Submitted by Adoption on Wed, 12/19/2007 - 10:22pm

Today we had our openness agreement meeting at the agency. Dani and her mom were there. I'd pretty much talked to Dani about everything ahead of time, so there were no real surprises, but it was good to get everything out on the table with the couselors present and be sure we all had the same expectations. We are still planning to wait to name the baby until the hospital. Hopefully that goes well and we all agree on the name that fits her. Darren and I have a tough enough time agreeing on girl names, so Dani can be the third vote :) As far as visits go, she requested a minimum of six visits a year, which I thought was a good number. It seems realistic considering the distance, but hopefully we'll see each other more. She and her parents, too. They would like to stay in contact as well. I'm sure Dani will want to be around most of the time if we would visit them. But if we were going to the cities, we could certainly give them a call and stop by. As our daughter grows, we all hope that her birth family will be able to attend some of her events. And Dani hopes she'll be the right age to be flower girl at her wedding someday. We agreed that eventually sleepovers would be fun, but not until our daughter is old enough to request them. Hopefully Dani will have kids that she is raising by that time!

We were a little disappointed not to see Matt at the meeting. Although in hindsight it was probably a good thing to see Dani and her mom by themselves. We can always talk with Matt separately. He'll have a separate relationship with us anyway. I talked with him tonight and he doesn't have any specific requests. He knows we're open and he can see the baby whenever he wants. As of now he doesn't think it will be very often. He seems to be coping by distancing himself. That may change after he meets his little girl and it may not. Either way we hope he stays in touch to some extent so that the baby can know her birthdad. Then again, we should probably clarify what "not very often" means... to Matt that may mean six times a year. Hopefully we'll meet his parents soon after Christmas, but it sounds like all contact with that side of the bio family will go through Matt.

In other news, Dani had her 37 week doctor visit on Tuesday and nothing had changed. It still could be anytime. The doctor last week predicted another week to three more weeks, but didn't think Dani would make it to her January 11th due date. We'll see how accurate that doctor was. I plan on having bags packed!

On Friday we get to go to Maple Grove for dinner with Dani and her new boyfriend. We'll also get to meet Dani's dad! It'll be another big day! Hopefully we all click!

Milk totals: 18-20 oz/day, 535 oz frozen (I'm ready for a baby! The freezer is filling up fast!)

Submitted by Adoption on Tue, 12/11/2007 - 11:25pm

At Dani's 36-week appointment today, the doctor checked her for the first time. She found out that her cervix is already thinned and the baby's head is right there! So all she needs to do now is dialate! The doctor predicted the baby's birthday to be in two to four weeks. I'd better get busy :)

Like I told Dani, I'm totally ready for a baby. Granted there are things I'd like to have done. Grandpa Ron is building a dresser for the baby's room and it's not quite finished. I would like to do some painting and put up some pictures in the room. It would be great for Darren to have the bunkbeds finished so that the crib could be in the baby's room. I would like to get a bassinet or cradle. But the pack & play will work just great, too. And William didn't have his crib for the first two months. She won't be spending much time in her room until that point anyway, so the paint isn't a big deal.

I bought a pack of diapers on Monday, I've got 18 oz of milk a day and 391 ounces in the freezer, and we have lots of love to give to our new baby, so we really have all the necessities. Oh, and no worries regarding clothes... I've got piles of baby clothes. Granted they are all very neutral in color and softened by the wear of several baby boys before her, but they'll keep her warm until the gifts start rolling in :)

I'm trying to convince myself that I have plenty of time to be baking cookies this week rather than getting ready for baby. We've got Michael spending the night on Friday so I'll have to straighten up her room again. (This will probably be the last time that it's "Michael's room".) We need to get our Christmas tree put up, too, so we can move all the gifts that are cluttering her room. Good thing we got in that mini vacation while we had the chance!

Submitted by Adoption on Thu, 12/06/2007 - 12:45pm

I have to make a blog entry to celebrate being done with school!!! Woohoo!!! I'm relaxing in Vegas. It's almost noon here and I'm still in a bathrobe... ah...

I arrived last night with breasts like rocks. (Sorry if that's tmi.) All I could think of was wanting to get to a chair with my breastpump. I was so sad to dump 6 ounces down the drain at the hotel... sniff... and another 6 this morning... sniff-sniff. But the hotel room has no fridge - check that- there is a fridge, but it's stocked and if you even move anything it will be charged to your room.

But the room is really nice! We're staying at Caesar's Palace. After my rollercoaster ride around Vegas last night (aka shuttle to the hotel), I pulled up in front of this gorgeous hotel. It's so decadent! The room has a huge bed, comfy chair for pumping, desk that I'm sitting at right now, big flatscreen tv, huge bathroom with a whirlpool and marble everywhere. I haven't left the room since I arrived. At some point here Darren is going to come in and want to go to lunch. So I'd better get ready.

This is the perfect way to celebrate being done with school and re-energize for the big addition to the family coming soon! Hopefully not TOO soon :)

Submitted by William on Sat, 12/01/2007 - 1:57pm

It's really coming down out there! Belle and I were already outside playing. I love the snow! I'm glad Mommy and I didn't drive to the cities to visit her college friends. We would've been in the car a long time. We'll just have to see them another time. Maybe we'll stop in for a visit tomorrow when we bring Daddy to the airport. He's going to Las Vegas for work tomorrow and he'll be gone for a whole week! Mommy is going to go keep him company after three days. I'll get to go stay with Michael and Grandma and Grandpa. We'll all have a little vacation! Then it will be Mommy's birthday, then Christmas, the New Year, and then my baby sister is due to be born. It's going to be an exciting winter.

Later the same day... After all that playing in the snow, I'm off to bed with all of my friends: Ben, Roger, Seemy, Seaweed, Kahmer, and Popper. I named all but Seaweed myself. They're beeny babies and other stuffed animals that size. Three of them are dogs, then there's an otter, tiger and iguana. I definitely need my bunkbeds to be finished so there's room for my growing menagerie!

Submitted by Adoption on Sat, 12/01/2007 - 12:50am

The adoption rollercoaster definitely has its ups and downs! Apparently Dani was having second thoughts over the Thanksgiving holiday. I had a feeling that she was - there goes that ESP again. Matt was pretty upset that she was thinking of raising the baby with her current boyfriend. But as of a couple days ago when I talked to her, she was back on track with the adoption. Hopefully she stays that way through the baby's birth. I know she would do her best to raise the baby well, but I worry about how hard it would be for her. I think she realizes that Matt's not going to give up his rights to her current boyfriend and that he really does want contact. So that gives weight to the adoption decision. We really like both birth parents but we haven't met the boyfriend yet. It seems like if he wasn't in the picture everything would be a lot more clear cut for Dani. He, being much older than her, talks about marriage and wanting her to keep the baby. But right now he can't support them, so I'm not sure if he's really thinking rationally. I think he's in love and doesn't want to see his girlfriend hurting, which she is right now. I can't imagine the pain she must be feeling.

Anyway...Dani's assuring me that she's still choosing adoption, but this is definitely a rollercoaster ride. She's really being open and honest about her feelings, so I get to hear a lot of her ups and downs. That's good and bad. We're still trying to prepare like we're getting a baby in six weeks, but there are definitely no guarantees.

Milk stored: 250 oz

Pumping 16 oz/day

Happy Thanksgiving!

Submitted by William on Sat, 11/24/2007 - 12:34am

The last two days have been a lot of fun. On Thanksgiving we went to Great-grandma's house. I got to play with "my best friend, Ivy" and my uncle Michael. There were lots of new foods that I had to try, but "I tried it and I liked it!" The fruit salad with whipped cream and snickers bars was especially good when Uncle Joe finally talked me into tasting it. For dessert, Maggie gave me the plate of leftover black olives, which I gobbled up. And for my bedtime snack I had the pumpkin pie that I didn't have for dessert. Mommy and I made it and we did a very good job.

Then on Friday after nap we went out to Grandma Barb and Grandpa Ron's house. We had pretty much the same thing for dinner again except this time my favorite was lefse. I kept asking for more. And when Mommy would give it to me, I would talk about the flying tortillas from MythBusters, my favorite show that I watch with Daddy. After dinner Tiernan and I went downstairs to play. We got along great! Everyone was very impressed. We spent most of our time jumping on the couch until we got really sweaty. I was sad when it was time to go home. But Tiernan and Caedmon are coming to play today while Auntie Dawn goes out for her birthday with Uncle Nathan, so I have that to look forward to.

Submitted by Adoption on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 2:58pm

Dani went to birthing class this weekend. Her mom attended with her the first day and she realized then that she wanted her current boyfriend to be there as well to support her during labor. So he went with her the second day. Her mom was there for the hospital tour and then went home. Dani asked her instructor about rooms for adoptive families and she said that they don't have extra space to provide us with a room. But I'm not banking on what the instructor said. Adoption is not something that a hospital deals with every day, so she may not know the procedures. Dani's counselor at the adoption agency is going to contact the hospital and talk with them. Technically the baby is assigned her own room and we stay there to care for her. Our insurance will pay for the baby's hospital care. It would be nice for Dani to have us there if she wants to sleep or just have a break. The time in the hospital is her time with the baby so we will respect her desire to have as much time with her as she wants, but we would like to be there so the baby doesn't have to go to the nursery. We'll see what our counselors figure out. Dani said there was a lot of space in the birthing unit when they toured and I'm sure January will be no different. They have to be prepared for late summer, the busy time for delivering babies.

It sounded like Dani learned a lot in the class. She is now prepared to give birth, although she's hoping the baby isn't born until January. Her boyfriend would have a tough time getting off work to be at the birth, but he's done with his current job at the end of the year. His new job will be a lot more flexible. We are ready anytime, but we'll be much more ready after the first of the year. Hopefully she hangs in there until then! And we need to remember that she could end up being late, so we shouldn't get too excited. She's 33 weeks today! It's getting awfully close!

Milk: 117 oz stored (11 oz per day)

Submitted by Adoption on Thu, 11/15/2007 - 1:29pm

We had Matt over last night for dinner. It was lots of fun. William was his usual self which was a nice change. He's usually been pretty shy around the baby's family, but that may be because we've always met at restaurants. Here he was on his own turf. And Matt may also remind him of his uncles a little bit and he's very comfortable around all of them. So Matt got a tour of the house by Darren who could show off all the work that he did. Then we had white chili for dinner because it was a cold, blustery day and I was in the mood for it. Matt was an easy guest, full of compliments and he ate everything :) We sat around and talked for a long time after dinner. I finally remembered to give him the Cloud 9 certificates we had from trivia and found out that Cloud 9 was where he always went but they closed a few days ago! Hopefully they'll honor the certificates at their other location. Matt has removed most of his piercings but showed us his tatoos. We didn't know he had any because they're all where they'll be covered by a tshirt. He has one for his family members and he plans to add the baby's name when she comes. I got a kick out of the fact that he seemed a little wierded out when I told him I was going to nurse - Mr. Shocking himself. All in all, we had a very nice night. We hung out for several hours until it was well past William's normal bedtime. It was good that I had let him nap much later than normal. He's had a cold and I didn't want to wake the poor guy. Those darn preschool germs!

Classes left to teach: 4

Milk total: 50 oz

32 weeks

Submitted by Adoption on Tue, 11/13/2007 - 8:53pm

Dani had her 32 week doctor visit today in Maple Grove. I got to go along again. It was a quick visit. Everything looks good. The new North Memorial Clinic is beautiful and the doctor was nice. Dani is all signed up for childbirth classes. Her mom is going to be her coach and is attending class with her this weekend. They will be getting the tour of the hospital, which is the only part I feel like I will be missing. The rest of it I've done before. So I'll be enjoying our mom's group shopping trip in the cities while she's sitting in class :) Poor Dani!

After the doctor visit, I was invited to eat lunch at her parents' house which was only a mile from the clinic. She and her mom and I had a great salad and good conversation. I saw some family pictures and heard more stories. I'm glad to know where grandma and grandpa live and to see where Dani grew up.

In student teaching news, I have five more lessons left to teach.

I have 41 ounces of milk stored up for the baby!

Submitted by Adoption on Thu, 11/08/2007 - 5:40pm

On Tuesday we all went out for lunch at the Mexican Village Too after Dani's meeting with her social worker. She got her health history form completed and turned in. We had a nice lunch. William was way overtired because of the adjustment from daylight savings time and we didn't leave for lunch until after noon. But that mostly meant that he was talkative and silly instead of shy, so it was okay. He ordered a hamburger and fries but ate mostly chips and salsa and drank chocolate milk, as usual. Dani's mom drove her up for her appointment and it was nice to talk to her again. And it was good for Darren to get to see both of them since it was just me the last two visits and I'm the one talking on the phone to Dani for hours each week.

Dani got into her new clinic down in Maple Grove, so she won't have to commute for doctor's appointments. Now I get to be the one to drive to the cities on Tuesday for the 32 week appointment. And we'll soon be talking about childbirth classes and and if I'll be attending or at least come to the hospital tour.

On the lactation side of things, yesterday I pumped almost 5 ounces, but I've been getting less today. I have 10 ounces frozen so far.