shower #2

was completely wonderful.

Cousin N. had it at her house, which is a stone’s throw from ours.  I bundled Rainbow up into the Baby Bjorn and walked over.  Aunt D. saw me en route and pulled over to walk with me and catch her first glimpse of her new nephew.

It was a mostly family event, with the little girl cousins frolicking about.  (Boys had been trucked off the Aunt S’s house to create their boy havoc over there and leave us girls to our girly frou-frou stuff.) There was a lovely spread of food, heavy on the tomatoes and olive oil and bready stuff (yum) and mimosas and red wine.

So many personal, heirloom gifts this day: silver spoons and a silver fork, a silver rattle, a hand knit blanket, a hand embroidered quilt, a personalized leather bible, a Pooh porcelain dish set.  And more colorful little boy playclothes and Rainbow’s first Big Toy Gift: a playmat from Cousin N. (selected by her daughter, H.) with dangling monkeys and rhinos and such.  I augmented it with black and white toys handed down from Cousin B. so that it is a sensory bonanza, and Rainbow looooves it.

(He’s now officially smiling – has been, really, for over a week – and when he manages to connect his wildly swinging arms to the dangling toys, he gets VERY excited.)

It was incredibly special and fun and intimate, and Rainbow was charming and handsome as usual.

treasure room

It’s not one voice but many that surround me, and they are laughing and so proud and downright boisterous and certainly cannot be ignored:

See?  SEE?!!  Didn’t we TELL you that you would be provided for?

(They laugh uproariously here, because I have been so much more than just provided for.  Priceless treasure is heaped at my feet every way I turn.)

Didn’t we tell you that it would all be good, and your needs would be met, and you would have things to be happy and excited about?

And I twirl like an over-the-hill Cinderella in my treasure room and weep with joy.  There’s this, and this, and most especially them, butwaitthere’salso this and this…

I love it all, every bit, and I laugh along with them: Yes, it’s more than I’d have hoped for, it’s magnificent, it’s beautiful, thank you, thank you, thank you. 

I will try hard to never doubt you again.

~~~

Daddy J and I have given so much thought to F and J, especially F, and hope that she will emerge from this transitional time a happy person.  She is so very open and kind and loving; it’s awful to think of her being sad, and I fear that she must be.  I have written her several letters and sent pictures, and will mail another today.  I want her to feel that there is not a thick steel door with deadbolts keeping her away from Rainbow.  I want her to know that this is a porous barrier, and that if she needs more contact at some point in the future we can work out how that should happen.

I especially want her to know how much we love this little boy and how hard we will try to give him a joy-filled life.

shower #1

was completely wonderful.

Rainbow and I went to my mother’s house for a casual “Viewing Party” that also involved a lot of gifting of very cute baby boy outfits and accessories.  I always get a pang when I drive up to my mother’s house, since that’s where Ward spent his last minutes and where he had his accident, but, again, I had a very nice time.

Mom’s sisters and mother, my grandmother’s sister and her daughter, and my mom’s friends from work and social friends came over.  We had light little snacks and bevs, but of course the focus of the party was Rainbow.  Clearly, my mom had promised everyone that they would get to Hold the Baby, and she delivered.

Mom: Okay, Kathy, you’ve had your turn. Who wants to hold the baby now?

Rainbow, for his part, slept almost the entire time, and in between naps offered up drowsy grins and pleasant gazes.  He was totally adorable, of course, and even slept contentedly in the car both ways.  (I know!!  I need to quit with the this-baby-is-so-easy stuff, I’m totally jinxing myself, but THIS BABY IS SO EASY AND CUDDLY AND ADORABLE IN EVERY WAY HOLY COW.)

It was so fun to have our first Let’s Celebrate a New Baby event.  I really, truly just loved having him the center of attention and having so many people congratulate us on our new son.

I think that the best part, though, was seeing how much my mom’s friends love her.  It was so sweet.  I realize now that I’ve given very little thought to the grandparents’ pain and hopes through the last few years.  It must have been so awful for my mother when Wardie leapt into the water that last time at her house, but she’s never talked to me about how much it hurt her.  She must have gone through the same roller coaster as Daddy J and me with the miscarriages and the fertility treatments, and the whole adoption ride, but she didn’t talk about her anxieties with me. 

Her friends, though, I imagine got an earful.  So it was especially wonderful to see how happy they are for her now.  Her very good friend, V, is having a grandson in a month or so, and it was so cute (I need a better word than cute, but it escapes me, and Rainbow will wake any second now) to see them plan to get their baby grandsons together to play.

the perils of cheapskatitude

Frugal Self: Ah look!  The birth announcements are here!  And they are most certainly legible!

Tasteful Self: Yes.  Here they are.

Frugal Self: And that’s Rainbow’s picture all right!

Tasteful Self: Indeed.  Interesting how his vibrant, mottled coral skin contrasts with his garish blue blanket and the faded blue-gray background. 

Frugal Self: No additional postage here, baby!

Tasteful Self: Quite.  Flimsy, thin paper products generally mail for cheap.

Frugal Self: Well, they only cost forty bucks.

Tasteful Self: Exactly.  If you spend fifty cents each on online birth announcements, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET: the stationery equivalent of a generic soft drink.  We are not sending these out to anyone.

Frugal Self: But what do you expect me to do with them? Throw them away?!?

Tasteful Self: Perhaps staple one next to the computer as a reminder to not cheap out when online shopping, and burn the rest.  **sniff**

***

Bummer, huh?  I am so disappointed with Snapfish.  Have you ever ordered from there?  I ordered a bunch of prints, too, and they all have a decidedly orangey cast.  Yuck.  I wonder if they have a return policy for tackiness.

***

The Fishmaster has his last day of spring break today.  Tuesday we went up to see Daddy J at his new office and went out to lunch, and yesterday we went to Kroger and then a sushi restaurant, where we were met by Uncle T and his girlfriend, D.  It would be nice to do something really thrilling with him on his break, but it’s been very pleasant just chilling out with him.  I think my mother is taking the afternoon off today to take him fishing.

Rockinrolla wants to participate in a Guitar Hero tournament this Saturday night.  It starts at 8:30, which is kind of late-ish if you ask me, but Daddy J is sounding like he may drive him to it.  Rockinrolla does have some pretty darn good Guitar Hero skills.

It’s a big Event weekend for Rainbow and me.  I feel totally spoiled, but can’t wait: my mother is having a “Grandmother’s Viewing Party” (aka Pass the Baby and Admire His Profound Cuteness Party), and Cousin N. is having a family shower on Sunday.  I think we are having two more showers after that: one from friends in town and one with the Fishmaster’s school parents.  Which is awfully sweet and slightly embarrassing and really exciting, all rolled up in one.

But urine is sterile, right?

Every now and then, I sweat profusely during the night.  I think it’s when I’m bundled up a bit too much.  So, last night, when I woke up to wet sheets, I thought that I had gotten hot from sleeping close to Rainbow and sweated all over him.  I moved him out of the wet spot and went back to sleep.

(You totally know where this is going.)

Further inspection of the wet spot this morning revealed really, REALLY soaked sheets and an unmistakable odor.  Rainbow’s diaper was pretty much dry; somehow his willy had been aimed just right to direct the flow outward instead of into the diaper.

I gave him a quickie bath in the vessel sink in my bathroom (worked quite well, actually – they are kind of cone shaped – though a bit too small for my Hercules) and a rub-down with Burt’s Bees baby oil (yum, yummy, apricot deliciousness) and managed a shower of my own just now.  I was remarkably un-grossed out by this, but am not at all looking forward to washing our king size bedding and mattress pad.

And, um, checking to see if he soaked the mattress beneath.

it’s Tuesday and all is well

Rainbow is still (surprise!) completely adorable and cuddly and amazing.  We’ve been going on walks in the front pack and having bottles outside in this glorious weather, and he’s introduced himself to a lot of friends and neighbors.

He is sleeping and eating like a pro. We switched to a doctor recommended formula (Similac advance) and now he is also pooping like a pro. 

(Hallelujah!)

The nursing.

**sigh**

The nursing.

He still will latch on and get some comfort and possibly a little milk, but dang, he loves to guzzle that formula on down. The SNS is just not conducive to nursing in public, in addition to being a pain to use and clean, so I’ve abandoned it. I can already tell that he’s nursing less vigorously, I’m sure because the bottle is easier to extract milk from.

Which makes me very sad if I let myself dwell on it.

However, he did sleep all night from about 10:00 to 6:00 with only nursing in between, so I guess he’s getting something from me, right? Today is my last dose day of domperidone (at 16 pills a day) and then I’m going to quit taking them and just hope my supply keeps going and magically increases further.

**sigh**

The nursing has accomplished its main goal, regardless: Rainbow knows who his mama is. And surely he’s gotten some good immuno-bio-ingredients, too, right? And that child is thriving. Lordy, but he’s healthy and beautiful.

I am inordinately proud of myself for actually ordering photo birth announcements and thank you notes. I have never, with three children, done birth announcements, and I am historically awful with the thank you notes. I don’t know exactly where this burst of correspondence energy came from, except that I guess this baby has been a long time coming and I like the idea of mailing photos of his handsome mug all over the place.

Howsabout some pics?

Here are a couple from our long hotel stay:
0042

0582

0881

And at home with Rockinrolla and the Fishmaster:

1791

**nom nom kissie smoochie**

1861

family

So, I was thinking this evening, as I held Rainbow and listened to Van Morrison’s more spiritual stuff with Daddy J, more about how we were all drawn together. Meant to be a family.

Not a declaration from a paternal God so much: I decree that this boy will be yours! And not so much that we are especially deserving or have XYZ to offer this baby.

But that we are family already; that we’ve been together before and will be again. Part of a soul group.

The concept isn’t complicated: as we’re reborn into different lives and circumstances, we cluster together with the same group of souls. So that a little girl and her great-grandma that feel a special bond might have been giggling sisters together last time around, and father and son the next. And the next-door neighbor who moved in and you feel an immediate connection to, and who is as-close-if-not-closer-than family for the rest of your life, was your beloved brother two hundred years ago.

Do you buy into any of that? (If not, please do share your thoughts, but try to refrain from being mean or condescending. New-agey types have feelings, too.) Are you more of a fundamentalist we-only-get-one-chance kind of person? Atheist? Totally unsure?

I’d never pretend to know all of the answers, but this paradigm feels good for me. I feel like Rainbow has joined us because it was prearranged by us and him during the in-between times. I do think we all end up reconnected with God anyway, so that these groupings are only temporary, and that as we get closer and closer to the source they will be different.

Right now, though, it seems that we’ve reunited with another piece of our group, and it feels very, very good.

checking in from happy land

All is well here. Wonderfully so.

But (and I think I’ve heard this before) newborns take a lot of time and attention. This is a child who likes to be held. (Who has a mama who likes to hold him, so that works out.)

~~~~~

Rainbow had his two week checkup (at two weeks and five days) with our pediatrician at home. He had been to the pediatrician in his birth state at four days, and I wanted to wait and take him to his regular doctor. Time for puffed-up mama pride: his doctor said he is gaining weight beautifully and looks perfect. He now weights 9 pounds 4 ounces (up from birth weight of 9 pounds 1.3 ounces) and has grown from 22 inches to 22.5.

**happy grin**

The nursing is… piddling along. This child just gets HUNGRY, and the girls have not yet stepped up to the plate. I’ve been nursing him first and then giving him a bottle (the SNS is gathering dust, annoying thing) and he’ll gulp three ounces of formula easily. I’m giving domperidone one last shot: I have upped my dosage to 12 10-mg pills per day with this last bottle of 100 pills, and we’ll see what happens. He certainly likes to nurse and isn’t having any nipple confusion. Maybe I’ll end up with a compromise feeding plan, with the nursing first for comfort and super-baby-ingredients, and the bottle second for fill-up-the-tummy-ed-ness. Which would be fine.

{pssst: Did you know that a newborn, given 4 ounces of formula at bedtime, will pretty much sleep ALL NIGHT? I think he nursed sporadically all night (as the girls will attest: Miss Left was fully drained in the morning, while Miss Right was desperate for emptying) but he never really woke me up until about 5:00.}

{Also: it’s kind of cool that Daddy J gets to feed him, too. I struggled with some territory rights when he gave him his first bottle, but it’s actually really great that Daddy can have the feeding bond, too. Rockinrolla gave him part of a bottle this evening – at his own very vehement request – and I think that’s awesome.}

I wrote F a check-in letter today that will get mailed tomorrow because I can’t find any stamps. I want to establish a paper-and-ink correspondence with her, because I think it will be nice for her to keep letters and such for rereading, and I don’t want e-mail with her daily, I don’t think. I think the written letters will be just right for our relationship.

Gold star for Mama Jamz: I just had Rainbow’s first formal Wal-mart portraits taken. (I know! I am incredibly classy!!) I joined the Wal-mart portrait club, which means that they pretty much give them away if your order from a single pose. My whole order today was about 8 bucks, and I got a free 8×10. Bonus! I plan to go back often, even though the photographer was visibly annoyed that I didn’t spring for the classy retouching or fancy script on the pics or additional sheets.

~~~~~

Rainbow and the boys and I have been on a few walks about town, and it’s so nice feeling his weight in the front pack and kissing his fuzzy head. I’m feeling really inadequate at describing this, but it’s just… lovely. I find myself crying often, but they’re very, very happy tears. He is such a beautiful child, with limitless potential, that sometimes it’s kind of staggering that he’s been put in our care, but I do think we’re drawn to be with the people we are meant to be with, so here we are.

I think a lot about Wardie, of course, and get sad sometimes and talk to him. I ask him what he’s doing in heaven and if he’s having a good day, and I know he’s doing things that he loves and that he’s having a very special day. I think about him smiling at us and laughing with us, and saying that Rainbow is a very special boy, and that we have a very special family, and that he loves us very much.

annnnd another monday is here…

I had a post all written about my burning, bitter hatred of governmental forms and inter-state protocols that must be completed and overnighted and NOT faxed or emailed – NO HO HOOO! – because that would be too efficient and time-saving for adoptive parents who just want to bring their child home and have their family reunited after two and a half weeks.

But decided that it was a wee bit too angry to post and saved it as a draft.

Anyhoo, this afternoon our home state finally has the required forms (that, oddly, were overnighted by Rainbow’s birthstate on Wednesday) and is reviewing them, so if all is complete and correct we will be able to come home today.

Lord help me if everything is not all complete and correct. I think my head would explode.

~~~~~

WOOOOO!!! Clearance for departure has been granted!

exhaling

Yesterday morning, F and J permanently terminated their parental rights in front of a judge.

Which officially closes the they-can-change-their-minds window.

AHHHHHHHHHH…

Rainbow will for sure be coming home with us, his family.

On the you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me side of things, I may well have to wait until next week to come home as this last paperwork gets cleared by the various offices.

(Funny Freudian slip: I first typed “wail” instead of “wait” in the sentence above. Ha ha.)

(I am beyond eager to go home with Rainbow and hang out with the Fishmaster and Rockinrolla. This waiting bites.)

However, I can endure it, because: see above.

Rainbow is doing magnificently. At the moment, he kind of has the nighttime thing down. (I know, I am totally jinxing myself by saying that.) But! He gets topped off with an ounce or so of formula at 10:00ish, and then just nurses and cuddles until about 5:00. I’ve topped him off with a half-ounce or so of formula, then he sleeps until about 8:00. He’s had this going for the last few days. Yes, you’re reading that right: zero nighttime fussing the last several days.

He did want to chat a bit at 5 am, which is just cute: a wide-eyed little baby wanting to hang out. No complaints with that.

The nursing is going fairly well. I had hoped that my milk would come in with a big sh-bang, and I’d get all engorged and full and lactabulous, but my supply is sort of meh. I’ve been topping him off with 3-4 ounces a day, using the supplemental nursing system. About every other time, I’ll nurse him on each side, sometimes twice, and he is just heartily annoyed at the meager amount going into his tummy and lets me know it, so I fill him up with the formula.

Which leads to the question of the day: How can I get my milk supply to increase?

I am totally nursing on demand, whenever he fusses. I’m still taking the blessed thistle and fenugreek (3 tabs 3x a day) and the domperidone (20mg 4x a day). I would love to quit with the domperidone, partly because I don’t like taking meds that mess with me and partly because it’s expensive as sin. But should I up the domperidone to try to really get the girls going?

(My OB is not an expert with induced lactation, but he was happy to help me follow the Ask Lenore guidelines b/c it’s what the La Leche League suggests, and Lenore says that they have gone up to 40 mg 4x a day with some clients.)

The supply as is is okay, I guess, but the SNS is kind of a pain to use. You have to pretty much bare your breast to get it to work out, so it’s not conducive to public breastfeeding, and you have to be sure to wash it soon after so that the formula doesn’t dry and clog the tubes.

Anyway: ALL SUGGESTIONS WELCOME.

Tonight, Daddy J and I are going out to dinner with F and J. And Rainbow. It seems like it would be incredibly difficult for them, F especially, but she told the social worker that she knows Rainbow will be there and that’s fine. I struggle with attributing how I imagine I’d feel in her place to her, and I need to stop it. She is a very strong, loving person who wants this meeting. And I’m hopeful that this will set a really good precedent for F and J and Daddy J and me: that it doesn’t have to be weird or awkward or best-avoided. We can meet if we want to and it will be okay.

~~~~~

How about some cute baby video action?

For your enjoyment, we have:

Mama Jamz trotting like a pony trying to calm Rainbow on an outing:

And Rainbow being squirmy and adorable:

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