Last time on the Saga of Unofficial Mom little Pie had just been born. We rejoin the program currently in progress.
So once the appropriate cleaning and tending to Birthmom had been taken care of, Husband came into the room and met our daughter. He held her as I snuggled close and I wasn't sure my heart could take it. It was a joy like I've never experienced before. She was really here, and she was really ours. At least we were still on track with the adoption plan.
The hospital where Pie was delivered has a really cool program for adoptive parents. As long as the birthparents agree and there is space available, the adoptive parents can get a room and stay there with the baby until he/she and the birthmother are discharged. Thankfully there was room available. So about two hours after she was born Husband, Pie and I entered room 216 and settled in. As soon as the nurse left the room and it was just the three of us together for the first time, Husband and I looked at each other with mouths hanging open. It had happened. I was really in the hospital holding a newborn. And I was not visiting someone else. This one was mine.
Pie was born on a Tuesday and we were in the hospital until about 5:00 on the following Thursday. Over those couple of days we had nurses in and out, the birthparents in and out, and a parade of doctors and specialist checking on Pie and her recovery from the traumatic birth, doing her PKU test, hearing test, etc. We got used to seeing the birthparents a couple of times a day. They would come down from birthmom's room and hang out for an hour or two, snuggle Pie, and just generally kick back.
Husband and I were starting to get the hang of caring for a newborn, with a great deal of help from the nurses. One of the nurses looked/sounded/had the mannerisms of Su-Chin from the movie Juno. So every time she left the room, one of us would say either, "Your baby has fingernails you know" or "All babies want to get borned." And then we would laugh and laugh. Ahhh, good times.
Thursday morning rolls around and we call the attorney to let her know we'll all be discharged that afternoon. Her paralegal came over and the birthparents came down to our room to sign the papers. While we sat completely motionless, Birthmom surrendered her rights to Pie. I felt like if I took a breath or made eye contact it might not happen. But without hesitation she signed all of the paperwork. She was very settled and confident in her decision. In Georgia the birthparents have 10 days to change their minds, no questions asked. So the attorney told us the deadline was Monday, January 25th at 5:00 pm. Now we had a concrete day to focus on. It then took another couple of hours to get us all checked out and ready to go.
Standing in front of the hospital with the birthparents, Pie in her seat, waiting for Husband to bring the car around was so strange. Saying goodbye to them was beyond awkward. What do you say to people who have just given you their child? How do you say thank you? How do you comfort them and protect yourself? We gave them big hugs and promised to see them soon, and then loaded ourselves into the car. I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling of driving past them, birthmom shuffling stiffly after the birth, birthdad helping to hold her up, with their daughter in my car. Driving around the corner and slowly losing sight of them and feeling like they would never know the gift they gave us, would never know how grateful we are.
We had a very tense, rush hour drive home. We finally arrived, brought Pie in and then...we'll we had no idea what to do. For the first few days we took shifts with her, always having one of us awake because of her respiratory problems at birth. And that first night, holding this tiny little person, singing her a lullaby, I finally cried. And cried. And cried. And cried.