What Will Go Down

Our birth mom is scheduled for a C-section on September the 4th.  Unless she goes early, and this is looking more and more likely.  When we get the call, (morning, noon or night) we drop our kids and our carefully planned schedule and roll to the hospital.  The plan is to have us in the delivery room.  That’s the plan, but as I am figuring out, the plan is far from fool proof.  And as I am figuring out, some of the best things I can bring to the table are flexibility and a happy attitude if the plan goes “KERSPLAT”.

Some of the unknowns that I have are:  The baby’s name. (Our Birth mom is naming the baby, after 30 days if we want, we can change it.  If you know us at all, this is not the hugest deal unless she comes up with something so terrible that we cannot cope.)

What happens right after the birth?  Will I hold the baby? Will she hold the baby? I have no clue.
It’s the birth mom’s birth, and she gets to have a plan, like any mother.  I could ask her, and if something is pressing on my mind, I DO ask.  It is apparent though, when I am with her that she is under tremendous stress, and when I do spend time with her, the last things she ought to have is a needy adoptive mom who insists on having all the t’s crossed with a fancy calligraphy pen.

The chances are good that none of us will get to hold the baby, but instead she will get whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Our Birth mom is on a Methadone Maintenance program, which has been a big learning curve for me.  I didn’t know this, but it is illegal (and dangerous for the baby) to stop the program when you are pregnant.  The long and short is that our baby will be born dependent on Methadone, and will have to be hospitalized until she is done withdrawing.

The best scenario is that there is a miracle, and the baby tests negative for drugs, and the hospital stay is much shorter than anticipated.  AND YES! I have heard of this happening surprisingly sometimes.

The worst scenario is: (copy and pasted from a website)

  • Excessive crying
  • Sleeplessness
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Rapid breathing
  • Hyperactive reflexes
  • Blotchy skin tone
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Vomiting
  • Gastronomical upsets

So realistically, I think I will land between those two. We are looking for averyfussybaby. I’m preparing for worst case senario, with a birth defect on top of that. (No! we don’t believe she has a birth defect, I’m trying to prepare for it just in case..you know, my carefully laid plans and all) Running 40 minutes to the hospital every day.  Lots of baby-sitters for my other kids.  We are heading for a very stressful time in our lives.
I know next to nothing about the hospital procedures, but next week we get a tour of the NICU, and a chance to shower them with questions.  I have a list on my notepad already. (Is it sad that one of my questions is about wifi?)

Our children know their sister will be born sick.  They know I will be gone a lot, and they will have to be at their Grandmas, cousins or friends.  They still say: “Oh it will be like one big party!”
Yeah, uh-huh one giant ball of laughs coming our way.

People ask if I’m worried about the Birth Mom changing her mind.  She has thirty days after the birth to change her mind.  I’ve heard lots of stories of moms who change their mind, and truthfully I don’t blame them, it’s their right.  I’m not worried, but I do hold this baby with open hands.  If I am so blessed as to be able to raise this little one, then I will be so humbled and honored.

So this is what we are plowing ahead with. I’m thinking that to get through this stage of our life, we’ll have to trust the one who gave us His.

To Baby: The Start of Your Story

We went to the restaurant, just her and I.  I ordered a veal sandwich, she ordered pancakes.  The waitress, a lady in her fifty’s with a tattoo sleeve was joking and chatting with us.  Like people do with pregnant ladies, she asked her questions.  “Wow, are you about due? How much longer do you have to go? Do you have other kids?”  Your mom answered the questions: September 8, I have five other children.  Then your mom gestured at me and said, “But she’s going to be the mom of this one” pointing to her belly.
Instantly waitress’s face fell, and was blanketed with compassion.  She looked at me to verify, and I nodded in agreement.  “Its true” I said and tried to smile gently.  In that instant her face was so easy to read. Should she offer condolences to the pregnant lady?  Should she offer congratulations to me? Both options seem insufficient.  I tried to impart goodwill: “It’s sad, and happy” I said.  “Bittersweet” she said.  And then she looked at us, and looked at us, and looked at us, while we ate our food.

Later we passed a guy at the pharmacy who did the pregnancy drill again. “Wow, you are about to pop, how much longer?  And look, even your ankles are swollen!”  A little later “Don’t you know smoking is bad for your baby?”  I scowled at him for her sake.  And muttered to her “Doesn’t he know that’s not helpful?”

So even though you are not born yet, we are getting ready for you. Perfect strangers notice that you are coming soon.  Perfect strangers worry about your health.  Perfect strangers are filled with compassion, and are speechless when they hear the truth.

Here is the truth. You are loved. By her. By me. End of story.

I don’t feel like I know you now.  You don’t recognize my voice.  My heart sounds different from the one you hear beating every day.  I can’t feel you move inside of me.
She pats her belly at night, lights a candle and tells you that your other parents are getting ready.  We are getting ready, the best that we know how.

I expect in a couple of weeks that tables will turn, and she who knew you best won’t know you best anymore.  Instead it will be a new mom with a squeaky voice, who smells funny, and feels a little out of practice with baby care.  I’m sure you will sense a void.  If babies can smell and recognize their mommy’s bodies, it only makes sense that they know when the voice and smell is gone from them.

Here is the truth. You are loved. By her. By me. This is the start of your sad and happy story.