On a hot summer day in 2003, I went to work feeling just fine. At 18 weeks pregnant, I worked hard to save up money to parent my daughter. Around lunch time that day, I started to feel woozy. A co-worker looked at me, commented on how pale I looked, and sent me home. I called my beloved paternal grandmother who told me to eat a sandwich and go to bed. The Polish, we solve all things with food.

When I woke up from my nap, darkness had already settled in, as had chills and sweats. I took my temperature and it read 104.3. I immediately called the clinic, who patched me to the doctor on call at the hospital as it was after hours. He told me to come in immediately. I drove myself to the hospital; I wouldn’t drive again until after my daughter was born.

Things begin to get blurry here. I remember my grandmothers arriving to sit with me in the Emergency Room. I don’t remember the ultrasound on my kidney. I do remember being told I needed emergency surgery as the ureter out of my right kidney was too small, an unknown birth defect, and my growing uterus was cutting off the flow. I don’t remember being wheeled into surgery. I don’t remember recovery.

I do remember the doctor coming into my room the next morning. She sat gently on my bed and explained I had chronic unilateral hydronephrosis which is easily exacerbated by pregnancy. My kidney function would decline; I may eventually lose the kidney, especially if I continued having babies. I was now a high risk pregnancy and placed on Level III bed rest.

My panic began then and did not stop for the duration of that pregnancy.

Shortly after returning home to my basement apartment, the panic swelled. Reading a magazine about pregnancy, I chose to call an adoption facilitator after finding the number in the ads section. Things moved quickly, and after being sent five profiles, I chose a family for my daughter.

The woman was Denise.

And that’s the story of how we met.

The story of the rest of my pregnancy is long and winding and nearly cost me my life but earned us all a beautiful baby girl. Denise acted as a support when no one else really offered that support. We formed a bond at that time that set the foundation for what would become our lifelong friendship and an extension of each of our families.

We’ve been through a lot when it comes to the ins and outs of open adoption. She was in my wedding; I helped on the day she remarried the love of her life. We’ve experienced a lot of great things together. There have also been obstacles over the years, but we’ve met them head on—and together. We’ve done everything with our daughter at heart, and as our families grew, the collective kids’ well-being remained a focus and intent on our journey together.

I discovered LuLaRoe a few months before Denise. During a visit, she and our daughter both tried on a pair of leggings and, well, the rest is history. In two months time, we decided that selling together would be “fun.” We thought it would be a hobby and we’d get some cute leggings out of it.

It has become so much more.

Because of LuLaRoe, our children get to see each other almost monthly. We have the time, as I left my day job (which is another story), and the money to treat them to more visits than ever before in the history of our open adoption. I’ve been able to support our daughter more in her current struggles as I am now more accessible. We’ve truly changed our lives because we fell in love with some leggings. (Well, and dresses. And skirts. And tops. You know.)

When you shop with us, you’re funding a unique family unit whose main focus is on supporting the children in their growth and relationships, both inside and outside the family. When you shop with us, you acknowledge that we’ve worked so hard in our open adoption relationship to get to a place where we trust each other intrinsically. When you shop with us, you support my dream of always being present and available to my daughter. When you shop with us, you support Denise’s dream of doing whatever she can to help her daughter. When you shop with us, you help keep our family together.

LuLaRoe Denise & Jenna

Thank you.

2 Comments

  • Stacie Stout

    Both of you are amazing women. Thank you for sharing your story. Your daughter is a lucky girl. All of your children are lucky to have you as mothers, role models, teachers, and friends.

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