One Week & Three Days

*To protect the privacy of our birthparents, in this post I will use “BF” for birthfather and “BM” for birthmother.

Today Sage is one week and three days old. She is so alert for a newborn which I didn’t realize until everyone who sees her says, “She is so alert for a newborn”. When she wakes up to eat she opens her eyes big and gives me plenty of “uninterrupted eye contact” (Baby Mama). I like to think her curiosity comes from BF. The times I have spent with him I have discovered that he is very inquisitive. For example, during BM’s labor, he and I were looking at the fetal monitoring (baby’s heart rate and mom’s contractions) and he quickly learned how to read the graphs and pointed out patterns of BM’s labor progress. I can already tell that Sage has this quality.

I would like to say that our lives have changed drastically because of Sage, it’s changed but like Doug says “doesn’t it just feel normal that we have a baby now?”. It does feel normal. I think all the years of waiting and wanting is the reason it feels normal. We were prepared for Sage. A lot of my friends who have adopted kept telling me along the way “it’s hard now, but it will be worth it when you have that baby in your arms”. At my hardest moments in waiting I never thought that I would say those words BUT in the quiet moments during night feedings my thoughts are “it was worth it”. Sage is our baby and BF and BM are our birthparents. I’m amazed and glad I didn’t give up.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about BF and BM and what they have done for us. There aren’t enough words or ways to thank them. I love to brag to my family and friends about how awesome they are. I even have friends say things to the effect of “I don’t know Sage’s birthmother but I love her”. Here is just a small example of how awesome BM is, during labor and right before she was about to push, she looked at me square in the eyes with confidence and said to me “I want you to be the first one to hold her”. Then shortly after the birth of Sage, and I mean minutes after, everyone was crying and I looked at BM with tears of joy and tears of sadness, and again with confidence she said “BF and I will be OK.” Not only do my friends love her, but I love her too and I hope that one day Sage will love her in the same way.

We love our baby girl so much and can’t imagine life without her, because with her “it’s normal”. This is our new normal:

  • Instead of taking pictures of my dog, I take pictures of Sage; at least 50 a day and try really hard to refrain from posting them all on instagram.
  • Wanting to be near her at all times, whether she is asleep or awake.
  • Doing dishes before bedtime because I will need bottles throughout the night.
  • Thinking we can take our newborn to a movie, but as we are walking out the door she barfs everywhere and we take that as a sign not to go.

***Keep watch for Sage’s birth story in the coming week.

11 days

Our baby girl is due in 11 days. You heard me, 11 days! It is surreal that our lengthy struggle will come to an end in a matter of days. Even though we only have 11 days left, these last few weeks are proving to be the hardest stretch of our wait. Mainly because the harsh reality of adoption (that the birth parents might change their mind) can also happen in just a matter of days. So what am I doing to stay sane? or not sane, some of these things are actually making me a little crazier than usual.

– I always make sure my brows are plucked and hair is straightened, you know in case we have a late night call to the hospital. I need to look good for the pictures. I am sure pregnant woman do this too.

– I turn my phone off several times a day for an hour at a time. Pretty risky, yeah?

– I write out sappy texts to my birth parents about how much I love them and then delete them before I have a chance to send them. I have great self-restraint.

– I knit. Surprise surprise.

– I’m getting into minimalism and reading Zen Habits daily. Check it out. I mean I’ve already parted with books and softball jerseys that I’ve carted around in the last 4 moves. It’s been pretty liberating. Tomorrow I go through the medicine cabinet.

Peace out.

My most ridiculous list of things to do before baby comes

I’ve been searching “Things to do to get ready for baby” on Pinterest. All the lists are so obvious and kinda annoying. They usually entail items like “decorate your nursery” and “stock up on diapers” and are written by woman who actually did that stuff. While I would love to drop a couple grand on a nursery and stock up on diapers (not really, talk about the most boring way to spend your money; I’d rather drop an extra $50 a month on a cute outfit or some sweet baby gadget than diapers. Also, the ironic part is, I have like seven boxes of disposables and an entire set of Bum Genius diapers in my baby closet). I thought I would devise a list of what I really want to do before our baby comes. I wrote a previous list of similar topic, but this one is more inclusive now that we have a baby that is ACTUALLY coming. I will also share a simple disclaimer, some things on my list are SO ridiculous and you will probably think I am totally crazy.

  1. Enjoy a full nights rest with uninterrupted sleep. Already this usually only happens once a week and typically requires me to pop a melatonin, kava kava, or let’s be real, Benadryl. I don’t want to go into motherhood with an already accrued sleep debt. With that being said, I will take as many naps that will fit into the day, go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 9am, and make sure I limit fluids an hour before bedtime.
  2. Go to the movies. We went to 2 last week. In both movies there were babies there! Who takes a baby to a movie? Seriously people. Even though I want to pretend that I am going to be one of those parents who “take their babies everywhere”, I don’t want to be that person. I don’t even care if there isn’t anything good playing, I will still go because I know this will be something I will miss as a new mom (but I will take being a mom over going to the movies any day).
  3. Get really fit. My favorite thing to do lately is to tell people who don’t know I’m adopting that I am expecting a baby girl in December. Amongst the various responses I get, my favorite is “you look so great for being 5 months pregnant”.  I told you I’m a little crazy. I think it would be way awesome to get really fit, like “Insanity” fit and when people see me with a newborn they will be like “You look so great for just having a baby.” The honest truth, I would rather enjoy uninterrupted sleep and movies than get “Insanity” fit. I just don’t have the discipline people.
  4. Load up on junk food and make a lot of “treat runs”. This is one of mine and Doug’s favorite past-times. I know I am going to be a crazy mom who doesn’t let her kids drink soda or eat candy. In fact, when she reads this blog post in 12 years, she is going to feel so betrayed to find out that “once upon a time” her parents weren’t healthy.
  5. Have a lot of you-know-what with you-know-who. Look, someones gotta say it. I hope I don’t need to explain why.
  6. Journal. I’m not a big journalist, but I like to blog and Instagram.  I have been using these things as a way to document this time. I think there is probably more value in writing it down to pass along something tangible to our baby girl.
  7. Enjoy my lonely morning runs. For you mamas out there, will I still be able to do this when the baby comes?
  8. Research and buy the best baby gear. I’ve had a lot of people tell me to not buy ANYTHING because people will give me stuff, but if I don’t, I won’t have ANYTHING when the baby comes. I should be a little prepared, right? And I don’t plan on having a baby shower, so the whole “people will give you stuff” is out of the equation. And, do you really get things you need at a shower? or is it just non-essential fun stuff? Also, I refuse to buy baby clothes because I am pretty obsessed with baby gear.
  9. Read a baby book? My first degree was in Human Development with an emphasis on early childhood development and do I remember anything from it? Not really. Any moms have any recommendations for a first time mom?
  10. Tie up any loose ends. For me, this entails: getting my DSLR fixed, Doug needs a Pertussis vaccine, clean my carpets, buy a crib, talk to my work about my leave, and find a pediatrician.

First Meeting

I promised a post about our first meeting with our birth parents (I still can’t believe I have birth parents!), BUT as I was thinking about what I would write I decided that I won’t be sharing ALL the details of the meeting. I really want to protect the privacy of the birth parents as well as some of the intimate details of our meeting. With that being said, I still want to share some of the highlights. For now, we will be calling our birthparents LaMama and Papa J, you know, for privacy reasons.

  • Our baby is due on Doug’s birthday December 12th, 2014
  • LaMama is BEA-U-TI-FUL, strong-willed, independent, decisive, selfless and easy-going AND she shares the same Zodiac sign as me.
  • Papa J is charismatic, funny, talkative, sensitive, and expressive AND he shares the same Zodiac sign as Doug.
  • Papa J made a joke from Taken (the movie): “I have a very specific set of skills…”
  • They originally wanted to pick a family WITH children, but when they saw our profile they chose us because they said “we want to give you something you have never experienced before”. So sweet.
  • LaMama personally invited me to come to ALL her appointments.

Next Post: Gender Reveal.

“The Call”…revisited

I fear that this post won’t meet the expectations I hyped up with the previous post. Sorry ahead of time.

In one of my previous mentioned scenarios I was in Hawaii when I got the call. My actual scenario matches this one most closely, except I was in Green River, Utah. Before I tell you about our call, I feel I really need to emphasize and illustrate how frequently I look at my phone to make sure I have service, battery life, no missed calls, etc. My phone is literally glued to my hand and my eyes glued to my phone. On a healthy day I would look at it q 5′ (short hand for every five minutes). Back to the story.

On June 16th, 2014, Doug and I were on our way home from my sister Amy’s wedding in Utah (sorry for stealing your thunder Amy) and were just getting off the Crescent Junction exit and had another 45 minutes to Moab. I had just got done looking at my phone for maintenance reasons and guess what? My phone rang! I looked down and what did my caller ID say? “BM caseworker”. (For some reason I didn’t just save her name, which is Colleen. Whenever I see her ID my nursing mind immediately thinks “Bowel Movement Caseworker”. Duh.). I got really nervous and almost asked Doug to answer the phone, almost. BTW, she never calls, so this would explain the excitement I had. This is how the conversation went:

Me: “Hello?”

BM caseworker: “Hi Jenica, How are you?”

Me: (Seriously? Just get down to business.) “Fine.”

BM caseworker: “We still have some paperwork you need to come in and sign, when can you do that?”

Me: (Seriously? I just emailed Amber on Friday to tell you.) “I work tomorrow, so probably Wednesday.”

BM caseworker: “Well, that’s not really why I am calling. You’ve been matched!!!!”

Me: “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”

BM caseworker: “Everyone is here and wants to congratulate you, let me put you on speaker phone”, then I hear A LOT of screaming, then it cuts to dead silence.

I lost the call. No service.

Me: “D*@& it!” (I’ve been matched? What does that mean? When is the baby due? Is it a boy or girl? Have they been born already? I gotta get some service.)

So Doug and I continued to Moab in great haste, that’s an understatement, Doug turned into Andretti as he weaved in and out of giant semis and oversized Jeeps. Why can’t they add a couple more lanes of traffic on that stretch? It really is the worst, even when not considering the circumstances.

So we finally get to Moab and get the details. We have been picked by a birth mom…and birth father. In the words of my BM caseworker, the downside is that they aren’t due until December, so MORE waiting. BUT, the reason they wanted to pick a couple so soon was because THEY want ME to go the the doctor appointments with them. My heart melted. Those were really all the details she gave me over the phone, because of the shotty service. Although, we did set up a meeting to meet them two days later.

During our lunch in Moab our (me and Doug) conversation went wild with predictions, fantasies, and guesses of what our baby-to-be and birthparents would be like, as well as what the next few months would entail. What do they look like? What race are they? How old are they? Why are they placing their baby for adoption? Why did they choose us? Will I be able to stop working by December? My next post will be about the first time we met our birthparents. I can’t wait to share it because it really was MORE special than when we got the phone call.

Finally, I just want to share how I feel about sharing all of this so early on even though the end might involve heartbreak. Many of you have friends or family (or even you) who have gone through this process and understand the risks of adoption, the most glaring one: she can change her mind. Whether this adoption is successful or not, I want to look back on this time as celebratory and exciting. I plan to fully embrace and share with you the ups and downs because I know we can’t do this alone. I am so thankful for the support we have received along the way, and we will continue to need it. Please, hang in there with us. Thanks for reading. I mean it.

-Jenica

“The Call”

The biggest source of stress for me as I wait to adopt is my CELL PHONE. Is it charged? Do I have service? Is my voicemail box roomy? Is it on vibrate and in my pocket at work? Are my calls coming through? Do I need to do a test call again? And, if that’s not enough, I imagine various dramatic scenarios of when I finally get “the call” (as called in the adoption world when your caseworker calls you to tell you about your baby for the first time) on my cell phone from our caseworker.

No. 1, I am at work preparing a med in the small med room when my phone vibrates and I see Colleen’s name (our caseworker) on the screen, of course I answer and she tells me that my baby is being born as we speak in the very same hospital I am currently working in.

No. 2, I am on vacation in some tropical location (I dunno, Hawaii?) when I get the call that my baby has already been born, meaning I will have to catch the next flight out of there.

No. 3, My phone is dead or on silent. I miss the call. Colleen has to call Doug, he misses the call. Colleen decides to call another adoptive couple because we were too hard to get a hold of.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) when we finally got our call it didn’t fit any of those scenarios, BUT I will say it was just as dramatic!

Stay tuned so you can hear about “our call”!

 

Baby Names

I refine and edit my baby name list almost daily. Doug and I have very different ideas of what makes a good baby name. The names below are currently on our list (keep in mind that these aren’t names we have necessarily agreed on). Vote for your favorites and/or feel free to share your own suggestions…only if you don’t plan on using those shared suggestions 😉

Before-Baby-Bucketlist

Doug and I are constantly saying that we really need to relish this time together before the baby comes. We have done a lot of things in the last seven years that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we had kids, but I wouldn’t say we “relished it”. So, with that said, here is our Before-Baby-Bucketlist (in no particular order):

1. Go on a trip. Not just a trip to Utah to visit our family, but a trip that we won’t be able to take after baby. After brainstorming a few places, I came up with New Orleans. Doesn’t a trip eating local cuisine and cruising on bikes sound awesome?

2. Run a race. We could probably train for a race with a baby, but the sleep deprivation might interfere. In September we will be running the Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Marathon in honor of a dear friend who recently died from cancer.

3. Eat out a lot. Let’s face it, I will probably do this even when I do have a kid.

I thought my bucket list would be WAY longer…I guess this means I’m ready to have a baby?

 

Coping skills…I didn’t say mine were healthy

I think about adoption all day, everyday. I am constantly looking at my phone to see if I missed a call from our caseworker, at least every 5 minutes. Sometimes it’s so hard to wait that I feel completely handicapped, I literally can’t do anything because I just want it to happen right NOW!!! Over time I have developed a few coping skills to help me while I wait…not all of them are the healthiest way to cope, but if it gets me through the day I will take it.

1. Work…and NEVER call in sick. When I am at work I can’t look at my phone for 12 hours and I am super busy SO I practically am never thinking about adoption, really. When I call in sick, my anxiety increases 10-fold than if it were a regular day off, guilty for calling in sick and anxious as I wait, so I have learned that I just shouldn’t do it.

2. Reading teenage fiction. Currently I am reading The Divergent Series…it really isn’t that good but it’s an easy read and it “diverts” my attention for a little while.

3. Watch re-runs of Star-Trek: The Next Generation. I don’t really have a justification for this one…

4. Incessantly use my Mygrastick. It’s a small roller with lavender and peppermint. I run it across my temples, neck and wrists when I need a “reset”. Each roller has 250 applications, I have to replace mine every seven days.

5. Turn off my cell phone. I used to be all paranoid that if I did this my caseworker won’t be able to get a hold of me when she has a baby ready for me and then she will just move on to the next couple. This doesn’t happen and I don’t turn my phone off long enough anyway, plus they have Doug’s number too.

6. Drink a Dr. Pepper. I don’t even care if soda is bad for my health. I don’t even care if I shouldn’t eat my feelings. Sometimes an ice cold Dr. Pepper (or Mountain Dew) just makes me feel better, even if it’s only for the duration I am actually drinking it.

7. Pandora. Bon Iver radio ALWAYS makes me feel better; I don’t know how I survived without it.

8. Target runs. The way this goes: fill up my cart with EVERYTHING I could possibly want. Then, go around and put everything back. This can waste up to 4 hours on my really bad days.

9. Knit. Especially baby items. I am currently making a mustard yellow sweater dress for a 9 month old.

10. Running, I guess. I am not always motivated to go, but when I do I ALWAYS feel better.

What are your coping skills? For adoption or not. As you can see, I still need more…