My name is Sterling, I'm 22-years-old, and I am the birthmother to the most gorgeous little boy in the world. I started this blog to share my experiences, thoughts, and help myself move forward after placing my sweet little boy. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I invite you to read my story (top of the left column). Feel free to comment with questions or requests. If you follow me, I'll follow you!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
A Mother's Prayer
I think I'm finally ready to post how the last five weeks have been. I may have to post just a little bit at a time, but I'm not sure if people really enjoy super-long posts anyway. :-) David Allen Winn-Hutchinson was born at 5:31 pm on February 20, 2010. He weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz and looked like an alien. But, he was the most beautiful and perfect alien I've ever seen. The cord was around his neck, so we had to use the vacuum to get him out faster. Because of that, he had a cute little cone-cap on top of his head.
The original plan was to do something called kangaroo-care, a bonding process where the newborn is placed directly on the mother's bare chest directly from the womb. Skin-to-skin contact helps the newborn feel more secure with their new surroundings, and they will instinctively begin rooting, or searching for food. The idea is that the child learns to bond quickly and will latch to the breast more easily. Unfortunately, David was taken directly to the warming table to make sure he was okay after having the cord around his neck. I couldn't see him for the first five minutes of his life which, coupled with being in shock after giving birth, had me in a semi-panic. Ben and his mom had both been in the room and were over with him while my mom tried to calm me down and get me to focus enough to deliver the placenta. Finally, Ben brought our little David over to me and I got to hold him for a few minutes before he was whisked away to the nursery.
I cried. Partly from being in shock, but mostly because I knew my countdown had started. I only had 48 hours (at the most) with him, and I suddenly felt that it would not be enough. Just staring at and touching his face for those few moments after delivery filled me with an emotion I'll never be able to explain. Only another parent could possibly know the intensity of the love I felt.
The first night with David was like a fairy-tale. I felt like my world could not have been more perfect. I nursed him, held him, kissed him, and sang to him. A change came over both Ben and myself, and we both realized that all the fighting we had done during the past nine months had been so useless. It was so beautiful to watch Ben snuggle David, kiss him, and stare at him. He talked to him, told him stories, and gave him advice. That first night, while I tried to take a nap, I heard Ben cry for the first time. Somehow, that gave me comfort, knowing that I wasn't the only one of us that would struggle through this.
Sunday was busy. Too busy. It felt like we had a constant stream of people coming to see us. All we wanted was to be a family for a little while. The best visitors we had were Dave and Amy. I knew I wanted to see them, but Ben didn't want to see them at all. It turned out to be a wonderful thing for Dave and Amy to come, because it reaffirmed our decision to place David. We didn't offer to let them hold him, although now we wish we would have. They told us then that his name was definitely David. It was obvious, even then, that they already loved and adored my little boy. He was meant to be their son.
We spent another night together as a family, and I sang to David just as I had while he was in my womb. It was hard to hold back the tears because I knew my time was getting shorter and shorter. I began to second guess myself, wondering if I would be strong enough to carry through with my plan. I reread my journal, I read my letters to Dave, Amy, and little David, and I prayed. I prayed harder than I had my entire pregnancy. I prayed for strength to do what was best for David. I know the Lord heard my prayers.
Monday was difficult, knowing I was placing that afternoon coupled with a nurse who definitely didn't give any warm fuzzies, and waking up to a doctor calling to tell me they wouldn't perform David's circumcision because it was an adoption, and they were worried about getting paid... well, my morning wasn't what I had expected it to be. I wanted nothing more than to snuggle up with David and spend my last hours with him whispering to him and praying he would be able to feel how much I loved him.
We drove straight from the hospital to the local LDS Family Services agency. Ben's parents, his sister, and my mom spent some time saying goodbye, then Ben and I got a little more alone time with David. We told him how wonderful the few days we spent with him had been, how much we loved him, and gave him life advice. I couldn't stop my tears from flowing.
My caseworker and the notary, along with my mom, came in to have me sign the relinquishment papers.
I think the most painful thing I've ever gone through thus far in my life was signing the relinquishment papers. Ben held David while my mom held her arm around me. I couldn't breathe. As soon as I signed the papers, there was no going back. I closed my eyes, and with tears streaming down my face, I signed my name, silently begging for forgiveness from Heavenly Father, from little David, and from myself. I wanted to curl up and disappear. I had been a mother for two whole days, breastfed my sweet little boy to give him the best start, and then signed away all parental rights. I began to feel hollow as Ben placed David in my arms again, feeling as if my whole world was going to crack.
Dave and Amy walked in the room, and as Amy hugged me I felt a sudden peace come over me. I felt warm, and I felt that there were others in the room that none of us could see. The strength I found inside myself could only have come from my Heavenly Father. At that moment, I knew he was holding me, and would continue to carry me through.
David began to wake up in my arms, and I asked if it would be okay for me to feed him one more time. I went into another room, and for 20 minutes nursed David one more time, and stared at his sweet face. He stared at the corners of the ceiling, tracking something... I was sure there were angels attending. Ben and I said goodbye to David one more time in private, and we went back into the room with everyone else.
My caseworker told me I would know and feel when the time was right for placement. I knew when that moment was. I looked at Ben, and he nodded. I kissed my little boy's forehead, held him close to my chest and whispered that I loved him. I held him to Ben, and he did the same. Dave and Amy stood, and as I placed David in Amy's arms, she hugged me.
We held our son between us, and I wanted the moment to last forever.
Dave embraced me and whispered, "thank you, we love you".
I cried and kissed David as Amy held him. Then, as I sobbed onto my mom's shoulder, I looked at them. I had helped create an eternal family. David was already so loved by so many people. He had been a blessing in my life already, and I knew he would continue to be. I didn't see Dave and Amy with my son... I saw Dave, Amy, and their son... David Allen Harmon III. The most beautiful little boy I had ever seen, a little piece of heaven that God had trusted me to bring into this world.
"He is mine in a way he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine. And, so, together, we are Motherhood." ~ Desha Wood
"And, maybe, you can tell your baby when you love him so that he's been loved before... by someone, who delivered your son, from God's arms... to my arms... to yours." ~ Michael McLean