Musings of A Middle Aged Mom


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Chosen

I was probably around four years old when I found out I was adopted. It was really a non-issue. I’m sure my sweet parents worried about what to say and how to say it, but it was truly of no consequence to me. It didn’t change who I was, it didn’t change who loved me, it didn’t change who I wanted to hug and comfort me when I was sick. My Mama called me to her on this particular day and played a song from a record we had called “I’m Something Special”. It talks about the unique qualities that each child possesses. She went on to explain to me that most parents just take the child they are blessed with, but she and Daddy got to choose me. She firmly believed, as do I, that God placed me with them for a reason. I don’t believe it was chance, and I absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had the best parents anyone could ever ask or hope for.

My parents had grown up in the same small town their parents had grown up in. Daddy had gone to the University of Georgia only to be brought back home due to the draft towards the end of World War II. After serving, he came back home and finished school, becoming an educator and coach in the same small town he’d grown up in. Mama, still in high school at this point, played basketball at her small high school under the watchful eye of a new coach, fresh out of college, embarking on a career. Her father was a big supporter of high school sports, especially basketball, so the coach often stopped by to visit after school. Of course this was my Daddy, but at that point, he was enjoying his new career and didn’t think twice about the young girls he was coaching other than as players. Upon graduation, Mama headed to an all girl’s school several states away to broaden her experiences. Because of the distance, she did not come home often, but the following summer, she happened to be at home when Daddy stopped by to talk basketball with her father. This time, he noticed her in a different way. He asked if she’d like to go play tennis. Mama said she was a nervous wreck and had no idea what to call him. I’m not sure she called him anything that day, but that was their first date. She returned to school and corresponded via letters for the next year. Since it was only a two year school, she then came back home and continued her studies at the University of Georgia. By all accounts, she was home almost every weekend to see Daddy. I’m sure he visited some, but with his coaching schedule and games on the weekends, it was tough to go up for him. After another year, it was finally decided that marriage made more sense than a 4 year degree as her father owned the business where Mama would work.

The first year of marriage found them living in a bedroom at my Daddy’s parents’ house, but eventually, they built their first home in 1958 and set up housekeeping. After two years of marriage, they were settled with jobs and a home, and the desire to start a family was at the forefront of their minds. But year after year, there were no children to fill up their home with love and laughter. Infertility was no different back then than it is now in how it makes a woman feel.Mama watched as friend after friend got pregnant and gave birth, her heart breaking a little more each month. After 10 agonizing years of disappointment, testing, and no answers, they were ready to consider adoption.

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Arrival

Seventeen years have passed since these memories were made, and it’s amazing how mothers continue to recall the details of the day their children arrived. It was a Monday, and it was cold and overcast. It was President’s Day, so my husband was off work and drove with me the 25 miles to my doctor’s office. As stated in the previous installment, we were completely ignorant as to how our day would unfold, which is probably a good thing. The practice had 5 physicians, and I had seen all but one of them during my pregnancy check ups. Of course, this was the physician who was on call that particular Monday. I will never forget his words…”Well, it looks like you’re going to have a baby today.” WHAT??? There had to be some mistake, I wasn’t emotionally ready to have this baby yet. She was due in March, and March was the month that was planned. The nursery was ready, our home was ready, she was obviously ready, but I was NOT READY!!! I broke down in tears, which was probably more fear than anything. I was scared at that point, but he assured me that we would both be fine.

To the hospital we went, with nothing we needed for the birth of our fist baby. We decided that it would be best for my husband to go back home and gather things we had planned on bringing while the nurses got me checked in and prepped. I still had hopes of doing all of it using our Bradley Method skills, but my body would not cooperate by starting contractions. Evidently, the placenta had torn, and I was leaking amniotic fluid. Because of the risk of infection, our baby would have to be delivered within 24 hours. I had first noticed the symptoms at around 11pm the night before, and it was now 12 noon the following day. The solution? Pitocin. If you are new to reading about labor and delivery, Pitocin is a drug that is used to make the uterus contract when labor is not progressing on its own. This was not at all in my plan, no drugs were in my plan, only walking and relaxing was in my plan, and this was not relaxing. Because it can affect the baby’s heart rate, I was not allowed to walk and had to be monitored once the drip was started. This method of torture stared slowly, making me still think my high pain tolerance would be enough to get me through, but after having the dosage turned up at regular intervals for hours, I was ready to shoot my husband and completely over any silly notion of being Super Woman. Begging for an epidural, I was certain my uterus was contracting strongly enough to crack rocks in half. I had never in my life felt anything even remotely like what I had just endured. Going from Pitocin contractions to epidural peace felt like nothing short of a miracle.

From there, it was smooth sailing. I guess I needed to relax for my body to do what it was supposed to. Within 90 minutes of my epidural, I was ready to push. It was very peaceful, just chatting with the doctor during contractions. I was excited and somewhat impatient, now wanting the contractions to come faster since I was no longer in pain and eager to meet our daughter.

During my pregnancy, I had constantly wondered what my sweet little baby would look like. I wanted  her to have a head full of dark hair just like I did as an infant, and I spent large amounts of time dreaming of what it would be like to finally see her. It was a moment I’ll never forget, hearing that first cry, knowing that she was alive and looked healthy, and finally seeing a head full of jet black hair on the most perfect little head you can imagine. Not only was it love at first sight, it was the first time in my 31 years on this earth that I had seen a blood relative, and not only a blood relative, but one who looked just like me.