Leaving the Hospital
Sarah Baker | August 06, 2013 | 03:05 PM
Adoption is such a surreal experience. You go into it not pregnant and yet hoping to come home with a child one day. We went through the steps. We decorated the nursery. We bought clothes and toys. We had family members and friends asking questions about when the baby would come. But, it sort of feels make believe.
There is no physical evidence that we had a baby on the way. No food cravings. No morning sickness. No feeling the baby move. No doctor checkups… at least not for me. When we were matched with Ezra’s birth mom it was so exciting, but also so scary. Joe and I were fearful that we would have another match fall through. But, we also were concerned for this woman who was making a huge sacrifice for her baby. How do you thank a person for giving you something so incredible and trusting you with their most precious creation? How do you protect them from the sadness that will surely come? How do you address something bringing you so much joy but is so tragic for them? The answer is love.
At the hospital when a baby is born, you are usually bombarded with family and friends coming to visit. Adoption is a sensitive matter and we felt that having our family visit us at the hospital would be disrespectful to Ezra’s birth parents. This was their special time to spend with the baby. This was also a time for us to not only bond with the baby, but to strengthen our bond with them. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we visited, we bonded. The hospital staff was very generous in giving Joe and I a room of our own, right across the hall from Ezra’s birth mom. We could rest and talk and spend time together and apart. It was a beautiful experience. (minus the stomach bug I had while there)
The final day at the hospital was a very emotional day. Ezra’s birth parents had to sign papers stating we were allowed to take him home and have guardianship of him even though their termination of rights wouldn’t be signed and completed for another day and a half. (72 hours in Ohio) There were social workers coming in to talk with us and them. His birth father filled out his birth certificate paperwork and gave him the first and middle name we had chosen and his biological last name. What a gift to give him a name that he can take with him as his identity. While the adoption has since finalized and he now has our last name, he will forever have that first surname to carry with him as a part of who he is. We ate lunch together and quietly oo’d and ahh’d over the adorable little miracle.
As we packed our things, I sobbed. We were taking this little baby home with us… and they were not. How can you feel so much joy and sorrow at the same time? We walked with them to their car and said our goodbyes. We hugged and tried to hold back more tears. We waved as they pulled away and suddenly we were hit with the realization that we were now with a little infant. As we walked to the other side of the hospital, holding hands and carrying our newborn son in his infant seat, we smiled and were rather quiet as we tried to digest that “this really just happened”. The thought of 4 months prior, our hearts were crushed by the loss of our first matched baby. Then 2 months later we learned that we were matched again. To that day… where there we stood with a baby we had prayed for. We arrived at the hospital for a fluid check of a woman that was not me, carrying a baby she intended to give us, that part of me was unsure would be mine. Only 2 days later we were headed home with this perfect little human. That’s the enormity of that event is so hard to comprehend. All I knew was that was the scariest drive home EVER. I was now responsible for another little tiny life. WOW.