I had a whole lot of expectations and plans in place for this day. I was coordinating with Mike and photographers and preparing well in advance for the day we finally met our birthmom. None of that went according to my plan. Yes, she is the birthmom of our twins and Sage.
I know every story and relationship is different but for us we talk about our birthmom often, she has a name. Erika is not someone who we care to hide from the world or our family but there are parts of her life that we hope to protect. It isn’t always easy because people, even your closest friends can come to the conversation with their ideas about what kind of person she is. Truth be told, she is just like many people you know. She loves her children, she gave life to her children, and she respects our family.
Wednesday, March 1, following her routine weekly doctor visit, she called to say all was well and on schedule for her c-section March 16. The doctor viewed a healthy baby with an average heartbeat and sent her on her way. That night we went to bed no different than any other night.
The moment my eyes opened, I did my usual time and call check on my phone. Missed call x 2 texts from Erika. I knew right away something had happened. I opened my phone and called to Mike who was in the shower. “THE BABY IS HERE. SHE HAD THE BABY.” To which he answered with a lot of confusion and questions about the neighbors dog who had been missed the day before.
I exchanged a few texts with her and let her know I would be on my way ASAP. Mike was booked for a huge conference call in his office which meant I would be driving three hours to Winter Park alone while he booked a flight to meet me late that evening.
Dropped the kids at school, came home to pack an overnight bag, and left the house knowing we would be coming back home with our baby. I fielded several texts and pulled out of the driveway.
GPS gave me a 2 hour and 40 minute arrival time. I let Erika know exactly when I would get there and hoped she would be up to meeting me.
I pulled into the hospital parking lot and began to bathe in oils. I look a few sips of water, got my bearings, and walked up to the door. The woman at the front desk gave me directions to the NICU floor and L&D to which I had to make the choice where to go knowing our baby was in one place and Erika another.
After security clearance, I walked back to NICU where the nurses all gathered in anticipation. One asked for my phone and staged the other nurse to go ahead of us to hand the baby to me. That video is one I will always cherish.
I sat alone with this baby and text Erika that I had arrived and she responded that she would come down to meet me. I expected nurses to wheel her in but to my surprise she came walking down and pulled back the door with a smile on her face.
We hugged, I offered her the comfortable seat, and asked her if she would like to hold the baby. She held out her arms and I placed the tiny 7lbs parking lot babe in her arms. We took a few pictures, we talked about baby names, we discussed birth fathers and our other children. The excitement and intensity of our meeting was visabily exhausting and she asked to excuse herself to try and get some rest. Not knowing the next time I saw her we would be among attorneys and court reporters who would assist in our placement.
She text me from her room that the attorney would arrive shortly after 4. I waited outside her room until it was my turn to go. Everyone emerged from the room, Erika with tears eyes, and her hospital belongings as she was cleared for discharge.
In the hallway, we hugged one final time. She had no words. I had few, just a solemn reminder and promise that we loved her, and we would always do our best for these babies.
Several days have passed and we are able to chat about how things are going for us at home and her as she recovers physically and begins the long emotional road to healing. I know open adoption is often misunderstood and can sound really scary but the truth is that we all want the same thing in the end. Children who are happy, healthy, and loved beyond measure.
A few iPhone snaps from our day!