Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lieber Award - It Gets Better

So, I'm not 100% positive, but I think that I won the Lieber award the other day, from my friends at The Journey Begins. As Kerrie rightly notes, my blog hasn't really been about surrogacy or India in quite a while. Our little bouncing bundle is now a walking, talking, exploring, willful, fun, wiggly little boy. I remember the whole drama of surrogacy -- wondering how you're going to have a baby, then anxiously counting weeks of pregancy, worrying about the health of your surrogate and baby(ies). But it has become a softer memory, mellowed by time (like they say about childbirth?) And so, for those of you who are still in the thick of it, I want to tell you: it gets better. You may start off your journey being infertile, or not in posession of all the right girl-parts for baby-making, or having gotten started too late, but after all is said and done, a nurse will place a baby in your hands and suddenly, you're just a parent. All the trauma you experienced won't go away, but they will be replaced by the same responsibility and the same love every parent feels. So hang in there, enjoy your last moments of freedom, and, once your baby arrives, savor -- and document --every moment.

It is my understanding that this prestigious award comes with a responsibility -- to pass it along. For that, I need to give a big shout-out to The Mikes. Their blog is no longer about surrogacy either; they had their beautiful Rose and Eva just a few months before Micah was born, and they are truly one of the "pioneer families" in Indiansurrogacystan. They are my homeboys from Boston, are wicked funny, and, at the time that the surrogacy world was inhabited mostly by women, they shared a viewpoint that those of us with ovaries didn't have. Most importantly, when the path was being navigated for how to get a baby home from India, they provided crucial information and advice, complete with checklists, for those of us nerviously awaiting our big moment. We were lucky to get to visit with them a little when our children were all one and change; I felt like I was meeting Indian surrogacy royalty!

I'll leave you with a few photos that document how far our journey has taken us, and how some things don't change:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes

Maybe it is because of his two recent encounters with the medical system, but when I asked Micah to show me his leg because he seemed to be dragging it in pain, he told me, "You're not a doctor." And again, when I told him I was going to give him some cough syrup, I got the same "You're not a doctor!" Gave me a good opportunity to remind him that only mommy, daddy, or doctors can give him medicine, that he shouldn't try to help himself.

My other recent favorite quote was when I recently told him, "Micah, did you know that your name, in Hebrew, means "Who is like God?" and he dutifully repeated back, "My name Hebrew "Who likes Hannukah."

These are such precious months. Suddenly we can really see how we've trained up a new little member of our family to be just like us, joining us for cups of herbal tea, clinking mugs and saying "L'chayim!" He plays "baby stegasaurus" with daddy, butting heads and riding on daddy's back, loves to grab mommy's hand and take her to a comfy chair to read. Favorite books include the Micah Being Born book, where he can name Rasheshree, his surrogate, and tries to understand where he's hiding under her sari, and where we show him the picture of the woman who gave us the teeny tiny egg that can grow into a baby. He loves watching Mommy and Daddy cooking through the pass-through window in the kitchen, though Mommy is terrified that he'll fall onto a hot burner or pan sometime. And he loves, loves, loves cuddling during the half-hour long video he's allowed before bedtime, Classical Baby -- each of us has to have our own "na-na" on our lap.
We feel so lucky to have been blessed with such a smart, sweet, little boy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Umbilicus Be Gone....

As you may be able to tell from the photo in my previous post, Micah was born with a very impressive outie belly button and a very minor umbilical hernia (small hole where the belly didn't totally close up when he was forming in utero.) Although it might never have caused a problem for him, it had the potential to, and so last week, we took the opportunity (and the blessing of very good health insurance) to have it fixed, and to have the extra umbilical cord "tucked in" at the same time. It was very scary bringing a toddler for what was basically elective surgery -- I hardly slept the night before -- but Micah was an amazing patient.
We thought we'd carry him out to the car while he was still asleep at 6 am, but he woke up and, when we told him we were going to see a doctor, he insisted on getting dressed. We checked into the hospital two hours ahead of surgery, as they requested, and then had to wait in a nice play area until the doctors arrived. Micah didn't know what was going on, but wasn't at all thrown off by the deviation from our normal routine, and played happily (although he kept trying to take off his mini hospital gown. What I was most afraid of was that he'd ask to eat or drink and we'd have to tell him he couldn't, but he never even mentioned it. He did get a bit restless at about 2 hours and asked to go home, but some nurses distracted him a little. Daddy went with him to the anesthesia room, and he was quickly put under before he could worry.
Barely half an hour later, the doctor came to tell us that the surgery was over and Micah was sleeping. He woke up enough to drink some juice and talk enough for us to realize that he was OK, and so we were able to take him home, where he slept for several more hours. He did seem to be in some pain that first day, so received regular doses of tylonol, but was mostly back to normal the following day. He's commented several times "my belly's messy" -- he is a bit swollen and the wound is covered with a shiny superglue, so I've tried to keep his diaper away from it. He couldn't take a bath for 5 days but that is the only restriction on his activities.
It is very strange to see his new innie, and at times I do miss his unique, perky little outie, but I think he'll be happier as an adult that we had it done. He seems so much more mature with each passing day, and the removal of the last little bit of umbilical cord seems to have cemented his move from baby/toddler to "big boy." This morning, after telling me that I needed "your purse and your wallet and your keys and your phone" to take him to daycare, I left the room for a minute and when I returned, I found that he had emptied some of the stray receipts and undeposited checks from my wallet and was trying to tuck them into his own (tiny) pockets, so I can see a foreshadowing of the teen he will become all too soon!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Our beautiful New Year's baby....only he keeps insisting "I'm a Big boy!"
Lots of menorahs for the 5th night of Hannukah (also known this year as Christmas Day)

And on the 8th night of hannukah.... we went to the Urgent Care Center....

Has it really been only a month since I last posted? Seems so much has happened since our busy Thanksgiving week celebration. Micah's vocabulary and understanding of the world around him continues to grow exponentially, and with it his creativity and thinking skills. One night in early December, as we were reading him stories before bed, Adam lay down on Micah's bed and used one of his stuffed animals for a pillow, and we were surprised when Micah indignantly protested, "That's my doggy, daddy, get your own doggy!" That was really the first time he asserted himself fully armed with the English language. Our favorite Micah-ism right now is that he describes anything that is big using the adjective "big daddy", such as calling a dinner fork a "big big big daddy fork."

In general, though, he continues to be an agreeable, easy-going little guy, mostly happy to go along with whatever his "bigs" suggest. I say mostly because, well, he is a two-and-a-half year old, and we definitely have times where he becomes suddently emotional or defiant. I'm finding this stage of childhood much more physically demanding than the baby stage, and wishing that I were in better condition -- I can see a point not too long from now when he'll be able to run faster than me, and I am scared! He's just about 3 feet tall now, and weighs about 27 lbs -- heavy enough that it is getting harder for me to carry him for long stretches. He tells us dozens of times a day that he's a big boy, but still loves his "beechie" (pacifier) and "na-na" (blanket) when he's sad, and a kiss still makes every boo-boo feel better. We're not anywhere close to ready for potty training, and everyone assures me that boys are usually not ready until closer to age 3.

Hannukah and the week stay-cation we had over the Christmas/New Years holidays were fun and low-key. Micah really enjoyed helping to put candles in the menorah and the ritual of lighting them; he liked getting presents but isn't yet that impressed by getting them. His very favorite was a lamp with an African savannah that revolves around; we actually just peeked in at him after bedtime tonight to find that he had turned it on after we left the room and fallen asleep on the floor clutching a plastic giraffe that we had earlier seen him "showing" the other giraffes on the lamp.

Our biggest Hannukah adventure was on the 8th night -- I had scraped the old dibbles of wax off the menorahs to be able to put in the new set of candles, and as I was taking some photos of Micah with the candles lit, I noticed him sticking one of the old dribbles up his nose. My attempts at getting the wax out resulted in a hysterical child, and by the time Adam tried the wax was no longer visible. Knowing that it was likely the wax had gotten out but not sure, we reluctantly cancelled our babysitter and bundled up to go to a late-night urgent care center. Micah was adorable and charming the whole time we were there, no sign of distress at all. After spending half an hour filling out forms and answering questions with the staff, we were put in a waiting room to see a doctor. Micah gave everyone a chuckle when he escaped from the waiting room and ran into the clinical area, loudly asking "Where's my doctor?" Finally, the doctor and her assistant came in, and the doctor examined his nose with her light for several minutes with no sign of the wax. The nurse practitioner then rather timidly asked, "what color did you say the wax was?" When we told her red, she suggested that we look at Micah's sleeve, where, sure enough, a little drop of red wax was glued with snot. So we happily went home, glad that our insurance and not we were footing the bill, and happy that we could still catch a later movie.

Other events during our holiday included attempts at sledding (Micah did not much enjoy it), and an attempted stay at a YMCA camp in the mountains (we cane home early -- turns out that it isn't much fun to stay in a hotel room with a 2 year old during weather so cold that you can't go outside.)
Micah loves to sing and listen to music. On the first night of Hanukkah, we attended a choral concert (not a kid-oriented event, unfortunately) and during a quiet portion of the music Micah happened to notice the percussionist's foot-bells and loudly started singing "Jingle Bells" (I'm told this isn't a Christmas song per se, but it sure sounds like one to my ears!) We took him to see the lights at our Botanic gardens; seatd in a backpack that Adam work, he sang non-stop for an hour and a half. Most recently, he's been singing a song that he must have learned in school, "my daddy comes back, he always comes back, he never forgets me." Very lovely that he can re-assure himself like this, and I don't think it is a coincidence that his minor phase of not liking to be left with a babysitter seems to have passed too.

Our New Year's Eve was quiet but nice -- an early-evening playdate with a neighbor, a good dinner at home, bedtime for Micah, and then Adam and I watched The Bridesmaids while enjoying homemade profiteroles. We actually stayed awake until 12:01 in our own time zone; a first in at least 3 years.

I have been loving all the happy news of new babies and babies on the way in India, and love all the pictures of growing children around the world who share the same unusual birth story. I wish everyone who is still waiting for their family to be complete good luck and baby dust in the new year, and health and happiness to all of the Indian surrogacy community!