October 31, 2009

Date Night

Joel and I have always promised each other that when we were fortunate enough to have a baby, we would make a concerted effort to have time with just us. I'm a firm believer in a happy mommy makes for a better mommy. I think it's really important to take time for yourself to recharge your batteries so you have something left to give to baby.

So, off we went on our first date post-Nora. My parents watched Nora and they urged us to stay out until 11 pm or midnight. Ha ha- I go to bed at 8 these days so I can do second shift. We left them with a mildly disgruntled baby. (I thought I'd take a photo of the occasion but Nora was a little unhappy).

We went to a restaurant we'd been dying to try. We had many small plates, a cocktail and glass of wine and it felt decadent. Inevitably, the beginning of the conversation was a discussion about how much Nora threw up today and whether it was spit up or actual vomit. I know- great dinner conversation! However, we then moved into other, more appropriate, subjects and enjoyed our time out. I looked at my watch assuming that it was pretty late and had to laugh when it said 6:45. Much to my parent's dismay, we were home a bit after 8 pm.

It was great to have a little time outside of the house (especially since Nora can't go anywhere). I'm proud of us for making some couple time and Nora was exactly one month old.

October 28, 2009

Leaving the House

After having Nora home for almost a month, not being able to go in public is really wearing on me. I'm not good at being a home body. If I'm home sick for more than a day I start to go crazy. Clearly, time with Nora is great and taking care of her is very time consuming but I feel like one more day on the couch might make for a reenactment of The Shining. (Should I not put this on an adpotion blog when the adoption hasn't been finalized yet?!?)

We aren't supposed to bring Nora in public until 6 weeks - that includes anything public- church, grocery store, restaurant etc. The flu is really bad here and the last thing I want is a sick baby so I'm happy to comply. So, I devised a safe way to leave the house. I decided to go on a long drive. I also was determined to get out yesterday since a snow storm is supposed to hit Denver today (and it is).

I packed up the diaper bag, secured Nora in her car seat (with some protest) and off we went. I stopped by a drive-thru coffee shop to get a Pumpkin Spice latte. (I'm not a fan of this coffee shop but the one that I like requires getting out of the car so I had to make due.) I then got on the highway and headed toward Boulder. The drive into Boulder is always so pretty and I love seeing the Flatirons this time of year. From there I went up Eldorado Canyon for a bit and then returned home (strategically timed for the next bottle) through Golden. It felt so great to be out of the house, listening to music and just driving with my favorite gal. Nora was pretty awake during the beginning of the drive which was nice. I wanted her to get a change of scenery. Of course, toward the end she was sound asleep. It felt SOOOO great to get out of the house! I can't wait until we can take her places!

October 26, 2009

Letter to C and J and Weekend with Family

I finally had enough sleep and enough espresso in me on Saturday to write AND complete a letter to C and J. We aren't due to send them anything for several months but I really wanted to respond to the letter they sent us and I also really wanted to let them know how Nora is doing. I'm so happy that we have finally completed this letter. I'd been crafting it in my head for the last two weeks but was hard pressed to find a good chunk of time to write it. It feels like such a relief to have this completed. It wasn't out of obligation at all but rather just to let them know how much we appreciate our new family.

Speaking of family, we had lots of great visitors and help from family this weekend. My parents came over and watched Nora for several hours while I was able to go to run a week's worth of errands and Joel was able to put our garden to rest and finish building our compost bin. My mom was nice enough to even clean my house! Nora was sleeping so she decided she'd clean with the extra time. This was a tremendous help as we had Joel's parents and brother's family coming over for dinner the next day. I couldn't have pulled it off without all of their help.

It was so much fun to see Joel's family visit Nora for the first time and to watch her grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle and cousins hold her for the first time. It was a great weekend!

October 23, 2009

Sleep Deprivation and Doggie Depression

Sleep deprivation can be a funny thing (unless you are my dog). I just looked down and realized after being awake for over four hours and - here's the key- after half a latte - that my tops and bottoms to my pjs don't match. It really doesn't matter if they match or not as I'm just sitting on my couch hanging out with my favorite baby but it's a little disturbing that I didn't notice until now.

I also tend to forget my poor dog outside. He's not an outdoor dog and is sure to remind me of this after he's been left outside for awhile with a whine or a bark. Poor guy. His mom's heads not in the game anymore and what little brain capacity is left is being dedicated to caring for Nora.

I think the dog is getting depressed. He doesn't come very quickly when we call him and he spent a good portion of the morning hanging out in his kennel and had to be coaxed out this morning to go to the bathroom. He's been our fur kid for six years so it's no wonder he's having a hard time. Poor guy. Probably nothing a long walk later today can't cure.

October 20, 2009

A New Identity: Mom

I've always been a very independent person and have always held closely to my own identity. It's so interesting now being a mom and adding that to the list of what makes me who I am. I didn't have the perspective that I am now a mom until I left the house yesterday for the first time by myself in 3 weeks. Yes, I have been caring for my daughter for 3 weeks now but sometimes my synapses aren't all firing when I'm doing laundry or changing diapers. It took the perspective of being out of the house for it to hit me that I am someone's mom.

Strangely, I was waiting in line for a flu shot at our local grocery store when I realized- I'm a mom. I'm going to buy things for my daughter today. It took leaving the house and feeling like my "old self" again running errands to reinforce that I am actually a mom. I am going to be coming home to my daughter and this is my new life.

It's also interesting that I've always been an extremely career-driven person and have always worked really hard professionally and I haven't really given a thought about work since I've been gone. (Sorry colleagues, but, I know you are all kicking butt without me). It's so nice to be able to focus on other aspects of myself for a change. Especially since I have defined myself so much by my work in my life. It's nice to be able to rediscover that I'm not a one dimensional person. Just an interesting revelation I thought I'd share. Strange when things hit you while waiting in line for a shot. It's nice to have a few quiet minutes to think I suppose.

Nora is doing great. Now is her active time and she's on her play mat making cute little noises and discovering her own reflection in the mirror. (I've uploaded a video. It's not the most exciting thing you'll ever watch but I'm a proud mom:).

It's so fun to have her awake during more of the day and watching her discover things. I know it's only going to get more fun!
video

October 16, 2009

Providing Relief

I received our letter from C and J a few days ago. Obviously, I won't go into any detail about the letter but it did make me feel compelled to post something related. I think during the adoption process, as adoptive parents, we can become wrapped up in our own anxiety and the sorrow and pain that the birthparents must be feeling that I really didn't take much time to think about the role that we were playing in the lives of the birthparents.

The letter we received reinforced to me that as grateful and happy as adoptive parents are to receive the precious gift of a baby, the birthparents are also able to find some peace and relief by finding a couple to give their child the life that they so desire for them. For some reason, this part of the equation was being lost on me. Receiving this letter helped with some of the initial guilt/sorrow that I was experiencing. Since so many people in blogland are now matched or waiting to be matched I thought that I'd share this thought as it might be helpful or add some consolation or perspective.

I feel so blessed to have been matched with C and J. We received back our "Dear Birthparents" letters from the agency after the match and it was interesting to read over them. Joel and I independently noted that we felt that we would be chosen for a reason and that the birthparents that picked us we'd have an affinity toward and that was the case. I know this might not be the case for Nora's sibling or in other adoptions and I feel so grateful that this was the case for this match.

October 14, 2009

Losing the Baby Weight

Joel and I went on a long walk with Nora yesterday as the weather has vastly improved. I was getting extremely stir crazy as we aren't accepting visitors until Friday (we had two weeks of just us to promote attachment) and we can't take Nora into public, especially now that everyone seems to have the flu. So, the walk was great to get out of the house and get some fresh air.

We took a walk through the park and I was commenting on how great the sling was because no one could really touch or see Nora. The sling sits up high enough on me that it would be extremely inappropriate for anyone to try to reach in so we feel like Nora is well protected from germy hands.

We were crossing the street when I commented to Joel that it's sad we can't go in public because I was really looking forward to everyone telling me how great I looked for having such a little baby:). I know, I'm shameless, but I take the compliments where I can get them - deserved or not. We literally set foot on the other side of the street and a woman came up to me and said, "Look at you! Out and about already. Good for you!". She then tried her hardest to see/touch Nora but ended up just patting the underside of the sling. I had such a laugh that I got my "look at you" adoption comment and no one touched my baby. Very productive day!

October 10, 2009

Home Visit and Legal Paperwork

Our home visit was great. Nora was a little but fussy so I had her in the sling. We got to visit with our caseworker and she just checked in to see how we're doing. We've been on "lock down" (aka no guests to facilitate bonding) so, it was nice to have adult interaction. We really like her and get along with her well and so it was nice to visit without the stress of waiting. We got to talk a lot about the hospital experience and how things went and felt for us. I haven't written too much about the hospital experience because it was so stressful. It wasn't stressful as in she was thinking of changing her mind or that people were negative but stressful in that you can't maintain that level of emotion for two days straight and not want to have a melt down at the end. I feel extraordinarily blessed by our hospital experience but it was a lot to go through and ours was pretty ideal. We were told our experience and ceremony were in her top 5 of placements she's ever done. So, needless to say, things went really well.

K and J both wrote us letters in the hospital for us and Nora but we haven't read them yet. It was so hard leaving the hospital and every time I looked at Nora I saw K or J's face looking back at me and I kept feeling like I was taking their baby. That night was the same . It is now no longer the case unless she's sleeping and making a pouty face and then she looks like J. I feel like I don't have it in me yet to read the letters. I still feel a little emotionally drained and physically exhausted to go down that road just now. I'm planning on waiting for when we all feel a little more settled and all of our emotions aren't so raw yet.

K and J met with their caseworker yesterday and signed the paperwork. I've been told that, of course, they have good days and bad days but are comfortable with their decisions. Joel and I have also signed our petition to adopt paperwork and submitted that to our caseworker. That means that in Colorado, a judge will need to sign K and J's relinquishment paperwork for it to be final. That usually takes a week or two but we're not worried. I actually haven't been worried since we left the hospital. This just finalizes everything. In about two weeks we won't have any legal risk so Nora is here to stay. We should also find out about a court date soon. Nora's almost officially our daughter.

I also found out that K has written us another letter that our caseworker is sending to us. I haven't written anything to K and J yet. I have so much in my head and in my heart that I want to say to them but I can't find the strength or energy to write it all down. I know that I need to do it soon but I can't bring myself to put pen to paper at the moment.

P.S. My caseworker also pointed out that K's name is actually C. I had discovered this awhile ago and didn't make the switch - I'm not sure why. I think I felt like it might make her name more obvious. However, in the event that I ever share this with Nora it would be nice to have her birthmom's name correct so it will be C from here on out.

October 9, 2009

Home Visit

We have our home visit today to check on our progress with Nora. I've been a little bit stressed out about it as I like to have our house look perfect before anyone comes over. There is no perfection today. One week after bringing Nora home, the house is tidy and clean but far from perfect. Our dining room table has become the baby staging area as we have completely abandoned the nursery. I think we've set foot in there less now that we have a baby than we did before. It's just so much easier to have everything that we need next to the living room. Who knew the dining room would become the temporary nursery?!

I figure the important part is she just wants to see how we're all doing. I'm not going to be winning any housekeeping awards but I'm happy to say that Nora seems happy and content and that's all that really matters.

October 8, 2009

Thank You

As I had a few seconds this morning, I was thinking about how important this blog and all of you have been in offering support and reflection during this long journey. It's been so therapeutic to connect with people who are on the same path as yourself. Some are further down the path and others have just begun but it's been a phenomenal help and a support to have so many to offer words of encouragement and who understand the journey. So, I just wanted to give a thanks to the adoption blog community and my "bloggy friends" for all of your support and well wishes through this journey. You're the best!

October 7, 2009

Getting the Hang of This Mom Thing

I think I'm finally getting the hang of this mom thing. Nora seems to be a happy little baby (most of the time) and we're all adjusting well. I actually slept for 5 hours last night and she's beginning to sleep through the night. The sling is amazing and quiets her immediately and is great for attachment. The swing is invaluable in the middle of the night when I don't have an ounce of energy left. I give her a bottle, let her go for a 3 minute swing and she's ready to sleep. It's great!

I'm so glad/relieved that attachment is going well. I was allowing myself to be able to feel however I was feeling and would know that we'd all fall into place sooner or later (no mater if she was bio or adopted). However, I'm happy to report that I don't feel to be having any problems which is a relief to me. I can't wait to get up in the morning and see little Nora. I'm not sure if these are feelings that ebb and flow but so far so good.

October 5, 2009

Adjusting to Life with Baby

Life with baby has been an adjustment. She's precious and beautiful but I'd be lying if I'd say it's all a bed of roses. At 2 am when I'm on what I've dubbed the "salt mine" shift I'm tired and can't imagine how I'm going to do this. When I sleep for 4 hours (hooray!) and wake up to relieve Joel I think she's the most amazing thing in the world and can't wait to get down the stairs to see her. So, that's motherhood so far.

I feel like we've really made progress on our learning curve. Diapering, feeding, changing clothes and all other "tasks" are going great. Sleeping, however, is not. She does not like to be put down and will cry once she leaves our arms. So, we've devised the shift plan. One parent on from 10 am - 3 am and then the other on from 3 am - 7 am. She sleeps a bit from 7 am - 10 am and then the day begins. She was a bit more awake during her doctor's appointment today so I'm hoping that is a sign that she's going to join our time zone.

She's a pretty easy baby and is super easy to comfort. I feel like I've picked up on her cues pretty quickly and she hasn't really cried for no reason yet. She's pretty easy to console and has been fun. She's not awake very much but when she is I love to watch her facial expressions.

The sling is a life saver. Joel is wearing it right now and it's great. Having two hands to do things makes such a difference. I also have been saved by The Baby Book by Dr. Sears. It's indispensable.

The house is a mess, our living room has become mission control and the dog is a little extra needy but all and all I'd say life is good and we're happy to have Nora home.

October 3, 2009

Welcoming Nora to our Family

Yesterday was incredibly hard but also incredibly beautiful. K and J were so strong and amazing and I'm so grateful that they are likely to be in our lives. They were so gracious with allowing our family to visit and really enjoyed meeting our families. I think it made them feel even more comfortable with their decision as they saw how happy the grandparents were to meet their new grandchild.

We held a ceremony at approximately 1 pm to recognize Nora's transition to our family. It was incredibly beautiful. A candle with three wicks was lit (illicitly in the hospital) to symbolize Nora and each of our families coming together. Two poems were read and then each of us went around the room expressing our wishes for Nora. Both sets of grandparents were present as well as K and J and K's mother. The only one in the room not sobbing was Nora. She just slept so peacefully. K and J then passed Nora to us. Somehow we all found strength and the ceremony was so beautiful and bittersweet.

We were hoping, because we like K and J, that they might continue to be a part of our lives. K's mom asked if they could attend the baptism and we were happy she asked. I had thought about including them since we are all Catholic and this thread has been very important to them. So, I'm happy they will have a chance to see Nora again for her baptism in December.

By the time the ceremony ended, I was completely exhausted - emotionally, physically and mentally. We wanted to give K and J their time so we didn't really have much time with Nora at the hospital. The time we did have with her we always had a lot of people in the room observing so I was so ready to get home and figure out through trial and error how to be a mom without an audience.

Our first night with Nora was a little trying. She and I were both crying at 1 in the morning. She's an amazing baby and so pleasant and after 4 hours of sleep late this morning - I'm loving every minute of it. We've even mastered the sling and took a little walk through the neighborhood. I'm so happy to have Nora home for good!

October 2, 2009

Coming Home

Today is the day that I have been looking forward to for years and the day that has also kept me up at night. I sometimes wonder if I have the strength to do this but today will answer that question.

We were lucky to have a room at the hospital down the hall from K and J. Nora spent the night with them last night and Joel and I crammed into a twin hospital bed. I woke up this morning with a sense of overwhelming joy mixed with overwhelming sorrow. My heart is breaking for K and J this morning and I know that there is nothing that I or anyone else can do to help them through this. I want them to have as much time with Nora as they want or need today. I quickly gave her a bottle and then it's their time until we are all discharged later today and have our placement ceremony.

This is such a hard, bitter-sweet experience. There is so much joy and beauty mixed with so much sorrow. I don't know where I am going to find the strength to have K hand me Nora today.

October 1, 2009

Nora

I'm happy to announce that Nora Grace was born yesterday, September 30, at 11 PM. She weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz and is 20 inches long. She's healthy with a full head of black hair. I was lucky enough to be there for the labor and delivery and was able to hold her right after she was born. There really aren't appropriate words to describe that experience.

Leaving the hospital last night was so hard. As you can imagine, I didn't sleep very well knowing that I was so far away and anxiously awoke as soon as I could. I'm trying to give K and J a little bit of space to say hello and good bye but as soon as Joel opens his eyes I think we're back to the hospital.

This is a difficult time as I continue to wish everyone strength and hope that all goes according to plan and that we are able to bring little Nora home.

Please continue to send good thoughts and prayers.