Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Week With Katie

Excerpt from a letter to the baby

July 27, 2011

My dear little Baby Noah,

You have a name!  Can you believe it?  Over the past six months since Katie contacted us, we’ve gone through countless options.  For a while you were Benjamin Atticus, then you were Atticus Matthew (Ace for short), then we were deciding between Noah and Jack—but I think we’ve finally actually settled on Noah Atticus.  It was important to us that Katie and Drew like your name, and Noah is the one that all four of us agree on.  It’s super cute, and it’s also cool that you will be named after two men (one biblical and one fictional) who stood up for what was right and true.  I hope you have that kind of strength of character some day. 

I can’t believe it, but you are almost here.  You could arrive any day.   The doctor recently moved up Katie’s due date to August 6th, but they might induce her even before that.  I am beyond ecstatic to finally meet you.  I’ve had your hospital bag packed for a month, and I’ve been eagerly checking my text messages and voicemails every chance I get, just in case Katie goes into labor.  I’m actually here in Utah with her right now, so it makes everything seem even more real and imminent, and I am READY for you to get here.  I’m actually worried that I am a little too excited about it because a lot of women have their first babies late, and I’m starting to get so antsy for you to arrive, and it’s not even your due date yet.  I think I might die if you are overdue!!  I just want you to get here!!!  The first time I felt you moving around in Katie’s stomach, my heart literally jumped.  You are really in there!  And you are really almost here!  I could not be any more excited. 

I am so glad that I came to Utah to spend the week with Katie while her parents are out of town.  It has been a really special time for me.  I worried that it might be awkward or that I might be lonely and anxious without your dad here, but I’m actually feeling a lot of peace, which must be Heavenly Father helping me because heaven knows I am not usually calm in stressful situations. J  I’m staying in Grandpa Nip’s condo in Salt Lake, and I spend some portion of every day with Katie.  Your dad was actually here too over the weekend, and we went to dinner with Katie and Drew at Hires Big H on Saturday night, then we played Kan Jam in the park.  It was a really fun date, and I feel like we were all more relaxed than the last time we went to dinner together.

On Sunday, we decided to have a family dinner with Katie and Ryan’s brothers and their girlfriends. I love that Katie wants to know the people who are going to be a key part of your life.   After church, we went to her house to prepare the meal, and she also taught me how to decorate fancy birthday cakes, which is something she is really good at.  She once told me that she is sad that she won’t be able to make you fun birthday cakes—and I silently vowed that this is something that I will always do for you, in her honor.  It’s something that my mom did for me too.  For the family dinner, she made a really cool soccer cake for Cole’s girlfriend, Sara, and for your dad, whose birthday isn’t for a few weeks (but we figured it might get overshadowed by your arrival J).  We all met at the condo in Salt Lake for dinner, and it was really fun and comfortable.  Katie fit right in

That night, your dad was supposed to leave and fly back to Denver, and Katie and I were going to have a sleepover at the condo.  As it turned out, there was a scheduling fiasco with your dad’s flight, so he ended up leaving the next morning instead, but his flight was so early that he just went straight to bed in the second bedroom, and Katie slept over anyway.  She and I stayed up super late hanging out and talking.  We went swimming in the condo pool and bobbed around on Styrofoam noodles discussing baby names and favorite musicians and other random topics.  Then we got in our PJs and talked forever about the adoption, the Gospel, life, her friends…I don’t even know what else!  At one point, I showed her all of your darling baby clothes and blankets that I brought, and we squealed a little.  By 3:00 a.m., we were both exhausted, and we went to bed.  The next day, we slept in really late, went and got massages, and ended the day by going to The Melting Pot for dinner.  It was a great day of bonding, and then I dropped her off at her house and we’ve had more “alone time” since then, which I think is a good thing because it gives us time to think and to do our own thing.

On Tuesday, I picked her up at about 1:00 p.m., and we drove to Layton to meet your Grandma Nielson and your Aunt Ashley for lunch at Brick Oven Pizza.  I love both of those women, and it was so fun to see them interacting with Katie.  Again, it was very natural and a good experience for everyone.  I think your grandma is so beautiful, inside and out—I am struck by that every time I am around her—and I am always proud to introduce her to my friends.  She is animated, friendly, warm, wise, and she loves to laugh.  I am so lucky to have her as my mother-in-law and really the closest person I have to a mother now.  At the end of lunch, she hugged Katie and got teary eyed and told her that she has been praying for her every day.  It was very sweet.

Katie and I then drove to Target and went shopping for her hospital bag.  We got all sorts of delicious snacks (she and I share a love of food), and we got pillows, sweatpants, earplugs, shampoo/conditioner…that sort of thing.  I am so glad that I am here to do this sort of thing with her.  I have been wanting to put together a hospital bag or basket for her, but it’s hard for me to know what she likes—so it’s even better when we can be together to pick things out and plan for the big event.  She picked out a little photo album that she is going to use to document photos of her pregnancy, your first few hours and days of life, and then your growth over the coming years.

After Target, we went to a “Baby Care” class at the hospital and then took a short tour of the labor and delivery and post-partum wings.  I loved seeing the area where you will be born and looking at the tiny babies in the nursery.  I truly can’t wait for the moment when I get the text or phone call saying, “I am in labor.”  There’s a part of me that thinks that moment is going to happen very soon, but I don’t know if that’s intuition or just wishful thinking. J

Katie and I have spent most of today apart: She is at her house, watching a favorite show and packing her hospital bag, and I am here at the condo, writing to you.  I am picking her up at 4:30, and we will meet her grandma for dinner at 5:00.  I think we’re going to watch a movie afterward.  Tomorrow, we will go to her doctor appointment, and then we will meet with her caseworker at LDS Family Services and also attend an adoption support group meeting together.  I’m still not sure what day I am leaving town—I guess it’ll depend on what the doctor says tomorrow.  I am really looking forward to the appointment.  I get to see you on the big screen and hear about your development and progress! 

I’m sorry this is a bit of a vacation log.  I hope it’s not boring for you to read about every little event and interaction.  I just feel that I need to record these special moments, not only for you, but also for me.  Probably mostly for me.  This experience of waiting for you has been life-changing, and I never want to forget it.

I cannot wait to meet you and snuggle you close. 

Come soon, Little One.

Katie got desperate and drank some castor oil mixed with Sunny D.
She said it was disgusting!