Saturday, May 19, 2012

And Then There Was Me

I lay in my bed in the recovery room staring in dismay at my feet.  "Mind over matter," I thought.  They still wouldn't budge.  When I decided that my brain couldn't over ride my epidural I glazed over, peering at the foot at the bed.  No one.  I could hear faint voices of what I reasoned was recovery room nurses, but other than that and for the first time in nine months, I was utterly alone.  That stark realization struck me in the face. 

My mind drifted to the minutes after Carli, my first daughter, was born.  I had my husband by my side and a flutter of nurses crowding around me, offering congratulations and cooing over my newborn baby.  I thought of the glowing love I had for Carli the second I laid eyes on her.  As I gazed down at my precious child I remember the feeling like I could never let her go. I kissed her sweet head and nuzzled my little girl. Sheer bliss.

I felt a little jealous about being down the basement of the hospital with no windows while Brett and Kayla held Alex in her first minutes. As I lay in silence, they had the attention of the maternity floor, my family, their family and her. It is such a bummer to feel like you are missing your own party.

I came around to my feet again.  They were my only company.  Eventually a nurse came by and took my vital signs, asked how I felt and offered me pain medication.  I readily accepted.  I wasn't in much pain but I wanted to be a little zoned out for when I went upstairs. I didn't mind something taking the edge off of the emotions.  I swallowed and waited for the comfort of sedation.  I could go upstairs when I could move my feet.  I focused and tried for almost 45 minutes until they agreed to do what I said. 

At last an orderly came to take me upstairs.  I was free of this prison of solitude and I could again join in on the celebration.  I wanted to see her.  I only got a glimpse of her in the OR.  Would she look like Carli?  Me?  Did my mom get to hold her yet?  I thought of more questions while the anxiety of seeing everyone rose into my chest with every ding on the elevator.

I was backed into a large maternity room with a familiar buzz of excitement.  I was now a little sleepy from the pills and the tiredness of an operation.  With everything going on, it was easy to forget that I just had surgery.  My daughter, Carli, met my bedside to see her groggy mom attached to wires and tubes. She started crying.  As she went on she started to panic.  She needed to know that I was okay.  She ran around the bed, back and forth, trying to get to me as I tried to scold her over the noise of everyone in the room, "Carli don't pull that!"  In my exasperation over trying to both protect myself from further injury and fruitless in attempting to soothe my toddler, I yelled out to my mother. "What is she doing here!?"  We had agreed not to bring her to the hospital this day.  I knew this would be confusing for her and she was to leave her with my friend, Angel.  My mother gave an explanation but I think she needed Carli there to help her get through this.  I had to give her that much. This was hard.  I relented and calmed down to explain to Carli to be careful with Mama.  We brought her attention back to the baby, which she wanted little to do with.  Her concerns were for me.  I pained that she had to suffer because of me. 

So powerful to realize that a bad decision made in private can become not only so public but have the ability to hurt a multitude people.  Sin never happens in a vacuum.  After a calm came over the room, I looked over to the corner side of the room to see Brett calmly holding a sweet, sleeping baby dressed in a cute 'yellow duckie' sleeper while his wife quietly smiled and looked on.  A slice of Heaven fell on two wonderful people.  God can do amazing things with sin that is given to Him to make beautiful. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthmother's Day?

A swirl of emails and phone calls, my life is abuzz with my prospective future.   A PR firm interviewed me for promotion of my story.  The anticipation that I might be getting "that call" to say a media outlet would like to bring it forth to the public is what I have dreamed of since I started this journey.  To make Adoption as easy a discussion as any other in the unplanned pregnancy positions, that is my goal.  I am a bit desensitized to the jargon these days.  Adoption is a topic I routinely discuss.

"Why do they want to get your story out?", one asked me as I was heralding what was new in my life.  "It's Birthmother's Day on the Saturday before Mother's Day", I replied with a bit of an excited tweek as if I were sharing a secret.   As a contortion of confusion came to his face, his next question was, "They celebrate that?" 

I stumbled a bit in my posturing but trying to maintain a poker face in response to the last remark, I offered up an affirmative with a weak smile.  I know why he said what he did and it was by no means an insult or trying to demean what I'd been through. The fact of the matter is, the Birthmother is largely closeted in the discussions of Adoption with most agencies and ministries firmly founded on the mantra of Child and Adoptive Family.  There is nothing wrong with that.  I do find it comical though that most would prefer to think of the child just materializing into the arms of the adoption counselor to dispatch to the adoptive family like these children are harvested out of a parentless cabbage patch.

While others on Sunday will get flowers, cards and spa gift certificates, the mother who has so lovingly and purposefully chosen for her child that a life apart from her's would be best,  Mother's Day can be a tearful reminder of her covenant with her adoptive family.  How does one honor the sacrifice but also give room for the grieving that takes place so often on this weekend?  Personally, I think a Metal of Valor would be grand but no one gives those out to us.  Our awards can't be seen and our stories, for the most part, are never even heard outside of a close knit circle of those with the inside information.  That doesn't make them less valid. 

If one seeks to be understood, one must seek to understand.  Why is the Birthmother so hush, hush?  Why wouldn't a person who, aside from dying, made the ultimate sacrifice be out there for others to see?  Doesn't being a good mom mean we make the best choices for our children no matter what the cost is to us?  When someone does something extraordinary, don't people love to share it that others may benefit? 

I counted the costs in my decision and decided that Adoption was the most loving thing that I could do for everyone involved.  I haven't regretted my choice.  I have a great relationship with Alex's adoptive parents and that is just icing on my cake for Birthmother's Day.  She will live a life in love from her adoptive parents and her birth family.  How can that not be worth a celebration?