Mama Fern finally got to leave the hospital yesterday. SW is taking her a letter and some photos I whipped up and pdf'd to her. We will hopefully get to meet her in person soon after our return from grammy's house next week.
Fortunately, Cole's best man remembered and emailed her early this morning to congratulate her or it would have passed utterly forgotten by us!
As I got into the car this morning with Selina and Cole to head to the doctor's office, it occured to me that if someone had told me, four years ago that four years hence I'd be taking my second child to her first well-baby visit, I'd have laughed in her face.
I want to reiterate how much I love our family doctor. All the nurses/receptionists/file clerks/etc. just gushed when they saw Nat's baby sister. They already adore Nat and I could hear their "awww!"s before I made it through the second of the double entry doors. Our doctor practices at a small clinic that has mostly geriatric specialists, so they don't see many babies there and they all remember us very well, and there are always lots of grammies and grandads in the waiting area to gush, too.
Dr. Lee said Selina is healthy and great and so "normal" for her gestation that she must have been going to be a very large term baby. In the past 24 hours in fact, Selina has picked up her appetite considerably and her sucking has improved immensely. She was eating 1-1.5 oz over an hour with lots of breaks to rest and lots of dribbling every three hours (for which I had to wake her) when I picked her up last week. Now she's downing 2.5 oz with glee in one sitting every three hours at her own loud insistence.
She has gained 6 oz and half a cm since I picked her up a week ago. So all is well. The doctor said to bring her for well baby visits according to her birth schedule, rather than adjusted age.
And now for some cute Natisms:
Nat calls Selina a lot of things from "Selina" (as in "hey, Selina, where Cole mom go?" hollared at the hammock across the baby gate in our doorway when Nat expected to find Cole napping in our bed), to "little baby" to "baby sister" to "tiiiiiiiiiny baby!" She asks to "see her!" or "hold her!" frequently. She is used to her being in the sling and me pulling it open for a peek when she asks to "see the baby?" so yesterday, she pulled my collar open and looked down my shirt, saying "see baby?" when Selina was not, in fact, in there.
Nat has learned the plural rule, without me noticing. But I realized it when she got the exception wrong and counted a picture of children by saying "one children! two childrens! three childrens!" and so on.
Yesterday, she was feeling a bit jealous I suppose. I was putting Selina in the sling, in preparation of heading out to the backyard for Nat to play and visit the neighbors.
"Mama Shannon, where are you?" Nat hollared across the house.
"I'm getting Selina, where are you?" I responded.
"Table!" she let me know, "climb table!"
And sure enough, there she sat, in the middle of the dining room table, a strictly forbidden place.
When she saw the sling, she said "see baby!" so I told her she couldn't see the baby until she climbed down, then I left the room (and peeked back to watch her climb down promptly, sit in the chair and announce "sit bottom! See baby?"
First, can anyone show me a good place (on the web) to read up on A) late preemies (we found out Selina is 6 weeks and one day early) and B) preeclampsia/eclampsia?
No time to do my own googling. Thanks in advance. I know you folks know more about this than I do. Nat was quite early (5 ish weeks) but I didn't realize how much so at the time. So I just took care of her in my benighted ignorance and here she is, thriving the heck away. But all the same, I'd like to know more. Meanwhile, Mama Fern's BP continues to be erratic with no planned hospital release in sight. I need to learn more so I can ask intelligent questions if we see her in the hospital. She really has pretty much no one, in terms of support, more especially so since she hid the pregnancy and doesn't want anyone to know.
So Nat...is doing awfully well, all things considered. We have been very attuned to her every sign of needing reassurance, and for all that I want to bond well with Selina, I hand her off to hug Nat as necessary. (Mind you, I am slinging her for hours every day, doing 90% of the feeding and rocking in the chair and singing a lot. She has overheard many of my interactions with Nat and has already been read to a lot because she's in the sling while I read to Nat, which is kind of interesting and something that never occured to me about second (and later) children. I probably didn't read to Nat much when she was a little baby, because it feels weird. But Selina is getting that via Nat.
When I was throwing things crazily into bags to take up to Chicago on Wednesday, and David was bringing baby stuff up from the basement and reassembling the hammock, etc. I tried to get as much instant sibling-prep as I could by asking for Nat's help and talking her through it all. "David is setting up a bed for the baby to sleep in. Can you put these little diapers in the bag for the baby? These bottles are for the baby's milk, see? I'm making special milk for the baby."
After a while, Nat disappeared, then returned to the kitchen with her doll. She held her aloft towards me, "here baby!" she announced. She thought it was all play. Then again, she didn't, because she was nervous as heck the whole time.
I left her with David, went to get Selina and came home after Nat was asleep. In the morning, David did Nat duty and eventually brought her in to meet the baby. She did very well, held the baby, stroked her head very gently and said, "tiiiiiiiny baby! so cute!" over and over. When I took Selina away to feed her, Nat crashed. She burst into tears and threw herself at me crying, "hold you!" She meant that she wanted to keep holding the baby, but I handed Selina to David for the feeding and held Nat instead. And it's been about like that ever since. She has a bit of a love-hate thing with the baby.
Selina is quite sleepy (well, duh, she's supposed to be on the inside, still!) and that has made things easier so far. I have been able to give Nat a lot of one-on-one time. So hopefully things will continue with relative peace until everyone is adjusted.
Where has Cole been, you ask?
Cole had a job-related trip planned, flying out of Chicago on Wednesday afternoon. So she was going to drive up in her post-accident rental car, park it in long-term and head to NY. We got the call about Selina (I got it. Cole was out and about after work and I couldn't reach her for the most unbearbly long time) on Tuesday night around 6 pm. All they said was that the baby was 6 days old, in the NICU, but fine now and would probably be released on Friday. So after we said yes to her, Cole figured she'd go on her trip and Friday, upon her return, we could meet in Chicago, pick up the baby and sign all the papers. So Wednesday morning, off she went.
An hour later, the social worker called to tell me she was getting the baby that afternoon and would arrange for "interim care" (the social workers take the babies home until the parents can get them) until Friday. I asked if there was any way I could get her right away, with Cole out of town, unavailbale to sign everything with me. The social worker remembered (I was too crazed to think of it) that we are a licensed foster family. You can do her 'interim care'!" she suggested.
Perfect. But no time to shop. Barely time to call David and beg him to cancel his jobs for the day and come take Nat. But I flew up to Chicago like a woman possessed, and in spite of the snarly traffic up there, lately, I made it in record time, just in time to wait 20 minutes in the lobby of the adoption agency's building, sitting on the floor by the mail boxes, while the social worker crawled through snarly traffic herself.
And so there in that lobby, I became a mother again. A couple of pregnant women walked down the sidewalk a moment before the social worker arrived and I wanted to wave and smile knowingly at them, but they would have thought I was a nut (and not in a good way). So I refrained.
One of the most surreal things I've experienced in life is walking into an office, being handed a baby, and walking away a mother. Take two was no less weird than Nat's placement had been. Maybe weirder, what with it being in front of a plate glass door in the lobby. It was really cool. I couldn't help thinking how strange that this intimate moment was occurring while people got off the El and walked home from work, right outside the door. It made me wonder how many Scenes of Great Consequence in others' lives I have witnessed without knowing it.
Life is funny.
So then I was a single mom to two in diapers for three days until Cole returned.
I have to take both kids (both!) up to Chicago to meet Cole (who's been out of town for three days) and sign the adoption paperwork (our end--mom's end is signed).
To answer some friends' questions for now:
"Selina" is a name her mother gave her. It will be on her original birth certificate. "Wells" is our part. It's for Ida B. Wells.
She was born 6 June and weighed 4 lbs 13 oz (preterm emergency c-section due to preeclampsia). She's up to 5 lbs 14 oz now.
I forget how long she is, sorry!
We go the call about her Tuesday around 6 pm. She was released the next day and I picked her up. We haven't met her mother (Mama Fern) yet. She is quite ill and still in the hospital. I have talked to her on the phone though and she promises to stay in touch. I think she's worried that we will disappear, so we may visit her in hospital if she doesn't get out in the next day or two.
She's very sleepy and loves being held/slung. She doesn't complain very much and when she does it's in little squeaks mostly, though when I took all her clothes off and gave her a sponge bath, she yelled quite loudly and turned her whole body purple.
Nat's doing GREAT. She is in awe of Seli and loves to hold her. She has moments of crying and panic, but they pass with lots of hugs and love. So far, so good.
4) Power for David to Authorize Emergency Medical Treatment for Nat in our Absence
5) Wills leaving everything to each other or in trust for Nat in the event Cole and I die together in a firey plane crash and establishing her guardians and trustees in event of same. (She doesn't get her money until she's thirty, by the way!)
I am dying of embarassment as I reveal to you that we haven't done this before now. It is particularly embarassing, given that I read and memorized the NOLO Guide for Gay and Lesbian Couples about ten years ago, when I was still single, for pete's sake.
Now, one cross-country move, two weddings and a baby later, I get to the paperwork.
If you are similarly slacking (though it's dubious that that would be possible) get it done. Let this be your motivator.
We say we're married too, about 99% of the time, but what about that 1% when it makes a serious legal difference, how you answer?
In Cole's case this morning, she was talking to the insurance company of the guy who hit her. A company she googled and found nothing but evidence of litigation against them for failing to pay. So she was not looking to be cute, feisty or potentially incriminate herself by misrepresenting something and getting called on it in court.
Not that it will probably get that far (we hope), but these kinds of things are trickier than me telling the telemarketer that Cole isn't home, being asked if her husband is home and claiming that I am her husband. (Believe it or not, the telemarketers don't miss a beat when I do that.)
See, I think we need to make more or this. Because we truly are in a weird legal bind of the government's making with the dumb DOMA.
When we were headed up to Canada to marry, I asked Cole "so what if we wanted to marry men in the U.S.? Would they allow it?" Because gee, a bit awkward on that honeymoon to the Canadian side of Niagra Falls, huh? What if I wanted to marry a Canadian man in the U.S.? Would the U.S. let me and then give him residency? What if, what if, what if...
What if you married a same-sex partner in Massachusettes, moved out of state, and wanted to marry an opposite sex partner, then move back to Massachusettes? Which marriage counts? I'd love to see someone test the DOMA by trying to do that kind of thing.
They have created these crazy Catch-22's for us and I'd like to see them answer to them. Basically we're stuck having to not just feel bad that we may need to erase our families on legal forms, but we're stuck lying--especially when our relationships are legally recognized as marriages somewhere.