Earlier this week, we celebrated Dylan's two month birthday. M. and I sang him a little song (you know the words) and his grandmom sent him a congratulatory email. And I've reflected a lot on how much can change in just eight short weeks.
Yesterday, Dylan had his two-month "well baby" pediatrics appointment. Now it's official: our boy is doing "great." Before hand, we speculated how much he's grown. In fact, he's gained more than three pounds in six weeks and is now almost 9 pounds and 3 ounces. He's also two inches longer. He's still very small for his (not preterm adjusted) age. But all we need to do is look at his chubby cheeks and thigh creases to know he's not our tiny baby any more.
At the doctor's, he got three different shots and an oral vaccine. Wow! I've never heard him scream like that. But then I held him close and he quieted right down. He's been a little extra "clingy" since then, but is easily comforted by close contact and some baby acetaminophen.
He is eating well - about three ounces, about every three hours, including at night. So no, he isn't sleeping through the night. We think that's still a few months away, since he has so much growing to do. At this point, M. and I are still doing "shifts." Typically, I stay up and feed him about 12:30 a.m. and then burp and change him and hope he'll settle to sleep so that I can too. M's shift begins at 3 a.m., and Dylan usually starts fussing again about 4 a.m. Usually, they will both get back to sleep pretty quickly after the bottle, though if Dylan's fussing, M. will "invite" him into our bed so that they can both get a few more hours of zees before M.'s got to wake up and start working. Usually, I keep sleeping and take charge of the kid again about 9 a.m. So, we're both getting about eight hours of sleep, which is plenty, though it is always with lots of interruptions. I'm not as exhausted at this point as I feared I'd be...but it would be lovely to sleep a whole night in bed, along with my husband.
Our biggest concern about Dylan right now is that we think he has a touch of heartburn, which the doctor thought was probable given the symptoms we described. Though he rarely spits up, and when he does, it's not much, he does get awfully pout-y and sometimes cries and "writhes" (wiggling all about) after feeding. The doc suggested burping him more throughout the feedings, keeping him more vertical, and propping something under his bed so that he lies on an incline. After just one day following those directions, it does seem to be helping a bit.
It's so fun to notice him developing. He's got eyebrows now, and very long, flirty eyelashes. He's discovered his hands and is getting them closer to his mouth each day. He's grasping. Every now and again, we catch him in a sweet little smile, though it still isn't deliberate. (Note: I'm predicting now that it will be by Christmas. What a gift that will be!) What's most captivating is how he stares deep into our eyes. He's also definitely following our movements, and seems to be taking it all in with his dark, soulful orbs.
I am on leave from work, and it feels really indulgent to have so much time to spend with him. My biggest stress during this time has been some ambiguity about my work situation. For more than a year, I've indicated to my boss that if/when I finally became a mom, I'd like to return to work less than full time. I presented various scenarios, always stressing how they could be beneficial to both me and the college where I work. It's been a huge relief that my boss was generally supportive, but (reasonably) citing uncertainty about when this significant shift might occur, she didn't make any commitments. She told me late last week that she's found a way to honor my request to return 60% time...at least through this fiscal year; we'll reevaluate then.
So! My wonderful mom has agreed to watch Dylan one day a week, and M. and I will both provide principal care two days a week. Which means we won't have to find any child care for him! As we hoped - and as we indicated to perspective birth mothers - our child will be looked after just by loving family members.
On Sunday, M's sister and two dear friends threw us a "Welcome Dylan Celebration." My sister-in-law on the East Coast helped out too by coordinating the evites. What a joyful day that was! I realize that it is the kind of experience I have been fantasizing about for years: introducing my precious child to our friends and family.
There was some great food and a gorgeous cake, and many people brought thoughtful and generous gifts, which we've been opening slowly at home. But what was best of all was seeing so many loved ones from different parts of our lives come together and delight in our little guy. It was so fun to observe how different people responded to him. At some points, I felt like a traffic cop, needing to encourage one person to pass him along so that another would have time to hold him. He slept peacefully most of the time and awoke just enough to show everyone his gorgeous eyes.
And then on Tuesday, there was ANOTHER party in honor of our son. My wonderful friend and colleague hosted a reception on the small campus where I work and invited all faculty and staff to attend. One of the things I love about my job is that I'm involved with such a tight-knit community. More than a year ago, when we were debating how wide to cast our "adoption networking net," we made the decision to contact many of my colleagues to ask them to keep an eye out for a good match. It felt a little awkward at first, sharing something so personal so publically. But since then, I have been so touched by the support and encouragement we've received, often from surprising places. Many people came to this reception; a bunch of them baked yummy treats for the rest of us to enjoy. And again we were deluged by generous gifts. (Let me just say, Dylan will be one very well dressed guy for quite awhile!)
In our Dear Birthmother Letter, we said something about how we believe the African proverb that "it takes a village to raise a child, and our village is filled with friends and family looking forward to bringing our child into their lives." This week, I truly felt the power and warmth of our village.