this journey begins here
from now on L will be referred to by her name - Laura
Sunday, February 13, 2000
We spent the day at Laura's house with her mom and grandmother. The weather was very cold, there was even snow on the ground in places. Laura was feeling better after the Castor oil debacle. Everyone was anxious for Laura's labor to start. My nerves were beyond frayed, Dave's also. Laura was walking laps throughout the house with one of us accompanying her. Finally, we needed a change of scenery, so we decided to take our walking elsewhere.
We went to the local WalMart and walked the store. And walked and walked. We had a basket for Laura to lean on (it never dawned on anyone to ask her why she felt the need to lean on it). We had a ball in that store, believe or not. I am not sure how long we were there, but I do remember Laura using the bathroom a few times. Every time she returned from the bathroom I looked at her expectantly, hoping she would say that her water had broken....she never did.
After a couple of hours of stalking the WalMart aisles, we decided that we were hungry. Laura chose a restaurant and off we went. It was a buffet style restaurant, one of Laura's favorites. I am sure the food was good, but I have no recollection. I don't even know if I ate anything. By this time I become aware of Laura's growing discomfort and I guessed, and hoped, she was in labor. I became fully focused on her and my heart sped up a notch. I was suddenly wide awake, the lethargy I had been feeling all day slipped away.
Our meal was finished and we were having our dessert. Laura was coming back to the table with her dessert and as she was putting her plate down, she suddenly stood up tall and said, "I have to go the bathroom."
She quickly walked away and I said, "I bet her water just broke."
I was right. She came back to the table and said, "I think my water just broke." We quickly left the restaurant and drove to her house. After a call in to the doctor we were on the way to the hospital. The time was around 9:00 pm.
We arrived at the hospital and Laura is quickly checked in and examined. Yes, she was leaking amniotic fluid....yes, she was in labor....yes, the moment we have all been waiting for has arrived. The baby is coming.
We had been in South Carolina for 8 days. In those days we shed many tears, said many prayers, laughed until we cried, met and fell in love with and bonded with Laura and her family, held hands, held each other, bonded anew with each other, missed our daughter, made numerous phone calls....and grew emotionally and spiritually and more in love with each other and life. We were now coming to the end of one phase of our journey and embarking on a new phase of our journey.
We called our daughter and told her that her brother was on his way. We also called our friend who sent out the news via our email loop we had going during our stay. (When we finally came home I printed up all the emails in this loop from our entire stay in South Carolina...what a treasure.)
Laura was in active labor, and not really liking any part of it. I remember watching her and thinking..."I have the easy part, all I have to do is write a check". I did share this with her, but she did see the humor in it at that time. She did get an epidural which made all the difference in the world....then she thought my comment was funny!! Laura labored and catnapped throughout the night. We catnapped and watched her.
By 6:30 or 7:00 the following morning she was fully dilated and ready to deliver. Her mom, her friend and myself were with her....Dave waited in the hallway. I had the distinct pleasure and honor of watching Laura give birth to our son. I held her leg while she birthed her son, our son. I witnessed his perfect head crown and grow as he emerged from his first mother's body, his first mother who loved him enough to give him life. The emotions that ran through my body were awe inspiring....I can't even put it into words. He slipped through her body and into this world and was placed on her belly. I cut the cord separating him from her, but their ties will never be broken....their hearts are still woven together.
The nurse wrapped him in a blanket and handed him to Laura. Laura looked at him, smiled, and turned to me and said, "Say hello to your son" and handed him to me.
I was speechless, tears were pouring down my face. I looked down at him and looked up at her and our eyes met. I saw in her eyes immense love for this little boy. I looked at her mother and saw immense love and tears, joy and sadness. I looked down at the baby boy I was holding and immediately fell in love.
Laura asked me what his name was....
"How about Michael?" I said.
"Yes," she said, "I like that name."
During this entire moment that felt like hours, but was only minutes, we forgot one very important item.....we forgot to tell Dave!! Laura's friend ran out to the hallway and told him to come in and meet his son.
The moment Dave saw Michael for the first time tears streamed down his face and I fell in love with both my boys all over again. Dave, Laura, her mom, and I held him and loved him and admired him....it was a beautiful moment.
The time came for Michael to go down to the nursery and we walked him down there. We were not allowed in the nursery, but watched through the window. My heart was breaking for Laura and her mom. I watched her birth this baby and I saw the love and pain in her eyes as she handed him to me. I saw that same love and pain in her mother's eyes.
I looked at Dave and said, "We can't adopt this baby. Laura loves him so much...I can't do this to her. We have to go tell her now, and we need to go home."
Dave just stared at me...."What do you mean? Of course we have to adopt this baby..we have been here waiting for this...What are you talking about?" Desperation makes his voice rise.
"I just can't break Laura's heart. I can't do it. She loves him too much. I am going to go and tell her now."
I turn away and start walking back to her room. Dave follows, too stunned to say anything coherent.