Sorry it has been such a long time without another update. We have been very busy and very tired. J and I were home together with Sunshine last week, but now J is back to work. He received a very warm welcome back and lots of congratulations when he returned, but I know he still wishes he could spend some more time at home with us.
Besides our family and friends, we also know other adoptive and soon to be adoptive families who read our blog, which we think is wonderful! We benefited so much from reading about others' experiences on their blogs and on the CHSFS forum, we look forward to sharing our experiences as well and hope others can learn from them. To honor that, we want to be as honest as possible about how things are going, since I think the more preparation folks have for what to expect, the better.
While we have faced some challenges already, none were unexpected or unusual. We are first time parents and I think many of our struggles mirror those of any first time parents, only with an adoption twist. The first and biggest is sleep. She was only up twice a night the first few nights, probably because like us she was exhausted from travel. Things have been more difficult lately, with her waking every 2-3 hours. With the time it takes me to transfer her to bed and then fall asleep myself, this has made for some nights with very little real sleep. We have come up with a plan of attack though. Since J is back to work, he is going to sleep in the spare room downstairs so he can get a night or two of real rest. After that, we plan for him to take the early morning shifts (anything after 4:30am until he leaves at 8:00). Hopefully then I can get a few solid hours here and there too until we get this sorted out. It is clearly anxiety that is affecting her sleep (even when she is asleep it does not seem very restful, with lots of twitches and grunts). She also has some itchy skin stuff and a cold which I am sure are contributing to the problem. She is comforted by being held which is a very good sign, so we think she just needs a little time and patience to adjust to her new surroundings. That is just a little difficult to process at 3:00 am sometimes.
The days are really quite good, just busy. She is clearly a good natured and happy girl, and it is generally easy to make her smile. She likes her excer-saucer and the vibrating bed (which she will nap in). She will sometimes go in her swing as well. However most of the day she wants to be held. Again, this is a very good sign for her attachment, and she actually sleeps rather well when she is held. She also makes easy eye contact. The slings and Baby Bjorn have been essential in making this work, although of course there are still times when I have to put her down. She now weighs 19 lbs, so even with the assistance of a carrier she can get quite heavy, particularly since I am not generally allowed to sit down (unless I am feeding her, of course). Again, this constant desire to be held is something we are indulging for the moment for attachment purposes, but it shouldn't last forever.
Sunshine is easiest to sooth if she is held and fed with a bottle. She looks in my eyes and puts her arm around my back or fiddles with my shirt. So sweet! The problem is that she is approaching the 90th percentile for weight and gained a pound and a half in the past week (!). She will not take a pacifier, but we have discovered today that she will take water in her bottle instead of formula, and our doctor recommended this as an alternative for night feedings. We'll see if that works. Hopefully, if she is not used to eating every time she wakes up at night it will be easier to wean her off these frequent night wakings as well.
The housecleaning has gone by the wayside a bit. We have also needed to make a conscious effort to give our pets the attention they need. Overall, they are adjusting well to her presence, with some minimal pouting :)