Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Visit to the Fertility Clinic

Today Zoe and I drove over to visit the staff at the fertility clinic that Steve and I went to - I had kept in touch with a counselor who is on staff there. She was really wonderful and helped me get through the grief I felt when our last IVF hadn't worked. She had stayed in touch afterwards to see how I was doing.

When I sent out announcements for Zoe, I made sure to send one to the counselor as well as our R.E. and her staff. The counselor called me to catch up and since we've been playing phone tag, I decided to stop by the office. We stopped in and were able to go inside by the reception desk (but out of the actual waiting area.) I didn't want to be in the waiting area and upset anyone by bringing in a baby...I remember how hard that was for me when I would wait in the waiting room and someone would come in with a stroller or a carseat. The sounds of a baby crying or cooing as I was waiting to have a pregnancy test done (or some other form of treatment) were just too much for me emotionally.

The staff was so excited to meet her! They asked all about her adoption and how things happened. We talked for a bit. Then I got to really sit down and talk with the counselor I mentioned above. She's wonderful - she is so excited for us and asked a bunch of questions. She is working with someone else considering adoption, so I was able to give her some information for that person as well.

Our R.E. was able to visit for a few minutes, too. She actually had tears in her eyes. Zoe had been asleep for everyone else, but she woke up when Dr. K walked in the room. Zoe just smiled and batted her eyelashes at her. It was really sweet.

It was one of those full-circle kind of moments, you know? Back after our IVF hadn't worked, I dropped off a box of unused medications. I wanted to donate them to someone else who could use them instead of us. I felt like it gave me a little bit of closure, particularly as I drove away after donating them. Not sure if that makes sense, but for me, it seemed to help. Going back today was such a celebration and such a feeling of a new just made everything feel full-circle.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Don't worry...

Yes, somebody said that to me just a couple of days ago. "Don't will be just like she's your daughter." I was at a party, and it was said to me by a stranger who had just learned that we are in the process of adopting Zoe. I had shown him a picture of her and explained that we were new parents. His first question was, "Well, where is she from?" Meaning he assumed that we had adopted internationally. I explained that she was born right here in our state. Then he made the daughter comment. I assured him that she is most definitely our daughter. I honestly don't think he meant any harm by the comment; I think it was just what popped out of his mouth at the time. But it has bugged me ever since he said it.

Zoe has two mothers...the mother who gave birth to her and chose to place her for adoption with us. The mother who made a huge decision that affected not only her future, but Zoe's and ours. The mother who cares about her, loves her, asks about her and will spend time with her.

And she has me...the mother who thanks God every single day for Zoe. The mother who is so grateful to Z for choosing adoption. The mother who gets up in the middle of the night to feed Zoe or calm her crying. The mother whose day is made when I see her little eyes light up, and I hear her little giggles.

"It will be just like she's your daughter."

She felt like my daughter the moment I saw her. How could I adequately explain that moment to a stranger I had just met? The moment she was in that tiny crib in the hospital nursery with her tiny purple knitted hat on her head. The moment I held her. The moment I saw Steve hold her. There was never any doubt about how we felt; we just hoped that she would be able to come home with us and stay with us.

Every day that she has been with us, we get to see all of the new or funny things that she learns how to do. As I type this, Zoe is tryng to sit up on my lap. She is so determined. Yes, she's not even 3 months old, and she's trying to sit up! She's been doing that since the beginning of the month. It's so exciting to see all of her little firsts. And she's so funny. She'll stick her tongue out at us and wait for us to do it back to her. And sometimes she makes this little noise to get our attention; like "hey, you need to look at me." It's very cute, Yes, we are very proud parents, that's for sure.

I think Zoe has the best of both worlds. She has 2 families - her birth family and her adoptive family - who love her so much.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Brr!!!! It's getting cold here!

As of yesterday, it really feels like winter here. I know it's December, and we've been really fortunate to have the warmer weather up until now. But I was really enjoying the warmer temps. Oh well.

Things have been pretty busy. We had Thanksgiving not too long ago. We spent the afternoon and evening at my cousin's house and had a good time. My pictures from that day are still on my camera...I'll try to post one when I can. That Sunday my family threw us a baby shower. It was really nice - so many people were able to come and meet Zoe. My mom and my sisters put framed pictures of her on the tables as centerpieces and attached balloons. They gave out little favors of silver heart Christmas ornaments. We had a really fun (and sometimes emotional) afternoon with everyone and it meant a lot to me. Everyone there knew that it had been quite a long journey for us to start our family.

I talked to Z, Zoe's birthmother, that night. I had called her and left a message right before Thanksgiving. She wanted to call us back and say hello. She sounds like she's doing well. It was good to hear her voice and talk to her. I told her I'm getting some pictures together to send to her soon.

During the week we went on Zoe's first field trip! Well, we sort of tagged along on a field trip that students at my school were taking. They were going to Toys R Us to buy a toy for students in another class. They had to read the list, pick out the gift, and purchase it on their own. It was fun to see them so excited. We followed them over to the mall afterwards and watched as they found their way around the mall and talked with Santa to tell him what they hoped to get for Christmas. The whole trip was about life skills - what to do in a store, how to find things, how to order things (like lunch), and how to pay for things in a store. Zoe did great! (We saw Santa but she didn't actually sit on his lap. I'm a little paranoid about H1N1, so we decided to skip Santa for this year. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I figure she can go when she's older and understands more.)

To round out the busy last couple of weeks we went and got a Christmas tree today. It looks really nice. It's a bit bigger than we had planned, but that's okay. Steve put the lights on it and now it's waiting for decorations (that's my job.) I'll probably start it tonight.

Zoe has been pretty busy herself...
She had been sleeping 5 hours a night, which the doctor said is considered "sleeping through the night" for a 2 month old. She actually slept 7 hours after our field trip on Thursday and 6 hours last night! We were pretty excited. I had forgotten what it felt like to feel somewhat rested!

She also started trying to sit up when we hold her. She can arch her back and start to push herself up into a sitting position. She doesn't stay up without our help, but it's pretty impressive, either way!

And today we heard her laugh for the first time! She gets excited all the time but when I tickled her today, we heard a tiny giggle. Then when I sneezed a little while later, she giggled again. Too cute!

Well, I guess that's pretty much everything. Tomorrow I'm going to a pottery show with my mom and my sisters. I'm pretty excited - it's one of favorite places to go every December. Then my sisters are going to babysit while Steve and I have a date night (or maybe a date afternoon!) It will be nice to hang out with him. I think it's the first time that we'll have gone out just the two of since Zoe came home in September.

Hope everyone is having a good (and warm) weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Almost 8 weeks old

I'm not sure what was so funny, but Zoe was really happy this day!

I can't believe I haven't updated since late October. Well, I guess I can believe it. Things have been busy around here. We celebrated Halloween and Zoe rocked a mohawk. Well, not really -- I just washed her hair and it dried like that. Really! It was definitely festive!

We had a whirlwind weekend visit from Steve's brother, his wife, and our nephew. It was wonderful to see them, and they got to meet Zoe for the first time. It was very cool to see our children together.

I spent some not-so-fun time at the dentist this week. I needed to have a tooth prepped for a crown. I have had really horrible experiences at the dentist in the past (anesthesia not working, incredible pain with drilling, etc.) so even though I love my dentist, I was pretty tense about it. So far, I think it went okay. My jaw and gum are pretty sore, but I think that's to be expected. Hopefully it will be better in a couple days. I have to go back in early December for the actual permanent crown to be put on.

We had a call from Z, Zoe's birthmother, last week. It was SO nice to get to talk to her. She had received the photos and letter we sent at the 6 week mark and just wanted to let us know she got them. She wasn't able to email, so she called. We had a great talk - we were on the phone for almost an hour. She sounds like she's doing well and was happy to hear about how Zoe is doing, too. I'm so glad we got to talk.

This past week I also had my work baby shower. It was so nice of my coworkers to throw one. They were very generous. I took Zoe with me, and she was quite the social butterfly. Well, that is, until she fell asleep after her bottle! But that's okay. She was happy. My family is throwing a shower at the end of the month. We're looking forward to that get together, too.

Zoe is playing with her Brenda doll on her playmat. (My friend, Brenda, sent it to her, so she is now named after her.) She loves it!

Overall things are going well. Zoe is starting to sleep about 3 hours at a time at night. Sometimes a little longer. She's had a couple nights where she managed 4 hours in a row before she got hungry. I'm not sure who's more tired in this picture!She's been really active and has managed to hold her head up for a pretty long time when we're holding her. She can also do it for a little bit when she's on her stomach. It looks like she's doing baby push-ups. She's cooing and making sounds and loves to smile if you smile at her. She's such a sweetie. Oh, and you probably won't believe me, but she gave me a high five a few times. Steve saw it, so he'll back me up!

I'm really happy. We're both really happy. I can hear Steve talking to Zoe out in the living room right now, and I can hear how happy he is in his voice. It's definitely hard work to take care of a baby, but she is worth every second. And when she smiles, your heart just melts. I know I sound very mushy, but it's true. I said to my sister, Tracy, just the other day, I can't imagine our life without her. I just can't. I'm so glad that the path we were on led us to her.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thanks for reading Our Story

I can't believe that 5 weeks have already gone by since we brought Zoe home from the hospital. Wow. We're doing pretty well. Steve and I take turns getting up with her through the night. That's the hardest thing, I think. The getting up throughout the night part. I don't mind doing it; it's just hard when you've never been on that type of schedule (or lack of a schedule) before. But we're a good team, and it's been pretty good. Usually Steve would be up with her right now, but I wasn't feeling too tired, so he decided to go to bed early. He'll get up with her the next time - maybe 3 or 4 a.m.

This isn't related to getting up throughout the night or lack of sleep, but I wanted to say...

I feel really lucky to have 'met' so many wonderful and supportive people online. I have a great family and wonderful friends who have been there for us. It's been nice to know that I have an online community of friends as well. Seeing your comments and seeing that you check in on us really means a lot to me. I just want you all to know that writing this blog and having others read what I write really helps. It helped me share the hard times back when we were going through them, and it helped me share the hope I felt once again with adopting. Now it helps me share the joy I see when I see our daughter. It also helps me remember what it took for us to get here and to never take anything for granted.


I have been a little slow with uploading some of my pictures, due to technical difficulties! This was a picture of us on October 16th over at my sister's house.

And finally, the polar bear herself! She managed to sleep through the entire cider mill, pumpkin patch, and Zoo Boo experience! She was very brave in the haunted reptile house and the amphibian fun house. Very brave.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More pictures of Zoe

Thank you so much for all of the wonderful comments on the last post! Here are some more pictures from our first few days at home...

Zoe's Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) meeting her for the first time!

Zoe's MomMom (Steve's mom) meeting her for the first time!

Aunt Janice(my sister)

Aunt Tracy (my sister)

Big eyes!

Big yawn...

So serious...

Looking at toys

Sticking out her tongue!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pictures of our Daughter, Zoe

Today is our anniversary. October 16th was the day that I married my husband, Steve, 10 years ago. We both love the fall so much, we decided that a fall wedding would be perfect. We happened to pick Sweetest Day, too, which was kind of funny - Sweetest Day isn't celebrated everywhere; I think it's more just in this part of the country. Our out-of-state relatives thought it was very funny. We heard many jokes about how "sweet" we are!

I cannot imagine my life without Steve. He is just the best guy. He makes me laugh, even if I've had the worst day. He makes me feel special. He remembers the little things that I like -- gerber daisies, candy corn, and goofy cards. He helps me with things around the house -- he helps make it "our" home in many ways. He's protective, he's strong, and he has a kind heart. Most of all, he has loved me and been there for me through everything we've been through over the past 10 years (plus 6 and a half years of dating.) College, moving, new jobs, job loss, infertility, sadness, joy, celebrations...he's been by my side through all of it. He is my love.

In addition to us celebrating the "birth" of our marriage, we are also celebrating Zoe's birth -- she is one month old today! Can you believe it? We certainly can't! How fast a whole month has flown by! She is everything to us -- we have a daughter -- I can't believe that we get to say that! We have a daughter! Our little girl has already brought us such joy and happiness in such a short amount of time. We just love every minute we have with her.

Besides it being our anniversary, Sweetest Day weekend, and the one month celebration of Zoe's birth, today is also that day that Z is signing her TPR (termination of parental rights) paperwork in court. In our state, the birthmother goes to court to sign paperwork 2-8 weeks after the birth of the baby. During those weeks, the birthparents can decide to parent their child if they choose.

Z wanted Zoe to come home with us in temporary placement. That means that instead of going into host care (with another family) while Z was waiting for her court date, Z wanted the baby to leave the hospital with us. Of course, we were so happy that she made that decision.

It's a bittersweet day -- we are so happy for our family, but we feel such a sadness for the loss Z may be feeling. I can't begin to imagine how difficult today will probably be for Z and her family. I hope that we have shown her that we will keep our promise of staying connected through letters, pictures, and visits. We have emailed each other almost every day, and we have already sent many pictures back and forth. We are looking forward to the day that Z decides she wants to visit or wants us to visit. We have a picture of her and her family in Zoe's room. I already talk about Z with Zoe -- it's good practice for when she's older and understands what I'm saying!

We wanted to wait until today to post pictures of Zoe. I can't help but get teary-eyed when I see these photos of Zoe at the hospital. It was just a couple of weeks ago, but in some ways, it feels like such a long time. I don't think I have the right words to express what it was like to meet our daughter for the first time. I really don't.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Updates on Zoe

When we brought Zoe home, she was so itty bitty. She was down to 6 lbs., 4 oz. when we left the hospital. She was back up to 6 lbs., 12 oz by the time our Tuesday doctor appointment had rolled around. We don't have another appointment until next month, so I don't know her exact weight right now. What I do know is that she has definitely gained weight and length! When I pick her up she's still light, but she's definitely heavier than she was just a couple weeks ago. She's also a lot longer, and she likes to stretch out. She can still wear a couple of her newborn things, but she's pretty much ready to move into 0-3 months.

Zoe is sleeping pretty well at night. She will go for 3 or 4 hours and then wake up very hungry or wet. As it gets closer to morning she tends to be hungrier sooner. We've been taking turns getting up with her. Steve's more of a night owl so he takes the first feeding usually and then I'll get up the other times.

She likes to be on her stomach for "tummy time". The nurses said to put her on a blanket on her stomach a few times a day for a few minutes. She loves it. She is able to turn her head back and forth while she's on her stomach without much effort. She is so alert, too -- a friend of mine gave us a playmat for her to lay on. It has these little flowers that light up and play music - as soon as she hears it or sees the lights, she starts moving even more. She likes to pull on the little monkey and giraffe that hang down from the arches over the playmat, too. It's so cute. She had the tightest grip ever on the monkey's tail last night.

When I hold her on my chest with her head under mine, she tries to pick her head up so she can see me better. She's so so strong for such a little lady!

She loves to grasp my pinky while she's drinking her bottle. She loves to relax with Steve while he's sitting in his chair.

She's up to 3-4 oz. of formula at a time right now. She's doing well with it. Not much spitting up at all. She's a really good eater.

She likes to make noise - she makes little squeaks and little grunts all the time. It's very cute. She's really easygoing; she cries when she's hungry or wet, but that's about it.

I think she's starting to really smile a little bit here and there. We've caught little smiles when she's dreaming, but this week I've seen more and more when she's awake. It's so sweet.

We are so happy. We look at her, and we just can't believe how happy we are.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zoe's Birth Story

I got home from work on September 15th and checked the messages on the phone. There was one from Z's caseworker - she said that Z was in the hospital. I didn't get the call until almost 5pm, and by that time the caseworker had left for the day. She had said on the message that she would get back to us when she had more information. I called Steve at work to let him know. I remember my mind was going a mile a minute. Somehow I managed to call our parents, siblings, and some friends. I called my substitute and my boss, too. Once Steve was home, we were in a whirlwind! Both of us just felt like we needed to keep busy until we got the next call. We managed to finish packing, clean up the rest of the house, return some messages, and make a dinner to freeze. Finally around midnight or 1 a.m., we decided to try to sleep. We hadn't heard anymore at that point.

On Wednesday, September 16th, we both got up at our normal times. Steve went into work just to tie up some loose ends. I tried calling the agency again, but it was too early. A little before 9 a.m., Z's caseworker called and said congratulations. Z had had a baby girl! I can't remember everything I said; I know I was crying. I asked how Z was doing. I asked what we should do next. We were told that we needed to be at the hospital at 1 p.m. so that we could visit with the baby and with Z.

Steve got home from work. We left the house at 11 a.m. We stopped and picked up a bouquet of flowers for Z. We started our two our drive to the hospital. We found it pretty easily and made our way (very nervously) to the nursery. We checked in at the nurse's station and they gave us a wristband. We were told that Z wanted us to spend some time with the baby and then we would hopefully see her that afternoon.

Seeing Zoe for the first time was amazing. The hospital staff allowed us to visit with her in a room that was inside the nursery. One of the nurses wheeled her over in her little bassinett. She was swaddled in a couple blankets and had a purple knitted cap on her head. It was probably twice the size of her head but looked too cute. She was so tiny - 6 lbs., 8 ounces. She was 21 inches long. The nurse pulled out her little hands to show them to us. She has such long, thin fingers. She pulled our her little feet - which are actually kind of big for such a tiny baby! But still so so cute. We wrapped her back up and just looked at her. The nurse said we could hold her. So I sat in a rocking chair was able to hold her for the very first time.

The whole experience was surreal. Surreal in this crazy, unbelievably good way. Steve held her for the first time and my heart just melted. He's so wonderful with her. He got to feed her her first bottle. She was so tiny I don't think she even drank 1/2 an ounce.

We spent about 2 hours with her, just holding her, looking at her, being with her. Her birthmother, Z, asked to see her, so the nurse came and wheeled her down to her room. We stayed there because Z's caseworker was on her way to meet with us. We also met with the hospital's social worker and a pediatrician on staff. Z asked her caseworker to send us down to her room for about 15 minutes.

We gathered up our things and the gifts we had for Z. We walked down the hallway to her room. When we got there she was holding Zoe in her arms and feeding her. We went in and sat down with her. We only had a few minutes. I tried to say thank you through all of my tears. Thank you for the time she gave us over the summer. Thank for letting us get to know her and her family. Thank you for letting us have time with the baby at the hospital. It was very hard to say everything we wanted to say. I explained about our gifts that we had brought for her. Z gave us a gift from her mom, Zoe's birth grandmother. It's a beautiful sleeper and blanket. So pretty and soft. Just perfect. As we left, we hugged Z and said we would keep in touch just like we've all agreed. We walked out of her room, around the corner, and bumped into Z's mom. We hugged her tight and talked some more with her. I can't say enough how lucky we are to know Z and her family.

We left the hospital and got some dinner. We made arrangements to stay at a local hotel.

In the morning, we headed back over to the hospital to be there for 9:30 a.m. We were allowed to wait in the nursery, though, and they brought Zoe to us. We were able to get her dressed in her coming home outfit. She is so tiny - she really could have worn a preemie outfit home! Z's caseworker met with us and had us sign some paperwork that would allow Zoe to come home with us. After that we bundled her up and got her in her little carseat. She looks so tiny in it! We walked down to the parking lot with one of the nurses and the caseworker. We put her in the back of my car, and drove over the agency's other office. We had them sign some health insurance forms for us and then we were on our way.

We were driving home with our baby!

She slept the whole way. We got to our house and had a few minutes to settle in before my parents arrived. What a wonderful be home with our daughter.


Zoe is sleeping next to me, so I thought I would try to write a quick post. The days seem to pass so much faster right now. We're so busy with Zoe - she eats about every 2 hours. She's up to 2 and a 1/2 ounces each feeding. She really likes to eat - she doesn't even want you to stop to burp her or to catch her breath. She sleeps anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours (usually between 2 and 3, though.) She seems to be more awake at night; we have saying she's nocturnal!

She likes to lay on her quilts, both on her back and on her stomach for 'tummy time.' She moves around a lot - she kicks her legs quite a bit and is always stretching.

She's a really sweet baby - very laid back and really only gets fussy when she's hungry (or wet.) That's it. I keep trying to get a picture of her smiling, but so far I haven't had much luck. She's too fast for me!

Steve's mom came to visit us this past weekend, so that kept us busy. My parents and sisters have been over, too. We've had visits from our cousins and some friends. It's been really nice. Another cousin of mine is visiting tonight, too.

I've been emailing with Z, Zoe's birthmom, and it's been good to hear from her. Her caseworker called us on Friday and said that the court has the paperwork; we are just waiting for an actual court date.

So, that's pretty much everything. We're trying to get into a bit of a routine. I'm also working on a journal for Zoe; I'm writing about what it was like to be at the hospital and see her after she was born. I'm writing about bringing her home and what that's been like. I'll use it to write down the things she does as she grows, too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Super Zoe

I'm sorry for not updating over the weekend. We've been pretty busy. We're all doing well. Adjusting to being parents. We're used to staying up late; we're just not used to getting up all night long! We've also had some company, so that's kept us busy. It's so nice that so many people want to visit...everyone has been so excited to meet her.

Zoe is sleeping right now. She's doing great! She's going back to the pediatrician tomorrow for a weight check. She needs to be back up to her delivery weight. She lost 4 ounces when she left the hospital. She's been drinking 2 ounces at each feeding, so I'm pretty sure she'll be back up to her weight.

She's such a tiny little thing, though! Her little head fits right into the palm of my hand - I love to hold the back of her head and look into her eyes! She just started to really focus more -- she was doing it before but now it seems like she's noticing more.

She decided that she likes to sleep on her side, but the doctor didn't want her doing that. Too much of a risk of her flipping on her stomach and getting stuck. We bought a positioner and that's working well in the bassinet. She also loves to be swaddled. At the same time, she loves to wriggle one arm free. (We call her little Enchilada when she's all wrapped up in her little swaddler...I know, we're a little strange! But it's cute, too!)

We've been calling her Super Zoe! She has 'tummy time' each day; the nurses suggested we do this at least 3-4 times each day. Basically she just lays on her tummy on a blanket. It helps to encourage her to use her leg, arm, and neck muscles. Well, Super Zoe is able to push herself up just a bit and move her head from left to right and right to left. How is she able to do that already? I just think it's amazing. She looks so proud after she does it! (Or maybe that's us!)

Anyway, things are good. Yes, we're tired, but what a small thing to deal with. We're just so beyond happy right now. She's wonderful. We speak to Z through email each day. Z's caseworker thought that would be best right now (as opposed to calling.) Z even sent us pictures from the day of Zoe's birth. We now have pics of Z and her family with Zoe right after she was born. What a special thing for Zoe to have and for us to see, too. We also sent her pictures (after she sent the other pics to us.) We will send pics at our regular times, too, but it's nice to send extras in between, too (as long as it's okay with Z.)

Well, going to go sort some baby clothes and then off to bed...

***Not sure if I wrote this already, but we're holding off just a bit on posting pictures. I would love to share them, but we decided to wait until the TPR is signed out of respect for Zoe's birthmom. Then I'll post some; I have been taking a ton of pics. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

We're home!

We are home!

Wow - thank you all for the wonderful comments. We logged on last night and read them all!

We are going to name her Zoe Marie. She is doing great - she's eating and sleeping. I keep calling her Houdini because she likes to wiggle out of her socks and mittens!

She's just beautiful and we just feel so happy. I will post more later...just wanted to say thanks to everyone. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So very happy!!!

This will be just a short post because we are both exhausted. What a wonderful day! We got to the hospital around 1 pm and went to the nursery. We were given a wristband that would give us access to that area. We were allowed to spend time with the baby. We got to hold her and be with her for at least 2 hours, maybe a bit more.

She's just so beautiful and she's doing great. The doctor said she's very healthy. It was pretty cool to see Steve holding her and feeding her a bottle!

We got to spend some time with the birthmom and her mom, too. I'm going to refer to the baby's birthmom as "Z." I want to respect her privacy and not post her name.

We were so glad that we got the chance to speak to Z and see her and her mom.

We're hoping that the baby will be discharged in the morning. That's the plan as of right now. So we may actually be on our way home with a new addition to our family in about 12 hours!

It's a...

It's a girl!!!!!!!!

We heard from the caseworker just a little while ago...she was born around 4:30 a.m. That's why we hadn't heard anything! I don't know height, weight, or anything like that yet...

We're leaving right now to go to the hospital to see everyone. We'll update when we can!!!!

Still waiting...

It's 7:44am...

Hope we hear something soon...

Somehow we managed to sleep a little last night. Maybe 5 hours or so!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This afternoon's phone call...

Today I told more of my students about us adopting. They were really excited for us. I had some of my older students (3rd-5th) and they seemed to have more questions. They wanted to know about how adoption works, about open adoption, and if we would be able to name the baby. One of my students told me that he was so glad to hear our news because "it makes me all happy inside." How nice is that? And one of my other students told his other teacher that he was really happy for us, but also sad for the birthmother because she wasn't able to raise the baby right now.

I am really lucky to work with such kind, caring students.

In other news...

She (the birthmom) is at the hospital right now and we're waiting for an update! We're hoping that maybe someone - her caseworker, her mom- will call us later tonight and let us know how she's doing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

6 days...

I met with six of my classes today. I taught a 5th grade class, a special education class (with grades K-2), a preschool class, 2 1st grades, and one 2nd grade class. I explained to them how Steve and I are adopting a baby. I told them I wanted them to feel prepared so that they wouldn't be surprised when somebody new was teaching their class.

The 5th graders were pretty excited. A couple of them looked a bit sad. I know it's hard - I've taught them since they were in 1st grade, so I have had them for quite a while. One student even wrote me a note last week: "Another year in Art with you unfortunately the last (because she's going to middle school next year). I will always remember you from 6th grade to as long as I live. Thanks for your teaching and advice." She was unhappy today because of the news, but I told her how much I will really miss her and the other students. I also told her how much her note meant to me. She seemed better after that. One of the 5th graders asked if I would bring the baby in for a visit.

The preschool class and the special education class weren't too sure of my news...I'm not sure if they really understood that a substitute would be coming in.

The 2nd grade class was pretty excited. The first graders were the funniest. The substitute who will be in for me had asked if she could spend the afternoon in my room. She wanted to observe and see what types of procedures I was going over with my students. I thought it was great because I was able to introduce her to some of the younger students. Well, two of the kids wanted to know why I couldn't just let the substitute raise the baby and I could just stay and teach them! And one of the other students said he knew why I wanted to "babysit" - because I must really want to change a lot of diapers and be up all night.

Yes, they were pretty funny! I'm sure they shared the news with some of the other students in our school today, so tomorrow should be interesting...

Steve and I have both been nervous and anxious. He said he only got about 3 hours of sleep last night. I slept, but I dreamt that we kept getting the call that the baby had been born. I didn't know if the call was real or if I had been dreaming.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who posted such nice comments after my last couple of posts. Thanks so much - it means so much to me that you are all so supportive.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One more day down...

Tomorrow I'm going to talk to my "Monday" students at school and explain that I'm taking time off this year. My principal had wanted me to wait until this week because it was a little closer to the due date. I was with the students this past week, but we spent time going over rules/procedures in different parts of our school. We did not have regular "specials" classes. Last week one of the students asked me if I was expecting a baby and another student asked me if it was true that I was adopting. I told them we would talk about it when they came to art class this week. I guess they overheard it from another staff person or maybe one of the parents. Some of the parents at my school know that we're adopting. It's pretty amazing - there are a lot of families in my school that have somehow been touched by adoption. I also work with quite a few people who have adopted. They have been a great support system along the way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

8 days...

We're down to 8 days until the baby's due date. Wow - in some ways the past couple weeks have felt so slow, but in other ways it feels like it's zooming by. Does that make any sense?

I have been back at work. The students started this week, so it's been busy. It's also been very hard to focus on work-related things! I'm really glad that I took a lot of time in early and mid-August to prepare for my substitutes. It made it a lot easier during this past week. Everything is ready, though, so whenever the baby comes, the sub will have what she needs to start.

There certainly is a lot of waiting with adoption, isn't there? The closer it gets to the due date, the harder it seems to wait. I have been busy with work and things at home, but it's not enough to take my mind off things, that's for sure. I've been thinking a lot about how the birthmom may be feeling right now and how this must be so hard. We still email each other often - I'm so happy when we get an email from her.

So that's where things are right now. We don't have anything specific planned this weekend, so I think I'm just going to try to organize some things around the house a bit more. I might try to work in our garden, too. And I'll be trying not to be so jumpy every time the phone rings! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lots on our plate

Well, I was going to try to update my post with everything we accomplished yesterday, but I didn't happen! When we finally got home at 1am, I was so exhausted and pretty much just went to bed.

First we had to get up early and have our fingerprints redone. The "early" part was my choice - I figured it was better to get it taken care of...the clearances need to be updated because we had them done around this time last year. So that was first. That went fine.

Next we went to a used bookstore. We had four filled-to-the-brim bags of books to sell. Usually the guy buys all/most of Steve's and maybe one or two of mine. (Maybe he doesn't sell as many of ones I like to read? Not sure...) Well, this time he bought MOST of our books (including mine - yay!) We got $50. Not bad. I'm putting it aside...I have a feeling we're going to need to order a new washing machine soon. I'll be prepared for when we need it! (Not that $50 will cover it, but I'm adding my birthday money from Steve's mom and another gift to it. I'll save up a bit more, too.)

Then we stopped at the police station. They will check your car seat for you and make sure you installed it properly. Turns out that the officer who does that wasn't there yesterday. We got the phone number for her phone on her desk - we'll call her today.

After that we dropped off donations at Salvation Army. I had at least 3 bags of clothes, the extra books, and some other stuff that we wanted to donate. I'm clearing things out as much as I can, knowing we're going to accumulate more things, fairly soon.

We had 11 am doctor appointments. We also had to renew our physicals. Our doctor was out of town all this week, so they fit us in with another doctor. She was really wonderful. We also got our flu shots, so we won't have to worry about getting those later.

We had fasted for that appointment just in case they wanted us to get bloodwork done (they did) so we went to get lunch at Panera. (I heart Panera - can't wait until it gets colder - I love getting the tomato soup...)

We returned cans - lots of cans - at the grocery store and popped into Hallmark so I could get a couple cards. I had Hallmark bonus points/money that was burning a hole in my pocket!

We stopped at Staples and made copies of all of our paperwork. We also returned the ink I bought the day before and picked up the right ink. Oops. Could my mind be elsewhere??

We stopped at Walgreens and picked up my photos. Steve dropped off a prescription. Then we came home.

I created a list of names/phone numbers to take with us to the hospital.

I put our gift in a pretty bag. The night before I wrote out a letter to the baby's birthmom and put that in the bag, too.

I sterilized a couple bottles to take with us, just in case we needed them.

I paid some bills (not too exciting but they needed to be sent out.) I also sent out some thank you notes from my b-day.

Steve tested out the video camera, and we recharged batteries.

We mapquested how to get to the hospital and to a nearby hotel.

I touched up the paint on the armoire in the baby's room. I added blocks of wood to the inside. The blocks needed to be painted. My dad had suggested we try it. The armoire is an antique. It had a very old bar that you could hang clothes on. When I refinished the piece, I took the bar out (it was more rust than anything.) I added a tension rod. It fit perfectly, but when you put more than one clothing item on it, it fell. The weight was too much. So we added the blocks just under the bar. We also added two under that, so we could have two rows of clothes. I don't have a picture of the inside but this is the outside:
After all that we decided to go to the movies and just relax. I slept SO hard last night - probably one of the best night's sleep I've had in a long time!

So, what's on the agenda for today?

I'm working on a mobile for the nursery. Well, I will be working on it when I start it! I had an idea for something and I want to try it out.

We need to clean up the backyard (twigs/branches) a bit and maybe weed a bit out front, too.

I want Steve to show me how to use the video camera, too.

I might try to make a couple dinners (lasagna maybe?) to freeze. Any suggestions on that idea?

Plus we have general cleaning to do, too. The house looks fairly good, but I want to go over everything. It's going to be a busy week this upcoming week, especially with the students starting at my school. Staff started last week. I won't have too much extra time for cleaning at that point.

Haha - after typing out that list, I feel even more tired!!! I have to say, though, that it feels so good to accomplish so much, especially in one day. I don't think Steve would agree, though! He teases me and calls me a machine :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Show and Tell

As promised, here is the picture of my birthday icecream-cupcake cake - it really was as big as my head!

This is a picture of my parents from July. They had come over to celebrate Steve's birthday. They brought Steve some birthday gifts, and we ended up giving them a gift, too.

When my parents found out they were expecting me, they bought that little jar for my grandma. It had hand lotion in it. They gave it to her for her birthday and signed the card from me (Baby U - due Sept. 16th.) It took her a few minutes but then she realized what it meant - that another grandchild was on the way.

When I was little my grandma gave me the jar. I kept it all these years. I knew that when I had a baby someday I wanted to give it to my parents to make our announcement, too. Well, when we did our IUIs, I had that little jar wrapped up. When we did our IVF #1, #2, and then #3, I had it wrapped up and ready to be given. Because we had never been able to conceive, it ended up sitting on a shelf in our closet.

The day this picture was taken, I had pulled the little jar out and decided I wanted to give it to my parents. Yes, they already knew our announcement that we had been picked, but it still seemed like the thing I needed to do. My grandma would be so excited that her little great-grandchild is on the way. I know she looks over us and I really wanted to tell my own mom and dad in the same way. It really meant a lot for me to finally be at the day when I could give it to them. Mom has it sitting right in her living room so it's one of the first things you see when you walk in!

This is the first gift one of my friends gave me after we found out! My friend, Dawn, who is the most fabulous baker, made these cookies! She gave them to us to celebrate our adoption news. (They were so good!)

We're busy working on other last-minute things this weekend. Hoping to get a lot done. I'll try to update again if I have a chance...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It sounded like boom, boom, boom, boom!

Today was the doctor appointment. Everything went really well. I had never been there before so I was worried that we might be late. There was so much construction on the way to where she lives as well as on the way to the doctor. It all went fine, though! It was cool because I got to pick her up at her home and meet her brother.

At the doctor's office, I got to hear the baby's heartbeat! Let me repeat that...I got to hear the baby's heartbeat!!! It sounded like boom, boom, boom, boom...very strong and very fast! I think that must be one of the most beautiful sounds I have ever heard.

So, everything is going well. We were able to spend a little time together and talk afterwards, too.

24 days until the baby's due date!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I haven't posted in a while, so I thought I should maybe write a quick update. Things have been really hectic, and I'm trying to take one day at a time. We have less than a month to go until the baby's due date. Wow. Just wow. It's so surreal.

We have been trying to get things better organized around here. I still have a lot to do. It's not that the rest of the house needs a ton of work, but I'm feeling like everything should be in it's place. Is that nesting?

We hung up a few things in the baby's room, but we're still working on it. I may actually make a new piece of art to go over the baby's crib. I'm trying to get other things done first, and then I'll come back to that. The room is pretty much put together. We have a crib, dresser, armoire, bookcase, glider, and a rug. That's about all that will fit in there! We have other basics for when the baby will arrive, but we'll worry about the other things after.

Most of my time lately has been spent getting ready for the school year. I'm working up until the baby is born, and then I'm taking off the remainder of the year unpaid (except for a few vacation days.) I'm trying to get things ready for my substitutes at work. It's looking like at least 2 different people (maybe more) will be teaching my classes over the course of the year. Multiple people makes it kind of hard for me to plan. I'm trying my best to keep things general and to make copies of everything. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed right now, but I'm doing my best to get things done so I won't have to worry about it later.

In other news, I am going to a doctor appointment with the expectant mom on Thursday. I'm really excited. I think it's so nice that she's letting me be a part of it. We've still been talking through email. It's been really nice.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It took 5 years to get to these next 5 weeks

"How do we know where our journeys may ultimately take us?" This is how the epilogue to Forever Lily, a story about an adoption from China, by Beth Nonte Russell starts. I read the book back when we first started considering adoption, and I thought we might actually pursue international adoption instead of domestic. The author writes about how, over the course of the past 5 years, her life changed dramatically. It makes me think about how our lives have changed so much over the past 5 years, too.

Five years ago this month we moved to a new state (well, new for Steve but it was the state I grew up in) and a new home. We scrambled to make the move happen in a short amount of time. We were closing on our home, and I was starting a brand new teaching job all within a matter of a few days. So not only were we setting up a new home, I was setting up a new classroom. The home we bought was our first house - we had always rented in the past. This was a HUGE step for us.

I started the new job and met hundreds of new students and many new coworkers. Steve continued to work his same job but in a new location. He had to meet many new coworkers, too. It was an adjustment for both of us.

We always knew that we wanted to have children, but we waited until after we had bought the house and we felt we were ready. Then after trying on our own for a long time, we moved on to a fertility specialist. She is a great doctor, but things just didn't work out for us. We got to a point where we knew that we needed to go down a different road. We had talked about adopting for quite a while. Even back before fertility treatments - we talked about it back then. When we decided to adopt, I felt a sense of relief. I felt like we had finally found a way to start our family. That this way might work for us. I felt a new sense of hopefulness that I had lost along the way during the infertility procedures.

The ups and downs are still a part of the adoption process, but I think we have felt more of the ups this time around. In the beginning, it was hard to hear that our profile had been shown but not picked. Part of you is happy that it's being shown, but the other part of you wants to know why you weren't chosen. Then we got the call on a Friday afternoon in June that changed everything. We feel really fortunate that our wait time was short considering what it could have been. We feel really lucky that we've been able to get to know the birthmom and some of her family. We're hoping that maybe we'll be lucky enough to spend more time with them before the birth of the baby.

I am so thankful for this situation. For us to have met her and to have spent additional time with her is a gift. We realize that not every adoptive parent has that same situation where they get to meet their child's birthparent(s). We're writing a journal about getting to know her - we'll give it to Zoe when she's older.

So much has happened in five years. So much transition, newness, starting over, beginnings, endings, emotional highs and lows. I wonder what I would have said if you had asked me 5 years ago where I thought I would be 5 years later. I'm sure I would have said that I would still be a teacher. I know I would have said that we would be still be a happily married couple. And I'll bet that I would have said "hopefully I'll be a mom." And to think...that looks like it might actually come true in about 5 weeks. Looks like our journey to parenthood might just be beginning...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


These are two pages of the scrapbook I've been working on. Steve's mom has also offered to make a scrapbook for us, so I've been trying to save things for her, too. In the book that I'm putting together, I'm including things from our adoption journey as well as things we're doing to prepare for having a baby. Just thought I would post a couple...These two pages have to do with our nursery:

I've been meaning to write a new post over the past few days, but I haven't had the chance. We've been kind of busy with things. Plus I wasn't feeling great over the weekend - my allergies were bothering me, and I even lost my voice at one point! (Usually that happens after I start back to school and have to talk more!)

As far as what else has been going on...the expectant mother that chose our profile and I have been emailing each other quite a bit. It's been nice to "talk" to her -- I get so excited when I see there's a new message in the inbox from her!

She asked me if I would go to a childbirth class with her on Monday night. It was so nice - she even called me before the class and we got to talk a bit. Then we went to the class and learned about hospital/birth plan options. I felt really happy to be a part of that with her - it meant so much to me.

I sent her a message thanking her for including me. She sent one back and asked if I would like to be in the room with her when she has the baby. I am so honored that she would ask me! I don't think I could have smiled any bigger when I read her message!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's really starting to hit me...

I haven't been able to get to sleep, so I thought I would come on here and write a new post. Things are starting to feel pretty real -- it's hitting me that we're going to be parents very very soon. We went and looked at gliders tonight. My parents told us they want to get us one, so we've been looking around. I think we found one that we like. It's sort of surreal. I was sitting in the chair in Babies R Us and picturing myself holding our little baby. I've pictured us with our baby before this, but this time was different. This time feels more real.

I guess it's kind of a transition. The past three years were filled with waiting and hoping and then let downs and then back to waiting and hoping. Right now it's nice just to feel up. Just to feel happy. It's nice to feel hopeful again.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Getting Ready

I've been trying to figure out what I wanted to write for this post. Things have been pretty busy since my last one.

We have been in contact through email with the expectant mom that chose us. We're getting to know her better. She is really wonderful - very funny and nice. We're hoping that we might get to go to one of her doctor appointments in the future. We'll see what happens with that. She sent us pictures of her and her family with one of the last emails - I'm so happy to have those. We're keeping copies of all of her emails, so that we can share them with our child some day.

We've been talking about what we want to do with the baby's room as far as decorating goes. I love anything that has to do with decorating rooms -- it must be the artist/art teacher inside me! :) I keep saving ideas on my "favorites" bar on my computer - Steve laughs at me because of how many favorites I have!

This is what we have so far for the room. (Nothing is up on the walls yet, but it's in the room until we decide what we want to hang where.)

A bookcase that I repainted. We have a few children's books on it. The chair will probably not stay in the room because we will probably need the space...

An armoire that I bought a few years ago and repainted (I'll have to take a picture of the inside, too - it has a few shelves and an open space for clothes to be hung) I added the little knobs to it, too:

The dresser (that will also be a changing area) It's from Buy.Buy.Baby

The crib (and a mattress that's not in the picture) It's also from Buy.Buy. Baby

My sister, Janice, cross-stitched this for our baby. She worked on it for quite a while and even changed the pictures in the pattern so they would work for a girl or a boy! She said she added the books because we like to read so much and the crayons because of my love of art. :)

This is fabric from an outfit that I like. I really like the colors in it. It's sort of an "inspiration" piece for me for the room. The pink won't be part of the whole mix if we adopt a little boy, but I do really like the other colors. We'll have to wait and see!

We had sock monkey dolls when my sisters and I were growing up. I saw this night light about a year ago and knew I wanted to save it for our future nursery!
The nightlight is from a store called Leon and Lulu's: I wish I could LIVE in that store - it's that great of a store!

We saw this painting/collage when we were on a vacation in Rehoboth Beach, DE. We loved it, but didn't buy it at the time. I came across it online and bought it a few years ago. It's been waiting to be hung ever since! (The colors in the painting are the same as those in the fabric above.)

I haven't really found a set of bedding at this point. I really just want a cribskirt and a quilt (no bumpers.) I think I'm going to buy a solid color cribskirt, and my mom said she could add ribbon to it for me once we know if it's a boy or a girl. She also said she would make a quilt for the baby!

We bought a car seat this past weekend, too. We'll be ready for the day we get to bring our little one home!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thank you so much!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who left a comment after my last post. It is so nice to read (and re-read) all of them!

About 3 or 4 people asked me if we know if it's a boy or a girl...we don't actually know. It's going to be a surprise - very exciting! We have narrowed down our lists of names for a boy and a girl, but I think we'll be keeping that a secret. Lots of surprises in September! (I'll certainly take suggestions, though, if you have any names you want to throw out there!)

Things are going very well here. We are just so so happy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Excited, Stunned, So VERY Happy...We Are Linked to a Birth Mom!

This is the look on our faces when we saw the words "Linked with a birth mother" under our picture on our agency's site!

Yes, you read that right! We are so excited to announce that we are linked with an expectant mom!

We got "the call" while I was in Chicago on Friday, June 26th. The expectant mother's caseworker left a message on our voicemail saying that she had a case she wanted to discuss with us. Steve didn't get the message until 8:30pm that night, so we had to wait until Monday morning to get some more information! Talk about a LOOOONNNNNGGGG weekend!

Monday morning, June 29th, at 8:15am we called the caseworker. She told us that we had been chosen by an expectant mother who is due to give birth in September. She said that we would get more information when we went in for our "linked" meeting with the director of our agency. We called our families and shared the good news! Everyone was very shocked and excited! My sister, Janice, even started crying in front of her coworkers when she took the call -- she was so excited and happy!

We made some phone calls and were able to schedule our linked meeting for the very next day Tuesday, June 30th. Our appointment was in the afternoon; even that felt like such a very long wait because we were so anxious! We met with the director, and she went over the file of information including background and health information. We even learned a bit about the expectant mother's likes and hobbies. We signed some paperwork and found out that she wanted to meet with us as well.

We were waiting to hear from the agency to see what the best date was for the birth mother. We were prepared to cancel our trip (to Vegas) at that point if she was available that week. In the end, she couldn't come to the meeting until this past Thursday, July 9th, so it all worked out.

So with almost no sleep (because of all of the excitement) we went on our trip and couldn't believe that we had just been chosen! We had been LINKED! Steve kept looking at me throughout the trip and just mouthing the words, "We're linked!!" What an amazing feeling -- we know how fortunate we are to be picked at this point. Our agency had told us it could be a TWO year wait (or more). We had been waiting 6 1/2 months at that point (7 months as of today.)

We got home Sunday, July 5th, and had to wait until Thursday, July 9th, for our meeting. While it gave us a chance to recover from the time difference from Las Vegas to Michigan, it was REALLY hard to wait!

We drove to another branch of our agency's office and met with the caseworker, the expectant mom, and her mother. We were nervous, excited, and did I say nervous?? We all sat together, though, and started talking, and it felt more and more comfortable. We got to know them better, and they asked us some questions as well. Our visit was over 2 hours long, but it didn't seem like it at all. The time went by so quickly. We're hoping that we will see her again soon; we may even get invited to a doctor appointment...we'll see!

We are so thankful that she chose us and so very very excited and hopeful for September. We celebrated tonight by going out and buying a crib mattress! I haven't posted anything until now for a few reasons...I was waiting for our meeting on Thursday, and I also wanted to wait until I had spoken to a couple of people I hadn't reached on the phone yet.

But now I'm making the big announcement! :) What an exciting, wonderful whirlwind these last two weeks have been!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Summer Vacation

I know my last post and this post will probably make it seem like all I do is travel, but it's really not true! We occasionally go out-of-state to visit family or take a day trip, but it's rare that we go on actual vacations. Two in one summer is a record for me.

Steve and I went on our trip to Las Vegas last week. (I had won the 50-50 raffle at a fundraiser and we decided to put the money towards a vacation...) We were gone from July 1st to July 5th. What a great trip! It was so much fun. We treated each other to a show for our birthday gifts to each other. We went to see the Stone Temple Pilots concert at the Hard Rock, the Kathy Griffin show at Mandalay Bay, and the Cirque de Soleil Beatles show "Love" at the Mirage. (That last show came with our travel package.) All 3 shows were so good. We also walked around A LOT and checked out the different casinos. We didn't really gamble much - I spent a whopping $11 on a slot machine!

We were there over the 4th of July so we got to see fireworks on the Las Vegas strip. We went up in the Stratosphere for an aerial view of Vegas. We had fried oreos in Old Vegas!

The best part was just relaxing by the pool and swimming. It was so nice to be outside and just read and have fun. If you can believe it, it was 107 degrees there the day we left!

What a great trip -- I'm so glad we went and spent such a great time together. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer brings...

Us walking to New York, New York:

Steve in the Venetian:

The pool at our hotel:

Stone Temple Pilots:

The Stratosphere:

Steve checking out the view from the top of the Stratosphere:

Dressed up for dinner:

Kathy Griffin at her show:

Us at the Love show:

Palm trees...I wish I had one in my yard!