Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 1 Recap

Ok, so tomorrow is one week since picking up our daughter at the orphanage. Here's the run-down; which I'm doing more for my sake (being able to see progress) than for anyone else's.

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...
Day 1 - She remembered us. Yay! We got there to pick her up and it turns out she was given phenobarbitol to "calm her nerves" a couple of hours before we arrived. We were given another dose for the following day. We were also given the drops for her eyes and a script to pick up more. She responded well to us picking her up, changing her clothes, and taking her out to the car. Driving was another story... she was not happy. She threw a fit and fell asleep, woke up to puke (car sickness - VERY common for these kids since they have most likely never driven before), threw another fit and fell asleep again. That night she ate well and seemed happy. Within an hour of getting to the apartment she was babbling up a storm. She hated the eye drops. She doesn't like it when we try to speak Bulgarian to her. So I guess it's a good thing that I didn't work on that one more. During diaper changes she doesn't lay flat - she looks like she is prepared to bolt if needed. She's on high alert. Bedtime was rough - she cried for about an hour.

Day 2 - Nervous when she woke up but calmed when we started walking around. Babbling again. Eating well. Naptime was rough, but she fell asleep eventually. We had to go to a medical appointment and the car ride was terrible. She screamed and kicked and cried the whole way. Both ways. Tried to give her a shower but she was absolutely terrified. Tried a sponge bath but that was no better. Bedtime was awful. Two solid hours of screaming in my arms. Had to hold her, though, because she kept trying to get out of bed.

Day 3 - Stayed home all day, thank God. Woke up nervous again, but calmed quickly. Ate well. Fell asleep in my arms for nap after about 20 mins of crying. Started to "scoot" on her butt and explore more of her toys independently. Self soothing is down. Her gait is improved. She lays flat and is relaxed for diaper changes. Her skin tone is much better. She stood independently once today. Bed time was tough. Three hours of on and off crying. Eventually, Nick got her down and he shared a great insight with me. He said "Love, just give her what she needs." Simple, but hard to do when what your kid needs is for you to pick her up for one minute and then put her down again for another minute and repeat over and over. Still, I can't force her to take comfort the way I think it ought to be given.

Day 4 - Embassy interview. She did great in the car!! We made sure she had lunch and a nap first, so that helped. At nap she fell asleep "her way", which means a lot of self entertainment. She flaps her arms, flops on her face, plays with her fingers, etc. Finally she just rolled over and fell asleep. It took a while, but she didn't cry more than a minute when I made her lay back down. Embassy went fine. She had her first "bath" tonight. I filled the tub in the apartment and she came running. She didn't have pants on because she had just gotten her diaper changed, but she climbed into the tub in her diaper and shirt! She had a blast sitting on the edge and kicking the water, leaning over with daddy holding her to play in it with her hands. She actually sat in the water a couple of times.  Bedtime was a long affair, but not a crying one. She fell asleep her way, which meant very little crying but took forever.

Day 5 - Hung out around the house. Went for a walk. Generally, a calm day. Ate well again, she took a good nap and bedtime was fairly smooth. Petko brought over her papers and that was awesome! She seemed to have forgiven him for that whole "car thing." Tried another bath, this time when the water turned on and she came running I took off her shirt and diaper to let her try it fully undressed. She was okay until she actually sat in the water and then she got scared and had to come out. But when she got scared she wanted me to hold her and not put her down. A good indicator, I think. She's looking to me for comfort. By the way, daddy and mommy are exhausted. When we finally get her down to sleep we say up to talk in the living room. It's a combo of being in the wrong time zone, mentally, and desperately needing to connect.

Day 6 - Travel. This day sucked. Big time. She was inconsolable most of the day, refused to eat. The silver lining is that we have a Boba carrier and that made it so much easier getting around airports. The downside to that is our aching backs. Now this may be controversial, but let's go back to the phenobarbitol the director of the orphanage (medical doctor) gave us for her. On day 2 we skipped it because it seemed unnecessary based on how she was doing. Since we still had it, we decided to give it to her today. Did it help? I don't know. It's impossible to say how much worse it would have been if we hadn't done it. She did break out in a small rash on her neck from it though, which we didn't see when we picked her up so that was a surprise. It wasn't a magic bullet, so neither of us is certain that it was truly worthwhile. At any rate, she did ok on the trip and we all survived. When we got home it was late, but her new siblings were up with Grandma so we had some introductions. Big Brother is smitten. Baby Girl was so tired it was hard to tell her feelings about it. Grandma's in love. I put her to bed at about 10:30 and she screamed for a while but finally fell asleep and slept all night.

Day 7 - Rest. This would be today. Oh man, this is going to be tough! She wants to walk constantly. Her siblings love her, but it is hard for mommy and daddy to keep up. Grandma helped where she could, but with minimal holding of Geri so as to not confuse her. She shows a bit of the excessive friendliness with female strangers (she kept trying to get on one lady's lap at the airport), so I'm wary. Grandma was very understanding. Her sibling love her so far. Brother gets a bit confused by why she acts like a baby, being that she's so big, and sister doesn't love sharing her parents. Yet, they all are getting on ok. She and Brother had a great hug today, and Sister gave her some nice sloppy baby kisses. She is wary during diaper changes again. Nap was about 20 minutes of crying before settling down. Her appetite isn't great today. But bedtime was awesome! She cried for about 5 minutes and was out in 20. She fell asleep with my hand on her back, too. Still, we're exhausted and feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I'm already seeing gains with her. Her skin tone, for one thing. When we got her, the skin on her hands and feet was so pale, thin and waxy that you could see every single vein. Now, they look nearly normal. Pink, only a few veins. When we got her, her feet pronated so badly that she was nearly walking on her ankles. A week of being allowed to walk around, without shoes, to her heart's content is helping. Also, her feet are splayed outward less when she walks. She's chunking up a bit, too. I see it in her hands. When we first met her I thought her hands looked strange and I couldn't figure out why. After I few days I realized that they were too thin. She's still young enough when she should have chubby little baby hands, but her hands were thin and her fingers were thick and it looked weird. Now her hands are chubbier and even getting those dimples on the backs of the knuckles, and they look normal and very cute. She's babbling and exploring, although not scooting yet in the new environment.

Grandma leaves tomorrow and we are scared to death. This is all so exhausting and our hearts are being affected by our tired bodies, I think. We probably need to stop looking ahead and stick with one day at a time. I feel like Dory. "Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!!"

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