Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ooh Darling, 'Cause You'll Always Be My Baby (Volume Four)

As the minutes ticked by, I was starting to lose my mind.  I had practically worn a hole in the floor of the waiting room, pacing back and forth.  We couldn’t call the adoption agency to see if they’d heard anything because it was so early in the morning.  We were at a stand-still. 

In my mind, they had changed their minds.  They’d gone to a different hospital.  Or they were simply waiting until we gave up and went home.  I was miserable and anxious, and I didn’t know how long we should sit waiting before we admitted to ourselves that this wasn’t going to happen. 

Finally, at a couple of minutes after 8:00, we heard the bing of the elevators, and in they walked.  After checking in at the front desk, they came and told us they had slept through their alarm.  We, of course, hugged them and acted like we weren’t worried at all!

Once S was taken back and settled into her room, she invited me to come back for a while.  I noticed that the birth father (J) was acting a little bit differently around us, but we figured he, like all of us, was just nervous.  S was extraordinarily nervous.  She had never had any type of surgery before, and her blood pressure was through the roof.  The doctor decided that they needed to get her BP down before they could do the C-section, so they scheduled it for late afternoon, and we left to give her time to rest.

When we arrived back at the hospital, we were seated in the waiting room (because of the concerns about her blood pressure on top of the already present issue of the gastroschisis, it was decided that I would not be in the delivery room after all).  Our case worker was supposed to be meeting us at the hospital, but was running a little late. Unlike in the wee hours that morning, the waiting room was full and noisy.  We sat, anxiously awaiting any news.  After about an hour, J came out into the waiting room, dressed in scrubs.  He glanced in our direction, but then turned toward the small crowd of people in the waiting room and announced that the baby had been born and taken directly to the NICU.  He spoke to everyone a little more in Spanish and gestured in our direction. 

Once he disappeared back through the Labor and Delivery doors, the crowd, which we rightly assumed were family members, turned toward us and let loose. 

They started yelling –

“How could you do this?”

“Who do you think you are?”

“What makes you better than everyone else?”

“What are we supposed to tell the other children when their momma doesn’t bring a baby home?”

We were speechless.  We had no response for them.  They looked at us like we were villains. We weren’t trying to tear their family apart.  We weren’t trying to steal their baby.  S chose us.  She made the decision.  We said nothing, but within a few seconds, there were tears streaming down my face.  Jay put his arm around me and addressed the family by simply saying -

“We are going to leave and let you all have time together as a family.  Please excuse us.”   

As we were walking out of the hospital, we ran right into our adoption worker.  We told her what had happened, and she agreed that it was best for us to leave, and she would call and give us any updates.

The next two days were some of the hardest days of our lives.  Our case worker called and told us that the family, who’d had very little to do with S, came up to the hospital to cause a scene.  Her father told her that she was crazy for giving up the baby, that she would get so much more welfare if she kept him, especially since he was sick.  Several family members threatened to disown her and told her she’d burn in hell for what she was doing.  J, who had already signed away his legal rights as the father weeks ago, had changed his mind and was putting pressure on S to back out.  Her mother, who had come up to borrow $20 (S says for crack), told her to refuse to give us the baby to see if she could get more money from us.  It was a nightmare.  The case worker told us to keep the faith, but she also said that she was not 100% sure that S would follow through.

Texas State Law requires that a birth mother wait 48 hours after the birth to officially place a baby for adoption.  We were only three hours in.  (Let me just pause here to say that not too long ago, a friend said to me, “You are SOOOO lucky that you never had to go through labor.”  I may qualify for sainthood just because I didn’t trip her or punch her in the nose).

My heart was breaking.  For my own situation – I just couldn’t bare the thought of going back to Houston, back to my house, back the beautiful nursery we’d just created, with my arms empty.  But my heart broke for S too.  She had this huge decision to make and no one to support her.  I can’t imagine what she was feeling as she thought of everything she might be giving up.  I desperately wanted to be this baby’s mother, but I wanted it to be the right decision.  I just prayed that the right decision would be made, and that somehow, we’d all be okay.

Those two days were such a daze to me.  We couldn’t eat or sleep.  We couldn’t talk about it anymore.  We couldn’t look at any of the cute little things that I’d packed along for the baby.  We couldn’t call anyone to tell them that things seemed to be falling apart – that made it too real.  So instead, we walked.  Outside, for hours.  (Then Jay went and bought us the ninth season of Friends, and we snuggled on the couch and watched it all night long – I still can’t watch any of those episodes without thinking about those days!) 

Finally, on Thursday, 49 hours and 7 minutes after the baby was born, the phone rang.

It was our case worker.  She said only one sentence…

“S wants to speak to you.”

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