Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Follow Up

Everyone's been giving me such great advice and asking questions, that I thought I'd just put together a quick post that responds to some of it.
  • We found a good wedge to prop up the rockers of the moses basket stand and keep it at an angle, and now I am just going to go to T@rget tomorrow to pick up some cheap doorstops because the rockers want to slide down the wedge since we have hard wood floors. But, the spitting up in her sleep is getting better (hope I didn't just jinx it by "saying" it).

  • The flatfold diapers as burp cloths idea is a good one that I've heard from lots of people, but we are using prefolds instead because then I can use them as actual diapers too! :)

  • Sunning the stained diapers got out most of the stains, but the dirty diapers from the batch I'm washing tomorrow are soaking in a bucket of concentrated O*xyClea*n overnight (T's idea) and hopefully that will make the sunning just a bonus instead of a necessity.

  • Evie is still enjoying 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast milk at this point because until today I only had one donor's milk and we were going through it fast as it was, mixing it 50/50! Today we got to meet milk mommy #2 and brought home lots more frozen breast milk, so we might start making bottles with 2/3 breast milk and 1/3 formula for awhile. We also discussed trying all breast milk during the day and all formula at night (for convenience), but I'm afraid that might confuse poor little Evie. At this point, despite our fabulous, wonderful, generous milk donors, we aren't going to have enough to feed her breast milk exclusively, unless we decide to pay shipping costs and bring in more from other parts of the country. That's fine with me, I'm just grateful for any and all breast milk that we receive from our donors because it makes me feel great to know Evie will have the benefits of the antibodies during the upcoming cold/flu season, and all of the other benefits of breast milk. Soon we'll go pick up milk from milk mommy #3 and I'm hoping that we'll have enough to keep Evie on 50% breast milk for a long time.

  • I like Safire's idea about pinning the bibs down, but I'm afraid it would drive me crazy because she pretty much goes through a new bib with every feeding (messy girl!) and I'd be constantly pinning and unpinning them, so I've just decided to stop putting a bib on her when she's asleep. Deanna, we do have a sheet saver for the crib, but because we only have one I tend to think of it being more for diaper leaks than for spit-up. I guess I need to get another one for when the first is in the laundry!

  • In answer to Hilda, there are a couple of ways to find breast milk. One is to go to a milk bank, where donors are thoroughly screened and anonymous, but you have to pay for the milk. You don't need a prescription, but you probably do need to prove it is for a baby (...don't ask...). The other option is to go the private route, as we are. There is a Y@hoo! group called "MilkShare" that I joined awhile back. The group is designed to match up women with excess pumped breast milk with babies who need it for whatever reason. The primary rule of the group is that pumpers are not allowed to request money from the people they give milk to. The only reimbursement is to give them a new box of breast milk storage bags, if they need them. Donees do pay shipping, however, if the donor is not local. We found one of our local donors through MilkShare (thanks Bonnie!), another through a friend (thanks Diana and Hillary!) and another through this blog (thanks Angela!). All three have donated frozen milk to us and are going to try to keep pumping and freezing extra for us when possible. I was also contacted by a few other donors outside the local area, but we haven't decided yet whether the value of the milk is equivalent to the shipping costs to transport frozen milk overnight so that it doesn't thaw and spoil. The downside to private donations is that sometimes you have to work hard to search out donors (we were lucky to find ours easily) and you have to do your own screening process. Milkshare suggests you ask for a copy of the donor's pregnancy bloodwork, which shows whether or not they tested positive for a variety of viruses etc.

I have to stop typing now, I need to sleep, but here is a parting gift; Evie showing off her cute little cloth-diapered tush:

p.s. Hillary, come over anytime!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Showing Off

This was supposed to be her interview outfit (see my next to last post) until she spit up all over it minutes before the students arrived! I just love this photo. I've been trying to think of a clever caption all day! The pig is a toy that R & G gave her in the hospital on her birth day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

8 Days

Today at 3:30, Evie's cord stump fell off!

I just have to record for posterity how much I love that she snorts and grunts like a little piggy to tell us she's excited to eat. Project breast milk is going great.

One Week Old

So, it's 12:45 AM as I begin to write this. I just fed Evie, changed her diaper, got her to sleep, folded and put away her laundry and started the dishwasher. Don't worry, J is doing his part! He's taking the early morning feedings so that I can sleep in, since he's an "early to bed, early to rise" type of guy and I am a total night owl. But I'm tired, so I'm sorry that this post is rambly.

I had to do laundry for Evie this evening because I realized that we'd gone through every single infant bib in this house with all of her spitting up. Does anyone remember back in June when I whined about having so much (too many onesies, etc.)? At the time, I couldn't figure out why I'd need so many bibs and why people kept giving them to me. Well, now we barely have enough to make it through a day. The good news is that our pediatrician calls Evie a "happy spitter," meaning that her spitting up doesn't bother her (it doesn't make her cry unless it goes up her nose or unless we're a little too enthusiastic about wiping her face and chin). But, she goes through bibs and burp cloths (and shirts/outfits) like nobody's business. I might actually go out and buy more bibs. Wow.

Speaking of bibs, I had a huge scare just a bit ago. I went in to check on Evie (typical new mom thing, making sure she's still breathing) and found her with her bib up over her face. Her little arm got underneath it and then she flipped it up and over in her sleep. She didn't seem to mind, but I had a mini-freak out about her suffocating. Any advice?!? I also don't want her spitting up in her sleep and lying there with a wet outfit for hours. Rambling on, she's not really lying there but instead sitting there. We have her sitting in a bouncy seat, in her crib (so that we can see her on the monitor) to keep her head elevated and the food in her tummy. She likes the bouncy seat, so that's not an issue right now, but we're going to try propping up the rockers on the moses basket stand so that she can still sleep in our room and at an angle. We haven't found a good wedge that fits in the moses basket and we don't want her in her bouncy seat on the floor because Phoebe sleeps there and I'm still being very cautious about Evie and furbabies interacting.

...Speaking of the pups, they are doing great with Evie here. I will try to write more specifically about it at another time, but in general the dogs seem to understand that she is a "baby creature," just as dogs generally understand not to be too aggressive with puppies. For Evie's part, she seems unfazed by them, even when Phoebe barks at the dogs across the street whose owner lets them run around off-leash (argh). Yesterday, J was holding Evie and Phoebe came up and licked Evie's bare leg. That is completely 100% normal, loving Phoebe behavior, so I'm encouraged. (I thought it was really cute when Phoebe was a puppy to train her to "kiss" me on command. It hasn't been nearly as cute in the past 7 years as it was when she was a tiny little pup, but she has firmly ingrained in her doggy brain that humans like to be licked. Sigh.)

Moving on, cloth diapering is going well, with the exception of J still being intimidated by the whole thing and being hesitant to jump into it with me. He'll get there. I did my first "fluffy laundry" today because we had used almost all of our prefolds as burp cloths in the hospital and in the hotel and they all needed to be washed. Along with that, I washed a little over a dozen diapers which were actually used on Evie's bum. The first thing that happened when she got home yesterday was a change into a newborn prefold, since she needed a change anyhow and I had everything set up and ready to get started. My only issue right now is that some of the poop stains aren't coming out in the wash, so I'm going to have to work on that in the next couple of days and figure out why. She doesn't love to be changed, but she is definitely more happy with being wiped now that she has soft cotton wipes from a warmer. She likes to lie on her changing pad with her fresh diaper and gaze at the mural on the wall. She seems in awe of Rabbit, the grass and the tree in the corner. I don't think she's noticed the rest of the walls yet. :)

The B0ppy and play gym are also big hits. She loves to nap in it in her P@ck 'n' Pl@y (keeps her head up and food in, again) and recline to see the "magic B@by Ein*stein musical star" at the top of the play gym, which Jen told me months ago is "worth every penny you'll spend for the gym." Sure enough, she is mesmerized by the lights and music. Too cute. Thanks to my mom's best friend, V, who got it for us as a shower gift!

I'm going to try to record milestones on the blog, so that if I get behind on writing in her baby book, I can refer back here. So, here is a cute one; at exactly one week old, Evie "found her thumb." It remains to be seen whether or not she'll turn into a bona fide thumb sucker, but she certainly has the makings of one:
Sorry for the close-up, I was holding her and the camera at once.

I'm going to wrap it up so that I can get in a shower before she wakes up for another feeding, then I'm off to bed. Tomorrow we're having a special visitor; a student from the school I recently taught at is coming to the house to interview me and take photos for a feature story in the student newspaper. Hopefully Evie will be cooperative and make cute faces for the camera.

But, before I go, I want to mention some things about feedings. I keep meaning to post about it, but haven't quite gotten the energy together to write eloquently on the subject. So, here's the outline of the post I'm going to write sometime:

  • News flash: Lucy and Evie had/have completely different personalities! J and I need to stop comparing them, but it's so hard not to.
  • Evie wants nothing to do with my breasts unless they have formula gushing from them!
  • J and I just don't feel up to the work involved in 8 feedings a day with nursing supplementers (Lact-Aid, SNS).
  • Amazingly (since I have perfectionistic tendencies, putting it mildly) I've come to terms with the fact that my ideal of adoptive nursing is not going to pan out.
  • Evie's first reaction to donated breast milk was "ick!" because it tastes different from formula, of course. Who knew babies were so picky? Everyone but me.
  • Evie's second reaction to donated breast milk, mixed with formula, was "yum!" We're working from there.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Going Home!

Right before our appointment this morning, we got the call that we got ICPC clearance to go home! Hooray! The doctor's appointment went fine, but we were disappointed to find that Evie was only weighing 7 lbs., 13 oz. (and that was with a poopy diaper, too). The spitting up is evidently taking its toll on her weight gain, so we're going to see how she does with donated breastmilk. Hopefully it will stop the spitting up a bit, and we're also going to try doing a diaper change in the middle of the feeding to wake her up so that she'll eat more at a time. We're supposed to be aiming for 20-24 oz. per day and that is going to be WORK to get into her at this point because she passes out cold after about an ounce and a half at a time. :)

I'm typing this on the laptop at the hotel as J and his mom are loading the car (I'm on Evie-sitting duty of course) and once we get home, unfortunately, I'm going to be busy and won't be able to post as copiously as I have been while we've been pampered in the hospital and hotel, but I'll do my best!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On Eating and Sleeping

Here's what goes on after Evie gets fed; she needs to stay upright for about 20 minutes and then at a 15-20 degree angle for another 40 minutes, to prevent her from spitting up her meal. Usually we hold her (as J is doing here) for 20 minutes and then prop her moses basket up with a pillow (she's almost always fast asleep after her last burp). But this morning I didn't get going fast enough and was running behind (J's mom was coming and we were headed out shopping, and J was back at work for a half day), so I resorted to this for the first 20 minutes after her 8:30 feeding:Deanna asked (re: my last post) about the moses basket and why I chose it over a bassinet. It came about due to a combination of factors. First, while I was researching baby paraphernalia before Lucy's birth, I came across some reviewers/commenters on Am@zon.com who said that this was their favorite baby item. I asked my mom about it and she said it was something she'd always wanted but could never afford when my brother and I were babies. I kept it in the back of my mind, and then one day was at Babies 'R' Expensive, strolling down the clearance aisles at the back of the store (J and his mom have turned me into quite the bargain shopper) and saw our moses basket marked down 30% off, plus there was a sign up advertising "an extra 30% off on clearance merchandise!" I snatched it up pronto. It was easy to figure out that it would be the perfect newborn bed, but we have a queen bed at home and the basket won't fit easily along with J and I (and Apollo!), so I ordered a rocking moses basket stand from Restor@tion Hardware Baby and put it together myself. I'll get a picture of the whole setup once we're home. I was a little worried at first that Evie wouldn't like it, because she HATED the plastic hospital bassinet (Lucy did too), but she has taken to it wonderfully and the only issue we have had so far was last night when she was fussy for an hour from 3:30 to 4:30 AM and finally we ended up with her like this, so that we could get some sleep:
I'm praying this isn't a trend and she'll go right back to enjoying the moses basket tonight and in the nights to come. By the way, the prefold she's sleeping on is to catch spit-up and the "wahoowa" is a U.Va. thing. So far, the thing I like about the moses basket is how convenient it is for our particular situation of staying a week in a hotel, but I'm sure there will be more reasons to love it in the weeks ahead. I'm particularly looking forward to its portability, but I may end up carrying Evie in a sling or wrap more than in the basket, once we're home. When she's wrapped, she sleeps like she does when she's swaddled:
Notice that I don't have a burp cloth between Evie and my chest in this pic? Yep, it took two washings to get out the spit-up stains from that shirt (thanks to J's mom for being our washer woman this week!).
Speaking of spitting up, she's still doing it some, but it isn't nearly as bad as it was in the hospital. She also seems to enjoy the powdered formula more (she sucks more eagerly). Today, while we were out shopping (I love being able to get out of the room and go anywhere in Kansas, plus she's very portable at this age since she sleeps so much), I put a couple of the ready-to-drink formula bottles in the diaper bag since it just seemed easier. She ate just fine while we were out, but then had an enormous spit-up incident in her car seat on the way home. It was so bad that I had to send the car seat cover and straps home with J's mom to get washed! Plus, the spit-up was yellow with stomach acid this time, whereas the spit-up with the powdered formula has been white. So, no more hospital formula! In fact, now that our lives are settling down a bit, I've had a chance to contact our breast milk donors and we'll try to start feeding her that as much as possible starting when we get home (hopefully tomorrow afternoon, more likely Friday).

Tomorrow morning is Evie's one week doctor's visit, which we'll do with the pediatrician here in Kansas who saw her in the hospital. It will be fun to find out how much she weighs now! After we go home we have a local pediatrician lined up to take over Evie-care.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I'm not going to post about last night and how many hours straight Evie slept in her moses basket on our king-sized bed at the Sheraton, because that would be bragging, and it would jinx the magic. Shhhhh.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Today was a day of firsts:

  • Evie's first car ride. This pic was taken immediately before she spit up all over her new car seat straps and "going home" outfit from grandma (my mom). :)

  • Evie's first time in an elevator, in a hotel and in her fancy techno-swing. We realized we needed it after a few of her fussy spells in the hospital, and J's mom was sweet to bring it to us today so that we can use it in the hotel room this week. I love the way she holds on to her pacifier; it's her most treasured possession at this point.

  • Evie's first nap in her moses basket; the first time I put her in, she stared at the bee on the side in wonder. So cute! Can you tell she loves to be swaddled? We love it too...so quiet.

Evie's first portrait session. This was an impromptu shoot to try to get a good announcement photo. She is lying on a blanket on a hotel ottoman and J is holding up another blanket behind her while I take pics. Looking at the results, I wish I'd ironed the blanket backdrop, but who will look at the backdrop with such a cute baby in the foreground?

  • Evie's first powdered formula. She seems to be keeping it down better than the ready-to-drink liquid formula at the hospital.

  • Evie's first lunch out on the town (with J, J's mom and me). She didn't peep!

  • Evie's first trip to Babies 'R' Expensive; we realized that we needed more burp cloths and wash cloths than we had. It's amazing how quickly babies go through those staples.

  • Evie's first bath (besides her after-birth hospital bath); she screamed, of course.

But, most importantly:

  • Our first day as "official" parents. It doesn't feel that much different, because all along we've been loving her "like our own." She is our own! I am so happy that I no longer have to qualify my statements like "well, we are planning to adopt..." or "if everything goes well..." or "if it is God's will..." We're not prospective adoptive parents or parents-to-be, we are the real deal. Our SW's visits in the coming weeks and our court date for finalization (10-27) are just afterthoughts to me right now. I have more important things to think about:

Temporary Custody!

It has been a whirlwind day, with a lot going on, and I will post more later when I have some time, but I just wanted to report that the judge signed off on our temporary custody paperwork and we are now residing in a comfy hotel room. Yay!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emotions: Joy, Relief, Love, Guilt

First, congratulations to my "adopted" sister, Anne, who had her second baby, a little girl, on September 18, at home in Germany. Anne lived with my family during my senior year of high school, as an exchange student, and she and I are only 4 days apart ourselves. We were both born in early December 1977. Now our daughters are mere hours apart!

Second, the meeting with our lawyer this afternoon went very well and everything is in place for us to receive temporary custody tomorrow morning. Significantly, we learned from her today that R & G's signatures from yesterday morning are binding, unless they can prove that they signed under duress. We hadn't understood that this particular aspect of adoption law is different in Kansas and Missouri. 24 hours of stress for nothing! Now the only things standing between us and official parenthood are the opinions of a couple of judges and social workers. No problem; they're going to love us. What a relief!!!

Melba commented on Evie's birth story that she felt like I was only letting through about half of my emotions in my writing and she was/is absolutely correct. My fear about a repeat of July and my sleep deprivation have been affecting me over the past three days. I haven't been comfortable with my own emotions. Normally I have a tendency to "gush" in my informal writing, but the persona I've been projecting to the world ever since July has been more practical and guarded; I may have unconsciously been thinking that writing about love and attachment would be bad luck. So, now that I am feeling like Mommy, I'm ready to *try* to say how this feels.

When she's awake, looking at me and memorizing my face, it feels like it did in 8th grade when the really cute boy in class looked at me and smiled...she likes me!

When I watch J holding her and talking to her, it is déjà vu. One of the things I've always loved about him is the way he relates to children and I knew even before we were married that this is the Daddy he would be. He is what I imagined and more.

When I kiss her feather-soft forehead and smell her baby aroma....words cannot adequately describe the protectiveness and devotion that washes over me.

When she is sleeping on my chest or nestled in her Moby, I feel completeness, like something is finished. It feels like what I imagine of pregnancy; I run her tiny bottom like pregnant women rub their bellies.

When I put a bottle in her mouth and she sucks and swallows properly, I feel like she is the most brilliant human being in the world.

When I look at her tiny, perfect fingers, I say a prayer of thanks to God.


When I change her outfit and she screams from the cold room, I feel like I am undoing all of the bonding that I accomplished that day with cuddling and feedings.

When I change her diaper and she screams from the cold wipes, I feel guilty that I didn't think to bring our wipes warmer with us to the hospital.

When she has gas and screams, screams, screams and nothing will comfort her, I feel like I have failed as a mother before I even got started.

When a nurse came into our room last night and offered to keep her in the nursery for a few hours, and I said OK, I felt like an abusive mother for wanting some peace and quiet.

Obviously, this Mommy thing is complicated. I'm aware that the last four feelings I described are over-reactions, but feelings don't have morals; they aren't "good" or "bad." They just are. I'm glad that I read books like Mother Shock and blogs like Ask Moxie in the last few weeks because at least I don't have to feel guilty about feeling my feelings. I'm OK with "loving every other minute of it."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

As Requested :)

Quiet alert time with Mommy In a swaddling blanket with Daddy
Oooh, me me me, I know the answer! (Thanks to Aunt Angela for the pretty outfit!)
The many different outfits are due to a love of Evie's for spitting up formula everywhere, so we're taking the advice of a commenter on the last post (seconded by my mom) and trying not to overfeed her, despite the nurses' requests that we feed her on a schedule.

One Step Closer

R & G signed this morning, which is a big relief, but I am not going to relax until Monday morning because they can still back out at any point between now and when our lawyer gets the court order. We talked to G after he signed and feel very good about our relationship with him now and in the future, but we haven't had much contact with R (about 5 minutes total of face-to-face and phone time yesterday), so I don't have as good a reading on her. Thank you so much to all of you who are praying for us or keeping us in your thoughts throughout this stressful weekend.

Last night I spent the whole night with Evie and, thankfully, she let me get enough sleep that I feel refreshed today. We "slept" from 11 PM until 7:30 AM, but between nurse interruptions, feedings and some fussiness, I probably got about six hours of sleep. Good enough. :) I received my mommy baptism this morning after Evie's 7:30 feeding; after drinking 25 ml of formula she projectile vomited about half of it back onto my shirt, her outfit, her blanket, the floor and, oh yeah, the burp cloth too. :) I wasn't surprised that she was hungry again at 9 AM! The spit-up was so forceful that it even got in her sinuses, and she was sneezing formula for about half an hour. Sad but cute.
After R signed, she and G sent for Evie for one last 30 minute visit in R's room. G just brought her back to us and R is being discharged now. Here's how we're spending the rest of our day:

Friday, September 19, 2008

Evie's Birth Story

I have time to write this because I am currently sitting completely alone in our hospital room while Evie visits with R and a friend of R's who came by to see the baby. More on that later. (I know, I know, I should be napping, not blogging.) J had to leave for the afternoon to take care of some important things like getting our air conditioner fixed (it broke last weekend), receiving a shipment of wine from UPS at our house this afternoon and picking up a shipment of grapes from California that he uses to make his own delicious wines. Yes, I'm a very lucky woman.

So, the story. Yesterday at about 9:30 pm, we got a call from our SW that R had gone into labor and her water had broken. We managed to rush around and get ready to leave the house (me for several days in a row) in about 7 minutes. As we drove to the hospital, I called J's parents, my parents and friends and family who we knew would still be awake at 9:40 CDT.

We were afraid that R would have a fast labor and we'd miss things, but when we finally found our way through the hospital parking lot, maze of hallways and airtight maternity ward security, we found that R was only dilated 5-6 cm. and had just received an epidural. Thankfully, the hospital had an extra room for us to use and we started making ourselves at home. Shortly thereafter, G visited us in our room to update us on R's progress (still 5-6). After he left, I caught up on Bloglines reading material while J watched Music and Lyrics on the super cool hotel-style entertainment system with flat screen TV. Nice hospital! He finally crashed around 1 AM and I followed at about 2:30 AM (who can sleep with a baby on the way?). Right after I turned out the lights, the "baby" nurse came in to ask us questions about Evie's care, and I finally fell asleep at about 3:30. We woke at 5 AM to G running down the hall and knocking on our door to announce "she's here!" and then running back to R's room. We later learned that after R awoke from her post-epidural nap, she was still 6 cm, but then half an hour later had the urge to push and did, even though the nurses hadn't checked her to make sure she was complete. Evie was born quickly and both R and Evie came through without any major complications.

R's original birth plan stated that she didn't want to see or hold Evie, but in the end she did hold her for 5 minutes, G held her for a few minutes, the nurses did "their thing" and we finally got to see her at about 5:35. G rolled her down the hall in her bassinet, the nurse followed to affix my official wristband, and he presented her to us with tears in his eyes. It was a beautiful moment and I nearly burst into tears myself. He said "Congratulations, Mom and Dad," gave us hugs and left. We had fun ogling her little features for a bit, then were about to start making phone calls when Evie's nurse came in and asked to take her for her first bath. She invited us to come along, we did, then the nurse was called suddenly to attend another delivery, so we ended up sitting in the newborn nursery, rocking Evie and bonding with her, for about 40 minutes while we waited for our nurse to get back. After she did, Evie got her bath, we returned to our room and finally started making calls to people at about 7 AM. During this entire time Evie was intermittently fussy and kept giving these adorable newborn cries that sounded like baby goat bleats, but we did enjoy some quiet alert time with her and did our best to start the bonding process.

The rest of the day has been a blur (perhaps due to my 1.5 hours of sleep?!) of phone calls, visitors, nurses, poopy diapers, feedings, calming Evie when she fusses and enduring these minutes of separation. The first one was this morning when G's mother and aunt came to see Evie and the nurses took her from us to see them in R's room. I completely understand G's mother's need to see her, but the experience felt like deja vu and made me uncomfortable. This was repeated from 1-2 PM when R requested that Evie be brought to her room for an unknown reason. I'm not going to let myself speculate about this one because it will drive me nuts. Then, just as I started typing this, R sent a nurse to bring Evie back to her because a friend of hers had arrive to see her. As I finished this post, R and G came to bring her back to me (30 minutes, approx.). They are being very friendly and if this were our first adoption I wouldn't think anything of it (OK, not really, but I wouldn't think as much). But because of our experience with M & T, I'm having a hard time being the gracious adoptive mother I should be. Intellectually I understand that R & G are giving up this perfect little bundle to us and the least I should do is give them a few minutes here and there during her first day of life to admire their handiwork. Emotionally, it is a different story.

It would be so much easier to deal with this if they had already signed relinquishment papers, but that won't happen until 9:30 AM tomorrow. That is our first hurdle, followed by a meeting with our attorney on Sunday (that will be terrifying, after what happened last time we left a baby in a hospital nursery) and official court custody on Monday morning. Monday late morning/afternoon we'll pack up our little family and head to a hotel until we get ICPC clearance to head home.

Everyone (nurses, SWs, R & G) keeps telling us that we shouldn't worry, that we aren't going to lose Evie like we lost Lucy. I appreciate the encouragement, but I'm going to keep praying and we appreciate the prayers and good thoughts from all of you. Keep it up until Monday, please!

By the way, a nurse told me just a bit ago that we can dress Evie in anything we like (unlike the policy at the hospital where Lucy was born), so I'll try to post a cute outfit pic later.


Friday's child is loving and giving

This photo was taken immediately after the indignity of a first bath. Evie says: Waaahhh!

She's Here!

Evie was born this morning at 5:02, weighing almost exactly 8 lbs and measuring 18.5 inches long. She's healthy and a feisty crier. Everything seems fine with R & G at this point. I'd type more, but she wants to be held and I'm not good at one-handed typing yet! J is out getting us breakfast. I'll post pics in a bit. We are so happy and blessed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We have a room...

...for now. It's a L&D room, so if someone comes in and needs it, you know, to have a baby, we'll have to vacate. I love love love J's laptop with cellular internet card. R was only at 5 cm when we got here, so it might be a long night. Please say a prayer or send good thoughts for R, G, Clio, us and my MIL, who is driving 5 hours to our house in the middle of the night!

Water Broke

Heading to hospital for real!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


If R doesn't have Clio by Friday, the docs will induce her then. Our SW says it's probably because she's Medicaid and they don't want to have to come in on a weekend to deliver her. Sigh.

R also told our SW that she loves the name "Evie," so I'm relieved to have the birth mom seal of approval. I'd hate to have her dislike the name!

J is home

After I heard from our SW, I called him and by the time I called him back about the false alarm, he was on a plane. Whoops. I'm glad he's home, though.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

False alarm...

...I guess getting checked at her Dr. appt. this morning caused some false labor, but the hospital sent R home and so we're back on standby. Bummer.

The news we've all been waiting for...

R is 3-4 cm dilated, having contractions and at the hospital, although our SW says they might send her home to labor there if her contractions don't become more productive in the next hour or so. But, we are on high alert. I'm packing, cleaning, headed out the door...

...and at her dr. appt. this morning, Clio is measuring at 7 lbs., 15 oz.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Perfect Moment Monday

This inspired me to join the "Perfect Moment Monday" crowd today.

My perfect moment was hearing the coffeemaker beep, opening the fridge to get out milk for my coffee and discovering that J had bought the milk I like. Usually he grocery shops at Super Target and brings home organic milk, which is fine, but I prefer the local dairy's milk in glass bottles from HyVee. Usually I have to be the one to do the shopping in order to get this milk, but he did the shopping yesterday before he left for a business trip to SLC. I woke up this morning missing him, but felt his love across the miles as I opened the bottle and milked my morning coffee. Perfect.

OK, not so perfect addendum: yes, you read correctly, J is out of town and R is 39 weeks pregnant. Doesn't compute, right? He has a conference in SLC this week and is scheduled to be home on Thursday afternoon, but his tickets are flexible and there are 3 flights per day out of SLC that he can trade in his ticket for at a moment's notice, if R goes into labor. While he's getting back, I have friends here who are happy to be my substitute spouses and support me as I rush to the hospital and wait and...etc. All three are wonderful women from my church who have been supporting us and loving us through all of our infertility and adoption drama and I'll be happy to share the experience with them while J is in transit. But, I'm praying that Clio holds off until her due date; if she's born next weekend after J's return, we'll have to wait until Monday to get custody in court (just like the Lucy weekend).

One last note: Apollo's appetite is back and he is doing much better!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ten, Nine, Eight...

We're in the single digits in the countdown to Clio's due date! We've pretty much settled on her name, and I've talked to enough people about it that it doesn't seem like a secret anymore, so even though we aren't 100% I decided to blog about it.

At first we felt like keeping the name to ourselves until the last minute, or not deciding until the last minute, because for some reason we thought we could prevent what happened with the name "Lucy" from happening again. But, we realized that because we'll see Clio right away after her birth and everyone will be asking us her name, we really can't hold off until we get custody to reveal it. In other words, if this adoption falls through, the name falls through with it and there's no way to protect it, unless the birth parents change their minds before the birth, which is unlikely I think.

So, here it is: Evelyn "Evie" Beatrix

Evelyn is J's grandma's name, as I blogged about in August, and she went by "Evie," too. It is pronounced with a soft "e" like the beginning of "Evelyn," not a hard "e" like the name "Eve." We debated back and forth about whether to spell her name "Evie" or "Evy" but decided we like "Evie" better.

Evelyn peaked in popularity this century in 1915, when it was #10 on the SSA list. It began declining in popularity in the 1930's but since 2002 has been in the top 100 and is currently #55. Historically, it has been a boy's name in the Hebrew and French traditions, but is a girl's name in the Celtic and English traditions and means "light" (Celtic meaning) "life" (English meaning) "desired" or "pleasant" (German meanings).

("Lucy" also meant "light")

I've blogged about this before, but "Beatrix" means "bringer of joy."

We've also made a decision about feeding, which I also blogged about in August. We've decided to go with option #1 and feed her formula and donated breast milk from a bottle, using nursing for bonding. After giving it way too much thought and discussing it ad nauseum with friends, we decided that since I can't take the medicine, the hassle of using the Lact-Aid/SNS is just not worth the tiny amount of milk I might produce, especially once I researched using donated breast milk and found some wonderful local women who are offering us (free) frozen and fresh breast milk. It probably won't be enough to feed her breast milk exclusively, unless we would fork over shipping costs to receive donations from outside our local area, but it will be wonderful to know that she is getting the special fats and antibodies, etc., that breast milk provides.

Hopefully, the next post will be about us heading to the hospital? I am getting antsy, just like a 38-almost-39-week-pregnant woman who just wants to have the baby already.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Staying Busy

Sorry, this is going to be a really boring post because life isn't exciting right now. Actually, we have had some birth parent drama in the last couple of days, but it's not something I can blog about. Don't worry, everything is fine with the baby and the adoption. Anyhow, if you aren't interested in the tedium of my life right now, you might want to skip this post because the next one will probably be a lot more interesting. :)

I realized this week that, although I dislike exercise in general, and aerobic exercise specifically, after Clio arrives it will be a luxury to find time to work out. So, I've been making it a priority to practice yoga and walk/jog on our treadmill. After I finish, I take a book and a glass of wine to the bathtub with me and use my Lush bath bombs, another luxury that will be hard to schedule in with a newborn in the house. I had been lazy with my yoga practice, so I'm pretty sore in my chest and hamstrings right now, but I love the feeling of being sore, knowing that it means my muscles are growing stronger as they repair themselves.

I've also been doing a Beth Moore bible study, because I'm afraid that her type of study, which I love, will also be difficult to accomplish as a new mom. For those of you who have done one of her studies, you know exactly what I'm referring to! She writes studies that take 30-45 minutes every day and likes to make her participants dig into the Bible by requiring you to look up dozens of verses from several different books of the Bible and read (usually) more chapters than most studies ask. I always finish each day's study feeling like I really learned something, but it takes commitment to stick with her schedule.

I'm also still working on cleaning and organizing tasks. Today I scrubbed down our bathrooms carefully, which I haven't done that thoroughly since right before Lucy was born! Because cleaning often feels so endless, it was fun to realize yesterday how much I've actually accomplished. Back at the beginning of the summer, I wrote down a list of jobs to keep me busy before Lucy's birth. I wrote them in a little spiral notebook and crossed things off as I got them done. Needless to say, I didn't get everything done before the Lucy debacle. And somehow, after our trip to Mexico in mid-July, the notebook got mixed in with vacation brochures and put away with my scrapbooking stuff, and I only recovered it a few days ago. As I flipped though the pages yesterday, I realized to my astonishment that I had managed to get every single thing on the list done. First of all, it was a tremendous blow to my world view to realize that I can still get things done without having a list in front of me...whoa. Second, it made me realize that I haven't just been running on a treadmill of tasks, I've been finishing things. For example (warning, my perfectionism is going to make some of you want to vomit): organizing my quilting and sewing supplies, organizing my wrapping paper and mailing supplies, listing things on eBay that have been sitting around for months, washing windows and completing sewing projects.

For example, during Christmas '97, while at my parents' house for winter break, I made a patchwork quilt out of random scraps of fabric from my mother's sewing cabinet. It is very simple, but nostalgic for me because some of the scraps I used were from things like my dad's old bathrobe, old pajamas of my brother's, a dress I wore in elementary school, the sheets from my old daybed, etc. The quilt is large (queen sized) and is a favorite of mine to cuddle up with on the couch...and...when Phoebe was a puppy, she liked to chew on fabric. Thankfully, we broke her of the habit long ago, but not before she'd damaged a few quilts and afghans. The patchwork quilt is the one that suffered most, and ironically, I was there the whole time she chewed it. One Saturday afternoon in 2000, I was sitting on the couch reading and Phoebe pup was up next to me. I thought she was sleeping, until I felt something wet on my foot and realized that she'd chewed all the way through the quilt. I should have taken a "before" picture because it really was incredible how much fabric and batting she ate. There were two gaping holes in the quilt (one was about 3" x 3" and the other was about 7" x 5"), and I was at a loss as to how to repair them because they were in the middle, not the edge, and they involved the top, batting and backing of the quilt. I washed the quilt by hand, to preserve the batting, folded it up and put it with my sewing projects to deal with later. Yes, that was eight years ago! But, I was victorious and managed to repair the quilt a couple of weeks ago. My repairs are by no means pretty to look at (the backing especially), but the quilt is whole once more and back in service.

Speaking of the dogs, Apollo is not doing so well. He hasn't had much of an appetite lately, and yesterday wouldn't eat at all. We weren't particularly concerned, because he has had appetite issues as he's gotten older and had a vet check-up in June, but then on his walk in the evening he was dragging behind us and finally just sat down on the sidewalk to let us know that he wasn't feeling up to it. Apollo is an old dog and has arthritis, but he still loves walks, so that set off alarm bells and we took him home. Climbing up the steps to the front door, we noticed that he seemed to have some weakness in his hind legs and so we brought him inside and put peanut butter on one of his pain pills so that he'd take it. He refused it. Those of you with dogs understand how bizarre it is to see one refuse peanut butter. Then J put the pill inside a piece of lunch meat and Apollo still refused it. I never thought I'd see the day. We eventually did get him to swallow the pill (with lunch meat) and he seemed comfortable for the night, but we just got back from taking him to the vet. They gave us some extra pain pills for him, plus antacid in case the pills make him nauseated. We'll go back in after a couple of days if his appetite doesn't return.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Teensy Update and an Anniversary Story

Not much to report on the adoption front, other than that we received word today that R is dilated 2 cm and claims (keep in mind this will be her third delivery) that she thinks she'll deliver in the next ten days or so and won't stay pregnant until her due date. We'll see. I'm going to do laundry and start packing my suitcase (since we'll be staying across the city for 5-10 days).

I haven't written much (or anything?) about J's job before, but he is an engineer and works for the federal government in the Department of Transportation (DOT). By the way, this makes his e-mail address j*****@dot.gov. Get, it? dot., dot dot? Hahahaha! Sorry. Anyway, his boss called him on Tuesday and told him to get his butt to D.C. on Wednesday morning to help with the "hurricane crisis center" (I don't know if it's really called that; probably not). His colleagues dealt with Gustav, but he is there for Hanna (and Ike?). I HATE it when he's gone on weekends!

Anyway, the point of me writing about this is the eerie similarity to 12 years ago. Twelve years ago today was our first date. (It is also my mother-in-law's birthday. Happy Birthday! Love you!) Anyhow, on 9-5-96, Hurricane Fran struck the east coast, where we were at school at the University of Virginia. I remember walking outside to the car after our date, looking at the sky and saying "Huh, the sky looks weird!" To which J responded, "you are such a blonde..." Just kidding. He said, "well, yeah, it's Hurricane Fran." I was a second year student, living in a dorm, not watching TV and obviously not reading the Cavalier Daily faithfully. I had no clue. By the next morning (9-5 was a Thursday that year), classes were canceled and my dorm had no power. Since my room was on an upper floor, we also had no water pressure and I found myself calling up J and asking him if I could take a shower at his house, because he still had power and water.

Can you believe how forward I was? I could lie right now and say that I was desperate for a shower at the time, but the truth is that I was just very good at asking for things. I had actually asked J if I could borrow his car during my first year, before we were dating and before we really even knew each other. He said no, but not immediately. First he tried to put me off by telling me that his car had a standard transmission, but when I countered that I knew how to drive a standard he was forced to just say "no" to me. I think it's the only time he's ever said no to me? Hmmmm...I'll have to get back to you on that one. J, can you think of another time? :) Anyhow, the reason I needed his car was to drive to Atlanta and visit a boyfriend there. I lost the boyfriend, but J was impressed by me...a blonde who knew how to drive a stick shift. Awesome.

Back to my story, I ended up spending a lot of time with J the weekend after Fran hit...you know, since he had electricity and all...and the rest is history. Not to say that a normal second date wouldn't have had the same effect, but he and I generally credit Fran with us bonding as a couple so quickly. I'm sad that he has to sit through Hanna without me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meeting G

We got to meet G today! We talked for about an hour in our SW's office and discussing things like what our families are like, what kind of home life we envision for Clio (that was a hard question since we're first time parents and don't really know yet...), what kind of openness we are comfortable with, his feeling about the adoption, his relationship with R, his family...

Here are some tidbits I can share (you all know I love bulleted lists):
  • G wants to cut Clio's cord, hold her for a few minutes, and then pass her off to us for us to care for her the rest of the time in the hospital (i.e. he is still planning to be R's birth coach)
  • G's mother offered (when she first heard about R's pregnancy) to parent Clio, because there are all boys in G's family and she's never had a daughter or granddaughter. But, she is older (after all, G is 44!) and she realizes it's not the right thing to do. When I mentioned that I could create a website with photos of Clio for the family to enjoy, G said his mom would check it every day. :) (Yes, this is scarily similar to our situation with T and his mother, but all I can do about that is pray that God's will be done in this situation.)
  • G was relieved to hear that we will be able to send Clio to college some day with no student loans...he said that was the whole point of the adoption for him; he says he can't take care of himself financially, let alone a baby. Again, sounds a lot like what M & T said up until that fateful Sunday. (Difference: G says his mom and dad don't have money to share...yes, we asked. We are that paranoid.)
  • He was "anti-religion" for most of his life, but says that now he is a Christian and he says that God has reassured him that this adoption is the right thing. I would be a lot more excited about this if it weren't that M & T AND T'S MOTHER! told me that our raising Lucy "was God's plan" on Friday and Saturday...
  • G says that he is still in love with R, so it will be interesting to see, over the years, whether they stay together. Again, this "birth parents in love" scenario gives me the creepy M & T vibe (creepy because of the result, not because of the people involved).
  • We shared J's grandmother's name and nickname with G and he likes it! We might have a winner. He also likes Beatrix for a middle name.
  • He said that he's been working on writing a letter to Clio, explaining how hard it was to decide to place her for adoption, and how much he loves her. He says that he works on the letter every night but can't get it "right." Awww...melts my heart! I can't wait to share that letter with Clio some day.
  • We took a picture with him, the three of us, and he promised to give us/send us photos of R and both of their families so that we can make the family tree scrapbook that I'd like to have for Clio as she grows up.
  • He expressed that when he first heard R was pregnant he was taken aback because he wasn't ready to be a dad again, then he got excited about having a daughter for the first time, and now he is sad but realizes it is the only and best option. It was heart-breaking to see him tear up while talking about this and reminded me of how I felt seeing T tear up discussing the same thing at our match meeting. Sigh.
  • Our discussion about openness went extremely well. He asked if it would be OK if he wrote Clio letters and sent presents for birthdays and Christmas. I said "of course!" and added that if he'd like to be invited to milestone celebrations (as I wrote previously about M & T: baptism, 1st birthday party...high school graduation (SOB!)...wedding (SOOOBBBB!!)) we would be happy to have him there, and R if she ever decides she'd like more openness. He seemed overjoyed to have us not shut him down, but later tonight while talking to my mom I realized that I'm going to have to talk to him about the presents. I'm fine with him sending presents, but I think they need to be consistent. I'd hate to have to deal with explaining to Clio why she would get presents one year but not for two years after that and then suddenly get another present. Kids need consistency, right? But, with G's financial situation we can't expect him to always be able to afford gifts. So, what I'm thinking is that maybe we'll tell him to keep them small so that he can be consistent. I'm also thinking (and I know I'm thinking way too far ahead here) that if he can't afford a gift one year I'll ask him to call and let me know so that I can buy something and label it from him, to maintain the consistency? I don't know, though, about the dishonesty of that, for Clio. Suggestions?
  • Overall, I like the guy. He's friendly, articulate (for a man that is...haha), good-looking and in touch with his emotions. What more can we ask for in a birth father?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Scared and Over-prepared

R is 37 weeks today, meaning she is full-term. Now begins the period of keeping my cell phone turned on and at my side 24/7.

I've been keeping busy doing things that "I should have done" (perfectionism speaking) before Lucy arrived.

  • Just now I finished thoroughly washing both windows in the nursery, inside and out, vacuuming the screens of dust and wiping down the sills and casings. This is only the second time I've done this in the 6 years we've lived in this house. Note to self: repeat when Clio turns three. (Realistically, Lucy would have survived just fine with dirty windows.)

  • A couple of days ago, I took the advice of Baby Bargains (pp. 124-133) and made extra bumper pad ties because our bedding set came with bumper pad ties only on the top of the bumper and not on the bottom, which is not as safe. This was something I meant to do before Lucy but never got around to. (For those who might be interested: I cut five 2.5" by 20" rectangles of unbleached muslin, sewed them into tubes and then turned the tubes inside out (not as easy as it sounds), hemmed the raw ends, folded them in half and hand-sewed them to the bottom of the bumper at the same seams where the bumper already sported top ties. The ties end up 1" wide by 9" long, which is exactly the same as the ties that were already on the top of the bumper.)
  • I'm also reading parenting books, particularly books recommended by Linda: The Attachment Parenting Book, which I really should have read prior to Lucy since I intend to use AP! Reading this has made me realize that I didn't really understand AP the way I thought I did. I'm also reading Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood. I know several people who use L&L discipline with their kids and those kids are the best behaved children I know, in a good way. A L&L class is starting at our church the weekend after Clio's due date, and one of the leaders (our pastor's wife) told us to sign up because Clio will "sleep right through it." J's response was "Yeah, so will we." Heh heh. So, I'm going to read this book instead and take the class at another time. Finally, Jen loaned me The Vaccine Book, which I read in one night, flying home from my trip. I now feel much more empowered to discuss this topic with doctors eventually and I think we'll be following the alternative schedule (pp. 236-237) but including the Hep B shots as a newborn.

  • I also recently made a no-sew tutu as a "prop" for a newborn portrait session with my friend Becca. I'm imagining Clio naked with just this tutu and a bow in her hair, sleeping on a fluffy blanket. We'll see if that dream comes true! Here's a pic of the finished tutu:


  • I've been reading Ask Moxie quite a bit (note: if you read her, make sure to read the comments because they are just as good as the posts) and on the one hand, feel better prepared for what parenting will really be like, and on the other hand I am scared to death. I'm particularly frightened by some of the recent posts/comments that have addressed how a new baby changes a marriage. J and I have been married so long that our home life is very comfy, we communicate well and don't argue much. One recent commenter asserted that (I'm paraphrasing here): "every new mom considers divorcing her husband at least once during the first year." Wow, what am I in for?
  • I just finished reading Mother Shock (another recommendation by Linda) and found that much of it reiterated what I've read on Ask Moxie. It was very entertaining (particularly hilarious were the essays "Loving Every (Other) Minute of It," "Mother Tongue" and "Learning to Speak), but also eye-opening ("Sleeping Like a Baby" being the scariest). Buchanan echoes some of the sentiments about marriage I referred to above: "We talk in hushed voices about...hating our spouses in the middle of the night..." (110).

OK, so I'm going to dive into Babyproofing Your Marriage and try to read quickly, before Clio arrives!

My Shelfari Bookshelf

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