Around 8am, we dropped E off at the nursery, and headed down to Sams* room together to attend a “post partum” class. I have to say, the nurse who was responsible for patient education was outstanding. A&I were the only parents taking their baby home that day and Sam* the only post-delivery patient being discharged, so she gave us a modified class. She went through Post Partum care with Sam, and we talked briefly about infant care. The nurse, Kathy, was just a kind, caring, loving nurse who just embraced us as a non-traditional family and spent time making sure we were all feeling comfortable and in a good place.
My mom and sister arrived at the hospital around 10am. By then A & I had packed everything up so that we could leave as soon as we were given the okay. Unfortunately, the pediatrician stopped by around noon, and even though E’s Billy Ruben level’s were outstanding, she had only lost 4 oz (3.5% of her birth weight) the hospital was insisting that we stay at the hospital until 5:36pm (48 hours after birth which legally is the longest they can make us stay without doctor recommendation). In my opinion, they were trying to keep us there as long as possible in case Sam* changed her mind- which I found ludicrous and completely not within their jurisdiction but what do you do.
V had arrived at the hospital in the early afternoon and was spending some time with Sam*. She stepped into my room shortly after the pediatrician left to let me know that Sam* had decided she wanted to see the baby. She let me know that Sam* wanted to come to our room and see me holding the baby. She didn’t want to hold her, just see her. I honestly had mixed feelings about this. On one hand I had hoped that this would be good closure for Sam* and allow her to start her healing process. On the other hand, she had been SO adamant about not seeing E, and now that she was changing her mind, I worried what else she may change her mind about.
Here’s something that isn’t spoken about often as an adoptive parent. Maybe it’s not felt commonly by adoptive parents and I’m just overly emotional/rude/selfish/who knows. But in that moment, I felt that everyone was so concerned about Sam*, and Sam* seeing the baby, that I honestly don’t even remember being asked how I felt about it or if I was okay with it. Here’s the delicate balance- at this point Sam* was still E’s parent (legally), and at that point I really wasn’t anything to E (legally). So regardless of what I wanted, it really was all about what Sam* wanted. However no one stopped to ask me (A included) how I felt about it. This is something that as an adoptive parent I feel is so delicate and difficult. Through the whole process it’s so birth mother focused (and rightfully so- she’s making a huge decision) but, you have to remember that at this point, I was sleep deprived, emotional, and just so attached to this sweet little girl that I still legally had no rights to. When there is a beautiful child in your arms that you know in your heart is yours you can’t delay your bonding or emotional attachments for her to legally have a relationship to you, A & I were all in from the moment we saw our daughter. I literally had taken my heart out of my chest and put it the Lord’s hands. I was completely and utterly vulnerable. I felt like I was stark naked, in a glass box, on display in time square. Completely exposed and open to heartache.
Around 2pm, we had a knock at our door. I saw Z walk in to the first area of our room (remember we were in an isolation room, so there was a foyer if you will before the main entry to our room). Z walked in and slowly dragging her feet behind her was Sam*. Sam* stopped at the entry way and began to turn back, but Z literally grabbed her arm and drug her into the room. At this point, my mom was holding E, and I just wanted to run to Sam*, hold her, and escort her out of the room- as I could tell she just didn’t want to be there.
Z motioned to me to bring the baby over, so I took E from my mom, and slowly walked towards Sam*. I was about 10 feet away, when she motioned to stop. She looked at me intensely, then glanced at E, and immediately stood up and bolted out of the room. I felt horrible. This poor girl was just not ready for this.
After she left I handed E back to my mom and walked down to her room to check on her. To my surprise, she was in great spirits packing up her stuff. V & I helped her pack up the rest of her items, as she had already been discharged. After packing up her stuff, I was waiting in her room with her so I could walk out with her, when her mom motioned to her and asked if she was going to ask me. Sam* then looked to me and said, “Can I call you tonight to talk to you about something?”
The floor literally fell out from underneath me. My heart was suddenly pounding and the only thing I could hear was the “Thump, Thump” of my heart. I almost lost it in her room, but took every ounce of composure I had, and mustered a “sure”. I walked Sam* to the elevator, said goodbye, and went back to my baby.
When I walked in, I collapsed on the bed, balling. I looked at A* and he must have been able to see the desperation in my eyes. I explained what had just occurred, and spilled every single fear I had. While A & my mom tried to comfort me, it just wasn’t working at that point.
I was mortified, here I was just shy of being able to take my daughter home, 26 hours short of her being ours, and I now had reason to believe that Sam* was changing her mind. How on earth was I suppose to take this sweet baby girl to our home, thinking I would have to turn around and take her to the bleak, desolate world that Sam* lived in.
Suddenly, there was nothing one earth I wanted more than to stay in the solitude of the hospital. I knew that once I brought E into our home, I’d never be able to remove her from it.