Friday, February 25, 2011

on the hunt for the perfect journal

I have decided to start a journal of letters to Sami. I am looking for the perfect book, as I want to hand-write the letters, so she can have it as a keepsake one day. There are so many things I want to tell her, such as how I felt today just watching her sleep, and how cute she looks discovering things like her hands and her feet. If anyone knows of any stores or websites that carry unique journals, please let me know!

I find myself going to sleep earlier than ever before. Anyone that knows me knows that I have always been a night owl, and knows that I do not need much sleep to function. It's not unusual for me to pull an all-nighter working, and yet still somehow manage to function the entire next day on very little sleep, or sometimes on no sleep at all. But now that I'm awake very early on a regular basis with Sami, usually between 5 and 6 a.m., I find myself tired and heading to bed around 11 p.m., and when I am pretty sure Sami is asleep for the night, which is extremely early for me. It's been such a luxury with her sleeping 6-7 hours a night lately, aside from a night here and there of course when she just doesn't seem to want to sleep.

On that note, it's almost midnight so it's past my bedtime.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The smile that warms my heart

Sami slept almost 9 and a half hours last night (from 7:45 p.m. to 5:15 a.m.) I slept more than usual, too, although not nearly as much as Sami because I kept checking on her constantly making sure she was OK, because I couldn't believe she was sleeping for so long.

The previous two nights were not as good. Sami was up all night and most of the days, crying and cranky but just not wanting to sleep. I think she probably was so exhausted from those two days, and that's why she slept so much last night.

I am finding freelance work to be truly feast or famine. I have been working very hard trying to make up for the $4,200 I lost for work that I completed for one company that declared bankruptcy, and isn't paying any invoices for the past 90 days, even though they published the work. Yesterday, I received a letter from the courts, informing me that I am not permitted to bother the company for payment, because they are protected under the bankruptcy law.

So I have been doing a lot of editing work for the clothing catalog. On Monday, Sami and I went to Boca and picked up a 92-page catalog that I edited overnight and brought back to Boca on Tuesday, at which time I picked up another catalog I edited overnight and brought back yesterday. I will not have work for them again until next week, so for the remainder of this week I am writing two articles for the publication I regularly write for, in addition to meeting with a real estate developer this afternoon to talk about editing a book that he wrote. He found me through an ad I placed looking to provide freelance writing and/or editing services. I had thinking about canceling the ad since I had not received much response. I will see how the meeting goes this afternoon and will soon know if this will be a new project for me. In addition, a PR guy I know just passed along contact information to me about another business trade publication looking for freelancers. I contacted the publisher yesterday, and quickly received a response that he is very familiar with my name, and definitely can offer me work. The publication is a national trade publication, but since the office is based only about an hour from me, we are in the process of setting up a meeting to discuss work. Both he and the real estate developer agreed to allow me to bring Sami to the meetings, which is a huge help since I am not using childcare and she is always with me. Sometimes this is challenging, trying to work full time from home while at the same time being a full-time stay-at-home mom, but it's worth it to me if I do not have to enroll her into daycare.

Sami still has her bad days of screaming and crying all day and night, but she is really beginning to smile, laugh and interact. Every time I see her smile, I smile, and I every time I hear her laugh, I laugh. Every time I look at her, my heart is so filled with warmth and love that it overwhelms me, and often brings tears to my eyes. Sami is still sleeping in our room, in a pack and play that sits next to my side of the bed, and we are together almost 24/7. I have started to put her in her crib for naps (which she takes rarely) or when I am just in her room cleaning or putting her clothes away. I am slowly trying to start get her used to her crib and her room, although it may wind up being me that will have the adjustment problem one day of having her sleep apart from me. LOL.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I was put on this earth to be Sami's mother

It seems as though everyone in the world knows the size of full-term infants. Everywhere I go, people stop me to admire Sami. Of course, the obvious question is always, "How old is she?" And when I share her age, I always get the response of something like "Wow, she's so tiny! Was she a preemie?" It's funny to me because in the past if I asked someone how old their baby was, I never would have second-guessed their answer and question the child's age. I don't think I would have noticed if the baby looked small for his or her age. But I guess to parents of newborn babies, when they see a 9-pound baby and then find out this baby is almost 3 and a half months old, they come to the logical conclusion that the child must have been a preemie. This happened to me again when I was at Walmart on Tuesday. But this time, I had an interesting conversation with the woman who stopped me while standing on line at the popular discount store. She had a baby that was born at only 25 weeks gestation, who was 2 pounds when he was born. He was in the NICU for three long months, and needed help breathing most of that time. Her son is now 9 months old and weighs 17 pounds. She said he is finally this month on the chart. (Sami is still not yet on the chart.) But hearing her plight made me grateful that Sami never needed help breathing, and that she was only in the NICU for 13 days (although as some of you may remember, it felt like an eternity to me.)

I am frustrated at the delay we are facing in the adoption process. There is a hold-up at the courts with officially terminating Elizabeth's parental rights. Apparently the process was changed a bit, and there were lay-offs, so everything has been slowed down. My attorney tells me we have absolutely nothing to worry about, that our case is a very simple one, and that it's just a matter of time. I know this is true, but I would still feel so much better once Sami is officially ours. At present, we are officially just her legal guardians. Her legal name is not even Samantha Leah. It's "Baby Girl." The worst part is that there is no estimate of time right now as to when Elizabeth's rights will be terminated; my attorney says "it's a black hole," when I ask her for an estimate. And once Elizabeth's rights are terminated, there is a 30-day minimum before we can have our court date to finalize the adoption. This, of course, also delays when we can have the conversion and baby naming, because the adoption needs to be legally finalized before those things can take place. 2011 is also the last year of the large adoption tax credit, which is just one more reason we hope the adoption will be finalized this year.

On Monday, I heard some sad news about Elizabeth. She continued to have our financial support through January. And now, only two weeks into February, she is already broke, and is going to be evicted from her apartment. She is in the hospital with an eye infection that is so bad she is on IV antibiotics, and is in danger of losing vision permanently in one of her eyes. I had hoped that after 9 months of financial support from us, not to mention the four times she moved, the dental work she needed, etc. etc. etc., Liz would have been able to get her life on track once she was on her own. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I do not know what she will do at this point. She might move up north where her sister resides. I feel terrible about her situation. I know what many of you think of her, or of anyone who would accept complete financial support and then give their child up for adoption-especially someone who has done this more than once–but to me, Liz holds a spot in my heart, and she always will. She gave us Sami. Yes, she had her rent, bills and everything else provided for nine months, but she still gave birth to a beautiful little girl, and then placed her into my arms.

Sami is starting to sleep better at night. The days are still challenging, but she is averaging about six solid hours of sleep at night, which feels like a luxury after three months of no sleep. (Although tonight is not one of those nights, which is why I am awake writing at 2:30 a.m. between her bouts of crying.) Sami is also interacting so much now, and although she still has her days of relentless crying and screaming, she also smiles, laughs a lot now. Every time I see her smile, my heart melts. And when I hear her laugh, I think my heart actually stops for a second. Sami has quickly become the light of my life. I feel as though I live for her, and that I was put on this earth to be her mother.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Three months old

It's been a while since I've written. Things have been very busy, but good. On Monday, Sami went to the pediatrician for the second half of her two-month vaccinations. She turned 3 months old on Friday, but because of her small size, her two-month shots were divided up between last month and this month. She cried for a bit, but did pretty well. The pediatrician said Sami is doing amazingly well. She is continuing to roll over, and she's holding her head up really well already. She now weighs 9 pounds and 2 ounces and is 22 inches long. She still isn't even on the chart for weight for a three-month old baby, but the doctor said she is gaining weight great and growing really well. She is now eating about every 3 hours all day and evening, but is sleeping about 6 hours at night, which has been really great. She still has some days where she screams and cries for 10 hours straight, but she has many days where she laughs and smiles all day long, which makes everything worth it when I see her beautiful smiling face.

This past weekend, my cousins Ellen, Joe, Aiden and Dylan from New York came down to visit, and got to meet Sami. It was so great to see them, and they will be coming back down in s few months when we Sami has her baby naming. I'm so excited that they are coming back down for that! (I've attached photos taken this weekend of Sami with her cousins and her great-aunt, in addition to a couple of photos taken at home recently.)

Although work has been busy, I did have a bit of a setback recently, which I guess comes with the risk of freelancing. The client I have been doing most of my work for recently just declared bankruptcy, which means they are protected by bankruptcy law to not have to pay their bills from the past 90 days. Because they pay freelancers and vendors 6-8 weeks after invoice, this means I will not be paid for the last 8 weeks of work. This is work that the company has already published, and that I spent many, many hours completing. I will not receive the about $4,200 owed to me, and that is really hurting us right now, with the legal fees, court fees we have, not to mention the normal newborn costs most people with a new baby face. Taxes also went up here, so our mortgage payment is going up about $150 a month. The timing couldn't be worse.

We are still waiting for Elizabeth's parental rights to be officially terminated. After that, we will be waiting for our court date to finalize the adoption. The courts are moving very slowly these days, being impacted by job layoffs just like the rest of the world. Our attorney tells us she has many outstanding cases right now that are waiting for court dates. Once the adoption is finalized, we can have Sami converted to Judaism, and have the baby naming ceremony. We plan to have a party after that, celebrating the adoption being finalized, the conversion and the baby naming. It will be a very happy and emotional time for us.