To be fair, I need to document Maya’s birth story here on my blog. Plus then all I have to do is copy and paste when it comes time to make her baby book…which I haven’t even started. Eek.
My little girl’s entrance into this world is burned into my memory so deeply that I know it does not matter that I’m writing this down a year later. I actually saw her be born. With our boys, we met them the day they were born- one 7 hours later and one 4 hours after but our baby girl…I was there when she cried that first tiny cry.
To be honest, I wasn’t all that sure I wanted to witness the birth of my daughter. It might sound horribly wrong to anyone who hasn’t been through a failed adoption, but in my mind she isn’t ours until her birth mom signs the papers and makes it official. Nothing is certain in those hours and it’s very very difficult to not get too attached and hopeful. So, when Maya’s birth mom requested my presence I kind of sloughed it off, as the boy’s birth mom had also asked that I be there and it didn’t work out; I thought the same would happen. Except for the fact that she was induced…and there was a specific time…and we were driving down…and would be able to arrive before she was born.
Literally it came down to that that Monday morning, November 11th because we were on the road driving the rest of the way to Jacksonville. We had stopped to spend the night about 6 hours away, and we knew *Mel (that’ll be our name for Maya’s precious birth mom for the rest of the story) was being induced at 8am but had figured we had plenty of time and I really had no idea what the heck I would do sitting in a birthing room all day waiting for a baby that may or may not be mine to be born. It’s hard enough after the baby is out to wait the required 48 hours until a birth mom signs her rights away…so I wasn’t breaking any speed limits.
But as God would have it, we arrived in Jacksonville around 2pm and headed straight for the hospital with the whole family. I jumped out at the entrance and Bart took the boys to grab food. I remember feeling eerily excited and nervous and a little nauseas. As a nurse ushered me into the hospital room, I immediately headed over to Mel and gave her a hug, asked how she was doing…totally unsure of what else I should do or say. I’d met her once before, when we had dinner and met each other a few months earlier, but that’s it. And now I’m standing next to her and she labors pretty intensely. Literally about ten minutes after I showed up, nurses started wheeling in all sorts of equipment and an empty bassinet and things just came alive. Two social workers and I stood nearby trying not to get in the way while still giving Mel support until the dr showed up and Mel began to push. Originally I was standing by her head, praising her to keep going…or whatever the heck I said, I have no idea… but then it was only about 6 pushes and the dr ensured the baby was almost here- so one of the social workers grabbed my arm, exclaiming that I just had to watch my daughter be born! Mortified, a little curious, and seriously excited I watched as her head emerged and she just shot out. Insane! The dr held her up to show her off and yelled “where’s your camera?” so of course, we all scrambled to grab our devices for a quick picture. Then he held scissors and looking at us, asked who was cutting the cord. I did not think for one moment it would be me…I mean, what if I messed up? But they pushed me towards him and I found myself grabbing the scissors and thankfully cutting in a very clearly marked area of the cord. Then the baby was whisked away to the flurry of nurses waiting nearby and I was so torn. I wanted to comfort Mel and congratulate her, which I did…but my heart was also so drawn to the precious slimy (I mean, come on- gotta be truthful) little girl who was just born.
My heart felt like it was in my throat as I stared at her through all the hands moving around her. I watched as they weighed and recorded all the little details. She was moved into this little warming bed and checked out completely and I just watched in amazement that I got to be right next to her the entire time. The best part was when a nurse asked who the “second” bracelet was for…normally it’s for the dad and I’ve actually never gotten the bracelet privilege- which means one can see the baby without her mom present. With both our boy’s births, we got to see them in the hospital, but never with this much freedom. I almost cried when one of the nurses asked if I wanted to go with her when she brought Maya into the nursery to give her a bath. Incredulously, I followed, feeling like it was a dream. At this point, I tried so desperately to trust God that He would hold my heart if this wasn’t going to be our daughter, because I was bonded. From that first moment she grabbed my finger, minutes after she was born…I never wanted to let her go. I prayed and hoped that this was my Maya Joy…the one we had prayed for so much.
It was so fun to be a part of all the little stuff. About an hour after the birth, Bart brought the boys up to our floor and a nurse kindly found us a small “storage” room for privacy so they could meet her. Bart held her and the boys looked at her in awe. It was all very surreal. That lasted about ten minutes and then we crossed over to Mel’s room and she got to meet Bart and our boys. It was special to be all together, with our lawyer (who we LOVE) and I remember feeling such peace as Mel fed Maya her first bottle and then handed her off to me so she could rest. What could have felt so odd and awkward felt strangely normal.
After awhile it was time to say goodbye. We headed to our hotel room without a tiny baby but filled with much hope and anticipation. Much to our surprise and delight, Mel was ready to be discharged the next day, which meant that we didn’t have to wait the customary 48 hours for the rights hearing. Thankfully we had a family friend who was able to babysit the boys while we sat anxiously in the hospital waiting room while Mel signed all the papers and surrendered her parental rights…and even though it felt slightly more definite this time around, it was still hard to fully believe we would leave the hospital with a daughter.
But Praise God- she became ours on November 12th, 2013!!! Of course, finalization didn’t happen until many months later, but in our hearts it was a done deal. Maya was required to stay one more night in the hospital, so we spent a good amount of time cuddling her and taking lots of pictures and then headed out to grocery shop and get ready for the next two weeks of hotel living. The next day we met our social worker back at the hospital and changed Maya into her going home outfit…and then waited a lot longer than we should have because of a shift change- but it didn’t matter- she was ours!!!!!
I still can’t forget the drive back to our hotel- with our THREE?!!? children in the backseats. It felt like so recently we had brought Josiah home from the hospital, and Regan too…and now, our first daughter- what an incredible feeling, an amazing reality.
I do however forget a lot of our hotel living…which I think is part of God’s divine plan in getting me back down to Florida each time for another adoption. It’s a miracle how living in a hotel room with 2 toddlers and a newborn can seem like no big deal a year later. In the midst of it, there were loooooooong days and looooooong nights. But the gift of Maya Joy was worth ten times that torture.
So, I finally finished this on the eve of your first birthday Mymy. I love you to pieces my daughter.