When we arrived at the hospital, I was apparently already having contractions. The doctors decided to wait a bit to see if I would go into active labor on my own. Because I was already dilated five centimeters, I was able to get my epidural almost immediately. Getting that going along with some other minor paperwork, passed some of the time quickly. After a while, they decided to go ahead with the medicine to induce me, as I was not making any progress on my own. I was also given some pain medicine because they warned me the contractions brought on by the Pitocin would be considerably stronger than normal. Soon after, I fell asleep.
I was awakened by what seemed to be a stampede of wild animals. The doctor and two nurses flew in to the room, explaining that the baby's heart rate had dropped very low. Frightened, I sat up quickly and let them lift the gown. The astonishment was apparent in my doctor's face, then they all smiled. "Well, that explains it, he's crowning! It's time to push!" Dazed, I pushed- or at least thought I did, how can anyone tell when they can't feel a thing below the waist? Nonetheless, I made quick work of it and within fifteen minutes my son was born.
I did not understand why they took him away at first, I did not realize they had to do so much before I got to hold him. But then, he was there, in my arms, and I was desperately in love with him. The incredible journey leading up to this miraculous moment, completely disappeared. Nothing mattered but this beautiful child, and he was perfect. Over the next few days, the comments from the nurses- how he seemed so much older than any newborn they had ever seen, holding his head up, focusing on people- confirmed what I already knew, there was no doubt in my mind that this boy was special.
Three of my friends came in shortly after he was born and I will always remember their reaction to my appearance: "Your hair isn't even messed up! You just gave birth and you still look perfect." I suppose those words stay with me not only because I was completely flattered, but also because I FELT perfect, like the whole thing was just way too easy. Looking back, I think my easy labor and delivery was yet another part of a well orchestrated plan.
I don't think the hospital staff had been in very many situations like mine, and it was interesting to see the differences in the way they each reacted. I had filled out paperwork prior to his birth that included a list of approved guests. The main reason for this list was the understanding that this was MY time with my son. A few understood and tried to give me as much time alone as possible. A few others, though meaning well, let anyone who came by in the door. And there was one, that seemed to think that I shouldn't be spending so much time with him, that I needed rest, to whom I explained that I could sleep when I left the hospital, but right now he stays with me.
His adoptive parents stayed in the family waiting room outside the unit. I knew that they wanted to see him and meet me, but I just wasn't ready for that. In fact, the more time I spent in that room the more convinced I became that I didn't want to meet them at all, and would not be able to handle being present when they left with him. Of all the careful planning I'd endured, I had not considered how this "exchange" would take place. Perhaps it was selfish, but I honestly didn't want them to have him until the minute I had to let him go. I remember resenting my mother when I discovered that she had sneaked down the hall with him. I was angry with her for making that call because it was mine, whether she felt it was right or not. It's easy to see now why she did it. They wanted to see him, they were parents in a hospital eagerly awaiting the first glimpse of their son. She was an adoptive parent herself and knew more than anyone else what they were going through in these moments. I forgave her of course, as I said, it was easy to see why she'd acted on her feelings - but what if I changed my mind? What if I realized that I was not able to follow through with the adoption? I still had time, and the legal right to do just that. Now that he was in my arms, it was nearly impossible to see anyone being strong enough to let go.