Weeknight Phone Call
Monday and Tuesday were normal days to our standards up here in Togiak. School demanded all our attention, and we worked hard giving it our attention. Every Tuesday night Kaitlyn and I watch an TV show called “Castle”. It’s one of our favorites. We had just finished that show (about 10pm) and were thinking that we weren’t quite tired enough to go to bed, so we decided to put on an Office episode to finish up the night. We had just turned on the show when we got a phone call on Kaitlyn's cell phone. This was quite unusual because it was 10pm. Kaitlyn took the call and it was Kristine Heckman, Kaylee’s birth Grandmother (Jessika’s mother). She was the one to drop the bomb on us that Kaylee was going to come early. Apparently, when Jessika went in for a doctors visit she mentioned that Kaylee hadn’t moved much recently. To keep a long story short, they did some watching of Kaylee and decided that it would simply be better to prevent any medical emergencies and have Kaylee be born early. As you could imagine, when we got off the phone both Kaitlyn and I were a little excited. Excited may not be the best word to describe that feeling and I’m not really sure what would be the best word. The closest thing I can think of describing the feeling is to relate the experience of little kid trying to go to sleep on Christmas Eve when their excitement, anxiety, and anticipation make them wide awake for hours. This is what it was like for Kaitlyn and me. I got about 4 hours of sleep that night and Kaitlyn got even less.
Kaitlyn called Alaska Airlines that night and the soonest we could fly to Anchorage wasn’t until Friday morning (2 full days away). We decided that we were going to be useless as teachers, so we took Wednesday and Thursday off. Unfortunately, we couldn’t just walk away, so both Kaitlyn and I spent Wednesday and Thursday in the school library making lesson plans for the next two weeks for our classes. I feel so bad for our students, I don’t think they’ve seen so many worksheets in their life! Jessika’s mother kept us filled in as we worked, but it was hard to get anything done as we waited, filled with excitement. Kaylee Cikiun Phillips was born by C-section at 3:54 pm on Wednesday, December 5th. She weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.
To be safe, we flew to Dillingham on Thursday evening and stayed at Steve Noonkesser’s house. Steve is the Director of Instruction and Technology (or something like that) for our school district. He’s kind of the under-Superintendent for the district. We had a great visit with him and his family then flew to Anchorage the next morning. When we arrived in Anchorage we were met by Kaitlyn’s parents, Lewis and Myrna Hart. It was actually a little bit funny, because they met us on the way to baggage claim. Just happened to be on the escalator to meet us….good timing! We were really excited to see them and even more so….the McDonald’s cheeseburgers they had ready for us (you really learn to miss that greasy goodness). We rented an SUV and headed on to the hospital to meet Kaylee.
On our way to the airport we picked up some flowers for Jessika. We met Jessika’s mother, Kristine Heckman, at the hospital gift shop and she took us to the Jessika’s room to meet Kaylee. It was a really sweet experience and difficult to put into words. Both Kaitlyn and I were really excited. Kaitlyn held her first and held her for a while. I was asked if I wanted to hold Kaylee, but I declined, because there were way too many people in the room for me to feel comfortable (I can’t imagine what Jessika must have been feeling). In the room with us was Jessika, Jessika’s mother Kristine, Myrna and Lewis, and Valorie Rampton and her husband (LDSFS rep). We stayed there in the room visiting until the attorney showed up, then we retreated to the waiting room and allowed Jessika to sign her legal papers and we signed ours. Really, to make a long story short….we got there, we visited for a few hours, we signed some paperwork, we left. We then checked into our hotel, the Homewood Suites off of C Street.
Saturday morning we did some last minute shopping and then met Jessika around noon. This was a great time for Kaitlyn and me. We got a few hours to just be in Jessika’s room with Jessika and Kaylee. We both got time to hold her and feed her. It was great; and difficult to express with words. We spent most of the day there just visiting. Bro. Rich Hartman, our LDSFS Alaska case worker came over around 5:30 and we signed the official adoption papers. We gave some time for Jessika and family to get ready for the placement ceremony. It was originally scheduled for 5:00, but was pushed back to 6:30 because Bro. Hartman arrived a few hours after he said he would. The ceremony didn’t really start until 7:00. Jessika had scheduled someone to come take pictures and she spent about 30-40 minutes doing that. Afterwards, Jessika shared a letter she wrote for Kaylee to be saved for her when she gets older and gave her a little charm bracelet. Jessika’s oldest daughter, Mckennah, gave her a gift (which was a blanket) and a drawing. Kaitlyn and I then said a few words and we presented Jessika a necklace with Kaylee’s birthstone. We also presented Mckennah with a Build-A-Bear. Kaylee has a matching one at home. The service ended around 8pm and we began to bundle her up and take her home.
Click here to see pictures from the placement ceremony.
We took Kaylee back to the hotel and ordered a Papa Johns pizza to celebrate. That night was very special to Kaitlyn and me….Kaitlyn got up and fed her ever two hours, whereas, I slept all the night through (probably for the last night). We spent that weekend simply enjoying our precious little bundle. We got to video chat with a lot of the family and we were very grateful about how much everyone cared and congratulated us. Sometimes, it feels like congratulations are said without feeling….but this time all the congratulations received seemed to give us strength, so thank you all.