Selfless Love

Wow, what a WEEK I had last week! This post will give you the birth/adoption story details, but first I must brag. Little Man was ushered into the world via C-section at 10:10am on Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014. He weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and he is literally the most beautiful person/thing I have ever seen in my entire life. And no, I’m not just giving you my biased opinion, folks. Even the nurses and doctors were gushing over how unusually beautiful he was, “especially for a newborn”. His skin was perfect. He smiled on day one. He scored a 9 on the Apgar test. When I say he was perfect – he really WAS!

Okay. So M, D, & W got in around 9pm on Sunday the 29th. They came by the house on their way to the hotel and it was so great to see them. Over the next couple days we (“we” being my parents and I) got to spend time with them, and my parents got to meet their extended family (all of whom drove hours and hours) for the birth. Both sets of LM’s grandparents, D’s sister (who is also LM’s godmother), and M’s brother and wife all came down. I had met all those who came when I traveled to M & D’s house on spring break, but it was the first time my parents got to meet them. Everyone got along beautifully, and it felt as if we had all known each other forever. My family has gained an entire extended family because of this adoption, and I am eternally grateful for that.

Around 7:45 on the morning of July 2nd, my mom and I stopped by the hotel to pick up M who was waiting outside, bags in hand. We got to the hospital and my dad carried all of our hospital bags up the elevator and to the third floor (yes, there were multiple hospital bags; my mom, M, and I are all Type A personalities who like to be prepared). I had already pre-registered at Labor & Delivery, so a nurse led my mom and I past the waiting room to get checked into an observation room. Sadly M and my daddy had to sit in the waiting room for an hour or so until I got squared away. The nurse weighed me, got me changed into a hospital gown, had me pee in a cup – something I am royally sick of doing after peeing in a cup at EVERY doc appointment for months – and got the monitor strapped to my belly. I had the most adorable nurse, who unfortunately was brand new and did not quite have her IV insertion technique mastered. She collapsed a vein on my left hand, said “oops”, and then successfully got the IV inserted into my right hand, after which she profusely apologized. Bless her heart:) She asked me what kind of music I wanted to listen to while surgery was underway; music?! What?! This was a thrilling development! I requested classical music and for some reason she was impressed.

My C-section was scheduled for 10:45am, and at this point it was about 9:15 so we all thought we had at least an hour to spare. M and my dad eventually made it to the room I was in, and D showed up soon thereafter. We were all nervous, and I had this bad feeling that something would go wrong with my spinal block. I figured I was just being paranoid, but my gut feelings are hardly ever wrong, so I started praying that God would give me grace for the pain, just in case. My brother and his wife were ALMOST to the hospital when the nurse said, “Surprise! The doctor wants to take you back early.” Ready or not, the time had come.

My mom got suited up and followed the nurse and I into the operating room, which was cold and outfitted with fluorescent lighting that made me squint. The nurse sat me on the operating table, and my anesthesiologist gave me a local anesthesia shot to numb my back before inserting the spinal block. I had met with him in the observation room earlier that morning. When he asked if I had any medical issues he needed to know about, I told him that both my mom and I have a very strong resistance to any and all anesthesia/pain killers (and when I say “strong”, I mean I-have-to-get-quadruple-the-numbing-shots-in-my-gums-at-the-dentist-before-he-can-drill-without-me-feeling-it strong). As egotistical medical professionals often do, he dismissed my statement with a roll of his eyes. That was when I knew for a fact that I was in for a rough morning.

The anesthesiologist only used one local deadening shot – with no waiting time to allow it to take effect – before starting in with the spinal block. He ended up having to try and insert it THREE DIFFERENT TIMES before he got it right. Now, I do NOT cry over physical pain. I had my foot run over by a motorcycle a couple years ago, which resulted in three bones being broken/smashed in my foot. My only reaction was to yell like a madwoman at the motorist and keep on walking. This spinal block business was a whole different category of pain! It hurt so badly that I was sobbing by the time the anesthesiologist finally got it right. God bless my adorable nurse; she felt so bad for me. She stood in front of me, holding my shoulders and wiping my tears as he jabbed needles into my spinal nerves; a process that felt as if it took hours but probably in reality only lasted a maximum of 7-8 minutes. I glanced at my mom out of the corner of my eye, and I could tell she was miserable for me. Hey, at least it’s over now, right?

I went numb from the throat down, and – big surprise – anesthesiologist has erred again, giving me too MUCH anesthesia and making me so numb that I can’t swallow my own spit. I just kept telling myself “don’t panic, this too shall pass, it can’t last forever” while staring desperately into the eyes of my mother. Now, I am not one of those women who thinks the actual process of birth – be it vaginal delivery or C-section – is beautiful. I think the whole thing is pretty disgusting/torturous/awful, and for me personally it was a painful and traumatic experience. A blue curtain was put up so that I couldn’t see anything going on down there (um, can I get a hallelujah) and in a few minutes, I heard my unseen baby crying! My sweet little nurse came and held him to my face, and he stared directly into my eyes. His gaze took my breath away; I kissed his perfect nose and my mom took him down the hallway to meet his parents while the doc stitched me up.

A few minutes later I was wheeled into recovery, and I regained all feeling in my body about 10 minutes after leaving the operating room. My nurse was shocked but I just shook my head and said “I TOLD ya’ll I have a high tolerance for anesthesia!” She didn’t completely believe me so she said, “wiggle your toes and lift your feet”, which I did. After that she was convinced I had superpowers; a conviction I found quite endearing at the time because I felt less like Superwoman than I ever have. (Yes, there are days I wake up and feel like Superwoman thank you very much). Finally I was taken to my “C-section Suite”, which is really just fancy talk for “Labor & Delivery hospital room #9”.

After being wheeled into my new 2-day residence, I noticed four huge bouquets of flowers and balloons. I had one bouquet each from M & D’s new grandparents, one from my brother, his wife, and their sweet baby, and one from a close family friend. Earlier this year, M & D sent me my first bouquet ever of beautiful English roses as a “congratulations” present for finishing up my classes and making A’s this semester. A week later, a close friend of mine sent me more roses “just because”; just because he is awesome and knows about the pregnancy and adoption. While admiring these heartfelt gifts from my biological and adoptive family, I thought about all the ex boyfriends and old relationships I had racked up over the years. Not once had any of them bought/sent me flowers. I decided that from now on, a man better buy me flowers, open the door, pay the tab, pull out my chair, and stay sober on the first date. Time to raise standards and quit dating losers. (It’s funny the things one considers while in a morphine-induced haze).

I was desperate to see and hold my beautiful baby, but nobody brought him to me. Finally I pressed the “Call Nurse” button on my hospital bed and politely demanded someone “bring me my baby IMMEDIATELY because it’s been 2 and a half HOURS, please?!” And they did. And as I held him, I fell in love – really, truly, in love – for the first time in my entire life. I knew I would do anything to give this baby the best life possible, even at my own expense. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’ve never seen anything or anyone more beautiful in my life. I thanked God that I did not abort him. I thanked God that I did not miscarry. I thanked God that He had provided such an amazing family for LM. I even thanked God that I made the foolish decision to hook up with LM’s biological father one far-away night last October. And I desperately prayed that God would have mercy on me and hold my emotions in His hands when the time came to hand LM over to his parents.

As always, my Jesus refused to fail me. Even after everything wrong I have done, said, thought, etc., He still loved me enough to give me supernatural grace and peace and comfort in this situation. This situation that I brought upon myself by deciding to go against what I know is right and enter into sin. This foolish decision to satisfy my own selfish desires and grieve His heart – the Heart of the Lover of my soul – knowingly. He still came through and continues to come through for me every second of every day. Regardless of my actions, He loves me.  Not because of who I am, but because of who HE is.

THAT, my friend, is True Love.

I had my mom and M stay the nights and days with me at the hospital. M would feed, change, and take care of LM, and my mom would feed, change, and take care of me:) I signed my Parental Termination of Rights papers the day LM was born, and the countdown was officially on (after signing the papers, I legally had a five-day time period to change my mind and keep LM). After what felt like the longest hospital stay of my life, it was finally discharge time. LM was circumcised early on the morning of July 4th, and we were both discharged a few hours later. While I knew M & D would be staying at least another week to finalize the adoption, I also knew that this was where LM and I parted ways.

M & D had told me multiple times that they would bring LM to see me every day – for however long I needed to see him – after discharge. But for me personally, leaving the hospital was my final test. I knew that if I could relinquish him upon leaving, I would be able to go through with his adoption. My wonderful CW (caseworker from the adoption agency) has been there for my parents, my adoptive family, and me every step of the way, and this day was no exception; she made sure everybody cleared the room except for Little Man and me.

Once I was alone with him, all the tears and emotions I had been holding inside and hiding for everyone’s sake came out. I started sobbing. I put my head down to LM’s face and kept saying, “I love you, Jesus loves you, I love you so much. I love you so much” over and over and over. Just looking at him put me in complete awe. I fall in love all over again every time I see him. He is absolutely perfect. Absolutely. He stared up at me, wrapped his tiny fingers around my pinkie, and listened intently to my desperate words. About 20 minutes later, Jesus brought peace to my heart and I knew it was time. My mom and CW had texted and offered to come walk me out to the waiting room, but I was determined to walk out by myself, holding LM.

I called the nurse, who handed me a Kleenex and looked at me sympathetically, saying, “It’s not too late to change your mind, you know. You can still keep your baby. Everyone will understand.” I smiled at her through my tears and said, “Thank you, but this isn’t my baby to raise. I dedicated him to God months ago. I want him to have the best life possible and only those amazing parents out there can give it to him.” She just shook her head and said, “Okay, I’ll show you how to get to the waiting room.” I don’t know why, but as soon as I saw M & D in the waiting room with LM’s car seat, I burst into tears again. I couldn’t help it. I had initially planned to hand LM directly to M, but I just couldn’t at that moment. I wish I had had the strength to do so. I could barely breathe. I kissed his precious face and handed him over to my mom, who gently placed him in M’s arms.

My test was over. I had passed. I officially loved my baby enough to let him go.

I plan to write another post about the week that followed LM’s birth, but this current post has sapped enough emotional energy from me for one day. I will skip ahead to 4:30pm Monday, July 7th: the time and date that my five days were legally up. I was in my mom’s dressing room doing my makeup when she came upstairs to see me. She said, “It’s almost 4:30! I didn’t want you to be alone when ‘it’ happened.” (This is just one example of why I have the best mother in the world). At 4:32, I texted M & D and reminded them that my five days were up. I added little firework explosion emoticons to emphasize the significance of my words:)

LM’s adoption was finalized the very next afternoon, and after a lovely dinner with M, D, my mom, and LM that evening, I knew the time had come. It was time for M, D, & LM – the one and only love of my life – to head home the next morning. My mom and I arrived at the hotel around 9am, where we proceeded to spend about an hour with M, D, and LM before they headed home. I cried a little when I told him goodbye for the second time, but in my heart I was happy.

A lot of women who have gone through this experience talk about being completely devastated; they feel they have experienced a profound loss and are deeply mourning it. I honestly do not feel that way. I feel as though I gained an entire family, a best friend in M, a stronger relationship with my Jesus, and a son in LM. I feel overwhelming relief that God made me strong enough to give LM everything he deserves in life. God has given me peace, grace, and supernatural joy regarding my precious baby. I leave you – for now – with a quote:

“We can hug our hurts and make a shrine out of our sorrows, or we can offer them to God as a sacrifice of praise. The choice is ours.” ~Richard Exley

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