You've Come a Long Way, Baby! Happy 2 Year Family Day, Madeleine CaiQun!

Two years ago today, a tiny girl with a large love of shrimp chips was placed in our arms.

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Two years in, she has gained 10 pounds and 7.5 inches.

But more importantly, she is a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, and a niece, and she is oh so very loved.

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Of course, she lost a lot to get here. She lost her first country, her first language, and the culture into which she was born, and most significant of all, she lost her first family. Those losses are profound, and over these last two years, we’ve begun to have conversations about them. Particularly throughout my pregnancy with Atticus, thoughts and questions about her origins came to the surface. With a heavy heart, I had to respond, “We just don’t know,” to most of them and then give her space to wonder, speculate, and begin to grieve.

There is brokenness in this world, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the harsh realities facing children who find themselves separated from their parents. And yet there are snippets of hope. Children do not belong in orphanages but in families, and we are so blessed that Madeleine CaiQun has become a part of ours.

Over the past two years, we have seen God knit her into our family beautifully. This sister bond is one of the best things that has ever happened to both of our girls. 001

They are learning friendship, forgiveness, and fun every day that they spend together.

And Matt and I? We could not be more in love with our little girl.

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We still work hard at this family thing. The intensity of our focus on cultivating attachment has waned, but we will always be cognizant of our need to be aware, to be intentional, and to lean in toward our children and help them to lean back toward us. We are band-aid parents. We seek out opportunities for hugs and snuggles, and we prioritize eye contact. We know that hunger for food is not always, really, hunger for food. We discipline in ways that are not necessarily typical.

And we celebrate. We celebrate that we are a family. We celebrate that this amazing little girl is an integral part of it.

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We are oh so very blessed.

Another Baby Update (the last one???)

Today we hit the 36 week mark in this pregnancy for baby Atticus, so we’re really coming up to the end, and I have to say, I’m very much looking forward to it! Really, Matt and I have been attempting some pretty significant projects over the last couple weeks, including stripping wallpaper and painting our dining room, painting our living room, and stocking up on freezer meals, so I wouldn’t mind another couple weeks to get those finished.

However, this pregnancy has been rather more uncomfortable than my last one. With Miranda, other than a strong desire to meet this child of mine, I was quite content to stay pregnant for as long as she wanted (or at least as long as my doctor would let me!). This time around, I’m not having any complications that are likely to have serious medical implications for Atticus or for me, but I think I’m experiencing just about every complication that causes discomfort – nausea, heartburn, back pain, hip and leg pain, trouble sleeping, etc. I’m ready to be done with all of that! I bought some satin sheets last week to enable me to roll over in bed more easily, and that really has helped, but I’m still looking forward to getting a non-pregnant body back 🙂 And of course I am excited to meet our little guy!

And who knows, it may be soon, or it may still be a while! Here I am at just over 33 weeks.

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Around 34 weeks I started having intermittent contractions, which have gotten slightly stronger and more frequent over the last couple weeks but have never developed into a pattern or anything that necessitated a call to my doctor, but at least they’re a reminder that my body knows that labor needs to happen at some point soon!

And here I am Sunday evening at 35 weeks and 5 days – continuing to get bigger and bigger!

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I’ve been reviewing some of my childbirth materials for a refresher on labor and birth. I would like to have a natural (med-free) delivery if at all possible, but honestly, the most striking thing about all the info I’m reviewing is how incredibly overly dramatic it all is. Of our two girls, I delivered one naturally,  breastfed her within the first hour of her life, and have parented her primarily using attachment-parenting-style techniques from day one; and the other I did not even meet until she was over 2 years old. Guess which one often seems to be more securely attached?

I am quite confident that my bond with Atticus is not going to be irrevocably shattered if something unexpected happens and I have to get an epidural or end up needing an emergency c-section with general anesthesia and don’t actually meet him for an entire 4 hours (gasp!) after he’s born. I believe in taking parenting decisions seriously and making the best choices we can for ourselves and our babies. However, this is one moment out of an entire lifetime of parenting moments, and I’m not willing to make it into more than it is. We’re reviewing our childbirth info, but I’m certainly not going to obsess over any of it.

And in the meantime, amidst projects and childbirth prep, I’m trying to enjoy these last days or weeks that I have as a mom of two 🙂