Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nesting (adoption style)

Funny, I don't remember Zar helping out when I was feverishly scrubbing the window screens or filling the freezer with pounds and pounds of never-to-be-consumed hamburger before my previous babies came.
And yet Zar came home on Saturday with a storage unit for the basement, a new toilet paper holder to replace the broken one in the guest bathroom, and a can of touch up paint in Cornerstone for our walls. Our Home study was on Monday morning, and everything had to be perfect. In the end, it probably didn't have to be, but it sure feels good now that it's done.
It also feels good to have our year of "without Charlotte" firsts done as well. Our first Easter and Summertime at the beach, our first Halloween, long considered to be her favorite holiday as she was just so good at dressing up, and of course our first Thanksgiving and Christmas. The first year of hanging up her stocking despite the fact she wouldn't be here to dig suckers out of it.
The night before her First Angel Day I prayed for peace and lightness for the day, just as I had last year during her funeral and afterwards. And I got it. I was fine, and happy even, and we released balloons at the cemetery and left flowers and shredded money from Uncle Jake, for Chuck Money Millionaire, as was one of her many AKAs. The only time I got teary was reading one of the memories placed in our new Charlotte Memory Frame from Katie and Alex, which read "Remember how Charlotte loved sticking her fingers up everyone's nose?" I laughed and cried and didn't read the rest for now. As Zar said, we celebrated being one year closer to seeing her again. Later that evening the sun was going down and the cold grayness lifted. The clouds were pink and orange in a blue sky and and it was lightly snowing like golden confetti celebrating a special little girl's life. It was a good day.
Today, M, our birth mom came over and had lunch with me and Shannon and her kids, who are adopted. M held Ella until she fell asleep and the baby kicked Ella over and over, so hard I could see Ella jump a bit in her arms. We laughed and laughed and then M carried Ella up to her crib with me, to see the nursery where Ella will stay until she becomes a big sister. On the way back down she stopped me and told me she had chosen a middle name for the baby. I had asked her if she would be willing to help name the baby, and hadn't heard back and hoped I hadn't offended her. But she had chosen a name her Grandmother had always called her and so, in a way, had given her a name after herself. I was so happy, we hugged and she wrote it down for me and made me say it again and again to make sure I had it right. It is a wonderful Ethiopian name meaning Gift from God or Song of Praise. How very perfect and just what I had hoped for. Things continue to fall into place.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Quick while Ella's asleep!

Behold the new Blog Design. I was looking at my blog last night at 1030 and thought to myself "You know, I'm done with this blue and green windy grieving, yet strong and hopeful (oh look! A butterfly!) look.
Three hours later I settled on this. It's my Happy, Family Oriented, Scrapbook-ey Mo-Mom look. I thought long about changing the title from "Developmental Delays" to something else. That was the name I gave back when Charlotte was a wee one. Finally I decided I'm not ready for that. Maybe after the official One Year Angel Day Mark, maybe once Golden Basket Baby gets here, maybe not at all, I'll just continue to feel it out.
My mommy made me very happy today by telling me she had looked for a little dark skinned baby doll for Ella while in South Carolina, which I thought was so sweet, and then later she called and said she would buy New Baby a cradle so we don't have to buy a new crib just to move Ella to a big girl bed a few months later. How lucky I am to have a wonderful, supportive mom and family! I know lots of people aren't so blessed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One Year

I was working on President's Day 2009. I remember calling and checking on Zar and Charlotte at home. I remember Charlotte was sick, and I kept telling Zar to thump her back, giver her an albuterol spa treatment, get some fluid in her tummy. It wasn't busy at work, which was lucky, or maybe I should say a blessing, because at around 1 pm I suddenly announced I was going home. I said I just felt like I needed to be with Charlotte. I said she wasn't really sick, just a cold, but I needed to go be with her. I assured everyone she was fine, and I left.
At home I put Charlotte in her bucket bath, a bizarre blue tub shaped like a mop bucket I bought on sale at a baby store, which was perfect for a little girl who had trouble sitting on her own in a tub. I scrubbed her back and her hair and she smiled and looked relaxed. I kissed her face and rubbed lotion on her and put her in her piggy jammies and held her.
And then the fever hit, and the dropping oxygen sats.
And that was it. That night Charlotte was diagnosed with RSV which relieved me, because I was always, ALWAYS plagued by a fear of heart failure which I knew would be a long, difficult process for all of us.
That week went quickly, and Charlotte got better then worse again, and then I was driving to the hospital at 2 am after a call from her dad saying she was going to the PICU after all.
And I knew. This was it. I remember giving her a bed bath with the nurse, and she was so tired and so small, and I rubbed her back and thought frantically "Remember this!! This is the last bath." Her room was dim and cozy with blinking lights from vitals screens and from baby toys, tiny notes of music from a crib too often surrounded by high pitched alarms.
The night before was so dark. Her roommates were cleared out when we returned from dinner. In the PICU, parents must leave for an hour between 7 and 8, both am and pm, and during that time Charlotte had turned. Her room was huge and empty, and we sat in the corner clinging together on tall stools staring at Charlotte's swollen hand just visible between the working doctors. Those were the worst moments.
That night was hell.
And strangely, the dawn came with all the dawn implies. Charlotte was sedated, and receiving all the breathing assistance a child can receive, and still, her little body wasn't using the supplied oxygen and pressure. She didn't need it. Not because she was okay, or even improving, but because she was done with those sad awkward tubes and lines and needles and pumps. Charlotte was ready for wings.

I know I have written this post before, probably in very similar words, but that's okay. During this week I know I will be reliving those moments frequently. I cannot believe it's been a year.

Today I worked another President's Day, and again Zar was home with our daughter. I called and checked on them, and Ella was well, looking at books and tearing up magazines and eating like she had never seen a banana before. And I thought about Charlotte, Home, with her Father. And I stayed at work, because I knew Ella was well. And unlike last President's Day, Charlotte is well, too. And it's a comforting thought, finally knowing that All is Well.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I feel like a bad mom. Ella really needed a nap, you know? And until yesterday she was happy to nap on the love sac in the family room so I could putter and blog and snooze and read and keep an eye on her whilst she slept. But now, at the ripe old age of 16 months (tomorrow) Ella is a WALKER, and seems to remember this fact moments before she falls asleep on the love sac. And gets up and strolls around all wobbly while rubbing her eyes and whining. Arg.
So I took her upstairs and plopped her in front of the tv in her boppy and turned on baby signing time and went back downstairs. I'm sorry. But I didn't want to cook today and we have a gift card to Red Robin so we are going OUT tonight, and she needs to nap. Cuz momma needs her whiskey river wrap and bottomless steak fries and maybe splurge on a freckled lemonade, although just typing the words "freckled lemonade" made me throw up a little in my mouth. So perhaps not. Beverages should not be freckled. ew.
Congratulations to Ella, my new yittle tot. You look like a penguin.

Continuing with our theme of Eventful Week, we now have an attorney and a social worker all lined up for our upcoming addition! Hooray! Things just continue to fall into place. I did hear that our dear birthmom is having a rough time of it, so send her your prayers. She's just feeling alone and is starting to really show which is hard for a 17 year old going to high school. I can't imagine. High school was rough enough, but luckily she has a lot of support at school from good teachers and counselors.
I can't believe I will hopefully have another new baby girl in just a few months, and that I won't be recovering from major surgery during those first weeks. Sounds ideal to me. Can't say I'm all that bummed about not breastfeeding either, but I may change my tune when stumbling downstairs to make a bottle at 12, 3, and 5 am, and buying can after can of smelly formula.

Thanks for all the well wishes! I can't tell you how blessed we are feeling, and how tender it is to have this happening now, just a few days before Charlotte's First Angel Day. I know that's just another one of our many tender mercies we have been showered with for years.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I haven't abandoned the blog.
It's not even that I have nothing to say. I have a ton to say, to mull over and share, but I wasn't sure if I should yet. I'm still not sure, but I feel safe enough to throw a blog post out there.
A little over a week ago, Zar and I met an amazing girl. I can't say enough about her. She is absolutely incredible. So smart, and beautiful and wise beyond her years. She has an amazing future ahead of her, she is out to change the world. But right now, at 17, she finds herself in a difficult spot, and has offered to us, and her unborn daughter, the chance for family.
This opportunity came on suddenly, two days after I asked Zar "What if someone knocked on our door and offered us a baby? Would we do it?" He said yes.
I knew about this chance when I wrote my last post, my Baby in a Golden Basket post, and hoped then, as I do now, that I had found my golden basket baby. My knock on the door came.
As early as it is, it isn't. Baby is due in May. I'm already on the lookout for a cradle for baby as Ella isn't quite ready for a big girl bed, but she IS ready for a little sister.
So we are excited and scared and I'm not sleeping well, very much like a pregnancy, and yet so much more comfortable. We have a crazy few months ahead, lining up lawyers and social workers and doctors appointments and paperwork, but right now, we are moving forward with hope.

Oh and here is a random photo of us and Elder Robert D Hales and Charlotte's funeral. My goodness, Charlotte has given us so many adventures.