two weeks.  He loaded the dishwasher, made coffee, ran errands, helped me get naps, and spent time learning Rosemary.  We loved having him home and he has been a rockstar daddy.  The day we came home, he put Rosemary in the jog stroller (with infant carrier, don’t worry) and took her for a walk.  He puts her to bed, changes diapers, talks to her sweetly and is tender toward her.  I have never loved him more.

Our village of love has supported us well.  Mom/Leelee spent two nights with us and still comes over to help me almost every day.  She made healing food, made me lay low in the first weeks, and cared for me well.  We have binge watched Call The Midwife.  She came into my house, took command of my kitchen, held the fort down, and I didn’t get sick of her.  I am still not.  I can’t imagine becoming a mother without my mother to show me the way.  I call her each day to basically ask when she is coming over.

My sister/Aunt Sis has been a regular and such a huge help.  She runs errands, brings food, dotes on Rosie, buys her the best hats and eats her up.  My dad/Papa comes over most days to remind Rosemary who will spoil her.  We FaceTime with Scott’s mom who comes home from Paris next month.  When nothing fit Rosemary, Bonnie sent little french onesies that fit perfectly.  And of course, a host of additional family and friends have celebrated Rosie’s arrival so richly.  We feel rich in love; my heart is overflowing.

Rosie and I have tried to find routine.  In these groundhog days, I have wanted to reintroduce parts of my pre-Rosie life with intention.  I started to read the lectionary again for my quiet time.  The first time I opened it, I was directed to Psalm 139.  I read it aloud to Rosemary and wept.  “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139: 13-14.  And yesterday’s scripture: ” May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful….”  1 Thes. 5:23-24.  The scriptures are coming alive to me as blessings and instruction to someone I love and feel responsible for forming.  I pray over her and just cry.  I just can’t believe she is ours.

I rock Rosemary in the middle of the night and while sometimes I am simply thinking, “please, please, please go back to sleep,” I am filled with gratitude for having the chance to be this little girl’s momma.  I am grateful that I get to be the one she will want when she is sad, who knows her looks, noises, and preferences, and who gets to teach her about Jesus, how to be kind, and how to be a strong woman.  I am honored to do this along side Scott, who will be her first love, who will teach her how to have high standards and how to change a tire, how to rub some dirt in it and be tough, and who already loves her so well.

God doesn’t give us everything we want.  I don’t know why he answered our prayer for a child and he doesn’t for all people.  I know I have prayers in my heart that he will not answer.  But today, with our Rosemary, he answered so, so richly.

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Jane, Rosie’s oldest cousin, gave Rosemary the redbird in this picture.  It is a sweet reminder of our Meemaw, who loved redbirds.  It’s appearance in monthly pictures will provide a nice measure of Rosie’s growth over the next year.  Meemaw always told us, “we don’t cry over anything buys back.”  And while she meant not to cry over stuff that we lost or that broke, I am reminded by her saying now.  Over the last month, I have cried so many happy tears for a gift that money can’t buy. Praise be to God.

Still a family of two.

I wrote a post a few years ago about not being pregnant. I am still not and we are still a family of two. Before I posted that blog, Scott and I had talked a lot about expanding our family but the blog post increased the intensity of our thinking and conversations in a good way. I think it helped us go from each having a position—I wanted kids and Scott wasn’t too sure—to starting an actual exploration.

We know now that for us to have a child sharing our DNA would truly take a miracle. I pray for that and part of me still expects it. Because I know that while God may choose to provide us with that miracle bio-baby and I also know that He may not, I have gone through waves of sadness related to that loss. I think a child with our DNA would be really great—with a huge dose of quirky and hard-headedness. I believe God can do this for us, and we would delight in having a miracle baby. But we are also seeking other ways to expand our family. And maybe through those other avenues, however undefined they might be, our miracle might come. But the “other ways” just don’t seem that clear.

Our exploration has been slow and disjointed. God knows the end of our story. Only He does. And I am fearful that we will be too lazy, too antsy, too blinded by our own desires, too “something” to see God’s plan. I do not have answers.

We have explored various forms of adoption, basically on a quest to find something that feels right to us. I have no idea what that might be, but I am certain it will come. We went to a weekend at Christian Homes in Abilene, an agency that does domestic adoptions. I know some really wonderful parents and kids who used them. We went to a fostering-to-adopt orientation. Whoa. We walked away overwhelmed. But strangely I keep coming back to fostering to adopt. We just visited with friends who are hosting Ukrainian orphans for the summer. I am also intrigued with what is out there that would allow for a private adoption without going through an agency. I have heard some success stories like that.

Through fertility stuff and adoption research and just circling around it all to figure out our next steps, the private adoption and fostering to adopt things keep coming up. On the private-adoption-without-and-agency thing, how does one find a dear, brave birth momma who is considering such a thing? I think God works stuff like that out, but I can’t help but wonder who may read this blog, who knows of someone trying to make that hard choice, who might want to meet us and see if we might be a worthy family for their child? It’s worth a shot.

On the foster to adopt front, I have rejected it as too chaotic, but is it? I think I need to figure that out.

In the meantime, we enjoy being the two of us. We take advantage of just being two. We vacation.

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We exercise on Saturday mornings, and sleep late on Sundays (you know, till like 8 am!). We have uninterrupted conversations. There’s more time to read. Scott can watch movies where people get blown up and not worry about traumatizing young eyes. But as time goes by, my heart continues to tug for a little person. I see people parent and dream of what a joy that would be. I want the honor of molding a heart and mind, and to point some little person to Christ, as their parents. What a big, dog deal.

Scott and I are together in our continued exploration. When fertility “stuff” did not work, I think being denied the choice caused desire to bubble up within him. In this regard, I see God answering our prayers to knit our hearts together. But he and I agree we are not getting any younger, and need to get going on whatever it is we are doing.

So I am casting questions to the blog world, and would love input on the following things.

Does fostering-to-adopt have to be as chaotic as I fear?

Has anyone used a faith-based agency in Austin that they recommend for fostering-to-adopt?

What agencies would you recommend for international adoptions? (I am intrigued but not sure it is for us, which is an about face from my thoughts last week.)

Does anybody have knowledge of an orphanage where we can adopt a child that is 2 or 3 years old?

Does anyone know of a brave woman considering her options with an unwanted pregnancy? I am interested but also scared of this. I am open to what God may have out there for us, but in reading about ethical adoption, I am struck by the need to keep my desperation for a family in check with a birth mother’s exploration toward adoption. I know, however, that God is big enough to orchestrate even something like this.

Thanks in advance for caring enough about our small lives to read and share. My email is chelseabuch at gmail dot com.