Monday, February 28, 2011

Re-Read

I reread these three blog posts occasionally.... I wrote them during my OBGYN rotation in New York City during my third year of medical school. It was these three days that showed me my desire for pediatrics, the fragility of life, and a lot about being a human. I reread them to remind myself of why I do what I do...waking up in the 5am hour, spending time away from my son, my husband, my friends...crying on the inside for other people's children...that is the gift God has given me. I reread these so I don't forget. I will post them here because I think there is something in them for everyone.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Apgar 0/0....
Today was a normal day for me. Woke at 5:35am after tossing and turning till nearly one in the morning, showered, dried my hair, put on my scrubs, walked to car, picked up my friend Kyle and rode to work. Kyle and I got out of the car at 6:38am, as usual, and went into the hospital to begin doing discharge paperwork with our group, or those that show up early with us. One the two people we work with was on call last night. He told us that during the night an emergency C-section was done, and the baby was dead. Fetal Demise. Stillbirth. Apgar 0/0. Agpgar is the numeric measurement of a baby's viability (ie.... Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance, and Respiration) with each area getting between 0-2 points, for a possible 10. This baby, a little girl, was 0/0. The mother, who was under general anesthesia, was unaware for almost seven hours of her daughter's short life, a life that did not even make it beyond the womb. I will go into the medical logistics of what happened. It would be too much medicine and too long and too complicated. And regardless of whose fault, residents, attending doctor, nurses, or no one at all or everyone at once, a baby girl is no long with us and the 24 year old mother is left to wonder. Even more, one of the delivering resident's is 18 weeks pregnant with her own son.

So while this was a normal day for me, while I was tossing and turning at 12:38 am, a girl around my age was losing her first child. It is just one of those things that reminds us to our lives in perspective.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Coming in 3's....
The hands were pale white, gradually getting pinker the further up the arm. As I watched for an hour, the lips, from the outside in, turned from a plump pink and to a ghastly gray. I lifted the lifeless curly-haired boy onto the scale. Seven pounds eleven ounces. Five days short of his original birthday. I rolled him to slide the yellow and green Winnie the Pooh snap up shirt onto his ashen body, placed a diaper over his bottom, pulled up the striped pants, and placed the too big hat on his head, I watched the nurse on his other side empty all of her tears from under her surgical mass. I rolled his feet in ink and stamped them, the usual practice I was told. Tears did not come. It was a moment when all the emotions you have should elicit tears but the ducts are dry. I was there.

She, the mom, said she had not felt the baby move in a few hours. Medical student, nurse, two residents, and one attending later the mother was told her third child, a son, was not "viable". Her baby was dead and was before she came to the hospital. Ten hours later, I was standing in the operating room waiting listening to the silence of beeping machines and laying a lifeless, beautiful boy onto a scale and carefully dressing him. They say it comes in threes. Deaths, births, life events. Well, I pray, sincerely and more than anything else for this week especially, that no other mother, no other father, family, doctor....no one has to hold a baby while staring so hard, begging the chest to rise and fall in a breath, feeling the disappointment when the small breastbone does not move and the pinkness turns blue-gray. So, please, if anything, do not let this come in 3s, at least for mothers.

And the enjoyment of my evening, dinner and watching Hopkins and Wipeout with my new friend, Paige, and JT, is overshadowed by the silent sorrow I witnessed today. How can you move on? I have done CPR on adults and had them die under my palms, but secondary, more times than not due to damage brought on by their own doing. But this perfect baby, this little guy did not have a fighting chance. So despite the fun, I think it is hard to erase what I saw, what I felt. I am sorry that the last two posts have been so sad, but at the same time, isn't this what my blog is supposed to be....my life in medical school, whether good or bad.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008 

Welcomed Cries....

Her head popped out of the tiny belly of her mom. Her nose and mouth were suctioned with awkward blue bulb I remember in our closet from childhood. Her PINK little body slid into my hands as the doctors, resident and attending, clamped her cord, I held onto her. Then, she fell into my arms, screaming and kicking her little legs, as I passed from her mother's belly to the pediatrician. And she kept crying, and kept crying and kept crying. All I could think of was the silence and beeping machines from 24 hours previously as I looked at the previous baby, dead baby, as this beautiful pink little girl screamed her way into the world at 3:52 pm today. It is the good for the bad, the pain for the joy, the love for the hate. The antithesis of life....

I won't be able to write tomorrow because Kyle and I are on call. I am going to sleep all day Friday, take the train to JT's office, and we are leaving for Vermont. We are going to stay in at a bed and breakfast in Wilmington, Vt as a short vacation for our 5th anniversary, which is this Saturday, August 9th!!!! It has been a short but long, difficult, and wonderful ride. I would not change a moment (well maybe two or three).

I hope everyone has a great weekend if I do not get chance to write for a few days.

~nat



Sunday, February 27, 2011

101 in 1001 UPDATE

Here is what I have been up to for the last month or so. The original post can be seen here.
The ones in italics are in process and the one in bold is finished...

3. Send at least one card per week, hopefully more
4. Compile a journal of all of my favorite quotes (working on this...5-6 pages into it)
19. Buy one adoption fundraiser item per month (thank you Graham family)
24. Run/Walk one half marathon per year (training to walk/run the Derby Half Marathan)
30. Blog every day for one month (doing good so far)
37. Shop monthly at a local store/business (done this several times this month)
38. One monthly meal at a locally owned restaurant (Third Ave Cafe, Spinelli's)
43. Own a different perfume for each day of the week (3/7)
45. Send a gift to someone every other month on no specific occasion

53. Teach my friends something medical that they want to know (HLHS to Elizabeth)
61. Do a monthly date night with JT
73. Revitalize my blog (I think Elizabeth is working on this)
74. Have more than 150 blog followers (at 53)
75. Begin praying for my child/children’s future spouse
90. Complete our will/trust (in progress)
95. Be more patient (trying, trying, trying)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Birthday: Take 2

Enjoy some of the pictures from my birthday dinner at Sake Blue. I can not tell you how much fun I had and how thankful I am for my friends (and my wonderful husband who helped to plan this)

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

~Tennessee Williams


with Sarah Jeffery, a good friend from residency. So glad she came out...
JT ordered something called "the rock"...here he is attempting to use chopsticks to cook the meet on the rock...hmmmm 

loving some seaweed salad 
*Sigh...I just love Elizabeth (even though it isn't a great pic of me )
Nitya and Shivani....my resident friends. Love them! 
Sarah Luttrell and me...friends since seventh grade.....and still going
with Taryn, post dinner 

Friday, February 25, 2011

What If.....


....I choose the wrong fellowship
....I make the wrong disciplining decision as a mother
....I am not a good enough wife or let my husband down
....I do not match into a fellowship or am not smart enough to do the research
....I can not lose the weight that I am trying so hard to do
....my friends stop being my friends
....something happens to those close to me

So many what ifs float through my mind each...more than those written here. I am sure many of you are not much different. You worry about your job and progressing in your career. If still in school, you worry about your grades. Relationally, if you are single, you wonder if you will ever meet the person God has for you in terms of a spouse...if married, you worry about your marriage, the solidarity and strength of it. We worry about how our children will turn out, if we will be able to have children, if we can fund our adoptions.... we worry. Ask my dad. He always told me I was worry-er... So I get your worry, my worry.

I have started doing a bible study called "Me, Myself, and Lies" by Jennifer Rothschild. Yesterday's study focused on the "what ifs" and letting God control your worry....filling your mind with God's concerns, thoughts and agendas rather than our own. The initial passage that struck me and really convicted my "worrying nature" ...


Matthew 6:25-32 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them."

So much easier said and read than lived out in our everyday life. But this where we are called to be...thinking on things above rather than the worries we get bogged down with between work and family and education and friends and everyday life. In the bible study, it also reference the below verses....so that when we start our mental ramblings....we can press pause and begin to shift our focus:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I write all this to issue a challenge...primarily to myself, but to those readers who wish to take it....begin changing our worrisome hearts and minds .... allowing God to replace our worry with resolution and His thoughts. Though not easy, I imagine the journey will be totally worth. I am going to work on this. Will you?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog "Thieving"

In the past, I have occasionally used the words of others to show what I am feeling.  I am back to stealing....or borrowing rather, the words of others to tell you how I am feeling.  Sometimes penning what I am feeling does not magically happen....or I write something in my head and it never quite makes it down onto the keyboard.  So today my friend sent me this blog post from her "Google Reader" (I am not yet that advanced or organized) written by another woman who was able to successfully blog something I have been incapable of finding the words to use.  Please enjoy... I linked her blog below so you can go directly to the source.

From Growing up Gaithers
Whose hands are you holding up?


"As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword." exodus 17:11-13


As moms, dads, husbands, wives, employees, etc. We get tired. Tired of doing this or talking about that. Worn out from the day to day grind of life. I don't know where you find your rest and peace but I find it in my time with the Lord; and in spending time with my sisters in Christ. Last night, I attended a weekly bible study and we read the versus above. The study is about spiritual warfare and praying God's word in your life day-to-day. It's about putting on the full armor of God so that we can stand firm. I cannot stop thinking about the passage from Exodus (see above). The night before this battle began Moses told Joshua that he was going to go up to the mountain and hold his hands up to the Lord. As long as he held his hands up high the Israelites would win. Now; I don't even like holding things up high for more than 10 minutes. You get sore and your arms get tired; they eventually start shaking until you can't hold whatever you are holding anymore and just have to take a break. Look what happened when Moses' hands grew tired. His friends let him sit down and held his hands up for him so that they remained steady. Wow. Are your hands tired? Then I encourage you to share with someone what is going on; let them stand in the gap for you; let them carry your burden and hold your hands up for you. We cannot do "life" alone! On the same note; whose hands are you helping to hold up right now? We are so busy that sometimes I think we forget to just sit an listen. Listen to the joy that someone is experiencing; or maybe the painful situation a person is going through right now. This week; as you are putting on your "armor" think about who you can maybe send a note to; pray for or just encourage. And if your arms are tired; I would love to help hold them up for you.




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confidence

"There were always in me, two women, at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weakness, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest..." 
 ~Anais Nin

After a discussion about work related activities, another co-worker told me that she thought I was very confident, had it all together....  I audibly laughed.  That is the absolute last thing I think of when I think of myself.  But I think we are all like this....we often do not see things ourselves that others may see.  As women, especially, I think we struggle with feelings of adequacy in multiple areas of life....as a wife, co-worker, friend, mother, daughter, sister, Christian....you name it.. So feeling confident is the last thing we think when we think of ourselves.  I don't have much insightfullness to add, just the quote above and the one below...they speak more than my words can.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~excerpt from a Nelso Mandela speech



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday....

So I went back and found some bday pictures....  from 2006 on.  My real bday celebration for this year is this Friday so I will post several more pictures.... AS I LOVE BIRTHDAYS and CELEBRATING THEM....these are fun pics below so enjoy!

2011

First Birthday as a mommy

with Taryn before going to eat yogurt at Ce Fiore... YUM

2010
El Taxco....with my neurosurg friends.... gotta love fried ice cream, sombreros and margaritas

 2009

In Chicago, with Jason and Lisa, for my bday, Vday, and Step 2


 2008

the cake I made myself in NYC....not a very exciting night bc we were snowed in


Kim Ziegler took this picture


 2007

this dinner began a very long (and memorable) bday celebration...Lisa planned a great dinner with my best buds at
the joint with best lobster around....followed by drinks and cake.  Lindsey (the blonde in the white tank) acted like the paparazzi in London taking well over 150 pictures from 7p to 3am and the only thing missing was my hubby


2006
Here I am with Joyce and LaTonzia at Sunset Beach, Dominica in 2006...my first bday away from home...I
will admit....I was a little sad and depressed but we treated ourselves to steak this night, the first time since leaving the States.

Did digitial cameras exist before 2006?  I am not sure...I, at least, didn't.... I will post pictures from this Friday

Monday, February 21, 2011

Birthday Eve

Tomorrow is my birthday....my 28th.  I do not say this to illicit multiple "happy birthdays" but rather as a way to reflect upon the last year.  This time in 2010 we lived in an apartment above a bar in Somerset, KY, the wettest dry town in Kentucky.  I worked for a neurosurgery practice and JT for my dad at his State Farm agency.  We were getting ready to rank the pediatric programs where I wanted to go as we waited for our adoption of Tedi to progress.  Today, Tedi is sleeping in his bed in his new boxer shorts (see below picture).  I am in my residency at the University of Louisville, my number one choice.  I miss so many of my friends from Somerset and from this time last year...our Mexican nights and yummy cakes at work and sephora gift cards... But this year brings new sorts of fun....working my clinic on my birthday, getting good morning kisses from my son, and 11p cards tonight from new friends...  I can look back over the last several birthdays and appreciate the change and growth each year has brought....new people, new jobs, new experiences.  I miss the old and yet am thankful for the new... Enjoy the cute pic below!


Look at his first pair of boxers (yes, they are a little too big for my little man)....an he looks SOO grown up.  Check out the stylish Buzz Lightyear socks


Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Mommy

If you have met my son, you will know that he is silly and playful and often likes to play games....especially with girls and women.  He won't give high-fives, won't give hugs and sometimes won't acknowledge them...and that includes me sometimes, but he knows that I can give punishment so I at least get some looks.  However, if JT, any of JT's friends, my friend's husbands, or boys in general, want a high-five, hug or conversation, he readily gives it... (of course if it is a trusted person)... I try not to get easily frustrated because I am like, "Really...really???"  But the more I learn about boys, through living, reading the parenting books I can get my hands on...the more I realize this how they (my boy included) learn to be men....by being around men, pushing away from moms and women.  Now while it is hard to swallow at times, I want my son to be a strong man, a man who treats women well and lives for our Lord.... and if this means he pushes me away at times, I am okay with it.  However, there are these special moments, the moments I cherish and will hold onto as he grows and changes...  Times when only a mommy, "my mommy", as he refers to me, will do. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Local

I love local stuff....restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores, bookstores, coffee shops....you name it.  Maybe it was growing up in Stanford, Kentucky where you filled your Amoxicillin prescription while they fixed you an orange aide at the old soda shop while spinning around the bar stool waiting for the spanking you were going to get for the "said" spinning.  Or the "Frame Shop" that smelled yummy and sold not only frames but cards, gifts and such.

Coleman's Drug Store....home of the famous orange aide


Or was it living in the Caribbean....choosing which fruit stand to buy mangoes from or the fish guy who brought the Mahi Mahi every Friday at five.  Or was it the waxing and pedicures from Shirley in her non-air-conditioned "salon" of sorts.... or Rosie, my personal taxi driver (you would have to live there to understand having a taxi driver..)  Or the roadside plantain stands... yum

My favorite plantain shop... a grilled plantain cost $1 EC (their money or about thirty cents)

I believe it was living in New York City that solidified my love for local businesses.  We lived in Astoria, the first neighborhood inside of Queens.  Across the street from our house was a diner, the Belaire Diner, that was open 24/7, 365 days a year and delivered...our waiter was Lefty, a fabulous Greek man with a great accent.  We went to local gym and shopped at the grocery store across the street.  I went to the same bodega at the Brooklyn hospital where I worked to get a Naked Juice each morning.  We loved eating at Gradisca in Manhattan and I again found a local salon for waxing, nails and hair.  The whole time we were in NYC I don't think we ate a national chain more than 5 or 6 times...  There were great local shoe stores and boutiques beyond Madison avenue...most I could not afford.   My favorite was at Christmas when local artisans, photographers, designers and food vendors would set up mini-shoppes at Bryant Park and Union Square.... you could browse handmaid ties, photos, paintings, all while eating some yummy stuff. 

my in-law in front of our fav, Gradisca
Anyhow, why do I write about this?  Today I was reminded yet again that even in a city like Louisville, local businesses are to be appreciated.  JT had visited 3rd Avenue Cafe with work and kept raving about it.  Since we had the day as a family today, we decided to head back there...  (I will admit it, we started the day with a Starbucks coffee....not a local joint)  We went to a place called The Barber Shop so that Tedi could get his hair cut... LOVED IT.  They remembered him from the last time and were so good with him.  Then we headed over to the Third Avenue Cafe for lunch... the food was great... more importantly, the service was great.  One guy, who self-referred to himself as "pop up spam" as he kept coming over asking us if we needed anything, made the suggestion to dip Tedi's fries into his tomato basil soup....fabulous suggestion.  Overall, it was a great experience.  Next, I used some of my birthday money to head over to Swag's, local running shop, to get some new sneakers. 

Third Avenue Cafe
After a day like this, I realize how integral local businesses... not that I did not before.  I love tons of local Louisville joints.  At the same time, I admit that I do like places such as Sephora and Starbucks and Jimmy Johns and Pitaya and Pinkberry and Papyrus.... However, it is the small bookstore that services coffee, sells cards, and smells like pumpkin that is really where it is at.  I am going to try to make more of a point to mention such businesses on my blog.  Despite the fact that this is an adoption blog, many supporters of our adoption were small business owners and there is so much be said for paying it forward (and, in essence, paying it back as well).... So while I work on frequently a local business each month as part of my 101 list, I will try to make notes of local joints we visit.  Below I put a list of few favorites...I am sure there are several I will miss but this is a start.... (will add more as I go)

Nord's Bakery
Check's Cafe
The Barber Shop


For more info on good local info, check out http://www.the350project.net/store.html

Friday, February 18, 2011

14 Days...
I did not want to mess up my blogging streak....I don't have much to add tonight.  We went to watch my beautiful friend Jacqueline coach her high school girls basketball team.  Tedi kep asking to play soccer....then he slept all the way home and we just put him and his drunk-acting self to bed!

We are so excited for a relaxing weekend of only one planned event and church.  We hope to play outside, get Tedi's haircut and relax...  Have a great Friday night!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prayer....

Last week, for the first time, Tedi was able to say his bed time prayer.....ALONE.  and he has every night since then. In his cute, high-pitched voice if you are here around 8:30p, you may be lucky enough to hear

"Dear Jesus,
Thank you for my mommy and my dadd.
Thank you for my friends.
Thank you for my family.
Thank you for my school.
Thank you for Jesus.
Amen. (loudly)"

It really is worth it...the frustration, the long wait, the tiredness, the doubt.  This makes it worth it.

Check It Out...

JT's writing entitled, "The (Other) Boy Who Changed My Life" is featured on the blog, "My Crazy Adoption" as a Guest Blogger.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Angels of Mercy

Most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you
 don't get too comfortable & fall asleep & miss your life
~www.storypeople.com

If we are lucky as people, and as Christians, we have a few of these people in our lives.  Thankfully, I have a few of these friends and people in my life.  Words cannot express my thankfulness for these people in my life, who actually challenge me to be a better person....who call my bluff....who refuse to accept a mediocre me even when I am okay with it....who, in love, will say things to make me a better person, even if it might hurt a bit.....who are aren't just "nice".....  Again, I thank God for these people who enrich my life and make my living a little more worth it.  I posted the below statement on my facebook today and I feel it is these type of people God uses.....Just some thoughts for today!

Sometimes we don't need a burning bush....
Just people


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Other Valentine

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Love Story....

This is my love story. A thank you to my husband, my one true friend…. My partner… I have never penned these words, but in honor of Valentine’s Day, I will share my story… or at least parts of it… the story of young love, change, separation, and of my redemption in marriage…the story of us looking to the future together. It is long so grab a cup of coffee if you are going to finish this (peppermint mocha is my recommendation).



I was 18, and I was an idiot. I made bad dating choices….”bad” boys and with no jobs and no desire to change. However, as a freshman in college, I was trying to get involved and meet more people. I had loved flag football in high school and so I thought playing for the Baptist Student Union wasn’t a bad idea. I was competitive and actually not that bad at it. My coach, Paul Gibson, invited us over for a team dinner at his house just as the season was revving up….a group of 11 or 12 co-eds in Paul’s apartment made for a loud and crazy time. I remember his roommate, JT, coming home to the chaos. He was friendly, and we talked basketball since he worked for the WKU men’s team. The next night Paul invited my friend Sarah and I back over for more food…I was convinced one of them had a crush on Sarah. Nope. JT liked me, per Paul. I was, unfortunately, still dating one of those “said” boys.


He worked hard to date my immature self….he took me to a nice dinner at 440 Main followed by an Edgar Allen Poe play, Mask of the Red Death. We spent many hours playing basketball at Diddle Arena into the wee hours of the morning….him fouling me but draining threes in my face. He was persistent, dedicated and genuinely interested in me, despite my large American Eagle ski coat and pink Jansport backpack. I was still an idiot. I was wrapped up in image and my ideas of what my future would hold…


Fast forward…..in April of 2002, I awoke the morning prior to a road trip with my friend Amber…. At the risk of sounding corny, it really was like an epiphany. After all of the months I spent time just “hanging out”, I realized that I liked this guy….like….really liked him. I called his buddy Paul (the guy who introduced us) and told him. Paul, in watchfulness of his friend’s feelings after I shot him down sooooo many times, told me to take the weekend and think about it. I did and my mind was unchanged…. I called JT, asked him to come to my apartment, to which he reluctantly agreed.


Sitting around my kitchen table in a small Lost River townhouse, he asked me, “Who are you dating? Are you engaged? Are you pregnant? Are you dying? Who do you like now?“ in rapid fire mode….which I deserved after the nine months I made him endure, chasing me around Bowling Green. After the last question…Who do you like…… I basically yelled. “You. I like you.” He sat there stoic for a minute then stood and said “okay” and left. So anti-climatic…..no taking me in his arms and kissing me deeply…


We got married 15 months later in my hometown. (the time preceding our wedding was extremely stressful and eventful but not worth my divulging in my “love” story).


We spent our first anniversary sitting on the floor of Pete Herrmann’s (JT’s new boss) living room and eating Chick-fil-A. JT had accepted a job at the University of Georgia on staff with their men’s basketball team. His dream job but not so dream pay. Like the brilliant and timely person I am, I decided one month before graduating with English and teaching degrees that I wanted to be doctor…. BRILLIANT. However, this dream was put on hold so that I could work. I eventually picked up my classes again at night and managed to bomb the MCAT.


Through a series of events, I came in contact with Ross University, a medical school in Caribbean. Because of my low MCAT score and desire to go ahead and start med school, I applied, interviewed and was accepted. JT and I were very nervous….nervous about the costs, the distance, me living alone in the Caribbean, and if our marriage could withstand it. On the day after Christmas 2005, I was standing in the security line at the Atlanta airport with tears streaming endlessly down my face….my mom standing silently beside me.


I missed home… I ached for football Sundays and holding hands and seeing people I knew and loved. I was thankful for Vonage and what $15/month could get you in phone calls. I lived in a place that named their neighborhoods things like Banana Trail and Lizard Trail….where people grilled plantains on the street for 10cents and ate lunch a place called “the shacks.” I cut on corpses and was drowning in physiology. I was surrounded by cultures I knew little of… that first semester, I counted the days until I could come home while eating things like naan and lentils in the 800 degree kitchen of my Edison, New Jersey friend Shruti…. I was quiet, withdrawn, and nervous that semester. Laugh, but it is true.


JT continued to work at UGA but transitioned back to Louisville and was coaching his alma mater in high school basketball as I moved into a new semester. I was making more friends as I played flag football and was pretty good at it. I struggled as a girl who got married at twenty and never went out and partied and lived that life AND the girl who was married and missing home. The former girl was behaving in ways to mask the hole in the latter. I studied hard, made more friends but as the months progressed, I was making decisions uncharacteristic of the wife that my husband had put on a jet plane a few months prior.


I reached a breaking point. It was my life as I was living it or my marriage. Our marriage seemed to be happening in our absence…we were both alive but functioning in two worlds….mine a vacuum of studying, clinicals, Kubuli beer, all-nighters (weekdays and weekends), and bad Chinese food. JT’s was filled with high schoolers, basketball, family, and running. In a moment where Jesus used someone that I did not like to reach out and slap me in the face, I repented. I confessed my behaviors to the people whom I was holding at an arm’s length, my Lord and my husband. I did not deserve the love or forgiveness from either, but I knew at least God would take me back.


After days of grappling with it, JT took me back, through tears and pain and strife and hurt. He forgave me. Thankfully, he had two good friends surrounding him; I prayed he would gradually trust me again. I felt isolated …..I was all of sudden choosing to change things and an image I had created….a Christian on Sundays at 5pm, sometimes, but not any other moment. I was not a nice person or loving or giving….


I watched Love Actually daily as I studied, counting the days until I faced JT after our roughest season in our 3 year old marriage. I ascended the escalators in the Delta terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio… I will never forget it. He was wearing khakis, a plaid button down, and brown sport coat. I don’t cry and tears trickled down my cheeks. I gingerly walked up to him and nervously froze. I did not know how I would be received.

Undeservedly, he took me in arms and held me. I lost track of how long we stood there. Redemption. I realized how far we had come….a bond, through trials we did not want to repeat, had been formed. Not only did he take me back, he reserved a room at a bed and breakfast, bought me pajamas and a CD, and made love to me again. And, he made sure the B&B served crème brulee stuffed French toast.


I finished my stint in the Caribbean and we transitioned to living in our 500 square foot $1700/month Astoria, Queens apartment. I trekked to the Bronx, Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens for my hospital rotations. JT first worked at Old Navy then for a State Farm agent. It was a blast living in NYC but finances were tight and only got tighter. I was deciding that I wanted to move closer to Kentucky for my residency, so I began figuring out ways to get us back there…. In the meantime, we decided that my fourth year of med school was going to be the perfect time to have a baby, so we thought.


I will be honest. Up until this point, our marriage was not grounded in Christ. We were Christians, but we were those “good people kind of Christians.” Always comfortable, not taking chances, praying when we needed a bill paid. God was about to step in.


We moved back to Somerset, KY, and graciously my dad offered JT a job and let us live in his basement. In our fifth year of marriage, we were living in my dad’s basement…. CLASSY. As we continued to try to get pregnant, I was timing sex, checking basal temperatures and becoming all out an obsessed crazy lady. I was using clomid, after I demanded it from my doctor. My heart was breaking and I was again trying to put a wedge in my marriage.


Time went by and I was barren…we could not get pregnant. On an October day in 2009 sitting in JT’s Mamaw’s house, JT looked me and said, “If you are ready to move forward with adoption, let’s do it.” We had talked about it over and over in the past but thought, “we will have our OWN kids first.” Laughable now, but as JT said that to me….again, like all those years ago when I knew I finally liked him, I knew this was what we were supposed to do.


Like I said, God stepped in…he threw in a little bit of infertility to send us running to Him and the desire to adopt put us on our knees…. Check our FIRST ADOPTION BLOG POST. Our lives have since been changed.


This may have bored you and for that I am sorry, I guess. We have lived in 13 homes in our seven and a half years of marriage. The biggest thing I have learned during the years of significant UPs and DOWNs…..love is a choice…..marriage is a choice. It has not been easy, but looking back, I have grown into a wife and mother and Christian that continues to evolve.


I am so thankful for this man God has given me and blessed with me. I am anxious and excited about looking out into our future together.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gatlinburg....

Here are a few pictures of our weekend.  We had a great time shopping and spending time with my dad.  Tedi had a great time with Granpa Kevin and Grandma Terri at the Ripley's Aquarium.  (He went with my step sister's new step daughter, Alexia).  He was pumped to see the penguins, which he called Mambo and Gloria, like from the movie Happy Feet.  Tomorrow, I plan to have a longer and more in depth post...check back...I won't disappoint. 


Tedi and Granpa Kevin, my dad trying to tell Tedi what to do...Tedi not listening.

Tedi and Alexia at the aquarium

Tedi and Granpa Kevin

Grandma Terri with Alexia and Tedi

in his new Woody pjs.

Comparing notes... Angry Birds vs Toy Story matching

I wonder what they were saying...

Our view from the condo

The other direction

Mickey riding shotgun per Tedi's insistence

Wearing Mommy's Sunglasses

Saturday, February 12, 2011

MIA We are in gatlinburg, tn this weekend with my dad to celebrate my birthday early. We did some great shopping and our going to the Smokey Mountain Brewery tonight. We did this last year and are having fun again this year. While I am gone, please go check out the photography auction that I posted about 2 days ago! It is going on till Monday and is a steal! www.lizzieloo.com

Friday, February 11, 2011

What is Love???

Someone once said to me in the middle our adoption process... "You or I can not love someone not of your body and blood.  At least not until you have time to get to know them and they earn your love."  (pause).....


Yes, this was said.  Don't sit aghast that someone said that.  Many people think similar thoughts without the having the kahunas to say it.  When this was first said, my blood boiled.  I was impatient in the adoption process....I was aching for a child....and I had seen the face of my soon-to-be child.  Upon seeing his face, there was no going back and un-loving him.  I knew when his big, sad eyes stared back at me that I could never go back to how I was.


How, then, do you love someone?  It is my belief that loving is a very difficult thing, but one that, for those who call ourselves followers of Christ, is innate and required.  Liking....well, I think "liking" is a different thing.  We do not always "like" everyone or their words or their actions... People earn our "like" but deserve our love merely because Christ loved us. 

Therefore, a child can not earn your love.  Tedi could not earn my love.  There are times, even now, that I do not like his actions, his disobedience, but I love him.  How can a child who was placed in orphanage be expected to unabashedly offer  love..His birth mother displayed the most sacrificial love of giving him up to save his life....something unfathomable to my selfish heart...yet in her absence and the loss of a family, I am do not doubt love was something far from his little heart.... So how could this little broken boy "earn" my love? 

If you have met Tedi, you love him.  You can not help it.  He is beautiful and loving and silly.  He gives kisses and hugs, most of the time.....  He shares his food, his candy, his toys without ever being shared with.  He wants to help...help cook, clean, carry groceries, laundry.  He just wants to be loved in all he does... and if you meet him, it is hard to NOT love him....I love this boy and am already praying for him to find the wife that will love him one day....

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14


Because I love making these fun videos, here is a Valentine's video of Tedi and of love....of all the people who love my son without restraint... I don't have pictures of all of you but please know what a blessing it is to my heart for all of you to love my boy...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adoption Photography Auction and Fundraiser

We have these blog friends over at Millions of Miles who we recently met in person.  They have adopted a beautiful boy, Miles, from the Congo.  Now the Terry family is working to fundraise to support Congolese orphanages and Haitian aid.  I was first taken aback by the Congo in the late summer, just after Tedi came home, when I read an article about 200 Congolese rapes that included 4 infant and toddler boys.  I was horrified....That is why now, especially after knowing the Terry family and meeting Miles, I feel that we (Christians, adoptive families) are not only called to support the country from which we have adopted or adopting from but rather care for ALL orphans.  For regardless of country, skin color, language, or religion, we are called to care for the least of these.....

So what is the fundraiser....well about two weeks ago, I blogged about my friend Elizabeth Lauer who took our family pictures...  As I said in my previous post, I love Elizabeth, her photography, and her heart for orphans and adoptive families, despite the fact that she is not an adoptive mom, YET.  She has offered to help the Terry family and their fundraising efforts for the Congo by auctioning off a pretty sweet photography deal. 

Words Lizzie Loo Photography:

One family session is up for grabs! This includes one hour of photography by yours truly, a DVD of all your high-resolution images fully retouched/printable, a 4×6 proof printed proof set and a 16×20 print of your choosing. That’s a $1000 value, my friends! You will have all you need to print the images to your heart’s content, hang them on your fireplace and share them with friends. Annnnddd if google maps says you’re under 1 hour 30 minutes drive time from the zip code 40065, I will drive to you and waive your travel fees. That, my friends, should open up the Cincinnati, Frankfort, Louisville, Indiana, Elizabethtown, Lexington areas. This also means if you can get your fam to a location that’s 1 hour 30 minutes from 40065, you, too can enter – let’s meet in the middle!! Anyone can bid, so hop to it!!

Head on over to her website to find out all the details and how to bid on this awesome deal ...  http://www.lizzieloo.com/.  Trust me....it is worth what you will pay.  And, let's be real, it is going to support orphan care!  Always awesome! Also, just as teaser, I included some pictures below of the family photography she has done for others (since you have seen plenty of ours).  Also, checkout the facebook page for more pictures!





Wednesday, February 9, 2011

101 in 1001

So I have these friends that did this.  I was intrigued but after some thought decided it would be both fun and motivating.  I realize that all of these things may not get completed.  Some do not have tangible ways to measure progress or even completion.  However, I love the idea of having goals and fun stuff to try to achieve.  Plus I think I may have my friend Sarah on board too.... Enjoy.


Start Date: 2/5/2011
End Date: 11/2/2011
Bold are completed, Italics means in progress


1. Buy a legitimate camera and know how to use it
2. Go on a skiing vacation (must convince JT to do this....tough sell)
3. Send at least one card per week, hopefully more
4. Compile a journal of all of my favorite quotes
5. Finish Residency and choose a sub specialty
6. Re-read “KiteRunner”, “Thousand Splendid Suns”, “Great Gatsby”, “Prayer for Owen Meany”, “Cold Sassy Tree”, “Streetcar Named Desire”, and “Jane Eyre” and few Sarah Dessen books
7. Read the following for the first time “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “The Jungle”, “Othello”, “Red Tent”, “I know why the caged bird sings”, “Diary of Anne Frank”, and a few more
8. Do a yoga class consistently for six weeks
9. Wear a bikini in public
10. Have another child, by adoption or birth
11. Join a book club
12. Have a girl’s weekend in NYC and re-experience my favorite places
13. Participate in a health advocacy project
14. Take a pottery class using a pottery wheel
15. Compile my mom and Melinda’s recipes into a “cookbook”
16. Take Tedi to Disney
17. Complete a Case Study
18. Present at a national conference
19. Buy one adoption fundraiser item per month
20. Give at least $1000 to an adoption each year
21. Go the Derby
22. Go to the Oaks
23. Save a life
24. Run/Walk one half marathon per year (planning to walk the Derby half this year)
25. Go to a lingerie shop and buy a personally fitted bra
26. Attend a wedding of someone I do not know, just because
27. Weigh less than 140 pounds
28. Have a library in my house, even if it is closet-sized
29. Volunteer on Christmas morning at a shelter
30. Blog every day for one month
31. See the Pacific Ocean
32. Water ski
33. Return to some function in my hometown
34. Participate in a Bible study where I feel growth
35. Take JT to a bed and breakfast in Asheville
36. Attempt to convince my sister to stop smoking
37. Shop monthly at a local store/business
38. One monthly meal at a locally owned restaurant
39. Take a college class that I really want to learn about. (creative writing, women’s lit, art)
40. Start our non-profit organization to help fundraise and raise awareness for adoption
41. Sit down and tell my life story to another person with complete vulnerability
42. Take boudoir pictures for my husband
43. Own a different perfume for each day of the week (2/7)
44. Participate in a prayer group
45. Send a gift to someone every other month on no specific occasion
46. Publish an article or case in a medical journal
47. Move into a house where people can visit overnight and sleep in a bed
48. Eat at a Mario Batalli restaurant
49. Visit a real winery
50. Try a new food each month
51. Get rid of all the extra “stuff” we have
52. Go on a road trip without a GPS but only a road map
53. Teach my friends something medical that they want to know
54. Buy myself something from Tiffany’s
55. Try not to judge those around me
56. Find a beer that I like or can tolerate
57. Take a cooking class
58. Go in a store to shop where I feel inferior (like Pink or Burberry)
59. Watch all the winning movies of the Academy Awards “Film of the Year”
60. Go to a Christian women’s conference
61. Do a monthly date night with JT
62. Medical Missions, domestic or abroad
63. Participate in Children’s Day at the Capitol to advocate for children’s health rights
64. Get a bold haircut
65. Go to a chiropractor just to see what they are all about
66. Think of ideas to put on cards and convince someone else to design them
67. Go with Sarah back to the creek in Garrard County, Kentucky where I learned how to really be a friend (and take pictures there so I do not forget it)
68. Confront the person who hurt my sister and my friend
69. Buy a house and remodel one room in this house
70. Take Tedi horseback riding
71. Eat at iHop
72. Start and begin substantially funding Tedi’s college fund
73. Revitalize my blog
74. Have more than 150 blog followers (49/150)
75. Begin praying for my child/children’s future spouse
76. Pass my Pediatric Board Exam and get my Kentucky Medical License
77. Make a known difference in the life of someone else
78. Transition to a Mac
79. Fast one day per week for no less than 2 mths
80. Send someone else purple roses
81. Make a calendar of birthdays and send handwritten cards
82. Kiss JT on the kissing bridge at WKU
83. Own a football jersey
84. Have my teeth professionally whitened
85. Get a spray tan
86. Complete a champagne spinal tap
87. Host a party in someone else's honor
88. Camp for one night in a tent
89. Make a funny rap video with JT
90. Complete our will/trust
91. Have yearly family pictures taken
92. Go on a hayride and roast marshmellows
93. Swim one mile
94. Refer one person/yr to our adoption agency, one to our pediatrician, one to our favorite photographer, and one to our church
95. Be more patient
96. Call someone every Sunday and offer encouragement
97. Continue my journal of letters to Tedi
98. Write a monthly letter our sponsored child
99. Go to sephora or mac or clinique with no makeup and have them do it all; then go out
100. Paint a set of pottery for our use (plates, coffee mugs)
101. Own a larger vehicle




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Because he won't hate me for a few years.....

....I can post pictures leading up to my boy's circumcision when he is 4... Many of you may gasp, be annoyed or get disgusted that I would post pictures before and after my son's penis surgery (not of his actual penis, of course....I have a bit more tact than that, most of the time.)  Frankly, I do not care. The pictures are priceless and they are my life.  REAL LIFE.  It is also another unspoken question of international boy adoption...which about this time last year I got from fabulous husband.

I was headed home from working for the neurosurgeons about this time last year.  I got a call from JT, which was not out of the ordinary for my drive home.... well here is how the convo went:

JT:  So I have a weird question.
Me: ummm,,, okay?
JT: Are we going to get Tedi circumcised?
Me: Are we really having this conversation?

JT, a man, was obviously thinking about this long before I ever thought about it. Well, a year after that discussion, we made that trek.  Tedi, ever the jokester, insisted for the last three weeks that he did not want to have his penis "fixed".  Well, that was until I bribed him, yes a bribe....he could have a new toy if he was agreeable and well behaved.  It did not take much more convincing..

He has done great today.  Our child really is the only one who is not affected by anesthesia.  He was groggy and "hungover" for about 45 minutes.  The minute we walked in the house and popped in Toy Story 2, he was back his old self... with a little more whining than normal.  He has had some funny questions and comments best not posted for the world...let me know if you want to hear them...they are HILARIOUS and priceless.  Enjoy a few snap shots of our day.


in the KCMC lobby, watching Handy Manny


Playing with the cars that the hospital had waiting for him.


Daddy caught this picture immediately post-op; still so handsome

on his way out.


Chilling in the wagon

with his new Buzz strapped to a rocket.