Entries from March 2010 ↓

getting away with something

Does anyone remember way back when we were waiting for baby dude* to be born and I might have said something about feeling “covertly pregnant”?  Like I could choose when and with whom I’d share the information and didn’t constantly have strangers asking me when I was due and what the gender was and what we were going to name it and OMG, You’re HUGE!?   Yeah, well, maybe there’s a purpose to that part of pregnancy.  It now feels VERY strange to suddenly be the focus of attention when I walk into stores with a teeny tiny baby in tow and have total strangers ooh and ahh over him and ask how old he is (and then frequently tell me how great I look).  Sometimes it makes me feel like a fake–like I’m getting away with something.  So far, I haven’t felt obligated to tell any of these people that he was adopted.  I mean, it’s none of their business, really, and I don’t want to qualify our relationship in a way that some uneducated (in the adoption world) people may read as “second best.”  Plus, it seems like an awkward segue (“He’s three weeks old.  We adopted him!”).  So instead, “Yes, he’s my son.  Yes, he’s very new.  And yes, thank you, I DO look great!”

*after my parents were here for a week, my mother mentioned something jokingly about “baby dude” and I looked at her blankly and she said, “well, that’s what you call him all the time.”  I had no idea!  But now that she’s pointed it out, I’ve realized that I DO call him that.  huh. weird.  wonder where I got that?  Anyway, I’d been thinking about using some sort of nickname for him here on this blog, so we’ll try this one out for awhile and see if it sticks.

what it’s like

so, what’s it like to be a mom after so many years of yearning?  Today, it sort of feels like when you live far away from family or loved ones and you miss them for so much of the year and you get so excited when you get to go visit them and you can’t wait to be there and you’re impatient for the whole trip (well, actually, you’re impatient during all of the preparation and packing for the trip too) and when you finally arrive there are hugs and kisses and smiles and joy that you’ve finally arrived and then suddenly, easily… you relax into the familiarity.  it’s like you were never apart.  Here are the same ol’ people in their same ol’ places living their wonderfully ordinary lives.  They were here all along and now, having arrived after your long journey, the trip doesn’t seem like it was that long after all–just a few hours, really.  Yes, it was a grueling trip and yes, there were very difficult parts (okay, that’s probably more true with the infertility journey than just driving across a few states, but stick with me here), but now, suddenly, you’re here, just where you’re supposed to be and the hardships of the process of getting here fade just a little bit behind your wide smile and a big-hearted feeling of contentment.

home again, home again, jiggety jig

the last two weeks have been a whirlwind.  We’d stayed in C’s hometown for a few days after the hospital stay just in case she wanted to visit with us and the baby and she had asked us to visit her that first Friday.  We visited with her for about five hours that day.  It was nice to see her with the baby after we’d been away for a few days, but we could tell that it was hard for her to say goodbye when we left.  She told us that she wanted to see us one last time before we went back home, but didn’t want to spend time with us other than that–it was just too hard.

So, we went to San Antonio and spent time with my extended family there.  They threw us a small family baby shower (with mini burgers, mini hot dogs, mini fish tacos and mini chicken fajitas, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, potato salad made with baby potatoes and for dessert?  mini brownies, mini strawberry shortcakes, and mini ice cream sandwiches— SO cute!!) and we spent the next few days sleeping in, being lazy, eating wonderful food (I love my aunties!) and just floating around in this bubble of time, figuring out how we function as a family of three.

We found out last Thursday that the Interstate Compact paperwork had gone through, so we headed out to “C’s” hometown on Friday for one last visit before heading home.  Again, we spent at least five hours hanging out with her–we took her out for lunch and then went back to her place to talk some more.  We got some good photos and a few videos of her holding him and we made some good memories that afternoon.

On Saturday, we began the long trek home.  We stopped for a few hours in Oklahoma to visit the cousins there and to take a break from being in a car seat, then one last push up to Kansas where we stayed with J’s grandma.  On Sunday, we took a day of rest in Kansas, visiting with the rest of J’s extended family, including a visit to Grandpa who is in a nursing home .  He can’t really see or hear or communicate very well any more, but he did ask if he could hold Gabriel and I think he enjoyed being able to hold this little boy.

Monday, we geared up for one last push home.  Gabriel is a great traveler at this point–pretty much sleeping the whole way.  Somewhere in Iowa, his umbilical cord fell off (woo hoo, first milestone!  hmmm…. is there an umbilical cord fairy?).  We got home around 8:00 and tumbled out of the car, bringing in only the necessities at first (diaper bag, baby).  Gabriel had finally gotten tired of being in the car, about 20 minutes away from home (how do kids DO that?) and needed to be fed and changed and allowed to wiggle around.  When we got inside, we discovered that our dear friends had left us flowers, balloons, chocolate, yummy beverages, artwork from the kids, four mason jars of turkey chili and a pan of cornbread (which REALLY hit the spot!), milk, eggs and bread in our fridge and a treasure trove of frozen breastmilk in the freezer.  We feel so very blessed!  I wanted to soak it all in, but Gabriel was still rather unhappy, so I went upstairs and changed him on his changing table for the first time, then sat with him in the glider.  And then it hit me.  Here I was, in this glider, in this nursery where I’d sat so often these past few months, dreaming about holding a child in my arms and here he was.  Tiny, squishy baby body, warming my heart, calming down along with the rocking of the chair and just as he stopped crying, the tears began to flow down my own face.  We.  are.  home.

(photos by Christa Moreland)


In honor of Gabriel James joining our family, I’ve put together a mix of music for you to enjoy. Some of it is new stuff, some of it’s old stuff. Some of it’s kids’ stuff, some isn’t especially for kids, but would still be appropriate for kids. Below, I’ve linked to websites where you can download either the single track (for under $1 each) or, if that’s not possible, you can at least preview the song and then choose to buy the whole album if you like it. In some cases, I’ve linked to the artist’s website if you click on their name, but a site to download the song if you click on the song title. If you live here in town, most of this music is also available at your public library if you’d like to take it for a test drive before committing to the whole album.

As the mix titles indicate, the first set of music is a little more upbeat. I’ve started the mix off just a little bit mellow in case you want to play this as your child is waking up–it’s a more gentle way to greet the day than if I’d begun with, say, track #7. The second mix set is more subdued and would be lovely to listen to during quiet times. I hope that you enjoy this music as much as I do and I hope that at least a few of these artists make their way into your regular music rotation!

Good Morning Music Mix

1. Baby by Bobby McFerrin from Medicine Music

2. Honey Baby by Dog on Fleas from When I Get Little

3. Little Potato by Malcolm Dalglish from Welcoming Children into the World

4. Welcome Table by Dan Zanes from Catch That Train!

5. Surfer Mama by Kira Willey from Dance for the Sun

6. Ten in the Bed from 25 Fun Traveling Songs

7. Wake Up by The Verve Pipe from A Family Album *

8. Let’s Go to Work by Kira Willey from Dance for the Sun

9. Shoes: Farewell, My Pants by The Nields from All Together Singing in the Kitchen

10. When I’m Old by The Milkshakes from Great Day

11. Tongo! by Billy Jonas from What Kind of Cat are You?

12. Wishy Washy Washer Woman by Johnny Bregar from Hootenanny

13. Caterpillar Caterpillar by Kira Willey from Dance for the Sun

14. Big Boatload of Bananas by Steven Courtney Band from Rolling Home

15. Little Broken Truck by Caspar Babypants from Here I Am! *

16. Fast Monkey by Steve Songs from Marvelous Day!

17. In My Heart by Melissa Green from Round & Round

Sleepytime Music Mix

1. Cricket, Little Cricket by Steve Weeks (um, sorry, this song no longer available online!)

2. Pockets by Eric Bibb from Get Onboard

3. Sweet Pea by Amos Lee from Supply and Demand

4. Sparkle and Shine by Steve Earle from Washington Square Serenade

5. Listen to the Water by Kathy Reid-Naiman from More Tickles & Tunes

6. Like an Angel by Danielle Sansone from Two Flowers

7. Mockingbird by Peter, Paul and Mary from Peter, Paul and Mommy

8. When One Became Two by The Verve Pipe from A Family Album *

9. I wish you love by Sunflow from Under the Stars

10. Blanket by Danielle Sansone from Two Flowers

11. Home by David Tobocman from I count to ten and other very helpful songs

12. All Through the Night by Peter, Paul and Mary from Peter, Paul and Mommy

13. Chinese Proverb by Sweet Honey in the Rock from Experience 101

14. Miracle by Renee and Jeremy from It’s a Big World

15. Whisper by Danielle Sansone from Two Flowers

16. Blackbird by Bobby McFerrin from The Voice

17. Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel) by Cantus from Cantus

18. Go to Sleep, My Darlin’ by the Yurtfolk from Anyone Can Sing

*each of these artist’s websites contain entire songs that you can listen to for free (you can’t download them for free, but you can hear the whole song–or sometimes even the whole album–from their page)

We’re spending time relaxing with family in texas (yay! No more hotel!). Enjoy this music while we all wait!

the birth story, part 3

On Tuesday morning, March 2nd, we found out that C was going to be discharged from the hospital that day. We went to Wal-Mart and got some photos printed to give to her, and I wrote her a card to go along with her gift, and off we went to the hospital. When we arrived, a staff person from the adoption agency was already there in the room, visiting with C and admiring the baby. We stayed in there all together for awhile, chatting and getting instructions from nurses who came in and out of the room, then the social worker from the agency (we’ll call her A) told us that C was ready to sign papers and we could wait in the waiting room and then she’d come and find us. So, once again, we went to the little waiting room and sat. We ran out to the car to get our gift for C and some paperwork we didn’t know if we’d need or not, and then we waited some more. This morning when we woke up, we thought that C would be in the hospital for another day of recovery, so this suddenly seemed very real very fast. This was really happening! After what seemed like forever (as well it should), A showed up at the waiting room with a stack of papers for us to sign. While we were in the midst of our own stack of paperwork, there was a bit of a kerfuffle with a miscommunication with the hospital staff, but that was eventually sorted out. Finally, all papers were signed.

We returned to the room where C was hanging out with the baby, holding him and talking to him. In addition to the photos at Wal-Mart, I’d also purchased a pink tote bag to put our gift in (why buy another paper bag when the fabric one–infinitely reusable–was only a few dollars more?). I was holding the bag (with the gift and a card inside) when we came into the room and C said, “cute bag!” (whew, she liked it!) and I said, “oh! this is for you! Would you like me to open it since you’ve got your hands full?” she agreed, so I took out the gift to show it to her.

I had made her a quilt to match the one I made for Gabriel. Only the “story” on her quilt starts out with her and ends with us (instead of the other way around) because this quilt is HER story. I briefly explained the concept of the story, but didn’t go into all of the symbolism because I’d explained it in the card so that she could read it later and because we were already all feeling pretty emotional. I started crying when I was telling her about the quilt (and also showing her the one I’d made for Gabriel so she could see how they matched) and that started her crying a few tears and she said, “Look at what you made me do! This is the first time I’ve cried!” (but I don’t think she was really angry).

“A” took some pictures of us all together with each of our cameras and then we gathered our things, ready to go. As we were leaving, the nurses asked us to wait for a pediatrician to come give us some instructions, so we trooped BACK into the tiny hospital room and sat and waited. Finally, the doctor arrived and gave us some basic baby care instructions (that we pretty much already knew) and some things to watch for and some things that might happen that were normal (which we also pretty much already knew) and asked us to come back next week sometime for his one-week check-up. And then? We were ready to go. A nurse brought a wheelchair for C (standard protocol) and we all went to the front desk and checked out.

We all left the hospital at the same time. “A” was going to take C home, and before she got in the car, C came over to say goodbye to the baby. He was all strapped into his car seat and his little hand was up by his face, fingers splayed wide and it totally looked like he was waving. She pulled the sunshade of the seat up a little higher because she thought it was a little chilly for him. She said her goodbyes and then took his quilt and draped it over the seat so that he wouldn’t get cold. Then, she got into A’s car and we went to our car and by the time we were all settled into our places in our vehicle, the other two were already gone.

We drove back to the hotel and I kept peeking under the blanket to see if he was really there. He really was. When we got back to the hotel, I snapped a photo of J holding him and sent it to C to let her know we’d all arrived safely. Such a long journey, but we have finally arrived safely.

birth story, part 2

so let’s see… where were we?  oh yes.  I forgot to mention that also that first night, when the nurse brought him in, she told us that it was just about time for his next bottle, so I fed him and then “C’ burped him.  So cute!

We spent the next day hanging out with “C” and the baby in the hospital.  He got a dirty diaper while “C” was holding him.  She asked me if I wanted to change him, so I said I’d give it a try.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite done and oh, my, the POO that came out of such a little boy!  All over the bassinet and all of us laughing and laughing.  He’d already gotten his first poop story and he wasn’t even a two days old yet!

(no photos–lucky you!)

We had such a good time visiting all day.  Talking and sharing stories and admiring this beautiful baby boy together.

the birth story, part 1

of course, you knew that we wouldn’t get through this chapter of our story without having to scrap another rough draft didn’t you?

we left our house on Saturday afternoon and drove about eight hours that first day.  The plan was to drive to San Antonio on Sunday, stay with my relatives there overnight, pick up the Pack-n-Play we’d had shipped ahead, then drive the last two hours to the town where “c” lives and spend a relaxing day with her, hanging out, snacking and talking, then i would be able to be with her during the c-section, scheduled to happen at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

Instead, about an hour after we left our hotel on Sunday morning, she texted me to say that her water had just broken.  goodbye relaxing day of visiting with “c”, goodbye pack-n-play, goodbye possibility of being present during the surgery.  dang it.  okay, deep breath.  if she had called us with this news yesterday or the day before, we STILL wouldn’t have been able to enjoy any of those things and we wouldn’t have been packed or ready yet.  Yes, we would have flown instead of trying to drive, but we still wouldn’t have had a possible chance of getting there in time for the birth.  As it was, at least we were already on the way.  We were already packed and would be there just as soon as we could–about 12 more hours.  After a few frantic phone calls to see if there were any flights out of Memphis that would get at least one of us there sooner (grr…nope, not really), we resigned ourselves to the inevitable and tried to stay in contact with the outside world via my phone.  My battery started running low and we suddenly realized that the cell phone charger we’d brought with us was totally non-functional, so I had to recharge my phone off of my laptop.  We texted and called “C” as often as we could.  She sent us photos of the baby that her mom had taken after he was born and she was awake.  We tried to send flowers, but NO flower shops in her town were open on a Sunday and the local grocery store and Wal-Mart didn’t deliver flowers and the hospital gift shop (run by volunteers and i never saw any fresh flowers there after we arrived) was also closed on Sunday.  I even found a website that advertised “Same day delivery, guaranteed!” and I called them and asked and they said that no one in that town was open.  She helpfully told me that if I’d ordered the flowers yesterday that the shops would have delivered them on Sunday, but that’s not really same-day, now is it?  Apparently their guarantee wasn’t really worth much.  Sigh.

As I mentioned before, “C” had been texting us and talking with us on the phone throughout the trip.  She told us that her mom had been able to be with her during the surgery, so at least she wasn’t alone when the doctors put her under.  She also told us that at first, she hadn’t wanted to see the baby in person before we got there (she looked at photos her mom had taken first), but after awhile, she thought that if she was going to “get all emotional” maybe it would be better to do that without us watching her, so she asked for him to be brought in to see her.  She had enjoyed having time to talk to him privately.  She sent us pictures of him over her phone.

After 14 hours of driving straight through (we did stop for gas three times and we stopped once for a meal at Dairy Queen (where we had to giggle at the country song about International Harvester–is it a hit song or a commercial?) we finally arrived at the hospital.  It was 11:00, but I’d called ahead and was told that if we went in and told them that we were visiting from out of town, they’d let us in to visit.

When we at last got into her room, we sat and visited with her for awhile.  We asked how she was feeling and then she told us more details about her side of that crazy day.   We all agreed that while it wasn’t what any of us had planned, it had all worked out fine in the end.  After we’d been at the hospital for about an hour, a nurse wheeled the baby in from the nursery.  I asked if I could pick him up and “C” said it was okay, and then i got all nervous.  How do you pick up a tiny baby out of one of those plastic bassinets?  How do you pick up your (possibly, potentially) son for the first time?  Then I took a deep breath and just did it.  And I said hello and he smiled at me.

p.s.  J is a rockstar.  He drove the entire way.  I was in no shape to drive.  He was completely exhausted by the time we arrived, but still managed to stay awake and even hold and interact with the baby too.


Gabriel James Christner

born Feb. 28, 2010, 10:36 a.m.

6 lbs 13 oz, 19.5 inches

entrusted to us today, March 2nd

welcome home, little bird.  we are so glad to meet you.