Tuesday, May 15, 2012

things are still going pretty well with baby Ellie. She eats SO much. She is very much stronger than Titus was at her age. Her neck is stronger, she can wriggle harder. Her rooting reflex is certainly much more pronounced. Often she will clamp down on my boob right through my shirt if I am holding her at a certain angle. Titus had to be coaxed and coddled and he still did not want to nurse. This baby was built to thrive and I am proud of her. She is gulping down 3oz of formula every 2-3 hours. This is a lot for a baby of her size and age.

I keep expecting a call or email from the family that is waiting to welcome her into their home. I gave DHS permission to give our contact info and said I would be happy to facilitate a visit as soon as possible. I wonder why they are not phoning. I wonder if the caseworker even gave them our number. You would think that they would be very eager to see pictures at the least. Ive sent pics to the caseworker. Ellie's birth mom and dad did not make it to their supervised visit on friday. The agency will try again this coming Friday. They have arranged transport for her. I feel nervous about this teeny tiny baby being shuttled around town and passed around a visiting room. Her mother has a history of erratic and unsafe behavior with infants. She put peppermint  oil in a baby bottle once. I told the visit supervisor to never let the baby out of his sight and he assured me that nothing bad would happen on his watch. Also thanked me for being concerned, he said somebody has to be concerned on her behalf. I also dont like a ton of people handling a newborn. Germs! UGH.. and Im not going to be there to tell folks to wash their hands.

We have had a bit of a heatwave the past few days. Both babies spent the day in their diapers. Titus still broke out in a heat rash around his waist. 90ish degrees is unusual for this time of year. Nobody has AC in this part of the country. We have a small portable unit but it only cools one room. I am up now eating strawberries and waiting for miss ellie to wake up for a feed. High hopes that she will then knock out for another 3 hours so I can get a chunk of sleep. Titus doing a lot of night waking still. He feels that 4am is a fine time for a 6oz bottle then back to sleep until 7 or 8. He wakes several times in the night to express his displeasure at having rolled over on his tummy.

Waiting to hand this foster baby over to her adoptive family.. a huge bag of mixed emotions. Mostly it feels like being asked to hold another persons lottery winnings before they can come and collect. Im trying to think of it as baby feast after a long, dry, and unpleasant baby famine. The lovely smell of her! Her thick head of silky auburn hair is heavenly. I could eat her all up. I take her in later today for the 2 week well child visit and newborn screening part 2. She has a pretty nasty case of oral thrush. Apparently contracted at birth. Sadly, we will need to give her an oral anti fungal to get it cleared up. I am boiling all her pacifiers and bottle parts. Her belly button scab fell off a couple of nights ago. Yesterday she had her first proper bath in the Fisher Price Whale of a tub. She seemed to like it. Titus adores that bath and actually fell asleep in it yesterday. Funny little man.

A friend from the computer sent a box full of small baby girl clothing today. Hand me downs from her baby who was born the day before Titus. We are so thankful for this help. A shorter term placement of a foster baby always ends up costing the foster parent a lot of money. I will apply for WIC  to pay for her formula. The brand both of these babies take costs 22 dollars a tub.

Ellie stirs now. I might have to do a cool washcloth to wake her enough to eat. I think the heat is making her sluggish.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

we have a new camera.

Brian told me that he wasn't 100% sure that he wanted to adopt little Ellie anyhow. Of course that's easy to say now that we know we wont be able to. He said it was because he still wants another bio baby and wishes to continue fostering. If we adopted now that would be the end of our family building/ and foster parenting efforts. He does get a lot of satisfaction out of being a foster parent. Which is good because he dislikes his day job and we all need to feel like we are making a difference in the world. At least I do and I'm pretty sure he does too.

I'm starting to panic because I don't know when I will sleep when he goes back to work. Ellie takes nice long stretches of sleep during day. 3 hours of quiet sleep at a time. She fusses and grunts and wriggles all night. Titus has been waking because he rolls over on his tummy then freaks out, but of course he keeps doing it in his sleep. I plan to go to bed at 7 or 8. Brian can then put Titus to bed at 8 and stay up with Ellie until 11 when he normally goes to bed. If shes sleeping, great I can get another hour or two. If not I get up and feed her. This still isn't going to make for much sleep because I cant really drift off or nap after 4 am. Titus stirs around then and often requires a feeding. Most mornings hes been sacking out again until 6 but she will usually need to be fed during that time.  Unless both babies nap at the same time by some miracle, I wont be napping during the day. Titus has been FINALLY taking a longer afternoon nap. His morning nap is still 15-20 min. Same for second morning nap but usually around 2 pm he falls asleep for an hour or two now. Bliss. and really for his age he sleeps just fine at night. I just have to learn how to navigate this newborn thing again with another baby thrown in for good measure. When Titus was a newborn we mostly cuddled on the couch all day. I was sleep deprived but so anxious about his well being that I wouldn't take the opportunity to nap. I watched Ancient Aliens on the history channel and was so delirious that some of it actually seemed plausible.

speaking of sleep its quarter to 5. all babies sleeping so perhaps I should try too. I can leave ellie in her bassinet in the living room and go to my own bed & ignore her sleepy grunts and squeaks. if she cries I will wake up. If this works for me I think I might have just figured out the solution to my sleep problem!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what goes up

We had a letdown during our first face to face meeting with Ellie's caseworker on Tuesday. Because the placement worker had one little bit of incorrect information, which made all the difference as far as our chances of adopting . Basically, the family that adopted the sibling who lives locally DOES want this baby. Very much so, They are not certified foster or adopt with the state though. My Mom said because they are considered family they could have done a provisional certification within 24 hours. They didnt do that so we assume they are doing it the long way which can take months. For those that dont know, my mom is a DHS caseworker in another county.

We are now back down to earth. The fall hurt. We do want Ellie to be with her sibling, so this is bitter sweet. I had an outpouring of support from some women in my November due date online buddy group. Some of them were kind enough to mail packages of clothing for Ellie, and now I feel a little bad because she will be leaving before she is able to make use of all of those things. The fact is that she needs them though. You dont sent a foster child to their new home without a full wardrobe. At least I never have! The child and protective services machine is such a slow moving thing at times, its really impossible to say how long we will have her. They wait for court dates, supervisor approval, bank holidays etc. The children suffer for that in the end. This was made clear to us with our last placement. 2 years of being in care and they are still not available for adoption. Still waiting on parental rights to be terminated even though those parents demonstrated over and over and over again that they are not capable or willing to properly care for those girls. Even though the policy is permanency plan within a year. Sigh. I do hope they move things fairly quickly for Ellie. She deserves to be in her forever home already. With a mother to gaze into her eyes while feeding, and stroke her and love her and never leave.

The jaded part of me thinks that we will have Ellie in our home just until she starts sleeping through the night. Just until she smiles a lot and becomes a little more charming and engaging.  This has picked open my infertility scab a little. I didnt know that would be SO very easy to do after having Titus. The feelings are still raw, still painful. I resent being so unsure how we are going to complete our family. Foster/ adoption is painfully hard. Birthing another baby might be impossible. Most people wouldnt have to worry about it quite yet, but Ive a gut feeling that any fertility I had is screeching to a halt. Time is running out and I dont have another 5 years to try for a second child. I just want my family complete, which it very well might be already. It might have to be, but thats not the way I want it.

Throwing another wrench into the sibling works, I have figured out that there is something very wrong with my belly. It never went anywhere close to a normal size after giving birth. I thought it was lax stomach muscles and belly fat. Now I am pretty sure that I have diastasis recti and or some sort of abdominal hernia. I walk around looking 6 months pregnant, I couldnt suck it in if my life depended n it. That whole area just has an odd look to it. Very unpleasant to look at. There is some amount of pain. I have wondered why my abdomen remains tender to this day. Underwear and pants can irritate that area. I thought it was nerve damage from the C section. I will make an appointment with my OB first. My guess is that they will tell me to lose some weight and do physical therapy  then see where we are at. Insurance likely wouldnt correct a hernia. Its considered cosmetic. I would have to pay the thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Titus is doing well. He sees his pedi on Thursday for the 6 month well child appointment and immunization shots  At 13.5 lbs I think he will no longer even show up on the growth charts. I cant care though because he is obviously so healthy. Chunky legs! little belly!  He is going through a frustrating phase. He wants to do so much more than he is capable of physically, which results in a lot of screaming and boredom. He wants to be all over the house getting into things. I hope his motor skills soon start catching up with his mind. Today he learned how to push air through his lips and seems so proud. Busts out laughing if you do it back to him. He has figured out the I drop it and you pick it up game. Another favorite game is "mummy eats my hands". He thinks that one is hilarious. The boy is very ticklish.  He is on 2 meals a day now soon to be 3. He had butternut squash 2 times today, in addition to trying baby oatmeal and peaches.

Time for a little snooze before either baby wants my attention.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 3

Today marks 3 days since I went and got baby Ellie from the hospital. We are calling her Ellie. This is not her name so its okay to use it here.

That afternoon was fairly surreal, due in part to sleep deprivation. I knew I needed sleep more than anything but my mind was reeling and my stomach was churning all that night. What if we could keep her!? What if we cant? What if social services bungles this up like they did with the twins? Those poor 2 year old twins placed in our home, yanked away on a days notice to live with an uncle they had never met, only to be given back to the state when he had to leave the country a couple of months later. I'm still angry about that. They have never been able to give me a phone number for the foster home they ended up in. The boys wouldn't know us now. Anyhow, I couldn't sleep and by the time I arrived at the hospital that evening everything felt like a dream. The nurses were pleased to see me and had been expecting me. They had the baby with them on her little cart, there in the nurses station. I presume because her mother had been discharged earlier that day and Ellie no longer had a room. I presented them with my ID, and they filled out a load of paperwork. They had me dress the baby. Good job I had thought to bring her a "coming home outfit". As far as I could tell they had nothing for her there.      she was 6.5 lbs and 18.5 inches at discharge, so has a little room to grow in the newborn sized sleepers. They loaded up my duffel bag with diapers, formula, bottles. The usual. Not as much loot as I got for Titus. In fact Im using some of that stuff for Ellie now, the extra nursers and nipples.

The social worker had said that the mother is mentally ill, and that its obvious when you speak to her. The nurses confirmed this for me by reading some of their nursing notes where they had recorded her erratic behavior and quoted some of her delusional conversations. The poor thing is very, very ill. She ought to be in a state hospital. With the budget cuts that have happened in this state the past 15 years, the only way you can get inpatient psychiatric care is if you are criminally insane or a real danger to yourself. Sad stuff.

So far she is an easy baby. Eating lots, and regularly. Pooping finally. Sleeping most of the day like a normal newborn. Not very fussy. She is physically stronger than Titus was at that age, although not much bigger. Mother nature designed her to thrive. Now she just requires that her needs get met. I can do this, if given the chance. I know it will not be easy with 2 little ones. Its not so different than having twins I imagine. One sleeps through the night.  Brian and I feel like we just finished a rather challenging video game, only to level up. You think you can care for an infant? Try it with another newborn this round and see how you do. We started keeping pace and the tempo changed. We do feel like we can rise to the occasion. It takes a bit of putting on your big girl pants and not feeling sorry for yourself during the long, sleep deprived hours of the day and night. The mind altering, bone crushing exhaustion. We have to laugh a lot. A mother of twins told me that its just one day at a time. This will have to be my new mantra.

I have wondered if this is fair to Titus.Does he not deserve to be my only baby for a while? In a perfect world, yes. He would have 2 or 3 years of my undivided attention. But I do not get pregnant easily. Nor have I had much luck carrying to term.  a sibling would be pretty hard to come by the old fashioned way. Not that adoption is easy, but I think the benefit of having a sister would outweigh a little less attention in these early months. Think of how much fun and how much mischeif they could get up to. They would be in the same grade in school. The class of 2030 if my math is right.

I will update as I get more information about her case. She is a sweet little soul and we are lucky to have her in our home, no matter how long she stays. Shes not a guest, but our daughter while she is here and we want to do everything we can for this baby.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

To my blog friend, Faith..

I thought of you yesterday hen I got a call from DHS asking my family pick up a newborn baby from the hospital Thursday evening. I thought of you often as I tossed and turned last night. If I remember right, your son was 6 months old when your daughter arrived. I wonder how on earth you made it work.

We said yes to this little baby. Who's parents have lots of issues and who already has 3 siblings who are either in foster care or already adopted. Who has no other family to take her. They say she is healthy and not drug affected or exposed. Our hearts melted when the placement worker called.  We know anything could happen but they told us to be prepared for a long term placement. To go ahead and invest in a double stroller, a car seat , clothing. It sounds as if this is as likely to go to adoption as it possibly can be. We are excited and nervous, even if its just for a few days!

I can sleep when I am dead. Well seriously, I know I wont be sleeping much. I wouldn't be taking this on if Brian wasn't such an amazing, involved, engaged daddy. He does a huge amount of childcare.

Of course my car battery died the other day. Have to get that taken care of before I can pick her up tonight. I walked up to Ross and Walmart last night to get a few things. I gave away all the newborn stuff. She is 6.5 lbs so needs tiny things. she now has 5 sleepers, 4 pants, 6 onsies, 6 hats, receiving blankets, bottles, her own tub of similac, and a couple packages of newborn diapers. We already had a second nursery set up in anticipation of a toddler but she will sleep in our room in a bassinet at first.

Faith I would love to email or phone you in the coming weeks if you are OK with that. I have so many questions. I need a buddy!