I’ve been incapable of the introspection required for blogging because of all the powerful emotions thundering through me like carthorses but now, I will in fact attempt a narrative, before I start forgetting details. It’s like trying to contain an ocean in a thimble but some sort of record is essential. It’s been quite a week. Last Wednesday 16th March, (auspiciously my nephew Spike’s eleventh birthday), I was leaving the house for choir when I got an email from Agency Boss Lady, which proceeded thusly:
How are you doing?? I believe I have wonderful news for you, you have a son!
(Which words were pre-emptive, really.) Details from the social worker and hospital followed below. A baby boy had been born on the 12th to a mother who wished to have him adopted. By us, specifically. (!!) He was still in the hospital. The birthmother had received no prenatal care*, he was a little small for dates (though on “normal” charts) and had some other significant challenges*. But he seemed remarkably well; his test results were all good, considering.
I nearly fainted dead away on the spot; but somehow did remain standing and contained myself enough to go to choir. I told Real Friend, also in the Alto section, a bit of the story. Real was most excited, tentatively so, like me. It felt like a dream. That evening another email arrived, this one from Irish Agency. “We’ve heard your news and want to support you at this exciting time” it said. “We must advise you strongly to get a second medical evaluation.” Their doctor had had a look at the medical reports and raised the concern that the circumference of the baby’s head was smaller than it “should” be, and since our declaration is for a child with no or minor health issues, this caused all sorts of infuriating cautionary conversations with Irish Agency. But yes, there was need for caution.
[I’m on the flight now. They keep interrupting this My Important Missive with commands to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. I will be flying into my beloved NYC (hi Bionic!) and on to [nearish city].]
St Patrick’s Day happened. We had planned to go to Spike’s traditional family birthday lunch as prepared by his mother, the chef. (Always amazing. Always. [Now I’m hungry. Where’s my plastic inflight meal?]) but What With Everything, we spent the day trying to process the information and finding a paediatrician with appropriate expertise to give an assessment of the medical reports.
Some snapshots of the St Weirdrick’s Day of the traditional green velour hats, parades and adoption anxiety: the JB is searching on the internet for information about newborn head sizes, I’m compulsively cleaning behind the telly, something I’ve never had any interest in before, (my version of nesting, I presume; it got worse) but the mindless activity is comforting. All the cables must be detangled! I’m thinking about Baby’s birthmother. It’s so sad. I’m crying. Then, I’m not anymore, I’m staring at the shelves, having gone there for.. something, the line of a song from a musical going around my head, dementedly. The JB is going back and forth with information. We’re looking at flights. We’re hugging. I’m thinking about little babies in the NICU. The JB is reading emails from Agency Boss Lady. She is very positive! Too positive? We need another opinion and we set this up remotely with an expert in this area. (Email me if you ever need to know her name.) I’m talking to Irish social worker and she is nice, less annoying than the first. Also, she’s heard from the NICU doctor that he’s pleased with the baby’s progress. It’s all the smallest bit more real. We sleep heavily and then not at all, and then it’s the 18th, and we speak to World Expert on speaker phone. Her probable prognosis sounds perfectly manageable, in as much as any child’s future can be predicted. Our declaration covers those sorts of issues. I also got two other referrals for Irish doctors from my GPs (involves visits to those), but with the weekend it’s going to be hard to get hold of them. We’re looking at flights again. The JB is talking to his HR department, I’m wondering who to ask to mind the cat.
All the while I am only half-believing this is happening. It’s hard to believe we won’t be cheated somehow. Won’t something go wrong? We tell the family at the weekend. They are delighted for us. My usually laconic brother gives advice about wobbly necks and car seats which seems Too Soon, and feels jinxy, but it’s his way of being excited for us. And yet maybe it will work out?
[Bleah, re-turbulence. I hope I’m not going to die in a fiery crash now? After All That? No. I refuse to.]
More good news from NICU. He’s gaining weight and his head has expanded - the JB read moulding happens after a vaginal birth. We confirm the match! We’re thrilled. Thrilled! And afraid. Afraid. We book the recommended hotel (sort of mini-apartment/hotel deal), the JB departs, on Tuesday. He’s to go to the hospital yesterday with the social worker. I wait uncomfortably for hours, telling myself it’s probably hard to send a message while holding a baby, and of course they are four hours behind (until the weekend when we spring forward). I look at baby books (I mean the basic info type, not the ones with the Reproving Ideas that bunny is not fond of. (I trust her.)) and decide that can wait till [city]. I clean the house madly, I make cat arrangements. I try to think of everything, which is tiring, but I am not tired, I am 78% adrenaline. JB sends me a text, blessed blessed man, with a photo of him and the Actual Baby, for whom I will think of a better pseudonym. They look lovely, perfect together. The JB has an expression of bamboozlement, fear and delight. Actual Baby is awfully, awfully sweet. The JB held him for three hours straight, until his arms hurt. That’s a kind man. And here I am, over Newfoundland, catching up with them, and now you are now caught up too.
More later, my dears. We are coming in to land, I hope, though the story is never over, is it.
*(I am struggling with the decision how much to share of her and his story. Maybe I’ll put more details in a locked post.)