December 31, 2007

This might be the best end-of-the-year that I’ve ever had

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 8:03 am by Erin

I’m still in my sock monkey flannel pajamas at 11 a.m.

P and I baked a lemonade layer cake for the New Year’s Eve gathering that we’re going to tonight.

I have a superhero mask on.

P and I are playing SuperWhy.

He’s also playing on my exercise ball while quoting from "The Cat in the Hat".

I couldn’t have asked for a better end to 2007–I have an incredible husband, an amazing son, another perfect son waiting for us in Ethiopia, and I’m still in my 20’s (for the next 2 weeks)!

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May your 2008 bring everything you’ve wanted, and have a happy and safe New Year!

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December 29, 2007

A birth story–and it’s not even mine!

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 8:11 pm by Erin

First, let me just say that it was amazing to be there to help through a birth, to witness new life as it came into the world.  I’m going to write this down mostly so that I don’t forget it, though I can’t imagine that I would.  (I promise not to do this every time I attend a birth, if it happens again, but this was my first as a doula.)

H and C called to ask me to meet them at 1:15 p.m.  I grabbed my bag and birth ball, headed to Ye Olde Chik of Fil-A’s for a quick sandwich and soda, and got to the hospital at about 1:45.  H wasn’t having many contractions, so we went walking through the halls for a while.  She was on and off the monitor through the afternoon.  It went very, very slowly for several hours…contractions every once in a while, but not very strong or long.  We walked a bit and they picked up every time we did, but she preferred to be in bed and stayed there a lot.  We talked a lot between contractions and both C and I did massage during contractions.  C’s parents came by with H & C’s 2-year-old son (they took my class before they had him) at around 4 p.m., but that was too distracting and so they left about 20 minutes later.  Some more of their friends came around 6 p.m. and stayed for about 30 minutes.

At 7 p.m., the nurse came in and mentioned that since her water had been broken for 14 hours, they were going to want to do a septic workup on the baby if it wasn’t out by 18 hours.  The entire staff was extremely supportive and I’m actually really glad that the nurse told H that, because it was the impetus for her to get out of bed and walk around for almost 45 minutes.  The contractions started up again, and now they were very strong, much longer, and started coming about every 3-4 minutes or less.  H was a pro the whole way through–breathing well, relaxing her muscles, and basically listening to her body’s needs.  She went back to her room and kneeled on the bed for a while, which is when things got really tough for her.  Staying upright was her key.  She was put on the monitor again and the contractions were finally registering–her midwife came in and was very pleased, and said she wasn’t going far away because she could tell that H was really working through them.

At around 8:40, H started feeling little pushing twinges.  We got the midwife, who checked her (upon H’s request) for only the second time since she’d gotten to the hospital.  She was 7 cm and the baby was very low.  She cautioned H not to push yet, but told me and C to come and get her as soon as we noticed any pushing signs.  About 15 minutes later, I went to get her–H was clearly wanting to push.  The midwife watched her for a few contractions, checked her again, and she only had a lip of cervix left.  One more contraction and she was complete at 9:10 p.m.  H pushed and their baby boy was born at 9:33 p.m.  It was incredible!  Once the baby crowned, he was out in 2 pushes.

I am in awe that I got to be such a part of their son’s birth.  I held him for a minute after he’d been weighed and bundled up, but the medical people had just cleared out and I wanted to give them their special time as a family.  As I was leaving, H said she had no idea how she could ever repay me for my help and all that I did for them. 

They let me share in their miracle–I could never repay them for that. 

Many facets

Posted in Happiness is a true gift at 7:58 am by Erin

Today, I will be witnessing a birth.  One of my very first Bradley couples is having their second baby.  Their first was an unmedicated waterbirth, which they loved.   They didn’t have time to take refresher courses this time around and they had to switch to a less-supportive birth team and hospital than last time (insurance reasons), so they’ve asked me to be there to act as their doula.  She called me this morning a little before 7 to tell me that her water had broken around 5; it’s now almost 11 and they’re on their way to the hospital.  They’re going to get checked in and give me a call, and I’ll meet them there.  My bag is packed, my birth ball is by the door, and I’m all set to go.

I am so excited, I can hardly stand it.  I’ve been a Bradley teacher for 2 1/2 years and as such, I’m trained as a doula.  I don’t work as a doula officially because I can’t guarantee that I can be there due to my job, but I always tell my students that I’m happy to be there if they want me and I’m not at work.  I’ve had calls from almost every student at some point during labor, usually just to let me know what’s going on, but no one has felt the need for me to come down.  I didn’t want anyone other than J and I there, so I completely understand that desire for privacy–but birth is amazing and I love it.

This will be the first birth I’ve ever seen live.  I’ve seen a million videos, but I’ve never seen one happen.  I can’t wait.  I still feel ambivalent about teaching sometimes, but this is truly a miracle and I can’t wait to see it happen.

December 27, 2007

Holiday happenstance and happiness

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:22 pm by Erin

I’ve finally put my foot down about discussing infertility along with adoption.  We were at a holiday party before Christmas and one of the woman asked how the adoption was going.  I replied that we were pretty much just waiting now–I’ve decided this isn’t a lie, as we’re waiting on a court date–and she explained to another woman that we’re adopting from Ethiopia.  To put it into context, the woman who was asking me is an adoptee who I’ve known for several years and the other woman (TOW) I’d never met before in my life. 

Then TOW asked me "But isn’t P yours?"  Feeling a bit irritated by the tone in which it was asked, I replied that he’s ours biologically and she said she could tell because he looks so much like us. 

Bearing in mind that I’d only met this woman maybe an hour earlier and exchanged less than half a dozen sentences, her next question floored me: "Can’t you have anymore?"

I was taken aback, but replied "This is how we’ve chosen to build our family."

She pursued it!  "But you can’t have anymore?"

I replied again "This is how we’ve CHOSEN to build our family, and we’re really excited about it."  My tone must have clued her in at that point and a new topic of conversation was introduced.

I’ve got no problem discussing fertility issues because there’s nothing to be ashamed about.  But I refuse to let someone believe that we’re adopting as a last resort.  I decided it long ago, but I’ve just recently started refusing to even mention infertility in connection with adoption.  Because it suddenly occurred to me that someone is going to be rude enough to ask me this in front of K at some point, and I will not let him even begin to believe that he’s only a member of our family because we had no other options.

Adoption wasn’t a first choice initially.  It was never a last resort but it was a different choice, one that took us a long time to decide upon.  But for quite a long time now, I’ve felt that if someone gave me the choice between being pregnant or adopting, I would still have chosen to pursue adoption.  There was a long time in which I never really thought I’d get to that point.  For us, this is the right choice, and that makes it the only choice.  I will not let some random person ever believe otherwise, because my son will depend on it. 

December 24, 2007

A Merry Christmas to all!

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:32 pm by Erin

P and I will be happily ensconced with this site until J comes home.  Then we plan on all being happily ensconced with the same.  We’ll eat dinner and track Santa’s progress (he’s currently in Morocco), decorate our gingerbread boys, and leave them out for Santa on his special plate.  Then it’s anyone’s guess as to how long it will be before P goes to sleep.

Is it crazy that P made me cry when he looked at the NORAD tracker, pointed to Ethiopia (which had the presents marking that Santa had already been there) and said "Santa brought presents to M and K!"

To all of the Christians who read, a very Merry Christmas to you!  To those who are not Christian (P and I included), have a wonderful day with those that you love!

December 21, 2007

Ahhhh…MUCH better

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:20 pm by Erin

I had a stroke of brilliance and figured out J’s gifts–I can’t tell you what they are as he knows about my blog and, while he says he doesn’t read it, I would hate to take the chance that this is the one time when he will.  The mall wasn’t bad at all.  BestB.uy wasn’t bad.  Even WalM.art wasn’t bad, which surprised me tremendously.

I came home and wrapped gifts for two hours.  I must tell you that Santa’s elves wrapped P and J’s gifts very nicely, and I managed admirably for the rest.  And once again, I bought too much.  Admittedly, some of P’s gifts were supposed to be Chanukah gifts that I just couldn’t summon the will to wrap when he already had gifts from other people waiting.

I had made the dough for gingerbread cookies yesterday and tonight after dinner, we got it out.  I bought P some dinosaur cookie cutters a few months ago and so he helped me roll out dough and make a tray of gingerbread dinosaur cookies; then I did the rest as traditional gingerbread men.  We’ll decorate them tomorrow, which will be lots of fun because J is very creative and we always end up with some interesting gingerbread men.  We’ve already got a candidate for "guillotine gingerbread man", as the head of one broke off when I took it off the cookie sheet.

I didn’t manage to get the bathroom painted.  It’s after 10 at night but I’m seriously considering doing a coat now and the second one in the morning.  Or I could just relax.  Yes, that’s what I’ll do.

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By the way, I wasn’t upset that I had to be a hardass with my student.  He deserved it.  I e-mailed him to let him know that I was leaving and he could register when the semester starts; he wrote back and said that he apologized, he’d been caught in traffic and then had trouble finding my office.  Uh huh.  Sure.  Slacker.

Erin the grinch

Posted in The musings of Erin at 6:31 am by Erin

It’s December 21st.  The semester ended officially on the 17th.  I am sitting at my desk waiting for a slacker student advisee to show up.  He e-mailed me in a panic the other day to say that he couldn’t register because he had a hold on his account, and could I take it off?  I replied "No, the hold is there because you have to meet with me before you register–as it said in the e-mail I sent you in September.  Or as I told you in class in October, before you stopped showing up.  Jackass."  (OK, I might be embellishing a little bit about my response, but the spirit of the whole thing holds true.)  I said that I hadn’t planned on coming in before the new semester started but that I could be here on Friday at 9 a.m.  He wrote back, apologized for the inconvenience, and said he would be here at 9 a.m.

By my clock, it’s 9:21.  He has 9 minutes and then I’m leaving, and I’m NOT removing his hold and he will NOT be able to register until the semester starts.  And I don’t give a damn.  He has had MONTHS to do this; the fact that he waited until after the semester was over to register is his problem.  I’m trying to be accomodating.

Can you tell that I’m highly annoyed?

I’ve spent most of this month like this.  It’s supposed to be the holiday season, and I could hardly feel less holiday spirit.  We found out about M just a couple of days before Chanukah started, and we hung no decorations.  I could barely manage to wrap any presents for P.  We did candles and that was it.  Now it’s almost Christmas.  The three of us went to see Santa the other night, P and I bought the Christmas tree the next day, and then we all decorated it last night.  There are no other decorations up.  I haven’t even thought about what to get for J yet.  We haven’t bought anything for his brother or my siblings (despite the fact that for my siblings, Chanukah is long since over).

I just can’t get excited about it right now.  I’m happy that K will come home to us (I hope, please let us get a court date soon), but I’m still sad about M.  The end of the semester was particularly bad, for several reasons that I’ve since identified and hope will not happen again.  I’ve spent half the week dealing with car issues for J’s car–not even mine!  I do need to get an oil change and emissions test done on my car but because I’m off work, I get to sit in the damn waiting room at the auto shop and wait for J’s car while MY car gets worse and worse.  The guest bathroom wallpaper covers cardboard-backed drywall, and it’s pulling it off–which means that my choice is to remove the rest and re-wallpaper, instead of the easy and cheap painting that I was planning on doing.  Our bathroom floor is retiled and the walls have been primed but I still have to paint the walls and install the toilet.  The weather is miserable.  I am the grinchiest person I know right now.

Sorry, just had to vent.  I have to go shopping today to get the remainder of our Christmas things and I have absolutely no desire to do so.  The mall is going to be packed.  I don’t know what to get.  I’d rather be home painting our bathroom.  And it’s now 9:31 and I’m leaving.

December 16, 2007

Spilling the beans

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 10:46 pm by Erin

P and I went to synagogue on Saturday, as we usually do.  We go to the Tot Shabbat service, which is specifically for pre-school and younger children.  It’s designed for the kids to get used to services, to hear more of the meaning behind why we say each of the prayers, and not to bog them down with lengthy sermons that they won’t pay attention to or understand.  Each week a different family leads–they choose stories and devise an art project for the kids to do that highlight the lessons from the weekly Torah portion.

There’s a part for the Amidah, where the Tot Shabbat adaptation is to have all of the kids stand and be quiet for 10 seconds (you’d be amazed, it always works) while they silently thank G-d for the things they’re thankful for.  After the 10 seconds, they each share one of the things for which they are thankful.  P’s is usually "my Mama and Daddy" or his stuffed horse, though it was "the Mayflower" right before Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, it was "my little brother."  Most of the families know that we’re adopting, so the woman leading asked "OH?!?!?!  What’s his name?" and P replied "K".  I immediately jumped in with "Maybe" but the damage was done.  Everyone at synagogue now knows that we’ve accepted K’s referral. 

At lunch after services, I was talking to my friend who brought her second daughter (L) home from Kazakhstan this summer and we realized that L and K will be only a month apart in age (K is younger).  Since her oldest daughter and P are only a few months apart in age (P is younger) and they get along wonderfully, it will be lots of fun for all of us.  I was cuddling L and saying that I was getting my "baby fix", and she pointed out that really, I’m just practicing.  It suddenly struck me that L is almost exactly K’s size.  Wow.  Although I see her all the time, it never really occurred to me until then that K will be that little.  Even though I bought the sleeper in 9M size, and that’s the size that L wears, it still didn’t hit me.  Now it has.

He’s really little.  I’ve practically forgotten what it’s like to have a child of that size.  I looked at P as I was remembering–he was standing there in 4T clothes that probably won’t fit him by the time we go to Ethiopia, and he just looked enormous next to the tiny child I was holding.  Mind you, it could be the size 10 1/2 sneakers he wears.  But I looked at him, and I looked at L, and I can’t even imagine having two children of such different sizes.  At this rate, P will be in 5T clothes and wearing a size 11 or bigger sneakers, while K will be somewhere in the range of 9-12 month clothes and wearing little bitty Robeez or Preschoolians.  I can’t even imagine it.

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OK, I win an award for "worst mom ever" already.  As if squeezing P into size 9 sneakers when he needed a 10 1/2 wasn’t enough (he went from a 9 to a 10 1/2 in 4 months, and I had no idea until he complained that his toes hurt), I’d forgotten K’s size completely.  He’s 29 1/2" tall and weighs about 17 1/4 lbs.  For some reason, I’d thought he was about 25" and weighed 15 lbs.  P was 30" and 19 3/4 lbs at a year.  So K is almost exactly the same height but 2 1/2 lbs lighter than P was.  I must get my hands on that boy–he needs fattening up!

December 14, 2007

Shhhh…I did it

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 1:26 pm by Erin

I bought a sleeper for K.

It’s the first thing I’ve bought for him, and it seems so tiny!  I bought a couple of 12M items at a consignment sale months ago, hoping that we’d be able to use them, but they were bought even before our dossier was complete.  Yesterday I was at Tarjay and somehow found myself next to the children’s section.  My eye happened upon a rack of sleepers and I thought that I would like to buy one for K.  Then I had to think about how tiny he is–he’s probably in a 6-month size right now, and hopefully will be wearing 9 month clothes when he comes home.  So I bought the 9 month size, figuring that even if he’s smaller, he’ll grow into it.  It’s lightweight and he’ll be able to wear it to sleep in the summer when the air conditioning is on.

I’m hoping that we can use some of P’s 9 month clothes, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he was in 9 month clothes through the summer and early fall, which means there probably aren’t going to be many long pants or long-sleeved shirts in there.  If we’re lucky enough to bring K home over spring break (please please please), he’ll need those for March and April, and likely part of May.  I’m looking forward to going through the 6, 9, and 12 month clothes to see what we’ve got and what we’ll need.

I’m also planning about the crib, because K will be in it for at least another year.  It’s been in the basement collecting dust for almost 2 years, and I remember how it saddened me to take it down in the first place.  P was climbing out of it and, though we’d been TTC again for almost 18 months and had already started treatments (I think we’d done 4 cycles of Clomid and one IUI already), there was no new baby who would need it.  Even though K’s not a baby, he will need it and I’m excited about it.  It needs to be thoroughly cleaned and reassembled.  We still want P and K to share a room.  There’s no room for a crib in there now but if we buy P his much begged-for loft bunk beds and keep the bottom bed in the basement (until K’s big enough for it), we can move his dresser and bookshelf under his bed and put K’s crib where they were.  Then we can put the guest bed into the "nursery".  It’s a tiny room and there won’t be much extra space, but at least we’ll still have a place for guests to sleep.

It’s not the unadulterated joy that I felt during the week that I thought M was coming home, but it’s definitely happiness.

December 13, 2007

Thoughts and blessings

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 2:23 pm by Erin

For those of you who read both this blog and my family-accessible blog, you’ll notice that there will be nothing about K there until we’re through courts (whenever that happens).  We won’t mention that we’ve gotten a referral or accepted it.  Please please please, don’t mention anything about him there; no random remarks of "congratulations" or anything like that. 

Until we’re through courts and K is legally ours, there’s always a chance that something will happen and he won’t come home to us.  His mother could change her mind, for example.  We don’t think it will happen but we’re being extra cautious about it.  We are being very careful with P about it, as much as we can be with such an insightful child.

The "untelling" of M’s adoption has been amazingly painful and I really don’t want to have to do it ever again.  It has been hard enough to deal with it on our own but every time someone else hears that we declined his referral, they always want to know "why?"  I would love to be able to just say "It wasn’t the right fit," but we’ve already had one case where I tried that and then the person got really bad information from someone else, which made it worse.  And every time I have to explain again, it hurts terribly.

Jason thinks that if something happened we’d like to have the support but I honestly think I’d rather forgo the support and not have to deal with the constant explanations.  It’s been very unbalanced–a minute or two of sympathetic words from someone versus hours of pain and remorse for every time that I explain what happened.

There have been exceptions: those who’ve been so supportive just by being there and not asking for explanations, those who’ve brought us food or had us over to their house so that their kids could entertain P, just to help us out.  All of you, of course.  They’ve been amazing and have helped us more than they know.

And my MIL. 

It didn’t seem like she and my FIL had much to say when we first told them about M’s CP, but they did express their sorrow.  I was a little hurt at how little they said, actually.  But then she called me the other day, because she’d been thinking about me and was wondering how I was doing.  It surprised me a bit, but it was very nice to hear from her like that.  She was extremely empathetic and really wanted to be sure that I was doing OK.  It didn’t occur to me until later that she probably has more empathy for the situation than I’d expected.  My ILs had a daughter who was two years older than J.  She was born with a congenital heart defect and died during surgery (one of many) when she was a year old.  My MIL knows how amazingly painful it is to lose a child.  Even though the two situations really can’t compare in terms of loss, she knew that it would be incredibly hard for me and wanted to know she was there if I needed her.

She didn’t call J, she called me.  Mother to mother.  She knew what I would need.  It meant more to me than I can ever express to her.

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