our social worker called us on 10/31/11 to let us know that a birthmom was interested in meeting us. we were filled with joy to get the phone call, but beating ourselves up because we did not want to let ourselves get roped into another false alarm. no matter how badly i struggled with telling myself to go ahead and get roped up because i would always regret it if i did not allow myself to experience those emotions, i just don't think i could let myself get as eager as we did on the trial run. e-mails from the time note we were "cautiously optimistic".
we set up a meeting for 11/3/11 and met at an o'charley's restaurant near a large outdoor shopping center.
(last picture of us before we were parents)
once we were all sitting at the same table, we started to feel at ease. "L" was so warm and open and answered every question we had. she quickly wanted to give us an ultrasound picture, and it still makes me cry just thinking about it.
there we sat at the o'charley's with that picture in our hands. it was all we could do not to break down into tears. before we left i asked her if she wanted it back, and she sort of smiled and said it was ours. we gave her a dvd slide show of pictures of us that was up on the bethany website in case she had not previously seen it. she said she hadn't. when we asked her why she picked us she joked about us not having any cats, and then said - "you don't have any cats do you?" we all thought it was funny, and she gave us some other reasons behind her decision, but it was something that she said that made us feel at ease, like we could let our guard down. her sweet baby was due 11/17, but she said she felt like she'd already been having contractions. she had a follow up dr. visit the day after our meeting, so we hoped we'd learn more after that. we had a good honest lengthy conversation and all eventually had to depart because "L" had to pick up her son from school on the other side of town, so they needed to get back. we all hugged and felt good about our meeting - not knowing just where this would go.
when we'd originally chatted there was talk of us being at the hospital when daxton was born. we liked the thought of this and were thrilled that we might be able to be there during or just after his birth. we were not sure how it would all unfold, but were told we'd get a call when she was in labor and then we'd take things from there.
four short days later, on 11/7/12, my neighbor texted and asked if i wanted to go walking. i will never initiate a walk, but if you ask me to go, i am usually fine with it. she and i always walk in the neighborhood, but for some reason on this day we decided to go to a local park. the park is just up the road and only across one major intersection. she drove and we got out of the car and began walking. along the way i took some pictures of things i was seeing. it's something i frequently do, and am so glad i have this little visual to remember the moment. we'd walked just about the entire trail of the park when we crested the top of a hill just before you go back to your car. at the top of the hill i saw a giant bug on the walkway. i stopped and snapped its photo. within in 10 steps of the bug i had a phone call from bethany. it wasn't our social worker, but another one from the office. she calmly explained that our social worker had a death in the family and she was filling in for her. i initially thought that this was all the phone call was - just to let us know. but it wasn't. she let us know that "L" was in labor and on her way to the hospital. i asked if we should come now, and she said that she did not want us to come until after delivery. (change in plan made me semi-nervous.) i have no idea of what else went on during that conversation, but after i hung up the phone i took a picture of the sun setting on the hill. then, i called will to let him know our son was on his way - and then i called my mom.
while i was frantically telling my story to will and my mom, my neighbor was in a bit of a panic because she realized on our strut back to the parking lot that she must have locked her keys in the car. i had no idea what was happening until about 6 months later, but at that time she had called her husband and they were devising a plan to get us back home. by the grace of God when we got back to the car we were able to get in and she drove us home. we live right next door, but i remember she dropped me off in my drive way. she was so sweet and i was so thankful that someone was there with me when the call came in.
by the time i got home i remember feeling so flushed and hot that i had to stand in front of my bathroom mirror and keep cooling my face with cold wash rags. i remember feeling short of breath and telling myself to just breathe. it was really hard to sit here alone and just wait. the half an hour that it took will to get home seemed like an eternity. once he got here we sat and stared at each other each in our own little panic. this was really finally happening. it took my mom about four hours to arrive and she got here just after midnight. none of us slept at all. we nervously sat up waiting for a phone call or something to come. tick tock, tick tock, tick tock - minutes passed, hours passed, the night passed - no news.
i started to get worried that something had happened - "L" changed her mind. this feeling became overwhelming by 9am 11/8/11. i thought for sure he had to have been born by then and wondered why they hadn't called us. finally, by 9:30am we had a phone call. they told us daxton was born just after midnight the night before and that "L" would like us to come for a visit around 11am. we were relieved. this was really happening.
we pulled out of the drive way and made the long one hour trek to the hospital. we were nervous and did not do a lot of talking other than what we'd do, say, etc. we hugged in the parking lot and held hands to the front of the building. before we knew it we were walking into the front doors of the hospital and were greeted by the social worker. she escorted us up to the room and stayed with us while we met "L" for the second time and daxton for the first time. he was a sweet and precious baby, so tiny, and so peaceful. he made all of us smile and we treasured holding him for the first time. we stayed just over an hour and felt that "L" was exhausted from giving birth the night before and needed to get some sleep. we all agreed we'd visit again tomorrow.
"L" was hoping she'd be discharged on the 9th, but it did not happen. this made things a little tense, and we felt the heaviness of what was to come. our visit was about the same length of time on this trip and we got permission to take some more pictures with daxton to share with our family and friends. the hospital told her she'd be discharged the following day and they asked us to come back to pick him up on the 10th. this is when it started to be very difficult for us to be happy - seeing "L" so sad. i don't know why it had never dawned on me that this would be so hard, but the gravity was sinking in. we prayed for "L" and what was about to happen all night before our final hospital visit and the trip home.
on the 10th we put the car seat in the car and pulled out of our drive way for the last time as just husband and wife. we were going to pick up our son. the trip to the hospital went by quick, and before we knew it we were in the lobby waiting for the social worker. we were thankful that both social workers were there, one to be with us and one to be with "L". the social worker there for us assisted us with filling out all of our paper work and explaining what would happen next. she told us that this would be hard and to just follow her lead with if we would go into "L"'s room or not. we anxiously went up the elevator and entered the birthing center for the last time. the hallway had half of the lights turned off since it was daylight, but i remember it feeling cold and dark. a nurse lead us down the hallway and we stayed 5 steps behind the social worker. the other social worker came out into the hall and told us that "L" did want to see us, but just for a minute. we quietly entered the room.
she was sad, but seemed so peaceful there. she's such an amazingly strong woman and i admired her more than she'd ever know. it was hard for her to speak and we just stood there giving her one final sentiment of thank you before it was time for us to go. she spent a few more minutes with daxton before we were escorted down the hall. the overwhelming pain and sadness that seeped from the room was hard for me to bear and it caused me to slide down the wall and almost on to the floor like a puddle. the nurse helped us gather ourselves and find our way into a conference type room. here we sat and waited, making idle chatter, until someone wheeled daxton into the room.
when they brought him in they said "here's your son" and i literally exploded in tears. this was a bad sob. something you just don't want to witness. apparently it was all so rough that everyone started crying and we were all big puffy eyed messes. it was without a doubt the happiest day of our lives. we held him, cried over him, and admired him without fear. the hospital went over a few logistical things, told us to go ahead and get him dressed, and walked us out to our car and helped us get him into his car seat. before we knew it we were pulling out of the parking lot and on our way home as parents.