woe and joy

A list of woes and joys:

  • Jay had a health screen by a nurse practitioner (or something? a baby whisperer, anyway) this morning. She had some magic, I tell you what, settling him down with her firm calm touch, her lilting baby voice, assessing his "social skills", hearing and tracking. He tested over his age cognitively [so proud] and was pronounced a fine healthy boy who's perfectly on track. 

  • The JB and I are having some growing pains of our own, though. In most couples, in the scheme of things, ideally there should be the calm, measured one, and the anxious nervous nelly one, right? That's how my parents were. But with the JB and me, we are both complete nellies. This is a lot of nelliness. His way of coping with his feelings is to talk talk talk them out with all the talking, and I am meant to listen, but I simply don't have the energy to in the middle of the night. My way is to get organised with walking schedules and list of things, but he sometimes resents being organised. He has sensitive ears and gets upset by the crying, and I feel like I then have to soothe both of them. Then, there's the fact I miss him (though he's right there all the flipping time), and our old relationship, with the laughing and teasing, the freedom to have a break from each other. This is nothing startling, I know, it's just exacerbated by being stuck here.

  • Jay slept well last night - most nights, really. (He does tend to cry a bout around 4am, but then he goes back down until 7 or so.) We're sticking to the feed on demand at the moment, (he's so hungry all. the. time.) so there are intervals of only 3 or 2.5 hours between feeds, but he's in night time mode for about 12 hours. 

  • I really want to go home. :'( I feel like a fly stuck in amber for all that time is passing. 

It's not so bad, right? A few more weeks? We can do that. Also, to be honest, we could do with a bit more time before flying to get more confident and for him to get his inoculations. 

How are you? I'd love to know. News from the outside world is always good, something to penetrate our bubble here. 
Thanks for being there internets; I fear this is tedious to read, but I feel better already, just from making my list.
xx

T


six week waiting period is OVER

SO FAR (please note, Universe, in no way am I taking this for granted. I am very very grateful for it.) the nights are pretty good. He goes in his little cradle about 8 and we rock it for a while. He foosters for a bit, (I presume sort of releasing the tension of the day? Though who can know.) And then he packs his bags and goes off to Lolo. Sure, the night is interrupted multiple times, but it's manageable, and he doesn't want to get up (SO FAR) until 7.30 or so. There is some fussing during the night, but only once or twice, and he can be consoled usually without too much screeching. We're able to rest loads.

The days are more difficult, in a way. There's more need keep him happy, and as anyone who has ever known a young baby, the moods can change direction in a split second. Still. SO FAR manageable. We finding our feet and (most hopefully) Jay is more engaged and available to play and learn every day. It would do your heart good, after all the hospital stuff, that he is growing into a healthy baby; it's all the sweeter.

[Feels teary.] Okay! Got to go and get hair cut. Back soon for advice on carriers. It would need to be small enough to travel - so maybe it's something to do when we get home? Is he big enough for one? I don't get it. I looked at an ergo the other day and it looked like something you use to go paragliding. (?) Information gratefully received. 

Oh! I wanted to mark the day: Six Weeks Have Passed (since Jay's birthmother signed his adoption papers). So now we start counting again.. it could be only 3 or 4 more weeks till! We! Fly!

Thanks for sticking with me, everyone. I wish I could answer everyone individually; there's simply no time, but please know how much every comment means to me, especially in my dark moments of despair, in my own evening witching hour.

Love
T


fog clearing

Thank you for your comments, as ever. I'm reassured I can to leave him to sleep him at night, (though it hasn't arisen yet, it has to be said. He wakes on the dot.)

Yesterday I had a crushing bout of homesickness, teariness, multiple moments of despair, negative self-talk (why did I ever think I could do this? etc etc, interspersed with other moments of clarity where I think oh wait yeah he's only a baby, just a young of our species. It's obviously do-able. People manage this all the time), so it's a great comfort for me to feel connected.


Yes. It's been an "interesting" six days since we escaped the hospital but today I feel so. much. better. We've made a plan. (I love a plan, do you? I feel all nice and orderly when I have one.) We've managed to pinpoint that apart from the obvious (ie. the adjustment to the realities of parenthood, where has my delightful former life gone? My freedom! Alas, my liberty! Wherefore goeth it? etc) we are being driven seriously doolally nuts by being sealed into our two-room hotel apartment together with a 6 week old baby. So, we've been venturing out for walks and from now are now taking turns during the day doing baby care to give the other one a break. 

So is it that I have rescued my laptop from lullaby duty (Jay got hooked in hospital. It's.. unfortunate, unless you like sleeping to a background soundtrack of One Green Bottle plinked out painfully slowly. I am trying to convert him to white noise. Or the fan. He loves that fan. We may have to install an entirely unnecessary one at home) and am sitting in the hotel lobby being all groovy and normal with the normal people. We are going to walk that kid all over town. He loves it, and it makes him sleep. The neighbourhood is prettiness itself; trees full of pink blossoms, painted wooden houses, brick foothpaths, helicopter seeds flipping down through the sunlight, tender spring green leaves. Lovely warm breezy air. 

Our paediatrician gave us a social visit this morning, (for no charge. We love her.) She seems to have taken us under her wing; what a breath of fresh air she is. She's so reassuring, all energy and positive vim, babies love her. She loves babies. She diagnosed an extreme case of handsomeness, pronounced him healthy, symmetrical, focused and engaged, and generally gave us a good ould shot of confidence intravenously.

So there we have it. Ah, let's see, to answer your question: we are nearly at the end date of our 6 week waiting period, (this falls on the 26th) at which point the report is compiled by our agency and sent to the Irish Authority. They in turn issue an Article 17 which approves the match (this could take anything from 3 to 10 days, depending on whether the system is "down"/ other gremlins, but if luck be a lady, that'll be done by, say, the 4th of May. After that, there's a court date which we are to attend by video link, and then we must wait for an appointment in the US passport office, where Jay is to be issued a temporary passport and we can travel home. 

You know, I still feel I'm in a dream. There is nothing about this experience that is familiar at all.

Wow.

xx
T

 


startling revelation

My poor tired brain is doing some weird shit, people. It has a constant soundtrack running with some not entirely helpful commentary, the latest of this being:

  • That man over there with tee-shirt saying: VicTri and friends on tour? He was once a baby!
  • That woman checking her phone with the glasses? Was a baby
  • The mother comforting her baby? WAS A BABY

And, someone cared for them! And they grew up okay, and now they're independent and able to go on friend tours, and operate phones and everything! This baby-bringing up thing is not just me. People do this all the time! And they don't go mad, or if they do, they don't stay mad.

That's right, and thanks for the advice, we got him safely back to base. In the end, the social worker from the agency gave us a lift, which was probably good as her chatter about the inconvenient timing of her kids sports events/politics/whatever the hey was a distraction from the crying that threatened to happen as we left. (Me. Jay went to sleep.) "We'll never forget you", I told them as we went. See, now I am crying again, how embarrassing, I'm at breakfast. But NICU nurses are a special breed.

Jay has been great since, really, considering everything he's been through. He's sleeping and eating a lot. A LOT. The NICU was noisy but our room is dim, quiet and nice and dull for him. The JB and I are adjusting, as you do. There have been some moments of despair. Last night on my rest-time for instance, I could not sleep. Nothing, un-sleep; I was in this state of hyper-vigilance. I thought I'd lose my tiny little mind, I just could not switch off; had to listen to the interior soundtrack of my negative thoughts and anxieties. Later though, I did get a few hours and I feel so much better. Jay has been great, he eats, fusses a bit (not sure why. He eats very fast, so I try to interrupt him to burp so he doesn't overfill himself. Actually I just answered my own question. I mean, I wouldn't like it if someone kept taking away my kale mid-bite. Okay.) and then goes back to sleep for 3-4 hours.

[Question: Say he's still sleeping after 4 hours since a feed. Wake him to eat or not? When, if so? I feel at night we could let him sleep a bit more, does that sound okay? It would be so wonderful if he'd sleep five hours the odd time. Tell me this happens. This happens, right?]

Can you make me feel more normal about any of this? 

Also, do you realise EVERYONE WAS A BABY. Absolutely everyone! Amazing.

Ooh, I feel a bit better. Thank you, internet. I must go and relieve the JB. 
T


smile

He's nearly 5 weeks old.

IMAG1688_1_1

  • Speaking of which I have these options for getting him back to the hotel from the hospital, none of which is ideal:

    Book a taxi and hope the driver is not psychotic
    Hire a car and hope I remember how to drive on the other side of the road, drive to the centre of town where the hospital is located 
    Book an ├╝ber on the advice they "tend" to be more human and normal than taxi drivers and sort of pray that this is true
    Public transport is out - they don't have an elevator at the hospital stop. 

    Bear in mind he's just out of hospital, has never been exposed to germs, fresh air or noises other than heart monitor alarms and nurses talking about remodelling their bathrooms, also I am NERVOUS. 

    I was thinking I'd ring a posh car service place and explaining the whole thing. Unless someone has a better idea?
  • Last week I could have sworn he smiled at me. I was saying hello and his face suddenly split into a big smile. Nothing since then, though.

    He's getting on really well. Word is he might be discharged in the next (!) few (!) days (!) so I took public transport/walked to Babies "R" Us (I wish I had time to go into the issues I have with their brand name)(I mean, really. Does it make sense?)(No.)(No sense whatsoever.) through a rather depressed part of town in the desolate hinterland of [city]. Baby stuffs have been purchased in a big hurry, including a Travel System which adapts to a car seat. 

  • He's been banshee-esque as predicted since I said he was a dream, but mostly at the witching hour of 7-8 just before feed-time, which seems quite reasonable. Apart from that, he's more and more alert every day and gazes at me for ages or holds my finger. I went out for a cup of tea at one point at some point last week or this week and came back to Laura holding him in the other room. She said he was missing his momma.

  • THAT'S ME.

Unbelievable.

Ah, it's time to go. Come back soon, the JB, you are missed.

Till later, all,
T


what the..

A VISION

Ghost of Dickens: .. so, is that clear, Miss Twangy? Make them laugh, make them cry -

Twangy: ..make them wait. Yeah, yeah, uh.. sir. But, how long exactly? Because I was thinking five or six..

Ghost of Dickens: Chapters? Hmmm, that -

Twangy: ..years

Ghost of Dickens: Years?? Oh, my foolish child, no, no. No reader will wait for 5 or - bless us! - 6 years.* No, no.

Twangy: They'll wait, Mr Dickens, sir. My readers have stamina. They're special. Kind of like the reader equivalent of those extreme Marathon people? Iron readers! They can do it! You'll see.

----------
*Apologies for making Dickens sound like Santa.
----------

The JB has departed for 5 days to do some worky things. Five days! I can do that. I have the nurses, the nice hotel staff, FIXER UPPER (home improvement series set in Texas: very soothing), my meditation/yoga, Wholefoods, and you, my long-distance marathon companions.

xx

T

ps. Jay updates to follow. He was like a dream yesterday, a dream, and now I've written that down, he'll be a screeching banshee today. Right? 

pps. I had a notion of taking some non-identifying still lifes in the hospital for posterity. This is what I came up with so far: a phone, remarkable only for its unfortunate colour: Corn Plaster Pink. 

IMAG1676

 


Not DIY so much as DI television employees

Thanks, everyone. Biscuit Crisis 2016 is over! (Collective sigh of relief).

I am having a Strong Adult day though I must say I particularly enjoy being told I must look after myself. It is great. Thusly, I've given myself permission to watch home improvement telly on Netflix this morning before going to the hospital. (All well there, he had a good night.) This might surprise, indeed shock, anyone who had been in my house, but I love this stuff.

When other people do it, you understand.
More a bit later.
T

IMAG1665_1_1


ups and not ups

Today and yesterday poor Jay has been feeling quite sick. Not inconsolable -  if you hold him the way he wants and forgo minor, slight issues like breathing or moving, he'll settle into angel pose, with his fine eyelashes fanning his round cheeks (His weight has shot up dramatically. So exciting.) and sleep for hours, until your arms cramp and feel like they might just.. die. The nurse, Meg said she wouldn't be able to hold him all the time - she has two babies to care for, after all, so it was good we were there. 

Now he looks up at me and tracks my movements, and listens to my voice. It feels like my every cell is being turned and pointed toward him like iron filings toward a magnet; I'm all tuned into Radio Jay. I don't know when this happened, probably gradually over the last few days, but I feel strangely exposed and vulnerable. Also, less flatteringly, I feel I want to be cared for. (UG. Have I not had enough me-time? Answer: Yes.) I was in the local supermarket earlier looking for some comfort food, and though there was everything else possible (which usually I find fascinating, I love an American supermarket) there was nothing familiar to me, and I felt like crying over the unrecognisable biscuit packets.*

So that's how it goes. Life is a roller coaster, you just gotta ride it, in the corny words of Ronan Keating. Tomorrow will be kinder. We'll be fine. 

Thanks for still reading, everyone. Everything is so strange for me at the moment, so it's nice to have this blog to come to.

T

*ps. I got some ginger snaps and cream cheese and made Poor Woman's Cheesecake with it. So, you know, not so sad. 

Moar drawrings:

IMAG1646-2


and what's more, that Italian degree was not a total waste of time!

(..maybe.)

I didn't tell you that Jay has rather a nice Italian surname - until it is changed to the JB's, that is. I like to think that my having lived in Italy resonated with his birthmother when she read our profile. (She gave Jay her father's name, a classic Italian American first and middle name, and asked that it be kept, (which we are doing) or incorporated into the name we gave him.) Who knows though? Maybe she liked Johnny's educator stuff, (she has a college degree) or something else entirely.

It's funny; he's close to the mystic image that used to float into my head. I used to see him sitting on our kitchen floor, I remember blogging about it, (I just spent ages looking for the post but it cannot be found.) I remember bunny saying something like that the vision is sometimes not quite right - like, he mightn't be black, but he might have black hair.

AND SO IT IS. Jay has a soft black mohican that everyone who meets him admires:

IMAG1635_1
Semi-successful drawing of the youngster. NICUs do not lead themselves to drawing, it turns out.


(bunny, if you ever get bored of being an academic, we can hit the road as a sooth-saying clairvoyant double act. Between us we can sort of vaguely predict the future! We can quite legitimately boast.)

We don't know quite when he'll be discharged - not for at least 10 days or 2 weeks or maybe much longer. We're really happy with him - there's no rush. When the time is right, he'll come out. Feeding tube was cast aside today, HURRAY, and he is eating well. (Fingers crossed.) I have tremendous respect for him.

More soon, everyone.
Thanks for following and celebrating with us. You really are excellent company.

xx
T


moments

  • More chaotic updates for posterity, my darlings.  
  • Jay continues to do well. He is however a young baby, as you know, and therefore a mystery. He doesn't bellow much, really, (so far) though there are plenty of moments where it's not possible to know what ails him. I'm getting used to trying stuff with him. His bouncy basket thing? His cot with or without mobile? YouTube lullabies and most brilliantly, rain sound effects, (to get him accustomed to Ireland)? Swaddles? Or not? Cuddles? Or not? Feedtime? It's always feedtime. He loves his meals and it's wonderful to see. He is making up for lost time. 

  • Americans have the most fascinating conversations on the street, on public transport, on the ward. This disinhibition about one's personal stuff would not occur in Ireland, not like that, anyway. Most of us would only mutter these things into our beer glass, as our overwhelmed companion says: Ah, now. (Not me, so much, I am more shy than reserved; I like to share and bond, if only I can get over my embarrassment. How about you? Of course bloggers are the quiet, introspective type, aren't we, mostly?)
    Example (he was projecting confidently so I don't think there could have been any expectation of privacy):
    My mother was a heroin addict, so I have a deep suspicion of compulsive liars.
    He was making a general point in a conversation about a politician, mind you.

  • Yes, I did sort of follow them a half block to hear that bit.

  • Is that bad? 

    People are utterly fascinating, is my only defence.

  • I was really happy today. All goofy. I was in a most excellent salad bar (there's more kale in this town that you could shake a stick at), not able to stop myself giddily dancing to the loud music. The lovely girl behind the counter was there: An Earth Bowl for the young lady! And I did a thumbs-up and shouted gaily over the music: Thanks for the "young"! A handsome tip for the server!

  • Yeah. Now that's making me a bit morto. Maybe I'll give them a miss tomorrow. 

  • Other moments are more scary and Jaysus, can we really do this? I am daunted, daunted is the word. 

  • In those I try to stay in this moment. Are we okay today? Yes. Am I okay at this moment? Yes. I have food in my belly (kale) and I feel well (kale). Thinking of what the future might bring is enough to make you crazy, I've always known this, but now it's rodeo time for reals. No more rehearsals. 

  • I also ate in the hospital canteen today; it was as good as an ER rerun. I love the way the high priests of our culture wear what is basically pyjamas and shower cap, as if they are hanging around at home on Sunday at midday, meaning to bathe, but, oh man, massive yawn, just can't quite be arsed to get undressed and step into the shower.

More of this nonsense later.
xx
T