Well hello strangers! My absence on the blog doesn’t come without a good excuse. As of last June, we were preparing for a special little girl’s arrival (read more here) and on July 20, 2018 at 10:11 a.m., Lucy Pearl was born, weighing 7.2 lbs and 20” long.
There aren’t words to describe the overwhelming emotion and joy that day contained for our family. To get a closer look of that day, here’s a beautiful video of Lucy’s birth/adoption story composed by a family friend.
Since Lucy Pearl’s arrival, I haven’t had much time to update this blog and have put it off for the most part because I really didn’t know where to start. So much has happened since you last heard from me. So much goodness. So much fulfilled. So much love.
Buckle up friends because this is an extra long post (with oodles of cuteness overload) which will catch you up on the past 7 exciting and monumental months for Cypress Bayou Farm.
Lucy Pearl’s birth and adoption particulars were some of the most precious moments I have ever experienced in my life. The amount of love, compassion and understanding that was present during this time is evident when I flip through Lucy’s birth book of pictures.
Love is what binds our families together – the endless love for one baby girl. My heart bursts with love for Lucy Pearl’s birth mother. It is because of her I finally embraced motherhood. It is because of her our eyes finally rested on Lucy Pearl, the beautiful baby girl we longed for and prayed for so long.
It is because of her we have a little one at the farm, sharing in the joys and abundant blessings of farm life. It is because of her our hearts are full and promises fulfilled. It is all because of her and her tender heart and soul. In our minds, Lucy Pearl’s birth mother and her family are part of our extended family now and I believe Lucy will be extremely grateful in the future that we allowed our hearts to open in such a way and foster that beautiful relationship.
Because it is an open adoption, we provide updates with pictures monthly and began visits with Lucy Pearl’s birth family. We also have open communication and are able to ask about health issues, allergies, etc. if needed. Being able to discuss so freely about the important matters of Lucy’s development has been invaluable and something we don’t take for granted either. It’s hard to explain the comfortable dynamic we have with Lucy Pearl’s birth family but it works really well for us. And the most important thing for me and Andrew is that Lucy knows where she comes from and stays connected to her roots. It may have challenges in the future but we both strongly believe that Christ is at the center of all of this and He will guide us along the way.
Now what have we been doing the past 7 months? Soaking it all in, one exciting moment at a time.
From the time Lucy Pearl was born, she has been such a happy baby and an even better sleeper, sleeping 5-6 hours at night when she was a newborn and a solid 12 hours a night from 2 months on. You know we are forever grateful for that last part.
The dogs adjusted wonderfully to the new addition and even became rather protective of the newest member of the tribe. Now, wherever tiny tootie is, the dogs aren’t very far. They love the newest farm girl in town.
As a brand spanking new mom, I injured my hand in the barn which got infected which put me in the hospital.
For a week. Yes, a week. The Enbrel medication I inject weekly to treat my auto-immune disease (psoriatic arthritis) suppresses my immune system, in turn weakening it against infection. The hand infection was so severe docs booked me for surgery right away. I was not amused when I was informed I needed surgery to cut the infection out of my hand. It was my right hand and in the back of my mind, I’m thinking… “what the heck am I going to do if I can’t use my right hand the same again? And what about caring for Lucy Pearl?”
In the end, my hand healed with full mobility and I managed to care for Lucy Pearl just fine with my left hand, just at a slower pace. A much slower pace.
I will never forget taking newborn photos with a massive bandage on my hand. I took the following weeks in stride because I was alive and had a baby girl to take care of and love on every day. I didn’t have time to stress about anything!
To think, my hand debacle was only week 2 of mommy hood. During those early weeks, she was so tiny and fresh. Her feet, her hands, her nose…everything was so precious, so sweet and everything I dreamed it would be as a new mom.
Every little change or new milestone made us both smile with pride. Our little Lulu was and still is the apple of everyone’s eye.
My mother-in-law was the life-saver that not only helped when she was initially born but also when I was in the hospital, always being reassuring and supportive as I learned the ropes of motherhood.
My Mom was a first-time grandmother with Lucy Pearl’s arrival and visited as much as she physically could during this time.
Her health continued to decline but she did her best to love on Lulu and soak up all of her snuggles like a sponge. She didn’t give up an opportunity to be with her. These moments I will never forget. Ever.
Silent reflux, posterior tongue tie, dairy intolerance, gas pains, constipation and high-frequency hearing loss were some of the big things we encountered as new parents. Nothing we couldn’t handle.
With wonderful support of our families, we navigated and still navigate the waters of helping our child as best we can while still keeping our sanity.
Being home on leave for 3 months helped a great deal with the sanity part. I may have drained our bank account during that time (no paid leave for adoption folks!) but I wouldn’t take back those 3 months with little Lulu for anything.
Lucy Pearl didn’t skip a beat through it all, bringing sunshine to our life every single day. Watching her eyes take in the big world before her a little at a time was so beautiful. It’s as if you can see the wheels in her brain turning right before you.
Nothing compares to the wonder in a child’s eyes.
This past fall, Lucy Pearl joined me at Baby Steps in Gonzales, an event I hold near and dear to my heart for many reasons.
When Andrew and I were in the thick of infertility, the wonderful women of the Christian support group Sarah’s Laughter were one of the main things that pulled me through it. In turn, it helped Andrew manage too because I was getting the emotional support I needed from women who understood the endless longing in my heart for a child.
Bonding over something as emotional as infertility was paramount and a true blessing during such brutal heartache. Baby Steps is the year’s big event wherein several IVF grants and a $10,000 Family Building Grant are raffled off to a lucky winner. It’s also Sarah’s Laughter biggest fundraiser event for the year. Walking in the Miracle Baby March for the first time with little Lulu made my heart smile and I beamed with pride as I joined our Adoption tribe’s tent. Even though the event has predominantly focused on fertility treatments in past years, there was a rising adoption presence that was unmistakable in 2018.
I was able to even share parts of our adoption story with women that stopped by our tent curious about the path of adoption. Each of us knew what it was like to be scared and unsure and overwhelmed. If I can ease those feelings even just for a minute, I know sharing our story was worth it.
Besides beaming with pride at Baby Steps, the biggest baby event on our calendar last year was Lucy Pearl’s dedication at our home church, Healing Place Church in St. Francisville.
It’s hard to even put into words the emotions I felt on this special morning as we drove Lucy, all dolled up in a bonnet and the prettiest, whitest, longest gown I have ever seen.
Her beautiful gown was a gift from my Mom at Lucy Pearl’s shower a couple months before. Although my Mom wasn’t able to physically make Lulu’s dedication, we face-timed as the pastors and the congregation prayed over all of us.
I cried tears of joy as I held Lucy Pearl in my arms, thanking and praising God for His promises fulfilled and the countless blessings in our life.
So many in that room prayed for Lucy Pearl before she was even conceived and to physically hold her and share in that special moment with everyone meant so much to me and Andrew. I could feel God’s goodness all around us. It was tangible that morning in church. And after, a big lunch celebration with family and friends ensued at The Francis Southern Table, just as I imagined.
As the holidays neared so did the realization that the coming months were going to be our last with my mother.
I will never forget celebrating Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, eating a delicious meal with my Mom lying next to me in her hospital bed and Lucy Pearl napping in the neighboring bedroom. It was a strange place to be emotionally, quite frankly.
These were some of our firsts with Lucy Pearl and our lasts with my Mom. My heart was pulled in two different directions and my head space wasn’t exactly ideal. But the Lord gave me the strength to keep what was important in front of me and to thank Him for another day.
I spent every weekend during this time with Lulu in tow by my mother’s bedside. I didn’t want to miss a moment. The joy in my Mom’s eyes each time she was with Lucy lit up the room. All the hustling back and forth was worth it when I would see my Mom smile as Lucy and I walked into the room.
How do you love on your daughter and show her the happiness in your heart each minute while you are secretly torn up inside with sadness? It was tough. I still look back on those couple months and don’t really know how I kept it all together. It was one part Jesus, one part my amazing sisters and one part my undeniable fighter spirit. Just had to keep on truckin’.
Unfortunately, two weeks before Christmas on December 11, 2018, my mother left this world and joined Jesus after a long battle with metastatic breast cancer.
After several hard days by her bedside, I was at peace when she finally took her last breath. She wasn’t in pain. She wasn’t struggling to breathe. She was finally healed and whole, walking hand in hand with Jesus.
Ultimately, as much as I grieved throughout my Mom’s long battle with cancer which began in 2006, I don’t think anyone is fully prepared for the death of their mother, the one that gives you life and loves you just the way you are.
As a new mom myself, I understand the love she had for me in a much deeper way now. Unconditional and everlasting, a true Momma Bear.
I walked through the following weeks in a daze, going through the motions of the funeral and the aftermath. To this day, the emotion comes in waves. I find myself crying when things remind me of her or if something happens that I want to share with her.
There are so many firsts she will miss and that continues to bring me sadness but I find comfort in the fact she’s in a better place. There’s definitely a hole right now and there may be a hole forever where she used to be in my heart. And that’s ok.
I’m not one to push my sadness aside. I allow myself to sit in it, feel it and grow from it. The grief process is still pretty new for me and I certainly give myself passes when I lose it emotionally and then realize…hey girl, you just buried your Mom. It’s ok to not have it all together.
On a much lighter note, Lucy Pearl’s first Christmas was one to remember.
We had family from both sides celebrating at the farm and it was simply magical. The Spivey cousins were together, family was united and the spirit of the season was everywhere you turn.
Lucy Pearl enjoying a farm Christmas was exactly what my heart needed during such an emotional time for our family.
As we celebrated Christ’s birth this past year, I was reminded again and again of the love of our Savior, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His mercy, His favor, His blessings, His promise, His love and His strength. My heart was full this Christmas, even with all the heartache of my Mom’s passing. Jesus is the reason for that peace in my heart. He doesn’t promise it will be easy all the time but He does promise I will get through it with Him by my side.
As for Lucy Pearl, she continues to be my sunshine on the cloudy days. Her smile and laugh are contagious. She smiles with her eyes and everything that is wrong in this world is made right when she looks up at me with her big, blue eyes. She has certainly brought big smiles to our faces as she has started to babble, sit and crawl.
Even when she battles an ear infection and can’t breathe from a nasty cold, she is happy. I wish I could say the same for myself during this awful cold season.
She made me re-evaluate my mood on several occasions when I wanted to chop my head off because of sinus pressure. This little girl couldn’t even blow her nose and she was talking and laughing like nothing was wrong. The future is bright for this shining star. I can feel it.
In this last month, she has successfully transitioned to her big girl crib in her own room, enjoys all fruits and veggies so far (except maybe green peas), started pulling up on things, crawling everywhere, sits up from her stomach, starting to stand with support and communicates more and more each day.
Friends, time is flying by. It will be July before we know it and we will be celebrating her first birthday.
I don’t take one second for granted after the journey we have had to get to this point. Life is precious. Time is fleeting. I look at Lucy Pearl each morning as she sleeps in her crib and take extra time to savor the moments. She’s growing into this beautiful little girl and I’m incredibly proud of the strides she’s made in just 7 short months.
We have loads of adventure ahead of us and I know once she starts walking, farm life will be a whole different ballgame. I cannot wait! How did we get this lucky?
** Out of respect for Lucy Pearl’s birth family, we have kept pictures with them private but we have some absolutely incredible love-filled moments on film at home**