It was our understanding that this was simply a follow up to make sure all was well. The level 2 ultrasound just means that they are looking closely, taking specific measurments and paying attention to more than the basics of a routine ultrasound. We understand enough of Birth Mom's own history to understand why that was a good idea, despite the lack of any reason to think that baby needed that extra attention. Drew and I didn't really love the doctor, but thank goodness his nurse was more helpful in explaining things to us. After an hour of looking, measuring, examinging... it appears that all is functioning well. There is good blood flow from the placenta. There is good blood flow in Ellie's brain, heart and abdomen. There had been a tiny spot in the abdomen that they saw on the previous ultrasound, but there was no sign of that this time, so no worries there. The only thing of concern is that Ellie is small for her gestational age. Not dramatically so, but enough that the doctor is paying attention. It's really not that she is small as much as she hasn't grown quite as much in the last 4 weeks as they would have expected. It's our understanding that the doctor is not particularly worried, but feels it necessary to monitor her continued growth. All the previous blood work, chromosome tests and ultrasounds tell us that there are no indications of anything to worry about. Our little girl is just little. No matter, the doctor felt it was important to do another ultrasound in 4 weeks.
Problem. We are supposed to be in Hawaii in 4 weeks. 4 weeks is smack dab in the middle of our vacation. Of course we didn't want to broadcast where we were going, we just mentioned that we had plans to be out of town. The nurse felt that it was important to keep the appointment at 4 weeks... 3 weeks or 5 weeks wouldn't work since we were specifically monitoring growth rate in the baby. So, there is another ultrasound appointment in 4 weeks. Drew and I talked about it last night and we both feel like it is important for us to be there. Birth Mom & her step mom are completely honest with us, but they don't understand all the medical stuff in the same way that we do. No, we don't HAVE to be there, but this is our child. We need and want to be with her at every opportunity and know exactly what is going on. So... we pushed Hawaii back a week. Drew's work schedule allowed for pushing his vacation days, the hotel was a simple change and the airline wasn't as big of a deal as I had feared. That's done. On April 8th we will go see our baby girl and on April 11th we will fly to Hawaii. That's that. (I will also be attending the normal OB appointment with Birth Mom on March 31st.)
Now that I've explained all that... let me woo you all with a picture. I love the profile images where you can really see her little face, but this one is extra cool because Ellie threw her arm up and made a little fist with one finger out... as if she were cheering for #1! Do I detect a tiny little sports fan?!
After the appointment we were all three feeling a little frazzled and trying to make sense of everything, but I dropped Drew at his truck so he could head to work and then Birth Mom & I had a few hours to spend together before I took her to another (non-baby related) appointment and then back to her step mom. I have to say that this must be the strangest relationship that I've ever had with anyone... ever. I mean, one month ago I knew nothing about this girl and now I am linked to her as she carries our child. What kind of relationship is appropriate here? The truth is that there is no correct answer for that question. Each and every adoption situation is unique. I was happy to help yesterday, but it was also quite overwhelming for me. I can't imagine that there are any two people who have had more different lives than she and I. Yes, there is a 15 year age gap, but beyond that our lives have been very very different. I struggle a bit with how to best build an appropriate relationship with her while establishing and maintaining proper boundaries with her throughout this process, considering that once Ellie is born that things will change a lot. Honestly, I'm struggling a bit right now with how to share any of this with you all and still maintain Birth Mom's privacy and the private details of this situation. Perhaps I need to simply say that this young girl has not had the lovely childhood and family life that I have known or that Drew & I provided for Alex & Emma. She faces struggles and issues that we will never fully understand, but her bravey in facing this pregnancy and making the decision for this baby to have a different life than she has is pretty much amazing. She was perfectly clear with me yesterday that she is 100% certain that this is our baby. Just as importantly... we believe her.
Truth... when I got home yesterday afternoon I was pretty wound up. My brain was overloaded and I could only conclude that I needed to sweat. Sweat is my favorite medication when I'm feeling stressed. If used properly (exercising on a regular basis), then it is more preventative for me and there is less stress as a whole. I very much try to abide by that, but the last few weeks that hasn't happened. I was craving a good workout and it was 70 degrees & sunny outside, so I headed to the park. Cheryl (my lovely friend and favorite walking buddy) was unavailable on such short notice, so I went for a power walk/jog with Justin Timberlake. Well, Justin Timberlake sang to me as I sweated it out. He's awesome like that. The more I focused on moving, the more my brain relaxed. 45 minutes later I got back to my truck and realized that I wasn't thinking about anything. Praise God. For 45 minutes my brain thought about nothing and my body burned that physical anxiety. Awesome. (Less awesome is that my right foot is bothering my yet again today. Maybe I could get a good workout on the bike without putting so much stress on that finicky foot?)
After such a day, Drew took my out to eat when he got home. I was still sweaty from my workout, but we relaxed together and had dinner while watching the first round of the SEC tournament (FYI, that's a pretty awesome date). As we were pulling into the driveway, my phone rang. I usually don't answer calls from phone numbers that I don't know, but for some reason I did last night. Imagine my surprise when the voice on the other end was my cousin, Matt. We haven't seen each other in years and I couldn't quite imagine why he would be calling me. He's a pilot and lives in Detroit now. He was flying his personal plane to Ft. Worth yesterday and decided to stop at the tiny little airport here in Siloam Springs to refuel and rest for the night. When my Aunt Sallie found out where he was, she gave him my number. Really, it's a crazy coincidence, as our airport is not exactly a hub for anything. Drew & I went and picked Matt up, visited for a couple of hours and made up the pull out bed for him. It was great to visit (really for the first time as adults) and I actually appreciated the distraction after such a full day. Perhaps next time's unexpected visit could come with enough of a warning to allow me time to vacuum and put away the laundry! Maybe even enough time to dust and wipe off the counter tops? Oh well, I have no secrets now. If anyone wants to know what my house looks like on any given day... ask Matt! I picked up the dirty laundry from the bathroom floor and that was about it! Even better, we are all headed to Oklahoma City this weekend for our cousin Garrett's wedding and will get to visit some more.
I'll leave you for now and simply ask that you add Ellie and her continued growth to your prayers. Grow, Ellie, Grow!!!