October 5, 2017
We were one for nine months and now we were about to become two.
There is so much to say about the day I brought my second precious baby into the world. I get overwhelmed when I remember all the emotion! All the fear, the pain, the peace and the uncertainty seems to bring a haze to the details of the labor and delivery. I knew with my first step into the hospital that I was leaving there empty handed. I knew with that first step that there was something bigger than all of us at play. I knew that there was no knowing how I would feel or how things would go but I had no choice but to keep taking those steps. It felt like it was over for me, it was time to welcome the experience ahead whether I was ready or not.
I had taken the months from March to October to get ready for this day. There were millions of times I thought about every possible scenario, every thing that could go wrong or right or change everything. Truth is, you can never prepare for something like this. It was truly a unique experience.
It was October 4th, a typical Wednesday. I worked a regular day at my 9-5 job and as I walked, more like waddled, out of the office I just felt unexpectedly calm that I would be back to my desk a week and a half later as if nothing had happened. I wish I could say this was a "high action, my water broke, everything in the world revolved around me," type of story but it's just practical. I scheduled my induction for midnight and so when I got home from work I showered, packed my bag and waited at my front room window for time to pass. My mental self discipline was working overtime to avoid any deep thinking.
My adoptive couple, Christian and Chelsey, pulled in at 11:00 pm so we could ride to the hospital together. It was moments like this one that kept me unusually calm. I just knew they were family to me and would be the most amazing parents-- and that was even before we stopped to get hospital snacks! ;) We had a long night ahead of us and they knew how to do a sleepover!
We arrived to the hospital in the silence of the night and as we walked through the main doors to the labor and delivery wing my dad and step mom were waiting there for us. I can't tell you how incredible it felt to see familiar, loving faces there to support me in this delicate time. I checked in and they showed us to the room where this amazing event would happen. I felt a little on display and my natural response to that kind of attention is an attempt at humor. The uncomfortable moments were followed by some awkward joking and a prayer that someone, anyone would change the subject! As I got settled in my older sister and her husband came in with big smiles and looked like they were ready to camp out all night with the rest of us. The bigger part of me was so happy to have so many supporters but I had a small corner of myself that wanted to just be alone. I chose to ignore that corner and enjoy the thankful feelings that so many amazing people were in my life to be there for me.
To spare the medical details, I was not close to ready for induction yet and so the night looked as if it would drag on for weeks! My entourage put up a good fight but the survivors were Chelsey, my older sister and her 4 month old. It was warming to look over and see the mother of this baby I was about to have sitting patiently and attentively. I had the sincerest feelings of resolve that this little spirit was coming down to her and not me. I think in a time of great unknowing, adoption gets double, maybe even triple duty on the angels.
The night passed with good snacks and even better conversations as my family got to know the couple I would be placing my baby with. I know that time meant so much to all of us. I am grateful now looking back that I wasn't ready right away.
Fast forward to 8am and I was finally ready for the pitocin and the real labor to begin. Over the next 6 hours family was in and out, nurses were in and out and I was surprised to feel enjoyment in the whole experience. I am no hero so I did get the epidural as the labor progressed. I remember the anxiety I felt leaning over to get that large needle put in my back and Chelsey holding my hand as I tried not to move one centimeter. There wasn't one time I felt alone or unsupported. I know I am very blessed as that is not always the case in these situations.
The sweet experience continued when my sweet Haven, my 3 year old daughter, came to see me. I remember being in and out of sleep when she walked up to me and kissed my cheek. My heart melted to know she was there and was in the good hands of my family and the family of my adoptive couple.
It was FINALLY time!! I was having similar feelings as I had leading up to Havens birth. I buzzed the nurse in and she confirmed it was time! At that point everyone was scattered getting lunch and stretching their legs after a long 16 hours of waiting.
My brother-in-law took Haven and the room was cleared out while the doctor came in to check up on my progress. I can't even put into words the feelings I was having. Somewhere in my overly poised appearance was a girl screaming in anxiety and fear. By some miracle I remained very calm and just repeated in my head that this is what was meant to happen.
With all the frantic preparation I reminded the nurses and the doctor of what I wanted to happen. I wanted both parents in the room and she go directly to her parents when she was ready. I promised myself I was not going to hold her for a while. I just felt that I am entrusting this couple with my baby and they deserve to experience each second of her life.
I am blessed with easy deliveries so after only 3-4 pushed Juniper Renae entered the world at 4:40 pm weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches long. She was perfection. Christian cut the umbilical cord and the nurses took her. I knew Chelsey and Christian felt torn about whether to stay by my side or follow their new baby girl. I looked them in the eyes and let them know it was okay. I wanted them to be there for her. Chelsey's mom stayed with me and kept me calm. I just felt very stoic and observant as all that followed unfolded like a movie before my eyes. Once Juniper was ready to be held Chelsey held her in her arms for the first time. I just watched as tears of joy rolled down both their cheeks. I felt a strength in place of jealousy. I felt contentment in place of heartbreak.
Everything had gone just how I pictured and wanted it to. Chelsey was so sweet to ask if I wanted to hold her. I turned her down. I think she was inspired to keep asking and with each time I denied.
That was when I finally broke down, I knew I didn't want to hold her yet and I was okay with it but I also felt guilty that I was so okay with it. My sweet doctor embraced me in that moment as he saw the calm unravel.
I did finally hold Juniper the next day and I am so grateful I did! I cherish that time I had with her and I am grateful Chelsey felt the prompting to let me know it was okay to have some time with her. The rest of the day was just surreal. I was surrounded by so many but felt so empty. This tiny spirit that changed my life grew and became someone within me and now she was gone.
I asked to be alone for a while so I could commence staring at the wall in disbelief. I was proud of myself and how I held it together but now needed to rejuvenate as the next 24 hours would hold a whole new set of challenges. Legally I could not relinquish my rights until 4:40 the next day so I knew I needed to stay in the right frame of mind until then. After that I knew I could lose my mind. I wish I could share more but I have already made this unreadably long. So much happened in a short amount of time and I feel very blessed to be able to share and receive the love and support I have so far. I plan to share the relinquishment story soon! It is one of great significance and I look forward to putting it into words.
To wrap up this first section I just want to say how incredible October 5, 2017 was. It will forever hold a tender place in my heart as I watched my baby be welcomed and immediately adored by her parents. The parents I know God intended for her. I am grateful for the way my needs and wants were honored that made it a healthy transition for me. My sister took photos and I wanted to show a few that touched me from that day so I made a GALLERY tab with just a few photos from the journey that I want to add to as my open adoption blooms which it so beautifully has.