the following 48 hours were a dream filled with skin to skin, hundreds of newborn pictures, counting milk oz, plenty of poopy diapers, hearing test, carseat test (since she was premature), and lots lots of bonding. the amazing hospital staff at Arrowhead were so incredibly accommodating + supportive of the adoption plan. I was fortunate enough to get a room to stay full time with bk until discharge. they came to check on us a few times a shift but gave us privacy to bond. mama L gave me a wrist band, similar to the one that the other parent gets. I could bathe her, take her to nursery, feed and change her as I had given birth to her. to be honest, this part of the adoption journey wasn’t ever really thought of. i never really imagined what would happen post birth, maybe bc i wasn’t sure we’d ever make it this far.
I couldn’t wait for michael to arrive that morning to meet his daughter. our dear friend kaily had come early to watch beckett so we could do this ourselves. i met him in the hallway in front of the elevator with her in her crib. we were the first things he saw when the elevator doors opened. he was smiling ear to ear and he still hadn’t seen her in person. in the adoption world, many fathers (and mothers) fear the bonding process of their adopted baby. will it happen naturally? will it be similar to their biological child? as we started walking down the hallway, pushing her crib to our room, he had so much pep in his step and confidence in his voice. we barely step in the room and he was ready to hold her. no hesitation. no fear. no anxiety. those emotions probably existed on the drive over but you could see those were left at the elevator.
i want to forever remember the way he looked at her for the first time. the way he held her. watching him sink into the bed as she sunk into him. both their breaths calm. so natural. so much love.
i never want to forget the way he checked out every single feature of hers; the wrinkles and creases on her feet + her ear lobes + her nose + her pouting lips + her long fingers + her freshly cut umbilical cord + her dark thick hair + almond shaped eyes. these features change so quickly, day to day, week to week. i took so many pictures bc i never want to forget. this moment was incredible; this journey can never be repeated.
beckett got to meet his baby sister in the hospital later that afternoon. i went back and forth with this because so much could still happen at this point and bk was not yet our daughter. the main reason we went ahead and included beckett in this part was bc if/when everything goes according to the adoption plan, we did not want to miss any opportunities to write her story. the hospital was a new place for beckett both in an exciting way and confusing way. i remember i could hear him coming down the hallway, then when he slammed opened the door he bolted to her crib, saying “HI BABY SISTER!” his voice definitely didn’t match his actions. he was scared to be near her, resistant to touching her and we were okay with that. he is on his term, moves slowly, and warms up when he is ready. he was both eager to leave but wanted to stay. he didn’t understand why mommy had to stay. we did our best at explaining each step of the way just in case something clicked for him.
the fresh 48 was all so perfect. to have a newborn with no leads, no oxygen tubes, no beeping monitors, no feeding tubes, no IV’s, no neighbors 3 feet away surrounding you watching you, wondering what your story is. no one to tell us we couldn’t hold our baby today. no one to tell us that we had to put our baby back bc it was overstimulated. we had privacy. time together. help was there if we needed but the hospital staff truly let me be her parent.
the bonding came easy but still with a little hesitation in the back of my head and heart. bk was not yet ours. she was mama L’s. i wanted to give her ALL my love but i was so guarded knowing this could all crumble as i’ve seen it happen to close ones in the adoption community. i wanted to be realistic. i wanted to play it safe, but she made my heart explode in a million pieces, a million different ways. my best friend back home advised me to let it all out. all the love, the tears of joy, the tears of pain for mama L… to truly FEEL each of these minutes as i will never get them back regardless of how this may all end. i had to keep faith, trust God, that this was our baby. He lead us to her. He led her to us. i recalled all those nights of prayers and pleas to grow our family. He heard them all. He heard all of us. i still pray for mama L. i pray for the story i know. i pray for her other children. i pray for her safety. i pray that she finds joy and love in the updates we send each month. i pray she feels the same love for herself through the pictures because brooklyn is a direct line to her no matter papers signed or last name.
i knew the time at the hospital was going to end. i had no idea what we were yet to face. since discharge was after 48 hours of birth, mama L could not sign consent until 72 hours so sweet brooklyn was discharged to a cradle caregiver through the agency who took her into her home until papers were signed. it definitely was not my first choice of how the fresh 48 hours would end but i tried to look at this with positive light. this would be a good time to spend as a family of three one last time. give beckett a breather since everything happened so so so fast. let his little mind settle and his heart expand. of course it all worked out. nicole, the temporary caregiver, sent me pictures throughout that night with bk and all her family members pitching in to love on her. my mind and heart were at ease. we had about 1 months of paperwork to plow through as well before the morning and it needed to get done before we could take bk home with us.
the biggest thing on my mind that night was mama L. would she sign? did she have hesitations or reservations? did she feel more confident after meeting me?
to be continued…