What Went Down

I’m sitting in my little room in the NICU trying to find words for the last few days.  Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.  By the wall in her little cart is my new daughter Jena (five days old) attached to monitors and feeding tubes.  She is peaceful and sleeping, like she has been since she was born.

How can I describe how it was to wake up at 5:30 one morning with my message light blinking on my cell phone, and hearing that birth mom was in labor and on her way to the hospital.  Instead of a feeling of excitement and happiness, it was almost a panic and dread that took over me.  No! Not today, I’m not ready for it to be today.  It’s Brandt’s first day of school, He needs ME to get him on the bus and to snap that all important picture of him climbing the school bus steps.
No! Not today, we are remodeling our upstairs and there are painters and plumbers and trimmers walking through my house, and I can’t let anybody else see what a mess my house is right now.

So for the next hour I ran around my house trying to do things, but in the end, not really doing anything. Gene shoved me out the door with promises of kindergarten pictures, and an arrival at the hospital as soon as he could.  I called my mom in Ohio and said, “If you want to come that would be great! You can look in any direction at our house and find at least ten things to do. And sorry but our bathroom is not usable, so we’ll all showering in Gene’s gross farm shower.” (Always try to make things seem as un-appealing as possible, that’s my motto)

I found dear birth mom and her boyfriend a half an hour before she was taken for her c-section.  (The baby was breach, in case you are wondering at the discrepancy of first going into labor, and now a c-section)  If you are wondering what an adoptive mom talks about with a birth mom and birth dad just before their baby is born, there are plenty of things to discuss, namely the strong odor the anesthesiologist was emitting.  Side note to those of you in the medical field:  Just SAY NO to the garlic herb and cheese bread that sounds so good.  Your patients will thank you.  It was also fun to laugh at the incompetence of the nurses, who are raising and lowering the IV poll willy-nilly, like it was an Olympic sport.  In other words, we kept it light.  Anything deep and dark should have been said by now.

Some doctors and nurses seemed to know why I was there, others didn’t.   The IV pole raiser said I wouldn’t be able to be in the operating room because there was no room for more than one support person.  Since I had seen her skill first hand first hand with the IV’s it didn’t bother me much.  I don’t know about you, but everybody has their own style, and my personality is not necessarily to yell out: BUT I’m not a support person! I’m the mommy! Let me in!  When the time came five minutes later, I asked again, this time to the OB, and he gave me the scrubs without a problem.

As it turns out, I did end up being a support person. They had two metal stools perched right beside birth mom’s head where birth dad and I sat.  I have never been so grateful for the presence of a man who I only met twice before in my life.

After the baby was born I was little confused as to what to do.  The nurses didn’t know that I was the adoptive mother, so the whole NICU staff (or what seemed like it) was crowded around checking her out, that I literally couldn’t see the baby except for her little blue feet up in the air.  Do I follow the NICU around panic stricken hollering questions? Do I disappear from the birth mother, who is also my friend?

It turns out I had to do neither.  I wasn’t allowed into the NICU until the baby was admitted and stable, and the birthmother was highly sedated, so she didn’t need me either.

So as we settled into the NICU, nurses were chatting and asking all the right questions:  So what is this baby’s name?  If you remember my previous post, I had said the birth mom gets to name the baby.  We had decided to just go with whatever the birth mom named.  Our birth mom was heavily sedated and slept all day.  So yes, we had a baby who was not officially named for three days.

On Saturday morning I helped birth mom fill out the papers with the baby’s name; but I think that’s another story in itself.
Until next time…you all have a good week!

What Will Go Down

Our birth mom is scheduled for a C-section on September the 4th.  Unless she goes early, and this is looking more and more likely.  When we get the call, (morning, noon or night) we drop our kids and our carefully planned schedule and roll to the hospital.  The plan is to have us in the delivery room.  That’s the plan, but as I am figuring out, the plan is far from fool proof.  And as I am figuring out, some of the best things I can bring to the table are flexibility and a happy attitude if the plan goes “KERSPLAT”.

Some of the unknowns that I have are:  The baby’s name. (Our Birth mom is naming the baby, after 30 days if we want, we can change it.  If you know us at all, this is not the hugest deal unless she comes up with something so terrible that we cannot cope.)

What happens right after the birth?  Will I hold the baby? Will she hold the baby? I have no clue.
It’s the birth mom’s birth, and she gets to have a plan, like any mother.  I could ask her, and if something is pressing on my mind, I DO ask.  It is apparent though, when I am with her that she is under tremendous stress, and when I do spend time with her, the last things she ought to have is a needy adoptive mom who insists on having all the t’s crossed with a fancy calligraphy pen.

The chances are good that none of us will get to hold the baby, but instead she will get whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Our Birth mom is on a Methadone Maintenance program, which has been a big learning curve for me.  I didn’t know this, but it is illegal (and dangerous for the baby) to stop the program when you are pregnant.  The long and short is that our baby will be born dependent on Methadone, and will have to be hospitalized until she is done withdrawing.

The best scenario is that there is a miracle, and the baby tests negative for drugs, and the hospital stay is much shorter than anticipated.  AND YES! I have heard of this happening surprisingly sometimes.

The worst scenario is: (copy and pasted from a website)

  • Excessive crying
  • Sleeplessness
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Rapid breathing
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Blotchy skin tone
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting
  • Gastronomical upsets

So realistically, I think I will land between those two. We are looking for averyfussybaby. I’m preparing for worst case senario, with a birth defect on top of that. (No! we don’t believe she has a birth defect, I’m trying to prepare for it just in case..you know, my carefully laid plans and all) Running 40 minutes to the hospital every day.  Lots of baby-sitters for my other kids.  We are heading for a very stressful time in our lives.
I know next to nothing about the hospital procedures, but next week we get a tour of the NICU, and a chance to shower them with questions.  I have a list on my notepad already. (Is it sad that one of my questions is about wifi?)

Our children know their sister will be born sick.  They know I will be gone a lot, and they will have to be at their Grandmas, cousins or friends.  They still say: “Oh it will be like one big party!”
Yeah, uh-huh one giant ball of laughs coming our way.

People ask if I’m worried about the Birth Mom changing her mind.  She has thirty days after the birth to change her mind.  I’ve heard lots of stories of moms who change their mind, and truthfully I don’t blame them, it’s their right.  I’m not worried, but I do hold this baby with open hands.  If I am so blessed as to be able to raise this little one, then I will be so humbled and honored.

So this is what we are plowing ahead with. I’m thinking that to get through this stage of our life, we’ll have to trust the one who gave us His.