Friday, January 29, 2016

Hospital Stay with Chantzlyn

{If you missed Chantzlyn Hope's birthing story complete with pictures by the talented Micah of Double Knot Photography you can go back and read part one HERE and then read part two HERE  to catch up on the full story before you read the rest of the story. }

There is so, so, so much that I could write regarding our stay at the hospital with Chantzlyn Hope after she was born.  To say that it was an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.  No matter what was said to prepare us for our adoption, it honestly didn't prepare our hearts.

There was so much that took place in just a short day and a half that I feel as though I could fill up an entire library of writing.... but I'd like to try to keep it short and not give a minute by minute play book.  Because honestly, it's hard to go back and relive some of the emotions because in some ways it's still so fresh and raw that I find myself sitting, typing, and just crying and pouring my heart out to the Lord again.

Let me first say that Jess and her family were so kind, and so gracious, and so gentle and so loving.  They truly are so precious.  The feelings that are hard are just hard because adoption takes your heart into uncharted territories where it's never been before.  And most of us were running on slim to no sleep at all which we all know sets our emotions stronger.

So, Chantzlyn and I had a long night the first night in the hospital.  She cluster fed ALL night long every 30 minutes.  There was a lot that went on that first night and early the next morning with the nursing staff and Jess that unfortunately helped played into an even more emotional day.  I don't want to go into all the details, but unfortunately the hospital stay wasn't all roses and sunshine and the devil tried to have his hand in on our situation.

Chantzlyn, Lantz and I finally made it back to Jess's room around 9:00am.  We all hung out together all day in Jess's room.  Jess had some friends come by, our family came back up to say hi again, Jess's case worker came up, and Jess's family hung out all day too.  It was another emotional day and again I think that with the way some things happened in the hospital that were out of our control and Jess's control- it made for an even more emotional and anxious time.

Because there was so much that went on with the hospital, I really didn't take many of my own pictures that day.  I was a little distracted.  I have a few of family and of us together-- my mom brought our "Choose Hope" shirts to Abilene with her so we put them on for the day. I also got a picture of Calvin holding Chantzlyn and few pictures of Jess with Chantzlyn that I thought turned out very pretty and captured their love.

The thing that sticks out most about the day was the night.  It was late and all the visitors had gone for the day and it was just Lantz, Jess, Chantzlyn and myself hanging out.  It was a beautiful time-- maybe one of my favorites in my lifetime.  Lantz went and got Ben & Jerry ice cream that we all passed around.  We laughed and joked with Jess about some things, but the best part of the night was getting to share the Gospel with Jess.  Getting to share what Jesus had done in our lives and how we had found salvation in Him and what He had done in our lives, was priceless.  We got to remind Jess of God's great love for her and how much HE longed for her to be with HIM and to find salvation in the waters of baptism.

This moment brings me to tears every time I think about it because it was a rare time where all 3 of us bared our hearts to one another... it was a time I truly felt the Holy Spirit's presence.  It was the thinest space between earth and the Kingdom of God that I have ever experienced.  Something happened that night for me, and I pray also that something happened that night for Jess. It is a time that I never want to forget and a moment that Lantz and I talk about all the time because it meant so much to us. Lantz refers to it as "thin space."  We long for more moments of "thin space" in our walk with God.

It was raw.  It was again... emotional.  It was beautiful.  I felt grateful that the Lord gifted us with that special time with just Jess.  It was a late night... one that I think each of us secretly didn't want to end.

And in the middle of all our talking my sweet friend Natalie kept texting me to check in on us.  She was so sweet and in my honesty I told her it was hard.... harder than I ever thought.  A few minutes later, she sent me a link.  Click HERE to see what she sent.

It was a YouTube video of Kristene DiMarco & Bethel Music.  You really should listen to it... it's beautiful.  I can't even listen to it to this day without tears streaming down my face.  It brings back every feeling in that hospital.  It is a song that I went onto listen to over and over and over in that hospital and even late at night while breastfeeding Chantzlyn weeks and months after leaving that place and that time.  It reminds me of when the Lord carried me.

The lyrics that say, "Through it all, through it all my eyes are on you..."and "Let go my soul and trust in HIM, the waves and wind still know His name,"  move me in ways that I can't explain.  I found comfort in those words and I still do because it reminds me of His promises found in scripture and how it's not about me at all, but about Him.

My friend has no idea the gift that she gave me in that moment of sending that song for me to listen to.  I will forever treasure it and her.  I'd like to have part of the lyrics put on a piece of jewelry soon.  I think it would be a good reminder for me to wear.  {I have my eye on one of these awesome custom cuffs by Farmgirl Paints.  Her work is gorgeous and I've been drooling over it all for awhile now.}

Lantz eventually said goodnight to us and Jess held Chantzlyn for a time while I tried to sleep.  I got up to feed her at different points and Jess and I both tried to get a little sleep in between Chantzlyn eating and stirring.

Morning came soon enough and it was another full emotional day just waiting to greet us. I think we all felt the lurking of the afternoon when Jess was supposed to sign her rights away.  As mentioned in a previous blog, I couldn't help but feel like the villain.  I could see how much she loved Chantzlyn and I just couldn't help but feel like the bad guy.  I kept feeling like I was taking this precious young ladies baby from her .... I kept having to push those thoughts out of my head and let the Lord remind me to be faithful to Him and remind me that this was the path of love that Jess chose.

I prayed so much the entire time we were in the hospital... I bared my heart to the Lord in ways that I never had before.  And as much as I loved Chantzlyn and as much as I knew I wanted her to be my daughter, I could never once muster the words, "Lord, please let Jess sign and not change her mind."  I couldn't do it.  I didn't want to "take" a baby from someone no matter how strong my love was.  My prayer was something like this:" Lord, you know my heart and our family, Lord you know Jess and her heart and what she needs, and Lord you know this sweet baby more than any of us know her.  Lord you know what is best for each one of us.  May your will be done and your name be known no matter what the outcome.  Please go before each of us.  God, show us your love by allowing what's best for each of us to happen.  Hold our hands through it all, and protect us all as a loving Father. Guide Jess into your presence and may she know You."   Over and over I prayed similar prayers for the Lord to guide each of us and hold us.  It was a time of vulnerability and faith when I knew the spirit needed to intercede on my part and needed to lead my thoughts to the Lord and to His Kingdom.

In some ways it felt like the longest day ever.  I wondered what the end of the day would hold for us. My heart ached in anticipation.

Jess's parents made their way back up to the hospital early that morning and we all just hung out together again. I snapped a few pictures of Chantzlyn and also one of Gail and her.

Jess bought Chantzlyn the most beautiful going home outfit {that I'll be saving for Chantzlyn to one day dress her own daughter in, Lord willing} and she soon got her dressed in it.  She wasn't a happy camper getting changed, but my goodness did she look so pretty in it!  I love that Jess picked this outfit for her.  I think it's so neat to have a special going home outfit and to be able to have it as a keepsake.  I LOVE that Chantzlyn will have this forever from the woman who chose to give her life and hope.

Jess's case worker came up to the hospital some time that afternoon and eventually Lantz and I were asked to leave the room so they could talk and do paperwork.  It was the time Jess was supposed to sign her rights away. We hugged her neck and cried and left Chantzlyn with her as we headed to our room to wait.

To wait and wait and wait.  We had no way of knowing what was said or what was taking place.  We just sat in our room and held each other and cried out to God in prayer.  I was so thankful to have Lantz to walk through everything with me.  He truly is my better half and my compass that helps keep pointing me to Jesus.  It felt as though we waited forever, but I really have no idea how long it took.

Eventually Jess's case worker came and told us that Jess signed her papers.  I think I feel apart in that moment and a flood of love rushed over me.  The case worker said that before we could go back to Jess's room to get Chantzlyn and say our goodbyes to Jess (or  our "see ya laters," because it wasn't going to be goodbye) that we too had to do a little paperwork.

After all of our papers were signed and filled out we all headed back to Jess's room.  We all hugged and cried and loved each other in that moment.  We also all circled up to pray together.  After the prayer we proceeded to cry more and hug more and then proceeded to say "goodbye."  Jess placed Chantzlyn in my arms and it was as if she had handed me the whole world.  My heart was more than full.

Jess was wheeled out of the hospital and we had to take Chantzlyn back to the nursery to do a final vital check before she could be released.  Lantz's mom and the girls came up to the hospital.  We thought it would just be a few minutes until we got to leave, but we ended up being at the hospital for another hour and a half because Chantzlyn needed to stay under the warmer because her body temperature had to be at 98.6 before they released her.  It was only .2 or .4 degrees under, but we had to wait for it to go back up.  While waiting I had good conversation with Jess's case worker and an intern.  Chantzlyn's temperature finally went up and they officially released her.

We got a picture of Lantz, Chantzlyn and myself and a picture of {almost} all of us-- Preslee was with Brenda because she couldn't last much longer inside at the hospital.  Then we got a few of Lantz buckling Chantzlyn in to leave the hospital and finally one of all SIX of us before we got into the van to go home.

We eventually were able to leave the hospital and it felt good to have all SIX of us together.

We loaded everyone up in our van and we were ready to head back home to McKinney.  We hadn't planned on getting on the road so late in the evening, but we were definitely all ready to get home.  It was a long drive with 4 girls, but it felt good to finally make it home with everyone in tow.

 {Stay tuned in to the blog for all of our fall & holiday adventures as a family}.  I'm hoping to catch this blog up to speed!}


  1. Jessica, I found your blog once upon a time from a sidebar or something on another blog and have checked back periodically through the years because I love your party planning ways and those posts were always so much fun to read. I recently stumbled upon these adoption posts and WOW!! God is GOOD. You are BEAUTIFUL. So beautiful in your heart, the way you love the Lord, in your writing and all of that also shines forth and you are a beautiful person in these photos as well. It has been an honor to read all of these posts and see God! To see Love and Hope. Thank you for sharing all of this. Many, many blessings on you and your family and your walk. Also, blessings on you and Lantz as you raise these girls to love Him and know Him as you do! You all are an outpost for the Kingdom shining Light in this dark world! Kelly

    1. Kelly, your words are very sweet and humbling. Thank you for taking time to comment and to follow our story. God is so good and I want nothing more but to share His goodness with others. Your words are encouraging, thank you. We are truly blessed.