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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
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
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
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
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
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.
- 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
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. Terri
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