Terri's Story
A Pregnancy Journal

1-17-00 - I found out Jan. 2 I'm pregnant and was shocked. I moved into The Gladney Center where I've decided to live until I give birth. I pray for self-forgiveness for what I'm about to do. I moved in today having made the agonizing decision to give you up for adoption. I picked up my four-year medallion the other day at my AA meeting. My sister decided not to raise you after I asked her initially. My friend Jan and my boss think I should raise you. My friend Sheryl says all this will bring me closer to God. Why can't God and I just have lunch?

1-18-00 - I had dorm orientation tonight. Andrea in Admissions gave me a sweet card. I got to talk to the doctor. Tomorrow I meet the Transitional Care staff person and move my furniture to storage. I found out they give you 48 hours after birth to change your mind. I wish they didn't because I'm afraid I will. I crave bread a lot.

1-19-00 - My furniture got moved. I got to have a counseling session. Tomorrow I see the doctor for the first time. We got two new girls in. One looks like a model. I thought about writing my dad. I wonder what he'd say about you.

1-20-00 - I gained 40 pounds. Now I'm 186 pounds. I saw the doctor today. I'm due Aug. 2. I had a good day at work and did a couple of photo shoots. I haven't gotten the nerve to read "What To Expect When You're Expecting." The doctor said I could take one of my medications while pregnant. I found out I'm about 12 weeks along.

1-22-00 - Your birth father has been sweet all day. He says pregnant women are sexy. I don't get it. I'm huge. I saw a kid celebrate a birthday last night and thought "I won't be there for that." I couldn't look at a baby commercial. One of the girls, age 15, had her baby. Another came back after having a C-section. We had three births this week.

1-23-00 - My suitemate and I had a good talk. She's in Narcotics Anonymous and lives in Louisiana. The father of her baby also lives there but they can't locate him right now. Tomorrow I see the doctor. I slept too much today. A friend of mine's going to take care of my dog. I'm worried about labor.

1-24-00 - I went to the doctor and tomorrow I meet with the insurance lady. I looked at profiles of transitional care parents and saw a 15-year-old have a nursery visit with her baby for the first time. I can't imagine being that young and having this decision before me. It's hard enough at 33.

1-25-00 - We had a dorm meeting tonight. I felt out of place. I'm the oldest one here. My suite mate and I are the only "old" ones here. She's 28. Your birth father, Jon, made me dinner. I met with the insurance lady. My boss is being nice. She and a coworker offered to give me baby clothes. I came up with a bunch of baby names; more girls' names than boys.'

1-31-00 - I heard your heartbeat for the first time today! I got examined and got my prenatal vitamins. At first the doctor couldn't find your heartbeat and it scared me. I've gotten to be good friends with another girl here. A 16-year-old changed her mind. I dreamed I met a woman with 11 kids. Next month I'll find out your sex. Hearing your heartbeat made it seem real, really real. One resident said she might let her aunt adopt her baby. Another girl's due Friday. The 16-year-old came back after delivery and was walking funny because of soreness. It made me wince.

2-1-00 - I'm excited to work on the scrapbook for you! My suite mate's making hers kid friendly. My stomach's feeling tighter. A friend of mine advised me to use cocoa butter everywhere to prevent stretch marks. I start prenatal classes in June. They throw birth moms a placement party here whenever they place.

2-6-00 - My belly hurts all the time now. My niece is due in June, her first also. We got another new resident.

2-7-00 - Another girl went into labor at 3 a.m. and had a baby girl. I got the scrapbook for you!

2-13-00 - I had such a powerful craving for pizza tonight but I resisted. I talked to my AA sponsor. I got to see my dog yesterday. It's hard to leave him. I'm seeing him again tomorrow. I got a box of maternity clothes from my sister, your Aunt Cindy.

2-20-00 - My suite mate had a 3 lb., 10 oz. girl. She's on a respirator. She was two months premature. I'm anxious to pick out my APs. I'm getting attached to you but haven't changed my mind, though I wish things could be different.

2-21-00 - I'm in a depression again about the adoption. I dreamed last night I found a family after going through a bunch of profiles. I saw my AA sponsor tonight. They took my suite mate's baby off the ventilator and she's doing better.

2-22-00 - I took my suite mate to see her baby. She's down to just an IV now and is starting to suck. I could watch her all day. She's so cute when she raises her eyebrows and stretches her legs. She lay on her stomach. She's got good color now. I wondered what you would look like. I'd love to give you the world.

2-24-00 - I saw the doctor and got to listen to your heartbeat again. In four days I find out your sex. I'm so excited! I got sad later and talked to my caseworker.

2-28-00 - The ultrasound today showed you might be a girl although I'll have another one at 32 weeks. I'm 17 weeks now. I got the sonograms on a disk and e-mailed everyone about your sex. They said everything looks normal and is intact. You were kicking your foot and had one hand in a fist at your side and the other one over your head, doing a little dance. They said you're getting all the nutrients you need.

3-1-00 - We had the birth parent panel last night. It was emotionally draining but good. I feel like I'm abandoning you, though.

3-2-00 - They're going to give all of us a copy of the video from the birth parent panel. My suite mate's adoptive parents renamed the baby. I feel protective of you. I'm sending the video to my mom and sister. I was imagining what you would look like. My sponsor thinks I might change my mind. Another girl and I couldn't sleep so we had biscuits at 4 a.m. I get up about four times during the night to eat. I feel like you are changing me for the better.

3-6-00 - If one more person asks me why I'm placing you for adoption, I'm going to choke them! I went to a meeting and that helped.

3-7-00 - I volunteered to be interviewed by The Washington Times and have my picture taken. I've been thinking about what I should say or not say.

3-9-00 - I've been depressed today about the adoption. I can't pick out APs (adoptive parents) until May. A resident and I are working on a newsletter for Gladney. I'm going to do a profile book for your APs. I talked to my mom last night.

4-1-00 - Yesterday I turned 34. They made me two cakes and decorated my door. A resident's baby was born on my birthday. Another girl's at the hospital now. I start a two-day temporary job Monday where I used to work. My sister may come for your delivery. I'm five months pregnant as of today. A friend of mine took me out for coffee last night. Today a friend of mine celebrated seven years in AA. I did the first Gladney newsletter for 2000. The other resident's artwork was great. We have five more babies due this month.

4-4-00 - A birth mother came to see us today who placed her baby five years ago. She said the first year's the hardest. Another baby was born yesterday.

4-5-00 - A resident's boyfriend pressured her into keeping the baby. They're taking her home tomorrow. I had night sweats and chills all night. Two other girls are talking about keeping their babies now. Another girl's upset about it. My caseworker's going to say something. I feel okay about the adoption now. Finally. I keep having nightmares that something's wrong with you but they say that's normal.

4-6-00 - The resident who changed her mind took her baby home today. I thought about them all day. I saw my counselor. I still haven't felt you move.

4-7-00 - Another resident left after placing her baby today. I didn't get to see my cat tonight but will tomorrow. I saw an adoptive couple today with their new baby and got depressed then mad. I started to call my counselor but didn't.

4-8-00 - I don't know if this pregnancy is making me stronger but I'm standing up to people. I wish I'd feel you move. Still nothing.

4-10-00 - My hormones are crazy. I'm beginning to feel what I think is movement. I got a job with one of the residents. I start tomorrow.

4-12-00 - Another resident decided to keep her baby and is leaving this weekend. I started my new job today. It was boring but I'm grateful. The resident who I'm working with is my boss. She talked openly about her adoption decision at work, which surprised me. She said no one should ask me why I'm choosing adoption but I'm afraid they will. I miss writing, creating. I'm getting a new suite mate Friday. She's 29.

4-13-00 - The resident who changed her mind left on a bus this morning. She's due May 10th. Another resident went into labor and another one came home. Another girl decided to keep her baby. She's leaving in a few weeks. Tomorrow I get a new suite mate. I found some writing jobs but they're in Dallas. I'm taking off tomorrow. I saw my counselor today.

4-15-00 - I got a new suite mate. This is her second baby she's placed for adoption. She was here in '91. She said back then you could pick the family but not meet them.

4-18-00 - I cried till 3 a.m. about everything - Jon, being pregnant, my last two jobs, AA, God, the adoption, the girls at work still criticizing me about the adoption. Another resident had her baby. Three girls are leaving Friday.

4-20-00 - I talked to Jon tonight. I saw the doctor today. I'm 24 weeks along. Your heartbeat's strong. I only gained three pounds. I saw my counselor today. They're inducing a resident at 5 a.m. tomorrow. I go back to the doctor in a month for a glucose test. I saw an adoptive mom and her little girl today and it made me feel good about my decision. Two more girls are leaving tomorrow.

4-27-00 - Another girl decided to keep her babies and left. Three more girls are leaving tomorrow but they placed their babies. Another girl's supposed to leave today after placing yesterday. I dreamed about her baby.

5-3-00 - We had group today and I showed my collage of who I am. Self Magazine's here doing a story.

5-7-00 - We went to dinner with an AP mom. She's adopted two kids. I can't reconcile what I'm doing with what my mom did to me, which was to place me in several homes during my life. I talked to her tonight but not about anything, really. I'm almost done with you scrapbook. That kind of makes me sad. I want to see what you look like. I wonder what you're thinking.

5-8-00 - I finally started on a Gladney novel about my experience. I was up till midnight cleaning. One of the house parents is going to my placement with me at a playground I found. You did a big karate kick the other night. It was cool! I'm going tonight to find a baby gift. I want to get two bracelets - one for me and one for you so one day if we're reunited we'll each have one.

5-10-00 - We had group today. The Self Magazine reporter called back and finished interviewing me.

5-11-00 - I finally cried in therapy about my grief with the adoption. Mother's Day's in three days. I started to see I'm not like my mom. My counselor wants me to list ways I'm different than her. Mom called tonight and wanted to talk to my doctor. I was shocked. I got an extra temporary job at the greenhouse for five days. I wrote my adoption story for a resident and one of the administrators here. A friend of mine said she couldn't go to my placement so I'm going to ask my sponsor and another friend.

5-14-00 - Today's Mother's Day. We got taken out by some APs for dinner. I liked them. But they don't plan on adopting any more since they already did. I was sad most of the day. We got flowers. I talked to my mom. My step dad wants to come for the delivery, which totally surprised me. The Times article came out today on Gladney.

5-19-00 - I went back to the doctor today and got a glucose test.

6-6-00 - A resident had her baby and decided to keep it. She left last night. She said looking at her baby for the first time was like falling in love. Another girl left after deciding to keep her baby and another resident almost changed her mind and left. My suite mate had her baby. My boss was in labor last night. I start full-time tomorrow just for the month of June. I get another sonogram the 19th. Tonight my best friend and I start prenatals. She's going to be my labor coach along with the child birth coordinator. My niece had her baby, a boy.

6-11-00 - We had a new girl come in Friday and give birth today. I picked your adoptive family. My boss had her baby. I talked to your APs for the first time Thursday night for almost an hour. They only live two hours away, are in their late 30s, and have a 2 1/2 year old little boy.

6-14-00 - I wrote out some one-line answers regarding adoption questions as people ask me so I can better prepare myself.

6-16-00 - I made up a list of good childhood memories to give to my AP mom for you to read one day. Things like making my footprints in the driveway, eating honeysuckle and muskey dimes, and my sister's spookhouse.

6-17-00 - I met your APs for the first time last night! I gave them my profile book, the frame, and pin. They gave me a gift and two cards. Your AP mom's taking me to my sonogram Monday. Their little boy's talking about being a big brother and helping his mom with diapers and reading to you.

6-18-00 - Another resident signed papers today. Your AP mom called. She's taking me to my sonogram in the morning. I'm moving my cat tomorrow. Family and friends keep asking if I'm still going through with it.

6-20-00 - I've realized why I may have gotten pregnant. Maybe it's to give me something to live for since I never had anything to live for, or to give a gift of myself, to realize I have something valuable to give that something that came from me can be good. My sister e-mailed me that she didn't think she could deal with baby pictures and an update only.

6-24-00 - My sister's coming July 28th for the weekend. Another girl had her baby yesterday. Your APs named you McKenna Hope. They sent me three e-mails yesterday. I told my sister I probably wouldn't go into labor when she comes.

6-25-00 - Thinking about you. Another resident signed papers today. She spent two hours with her baby and will get to see her two more days then that's it. I keep reading to you. They say at this stage you can hear my voice. I know when it's over I'll wish you were still inside me.

7-5-00 - I see your APs again Friday and meet their son for the first time. I saw my counselor today. I'm back to part-time. My sister sent me a book and card. I'm eight months along now.

7-6-00 - I dreamed a bunch of my friends crashed a dinner with my APs and me. I'm afraid they've unmatched with me. Another girl got her APs and showed me their profile. I liked them. The closer the placement gets, the sadder I get.

7-9-00 - Your APs gave me a wallpaper sample of your nursery. It's dancing teddy bears. I met their little boy. They're excellent parents. They also gave me a card and some gifts. My best friend had me over for lunch, dinner, and a movie. We went to see "Shakespeare in the Park" last night but left at intermission because everyone was uncomfortable. My caseworker drew up my hospital plan. We're doing the nursery visit and placement plan this week.

7-10-00 - A former resident's visiting tomorrow. I'm supposed to meet with my caseworker tomorrow to do the nursery visit and placement plans. I made a list of general life goals.

8-6-00 - Your due date was yesterday. My sister came for three days and left today. She felt you move and said she'd miss knowing you. She talked to you. I went back to the doctor Thursday. You're seven pounds. Your AP mom met me there again. I gave her an angel ornament for your first Christmas. My sister and I stayed at a bed and breakfast where they made us heart-shaped cookies with our names on them and brought us peach tea. It's a place for Christian couples and had a Jacuzzi. I crave oranges, limes, sherbet, toaster strudels, and apple butter. I ate a mango and it made me crave a bell pepper.

8-7-00 - I had contractions for the first time ever last night! But there were only two, lasting five minutes total. My mom and sister called tonight. I dreamed about you. My doctor's back from out of town, thank God! I keep telling you it's time to come out now. I hope you don't think I hate you.

8-11-00 - I'm 50% effaced but not dilated. Your AP mom met me at the doctor again and gave me flowers. I met with my caseworker. She says I have to start visualizing letting go of you. I can't and haven't. Another resident went to the hospital last night but nothing happened. Your head keeps moving to the bottom. Ready.

8-12-00 - Mom surprised me by coming in to town for three days.

Your head is still down below. No contractions since Thursday. I lay awake last night imagining what you will look like. I tried to do that "letting go" thing but couldn't. We got in three new girls. I'm giving some pictures to you who I hope will like them. It's weird to be with Mom and be pregnant. I'm swollen like another girl was. I'm scared about having a delivery like hers.

8-13-00 - I can't sleep again. I gave my mom a dorm tour. I'm so anxious about labor. I lay awake wondering what you will look like, be like. I'm eight days late now. Mom doesn't understand a lot of the adoption stuff. I showed her the placement outfit, scrapbook, photo album, and profile of your APs.

8-18-00 - You were born on Aug. 15th at 2:00 p.m. You were 7 lbs., 2 oz., and 19 1/2 inches long with a full head of hair. I pushed for three hours and had an emergency C-section. Today I signed the papers and had my first nursery visit. Mom was here when I went into labor. She met your APs, my best friend, her roommate, and the doctor. He was on call when I went into labor so I was glad about that. I cried today after signing papers. I've taken a lot of pictures and your APs gave me a copy of a tape they made at the hospital. It's weird to not have you inside me. I miss you.

At first I felt detached after you were born. Your first greeter was my best friend's roommate who rocked you. You're fascinated with Barbara's face and your own hands. Your AP dad's great, very tender. He and your AP mom are so happy, it's amazing.

I want to remember your smile, your dimple in your chin, all the pictures we took, your dreams, your good nature, your cooing, feeling like you motivate me to go on, how you love to nap and stretch.

As I watch you dream, you smile. I hope it's a good dream. I tell you that your parents love you so much already and that you're going to be very happy. I tell you that I forget the pain when I look at you. When I see how happy your APs are, I don't have second thoughts. I tell you that I made sure your homemade blanket would go home with you. I think you like it. I hope you do. I never would've thought I could have something so beautiful. I tell you that your birth father kind of looks like he's smiling when he sleeps. I tell you that as long as I know you're happy that I know I'm going to be okay. I tell you I can't wait to meet you one day and that I'm excited to see what you'll become.

8-19-00 - One of the residents came home upset after having her baby. She had a hard time leaving her baby at the hospital. Tomorrow I have another nursery visit. I thought about you last night and all day. It's so surreal to think you're mine. I don't want to be alone. The pain's getting a little better physically. I talked to my sister and my mom.

8-20-00 - The nights are so hard here. I had another nursery visit today and it went a lot better. I had four people there. A friend of mine cried most of the time. Another resident had her first nursery visit today. Today the transitional moms had you in a pink ruffled dress. They sent me e-mail pix that looked great. You were taken to your first Richard Gere movie yesterday and ate through the whole thing. You didn't cry at all. They say you're the easiest baby they've ever had. Your appetite's getting better. I miss being pregnant.

8-21-00 - Tomorrow I have another nursery visit. Another resident had her second one today. I've been fighting depression today. I put a picture of you next to my bed. Hopefully I can handle it. I got some more pictures developed. You look great. You're perfect. I thought about having another baby. But I'd feel too guilty about you. You'll always be "the one."

8-22-00 - I cried last night with a house parent then almost cried three more times. I had another nursery visit today. My last one's tomorrow. You were irritable today and I couldn't make you happy. I felt helpless. Another girl decided to keep her baby after giving birth this morning. She has nothing but I can't judge her. I should have stressed to her the importance of not being alone with the baby. I made myself sore from crying and straining my incision. A birth mom who placed six years ago is supposed to call me and I'm going to the support group next week.

8-24-00 - I placed you today. It was the hardest thing I've ever done or will do, I think. Last night another resident and I cried together. Her placement was after mine on the same day. I'm spending the night at my best friend's to get away. I can't stop thinking about you. I wonder what you're doing right now.

8-25-00 - I got an e-mail from your AP mom about you telling me how protective your brother is with you. I cried again last night and took something to sleep, reluctantly. Then I had a bunch of dreams about Jon. I'm supposed to meet the birth mom who placed six years ago tomorrow. My best friend said all this has been hard on her, too. I guess I never grieved anything. I always drank, took a pill, had sex, or ran. It's hard not to do those things now.

8-26-00 - Last night and this morning I thought about you but didn't cry. I didn't get much sleep, though. Tonight I'm meeting that birth mom. She helps a lot. I stayed busy last night, probably why I didn't cry.

8-27-00 - I have hope today at last! I met with that birth mom last night for several hours and she helped me so much. She shared her experience, strength, and hope and it was just what I needed. She told me to decide how long I wanted to be sad. She said one day that she, her daughter, and her AP mom would be best friends. She told me to let myself cry, be mad, feel it all in order to heal. One of the girls is going to suggest at the dorm meeting that everyone get set up with a birth mom who's placed already like this. I could think about you last night and not cry but just see you happy.

8-28-00 - Today is my sister's 38th birthday. The adoption process for me has been like this: At first I felt mad at God, cheated, angry with myself and like an outsider. Then I thought maybe this happened to give me something to live for. Now I want to make you proud. I had doubts I could go through with it, that I could actually put pen to paper and sign away my rights, that I'd have the courage to place you in your AP's arms, to walk away, to not drink or self-destruct over it. I hoped it would be easy because intellectually it made sense. I hoped you were well taken care of, nurtured, and had a life totally unlike mine. Whenever I doubt my decision, I'm told to look back at this entry.

8-29-00 - I decided to place you for adoption because of economic reasons, my instability, my emotional problems, no family support, and no two-parent, stable home.

8-30-00 - If I'd kept you'd probably be on welfare. I wouldn't have any money and I'd have to borrow money, food, and clothes, all of your necessities to get me by. I couldn't afford to go to the doctor. I wouldn't have gas money or a place to live. I couldn't afford day care or a sitter. I wouldn't have money to do laundry and I'd be on food stamps. I couldn't take you in the car because I wouldn't have money for a car seat. I couldn't keep you cool because I couldn't get my air conditioning turned on.

8-31-00 - Today I had counseling after missing three weeks. I'm fighting self-destruction. All around me I witness the courage of the other girls. I e-mailed Self telling them how wrong they were. I'm scared of moving out but I can't stay here forever. You were a big hit at church, your AP mom said. I put three pictures of you up in my room. You're precious, so adorable. I never want to forget you.

9-2-00 - I did what'll probably be my last newsletter for Gladney. It was kind of sad. Another resident had her baby and only had to push for 35 minutes. Her dad said she was okay last night but may need support later. I got depressed last night but it helped to get out and visit her. I put up a picture of your APs with you. It helps to see they're happy and know you will be, too.

4-17-01 Follow Up - I'm doing well and am working on a novel about my experience, trying to get it published. I live in Fort Worth, TX. The adoption will be final today. Also I get to see my daughter today for the first time since I placed her with her new parents.


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"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living." -Gail Sheehy