It was 2 am and the phone was ringing. My heart stopped.
“She’s gone into labor,” my husband said, grabbing a pair of jeans from the floor. “She wants us to take her to the hospital.”
While he dressed, I stayed glued to the bed. Too shocked to even move. ‘She’ was a birthmom we’d met only five weeks earlier. With the help of her birth counselor, she chosen us to parent her child. All the forms were signed. All the plans had been made. Getting the adoptive parents up in the middle of the night wasn’t in the plan.
I dressed in a daze and made it through the next thirteen hours by the grace of God. Never having given birth or witnessed birth, I felt useless when she cried out in pain. Her friend and birthing coach arrived. I retreated to a corner. The lady from the pregnancy life center rushed in, comforting her with soothing words and prayers. I all but melted into the hospital wallpaper.
But suddenly the small support circle was gone. Called away on other emergencies. And there I was. Alone with a pregnant woman. Someone I barely knew. She was giving birth to my child. She needed me.
“I can’t do this,” I thought as I returned from a bathroom break, weary from hours of trying to be helpful but failing utterly. Failing myself. Failing her.
Her scream split the air. “I can’t do this anymore.”
Something clicked inside me. I could do this. I had to. For her.
I rushed back into the room and for the next several hours, I prayed with her. Massaged where she told me. Shared encouraging words. Paced the floors.
“She needs a C-section,” the doctor announced.
I groaned inside No, not that. Anything but that. She would always have the scar to remind her of the child she ‘gave away.’
The baby’s health was in danger. There was no other way. They whisked her away to the operating room. They dressed me in blue scrubs.
“No, you can’t go in. Sit here,” the doctor said, pointing a finger at a chair outside the OR doors.
I sat and waited. Minutes later her returned, scowling at me. “She doesn’t know what she’s doing,” he said. “Ten years later, she’s going to change her mind and want that baby boy back.”
His words shocked me. How could a doctor say such a thing? He was out of place. I didn’t respond.
But amidst the shock and anger, I found joy. She was okay. And it was a boy.
This is the story of how my first son came into the world. The picture is from his lifebook. His birthmother’s pictures and letters are in the book, along with a photo-history of his early years. My son does struggle with being ‘different’ because of adoption. What preteen wants to stand out? But he likes to look at his lifebook. I’m there to answer his questions and retell the story of how he came to be.
Lifebooks are our way of connecting his two families. Sometimes families find it difficult to start (and keep) talking about adoptions in the family. Lifebooks can be a great tool for that. For more about making a lifebook for an adopted child visit Adoption Lifebooks.