Are You Ready for This? Match, Placement, Home

Thursday June 9th:

Is this the call?  Our caseworker called to ask me a few questions about a situation.  I talked to S about the relatively minor issues brought up by our caseworker and we are in agreement.  We fit some of the expressed wants, it fits us, and our profile is being shown.  We shall see...
I think I might go throw up my lunch now.  Then try to work the rest of the afternoon.

Friday June 10th:

I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon so our caseworker called S to give him the update.  When S called me to tell me her news I had just arrived home from my appointment and my phone froze trying to answer his call.  Knowing exactly why he was calling, I cursed the phone, popped the battery out to reboot and waiting an agonizing 3 minutes or so for the phone to start up again.  Immediately calling S the second the signal came back, I could tell he was on-site for a meeting so it was brief.  We were matched, our formal presentation is Monday, if everything goes well we'll meet the baby after the meeting, and Tuesday will be the placement ceremony.  (I was waiting the the heavens to open up and the angels to sing, but it never came).  S had to power through another 20 minutes of work acting like nothing was happening while I collapsed on the sofa.  The torrent of relief was powerful and immediate.  After I was done bawling like a baby, I had to occupy myself until S got home.  So, what to do?  The dishes?  Sweep the floor?  Rearrange the linen closet?  Rearranging the linen closet seemed like a super good idea, and I was almost done when S walked in the door.  There was crap strewn in the hallway, and I believe the first thing he said was, "what is this?".  And then we hugged, hanging on for dear life, and cried a little.  It's such a visceral moment (or two or three) that you just totally given in to the emotion of the moment.  After pulling ourselves together we looked at each other and said, now what do we do?

Well...this...


 Saturday June 11th and Sunday June 12th:

A whirlwind of doing things we had already planned, with a whole lot of cleaning, grocery shopping, organizing, running errands, washing of cloth diapers (they're taking forever to strip!), being excited, but not trying not to be excited, and not sleeping.  We told family and some friends and my acupuncturist whom we ran into on the street, (I should have been keeping it close to the vest, but I couldn't help it!).  We tried to be reasonable since we weren't "officially matched" in that we hadn't had a chance to learn all the details of his story.  There was still a chance that there would be an issue that wouldn't work.  Still, we both went through multiple heart-pumping, anxiety attacks.  I started crying in that big baby store when I pulled a pack of diapers off the shelf.  S told me that when he went mountain biking he got to the top and had to take a break to cry.


Monday June 13th:

Feeling in control, finally got some sleep.  We both went to work in the morning to organize and cancel what we needed to for the rest of this week.  My supervisor is out of town, so I had to send him an e-mail detailing my projects and what needs to be moved.  Of course, I have 3 trips planned for July and August that now need to be rescheduled.  That might be difficult, and I'm nervous about that, but on the other hand I don't care.  I toured a day care close to my work and got on their wait list, just so that I was on a wait list somewhere!  I was pretty nervous in the morning until we got to the agency.  It crescendo-ed right before we walked in the door, as the enormity of the situation made itself clear.  We might walk in an infertile-frustrated-couple, and walk out to meet our future son.  Which is exactly what happened.  After our formal presentation, in which I think I scared the caseworker giving the presentation because I apparently look very serious when I 'm concentrating, thinking, and processing, and because I didn't show much emotion during the meeting...I swear she asked about four times if we were still on board, and still ok with moving forward.  Ah, the personality differences between social workers and engineers...but I digress.

After our formal presentation we drove to the cradle care mom's (J)  house (a type of temporary foster care) to meet him.  And, of course, he's perfect.  He was quiet, fell asleep on my shoulder, and stayed asleep through a diaper change!  I can tell though, that I'm holding back a little bit, or at least I did yesterday just because it still doesn't seem quite real.  S is doing the same thing.  It's just our personalities, we tend to be a little reserved, and while I'm sure people see their baby for the first time and burst into tears carrying on and such, it just isn't there for me or him.  We're meeting a stranger at this point.  A totally cute wrinkly, snuggley little stranger that you can't help to love, a stranger nonetheless.  Although J said we could stay as long as we liked, I still had lists going through my head of stuff to do last night.  After 2 hours we said goodbye, ran some errands, then came home exhausted.

Tuesday June 14th...placement day!:

Woke up early still running through lists in my head.  I dreamed about his name all night.  We didn't have one chosen, but had a running list of names we liked (or didn't hate, is more like it since those are the  easy ones to kick to the curb).  His first mom named him, and it was a name that S put on our list just a few days ago, so we're keeping it, after much discussion over dinner and while shopping Monday night.

First thing in the morning we met his first-mom, C.  Again, another anxiety-provoking meeting that turned out to be great.  Well, great for us, and the most difficult day of her life.  She elected not to attend the placement ceremony because it was going to be too sad for her.  But she gave us a pendant to keep for the little guy that her mom had given to her as a baby.  She obviously loves him, and....well, anything I can say here won't really paint the complicated picture, so I'll leave that piece alone.  Our agreement with her is that we'll have somewhat regular meetings/visits.  At this point, the agency will act as an intermediary, and we'll see how the relationship evolves over time.

Placement ceremony was in the afternoon at J's house, and it was emotional.  Poems were read (not by me, I lost it after his first-mom left our meeting and was on the verge of losing it for the rest of the day) that I'll be putting in his scrapbook.  We had a nice visit with our caseworker, C's caseworker and J for a couple of hours, then we packed up everything and headed home.  Holy moley, someone let us have a baby!  S's parents came by that night to visit (thankfully mine were out of town).  We were totally exhausted and didn't even manage to eat dinner until after they left. 
The first night was rough.  I forgot to ask for a swaddling lesson, and he loves to be swaddled.  I even have those sleep sack/swaddle things but was afraid to use one at night because it seemed too big for him.  So, he woke up about every hour and half or so throughout the night.  He would quiet down when we held him and wake up when we put him back in his bassinet.  Not a fun night.  The next day I made sure to practice the swaddle (I suck at using a blanket and highly recommend whatever makes it easier!) when he was napping so I could observe how he sleeps.  Way better is the verdict.  Now that we have that figured out, he's waking up every 3 hours because he's hungry.  They tell me this is normal.

Wednesday June 15th to Sunday June 19th:

It's been 5 nights...I'm fast becoming a walking zombie.  Oh, and I am completely paranoid about S-I-D-S.  We do everything "right".  He's swaddled, he takes a pacifier (most of the time), we have him next to our bed in a bassinet, the fan is on, it's cool...blah blah blah.  Yet, I find going to be stressful because of what "could" happen.  Top that off with a healthy dose, of "if anything happens to him, we will be investigated and turned into a headline" and I have trouble sleeping, forget the 12am, 3am, 6am feedings!  Perhaps that will fade as I become more and more tired.  

Anyway, he's super cute, we seem to be bonding really well as he's focusing on our faces and holding our gazes, and we've successfully told the family and friends that they can't hold him for a few weeks.  However, I'm totally unopposed to them coming over, gawking, and then say, vacuuming/sweeping, or bringing by some food!

And beyond...

To everyone still waiting.  They aren't kidding.  The agony of the wait lessens immensely the second you get that phone call.  For one thing, you're sent into a whole new set of anxieties, and if it's an instant placement like ours, you have no time to deal.  None.  Once you bring home the bundle of joy, you are a slave to her/him's every whim, and it's exactly what you've been waiting for this whole time.  Even the crying isn't too bad at this point (well, we've been able to soothe him, so that's quite different than not being able to!).  And here's another observation I've had over the past week.  We felt stuck and completely out of control.  It's that feeling that everyone else's world, whomever they may be, is moving forward, is on track, whatever, and ours was not.  Then, in the space of a week, we were launched forward in a freaking rocket.

Ready for the next wild ride!