This is all of us leaving the hospital. The birth father, birth mother, me, Grace, and Robby
I know this is about 3 weeks late, but better late than never. :) Warning, this is a REALLY long post! :)
So, first I'll back it up to the weeks leading up to her miracle. The birth father was not wanting the adoption to go through and had filed for partial custody. We were hopeful that things would happen but after a series of events, we had given up hope. Robby and I prayed and spoke to our Bishop and felt that we should move forward and allow Kayla to move forward with parenting. We were heart broken but knew it was the right decision. So I began updating our adoption blog, networking again, and told my work that I wasn't going to be adopting. It was a really hard time for me and it was even harder for Kayla (which broke my heart more than my own sorrows). This all happened Wednesday night.
Friday came along and Robby and I decided to go out to dinner to celebrate being together and to help cheer us up. We get a call from Kayla's mom who tells us that the birth father is wanting to meet with Kayla to talk. We were shocked. He had previously said that he wouldn't talk to her until they were in court. (which turned out not to be him texting but his ex-girlfriend) We hung up and I felt a little hope and was trying to squash it. I really didn't want to get my hopes crushed again. I was still really raw and terrified of getting hurt. So we continued to eat and then we got another call from Kayla's mom. Apparently the birth father wanted us to come too. We were shocked. We agreed that we would go but were still trying not to hope. We were planning on just going to just support Kayla and help her.
We drove up to meet with the Birth Father and talked with his family. It was a little awkward at first but we quickly started talking. We had met most of the family the previous week but one of his sisters came in and was really confused at who we were. The birth father introduced us "This is Angee and Robby. They will be adopting my daughter." Our jaws all dropped. I started to tear up but held it back. We continued talking and the birth father agreed to sign papers and drop the case. A few days earlier (on the day that Robby and I decided that we should move on) the birth father had gotten really sick. Sick enough that he was going to go to the hospital but didn't have insurance. He realized that if he can't take himself to the doctor, doesn't have insurance or enough money to take care of his illness, how was he going to take care of a baby? He wanted what was best for his daughter and wanted her to be able to be sealed in the temple to a family.
We were so happy. We didn't want to tell anyone because we were trying to keep it as close as possible. We began getting things ready again and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
I went to Kayla's doctor appointment on May 3rd to see how far she was progressing. She was 39 almost 40 weeks and we were hoping to be able to get her induced so the birth father's family could be apart of the placement ceremony. The doctor checked her and she was 20% effaced but was not dilated at all. The doctor said to plan on another week and could not schedule the induction. I finally just said "Fine! I'll be patient and wait until she's ready to come." So Kayla hung out with me that day and we got her pre-check in done. I cleaned the house and then I read. I ended up staying up until 11:30 reading The Host by Stephenie Meyer.
We get a call at 2:50 am. Luckily I didn't turn my phone on silent like I usually do. :) It was Kayla's mom letting us know that Kayla's water broke. Baby was going to come so they were heading to the hospital. Robby and I get up, shower and start getting ready. We get another call at 3:30 from Kayla's mom saying they were on the way to the hospital and her contractions were only 3 minutes apart. Robby and I were both shocked. We hurried up and drove to the hospital that was 45 minutes away. We get another call at about 4:00 from Kayla's mom, the contractions were closer together, and they couldn't find the hospital. Lol. They got off on the wrong street. :) We gave them better directions and they made it there at about 4:20. Robby and I arrived around 4:30am.
We sat in the waiting room while Kayla was checked into Triage and the contractions were about 2 minutes apart. She was checked and was dilated to a 6 at about 6:00 am. We got to go in and see her (after a couple LONG hours of waiting, luckily I had my book) and she was in so much pain. It was so hard seeing how much pain she was going through and knowing that I couldn't stop it or help. After another hour of her being in pain, they FINALLY gave her the epidural. She was SO much happier after that. :) Though she still didn't want the bands around her tummy. That was her least favorite part.
Around 9, Kayla was dilated to a 7.5 and wasn't progressing much more so they gave her some pitocin to speed up the process. At 11, she was dilated to a 10 and all the boys were kicked out of the room. At 11:35, Kayla felt the urge to push so she began to do some preliminary pushes to get baby in the birth canal. At around 11:50, Baby was ready to come out. The nurse told Kayla to stop pushing because the doctor was in the middle of a C-section and wouldn't be available for another 30 minutes. Kayla tried to stop for a couple minutes but baby was READY to come out. The nurse finally gave the ok and was ready to catch the baby. :) Kayla began pushing again and the baby was totally crowned. I was holding a leg for Kayla and was being the birth coach by counting. The baby was ready to come out and the doctor came in at about 12:05 pm. Kayla gave 1 and a half more pushes and out came Baby Girl's head. She had this magnificent full head of hair! It was DARK brown and Baby Girl's face was a little blue. She had the umbilical cord around her neck 2 times (and I was terrified, but interesting fact, Robby had his around his neck twice and mine was around my neck 3 times). Kayla pushed the rest of baby girl out in one push at 12:08 pm and she was beautiful. I cut the cord, though it took me 2 cuts. It is SLIPPERY! Lol.
They laid baby Girl on Kayla's chest and it was so amazing. I couldn't believe that this little girl was finally here. I felt so grateful to Kayla and the miracle she just had. All the boys (Robby, Kayla's step dad, and the birth father) were invited in and were able to see the sweet little princess. She was weighed and was 6lbs 14 oz and 20 inches long. She had the sweetest little cry. Robby and I hugged and cried. We felt so blessed and honestly I was in shock. I couldn't believe she was here. I was able to give her the first sponge bath (which she hated) and her first shampoo (which she LOVED!). We then bundled her up and she was passed around to me, then Kayla's mom, then the birth father, then Robby. It was incredible how much love there was in that room. It was so amazing.
Robby and I wanted to give Kayla and her family a little space and be able to love on Baby Girl. We went Chipotle and the whole time I was dying to get back. I felt this incredible pull to be back at the hospital. We got back and a few people came to visit and to meet this sweet little miracle. Around 9, everyone left except for me and Kayla and we were in charge of taking care of this little girl. It was really important to me that Kayla feel like she had the opportunity to love and care for Baby Girl during the hospital stay. I would get the bottles ready and then give her to Kayla to feed her. I hardly held Baby Girl at all during our hospital stay. And at this time, I really didn't feel officially her mom. I never called myself mom. I think I was still terrified something would go wrong. Irrational, but very real to me.
Before I go much further, I wanted to explain the name. We had talked about SO many names but could not decide on one. On the Sunday before she was born, Kayla called me and asked what I thought about Grace Michelle. I loved it! She was given to us only by the Grace of God and Michelle means Gift from God (and is also my middle name). I asked Robby and he liked Grace too (mostly because our favorite little girl that we baby sit, her name is Grace). Kayla's mom told us she always wanted to name one of her daughter's Grace growing up but ended up naming all her kids with K names so it didn't fit. :) We finally had a name so it was OK for Grace to show up.
We stayed at the hospital for 48 hours and then Grace was released to us for temporary foster care. The relinquishment papers cannot be signed by the birth parents until 72 hours after birth so it was a LONG 24 hours that we were at home. We went over to Kayla's family's house to allow them to spend time with her. It was so bitter sweet for me. I was so excited to finally be a mom, but I love Kayla and her family (and the birth father and his family) and HATED seeing them in pain. There were so many emotions running through me and it was really exhausting.
The next day, we went to LDS Family Services to meet Kayla and the birth father when the papers would be signed. I immediately went to Kayla and my heart was so broken for her. I wanted to heal her and make everything right but I knew I couldn't. So I prayed (and continue to pray) for her and the birth father that they will feel peace and love from our Heavenly Father and will continue to know that they made the right decision. We waited in a room for the papers to be finished signed and then it was our turn. I couldn't believe it. We signed some papers and then Grace was ours. I was in shock. I was so happy that I was finally a mom. I didn't cry the whole time we were there but we got home and I just snuggled Grace and I sobbed. I was so happy and in love with this sweet little Angel.
The next day we had a ceremony celebrating Kayla and Austin (the birth father) and letting them know what wonderful people they are. Almost all of Austin's family was there and Kayla's family was all there. Robby's brother came to support us. :) There was so much love in that room and the spirit was so strong. I sobbed so hard there. We gave Kayla a Willow Tree statue of an Angel signing love because she is our Angel and we, and Grace, love her so much. We also gave her a season of Buffy (one of her favorite TV shows) to help her during those hard times. We gave Kayla and Austin a picture of Grace in the outfit she wore the day of placement so they could always remember that day. We also gave Austin some books on tape so when he takes the long ride to come visit us (which we hope he does often) that he will have something to listen to.
We went home that day and couldn't believe that this little girl was finally ours. It was 4 years to I believe the week that we began our trial of infertility. I am so grateful for this trial that I have had. I am more understanding and more empathetic. I am glad that I can relate to so many woman who have infertility and can help them and understand them. And I would never have gotten Grace without my trial. She is my little Saving Grace and I love her so much. I am so grateful to have both of Grace's birth parents and families in our lives and her life. So many birth fathers do not show any care for their children and their children suffer from that. I'm so grateful that Austin loves Grace, that his family loves Grace and supported Austin in his decision to place her in our family. I'm so glad Grace will be able to know and love him through her life. And I love the full lips and dimples that she got from him.
And I am so grateful for Kayla. Without her, I would not be a mother. She loves Grace more than anything. I don't think anyone who has not placed a baby for adoption can fully understand the love and sacrifice that these women go through. But she loved her daughter so much, that she put Grace above her own needs and wants. Kayla would have struggled but I have no doubt she would have been able to do it. She is the most magnificent woman. She has been through more trials than anyone I have ever known. She is so strong and I love her like my own sister (which we call each other). She is amazing and I am so glad that she is in our lives. I am so grateful that Grace will know her and love her through her life. I am also glad I can help Kayla in my own little way by letting her see Grace and be able to help her heal. I know it's hard for her and I can see Kayla hurting, but I know that she knows she made the right decision and that brings me so much peace.
I love my little Grace and cannot wait until she will officially be in our forever family. We will be able to bless and seal her to us after finalization which usually happens at about 6 months. The past 3 weeks have flown by and I have enjoyed every second, including the long nights and even longer days. :) I am so blessed and truly humbled. I know that without my Heavenly Father and many answered prayers, Grace would not be in our home. I know that it was not me or anything I did (other than pray) that allowed Grace to join our family. It was all Him and I could not be more grateful.