Friday, March 4, 2011

The Three Week Gestation Period

Sorry to have been gone for so long.  I know how lucky I am to have such a cooperative baby.  Olivia is not fussy, eats, poops pees, and sleeps a lot.  I have been asked to put the "finishing touches" on this blog, so to speak.  It's good for me to keep track of what happened our last week in California.  So here it goes...

On the Monday after Superbowl Sunday, we took Olivia to a clinic in Long Beach to get a newborn checkup.  There were probably about 50 people in the waiting room, overwhelmingly Hispanic.  Once again,  Jeff and I are the only white faces in a sea of brown.  The clerk asked us for our insurance info, which I provided him.  (Children are under the coverage of their parents' insurance for a month after birth.)  For some reason, the clerk could not process my insurance.  "Do you have a California address?" he asks.  Not really, why?  OOOhhh, MEDI-CAL.  No, not Medical, but Meddie-Caal, the state of California's answer to Medicare.  After being informed that the address of the adoption agency will do, (although I am quite certain we could have made up any address)  he typed it into his computer and that was it.
Newborn checkup with two real, live, in-the-flesh MD's = zero dollars
Two whooping cough vaccines for Jeff and I = zero dollars
Working the system = priceless.

I guess Jeff and I shouldn't feel too guilty,  Bob and Jan, my in-laws, paid taxes in California for years.  It is, however, no wonder that the state is broke.

Olivia had lost three ounces, which is normal for a newborn, but the pediatricians we saw thought she should gain more weight, and wanted to see Olivia again in two days.

We were given these pre- mixed formula bottles that spoiled after an hour of opening, so if Olivia finished one, we wouldn't open another.  Since she never fussed for more, we never gave her more.  And, we never woke her up to feed.  Upon leaving the clinic, Olivia had no idea that her world was going to change.

Every two hours we fed her.  Woke up to feed her.  Drove her crazy feeding her.  You would think she was a prizefighter trying to get into a higher weight division.  Or a sumo wrestler.  Or a competitive eater training for the Coney Island Hot Dog Challenge.  Grow, Olivia, grow!

Tuesday arrived and we got a call from Nikki, the social worker at the agency.  They paperwork that was sent to Pasadena to be processed in order to permit us to leave the state with our daughter was missing one important piece.  Her health record from the hospital.  No problem, I told Nikki.  We just went to the clinic yesterday.  We will have up-to-the-minute records faxed right over. Called the clinic.  Was transferred to the records department.  "You will have to come in and sign a release."  No problem.  "And then it will take a week for you to get the records."  Oh no, you don't understand, we were just there yesterday.  "One week."

I had to laugh.  Really?  One week?  Now the funny part was, all we were waiting on was a phone call from our attorney TO MY CELL PHONE giving us the OK to head home.  Are you following me?  We could have accepted this call from our living room sofa, or a beach in Mexico, or the moon, and nobody would have been the wiser.  Don't worry, Seth, we never would have done that.  But the thought did cross our minds.  :)

So our next call was to the clinic and we asked for Dr. Wu, the pediatrician who saw Olivia the day before.  She wasn't in (of course) but the nice pediatrician on duty agreed to fax Olivia's records to the agency if we promised to sign and pre-date a records release the following day, when she was scheduled for her follow up appointment.  Finally!  Someone who was willing to bend the rules for a good cause!  God bless you, nice pediatrician!Off to Kinko's to print, sign, and fax a form emailed to us from the agency stating that we never received any health records upon being released from the hospital, hoping that they would, in the meantime, receive the fax from the nice pediatrician.

A couple of hours later, we received the news.  We were cleared to go home.  Much to my mother's dismay, we told her we would leave on Friday.  We wanted to have Olivia's weight checked at the clinic on Wednesday and needed one day to pack and say goodbye to everybody.  When Wednesday's appointment arrived, Jeff and I held our breath as Olivia was weighed- she gained seven ounces!  Way to go, Olivia!  We were so proud.

That afternoon we called Lindora and asked her if she wanted to see Olivia.  She said yes, that she thought she would like to meet her.  So we packed her up and took her over to meet Lindora and the boys.  Lindora couldn't stop commenting on Olivia's beauty.  She handled it with strength, grace, and a little emotion.  Jeff and I were very pleased that she got to say goodbye to Olivia, I think it's very important for her grieving process.  Dwaun was pretty torn up and had a hard time; that was heartbreaking.  How do you explain all of this to a 13-year old?  Evey time I touched Olivia's foot, or held her hand, or tickled her cheek, Dylan would remove my hand.  Already a protective big brother!

We spent Thursday packing and walking around the neighborhood.  Olivia got her picture taken in front of the Korean Friendship Bell overlooking the harbor.  Margie (our landlord) came by with gifts for Olivia.  Babies come with a lot of stuff- I'm surprised Jeff fit it all in the car.  My husband is a magician! 

We took two days to make the drive home, stopping every couple of hours to feed Olivia and let her stretch.  It must suck being buckled into that car seat all day!

After being home for about three weeks, I still find myself in disbelief.  I had a dream one night that everything was too good to be true; that Olivia was really made out of wax and we let her get too hot and she melted.  I just try to treasure every moment, hold her close and breathe in her marvelous baby scent and kiss her fat cheeks and stare and stare and stare at her.  We met Lindora on January 10.  Olivia was born on the 29th- just shy of 3 weeks gestation period.  40 weeks is for sissies.

Here are some pictures for those of you who feel so far away...