My last entry shared the emotions of the labor and delivery part of waiting for Anna. Looking back on that night, I can recall thinking several times that she was never going to come. Having delivered four children myself, that’s pretty much the same feeling you have when you’re the one in labor.
Once my the family arrived, time stood still. I remember it clearly and the strangest part was that I wasn’t really nervous or emotional. Part of me wondered if there was something wrong with me… that surely I was supposed to be a basket case, and then the other part would remind me that there were literally hundreds of people praying for me and our entire family at that precise moment.
I remember trying to get them off the floor but Kari told me to let them be. Good call. There really wasn’t a lot of space.
We were communicating with someone in the room and the plan was set for us to walk to Mama’s delivery room at 9:25. Initially we were pretty sure that Matt wasn’t going to go into the room but was going to wait for me to bring Anna out to the hallway. While we waited for this moment I remember my mom encouraging Cassie and letting her know how much our entire family appreciated her sacrifices. (I haven’t let you know much about Cassie because that is her story to tell, but let’s just say she has a very young family herself, and had welcomed a few more people into her home for several months. It was a highly emotional moment and I can only pray that Cassie truly understands the depth of our respect and admiration.)
At some point Cassie headed to the Mama’s room to get a few pictures. I had been told earlier that morning that a nurse would come get me when it was time. We waited, and waited, and waited… Finally Matt and I sent Kari to see what the hold up was. Here are Kari’s words from that moment:
That took what seemed like forever and we thought Cassie or the nurse was going to come tell us when it was time. Nobody came. So you and Matt asked me to go down and check. I made it to those automatic doors to the labor and delivery section and Cassie was headed towards me. I said, “Is she ready?” at the same time Cassie asked me, “Are you guys coming?” I said “We were waiting on you!” She said they needed to get you the bracelet and to hurry! So I spun around, turned the corner and waved frantically to you guys to come. You two strolled like you were going for a walk in the park all chill and calm like. So when you rounded the corner I said, “Walk faster!” I said they needed to get you that bracelet and then you two picked up the pace.
9:50 am – The walk to the delivery room was surreal. I can feel the butterflies all over again. At this point I was still holding it together.
We turned onto the floor with the hardwood and as we got closer to her room I could feel the anticipation welling up in my heart. The nurse led us to her door and I took a deep breath. I remember saying, “Whew. Deep breaths,” and at that the nurse asked if I needed a minute. I thought I was fine, and then I lost it. I was so thankful Matt was there and I turned and buried my head in his chest. I was about to meet the little girl we had prayed for for over ten years. Had we conceived a daughter we wouldn’t have one of the amazing sons we have, nor would we have pursued this adoption. Because God said “wait” over and over and over we were about to meet the perfect fit for our family. His Hand in this is so evident and the moment we had waited for was here.
I pulled myself together and left Matt in the hallway. (Our original conversation with the birth mother indicated that she was not going to feel comfortable having a man in the room. We both completely respected her wishes.)
I entered the room and found way more people in there than I expected. Not really sure why I was surprised but it seemed the room was full of people. Mama holding Anna, the birth father napping in the recliner, Cassie and Kari, the nurse, and maybe more… it’s a bit vague. My focus was on Mama and baby.
I saw Anna for the first time. She was so warm and tiny. Her face was very round and swollen from a very fast delivery (WAY TO GO, MAMA!) and there was bruising that would go down over the next few days.
These pictures are treasures to me. I am so thankful Kari and Cassie were there to capture these moments. I’m excited that Mama gave me permission to use them on the blog! I made absolutely sure she was okay with it. I love them so much. So. Much.
I was overwhelmed with the idea that I was holding my own child… my own daughter. I chatted with the mama briefly and cried just a little. I told her I didn’t think I would cry, and she said she didn’t think she would either, but both of us teared up a little. I was vaguely aware of other people in the room, but not as aware of them as they were of me. Thinking back, I must have been a sight… I was squishing my daughter and talking to Mama and completely unaware of them. In fact, I don’t even remember how we ended up getting Matt in the room. I do remember being pleasantly surprised that he was going to get to come in. I moved to a spot where he’d have a straight-line to us when he came in the room.
9:59 amAbout the next few pictures, some are iPhone pictures taken in a fairly dark room. Because they are so special I don’t even care that they are grainy. I’m including them anyway.
His face. It had an expression that I can’t describe. I think he had to have been nervous standing in the hallway but the second he saw her, he was completely swept away. He was so in love.
He still makes this face when he sees Anna… and he sees her several times a day! It’s the face he makes when I dress her in a new outfit, or change her into her pjs, or bring her to him after her bath and have him get her dressed. I believe he’s quite smitten with this little one. (But I’m getting ahead of myself.)
He was in love. I handed her to him and it was over. The next few minutes I don’t remember very clearly but I do know the nurse, Debbie, told me some very important information as she put the oh-so-important bracelet on my wrist. That bracelet gave me the right to let Anna room-in with me and the ability to go into the nursery. Without it, I was nothing more than a guest. With it, I was the other mother…that sounds strange, but it’s a beautiful part of our story. (And I’m fairly certain that Debbie stayed past shift-change to see this story play out.)
One last snuggle before I took Anna to our room to meet the brothers. It was really hard to take Anna from this room, but I was really thankful that in just a few hours I’d be taking her back to nurse.
In the next post I will share about Matt and me introducing Anna to our family.I am so excited to share this story and pictures of Mama with you because she really is my hero. I can honestly say that this woman is a woman to be honored for her decision. I am thankful for her role in our life. In a unique way, she is and always will be part of our family.