After receiving a call from our adoption case manager letting us know that our birthmother’s water broke before her induction date, we spent a sleepless night scrambling to get our bags together so we could make it to her state before the baby arrived.
We managed to board a 9 am flight on November 6th, and I was a nervous wreck the entire flight. I kept checking my cell phone for updates from our case manager even though I knew that I would not be able to receive texts while in the air. The last I heard before boarding the flight was that “A” was 3 centimeters dilated and was progressing very slowly. Everyone felt confident we would arrive at the hospital before the baby was born.
As soon as we got our rental car, we headed straight to the hospital. A social worker greeted us at the maternity ward entrance and led us into “A’s” room. This was the first time we’d ever see her. We had a description of her from the agency’s file, but no pictures. I can’t even begin to tell you what a strange experience it was walking into a hospital room and saying hello to what is essentially a complete stranger who is about to deliver your child.
We didn’t have much time to talk. About five minutes after we arrived, the doctor came in and informed us that because “A’s” labor wasn’t progressing fast enough, they felt she should undergo a C-section.
At 3:08 pm, the baby was born. She weighed a little over 5 pounds and was 19.5 inches long. I got to be the first one to visit the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and hold her while “A” was getting cleaned up at the team from the nearby Children’s Hospital arrived to arrange the transfer. Because of the Duodenal Atresia, she was immediately connected to what appeared to be dozens of wires, so holding her was somewhat awkward and it was hard to get a really good look at her face. She was tiny, though, with a few tufts of reddish-blonde hair and those newborn gray-blue eyes. Thankfully, she didn’t appear to have any problems other than the Duodenal Atresia.
It’s hard to describe all the emotions that were going through me at this time. I was overwhelmed, nervous, more than a little scared…There were so many wires attached to the baby that it was hard to hold any part of her. She seemed so fragile, so small, that your heart couldn’t help but ache for her, but underneath it all, there was a certain detachment. I didn’t feel like I was connecting fully with her. There was no immediate love-at-first sight feeling upon seeing your child. I realize now that my heart was trying to protect me from what lay ahead.
After the baby was ready for transfer, she was wheeled into the delivery room, where Bill, Dylan and “A” were waiting. Right before we headed to the Children’s Hospital, “A” held her for the first time. It was a very emotional moment for all, and more than a few tears were shed.
Once baby was settled into the Children’s Hospital NICU, Bill and I spent the remainder of the afternoon taking turns visiting her (Dylan was not allowed in the NICU) and waiting for news on her surgery. We finally spoke with the surgeon and were told that she would have an echocardiogram in the morning to make sure her little heart could withstand the surgery, and that if all went well, she would probably go into the operating room around noon the next day. Exhausted and overwhelmed, we headed to our hotel to get some much-needed rest before what was sure to be another long, difficult day…