Friday was great. The drive was uneventful and went quickly, with me reading through all the relevant stuff provided by our agency, and Matt putting the petal to the metal.
When we pulled into the parking lot, I saw D's big old Bronco. We hadn't expected him to be there, but were delighted. He's been such a great support to V. Next to it was a nice Prius. I joked that it must be the social worker's. Sure 'nuf, when we left three and a half hours later, that's what she got into! Interesting symbols...
M. spotted a Carrow's worker making her way into the restaurant ahead of us and quipped, "Little does she know, she'll be serving us her entire shift." He wasn't too far off.
When we walked up, D. was at the door, on the lookout for us. V. and S., the social worker, had already been meeting for more than an hour. It was great to see V. She seemed happy to see us, and her big belly looked even rounder and lower. I told her truthfully that I'd been feeling really good and excited until just a few minutes before when nerves took over. She said that she'd had the same experience. S. had been walking her through a lot of paperwork, and talking about the process for terminating parental rights. I'm sure it must have been very emotional.
Anyway, we chitchatted with nervous energy for a bit, and then S. got us down to business. First she asked me and M. to talk about our "love story," which was fun to do. She asked us about our childhoods, etc. Then she asked V. about her childhood, which was very challenging. She's been through a lot, so its impressive to me that she's been able to stay focused enough to make an adoption plan. She really wants a better life for her child.
S. asked us all a bunch more questions. What was really nice is that we had already talked about most of it. M. and I had decided that at this meeting, we needed to reveal something we feared might be a real turn off to V., and when an opening came up, we waded tentatively into it by telling her there was something we didn't want her to be surprised to learn later, but that we worried a bit about how she'd react. She looked a little concerned. Matt confessed: we're vegetarian. There was a big look of relief! "That's no problem. I was a vegetarian for awhile too!"
Later in the conversation, when we were talking about the hospital experience, who she wanted to be there (D. in the operating room, us there with the baby immediately after) and who she didn't, V. said, "Well, there's something I've been kinda worried about telling you guys." Uh oh. "If my friends visit me, they'll probably be wearing leather." She and D. explained that D. is part of a bike club, and that many of the people who have been encouraging her in her adoption plan are their buddies who have tattoos and wear jackets with a skull on the back and the name of the club, which is a "bad" word. Both V. and D. really wanted us to know that these are good, caring people, and that we shouldn't be intimidated by their looks.
M. assured her that we didn't care; if they are friends of hers, they are friends of ours. I did thank her for letting us know, so that I could warn my mother!
Finally we wrapped things up. S. gave us more paperwork to bring to the hospital. It turns out, the IAC won't have a representative there (unless there is a problem) and we have to give V. the termination papers. A little weird...S. did say that she'd contact the hospital on Monday to give the social workers there a heads up about this being an adoption situation and about the various arrangements we'd discussed regarding caring for the baby while he and/or V. are in the hospital, etc.
Then M. and I followed D. and V. in the old Bronco to her doctor's appointment. My goodness, it was the chicest office I've ever been to! As M. said, it looks like HGTV has been here. I was delighted to see that the receptionist and others knew V. and treated her with friendly respect. We waited with D. in the waiting room for awhile, while V. was getting checked out and then they called the three of us back.
The assistant who took us back congratulated us and told us that she was adopted, AND that Dr. H. is adopted. Cool!
Poor V. was stretched out in an uncomfortable position, waiting for the doctor to come back and give her the ultrasound. Several minutes later, he showed up and introductions were made. My initial impressions? Very nice (but not overly friendly) and YOUNG!
He hooked up the machine and squirted V.'s big belly with the goo that she reported was painfully cold. Immediately, there were blobs on the screen.
Truthfully, I expected this to be a very emotional moment. It was definitely special, but for me it was more interesting intellectually than emotionally stirring. I think that's partly because the baby was not in a position in which his features could be easily identified. That's an ear? Okay, doc, we'll take your word for it.
He is reluctant to schedule the c-section date and will wait until her 38th week to do so (around Oct. 6th). But he said it could be anytime now. The baby looks healthy; I asked if he could tell how much the baby weighs now. He thinks about six pounds.
We talked about how if it is a scheduled c-section, it will be at one hospital, but if she goes into labor, it becomes an emergency c-section and she can go to any hospital, including the one where they both prefer to deliver.
The appointment wrapped up with the doctor telling us we were doing a really good thing, and me expressing what I'm truly feeling, that we are very fortunate. We shook his hand again, thanked him for his special care of V., and told him we'd see him soon. Weird!
We walked out into the afternoon heat and all breathed a deep sigh of relief. V. admitted being exhausted. We took awhile to say goodbye, letting her know we'd be ready to be back as soon as she needs us to be.
...which might be tonight. She called earlier and spoke briefly to M. She thinks she may be having contractions.