I woke up last week and felt like it was a good week to have a baby. I told Laura Monday morning that I thought our baby would come this week, and her reaction was normal and adorable. She said, “Babe, you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak…please don’t do that.” Tuesday I told her that I still thought it was our week, and each day I repeated it. On Saturday morning, I said it was the last day of the week, and so our call should come today. Laura again told me that she worried about how disappointed I would be. And about 11 AM on Saturday, lo and behold, the phone rang.
Our Social Worker Hero told us that a baby had been born (holy shit!), we had been picked by the birthmother (YAY!), and we should head out and travel to the hospital the same day (um…OKAY!). We offered the requisite freak-out, cried, and we both started shaking with excitement. We grabbed a notebook to take down a few pieces of information. Our Social Worker Hero was awesome, and allowed us the time we needed to gather ourselves before she started sharing info. It’s worth us saying that all of the Social Worker Heroes out there are angels. We don’t know why they choose the work they do, but we admire them and are so grateful for all that they do. As we talked to our Social Worker Hero, we learned the basics and had nearly hung up when she said, “Do you want to know if it’s a boy or a girl?” Sweet Jesus, we had not even asked about the baby’s sex. Yes! We want to know! It’s a girl. Aaaaaand, we’re crying again.
A few hours later, we arrived in the hospital and met the baby girl. There aren’t really words for this moment. So many memories flowed in for us, like a movie montage of conversations in our booth at Embers years ago deciding to become parents, mornings at the fertility clinic, and heartbreak when we returned tiny clothes to the baby store after Apollo 13 in October. And now we had a baby girl in our arms…she was in her second day of life…and we were falling in love. This blog has been all about authenticity and vulnerability…so here is a picture of the first moment I held her.
I cried harder when Laura held her. You can love someone more than anything, and when you see them love a baby…it’s an immeasurable jump in affection. You married parents out there know what I mean.
In Ohio, a birthmother has to wait a minimum of 72 hours before she can officially choose not to parent the baby. So we spent three days with this little girl in the hospital as visitors. During the three days, there were a couple of moments where we felt some fear that she may not come home with us. We’re sure this is normal after the loss we felt back in October during Apollo 13. It was unfathomable to think about having a birthmother change her mind and decide to parent after we had met the baby, but we knew that was still a possibility. We signed up knowing the risks, so we held on for dear life, and moved forward. We held the little girl, fed her, changed her, learned to give her a sponge bath, and soaked up all that we could of her new baby smells! We will always be supremely grateful for the team of delivery nurses who cared for the little girl before we arrived. Their work is literally life-creating, and life-changing, and we will always admire them. For three days, we spent all the time we could with the baby, and we hardly slept a wink. Sunday brought about some rotten weather in the city where the hospital was, so we packed up a bag and spent the night so that nothing got in our way on Monday…the big day!
We had been in touch with our attorney, and she had the paperwork completed in an evening. Monday came, and we held on tighter to one another. We didn’t really take deep breaths, and we moved through the day trying to be as authentic and vulnerable as we could possibly be, and to really experience everything the day offered in conversations and feelings. We felt all the feelings, sat with the feelings when we needed to (this is code for crying), and prepared ourselves for anything. Finally the time came, and we met the birthmother. We spent time talking openly, listening with our whole hearts, and sharing all that we could. Out of respect for everyone involved, that’s all I’ll say about that profound meeting.
Finally the time came for us to leave the room and the paperwork to begin. We knew this was the red zone. We went down to the hospital cafeteria and wrote down all that we could remember of our conversation with the birthmother – we didn’t want to forget a thing! We literally didn’t talk to each other – we just kept writing until we were finally interrupted by our Social Worker Hero coming into the room. Her first words? “You guys are moms!” The fears had passed, the papers are signed, and Apollo 13 is no more. We made it to the moon!
We have a daughter, and her name is Darby. She is brave, strong, perfectly healthy, and beautiful. She is perfectly Darby. We are so very smitten. Do you remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy’s house lands in Oz, and she opens the door and reveals that everything has gone from black and white into color? That’s what happened for us on Monday. Our world is in color now, and we have never known love like this.
A couple of weeks ago I asked Laura what she wanted for her birthday, she said a baby.
Happy birthday, Darling. To both of you.