Photo Credit: Peg Watkins
Lillian turned 5 years old 3 weeks ago from today. (April 18th 2011) Due to Facebook reminders I was able to walk down memory lane in detail this year. I thought it would be fun to kind of walk you through those memories and share some details of my adoption journey that haven't been shared yet.
I met Holly and Dave. We met at a cute little Mexican restaurant in Logan. I was so nervous that I made my sister Helga come along with me. I still remember that day so perfectly. The first time I saw Holly and Dave was from afar. Helga and I had just got done saying a prayer and they pulled up next to the car that was parked next to us. We let them walk in so I could catch my breath. For anyone who has ever been pregnant you can only imagine the emotions running through me at this time. Not only could Lillian be born any moment and I still hadn't found her family but I was pregnant... Need I say more. Hormones galore! I took a few deep breaths and we walked in. I always laughed going anywhere with Helga because we were due days apart. So when I dragged her along to meet couples it was like a game (guess who's Heidi). Haha Anyways, the dinner went perfect! The spirit was so strong and the connection was instant! I had FINALLY found her family! So much peace came over me that night. She was ok to come at that point.
The only way he would go along with my adoption plan is if he could meet the family before hand. Although it was really hard to see him I felt that was fair and I respected his wish. The next morning I contacted the birth father and told him I had a couple I wanted him to meet. I told him I would like to put together a time where we can all go to dinner. He agreed and naturally they did as well.
I asked Helga if I could use her house to do a surprise for Holly and Dave before dinner. She not only agreed but helped me decorate for a baby shower. I knew that I wouldn't have one for Lillian. That's pretty normal when you choose adoption. But I wanted to be able to throw this little girls first baby shower. I had made several things for her for the last several months. Despite my best efforts I bought her a few things I just couldn't say no to and I also had a few gifts from my mom and the birth father. It was so fun putting all of this stuff together and trying to make this night perfect. I had purchased the book "From God's Arms to My Arms to Yours" By: Michael McLean. I wrote a note to them asking them if they would be the parents to this beautiful little baby I was carrying and I put that in the back of the book. Once they said yes. I told them this baby shower was for them. They opened gifts and then we went to dinner. Dinner went really well and the birth father really liked them and felt more comfortable moving forward.
Holly and I kept in touch daily. I remember talking to her and feeling like I was talking to one of my good friends. I was so excited for her to meet her daughter and to tell her about her movement and how I was feeling. Meanwhile they were speeding through last minute requirements due to their profile being so new. They still had a few things they had to complete before they could take her home.
I didn't sleep super well that night but I woke up and went to church. I remember Helga had stayed home for whatever reason and talking to Bryan (my brother-in-law) and telling him how uncomfortable I was last night. He asked me if I thought I was in labor and I honestly didn't know.. I had no idea what I was watching for. Our church was right next to the hospital and I told him that I was just going to go in and see where I'm at and I'll be to the house in like an hour or so. HA Was I mistaken or what! They brought me to a room checked me told me they were going to observe me for an hour and then check me again. Well apparently I made enough progress that they decided to keep me. I was not prepared for that... I had a plan. I was going to go to my sisters, eat lunch, take a nice nap, play with my niece and then probably hang out and play games with Helga and Bryan once my niece was sleeping. No where in my plans was I having this baby today. Sadly it wasn't up to me. haha I instantly called Helga and was confused why she wasn't rushing over to the hospital. I was having this baby... She needed to be here! Little did I know how long it would take for this lady to make her big arrival. :) I called my mom and told her what was going on. She was about 2 and half hours away and said she would hop in her car and head up. Once she got there I informed the birth father I was in the hospital. We had agreed on him being at the hospital but not in the room during the delivery. And honestly to this day I wouldn't have changed how we did things. As messed up as things were between us he was one of my best friends and having him there helped a lot. I didn't want to share the delivery scene with him because I knew it would be special and I wanted to save that experience for my future husband. Which now after having a baby and having my husband there I'm so glad I did. What a magical moment that is! My mom and my sister were there for me in all stages of my very long labor. I know I wouldn't have been able to do it without their support!
Lillian made her arrival at 8:57 am. She weighed 7 lbs 12 oz and was 19 inches tall. She was perfect and I was in love!
Holly and Dave came up and spent several hours at the hospital. They were so sweet and brought me this beautiful basket full of thoughtful gifts for me. And I will never forget how nervous I was for them to meet their daughter. I wanted so badly for them to instantly connect with her and love her unconditionally. Instead of them running up to her to love on her they both came and gave me the biggest hug and asked how I was feeling and doing. Are they great or what?! I'm tearing up just writing this. That meant the world to me! I wasn't just the lady who had carried their baby for 9 months. They cared! Wow did my love for them grow dramatically at that moment. I excitingly asked them if they wanted to hold their baby girl. I'm so grateful for Helga being there to capture the moment they held her for the first time because they are some of my favorite pictures. They were so thoughtful again to not hold her for very long because they didn't want to take away my time with her. But I was grateful that they stayed to hang out. I loved having my family meet them and see how great they are! They got a hotel so they could be close by for tomorrow's placement.
Quite possibly the worst and hardest day of my life. I didn't sleep at all that night and neither did Lillian. She wasn't fussy but she was awake. I remember my mom making the comment that she wasn't sleeping because she wanted to spend that last night with me. Side note she was in my hospital bed with me every night regardless of every nurse telling me I couldn't sleep with her on my bed. I had no intentions of sleeping while I was there. I could sleep later. They were not taking her! I woke up and my brother gave me the most peaceful, powerful blessing I've ever received. I bawled like a baby. In fact I think we all did. Shortly after the blessing was paperwork time. The worst part of adoption by far! For those of you that haven't experienced this, they read out loud the paperwork while you sign each section. It is worded very clearly and bluntly and it's just awful. I remember my case worker offering to take Lillian so I could sign better. And quite frankly I wasn't letting anyone take her anytime soon. I needed her in my arms and to have her strength to help me sign those awful papers. After that was done I asked everyone to leave my room. The nurses, the doctors, my family, everyone! I wanted a few hours where it was just Lillian and I. I wanted to be able to talk to her freely and be able to share with her every feeling and fear I had. I repeatedly told her how much I loved her and will always love her. I took pictures, I sang to her. It was the only time I had just her and I and it was perfect! I wouldn't have traded those three hours for anything! One thing that I really liked about placement day is that we didn't do it at the hospital. I left with Holly, Dave and Lillian and drove back to my sisters apartment. I was able to sit in the backseat with Lillian which again was such a simple gesture that meant the world to me. Even though my sister lived pretty close to the hospital we had a really meaningful conversation on the way there. Once we got there we hung out for the next couple of hours. My niece was able to hold Lillian which was such a special moment for me. I remember the later it got the more real it became that Lillian was leaving and I wasn't going this time. My family went upstairs and left us alone to officially do placement. I thought I wanted to die. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. Even though I was so overwhelmed with sadness and emptiness I felt a small glimpse of peace. I knew that what I was doing was right.