Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A brief review of our post-holiday week.

On Saturday Andy and my mom and I all got food poisoning. That was not cool. I mention my mom getting it because she's our go-to babysitter but she was out of commission too, so the poor baby spent a lot of time hanging out in her playpen. She was recovering from several very busy days, so she was okay with that - she mostly played by herself and chattered at us happily. The worst part of having food poisoning, besides the part where I barfed ten times in twelve hours (not that I was counting), was the part where my sister and I were scheduled for massages Saturday afternoon and had to cancel. Heartbreaking. I'm rescheduling mine, duh.

Before we realized that it was food poisoning and not something contagious, my sister and her family decided to split back for Maryland before it hit them, so that sucks too. And by the time they got home, my goddaughter was totally miserable and when they took her to urgent care she was diagnosed with a double ear infection. Cool stuff all around.

We are now back to normal and things are going fine. As of yesterday I was eleven weeks pregnant. I started to miscarry right before that last time, and I realized last night that I honestly had just been waiting to get to the same date and to have another miscarriage. That's a pretty shitty thing to be carrying around with me for two months. Today, for the first time, I ordered some super-sale maternity clothes, because I can finally let myself think about what it will be like to be visibly pregnant. I'm still worried all the time and can't wait for the ultrasound on Monday, but it feels good to be able to start to plan for this being real. Having passed the date I miscarried last time feels like I've sort of moved out of that sincere belief that it would happen again.

The baby's dad didn't call to confirm his visit yesterday but did today. Then he showed up 25 minutes late and told the worker he had been pulled over on the way to the visit and gotten a ticket. After the visit the worker followed him to his car to get a copy of the ticket for her records, and he mysteriously couldn't produce it. He searched his car while the worker stood in the freezing cold for five minutes, until she gave up and told him to bring it next time. He won't, of course, but all of this goes in her file and the file goes to the judge.

How was your holiday and post-holiday week?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Obligatory holiday post

We had her up late last night, so the baby is still asleep right now, and Andy and I just enjoyed a leisurely piece of breakfast pie together. In a few minutes, I'm going to start working on the next round of pies - pecan, made without corn syrup - and Andy's going to start working on his fancy-pants sweet potatoes. Then we'll head over to my folks' to spend some extra time with my sister and her family. Today is not too shabby, you guys.

This is the traditional time for us to reflect on what we're grateful for, and I have to say, there's a whole lot on my list. My life is pretty spectacular, really. I'll try to keep this somewhat brief and also not too sappy, but here's a sampling of what I'm giving thanks for this year:
  • My awesome husband and our wonderful marriage. Honestly, I'm legitimately thrilled that I get to hang out with this guy every day. He does little things all the time to make sure I feel loved and cared about. He has volunteered to take on SO MUCH lately so I can sit on the couch and feel queasy. He never tells me to stop being silly when I worry nonstop. He had a dream last night in which we had our baby, she was a healthy girl, and we had given her a really awesome name.
  • Our life as parents. This baby is really awesome, and parenting her has been mostly a lot of fun. She is funny and charming and she likes to snuggle my face with hers, which she doesn't do with anyone else in the world. We call her Baby Girl a lot, and she has started calling herself Baba Gull. She also sometimes calls herself Baba Yaya, where "Yaya" is a hilariously mangled version of part of her name. We are so lucky to get to be her parents, even if it's not forever.
  • The people we choose to surround ourselves with. Really, the only drama in our life comes from the foster care system and the baby's bio-family. We have many solid friendships with people who are genuinely awesome and sincere.
  • Related to the above post, I'm really grateful for how kind everyone was to us after the miscarriage. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, and I learned that our friends immediately step up in situations like that. My parents, too, were amazing, and made sure we had food in the house, and took the baby to play and snuggle and hang out so we could just be alone together. The behavior of people close to us in a really shitty time made me okay with telling (some) people about this pregnancy, because I know I will need them again if anything goes wrong.
  • This is going to sound weird, but I'm thankful for feeling shitty. I felt totally fine throughout the last pregnancy, so feeling crappy this time makes me feel like things are different. Don't get me wrong, I'm still totally a whiny baby about feeling queasy, but I am supremely grateful that there are indications this time that things are going okay in there. Also, for the first time, Andy and I can feel a bump now. We didn't feel one last time at all, and okay maybe I'm crying a little now.
I can hear the baby starting to wiggle around and it's Pie-Making Time, but I also want to say that I'm thankful for having this platform to work through stuff. I know many of my readers aren't foster parents, so thanks for asking questions and reading even when it's not relevant to your life. I have never had a single trolling comment on here (because I have like 12 readers and you're all awesome) so my little corner of the internet feels like a pretty cool place. I hope you are having a really awesome holiday and that you get breakfast pie as often as you want.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sometimes foster care is hard.

If you read any other blogs by foster parents, you've probably seen at least a few posts about how visits suck. That, friends, is because visits suck.

The baby's dad is still attending visits, but not with any regularity. The baby cries - screams - for most of the visit, then passes out from exhaustion. The dad didn't come to either visit last week, and today the baby cried so hard she puked all over herself and him. (I can't pretend the "and him" wasn't the tiniest bit satisfying.)

Her dad has been told that it's bad for the baby to see him only sporadically. She has not developed any sort of a relationship with him, because she's still not comfortable with him. The baby sees the worker with us at least once a month, when the worker comes for home visits, so she trusts the worker and tries to cling to her throughout the visits, still sobbing. Hearing all of this kills me. I asked the worker today if there's ever a point when they can ask the judge to change how this is going, on the basis of it being actively damaging for the baby, and the worker said, basically, that she's only ever seen the courts go for no visits in cases of sexual abuse. If the parents want visits, they get them, even if they only bother to show up occasionally. Our next hearing isn't until February, so this will probably continue at least until then, and nothing will happen at that hearing, so it will continue through April, when they can begin the process of filing for termination of parental rights (if things keep going the way they are), but then the judge can give an extension if he's feeling generous and so I can't really foresee a time when my baby girl won't be regularly subjected to hysterical sobbing on her dad's whim.

The evening after a visit the poor kid is all out of sorts. She doesn't want to be put down, but she is super whiny even when we're holding her. She holds on to us like she's scared of being put down. It's heartbreaking. Today is one of the days when being a foster parent is fucking hard.

Subject change! In other non-news, as far as we know things are still going fine with NewBaby. I'm ten weeks pregnant now and still worrying pretty much constantly, which is exhausting. We have an ultrasound scheduled for December 3, which feels like FOREVER far away. I am still totally exhausted - like I'm staying up late to write this and it's only 8:39 right now - and I get waves of nausea, which I find incredibly reassuring since I didn't feel crappy for most of the last pregnancy. I told NewBaby that it is welcome to make me feel as crappy as it wants, even if it means I can't eat a single bite on Thanksgiving, as long as things are going okay in there.

I've got two Tollhouse Cookie Pies in the oven right now, but honest, for the first time in my life I am too tired to stay up for pie. This is crazy. Tollhouse Pie is my very favorite and we're bringing one to Andy's cousin's Third Annual Night-Before-Thanksgiving Pie Party tomorrow, so I made an extra for me.

What's your very favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Three our-family things and three bio-family things

Our family!

1. Today is a lovely warm fall day, so while Andy does yardwork, the little girl and I are going to have an adventure to get the best apple fritters in the world (shout out to Zarpentine's Farm!) and also to get her some long-sleeved onesies, because girl is growing fast.

2. Before we can do that, the girl needs to take a nap. She has been fighting going to sleep for over an hour at this point. She has the funniest ways to keep herself awake, like sticking one arm in the air and banging the other foot repeatedly. I think while we're out we'll stop at Barnes and Noble to try to find a decent short board book about naps - the baby loves Time For Bed and she actually pulls it out at bedtime if we forget to grab it. Whatever we get, I'll get a copy for daycare too, so we can have the same routine in both places. Any nap-book recommendations?

3. My sister and her family are coming home for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas this year, and I am so excited to see them! For what might be the first time since we all left home, we're having a full dinner at my parents' house with both of my siblings and their families. It's going to be lovely. Andy's making sweet potatoes with pecan-marshmallow streusel topping. We actually still don't know what the plan is with Andy's side, except that neither of his sisters can make it and that both of the houses we might end up invited to have residents who smoke indoors. Urk.

The baby's bio-family!

I talked to the worker for a long while on Wednesday and found out the following things:
1. The baby's grandma told the worker on Monday that she feels like the baby is where she needs to be, and that she (the grandma) is not planning to file for custody again. WHAT. This is the exact opposite of what she's been saying all along, so even if she changes her mind tomorrow (totally possible and even likely), it's a huge step. The grandma thinking the baby is fine where she is doesn't have any legal bearing or any impact on where she'll end up, except that it might mean she won't file for custody at the last minute and drag out the whole process.

2. The baby's mom had been doing really well and had been taking care of herself in a way that made it look likely that she was actually trying to improve her life. Well, turns out she had been working so hard because she thought that she might be pregnant, and now that she knows she isn't, she isn't making such awesome choices. This is sad because dang, her life could be so much better than it is, but it also gives me hope that she chose to be pretty healthy for the benefit of the unborn baby.

3. The baby's dad left me a note a few weeks ago in the notebook we send to visits that he had been approved for a three-bedroom place and would be moving soon. I called the worker to let her know and she called the dad and then called me to report that actually, he had been approved for a one-bedroom place IN OUR TOWN, not in the very small town 45 minutes away he kept saying he was planning to move to. Now, our town isn't tiny (it's actually in our state's top ten by population), but we like the idea of the dad being close by because it feels like maybe it'll be more likely that we'll be able to see our girl if she goes to her dad. Also, per the worker on Wednesday, the dad was planning to move into the one-bedroom to try to get custody of our girl but the worker discouraged that because it would mean leaving his other two kids with his mom indefinitely, which, you know, the county doesn't really think is a great plan. So the process to correct the paperwork to try to get a three-bedroom place is annoyingly slow and complicated, which works out great for us because the dad has said all along that he's not planning to file for custody until after he moves. For the first time, I actually feel like I can plan to have the baby here for her birthday (in mid-December) and Christmas.

The worker also told me that she's planning to start the paperwork process for writing the termination of parental rights after the baby's been with us for a year (in January) because it's a lot of stuff to compile. She is always pretty up-front that the baby's case could still end up with her back with bio-family, but she said that as it stands there would still need to be significant improvement for them to agree the baby should be moved. So, in summation, time keeps ticking on this case and no one is making big strides to get her back.

What is the thing you're most excited about making for Thanksgiving? Or, if you've been following this baby's saga, what do you think of these new developments?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

We are doing fine.

Ha, remember when I used to post every day? I like blogging, it's a good way for me to process stuff, but it's just not a main priority anymore. Still love y'all, though.

The baby is doing well except that she has decided that napping at daycare is for suckers, so we're trying to work on some sort of nap routine at home that daycare can implement as well. She fought her nap for an hour and fifteen minutes this morning. Pretty cool. It's hard to commit to a routine on the weekends because it's sort of rare for us to be home for every single one of her naps, so she sometimes naps in her carseat or whatever. But we'll stick to it so maybe she can take more than forty minutes' worth of nap per day.

The pregnancy is progressing well, as far as we can tell. We saw the heartbeat at the ultrasound and I cried like a sissy. The nurse was happy to hear I've been feeling crappy, because that can indicate healthy levels of hormones. I wanted to barf in her office just to show her what's up. I haven't actually been puking, but I often feel like that stage in being drunk where you suddenly realize the last two drinks were probably a mistake - I guess woozy is the best word for it. A little dizzy (FUN), a little nauseated, really tired and thirsty. The tiredness has been pretty overwhelming. I've been going to bed at like 8:30. Andy has been super awesome and taken on lots of things that used to be my responsibility, so I'm very grateful for that.

Daylight savings time is weird. The baby wasn't at all convinced when I tried to explain that she should go back to sleep for another hour. Oh, did I tell you all that she's walking? She is not yet 11 months old. Girl is determined. She also says Mama and Papa well and gets Baby about 75% of the time (25% of the time it sounds like Bobby), and is working hard on "more." 

Hope y'all are doing well, and am eagerly awaiting the second trimester, when I've been told I won't feel quite so dead anymore.