Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting Room Jitters

After my trip to Disney the only thing left to do was wait.  I had to sit around for a whole three weeks and think about what was going to happen next.  My mother would be coming to stay with me in a few days. She wanted to be there to support me but also to help me care for my daughter.  I had an extraordinary church family at Fifth Street Baptist, but I needed more hands on deck than the occasional sitting.  More than that, I needed my mom like you do when you are sick in the middle of the night as a kid.  I remember my mom sitting next to me, right up close when I would wake with a fever.  She'd rub my back and help me get to sleep. The slow, rhythmic stroking, with a warm, light pressure that let you know that she cared. That is the kind of comfort only someone who loves you uncontrollably can give you.  I was desperate for soothing.

The days went on like months. I was sometimes counting days by the half day just so I could feel like I was accomplishing something in the waiting.  I did have a lot of appointments to keep me busy.  Those were also markers of progression.  Blood work, pre-registration, doctor's visit, all lined up for the countdown.  Out of curiosity I drove across the island to get a view of the hospital.  I drove down a long winding road that wrapped around a golf course until I reached a much-smaller-than-expected building that looked dated and lacking in expertise.  "I'm gonna die here", was what I surmised after my inspection.  My perspective of what a community hospital should be like was off.  I am from Boston where you can throw a rock in any direction in the city and hit a world-class medical facility.  It is a near impossibility to not get great health care and access to a renowned specialist there.  At this hospital, I would was certain that most of the staff had likely just passed their board certifications.  I drove home wrought with anxiety over what my care would be like.

My first one appointment on the list was the pre-registration.  I needed to go to the hospital and give them all the gory details of who I was and what was going to happen.  My counselor prepped me over the phone and sent along paperwork ahead of me so that, hopefully, they would have some semblance of what to do in my case.  I was pleasantly surprised at how the inside of the hospital differed from the outside.   The inside was clean and new.  The staff was smiley and helpful, cheerfully directing me to where I needed to go.  I got to the Maternity desk and found a nurse who sweetly directed me to the room that someone would do my interview in and asked me if I wanted something to drink.  "Water would be fine", I didn't know what else to ask for anyway.

I dark haired, well groomed nurse, about my age, announced herself and pulled the curtain back as she stated her name and sat down, promptly fluffing the papers and inspecting everything before she turned her eyes to me.  I sat blankly, wondering what she would say when she finally stopped her organizing.
She slowly read the information that my adoption counselor faxed over.  "Oh, you are going to give the baby up for adoption", she trailed off as she kept reading.  I hate that term, "give the baby up".  It sounds so much easier than it actually is and I wasn't giving a kitten away because I was moving into a new apartment, I was deciding the fate of a child!  Isn't there a better way of putting it than what most people would say?  I struggle with it still.  Sometimes I say, "processed for adoption" that just sounds so clerical.  I sometimes also say, "surrendered for adoption" but that sounds legal.  How do you state it in terms that people can understand the gravity but the love that was involved in the decision?  I tried to respond to confirm her realization but instead I heard myself gasp as the rushing heat of tears warmed cheeks.  My ears burned from embarrassment.  She made sympathetic faces as she reached over for tissues.  I didn't know what to say. I didn't owe her an explanation but I wanted to plead my case that I wasn't some aimless screw up that couldn't get her head on straight.  Instead, I rallied in silence as she patiently waited for me to compose.

Once we got over the adoption hump of the interview, it was a lot easier. The usual stuff, my medical history, the father's history.  "Will he be joining you?", I tried not to explode into laughter.  I did list his name as a potential visitor but with a caveat that if he showed up intoxicated that he'd need to be escorted out of the building and he would, under no circumstances, be allowed to be alone with the baby or leave my room with her.  I made her write it down.  I just couldn't underestimate the craziness of a raging, desperate alcoholic.