I've read birth stories all over the internet. But I've only read one that I really felt like I could relate to -- Mrs. Jack's post on Hellobee.com about Jack Jack's birth helped me to prepare a little for what was about to happen to us.
birth mom chose to deliver in a hospital that has been around for ages. Joshua and I were both born there, along with my brothers, and I'll
say just about everyone we know. We live in an area where two brand new
hospital campuses were built less than a mile from each other, with
gleaming birth centers to make the family experience as beautiful as can
be. But when our birth mom told me she was going to deliver at the old
hospital, I was disappointed. Most people in our area have a poor view
of that hospital, and a lot of people even think it shut down when the
new ones opened.
Our birth mom was scheduled to go in to be
induced at 11:00pm last Monday. Joshua and I were so excited that
Monday was honestly the longest day of my life. We were also very much
on edge. I was focusing very hard on not snapping at him (I won't cover
for myself, I'm a snapper) and we made it through without a fight.
asked our attorney at least three different ways if he could tell me
what would happen at the hospital, and every time he told me that our
birth mom would dictate how everything would go. We drove our birth mom
to the hospital on Monday night, and dropped her off at the doors to the
birthing center so we could go park. Since it was so late, by the time
we got to the doors, they were locked and she was gone. We had to go in
the hospital through a different entrance, and long story short, we were
lost. After lots of walking around finding dead ends, we found the
right third floor (seriously, there is more than one third floor). When
we got off of the elevator, they immediately ushered us into our room
and our birth mom into her room.
there we sat. We were too anxious to do anything (at least I was, Josh
was able to use the laptop), and no one came into our room (duh, no
patients in there). The doula arrived at the same time we did, and she
came in often to give us updates. Our birth mom started on pitocin at
2:00 am and we all rested until around 9:00 am. At that point our birth
mom's contractions started to get really hard (Please forgive me if I
start to use the wrong terms. I've never been through child birth and I
truly do not know how she was feeling. I'm only able to tell my side of
the story, and I'll try to do my best without sounding like a complete
doula we used is actually a very good friend of mine who was in our
wedding. We went to high school together and got along really well in
cheerleading because neither one of us really fit in with the rest of
the squad (because we were so much more awesome). When I first told
Amber about our potential adoption, she was thrilled for us, and
immediately offered her services. I love Amber to death, but never
understood the necessity of a doula. I almost felt like it would make
too many hands in the pot, so to speak. Also, I just figured Joshua
was the only support person I'd need.
At 9:00 am the entire
welcoming committee was assembled. My parents, my Nanny (grandmother,
not my personal caretaker), Josh's mom, and my BFF were all crowded
into our small room. Josh and I had agreed that we wanted our
families there, but we wanted to take at least an hour immediately
following birth to bond with our baby. We wanted to be able to get to
know him without the pressure of a crowd (we both hate crowds). I was
starting to get a little panicky because there were so many people in
our small room, I didn't know if I would be able to be present in
delivery, and, well I just didn't know anything.
Amber came to our
room to check on us and said that she had talked to our birth mom and
she was open to allowing both of us in the delivery room. This was a
direct contradiction to what she told me a week ago, but at this point
hearing that was some of the most amazing news thus far. Neither of us
wanted to see his actual birth; being in the room and seeing him
immediately following was enough for us. As soon as Amber told us this
news we went down to our birth mom's room to confirm it with her. Our
birth mom's personal space is very important to her, which is originally
why she said no one in the room with her, and I knew this, so I
definitely wanted to hear it from her and to tell her how much we
appreciated her change of heart.
Our birth mom's reasoning for
wanting to use a doula was because she wanted to have a natural birth.
Amber was able to help her get through her contractions using many
different techniques such as counter pressure (this is where my mind has
gone blank because I can only remember one). We didn't spend much time
in our birth mom's room as she was laboring to respect her privacy and
give her some space. Amber had everything under control anyway.
11:30 am Tuesday, our birth mom requested an epidural. She was dilated 7
cm, and couldn't handle the pain anymore. I do not fault her at all for
this. I respect her for making it that far. We could hear her
struggling, and during one of her contractions I thought to myself that I
could never go through that much pain and still place the child with
Once her epidural was kicking in, she decided to
rest for a short time, and sure enough within an hour, she was 10 cm and
ready to push.
Joshua and I were sitting in the family lobby
(someone had the idea to move there so they would be out of our room,
and I think it was a fantastic idea) talking with our family when the
nurse came in looking for us. She said she wanted us to stand outside
the delivery room until they were ready for us to come in. While we were
standing there our birth mom's OB came in. I've met him a few times at
her check ups, and had a good feeling about him. He's experienced and
knowledgeable. At one point I thought that if he weren't her doctor, I
may have switched to him.
While we were standing in the hallway,
excited beyond belief, shaking with nerves, her doctor walked up to us
and introduced himself to my husband. Then he looked at both of us and
said "I really hope you get to take this baby home. I do not trust this
lady, and I haven't through this entire process. It is crazy and
extremely hard to give up your fifth child, so I hope this works out for
The nurse standing with him was as shocked as we were and
when he walked away she came up to us to try to reassure us. I don't
know if he was attempting to protect us, or what in the world it was,
but I wasn't nervous at all until that point. The doctor and all of the
other medical staff went into the room and the last nurse told us to
stand outside the door. We were on deck.
When Joshua and I go to
parks with roller coasters, he always makes us sit in the very first
car. He made the comment while we were there that it felt like we were
waiting in line for a roller coaster, and that is the best explanation
for it. My stomach was so nervous and I just stood there and prayed. I
asked God to please get us through the next few moments and that our
baby please be healthy and whole. Once everyone was in position, the
door opened and we were invited in and directed to stand near the
window, close to our birth mom's head.
She gave three good pushes and within minutes our child was born.
Joshua cut the cord and we cried.
event that we've thought was so gross for so long was suddenly the most
beautiful thing that we'd ever seen. Our baby was covered in goop and
we just wanted to touch him. The immediate and overwhelming love I felt
for our son still stuns me.
Shortly after, we were whisked over to
the crib where they were checking out our baby. He weighed 7lb 11oz
(much smaller than the doctor predicted) and was 20 inches long.
still amazed at the compassion we were showed by the entire hospital
staff. Nearly everyone there told us that they hadn't had an adoption
before, or if they had it was a long time ago, and was just once. They
did an excellent job of including us in the birth and making us feel
like parents. We were so shocked though that we were walking around like
It only entered my mind once or twice that maybe I
shouldn't fall so hard in love with our son because his birth mom still
had the opportunity to change her mind. All of our wrist bands and even
his name on his crib was "Boy (Her-last-name)." I couldn't stop myself
though. I was completely head over heels for this child.
Kelly and I discussed adoption quite a bit over the past few months.
Kelly is my age and was adopted by her parents at birth. Kelly told me
that her mom said to her "My life didn't start until the moment I held
you in my arms."
And that is exactly how I feel. Tuesday
afternoon, 12:45 pm to be exact, my life began. Everything we've been
though, all of the pain of infertility, all of the years of longing to
be a family, were suddenly worth it. We went through all of it so that
we could have this child and be his parents.
After he was deemed
healthy and all of his tests were done, we were allowed to take him to
our room. The hospital has security measures in place to ensure mothers
are always matched to the correct babies. My hospital band had our birth
mother's name on it and our son had an identical bracelet that he wore.
Every time a nurse would take him from our room she would match us
before she left and when she brought him back. We were also given Hugs
& Kisses bracelets. An alarm would sound if the baby or I were to
leave the floor, or if either of our bracelets were cut off. When I
would get close to the baby after not being near him for any amount of
time, my bracelet would play music. To be honest, this helped me bond
with him. It was a physical way of knowing that we belong together.
had a fair amount of guilt while we were in the hospital. I had a hard
time feeding the baby the first day or so. He wasn't interested in
eating, and when he did it wasn't much. He also spit up a lot the first
day, so the pediatrician switched him to soy formula. We had quite a bit
more contact with the birth mom while we were in the hospital than we
anticipated. When she would come to our room to see him, or when we
would go to her room to see her, he would clearly want to feed. The fact
that he recognized her, and wanted to eat, made me feel awful. I know
that it's biology and nothing that anyone can help, but it did upset me.
asked if she could feed him a bottle, and it seemed to bring her quite a
bit of comfort. She held him a lot, and my heart would constrict.
Knowing that she could still change her mind made me physically ill.
had different opinions about medical treatment for the baby. Josh
and I had made certain decisions that our birth mom did not agree with.
Since she was the only one with parental rights to his care, I told her
how we felt, but that we understood her position, and that if she
wanted to make those decisions we respected that.
in the morning of the day she was to sign the consent to adoption, our
son went to the nursery so the pediatrician could perform his first
newborn check. Our nurse came into our room during the time our son was
there, to tell me that our birth mom was in the nursery holding our son.
This made me feel incredibly panicky and I rushed down to them. I sat
and talked to her while she held him, and shortly after she went back to
her room to rest. I'm not proud of the way I felt toward to her, but I
also won't apologize for it. I've considered him my child since the day I
learned of him.
We got back to our room and sat and held him in
our arms for the six hours we waited for the attorney. I have never
stared at one person so much. Looking at his beautiful face makes time
At 3:00 pm the social worker came into our room and told us
that our attorney was in our birth mom's room and she wanted all of us
in the same room for the signing. Suddenly, we felt the exact same
nerves that we did standing outside the delivery room. This was another
moment that would change our lives forever. We took the baby to her room
and our attorney began reading the consent paperwork to our birth mom. I
was so nervous that I was shaking, and as suddenly as he came into this
world, our birth mom signed the papers and he was ours.
relief I felt was immediate, but the stress I had been holding onto
didn't immediately go away. Joshua and I had our portion of the
paperwork to sign, and we did so in the hallway. Since we were in our
birth mom's room, our son was eager to eat, so I gave her a bottle and
let her hold him in her room alone while we signed our papers. I felt
that it was the least I could do. She enjoyed feeding him so much, and I
wanted to bring her some comfort in the light of the huge act she had
just agreed to.
We said goodbye to our attorney and I spent the
next hour sitting with our birth mom and our son. Joshua went back to our
room to tell our families that the papers were signed and he was
officially our son. The next few hours we spent in shocked delight that
we had rights to the decisions made for our child, and the fact that he
I had a very rough night that night. Our son didn't want
to sleep, and I didn't know what to do. Josh was sleeping so
amazingly well that he heard nothing. It crossed my mind several times
to kick him. To wake him up, of course. I spoke with the nurse, figured
out what was going wrong, and thankfully we made it through.
We were to be discharged following his 48hr newborn check, and the birth mom was to be discharged at the same time.
the ladies from the lab came to our room to perform the 48 hr check, Josh and I were sitting with our son. They were both very friendly
and congratulatory to the three of us. They commented on how beautiful
he was, and got to work. One of them was going over the orders, looked
at both of us, and looked at her orders again. She said "you'll have to
forgive me, but this paperwork says the baby is black."
laughed and then explained our situation to her. She laughed and then
congratulated us some more. She also commented on how well I've bounced
back from child birth.
I said earlier that I wasn't convinced of
the necessity of a doula, and now I'm extremely grateful that Amber was
there for us. She was able to facilitate communication between our room
and the birth mom, and she helped bring much comfort to the birth mom.
Without a doubt, Amber helped make this the easiest process for all of
us as possible. I don't even want to think of how it would have gone
without her. Our birth mom said the same thing.
The comment I made
at the beginning of this about the hospital not being the one I prefer
deserves to be revisited. When we first got to the hospital, we were the
only people in the birthing center. This being the case is what made it
possible for us to have our own room for three days. The birthing
center manager came into our room to talk with us about their policies.
She told us that it is their policy that the adoptive parents only stay
one night in the hospital, but since they had the room, they were going
to allow us to stay as long as our son did. From what I've read about
adoptions, this is extremely generous and uncommon.
The nurses we
had were very quick to reassure us that our birth mom was doing well,
and her state of mind was well. They were concerned for us, and kept
their ears open to any indications that things were not going to go well
for us. I was relieved when our nurses came back the next day, because
it was so nice to have familiar faces around. They came in just to see
how we were, and were always offering to get us anything we needed. I
understand the baby was their patient, but we were not.
hospital manager came into our room shortly before we left to ask us
about our experience. I told her exactly what I told you. I told her I
didn't want to come to her hospital, but that we were so pleasantly
surprised, and so grateful of their care, that if I get pregnant we will
take the extra time to make sure that I deliver at her hospital. I mean
that too. It is ten minutes farther from our home than the newer
hospitals, but I will, without a doubt. I trust them completely. When we
finished talking, the manager asked if she could hug me, and hurried
out of our room because she was tearing up.
When our nurses walked
us out to our car they wished us so much luck, and asked us to bring
the baby by to see them. They hugged us, and they also teared up. It was
a very emotional hospital stay, and I still can't believe the quality
of care we received during our stay.
And then we were on our way. Our little family of three, our on our own. I'm told, now the fun begins.