The Hospital Exit
Happy Wednesday, everyone! As always, please get caught up before reading this post. Also, please make sure to subscribe by email (on your right) if you would like to be reminded of posts.
In my last post, I shared how “our” baby girl was born. It was such a life-changing moment and although she is no longer with us, I will sincerely remember that day with fondness. From here on out, I will just refer to her as BabyG (girl).
The story continues….
We had created a specific birth and hospital-stay plan with our facilitator beforehand. In it, we agreed that Justin and I would primarily care for the baby and that we would have her in our room overnight. We also included some special time with just the baby and her birthmom.
On paper, all of this sounded pretty straightforward to me. But in real life, the cast of characters are real people going through some very complex emotions. I wouldn’t describe the time in the hospital as a negative experience in any way. It was just intense.
The first day, BabyG was very calm, as most babies are right after birth. After her bath. we “ooed and awed” over her and we all hung out in the birthmom’s room. We talked and laughed and it all felt very natural. We put on the football game and Justin was excited that she got to see her first Charger game.
We helped our birthmom take an ink handprint and footprint as a keepsake.
Later that evening, our birthmom’s friend came to take pictures of her and BabyG so that she would have something special to remember the birth. As I helped stage the pictures and dress the baby, a new feeling started to take root. Although I couldn’t put my finger on it, I think I started feeling like I was visiting my friend who had just had a baby. Looking back, I see that I was starting to witness the beginning of a love story between a mother and her daughter.
Justin and I went out to dinner nearby to give her the alone time we agreed on. It was nice to get out of the hospital and have a chance to debrief. We ate a very memorable, delicious mushroom soup (we are foodies) and talked about all the feelings we were experiencing.
Do you ever wish you could go back and hear a recording of conversations like this? I would love to listen in. I am pretty sure it was a mix of feelings of pure joy, some fears about the future, and some things we couldn’t even admit to ourselves quite yet.
There are certain times in life where you just need to live it. The words come later. In these times, you just need to put one step in front of the other. To plot out the path. Connecting the dots is for another time…
Even with a hazy, sleep-deprived memory, I can confidently say that I remember feeling like I was on shaky ground. I was extremely happy, but the feeling was largely pushed aside as I started to prepare for what inevitably would be an emotional exit from the hospital. I wanted to bond with this baby girl- this girl that I was being told would be mine forever- but she just didn’t feel like mine yet. Like I said… it was intense.
We came back from dinner and spent some time with our birthmom and her mom. I can’t even remember all the tiny moments here, but somehow we all said goodnight and we brought her back to our room.
We were alone in our room. Just me. Justin. And the newest member of our family.
And these are the moments I really can’t bear to write about. Although it isn’t the thing to share on here, I have the sweetest video of Justin singing a lullaby to little BabyG. It is sitting here right on our computer and I have only watched it once
I cuddled her and told her how much we loved her already.
We slept as well as one possibly can in a strange room, on an uncomfortable bed, with an infant.
The morning light came.
The rest of our time was a bit of a blur. We thought we were going to be discharged the following day, but due to a number of factors, it didn’t happen until the the next evening. I remember Justin and I made runs out for lunch and dinner. I was so exhausted and just ready to be home. I missed our little boy.
Finally, after another long day, the doctor came in to give the final exam. He cleared us to be discharged. As outlined in the birth plan, our birthmom and I started to dress the baby and prepare to go home.
Before she was born, I did a lot of research on the hospital experience in an open adoption. I heard it once described as a wedding and a funeral all happening in the same room. I don’t think this is the case for everyone, but it was certainly the case for us. We had so much joy about adopting, but it was clear to anyone who came inside that hospital room that this birthmom’s heart was shattered.
That kind of experience changes you forever.
But on her lead, we continued with the plan. We carefully dressed BabyG together and got her ready for the drive home to San Diego.
The moments that followed are too precious to share on here. I hope you all understand.
I think there are some moments in life where we are meant to be fully present. Even as a writer, I think some experiences are cheapened by trying to describe them on “paper”. I think they were meant to happen only once. They are meant to happen in the place where you can actually feel and touch. Where you can breathe in and out. Where you can cry. Where you can pray. Where despite your best efforts or plans, the moment comes and goes as softly as a whisper.
One thing that continually restores my faith in God is marveling at how He made us – how creatively He crafted you and I. It is especially in these moments of pure humanity, where all of these emotions He built within us are on display, that I see Him shining brightest. Its in the most gut wrenching moments of our existence on earth that I see Him clearly.
I see Him in the love our birthmom had for her baby girl.
I see Him in Justin and me – how we longed to care for this little life.
I see Him in the moment where Justin told our birthmom that by watching her, he got to see, for the first time, how much his birthmom loved him.
It is all too poetic for me to believe there is no Author. Too grand of a symphony to believe there is no Composer.
And so…..after this tearful goodbye…we picked up the baby carrier and walked out of the hospital room.
We literally walked down the hall, through the door, into the elevator, through the parking lot, and into the car….in complete silence.
That is all you can do after your life changes.