Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Trip Home...

Today started out well.  We got up and got the car packed and were on the road by 9:45am heading from Scott's parents' house in Northern Virginia to our home in North Carolina.  Pre-kid, this was a 4.5 hr trip.  And in fact, on the way up there on Christmas Eve night:

a) there was absolutely no traffic,
b) James slept the WHOLE way,
c) and we made it there in 4.5 hrs.

We couldn't even make that great of a travel time when I was pregnant.  I was either early pregnancy (stopping to throw up!) or late pregnancy (stopping to pee!).  I digress...

9:45 am: on the road!  Rainy day ahead.  Yuck.

11:45 am: time to stop.  James is ready to eat, and so are we.  Executive decision was made to dine at the fine Cracker Barrel establishment.  Quick service.  Bathroom with a changing table.  Seems easy enough.  I fixed James a bottle and fed him while we waited for our food.  It became quickly apparent while James was eating that he was "multitasking".  (read: pooping AND eating)  The smell was....notable.  After he was done eating, I put him back in his car seat just to get away from the noxious fumes.  Scott and I both inhaled our food.  Given the sexist country we live in, there was no baby changing station in the men's bathroom.  Soooo... I got the pleasure of changing the nasty diaper.  I grabbed the package of wipes, a diaper and the changing pad out of the diaper bag.  I gathered the stinky child from the car seat and headed off to bathroom.  Scott went to pay our check.

Of note:  As a NICU nurse, I change diapers for a living.

Back to our story.

I laid my precious, sweet, innocent little boy on the changing pad on the changing table.  I was afraid of what I was about to unearth in his diaper.  The next several minutes of my life can only be described as comical, disgusting, and amateur-parentish.  The poop was EVERYWHERE.  His pants and long-sleeve onesie were covered in poop.  The top layer long-sleeve shirt seemed to be okay.  As I opened the pandora's-box-of-a-diaper, I was very glad I had an almost-full package of wipes.  There was a lot, lot, lot of wiping involved.  I had just about gotten all the poop off of the precious, sweet, innocent little boy when I noticed there was a sizeable amount of poop on the changing pad, which kept smearing onto him, thus restarting the wiping process.  Good grief.  At that point I was really sad this was a women's bathroom and Scott couldn't come in and help me.

Side note:  extended periods of time (more than three seconds) of baby boy diaper-free-ness is NOT a good idea.  I know this, but there was so.much.poop.  Just before I was ready to re-diaper him, he peed.  Everywhere.  I managed to throw a couple of wipes on top of him to reduce the damage, but he'd already soaked his socks and doused the changing pad/table.  I almost cried.  I was really and truly fighting a losing battle.  I turned to one of the ladies washing her hands at the nearby sink and asked her if she wouldn't mind letting my husband know it was going to be several minutes before we'd be done.  She laughed and agreed to pass along my maydaymaydaymayday message.  I couldn't quite figure out how to proceed.  He was laying in pee.  The changing pad was soaked.  I didn't want to lay my naked baby on the bare counter.  I did the best I could to wipe up the pee and cover up all the volatile areas quickly with a diaper.  Another helpful lady in the bathroom volunteered to update my husband about our little crisis.

Oh, I almost forgot:  Because James had just eaten, his belly was nice and full.  As I kept him folded in half with his feet in front of his face while the extensive wiping took place, he spewed out portions of his lunch.  This insured there wasn't a dry spot on his changing pad.  At. all.  Nice.

I put back on the long sleeve t-shirt he was wearing.  I threw all the dirty clothes and changing pad into a heap, picked up my not-so-innocent child and finally left the bathroom.  The bathroom that my child single-handedly stunk up.

Scott was waiting for us near the bathroom.  I had poop/pee/spit up soaked materials in one hand and a pants-less baby in the other.  Scott told me he kept having random women come up to him and tell him how cute his baby was and that we'd be out in a few minutes.  I was trying to laugh at the situation, but mostly felt exasperated.  I felt like Jeff Foxworthy redneck joke material.  You might be a redneck if...  It's December and you have your baby in a diaper and long sleeve shirt...  

Scott procured us a bag from the Cracker Barrel store lady for the soiled items.  I carried James wrapped in a blanket to the car.

Once in the quickly-heating-up car, we found some more pants and socks in James' bag.  We got him redressed, situated in his car seat, and hit the road.  We made one more stop at Starbucks before getting back on the highway.  I don't know exactly how long I was in that bathroom with James.  What I do know is that we got off the highway at 11:45.  We got back on it at 1:15 pm.


Between the traffic and the rain, our progress was slow.  We didn't get into town until 4:15pm.  We managed to cram a 4.5 hour trip into 6.5 hours.  AWESOME.

Except for the Cracker Barrel scene, James was fantastic.  He slept off and on the whole time.  He didn't fuss at all.  Maybe he knew he was treading on thin ice and figured he better behave....

Probably not...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ceiling Fans

Who knew staring at a ceiling fan, preferably one that is on, could be so fun?

I didn't.  Not until today, anyway.

James was laying on his play mat.  I was beside him on the carpet.  Both of us on our backs, staring up at the whirling ceiling fan.

I promise neither one of us are on drugs.  Well, I know I'm not.  Who knows what that 5 month old does in his crib when I'm not around.  Kids these days...

The sliding glass door is open with a nice spring-like breeze blowing through it.  Weird...since it's November.  The cats are coming and going from the back porch.  They love the door being left open so they can come and go as they please.

As they please.  That's typical cat behavior.  Their whole lives are spent as they please.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011

I had the pleasure of interviewing a fellow birthmother blogger this week.  Meet Danielle of www.anotherversionofmother.com .  (with her husband)

She's lives in Canada (I hear it's cold there, eh?) with her husband and two children.  Danielle is a self-professed bookworm and enjoys a great political debate.  She won't say no to a learning opportunity or a glass of wine.  Of all her interests and passions, none compare to her love of coffee, as evidenced by her Tassimo she got for her birthday.

Danielle placed her son for adoption about 8 years ago.  She describes it as a semi-open adoption.  Most of my questions for her revolve around the adoption topic:

1)  If you were to become a birthmother counselor in an adoption agency of your own design, what kinds of things would you want your counsel-ees to know?  What would you want future birthmothers to know as they weighed their decision to parent vs. place for adoption?

I honestly don't think I would, based on my experiences with my agency, work for one or own one.  Clearly, as you've likely read, have issues with how unethical adoptions are around the world. I feel like there should be more accountability to everyone, and not just those who are paying these agencies bucket loads (another issue that I find unethical) of money in the hopes of an infant child. 

That being said love to hope see an agency who works with young moms to see if parenting fits for them first- give them a chance. If it doesn't work, then explore adoption as an option. I truly feel that woman should not be bombarded with the birthmother message until they have a chance to make the mothering part work. We should have women who don't feel pressured to adopt for one reason or another- they should be able to peacefully come to that decision after seeing if they can actually make it work. Obviously, this doesn't make money for the agencies, so with the current US industry, this is likely to not come to pass for years (it works brilliantly in the UK!) I'd hope that in the same aspect that adoptive parents would be informed completely about the struggle that she may go through internally. I'd also like the pre-adoption education to include more then just how much money you can give (I feel if a baby is going to go to different family dynamic, it shouldn't come with such an absurd price tag where someone is making money off the "transaction"), but about the differences between biological and adoptive parenting, and the issues that come behaviorally with an adopted child. I feel that adoptees are often done a disservice when their adoptive parents are just handed them as a child and not told anything about the issues they may run into down the road. Especially if they do end up having their own children biologically. 

That being said, mom's considering  adoption deserve to know what it looks like 10 years down the line, 5 years, the reality that their openness agreement is not legally binding. They need to see the side of being a birthmother that is the toughest; I feel that a lot of agencies paint it as this experience that you just get over- something that is simply untrue. I feel like one of the reasons I am struggling so badly right now is because I wasn`t told whole truths; I was told versions of contained truth and sometimes I was outright lied to. Everyone in the adoption triad deserve full honesty even if it means uncovering the uglier parts of adoption. 

2)  How did you choose The Kiddo's adoptive parents?  Did you look at tons of family profiles?  What, if anything, was on your "must-have" list?

I was given 15 profiles. Their profile was the first one I looked at and the only profile I actually related to.  According to the agency I worked with, that was more then most girls were given access too, and I was told I needed to choose sooner then later. Sadly, that was the main reason for choosing the family I did; I enjoyed the Adoptive Father`s letter to the birthmother, and they seemed like a great fit.  I had no list going in either; I saw a strange string of profiles- families with adoptive children already, families who were much older and had none, couples who wanted a completely closed adoption (I had requested open adoption profiles only- I saw 6 profiles who wanted strictly closed adoptions, despite my requesting only those who wished for open). 

3)  You've mentioned a group of accepting women that you get together with that you can be totally open and honest with (from your Birthday Friends post).  Are these other birthmothers?  If so, how did you find each other?

I know, other then online, no "real" birthmothers. Those girls in that post are just my closest girlfriends; we've all been through our own version of struggles. We are a very honest group of women, my adoption aside, so that makes it much easier to break through the crud and be completely open. Without fear of judgment. 

4)  What, if any, contact do you have with The Kiddo's birthfather now? 

Minimal contact. I never blogged about it, and I should, but I recently asked him all the questions I needed to ask him. I got my anger out, and it seems other then the occasionally hello, I have no need for deeper contact. He is off doing his thing, and as harsh as this sounds, he's just the 17 year old boy (8 years ago) who never grew up.  

5)  Would you and The Hubby consider adopting a child?  Why or why not? 

This is a tough question. I used to say yes, but I want to say no. I think if the circumstances were correct, and openness was fully part of the scenario, then maybe.

6)  Being a birthmother is a part of who you are, but it's not ALL of who you are.  Help paint the fuller picture of who Danielle is.  Birthmother, parenting two kids, wife... I know there are many, many facets to you!

I am a bit of a bookworm; I will devour anything in sight if it catches my interest. I enjoy a great political debate, I love learning and drinking wine. I have a quirky sense of  humor that few people appreciate and understand. Eventually, I plan to go to school; I'd love to double major in social work, and writing/editing. I'm not religious, even in the slightest, which is a far off place from my religious upbringing. I love food, a little too much, and have a rather romantic relationship with coffee (I got a Tassimo for my birthday, need I say more?!) I am quiet in groups of people, yet I am always observing. I would rather stay home for a date with my husband then go out.

7)  Is there anything/anyone that is your go-to happy place right now?  You are wading through some deep stuff.  Is there anything that is guaranteed to make you smile? 

I'm trying to balance it all; and I won't lie, it's been tough. Having two young kids who have such big, silly personalities helps. I take time to connect with The Hubby, who is quite funny. If nothing else, a good glass of wine usually gets me relaxed enough to laugh a bit. 

I so appreciate Danielle's time with this interview project!  Go check out her blog at http://anotherversionofmother.com/.

To read her interview of me:  click here.  This interview project was put together by Heather of Production Not Reproduction.  Lots more interviews to browse through at that website.  All different sides of the adoption triad are represented.   Thanks Heather and Danielle!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


On work days I'm gone for 13+ hours.

On non-work days, I breathe a huge sigh of relief that I'm off.  I waste half of my time off in recovery from the work days.

I feel like I'm half-@$$ing every area of my life.  Motherhood, wife-hood, work-hood.

I am not the first working mother.  This has been done by bazillions of women before me.  Why do I feel this way about it?


Monday, November 7, 2011


Bittersweet.  I read on another blog that this term may have been created just for birthmothers.  I agree with that.  I don't quite know how to describe what I want to share.

There are countless precious moments that I've shared with James in his short little life thus far.  Just one example:  walking into his room in the morning and getting him out of his crib...seeing that cute little drooly face grinning up at me...it makes my heart melt.  Okay, really anytime I look at him and he smiles back at me, I melt.

I've had the thought a few different times, though, that this is bittersweet.  I placed my first child, Chloe, for adoption.  It was the hardest decision I have ever made.  I knew at the time that it would be hard in the future.  There would be hard days.  Days, weeks, months of heartache.  Sadness over what I was missing out on in her life.  But since she was my first child, I was speculating about what all I would be missing.

Now that James is here, I'm seeing first hand what I missed with Chloe.  That's what I mean by bittersweet.  When I watch in awe and wonder as he discovers a fantastical new skill like blowing spit bubbles! or gnawing on his feet or rolling over, it makes me sad that I missed all these nuances with Chloe.  I've had the thought "I didn't know I was missing THIS."

Don't get me wrong.  I'm enjoying my son immensely.  There is certainly way more positive going on than negative.  But I didn't quite anticipate the delayed grief.

I don't know if this makes any sense to you, the reader.  That's okay if it doesn't.  Sometimes that's what happens when I #justwrite.

Monday Morning at My House

James transitioned nicely from play time to nap time...

Nestle enjoys a little relaxing in James' room...

Otto, the lazy bum, hasn't even gotten out of the bed yet. (And therefore he has not yet MADE the bed...)

And me?  Well, I look AWESOME.  The glasses, the rockin' bed head, the clothes I slept in.  Yeah.

We don't like to rush into Mondays around here...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Help Me Name My Blog

So...I'm sort of creative. Sort of. But not REALLY creative, like some of you are! So help me name my blog! "Betty Anne & Scott" served it's name-purpose for a season, but now I'm ready to move on.  Not from Scott, mind you.  We're still a thing. :)

Here's what you need to know to make suggestions:

1) My name is Betty Anne Davidson. Perhaps a word play on my initials or name such as these folks:

http://theiveyleague.com/  Her last name is Ivey.

http://www.misselaineouslife.com/  Her first name is Elaine.

http://thebkeepsushonest.blogspot.com/  Her last name is Lieb.  I thought this one was particularly creative!

2)  I blog about my experiences as a birthmother, a i-gave-birth-to-this-kid-and-am-raising-him mother, and life in general.  So my blog name could be something mom-related:





Oh....did I mention that I'm giving away a $25 Target Gift Card to the best blog name idea suggested??!  So please, suggest away!

Monday, October 31, 2011


I have a love/hate relationship with football.

At times, I love watching football.  The competition of it all, the mind-numbing effect of staring at the tv for a few hours, listening to the announcers try to fill every second of air time with game-related chatter.  Watching football with Scott is one of his love languages, I'm pretty sure.  Wait, I'm POSITIVE.  He's told me so before.  And when a guy says the phrase "love language", one should listen carefully.

At times, I hate watching football.  The commercials seem to have a LOT of scantily clad women in them.  I don't particularly enjoy watching scantily clad women, in general, much less on tv.  The announcers during the game are all "Let's spend twenty minutes watching that play again from seven different camera angles to determine if that was an incomplete pass or a fumble."  And every twelve seconds of game play requires three commercials.  Enter said scantily clad women again.  Sheesh.

My absolute LEAST favorite part of football is pre-game, half-time, or post-game shows.  A group of men sit around and speculate what is going to happen during the game.  At half-time they discuss what has happened so far and what needs to happen in the second half.  After the game is over, the men folk rehash the whole game and talk about whether they were right or not.

Wait, it gets even better.  How about a talk show about FANTASY FOOTBALL.  Now the group of mostly-men are sitting around talking about fictitious football games occurring only in the land of make-believe.  What players should the fantasy football league manager play that week?  Who should be benched?  Speculate, speculate, speculate.  Blah blah blah.  And this isn't even REAL!!!  I can hardly stand it.

Sadly, winning at fantasy football happens to be a tremendous talent of Scott's.  He listens to the jabbermouths on the pre-during-post-fantasy talk shows.  He wishes I would play in his fantasy league.

Maybe I could sign up to be a scantily clad woman and advertise something instead...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life as a Military Kid

My dad was in the Air Force.  We moved a lot.  Until college, I had never lived in one city for four consecutive years.  People asked me as a kid if I liked moving around a lot.  That's like asking me if I liked being a girl.  I didn't know any different.  I liked it because it was all I knew.

I realize, in looking back, that I developed some coping mechanisms to handle all the moving.  Some healthy, some not so much.  Pretending to be aloof, nonchalant, acting like I didn't care about anything...this was one of my strategies.

I spent my 9th grade year of high school in Illinois.  I spent 10th-12th grade in Maryland.  That's not a big deal.  Two high schools.  My brother went to four.  I consider myself lucky.  The first day at my new high school in Maryland, I had my defenses up.  I went in ready to blend in and not stick out.  This was particularly challenging because I was in the minority in my school.

In one particular class, the guy next to me struck up a conversation with me.

Attempting-to-be-nice-guy:  "You're new here, aren't you?"

Aloof-me: "Yeah."

ATBNG: "Did you just move to the area?"

AM: "Yeah. My dad is in the Air Force." <looking disinterested>

ATBNG: "Oh really, my uncle is in the...."

<me interrupting> "I didn't ask."

As you can imagine, the conversation pretty much ended there.  Wow.  Nicely done me.  Way to stay disconnected, disengaged, DISTANT.  So distant I didn't even care if I was down right rude.

What a strategy.  I've spent a lot of time trying to undo my self-taught "disengage" coping mechanism.  I don't have it all figured out.  How to be present, engaged, emotionally available.  But I've come a long way since that chilly conversation in high school.

Now I have roots in a city I've lived in for more than 7 years.  I have long-term friendships that have weathered me moving away for a few years and then moving back.  I have an elderly cat that has been mine since he was a kitten.  (You don't understand...we never had old pets.  We didn't really move with our pets.  We would find them new homes or take them to my grandparents farm.)  And I have a new kind of relationship in my life that is unlike any I've experienced before.  Being a mom to baby James.  Lucky for him he doesn't have climb over my heart-walls like almost everybody else has had to do.

He was born an insider.

I'm linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for #justwrite.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Baby Gear Must-Haves

New moms:  As you've probably already discovered, the more moms you ask about baby stuff you absolutely must have, the more recommendations you'll get.  Well, here's my two cents on the matter.

Bare essentials list, in random order, followed by pictures of what I chose:  

1) Place to sleep. Could be a bassinet.  Could be a crib.  At times you'll want that sleeping containment area as close to you as possible.  At other times you'll want to move it to another country.

*baby not included

2) Diapers.  Cloth, not cloth.  Whatever suits your fancy.  Take the advice of those that have gone before you, you're going to want to cover up that cute little butt.

3) Food.  Formula, breast feeding, again, whatever suits your fancy.  Kid's gotta eat.

my freezer stash
Although I chose breastfeeding, I felt a picture of my boobs would be inappropriate.  Not ready to head in that direction with this blog...

4) Car seat.  Lots and lots of choices here.  Ask your friends what they like/dislike about the car seat they chose.  The hospital staff won't let you go home from the hospital with your new little babe without this key item.

5) Clothes.  Options are endless here.  I'd recommend CUTE.

The non-bare essentials list:

A)  Some sort of baby bathtub, so as not to drown the child while trying to get them clean.

B)  Swaddle blankets.  I highly recommend swaddling your kiddo to keep them happier.  These light weight blankets (Aden & Anais) were awesome:

C)  Regardless of your feeding choice, you will need bottles at some point.  Lots of them.  If you are breast feeding and pumping, extra pump parts would be helpful, too.

D)  Pacifiers.  Wow.  These absolutely improved our quality of life for the first several weeks.

E)  Comfortable chair.  I've spent a LOT of time in this chair and in the recliner in the living room.  You need a comfortable spot to set up "shop" for all the millions of hours spent feeding your baby.

F)  Bumbo.  I haven't really gotten a ton of use out of this yet.  But some moms swear by them.

*duck not included

G)  Bouncy seat or swing.  Could NOT have survived our first few weeks without our bouncy seat.  James was a huge fan of sleeping in it.  And we were huge fans of James sleeping.  Sooo....   We didn't use our swing much at all, but some babies love the swing.

H)  Play mat.  Our kid loves his.  

I)  Boppy.  I've found this very, very helpful with breastfeeding.  

J)  Not at all helpful:  a sunbathing cat.  As I was walking around the apartment photographing all the various baby gear items, I saw this on the back porch.  Not only is Nestle NOT helpful with the baby, she actually helps create more mess for me to clean up.  If you don't have pets already, now is not the time to get one. :)

K)  Last but definitely not least, the most helpful thing to have when you have a new baby:  A PARTNER. 

Even if said partner despises having his picture taken and posted on the interwebs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Second Worst Day of My Life

**edit:  This was in 2007, fyi.**

It was evening.

We were hanging out in the ICU waiting room.


We'd pretty much lived there for the previous few days.  My sister was attempting to catch a few moments of sleep in the room across the hall where the medical staff meet with families, presumably to share bad news.  There was a set of motorized double doors that separated us from Ron, my brother-in-law.  He had multiple myeloma.  His heart was struggling.  In the waiting room, we started to recognize other families as family too.  I mean, when you spend night and day in a small waiting room, you can only ignore each other for so long.  Several people had blankets and pillows and were attempting to sleep.  Whoever designs hospital waiting room chairs does an excellent job at creating the most uncomfortable long-term place to sit.

We can only visit Ron two at a time.  At least one of his brothers was visiting him on this particular night, at this particular time.  My oh-so-uncomfortable chair is sort of near the waiting room door.

Suddenly I hear a lot of commotion behind those double doors.  Lots of beeping alarms and staff talking loudly.  Somebody is barking orders.  I work in a hospital.  I know the tone of those voices and the beeping alarms could not be good.

I step into the hall and punch the button on the wall that opens the doors into the ICU.  Ron's bed is straight ahead.  There are so. many. people. around him.  Their faces are concerned, but everybody is focused on the task at hand.  After what seems like an eternity, the doors close.  I never stepped through the doors, I just wanted to see if all the chaos was taking place at Ron's bedside.  It was.

By now the rest of the family is in the hallway with me, staring at the closed doors.  His daughter is crying. The rest of us are just in shock.  Is he dying?  Could this be it?  It's too soon.  He's too young.  This CANNOT be happening.  My heart is beating so hard and fast and feels like it's pounding out of my chest, I swear somebody across the hall could count my pulse just by looking at me.

Somebody needs to tell my sister.  I volunteer.  That was a stupid thing to do.

I creep into the dark room she's sleeping in and put my hand on her arm, saying her name gently.  "There's something going on.  We don't know what exactly, but I think you need to wake up."  My tone and facial expression said far more than my words.  She joins the crowd of us in the hallway.

We just stood there.  It felt like forever.  Some crying.  Some wringing hands.  Some clinging to each other.  All praying.  I remember thinking my heart is going to explode from the crazy pace and intensity with which it was beating.

The sounds behind the doors changed.  The loud voices changed to calmer voices.  The alarming beeps became more routine sounding.  I was hoping and praying this was a good sign.

After 30-45 minutes, a medical person came out to talk to us all.  We were hanging on his every word.  Ron stopped breathing, which stopped his heart.  They got him back.  He's on a ventilator now.  I don't think I heard much after "We got him back".  That's all I cared about.  The next days could take care of themselves.  But for now, we've got him back.


The only day in my memory that stands out as worse than that evening, is the day I left the hospital without my daughter.


I'm linking up with Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary for her Just Write exercise.  I need to quit participating, though, because more often than not, it makes me cry...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Here and Now

I sit here, my butt glued to this recliner.  The baby is in his nearby room talking up a storm in his crib.  He loves to try out all his sounds.  Over and over.  There's the Darth Vader breathing sound.  And the pterodactyl sound.  And the squeal-laugh-giggle sound.  And a slew of others.  So. dang. cute.  Not taking a nap, like he should be, but that's okay.  He's having a grand time talking to himself, so I'm not worried about him missing a nap.  

Me?  I'm tired.  Just plain tired.  Still struggling to find a balance between work life and home life.  I'm not doing either one particularly well at the moment.  My tiredness leads to grumpiness.  My grumpiness leads to a lack of patience, with everyone, about everything.  I don't like this "me".  I like easy-going, glass-half-full me.  Instead I'm uptight-glass-is-half-empty-and-probably-dirty-and-sitting-by-the-sink-with-all-the-other-dirty-dishes me.

The laundry is piled in the hallway.  Pretty soon those piles will finish creeping down the hallway and will reach the front door.  Nice.

I can't quite "win" in the kitchen, either.  The dirty dishes are....many.  The countertops (if you can even see them) are covered in bits and pieces of various meals from the past few weeks day.

Some sister-time today really helped.  It usually does. :)  Sisters are pretty important.  Well, maybe that's not an accurate blanket statement.  MY sister is pretty important.  She listens.  She hears what I'm really saying.  She helps ME hear what I'm really saying.  She's good people.  I'm grateful.  Our age difference kept us from being close when we were little.  She was into boys and I still thought they had cooties.  I was all care bears and rainbow bright and she was all fashion and make up and hanging out with friends.

But now, the age difference has all but disappeared.  We can talk and "get" each other better than most.  I like that.  That makes the here and now a little more manageable.

Alas, the happy baby in a crib sounds have turned a lot less happy.  I'm off to check on him.  He who makes the here and now a little more tolerable...


Today I'm linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write.  Check it out!

Monday, October 10, 2011

4 Months

Yay!  We made it another month!  You people weren't kidding.  It does get better.  And better.  And better. :)

This little guy has certainly stolen our hearts for sure.  So. dang. cute.  I tell him over and over that looks aren't everything, but he sure is cute!!  Watching his personality emerge is too fun.  He can look straight through to your SOUL with those blue eyes.

He's slowly but surely starting to play with toys.  Sophie the Giraffe is one of his best buddies right now.

He's still working on growing some peach-fuzz hair. :)

At his 4 month pediatrician appointment he was 14 lbs 4 oz (36th %), 25.5 inches long (72nd%), and 17.25 inch head (87th%).  I was shocked by his weight.  I really thought he'd weigh more.  I was also shocked by his length.  He's LOOOOONG.  And his head?  Well, all you have to do is look at him to know he has a big noggin.  We both cried when he got his shots.  I'm not going to argue with anybody over vaccinations.  I'm pro-vaccine.  But it hurts my heart to watch him get shots!  It was all over very, very quickly (the shots, his and my tears), but still.  Poor little guy.  We came straight home, I gave him some tylenol and then he slept for 2 hours.  All in all, it went very well.

He takes at least two naps a day and sleeps about 12 hours at night. I want his life. :)

Enjoy my first attempt at editing a video.  It's James' resume to date.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Some days I like to just sit and think about her.  Chloe.  My first born child.

I like to look at pictures of her.  She is a beautiful little girl.  Is that selfish of me to say?  I am her birthmother, after all.  She looks a little bit like me.  Is it bragging to say I think she's beautiful?  I don't think so...

I like to replay memories of her in my mind's movie theater.  Like when I went to her first birthday party.

Words can hardly describe how I felt being there.  Honored.  Privileged.  Excited.  Freaked out.  Heart aching with a pain I hadn't known before she was born.  I wanted to be at that party so badly.  To be a part of her life.  And yet while I was there I wanted to leave because seeing her, watching her play...it hurt.  I decided the pain of seeing her was better than the pain of not.  Seeing her is a constant reminder of what we are not.  Mother and daughter.  It's a reminder of what we are.  Birthmother and daughter.  Slight difference in terminology, mother versus birthmother, but HUGE difference in meaning.  I'm not sure she's all that familiar with the term birthmother.  Even now as a seven year old.  Tummy mommy.  That's a term she knows.  She knows she grew in my tummy before she came to live with her mom and dad.  I love hearing stories from Melissa, Chloe's mom, about conversations they've had about adoption.  Melissa handles it with grace and compassion.  Thanks to Melissa and Alvin, Chloe won't have a life altering conversation when she's fifteen and finding out for the first time that she's adopted.  She'll already know.  She's always known.  She understands better than a lot of adults that this is another way families are made.


Now I have a son, James.

I'm learning to be a mom.  A see-you-every-day-provide-your-every-need kind of mom.  As opposed to a make-one-decision-for-you-that-impacts-the-rest-of-your-life kind of mom.  I chose parents for Chloe.  That's where my parenting decisions ended with her.  With James, the decisions, from what others tell me, will never end.  Strangers ask if he's my first.  I pause because I'm not sure what to say.  No.  He's not my first child.  Yes, I'm a first time mom.  It's both.


I'm linking up with Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Drive Home

On work days, I leave about 7:15ish to drive home.  Having arrived at the hospital around 6:30am, I am BEYOND ready to leave by 7:15pm.  Gathering up my lunch bag, pumping supplies and whatever milk I've pumped that day, I head out the door in search of my car in the somewhat distant parking lot.  My car is a 2002 basic model vehicle.  There is no keyless entry or key fob.  There's just a key.  If I forget where I parked, which does happen on occasion, my car will not chirp at me at the press of a button.  It will sit in solitary silence until I find it.

I throw my stuff in the passenger seat and start the drive home.  This drive begins by negotiating my way through the parking lot where lots of my coworkers are walking to their cars.  This requires slow, careful parking lot driving.  At least it SHOULD.  Some people don't get that.  Moments before they were pedestrians, just like me, but as soon as they get in their cars, they have no problem practically running me down.  Strange how that works.  How they forget so quickly how unnerving it is to be on foot and have someone speed by dangerously close.

Anyhoo...back to the drive.  Having successfully navigated the parking lot treachery, I'm on my way home.  Lots of thoughts run through my head at this point.  Thoughts about how my day went, how hungry I am, how I hope the day went for my baby and my mom who watches him and my husband who picks him up from my mom's.  I hope to walk into the house and all be well.  But I just never know what it will be like.  Sometimes I can hear the baby crying while I'm still on the stairs climbing my way up to the 3rd floor apartment in which we live.

Again...back to the drive.  Traffic at 7:15pm is usually non-existent.  That's a perk.  Both coming and going from work are non-peak times for the rest of the world.  No traffic is nice.  My "commute" takes approximately 12 minutes.  I love that.

While sitting at one of the stoplights, I glance over at the grassy median.  The grass is overgrown.  I wonder whose job it is to mow that grass and how frequently it gets down.  Then I wonder if there are any snakes in that grass.  Why do I care?  I don't have to walk through that grass.  Still, it bothers me to think there MAY be a snake within 15 feet of me.  Even though I'm in a car, totally protected from unprovoked snake attacks.

Why am I thinking about snakes?  I hate snakes.  I'd rather think about my baby.  James is WAY more fun to think about.  I think about how being a working mom is a tricky beast.  I enjoy having some time away from James.  I like the adult interaction at my job.  Funny thing, though, because besides the other adults I work with, the patients I work with are babies.  I enjoy time away from taking care of baby James, so I go to work and take care of other peoples' babies.  Whatever.  It works for me.  I don't enjoy time away from James when I come home and hear he's had a rough day.  I speculate "If I was home with him today, he wouldn't have had a bad day."  There's no guarantee of that, but that's usually how I it goes in my head.

When I get close to my house, I roll down my window.  The weather isn't so oven-like hot anymore.  Especially in the evenings.  I enjoy the breeze briefly.  I turn into my apartment complex.  Almost home. That is one of the greatest feelings.  Being almost home.  A couple turns later, over three speed bumps and I'm pulling into a parking spot.  I gather my stuff from the passenger seat and crawl out of the car.  It will take most of my remaining energy to climb the two flights of stairs standing between me and my front door.  My legs never feel heavier than at that moment, trying to get up those stairs.  From the waist up, I can't WAIT to be home.  From the waist down, my body is in no hurry to get anywhere.

I put the key in the lock and open the door.  I hear no crying.  From Scott or the baby. :)  When I open the door, I see James asleep in his bouncy seat.  Scott says dinner is on the stove.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  I have a window of time to change clothes and eat dinner before James wakes up.

It's good to be home.

I'm linking up with Heather from The Extraordinary Ordinary for her Just Write exercise!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

That Darn Cat

Sleep, for a family with a newborn, is very. very. important.  I'm so grateful that we are sleeping a lot more than we used to.  You can understand my frustration, then, when something OTHER than the baby wakes me up in the middle of the night.

Enter Otto the Orange.

Sometimes he just gets bored in the middle of the night.  That's my best guess anyway for why he does what he does.

The other night:

It's 2:46am.  I'm sleeping.  I'm cozy under the covers.  The fan I use as a sound machine is whirring in the corner.  I awake to the sound of a plastic bottle scooch-scooch-scooching across the top of my dresser, followed quickly by said bottle hitting the carpeted floor.  I decide not to open my eyes just yet.  "Give it a minute," I tell myself.  The next bottle begins to scooch-scooch-scooch across the dresser.  I sit straight up in the bed and loudly whisper "OTTO!!!  CUT IT OUT!"  His paw is outreached, still touching the bottle that he's slowly pushing off the dresser.  There's no denying he is guilty as charged.  Just for good measure, he pushes the second bottle onto the floor.  Thankfully these are plastic bottles (lotions) and they are landing on carpet, so no breakage involved.  He meows at me as if to say "What?!  I'm bored."  I twiddle my fingers together to beckon him onto the bed.  He makes a glorious leap from the dresser to the bed, landing with precision, as he always does.  I pat the bedspread in his favorite sleep spot.  He circles a couple of times and then strategically lies down.  I pet his head for a second then I lie back down.  The whole incident felt like an exercise in futility to me, but whatever.  He's going back to sleep.  I'm going back to sleep.  Hooray.

I'm linking up with Heather today for her "Just Write" adventure:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cat Tales and Tails

Once upon a time there were two kiddens named Otto The Orange and Nestle The Stupid.

One day, Otto The Orange was crunching the numbers and he discovered that if he and Nestle The Stupid didn't do something quick,

they'd be forced to live in a box.

When living in boxes, the food supply is not quite as abundant.

Vacations and travel are non-existent.

Nestle The Stupid suggested she could take up a less than honorable  career as a lady of the night to earn a few bucks.

After all, she did possess some bedroom skills (sleeping).

Otto The Orange texted a few of his sketchy contacts, but came up with no "clients" for Nestle The Stupid.

He opted instead for the superhero route.  Surely superheroes get paid well, right?

He rescued damsels in distress.

With his superhero-brains, he learned to turn energy he soaked up from the sun into a marketable product.

Although time consuming, it was a profitable business.

Otto The Orange earned a LOT of money.  He and Nestle The Stupid lived like Kings.

And Queens.

And most importantly, they lived happily ever after.

The End.

Monday, September 12, 2011


My Peepaw.  I miss him.  "Betty Boop".  That's what he called me.  If anybody else called me that, I'd kill 'em.

Peepaw was a kind-hearted old man.  Always looking to help out others.

If something broke, he was the fix-it man.  He wasn't too much into aesthetics, so his "fix" may be an eye-sore, but the formerly broken thing would at least be functional again.

He loved camping.  He and Granny were my "camping" grandparents.  Granny and Peepaw had this cute little blue and white Scotty trailer.  They camped in that thing all over the U.S.  When our family would join them, we'd usually bring a pop-up trailer with us.  Maybe a tent, too.  Sometimes we'd take turns eating in the Scotty trailer with Granny and Peepaw, since it wasn't big enough to hold all of us at once.
Peepaw, far left

He used to ask me how school was going.  "School" could be kindergarten, high school, or college.  School was school.  Education was pretty important to him.  I'm guessing it's because he didn't go to college.  I don't know though...we never had that conversation.

There are lots of conversations we never had that now I wish I had the opportunity.  I wish he could meet his great-grandchildren.  I'm sad that James doesn't get to go camping with him.  Sure, Scott and I can take James camping, but it'll be different.  Peepaw never met a stranger in a campground before.  He talked to everybody.  Found out where they were from, how many kids they had, how long they'd been married, what they were having for dinner that night...  He was a friendly kinda guy.

In the past year, I've missed my Peepaw more than usual.  I think it's because I'm a parent now and I realize how MUCH I don't know.  How much I need the input and experience of those that have gone before me in this adventure.  I'm so grateful to have my parents and my in-laws involved in my life.  Lots of wisdom there.  Grandparents are a whole 'nother level of wisdom, though.  I wish I still had access to all that they had to teach.  I guess this is just how it goes, though.  When you're a punk kid and have plenty of time with your grandparents, you don't care as much what they have to say.  As an adult, as a parent, when you want their input more than ever, they are no longer around. <sigh>  Hindsight is 20-20.  Now my parents are the grandparents.  I wonder if that scares them as much as it scares me.  Before, I was two generations away from being the "older, wiser generation".  Now I'm only one generation away.  If something happened to my parents, me and my siblings would be the "older, wiser generation".  That is SCARY.  We don't know enough!  I don't know enough...

Back to Peepaw.  He was bald.  He said things like "God only made a few perfect heads...the rest He covered with hair..."  He had a "Bald is Beautiful" bumper sticker on his pick-up truck.  He also had a "Virginia is for Lovers" bumper sticker.  Now that I think about that, it grosses me out a little bit...

Peepaw always went on walks with a walking stick.  He was not dependent on a cane or walker to move around.  Quite the contrary. But for some reason, he always had a walking stick, whether we were walking around a neighborhood or hiking in the woods on a camping trip.  I thought it was the thing to do...pick out a good walking stick at the beginning of a hike.  Pretty sure I was doing it wrong, though, because early on I'd get tired of lugging it around and I'd toss it by the wayside.
Peepaw, far right, WITH walking stick

One time we were all eating dinner around at his house and his brother, Uncle Sam, pulled into the driveway in his HUGE RV.  Pretty sure Peepaw didn't consider camping in a HUGE RV "real camping".  How he displayed his displeasure at the pretentiousness of the monstrous vehicle was by shaking his head and saying "Good Gosh!"  We all laughed and laughed when he said that.

Oh Peepaw.  I wish you were here to live life with us now.  With your grown up grandchildren.  With your children who are now grandparents.  With your great-grandchildren who don't even know they need a walking stick to go hiking...  You are missed.