Friday, October 2, 2009

Fire Drill (Part II)

As I shared in my last post, though confused and anxious about whether the birth mom we're matched with was in labor, M. and I were exhausted and quickly fell into deep sleeps in our hotel room. We were startled awake about 2 a.m. by a phone call.

It was D.! He handed the phone to V. and she talked to M., but I could hear most of what she was saying. She was clearly agitated. They had tried to call us dozens of time over the last couple of hours. Where were we? Were we in a wreck? Did we know that we wouldn't become parents tonight?

Obviously, there was some problem with our toll-free number's call forwarding system. (Indeed, the next day when we checked the on-line call log, there were about 60 calls from D.'s phone.) AND we discovered the next day that I'd been trying to reach them on a number that was one digit off! So terrible. It's a wonder V. wanted to stay matched with us technodummies!

It turned out that V. and D. were calling from an all-night diner...about 30 yards from where we were in bed. We encouraged them to come on over.

Through a tired and sleepy fog, we listened to V.'s story of the evening. She was in pain and frustrated that her contractions hadn't shown on the monitor. She reassured us that all signs indicate the baby is doing well. After sympathizing for a bit, and apologizing profusely for the phone problems, we agreed to meet V. and D. at the same nearby diner for breakfast in just a few hours, before going to her OB as he'd instructed by phone earlier in the night's odyssey .

After a round of warm hugs, they left and we went back to sleep quickly.

D. called us the next morning when they were leaving the house, headed for breakfast and we met them at the diner a few minutes later. They both seemed better rested and V. was calmer. She was a bit sheepish about causing us to trek out there, but we assured her we were glad to do it. Then we followed them to the OB's office.

Unfortunately, her doctor wasn't there, but his partner and assistants were. After her exam, V. came out and told us that they thought she should return for her regularly scheduled appointment late the next afternoon and that it was likely that her doctor would send her then to the hospital to deliver (especially since he was headed out of town for the next four days.) Wow!

M. and I debated briefly whether we'd drive the 2.5 hours home that morning and return the next afternoon. Reasoning that 1. she might really go into labor before then and it would suck to have to drive so much in an even shorter period of time, and 2. if she didn't deliver the next day, we'd rather have only made the round trip drive and return home without a baby once than twice. So we decided to stay.

V. was eager to get home to sleep, as she'd been having trouble getting any rest during the last several nights. But before separating, we followed up an a something she'd mentioned earlier. She said she'd watched one of the recent "Adoption Diaries" on TV and liked how the birth and adoptive families had gotten together to have a nice dinner. She said it wistfully, believing there wouldn't be a an opportunity for us to do something similar.

With this new time frame, M. and I asked whether she'd like to invite a few friends to join us for dinner at a restaurant of her choice that evening. She seemed to like the idea, and we agreed to talk again after she woke up from a nap, but that we'd likely rendezvous at the Italian restaurant where she'd originally hoped we'd have our match meeting a few weeks ago. Then M. and I were on our own for several hours.

We went back to the hotel and napped ourselves. M. did a little work, we watched some TV. Then after a fruitless search for someplace still serving a good lunch after 2:30 p.m., we picked up a little picnic at the supermarket and ate at a nice park before heading into the near by hills. D. had told us that a beautiful river canyon was close by. He was right.

We drove about 20 minutes along the narrow road that became more twisted as we gradually ascended. On a Monday afternoon, there weren't many others on the road. The sun was beginning to get low in the sky and the light was beautiful. M. found a nice turnoff and we scrambled a bit (I wish I'd worn better shoes!) down the rocks to get to the river, which was surprisingly swift for this late, dry time of year. Of course, my photographer husband was in his element. And of course, I was getting anxious about being out of cell service range.

In the end, I think we spent long enough in the quiet canyon to feel we'd gotten away to a beautiful, natural place without risking a repeat of the previous night's phone contact crisis.

Shortly after we returned to the hotel, V. called. She said to M., "I hope you're not too mad..." which he reported caused him to catch his breath, "but I'm craving Mexican now." Of course we weren't mad...especially since that's one of our favorite cuisines!

We found the place without problem and saw that V. and D. were waiting for us as we pulled in. As we crossed the parking lot, we saw another couple, with the guy sporting a leather jacket with the name of D.'s motorcycle club on the back. So we introduced ourselves and were already chatting amicably when we approached smiling V. and D.

It was a nice meal. Mostly it was casual conversation, though occasionally V. would confess to being a little freaked out about what she was facing the next day. We had the friendly server take a few photos of us all, which I hope will make it into our son's baby book someday.

Since the evening was still young, V. asked us if we'd like to see her friend's tattoo shop. Since we know that this friend (I'll call him Doc Johnny), is an important person in her life, and that she spends a lot of time in the shop, we told her we'd love it.

I suppose now is a good time to say that M. and I always kinda assumed we'd become a trans-racial family through adoption. As it turns out, we won't (most likely, assuming this situation goes through). But, it is definitely a trans-cultural adoption!! One of the things we really appreciate about this situation - and I think V. does too - is that we have very different backgrounds. Despite that, we've found a lot of common ground. In fact, I think we are all enjoying learning about people who live very different lives - for whatever reason - than we do.

Doc Johnny and his tattoo shop were fascinating. It's packed (neatly) with totems he's collected from working all over the world. He is a true artist. He says that it's been a tough way to make a living and he wouldn't recommend it to everyone, but it's allowed him to support his family, travel to interesting places, and do something he enjoys. We looked through his big book of photos of his work, and I must say there were beautiful pieces...and I just can't grasp how some people can do some of those things to their bodies.

We explored the shop and learned more about tattooing for awhile, and then we received a high honor: an invitation to the "club house." Doc Johnny roared off on his big bike with D. and V. in hot pursuit in his big truck and us putting along behind in our little Subaru, listening to the local NPR station's classical music.

The motorcycle group's "club house" is a storefront in an old - though not extremely derelict - part of town. As I told D. later, it is what I suspect many boys (and girls!) fantasize about as kids...except it's not in a tree. It's a big open space with several comfy couches, card tables and chair, a big jukebox blasting tunes, an area to pull up their bikes, a trophy case, and a big bar with stools. Behind the bar, holding the bottles of booze, is a coffin.

There were about a half-dozen club members there, and I was delighted to see the ease with which V. introduced us. They all seemed to understand who we are and why she was bringing us around. They were polite and friendly. They offered us beer. V. told us there were plans for a meeting later in the evening. I asked her what they meet about, and she said that she'd been curious about that too. Then she found out it was usually just about coordinating an upcoming ride or something, and the last time these big, tough looking guys had an official meeting, it was to decide whether to get club hoodies or regular sweatshirts. Hee!

M. played a round of pool, and I chatted more, mostly with V. but also with some of the others. Since she said they'd wait for us to leave before meeting, and I could tell she was getting tired and couldn't leave until D. had met with his buddies, we wrapped things up.

D. and V. walked us to our car and we encouraged them to call us if they needed to be in touch before we'd planned to meet again at the OB's office the next day.

After marveling together for awhile about all we were experiencing, M. and I turned in and were able to sleep surprisingly well. In the morning (now Tuesday), we had the pretty decent breakfast at the hotel and decided to check out since we didn't want to pay for another night we might not need since 1. we'd heard that its not uncommon for hospitals to offer empty rooms to adoptive parents while birth moms are there, or 2. she might not deliver that evening after all.

We loaded the car back up ad headed to the County Museum, which is a large park with a collection of historic buildings from around the area. It was a great way to spend several hours. The weather had gotten a lot cooler and there weren't many people around. We could just wander. In fact, we left and got a good lunch (at someplace we'd researched in advance) and came back.

As the time for V.'s 5 p.m. appointment approached, we were staying pretty calm. We even spent about 45 minutes just lounging on a picnic bench, speculating on how things would go, talking about the oddity of the situation, and just holding each other close.

We got to the office a little early and M. posted a photo we'd taken several days before to Face*book. It's of us sitting on the back bumper of the car, with the car seat next to us and the hatch full of other baby-related items. It shows that we were ready to hit the road to meet our child!

He finished up just as V. and D. arrived. She and I confessed to feeling really nervous. The guys just kind of nodded in agreement. We waited together for a bit in the glitzy waiting room. A few other pregnant people came and went. I speculated that the doctor wanted to see V. last, so then he could send her to the hospital and meet her over there.

Finally, he called her in personally, greeting us as well. The exam didn't take long, and then V. re-emerged saying,

"Well, it looks like we're on our way to the hospital".....


Ginger said...

It's not very nice to leave us all in suspense...

Bobby said...

No I've read all this much and another cliffhanger!! We're dying out here in the's great you're having a baby and all but it's all about us!!

LOL this is worse then "Who Shot J.R.?"

All kidding aside I love your style though, what a great story you will have to tell your little Finster when he/she is old enough. I hope you can share some of the biker and canyon pics with us. It's a great story and we're all pushing for the fairytale ending!

Amy said...

Loving this adventure. Good Luck to you all!

Emily said...

how amazing! congratulations! I can't wait to meet him!

Thanksgivingmom said...

Oh - come on, come on!!! We need part III!!!!!

(And us competetive folks need to know who won the big guess when the baby is born competition!!! ;))