Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Birth story

Little Marty is 8 days old now, and his little cord stump has already fallen off. He sleeps like a little angel and it is already starting to feel "normal" to be a family of four instead of three. Olivia is such a good little helper and also terrorizes me with her attempts to pick up the baby. There are so many little observations to record. But first, the birth story:

We were on tenterhooks for weeks because birthmom was having erratic contractions and pain. But it wasn't until Sunday, July 22nd that we had some certainty about when baby would arrive. Birthmom had gone to the hospital that day, not feeling well, and they FINALLY decided that, based on her symptoms and blood pressure, she should be admitted after midnight and induced.

When she asked the staff about having us come, they said it would probably be most of the day before little guy would make his appearance and that there was really no reason for us to rush up there Sunday night. So she texted us with the information and encouraged us to get a good night's sleep and come up first thing Monday morning. We called around and confirmed our childcare plans for Olivia and re-packed our hospital bags and packed up the car. And then we went to bed.

As it always is when you are anticipating something, I didn't sleep all that well. I kept having vivid dreams about running late. I woke up at 2:00 and had a hard time falling back asleep, so when the alarm went off at 5:45, I immediately snuggled in for a few more minutes.

I finally dragged myself out of bed at 6:05 and checked my phone (which, strangely, had stopped notifying me of new text messages). I went into my text menu and saw a message from birthmom at 5:44 a.m. saying she was so sorry! But they induced and he came right away! Sorry we missed it!

After an initial wave of disappointment, I was actually kind of relieved. This improved our chances of a short stay in Big City (where baby was born) and a better chance of bringing baby home sooner. It also gave birthmom several hours alone with baby, which I think was really good for her.

So, what happened there? Well, they were going to send her home and have her return after midnight, but then her blood pressure started rising pretty quickly, so they went ahead and admitted her. Just after midnight, they applied some sort of gel for induction, and things just started moving. Once they did, he made his appearance within two hours. She didn't have any drugs or anything for pain...it was that fast.

Knowing that there was no fire (we already missed the birth, so arriving at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. was essentially the same, except arriving later would let birthmom rest a little more and get more snuggle time), we double checked things at home and at Joe's work to make sure we could be gone a couple of days, and then we began the journey. We stopped for a brief lunch and to pick up flowers and a snack for birthmom. And it took FOREVER to get there. At least it felt like forever.

We finally arrived shortly after 2 p.m. And we met the sweetest little guy ever. 

 We visited with birthmom and cuddled baby for most of the afternoon. Birthmom is such a sweet person and it was very nice to spend time with her. I think she was confused about the whole process, thinking we'd want to take baby and be alone with him. But we were excited to share time with her and didn't want to take baby away while she could still spend time with him. I also wanted her to feel comfortable with us since we were the ones with whom she would be entrusting her baby.

Baby spent that night in the room with his birthmom, and she said he slept most of the night (encouraging!). We arrived on Tuesday morning and visited for about an hour before the counselor and attorney came to complete the paperwork and have birthmom sign the termination papers.

That part was a little nerve-wracking for me. I felt confident that birthmom intended to go through the process and place the baby. But it took a good long while, and the longer we waited in the (very small, dark and depressing) "parent room", the more I thought about how hard it would be to be in her shoes. And then Joe said something like, "maybe she's backing out" and then my thoughts started going crazy.

After about a million years, the attorney finally opened the door to the parent room and said, "Congratulations!" And then we signed our paperwork. And we were officially named "legal guardians with petition to adopt" this sweet little boy.

As long as baby had his hospital tags on, he could be left alone in birthmom's room while we went to lunch or let her have some time alone with him. The nurses had said he could likely be released early, by Tuesday afternoon, and we were waiting on the results of a test to be done at 2 p.m.

We visited with birthmom alone while they did the testing. The nurse brought baby in later and said he checked out OK and we'd be discharged in a couple of hours. Birthmom's meds were kicking in and she needed a nap, so we took baby to the parent room for awhile. Nurses came in later to take him away and complete his newborn screen and prepare him for discharge. When they brought him back, he was tagless and ready to go home!

We carried baby (sans bassinet) back to birthmom's room for good-byes. That was really, really hard. We sat while she gazed at him and her eyes started tearing up. I desperately wanted to let her have some time alone to say good-bye, but we were told by the nurses that now that he was tagless, he HAD to stay with us for liability reasons. So we just sat. And then she handed him over and started crying as we put him in the car seat. Walking out the door as she sat there alone was very, very hard.

Marty slept most of the way home and was ready to greet his sister and grandparents when we arrived at our door after 9 p.m. Olivia was goofy tired and super excited, so the first meeting was a little nerve-wracking for me. I kept thinking she'd drop him or something. But after many kisses and hugs and loving from his new family, Marty went off to sleep and Olivia did too, and our new "normal" started as a family of four.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baby Martin

Introducing...Martin Roderick
 Born July 23, 2012. Birth story to come later. For now here are a few pics.

Daddy holding a clearly-exhausted Martin. This would be yesterday, still at the hospital.
 Me and baby yesterday.
 They released us before the standard 48 hours because he is perfectly healthy. So we got home last night, kind of late for Olivia, but she was there with grandparents to meet us and got a chance to feed him before we put her to bed. She is smitten.
He is an angel and hardly cries at all. Very calm baby. Very different from his sister as a baby. *Big sigh of relief*

Friday, July 20, 2012


I am starting to get a little worried. Birthmom goes to the doctor about every other day now...not by appointment either. Because she is in pain and/or contracting. And they keep sending her home. WTH? I'm really starting to get worried about her. Because this is not her first rodeo, people. She's done this before, more than once, and knows what to expect. She and I are wondering why this baby's gestation is so different for her.

I realize that part of my (possibly irrational) worries are fueled by my restlessness. When we went on vacation, we had just learned that birthmom was given an updated due date of July 3rd*...which was one day after we got home. I stuffed fears of an early birth for the entire trip. And then we got home and things started progressing a little...a bit of dilation here, a few contractions there. And then nothing happened. For three weeks.

I have taken off work from my seasonal job until late August. I have cleared my babysitting schedule until school starts again. I have vacuumed the floor more times this week than I had in the past six months. Olivia and I went to a movie yesterday, which is something we haven't done since she was two years old. I am running out of things to do.

Today, I think I'm going to go shopping. We never really restocked our pantry after vacation because...well, we were going to do that after baby. So maybe I should work on that. And also thaw a chicken. Because cooking a chicken is super time consuming (I do it in the crock and then use the second day to cook the bones and leftovers and veggies into broth). And you KNOW the moment that chicken goes into the crock is when she's gonna call from the hospital and say she's in labor. Like leaving your windows rolled down to ensure a rain shower. 

*We all realize now that July 3rd was probably not accurate. Baby is measuring just under 8 lbs, so not overly huge or anything. But we are all starting to get a little weary. Especially birthmom. Offer some prayers for her, if you would.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A little "Greatest Show on Earth" distraction

Today is baby's due date. Birthmom was sent home and told to come back when she dilates ANOTHER inch. She's frustrated and tired. I'm frustrated and tired. So let's distract ourselves with some pretty circus pictures.

My brother and his family live in the circus capital of the world with a circus museum and such. Every year, they have an amateur circus made up entirely of children from their county. Kids. You'd think this thing would appeal to only family members and locals. You would be wrong.

They have this week-long circus festival, which is cute, but really just a festival. Parade. Booths. Carnival rides. Nice, but not much to draw people from afar.

The nightly circus performances, however. People, this is a show I'd travel to see. (And I do. Granted, it is only a 5-hour drive. But still.)

So Olivia and I went up there yesterday in hopes of getting to see the show before baby arrives. (Ha. Baby. He is SO taunting us.)

These kids. They do amazing things. Starting at age seven. That would be the age of my niece, Mackenzie. And this is her in low-casting (which is kind of like beginning trapeze).
 She's the little girl closest to the camera. Those scared-looking people below are spotters, because catching is the dangerous part, and there is no net. About four-feet-thick mats below, but no net.
Look. Those big guys caught her feet and then SWUNG HER OUT OVER THE CONCRETE HOLY CRAP. And look at how calm the spotters are now. What the heck? Not pictured: Mackenzie catching the bar and returning to the platform, which she did effortlessly. She's SEVEN.

Also in the amazing family of circus performers is her big sister, Molly, who, at the ripe-old age of EIGHT was given the role of "walking" upside-down in this act, called 4-lane.

Again, Molly is the person at the BOTTOM of this pile. Walking hand-to-hand to the other performers. Attentive spotters below are stretching out one of those hand-held nets, but STILL. She's EIGHT. I am amazed at these circus people.

Also appearing: older children not related to me. I don't even know the names of these girls, but look at what they are doing. Way up in the air and all that. 

 And this. Holy crap. This would be a tight-wire act. And yes, a few of these girls are connected to safety wires, but not all of them. And there is a net below. But they didn't need it. They are freaking AMAZING!
 And juggling. I admit, I like juggling, even though it can be unimpressive compared to death-defying stuff. But then these guys started lighting things on fire and tossing them to each other. Real fire! They are teenagers!
 So, long story short: Circus = great distraction. Awesome! I'm glad we didn't miss it because of baby (although, baby, this is not an excuse for you to continue to delay). And if you are anywhere in the vicinity, or even if you are not, go see this circus. It gives professionals a run for their money and is even more impressive because they are all kids!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This post brought to you by an awesome CDP

Waiting is hard, and Olivia has an ear infection. So we cheered ourselves up by opening a CDP, and this is what we found! Sibling hats from the incomparable Rachel! I should really learn to knit. But in the meantime, it is good to have friends in the computer.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Still waiting...

Well, baby boy was causing more than his fair share of problems for birthmom last week, and every day looked like it could be "the day". She was having painful contractions. She was starting to dilate. She was feeling awful.

And then it just stopped. And nothing is happening.

So, I don't know what to make of last week, but I'm thinking maybe it was the heat. We've been in the midst of a heat wave that had us in triple digits nearly every single day. And on Saturday afternoon, the heat wave finally broke. Today is a high of 95 (AND low humidity!). Downright chilly, after last week.

So maybe it was the heat. But I'm a nullipara, so I really don't know. All I know is baby boy is perfectly comfortable staying where he is for now and we all continue to wait.

So far, every day this week I've had stuff that was previously planned in order to get it done before baby. Monday was Olivia's school physical. Yesterday was office clean-up. Today is Olivia's dentist. I was also scheduled to work this afternoon and the weekend. Then my summer job supervisor covered those shifts so that I could "focus on baby", which was very nice of her. But after today, I have NOTHING on the calendar for weeks. Nothing. This was, of course, on purpose because of baby. But the longer baby waits to arrive, the longer I sit here driving myself crazy with free time.

I do realize that exactly two days after bringing baby home, I'm going to wish for some of that free time just to nap. Yes, I do realize that. But the uncertainty of waiting is still hard.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why I love my Internet friends, and an announcement...

One of my goals for our stay in Seattle was to meet, in person, some of the wonderful ladies I've come to know through the internet. Unfortunately, Maggie was struck down by an evil illness and couldn't make it. But Liz and her family were planning to join us the day we got off the ship.

I don't know if I mentioned it here, but we were traveling with my husband's family, and the trip was to celebrate his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. We were essentially making the whole trip (flight, hotels, etc) in tandem with his parents, so they inquired about our plans for our day in Seattle. Joe had mentioned that we were going to visit with friends of mine, but around day 6 of the cruise it came out that these were internet friends...people I had never actually met in person.

Crickets, people. And stares that indicated that I had obviously lost contact with my senses.

I remained unconcerned, of course. I know these people. Yes, you can get on the internet and create a persona for yourself that is entirely false and lead people to believe stuff that isn't true. But mommybloggers aren't like that. I think we all know this. We lay bare the details of daily joys and frustrations in our lives that we would not make up, even if we could. Our blogs exist to give us an outlet and to link us with others who are experiencing the exact same things, even though we didn't know it was possible for other people's children to be as truly adorable/exhausting/infuriating/lovable as our own kids are. I don't know how I would have survived Olivia's challenging infanthood/toddlerhood/preschool days (still working on surviving that) without the support and solidarity of these not-so-annonymous ladies in my computer.

My actual experience of my visit with Liz and family lived up to my expectations. Liz was just as wonderful as she is in the internet. She and Maggie are real-life friends as well as internet friends, so she also delivered a gift and wishes from Maggie. That, however, is for the second half of this post.

Liz and her family met us at the Seattle Center. We all had lunch and chatted and then walked around the grounds toward the Space Needle. It was unremarkable, as visits go, but the fact that it was so comfortable for our family to just hang out with her family was, I suppose, rather remarkable. But we kind of already knew each other, in many ways better than we know some of our real-life friends.

As for the kids, Olivia and Lucy were fast friends. Lucy gives Olivia a run for her money in the "tallest kid ever" category. She's almost nine months younger than Olivia, but nearly as tall. I didn't think that was possible, since Olivia is often mistaken for a 6-year-old as it is. And then I met Lucy's dad. It is possible.
The girls played happily, climbing on and jumping off of the concrete globes outside of the Space Needle. (Sorry, Liz, if Olivia taught your daughter crazy monkey skills that she will now unleash at inappropriate moments. We haven't figured out how to tame her yet.)
And here they are, standing on one of these globes with Dads on either side to keep them from falling. Look how happy they are! Kids are so good at entertaining themselves when they have another same-age kid to join in their fun.
Oh, it was a nice visit! I got a few pictures of little Johnny too, but they are kind of fuzzy. That kid MOVES. Oh, how he reminds me of Olivia at that age. *Sigh*

This visit bolstered my confidence in my internet friends, but there's more. Oh yes! The next day was our travel day to get home, which was a LONG day. We finally pulled into our garage after midnight. Traveling with a 4-year-old and then getting her so off-schedule that she's going to bed at 1:00 a.m. is not a fun thing. But then! We came into the house and found this box by the front door...

As previously mentioned, from the incomparable Rachel, whom I've never actually met face-to-face, but who knew about our vacation and about other things not previously mentioned here because of the wonders of our Twitter friendship. And she sent this lovely box full of little crappy day presents to me, a real-life stranger (although a virtual friend).

Since I was still in a post-vacation fog on Tuesday, I decided to open the first one...one of the small ones wrapped in blue. And I found these...
Because Rachel, Maggie and Liz, and other internet friends already knew about that which I could not yet reveal in real-life. We have been matched with a birthmom who is due to deliver a baby boy any day. A baby boy who, God willing, will soon be wearing booties from Rachel and other gifts from our Seattle internet friends.
I love my internet friends.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Oh, I am way behind here. So I'm not going to even try to catch you up...yet. I'll just talk about beautiful Alaska, which is where we spent the last week!!
 Well, technically we spent the week on a cruise ship, but we stopped in some amazing ports, like Juneau, where it rained all day and we saw a glacier (the Mendenhall) and a waterfall (Nugget Falls) which happen to be to the left and right in the above picture. A river of ice and a cascade of freezing-cold water. Awesome.

Olivia very much wanted to touch the cold water, but she was  little scared. So Joe carried her out there and dipped her hand in.
 And she was so excited to run back and tell me how cold it was!
 Our next port was Skagway, where we took a train through the White Pass...an old trail used by those seeking gold in the interior. I took about 600 amazing photos this day of the scenery, none of which do justice to the Pass, so I'll leave you with this one of our family from the coach ride back down the mountain. You can't see the top of the mountain, as it was covered in fog.
 That day, we also did some gold panning. Olivia got pretty good at it.

In the afternoon in Skagway, we found a little playground, which, of course, was the highlight of Olivia's day. Mountains? Scenic vistas? Gold? Heck, no! Give her a sandbox and some swings and she's happy. She didn't even notice the scenic backdrop to her playground!

Skagway was a neat old-west style of town. And it helped that the weather was f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s! We even shed our jackets that day.

Next up was a cruise through Glacier Bay National Park, which was amazing to see even if Olivia didn't fully appreciate it. It was weird to see ice in the water, as if someone dumped a bunch of giant-sized ice cubes in to keep it cool.

Ketchikan was our last Alaska stop. Olivia liked the totem poles.

I have about a frillion more photos to share and stories of a fun meeting in Seattle, but that will have to wait for another day. Laundry beckons!

 Oh, and I almost forgot!! I came home last night to an unexpected surprise...

Many, many thanks to Rachel! I opened the smallest blue one and almost cried at the sweetness of that tiny gift!! And I can't even post a picture of that...yet. But as soon as I can, I will so that you will all know just how awesome Rachel is!!