November 15, 2012
Don’t have much time to write as we’re still settling in, but I wanted to let everyone know that we’re home and all is well.
Yesterday took a dramatic turn for the better when someone (we still don’t know who) made the decision to transfer us down the hall from our four-bed, semi-private “pod” to a two-bed room, where the other bed was vacant and exceptionally unlikely to be filled. So basically, we got what was essentially a private room. With a door. And a bathroom. And densely engineered, cushioned chairs that folded out into not-very-comfortable-but-at-least-mostly-horizontal beds.
El still refused to consider the crib, but she was much calmer overall and would sleep if being held. So we took turns walking her around, sitting down when she fell asleep for as long as she’d let us, and then crashing while the other did the same. It’s not a routine I’d recommend for fun, but it was a hell of a lot better than the night before.
Now she’s asleep upstairs, probably on the rocking chair in Mommy’s arms, who I most fervently hope is also asleep. She’s still in some pain, and very unhappy about the restraints she has to wear to prevent her from digging in her mouth, but overall just immeasurably better.
Me, I’ve got a dishwasher to unload. But I wanted to say thanks to you all for your thoughts and prayers and offers of help. The next few weeks are going to continue to be tough, so we may take you up on your offers. (Who wants to rake our leaves? Don’t all speak at once.) But for now we’re just ecstatic to be home.
Who am I kidding? “Ecstatic” doesn’t even cover it. I showered today after being awake and unwashed for most of the previous 52 hours. I may have cried a little.
November 14, 2012
Not brain power to write. Still at hospital. El hasn’t really slept because her pain is being insufficiently managed. So of course that means we haven’t really slept either, except in bits and pieces here and there.
Very frustrated with facilities and staff here. Even after half a night of El’s screaming, none of the nursing assistants made any effort to figure out what was going on; we had to push them repeatedly to revise pain meds. We also had to make a special request to get a chair that wasn’t hard wood even though they knew she was refusing to be in the crib, forcing us to hold her.
It’s also a ridiculous pain to just get off the floor, thanks to some administrative genius’s decision to make the elevator that leads right to this ward off limits to anyone but staff.
Just lots of short-sightedness going around, which of course is twice as irritating when we haven’t slept.
I’m sure at some point we’ll be getting out of here.
I just have no idea when.
November 13, 2012
As I write this, Kim is sitting next to me, sewing bits of felt into the shape of food, because it’s something to do with her hands and because she is addicted. We’re sitting in an out-of-the-way waiting area in the children’s hospital of the Cleveland Clinic. Our daughter is an hour into surgery to close up her cleft palate. She has half an hour or an hour to go.
This is, as you might imagine, rather stressful for us.
The surgery itself is no big deal. The only part of the palate that’s open is the soft palate, toward the back of her mouth, so it’s a pretty simple procedure as these things go. And the guy performing the surgery is the head of the plastic surgery department so, you know, he’s qualified.
But she’s our kid, you know? And right now she’s completely in someone else’s hands, in a situation that, while routine, still has room for mishap. She’s completely under, and has a breathing tube taking care of that respiration thing for her. I have a beeper in my pocket (a beeper!) but no other connection to her or what’s going on. So forgive me for being a little tense.
I need to go distract myself now, because I don’t have felt food to do it for me. Will update when I can.
September 26, 2012
Here’s you: “Why on earth hasn’t Joe posted anything new about Eleanor on his blog? Is everything okay? I need more Eleanor, stat!”
Here’s me: “Well, I could write a blog post. Or I could sleep.”
Sorry about that. But really, there hasn’t been much to tell. The Small Human continues to develop as expected: She eats, she excretes, she radiates adorable cuteness. You know, her standard M.O.
The big change recently is that she’s starting to walk. Like, a lot. Here, look:
(Yeah, that’s Flash. Sorry. Blame Facebook.)
Aside from that, we went up to Chicago this past weekend to visit PawPaw and Gram, and introduce Eleanor to all her Chicago aunts, uncles, and cousins. She did remarkably well, in spite of fighting a cold and suffering the occasional moment of overstimulation. She even did pretty darn well through the six-hour car ride. As a result, you Rybickis who are coming out to the Clambake this weekend will get some Eleanor time.
There’s not much else to tell. She’s doing as well as we can expect. She’s an amazingly adaptable and good-tempered child. She’s still not terribly fond of going to sleep. She’s still not speaking much, though she does seem to be understanding more. She’s still wonderfully (and sometimes maddeningly) clingy—a good sign for attachment purposes. She’s still surprising and sweet and adorable. <shrug> What can you do?
[Reminder: If you’re not following me on Instagram or her on Facebook, you can see my Instagram feed online here: http://ink361.com/#/users/2929469/photos — by popular demand I try to post new pics of her there as often as I can.]
August 23, 2012
I should be sleeping, but it has been brought to my attention by a future sister-in-law who shall remain nameless that I’ve been lax in providing you with your Eleanor fix.
However, there’s not really much to report since the last update. Sleeping is still a challenge, though her schedule does seem to be improving. Still, we’re operating at a pretty severe sleep deficit at this point so it’s hard to find the mental bandwidth to blog just now.
Two bits of news: Kim’s parents came in for a quick visit on her birthday, and Eleanor behaved pretty much just as we’d hope, by which I mean she was just a little shy with them and turned to us for encouragement. It’s a good sign for the progression of her attachment, and it might — might — mean we could get to have visitors sooner than we thought. But first we need to get her sleep worked out, which could be weeks yet.
The other news is that we had to take her to the doctor today for her first exam…as well as five vaccinations…and two blood draws. Kim was on restraint duty for the injections, which was traumatizing enough. (El’s reaction when the nurse came back into the room with stickers for her was absolutely priceless. Heart-wrenching, but priceless. She may have been attempting to project herself elsewhere in time and space.)
Of course, that meant I was on restraint duty for the blood draws. I’m not entirely positive but I’m pretty sure we were in that chair for about a month and a half. I got to be a human straitjacket: one arm holding one of hers next to her body and her body next to mine; that hand holding her elbow; the other hand holding her wrist; chin and jaw trying to keep her head from whipping around while she demonstrated her impressive lung capacity. I also got to see the phlebotomist digging around a little in search of her tiny veins.
In case you don’t have kids, let me be explicit: This Sucks. You know that she’s terrified and miserable but you also know it has to be done to keep her healthy. Your heart is breaking for her but you have to be strong both physically and mentally, for her and for yourself. And of course the thought is constantly running through your head that she is never going to forgive you for the trauma you’re associated with here.
Fortunately, she allowed each of us to soothe her after her respective experiences, and after a lot of hiccuping, some ice cream, and a nap in the car, she appeared to have either forgiven or forgotten. Or perhaps just failed to recognize our role in all of this and just blames it all on the doctors.
I’m OK with this.
Just a few pics today, for those of you not on Facebook or Instagram. We’ll be taking more once we’re more awake, no doubt.
August 18, 2012
I am very tired.
Our daughter, our little bundle of boundless love, is doing her best to help Mama and Baba experience the hidden secrets of the universe via extreme sleep deprivation. The last couple of days, she’s gone to bed around 7:30, popped back up around 11 and 12, and then come fully awake about two, clapping and laughing and ready to play.
This is challenging.
The girl is the most adorable human I’ve ever met, but that counts for surprisingly little when you’re working from a two-plus-week sleep deficit and you’re worried you’ll fall asleep on your feet and drop her.
I have a profound respect for single parents. The only way we’re staying even remotely coherent is by trading off nighttime duties and spelling each other during the day just to get a few moments to recharge. I couldn’t imagine doing this without Kim’s help.
On the plus side, this jet lag-induced sleeplessness is going to make the normal late-night soothings that are sure to come feel so much easier. So we have that going for us.
And fortunately the rest of this experience is so positive that it’s easy to forget the nighttime misery. Well, most of the time. In all seriousness, this kid is a joy and we continue to feel so fortunate that we found each other. But boy are we looking forward to something resembling a full night’s sleep.
And now, pictures!
August 16, 2012
Welp, in spite of the fact that the three of us have gotten a collective seven hours of sleep in the last 22, the girl seems to have decided that playtime in China should be playtime in America. At least it’s the future there.
I have no idea what I’m saying.
Whilst I try to keep her entertained and me caffeinated, please enjoy this photo, taken mere seconds after Eleanor officially became a U.S. citizen.
And here’s one more, of Her Highness the Most Royal Princess Rufflebutt, after having surveyed her new domain and having found it adequate.
August 15, 2012
We left our hotel twenty-four and a half hours ago. We’ve just landed in Cleveland.
We are fried.
Eleanor has been amazing but she’s starting to lose it now. We’ll update more once we get our brains back together, but I just wanted to say we made it and we’re well and we’re grateful for all your support.
Love, -joe and Kim and Eleanor
August 14, 2012
And it’s supposed to be on time! This is shocking to me and probably now that I say this we will be massively delayed. But maybe not! Regardless, something like 15 hours from now we should be back in the US, though not yet home. We did get the seats we reserved this time, which should make this flight much more pleasant than the one here.
But then, on the other hand, we are now traveling with Baroness Squirmy Von Squirmington (of the Easthampton Von Squirmingtons) so who knows?
Will try to update from Newark if there’s time!
No time or access for long updates today. Leaving at 5:30 fir the three-hour drive to Hong Kong, then to Newark, then HOME.
Will try to update when we get home, if brain still works. That is, after all, more than 24 hours from now.
Love to all,
-joe & Kim