Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Baby in Da House

originally posted on the Bruise Chronicles

Jane Anne Drexler

It's been a long and arduous journey... and I've only got as far as my own front door. The journey is only beginning.

By the grace of God we have an adopted newborn in the house. Jane Anne was born on Oct 26, 2008, at about 11:30 am.

8lbs 11oz, 19"

I don't know why these are always the things that people ask. Probably because it's really all we know about her at that point. The day she is born, we go to see her in the hospital. I am reduced to sobbing tears when the birth-mother places her in my arms.

I tell the guys at work that I will come back to the shop to work if we leave the hospital early enough. When it looks like we will not be getting back early, I call the shop.

"Cisco, I just wanted to let you guys know that I won't be coming in today after all," I explained, "I'm still at the hospital."

"The hospital! What happened?" he asks. It's a legitimate question if you know me and how I tend to ride my bike.

"Nothing. The baby we're adopting was born today. We're here to see the baby," I tell him.

"Oh! A baby! Boy or girl?" he asks with excitement.

"A little girl. Jane Anne," I tell him.

"Oooohh! I little girl! Is she beautiful?" he asks expectantly.

I blink. This baby has just been smushed through the Play-Dough Fun Factory of Life and looks like... um, a newborn. What kind of question is that?

"Cisco, she's three hours old. She still looks like a semi-reconstituted prune. Ask me again in a few days, OK?"

I'm still on edge about seeing the baby, because she's technically not ours, and will be with the birth-mother and not in our custody for another week. I will be an emotional wreck for the next 24 hours, knowing that I'm expected to visit the baby again the following day, ooo and aaaah over this little child that is not mine, then detach from her at the end of the visit, knowing that anything can happen in a week while the birth-mother nurses her and cares for her. This week will be difficult for everyone.

I'm forced to re-focus, put my own angst aside, and remember that this healthy baby girl has made her debut on the planet, full of life and unexplored potential!

Here's a pic from the hospital.

The week following her birth is torturous for us. Although the birth-mother is an amazingly focused and goal-oriented individual, and is determined to give up the baby for adoption knowing that she would not be able to provide her a stable two-parent home, we must prepare ourselves for any outcome, including the birth-mother's choice to keep the baby.

According to the laws of California,
the birth-mother has thirty days to change her mind, from the day we take custody. I will be mentally preparing myself to take care of God's child, not my own, knowing she could be taken from me any time between the day I get her and about Dec 6.

Steve and I take custody of Jane on Nov 2, 2008.

Asleep in my arms.

Mr "New Dad" prepares for an afternoon nap with Janie on Monday, the day after we bring her home.

It's been almost a week, and I must say, we totally won the baby lottery. She's not fussy, but only cries when something is going on - she's hungry or wet or uncomfortable. She started to open her eyes to the world and hold her head up on Tuesday, Nov 4. It looks like she might have hazel or brown eyes.

She has long beautiful fingers - perfect for playing the cello or piano.

She hasn't started smiling yet, but it won't be long. She tends to furrow her brow in what I affectionately call her "perma-scowl," that appears on her face when her eyes are open and her newborn blurry vision can't quite make out the smudge in front of her. But we are all happy smudges, looking for the can of "scowl-be-gone."

As I tell my stories, centered around my latest adventure heroine, I realize the entire shape of my world has changed. It's been over ten paragraphs and I haven't said anything about bikes or bruises or crashing or pain. I spent the entire morning on Wednesday cleaning the house and watching the baby and feeding the baby, and planning dinner. When it occurred to me that this was how I was filling my day, I stopped short, stuck for a moment right in that moment. The remarkable thing was not that I was there, but that I was enjoying being there.

This image kinda sums it up for me:

Like the dog with the stupid grin, I've been domesticated. And it's really not too bad.

Finally in "News of the New Mom that you Just Can't Make Up" here's a morsel for you. It was 4:45am on Friday morning. I had been up with the baby since about 3:30am when she awoke hungry and I got up to nurse her (Yes, she's adopted and I'm nursing. Ah, the miracles of modern science.)

Anyhoo, she's all done, but she has the hiccups, and I can find NOTHING that will help her out. I put her on my shoulder, I walk around the room bouncing, I pat her on the back, and just when we get nice and settled down and I think she's going back to sleep... HIC!

I'm exhausted and no longer thinking straight. I've tried everything. Finally I bring her to bed with me, hoping that... I dunno, the power of my charismatic sleepwaves will overtake her and she'll fall asleep. Her hiccups awaken Steve.

"Honey, the baby has the hiccups," he tells me quietly.

"Yeah," I mutter sleepily, "I'm hoping they'll go away."

"Put her vertical," he suggests.

Not moving from my prone position, I prop the baby up vertically, as she flops over onto me with a HIC!

"Honey," Steve says, now awake, "you want me to take her?"

"Oh, would you? I just can't anymore," I mutter.

"Of course. That's what I'm here for," he says sympathetically. He takes the baby and I fall immediately to sleep.

When I awaken, I stumble into the living room where Janie and I had been a few hours before trying to deal with her hiccups. That's when I see it: the little mini paper bag I had found, and in desperation had tried to get her to breathe into to stop her hiccups. This is what they call a "facepalm moment." Somehow at 4:30 in the morning, trying to get a newborn to breathe into a tiny paper bag to cure the hiccups seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

Sleep deprived? Naw... just um, resourceful!

"Here, Janie, breathe into this." HIC! (yawn) "Trust me."

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