Sunday, November 25, 2012

Not helping

I've been doing quite well at not being over-anxious when Baby Spouse gets ill - and I've been reassured by friends that checking he's still breathing is perfectly normal. I know there are layers on top of this (both our miscarriages, and the death earlier this year of a friend's baby, the same age). I just got a book of poetry out of the library, thinking it would be a nice change, perhaps some lovely imagery, perhaps some twee 19th century poems.  All the 16th and 17th century poems are about children who have died. Two of Ben Johnson's children who died. Etc. etc. Consider yourselves warned.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

ICLW comments left for (some of which are people I read regularly but don't comment on enough. Go. Read them.):

Nuts in May 
Twangy Pearl 
A Thousand Oceans 
It Is what it Is
Genuine Greavu 

And returning a comment to
Compromised Fertility

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sick again

Baby Spouse has the wheezing again. It's not as bad as before, so we put him to bed with some magic Calpol and a blast of his inhaler, and we feel OK about leaving him till the morning to see how he's doing. But I think our decision not to head straight to A&E was partly motivated by the fact that it was about 4.30pm when we noticed how poorly he was and if we had, it would have been way past his bedtime (and tired, cranky, sick babies are not happy) before we would have been seen.

I recently read this speech by Michael Gove who says some mad and pointless things, but this is worth reading, though a hard read.  Very hard.  But I felt sad today when I noticed that Baby Spouse did not scream as much when we gave him his inhaler today as previously. Either he feels very sick, or he has got used to basically feeling suffocated. Which is sad.

(but I do think that he may have tried to say "byebye" when we took it away... or possibly it was the eye of maternal faith).

Comments left for

Survive and Thrive 
A Passage to Baby 
Patience is not my Virtue 
Miss Ohkay (though I'm a regular reader)
The 2 week wait 

And returning a comment from 
Henry Street

(Incidentally, can anyone tell me why all my links from the Stirrup Queens ICLW page redirect to pages? They all get to the right place, but it's really bizarre).  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am thankful...

... for a gorgeous, healthy baby.
... for a husband who has a job offer (but we need to work out how much travelling it would involve)
... that I'm surviving my first week back at work, well, OK, my first two days back at work (I'm easing myself in).
... that I don't have to work tomorrow!

Met boss today (I've managed to mess up my timetable about 65 times so far, but most of the mess ups were at least partly not my problem, he thought it was next week, I thought it was Monday this week). Anyway he was very slightly helpful on a larger issue, but asked me how I was enjoying being a parent, and said he found it fun but tiring.  I hated to say "that's because you were only ever home when your kids were supposed to be asleep and so were you". 

But I felt like saying "it's not THAT tiring" (Baby Spouse is still a good sleeper, and I'm gradually learning to go to bed on time) "but there's a lot of hard work involved". Because I know he would have been a very good baby-on-knee-bouncing kind of dad, for about 5 minutes, but useless at making baby food, hour long cuddles, or washing nappies. All of which Mr Spouse is pretty good at.

Comments left for
Feeling Beachie (gorgeous picture on her blog header by the way, check it out)
Stirrup Queens (I think it counts if it's one you regularly read!)
Dancing my Way through Life 
Life with Roozle 

And returning a comment from 
Life of an Army Wife

(I'm really struggling for people to return comments for, I've only had 2 ICLW comments! Sob!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Enjoying it

When you become a parent after infertility or loss, or actually I imagine when you become a parent through adoption even if you can have or do have biological children, there is an unspoken assumption that you are not allowed to complain. You wanted this.  You can't complain.

I am sorry to say I have definitely been complaining. I have been known to count the hours/minutes until we can put Baby Spouse to bed.  I have been happy at the thought of a morning when he is in nursery but I am not working, so I can get some time to myself. Ditto at the idea of heading to the shops while he is napping and Mr Spouse is at home.

But I do think I am enjoying being a mother at least as much, and in some cases more, than those I know to whom it came easily. For some it seems to be an endless round of delight (read: not telling us the whole truth). Some will counter every "oh he NEVER SLEEPS" with "oh be patient, they are tiny for such a short time".  But others seem to have a really hard time of it, and to never be cheerful or actually enjoy their babies.  There is one mother of a baby the same age that I know who never seems to smile - possibly her personality, but I do wonder if she ever smiles at the baby.

I'm enjoying things I didn't really think I would, or that I never thought of. I'm enjoying working out how to adapt our family meals for him (I do like cooking though). I'm enjoying making faces at him and vice versa. I'm enjoying the smug feeling of putting a load of nappies in the washing machine! I'm even enjoying singing nursery rhymes (though I have some lines I draw in the sand over that. I will not sing some songs at all, and I will only sing The Wheels on the Bus in order to administer an inhaler). And I'm enjoying listening to him chat to himself while he does NOT take a nap. Sigh.

Comments left at  If you Don't Stand for Something

Sweet Dreams are Made of This
Creating a Family

Bebe Suisse
IVF after 40

And returned to 
Our work of A.R.T.

(There are a couple of blogs on the ICLW blogroll that are private, but don't say so, or have incorrect URLs. Harumph).

Friday, November 16, 2012

I was glad

when they said unto me (sorry, years of choral training) when I realised the other day...

I just think the mum at our baby swimming lessons who appears to be pregnant again, with a baby a month older than Baby Spouse, is crazy.
And that I actually don't want to be pregnant. I don't want to. This is huge. 
I am not sure what I'd think if a) I found out I was 20 weeks pregnant (one of those fantasies recurrent miscarriers have) or b) someone magically produced a biological child of ours.
But I even feel moderately positive about our possible future adoption/fostering choices - only not just yet, thanks.
In other news, back to work on Monday, not remotely ready, all and sundry keep telling me I Absolutely Must do A (except they don't know what they're talking about and I don't need to because someone else is) but not bothering to tell me I need to do B (which actually I do because it's accepted I will, which, how am I supposed to know that?).
In other other news, people seem to want Mr Spouse to have interviews with them, which is good, no news back about actual jobs, and he's apprehensive about some of the job locations (too much travelling, he has unfortunately become a bit of a specialist).

Friday, November 09, 2012

Who's afraid of...

open adoption?

I'm posting this for National Adoption Week. Many adopters are telling their stories and publicising adoption. I'd like to share a little more about why we chose the type of adoption that we did and what it means to us - and why it's not that scary. Open adoption can be any kind of adoption where there is some contact between adoptive and birth families, but it's more usually taken to mean one where families meet directly.

We were probably a little rosy in our view of open adoption when we heard of it first. We knew that wherever we adopted from we wouldn't be sharing first steps, first day at school, or family parties with our child's birth family, but we had read how important it is for children to know something about both their genetic (and national/cultural) origins and the real circumstances of their birth families, both to feel connected to where they came from and so that they don't think (like Lily in Modern Family) that their birth mother was a princess.

I've posted about this before in bits and pieces, and I know other adopters have strong views, and I also know that people are entitled to make choices for their own children that they feel are right for them. For some children meeting their birth family is just plain unsafe. I know some prospective adopters wish for that kind of adoption! And others worry about children who were abused meeting their abusers again, while others have said "but if a baby has never lived with their birth parents, why do they need a relationship now?" And we know the choices we make now are the ones that are right for us, now, and that we have made for Baby Spouse's future. They are not necessarily the ones he'll make for himself in the future.

But we were lucky enough to be able to chat to Nella (what I call his birth mother here) before he was born, on the phone. She still has a number that she can call us on, that goes to our home phone when we have scheduled a call (and to voice mail when we haven't).  She saw pictures of us and of our home, without having our address or location. We think this reassured her that we were going to be the right parents for her baby boy.

She has not led a rosy life, and we came to understand more and more of that as we got to know her (we knew some of it when we said yes we'd be happy for her to consider us).   She has two other children but she hasn't been able to raise either of them. Her parents tried to help her in the past but have decided they were just making things worse, and they are bringing up her older daughter.  Her other child was removed and placed in foster care, and subsequently adopted. Because of this and other risks she took (that placed, and continue to place, Baby Spouse at risk) she knew she could not take our son home from the hospital.

She also can be quite unreliable - not turning up when she says she will, calling us daily and then not for weeks - and we know that if and when Baby Spouse starts to be aware of who she is and to wonder why she's unreliable, we would have to moderate things, and explain things. And that's hard. But we feel it's less hard than having him wonder.  Most children who have been adopted have some very difficult information in their past. If their birth families had a lovely life, they wouldn't have needed to be adopted.

But we have a photo of her holding him when he was tiny.  And a photo of us all together. And we have met her daughter and her parents, and we have plans to meet them all again.

Our social worker thinks that what we have set up - we have an informal agreement for photos and visits (which, in the UK, would be called "letterbox" and "contact" but however difficult Nella may be and her life may be, really, she's Baby Spouse's family and with family you send photos and you have visits) - is pretty amazing. We don't really feel that way - we just think it's doing what we can for our baby. What we continue to do may not be the same. We'll see. But we'll try.

Thursday, November 08, 2012


Just to drive myself mad I'm going to participate in this, the week I go back to work.

I say week, but I'm only doing 2 days a week - the challenge will be not fitting in enough time with Baby Spouse, but actually getting done the work people think I'll be able to do.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Apparently, when you tell the paediatrician about the risk factors A and B, and they are assessing your baby's breathing problems, they throw in a free developmental screening.

Anyway, we are home, with some nice strong drugs, and the emergency number for the ward. Tiny violins screeching in his chest apparently, but viral, not bacterial.

Get it over with

We're in hospital for what we hope is a very quick assessment and home again, as Baby Spouse has some breathing problems, it's probably just viral, but they may want to observe him overnight.

After numerous conversations with acquaintances where I don't feel like disclosing he's adopted, in this setting, as Mr Spouse just said, it's as well to say more or less immediately "we adopted him, we met him at 3 days, he had X and Y problems and yes, we know about A and B risk factors and his siblings don't live with us obviously, and we only have one side of his genetic history".

It kind of feels good in an odd way.

(Do bug me if I don't update to say how he is, but don't panic if I don't as it may be lack of battery on my phone)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Name change?

I'm on a lot of blog rolls as What am I? But that was a good name while wondering what my diagnosis might be, but now I'm clearly a mother and I'm also clearly not going to get pregnant or have a birth child or even seek any more diagnosis or treatment any time soon.

My URL is separate anyway, so what do people think - change my blog title? And what to?

Who is this What Am I person?

So people might have a clue who I am and what this is about. Mysterious title. Not helped by non-matching blog name. I haven't tagged posts, so this seems a quicker way to get the whole story over. I've noticed a few new readers recently, probably because I hang out virtually with more adoptive parents these days.

In 2004 I married the (at the time) Bloke. He became Spouse (as I did not want a husband, I wanted a wife, but he wasn't willing to oblige on that one). He tried Mrs Spouse but as I pointed out I was Dr Spouse to you. So there you go.

In 2004 I also got pregnant for the first time. In early 2005 I miscarried for the first time at about 9 weeks, a missed miscarriage for which I had medical management. A friend recommended writing about things to get my head round it. I assumed I'd get pregnant again quickly, but a long wait and a trip to an odd psychologist (rich coming from me I know) led to me not being able to work out if I was infertile, secondarily infertile, or a miscarrier. Hence "What Am I" as a blog title, which is no longer very helpful.

A few investigations and ultimately a fairly average, for our ages, conception rate led to the conclusion that we were the last one. Recurrent miscarriers. (and my posts show I had another chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage, maybe two, in there somewhere that I can't find a specific post about).

In between this, just to confuse matters, we have also been investigating UK domestic (foster care) adoption, started on the route to fostering, then investigated US domestic adoption (first thinking perhaps while we were actually living in the US but then how it would work if we were living here - UK), and finally swerved back to UK adoption before settling on US infant adoption.

If you live in the UK and want to adopt from another country, you first have a home study in the UK as all adopters do, and it's pretty much identical, and then you go to an approval panel ditto.

Then you spend ages preparing your dossier (official sounding word that many countries use) or, in our case, just plain old paperwork to go overseas, then the government sits on it for quite some time, and eventually it gets there. If you (like about 0.00000000001 other couples) are choosing to adopt from the US, you also prepare a profile to show how lovely you are and that you'd make good parents for a baby whose birth parents have come to realise they cannot parent it.

And then you wait. Looking back, though waiting is hard, I think it was more frustrating when we were in between bits of paperwork. At that point, someone should be doing their job, and perhaps some of the not-adoption-professionals haven't replied to messages, but basically if your social worker had a lighter case load, your government clerk pulled their finger out, you could get approved/dossier completed more quickly. But unless you have a really inefficient agency or social worker, it is down to the number of children that need adopting and which ones you could parent.

So then eventually you get a potential match, and you have to try not to get too excited, and then finally - surprise! there's a baby! (OK it was not a surprise that he was born, but that he was early!). And huge relief, his birth mother has terminated her rights, and after some more paperwork shenanigans, you can take him home.

And that's where we are, with added growth, milestones, and worry about whether his poor early start will affect him later, I guess.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Some good, some not

First the not. Nursery have messed up and the times they have given us almost completely fail to intersect with the days I'll be working (in 2 weeks! Help!). We considered taking our ball, er, baby home and Not Playing but he really likes it, so that would be mean. Instead he'll do minimal nursery till Christmas and mainly be at home with Mr Spouse.

Who as yet has no job. But at least one interview. But it might be for a job 2 hours away (there are a few locations). But he definitely wouldn't start till January.

This is turning into a game of "Fortunately... Unfortunately..."

Anyway, as I think I said, we're going for a quiet Christmas, just us, Baby Spouse gets a wrapped up box, we have a chilled out time before going back to Birth State. Mr Spouse has asked if we can have nothing happen next year.

At all.

He has a point. In 2012 we went to the US to acquire a baby (by day 4 of the year, no less), he had 3 sets of exams, his mother died, and he finished his MSc (that's more or less in chronological order). Oh, and he got a Distinction. Clever boy.

I did point out that if we want to adopt again, or perhaps foster, we'd need to try and make our enquiries in 2013. But we are so used to having social workers in the house that doesn't count as something happening. And he didn't say "no way" which, for him, generally means "I'm thinking seriously about it".

It occurs to me also, as an aside, that it's kind of hard to find your way round this blog. When I started it, Blogger didn't do tags, and I never bothered adding any. Perhaps I should do some "NIBs" sound bites somewhere. When I have time. Ha.

Reading material

I've been reading back over my blog to write that The Short Version post that's just gone up. One thing that has struck me again and again is how many nice things Mr Spouse has done for me (not relating to having children, in particular) and also how much he's changed from "I'll be happy if you're happy" to "How could I have thought we'd survive without having a baby?".