August 11, 2014
I am reading a trashy romance novel and wondering why my husband chose to stay in St. Louis with his family for another day. I know he was too tired to drive the five and a half hours back home, but I hate being alone in the house, and our dog isn’t helping by barking hysterically at every little noise.
The phone rings, and the caller ID reads “Out of Area.” This normally means it’s a telemarketer – but at 11:30 at night?
A very soft voice says, “Stefanie?”
I say, “Yes.”
The voice says, “It is Dave*.”
My heart starts pounding 1,000 miles an hour. “She had the baby,” he says. I don’t say anything; I try but I can’t.
“I guess that you are a mom,” he says. I manage an, “Oh my God!”
I ask how Mary* is and tell him that he sounds tired. He admits that it has been a strange experience. I tell him he has been brave. (Why did I say that?) He snorts. Then he says, “Don’t you want to know? It is a boy. He was born at 11:07.”
“Tonight?” I ask.
“Yes,” he says. “He’s either 7 pounds, 6 ounces or 7 pounds, 4 ounces.” He apologizes because he can’t remember.
I realize now that I am crying. I try to not cry on the phone with Dave. I do not want him to be uncomfortable. “Will you call us again?” I blurt out. “Just tell us how she is doing, how he is doing. You can call collect, anything.”
“Sure,” he says. I tell him that we respect their decision for us to not be at the hospital, but we just want to know how they are doing. He says “OK” and “goodbye” and we hang up.
I call Brian at his parents’ house. I wake up his mom. She must have heard something in my voice, because I hear her anxiously say, “Get up! Get up! It is Stefanie!”
“She had the baby,” I say.
“What?” Brian asks. “I can’t understand you. Why are you crying?”
“She had the baby,” I scream. “Mary had the baby.”
“Wow!” he says. “I love you. I love you so much. I will come home really early tomorrow.” Then he hangs up!
The phone rings. It’s Brian. “I am never going to be able to sleep now!” he says. He tells me he loves me and says he will be here soon.
I try to read. I try to gather my thoughts. It is impossible. I call my mom. She is stunned and just keeps saying, “Wow! We are so happy for you.” Then she says that she will pray for us for the next 72 hours.
I get off the phone with her and remember that I am supposed to call our adoption agency when Dave phones us. Does this mean tomorrow? Does it mean tonight? I call.
I can’t describe what I am feeling. Am I scared? A little. I am definitely anxious. I know that this could be our son. I know they have every right to parent this miracle, but I can’t help being excited. Is this it? Is our baby here? What does he look like? Is he doing OK? How can I be so worried about someone that I have never seen? Heard? Held?
They say adoptive parents in this stage should be cautiously optimistic. I am trying really hard to be cautious, but the reality is that my heart will break if something happens. We will go on and try again, but I can’t not wish and wonder!
This is not our baby, yet. He is Mary and Dave’s baby, and maybe they will give us the most incredible gift anyone could ever give us: the ability to raise their child as our own. I do not dismiss the magnitude of their decision. I can’t possibly understand what they are going through right now. We just have to wait and see if it is our time.
August 18, 2014
On Monday, Brian and I visit what just could be our little boy. Mary and Dave have left the hospital and have signed a form stating that we can see, hold and care for their baby.
At the hospital, we wait for the social worker to call and OK our seeing the baby. They are making sure that Mary and Dave have not changed their minds. It’s a long 30 minutes, but a nurse pulls the bassinet up to the window.
I don’t burst into tears the first time I see him. I am just in awe. This little being fascinates me. He doesn’t look like a newborn. He doesn’t have the puffy face and squinty eyes. I just stare, and Brian is speechless. I think he is close to tears. After 15 minutes, the nurse pulls the baby into the station and tells us that we can touch him in the bassinet until the social worker calls.
Once the call comes, we are given a room. We are told how to care for him, and then we are left alone.
We stay for five hours. The entire time, one of us is holding him, and the other is taking pictures or excitedly talking on the phone.
We finally leave and decide to get a hotel room where we can get our final full night of rest. We order pizza, and I am asleep by the time it arrives. Brian wakes me, and we eat in silence. Finally, he says, “I can’t believe that we are parents.”
I agree. I try to go back to sleep, but I can’t.
The next day, we go back to the hospital. We sign the papers and go home. It is anti-climactic. Shouldn’t a band play and a thousand white doves be released?
At home, we sit him on the couch and stare at him for hours. He sleeps the entire time. We call our parents, and then the phone calls start flooding in.
The night goes well. He wakes about every two hours and drinks about 2 ounces each time.
He is beautiful. I can’t believe how perfect he is! I spend hours just staring at him and admiring what a miracle he is. I cannot get enough of him.