I placed my third baby in the arms of his mom and dad in May 2019. I haven't written about that experience in detail yet. Although it was my second open adoption and I (in some ways) knew what to expect, it was an emotional surprise. The timing and relationship dynamics were different and I can look back now and see how I tried to turn off the raw emotion I was open to with my first adoption. I was battling shame and fear that I rushed to a decision and how would this choice effect everyone involved. I had so many beautiful confirming experiences in such a short time that I let myself question if they were truly sincere or if they were just me acting out of stress and inadequacy. I don't fault myself for feeling that way or even shutting down a little bit but I do wish I could have been more present emotionally for the birth and relinquishment. I believe Brek deserved that from me and his parents as well.
His birth story was still a very special and surreal time for me. He was perfection and the second I saw him, I knew that after all the doubt and fear he came to the right place in the right time.
I was still working full-time through my pregnancy and I was pretty happy with how "together" I kept it during this time of big decisions and life changing shifts. It was one day until my induction date when I had a huge rush of anxiety and urgency to have the experience over with. The relationship with his biological father was different than with Juniper and the circumstances made me very anxious.
I can explain more on that later because the birth father's story is just as relevant as mine but pieces of that story aren't mine to tell. I can share my point of view and why I made the decision I did. It may not always be received well so I am hesitant to dive into it but I am a very transparent person. I think there is strength and value is sharing the ugly parts too so all aspects of my journey are open for questions. I will answer with discretion and respect for everyone involved. Ultimately, I believe no one was in the wrong in their actions, thought processes or opinions. The forces that push us in certain directions cannot always be explained but I believe they will all make sense some day.
As I tried to process each emotion day by day, some days got the best of me. My boss at the time found me in the hallway near the restroom trying to hide the panic attack. I was shamelessly and uncontrollably sobbing. She could see I just couldn't care about work at that point. I was at emotional capacity and I needed to just go home. As I packed a few things from my desk for my time off all I could think was, "this is it, there is no more time." I couldn't decide what that meant for me though. Was I happy about it or sad, or both? In a way I was more than ready to have this chapter of my life over but even more than that relief was the deep sadness that this baby was about to be separate from me. He was mine all this time, in my body and in my heart and now I prepare to say goodbye. However, the thing that helped me move through that sadness was knowing with my goodbye was a powerful, sweet hello from his parents.
I remembered the night I met with his parents and decided to place this precious life in their hands. I couldn't deny the peace I felt. We had such a calming and genuine conversation that night. The guilt from my irresponsible decisions that brought me to that place started to fade as I realized Brek needed to be here and again, I was blessed to be the vessel to bring him here.
I left work exhausted physically and mentally that day. I got home and as I laid down to just breathe, the phone rang. All of the sudden my doctor is telling me I can go in early. I was not expecting this and didn't know if I was okay with it or not. I thought I would have a minute to take it all in but no, he said "get checked into the hospital and we can get you going!" I just got up, grabbed my pre-packed bag, and drove my car to the hospital.
Through all of these hills and valleys of feelings I waddled through the doors of the Women's Center without a second thought. I was about to enter the room so vivid in my mind. The same room I delivered Juniper and relinquished my parental rights not even two years prior.
Recalling that feeling of walking back into such a dream-like memory gives me goosebumps now. No regrets or sadness, only hope remained there.
I was alone, I checked in, and with a very somber anticipation changed into my hospital gown. I just stared out the window at the spring flower beds blooming for what felt like an hour. I needed that before I felt like telling anyone where I was and that I was admitted to the hospital early. I had so much support and encouragement from every corner but in that moment looking at the flowers, I felt completely alone with my baby. I took in that time to accept what was happening and to be as open as I could to the vulnerability I was about to experience. My huge belly almost smiled back at me like it was an old friend that was proud of the decision I was about to make. It was a surreal feeling to know it was all about to change. Nine months in this place of growing and feeling him would soon be a memory. Once I felt strong enough to see everyone and maintain my calm I made the calls.
It was always very important to me to be open and uninhibited by embarrassment in the birth experience. In my mind if I chose this family to raise this child then they should be there for everything they possibly can and the moment a baby enters this world is a sacred one. They were my first phone call and they were immediately headed over when I told them I was at the hospital. In a way, their excitement and anticipation was calming and healing for me. He would be in very loving hands.
My support system also dropped everything to be by my side. My dad, his wife and two of my sisters were my consistent adoption support team. I don't know that they will ever know how much it meant to have to make these huge decisions and feel their support, even if they couldn't understand them sometimes. They took my daughter Haven and were there for her during a time that she may not have been able to make sense of and that meant the world.
As everyone arrived with excitement and an unknowing of how it would all happen I took my place as the calm and collected one. For some reason the faith I had in the process carried me through the panic. I knew adoption was a gift and each experience is crafted by a higher power. I didn't have to ask myself ever again if I was doing the right thing.
The actual deliver went very smooth. I was on Pitocin that evening and as things slowly started to progress I felt labor pains getting worse. I was familiar with the process but getting to the point where I could get the epidural was taking longer than any of us expected so we kept on waiting through the night. I was doing well once I was given the drugs, naturally. I received my epidural around 8:00am the next morning. We waited all morning having visitors in and out. I spent time with Brek's parents, my family and my boyfriend at the time was there as well. Those memories of talking and laughing are very close to my heart and I will never forget the warmth of that hospital room.
I often get surprised looks when I tell people how open I am about it all. I just feel like life is a million little moments and experiences. Sometimes we shield people from the most intimate ones. Why? It was a piece of me, a chapter of my life that was shaping who I was becoming and if I wanted someone to really know me why would I keep them from those deep, real moments? I am no longer with that boyfriend but I do not regret having the memory and growing experience with him. I do not regret letting both sets of adoptive parents in the room during delivery. Sure, it's a vulnerable place to be but in my opinion what is the point in having these major transformative pieces of life if I am experiencing them alone? Now we can recall it together with fondness and that seemingly vulnerable exposure is a special memory. I had the choice to allow them to have that memory of Brek entering the world or because of my fear of embarrassment, they would not have that. So, I put aside the potentially uncomfortable and possibly funny 'what if's.' It was a beautiful time.
After the morning of slowly progressing and dilating we were finally to a 10 and ready to push. Luckily this delivery followed my previous two with ease and minimal struggle. I didn't really have to push, he was ready to join us. Once he was delivered, his parents had all eyes on him and I could tell in their expressions this was something they would never forget. He was so sweet and perfect. We were all happy to hear that he was healthy and strong.
Normally this is where I would lose it and become overwhelmed but I stayed grounded in my decision and just kept a silent prayer in my heart that he knew I loved him so much and always would.
The next 24 hours were a mixed bag of happiness and surreal emotions leading up to signing my relinquishment documents. I will cover that experience in my next post. The irony of having both adoption experiences in the same hospital, same room even, is that the emotions were flip flopped in a way. I broke down during delivery with Juniper but not relinquishment. Then kept it together with Brek during delivery but not relinquishment. I think the important thing is that we cannot predict anything about thee kinds of moments. All we can do is move through it with love and trust.
I love open adoption and I am forever grateful for the blessings in my life that have come from being their birth mom.