Today is my son’s second birthday. Last night, my husband Jeff and I were discussing exactly what time Levi will turn two (i.e., what time he was born).
Ironically enough, my phone died last week, and I am currently using an old one until I figure out getting a new one. This old one happens to have the text exchanges I’d been having with Levi’s birth mom leading up to and shortly after his birth.
Our birth mother had a false alarm the day before her baby was born. We were effectively on call though, as her due date was 9/20/15. We went to bed that Friday night of 9/18, and for whatever reason, I awoke in the wee hours of the night (which I almost never do). I thought that while I was awake, I should check my phone. I saw two texts that had come in a few hours earlier that read, “At the hospital” and “Water just broke.”
I immediately nudged my husband and said something like, “Sweetiee! Look at these texts I got. It’s go time!!”
Commence role reversal.
You see, up to that point, I’d been a ball of anxiety and apprehension. Suddenly, there were clear tasks to take on (book the flights and reserve the rental car, contact the dog sitter, reach out to the friends taking us to LAX and housing our car, etc.), and I jumped into action. My husband, on the other hand, had been Mr. Cool for the past two months since we’d been matched with this birth mom. And now he turned into the one who didn’t quite know what to do and was feeling the apprehension I’d been feeling the previous months.
We knew we wouldn’t make it for the birth. Our birth mother didn’t want us there for that anyway, so we had waited to book any travel until we knew she was in labor. So while we were up in the wee hours of the morning getting everything arranged and doing last minute packing, she was having a baby.
At 6:10 AM on September 19, 2015, before we even left our house – let alone LAX – I got another text that read, “She had him.”
It was a bit of a whirlwind for the next 24 hours. We flew halfway across the country, picked up a rental car and then drove a few hours, picked up food for birth mom, jumped through hoops with hospital after-hours security because our birth mother’s stay was “confidential,” before we finally arrived at the maternity unit and a room they had ready for us right next to birth mom’s.
All the while, we were holding loosely (as we’d been advised), because she still had a chance to change her mind. Birth mom can’t sign any adoption consent paperwork until 24 hours after she’s been released from the hospital after giving birth.
It was almost 11:00 PM when we arrived at maternity. We talked to the nurse, who went in to check with birth mom and came back to say it was okay for us to stop in. We’d been coached by our case worker to focus on mom, ask how she’s doing, and not gush and make it all about baby.
We entered her room and did what we were coached, but within 5 minutes she asked me if I wanted to hold the baby. Of course, I said yes.
It was surreal for both Jeff and me. I’d held many a baby in my time, and I didn’t know quite what to expect.
On the one had, I was on guard: this baby wasn’t mine yet. What if she changed her mind? I had to protect myself emotionally. On the other, this was a tiny, innocent baby who had just entered the world. My instinct was to protect and nurture him.
We ended up staying in her room for almost two hours, and I’ll be the first to admit it was two of the hardest and most awkward hours I’ve ever spent in my life.
Most parents who visit the hospital to have a baby know they are coming home with it. We didn’t. We’d flown halfway across the country and didn’t know if this baby was even going to be ours or not.
And still, there he was. With no idea of the emotion and drama that was unfolding around him.
While we know the outcome of the story now, we definitely didn’t know back then. Which is why we are even more grateful and happy to celebrate our little guy’s 2nd birthday today.