Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A progress report

Medically speaking, Hester on the down slope now. She'll probably be in the NICU for another month or so, but at least she's stable and comfortable. Her nurses are amazing, especially one named Debby. Debby gave Hester her first bath (and took pictures for us), and she also started a journal for Hester that she updates daily with notes and photos. She's just so very kind to us, and we are so grateful to her for taking such good care of our little girl.

Other people continue to amaze me with their kindness and thoughtfulness, too. My cousin Sam sent a huge box of wonderful gifts for Hester, and my dear friend JPP made her 3 beautiful hats. Hester's grandparents call daily (at least) and always have kind words for us and for her. Our neighbor Green Thumb takes Clara and the cats each weekend, and L&Y helped out one weekend as well. We've begun to receive some very welcome hand-me-downs from other friends, and many more boxes have been promised. Even the clerk at Old Navy remembered me when I was in there briefly to exchange a Christmas gift; she asked, "Have you heard anything?" and I was so proud to show her the photo of Petunia and Hester I carry in my wallet. Everywhere we go, congratulations and well wishes are in the air. It's truly amazing.

Everything's not all roses and sunshine, though. It's really hard having Hester in the hospital. For me the worst part (now that Hester's comfortable) is not being able to be with her and care for her on a daily basis. It's hard to ask permission to change her, play with her, or give her baths. It's almost impossible to leave her there in the nursery when I have to go to work. I hate that I spend my days caring for other people's children while my own child sits in the hospital without me. At low points, I fantasize about quitting work and staying with Hester full-time.

Time is passing so quickly, too, which is a mixed blessing: On one hand, Hester will be out of the hospital before we know it; but on the other, she won't be a tiny baby when she comes home. I try to remind myself of all the perks of having her in the hospital right now--free diapers! more sleep for us! easing into parenthood! etc.!--but these things are a cheap veneer over my true heart's desire: I want to give her baths and feed her, change her and play with her, talk with her and show her the big, wide world. I want to be her parent, really and truly.

I long for the day when Hester will come home.


Monday, January 29, 2007

A big weekend for Hester

Little Hester Willa had a big weekend! She had her first bath with us, her first tummy time ever, and her first visit with her Auntie Jenny! She also had her official hospital photos done, and they're funnier than anything.* She was a trooper throughout the weekend, greeting each new adventure with enthusiasm and wonder. Here she is taking her first bath...she really enjoyed it!

Hester Willa at the NICU spa.

*If you know me in real life, please email me if you want the URL.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Wanna hear a funny story?

Okay then.

So y'all know I was inducing lactation to help feed baby Hester. I took the fenugreek and the goat's rue and the blessed thistle and the alfalfa and I pumped till I was calloused. And for all that effort (and also after putting my gag reflex on overdrive with those nasty alfalfa tablets), I only got a few drops of milk. I spoke with my midwife friend about starting the domperidone, and I had just decided to order it when I got sick with a stomach bug. And then I got sick again with the Mother of All Stomach Bugs, and I didn't pump or take herbs or even think about breast milk for a couple of weeks. And then I felt really guilty, but when Hester arrived and needed such intensive nursing, I let myself feel a little better that she was on formula. The poor kid had a tough enough time without trying to nurse from a dry well.

But then!

On the day of her 40th birthday, Petunia began lactating spontaneously! FOR REAL, Y'ALL.

Can you beat that, folks? Will wonders ever cease?


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sleepy baby

I can't resist posting this photo of Hester in her Mumzy's arms. Sweetness!



Holy mackerel. Petunia's work colleagues threw her a baby shower yesterday, and we couldn't fit all of their wonderful gifts into the [v. roomy] trunk of our car. Baby Hester is the lucky recipient of so many lovely things, including a handknit cardigan, a handmade photo album, a doll cradle, books, toys, teethers, spoons, diapers, a baby seat, and all the tiny pink clothes and blankets her little heart desires. There is So. Much. Pink. in our house, folks. It's really and truly unbelievable!

Also unbelievable: People's generosity to us. I feel like we just won the lottery or like it's Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one. We're so blessed and lucky to have Hester Willa in our lives, and now there's all this celebrating and well wishes and utter joy. It's really, truly unbelievable. I wasn't prepared for this outpouring of kindness from our friends and family. I knew they'd be happy, but I had no idea they'd show it like this.



Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Since becoming a parent

I have done the following dopey things:

--I mistook the hospital bathroom door for the NICU door and was genuinely surprised when my baby wasn't in there for a nighttime feeding.

--I attempted to put kitchen cleaner in the freezer.

--I said "umbrella" when I meant to say "bellybutton."

--I said "birth control" when I meant to say "birth canal."

--I've walked into so many door frames and tables I've stopped counting.

It's like I'm living in a sitcom. And I'm actually getting a kick out of it.


Monday, January 22, 2007


Good news: It looks like Hester might be medically stable now!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy birthday to you!

A great big ol'

Happy 40th Birthday

to my beloved Petunia!

We're celebrating the day with a party in the hospital cafeteria. Nothing says "festive" like cake and tater tots, right?

I love you, Petunia!

Origin of the nickname "Hester Willa"

This is definitely an FAQ, and the backstory goes like this:

Over three years ago Petunia and I were talking baby names. Actually, I was talking baby names and Petunia was hoping to be anywhere else....

Clementine: You know what? If you want to name a girl after your closest family member we can call her Willa rather than Wilhelmina. Isn't Willa cute? I like it.*

Clementine: You know what name I always liked? Emmeline. What do you think of Emmeline?

Clementine: You know what I don't like? Filler middle names. Let's not give our child one of those, okay?

Petunia, to self: What can I say to make her quit talking about baby names? I know! I'll pretend I like a really horrible name to get her to be quiet.

Petunia, out loud: You know what name I really like a lot? It's a strong New England name with a proud tradition....

Clementine, v. eager to hear: What? What name do you like a lot?

Petunia, proudly: Hester! Isn't Hester a great name?

Clementine, stunned and shaken: What?!?! Hester? That's a terrible name! Like from The Scarlet Letter and everything. It's awful!

Petunia, defensive: What's wrong with Hester? I like it. It's got such character.

[Petunia cracks up and starts to laugh.]

Clementine, realizing she'd been had: Oh shit! I thought you really wanted to name our baby Hester. I was scared there for a minute!

Petunia, teasing: I think we should call our baby Hester Willa. Wouldn't that be a great name?

And so our imaginary child came to be called Hester Willa. And while Hester Willa won't make it to immortality on the baby's birth certificate, it will live on forever in the posts of this blog.

The end.

*frog, you and turtle are more than welcome to name one of your tadpoles Willa! That really is a funny coincidence, though. V. amusing, as you said. For the record, Petunia likes the name Willa too.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hester's first days

As requested, here are a few more photos of our beloved Hester.*
The first picture is from the morning after her birth. It was taken in Ariana's recovery room where all 4 of her parents, her brother, and a family friend gathered to celebrate her arrival. We passed her around, took dozens of photos, and talked about our respective and combined futures with this precious little baby. It was a time of great joy and great grief.
The second picture is from later that same day. Hester was still bruised and swollen from her very quick delivery. Ariana and Bobby left the hospital around noon to give Petunia and me the rest of the day to bond with the baby. We were overjoyed to be with the baby and so grateful to Ariana and Bobby, but we were scared about what the future might bring. We didn't hold back our love for Hester, though. We dressed her in the hat and booties that Petunia made for her and a blanket that I chose for her. We took her picture a hundred times, kissed and held her, and told her that we loved her. We were there the very first time she opened her eyes. Emotions ran high all day; we vacillated between pure joy and deep sadness.
The third photo is from Sunday, the day that Hester was moved from the regular nursery to the NICU. We'd called before we left the house to ask how she was doing, and the nurse cheerfully replied, "Oh, she's fine." When we got to the hospital, we learned that she'd had a bad night but that the nurse couldn't share that information with us over the phone. Hester had been moved to the NICU early that morning and started on some medicine to ease her distress. The nurses were extremely protective of her; we had to show ID before we could see her and folks were very wary of our open adoption situation. It took the NICU nurses a couple of days to understand that Hester has 2 sets of parents, but now they get it. They're taking really good care of her, too.
More photos will follow, I'm sure!
*For readers who might not know, "Hester Willa" is a sort of pre-adoption nickname we had for our future child. Now it's a bloggy nickname. Rest assured, we didn't really name our child Hester Willa!

One year

Today is my first bloggy anniversary. How 'bout that?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Our daughter Hester Willa! She was born to Ariana and Bobby on Friday, January 12, 2007 at 5:10pm; she was 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 19 in. long at delivery. Hester joined our family around noon today. We are overjoyed to be her new parents!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A small update

On Sunday Baby was moved from the nursery to the NICU. We've spent every moment we can with her. She's starting to be very sick, but it's nothing that we hadn't anticipated. It's very hard to watch her go through this, but she will get through it. She's an amazingly strong little girl who has lots of love, support, and skilled nursing to help her recover.

I have been reluctant to post anything of substance because this baby is still not our daughter. Her parents assure us at every turn that they plan to sign this week, but it's difficult for them to coordinate their schedules/lives to do that during normal work hours. We've been parenting her since her birth and her parents have given us free access to her at the hospital, but we don't have any legal power. It's been so very stressful, but every moment with the baby is a blessing beyond blessings. We try to stay patient and not let our fears get the best of us. Mostly we do fine, but occasionally we get overwhelmed.

Today we're home from the NICU; I have to work and Petunia has to run to the parents' adoption agency to pick up tons of paperwork. We'll head back to the hospital after work and we'll probably stay the night again. I'll post again when I know something more, but in the meantime please keep us, the baby's parents, and BabyGirl herself in your thoughts and prayers. All of us can use all the good thoughts we can get.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Baby Girl is here!

And she is beautiful beyond words. Petunia said exactly what I wanted to say, so take a look here.

So many blessings!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Baby is on the way

Ariana is in active labor. Her water broke this morning around 11am. We're leaving for the hospital now.

Please think good thoughts for this baby and her family.

The next time I post, the baby will be here!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Alrighty then. I'm getting back into the swing of things, for better or worse. I'm busy with the kids today and have errands to run tonight; same old same old as far as all that's concerned. Anything's better than spending the day in the bathroom, that's for sure.

Here's what's giving me pause right now: Well-meaning people keep telling us to sleep while we still can. I know that's great advice, but I swear to you it's making me anxious about sleeping! I'm usually a great sleeper; I normally fall asleep easily and sleep straight through till morning. This week, all I've done is stared at the ceiling while telling myself, "You really need to get to sleep! You're going to regret not sleeping now, while you still can!" Issues. Many, many issues.

And another thing: On Tuesday, the baby's mother very generously gave us 3 ultrasound pictures of this baby! Since Tuesday all I want to do is look at those pictures. One of them was taken just days ago on January 4, and it shows her profile beautifully. I've also seen pictures of 2 of her brothers, and of course we met her mother in person. I can't stop wondering what this precious baby will look like. I think she's going to be absolutely beautiful.*

That's the scoop from here. Any advice for me? As long as you don't tell me to sleep while I still can, I'm all ears.

*Can parents tell if they have an ugly baby, though? Don't all parents think their baby is beautiful, or is that one of those great myths of parenthood? I'd been worried that I wouldn't like the look of this baby, but now I'm worried that I'll like the look of her too much and do nothing but stare at her all the time like a crazed psycho stalker.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Our first meeting

We met Ariana last night. It was wonderful to meet her! It was surreal and overwhelming, but very very good. I don't want to say too much more than that, but we might get together again this weekend if her schedule allows.



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A trip to the ER

Petunia and I spent last night in the emergency room, but not for the reason you might think. I had the Norwalk virus over the weekend, and I needed a couple liters of IV fluids to get myself together after the fireworks stopped. Here's what's not fun: the Norwalk virus.

I was so afraid (read: SO AFRAID) that Ariana was going to go into labor while I was being sick. But she didn't, and today we're scheduled to meet her at 2pm. I'd been feeling nervous about the meeting, but now I'm mostly nervous about making it through lunch at the restaurant without feeling ill. Don't worry--I won't actually eat! It's still BRAT diet for me, if I can even stomach that.

All this illness led to my first ever sick days from my business. I felt awful calling my families early yesterday morning, but I just couldn't do it. I feel better about my decision after last night's visit to the ER. I took off this morning for good measure; I already had this afternoon off for the meeting with Ariana, and I figured I could use a little extra sleep.

So far, so good.

A very special thank you to my beloved Petunia! You washed out sick bowls, brought me Tylenol every 4 hours, disinfected the house, bought out the "clear liquids" section at Price Chopper, held my hand in the ER, and were the very best caregiver the world has ever seen. Thank you for taking such good care of me!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Pausing to reflect

I'm reflecting on how very different this Situation is from the one we expected. I feel grateful, sad, and overjoyed all at once. Hella scared, too. I guess that's a good thing.

I've been knitting like a fiend, too. We're making a scarf for each member of the baby's family from the same yarn we used for a hat for the baby, and all of these things need to be done by the baby's due date. Right now I'm working on the scarf for her father; the scarf for her mom is done. I hope there's enough time to work up a scarf for her brother, too.

I think about the baby's family all the time. I hope and pray we're doing right by them. It's really scary because the stakes are so high and there's little room for error. It's hard, too, because we'd expected such a different relationship with our baby's first family if we'd ended up with a DSS Situation. Things are even more complicated because of this baby's family's particular situation. I wish I could say more about it because I'd really like some feedback. Does anyone know of a more anonymous place (more anonymous than blogville, anyway) where adoption triad members can ask questions and talk with one another? I would really welcome that information.

You know what's funny? I'm being surprisingly even-keeled (for me) about all of this. I feel pretty proud of myself--I think I'm keeping things in perspective, not being overly dramatic, and not letting my emotions get the best of me. I haven't cried or carried on (though I've come close), and Petunia and I are taking good care of each other. All bets are off once the baby's born, but right now I'm doing okay.


Some news

Ariana is dilated 4 cm, though she's not in labor. Her due date has been moved up to January 15. She'll call us tonight after her ultrasound, and she wants us to keep our cell phones on and with us at all times. This little baby is on the move.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

61 heads are gonna roll

The fucking petition initiative passed yesterday. If the legislature approves it again next year it'll go before the voters* in 2008.

Yippy skippy, folks want to amend the MA constitution to take away our right to marry.

I feel a deep red rage coming on.

*In whom I have total confidence, by the way. After all, the folks in my district re-elected a wife-beating, child-abusing, hateful man to be our state rep. I can't wait for them to decide whether I have the right to marry my wife.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Yada yada

I had such a nice time last week. I lolled around knitting, cross stitching, sewing, and reading. I saw some movies and listened to the Garden State soundtrack 80 times after doing some thrift shopping. Petunia and I went to bed at 10pm on New Year's Eve and rang in the new year with lots of knitting during season 3 of The L Word. It's wild times around here! We even had mimosas to celebrate. Whoa, nelly.

Now I'm back at work with just one child today. I'll be easing in this week; the entire gang will be back from vacation on Monday. I'm grateful for this week--going from 0 kids to all 7 would probably kill me.

In baby news: We're just waiting and trying hard to be patient. We have no news about Ariana's health or her baby's health, and we've had no contact with the adoption agency since December 22. We're getting scared, but staying relatively calm. The baby is 35 weeks old now. We continue to pray for peace and strength for the baby's family, for the two of us, and most of all for the baby herself.