Welcome to the fourth installment of our adoption story blog series. If you’ve missed my previous posts, feel free to get caught up. And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe on my email list so you don’t miss a post.
*Just an FYI; any pictures of the baby will be blurred to protect the privacy of our birthmom and her family.
Before I dive into this week’s post, I just want to thank you all for being so supportive of my writing. Many of you have left beautiful comments. Some of you have pulled me aside in person and thanked me for writing. I know there is a lot to read on the internet right now and I am humbled and grateful that you have taken a few moments to listen to our story.
And as I said before, I think (and hope) you may find some of your own stories in these paragraphs. The road looks different for each of us, but I think if we sat down and we were honest, we would see that that there are some moments we share that are just innately human– the feeling of a first love, the sound of a child’s laugh, the hug of an old friend, the smell of a favorite meal, a memory that will always sting, and the crushing sense of loss. If I am able to capture even a fraction of how these moments change us individually and unite us collectively, I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to do.
If you can picture it right now, I am sitting on my couch with piano music playing on Spotify and I am staring down at the computer keys. I think there is a part of me asking them if we can really get through this together; telling the story of the birth. I know it will be healing for me. It may help some of you who are in the middle of a similar experience right now feel less alone. I know it will help me put words to feelings and experiences that I hastily locked away in some corner in my heart last December. But now that I am actually trying to pick up the key to unlock it, it feels heavy in my hand. Perhaps I am not entirely sure what I left back there. And I have never been good with surprises.
So to pick up where we left off, the due date had come and gone. Here is a video from that day that I forgot to post last time.
Four days later, the date was November 29th. It was a Saturday.
Justin leads worship music at our church and we have a Saturday night service. I remember him telling the congregation that it was probably going to be his last week before taking a break for the birth of our baby. He had arranged for someone to cover for him at moments’ notice.
After church, we went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Justin’s family. After dinner, Justin took Jack home in one car. I went to Walmart to buy a Christmas gift for our Angel Tree family. I was in the boy’s section trying to figure out sizes when I got a text from our birthmom. She told me she was having some irregular and painless contractions and that she would keep me in the loop.
She lived and was delivering at a hospital almost three hours away, so our plan was that as soon as she left for the hospital, we would leave. We figured since it was her first birth it would take some time to get checked in and she would labor for a while. My labor with Jack was extremely fast, but by the time he was born we had been at the hospital for about 5 hours. We figured we would have plenty of time to make the three hour drive and make it in time for this birth.
We had also made a hospital birth plan with our facilitator and birthmom soon after we were matched. Our birthmom was gracious enough to say that she wanted both of us in the room when the baby was born. We were so excited that we would get to be a part of every moment of this little one’s life.
We prepped little bags for the hospital nurses.
The two of us texted until 11pm or so. She said that the contractions were starting to hurt a little bit, but that she didn’t think they were regular enough to go to the hospital. She was packing her bag and was still able to walk and talk through her contractions. So, Justin and I went to sleep (more like attempted…) with our phones turned up LOUD.
It was around 3:30am when her mom called and told us that they were heading to the hospital.
My amazing father-in-law drove over to stay with Jack and we scrambled to get out the door. Justin had to stop at church on the way out to set up something for the substitute worship leader for the morning service that was happening in just over 5 hours. I was so anxious to get on the road and I was so afraid we were going to miss something.
Well, it turns out we could have taken all the time in the world.
There was not a chance that we were going to make it in time for the birth.
Before we even made it to church, the nurse from the hospital called me. She wanted to ensure that we were on our way. My heart dropped. “Why? Is this progressing quickly?”
And then she broke it to me. “She is complete. She arrived and was 10cm. The doctor is on the way, but this is happening now.”
And we still had three hours left to drive.
We were going to miss it.
I felt my whole body sigh.
I was crushed.
They called me about 20 or 30 minutes later. They said that everything went well with the birth and that they were calling to ask our permission for some standard post-birth treatments. She asked if we wanted to know the gender and I told her that we wanted to wait to be surprised. I thought I heard her slip and say “him” once. My mind was racing.
Justin and I continued to drive. We watched the sun coming up right in front of us. It was dazzling.
I felt like to we were literally driving into such a beautiful future. The road behind us was ugly- full of painful shots, result levels far too low, faint heartbeats, quiet ultrasounds, and crushed hopes. But on this bright, still morning, a new life had come into the world. A tiny heart was actually beating. Little lungs were full of air. And we couldn’t wait to meet this precious little person.
We pulled up to the hospital and parked. We ran as fast as our legs could carry us to the Labor and Delivery unit. We were so nervous, you could hear it in our voices…
We checked in at security, got buzzed into the unit, and found the room.
We opened the door. We saw our birthmom on the bed with a bundle in her arms. There were happy voices and lots of excitement, but somewhere in there, I heard:
It’s a girl!
I ran over and hugged our birthmom and looked at the sweet little one in her arms for the first time. I asked to hold her. It was a moment almost too great for words to hold or contain. Maybe this gives you a taste of how I felt.
Justin met his baby girl.
He had dreamt of this moment far longer than I had. When he was young and thought about having children, he thought about this moment. Being adopted himself, he knew how powerful it was to become a family not by blood lines, but by the sheer power of love. I was honored to be ushered into this private moment. I literally got to watch a lifelong dream come true right before my eyes.
That is beauty, my friends.
I will leave you with the picture we posted a few hours later. So many of you left you congratulatory comments and wishes of love. Thank you. What a village we have surrounding us.