this is me now

5.25.2009

my first-born in the wilderness....Leah's story

25 years ago today I became a mother....i didnt know it for 6 days....but May 25, 1984 changed my life.
lets start at the very beginning (admit it---you are humming the song!)

Dave & I were married June 21, 1980....and when I wasnt pregnant by July 4th....well, I was a bit miffed. By December 1980 I was visiting with my doctor. "Normally", he advised me,"we dont worry about infertility when you've only been trying for 6 months....but....(tmi alert) since your periods are so irregular....we will run some tests."

this was 1980....fertility treatment was hit and miss and expensive....but we started the calendars/temperature-taking....all the old-school regimen.....

nothin.

no answers except my periods were irregular.....so by 1982 we had run out of tests and had nothin. I was angry and bitter and.....it wasnt pretty. I hated mother's day and would cry when I would hear of a friend or relative's pregnancy....not that I would wish them to not be blessed...but i just couldnt figure out why God would give a commandment to have children....BUT NOT YOU! I still remember that pain....it still hurts when I see others having to experience it....that is on my discussion list for God.

David graduated with his Master's degree and we got a job in Yuma, Arizona....so off we went. I got a job as a teacher's aide in a computer lab at a junior high....we built a house. We also started adoption proceedings with LDS Social Services...our church's adoption agency.

There was not a big conversation about 'IF' we should adopt....it was very easy.

Back then, the agency required a year waiting time for the paperwork/home study/background check and references...and $2500. I had inherited $1000 from my grandmother, Leota, upon her passing in November 1980...we put that money aside until we had something special we wanted to use it for.... December 1982, we knew this was that something special...and knew grandma would approve.

March 1984....my brother, Matt, and his wife, Shelley, were living in Denver, Colorado. Their first child, Michael, was born. He was to be blessed the first Sunday in June....so David & I decided to take a quick trip for the weekend. We surprised Matt & Shelly....my parents and my little sister, Pyper (almost 15) were also going to be there.

At the time, we had 4 dogs....yes...satisfying my need to nurture. we asked our friends, the Adams, to watch over the house and dogs. (foreshadowing...they had 2 adopted kids)....

sorry....this is quite the tome.

we arrive in Denver Friday night and everyone is happy to be together...Michael is a doll of a baby and I'm happy to see family. We go to Marie Callendar's for dinner....i remember that because:
1. i love marie callendars
2. my dad was appalled that it cost $50 for 7 of us to eat there...it was 1984.

we went back to Matt's apartment....it was a tiny apartment...tiny enough that david and i were sleeping UNDER the kitchen table...the shower head in the claw-foot bathtub hit about the middle of my back. We sit around and chat....david jumps in the shower....the phone rings.
Matt answers....looks at me questioningly and says....."it's your Bishop!"
I take the phone and the bishop says "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!? WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ANYONE WHERE YOU WERE GOING!?" i kinda shrugged (yes...i know...he couldnt see a shrug over the phone...) he told me that our LDS social services caseworker had called him that morning and said he was trying to get in touch with us and couldnt find us....did he know where we might be? they called our work (we had just told our jobs we were going away for the weekend....not specific enough)....the caseworker called back the bishop for more possibilities....this was before the days of cell phones. eventually, the Bishop called the Adams and they said we were visiting my brother in Denver and my maiden name was Ensign...so the bishop called every Ensign in the Denver phone book...there were like 10! HE CALLED ALL OF THEM UNTIL HE FOUND US!

the bishop told me to call our case worker RIGHT NOW....i asked him "is this it?"....he said...."call him". I hung up...stunned...my parents and brother & sisters were sitting there....all of our jaws were on the floor...I got David out of the shower and told him about the conversation....he took a deep breath....and called the caseworker....who chewed us out for not letting him know we were leaving town....hey guy....if we had known our baby's birth was impending....WE WOULDA CALLED YOU!....anyway...he told us that he had been searching for us all day....and we had a BABY GIRL waiting for us in Phoenix...and would we like to pick her up Monday!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH....we were flying back on monday.....to Phoenix....how convenient! we said sure.

THE HOUSE WENT CRAZY! we were so excited....so stunned....so surprised....so OH MY GOSH. by about 11 p.m. everyone had settled in...except for david and i...we were wide awake....and in this tiny apartment....there was nowhere to sit and talk and plan...so we headed to Denny's.....we talked about names, made lists of what we needed to do...called the Adams'.....she'd been waiting all day for us to call her....she knew from the Bishop's phone call that this was THE call!

we decided to name her Leah Leota...after my grandma. :)

we finally went back to Matt's apartment....and collapsed...under the kitchen table....except I still couldnt sleep....so i curled up in a chair next to their bathroom door and read every baby book Shelley had...in the middle of the night Shelley got up to feed Michael....there i was...wide awake...reading Dr Spock!

we spent Saturday calling family and making lists. Mom & Dad took us to Sam's club (or an early version of it)....no...not Sam's....it was that catalog store where you would order from the catalog in the store and your merchandise would appear on a belt like at the airport baggage claim. They bought Matt & I each a stroller for our babies....and a car chair! We bought leah an outfit to come home in. (i'm tearing up right now writing this!). My mom and Pyper would fly with us to Phoenix....we'd get our car and drive to the office where Leah would meet us. My dad would drive the 1000 miles back to Freeport, Il BY HIMSELF!

saturday afternoon we went to a park....i slept on the picnic blanket.

Sunday was Michael's blessing at church....that was a special day of fasting and gratitude for us.

Monday morning dad headed back east....and we flew to Phoenix....got our car and headed to the agency office. We were met at the door and escorted to the office where we signed all sorts of paper and wrote out a check for the balance of our account....we could hear movement in the room next to us.....after all was signed....the door opened and there in a bassinett was our baby Leah....okay...now I am weeping.....now....2009.

we put her in her purple dress we brought...change a dirty diaper...and go out to the lobby where my mom and Pyper are waiting. We all squish into our tiny little T-1000 (like a chevy chevette subcompact)....and drive the 3+ hours to Yuma....where we find our house DECKED out in balloons, diapers, banners and baby stuff everywhere...thanks to the Adams!

david & I each go to work the next day, bringing Leah (it was the last week of school for me....so i also gave notice)....when we told people she was ours....NO ONE believed us! we had not advertised we were adopting because we got tired of people asking when it would happen.

Leah has been a joy....she took us out of the wilderness and into the adventure that we had yearned for and prayer for for 4 years....thats a lot of 4/fors. Leah is a lovely person....a loving daughter....a lover of humanity.

She gave us our first grandchild.....and our 4thleah...right after her mission....2007.

leah and joe and cannon....december 2008....we'll have a deja vu december 2009!ace and leah at her husband, Joe's, sister Sarah's (following all this?) wedding reception....march or april 2008...she was so sick...no, not sick...pregnant.
my baby girl is 25....love you leah leota liahona jeppson junior the third twice removed 17 times.

11 comments:

Princess Mommy said...

You made ME cry!! I love hearing these stories!!

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Such a sweet story. Happy Birthday to your Leah. :)

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Crying here too soo sweet love the details (under the table) and all happy Birthday to Leah

Joni said...

That was great! Thanks for sharing! And I can't believe Leah is having another baby! Good luck to her. That is exciting.

Christie said...

Ah, how sweet! I remember visiting you in Yuma...thought it was a lot more than 4 dogs...seems like we brought one home with us and it didn't last long. Also remember a room full of hammocks, but my mom says it was just one hammock.

Julia said...

Love your story. I'm weeping too. Love you guys!

Lyric said...

that was a major tearjerker. seriously! i couldnt help myself!

Vipha Guerrero said...

AWe........Sis Jeppson, you are such an awesome mother!

congrats to Leah and Joe!!

Lyric said...

i was reading your dancing moose blog this morning and noticed that you havent updated since november of last year....now i know you have been on a lot of shows since november! fortunately your georgia experience made it to this blog though...:)

Susan said...

It has taken me forever to come back and finish reading this. I was worried that it might be hard for me to read. It wasn't. It was delightful. I should have known it would be - I do love reading your posts.

Jackie said...

Love it. How exciting that you found out the news when you were up in Denver with family. What an exhilarating time for everyone!