Entries from January 2010 ↓

thank you.

my deepest gratitude to all of you who have hollered up the tree that you’re down there, holding  a big net, ready to catch me if need be.  here’s a funny story for your enjoyment.

last night, just one short day after posting about being “on call 24/7” my phone chimed at 9:30 that “C” was sending me a text message.  My heart fell into my toes and then bounced back into my throat.  It’s a little later in the evening than she generally contacts us and the last time she did, it was to tell us that she was going to the hospital and very worried (that was the first time).  I flipped my phone open, not sure what to expect, and read, “only 6 weeks and 5 days.  the countdown begins, FINALLY!”  and i laughed and laughed out loud.  NOW the countdown begins?  at exactly 33 weeks and 2 days into the pregnancy?  I just love this woman.  All systems are normal.  Crisis averted.  We are still “on track” and although I’m enjoying the shade below the crazy tree, I am no longer swinging from the branches.

on call

we are now on call. 24-7. she texted us the other night at 2:15 a.m. because she was in pain and thought it was labor. she had good reason to believe it was, in fact, labor, but when she finally went to the hospital a few hours later, they told her it was nothing to worry about, gave her some meds and sent her home. in the meantime, i didn’t get much sleep as i lay in bed pondering all of the implications of her original messages. what if she was really having the baby? are we ready? what needed to be packed? what projects at work needed to be resolved or passed along to someone else? who did i need to call? what did we still need to buy? what time did the earliest plane leave town and could we be ready in time to catch it? how long would we have to stay in the NICU if he arrived this early? we still haven’t been able to even choose a name! worry, worry worry… so i was relieved when i heard the doctor’s diagnosis, but the whole thing really brought it home that we are on call now. and it has sort of set me on full-alert. all the time. any day now we could get a call that she’s in labor or that the baby’s been born quickly and is already here, come hurry, or that she’s changed her mind and decided to parent this little guy. any of those calls would change the current course of our lives. and i have no control over any of it. and so i’m clinging to the things i do have control over (packing the bags, wrapping things up at work as fast as i can, buying the last few absolute necessities, making lists and lists and lists) to try to distract myself from the big things over which i have no control. i am holding on to this roller coaster ride for all i’m worth and trying to “enjoy” the ride. but please forgive me if i curl up on a high branch of the crazy tree, shrieking and throwing things at unfortunate passersby. i will eventually crawl down (yoga class tonight helped), but i can’t guarantee that i won’t be back up there again soon.

we’re back!

many, many thanks for all of your e-mails, phone calls, blog comments, thoughts and prayers.  We’re back from Texas and had a good trip.  I’m still fighting off my cold (possibly turning into an ear infection now?  super fun on the plane rides there and back.), but other than some coughing fits, it didn’t spoil our visit at all.

Let’s see…. what can I share….  We arrived at her grandmother’s house (where she’s currently living) around 11;30 and were there (except for all of us going out to lunch at a local eatery) until about 6:00.  Pretty much we just talked the entire time.  It might actually be more accurate to say that she talked the entire time (whew!  she is even more chatty than me!  can you believe it?) and we occasionally chimed in with responses, comments and questions.  It was helpful for us to see the town she comes from, meet her family and talk to her in person.  For some reason, I thought that talking to her in person would be different than talking on the phone, but, except for a lack of static and the ability to read her lips as she talks (which helps me when I’m not sure what someone is saying)…. it’s pretty much the same.  Around 6:00, we realized that we should probably try to secure a hotel room for the night.  We asked her if she wanted us to come back after we’d gotten the room and she said, “I kinda don’t like to hang out at night.” so we made plans to get together the next day instead.  love that she’s willing to be that open and honest with us!

the town is very small.  there’s a smattering of fast food (dairy queen, sonic, church’s chicken, mcdonald’s, subway, pizza hut), a wal-mart, a grocery store, a giant car wash, a hotel, a few local restaurants, the county hospital (which has 35 beds) and a few clinics and (I think) three stoplights.  the landscape is filled with scrub and cactus and dust.

I did “take a few trips up the crazy tree” when i allowed my overactive imagination and my anxiety to dance a little too closely together, but j patiently sat at the bottom of that tree and laughed or hugged me out of it every time.

We returned to her house the next morning when they invited us over for barbacoa tacos (YUM!) and stayed until about 1:00, talking more, listening more and learning more about each other.  When we left, she said she was glad we’d gotten to meet each other before the baby comes.  She was worried that she wouldn’t like us in person, but we’re just the same as she’d thought we’d be and she still likes us.  (whew!)

The rest of the trip was spent with family in San Antonio.  I got to see some cousins that I haven’t seen for ages and get to know their wives better.  It was nice to spend time with my aunties too.  But it was also nice to get home last night.  My brain is still processing all of the information we took in over the course of the weekend, but all in all, I feel a much greater sense of peace about our upcoming adventures, wherever they may take us.

superheroes and sniffling

so… you know those word necklaces that many of you created awhile back in a show of support for us during this process?  I feel like we should have some sort of superhero connection through those (you know, “Activate, WORD POWER!” or something) that I can call on whenever I could use a little extra boost of support.  Maybe it’s called the power of prayer.  Either way, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers this weekend as we travel to Texas to meet “C” for the first time.  I’m kind of nervous and I’m battling a head cold on top of things, so, yeah.  I could use any help you’re willing to send our way.

a post all to itself

part of the struggle of the adoption journey is a loss of control for the adoptive parents.  when i first read about this phenomenon, i shrugged it off thinking, yeah, yeah, loss of control, OBVIOUSLY, plus, when you’re pregnant yourself, it’s just the illusion of control, right?  who cares?  well, this loss of control has manifested itself interestingly in several concrete ways.  And I’ve coped in several interesting and concrete ways.  One of my big coping mechanisms that caused poor j some dismay was a complete obsession over a gliding rocking chair.  i began searching craigslist as early as last august (possibly earlier, but i recently found some e-mail in my archives that proved i’ve been at this at least that long) as soon as i realized that our wonderful, wedding-gift-from-grandparents bentwood Amish rocking chair just wasn’t going to be comfortable for long, late-night feeding sessions.  (twisted branches aren’t so comfy for elbows, who knew?)  i did research.  i shopped at local stores.  i swore not to give any money to the megastore who’s initials are b.r.u.  i dropped my jaw to the floor when i tried out the most amazing chair at a small local furniture store (it looked NOTHING like a rocker, but when you flipped this small secret switch…. hey presto!  smooth gliding action!  and it was so comfortable!!) and then dropped my jaw again when i realized that if we ordered that chair in leather (easy to clean!  cats won’t shred it!) it would cost almost $2K.  ouch.  my thrifty mennonite heritage (and my thrifty mennonite mother) would not allow me to spend such an extravagant amount on just a chair.  so i spent a few months just mourning the impossibility of that chair and also engaging in some sour grapes-ing (although it would recline with a footrest like a regular recliner, it didn’t rock when reclined, which i sort of wanted it to do.)  And i continued to comb craigslist.  then, over Winter Break, I just decided that we needed to just take the plunge and BUY something.  I found a chair on the Chicago craigslist that was really lovely (perhaps too lovely–it was heavily in the Craftsman style) and was $300.  I e-mailed and decided this was the chair for us.  Then, just to check, I looked at the Milwaukee listings and found a chair that was just as good-possibly better for $350.  Less gas money is a good thing, so I contacted that seller to ask a few further questions.  The next day she replied that the chair had already sold.  “well, I thought, I guess that just means that there’s something better out there waiting for me.”  A few hours later, I happened to check the listings again (seriously, i wasn’t THIS obsessive the whole time, just once or twice, right honey?) and I noticed another chair that was the brand we were looking for, seemed to be in good shape, but maybe had a few stains on the cushions (which I had other big plans for no matter what anyway), but it reclined, rocked while it reclined, had padded arms, and pockets on the arms too!  It didn’t have an ottoman, but it was listed at $70.  I e-mailed the seller right away and asked if we could pick it up that evening.  She seemed to think it wasn’t worth us driving all the way to Milwaukee, but I assured her that we didn’t mind.  And so here, after waaaaaay too much searching, is the chair:

I’ve got big plans for making it look a little spiffier, but we’ll see if those plans ever actually materialize.  Also, I still need to find a gliding ottoman.  But maybe I’ll just bite the bullet , do my husband a favor and buy a new one.  Whew!

getting ready

today we attended two classes at a local baby store.  the first one was all about car seats and was pretty helpful in at least defining some of the basic different types of seats and some of the crucial safety information that will help to make sure they’re being installed correctly.  The second class was called “cloth diapering 101” and was chock full of very helpful info!  It was also chock full of participants!  She gave a great overview of the different types of cloth diapers and ended by introducing a diaper that she’s actually invented herself that isn’t quite yet on the market, but should be very soon (as in, hopefully later this week).  We were both impressed that this new diaper will be produced as locally as possible (factories in north Wisconsin and Chicago) with materials sourced locally as much as possible too.  Plus, the features of it sounded like a really fantastic option for us.  I’m so relieved that we both agreed about this without a ton of discussion!  It was a little weird to be in the class with mostly pregnant or baby-carrying couples, but since I was in the front row, I just sort of ignored the rest of the group and decided not to try to explain ourselves.  It was a fun coincidence to meet up with a couple of friends who had signed up for the class too, so that helped me to feel less awkward.  Attending classes like this certainly make me feel more like this is really going to happen and even if it takes longer than we think it will, I feel better knowing this information now–much less panicked and like I have no idea what I’m doing.

We’re also getting the nursery even closer to being ready.  I took the plunge and bought a crib mattress this week.  We finally found a glider last week, but that deserves its own post, so I’ll wait until I’ve got photos.  I also got a light to go over the glider, another frame for some artwork….just feels like we’re wrapping up some key details.  Oh, and the quilt’s getting closer to done.  Have I mentioned the quilt yet?  Photos soon….

p.s. why are there so few good boy names?

for those of you who have kids and who had to decide on a name by discussing it with a spouse who had different opinions than you did…. imagine the fun we’re having adding a third person (who has slightly different priorities and comes from a slightly different background than we do) into the mix.  yep.  good fun.  sigh.

things i worry about

tonight i babysat for some friends.  The baby cried.  I tried to feed her (since her dad had told me she’d probably be hungry soon).  no dice.  i checked to see if she was wet.  she shrieked louder.  i tried several different holds–they’d each work for a few bounces, then she’d get mad again.  i finally swaddled her, swayed, shushed and patted and she eventually fell asleep.  but probably 15 minutes later she woke up again.  We shared a nice few moments where she smiled at me and then it either slowly dawned on her that she was hungry or that i was unfamiliar and she started to cry again.  i tried to feed her, but as soon as she’d get a mouthful, she’d start screaming, just mad as heck.  So this dance of trying to figure out what to do went on for awhile (i won’t bore you with the rest of the play-by-play).  I was pleased to notice that her distress caused me less panic now than it used to when I babysat in high school (yay!) but I was dismayed to think that maybe the reason that she was upset was perhaps simply because i was NOT-THE-MAMA.  Now, normally, since I am obviously NOT the mama, this wouldn’t really bother me.  But tonight, it got me thinking.  They say that infants recognize their mother by smell the moment they are born.  What if my kid knows I’m NOT-THE-MAMA?  What if, even if that’s not the case, what if I WORRY that that’s why my kid is inconsolable some evening?  Because of their “primal loss”?  Will I ever feel settled into my role as THE MAMA?  Is this how dads (even biological ones) feel all the time because they don’t smell like THE MAMA either?  Or is it not as big of an issue for them?

The good news is that by the time her dad came home, she’d been asleep (albeit restlessly) for awhile and stayed asleep at least until I left.

And now my wrists ache.  Was I doing something wrong?  Must start building up wrist muscles….