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One More Round…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy Part IV

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We thought (well, at least David thought) we were done wanting a baby.  I wasn’t yet. I’d fairly drool each time I passed a baby in the grocery store. I fully understood why people posed as nurses and stole babies from nurseries. (I’d never do that…honestly!!) People all around me were having babies and I was insanely jealous. Everyone would want me to hold their new bundle of joy, and I would, but inwardly, I just wanted to die. If they only knew how much I just wanted to take that baby with me and not give it back. Working for an OB/GYN didn’t help this one bit. I found myself saying things to patients like, “If you ever decide you don’t want this precious little baby, let me know. I’d take him/her in a heartbeat.” They would look at me like I was a stalker or something and I hand the baby back to them realizing that I must appear crazy or something. They didn’t know. They just thought I was a weird nurse.

We continued to “try” for pregnancy. Nothing every month. It was so frustrating. Finally, we reached a point where we decided it just wasn’t fun anymore. We hated planning our intimate times to occur at just the right fertile moment. There was no spontaneous moments. We were beginning to loathe the bedroom. (Again, feel free to stop reading if this is too much for you!) We were ready to give it all up and take measures so that pregnancy did not occur. Besides, I had health issues. My blood pressure never did return to normal after I had Katie. It was, and still is, a constant battle to get just the right medication to control my hypertension. We talked about our options. The plan had been all along that when I had another baby, it would most likely be a repeat c-section and I’d have my tubes tied. Since that had never happened, Dave wasn’t willing to let me go through a surgery for a tubal ligation. “You’ve been through enough.” Dave stepped up to the plate and decided he’d go under the knife instead.

Plans were made to proceed. We would be done. There would be no more children for us, and we thought we were okay with this decision. But, the day came when we were offered another wonderful gift.

My co-worker and friend, Carol, came to my desk. “I need to talk to you.” She took me to a private area to talk. “There is a girl in the prenatal history office right now whose pregnancy is a result of rape. She wants to give up the baby for adoption. I know you said you’re done, but would you consider it? She’d like to meet you. I already told her about you.”

I agreed to meet *Jenny (not her real name), but made no guarantee that I’d want to adopt her child. I walked into the office and there sat a beautiful young lady, eyes cast down, looking sad. She was heavy set like me with dark eyes and black hair. Based on her looks alone, I knew she was someone I’d relate to. Carol introduced us. Jenny says, “Would you like to adopt my baby?”

I was taken aback. She didn’t know me at all. She had no idea what I was like. She hadn’t asked me a single question other than would I like to adopt her baby. I responded, “Before I say yes or no, can we talk a little?”

“Sure,” she replied. Carol slipped from the room so we could have some privacy. Jenny told me the story of her pregnancy. She was embarrassed and humiliated I’m sure to have to repeat it again. “I have an 8-year-old daughter and I can’t tell her about this. I plan to just go to the hospital when it’s time and come home a day or so later and just tell her I had surgery on my belly. She doesn’t need to know anything else. I just need to find someone to adopt my baby boy.”

So, it was a boy. Dave sure would love a hunting buddy!  She seemed sincere and I had a good feeling about the whole situation. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I went home to talk to Dave.

When I told Dave about Jenny, he just smiled. “Maybe this is why we didn’t get the last adoption,” he said. “Maybe this is the baby we were to have. We can do it if you want to.”

I was so excited to call Jenny and tell her. “Wonderful!” she said. “My next appointment is in 2 weeks. You can come along with me if you want and hear his hearbeat.” We talked for about an hour about the pregnancy and each other. Once again, I had found a young lady with a love of music and a love of God. Certainly, God had brought us together. As I hung up the phone with her, I looked at the calendar, it was “Maggie’s” due date. What timing God has!

I went to each visit with Jenny with the excitement an expectant mother has. I cried when I’d hear his heartbeat. I met Jenny’s mother who hugged me and thanked me for being the one who would raise her grandson. Everything was just perfect. Jenny and I were becoming really good friends. We’d talk every night on the phone after her daughter went to bed. Not only was she giving me the gift of a son, she was giving me the gift of friendship as well. I was floating on cloud nine!!

Once again, I began doing research for just the right name for our son. I asked Jenny to be a part of naming him. She was excited and was thrilled to find out we wanted to name him Evan Matthew, (which means God is gracious, gift of God….or gracious gift of God).

Finally, the moment came when Jenny was to be induced. For 2 days, I waited at the hospital until my friend, Darlanna, a midwife at my office, came to waiting area and told Dave and I that Evan had been born. Moments later, we were taken to Jenny’s room and got to hold Evan for the first time. We were given our own room where we boarded with Evan. Jenny was discharged a few hours later and brought Evan to us. She hugged us both and we all cried as she said goodbye to her newborn son. Jenny’s mom hugged us too and told us to take good care of Evan. Then they were gone, and it was just the three of us. I looked at Dave as I held Evan in my arms and remember saying, “We don’t deserve him. He’s just too wonderful.”

David said, “Yes, we do deserve him. We’ll love him and care for him like no one else can.”

I went to sleep happy that night, the first time in months I was truly happy. I felt complete. While I slept, a terrible snowstorm came up. Dave called the next morning; it was Valentine’s Day. “I’m on my way in to get you! Your mom is with me and Katie. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”

I was excited! We were on our way home! Our family would be complete! The nurses at the hospital all fused over us as we left. There were congratulations all around as we left. We drove over some rather trecherous roads to take my mother home and for my dad to see Evan for the first time.  We finally arrived at my parents. Dad was overcome with joy as he held his grandson for the first time. After mom and dad had held him for a while, we decided to head home.

Home, as a new family. It was wonderful! The first night was sleepless. Evan cried every time I left the room, so I spent the night sleeping in the rocking chair just so he knew I was with him. Dave went back to work the next morning and Katie and I were left to care for Evan.  Katie loved running to get things for me and just fawned over her new baby brother. She was so happy to be the big sister!

In Pennsylvania, a birth mother has 72 hours to go to the lawyer’s office and sign over her rights to the baby. 72 hours after Evan was born, we had just said goodbye to Dave’s mom who had come to meet Evan for the first time. Dave was getting ready to shower from a long day of work. The phone rang. I was feeding Evan, so Dave answered it. “What? You’re serious. Okay, fine. What time do you close? We’ll be there as soon as we can, but this is going to happen tonight, or she’ll just have to wait until we can get there tomorrow.”

Dave walked into the living room where Katie and I were taking turns giving Evan his bottle. “We have to take him back.”

“David, stop it! That’s not funny!”

“I’m not making it up. That was the lawyer’s office. Jenny changed her mind. She wants him back.”

“NO!! NO!!!! I won’t give him back!! He’s ours!”

“No, honey, he’s Jenny’s and she has a right to him.”

“But she promised! She said there was no way she’d change her mind! How could she do this?”

“We have to go honey. Get him dressed to go.”

I knew he was serious. Dave didn’t joke about things like this. Katie began screaming and bawling. “You can’t take my baby brudder! He’s mine!” Her words just tore at my heart. She was only 4, how could she even begin to understand what was happening here? We quickly called my parents and Dave’s mom. We called our babysitter to see if she could watch Katie while we took care of things. We all were crying hysterically, including Evan, the whole way to town. We dropped Katie off at the sitter’s house. Nancy, our sitter, hugged me tight and said she was praying for us. My mom called our church’s prayer chain while we were gone. Prayers began going up all over the place.

The exchange was made at the lawyer’s office. Jenny was in one room, we were in the other. The lawyer carried Evan to Jenny. We were to wait until Jenny left with him before we were allowed to leave. The lawyer kept watch that we wouldn’t have to cross paths. Jenny and a friend waited and waited outside the office, we think waiting on us. An hour went by. Finally, our lawyer said, “I don’t know why she isn’t leaving, but I’m sure you’d like to leave. I’ll walk you to your car. You don’t have to talk to her. We’ll just keep moving past her vehicle.”

As the lawyer walked us out, I made eye contact with Jenny. Her expression seemed to say, “I’m sorry.” She seemed like she wanted to tell me something. I, however, had nothing to say to her. I counted her as a good friend. We’d become close over the weeks we spent together. I felt betrayed.

I cried the whole way home. We picked up Katie, who by this time, had cried herself to sleep. We’d explain things better to her later.

When we arrived home, my best friend, Becca called. “We’re coming over.” I wasn’t sure I wanted company, but it was the best thing that could have happened. Becca and Nathan arrived and just sat with us. Becca kept her arm around me as I cried, yelled, tried to ration what had just happened. Neither she or Nathan said a word, they just listened and grieved with us. They left us talk without answering or offering any reasoning or speculation why things hadn’t worked out. They were just there for us, a gift that was truly priceless to us.

We were finished. There would be no more children for us….natural or adopted. We’d been hurt too badly.

The next two weeks, I stayed home with Katie and just enjoyed every moment of her. I wasn’t sure I could go back to work. I finally did though. My coworkers greeted me with love and concern. Some just hugged me because they didn’t know what to say. Others sat and cried with me. Carol felt awful as though it were her fault. I reassured her it wasn’t.

The door to Evan’s room remained shut for 6 months before I’d even consider going in to package the clothing and items we had in there for him. I kept the outfit we brought him home in as well as a blue monkey and teddy bear we’d gotten for him. It’s all I had left. I packaged the clothes and gave them to a couple at church who had just had a baby boy. It was time to let go and move on.

We grieved a long time. It was like there was a death in our family. Though we had him just 2 short days, we loved him so much. He was and still is “our son”. That was 6 years ago.

We decided our “baby days” were over. But I still wasn’t cured of my terminal case of “baby envy”. There would be one more chapter yet.

(To be continued….)

♥Miriam

It’s a Baby…Maybe…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy Part III

We were at a stand still. All attempts at pregnancy had failed, either in miscarriage or just not achieving a positive result. We were frustrated beyond frustrated! Everything we did revolved around the possibility of achieving or not achieving pregnancy. I couldn’t stand it any more. I began to finally listen to those who were suggesting adoption.

One day, our phone rang. My friend Lois Ann was on the other end. “Are you considering adoption?”

“Maybe…”

“If you are, I know of a girl here in the states that wants to give her baby up for adoption. If you’re interested, I’ll get you connected.” This was my friend who had adopted two boys from another country. She was always open for more children to be added and so people were constantly making her aware of those she knew were going to give a child up for adoption.

We agreed to let her connect us with this girl.

*Maggie (not her real name) called us and we had a lovely conversation. She was a junior in college and had made a “mistake” that resulted in pregnancy. She wasn’t ready to be a mother yet as she hoped to do some mission work in Africa. She asked a few questions of us and we discussed meeting at some point. She wasn’t excited about meeting immediately, she wanted to meet closer to the time of the birth. I was so excited! She was 20 weeks along and knew she was having a girl. I began making plans for the future. We wouldn’t need clothes, we had Katie’s old things. A name…what would the name be? I had spent a great deal of time picking out Katie’s name. I wanted a name that meant something. I poured over the meanings of names and came up with Katie Elaine. Katie means “pure” and Elaine means “light”. I didn’t know at the time how much her name would become significant to us.

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As I began to pour over possible names, I decided (but never shared with Dave) that this little girl’s name would be Hannah Grace, which ultimately means “grace grace”.  “What a fitting name,” I thought. Surely it was God’s grace that would bring this little girl to us.

I looked forward to the weekly phone call I would receive from Maggie as she kept us up-to-date on her progress. She was a music student and loved writing.  We had something in common! She even had red hair like me! Certainly, this little girl would perhaps even look like she was mine! Time was going quickly and we wanted to start preparing for Hannah’s arrival.

Then, the phone calls stopped. I tried in vain to call Maggie, but could never get through. Nearly a month passed. Finally, the phone rang one evening. It was Maggie at the other end. “I lost my phone and just got another. Sorry, I haven’t called sooner.” I was upset that she hadn’t tried to call by any other means. I asked her how things were since she was just about 8 weeks away from potential delivery. “Fine,” was the only answer I got. This was not the usual bubbly responses that I recieved from Maggie. Something was different, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I told her we were starting to get things together and the next thing we were going to do was graduate Katie from her crib to a toddler bed.  “That’s nice,” she said. “Don’t rush it though, you still have eight weeks!”

I felt somewhat reassured by speaking with her, but yet was beginning to feel uneasy. Maggie had yet to speak with Dave directly and each time I asked was flatly turned down. “I don’t need to speak to him,” she’d say.

Another month went by without a phone call. I had left messages each week on the day we’d always converse with no response from Maggie. Finally, the phone rang one evening with Maggie at the other end.

“It’s me,” she said. I tried to remain calm. I was angry. How could she just leave me out of the loop?

“Hi, Maggie! How are things?”

“Fine.”

“Just a month left now, right?”

“Yup.”

“Can we soon meet face to face? After all, the baby will soon be here.”

I was not prepared for her reply. “Yeah, about that. There’s no need for us to meet.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well, there’s no easy way to tell you this except to tell you. I’ve decided to give the baby to one of my college professers instead of you. Sorry,” and she hung up.

I stared in disbelief at the phone in my hand. Four weeks away from the arrival of Hannah and there would be no baby….again. I screamed! I threw the phone. Dave came running. “What’s going on?”

“She changed her mind! That’s what’s going on!! That little brat changed her mind!! How could she do this to us!” I screamed.

Dave came to me and put his arms around me as the sobs took over. I couldn’t take it any longer. Why was this happening? We couldn’t have a child of our own, and now even an adoption wasn’t going to work.

“We’re done with this,” said Dave. “Enough is enough. I can’t stand to see you go through this anymore. We’re done.” (That’s what he thought.)

At the time, we couldn’t fathom why God would allow yet another baby to slip from our grasp.  A few years later, we realized why He didn’t allow this to happen.

Maggie had wanted an open adoption, one that would allow her to see the child once a year. We’d send frequent photos and letters. Hannah would always know that she was adopted and who her birth mother was. It was the least we could do for Maggie considering the sacrifice she was going to make.  Looking back, I am so thankful that God did not allow this adoption to take place.

A couple of years ago, out of curiosity, I Googled Maggie’s name. I wanted to see if she had indeed graduated from college and went on her missions trips as she had hoped. What I discovered floored me. Certainly, this was not the Maggie I had come to know from phone calls and conversations we had had.

There it was in bold print. Maggie had gotten pregnant again, and while on a missions trip to minister to homeless people in the inner-city of a large city here in the US, gave birth in the bathroom of the church where they were staying, drowned her baby in the sink and placed it in the dumpster outside for disposal! It was a boy. She had gotten caught and sent to prison for manslaughter. I couldn’t believe it! I shared this discovery with my friend Lois Ann, who confirmed it with the ones who had connected her with Maggie initially.

God’s hand of protection was on us! In an open adoption such as she had wanted, how in the world would we tell a then 3-year-old Hannah that her mom was in prison for killing her baby brother? I was relieved, though it was three years later, to know that we wouldn’t ever have to deal with that. I felt sorry for Maggie’s college professor and his wife. How were they dealing with this? I prayed for them and for Maggie that she would get back on track with God.

We thought we were finished wanting a baby, but this was a terminal case of baby envy that I had. It wasn’t over yet.

(To be continued….)

♥Miriam