This is a story I have been longing to write since we first started this whole adoption journey. This is the story about the birth of our son…OUR SON! I am still pinching myself that we have a SON! If you have seen us in the last 2 months, or you know my mom, then this will be old news for you. It starts with Mother’s Day…
Mother’s Day, for me, was different this year. As I shared in my last blog post, the past couple of Mother’s Days had been a reminder of what we were still missing as a family. This year, I had hope. Although I technically wasn’t a mother (yet) we were waiting for the birth of our son who would become ours through adoption. He was due on June 12, and the induction date was planned for June 5. I had a countdown on my phone that I checked every single day. I went over how many work days I had left until summer and how many days of summer I had until the induction date.
Mother’s Day weekend, we bought a little suitcase for all of Baby M’s clothes and things. Will thought I was being a little bit ridiculous in packing Baby M’s suitcase over a month early, but he knew it was all a part of my nesting process. We spent Saturday cleaning the house, like really cleaning the house. We had gotten swept up on the busyness of life since we matched and had neglected a lot of things around the house.
Sunday rolled around. Like I said, it was the first Mother’s Day that I truly had hope of becoming a mother. I thought about our expectant mom (what they call the birth mother before they give birth) all morning. I wanted to email her but I did not know if she wanted to hear from me. We had met her and her mom the weekend before and it was wonderful. But over the last two months, I really had only been speaking to her mom. She, at that time, wanted a closed adoption. So I had emotionally started preparing for what that would mean for us. I wanted to respect her wishes, but I was devastated at the thought of having to share that with Baby M one day.
After we met, she shared with her social worker that she wanted a semi-open adoption. Will and I were so excited! So on Mother’s Day I sat down to write her an email…only to find that she had already emailed me.
Through the biggest tears, I read the email out loud to Will and my mom. In her email, she shared her journey from finding out she was pregnant to deciding to place him through adoption to choosing us as the adoptive parents. Up until that email, I had only heard her story and known her through her mother. The email affirmed how much she wanted us to parent her son and also how much this baby had changed her life. All I had wanted was to know her, know the woman who would make me a mother. Thinking about that email, I have tears in my eyes now. Her and I are bonded in a way that is almost indescribable. It’s a bond that only adoptive and birth moms share.
The next morning I woke up to a missed call and a message…her water broke. She was 35 weeks and 6 days along, so they transferred her to a bigger hospital in Provo, UT. We looked up flights, but there were none (later we found out that most of Southwest planes in Denver had been damaged by a hail storm!). So I called my dad who came and got the dogs, we packed up the car, and drove as fast we could (legally and safely) to Provo.
It took us just under 8 hours to get there, and the entire time I just prayed that we would get there in time! At 3:30 we got an update that she was fully dilated, but that the baby had not fully descended. They were going to let her rest for an hour and then she would start pushing.
We arrived at the hospital at 4:00 pm. We got to the delivery floor and were greeted by her mom. I was barely holding it all together. We went into the delivery room and met some of her family. Everyone placed bets on the baby’s weight and delivery time. At 4:30 Will and her brother left to go sit in the waiting room. It was time for Baby M to be born.
When it was time for Baby M to be born, I was a total wreck. I might have looked completely composed on the outside, but inside I was totally freaking out. I knew that it would only be a matter of minutes before he made his entrance into the world. All of my planning could not have prepared me for that moment. I stood on the side of the bed, as Baby M’s birth mom got ready to start pushing. I stood next to her mom, who had previously worked as a Labor and Delivery Nurse. She coached everyone through what needed to happen, even the nurses who were working. They told her how to breathe and push during each contraction and what it would feel like. I stood there not knowing what to say or do. I was completely out of my depth and was so incredibly grateful that her mom was there to guide her.
Two contractions and pushes later, Baby M made his first appearance. The nurse ran to get the doctor (Dr. Bennett) who barely got her gloves on in time to catch Baby M.
It can take just one moment…one beautiful, breathtaking moment, to change your life forever.
What I remember most from those first moments after he was born:
- The look of joy on his birth mom’s face when she held him for the first time
- The nurse pulling me over to be next to him as they checked his vitals
- His grunts and noises (which sent him to the NICU for a flying visit)
- His long fingers and toes, and his scrunched up face
- Looking back at his birth mom with tears in my eyes for bringing him into the world
I stood there for those first few minutes while they checked and measured him, feeling like my heart could burst into a thousand pieces. Because he was grunting instead of crying, they sent us both to the NICU. The doctor their gave him some sugar water and sent him back. He was 4 weeks early, so they were taking every precaution.
We went back to the delivery room and I called Will to come and meet his son. Seeing Will hold Milo for the first time calmed my nerves completely. There is nothing better than seeing the man that you have chosen to walk through life become a Dad. We stayed into the delivery room until they had Milo’s birth mom’s room ready. I would like to say I remember what we all said during that time, but its all completely a blur. It felt like home being with her and her family, sharing that time with Milo.
We all walked down to the room that his birth mom would be staying in with Milo for that first night. Her mom left to get some food for us (Chick-Fil-A) and we all settled in for the evening. We each took turns feeding, holding, swaddling, and changing his diapers. We watched criminal minds while we ate our food together and talked about everything and anything. Our plan was to stay for his first bath, but by 11pm, we decided to let her and Milo rest. We left the hospital for the night and went to our Air BnB.
The next morning we waited until she was awake and ready for us. I was very aware of how the time in the hospital belonged to her and Milo and I didn’t want to take away from that. We headed over late that morning and spent some time with them in the hospital room. Milo had his first bath and his cries had both me and his birth mom in tears. We both hated seeing him upset.
Will and I went to grab lunch and I called our social worker. She said that Milo’s birth mom had decided she wanted an open adoption with updates and a potential yearly visit. I was so excited that she wanted to know Milo growing up in person, not just through updates. It was the best news we received that day. The social worker also told us that we would need to leave the hospital around 3pm before her caseworker would arrive at 5pm for paperwork.
I went back to the room knowing what this day would mean for her. She immediately handed me Milo and my heart broke. Milo was the best thing I had ever held, and she was choosing him completely over herself. The love that she has for Milo is completely unmatched. No one will ever love him like she does.
Before he was born, the reality of what adoption means for Will and I was just an idea. Now, as I was holding him, I could see and feel what she was giving to us. I knew in my heart that she would stay true to her plan to place him with us. Part of me was devastated for her. But part of me, the part that looked at him and saw how amazing and wonderful he was, that part was terrified.
I handed Milo back to her and her mom, who were both sitting in the hospital bed, and we began to collect our things. I looked over at them and they were sitting there staring at him, with tears pouring down their faces. We said our goodbyes and they hugged us and thanked us for loving Milo and everything we would do for him. It took everything in me not to break down completely.
We headed back to our Air Bnb and I lost it. The happiest day in my life was also one of the worst because I knew how hard this decision was for her, a decision I so desperately wanted her to make. But at the same time, my love for her and her mom was so big, that my heart broke completely for them. She made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could have the biggest blessing. Those two hours were the hardest emotionally for me. The smallest fear that she would change her mind, and the biggest heartache for her if she didn’t.
Our social worker called us when she was done with her paperwork. We went back to the hospital to sign our placement papers. We were having a hard time figuring out where we were going to stay that night as our birth mom was leaving and Milo had to stay in the hospital another night. We only had one bracelet that would allow me into the nursery so I would have to spend our first night as official parents away from Will. Our social worker fought for us and we were able to get a room down the hall in the children’s ward.
It was now time to say our goodbyes (again) and officially start caring for our baby boy. I was so happy to see his birth mom smiling and holding Milo as we walked in. She handed him over to me and we hugged. We thanked each other, cried some more, and then she left.
As I am sitting here writing this, all of the feelings and emotions of that day come rushing back. Our greatest joy is that precious little boy. But I am and always will be a better mom because of his first mom…the woman who gave him life and chose a better life for him. I feel the weight of that choice every day, and it motivates me to be the best mom for sweet little Milo.
The road to Milo was longer than we anticipated, and it was filled with terrible hardship and disappointment. But that road, as difficult as it was to walk, led us to him.
Milo Payton, you are so incredibly loved.