Friday, March 30, 2007

Newport conference

I'm missing my ladies today. Petunia and Hester are down in Newport, kiki-ing it up at Petunia's regional work conference. In fact, Petunia's probably showing Hester her first glimpse of ocean right now. No fair!

I, of course, am working today. I would've taken the day off as one of my 10 vacation days, but Petunia only decided to attend the conference a couple of weeks ago. By then it was too late to make arrangements with all my work families.

Petunia left for the conference in the 6am hour on Wednesday, so I had Hester by myself (with all the work kids) for 2 full work days. There were some very rough patches, but I did okay overall.

Last night after work I packed enormous quantities of baby stuff into an overnight bag and drove Hester down to Newport to spend today with her Mumzy.* When I got to the hotel I drew myself a bath and promptly fell asleep in the tub. Later, I woke up in a panic after hearing seagulls scream outside our window; I was all, "Where's the baby? Why is she crying outside?" Damned seagulls. Who knew they screamed at night?

This morning I woke up at [the now oddly familiar hour of] 4:30am to come home and clean, and my first thought was, "Wow--I can't believe I did this all the time when Hester was in the hospital." But I did, and this morning I was so grateful that I was leaving her in a hotel with her Mumzy rather than in the hospital with her nurses.

I am SO looking forward to tonight when I'll join Hester and Petunia at the hotel this evening for a little swimming and some TimBits (there's a Tim Horton in Rhode Island!). All of Petunia's friends are clamoring to babysit, so maybe we can get a drink at the hotel bar or, more daringly, have dinner together and eat simultaneously. Wowza!

*Yes, the drive does take 1 1/2 hours. And yes, Hester did cry for 2/3 of that time.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oi & oh.

Nightmarish morning.

Ran out of coffee. 4 kids + Hester. 4 poopy diapers in 2 hours. Vomiting (from Hester--3 times. The last 2 times she soaked herself and me through the Maya Wrap, 2 shirts, and my bra. We were outdoors at the time. Which meant I had to wrangle 4 big, muddy kids into the house so we could change). Screaming from reflux pain. More screaming when a bottle wasn't immediately forthcoming. Whining. Mud. Hitting and pushing. Refusing lunch. Throwing lunch. Crying. Lots of crying.

I really wanted to cry, too.

But then, hope: afternoon! And naptime. One big kid gone, 3 big kids asleep. Hester playing by herself while watching me type. A very special UPS delivery with an entire library for Hester from JPP's amazing mom. V. good news from Petunia about the Hat of Justice. Remembering the Milk Duds stashed in pantry. Card from Petunia with my favorite quote on it. Diet Coke. Ibuprofen.

The afternoon will be better than the morning. The afternoon will be better than the morning. The afternoon will be better than the morning....


Monday, March 26, 2007

News flash

So, our little Hester is doing quite well on her new & improved high-calorie diet. She gained a good amount of weight from last week to this week, so everyone was pleased. She did so well that she doesn't have to go back to the doctor until 2 weeks from today! Since she's been going weekly since she got out of the hospital, this is a big improvement for her (and us). Yay for healthy babies, eh?

In other Hester news, consider yourself warned: If you visit said baby and express your desire to hold her, she will probably reward your kindness by splashing you with a copious amount of regurgitated formula. She got our good friend J. on Saturday and our good friend Y. last night. At least, they were our good friends before Hester barfed on them. We'll see how frequently they come around now.

In still more Hester news, we have our 2nd post-placement visit tonight. Wish us luck.

And now for some non-Hester news: Our shipment of Girl Scout cookies arrived from Colorado today! Today is a very good day indeed.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cuteness is a tiny pink bear


Nose tampons and The Joy of Reading to Children

I was just ready to publish my last post when Blogger ate it. That's the kind of day I'm having.

To be fair, it wouldn't be bad at all except I caught a nasty head cold from the kids. It's been geting worse since Tuesday, but today I'm miserable: streaming nose, smarting eyes, sore throat, the works. Why doesn't someone make and market nose tampons for exactly these sort of days? I'm praying that Hester doesn't get it next.

I'm phoning it in till the kids leave at 6pm, and then I have to go to a child care training on reading to children. I didn't realize I was in need of training in this particular area, but whatever. I have to log continuing education hours to stay current on my license, so that's why you'll find me reading aloud to other FCC providers from 6:30-7:30pm this evening.

Boy, that'll be fun.

Edited to add: The workshop people gave us free books! Good ones, too. I guess it wasn't too bad after all.

Now if only I felt better....


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Barely controlled chaos

After last week's panicky moments about working while having Hester with me, I'm trying to take over more of Hester's care during the day. Petunia won't let me do too much--after all, this is her maternity leave and her precious QT with her baby!--but I'm trying to have Hester with the other kids and me as much as possible. It's going pretty well, too. Witness the following scene from my kitchen this morning:

Today at 11:25am, the 3 big kids (ages 3.5 years, 2 years, and 10 months) were playing Legos at the kitchen table while I held Hester and stood beside them. Petunia was upstairs working on the computer. Hester started acting hungry, so I warmed a bottle for her and thought, "Perfect! If I feed her now, I can concentrate on the other kids' lunch at noon!" I had a parent coming to drop off another 2-year old just before noon, so I figured that if I timed it right, Hester could be full and resting while I prepared lunch for the 4 big kids and welcomed my late arrival. Best laid plans, right?

The minute I got Hester feeding, I smelled the unmistakable smell of a big ol' poopy diaper--it was my 10-month old, a kid who's prone to diaper leaks. He wasn't fussing, but I could tell from experience that he needed a change right away. But here's the thing: Hester isn't the kind of kid you can put down in the middle of a feeding. So I prioritized, telling Mr. Pea I'd change him as soon as I finished feeding Hester. But the very minute Hester finished eating, she hosed down half the kitchen with regurgitated soy formula. She got herself, me, the front carrier (like a Baby Bjorn), and the floor, which Clara immediately started to lick.


So I gave in and called Petunia to come help. When she arrived a second later, I put Clara in the other room, handed Hester to Petunia (at which point more barf splatted on the floor), cleaned up the floor, put a pile of spit-uppy clothes and the front carrier by the washer, and got Mr. Pea's diaper ready. The 2 oldest kids provided colorful and LOUD commentary during all of this, like, "Mr. Pea's diaper stinks! EEEEWWWW! Baby Hester threw up ALL OVER YOU! EEEWWW, Clara's trying to lick it up! Sometimes babies throw up. Why did baby Hester throw up on you? It's GROSS! Is she sick? Is she sad? Why are you cleaning the floor, because it has THROW UP ON IT?" It was barely controlled chaos. And of course, at that very moment my late arrival and her mom walked into the kitchen. GOOD TIMES, friends!

But seriously, I kept my head. I welcomed my late arrival, then told her mom that Hester'd just spit up all over the kitchen and that I was about to change Mr. Pea (lest she think I was neglecting my diaper duties). Petunia took Hester upstairs for a change of clothes, and I asked the big kids to clean up the Legos, which they did. I changed Mr. Pea's diaper--no leaks, thankfully!--then got everyone's hands washed and lunch dished out to the 4 big kids. Lunch was on the table just after 12pm, so I think I did pretty damned well.

And I'm still doing well. I had a quick lunch with Petunia, fed Hester again (no puking this time), and started my daily notes. I'm feeling a little more confident about working with Hester Willa. The trick will be keeping my head and not freaking out about timing. And if I'm still wearing a spit-up-soaked shirt some 3 hours later, well then I'm just doing my job, right?

I know. I'm going to change it now.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Good news Monday

So, good news: We were right to be concerned about Hester's weight. After today's doctor appointment, Hester's back on calorie-enriched soy formula. Dr. Gentle, our regular pediatrician (not her rude, dismissive colleague who filled in for Dr. Gentle last Monday), saw Hester this morning and was concerned that Hester's not gaining weight as she should be. She wasn't worried, mind you, but she was concerned. So that's good. Now we're crackin'! Even more good news: Hester is healthy as a horse otherwise. Thank god and knock wood.

We had such a nice weekend. We had a wonderfully quiet snow day on Saturday (we were literally snowed in--Petunia couldn't open our front door and had to dig her way from the back door to the front porch), and Sunday we went to a lovely brunch for LGBT adoptive parents. It was so nice to see the other babies and to talk with their parents. And then--wait for it--we went out to dinner last night with baby Hester! She fussed a bit but she didn't howl, and it was even during her colicky time. She was a star, and Petunia and I were very happy to be out and about with her. Thank god for Dr. Brown's, that's all I'm sayin'.

In other news, right this very minute one of my child care kids is turning into a big brother! His new sister or brother is due via scheduled C at 2pm, which is NOW, so I'm thinking good thoughts for his parents. I'm hoping to get a call in a few hours saying that all is well and that mama and baby are doing fine. I'm so happy for them! Fingers crossed for an easy, uncomplicated delivery and a happy, healthy baby.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Baby Hester wishes you a Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Feeling better

Today is a much better day than yesterday. Thanks to everyone who wrote in with kind words and encouragement!

I'm looking forward to a lovely weekend with my beloved wife and daughter.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

This morning kinda sucked

I made it through by the skin of my teeth.

The Good

--I did not have my state licensing visit this morning. It sounds like it'll be this afternoon or tomorrow, unless Mr. Licensor runs late and goes into next week.

The Bad

--Early Intervention came for Hester at 8:45am. Their assessment was much scarier than I thought it would be--it was extremely thorough and took place just after Hester woke up from a nap. Pretty much the minute her eyes popped open, the visitors were shaking rattles in her face. I felt really defensive of Hester, though I tried not to let it show.

The Good

Hester did great on most of the EI tests. She even scored expressive language in the 5-month old range. What can I say--the kid's a talker! Her birth parents are big talkers and so are her adoptive parents, so that makes sense to me.

The Bad

On the other hand, Hester scored in the 1-month range for gross motor development. We learned some new tricks to help her get stronger, like holding down her bum during tummy time so she has to work harder to life her head. Poor kid! Now we're her personal trainers as well as her mommies! I'm kind of amused that her delay is in gross motor, though, since neither Petunia nor I is much of an athlete. We're more of a book-reading, knitting, strolling around the town kind of family. Hester fits right in!

The Good

EI's going to come once a month for Hester during the year to come. As she gets closer to 12 months, they'll do another complete developmental assessment and let us know if she qualifies for another year of services.

The Bad

While they were here, I talked with the developmntal specialists about my concerns for another child in my care. Tonight I'll be talking with his mom about EI services. That's not going to be a fun conversation.

The Good

It's Thursday. Just one more day to go before the weekend.

Seriously y'all, tell me it gets easier to work when you have a small child. I know this is only my first week back at work since Hester came home, but there are moments when I just don't think I can do it anymore. The other kids' whining gets on my nerves in a way it didn't before she came home, and I have much less patience with them overall. I'm not nasty or mean or yelling or any of those things, but I'm frustrated and angry and resentful internally. I'm also physically exhausted. I'm hopeful that we'll make our way in time, but right now it's damned hard. And Petunia's home, too! I don't know what I'll do when she goes back to work.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm feeling overwhelmed.

This morning Hester met my last 2 work families, visited with a colleague of Petunia's, and had her visiting nurse check-up. It was an absolute zoo around here. I'm dreading tomorrow when she'll have her Early Intervention evaluation; they're bringing a team of 3 people to do the assessment. Folks, our house is only 650 square feet. Tomorrow morning at 8:45am there will be 8 adults, 3 toddlers, and 1 infant in our home. This is where my introversion kicks in: I want to hide under a blanket just thinking about it. Holy moly, what a mess that's going to be. I'll probably have my state licensing visit in the middle of all the chaos. Wanna place a bet?

I'm also feeling a bit overwhelmed about Hester's health: She hasn't gained an ounce since she came home from the hospital, though she's eating just fine. The visiting nurse was concerned about it and called Hester's pediatrician right away, but a partner of hers called back to say that Hester's weight doesn't concern them. Now, I'm no doctor, but I am Hester's Mama. If the neonatologists at the hospital were concerned about her weight and the visiting nurse is concerned about it, I'm sure as hell concerned, too. It would be one thing if her eating had dropped off, but it hasn't. Her docs took Hester off the enriched 24-calorie soy formula just before she left the hospital, and I'm thinking she might need to go back on it. The doctor's office says not to worry, but I'm worried all the same.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I wicked stole this from JPP

Create your own Friend Quiz here
Wanna find out how well you know me? Mwah ha ha--I'm a tricky one!


Monday, March 12, 2007

On the job

Guess who's back at work today? Oh yes, it's me.

Guess who'd rather be sitting on the couch in her jammies holding her sweet little baby and watching the first season of Scrubs on DVD with her beloved wife? Um yes, that would be me, too.

But whatever--I have to work so I might as well make the most of it. Today wasn't too terrible, either: I got all 5 kids outside for 45 minutes this morning. I consider that a pretty big accomplishment!

More good news: Hester seems to like the kids, and they sure like her. It's fun to see how sweet and gentle they are with her. One little boy loves to stroke her soft fuzzy head, which makes me smile.

Here's to many more happy workdays with my little girl!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

See? Hester likes being home!


Monday, March 05, 2007

There's no place like home.

All things considered, I think we're all doing pretty well.

Hester freaked out on Saturday when we got home--she kept peering around the house with a panicked look on her face. Clearly, she was like, "What the HELL? Where the hell am I?" We reassured her and held her and loved on her, but she was very uneasy. We were uneasy, too, but we just went with it. The worst part for us was when Hester was sleeping; when your baby's been on a monitor for 7 weeks, it's hard to let go and trust that she's still breathing. I found myself thinking, "I bet her heart rate's in the 110s right now, "or, "I bet her respiration is in the 50s now." Crazy stuff, but whatever.

By Sunday morning we'd all had a little sleep, though we were still pretty tired. Our visiting nurse came at 11am and said that Hester looked great, for which we were thankful, but man oh man is it weird to have your baby weighed on a professional scale on your own kitchen table. We spent the rest of the day putzing around, resting, visiting with L&Y who brought us dinner (THANKS L&Y!), and taking Hester on her first run to Target. We had our first diaper change in a public restroom and our first bottle on the fly. It felt great to be out and about with Hester!

Today we all slept in--Hester slept 7 hours last night!--and then we headed out to Hester's first pediatrician appointment. The NICU nurses and visiting nurse said that Hester would get her first shots next week, but surprise! she got 4 of them today. Hester cried, Petunia cried, and I cried. But a bottle and some Tylenol later, Hester was right as rain. We went out for the whole afternoon shopping for a rocking chair for Hester's room (we rapidly discovered that our current chair just doesn't work for feedings). We even went to Starbucks--Petunia and I had our customary espresso drinks and Hester had her usual soy formula. It was so strange to feel so normal with her. You know, not like a NICU family.

I hadn't anticipated all the sweet comments from strangers we got when we were out and about. I was ready for the assy ones, but not for the sweet ones, like, "Oh isn't she so precious!" or, "How old is she? She's just gorgeous!" It was really nice to hear those comments about our sweet little baby.

It's so nice to be home!

Hester sleeping in her own crib. Look Ma, no wires!


Sunday, March 04, 2007

And she's outta there!

Hester Willa arrived home safely at 4pm yesterday. Hooray!


Friday, March 02, 2007

And also?

Why did I hear today that my state licensing visit will be next week or the following week?

Grrrrrrrreat. What a perfect time to do a site visit. Not too stressful, eh? For all you licensing folks out there, may I suggest these weeks as perfect times to conduct your once-every-three-years site visits:

1. The week in which the provider's baby gets out of the NICU and she is on maternity leave, or
2. The week in which all 7 of her child care kids meet her new baby.



Word up.

Watch out, Worcester--Hester Willa's gonna rock your world.


Guess what

Hester Willa is coming home tomorrow!

Her discharge is scheduled for 2pm.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hester is coming home soon!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I am so excited! Hester will be home on Sunday or Monday! I spoke with her nurse around noon; unless something goes badly awry, Hester will be discharged within a few days. It might be as early as Saturday but the nurses don't want us to get too nutsy if she doesn't leave till Sunday or Monday. I say, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, whatever. The point is, SHE'S COMING HOME!

Now there is a flurry of excitement. I put in for my maternity leave, made an initial pediatrician appointment for Hester, notified my parents, and left messages with 2 different social workers. I'm picking up Hester's snap & go stroller frame this evening, and after that we're set with baby gear. We are resuming our regularly scheduled life, too, so there are dental & vet appointments to be made, friends to visit, and events to attend. I am so, so excited. I can't wait to have our daughter here at home with us.