Wednesday, May 18, 2011
April 2, 2011 (Told by David)
5:20 a.m. The alarm sounds. Well, it’s actually the phone ringing, but it sounds strangely like a fog horn going off since we recently changed ur birthmother’s, ringtone to stand out from all other phone calls. Being almost a week overdue, our hearts would stand still every time the phone rang the previous week. It was her cousin on the phone telling us that our birthmother was in active labor and that Graydon was going to be coming soon. They had waited on calling us sooner because they didn’t want it to be a false alarm. It took us only 20 minutes to get out the door. We had prepared for this moment. The base of the car seat had been sitting in the car for the last week and a half. The diaper bag that housed Graydon’s first outfits had been sitting prepared in the kitchen next to our bag of clothes. Showers, a quick walk up and down the street for Mya, and we were in the car at 5:40. Could this really be happening? This moment that we had been waiting for years to arrive had finally come. We called parents and told them we were in route, and that we would keep them posted.
6:30 am. We arrived at the hospital and quickly found labor and delivery room 5. This is where Graydon was going to enter the world. Our birthmother’s aunt answered our knock on the door. She had recently had an epidural and welcomed us in. Our relationship had grown over shared meals and emails the last few months, and made Graydon’s birthday feel very natural. Our birthmother was tired as she had gotten to the hospital around 7 hours earlier and so after spending a few moments catching up with her (who was very much drugged at the time) we gave her much needed time to rest. During this time we got to spend a lot of time getting to know our birthmother’s aunt and cousin. We were overwhelmed by the kindness both of them showed us, and the strong support they were offering her especially during this tough time. We got to spend more time with our birthmother and meet her doula who was there to help be a coach during Graydon’s birth.
10:30 am. Though we grabbed the box of Life cereal before we left the house, we left the labor and delivery room to get a more substantial breakfast from the café downstairs.
This was in the cafe, right before we walked back to labor and delivery
11:00 am We got back and they told us she was fully dilated and ready to push within the hour. This was really happening. What do you say to a woman who is about to give birth to a child? We realized we hadn’t prepared for this moment. We chose, “good luck” and “you go girl” and gave her a final “we’ll be praying for you,” which seemed most appropriate. We walked out the door, sat on a ledge across the hall from the delivery room and did just that. We prayed for God to give her strength to finish this marathon of a day. We prayed for a healthy boy and a healthy tummy mommy. We prayed for the emotional rollercoaster that our birthmother would be on and continues to be on.
And then we played battleship on Lara’s phone. David won. However, Lara will say that she was winning until Opa texted for an update and we had to start over.
We got updates from a resident, “things are progressing really well.” And a little later, “we have a head.” How giddy were we at this moment?
12:49 pm. Graydon arrives. His cry is the most beautiful sound we’ve ever heard. Lara and I look at each other and can hardly believe this dream has become a reality. As we hear Graydon’s cries, our tears come. The door opens and closes with nurses and doctors leaving. We can see Graydon’s feet kicking while he’s getting cleaned up. The resident returns to give us the stats:
“9 pounds and 21 inches”
Lara gets welcomed into the room to hold him. Our birthmother wanted to first see Graydon in Lara’s chosen arms, before she held him. Graydon’s eyes fixed on Lara, as she carried him over to meet his tummy mommy. Lara retelling these moments to me was incredible.
Knowing Lara was getting to meet him and see his face, and hold him was a little torturous as I continued to sit, now alone in the hallway. Nurses popped their heads around the corner from the nurse’s station to offer “congratulations dad!” Wow! Being called a dad for the first time was awesome. I was welcomed in to meet Graydon who was getting his first bottle from Lara. What a beautiful sight. We had to keep pinching ourselves. We each (Lara, Our birthmother, and I) took our turns holding baby Graydon. There is absolutely no other feeling that has come close to this. Time passed as we stared at this beautiful boy, took pictures, and called eager grandparents, and texted others so that we could get on to loving this boy.
Our first family photo
2:30 pm We are all moved to the regular rooms and we hear the lullaby playing over the speakers. Only this time, it is for us.
What followed after was a whirlwind of getting settled, grabbing dinner (which happened to be Little Ceaser’s pizza and breadsticks…we only had a little bit of time and we were so hungry…so, don’t judge our celebratory dinner), and spending time with our birthmom and her family.
11:00 pm Graydon receives his first bath. His hair was so curly and we got to see his little body for the first time. We put on his first outfit, and, after a hearing test, we starting our first night together.
We traded off feeding and changing diapers every 3 hours, as well as trading hospital beds and pull out chairs. And after a few rounds of feeding, we awoke to our nurse telling us goodbye, since her shift was over, and we realized, we made it! We survived our first night of parenthood. And we did it with smiles on our faces. We loved every moment of waking up in the middle of the night to see Graydon’s little face waiting for us. Well, he was waiting for food, but we can pretend he was waiting for us.
April 3, 2011 (Told by Lara)
We got ourselves together and walked down the hallway to see our birthmother again. We were excited to tell her how our night had gone and to see how she was recovering. We ate our breakfast along side her, and then, after a few hours, took our little boy back to our room so we could shower and all change to get ready to go home. I was able to talk to my family, since they had left on a cruise the night before and were out of cell phone signal by the time I was able to talk. Thankfully the cruise’s first stop was Key West!
And then the time came to say goodbye. It wasn’t nearly as emotional as I was prepared for it to be. We took pictures together and we talked about when we could see her again. As we hugged her goodbye, our parting words were expressions of gratitude we felt incapable of expressing. This woman gave us our dream, and she just was wheeled out the door empty handed. Our hearts break with her, at times. Our joy, is her sadness. What keeps coming up for her is that the hospital wasn’t goodbye. It was just the beginning of a new journey. We love open adoption!
As we walked Graydon back to our room, we watched as she was wheeled down the hallway. We had to change his clothes due to a wardrobe malfunction, (who knew you had to teach little boys to aim in the first days of life?) and we were okayed by the nurse to go. My perception of leaving was that we would have to be wheeled down the hallway by a nurse to a waiting car. So, imagine my surprise when the nurse cut off his ankle bracelet and said, “you are free to go.” I think I asked if we were allowed to just carry him in the carseat. I got a strange expression back, saying that as long as he had a car seat, we could just walk out. The nurse left, and David and I looked at each other thinking, “are they sure?”
The ride home was a rollercoaster. I shut my door, smiled for a picture, found directions home, and then reflected on the moment that had just occurred. Every door that was closed, every failed pregnancy test, every tear, and every piece of paper we filled out came flooding in. This was our moment, the one we waited for. The little boy sitting next to me was worth every second. It really is amazing how something so little can heal so many broken pieces.
Just a few Friday’s ago, we saw our birthmom for the first time since the hospital. It catches me off guard how normal it feels to see her. She is a part of us. We met her for lunch, because she had her court date that morning. She has officially given us the right to parent Graydon. It feels good for that date to pass. We can now more officially call him our son. This day didn’t change anything in our hearts, but it was an important day. She commented on how big he had gotten and how old he looked. She held him almost the entire time. I wonder, if people heard our conversations, what they thought of us in the restaurant. We signed an openness agreement, and that was it. We will see her again soon. We still have to keep reminding ourselves that he is ours. Seeing Graydon’s cute face makes me smile, every time.
He is officially ours!
And the journey just keeps on going.