Our case worker passed the phone to S, and she said to Jay, “Congratulations. You’re a dad. Come and meet your son.”
We dissolved into tears, thanked her profusely, then high-tailed it to the hospital. The NICU was closed to all visitors, including parents (yeah, that’s us!) from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and it was already 5:30. There was no way we were waiting another four hours to see our baby!
We made it to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with only minutes to spare. But it was long enough to see him – not to pay attention to the scary cords and wires or the frightening, clear bag of… well… guts, protruding from his abdomen. Instead, it was just enough to touch his soft skin, stroke his jet black hair, and finally, give him a name. Micah Alan Spalding.
(Micah 6:8 – He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God).
|This one is our first glimpse of him.|
After we were scooted out of the NICU, we called to ask if we could visit with S and J a little and maybe bring them dinner. They agreed and said they would love cheeseburgers. It was important to us to spend a little more time with them. It didn’t feel right to not see them again – like “thanks for the baby. Have a good life.”
When we got to the room, we were a bit relieved to see that no one else was there. We ate dinner together. I sat with S in her bed as she talked to us about all the things she wanted her life to be, her hopes and dreams for her kids, and her hopes and dreams for Micah. We visited with S a few more times before she was discharged. J was there sporadically. No other family ever came back to visit. When it was time for her to leave, we loaded her luggage into the cab, hugged her and wished her the best. As she climbed into the car, she held in her hand two Polaroid pictures of the baby she would never hold. I prayed as her car drove away that God would open doors in her life, that she would find what she was looking for, that someone would love her dearly, and that I would be the kind of mother she imagined for the baby she had created.
Meanwhile, Micah was fighting hard! He was a bundle of energy right from the start, but even so, there were some very scary days, especially the first few. He was losing weight fast and was very fragile. I remember a very well-meaning friend saying to me, “Jamie, what if he dies?” I know what she was trying to ask – We had spent all of our money, invested everything, and what happens if this baby doesn’t make it? All I could say in response was, “Then my baby will have died.” I wasn’t taking this kid for a test drive. There was no lemon law. I was his mother. From the moment I laid eyes on him, everything in my body just knew – he was the reason I was born. No matter what happened.
|I guess when a baby's adopted, |
a mother is born.
Jay had to return to
Houston, but he traveled back to every three days. I sat up an office in the apartment's kitchen so that I could keep up with reports and stats and help Jay with all of the church programming. Our church people were amazing, keeping everything running so that we could focus on Micah. My mother-in-law came to stay with me in San Antonio so I wouldn’t have to be alone. San Antonio
I lived at the hospital. I was there every morning at 10:00 a.m., and I stayed until midnight. I ate every meal in the cafeteria. I befriended the nurses. I started a prayer group with the NICU moms that met in the evening during the closed time. The whole time I was there, I never slept in a bed. I slept on the couch, with my phone in my hand, just in case the hospital needed me.
They never called though. Micah, instead, blew the doctors away. He did everything faster than they had anticipated. He was ready for his surgery when he was 5 days old (it was the Ides of March, but no bad luck here!). He was ready to be held, cuddled and bathed at 6 days old. He pooped (apparently a HUGE deal!) when he was 17 days old, which just happened to be my birthday and Easter Sunday – what a gift! He could start eating at 18 days old (He had to start on donated breast milk - $3.25 an ounce!) and though I was told he would be hospital bound for 4 -6 months, when he was just 25 days old, they released him to come home.
I will never forget the moment. Unbuckling him from his car seat, wrapping my arms around him and walking into the house. It was a long road, but I was bringing my baby home.