Friday, November 21, 2014

Our Adoption Story: Part 4

The days after Francie's birth were both incredible and incredibly frustrating.

They were incredible because David and I were able to have full access to the NICU where Francie was being cared for. We could come and go as we pleased, and we were able to hold and and love on Francie and bond with her. She was doing great! She was breathing on her own, and she was a fantastic eater. All of the nurses raved over how well she ate. She was taking 2-3 ounces of formula when she was just a day old (apparently that's a lot for a brand new baby - since I've breastfed all of my other babies, I had no idea how much newborns eat. Ha!). David and I were able to give Francie her bottles, and the nurses even taught us how to change her diapers and care for her bladder. We originally thought that Francie would be transferred to Johns Hopkins immediately and that the surgery would happen within the first 72 hours after her birth. Because David and I knew that we would have to get plane tickets after we got word that birthmom was in labor and then travel to be with the baby, we didn't even know if we would arrive in time to hold her before the surgery. So to be able to not only hold her, but to have days of caring for her and spending hours at a time with her was a huge blessing. We bonded so much during those days.

This was also an incredibly frustrating time, though, because we had heard over and over from different doctors that it's best if the surgery happens within 72 hours after birth, and it became apparent pretty quickly that we were going to miss that window. We should have expected this, I guess, but there is just a LOT of red tape that comes along with an adoption. Add in the fact that this adoption was spanning three states (our state, the baby's birth state, and Maryland where Johns Hopkins is located) plus the fact that this was a special needs adoption and the baby required major surgery soon after birth, and it was kind of a logistical nightmare. There were just a lot of insurance issues that had to be worked out before Francie could be transferred. Thankfully, the doctors, nurses, and social workers at the hospital where Francie was born were WONDERFUL. They were so sweet, and we knew that they were working as hard as they could to get everything worked out.

Those days were kind of an emotional roller coaster. David and I stayed in a hotel close to the hospital, and every morning we woke up, packed our suitcases, and checked out of the hotel with so much hope that THIS would be the day that we were transferred. We would then drive to the hospital in our rental car, spend the morning with Francie in the NICU, and take a break for lunch. We ate in the hospital cafeteria (the food was way better than you would expect!), and then we went back to the NICU. During this time, David would often go to the lobby and make some work phone calls, send emails, and talk to our insurance company on the phone trying to get everything worked out. Sometimes after he came back to the NICU, I would go take a breather and get a cup of coffee while I played on my phone, texted friends, or called my mom and the kids. Around this time each day, it would become apparent that the transfer would not, in fact, happen that day, so we would call our hotel once again and get a room for another night. We would stay at the hospital until around dinner time, and then we would leave and go out to eat. There were several restaurants close to the hospital, so we would go to one of those for dinner. After we ate, we would go back to the NICU, hold Francie some more, maybe give her one more bottle, and tell her goodnight. At that point, we'd go to our hotel, get ready for bed, and repeat it all the next day. This became our routine, and it lasted Sunday through Wednesday. That doesn't sound like long, but believe me, it felt like AGES at the time. Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, we got word that Francie would really and truly be transferred to Hopkins via ambulance the next morning, We were SO excited and thankful!

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