Sunday, August 31, 2008

Still in Georgia

I am still in Georgia waiting for ICPC to clear. Today makes three weeks here and Samuel's one week birthday. Chris and Davis left on Friday afternoon and could not find a hotel anywhere in the entire state of Louisiana so they drove all of the way to Longview, Texas before stopping and made it home by noon on Saturday. I really miss them both but Samuel and I are doing great. He's got his days/nights switched but we are working on that. I hope to get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time tonight but we'll see. I am vegging around the hotel today and resting whenever I can. Housekeeping is in our room now so I got up from the couch and headed to the lobby so I have a chance to catch up a bit. I am really hoping ICPC clears on Tuesday morning so I can get out of here on Tuesday evening. I am afraid that the remaints of Gustav will make it really hard to fly into DFW on Wed or Thursday, keeping me here longer.

My dad and little brother drove up to Atlanta from the New Orleans area yesterday. They are staying with my sister. I'll probably go over there to visit with them all tomorrow. I would have gone today but I feel like I really need to take it easy today.

I'll post a ton of pictures when I get home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Birth Story and More

I am finally able to post (I am at the computer in the lobby of the hotel). Chris put together this e-mail to go to our family and friends so I thought I'd just post it here as it is a detailed description of the birth and the mess that happended the next day. All is good now though. Samuel is home (in the hotel in Georgia) with us and we are working to get into a groove.

Chris' message:
When we last left our heroes, they were preparing for the birth mom to have labor induced at 5 AM Sunday morning. They had picked up the birth mom, and brought her back to the vacation house they were renting, to minimize travel time in the wee morning hours....

Knowing the early hour we'd have to get moving to get to the hospital, all of us were in bed by 10 PM. Of course, none of us actually slept. Kelly & I tossed and turned, while our birth mom did likewise as well as made repeated trips to the bathroom. About 11:45, and one such trip, she called to Kelly from the hallway. Kel was at the door in a flash, and our birth mom uttered one word to vault us in to action: "Contractions."

We were rolling out of the driveway by 11:56, and through the miracle of modern automobile transportation known as "speeding", we arrived at the hospital just after 12:30 AM. Therein we stumbled upon the first sign of trouble: they had no record of our birth mom in their system. No evidence of an induction procedure at 5 AM.

Nevertheless, with contractions coming in the neighborhood of 3-5 minutes apart, and dropping, we were going to have a baby delivered there. We got through triage and in to a birthing suite. Birth mom was dilated to 9 cm, and, sadly, too far along for pain meds of any sort; it was going to be the old-fashioned way. During all of this, we'd encountered the second sign of trouble: no one on duty in the labor/
delivery section spoke Spanish. Our birth mom speaks *very* limited English. No one on the staff seemed to think that perhaps having someone available who spoke both languages would be helpful. Nevertheless, the circle of life pressed onward, so did we. The doctor, thankfully, did speak Spanish, which at least helped in his communication with the birth mom. She had a rough go of it, tiring quickly, but finally at 2:36 AM--I know, because I looked at the big clock on the wall--out came our little boy. (Third sign of trouble: the staff called time of birth at 2:40 AM. By 2:40 AM, he'd been wiped down by a medical assistant and given his first APGAR test.) Vitals: 8 pounds, 5 ounces, 20.5 inches in length. Ten fingers, ten toes, two
eyes, two ears, one squished little nose.

Birth mom had complications I won't go in to here for the sake of the squeamish, but it resulted in stitching and being carted off to the OR. We got to spend about 45 minutes with the new little one in our lives. As we neared the moment when they were going to take birth mom to the OR, we encountered the fourth sign of trouble: ID bands. Standard procedure is apparently to band the mother, band the baby, and then band one other individual determined by the mother. Through the previous talks we'd had with our birth mom, that other individual was supposed to be Kelly. We asked about this as they were banding birth mom and baby. We were told they had to ask her; only the only person who could do that had taken his leave of us, and our poor birth mom was rapidly falling in to incoherence out of sheer exhaustion. We
were assured by the staff that when we came back in the morning, they'd have an answer from the birth mom, etc.

So, with birth mom being carted off to the OR, and our boy being carted off to the nursery, we drove back to the rental house for a few hours of sleep.

(Some of you might be wondering why the ID bands are such a big deal. Nutshell: it's a security procedure to limit access to the baby outside of the nursery until the baby is discharged from the hospital.)

As I stated previously, my folks had driven over from Birmingham to stay with Davis while we took care of all of this, so we left them at the house while we went back to the hospital. Sign of trouble #5: we couldn't locate birth mom in the maternity ward. Turned out that she was shipped over to the regular hospital wing after her discharge from surgery recovery. We met with her, and in our limited language
experiences, found that she was doing well, and had gotten a lot more rest than we had over the past few hours.

We asked her about the ID bands, and she told us that she'd told some staffer that she wanted Kelly to have one. Only our birth mom had the 3d ID band *on her other wrist*. What we've deduced has happened is that because birth mom doesn't know our last name (and this is intentional), and the staffers she was dealing with this morning were not the ones she, and we, had dealt with during labor & delivery, no
one knew who "Kelly" was.

To wrap up what's rapidly becoming a long story, we didn't get to visit with our little guy outside the confines of the nursery. We were limited to looking at him through those big panes of glass. We were devastated, and not a little angry. Lots of she said-she said from the staffers, the language barrier, and necessary legal requirements to ensure the safety of the baby had coalesced to see that we would not
be holding our new little man this day.

The kicker: after speaking with our local adoption agency director, we were informed that, legally, the birth mom could appoint whomever she wanted to have that third band, and it didn't matter when that occurred, or if the birth mom was in possession of third band, as we'd found her. Of course, we didn't get this information until dinner time.

Oh, and did I mention that we had to vacate the rental house and move to new living quarters?

Yep, we took care of that, too. Kelly's company owns a Residence Inn in the Atlanta area, and we got a super-low corporate rate. So we packed up the minivan, then unpacked the minivan, and we're in the new digs, much closer to the hospital.

So what's the plan for tomorrow? Our agency director--who assured us she's *never* had this type of issue crop up at this particular hospital before, unlike other hospitals in the area--has left a detailed message for the maternity ward social worker we're going to meet in the morning. Hopefully we'll get all of this cleared up and we'll once again have our baby boy in our arms for a while.

We're guessing birth mom and baby will be discharged on Tuesday, and that's when she'll terminate parental rights, we'll sign the papers we have to sign, and Samuel Patrick--that's the name we're going with-- will be handed over to us.

Thanks for all of the prayers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Its a Boy!

This will be quick since I only got about 2 hours of sleep last night and the baby isn't even home yet. R didn't make it to her scheduled induction. Her contractions started around a quarter to midnight and we rushed to the hospital. By the time she got checked in, she was already 9 cm dilated and too far along to get any pain meds. The pain was excrutiating for her, but she did it.

At 2:36 am, she delivered a beautiful baby boy. He weighed 8 lbs. 5 oz. and was 20.5 inches long. We got to spend about 45 minutes with him before they took him to the nursery. There was a HUGE mix up at the hospital and they would not let us see him at all today (more on that later). We were devastated, not to mention angry. We plan to be at the hospital social worker's office around 9 am tomorrow (Monday) to get things resolved. R will be signing her surrender papers either tomorrow or on Tuesday. I'll post more detail later, as well as a picture of Samuel Patrick. (Blogger's currently giving me problems with uploading pictures.)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Induction Scheduled

We arrived at the clinic for R's 2:00 appointment and didn't get out of there until 4:00 but we did leave with an induction scheduled. If she doesn't deliver earlier, we go in on Sunday at 5:00 am. Its finally going to happen. I just hope labor and delivery go smoothly for R.

Continue to pray for us, R and the baby.


Getting Ready for Doctor

We are taking R to her doctor's appointment today at 2:00. She is one week past her original due date and 10 days past her revised due date. I expect them to do a vaginal exam today to check her cervix since they did not do one last time and I understand that is pretty common at this stage. I also hope that they schedule an induction soon. I am concerned about the size of the baby. It was 8.5 lbs at the ultrasound 2 weeks ago. I am afraid that if it gets too big, R will need a C-section and I don't want her to have to go through that.

One thing that has been cool about being here for so long with nothing to do is all of the cool stuff that C, D and I have done. We have seen 3 movie, gone to the Georgia Aquarium and Zoo Atlanta. Its been great spending all of the quality time with D just us. Another thing that I have noticed a lot since we have been here are a very large number of mixed race and mixed ethnicity families. Maybe I am just noticing it more or maybe Atlanta is more progressive than my little burb. I met a lady at the zoo that adopted two children from Ethiopia and another lady that had done two domestic adoptions and was going to Ethiopia for her third. There have been a lot of other examples but I havn't talked to any of the others.

Wish us luck today at the doctor. I am hoping they tell us to go straight to the hospital but not holding my breath.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Past Due

R is now one week past her due date and we are very anxious. Not only did we spend a ton of money to be up here for the last two weeks when we could/should have been at home and we now have to pay for up to two more weeks here depending on when she finally delivers, I have used up two of my 12 weeks off with no baby. The house we have been at the past two weeks is great but it was too expensive to begin with and we definitely can't afford to stay here longer. Luckily my company manages a Marriott Residence Inn in Duluth, Georgia and they gave me a fantastic rate on a one bedroom suite so I'll be moving there when our time is up here. C and D plan to leave here on Saturday unless at R's appointment on Friday they schedule an induction. D starts a new school on Monday and we'd like him to be there unless there is a really good reason (like a new brother/sister) not to. If R has not delivered, they will probably have to come back when she does so C can sign the necessary paperwork (although I have asked the lawyer if he can presign so C does not have to drive the 15 hours back and/or pay for a flight). I'll stay here with the baby until our ICPC paperwork clears (7 - 10 days after it is submitted and it is usually submitted the day after the surrender is signed; surrender signed 24 - 48 hours after the birth). I plan to fly home with the baby. I am really concerned about C and D spending that much time on the road if they make two trips back and forth so I think flying is the best option although I am not sure how I'll handle it with the baby. I am sure that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. I just really hope that she delivers soon so C can be here for the delivery.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Still Waiting

We made it to Atlanta LATE on Sunday. At some point on our drive our air conditioner broke so the last 4 hours was pretty miserable. The house we are staying in is great but we only have it through next Sunday so if R does not deliver soon, we'll have to make other arrangements. All day Monday we could not reach R so finally that night we showed up at R's house to make sure she was ok. I imagine she was surprised to see us but I hope she was not upset. Her phone had been cut off so we were able to get that paid and turned back on so we could reach her. On Tuesday, we took D to the Georgia aquarium and we took the car into the dealership to get a new air compressor (more $$ that we didn't have budgeted at this time). We had a good time at the aquarium.

Yesterday, we picked R up and took her to lunch and then to her doctor's appointment. We were able to communicate a little bit. I went back with her at her appointment and they did not do a vaginal exam. All they did was check her urine, blood pressure and measure her. It seems weird to me that they did not do a vaginal this late in the game but I do not know what is normal. After the doctor, we took R to meet with the lawyer and the translator so she could go over all of the paper work and arrangements at the hospital. I know that this is incredibly hard for R. She cried at least twice yesterday. I know that she knows that it is best for her to place the child with us but it is breaking her heart and mine too. I am praying for peace for her. I hope she takes up our offer for counseling for her after the birth. She has been through so much already. I know counseling will help her a lot. Today we are just hanging out at our house but are hoping to get the call to go to the hospital so we can get home soon. D starts school on the 25th so he and Chris will probably have to leave here before we can leave with the baby. Its at least 7 - 10 days after the surrender documents are signed for the ICPC approval to come in. We'll work out logistics when we need to. Continue to pray for us, R and the baby. Thanks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Heading Out

We are heading out the door soon on our 15+ hour drive to Atlanta. We have a very busy day planned tomorrow. We are going to pick up R and bring her to her doctor's appointment and then all three of us will head to the lawyer's office. She will have a translator available for R.

Please pray that we have a safe drive and that everything goes smoothly over the next two weeks.

I'll try to post from Atlanta if I can.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gearing Up

Unless R delivers early, we will be heading to the Atlanta area on Sunday. We were going to use our timeshare to stay someplace so we wouldn't have to come out of pocket for the time we have to stay in Georgia but every condo on our list were all booked. We ended up finding what looks like a great place on a about 45 minutes north of the hospital where R will deliver. It is a 3 bedroom so if we have any guests during the two week period (my sister lives really close and C's parents live a few hours away), we'll have a room for them. That was not an expense we budgeted but we'll make it work. I am hoping that by leaving on Sunday, we will be able to be there for the delivery. We'll know more tomorrow after R's doctor appointment.

The house is coming together. We completed what we are calling "the great room reshuffle of 2008." The junk room was cleaned out and D's room was moved into there. D's room was repainted and the guest room was moved into that room. Finally, the former guest room was set up as the nursery. It is missing the dresser/changing table since it is still used for D's clothes. We need to order his new furniture but might have to wait until we get some more funds before we do that. If we have money left after all of the adoption expenses, we'll buy it now. Otherwise, we'll wait until my bonus in January.

Due to R's need for us to cover some living expenses, we are having to do an identified agency adoption in Georgia. Our Georgia attorney also has an agency so we'll use her agency. I have no idea yet what all that means but hope to hear from them soon as to what that will mean for us and R.

That is it for now. I'll try to update after we talk to R tomorrow after her appointment.

Monday, August 4, 2008


I finally heard back from our adoption adviser/translator. She had three "baby born" situations (where the mother decides to place the babies for adoption after they are born) that she was dealing with today so her schedule got all messed up. We have rescheduled the call for tomorrow at 11:30. She indicated that R had called her too wondering about the call and wanted to make sure we were still on board so it sounds like we were both worrying. She needed to call R to make sure the rescheduled time would work and got a brief update that she e-mailed me. R had her ultrasound on Saturday and the baby is already 8.5lbs. They could not tell the gender. I imagine there is no room for the baby to be moving so it is impossible to get a good look. They moved her due date up to the 12th from the 14th. We are hoping to make it past the 9th (D's birthday party is on the 9th) but with the baby that big already, I'll be surprised if that happens. D was 3 lbs 9 oz when he was born and was almost 3 mo old before he weighed 8.5lbs so having a big baby will definitely be a new experience. The projects around the house are coming along. We found the cutest gender neutral nursery decorations at a consignment shop. C's grandmother got it and the bassinet for us. We only need to buy a few more things (car seat and tub) and then I think we'll be ready. So exciting.


We were supposed to have a call with R and our agency translator today at 12:30. Its now 1:45 and we have not heard a thing despite my e-mails and phone calls inquiring as to the status of our call. I can't help but be pessimistic and think that something is wrong or that R is having second thoughts. I hope to be able to update the blog tonight or tomorrow with good news.