Thursday, April 14, 2011

You know Better Than I- Part 2

Note: This is part 2 of a 3 part story. Find Part 1 HERE. Part 3 will be published tomorrow.

We got together with N pretty much every week after that for the next 3 months of her pregnancy. We went to dinner, to the zoo (we had to find fun things for the kids to do), we went bowling and to the pumpkin patch, and, with her permission, we also had a baby shower. We got to know and love her and her family so much. We also grew to love that little princess she was carrying not doubting for a second that little girl was meant to come to our family.

Throughout the whole time we knew N, I was never worried about her changing her mind. We knew it was always a possibility for birth moms to change their minds, but it was NEVER a big fear of ours.

Fast forward to November 17th (2009) when N called to tell us she was being induced. This was it, the day we had been waiting for for so long, the day our daughter would be born. We drove the hour to the hospital where she was delivering and got there just as she was getting her epidural. It was about 6pm. She wasn’t dilating very fast, so we just chilled in her room talking, watching TV, and “trying” to get what little sleep we could on the hard chairs (we were too excited to sleep anyways).

At 5:57am on November 18th, 2009, we were just outside the room when we heard P’s first cries. It was such an amazing sound. Shawn and I both cried. (well, he “teared up” lol).

Two hours later, after they had moved N to recovery, we were able to see her. She was beautiful…there is no other way to describe her. Watching Shawn hold her was me falling in love with him all over again. All daddies should have daughters. I can’t describe the joy we had. We gave P her first bath, helped change diapers while we were there, and fed her. To us, she was “ours” and it was like she always had been.

During that time of excitement and drooling over our daughter, we didn’t know that N was starting to have second thoughts. We made plans with N and her mom to bring P to a late Thanksgiving dinner at their place so she could meet all the birth family. We were talking pacifiers, blankets and formulas, not once thinking that we weren’t going to be leaving the hospital with her. Two days later, as we waited for the phone call about the time we needed to be back at the hospital, instead, we got a phone call from a caseworker we didn’t even know (ours was out of town) that N had changed her mind and that she was going to parent. That’s when it all came crashing down.

I wish I could say that we endured this trial gracefully. I wish I could say that I was an example to all on how to remain strong and hopeful during those dark times of life. I wish it hadn’t hurt so much.

The thing with failed placements, especially ones where you have gotten to know the baby and were just hours away from bringing her home, to your home, is that now, this sweet precious little girl (or boy), has no ties to you and you have no claim on them. You are not their birth mother, you are not their adoptive mother, you’re not even “family”, and yet, you loved them as if they were your own. That doesn’t go away. Friends and family would always tell me, “You’ll have another chance to adopt”, or “You’ll find YOUR baby soon”, and while I appreciated their support so much, it was hard to get them to realize the bond we had with THIS baby girl. I didn’t carry her in me for nine months, but I still had a love and connection with her that is like that of a mothers. Fathers never carry their children, or give birth, and yet, you know that the love they have for their child is beyond anything that words can express. When we got the phone called that N had changed her mind, it felt like a part of us had died. In fact, Shawn even mentioned that it was like we had a daughter, but she died at the hospital. Those were my feelings exactly. The last time we saw her she was two days old. She never came home. Or, more appropriately, she never came home to “us”.

During the first week after the birth and the failed placement, (man, that just doesn’t seem like a good enough way to describe what happens when you lose a baby) although we were devastated, we were still holding out hope that N would change her mind again and that we would get a call telling us to come get our baby. The first day, we had taken everything that was set up (the swing, the bouncers, bottles, etc) and just threw them in the nursery and closed the door. That didn’t stop us, or at least me, from praying that N would change her mind. As the weeks passed though, we had to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. We withdrew from the world and spent our days focusing more on each other and the children we do have at home. Some might have said that we were anti-social or may have worried when we didn’t call or answer our phones, but it was just what we needed at that moment. To begin healing. Shawn brought home a dog one day, and although he didn’t say it, I knew that it was something to kind of replace what we had lost. I didn’t have the heart to tell him to take her back. That was just the beginning of our journey. When caseworkers and counselors tell you that you will experience every stage of grief, sometimes more than once, they couldn’t be more right.

We went to meet with our caseworker a few weeks later and she could see that I was just an outward mess. I knew that I was a mess, but all I wanted was to get our profile back up and running because I had felt like we had lost precious time in finding “our child”. It was hard for me to admit that I was grieving the loss of a child that was not ours. She told me it was natural to feel that way and that I should see a counselor to try and help me cope with the grief. I didn’t think that anyone would understand how I was feeling, because no one at the time seemed to grasp how much we loved that little girl. She set me up with a counselor though, and I promised that I would see her.

What our caseworker didn’t realize at the time, and what I failed to realize also, was that, although I was an outward mess of crying jags, depression, and days where I just wanted to stay in bed, I wasn’t the only one falling apart. Shawn, who had been so strong for me and for our kids, was struggling on the inside.

I guess I didn’t realize until then that everyone has their own way of grieving and coping (or not coping). What I thought was strength, was really him just bottling everything up inside. The loss of the baby burned into his soul and he started questioning his faith. I tell you this, not for judgment, but for understanding that may help someone you love who is going through the same thing. While I had a hard time getting up and going to church because I felt like it was too much work to get in the shower and get ready and I would rather just lay in bed watching ridiculously stupid Lifetime movies (enter depression), Shawn didn’t want to go because his faith had been tested so much that he wasn’t sure he believed anymore. It was an extremely emotional, faith testing experience for us losing that child…losing that dream of what could be. If we would have had someone there to tell us what they went through and give us guidance, it still would have been very hard, but we would have known what to expect and, I think as far as faith goes, it wouldn’t have been questioned as much. Of course we’ve become much stronger and more faithful as a result. I think that is one of the things you need to look for if you go through a failed placement, or any faith-trying event,…what can you learn and how can you grow?

Come back tomorrow for part 3...

Alicia has been married for 10 years (in August) to her high school sweetheart. They have 2 amazing little boys and have been in the adoption process for about 4 years, hoping that Heavenly Father will bless them with a little one soon. In her free time she loves to create; photography, art, name it and she'll try it at least once.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...