Before I share this story I want to say a few things. First, this is MY perspective on Spear's birth. I want to be honest and open and real about the emotions felt during it all. Some of what I felt may not be "adoption pc" and ya know what? That's okay. Throughout this process I have tried my best to find the balance of respecting all sides of this experience, using proper terminology to my best ability, and also staying true to myself.
I also want to say to Spear...if you are reading this I want you to know I LOVE YOU. I want you to understand that the love I poured into your birth mother during our wait for you was an extension of the love I have for you now. My focus on her wasn't a lack of focus on you or lack of concern about you or lack of joy about your birth. I hope you understand that I had to guard my heart during the time from your delivery until you were officially ours. I know it's easy to sit here and look at you right now and think I was silly for guarding it...but I can also think about what I'd be feeling if you weren't here right now. I'm thankful I did keep that wall up the best I could during that tender time.
I want this to be a true representation of your birth story and I hope I do it justice for you, for Mama E and for myself. I love you so much. I am so honored that I was able to be there the moment you took your first breath and that I have the amazing opportunity to be here for all the rest of the big moments of your life. Thank you for being my son.
The time of waiting between when we got matched with Mama E was very, very difficult. On the one hand I was SO excited to meet Spear but on the other I was afraid to get too excited because I knew there was a possibility that he wouldn't end up in our arms at the end of things.
Originally when we were matched we were told the due date of November 16th. In Mid-October Mama E had her first legit dr appointment and was told the due date was December 12th. Yes. Over a MONTH difference. Everything I've read about adoption says to never trust the due date. So we kept on planning for an early November baby (assuming she'd deliver earlier than the Nov 16th due date as typically adoption birth situations end up being early deliveries).
Early November passed us by. Then her original due date passed. Then we were creeping up on December. I know it's "only a month" but those of you who have been pregnant can relate. Every DAY that goes by as you near your due date is SO hard. You are just SO READY to deliver and meet your baby! This wait? Was even harder than that. I was a basket case of emotions. I was all over the place.
I have found I feel similar with pregnancy too. I get SO anxious near my due date and just READY and frustrated as time goes on. I emotionally eat and I am super hormonal. All those same things applied this time around, even though there wasn't a baby in my belly. After Thanksgiving I made my peace. I found all the positives I could about things taking longer (a big one was that it allowed me SO much quality time with Mama E to really form such a great bond with her at all of her appointments). I accepted the fact that we'd have a December baby and actually shifted gears and hoped he'd hold off until that 12/12 due date. I liked that we'd be able to celebrate Britt's birthday (Dec 6th) prior to his birth and that maybe we'd even have a Florida Christmas!
Much like with pregnancy...as soon as I made my peace with it taking longer than I'd hoped...delivery time came :)
On Tuesday November 28th I went to Jacksonville for Mama E's 38 week appointment. By that point we were in a good grove with things. She had both her NST and we saw the provider at that visit. The provider checked her and she was 3 cm dilated and 50 percent effaced. I knew well enough that it could mean ANYTHING. It could mean baby soon or baby in several weeks.
I went back and checked and:
- With Kye at 38 weeks I was 1 cm dilated and 90 percent effaced. I stayed the same at the next check up and went into labor when I left the 39 week check
- With Britt I was 3 cm dilated and 80 percent effaced. She wasn't born for another week and 4 days
- With Tess I was 3 cm and 60 percent effaced and she came 1 week and 6 days later.
Based on all of my prior personal experience (and Mama E not knowing ANY of hers) I figured she'd go to her due date.
However, Mama E felt confident that it was her last appointment (just goes to show that pregnant women have some mega intuition!). When we went to schedule her next appointment they couldn't get her in until her due date which is pretty ridiculous to tell a 38 week pregnant woman you'll see her at 40 weeks!
We also had lunch together before I headed home and maybe my intuition felt like it was possibly our last day together. I felt VERY emotional. Mama E and I had formed a close bond and I wanted to tell her how much she means to me. I don't do well sharing emotions verbally (hello writing is where I express myself best!) but I knew I needed to say the words out loud to her. I shared with her some about my family and my less than ideal relationship with my mom. I told her that I truly do love her. That she is MY family and that she always will be. I cried. I'm thankful we had that last visit and that last day and that special time together. God's timing in all things is perfect.
The night before Spear was born (Thursday November 30th) Britt had her last day of speech, I went grocery shopping (all food that ended up mostly spoiled ha!), and I went to see a movie with Katie. I got home late and seriously debated skipping a shower but I'd been hardcore about showering every single night "just in case" so I went ahead and showered (so glad I did!). Katie even commented on how relaxed I was and how at peace I was with everything. I was def feeling the best I'd felt in the waiting process at this point!
My biggest concern leading up to delivery was that I'd miss Mama E's call. Every time I talked to her about it I made sure to emphasize to call me. I have to have my phone on "do not disturb" at night because I receive so many text messages and I had her number set to come through even if my phone was on "do not disturb."
My alarm was set for 6:20. Every morning since our match I had a routine. My alarm would go off at 6:20...I'd check my phone in case Mama E had text me in the night, then I'd hit snooze and sleep another 10 min before getting up to get ready for the day.
Well. Sure enough I woke up at my regular 6:20 and had a text from 3:42 AM from Mama E!!! Y'all I FREAKED. I zero percent even read what the text said. I just BOLTED out of bed and immediately called Mrs. Charlotte to head to my house. I told her "JUST COME, JUST COME" because all I saw was the time of the text and I was panicking that we might have already missed the birth.
My adrenaline kicked into overdrive and I rushed around getting ready while trying to call Zach. He had gone to play basketball that morning and was not answering his phone. I probably called 50 times easily. Just over and over kept calling while I got ready.
I was SO thankful we hadn't missed anything...yet. But I knew this being her fifth delivery that it could go SUPER fast! A big thing the lawyer said was to just let Mama E know we were coming. Don't tell her things that might make her nervous (like the fact that I couldn't get ahold of my husband or that my childcare wasn't there yet or that we weren't anywhere close to actually heading that way). Just reassure her and do our best to get there FAST.
I about CRIED when I saw that she was 5 cm. It was 6:45 AM and we still hadn't left the house yet. When the big kids woke up to get ready for school I told them the news :) Zach and Mrs Charlotte ended up getting to the house around 7ish and we left as fast as we possibly could. I was FREAKING OUT that we'd miss it. I was nervous for Mama E and worried how she was feeling and if she had someone with her or not. I was just filled with adrenaline. Joy, Fear, Excitement, Nerves. ALL of it at once.
When pregnant you plan and plan how delivery will go but know deep down that you aren't really in control of any of it. With this delivery? I didn't plan much at all. I knew I was ZERO percent in control of a single thing so I really didn't have any hopes or mental plans made. My goal was just to make it in time.
We left the house at 7:15 and we hauled butt!
We called a friend in law enforcement to ask if there is a protocol when you're rushing to the hospital to see your baby be born. I mean we've all seen on movies where people get police escorts so ya never know, right? ;) They advised us to call the dispatch and just let them know the situation. We gave dispatch our car info and they sent the word out just to let others know if they saw us speeding they at least knew why. It didn't mean we wouldn't get pulled over...but it might help avoid it!
Our plan was always for me to jump in my car and race to Jacksonville. I honestly didn't think she'd go into labor when Zach was actually home and able to come down with me! I'm SO thankful he was there and was able to do the driving. He's a very safe, but aggressive, driver and we made it from our house to the hospital in Jacksonville in an hour and 15 minutes! haha!!!
In the weeks leading up to delivery Mama E discussed with the lawyer what she wanted in her birth plan and then the lawyer discussed those desires with us. Since Mama E and I did develop such a great bond, we also talked about some elements together. The only real plan was that she wanted me in the room with her FOR SURE and she said Zach could be in there too "if he wanted." I wasn't sure if that meant she wanted him there but didn't want him to feel like he had to be or if it meant she didn't really want him there but was trying to be polite. The lawyer said if she didn't want him there, she would have said it. So we rolled with that and made the decision that if we made it in time that Zach would be in the delivery room with us.
Other than that, we had no idea what would be actually happening during delivery. I am a super type-a planner person so this whole "go with the flow" thing was very new to me. My main focus was Mama E. It had been during all the appointments and it would continue to be during the delivery experience. Spear wasn't tangible for me yet. I couldn't feel attached to him when he wasn't MINE. He was something that felt far away. A hope, a possibility. But Mama E? She was the reality. A person who wanted (I dare even say needed) me. All of my thoughts and actions went into being there for her.
It's a HUGE honor to be asked to be in the delivery room with anyone. Let alone with the woman who chose you to raise her child. It is not "the norm" in adoption. Especially for the man to be in there too. I am forever grateful to Mama E for allowing us to be part of such an intimate, personal experience. To be able to say that we were with Spear right from the start is so special and meaningful to us. I know it had to add an extra level of toughness to an already tough time for Mama E and it just shows what a truly selfless, thoughtful person she is that she wanted us there with her.
I realized in the elevator ride up that we totally failed at getting a "last pic as a family of 5" before we left the house that morning but we did get a last pic of us before our last baby was born ;)
When we walked in the room Mama E couldn't believe how fast we made it (and she LOVED the whole us calling the dispatch story ha!). Her mom had dropped her off that morning so she was by herself. I was SO thankful we made in time and were able to be there for her. She was in high spirits and was really glad we had gotten there in time.
It's such a delicate balance. I'm so thankful that Mama E and I are alike in our personalities. We both share very openly and sometimes put our foot in our mouths. But both being those type of people neither of us ever got offended by the other or had any reservations about sharing our hearts with each other. We are truly kindred spirits and I think it's a big thing that made our connection so instant and so strong. We are just naturally comfortable with each other.
Mama E and I formed a great bond and had what I'd considerer to be a close relationship. But no matter how close you may be to the expectant mother you're matched with...there is still a level of uncomfortableness. How could there not be? Zach and I were there awaiting a moment of JOY. To meet our son. Mama E was there waiting for a moment of sadness. To deliver a baby she wouldn't be raising.
In our time of being matched Mama E talked to me a good bit about her fears in the adoption process. Her biggest one? Delivery. She told me multiple times that she knew it'd be so, so, so hard. She was scared that once she saw this baby that all of her plans for placing him for adoption would fade away. She told me multiple times that she's a mother. She knows that feeling and that moment of holding your baby for the first time and the love you feel. She couldn't even think about it because she couldn't fathom seeing him, holding him, and then letting him go. She was nervous and scared about those emotions.
Trust me. So was I.
I reminded her multiple times that even though she felt strongly that this was the right decision for her and the baby it didn't mean it would be easy. Even "right" things can still be hard. I never tried to brush off her feelings or minimize them. Because yall. DUH. It was going to be THE hardest thing she's probably ever done. I just always reminded her that I'd be there with her and that she was strong and that it was okay to be nervous. That Zach and I were there to support her and follow her lead and to just let us know what she needed, when. That she didn't have to make ANY concrete decisions on anything and we could just see how things went as the time came.
In so many ways I feel like the Lord prepared Zach and I for adoption. We're people people. We're both pretty good at reading others and do our best to make them feel comfortable. It was a tough situation. Uncomfortable for all of us, but we both jumped in with trying to make sure Mama E was as comfortable as she could be and kept things as light as possible too.
We talked a lot about how his birthday was December 1st! (sidenote but he was born at 38 weeks and 4 days!) A December baby! Mama E had been SO worried that he'd be born on Britt's birthday. It was really sweet that she talked about it all the time and it was something she was so thankful for when we knew they wouldn't be the same day. Honestly, I think she was more concerned about them sharing a birthday than I was! Even Britt said she was fine with it if it happened ;) It was SO neat when we realized that my birthday is November 1st, Spears was going to be December 1st and Mama E's is March 1st!!! How awesome is that?!?! Just another little "God thing" that pointed to all of this being the perfect fit :)
Zach is all about some food so he got us some grub. We met the nurse who took care of Mama E and she was AWESOME (Abagail was her name, I've always been blessed with A-MAZING nurses for the delivery of my children and this time was no different!). Mama E was hungry and it was so funny how she was sneaking eating some snacks she had in her bag. We asked if it's BAD to eat and the nurses just said that often times it can make the mother vomit. Mama E was down for that risk so sneaking food became kind of our "thing" that morning and was a great way to lighten the mood.
Coffee was a MUST have for us!
Pretty awesome to be chilling and eating during delivery ;)
I did my best to keep an update going on my IG stories!
We were all pretty surprised that Mama E hadn't already had him. Two of her babies she didn't make it to the hospital in time for the epidural. I honestly don't think she was in active labor when she got to the hospital. She'd been really nervous about not making it in time for the epidural AND in time for us to get there and I think she may have jumped the gun and gone in before she needed to? Either that OR I also think that maybe all the emotions made her stall in her labor. I know she was so nervous about delivery and I think maybe it just made her body stop for a bit?
The nurse was SUPER reassuring and so sweet. She knew our situation and was VERY sensitive both towards us and Mama E. It was awkward when other staff would come in who didn't know. They'd ask things that I knew bothered Mama E. Innocent questions like "is this your first?" "do you have a name?" Sometimes she'd tell them who we were and other times she'd just roll with their questions. It never bothered me either way she handled it. I let people know I was her friend. At all her dr appointments I was always "her friend." I never, ever said "I'm the adoptive mother." As at that point in the process my job and duty was simply to be her friend. Be there for her. The whole adoptive mom part wouldn't come until later. When people came in and asked those types of questions, my heart hurt for Mama E. I know it was uncomfortable for her.
It was neat being able to actually LOOK around the delivery room. I got to check out the charts they use to decide the apgar score and see little details that I've never been able to pay attention to because, duh labor pains.
They came in to do the epidural which was educational for me because I've never had one! Zach and I left to go to the car and get some things. I don't do needles and I did NOT wanna be in there for that and we also thought it'd be good to give Mama E some space for a bit. Part of me was nervous that maybe us being there was stressing her out? She was SO sweet about it all and never asked us to leave but I also wanted to make sure she had some space in case she wanted it.
They had a great little waiting area we could sit in and have privacy.
Of course scrolling and seeing THIS article was pretty awful timing!!!!
We weren't gone very long and they came and got us and told us she was ready for us to come back in (which was a good sign to me of her wanting us in there since she asked them to come get us!). I asked the nurse privately if she felt like we were okay being in there or if we could be bothering Mama E or messing up the process in some way and she was SUPER reassuring and said she could tell Mama E liked us being in there and that we were doing everything right :)
All of my labors have been fast paced. I've never had a labor stall or slow down. Neither had Mama E until that day! She spent majority of the time sleeping. The nurses joked that they'd have to wake her up to tell her to push ;) She had been up early that morning with labor pains so I was thankful she was able to get her rest and I think it helped her emotionally too to just sleep. It made things easier on us as well as we didn't have to keep trying to think up conversation and such to have to keep things light hearted and easy going. There's only so much small talk you can do during such a HUGE day!
Zach and I mostly stayed quiet. We didn't want to wake her. I was SUPER proud of myself for remembering to grab all of my bills that morning. All of my kids have been born around the 1st of the month (Tess the 31st, Britt the 6th and Kye the 4th) so I've dealt with late bills and didn't want to be stressing about that. So I paid as many as I could while Mama E slept and Zach watched sports on his phone ;)
By 1:00 she'd been in labor for 8 1/2 hours if you count it from when she first text me at 3:30. I have no clue how long she was up prior to that so she'd had a LONG day of labor for sure. UF Shands is a learning hospital which meant a lot of people came in and out. I'm thankful Mama E opted NOT to allow students in the room while delivering. I have heard when you allow for that it can end up being a TON of people and I think it would have only added to the high emotions at that time and up the chances of people saying possibly insensitive things regarding our unique situation.
We met the dr who planned on delivering and our favorite nurse let us know that she was off at 7 and that she felt confident we'd have a baby by then :) Mama E was staying at 5 cm. No progress at all. They went ahead and broke her water and started pitocin in hopes of getting things rolling. Her water break didn't go super smoothly as anytime she shifted she'd have huge gushes of her water again. It was very uncomfortable for her and the nurse had to keep completely changing all the dressings. I did feel like Mama E was embarrassed about all of that especially with Zach being in the room but we tried not to pay it any attention. It was really the only "icky" part of delivery for her at all and the only time I did feel like she felt embarrassed by what was taking place. I'm thankful Zach and I are seasoned vets with labor and delivery as stuff like that doesn't phase us at all!
I did start to get nervous about her lack of progress. I know at our hospital your "clock" doesn't start ticking until your water breaks so if she was in Valdosta she'd have 24 hours to deliver after it was broken at around 12:30. I didn't know their policies there and while Mama E slept I did talk to the nurse a bit about all of that. She said there was no real time limit and that they didn't see anything to be concerned about regarding labor happening that day!
More food sneaking ;) The issue with Jax is that it's this huge city, right? But yet NO FOOD. The only thing nearby was McDonalds and the service, Zach said, was awful!
And yes the nurses brought us blankets because Mama E wanted that AC on the lowest it would go and we were freezing ha!
Mama E mostly slept. But when she was awake, she was getting increasingly frustrated. Who can blame her? She was stuck in a bed without progressing and was in SUCH an emotional situation. To me, it just defined this process even more. Every step of the way to this baby has been about WAITING. I tried to stay patient and calm and just remember that the faith is in the wait. It was just another wait among many waits to get us to him. I also knew that THIS particular wait was really one that Mama E had to face. I'm not sure WHY it all took so long. Many waits in life we never know the real reason behind them. But for some reason it all had to happen the exact way it did. Maybe she needed that time to mentally prepare for the days ahead. Maybe she needed it to feel more comfortable with us. Maybe she needed that rest as the days to come ended up not being super restful for her. Who knows the reason but those minutes felt like hours and the hours felt like days.
While she slept I talked to the nurse and expressed just how tough all this was for Mama E and how I just wanted them to do everything they could to speed things up for her. I tried my best to advocate for her in every way I could. Another benefit of our natural friendship was that I learned through the appointments that Mama E was totally okay with me stepping up and asking questions or pushing to make sure she was given the best care possible. I had her back and I think she appreciated knowing that and seeing me put it in action as needed. The nurse was awesome about staying SUPER positive and cheerful and upbeat but not in a fake way. She's truly just a genuine, kind person and we all felt her joyful spirit and it helped us all. Mama E mentioned it several times how much it helped having her there! I believe God provided that sweet nurse for us all that day as a blessing from Him! She kept upping the pitocin every time she came in.
I went to take a little break and check in with Mrs Charlotte. She had all of our kids all day and was celebrating Britt's birthday with the family that evening (we'd already had it planned and it was silly to cancel it even though Zach and I weren't there). It was good to hear that the kids were well and to say hey to them! Bless their hearts they were SO EXCITED! She said they came running off the bus that afternoon asking for news and she didn't have anything to tell him. I'm thankful they had fun things to focus on while we waited to have news for them.
Tried to do some reading :)
As I scrolled Facebook I saw that my Aunt Cheryl posted a picture of my Uncle Spear. One of their daughters commented and I wanted to save it. How neat that on the same day OUR Spear was being born to have this post happen to be posted :) It made me think a lot about Uncle Spear and brought me into a moment of "oh my gosh this is really about to happen" ;)
Once I read that post Mama E kinda woke up and started watching TV. The nurse was having her switch positions every 30 minutes and use this weird peanut ball thing between her legs to help get things rolling. I decided at that point to stop thinking about delivery. Stop focusing on the delay and asking Mama E questions related to it. And instead just sit and talk to my friend.
I scooted my chair right beside her bed and we watched tv together and just talked. We talked about the Matt Lauer scandal and then a portion of the news talked about how the man who started the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had died. I started telling her about Uncle Spear (who also had ALS) and about the man he was and why we wanted to name this child after him. Zach and I both just talked to Mama E like we would as if we were at our home watching tv together.
I'm not sure if it's because she wasn't focused on the labor. Or if it's that she was sitting upright during that time period. Or if it was something about the three of us just talking or maybe even a "God thing" related to our conversation being about Uncle Spear. Or maybe it was just all the right stuff at the right moment...but Mama E said "Yup. It's time. This baby is coming."
Legit. That calmly. As if she was talking about the weather haha!
The nurse came in (she had been visiting every 30 minutes) and she said she was going to wait another 30 minutes to check her and I said "ummm I don't think you should wait. She said it's time and I believe her!" So she checked and was SHOCKED. Because she'd just checked her less than an hour prior and she was at 5 cm...she didn't tell us how far she was but just said "let me get another nurse!" Mama E said she could feel him coming and that she knew it was time.
(sidenote but I had a special cup at each delivery and I love that it's been a different cup each time!)
By 5:20 another nurse had come in and checked and agreed that she was complete and that it was TIME FOR BABY! Mama E went from being at 5 cm for like 13 hours to being 10 cm in under an hour. No in-between! C-RAZY!
Even though it was such a long day...the actual delivery was like a blur. Mama E was SO CHILL and SO CALM that it was like "is this for real happening?" I still laugh thinking about us sitting there and her just super calmly saying "Yup. This baby is coming. It's time" Like she was announcing she had to pee or something! It was surreal to have been in that room all day long and for everything to suddenly shift gears. It had been such a low-key relaxing day that it made the actual labor feel pretty chill too. I'm sure a lot of that is because Mama E was so calm!
Being the one watching the labor was such an incredible experience. When you are living it you can't really comprehend everything going on around you. I NEVER realized how it's like 99 percent the nurse who delivers the baby and the dr just legit comes in and catches it!
Zach and I stood in the area we'd been sitting all day and just got beside her. I didn't want to say much or bother Mama E. I debated holding her hand or touching her but honestly when I give birth I don't like people touching me. And I thought this was something she needed to do on her own. She never expressed that, it's just something I felt and I think I felt right and made the right call.
Zach and I both stayed up by her head and would say things like "you're doing awesome!" "you've got this!" Etc. Just small encouraging words! The nurse was great and Mama E was AMAZING. She was focused and determined and was still very quiet during it all. No loud yelling or crying or cussing or anything. Just pure focus.
Mama E had a couple pushes then the nurse said to get the dr. Again, it SHOCKED me how long they wait for a dang dr!!! The nurse told us earlier that day that she did delivered her first baby over Thanksgiving, I was starting to think she might deliver her second!!!
A good bit of people came in when the dr did as well as right after her. I didn't even catch the drs name but OMG she was a BUTTHOLE. I guess a different dr was supposed to come in but didn't get there fast enough and she came in just a minute or two after the dr and the dr was like "well you were too late." In this tone like she was SUPER annoyed about having to deliver this child. At least we had an amazing nurse, who cares that the dr we saw for a few minutes was a jerk right? The person we had ALL day was awesome and that's what matters most!
It was neat to see how quickly everything takes place. Raising the table, laying out all the tools. How fast they get dressed and ready. It's all so quick!
When I'm in labor it all feels like time stops. You can't tell how long it's been at all. Those pushes and the time between them feel like an eternity. It didn't feel any faster being the one watching rather than living it. I still can't believe that from the time the nurse said to get the dr until the time Spear was born was only 7 minutes total. And that the dr was legit only in the room for 2 minutes prior to his delivery (notice clock behind her here!).
While Zach stayed back, I kept inching more and more forward. I didn't want like a full view of everything, but I could see when his head started to come out and it was SO COOL. I had a nice side view, nothing intimate but a great view of that baby! It was one of the most beautiful, amazing experiences. I'm pretty envious of Zach that he's gotten to do that 4 times now. So. Awesome. I've had friends joke that I'll want a side job of being a doula after being there for Mama E's delivery experience and they aren't far off base. All the crazy personal emotions aside, I loved it!
It was very hard to watch her in that pain and see her pushing. I just wished so bad I could help her and just wanted it over quickly for her. Which thankfully it was VERY quick :)
Mama E pushed less than 5 times total before he was out. And she didn't take long breaks in-between and she had AWESOME strong pushes. I know it's because she's done it so many times before (this was delivery #5 for her). I know by the time I delivered Tess I KNEW what to do and felt confident with what I was doing! Mama E was very much that same way.
I was able to see his head and then see as he came into the world. 5:27 he made his debut! (fun side note his birthday is 5 days before Britt's and 7 minutes after she was born!) He didn't cry at first which is always scary for a second. I'm sure we all held our breathes but then we heard that nice loud cry! The dr said didn't say "it's a boy!" which was annoying (even more so annoying was that when the dr went to leave and sign some paperwork she had to ASK if it was a boy or girl. Are you freakin kidding?) but the first thing she said when he was born was "who is cutting the cord?"
Cutting the cord was something I'd been hoping I'd be able to do. As I mentioned earlier, Mama E didn't discuss every detail of delivery or have a hardcore "set in stone" plan for how things would happen. So when the dr asked I just said "Mama E, is it okay if I do it?" She said yes!
First view of this precious gift!!!
The cord was very short (no clue if that matters for anything?) so I had to be very close to make the cut. And no, they didn't delay cutting it or anything like that. As I mentioned before, I didn't talk ANY specifics of ANYTHING related to delivery or his birth or any of my opinions or thoughts or desires. We rolled with things as they came and just tried to be mindful first and foremost of Mama E and her feelings and needs! Sure, I think there are many benefits to not cutting the cord right away but in the big scheme of things little details like that just aren't important. I tried to always keep the perspective that this is HER baby. Not ours. Therefore any calls related to him weren't ours to make unless SHE asked us to make them.
Cutting the cord was pretty surreal! Zach and the dr said I did good ;) It was so quick I didn't think much about it and just tried to do it "right." The dr held a section and told me to cut between that area so I did it!
We also didn't discuss photos prior to delivery but I told Zach to just SNAP LIKE CRAZY when/if I got to cut the cord haha He did good ;) Angles were even great in that nothing private is showing and I could easily crop to keep Mama E's privacy ;)
My first thoughts on seeing him were how BIG he was, how much hair he had, and his HUGE lips! Mama E has beautiful lips and I love that he inherited those from her ;)
A hard emotional moment for me was that I cut that cord and then the dr IMMEDIATELY put him on Mama E's belly. In that moment of seeing him delivered and cutting the cord it was easy to think all those mommy thoughts of "he's here! he's perfect!" and just feel that joy and excitement take over. It was a reality check when the dr placed him on his mother's chest. I'm not his biological mother. I didn't give him life. All I did was stand there and then cut the cord that attached him to his biological mother. I physically separated them. The symbolism of that moment wasn't lost on me. I knew in a few days another cord would be cut and another separation from his biological mother would take place, just as permanent as this cut was. They'd forever be apart.
When Mama E and I had talked about delivery her most feared moment was holding him after birth. At one point she said she wanted to hold him but then she'd waver and say she wanted me to hold him right away. I didn't know what would actually happen in that moment when the time came. I was prepared for whatever Mama E desired at that time. And that's what I told her throughout the entire process. Every decision was HERS to make and she didn't HAVE to set a single thing in stone.
Honestly, I was hoping she'd have Zach or I hold him right away. Her nervousness about her emotions made ME super nervous and I would have opted to avoid that experience for us all.
There was no option given regarding "who will hold him first?" Either the dr had no clue about our delicate situation (seeing as she's not the same dr we met earlier I assume she didn't know) or she just has a routine and followed what she always does or she's just a butthole and didn't give a crap (very likely). But she just immediately put him in Mama E's arms.
Nothing can prepare you for the emotions of that type of moment.
I didn't even look at the baby. Not at all. My whole focus was on Mama E. She just stared at him. Her eyes were filled with love, longing, and you could literally see her trying to memorize every part him. It took everything in my body not to say "just keep him. just keep him." It's all I thought over and over while I watched her. She loved him. Immediately and instantly she loved him. He was hers. She was his. Who was I to separate that love?
I sit here sobbing as I write those words and remember the magnitude of that moment. It could have just been seconds or maybe minutes but it's forever etched in every part of my being just as I know it's etched in hers. I wish everyone could have seen it. Because it would make ANYONE who has ever thought or said a single judgmental thing about mothers who place their children for adoption completely and totally change their hearts and attitudes.
I'm so thankful Zach got this photo. I know it's something Spear will be so thankful to have someday.
I'm not sure how much time passed until a nurse came and took him from her. I thought the moment of watching them together was difficult. But the moment they took him from her was the most gut wrenching thing I've ever witnessed.
She instantly put her arm over her face and just sobbed. A cry that was so, so deep. Just as quickly as she gave him life and he took his first breath it was as if he'd then died right there in that moment.
I felt so torn. I wanted so badly to comfort her. But how could I comfort her right then? How could I EVER understand the magnitude of the pain she was feeling?
I was overcome with emotion. I thought I'd cry at his birth but I never expected my tears to be of sadness and right then that's all I felt. Just so, so sad for Mama E. Zach was crying too and we both turned away from her.
Our turning away wasn't to focus on him and when I replay the moment in my mind I worry that's what Mama E may have felt. I worry she felt like "oh okay so you guys are allll about me up until he's born then BAM you both turn your backs on me the second he's here." But we just didn't want her to see us crying. We didn't want to take a single ounce of her moment away from her. This was her time to hurt. The moment she'd been dreading since she decided to place him for adoption. The hard moment she knew would come. And we knew it was HERS and hers alone. Our tears, our feelings, they didn't matter.
As she cried they started the afterbirth process. I got my composure and tried to go to her to comfort her but literally couldn't. Literally I couldn't reach her. The bed was raised and I'm short. I couldn't even SEE her because the rails of the bed were literally directly in front of my face. Truly a short girl problem. I told Zach to go and I honestly think it was perfect that he was the one to offer her comfort in that moment. He stood beside the bed and stroked her hair and said comforting things to her (I'll let him go into detail when he shares his story) but I think she needed that. Just as she and I were close throughout this whole process, I think she felt a strong connection to Zach as well. Having a strong, loving man there beside her was, I think, a blessing to her right then.
I made eye contact with our favorite nurse and mouthed "this is so hard." She smiled and said "yall are all doing so great."
I tried hard to focus on this baby boy in front of me. I tried hard to separate the emotions. Allow myself to feel joy about him, while equally feeling sorrow for her. It was hard. I've said it many times: adoption is a rare opportunity to feel EVERY emotion and to feel many conflicting emotions at the SAME time.
Spear's birth was smooth. His entrance into the world was very textbook. No hiccups. No medical concerns. But his birth was so heavy. It could be felt in the room. I'm sure the staff who didn't know the situation could even feel it.
It was so neat to be able to be right there with him as he had his first check-up. I got to experience what Zach gets to experience every birth. I got to see so much of what has always gone on "behind the scenes" in my labor experiences. What a rare opportunity and one I'm so thankful I was able to participate in! It was SO hard watching without getting to HOLD HIM yet! I just wanted the dang nurses to hurry up ;)
He looked MASSIVE and just HEALTHY. I was surprised at his size. I had expected a small baby. I had also expected for him to have a little fuzz...no way had I expected that full head of hair!!! I was surprised in all the most wonderful ways. I was just so, so thankful. Thankful to God. Thankful to Mama E. Just so thankful.
Protective Daddy :)
He was 7 lbs 7 oz, 19 1/2 inches long with an apgar score of 8-9.
Praise the LORD!
(Sidenote but we didn't call ANYONE. We just sent texts!)
It was truly a miracle moment to see this incredibly healthy child in front of me. While none of those stats meant we were "in the clear" of what potential medical needs could be to come...it meant that his odds were better at not needing that extra care. It was surreal to look at him and realize that all this time, every moment, was leading us to him.