Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last night's call with Paul

Last night Paul called me to talk about Clara and how our day was.  After I told him about how we drove all over tarnation to find my grandparents' house in Arlington (the one they had lived at when my parents got married and where my grandpa Alfred William Harvey Casebolt passed away at when I was 7).  I think Clara got a little bit carsick but that maybe it was just bad spit-up and we only found 1504 Cherokee Lane thanks to my iPhone since the GPS decided to go on the fritz.

Paul had sent me photos earlier in the day of our garden which looks totally different from the seedlings I left behind 3 weeks ago. 

I mentioned how great everything is looking and he started telling me about how he had been weeding and noticed that there was a ripe strawberry that had fallen off the plant and been half eaten.  This was concerning because we already lost two entire cilantro plants to the ravenous squirrels that live high up in our palm tree. 

"I went back in the house and watched," Paul told me, "and sure enough, after about five minutes a squirrel came down the fence and made his way toward the strawberries." 

Paul shooed the squirrel away but it didn't go far.  Five minutes later the squirrel was back. 

"Don't worry Amy," Paul boasted masculinely, "I am taking care of it." 

I grimaced, hoping that he was just getting mesh cages to cover the strawberries or something. 

"I went out and bought a pellet gun!" my knightly husband proudly announced.  "I got a really great deal on it too!"

Apparently Paul takes protecting his castle and property very seriously.  Take that you vicious, thieving squirrels.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Placement and Clara's 1st Week

There are a couple of big events in the course of an adoption.  The first birthmom contact, being "chosen", the baby's birth, placement, finalization of the adoption by the courts about 6 months after placement (at least in California) and then, if you are LDS, the sealing in the temple.

We had sort of anticipated that Clara's birth father would relinquish his parental rights 48 hours after Clara was born and that the next day Kayli would file her divorce papers and terminate her parental rights and that placement would occur then.  But it turns out there some people with our adoption agency dropped the ball and didn't have any of the legal paperwork ready to go in order to get the birthfather to do his part.  We definitely didn't want Kayli to relinquish her rights first because that would have put Clara at risk of going to her birthfather and Kayli wouldn't have been able to fight him for her as effectively if it came down to it.  So everything stalled until Kayli spent an entire afternoon on the phone with her case worker and her lawyer trying to get things moving. 

My heart just swells with love for this amazing woman who fought for us to get placement to go through sooner rather than later.  Paul and I got on our phones that afternoon as well and tried to politely and kindly explain to both our caseworker and Kayli's caseworker that Kayli should not be the one running things down to make placement happen and that we were pretty upset with how things were playing out.  Eventually Kayli's divorce lawyer took over the adoption side of things just to move things along. 

Since Paul was leaving on Wednesday and the birthfather said he couldn't sign paperwork until Thursday night at 7:00 pm, Paul and I signed our placement papers for an "at-risk" adoption on Wednesday.  That meant that even though we had agreed to take full parental responsibility for Clara, we were acknowledging that neither of her biological parents had terminated their rights at that point.  Kayli had let us take Clara back to the hotel with us the two previous nights though so that Paul could have as much bonding time wtih with her as possible before he had to leave on Wednesday afternoon.  We weren't too worried about the "at-risk" placement though because we had full confidence in Kayli and her attorney.  Sure enough, even though the birthfather made threats that he was going to leave and not sign the paperwork on Thursday and Kayli had to spend hours texting with him to push him to do what needed to be done, he signed on Thursday and Friday morning at 11:00 his rights were officially terminated by a Texas judge.  Kayli signed her relinquishment papers Friday afternoon and we are now in the process of completing the ICPC paperwork that will enable me to leave the state of Texas with our little Clara-girl.  We are hoping (maybe beyond hope) that we will be able to head home next weekend, which is a month from the time that I first got to Texas for Clara's birth. 

Phew, quite the story, huh?  There is a little more story to come as I am writing up Clara's adoption story but those will be in future posts. 

In Clara's first week of life, she has experienced some pretty intense weather including Texas thunder and lightning storms and tornado warnings.  In fact, one night we all sheltered in Kayli's family's hallway with 72-hour kits and waited for the weather to pass.

Clara has also made a trip to the airport to pick up Grandma who flew in on Thursday to stay with me and help me fly Clara home to California once ICPC goes through.  She pretty much sleeps when we drive.  Look at that tiny double chin and the way she crosses her feet!  Darling girl.

Clara misses her daddy a LOT and he misses her too.  He told me not to blog about how he cried when he had to say goodbye to her to head home and go back to work.  We appreciate his sacrifices to provide for us and Clara and I love him SO very much.  We Skyped last night but Clara had been a little tired from a big day and slept the whole time. 

Clara had her first manicure given by Kayli's mom.  I was too scared to clip her nails.

She loves to cuddle up into a tiny little package and snuggle right up under your chin and be held on your chest.  It smushes up her little face.  She kind of looks like a little sumo baby in this photo, but really she is a tiny thing. 

Here she is being burped by my mom.  She's a smiley girl.  Kayli made the adorable headband she is wearing.

Clara also had a 5 1/2 hour photo shoot on Tuesday (ridiculous, I know, but it was one of the most fun things ever to watch your baby snooze away while being posed in darling positions).  We are excited to get those photos back and will be sharing them as soon as possible.  For now though, the photos I take from my iPhone will have to do. 

For those who are interested in these kinds of things, she is sleeping pretty well.  For example, last night she slept from 9:00 to 1:00, took 3 ounces, then slept until 4:00, took 2 ounces, then slept until 7:00.  Not bad, right?  I have been getting 7 hours of sleep a night, which is MUCH better than I had anticipated. 

Thanks everybody for your prayers and congratulations and happiness for our joy.  We absolutely adore our sweet daughter and are so ecstatic and thankful to be her parents.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clara's Birth Story

Introducing Clara Jane:

Clara was due Friday, May 13, 2011, which we thought was very auspicious.  I flew in on Sunday (Mother's Day) May 8th just to make sure I would be here for Clara's entrance into the world.  Kayli and I had a great time together hanging out, going out to eat or having dinners with her family, seeing movies, shopping, etc., but by the time Friday arrived there was still no baby.

On Saturday morning I showed up at Kayli's house at about 8:45 to find that she had been awake since 4:45 that morning in severe pain (but not labor pain) and throwing up.  We couldn't figure out what was wrong so Kayli, her mom and dad, and I went to the hospital where blood work was done, the baby and Kayli were both monitored, and Kayli was given something for her pain.  Some concerning test results meant that we spent the weekend in the hospital while the doctor tried to figure out what had caused all of the pain.  No answer was ever given but on Monday morning when the nurse came in to check vitals, Clara's heartbeat could not be found for two minutes.  Sometime between 2:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., Clara had flipped from birth to breech position.  I snapped a photo of the moment when the doctor found Clara on the sonogram and Kayli's mom pointed out the breech position. 

We were all a little stunned. 

Because everything else had stabilized, the doctor released Kayli with instructions to visit her midwife for some ideas on how to possibly get Clara to flip herself back around and told us that if that little girl hadn't somersaulted back into the proper placement by Thursday that we were to come back to the hospital for a c-section. 

We were not elated. 

To back up just a little bit, you should know that Kayli is a superstar and had planned all along to do a natural delivery at a birthing center with a midwife.  The idea of a c-section was very traumatizing and not something that she had ever seriously considered.  When we met with the midwife on Monday afternoon, she gave us a number of ideas for ways that women have been able to use in order to get babies to flip from breech to birthing position.  We tried almost all of them. 

First we went to Kayli's chiropractor for a special adjustment.  Then we went back to Kayli's house and she laid on the floor with her bum and legs up on the couch.  Kayli held ice packs just below her rib cage (where the baby girl had decided to lodge her head) and a heating bag on her pelvis to encourage Clara to get away from the cold place and move to where it was warm.  I assisted by pressing a flashlight against Kayli's stomach where Clara's head was and then dragging it down to Kayli's pelvis over and over again in an effort to try to get Clara's attention so that she would follow the light.

All of us were giggling over how bizarre this seemed when low and behold, after about 20 minutes Kayli felt a big "whoosh" and sure enough, Clara had turned herself around.  We were ecstatic.  Sure, she wasn't locked into position in the pelvis, but this was a good sign.  It was about 5:30 by then so when we called the birthing center we were told to wait until the morning to come in.  That was a little annoying because Kayli hoped that they could induce her right then and was worried that Clara would flip again in the night.  Kayli was right.  The next morning our little turkey was sitting right side up, cross legged with her back against Kayli's back.  We spent Tuesday trying to flip her again, but nothing worked, not even lying upside down on the slide and doing the techniques we had used on Monday. 

We fasted on Wednesday and went to the temple.  Kayli prepared herself as best she could for the emotional, physical, and mental aspects of a c-section that she had not been anticipating. 

Thursday, May 19 dawned muggy but with otherwise nice weather.  Blue sky peeked through numerous clouds.  First we went to see Kayli's midwife who confirmed that the baby was still in breech position.  Then it was off to the hospital for the c-section. 

Things went really fast from there.  We arrived at the hospital at 11:00 and Kayli was prepped for surgery and wheeled into the operating room by 12:45.  She was nervous about the anesthetic but her mom (who was a labor and delivery nurse) was able to be with Kayli while the c-section was performed.  Before she left to go in with Kayli, Kayli's mom and I had a special moment in the hallway expressing our gratitude for Heavenly Father's plan for each of us and our love for each other.

Clara was born at 1:06 p.m. CST in Collin County, Texas weighing 7.1 pounds and measuring 19 inches long.  The umbilical cord had been wrapped around Clara's neck twice leaving her very little room to maneuver.  There was no way she could have been delivered without a c-section. 

A nurse opened the door to the operating room at 1:07 to let me know and I could hear Clara hollering with lusty little lungs.  It was amazing.  I started crying and immediately called Paul who was sitting in his office at work.  I know that it was killing him to not be able to be here, but because of the new job and limited leave he needed to hold off coming until last minute so that he can be here when the placement paperwork is signed.

After waiting maybe 15 to 20 minutes and jumping up and down every time the door opened and I could hear Clara's cries, Kayli and Clara were wheeled out and I got to see our baby girl for the first time.  Paul could hear Clara through the phone.  Kayli told me that Clara opened her eyes for the first time when she heard my voice there in the hallway. 

The nurses wheeled Kayli back to her room with me and Kayli's mom in tow.  Clara calmed right down and took a bottle almost immediately.  We oohed and ahhed over her thick dark hair which is at least half an inch long and completely covers her little head. 

By 3:00 p.m. everyone was pretty well settled in and Clara had been given her first bath.  Her big toe on her left foot had been nicked when the incision was made for the c-section so we had to keep a band-aid on that.  In her first 24 hours she has proven to be a very mellow little thing.  She doesn't hardly even cry when she is uncovered for a changing.  Kayli's siblings came by to see Kayli and Clara and were obviously enamored with the wee babe.

Paul and I were able to Skype at about 10:30 p.m. CST so that he could meet his baby girl for the first time.  I don't know that I have ever seen him smile so much, especially when we pulled Clara's little hat off to show off her surprising shock of hair. 

I tore myself away from the hospital at almost midnight and went to our hotel and crashed.  The next day Kayli and Clara had lots of visitors come by the hospital to offer congratulations and well wishes.  It was a non-stop celebration.  And it was also Clara's first experience with a true Texas thunderstorm with torrential rain and blistering lighting outside the windows.  She slept through it all. 

Paul's flight was delayed by the weather but he finally made it to Dallas around 10:00 that night to meet his little girl.  She wore a brown and purple onesie with elephants on it and the message "I love Daddy" on it and purple pants with ruffles on the bum.

Over the past couple of days Paul and I have been spending as much time as possible at the hospital with Kayli and Clara. 

Under Kayli's mom's tutelage, we have learned how to give Clara a sponge bath.

Kayli is doing amazing and has been up and walking.  She was released on Sunday, just three days after her c-section, and even went to her brother's Eagle Scout Court of Honor that night while Paul and I stayed at Kayli's house and Skyped with family. 

It has been an absolutely incredible, humbling, and beautiful experience so far and we have felt a deepening of love for each other and an overwhelming sense of responsibility for this precious little lady.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Nash Family

All three of us together for the first time ever.  Heaven. 

It was 11:15 at night and this is maybe not the best photo of Paul and me ever but we thought it was hilarious that we matched each other without any planning.  We do this way too often and it is a little freaky. 

Many more photos and Clara's birth story will be coming soon but as you might guess, we are a little preoccupied at the moment with the most precious little girl you have ever seen.

Thanks, everyone, for your love, support, and prayers. 

Much love,

Paul, Amy, and Clara

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Skinny

I am keeping a journal as best I can but I know that people are on tenterhooks waiting for the news of Clara's birth so I thought I would touch base with ya'll (I can say that officially since I am in Texas now, right?) to let everybody know how things are going down here in the Lone Star State.  First and foremost, although Kayli had some contractions or at least a contraction early last week, Clara has decided that she wants to stay cozy a little while longer.  The midwife told us at Kayli's appointment yesterday that she thinks that Clara is going to wait for her due date (Friday the 13th) and possibly a little bit longer, but that everything is looking good and her heartbeat sounds good. 

Texas is HOT.  And humid.  Yowza.  The midwife suggested walking as a way of helping things progress for Kayli and I was thinking "seriously?  where?  you do realize it feels like 100 degrees out there, right?"  And Kayli says that it doesn't really even cool down at night.  But we are thinking of maybe going to the airconditioned haven of a large mall for a stroll that won't leave us sweating like we just finished a marathon. 

Yesterday Kayli and I went to a spa and I had a facial and brow wax while Kayli got a prenatal massage.  I fell asleep with a mentha smelling mask on my face and cold compresses on my eyelids.  It was divine. 

I also got to meet Mimi last night - the birth father's grandma.  Kayli and I drove to Garland where Mimi lives to pick her up because she doesn't drive at night.  Mimi is 82 and fabulous.  While we were driving back to Kayli's house for dinner, Mimi told us in her sweet Texas drawl that she doesn't think she has ever met a stranger in her life and that she is a hugger and everybody around her just better get used to that.  At one point in the conversation she used the phrase "oh merciful lord" in a twangy exclamation of surprise and my heart smiled as I pocketed that memory away and practiced Mimi's exact way of saying it so I can share it with Clara someday along with the beautiful letter of love and counsel that Mimi wrote to her first great-grandchild. 

I sank into bed last night exhausted and happy after talking with Paul on the phone and telling him all about our day.  Paul told me that he had dinner of lasagna and green beans from work (his law firm provides dinner on a nightly basis for anyone who is there until 7:00), which made me glad to know that he is being well-fed while I am gone. 

Paul and I have received a number of inquiries about how and when and if we will be letting people know about Clara's birth.  The answer is: through Facebook, once she is born, and yes.  Facebook is probably the first and fastest method of communication that we will utilize because I don't really text.  Mom, you will get a phone call, of course.  But it looks like we have just a little bit of a wait still.  In the meantime, Kayli and I plan to have some Texas-sized fun.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

All your questions: Answered

Things have been cuh-ray-zee around here lately.  But I wanted to answer a few of the questions that have been asked of us lately about what is happening with Clara's birth and adoption.  Are you ready?  Here we go...

Will we be present at the birth?  I will (at least that is the plan).  Paul will not (he has to work and can't go down and hang out until Clara decides she is ready to come).

What happens after Clara is born?  Um, we basically adore her.  End of story.  Just kidding.  There is a mandatory 48 hour waiting period under Texas law until Kayli and the birthfather can sign their paperwork and placement can occur.  At the moment, there are some slight logistical considerations that might move that timeframe out just a bit, but nothing that we are very concerned about.

Where will we stay while we are out there?  Probably in a long-term stay hotel like a Residence Inn with a kitchenette.

How is Kayli doing?  Really she is the one to answer that question, but things are going very well and she has already had some contractions and is on some natural herbal supplements to prepare her body for labor and get things moving.  Paul and I can't wait to see her again!

When is Clara due?  Do we have any ideas of whether she will come early or late?  Kayli's due date is May 13, but we are all hoping and praying that Clara comes earlier than that - maybe even by May 10.  There are a few hiccups with the adoption process itself that would make it so much better if Clara comes by next Tuesday (one week!), so if everyone can please keep this in their prayers when you are praying for us, that would be so wonderful.

When am I flying to Texas?  Sunday, May 8.  Mother's Day.  Could anything be more appropriate? 

How long will I be there?  We aren't really sure at this point.  There is a paperwork issue to get what is called an ICPC clearance that we have been told takes anywhere from 1 week to 4 weeks to obtain before we can travel interstate with Clara.  So most likely, I will be in Texas for anywhere from a couple of weeks to a full month. 

Will I be there by myself?  Well, yes and no I guess.  Paul has his new job so he won't be able to stay in Texas for the entire time while we wait for the ICPC clearance but he will be there for at least a little while after Clara is born and during placement and maybe even a little bit after that.  My mom is planning to come down and help me the last couple of days I am there so that I don't have to travel back with Clara and all of our gear all on my own.  And I am hopeful that Clara and I will get to spend lots of time with Kayli's family too.

What sorts of things do we still need?  At this point, not a whole lot newborn-wise.  We have bottles, binkies, formula, pajamas, rompers, outfits, socks, hats, little gloves, a diaper bag, carseat, stroller, and boppy.  What we don't have are a changing pad to go on the dresser, clothes and pajamas in size 3-6 months and larger, diapers, diapers, and more diapers, a baby bathtub, baby bath towels and washcloths, a nightlight, and probably dozens of other things that I just can't think of off the top of my head right now. 

Are we going to register anywhere?  Yes, we are *sort of* registered at Babies-R-Us.  I say sort of because I went through there in a whirlwind once just scanning all sorts of random stuff willy-nilly and I have no idea what is on that registry now compared with what we already have and what we still actually need.  We are going to try to clean it up and fix it sometime this week if we have time before the baby comes. 

Will we be having a baby shower?  Yes.  Our ward throws a shower for each new mom where just our ward members come and a friend has also said that she would like to throw a shower for us for friends.  Both showers will probably be happening sometime in June when we get back. 

Any other questions friends?